: Beyond that door is… what looks like the Internet as illustrated by one of those early 90s cyberpunk games that were all just copying off Neuromancer and Snow Crash.
: To our immediate left is another switch puzzle. One thing I hadn’t really thought of up until I started writing this out is that we still have no real idea what Alex’s entire motivation is as a character.
: We have no real idea what it is that possessed him to go into an abandoned building after a cat for… a grocery list he probably could’ve gotten by, I dunno, calling his mom?
: To get some perspective, we’re now about… I’d say a good 30 minutes into the game - maybe a bit more because I’m going into this blind and without a guide. Now, let’s look back at the list briefly while I do this stupid puzzle and talk a little bit about where we’d be if we were playing some of the games on YIIK’s bibliography for about the same period of time.
: Well, by this point in Earthbound, we’d have already met Buzz Buzz (unless you spend a ton of time grinding for some reason) and figured out the whole overarching plot with Giygas. In Mother 3, I think you’d still be playing as Flint but at least you’d know what Flint’s deal is.
: This part’s a bit weird because you have to drop the panda onto it from above. Anyway: Final Fantasy 7, you’d have blown up the Mako reactor and at least known a little about what’s going on. Chrono Trigger, you’re probably done with the Millennial Fair (unless, like me, you grinded for that sword) and you’re already on your way to the past.
: The thing is, in every single one of these situations, we’d have already hit the plot hook and either discovered our character’s motivation or be well on the way to figuring it out - even if it’s something like Chrono Trigger where your character’s motivation is “Well shit I got sent to the past time to beat up some Saibamen.”
: Hell, even Ni no Kuni 2 had established Evan’s motivation by this point - we’d probably already be clear of Ding Dong Dell and heading to the old lady’s house.
: My point is, there’s a scene in The Room where Tommy Wiseau’s mother (the one whose entire character is defined by definitely having breast cancer) is talking to Lisa and asking about Denny, his adopted son. She asks Lisa something like “What does Denny do?” and Lisa responds with a story about how Tommy Wiseau’s character adopted him and how great their relationship is and how Denny really looks up to Tommy Wiseau and pretty much everything you could say about Denny without answering the goddamn question.
: I will always, always remember the Rifftrax for The Room because at that moment, someone chimes in with “And that’s what Denny does.”
: This game is a lot like that. It’s like we’ve asked the developers the question of “What’s Alex’s character motivation? What is it that drives him?” and the devs have answered “Well, Alex is home from college… and then there’s an abandoned factory with an eye-pyramid and a glowing lady who changes colors and plagiarizes Haruki Murakami and…”
: And that’s what Alex does.
: I’d post the full dialogue here, but you can probably read it yourself in one of Haruki Murakami’s books.
: Wait a goddamn second! This… this sounds like plagiarism! And not the kind of plagiarism we already know about!
: It IS plagiarism! In fact, it sounds like… they [Need] a [Citation]. Now, is it possible they covered this with the citation for Webster’s dictionary?
: No, because that term isn’t even IN Webster’s! Also, shout out to “nosegay”.
: Plagiarism Woman blasts off into space, presumably to find more Wikipedia articles to “borrow”. By the way, I also took the liberty of searching to see if anyone caught that - and apparently they didn’t. I did, however, find an interview with the developer from Kotaku, dated May 20th, 2019 that talks about the plagiarism issue.
In it, they state:
“The idea is, Alex has read After Dark, and his fondness for the novel is seeping into his reality with vocal and physical manifestations calling his attention back to the passages of the book now living in his subconscious.”
: Only one problem there, chief. After Dark was published in 2004! Not only is this plagiarism, they didn’t even have a good reason to want to use it in the first place! I wonder if they’d try to bullshit the same explanation with the Wikipedia article, given that Wikipedia didn’t exist in 1999.
: We can then use the door near her (right behind where the panda is in the last pic) to reach the top of the eye-pyramid.
: Oh look, now we’re in the End of Time from Chrono Trigger. I mean, it’s not plagiarism, but it’s not original either. In fact, I don’t think this game has a single original thought anywhere in it.
