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Finished Broken Age? Discuss here! (Including Spoilers)

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His parents weren't aware they were hiding themselves from Shay—dad was constantly looking in the windows at his son as he was kept busy "repairing the hull", watching lovingly through his "space helmet", and mom was literally constantly watching—without letting herself take a moment away from the controls which she had been led to believe were at the center of protecting her family. Both represent the parent so absorbed with work that (even though they may be checking in digitally) they aren't present in their child's life, but who, in being so wrapped up in their work, are unaware they aren't present in the life of the child they think all their work is for. Everyone is deluded, and it's wonderfully crafted allegory about modern families.

I guess that works thematically but it all feels a bit far-fetched. The story is basically grounded in some sort of reality, and I just don't find it particularly believable that a fairly well-adjusted kid (despite a weird upbringing) would just forget about his parents like that, and that his parents would be so constantly busy that it wouldn't occur to them that they hadn't seen their kid in person in years. At the very best this is hand-waved, and I think it could have been done in a way that felt a bit more... authentic?

It's really my only major criticism of the game. Actually it's my only criticism of Tim's writing in general... which I love (which I love!) - which is that sometimes he is so focused on the big concept that he sometimes does a bit of sweeping of the finer plot details under the rug. I think there's a bit of that in Grim Fandango even, and I think it's definitely present here.

None of this is a dealbreaker, of course. I think it's a highly successful game in almost every respect.

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Well,that was disappointing. About halfway through and I was calling the "shocking twists" pretty much the whole way through. In addition to being predictable,it ripped off the plot to Destroy All Humans. Which at least was fun to play and let you fight a 50 foot president. I don't know what I was expecting,but this was a let down on all angles.

The overworked "girl power" bullshit angle just,ugh. Tim,you helped make Monkey Island which had Elaine Marley,a certified female badass. What the fuck happened? Vella is so bland and boring,her voice drains the joy from my soul. In fact,the whole cast does. What was the voice direction,be as boring as possible? You had some great talent here and they're just dead. Are you sure the whole cast weren't supposed to be robots? She's supposed to be a "warrior" but she just stands there without a thought in her goddamn head and speaks in a monotone that'd put Ben Stein to sleep.

And let's talk about the other side of the coin. Shay is only slightly less lifeless but I'd still rather chew off my own leg than be stuck talking to this mildewed wet blanket. Jesus. I've seen rocks with more personality. And that whole "A boy knows what to look for in a girl" thing? Seriously? A TEENAGE BOY knows what to look for in a girl. Tim,I was a teenage boy and I didn't know fuck all what to look for in a girl. Neither did any of my friends. We've all just been winging it. And you never did explain why it had to be a girl. What,a dude can't have the "right stuff" to advance humanity forward?

So,boring,predictable second hand plot. Horrible comatose acting. Jokes are non-existent. I expected Psychonauts or Brutal Legend storytelling with puzzles instead of action elements. And you somehow give us this?

So,all in all,15 bucks poorly spent. Combined with Tim's apparent decent into madness,I think I'm just gonna stick to my decision to never buy a Double Fine game ever again.

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I think it’s a highly successful game in almost every respect.
Always surprised how different opinions could be.

But it's ok.

At the end it's just a game. Not saying it's bad but not saying it's very good at all.

It's an average and casual game which game away so much potential, especially on the story-telling (character development) and puzzle-part.

But again, just a game.

I remember a speech about "Do's and don'ts in making adventure games".

One "don't" was to not include to many mini games because they are seen as padding.

Have to agree.

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They're not mini-games, they're puzzles (and pretty good ones, mostly, too!). Mini games are stuff like the Whack-a-rat game in Sam and Max.

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They’re not mini-games, they’re puzzles
lol

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I wouldn't (and indeed haven't) suggested the game was perfect, but neither is my favourite game of all time, Grim Fandango. While this isn't that level of masterpiece, I think it has absolutely nothing to be ashamed about and will sit nicely next to my other adventure games with I kept the boxes for - even if it's a horizontal one ;)

Also while I'm here, people who constantly accuse me of being unable to criticise Double Fine please feel free to read what I linked to and my last several posts, and let's agree that if you accuse me of it again then I get to staple a printout of them to your forehead.

Okay? Okay!

