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Messages - crimsoncantata

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Technobabylon / Re: Love It!
« on: June 02, 2015, 11:40:03 AM »
I admit, I relish a bit of ambiguity in my videogame morality. Rather than the game flat out telling you 'You've done a Good Thing!' or 'You've done a Bad Thing!' you get to decide for yourself just how good or bad you've decided to be.

Also I felt that the game relied too much on a gay stereotype, which became tedious after awhile.

If we're thinking of the same character, I think it was more a British stereotype than a gay one (though the two have often been conflated and confused, and he does appear to be both), but I agree it got quite old, quite fast. Possibly the most irritating part of the game. [MILD SPOILERS] I comforted myself by theorizing that it was an intentional programming quirk, so that people could tell him apart from the others. Maybe each one has their own identifying verbal tic. 

Technobabylon / Re: Technobabylon Mysteries *SPOILERS*
« on: June 02, 2015, 11:18:23 AM »
Excellent point. I'd been thinking that his addiction and emergency trance breaks showed him up as a less than ideal employee, but of course it's the perfect quality for someone who's going to interface with a machine permanently.

Technobabylon / Re: Technobabylon Mysteries *SPOILERS*
« on: May 28, 2015, 03:03:38 AM »
Not exactly a mystery, but I like to think there was a deleted scene when Max first gets to Vargas' office-

VARGAS: ...and this is my daughter, Galatea.
MAX: Oh, she must have been grown as part of that project you worked on with Regis.
VARGAS: What!? Er, I mean, what makes you say that?
MAX: Name's a bit of a giveaway, don't you think? Galatea, the perfectly sculpted creation then brought to life? From the story of Pygmalion?
VARGAS: I, uh, don't think I know that one.
MAX: Are you sure? There's a painting of it right on the wall here.
VARGAS: I have to go.

Technobabylon / Re: Technobabylon Mysteries *SPOILERS*
« on: May 26, 2015, 11:42:09 AM »
       Thanks for the help! I'm definitely going to keep a closer eye on Kreisel next time around. Though if he really did try to kill Latha against Galatea's orders, I'm surprised she doesn't just kill him. After all, Latha is integral to the plan, and Kriesel, once he drops off Baxter's mindstate, has outlived his usefulness. I wonder if their relationship goes deeper than just employer/contractor (maybe he was the first person she 'came out to' as an evil genius?).

       I also want to sort out the early game timeline- I remember there being some timeskipping, so I'm not quite sure whether Baxter or the HR guy* is the last mind to be captured. Also, Baxter's killing clearly seems set up as a trap for Regis, but of course Kreisel doesn't hate Regis until he's already killed Baxter. Does he just think fast, or had they already planned to remove Regis from the equation just to get CEL off their back? And how can Baxter have planned Latha's death 'for years' if he didn't know she existed until he was merged with Kriesel (I mean, obviously he's hated Regis for years and years, and is eager to get back at him, but that doesn't quite constitute a plan).

I also don't buy Deane's 'nice guy act'. He was willing to arrange for the murder of five people. And while four of them were pretty horrible people, Regis was present as well.

Deane actually says afterwards that he never would have done it if he knew Regis would be there. But the more I think about it, the more I think you're right- I was initially hung up on the weirdness of Deane killing the guy, then just leaving his neatly folded uniform in the kitchen, but maybe the bag you find in the vent wasn't brought by the bomber, but left by Deane for the bomber. He could have easily just left the uniform there. Have to go back and read item descriptions...

*I'm actually really curious about this HR guy. Of all the people in the city, HR specialists & consultants, staff coordinators, CEOs and the like, Galatea picked him as having the genius-level people skills** to become part of Central 2.0. What was this guy like?

**I wonder if G considered Dr. Jeong as a candidate- genius level people skills and scientific brilliance, plus an intimate knowledge of Central itself. If Kreisel had taken her out a few weeks ago, this would have been a very different game...

Technobabylon / Technobabylon Mysteries *SPOILERS*
« on: May 24, 2015, 03:21:53 PM »
First, let me say I absolutely adored this game- the rich, layered world, the meaty story, and Ben Chandler's ever-more-gorgeous art rocketed to this into my top five before I was even halfway through. This is a fantastic piece of work on every level.

Of course, it's that very fantasticity that makes me want to keep thinking about it, and in doing so I came across a few interesting discrepancies. I  haven't gone through the commentary or even all the alternate endings so maybe these things are already  answered, but I had fun thinking about them, and maybe you will too.

Mysteries of the Mandala

   * Why was Galatea trying to blow up Latha? Without Latha to connect all the stolen minds to Central, all her plotting has been for nothing. (It doesn't seem possible that Kriesel, even ridden by Baxter, is acting on his own- he's talking about the plan with Galatea even as it happens).

   * For that matter (though this is more nitpicky than mysterious) Galatea seems pretty cavalier about handling Latha. If the mindjacker fails to capture, say, Baxter, presumably they can always find another science-mind to fill his place, but Latha is unique and irreplaceable. Yet they wait until the very last minute to secure her, and then take a most circuitous route, considering that Galatea has people inside CEL, eyes and ears everywhere,  and her own adaptive-camo Crisis Team for 'dynamic exfiltrations'.