Most of All of the NPCs in this area are pointless. There’s a couple of trash cans with our favorite number - healing items and money - in them, and also a treasure chest kinda hidden to the south-west of where we start.
: Well, we just saved ourselves $75, if nothing else. The Sergeant Salty EP is only marginally better than our current weapon, boosting our attack by one but dropping our luck by one.
: As you can see in this fight with a new enemy, the Skull, the new weapon has the exact same attack pattern as the old one. Skulls are basically Rats with twice the HP.
: There’s also a couple of chests up high, where we can’t get them. I tried to find a way to get them, but I don’t think there is one. This implies that we’re probably supposed to come back later.
: There are two windows at ground level - this one you can see in the corner, and a second one on the other side of the map. I went through both just to make absolutely sure I’d found everything, but they both lead to the same place.
: We could go back through the red window, but what happens is that you wind up in a pointless side area with nothing in it but warps that lead you back here. Yes, I tested every single one.
: There’s a chest here, but it has a combination lock. Supposedly, according to the dev, this is something you’re supposed to do either later or on a second run.
: “Oh, great. Another person.”
: Meet Sammy, whose name we somehow know despite having not talked to her yet. She’s… well, remember in the first post when I said that the game references a high-profile suicide? Yeah. Sammy is heavily based off Elisa Lam, a college student who committed suicide in 2013.
Douchenozzle, ready to get his /r/incel pickup artist moves on.
: “No! Please stay! I’ve been pretty lonely here.”
: Said no one ever to Douchenozzle or the author he’s a blatant self-insert of.
: “Where is here, anyway?”
: “I was hoping you’d know. I’ve been lost down here forever.”
: I swear, if this entire thing with the weird shit in the factory is a metaphor for depression…
: “Did you come through the elevator too?”
: Now, I’m not going to accuse them of plagiarism here, mostly because I went through an SSLP of Persona 4 while working on this update to verify that this was the case, but this entire scene seemed really similar to the scene in Persona 4 where you first meet Teddie in the TV world. The main difference is that Teddie has an actual personality.
: “–I asked, thinking it sounded nicer than ‘Who the hell doesn’t know what an elevator is?’”
: “I came from here. Is there anywhere else? Anyway, I’ve been looking for my cat, Dali. Have you seen her?”
: Completely un-necessary walls of text in this scene alone: 1
: “Is that the cat that looks like Salvador Dali?”
: “[scoff] I don’t know who that is. My cat just looks like Dali - herself - not another cat named Salvador!”
The [scoff] is not something I added in, by the way.
: This guy is like the fucking Tim Buckley of video games. We fucking get it! She has an uncanny lack of knowledge about basically everything!
: Completely un-necessary walls of text in this scene alone: 2
: “I told her I wouldn’t mind helping her find her cat. I told her we should move quickly and get out of this dank basement.”
: “I waited for a moment as she processed what I said. She was a very difficult girl to read, especially without being able to see her face.”
: “I could tell something was wrong. She really projected her opinions and feelings into the room, even without saying them.”
: IT’S CALLED BODY LANGUAGE YOU FUCKWIT! AAAAAAAAARRGGGHHHHH!
: Completely un-necessary walls of text in this scene alone: 3
: You know that scene at the end of Hotline Miami 1 where you’re fighting the ninja in the Russian mob boss’s room and you just sit there and slam her head against the floor? And then she starts crawling away from you, and you get right back on top of her and just keep slamming her head against the floor? That’s what the writer is doing right now.
: “It’s not that. It’s okay. Forget it.”
: “Hey now, that’s lame. You can tell me anything. No judgment here.”
: … What. What the fuck?
: I wonder if this is like, some kind of natural defense mechanism in the human brain when you get approached by ol’ Fuckface here. You just kinda shut down and act like a complete dumbass and hope he goes away.
: “Hey, I’m serious. I didn’t mean anything by that.”
: “It’s not you. That wasn’t fair of me. It’s just that the world has used me so unkindly, I fear it’s made me suspicious of everyone.”
: I like how this almost completely contradicts the part about her being so naive that she has a cat named after a person she’s never heard of.
: I will spare you from the… seven remaining text boxes, including the one where Fuckface makes a joke about the n-word after Sammy calls him a ginger.