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They’re not mini-games, they’re puzzles
lol
Well, they are. Care to explain to me how they aren't puzzles? On account of how you have to work out logically what to do and then execute a series of actions in order to successfully do it? They're not inventory puzzles, but plenty of adventure game puzzles aren't.

I actually LIKED the fact that there were a lot of these mechanical/environmental/machinery puzzles in Act 2 because it enabled the difficulty of the second act to go up without arbitrarily laying you down with a whole load of pointless inventory items. I remember in the documentary they talked about one of the things that's difficult about, well, difficulty is that a lot of percieved difficulty is because in old adventure games you have so much stuff on you at any one time that you might not notice the one thing that's going to help you.

This game always had a more limited inventory, so their solution was clearly to focus, especially on the ship, on puzzles which required more logical problem solving, and some navigation/mechanical aspects. I thought that worked really well and produced some of my favourite puzzles in the game. None of them were 'mini games'.

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I ignored Tim and started into Act 2 from my old save from months ago, which definitely set me back on some puzzles and also remembering the characters. My stumpers, in order from "i wasted hours here and got sleepy and frustrated" to "i looked for hints earlier than i needed":

1. Pausing the cereal box. Nothing within Act 2 that suggests that you can play with the control in that way, but I have the feeling that I would have remembered something from Act 1 if I had played the game properly.

2. The first Hexipal puzzle. Forgot that the power source in Alex's ship was a clickable object, didn't want a repeat of 1 when I saw that brute force wasn't likely to work.

3. The boots dialogue puzzle. It was getting late and I was getting lazy, but in the end I did it with a combination of notes and brute force.

4. The early parts of Vela's act - I had forgotten all the little quirks of Shay's world by this point, the "get through the airlock" puzzle had me for a little while.

5. Hexipal plays the drum - I was getting too excited to let the answer come to me.

I thought the storytelling/worldbuilding was excellent, and that feeling of entering and being in a world for a while is really what I come for from adventure games, although the modern high-fidelity approach doesn't get my imagination as much involved. I think it's also stronger than previous Schaefer games on the literary themes.

It's easy to see that Shay's world is overprotective and he succumbs to the first temptation of danger and adventure, but Vela's is the inverse: She's the child who is "thrown to the wolves," in both a literal and figurative fashion - perhaps most equivalent to kids today who grow up in a broken home life. Although this isn't Hansel & Gretel, the initial scenario has that kind of fairy tale resemblance, plus some changes that modernize it. Hansel and Gretel are thrown out because of a combination of economic hardship and random cruelty, while Vela's parents are inducted into a troubling, harmful social norm. In both the case of Shay and Vela, powerful conspirators meddle to create an artificial reality that guides the actions of both the parents and the kids. (notice: Lavina, the organizer of the Feast, turns out to be a Lorunian!) The conclusion brings everything back into balance: the family relationships of the kids, the kids relationship to the world, and the relationship of the Lorunians with everyone else. Perhaps it's all a little too tidy, but the result holds together well despite making the plot a bit stretched in places.

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(notice: Lavina, the organizer of the Feast, turns out to be a Lorunian!)
Where was this? I remember wondering where she had got to and I don't remember her being mentioned.

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(notice: Lavina, the organizer of the Feast, turns out to be a Lorunian!)
Where was this? I remember wondering where she had got to and I don't remember her being mentioned.

Use the intercom on Shay's ship to talk to the Thrush leader guy.

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I did! I just don't remember this coming up. What is the context?

I was just systematically going through the dialog options and I think it was like the second to last one. The leader guy indicates that they've been at it for a while and then she pops up on the screen and rips off her hat to reveal she's a Thrush too. Was very brief though, almost cameo like.

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It was just one of the options when talking to the Thrushmaster. It's the line that gets you the "We talked the fight right out of you" achievement.

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I did miss one piece of dialogue there actually. Because I liked cutting the guy off so much. Maybe it was the one I missed! something for the second playthrough, for sure!

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I noticed that those members of that "superior race" are kind of like Nazis. This similarity is probably intentional without making it too obvious. And if Ending Credits are any indication, they lost the war (there was probably uprising and if they really did need other species to breed their own, well they are nothing without the "creatures" as they call them, after they learned the truth and started to fight back.

