Post-game thoughts (SPOILERS! ALL THE SPOILERS!)

#201 Posted by Nmckee503 (94 posts) -

@nmckee503 said:

I have to say, although I enjoyed what I've played, I feel like I sort of ruined this game for myself, here's why (not sure if I need spoiler tags in this thread, but everyone else seems to be doing it):

I found the secret passage for the key to the attic too quickly, upon entering the house, then went into the attic as soon as I found it. Now I have (at least) two locked doors to explore with no sense of mystery left, or really any sense of the ominous atmosphere I was enjoying.

Did this happen to anyone else?

Didn't even know that was possible. I feel like doing a speedrun of the game now. I guess this really just highlights the fact that you shouldn't play the game like Wolfenstein 3D...

BTW, there's actually a modifier that allows you to start the game with everything unlocked, so I guess they did intend for at least some people to play it like that...maybe.

I thought the game did a good job at teaching you that you don't need to pick up everything, or check every wall, I just learnt that lesson a little too late. I wasn't even trying to find secrets, it was a complete accident I found it. I don't know if anyone else found this (I'm not sure how you're supposed to find that particular passage later on), but I could imagine it being pretty cool finding out you'd been walking back and forth past the key for the whole game.

#202 Posted by bjorndadwarf (18 posts) -

@ironrinn said:

@bjorndadwarf:

Honestly, there is nothing to refute your idea of adventure, other than to point out that it is entirely subjective. What we can infer about Katie is hobbled by how little we get to know her. She could be "a total, boring, straightedge" as you call her but, again, she seems to be perfectly content to be so. Perhaps, knowing the way her parents react to things, she simply chooses to filter what information they had access to. The contrast with her younger sister (who, it should be noted, wasn't really doing anything crazy and adventurous until she had the good fortune to meet Lonnie) strikes me as another unfortunate instance where Katie exists merely to shed more light on Sam. We never even find a letter directly from Katie to Sam. Their relationship, one that is impressed upon us as being particularly close, is the one, glaring example where the game chooses to tell instead of show. Which is fine as this is, on the face of it, Sam's story. It's just awkwardly lopsided, especially considering how it's the top-layer narrative, leading to a lot of less than satisfying conjecture.

I know this is a game/story where it's really easy to read too much into the pieces that are given, but I suspect that Sam was always the more adventurous sibling, even before Lonnie. My key piece of evidence is her incredible short story when answering the sex ed question. The kind of 9th grader who writes that is a natural troublemaker of the best variety. The second piece of evidence is that it's her who chases after Lonnie initially. She identifies Lonnie as someone she wants to know, observes her habits, develops a plan to get to know her, and then executes that plan. The parents blame Lonnie for Sam's troubles that year, but Sam was already on a path to become a troublemaker. They even used the classic parent line, "You never had these problems before her", which is often just parents trying to outsource a problem rather than take a sober and honest look at who their kid is. Lonnie and her fueled each other's mischievousness, rather than it being a case of one influencing the other more.

#203 Edited by IronRinn (147 posts) -

@bjorndadwarf said:

@ironrinn said:

@bjorndadwarf:

Honestly, there is nothing to refute your idea of adventure, other than to point out that it is entirely subjective. What we can infer about Katie is hobbled by how little we get to know her. She could be "a total, boring, straightedge" as you call her but, again, she seems to be perfectly content to be so. Perhaps, knowing the way her parents react to things, she simply chooses to filter what information they had access to. The contrast with her younger sister (who, it should be noted, wasn't really doing anything crazy and adventurous until she had the good fortune to meet Lonnie) strikes me as another unfortunate instance where Katie exists merely to shed more light on Sam. We never even find a letter directly from Katie to Sam. Their relationship, one that is impressed upon us as being particularly close, is the one, glaring example where the game chooses to tell instead of show. Which is fine as this is, on the face of it, Sam's story. It's just awkwardly lopsided, especially considering how it's the top-layer narrative, leading to a lot of less than satisfying conjecture.