: Haha no I won’t. Did you really think I was going to suffer through that alone?
: Completely unnecessary walls of text in this scene alone: 4, though really that last one should count for like 3 by itself.
: Sammy then joins the party, which proves that the stat system in this game is a goddamn lie. Notice that her strength stat is 2, which is half of Alex’s. This will become important in just a bit.
: As soon as we talk to Sammy, we wind up… wherever this is. This room is one of those Lost Woods style trick rooms.
: Going through a door brings us to the same room, only this one has the Eye of Providence on the wall.
: Opening a door will then cause the eye to open slightly. If we were to go through the door now, we’d wind up back here with the eye totally closed again.
: Instead, we want to open the door on the other side as well, causing the eye to fully open, then investigate the eye.
: Who the fuck was that? The cat’s right there, though.
: Before we go to the cat, there’s four boxes “hidden” by the eye. You can see the corners of them when the camera pans out after looking at the eye. The two on the right have $40 each in them (bringing us well over $100) and the two on the left have a healing item and a gold bracelet, which raises maximum HP by 7. For reference, Alex has 10HP, and Sammy has 8.
: Honestly, this should read “Dali is a tool, much like you are.” I’ll show off what Dali does in a minute, but if you’ve played Paper Mario, Dali is the koopa party member.
: “Okay, so shall we get out of here?”
: “Sorry about the house, I’ve been meaning to get someone in here to fix the power, but who has time for that?”
: “I get so busy that little things like that get away from me. But that’s normal isn’t it? You get used to the flaws in your home. It’s always confusing for guests.”
: “Like my mother used to have everyone take their shoes off in the kitchen. Who does that? Oh no… I’ve become my mother.”
: The last time I got warned about Wilhelm in a game was Borderlands 2. God, Borderlands 2 was a pile of garbage. “Oh no, it’s Wilhelm! He almost killed off the most annoying character in the game!” and then he dies in like three hits.
: Dali works by hitting switches and opening chests that are too far away to grab. Unfortunately, using Dali SUCKS. The aiming for Dali snaps to the cardinal directions, meaning you have to finagle Fuckface into just the right position to get it to work.
: The game then puts us into a dumb switch puzzle where we have to use Dali to hit switches remotely. Hitting that switch on the northern island SUCKS because you can’t stand right across from it. Nintendo figured this shit out in 2000, but clearly the dipshits who made this game couldn’t.
: The left island switch raises and lowers the left and middle platforms, while the northern island switch sends the middle one…
: Into this position to make a bridge.
: A fight with two skulls! Let’s show off Sammy’s attack. She has two spells, both of which are heals and will not be useful.
: Sammy uses a worse-looking version of the hammer action command from Paper Mario. On the PC, “pulling back” means holding S or the down arrow. Holding too long causes an automatic miss.
: I took a detour to the north to get the chest, which you can actually do with Dali without fighting the monster. It has equipment meant for Sammy in it, but… it’d be better not to give it to her. I mean, it’d be kinda creepy giving someone you just met a T-shirt that’s an advertisement for your crappy pseudo-Gameboy game with a plagiarized soundtrack.
: Now, this is how I figured out the stats are a lie. This is that first battle with the two skulls. The one on the right I had Alex hit with a 9-hit combo. It did about 75% of the skull’s HP in damage.
: This is the fight in front of the chest.
: Sammy attacks by throwing Dali at the enemy…
: And kills a full-health skull in a single hit, despite having lower stats than Alex does.
: Two switches later (one to get the platform over and a second, at that lever on the bottom of the screen, to move it the rest of the way) we’re… back in the factory?
: Oh, there’s the elevator. Surely, nothing bad could possibly happen to the female character who is based on an actual person who was last seen in an elevator shortly before committing suicide. This, by the way, is EXACTLY why I didn’t put the gold bracelet on Sammy, despite the devs pretty clearly intending you to do that.
: On either side of the elevator are couches that contain 50 cents each. Alf Warbucks strikes it rich again! This game is (definitely not) better than Vegas.
: “Well, at least we found Dali. Imagine how much worse it would have been without her?”
