Brass Restoration, Opera Omnia, Kafka International

Good Morning Forehead Crusher


I guess the profound maturity and complexity of Persona 4 has sorta made me back down from my previous stridency regarding pop culture entertainment in Japan (although it's too bad some people can't handle the themes that are coming up in P4, I'm happy the designers had the guts to talk about these issues).  With that in mind, I took it upon myself to try playing a recently translated freeware title called Brass Restoration.  It's rough around the edges, and I have real trouble identifying with the protagonist, but the game's structure and its apparent heart have encouraged me to continue.

The visual novel a step removed from the narrative format where you do whatever you want (and struggling with parsers or inventory to get the game to recognize your genius).  Instead it's straight up text and pictures with decision gates.  That by itself can't make a good game, there has to be a good story or interesting characters along with it.  While it would be impossible for me to compare Brass Restoration to Persona 4, I'll say BR is actually fun to play.

And furthermore, if someone were to wipe out my knowledge of what the term Role Playing Game has come to mean, and then told me about the term, I would say that Brass Restoration gets as close as I've ever gotten to playing a role that's GIVEN to you, as opposed to a role you make yourself.  Your choices have consequences, and where the main character goes is usually a direct consequence of your choices, but the usual accoutrements we've come to expect from RPGs are absent.  It's just story and decisions, with some interesting characters and insight into the nature of coping with tragedy.

I can't say I'm very far into it, and I hope it doesn't become too crass, but so far it's fun, and a bit touching, too.

Thanks to TIGSource.

EDIT, Saturday:

Well I'm a lot further along.  I think some of the surreal elements definitely detract from what I originally thought was going to be more realistic fiction.  The translation is crazy vague, especially during some of the decision gates, making for some frustrating situations.  It also seems that saving doesn't necessarily bring me to the spot I saved at, more like to the current chapter.  It didn't seem to do that the first time I saved, but now I had to scroll forward a lot to get back to the page I was at when I left off.

The humor, though, is great, although I'm guessing I never quite understand some of the references due to the cultural gap.  I also keep thinking of the line from the Bloodhound Gang song "Why's Everybody Always Picking on Me?" (time index 2:22).  Over and over.  I wonder if the main character will ever realize the fact that is stated in the song.

EDIT, Later that Saturday:

Finished it, although it looks like there are tons more endings and things to unlock.  I'm a bit of a sap, so you can guess my reaction to the bittersweet ending I wound up seeing :'')  I'm still happy I'm capable of such emotion, I thought I'd forgotten how!

As far as the decision gates are concerned, there's tons more replayability and I'll definitely be going back to try out other routes.  For all its flaws, I can only see good things happening with this sort of game style.  I guess whether or not it's a game is the subject of some future blog post, but for now I'll just smile and sniffle :)

Yes, You Too Can Justify Anything!


Opera Omnia is a recently released independent game by author Stephen Lavelle, which was profiled in AV Club and TIGSource (the latter of which was linked to me by a friend).  Unless you want the whole thing ruined, I suggest you just try out the game and see what you think for yourself, since it won't likely take you too long (assuming you have the updated version) after you get used to the way the game wants you to think. 

I like it, and I really like the back story that plays out between a scholar-turned politician and his protegé, the protagonist.  This particular protagonist is a lot harder to identify with than the one in Brass Restoration, but at the same time his story speaks directly to the importance of history in our lives, even through this fiction setting.

I encourage you to check it out, because now I'm going to say a bit more about the final stages and resolution, which is why I wanted to post this.

SPOILERS

I thought the game was going one way, with the reverse time aspect actually being played prominently.  I could have sworn I understood it from that angle, as if the game itself were moving back in time.  Maybe I was right, and I'm just slow on the uptake.  If anyone has figured the plot out any deeper than I have, please comment below or send me a PM.  Beyond the banality of evil I'm afraid I didn't catch the subtext.  Maybe it was in the final thesis itself?

END SPOILERS

If you're still on the fence, I'll tell you that the basic game is one of meeting simple goals through a puzzle interface.  There are usually multiple ways to a solution, so the biggest puzzle is trying to figure out the strange angle you have to think from.  I still haven't completely wrapped my mind around it, but I did manage to complete it, so I'll testify that it's not too big a hassle, and it's an interesting little journey.  I doubt Opera Omnia would have gotten this much hype if it were a mainstream release, but I figure that every step forward, even a small one, is more interesting than the safer, pandering releases that get coverage all the time.

Actually, This Sometimes Feels Really Close to the Truth :)


Finally, I'd like to leave everyone with this, which has to be my new absolute favorite Onion video.  I will say I feel a bit weird about them co-opting Elisha Cook Jr.'s image from House on Haunted Hill, but I can't get over the amount of DETAIL they put into this.