However it was hinted during the story that they lost the war back when Sugar Bunting was still Steel Bunting. I guess when technology fell to enemy's hands they were too few to keep controlling their "inferiors." That guy with ideals of like Adolf Hitler probably didn't stay in power.

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I noticed that those members of that "superior race" are kind of like Nazis. This similarity is probably intentional without making it too obvious. And if Ending Credits are any indication, they lost the war (there was probably uprising and if they really did need other species to breed their own, well they are nothing without the "creatures" as they call them, after they learned the truth and started to fight back.

I mean, Eugenics was a thing before the Nazis. There weren't any, really, explicit references to Nazis outside of the eugenics angle, so... I mean... They're like Nazis in that they prescribe to Eugenic principles, I guess.

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Geek Remix made an interesting video analyzing the game's themes:

"Analysis" video indeed. I played through the entire game and such things as "gender roles" didn't even cross to my mind.

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Geek Remix made an interesting video analyzing the game's themes:

"Analysis" video indeed. I played through the entire game and such things as "gender roles" didn't even cross to my mind.

Really? Some of the metaphors seemed quite clear to me and I thought that the video explored them in some interesting ways I hadn't considered.

But I definitely noticed a huge theme in Vella's story about gender expectations and the different kinds of pressures that are put on women about their appearance and so on by society, and Tim has talked about this being a theme. In Act 2 this seemed very much reinforced by the female characters in the story starting to question their roles, like Rocky and M'ggies questioning of the status quo ("Why is it only maidens that are taken?" " Good question, THANK YOU." or words to that effect) and the Thrush controlling everything clearly have an interest in maintaining that status, to an obsessive level.

I thought the game had lots to say about gender, including the different pressures on Shay to be the brave hero, even despite being coddled all of his life. It's not something that you HAVE to see in the game in order to "get it", but it's certainly there.

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I initially just sat staring at the character selection screen for a weirdly long time, mesmerized by it.

Stopped again when Vella entered the airlock room, just absorbing McConnel's brilliant reworking of the ship's theme music.

Felt like a genius when I solved the boot colour/size/pattern question on the first go, just from memory.

When I got stuck on puzzles, I got stuck for exactly the right amount of time. Never got frustrating.

Tree jokes are hard.

Towards the end it entered into this weird cosmic sense of interconnectivity between Shay and Vella, as if I was operating as the collective unconscious that connects them. Also the ships hugging and melting into a bridge was a stroke of symbolic genius.

This made me very happy. I am very glad that Tim Schafer and his team exist.

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Towards the end it entered into this weird cosmic sense of interconnectivity between Shay and Vella, as if I was operating as the collective unconscious that connects them.

Really happy to hear you say this. That the player is represented/implied as a force or a sort of character in the game.

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I suppose we the players are supposed to be represented by Shay's "instincts" and Vella's "spirit." Wait. Does that mean that player agency is the missing piece that the Thrush wanted to "true the formula"?

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I suppose we the players are supposed to be represented by Shay's "instincts" and Vella's "spirit." Wait. Does that mean that player agency is the missing piece that the Thrush wanted to "true the formula"?

If so, that is extremely meta, since Act 1 is accused of not having much in the way of Player Agency.

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I suppose we the players are supposed to be represented by Shay's "instincts" and Vella's "spirit." Wait. Does that mean that player agency is the missing piece that the Thrush wanted to "true the formula"?

It's an interesting thought, and one that would help explain away what I thought of as kind of dubious logic in some of the puzzles. But as much as I hate having stuff explicitly spelled out the whole time, if that was the intention then I feel like maybe they could have used that a little more. As it is it just felt like the characters magically knew the answer to some question because I looked it up on the other side.

Sort of like that bit in The Stanley Parable when the narrator gives away the code to a door and then when you enter it it explains this by saying "and yet astonishingly by just randomly pressing buttons on the keypad Stanley was able to enter the correct combination!". Which would be fine if it were a joke like in TSP, but there's hardly any acknowledgement of all the 'lucky guesses' Shay and Vella seem to do.

Not a dealbreaker for me, but just some of the weaker puzzle solving in my book.