   * I wonder why they abandoned Latha to city care in the first place? Even if Vargas didn't want her, Dr. Jeong seems to have continued research along the same lines, and would have been happy to have her as a resource.

Mysteries of Mind and Magnet

   *Regis rules out Stepford and his boys for the  restaurant bombing because the magnetic field in the kitchen shuts-down synths, and the waiter was killed in the kitchen. But surely it was the Bio-bomber who killed the waiter and took his clothes. Councilman Deane may have been a bit of a rotter, but I don't see him murdering a civilian face-to-face, stripping him naked, and tossing the body on a hook.
   *(Nitpicky) The timing of this is interesting. Presumably Deane has to open the vent after the restaurant is open, but how did the poorly-coordinated biobomber manage to kill and replace the only waiter in the joint without the chef noticing? If Deane got in before the restaurant opened, (knowing, perhaps, that the waiter comes in early to get everything ready for the chef), then he wouldn't need to open the vent, he could just let the biobomber in the same way.

   *(Musing) It's still odd the chef didn't notice his boy had been replaced. I wonder if the original waiter was actually another clone out of Texas, who managed to escape his overlords, throw off his conditioning, and start anew on the far side of the world, only to be slain by a virtual twin from the life he left behind. :'(

Mysteries of Murder Investigation

   *I was surprised that, after the leaving the scene, Regis has the murderbot, still dripping blood, just hanging out in his office. But this was nothing next to realizing that he'd dropped a bunch of crime scene evidence into his desk drawer, including Giels severed hand! I realize he's been hardened by years on the force, but yeesh. No wonder people think he's capable of murder. (By the by, can you use the hand for anything here? I tried to swap it out with biobomber corpse, but always ended up with the femur).

   *Not a nit, but the detectives are pretty clever to have worked out that Giels was dosed with a hallucinogen. After all, they can't see his memories, and Chanelle clearly doesn't understand what's happening.

   *Also not a nit but the conspiracy does get pretty lucky with Giels' murder. While the man himself would probably die of heart attack or aneurysm even without the synthoid disemboweling, its sheer luck that his husband, who also knew about the blackmail plot, is fatally wounded as well.

Mysteries of Mindjackery

   *It seems Galatea opted for the more murdery variation of mindjacking to keep her plans secret, but I wonder if she tried volunteers first. I bet there are a number of people who'd leap at the chance to upload their minds into an immortal city-god.

   *A shame Baxter didn't have more faith in himself. He kills Viksha because he thinks the failure of the project will make him unhirable, but even as a murderer with training that's two decades out of date, Vickerman goes to considerable trouble to acquire his services, and many people still consider him to be the very brightest mind in the field.

Mysteries of My Not Having Paid Close Enough Attention

   *My own fault here- I cussed out Jinsel for her betrayal when she appeared in the tower, and she disappeared forever, so I never found out what her deal was. Was her movement just a puppet of Jeong's conspiracy, or were they simply dupes, or independent actors?

   *I've heard internet rumors of a scene where Regis finds a girl trying to hang herself on Viksha's tree, and her portrait seems to show up in the concept art, but this scene didn't show up in my playthrough. Anyone know how to trigger it?

Anyway, that's what's has been on my mind for the past day. I'd love to hear what you think.

I hadn't for a moment considered it not being point and click, but you're right. The idea of Wadjet Eye making a game centered around a grizzled detective figure going up against a mysterious organization with supernatural-seeming powers and uncanny ties to his own past, seasoned with the occasional gunfight, does seem awfully far-fetched.


         Good point about the ghost surplus. Though I admit, as I'm going through the games again, I've started to wonder (in an utterly idle, tongue-in-cheek fashion) how necessary the Bestowers are at all. Gavin describes them as 'A spiritual quirk. Something that was never supposed to exist.' In his centuries of life, during which he (a) kept close tabs on the 'psychic' community, and (b) must have have left a trail of unhappy ghosts behind him like protoplasmic breadcrumbs, he's only encountered one other Bestower (and my guess is that Bestower is linked to how he got his powers, rather than one that hunted him down for using them). His organization, which is hinted to be powerful and widespread, also seems to have encountered almost none- if there are other Bestowers in the world (something I don't think is ever confirmed), they must be few and far between. When was the last time someone went to save the lost souls of Trenton, or Duluth, or Nome?

       For that matter, Joey was out of action for 25 years, New York left Bestowerless while Lauren was in Bellevue, but Rosa rarely encounters a ghost more than a few weeks or months old (the Deacon being something of a special case, and Madeline being a guide rather than a run-of-the-mill spirit). Is it possible they just fade away if not rescued? What is the half-life of a restless spook?

       Which is not to say the Bestowers aren't heroes- I imagine a spirit fading away is denied eternity in the same way that a soul ripped apart by Madeline is (and besides, Joey, Rosa, and Dave Gilbert consider the work important, and I trust their judgment). But I don't know if a lack of Bestowers would quite be the end of the world.

