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"Can't stop thinking about it!" Games

by Teryn » Sun Sep 28, 2014 1:29 pm

Haven't done a post of my own yet, wondered what a good topic would be. Then it occured to me: What games most affected me and why? The reason why I remembered a game was often two things: the unanswered questions, and the BIG answers that I wasn't always ready to accept.

I'm not talking about that shocking ending, or twist that made things different, but something more subtle. More like you come away from a game, satisfied, but also pondering: "Why did it have to happen like that? Was it fair? Did fairness really matter? Was that part really "in character" with the rest of the game or characters? What about that part that never got answered? Why did the devs make it like that?"

And then you find yourself still thinking about it days later in the middle of the night, conjuring up theories or made-up resolutions to things unresolved or thought-provoking, much to your own surprise.

So what would you call your "can't stop thinking about it" game? Which are the one(s) that really changed you, or at least made you think in a different way from that point on? (Please post with spoiler tags if necessary, even if the plot point is more than Final Fantasy 7-old.)
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Re: "Can't stop thinking about it!" Games

by RedSwirl » Mon Sep 29, 2014 3:31 am

The true ending of 999.
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Re: "Can't stop thinking about it!" Games

by Angry Jedi » Mon Sep 29, 2014 8:07 am

Yep, 999 and VLR are both good ones.

Katawa Shoujo is a good one, as well. For me, it was something of an eye-opening moment. I was already a fan of story-centric games, but Katawa Shoujo confirmed for me that I really don't need traditional "gameplay" to be hooked in by a good interactive story. Sharing the experience with others -- we were all playing it around the same time -- really helped it stick with me, too, and to date our Katawa Shoujo podcast remains one of my favourite episodes, even if it ultimately ended up being what drove dear old RocGaude and Feenwager away. :)

Beige is big on this concept; he calls it "takeaway", and it's a good way of thinking about it -- when you've finished playing something, what have you taken away from the experience? It doesn't have to be anything complex or profound, it could just be "this made me feel something". And I can give plenty of examples of that from over the years -- the last couple in particular.
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Re: "Can't stop thinking about it!" Games

by Alex Connolly » Mon Sep 29, 2014 12:49 pm

I find the older I get, the harder it is to find such an experience. There are some great experiences to be had, but nothing in recent memory seems to have exploded the neurons like I read here.

Shortlisted from the annals:

- Homeworld
I don't think a game has affected me more than the quiet melancholia of Relic's 1999 opus. Scale that dwarfed everything else, the loneliness, the subtle Bedouin inferences and arid instrumentation...and seeing the Khar-Selim derelict and Kharak ablaze. The sad remnants of a civilisation nothing more than cryo-trays and pilots. No wonder it was such a massive inspiration for the BSG reboot.

- DEFCON: Everybody Dies
A chilling experience. From the glacial arcs of the ICBM and languid carrier-based air war to that BOOMPH and flash of a thermonuclear detonation; it was a rare moment in gaming where the gamified disconnect between interface and actuality made it far more poignant than any Hollywood rip-job or laboured and tawdry lesson. You were in NORAD and this is how the world ends.

- STALKER: Shadow of Chernobyl/Call of Pripyat
"The mutant dogs, the wild boars, the lonely howls across the moors.
A thunderstorm to end them all, the Pyrrhic slog a STALKER's call.
Through rain and catacomb they tread, on nothing more than booze and bread."

No FPS comes close to the fatalistic, rain-soaked magnificent of the GSC GameWorld masterpieces. Buggy, sure, but atmosphere unparalleled, with a basket of AI tricks that makes it feel like a living, breathing world - one that feels like it'll go on, whether you're alive or not. STALKER doesn't care, but it's good for a campfire and a song.

Among others...
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Re: "Can't stop thinking about it!" Games

by Teryn » Mon Sep 29, 2014 2:26 pm

"Final Fantasy 6" was awful and wonderful, in its way,
Spoiler: show
the bad guys had been threatening to destroy the entire world, and Kefka actually suceeds! Not city by city or person by person, but all at once!
It really blew my mind. Definitely upped the ante on future games, though bad guys of Final Fantasy's since have seemed a bit tame.

Eternal Darkness' true ending was also a big one, didn't really get the full impart of what was (maybe?) happening until a while later.

"Dark Fall 2" probably wins the award for biggest "WTF moment". Anyone who's played it will not need to ask what that moment is. I'm disappointed that no newer games I've played have tried to build upon these kinds of gameplay and story ideas. (Then again, I don't play new games, usually...)

Probably the biggest game that I could think of forever changing me (recently, at least) was "Save the Date". I know, it's a Ren'py game. But at the same time it really blew me out of the water for a long time, a serious paradigm shift in my thoughts about storytelling and what it really means. Even though it's so obvious, it's also ingenius. It also used Ren'py (code) in ways I'd not considered before, though it's been implemented already in subtler ways.

Maybe I'll add more to this list, later. It's difficult to remember what it was like to not know something, when you now take it for granted.
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Re: "Can't stop thinking about it!" Games

by RedSwirl » Mon Sep 29, 2014 9:10 pm

Angry Jedi wrote:Yep, 999 and VLR are both good ones.

Katawa Shoujo is a good one, as well. For me, it was something of an eye-opening moment. I was already a fan of story-centric games, but Katawa Shoujo confirmed for me that I really don't need traditional "gameplay" to be hooked in by a good interactive story. Sharing the experience with others -- we were all playing it around the same time -- really helped it stick with me, too, and to date our Katawa Shoujo podcast remains one of my favourite episodes, even if it ultimately ended up being what drove dear old RocGaude and Feenwager away. :)

Beige is big on this concept; he calls it "takeaway", and it's a good way of thinking about it -- when you've finished playing something, what have you taken away from the experience? It doesn't have to be anything complex or profound, it could just be "this made me feel something". And I can give plenty of examples of that from over the years -- the last couple in particular.


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Re: "Can't stop thinking about it!" Games

by Angry Jedi » Mon Sep 29, 2014 10:19 pm

bahahaha. True.
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Re: "Can't stop thinking about it!" Games

by asatiir » Mon Dec 01, 2014 1:11 pm

The first game that sprung into mind is Corpse Party, even when I finished the game I ended up rewatching some of the alternate "bad" endings and losing sleep for a week. Really kicked a ravenous hunger for legitimately scary horror for a while too.
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Re: "Can't stop thinking about it!" Games

by A.I Impaired » Mon Dec 01, 2014 3:54 pm

Metal Gear Solid 2. Infamous, yes. Convoluted, yes. Annoying at times? No doubt.
It almost wrote the series into a corner.
It has however changed what I thought a story could do with a game.

The first chapter was the Metal Gear Solid game fans were expecting, and wanted. Straight forward.
By the end of this game I could not determine a proper canon of events.
Spoiler: show
Raiden as a character seemed like the most annoying possible replacement of Solid Snake, but the story that was told needed Raiden to be a blank character with no certain past. Someone you can question fundamentally. As you go on, everything you know about the character and the situation you are found in is questioned, and you are left with bat shit crazy brainwashing and mind fucking.

This was a pre Killer 7 world, shit wasn't supposed to go down like this. Even worse than Killer 7 though, you were left wondering what the hell a sequel to this game would even look like. You were left with so many questions. It was amazing and horrifying.

Is it a good game by today's standards? Debatable. It did however give fuel to my imagination, and inspired streams of fan theories. I am almost disappointed that Metal Gear Solid 4 answered so many questions.


Also... Dragon age Inquisition makes me want to be more politically active. I think Canada could benefit from a little Inquisition.

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