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chapmanb

4 Hours to Complete Act 1... really?!

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What I find a little bit silly with all this is peoples ideology that length equals better. If this was true I have been short changing my Mrs for some time now.

A couple of things, 4 million was a record breaking and massive successful to crowd funding which essentially jumped started so many cool projects from kickstarter. However, for the development of a game, 4 million is chump change. Of course Doublefine have always tried to be candid about this and really hit a home run with this game.

Let me break down some points for people complaining.

1) Yes, the puzzles to Broken Age are easier than puzzles I remember as a young man with games like Monkey Island, Indiana Jones, Goblins, Police Quest or Simon the freaking Sorcerer. But what was you expecting? Really. Ask yourself that. Before I get into this I will also remark that the 'puzzle' difficulty was not a result of the lack of money, this was a conscious design decision. When I played (you as well) old school adventure games, there was no 'internet' as it exists today, media and guides were not available to people. You struggled, you came back to it and you had that 'moment' of clarity when you solved it, or you did what a lot of people did which is use every single combination on every object until you were able to progress. With difficult puzzles, people will always short change themselves by looking at guides. They just will. You might say you wouldn't, but chances are... you might. If you were looking to progress that is.

When Broken Age came out and as soon as the embargo was lifted, full detailed guides were released as quick as you blink, with major gaming networks and review sites doing LIVE stream completions of the game. So, in this regards, difficulty itself doesn't matter. The information is so disposable that difficulty or brain teasers really isn't much of a factor anymore.

So, to me it would seem that they decided to make puzzles that were interesting or quite clever, nothing pain staking but puzzles where you solved and went "Oh, that was clever" much like how you get the ceremonial knife at the beginning of Vella's story. I liked this approach, it was tactful, it wasn't frustrated, it had nice pace it kept things fresh and funny. It is also a great way to get a generation of people whom never played an adventure game (outside machinarium and walking dead) into playing this one. Hopefully this game will bring a lot more people and fan a new love for adventure games outside of Germany!!

2) You cannot speak of length in terms of hours played. That is ridiculous. There is only 'too short' or 'too long' and by this I mean the games story. If after completing act 2 I feel that the game should of been longer to cover the points not answered or areas that felt rushed then yeah that's a remark on its shortness. Much like how making someone watch every walking animation between backdrops to artificially increase a games length. A game is only as long as the story is and when I complete a game I am not judging its length but its quality. So far Broken Age is shaping up to have a very interesting story with a few things needing answering and I am looking forward to it unfolding.

3) The price, if you were a backer then you got no complaint because you got this game for next to nothing. If you backed more into the game, you received additional goods. Thank you for supporting one of my favorite genres with your pledge. If you bought the game of Steam you paid pretty much the same price as the Walking Dead season pass. Now, those chapters are short, Season 1 I believe took me around 7 to 8 hours. But, didn't stop the much deserved acclaim and GOTY remarks. That is because the 'story' was relevant to its time, it took as much time as it needed to tell its story. Nothing cut, nothing inflated, just the right amount of time to get you invested.

its like 6 am here, I am quite tired so apologies for any broken English. I am a man who is passionate for adventure games and I hope Doublefine continue to take what they learned from this game and start a new kickstarter for their next adventure game after Act 2 is done. I really hope so. If not, then... at least my German is quite good.

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I finished it in around 4 hours as well. To be honest, I would have preferred a longer and more difficult game, but I still really enjoyed it and I definitely got my money's worth.

I think people are lucky enough that there's kind of an adventure game renaissance going on right now. If you want something more difficult, you've got many other games to check out.

Thinking about it, I don't think it's really the length which disappointed me a bit, it's the difficulty. Were the puzzles more involved and harder to figure out, I think the length (assuming act 2 has same size as act 1) would be pretty similar to the classic LucasArts adventure games. In terms areas, characters and dialogue, they weren't that huge, but it was the difficulty of the puzzles which made them longer experiences.

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Count me in as those disappointed on multiple fronts.

(The music and voices are top-notch, to get a "pro" point out of the way early.)