I know this is a game/story where it's really easy to read too much into the pieces that are given, but I suspect that Sam was always the more adventurous sibling, even before Lonnie. My key piece of evidence is her incredible short story when answering the sex ed question. The kind of 9th grader who writes that is a natural troublemaker of the best variety. The second piece of evidence is that it's her who chases after Lonnie initially. She identifies Lonnie as someone she wants to know, observes her habits, develops a plan to get to know her, and then executes that plan. The parents blame Lonnie for Sam's troubles that year, but Sam was already on a path to become a troublemaker. They even used the classic parent line, "You never had these problems before her", which is often just parents trying to outsource a problem rather than take a sober and honest look at who their kid is. Lonnie and her fueled each other's mischievousness, rather than it being a case of one influencing the other more.

Again, adventurousness being subjective. I think at this point we may be arguing our own internalization of the story, in which case we are doomed to chase each other in circles with no end game in sight!

#204 Posted by bjorndadwarf (18 posts) -

@ironrinn:

Probably, but I like arguing and discussing things! And this is one of the rare video games where the story is worth discussing in a rational and intelligent manner.

#205 Edited by SunBroZak (1213 posts) -

>to continue my ramblings

Ah, I think I've figured out what it was that I envied about Sam. Perhaps I'm stretching it a little, but I kind of see Lonnie as her Ramona Flowers character. This enigmatic character who suddenly arrives in Sam's life, and causes a whole number of changes. I guess what I envy, is that opportunity. To have someone that special to come into my life. There's still time for that, I suppose.

#206 Posted by BeachThunder (12117 posts) -

@bjorndadwarf: I think you might be reading a little too much into things, but you have some great observations - there was definitely an attempt on behalf of the developers to contrast Sam and Katie. Maybe one interpretation could simply be that both of them had their own adventures - just in very different ways; I don't think we need to place a judgement on which kind of adventure is better or worse, especially since we don't know a great deal about Katie's journey.

#207 Posted by DoctorWelch (2774 posts) -

This game is a fairly competent simulation of an environment that establishes some context that lightly connects the player with some characters that supposedly exist in the fictional world. I thought it was an okay example of creating places to explore rather than conflicts to solve, but the whole response to this game is a pretentious, sad, desperate cry for attention for those people that want, no, need video games to be something more than they are because they can't enjoy a medium without it being considered some kind of high art form.

Everything surrounding the sex of the characters is such a cheap ploy that does nothing more than make the entire game feel like a charade in communicating how "important" and "deep" games can be because "Hey guys, we can talk about gay people and isn't that like totally awesome for a video game man. Like, we are totally communicating deep emotions felt by characters because being gay was/is so hard in society, but dude, like it's not a bid deal dude...man." Things like that just take away from what the game actually does well which is play with player expectations about the game being some tragic/horror game when it really isn't.

This is the same thing with women protagonists, black protagonists, or anyone who isn't a white male in a video game. You know how to do it and not seem like a pretentious asshole looking for attention? Just do it and don't make a big deal out of it because who fucking cares. Everyone is equal, so why don't we treat them like they are? Making a big deal out of something like having a women, black person, or gay person in a video game is doing exactly the opposite of what the people highlighting it think they are doing. What matters is what makes the characters interesting emotionally, physically, geographically, mentally, socially, economically, etc., not some random characteristic that accomplishes nothing other than stereotyping for the use of some heavy handed, cheesy bull shit that reeks of such self-importance it's cringe worthy. That doesn't mean these things can't be facts about characters, but when they are it should be treated with the importance it deserves, which is to say it's not a bid deal so mention it and move on or...you know, don't mention it at all because it doesn't really matter.

There are some things this game does well, and maybe it is more the reaction to certain parts of it that have grossed me out, but I always find it sad when people that play video games try so desperately to reinforce this insane idea that we need to force artistic importance through terribly force messaging into our experiences so that we can be seen as a mature, legitimate medium.