: “Right. So where do you live? I’ll walk you back home, or maybe I can borrow my mom’s car and drive you if it’s outside of Frankton.”
: “What do you mean? This is my home. This is where I live.”
: Yep, nothing bad could possibly happen. This is absolutely nothing like the last minutes of Elisa Lam’s life. Not at all.
: “What? You live in this shithole?”
: “That’s not very nice.”
: I think what they were trying to go for here is that moment in Silent Hill 3 where the guy goes “They look like monsters to you?”
: I mean, technically his house is the set of Full House, and that had Bob Saget on it… god dammit, I said Bob Saget and now I’m going to hear Gilbert Gottfried in my head all night.
: “Sorry. It’s just not every day I meet a girl who lives in an old factory.”
: “I don’t see it that way. I almost feel as if the factory lives with me. As if the factory, just like Dali, is a part of me.”
: Metal Gear?!
: “Of course the factory isn’t part of me. That’s just weird!”
: “But do you actually live here?”
: “Yeah. Just me and Dali. But usually, Dali is better about keeping me company, ya know? He isn’t always just running off to God-knows-where.”
: There is an 11-box monologue here, not counting this one.
: “A mysterious girl, who lived with her cat in an old steel mill. It was obvious to me that her words didn’t contain the entire truth.”
: “Something about her compelled me. Pieces of her story started to fit together in my mind.”
: “Well, at least that’s what I had thought at the time. I can admit now that some pieces were pure fabrication on my part.”
: Okay, so now I think I understand. This IS a Final Fantasy 10-style “how we got here” story, only instead of “we”, it’s a single dumbfuck. They could’ve made this more clear like, I dunno, the first three times he monologues like this?
: “In my head, her story went like this: Sammy was homeless. A runaway woman who was trying to escape hard times - someone who had found refuge in her cat, maybe the only thing left from her previous life.”
: “Somehow, this felt right inside my head, but I could still tell I was missing something.”
: “Is what my hobby?”
: “Staring off into space and screwing your face up as if to say ‘What’s going on inside my head is REALLY important so just let me think.’”
: Now I’m just confused. Is the monologue from the future, or not?! Make up your fucking mind!
: In case you’re wondering what’s going on here, Sammy questioned Alex’s entire character and now she has to die for it. I’m actually playing this game completely blind minus a couple of things I know in advance - one being that Sammy dies here. My theory, however, is that anyone smarter than Alex will die.
: I’m not sure if the cutscene director forgot that she was bleeding profusely from her eyes or not, but whatever.
: What I love about this scene is that Alex doesn’t even TRY to help her. He sits there staring like an idiot until after she’s already outside the elevator, then just kind of weakly puts his arm out. If this was a better game, I would almost think this was an attempt at realism - showing that the protagonist doesn’t have action hero reflexes. Here though, it almost looks like he’s just trying to make himself not look like an asshole.
: “Sammy was gone for good, swept away as if she’d never been there at all.”
: “A door into nothing, into a different reality, showed up and swallowed Sammy whole.”
: He is trying WAY too hard to be Max Payne right now.
: “All I could do was replay the scene of her being pulled into obscurity by nothing. There one second and gone the next.”
: And there’s another one of those “vibrating with motion” moments we know and hate. Also, I like how he manages to repeat himself three times in that one monologue just using slightly different words.
: We’re now back on the first floor of the actual factory. There are vending machines here for reasons unknown - all they sell are basic healing items and there’s a save point just outside.
: Amazing! Plagiarism Woman managed to go four whole lines (I cut two out) without plagiarizing! A new record!
: As soon as we leave the factory, guess what? ANOTHER MONOLOGUE!
: Now, at this point you’re probably asking “Hey Timrod, why would you not use the icons you made to lower the general size of this update?” The answer is because I want you to know how it feels to sit there for a good minute (and yes, this takes a full minute and then some) and just listen to fuckface here very slowly read out his fucking inane bullshit. You can’t skip any of this in-game, there’s no way to fast-forward it.
: Before we leave, there’s a chest here with $40 in it I missed on the way in.
Next update, we’ll attempt to go buy drugs in the park, get a couple of chests we couldn’t get before, and hope to god Alex shuts the fuck up (he won’t).