First of all, the graphics are quite endearing, but - unless I'm missing something - they're little more than a glorified, painted-over, piece of Flash animation. And we've had those for over a decade already. I've nothing at all against hand-painted animated art, I'm a huge fan of all kinds of animated classics - but push pin paper doll characters, well, that's dated. Unless it WAS supposed to look slightly antique... but it failed to have that special "zing" to it. And don't even get me started on the pixellated backdrops (yes, on closeups it shows, BADLY so).

Second of all, the difficulty level... NONE. The "adventure games of olden times" may have had a different difficulty curve (factor in google and walkthroughs and a much lower "boredom point", yadda yadda), but at least the solutions to the puzzles were often CLEVER - even to the point of absurdity, reliance on ridiculous puns, etc. Here, I felt dragged by the hand through one scene after another.

Seriously, this would have probably made an excellent indie cartoon... but not a game. There's just barely any gameplay in here!

If this is half of the game, I have just one, fundamental question. Where did all these millions go? Seriously, I'd very, very much love to see a financial report. What cost so much? Was there a turning point, "let's scrap all we have and start anew, we can still afford it"? Or did Elijah Wood's paycheck just drain half of it?

How come Broken Sword 5, with a budget of 500k, has the same kind of gameplay time?

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And don't even get me started on how Vella didn't wonder for her x-teen years of life that she's going to be, well, EATEN, that it's kind of a big deal, and it's only now that she's ever had the thought that, well, maybe being EATEN isn't all the rage really... Being THROWN into a world full of madmen is one thing, being RAISED in one would've certainly looked differently.

Similarly, how Shay didn't notice he's on a fake ship, or didn't bother to take up arms before, is beyond me. He's not a kid fresh out of his diapers that has now noticed his sword is plastic - he's a teenager! Was he in a drug-induced coma, or what? He's not being "kept in his training gloves for too long", he's being kept prisoner by a computer that is seriously deranged! How he hasn't grown to be mentally handicapped is beyond me.

Of course, I get that both those stories seem to be trying to show a "take control of your life" situation, but both use WAY over-the-top mechanics and act as if it all fit perfectly fine.

Think "Home Alone", but imagine Kevin had been home alone for a month instead of two or three days, and change NOTHING in the movie save for everyone casually using the new timespan in the same dialogues. That's just about how these stories felt to me.

And I suspect that's NOT how they were to be perceived... There was oddly little hinting towards that. Not enough lampshades.

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And don’t even get me started on the pixellated backdrops (yes, on closeups it shows, BADLY so).

This is due to the game being in beta. It will be fixed by release.

How come Broken Sword 5, with a budget of 500k, has the same kind of gameplay time?

From their Kickstarter:

"Kickstarter funding will allow us to proceed at a faster rate, and ensure the game achieves its ambitious design. Without this funding we will risk having to cut back features and delay the game's release."

Game development is expensive.

And don't even get me started on how Vella didn't wonder for her x-teen years of life that she's going to be, well, EATEN, that it's kind of a big deal, and it's only now that she's ever had the thought that, well, maybe being EATEN isn't all the rage really... Being THROWN into a world full of madmen is one thing, being RAISED in one would've certainly looked differently.

Similarly, how Shay didn't notice he's on a fake ship, or didn't bother to take up arms before, is beyond me. He's not a kid fresh out of his diapers that has now noticed his sword is plastic - he's a teenager! Was he in a drug-induced coma, or what? He's not being "kept in his training gloves for too long", he's being kept prisoner by a computer that is seriously deranged! How he hasn't grown to be mentally handicapped is beyond me.

Vella knew she was going to be eaten. It is supposed to be a great honour and you are prepared for it for your entire life. As for Shay, he did clearly have a death wish, so you can't say he was all that well-adjusted. I don't think he even suspected that he was living in a Matrix. He probably thought he was living in a spaceship with no escape.

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If this is half of the game, I have just one, fundamental question. Where did all these millions go? Seriously, I'd very, very much love to see a financial report. What cost so much? Was there a turning point, "let's scrap all we have and start anew, we can still afford it"? Or did Elijah Wood's paycheck just drain half of it?

How come Broken Sword 5, with a budget of 500k, has the same kind of gameplay time?

The budget for Broken Sword was over $800K:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Broken_Sword_5:_The_Serpent's_Curse

Also I think it's safe to assume that being the 5th iteration they didn't have to write an engine from scratch, and their art pipeline was pretty streamlined. That equals more time for their programmers and artists to spend creating content instead of writing graphics and interface code and experimenting with different art styles and shaders.