#208 Posted by joshth (508 posts) -

This is the same thing with women protagonists, black protagonists, or anyone who isn't a white male in a video game. You know how to do it and not seem like a pretentious asshole looking for attention? Just do it and don't make a big deal out of it because who fucking cares. Everyone is equal, so why don't we treat them like they are?

I don't understand what you wanted from this game then? The story is about Sam and what happens to her over a year, and accepting herself as a homosexual is basically the biggest part of that entire year for her. It's fine if you think that it makes for a bad story, but this is what they wrote it about.

#209 Edited by Gregalor (57 posts) -

If you accuse the sexuality angle of being exploitative for marketing reasons or whatever, you're basically saying that if everything in the game was the same except that it was about a HETERO relationship, you wouldn't have blinked an eye. YOU'RE the one who's treating it as some special activist piece. Are we not at the point, socially, where we can just view this as a story about a teenager's relationship, period, and not bring the sexuality into it (aside from the opposition of Sam's parents, but let's face it, they could have opposed it if Sam or Lonnie was a boy, too)?

I'm not gay, but if I was, I'd probably be tired of anything with a gay character being segregated into the category of "activism". I don't know, maybe at this point in time they're just happy to be represented for once.

#211 Posted by BuddyleeR (76 posts) -

@kevin_cogneto: I feel the reason why they had to use these things was to make you care a bit more right? Otherwise you can simply just tell their story in a book. The weird spooky manipulating stuff is needed as a medium for the story.

#212 Posted by Milkman (17071 posts) -

@doctorwelch: So a video game can't tell the story of gay relationship without being a "cheap ploy"? Are homosexuals in games so foreign to us that as soon as we have ONE game dealing with the issue it's a pretentious attention grab? Isn't that exactly the problem here?

#213 Posted by gaminghooligan (1468 posts) -

So I'm a little late to the party on this one I guess since I just finished it, but I don't know that I have the admiration for this game that the GB crew seems to have. I mean it was a neat little experience, but overall I felt like I was playing an episode of some after school special. I wish there had been more stuff involving the uncle. Also I half expected Danny to be waiting up in the attic cradling his Street Fighter cartridge until I got to the kitchen.

#214 Posted by Gregalor (57 posts) -

I wish there had been more stuff involving the uncle.

Like what? He's dead, and we discovered, literally, his life story.

#215 Posted by JazGalaxy (1576 posts) -

The way the game made you believe there was something supernatural going on all the way through the fucking story EVEN THOUGH I KNEW THERE WASNT was masterful. The bait and switch at the end that make you think that maybe Sam had killed herself was gut wrenching, and I almost cried during her last bit of dialog. SO GOOD JHGSDKJHS

I absoltely cannot for the life of me understand why you would call this masterful. It's the compelte OPPOSITE of masterful.

"bait and switch" is not a literary technique...

I literally feel like I'm reading someone going "Oh, I really loved that Deus Ex Machina at the end of the movie. I really thought things were going to go one way and then... WHOOP, the hero remembered that secret password out of nowhere and it was awesome!"

#216 Edited by Gregalor (57 posts) -

JazGalaxy:

A common thread I'm seeing from you is saying what's not "allowed" to be done in a story, because you went to screenwriting school or something. Well, the cool thing about art is that you can do whatever you want. And a lot of cool stuff has also been made by defying the "rules" of art (a ridiculous notion in itself).

#217 Posted by Hyuzen (461 posts) -

And Lonnie and Sam lived happily together for the next year, when they broke up because they were still only teenagers.

I did enjoy the game, the love story wasn't the greatest but everything else around it was cool too. Hope things work out for the parents, Sam leaving could drive more of a rift between them. But I guess that'll be left to the imagination.

