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Jake
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This thread is a place to talk about the ENTIRE GAME so if you haven't played it yet, maybe stay away!

 

☠️ YE BE WARNED ☠️

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9 minutes ago, roots said:

 

My issue wasn't the inclusion of nostalgia so much as the overbearing/unsubtle way it was leveraged. I'll grant that something like the Sea Monkey was a fitting use of it, but elsewhere it felt more like my copy of the game had a memberberries infestation.

Do you have some examples for that?

Because I was worried that there would be too many puzzles in ReMI like in the other games. Sure, we had 5 keys to find here instead of 4 pieces of cards. But I somehow minded that much less than in CMI/EMI where you had to do sword fights again and had to collect crew members again... It never felt like a rehash in ReMI to me.

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23 minutes ago, KestrelPi said:

Eh, maybe it's just that I played TWP recently, but I feel like in comparison to that, (and especially given that unlike that this was an established franchise) ReMI was remarkably restrained.

 

I would agree that it is relatively more restrained than TWP, but I think the big difference between the two is that RTMI's nostalgia is more germane to the player. The target of TWP's nostalgia is more of a broad concept, and feels like it's more its creator's nostalgia, rather than the player's. (And stands out more as a result)

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Thing about the nostalgia as well, is that it is much more of a _critique_ of nostalgia than just pure '-baiting'.
Most characters talk about it in more or less subtle ways, like the Voodoo Lady who actively warns against the deleterious effects of nostalgia.

It might be fruitful to think about two kinds of nostalgia: reparative nostalgia, in which you simply "want to put back everything as it was, reality be damned", and reflective nostalgia, in which you do not try to erase the passing of time, and you work through the pain, the -algia part of nostalgia, by reflecting upon the passing of time, what good and ill it had brought, and how you have changed as a person.

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I don't want to go back to this well too much but I really do think a lot of the stuff that worked less well for me in ReMI may partially be put down to the lack of the third member of the writing team. When I think of what Schafer's hallmarks are in his writing I think of:

 

  • Super clearly defined characters. People who may only be on the screen for a short amount of time but you know exactly who they are and what their deal is. I think of Quohog, and Emmett in FT. I think of the Tube/Elevator demon in Grim, and Chowchilla Charlie. He's really good at just distilling a character in a way where you only need a small amount of dialogue to get exactly who they are.
  • Evocative world building. He's not the sort of person who is going to give you a big old lore dump, but he knows how to, with real efficiency, give a setting a sense of place through dialogue. You don't know anything really about the world of Full Throttle in terms of its history or even precise location. But you know exactly how the game wants you to feel about it, to the point that you don't even really wonder. Similar with the Land of the Dead. These are breathing places, you get a sense of how they fit into the wider world.
  • Killer Dialogue Trees. I don't know how else to put this I just think he's really, really good at dialogue tree humour, witty comebacks and the like.

And these are all the things I feel like ReMI could have more of. I might be giving Schafer too much credit there - maybe it has more to do with the passage of time than it has to do with him, but to me at least it feels like the holes in the flag line up pretty well.

14 minutes ago, roots said:

 

I would agree that it is relatively more restrained than TWP, but I think the big difference between the two is that RTMI's nostalgia is more germane to the player. The target of TWP's nostalgia is more of a broad concept, and feels like it's more its creator's nostalgia, rather than the player's. (And stands out more as a result)

It's funny because I felt the opposite way about it. I felt in TWP I was being pandered to against my will, they were just throwing in references and pointing to them and grinning and it worked for me about 50% of the time. While in ReMI while I feel like there were a lot of callouts, I always felt like they were well-implemented.

 

Either they were small enough that I don't feel like they were too lampshaded, or the way they were lampshaded was just funnier then in TWP (I did enjoy the 'say the line' stuff with Cobb). Or they were quite poignant. I think it's sort of touching that the last puzzle in the game is a codewheel, say. TWP to me felt all on-the-nose, all the time. ReMI felt to me like there was more texture in the way it used nostalgia.

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35 minutes ago, benjoyce25 said:


My pet theory is that the art style (shaded and oblong Alegría/Corporate Memphis) makes perfect sense in light of the ending's representation of the world of Monkey Island. It is abstract, it is cardboard cutout, because, well...

Somewhat. That kind of works, but honestly feels like a bit of honeypotting. Not sure why they chose the art design, works for some, but I wasn't able to connect with it much. Still better than EMI at least.