As for voice actors, they don't work for free, and Elijah Wood was only one of many. Broken Sword 5 on the other hand doesn't seem to use professional voice actors. You can save a lot of money when the voice "talent" are your coworkers and their family members.

You can see here Double Fine hired 14 different voice actors for part 1 alone:

http://www.giantbomb.com/broken-age/3030-37448/credits/

I did some research and it looks like its around $2,500 per hour for a voice actor, and Shay and Vella were probably in there for a full day. So you're probably talking $30K for the other actors and then another $20-30K for Shay and Vella.

Musical talent doesn't come cheap either. Broken Age hired a full orchestra for their soundtrack, while Broken Sword uses midi music that is far cheaper to produce and doesn't sound nearly as epic. I can cost upwards of $20K to hire a 50 piece orchestra, and on top of that they had to pay the musician that wrote the pieces a salary.

They also had 11 people working on the game, though it seems only 9 of those may have been working on it full time over the last two years. So we'll split the difference and call it 10.

And you can see here that the average salary of an employee in the game industry with experience is around $100K:

http://www.gamecareerguide.com/features/1108/game_developer_salary_survey_2012.php

Multiply each employees salary by an additional third to take into account health insurance and other misc expenses and that's $133K per person for two years.

So adding it all up, I calculate the costs to be around $2.75M dollars.

That doesn't include the cost of backer rewards, and keep in mind that it's not a good idea to spend every last cent you have developing a game because what happens to the company in the lull between funding one game and the next? It's probably safe to assume they would budget for at least six months beyond the expected completion date in case it takes longer to develop than expected, and another six months of potential downtime.

Making games is expensive, and living in San Francisco ain't cheap either.

So to answer your question, how can Broken Sword 5 cost so little? They spent 15 months on the game instead of 24, they didn't have to pay for voice actors, or an orchestra, they have fewer employees (8 versus 10), and they probably have half the experience and are being paid half as much.

PS:

I've worked in the game industry off and on for the last 18 years, so I'm not talking completely out of my ass here. :)

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I clocked Act I in at four hours, mostly from just watching cutscenes and exploring all of the dialogue trees to completion. The puzzles were easy, but I feel like that was only from the viewpoint of a seasoned adventure gamer. Someone who didn't play classic LucasArts adventure games probably wouldn't have had as easy of a time with the game.

I loved it for what it was. It's gorgeous, it's funny, it's endearing, and clever. It's short, however; particularly if you ever had to use a rubber chicken with a pulley in the middle to get to Hook Island. I feel like it's no less significant than Full Throttle, which was easily the shortest adventure game of the golden era. If Act 2 delivers another four hours, then it'll be right on par.

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I completed it in 3 hours, in two separate game sessions, some of the puzzles did have my head scratching a bit, because I had no idea what the game wanted me to do.

Sure, some of Schaeffers older games had harder puzzles, or were longer.

But the story, design, soundtrack, and gameplay were enjoyable, and like always they had good dialogue and funny jokes, so to me, it was worthwhile, and I'm glad to have helped to support the creation of another adventure game, its my favorite kind of game (the first type of game I ever played), and there have only been maybe 4 such games created in the last 5 years that I know of, and that are worth mentioning.

Also, being able to pick out the "special guest voice actors" throughout the game was also pretty fun!

I'd back DF in making another adventure game like this, without a moments hesitation.

All in all, I loved this game, I CANNOT WAIT FOR PART TWO! Ugh the ending absolutely send my head spinning D:>

There were a few bugs or things that could be polished, but even so, loved it.

Granted, it "was short" compared to classic adventure games, but with today's market how it is, and with people's attention spans no longer being what they were, I wholly understand the length of the game, and frankly, I enjoyed it immensely, I do not regret supporting this project at all.

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I liked this approach, it was tactful, it wasn't frustrated, it had nice pace it kept things fresh and funny. It is also a great way to get a generation of people whom never played an adventure game (outside machinarium and walking dead) into playing this one. Hopefully this game will bring a lot more people and fan a new love for adventure games outside of Germany!!

So far Broken Age is shaping up to have a very interesting story with a few things needing answering and I am looking forward to it unfolding.