#218 Posted by bjorndadwarf (18 posts) -

For those who want to hear Steve Gaynor discuss GH in depth, he gave a spoiler rich interview with Quarter-to-Three:

http://www.quartertothree.com/fp/2013/08/21/qt3-games-podcast-gone-homecast-with-developer-steve-gaynor/

I'm about 20 minutes into it and enjoying the discussion about it, though he hasn't addressed any of the small detail stuff yet, more grand themes so far. He has mentioned some things about Lonnie that may not have been obvious, like that her family is from Mexico and she's a 2nd or 3rd generation immigrant. And that she's likely facing military jail time for having not shown up at bootcamp, and will have to consider fleeing to Canada (it's close) or Mexico (to family) in order to avoid jail. But of course she's traveling with a 17-year-old... Things are not looking particularly rosy for the two young lovers and their new adventure.

#219 Edited by DoctorWelch (2774 posts) -

@joshth said:

@doctorwelch said:

This is the same thing with women protagonists, black protagonists, or anyone who isn't a white male in a video game. You know how to do it and not seem like a pretentious asshole looking for attention? Just do it and don't make a big deal out of it because who fucking cares. Everyone is equal, so why don't we treat them like they are?

I don't understand what you wanted from this game then? The story is about Sam and what happens to her over a year, and accepting herself as a homosexual is basically the biggest part of that entire year for her. It's fine if you think that it makes for a bad story, but this is what they wrote it about.

The point is the story is essentially the same as a white person struggling with being white, a black person struggling with being black, or a woman struggling with being a woman. On its own it is nothing more than a child whining about the realities in which he or she lives because he or she isn't mature enough to accept certain truths or choices. I'm not saying a conflict of self definition isn't interesting, but one presented as the sole purpose of any narrative is the reason why stories like the Twilight Series are so terrible and shallow.

This is why I'm saying this is a pretentious grab at importance through a worthless story. If this was a story about a straight person struggling with being straight there would be absolutely nothing interesting there because there actually isn't anything interesting there in the first place. That's not to say that being gay couldn't be used as a characteristic in a story to propel some conflict that wouldn't work if the character was straight, but just like if the sole purpose of the story was "Hey this girl is straight. Isn't that so meaningful and emotional because she has to deal with that?" it wouldn't be interesting, so too is the story when it's simply about a gay person being gay.

@milkman said:

@doctorwelch: So a video game can't tell the story of gay relationship without being a "cheap ploy"? Are homosexuals in games so foreign to us that as soon as we have ONE game dealing with the issue it's a pretentious attention grab? Isn't that exactly the problem here?

Look at what I said above. The funny thing is, you are actually arguing against the very thing you think you're supporting. You want being gay to be a norm that is accepted in fiction, yet the entire point of this story is to point out that these characters are gay and make that some kind of defining characteristic that makes them important and interesting without anything else. If you are actually fighting for equality and normative change then that would be the exact opposite of what you want because this story is saying that a uninteresting story about straight people suddenly becomes interesting when they are gay because being gay is so different, unique, and non-normative.

#220 Posted by bjorndadwarf (18 posts) -

The point is the story is essentially the same as a white person struggling with being white, a black person struggling with being black, or a woman struggling with being a woman. On its own it is nothing more than a child whining about the realities in which he or she lives because he or she isn't mature enough to accept certain truths or choices. I'm not saying a conflict of self definition isn't interesting, but one presented as the sole purpose of any narrative is the reason why stories like the Twilight Series are so terrible and shallow.

This is why I'm saying this is a pretentious grab at importance through a worthless story. If this was a story about a straight person struggling with being straight there would be absolutely nothing interesting there because there actually isn't anything interesting there in the first place. That's not to say that being gay couldn't be used as a characteristic in a story to propel some conflict that wouldn't work if the character was straight, but just like if the sole purpose of the story was "Hey this girl is straight. Isn't that so meaningful and emotional because she has to deal with that?" it wouldn't be interesting, so too is the story when it's simply about a gay person being gay.