 

 

15 minutes ago, KestrelPi said:

I don't want to go back to this well too much but I really do think a lot of the stuff that worked less well for me in ReMI may partially be put down to the lack of the third member of the writing team. When I think of what Schafer's hallmarks are in his writing I think of:

 

  • Super clearly defined characters. People who may only be on the screen for a short amount of time but you know exactly who they are and what their deal is. I think of Quohog, and Emmett in FT. I think of the Tube/Elevator demon in Grim, and Chowchilla Charlie. He's really good at just distilling a character in a way where you only need a small amount of dialogue to get exactly who they are.
  • Evocative world building. He's not the sort of person who is going to give you a big old lore dump, but he knows how to, with real efficiency, give a setting a sense of place through dialogue. You don't know anything really about the world of Full Throttle in terms of its history or even precise location. But you know exactly how the game wants you to feel about it, to the point that you don't even really wonder. Similar with the Land of the Dead. These are breathing places, you get a sense of how they fit into the wider world.
  • Killer Dialogue Trees. I don't know how else to put this I just think he's really, really good at dialogue tree humour, witty comebacks and the like.

And these are all the things I feel like ReMI could have more of. I might be giving Schafer too much credit there - maybe it has more to do with the passage of time than it has to do with him, but to me at least it feels like the holes in the flag line up pretty well.

 

 

That's actually a really good point. I found I tended to not fall in love with LucasArts adventures in truth until Secret of Monkey Island, even though I did play the hell out of Maniac Mansion on my NES. Monkey Island was special, and that fast characterization, biting wit, and fun dialog became the staple that LucasArts was built on. Looking at Tim being missing, does explain the main issues I had with the game, the flat characterization, and the memorable and interesting islands.

 

The dialog trees in RMI were ok, but again, it felt like they were missing a lot of the spark that makes MI feel MI, even when I did chuckle a few times. I understand the idea, but it was missing that spark that really brought the world alive. 

 

Another note is the difference in the feel of the world. MI1 and MI2 both felt like worlds you wanted to get lost in, and explore, the bits of gross humor were minimalist, and never really drawn too much attention to, more for the joke value than actually looking dirty and disgusting, which fits with the theme park idea. Here the entire game feels run down, which I assume has to be part of the design and the points being made, I just feel that goes against the general feel of the series, to me up until this point. Looking at the Schaffer titles those worlds also generally felt quite alive at all times, which you also mentioned up there. 

 

About the only real issue I have with this, and it could very well be a memory thing, is Grossman was quite good at early Telltale with world building and character work, but it doesn't really seems to fit in here.

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9 minutes ago, KestrelPi said:

It's funny because I felt the opposite way about it. I felt in TWP I was being pandered to against my will, they were just throwing in references and pointing to them and grinning and it worked for me about 50% of the time. While in ReMI while I feel like there were a lot of callouts, I always felt like they were well-implemented.

 

Either they were small enough that I don't feel like they were too lampshaded, or the way they were lampshaded was just funnier then in TWP (I did enjoy the 'say the line' stuff with Cobb). Or they were quite poignant. I think it's sort of touching that the last puzzle in the game is a codewheel, say. TWP to me felt all on-the-nose, all the time. ReMI felt to me like there was more texture in the way it used nostalgia.

  

The TWP take could just be me to be fair, I don't disagree with what you say about the game. Some of the not-lucasarts references felt rather self-congratulatory to me, but admittedly it's been some time since I've paid the game any heed.

 

The codewheel was a cute touch, and on reflection I think you've hit the nail on the head for what in particular jars me - it's the lampshading of callbacks in general, particularly when there is a lot of them.

 

3 minutes ago, BillyCheers said:

Do you have some examples for that?

Because I was worried that there would be too many puzzles in ReMI like in the other games. Sure, we had 5 keys to find here instead of 4 pieces of cards. But I somehow minded that much less than in CMI/EMI where you had to do sword fights again and had to collect crew members again... It never felt like a rehash in ReMI to me.

 

The moments that really jarred for me was the shipyard, and the aforementioned Sea Monkey - which while arguably appropriate in context felt still obnoxious to me in the moment.

 

2 minutes ago, benjoyce25 said:

Thing about the nostalgia as well, is that it is much more of a _critique_ of nostalgia than just pure '-baiting'.
Most characters talk about it in more or less subtle ways, like the Voodoo Lady who actively warns against the deleterious effects of nostalgia.