The ones I liked more is when, say, Vella discovers something Shay might know, then you can use that knowledge for Shay's side (like how to wire a hexepal)

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In Act 2 this seemed very much reinforced by the female characters in the story starting to question their roles, like Rocky and M'ggies questioning of the status quo ("Why is it only maidens that are taken?" " Good question, THANK YOU." or words to that effect) and the Thrush controlling everything clearly have an interest in maintaining that status, to an obsessive level.

It's interesting, you mentioned earlier in the thread that some ostensibly big plot points were essentially handwaved away, and I had the same thought after I finished my playthrough yesterday. There are some questions, like the nature of the 'impurities', that don't really receive any satisfying answers from a plot perspective.

Another of them was the one above - why are only girls taken? I didn't get why this wasn't addressed in the game, and felt the lack of answer failed to support the gender themes that act 1 brought up. Now, though, seeing that line from M'ggie again, it's pretty clear. That line is the game screaming at you "THIS DOESN'T MAKE SENSE!!" There literally isn't any good or satisfying explanation. In this case, the plot point is left unexplained in order to drive home the, well, point, that the game is making about gender roles.

I originally thought act 2 felt weaker story-wise and in terms of supporting the game's themes but now I'm thinking further reflection might well prove that wrong.

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I think maybe we need to look at the world of Broken Age more as a Jonathan Swift-style satirical setting than a fully realized and consistent Tolkienesque world like Grim had. The world of Broken Age is just a topsy-turvy, over-exaggerated version of our own world that exists purely for the purpose of exploring particular themes and making a point.

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Regarding the player's omnipresence, I played it as Vella and Shay never giving up. In my head it was just the two of them making educated guesses, trying to do what they can again and again until everything comes together.

As a player I have had the same experience of just keep working on the same puzzle over and over again until something clicks and all the pieces fall into place. An example in particular was figuring out a Starchart for the Space Weaver. I thought I could vaguely remember what one of the charts looked like in act 1 so I kept on trying different things. What played out on the screen was Vella going at it again, and again, and again until finally she gets it right. The same experience happened again when I worked on the knot puzzle later down the track.

I imagined Shay's and Vella's persistence lined up perfectly at the very end. Two different forces with different capabilities and powers trying to accomplish vaguely the same thing somehow end up succeeding through a happy accident. These things do happen in real life, especially in creating and making things, like, I don't know, video games for example.

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Towards the end it entered into this weird cosmic sense of interconnectivity between Shay and Vella, as if I was operating as the collective unconscious that connects them.

Really happy to hear you say this. That the player is represented/implied as a force or a sort of character in the game.

Ooher, I was tempted to ask Tim about this, but he's said before that he likes to let works speak for themselves, so I imagined he'd probably be quiet about it. I really appreciate you chiming in with this.

I took the interpretation of the player as being the intuition that is referred to across the game when I first played through whilst testing. It's been so hard to sit on that stuff until everybody else could play, and it's been neat to see what everybody else has taken from the game :D

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In Act 2 this seemed very much reinforced by the female characters in the story starting to question their roles, like Rocky and M'ggies questioning of the status quo ("Why is it only maidens that are taken?" " Good question, THANK YOU." or words to that effect) and the Thrush controlling everything clearly have an interest in maintaining that status, to an obsessive level.

It's interesting, you mentioned earlier in the thread that some ostensibly big plot points were essentially handwaved away, and I had the same thought after I finished my playthrough yesterday. There are some questions, like the nature of the 'impurities', that don't really receive any satisfying answers from a plot perspective.

Another of them was the one above - why are only girls taken? I didn't get why this wasn't addressed in the game, and felt the lack of answer failed to support the gender themes that act 1 brought up. Now, though, seeing that line from M'ggie again, it's pretty clear. That line is the game screaming at you "THIS DOESN'T MAKE SENSE!!" There literally isn't any good or satisfying explanation. In this case, the plot point is left unexplained in order to drive home the, well, point, that the game is making about gender roles.

I originally thought act 2 felt weaker story-wise and in terms of supporting the game's themes but now I'm thinking further reflection might well prove that wrong.

There's certainly a bit of "this is how it works because this is how it works" going on which is deliberate. I think maybe I just would have liked it to come to more of a point about that. Like I said, perhaps just one more story beat at the end, no more or it would become over-explained.

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