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View Full Version : The Crying Game: "To The Moon" is out now



Demiath
03-11-2011, 05:33 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=sqkJuSV-23U

Maybe my search skill fails me but I couldn't find a thread or mention of the fact that the unabashedly sentimental indie adventure game To The Moon (http://www.freebirdgames.com) (which has previously been featured on RPS (http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2011/08/09/if-memory-serves-to-the-moon/)) is now available for purchase from the developer's website and from Desura (http://www.desura.com/games/to-the-moon). The game looks superficially like a standard 16-bit JRPG clone - having been made in the much-maligned RPG Maker (http://www.rpgmakerweb.com/) tends to have that result - but includes no combat whatsoever and plays more like a plot-heavy point-click adventure or visual novel with very limited interactivity. Beyond some pixel hunting and obligatory mini-games there's really not that much player input at all, which is one of the reasons why it might not appeal to the average Western PC gamer's sensibilities. That said, if you're interested in a comparatively ambitious (not to mention incredibly earnest) narrative experience accompanied by an impressive soundtrack (http://freebirdgames.bandcamp.com/album/to-the-moon-ost), this might be something for you. Oh, and there's a fairly generous 1 hour demo available here (http://www.freebirdgames.com/To_the_Moon-1.1_installer.exe) which includes roughly 20% of the full game. Also, Ars Technica have posted a fairly representative review (http://arstechnica.com/gaming/reviews/2011/11/to-the-moon-review.ars).

EDIT: John Walker's WoT (http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2011/11/03/wot-i-think-to-the-moon/#more-80450)has now been posted, and he seems to agree with the most positive reviews posted so far by other sites.

Juan Carlo
03-11-2011, 05:54 AM
That sounds interesting, actually. I'll probably give the demo a go.

What's with the "Crying Game" reference, though? Does a chick turn out to actually be a dude in this? If so I'll buy it instantly, demo be damned.

Demiath
03-11-2011, 06:02 AM
What's with the "Crying Game" reference, though? Does a chick turn out to actually be a dude in this? If so I'll buy it instantly, demo be damned.
The reference should be understood a bit more literal than that, although this is a game with Japan-esque aesthetics, after all, so it could be argued that every chick is secretly a dude...or maybe it was the other way around?

Heliocentric
03-11-2011, 12:31 PM
The reference should be understood a bit more literal than that, although this is a game with Japan-esque aesthetics, after all, so it could be argued that every chick is secretly a dude...or maybe it was the other way around?
Its actually both, long story.

So no JRPG combat* eh? You have my attention.

*Grinding, random battles, only strategy for bosses, item hoarding...

Miker
04-11-2011, 07:55 PM
Okay, just finished the game last night and I *loved* it. It was everything Walker said in his WIT. Even shed a single tear at the very, very end of the game, marking the first time a game has made me cry. Even bought the soundtrack for $5, and I haven't bought music in years and years.

Now, that said, I have a question about the game, MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD
SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS

Why was it necessary for the Neil and Eva (well, just Eva, I guess) to remove/move River in order for Johnny to go to the moon? I'm guessing that it was because having River in his life was too powerful of a force for the memory-technology's desire transmission to work, but I wasn't sure. This was the only part of the game that was really confusing for me, does anybody have other ideas?



END SPOILERS

jp0249107
07-11-2011, 03:44 AM
Just finished it too...that game broke my heart and then mended it back together again in the span of a day. I swear it has to be the most beautiful piece of art/media/anything I've ever seen. EVERYONE SHOULD BUY IT NOW!

To answer that question Miker: SPOILER!! Text is highlight-able below


I think it was because she would be a distraction. She seemed to be a drain on John in the original timeline. Sorta like how Nick beat John in a pushup competition but after changing things it was the other way around. John was more motivated because he didn't have River and her condition. Though his brother seemed to be a large factor too. In the same way, *begin speculation* River wasn't held back by John's coddling and was able to achieve her dream of seeing those lighthouses in the sky. That way they both met after dealing with their respective "problems" and be happier than they would have been. She wasn't standing in the way of him wanting to go to the moon though. That was the beta-blockers his mother gave him that wiped out the memories of his brother dying but also erased that tender moment he shared with River on the log about wanting to go to the moon and how it looked like a rabbit...which led to me realizing why he never understood her hint of "what does it look like" when asking him what those rabbits looked like.....and promptly made me and my wife to lose our collective shit and cry a waterfall.


I hate laying praise on something so thickly, but this game deserves to sell better than BF3 and Diablo combined. It's just simply...beautiful...

Vexing Vision
07-11-2011, 10:00 AM
Being able to tell a story from the beginning and STILL manage to build in plot-twists is something utterly amazing.

Also, I am now crying like a baby whenever I see a paper-rabbit. That moment was absolutely heart-wrenching, and I completely agree with jp0249107's assessment of why that was a necessity.


Amazing. I honestly doubt if Kao Gan can pull this off again, but I'll buy the next installment of the series unseen. Also, the game has pretty much THE best implementation of background music ever. Powerful, powerful stuff.

Keep
07-11-2011, 01:16 PM
Uh, I don't want to be a party pooper, but I do want to balance out the opinions here a bit.

It didn't make me cry. It made me roll my eyes a fair bit. It made me think about the intentions of the scriptwriter (which I've learned is a sure sign of flawed story-telling. I should be thinking about the characters' intentions.)

Maybe I was expecting too much, I did hope to find a powerful story. And it started off really well, characters and situation unfolded in a way that did suck you in. And the two leads did have a pretty good relationship. I can't remember where I read about the dearth of relationships in games, so I did like how those two were portrayed pretty much throughout. And it was a pretty game, it was damn cute looking.