Well spoken Tsumoro, and I completely agree.

This was well worth backing, and I'm just glad that one of my favorite adventure game designers (and his awesome team) were willing to let us tell him/them we wanted this. And the story is great, I really enjoyed it. The animation style was fresh, the music awesome and reminiscent at time of some of their other work. It was a very interesting idea, and I kept wondering how they were going to bring Shay and Vella together, and when I found out, man my jaw just dropped. BRILLIANT.

Short, sure, but not in terms of quality or enjoyment. I'd buy this again in a heart beat, and back another game just as fast. Well worth what I paid, and more.

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Vella knew she was going to be eaten. It is supposed to be a great honour and you are prepared for it for your entire life.

Remaining ALIVE, instead of being DEAD by eating by a monster is a pretty big deal for anyone, brainwashed or prepared or not. If she'd been properly prepared, she wouldn't have thought of escaping. Seeing as she did, she clearly wasn't entirely deluded like the other "come eat me Mog Chothra" maidens. And yet no big fuss is made of it. She never tries to rescue anybody else beside herself, either. All in all, she represents two approaches at the same time: DENIAL - kill the monster, break tradition, there's gotta be another way - and ACCEPTANCE - it's all right to be eaten if you want to, not a big deal, family shame is understandable.

As for Shay, he did clearly have a death wish, so you can't say he was all that well-adjusted. I don't think he even suspected that he was living in a Matrix. He probably thought he was living in a spaceship with no escape.

No, of course he didn't suspect. But after living for YEARS in a Teletubbies ship, one would either rebel way earlier - kids' first "I'm not a little boy anymore" phases are about the age of FIVE, and Shay's clearly more than that - or would grow up as a 1-year-old child stuck in an oddly large body, in other words, retarded.

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Remaining ALIVE, instead of being DEAD by eating by a monster is a pretty big deal for anyone, brainwashed or prepared or not. If she'd been properly prepared, she wouldn't have thought of escaping. Seeing as she did, she clearly wasn't entirely deluded like the other "come eat me Mog Chothra" maidens. And yet no big fuss is made of it. She never tries to rescue anybody else beside herself, either. All in all, she represents two approaches at the same time: DENIAL - kill the monster, break tradition, there's gotta be another way - and ACCEPTANCE - it's all right to be eaten if you want to, not a big deal, family shame is understandable.

One of the girls does decide she doesn't want to die and breaks down crying. As for Vella, clearly her grandfather has put some ideas into her head that don't fit with the society she's grown up in. Also, the whole thing is obviously a metaphor.

No, of course he didn't suspect. But after living for YEARS in a Teletubbies ship, one would either rebel way earlier - kids' first "I'm not a little boy anymore" phases are about the age of FIVE, and Shay's clearly more than that - or would grow up as a 1-year-old child stuck in an oddly large body, in other words, retarded.

You don't know that. There are kids who are homeschooled and rarely leave the house. It's not that dissimilar.

It's not like he is forced to do all that stuff. It's just that there's not much else to do.

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Also, the whole thing is obviously a metaphor.
Ah, but therein lies the trap - it's all too easy to excuse everything as a metaphor. A metaphor's "fact base" also has to be consistent, because every crack in physics or psychology will have to have a representation in the metaphor-verse, too.

If, say, two characters are very similar but fight over everything, it's a "sibling rivalry" metaphor, but if they're presented as too different personas, the "siblings are not clones" metaphor creeps in, and may not be wanted at this point.

The way Vella completely ignores the fact that those "chosen" by the monster are DEAD (as far as SHE knows, anyway; she knows nothing of Shay's creature quarantine storage, after all) brings a whole new set of metaphors to the foreground: "egocentric; save yourself, ignore others", "they doomed themselves and couldn't be saved". Oddly, this spins a negative-sacrifice metaphor: instead of "sacrifice myself, save everyone" we have "save myself, sacrifice everyone, maybe saving future people". Was that really planned there..? I get the feeling that just a few more lines of dialogue here and there could have fleshed it out better.

You don't know that. There are kids who are homeschooled and rarely leave the house. It's not that dissimilar.