It might be fruitful to think about two kinds of nostalgia: reparative nostalgia, in which you simply "want to put back everything as it was, reality be damned", and reflective nostalgia, in which you do not try to erase the passing of time, and you work through the pain, the -algia part of nostalgia, by reflecting upon the passing of time, what good and ill it had brought, and how you have changed as a person.

 

I get what you're saying, but it feels like a cop out to me all the same. I absolutely agree that nostalgia as a theme plays a large role in the metanarrative, but it shouldn't (in my opinion) come at cost to the actual narrative.

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8 minutes ago, roots said:

I get what you're saying, but it feels like a cop out to me all the same. I absolutely agree that nostalgia as a theme plays a large role in the metanarrative, but it shouldn't (in my opinion) come at cost to the actual narrative.

Fair enough, I share a certain wistfulness for a 15-hour game with, like, Terror Island being populated with characters and Brrr Muda having more than three locations, as well as a Scurvy Island with many shops and developed characters with aspirations and personality quirks.

That being said, I think the developers have been very, very focused on _theme_ being the driving force of the adventure. They wanted to work without interference, interpellation and internet critique during development. It is a highly personal project, and the way I understand it, that is the theme that interested them the most. I cannot blame them for finding a highly resonant theme and authoring a work that felt important to them.

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6 hours ago, Xantospoc said:

 

Either that or everyone in Secret of Monkey Island was upside down, and now only Bob is!!

 

... btw, a silly question. A looong while ago you had posted a tweet where you said jokingly "I know a secret and you don't", with Ron saying he had given a false secret to you. Had you read the T-shirt line at the time or were you really given a false script?


Ha! No, there was no misdirection. I knew what was going on. Well... at least the face value representation of what was going on 😄

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18 minutes ago, bishopcruz said:

That's actually a really good point.

etc.

 

I do get where you are coming from with that stuff, and I don't disagree with all of it, I just think that parts that bother you bother me a bit less. One reason that I think I give ReMI a bit of a pass on its writing is (and I've just talked about this in a different thread) that I think what it lacks in some worldbuilding detail and some of the character work, and what it lacks in razor-sharp wit, I think it more than makes up for in its approach to its themes and ideas.

 

The more I look at it, the more well-integrated it feels as a work, the more I feel like much of the writing effort was spent on making sure that it really hit the themes that it wanted to hit, and made them operate on a lot of different levels.

 

I understand that the themes didn't really work for you, but they worked REALLY well for me, both in how they address MI2 and how they expand the world as a whole. More than any MI game before, I feel like this is a game that wants to be about something, and I can definitely seen an argument that some of the finer details get lost in its quest to be about something. But to me, at least, it succeeds at what it set out to do so well that I don't really mind if I think it's slightly less witty, or has slightly less memorable characters, or slightly less fleshed out locales.

 

I think this is actually a really well written game, but perhaps not in the exact ways I expected it to be well written.

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6 minutes ago, KestrelPi said:

I think this is actually a really well written game, but perhaps not in the exact ways I expected it to be well written.

 

I like this take.

 

My initial impression from March (which remains) was that it was extremely well-written in a very thoughtful, subtle way. As far as the humor goes, there was less reaching for punchlines (stylistic difference, not a value judgement) in favor of a more laid back kind of humor. But those themes, man... very mature, quietly powerful, and expertly woven throughout the fabric of the game. To me, most of the other titles in the series were superlative entertainments, while this one felt like a more thoughtful and robust work of art.

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1 minute ago, Dmnkly said:

 

I like this take.

 

My initial impression from March (which remains) was that it was extremely well-written in a very thoughtful, subtle way. As far as the humor goes, there was less reaching for punchlines (stylistic difference, not a value judgement) in favor of a more laid back kind of humor. But those themes, man... very mature, quietly powerful, and expertly woven throughout the fabric of the game. To me, most of the other titles in the series were superlative entertainments, while this one felt like a more thoughtful and robust work of art.

 

Right? I love the Monkey Island series dearly, I've talked a lot of times about how formative it was to me and how much it taught me as a kid about the possibilities of storytelling within media.

 

But I'm not sure that those games ever felt like they had something to say outside of themselves to me. That's fine, not all art needs to have a lesson or even a message. I've never had a problem with MI just being ... what it has been.