There's actually a really dramatic difference between coming of age as gay and coming of age as straight. Most people assume that most kids are straight, and they are right most of the time. Therefore, as a gay teen, most people have already pigeonholed you as something you aren't. That represents stress and conflict, two of the sources of a good story. Second, if you are straight, then you can assume that roughly 95 percent of your peers are also straight and have no fear about being rejected due to your sexuality, nor being ostracized because you expressed that you are straight. As a gay kid, only about 5 percent of your peers are also gay, and maybe only 1-2 percent are going to be comfortable admitting that to anyone. So romantically expressing interest in someone carries with it very significant, and sometimes dangerous, social risks. Even today, gay teens face legal, family and social risks in many places in the world that simply don't exist for straight teens.

Now, if you're someone who pays attention to a lot of LGBT fiction, you might (justifiably) think, "Oh, another story like this, I'm a bit tired of these." But quite frankly, most people aren't routinely reading LGBT fiction, and so a story like this will actually be one of their few experiences with a story that's told from the perspective of a gay teen.

The idea that struggling with identity is the same regardless of sexuality, gender or race is really kind of ridiculous. Coming of age as a white kid in a Puerto Rican neighborhood is different than being a gay kid in Seattle and both are different from being a black kid in western Kansas. There are some universal experiences, but each of those is really unique as well, and likely contains a story worth telling. To assume that all these stories are the same is to strip away the wonderful diversity that is the human experience in context of particular ages of life.

#221 Edited by DoctorWelch (2774 posts) -

@bjorndadwarf said:

There's actually a really dramatic difference between coming of age as gay and coming of age as straight. Most people assume that most kids are straight, and they are right most of the time. Therefore, as a gay teen, most people have already pigeonholed you as something you aren't. That represents stress and conflict, two of the sources of a good story. Second, if you are straight, then you can assume that roughly 95 percent of your peers are also straight and have no fear about being rejected due to your sexuality, nor being ostracized because you expressed that you are straight. As a gay kid, only about 5 percent of your peers are also gay, and maybe only 1-2 percent are going to be comfortable admitting that to anyone. So romantically expressing interest in someone carries with it very significant, and sometimes dangerous, social risks. Even today, gay teens face legal, family and social risks in many places in the world that simply don't exist for straight teens.

Now, if you're someone who pays attention to a lot of LGBT fiction, you might (justifiably) think, "Oh, another story like this, I'm a bit tired of these." But quite frankly, most people aren't routinely reading LGBT fiction, and so a story like this will actually be one of their few experiences with a story that's told from the perspective of a gay teen.

The idea that struggling with identity is the same regardless of sexuality, gender or race is really kind of ridiculous. Coming of age as a white kid in a Puerto Rican neighborhood is different than being a gay kid in Seattle and both are different from being a black kid in western Kansas. There are some universal experiences, but each of those is really unique as well, and likely contains a story worth telling. To assume that all these stories are the same is to strip away the wonderful diversity that is the human experience in context of particular ages of life.

You've proven my point in your second paragraph. If there were a lot of fiction that included gay characters that you didn't specifically seek out, the reaction would be as you've said. The public mind doesn't change to reflect fiction, in fact it's just the opposite. Therefore, if your goal is for gay characters to be adequately and equally represented in fiction, shouldn't they be portrayed in such a way, and also reacted to in such a way, that would communicate being gay as nothing special, weird, or out of the ordinary? That is my point.

That isn't to say that growing up or discovering oneself in controversial circumstances is completely uninteresting, but at the same time being gay, being black, being a woman, being a man, or being white is not something that stands up on its own as a special. The characters are gay. Who cares? Move on. Being gay and living with being gay is not by itself interesting. Unless of course you are saying that it is interesting, and that being straight and growing up to discover that you are straight is not interesting. Then you are directly saying that being straight and being gay aren't equal. You are saying one is clearly more interesting to create a story out of than the other. Which means you are directly opposing the ideal of equality in fiction to reflect society, which is my point.