It's very dissimilar. They're not kept in hug-games and on high chairs with talking "food encouragement" spoons till they're teenagers. Homeschoolers are stuffed with books, science toys, learning games and all "teen" stuff completely missing from the spaceship. How does Shay even know how to READ, when there's not a single book in sight, while there's piles of colorful blocks and toddler toys every-gorram-where?

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Ah, but therein lies the trap - it's all too easy to excuse everything as a metaphor. A metaphor's "fact base" also has to be consistent, because every crack in physics or psychology will have to have a representation in the metaphor-verse, too.

If, say, two characters are very similar but fight over everything, it's a "sibling rivalry" metaphor, but if they're presented as too different personas, the "siblings are not clones" metaphor creeps in, and may not be wanted at this point.

The way Vella completely ignores the fact that those "chosen" by the monster are DEAD (as far as SHE knows, anyway; she knows nothing of Shay's creature quarantine storage, after all) brings a whole new set of metaphors to the foreground: "egocentric; save yourself, ignore others", "they doomed themselves and couldn't be saved". Oddly, this spins a negative-sacrifice metaphor: instead of "sacrifice myself, save everyone" we have "save myself, sacrifice everyone, maybe saving future people". Was that really planned there..? I get the feeling that just a few more lines of dialogue here and there could have fleshed it out better.

You don't have to build up a complex metaphor-verse to get a metaphor across. That's not how metaphors work. Also, the metaphor is related to coming of age. It doesn't have anything to do with sacrifice or saving anyone. Actually, in the context of the metaphor, her lack of empathy fits incredibly well.

Anyway, you're overthinking it. It's a story that operates on a very simple, close to a fairy tale level. She's on an adventure, she wants to kill a monster, that's it. It's like complaining about the lack of PTSD in action film heroes.

It's very dissimilar. They're not kept in hug-games and on high chairs with talking "food encouragement" spoons till they're teenagers. Homeschoolers are stuffed with books, science toys, learning games and all "teen" stuff completely missing from the spaceship. How does Shay even know how to READ, when there's not a single book in sight, while there's piles of colorful blocks and toddler toys every-gorram-where?

How do you know it's all hug-games? There's other stuff around for an older kid than a toddler and they clearly have conversations on a more adult level. The games are just the computer's way of trying to cheer him up. Also, the story begins in medias res. You don't know that Shay hasn't rebelled.

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Why are we discussing metaphors? These things shouldn't be excused because of metaphor. They should be excused because of COMEDY.

Did Curse of Monkey Island make any sense? Pirates didn't fight with insults. Soda machines didn't exist in the 16th century.

Starker is right, you're overthinking this. If you're gonna nit pick, why start with something mundane like Shay's relative normalcy, or Vella's acceptance of being chosen to be eaten, when there's a whole city of people living in the clouds who can apparently float by wearing shoes with feathers, and Shay lives on a ship that is apparently fueled by yarn?

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Why are we discussing metaphors? These things shouldn't be excused because of metaphor. They should be excused because of COMEDY.

Yeah, and being sacrificed by your family to death by tentacled monster is brilliant comedy material. Umm, nope.

Did Curse of Monkey Island make any sense? Pirates didn't fight with insults. Soda machines didn't exist in the 16th century.

Starker is right, you're overthinking this. If you're gonna nit pick, why start with something mundane like Shay's relative normalcy, or Vella's acceptance of being chosen to be eaten, when there's a whole city of people living in the clouds who can apparently float by wearing shoes with feathers, and Shay lives on a ship that is apparently fueled by yarn?

These are all simple fantasy settings not really teeming with meanings.

I don't suppose we're expected to take the clouds as some metaphor for anything not already mentioned directly by the buoyancy cultists, it's just a visual setting. Clouds or no clouds, the people living there behave like a perfectly proper dysfunctional family in a cult setting - guy follows guru, obedient wife follows, kids rejoice or feel dragged along. Same old, same old. The setting is odd, but behaviours work fine. (Although I expected them to have ANY sort of reaction at the now-available ladder down.)

I do suppose, however, that in any world a certain logic of life and death exists. People can be "saved", "abandoned", "attacked", etc. They can thus be expected to have some sort of self-preservation instinct. The fact that it's so completely missing in all the "maidens", as well as in Vella's behaviour (not even once trying to save the sacrifices, just "kill the monster and save the village" over and over) is what jars me. This is pretty heavy stuff - human sacrifice, honour, duty - and it's dealt with in such a lightweight manner as if it was the most normal thing in the world, for everyone, including our rebellious heroine.