 

But the thing I love so much about ReMI is that it makes me think not just about my relationship with MI, but my relationship with all fiction, with ideas of canon, with concepts of mystery and ambiguity, with hype, with nostalgia, with all sorts of things, and I feel like I've learned a little, just a little about myself in the playing of it, and in that way I think it elevates not only itself but all the previous games in the series too.

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1 minute ago, Dmnkly said:

But those themes, man... very mature, quietly powerful, and expertly woven throughout the fabric of the game.

As I am not aware of one, I would like to see the initial brainstorming sheets, similar to the way the TWP devblog has done. To wit. Especially look at 1, 6, 14, 24. (28.)

When it comes to TWP (yes, wrong forum):
On the other end, you can also see the bleed-through from The Cave: 16; and MM/DOTT: 19.
And the eventual 'winning design', 30, with 28, 22, 21, 11 and bits of 6.

Which to my mind just goes to show that, as far as the developer are concerned, "themes are my reality" (pace Richard Sanderson).

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9 minutes ago, Dmnkly said:

...while this one felt like a more thoughtful and robust work of art.

 

It occurs to me that this might also be why I find myself quite willing to accept a sort of weirdly ambiguous ending. An entertainment needs the big finish, the carefully timed pacing, etc. But for something that has more depth — and I think RtMI does — I'm happy to be left with something a little complex to chew on. I think it might bother me if I felt it hadn't *earned* that finish.

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3 minutes ago, Dmnkly said:

 

It occurs to me that this might also be why I find myself quite willing to accept a sort of weirdly ambiguous ending. An entertainment needs the big finish, the carefully timed pacing, etc. But for something that has more depth — and I think RtMI does — I'm happy to be left with something a little complex to chew on. I think it might bother me if I felt it hadn't *earned* that finish.

Here is the thing though: even with quite explicitly definitive endings, even literature students (who should be at least very invested readers, if not superreaders) find out very early on that interpretation is a many-splendoured thing (thanks, Ms. Han), and that a prism of different version spring up almost immediately when someone throws the "But what did it all mean in the end?" rock into the Pool of Donchaseeit.

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14 minutes ago, benjoyce25 said:

Here is the thing though: even with quite explicitly definitive endings, even literature students (who should be at least very invested readers, if not superreaders) find out very early on that interpretation is a many-splendoured thing (thanks, Ms. Han), and that a prism of different version spring up almost immediately when someone throws the "But what did it all mean in the end?" rock into the Pool of Donchaseeit.

 

Oh, agreed. Repeating myself, but as mentioned upthread, good stores are rarely about what they're about. But, you know... sometimes you (not YOU you, clearly 😄 ) want to turn it off and just enjoy something without thinking too hard about it. I'm sympathetic to that. Particularly given how worn out everybody is right now. I just mean that I don't think RtMI is complication for complication's sake. That ambiguity isn't gratuitous. Yeah, as Leontes described it upthread, I think it's fair to consider the ending a "burden." This game asks you to do some work. And I think that might upset me if there weren't meat on those bones. But there is. Quite a bit of it.

 

(P.S. Thanks for stopping in. I'm really looking forward to seeing what you have to say about RtMI going forward.)

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6 minutes ago, Dmnkly said:

It's asking you to do some work.

A curious notion, work.

Certainly, whether we like it or not, digital gameplay might often feel like work. And yet...

How would you (and y'all) define the difference between the work of figuring out the solution to a concatenation of puzzles (which can be tedious, trial-and-error, and time-wasting), and the work of interpretation (free-from flights of fancy with foundations in fictional facts)? In what ways do they tax the mind differently? Why should one of those acts of labour satisfy even the most hard-nosed adventure enthusiast, but not the other?

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8 minutes ago, Dmnkly said:

 

Oh, agreed. Repeating myself, but as mentioned upthread, good stores are rarely about what they're about. But, you know... sometimes you (not YOU you, clearly 😄 ) want to turn it off and just enjoy something without thinking too hard about it. I'm sympathetic to that. Particularly given how worn out everybody is right now. I just mean that I don't think RtMI is complication for complication's sake. That ambiguity isn't gratuitous. Yeah, as Leontes described it upthread, I think it's fair to consider the ending a "burden." It's asking you to do some work. Which I think might upset me if there weren't meat on those bones.