#222 Posted by bjorndadwarf (18 posts) -

@doctorwelch said:

You've proven my point in your second paragraph. If there were a lot of fiction that included gay characters that you didn't specifically seek out, the reaction would be as you've said. The public mind doesn't change to reflect fiction, in fact it's just the opposite. Therefore, if your goal is for gay characters to be adequately and equally represented in fiction, shouldn't they be portrayed in such a way, and also reacted to in such a way, that would communicate being gay as nothing special, weird, or out of the ordinary? That is my point.

That isn't to say that growing up or discovering oneself in controversial circumstances is completely uninteresting, but at the same time being gay, being black, being a woman, being a man, or being white is not something that stands up on its own as a special. The characters are gay. Who cares? Move on. Being gay and living with being gay is not by itself interesting. Unless of course you are saying that it is interesting, and that being straight and growing up to discover that you are straight is not interesting. Then you are directly saying that being straight and being gay aren't equal. You are saying one is clearly more interesting to create a story out of than the other. Which means you are directly opposing the ideal of equality in fiction to reflect society, which is my point.

Your logic is rather mystifying. I didn't prove anything with my second paragraph other than you can oversaturate on any type of story. The same would be true if you had been reading a bunch of westerns, and then another western popped up. For people not used to stories set in the old West, it would be novel. For people who routinely read that fiction, it would not. The fact that you can oversaturate by seeking out a particular genre or story type does not inherently render a particular type of story uninteresting. I happen to be friends with a couple of LGBT writers who focus on those themes, which is the only reason that popped into my head.

I don't want to misconstrue what you're saying, but what you appear to be asking for is to ignore the real world differences in experience between gay kids and straight kids. You want to homogenize two things that are in fact different, with plenty of real world examples of how they are different. Also, how do you go about reaching this point of normalcy you argue for without going through a period of telling these types of stories? Part of the process of reaching this ambiguous equality you've claimed to want would be going through a period of telling stories from these perspectives.

#223 Edited by Red (5995 posts) -

I know I'm a bit late to the discussion, but I have to say that I'm very conflicted on the game as a whole. Aside from a few distracting conceits (clues as to what happened being laid across the house in chronological order, no one throwing anything away) the story is marvelously well-told and the game creates a fantastic atmosphere. There are small moments and details--the discarded manuscript with "Don't give up on this" written on it or Daniel's visit--that are deeply affecting and genuine. It's a great way to make a game completely grounded in reality but still entertaining. Also, as a child of the 90s, it played up my nostalgia very well.

That being said, I can't say I cared much for the love story at its core. I'm immediately biased against any high school romance, and the only real depth I found in the Lonnie/Sam relationship was the fact that it was a lesbian relationship, which I don't think counts as depth. It was a little too sweet and over-earnest and, unlike real relationships all of the couple's problems were with the people surrounding them and not with each other.

It's a very interesting game that I'm glad I played (less so that I paid full price for), but its core just isn't weighty enough for my tastes. Perhaps I was just misled by the fervor surrounding the game: its creepy tone and Brad's quick look comparisons to the Last of Us and BioShock Infinite had me expecting something a bit more complex.

#224 Edited by SgtSphynx (1496 posts) -
And that she's likely facing military jail time for having not shown up at bootcamp

Not necessarily, it all depends on the bus she got off of. If that was the bus taking her to basic training, yes, at that point she would have signed a contract and was facing jail time. However, if that was the bus that was taking her to the processing center (MEPS) than she would not be facing any jail time, because, at any time until you raise your right hand and swear in and then sign the contract, you can back out.