In Shay's case - I don't suppose the yarn will have any deeper meaning as far as the ship's propulsion goes - again it's just a visual thing, matching the crochet toy theme of the ship. It's just there to be hackable, as any navigation system could be somehow hacked into, whether with a screwdriver or a crochet hook.

However, I do suppose that being cooped up in a Teletubbies ship for years would leave more than just a slightly bored impression. If the boy is bored out of his skull, then - perhaps this is the key? - we don't have enough hot spots to click, through which we could get Shay to provide the commentary illustrating his utter, years-long, excruciating, mind-boggling boredom. We get just a few lines of mild snark. Refer to the final Stargate SG-1 episode for an example of what happens to people locked on a ship for years...

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*** SPOILERS ***

Yeah, and being sacrificed by your family to death by tentacled monster is brilliant comedy material. Umm, nope.

Allow me to introduce you to the concept of DARK HUMOR:

Notice how the maidens had phrases like "EAT ME" scrawled on their dresses made to look like cakes?

Also, you're assuming the maidens died. All evidence points to them being alive and well.

In Shay’s case - I don’t suppose the yarn will have any deeper meaning as far as the ship’s propulsion goes - again it’s just a visual thing, matching the crochet toy theme of the ship. It’s just there to be hackable, as any navigation system could be somehow hacked into, whether with a screwdriver or a crochet hook.

It's still absurd. As absurd as a family joyously sacrificing their children dressed as cakes to a giant tentacled monster. In a game where the environments are absurd, why should the emotional reactions of the characters to all the absurdity going on around them make any more sense? Within the context of the game they make sense. That's all that matters.

Refer to the final Stargate SG-1 episode for an example of what happens to people locked on a ship for years…

You want me to refer to a science fiction TV show for its realistic portrayal of space travel? Don't you think it would be better to refer to our actual space programs, or to research missions in Antarctica, or to military personnel stuck for months in a submarine?

Anyway, there's plenty to indicate Shay is unhappy and depressed. He doesn't want to eat anything. And when he goes on the missions after the third time round he's like "What does it matter?". And when you click on anything during those missions he sighs: "Fake."

Then there is how overjoyed he is when the train derails, and he is apparently falling to his death. Of course, having been on the ship and protected for so long, he probably has no fear of death or even of getting a papercut. He's faced so little real danger that he calls a plastic knife dangerous and doesn't think twice about cutting his air hose and leaping into space with nothing but a bottle of shaving cream to provide propulsion.

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In Vella's case, it actually all makes perfect sense as a coming of age metaphor. The monster is adulthood... a "prom date" that has come to touch them with his noodly appendage. In that case, the girls are not sacrifices, they are competition. That also explains why the girls are so eager to get picked and why the one that was left behind is so depressed.

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In Vella's case, it actually all makes perfect sense as a coming of age metaphor. The monster is adulthood... a "prom date" that has come to touch them with his noodly appendage. In that case, the girls are not sacrifices, they are competition. That also explains why the girls are so eager to get picked and why the one that was left behind is so depressed.

Yeah. It's stressed that only the best girls get picked by Mog Chothra. If you're left behind, the fact that you're still alive barely outweighs the fact that it's only because you were the absolute worst and you've disgraced your whole family.

(It's even more cruelly ironic once you've played

as Shay and realize that the girls are actually picked completely at random

.)

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*** SPOILERS ***
Yeah, and being sacrificed by your family to death by tentacled monster is brilliant comedy material. Umm, nope.

Allow me to introduce you to the concept of DARK HUMOR:

Notice how the maidens had phrases like "EAT ME" scrawled on their dresses made to look like cakes?

Also, you're assuming the maidens died. All evidence points to them being alive and well.

Evidence WE have, the characters don't. Or at least we have no idea whether they do or don't, as Vella never mentions or hears anyone mention maidens being dead or alive after being monster-munched.