      Except in Epiphany of, course, but you could argue that was a problem started by a Bestower in the first place  :)


In my mind, the game is called 'In the Shadow of Blackwell', the cover art featuring a ground-level-looking-upward shot of New York City, the buildings lit in weird highlights and stark shadows by Madeline's fissure in the sky*, which is relatively small and distant here. The lighting is more normal at ground level where people lay slumped unconscious on the sidewalk and in cars, save for one figure almost hidden in shadow, a man in a trench-coat peering around the corner of a building.

*Sidenote- Toward the end of Epiphany, I did start to have a few flashbacks to the classic adventure game LOOM. Madeline isn't quite a ringer for Chaos, but there's a vague resemblance, and she one-ups Bobbin Threadbare by Opening the Sky and the Grave at the same time...

The Blackwell series / Re: Gavin's Last Name?
« on: October 24, 2014, 09:39:17 PM »
Thanks! Time to start my commentary playthrough of Epiphany, I guess (though I have to wonder, with a name like G. Chorde, am I going to uncover some connection to C. Sharpe? :)).

The Blackwell series / Gavin's Last Name?
« on: October 24, 2014, 02:49:08 AM »
I could have sworn it was mentioned at some point near the end of Deception- Fairmont? Fair... something else? But on my commentary replay I didn't come across it. Did I miss it, or did I simply imagine it the first time?

         Many thanks! And apologies if you've already covered that before; I'm still wending my way through the commentaries, and haven't made it all the way through the series yet. I suppose I should hold off on wild suppositions until I do, but after the thrill of finally playing Epiphany, my mind is alight with all things Blackwell. Which I suppose is to say thanks again, for creating such a captivating world.

The Blackwell series / Interlinked Villains? (spoilers for the series)
« on: October 20, 2014, 01:17:03 AM »
So, at the end of Deception, G gets disintegrated. Just before that , he shows that he's able to derive energy from consuming souls.

In Epiphany, every soul that disintegrates is because of M, and M claims she is nourished by their destruction. Did M tear apart G (she had just returned from banishment, and he was apparently just sloshing with excess energy)? Perhaps more intriguingly (and haphazardly), did M teach the energy vampires how to eat souls in the first place?

We think of M as not having turned to evil before being banished to the void, but maybe that was just a game attempt at reform, or another layer of deception. G said he was about 200 years old, and M's clothes indicate that she's been spirit guiding for longer than that, and her comments suggest that many hosts have wished to be rid of her in the past.  Perhaps the soul-eaters were an early attempt to end her own existence, or make the Bestowers and their guides unnecessary (no more lost souls to shepard, they've all been eaten). It might even explain how G recognized the threshold of infinity, if Madeline had another brainwashable host when she was first teaching the soul-eaters their tricks.

Or maybe not. If M could figure out the energy-draining trick, perhaps someone else did too, and while no hellspawn have showed up since Legacy, it does seem to be a universe where you could literally make a deal with the devil.

Anyway. Food for thought.

The Blackwell series / The Untold Story of Epiphany [Maximum Spoilers]
« on: October 19, 2014, 04:31:56 PM »
       Just finished Epiphany; loved it to bits. But like other players, a few of the loose threads did nag at me slightly. I have read the developer explanations for why some of these choices made (and I agree that Rosa going up against an Ancient Conspiracy would have made a far less personal game), but I wonder if some of those unanswered questions don't frame a different story.

Specifically: What happened to the Energy Vampires?
Theory: Taken out by Sam Durkin.

       As far I recall, the game gives no explanation for why Durkin disappears just as the main case in Epiphany is going critical, and I think it's because he has even bigger fish to fry. He may not be a Bestower, but there's probably no one better in the city to take on this particular threat. After all, he  was first on the scene when Lauren Blackwell started to Embrace Eternity- who knows what she might have babbled as all the information in the universe coursed through her? He almost certainly remembered her name from a mysterious phone call a few years ago, asking odd questions about his deceased mother, and we know he followed Rosa Blackwell's movements with some interest.

       As a cop, he not only knew about the strange deaths in The Blackwell Deception, but he might have even searched the homes of Janet and Gavin, uncovering any number of ancient records and arcane secrets.

       But real clincher for him would not have been the things he found, but the orders from above to turn a blind eye to them, to watch evidence being stolen away or destroyed outright. Orders from Commissioner Silva. Things come to head during Epiphany, when Rosa, the Bestower,  is arrested, and Durkin has to either turn her over to Silva, or go completely rogue- taking Rosa onboard, drafting a trustworthy young cop as the ONLY policeman she can talk to, and then going after Silva himself. Maybe to just to protect Rosa at first or maybe he already knows that Silva is up to something even worse than murder.  Clearly, there's only one real choice.

And after that, it's Gabriel Knight style race against time to uncover just what Da Silva and her strange cohort are up to. They have defenses against ghosts, Bestowers, and all things supernatural, but maybe they aren't prepared, at this critical moment, for one determined guy with a gun.

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