#225 Posted by bjorndadwarf (18 posts) -

@bjorndadwarf said:
And that she's likely facing military jail time for having not shown up at bootcamp

Not necessarily, it all depends on the bus she got off of. If that was the bus taking her to basic training, yes, at that point she would have signed a contract and was facing jail time. However, if that was the bus that was taking her to the processing center (MEPS) than she would not be facing any jail time, because, at any time until you raise your right hand and swear in and then sign the contract, you can back out.

I was actually just repeating what Gaynor said. He said it's mostly left to speculation about what happens to all the characters once the credits roll, players can decide on their own if they want. They don't have an official canon about what happens to each character after the end of the game. But one of the things on his mind in writing that portion was that a relative of his (an uncle I believe), actually did skip out on basic and spent some time in jail for it. He did intend for players to pick up that there may be legal consequences for her decision as one of the possibilities for her future. As the game leaves it ambiguous about exactly what point she left though, then if people prefer in their minds to think otherwise, that would be okay.

#226 Posted by Bones8677 (3267 posts) -

When I learned that Sam and Lonnie had run off together, am I the only one who got a new sense of dread? I mean sure, I was very much relieved that I didn't stumble upon a suicide pact, and am glad that they are both alive and well. But to just up and leave and presumably sell VCRs to fund their new life. Am I supposed to feel good about that? I mean, if this took place in the 60s or even the 70s, chances are they would either be dead or addicted to drugs, etc.

#227 Posted by Bones8677 (3267 posts) -

As far as this game having a 'gay agenda' I was afraid it was going down that road. Thankfully I don't feel like it did that when the credits rolled.

I was afraid that it would be overly preachy, and there were many signs that pointed to that direction. Lonnie's mother being a 'crazy christian,' the discarded Bible in the closet. The crucifix in the creepy passage. I felt like it was all leading to Christian Parents are bad people! And their bigotry will lead gay teens to suicide!

Thankfully when the parents discovered Sam's sexuality they didn't scream or say she was going to Hell or anything like that. They seemed more concern with her slipping grades, and didn't mind Lonnie visiting again, so long as her bedroom door wasn't locked.

I'm so glad that the game took the high road and didn't turn anyone into some villain for the sake of drama or to peddle a message.

#228 Edited by DoctorWelch (2774 posts) -

@bjorndadwarf said:

Your logic is rather mystifying. I didn't prove anything with my second paragraph other than you can oversaturate on any type of story. The same would be true if you had been reading a bunch of westerns, and then another western popped up. For people not used to stories set in the old West, it would be novel. For people who routinely read that fiction, it would not. The fact that you can oversaturate by seeking out a particular genre or story type does not inherently render a particular type of story uninteresting. I happen to be friends with a couple of LGBT writers who focus on those themes, which is the only reason that popped into my head.

I don't want to misconstrue what you're saying, but what you appear to be asking for is to ignore the real world differences in experience between gay kids and straight kids. You want to homogenize two things that are in fact different, with plenty of real world examples of how they are different. Also, how do you go about reaching this point of normalcy you argue for without going through a period of telling these types of stories? Part of the process of reaching this ambiguous equality you've claimed to want would be going through a period of telling stories from these perspectives.

Let's just forget the whole prove my point thing because it was more of just a representation of what I was talking about and the two things are kind of separate ideas all together. I was simply taking the fact that in that case fiction is drastically influencing a point of view when that rarely happens. It's almost always the other way around where fiction reflects society. So essentially my point is that if you are someone who wants gay characters to be seen as normal, you shouldn't praise stories like this for merely including a gay person dealing with being gay as something interesting enough to stand on its own because that is by definition saying it is not normal.

Lastly, I'm not really arguing for any set of ideals I have. What I'm saying is that people have stances of equality and normalcy, but don't actually know what any of that means. They have a set of values that they don't think through and then actually act in opposition to those values. Which is why I think stories like this are so gross. No one on either side is really thinking in depth about any of these problems. While the story may actually be interesting, it is also stating through its interest being focused on the fact that the person is gay that being gay is somehow inherently different, odd, and should be looked at as such. Then people all across the gaming community who so desperately want games to be art that speak to important problems see this focus on a gay person in a game and act as though it is some ground breaking achievement in video games to include a story about a gay person. When in fact, the very point of interest and reaction is often times the exact opposite of the "equality" many people fight for.