See, dark humor is where EVERYONE's having fun with serious themes. Addams Family or Beetlejuice are some of my favourite movies, actually. And yet if the main protagonist in these movies was someone NOT having fun and treating it all SERIOUSLY, it just wouldn't fit. We wouldn't know anymore whether to treat someone being decapitated as funny or tragic, because some characters would laugh and play volleyball with the head, while others would cry their eyes out, get depressed and go overdose on drugs, Requiem For A Dream-style. That wouldn't be good comedy anymore.

The thing that breaks Vella's story for me personally is that these aren't random background NPCs being killed off - they're friends of the protagonistess (to coin a word). She introduces some themes of SAVING THE VILLAGE (that's her being serious), but at the same time she doesn't mind people being eaten (that's not so serious, all of a sudden).

It's still absurd. As absurd as a family joyously sacrificing their children dressed as cakes to a giant tentacled monster. In a game where the environments are absurd, why should the emotional reactions of the characters to all the absurdity going on around them make any more sense? Within the context of the game they make sense. That's all that matters.

Even Shay can't really decide whether the environment and missions are boring out of one's skull ("What difference does it make. It tastes the same anyway.") or exciting ("Let's save that train wreck!"). In-context consistency isn't there.

Refer to the final Stargate SG-1 episode for an example of what happens to people locked on a ship for years…

You want me to refer to a science fiction TV show for its realistic portrayal of space travel? Don't you think it would be better to refer to our actual space programs, or to research missions in Antarctica, or to military personnel stuck for months in a submarine?

I'm referring you to a sci-fi show for a semi-realistic portrayal of people stuck for years in an enclosed space. Realistic enough for viewers not to throw popcorn at the screen.

Then there is how overjoyed he is when the train derails, and he is apparently falling to his death. Of course, having been on the ship and protected for so long, he probably has no fear of death or even of getting a papercut. He's faced so little real danger that he calls a plastic knife dangerous and doesn't think twice about cutting his air hose and leaping into space with nothing but a bottle of shaving cream to provide propulsion.

That's one of my arguments - clearly we have an insane character with a death wish. No wonder, being treated like a toddler for years anyone could snap. But that makes a comic relief character we can't really identify with. When he's put to work on "saving creatures", suddenly he's a responsible, self-sacrificing (ship is in danger!) hero. What gives? The transition is too rapid.

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The thing that breaks Vella's story for me personally is that these aren't random background NPCs being killed off - they're friends of the protagonistess (to coin a word). She introduces some themes of SAVING THE VILLAGE (that's her being serious), but at the same time she doesn't mind people being eaten (that's not so serious, all of a sudden).
They are not friends. They are rivals. Or, at the very least, they are not people she knows on a first name basis. Also, they wanted to get eaten, save for the one who got cold feet at the last minute.
Even Shay can't really decide whether the environment and missions are boring out of one's skull ("What difference does it make. It tastes the same anyway.") or exciting ("Let's save that train wreck!"). In-context consistency isn't there.
Shay is excited about new things. He is bored when they turn out to be the same thing after all.
That's one of my arguments - clearly we have an insane character with a death wish. No wonder, being treated like a toddler for years anyone could snap. But that makes a comic relief character we can't really identify with. When he's put to work on "saving creatures", suddenly he's a responsible, self-sacrificing (ship is in danger!) hero. What gives? The transition is too rapid.
Shay is not insane. They key word for Shay is excitement. He yearns for the kind of adventure that the computer does not provide. He is not responsible, he's reckless. When the ship is in danger, it is an opportunity for adventure.

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Movies costs hundreds of millions - and they only last an hour and a half...

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They are not friends. They are rivals. Or, at the very least, they are not people she knows on a first name basis. Also, they wanted to get eaten, save for the one who got cold feet at the last minute.

She doesn't care for the "first eaten" title, so they're not rivals, so there's that. She wants out, not to win.

I plainly don't like playing characters with an undecided direction. If she's dead-set on crashing the party, she shouldn't've let herself be propped up on that ridiculous cake. If she's not dead-set, then she shouldn't be talking about killing the monster from the get go, she should slowly come to the realization and let us see that process. You can't ride two horses at the same time.

Shay is excited about new things. He is bored when they turn out to be the same thing after all.

He's been seeing the same kind of "new things" for the past 10+ years, and they ended up cuddly and yarny all the same. Hence, for me, he sounds like he's been living under Momputer's care for the past week, not years. Hence, character inconsistent with environment.