But once they started going into the guy's memories, it all went downhill. Mainly I think because a) it started depending on plot-twists entirely, b) the plot-twists were arbitrary, disconnected, not-significant and c) after every revelation, the dual protagonists always spelled out what it was, rather than leave you to piece it together. Oh and d) the mechanics of the actual game were ridiculous. Hidden object with mini-puzzle interludes. It disconnected me from what was happening, how meaningless and unnecessary my actions were.

The plot itself I thought was pandering. It wasn't "a compelling story that resulted in you crying". It was "a story that's trying to make you cry because that'll prove it was compelling". I'd like to think I'm up for a well-told weepy story; maybe that ain't true. I might just be too cynical for this type of game. But that was my reaction.


An attempt to articulate more exactly why it failed, but obviously...

SPOILERS SPOILERS


Goddammit it broke the worst one of these rules: http://www.diogenes-club.com/knoxrules.htm
It takes a lot for that to be excusable, detective story or no. Here, it plain wasn't.

River's "problem" - really!? You're just going to accept that? And her friend has it as well? And this isn't explored or discussed, it's just...there, as a glib explanation for her behaviour? I found that really uncomfortable.
Bah and characters saying "I know what her problem is! (Do you, reader?)"

The ending, with the old "I seem to be screwing things up but Trust Me I Know What I'm Doing!" I just found tiresome. That's not good storytelling. And in my head I was thinking "What will the resolution be? Well surely it won't be [...] - that'd just be insipid". But then it was [...]. So, feck.

jp0249107
07-11-2011, 02:15 PM
I don't really mind cliche. I'm so tired of recycled action plots with terrorists and crap so maybe that's why I like it so much. It's so different than what I've played. I was always looking forward to what was going on and trying to piece together everything. To each his own though I'm not gonna deny someone their dislike of the game...I'd rather this thread not turn into the disaster that the Skyrim thread was after some old-school RPG'ers got pissed at it.

I'm curious as to how Gao is gonna pull this off again without resorting to the same plot twists. I thought everything seemed inventive and original so it's gonna be hard to top this. I think he may go the route of exploring the Dr's friendship and Dr. Watt's "problem" a bit more than usual to avoid that problem.

Keep
07-11-2011, 02:23 PM
I don't really mind cliche. I'm so tired of recycled action plots with terrorists and crap so maybe that's why I like it so much. It's so different than what I've played. I was always looking forward to what was going on and trying to piece together everything. To each his own though I'm not gonna deny someone their dislike of the game...I'd rather this thread not turn into the disaster that the Skyrim thread was after some old-school RPG'ers got pissed at it.

Haha oh for sure. You enjoyed it that's great. I'm just trying to caution anyone reading this thread and seeing nothing but positive opinions. That happened to me reading the WIT and it wasn't to my taste, so.

Vexing Vision
07-11-2011, 02:37 PM
SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER like this entire thread anyway.




River's "problem" - really!? You're just going to accept that? And her friend has it as well? And this isn't explored or discussed, it's just...there, as a glib explanation for her behaviour? I found that really uncomfortable.
Bah and characters saying "I know what her problem is! (Do you, reader?)"

Actually, I never once questioned River's problem. From the very first memories - with her in the bed, obviously being disconnected and incapable of reacting to human emotions in a clear manner -, her condition was pretty clear to me. Maybe because I have observed this behaviour in others.

The scene that broke my heart was when Johnny was describing the Rabbit in detail to River, something we have seen her trying to recreate in later years. This sense of loss that there are two people who share a real connection through fantasy and dreams, and we know that it ends with Johnny losing that ability to dream and therefor unable to really connect with River.


I remain very curious how he intends to further the storyline.

Keep
07-11-2011, 02:48 PM
SPOILERSSSSS




Actually, I never once questioned River's problem. From the very first memories - with her in the bed, obviously being disconnected and incapable of reacting to human emotions in a clear manner -, her condition was pretty clear to me. Maybe because I have observed this behaviour in others.

That might be the difference. I don't have such experience.

At first I thought she was being a bitch. Then I thought a psychological breakdown was the hidden explanation. Then I thought the reveal was trying to tell us she's mentally challenged. Then I recoiled at the thought of Johnny marrying her. Then I thought it can't be as severe as I thought but I'd no 'sense' of what it was instead. Then well that was it really.

It all struck me as highly bizarre. Is this how people treat such a condition in real life - talk about the person behind their back as though they're a freaky alien, but then act like everything's totally normal to their face, and put her under the pressure of normality in turn?

And should there have been some sort of "This woman is unusual" signal from the get-go? Instead of presenting her as though she's an ordinary person and then later throwing up the twist that whoa she's not.

I don't have the appropriate experiences I guess. It was very weird to me.

Vexing Vision
07-11-2011, 03:15 PM
EVEN MORE SPOILERS!





No, it's not how normal people treat these cases in real life. That's the point - Johnny himself is very callous and keeping his distance. He feels responsible because he doesn't really feel anything anymore. At the doctor, he doesn't want to learn how to deal with River's condition. At the school cafeteria, he admits that he's mostly interested in her because he himself wants to be different.

River attempts to reconnect to Johnny, because obviously she remembers their first date at the fairground, which is why the platypus is so important to her.


I understand it doesn't work for everyone, but for me, it struck all the right chords in exactly the right order, which means I'll keep highly recommending the game to everyone with an interest in well-told stories. :) BUT - it's okay to not like the things I like. :D