So my conclusion is the majority of people who play, review, and make games don't have the greatest grasp on these issues because the implication of what the story is saying is exactly the opposite of what people think it is. Maybe there were good intentions behind the people that made it, and even the people reacting to it as they have, but in my eyes it is still a gross grab at attention and importance through a poorly thought through development of characters that actually have no worth other than to point out the fact that being a gay person in and of itself is somehow interesting. All the while people react positively, although ignorantly, to the very inclusion of this in any game whether it be well thought out or not.

#229 Edited by lamaupin (1 posts) -

I really enjoyed the game, particularly as someone roughly the same age as Sam in the mid 90s, who grew up in the UK, but reading scads of US YA fiction, mainly Point Horror (full of creepy old house tropes, and quite a lot of 'actually it was some horrible kid winding everyone up/trying to murder people') and novels aimed at lesbian teens. In exactly ALL of those lesbian teen books, there was a Dreadful Thing at the end - can't remember if I read any with suicides, but it is a pretty well known trope that they'd end with one family moving several states away, or one half of the couple being raped, etc, or at best, the girl who isn't the main protagonist realises that she really likes boys after all and scorns our confused heroine. I get the impression that most players ran up to the attic, heart in throat, anyway, but I'm certain that in my case it was influenced by the fact that *all* the 'love stories' I read aimed at girls like me (okay, I'm actually bi, but it's pretty much impossible to find anything aimed at bi girls, even now, the only sort of bi YA characters seem to be the 'oh, it really WAS just a phase, hooray, boys!' ones) did end with Something Bad. So, to have it turn out that, while certainly running away from home with a trunk full of stolen goods isn't the smartest thing to do at 17, the girls were together, and alive, was pretty fantastic.

I disagree that Sam being gay was particularly supposed to be an inherently interesting thing - certainly no more than the fact that she was seventeen, or having her first love affair, or really, really liked Riot Grrl, or got into trouble at school. There was actually a lot less angsting than one might expect in a book of that sort, in that the girls became friends, and it wasn't complicated, and they flirted, and it was only a little bit awkward, and they kissed, and it was only difficult because they had to hide it (and got caught in the end). There was none of the usual pages and pages of agonising over whether She Might Feel The Same Way (although I imagine Sam went through that herself).

I don't know whether the writers/devs actually read books like Annie On My Mind and Happy Endings Are All Alike as research, but they couldn't have done it better if they had.

The other thing that really stood out for me was the way I started off looking at things, putting them back carefully, and moving on. As I got more worried about Sam, I started to be a bit more careless about putting things back in their own places. As I got into the kitchen (I think it was?) where we hear about her parents' "oh, it's just a phase, you've not met the right boy, blah blah" nonsense, I started to get angry with them, and just dropped things where I stood (even chucked a cup, although pretty feebly...) After I'd got to the end, I reloaded and went back to figure out some bits I'd missed, mainly with Oscar and Terrance. When I read the letter in the safe, and realised what the marks on the wall opposite, and the toy in the woodpile signified, and thought back to Terry's dad's letter... I knew I'd missed a couple of the journals, and when I went back to have another look around, I had Katie put things that I found out of place back in their rightful places, probably muttering 'sorry, Dad'.

This edit will also create new pages on Giant Bomb for:

Beware, you are proposing to add brand new pages to the wiki along with your edits. Make sure this is what you intended. This will likely increase the time it takes for your changes to go live.

Comment and Save

Until you earn 1000 points all your submissions need to be vetted by other Giant Bomb users. This process takes no more than a few hours and we'll send you an email once approved.