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He's been seeing the same kind of "new things" for the past 10+ years, and they ended up cuddly and yarny all the same. Hence, for me, he sounds like he's been living under Momputer's care for the past week, not years. Hence, character inconsistent with environment.

I just assumed that every so often the ship changes up the activities a little so that they're a bit different, but not every day. Anyway, to me it definitely seemed like he'd been bored by it for some time now.

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I just assumed that every so often the ship changes up the activities a little so that they're a bit different, but not every day. Anyway, to me it definitely seemed like he'd been bored by it for some time now.

Look at you! Such big words! I'm so proud of you. Act-i-vit-ies! Four syllables! You'll get an extra scoop of your faaaavourite warm cocoa before nap time for this!

...

Doesn't that just tickle that nerve, even a teensy little bit? :P

See, changing "a little", missions "a bit" different... You're in your teens and you're sitting in a baby chair (not metaphorically) and your butt is washed for you (yup) and you are given "missions" about cuddling and ice cream avalanches and Ticket To Ride trains. Wouldn't you just go postal after a month of such torture, Captain Sweetie, not to mention years? :>

MAYBE Shay just doesn't want to be rude to Momputer, so he endures it. But he doesn't show it.

MAYBE Shay's mind is periodically reset. But that's fetching it too far.

MAYBE... I don't know. Maaaybe the scenario writers didn't realize they're going into "too serious" territory, keeping a boy coddled for so long. Maybe it didn't occur to someone that turning that dial up to 11 is going to change more than a number somewhere.

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I just assumed that every so often the ship changes up the activities a little so that they're a bit different, but not every day. Anyway, to me it definitely seemed like he'd been bored by it for some time now.

Look at you! Such big words! I'm so proud of you. Act-i-vit-ies! Four syllables! You'll get an extra scoop of your faaaavourite warm cocoa before nap time for this!

...

Doesn't that just tickle that nerve, even a teensy little bit? :P

See, changing "a little", missions "a bit" different... You're in your teens and you're sitting in a baby chair (not metaphorically) and your butt is washed for you (yup) and you are given "missions" about cuddling and ice cream avalanches and Ticket To Ride trains. Wouldn't you just go postal after a month of such torture, Captain Sweetie, not to mention years? :>

MAYBE Shay just doesn't want to be rude to Momputer, so he endures it. But he doesn't show it.

MAYBE Shay's mind is periodically reset. But that's fetching it too far.

MAYBE... I don't know. Maaaybe the scenario writers didn't realize they're going into "too serious" territory, keeping a boy coddled for so long. Maybe it didn't occur to someone that turning that dial up to 11 is going to change more than a number somewhere.

He's never known anything else. It's unsurprising that he'd put up with it for longer than you or I would.

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She doesn't care for the "first eaten" title, so they're not rivals, so there's that. She wants out, not to win.

They are rivals whether she cares or not. They are most definitely not her friends. And of course she wants out. It's made clear from the very beginning that she has second thoughts about the whole affair, but it's also clear that most of her family and the rest of her society is pressuring her into it.

He's been seeing the same kind of "new things" for the past 10+ years, and they ended up cuddly and yarny all the same. Hence, for me, he sounds like he's been living under Momputer's care for the past week, not years. Hence, character inconsistent with environment.

It seems that he had a pretty happy childhood where the computer took care of all his needs. He probably enjoyed all the games up until pretty recently. Now he's in a teenager phase.

See, changing “a little”, missions “a bit” different… You’re in your teens and you’re sitting in a baby chair (not metaphorically) and your butt is washed for you (yup) and you are given “missions” about cuddling and ice cream avalanches and Ticket To Ride trains. Wouldn’t you just go postal after a month of such torture, Captain Sweetie, not to mention years? :>

You would go postal. He thinks it's normal. He's just grown out of it, that's all. Mothers call their children "sweetie" and coddle them all the time. And the computer is the closest thing he has for a mother, after all. He even says that he thinks the computer loves him in its own weird way.

You are way too fixated on real world realism. A fantastical setting operates on its own rules. It makes perfect sense that Little Red Riding Hood doesn't recognise the wolf in disguise, even if it would be unthinkable in real world.

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