 

I think it's fair to consider it a burden but I do think it argues for itself being a gift. I think it is saying 'this ambiguity is a great place to live in, so come in. Have 30 more years of things to ponder over. You're welcome.' And when it says that to me I respond 'great! I'll make myself at home' ... but I think I see how someone might respond... 'but I can't relax here.'

Edited by KestrelPi
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I somewhat think this game and story are so deep we’re not quite used to this level of depth. Some games try and do it, but just fail. The Advantage MI has is 30 years of development and to just be something more. 
 

how amazing that Ron and team took a video game that could have just ended… and turned it into potential stories for decades (if they so choose). The vehicle is we get to go on more thoughtful and eventful pirate adventures whenever we want. 
 

it’s genius. 

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As little aside, it just dawned on me that the RtMI photo booths put up at GamesCom and PAX have a whole different feel in light of the end of the game, especially the cardboard cutout characters (but also the fake facades).

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21 minutes ago, Jake said:

Here’s a shot I took the Photo Booth and an extremely Part 5-appropriate look behind it featuring @Dmnkly

4A42FFDF-72B9-4AE7-905E-3FF43B491B23.jpeg

1D7A4B0B-D997-4FF2-9540-00FD13161CC7.jpeg

I appreciate this, but the real power move would have been to have that secret T-shirt printed and quickly have Dom wear it for this photo, and keep it hidden until today.

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1 hour ago, KestrelPi said:

etc.

 

I do get where you are coming from with that stuff, and I don't disagree with all of it, I just think that parts that bother you bother me a bit less. One reason that I think I give ReMI a bit of a pass on its writing is (and I've just talked about this in a different thread) that I think what it lacks in some worldbuilding detail and some of the character work, and what it lacks in razor-sharp wit, I think it more than makes up for in its approach to its themes and ideas.

 

The more I look at it, the more well-integrated it feels as a work, the more I feel like much of the writing effort was spent on making sure that it really hit the themes that it wanted to hit, and made them operate on a lot of different levels.

 

I understand that the themes didn't really work for you, but they worked REALLY well for me, both in how they address MI2 and how they expand the world as a whole. More than any MI game before, I feel like this is a game that wants to be about something, and I can definitely seen an argument that some of the finer details get lost in its quest to be about something. But to me, at least, it succeeds at what it set out to do so well that I don't really mind if I think it's slightly less witty, or has slightly less memorable characters, or slightly less fleshed out locales.

 

I think this is actually a really well written game, but perhaps not in the exact ways I expected it to be well written.

See that's my problem. I don't really feel the depth. I get what was attempting to be stated here, it couldn't really be more obvious, but I don't think those themes had to lose the charm and wit of previous entries to get there. I don't find it all that well written, quite honestly. It might be an honest expression of where the writer is, but if I am being honest, it comes across as pretentious. Then again, I very much think that way of a lot of fiction that is trying to deconstruct itself unless it is EXCEPTIONALLY well handled. 

 

It is never just enough to be ABOUT something. Themes are a dime a dozen, it's about the execution, and the experience within. Twin Peaks S3 which I use because I have seen the ending here compared to Lynch is about something, but every bit of its execution also tells a story, asks questions, and uses its camera, audio and unease to keep the viewer on edge so the mindscrew ending works. 

Monkey Island isn't that, and has never BEEN that and if you want to make it that you have to do a better job along the journey. The idea of it being real or not, or just a story has been played with since the first game, and more than played with in MI2, but here it's MI2 ending again but less interesting and going nowhere. Ideas are brought up and never really dealt with, its themes are superficial. And that's before we even get to the mid at best puzzles and environments. All of that is part of the game, and none of it quite reaches any level of fulfillment. There was no real emotional investment to me with these characters, mcuh at all.

 

I suppose that comes off as horribly negative. More so the more I type on it. Fact is I generally was ok with the game as playing it, but rarely if ever more than OK. The few gems here and there, and Monkey Island being Monkey Island kept me going, but it not for that, I likely would have dropped it.

One other question I ask, is how do you all feel it expands the world as a whole? I just don't see that, honestly I feel the opposite. The world feels like set pieces more than ever, possibly literally if that's how you choose to take the ending..

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19 minutes ago, bishopcruz said:

I very much think that way of a lot of fiction that is trying to deconstruct itself unless it is EXCEPTIONALLY well handled. 

Okay, that is a reasonable criterion. Which media products handled that well?

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