This is like the perfect joke for someone like me, and I busted up when I realized who the anchor was!   (If the playback is as rough for you on this site as it is for me, just link through to the home page for a better rate.)

Have a good weekend everyone!

3 Comments
4 Comments
Posted by ahoodedfigure

Good Morning Forehead Crusher


I guess the profound maturity and complexity of Persona 4 has sorta made me back down from my previous stridency regarding pop culture entertainment in Japan (although it's too bad some people can't handle the themes that are coming up in P4, I'm happy the designers had the guts to talk about these issues).  With that in mind, I took it upon myself to try playing a recently translated freeware title called Brass Restoration.  It's rough around the edges, and I have real trouble identifying with the protagonist, but the game's structure and its apparent heart have encouraged me to continue.

The visual novel a step removed from the narrative format where you do whatever you want (and struggling with parsers or inventory to get the game to recognize your genius).  Instead it's straight up text and pictures with decision gates.  That by itself can't make a good game, there has to be a good story or interesting characters along with it.  While it would be impossible for me to compare Brass Restoration to Persona 4, I'll say BR is actually fun to play.

And furthermore, if someone were to wipe out my knowledge of what the term Role Playing Game has come to mean, and then told me about the term, I would say that Brass Restoration gets as close as I've ever gotten to playing a role that's GIVEN to you, as opposed to a role you make yourself.  Your choices have consequences, and where the main character goes is usually a direct consequence of your choices, but the usual accoutrements we've come to expect from RPGs are absent.  It's just story and decisions, with some interesting characters and insight into the nature of coping with tragedy.

I can't say I'm very far into it, and I hope it doesn't become too crass, but so far it's fun, and a bit touching, too.

Thanks to TIGSource.

EDIT, Saturday:

Well I'm a lot further along.  I think some of the surreal elements definitely detract from what I originally thought was going to be more realistic fiction.  The translation is crazy vague, especially during some of the decision gates, making for some frustrating situations.  It also seems that saving doesn't necessarily bring me to the spot I saved at, more like to the current chapter.  It didn't seem to do that the first time I saved, but now I had to scroll forward a lot to get back to the page I was at when I left off.

The humor, though, is great, although I'm guessing I never quite understand some of the references due to the cultural gap.  I also keep thinking of the line from the Bloodhound Gang song "Why's Everybody Always Picking on Me?" (time index 2:22).  Over and over.  I wonder if the main character will ever realize the fact that is stated in the song.

EDIT, Later that Saturday:

Finished it, although it looks like there are tons more endings and things to unlock.  I'm a bit of a sap, so you can guess my reaction to the bittersweet ending I wound up seeing :'')  I'm still happy I'm capable of such emotion, I thought I'd forgotten how!

As far as the decision gates are concerned, there's tons more replayability and I'll definitely be going back to try out other routes.  For all its flaws, I can only see good things happening with this sort of game style.  I guess whether or not it's a game is the subject of some future blog post, but for now I'll just smile and sniffle :)

Yes, You Too Can Justify Anything!


Opera Omnia is a recently released independent game by author Stephen Lavelle, which was profiled in AV Club and TIGSource (the latter of which was linked to me by a friend).  Unless you want the whole thing ruined, I suggest you just try out the game and see what you think for yourself, since it won't likely take you too long (assuming you have the updated version) after you get used to the way the game wants you to think. 

I like it, and I really like the back story that plays out between a scholar-turned politician and his protegé, the protagonist.  This particular protagonist is a lot harder to identify with than the one in Brass Restoration, but at the same time his story speaks directly to the importance of history in our lives, even through this fiction setting.

I encourage you to check it out, because now I'm going to say a bit more about the final stages and resolution, which is why I wanted to post this.

SPOILERS

I thought the game was going one way, with the reverse time aspect actually being played prominently.  I could have sworn I understood it from that angle, as if the game itself were moving back in time.  Maybe I was right, and I'm just slow on the uptake.  If anyone has figured the plot out any deeper than I have, please comment below or send me a PM.  Beyond the banality of evil I'm afraid I didn't catch the subtext.  Maybe it was in the final thesis itself?

END SPOILERS

If you're still on the fence, I'll tell you that the basic game is one of meeting simple goals through a puzzle interface.  There are usually multiple ways to a solution, so the biggest puzzle is trying to figure out the strange angle you have to think from.  I still haven't completely wrapped my mind around it, but I did manage to complete it, so I'll testify that it's not too big a hassle, and it's an interesting little journey.  I doubt Opera Omnia would have gotten this much hype if it were a mainstream release, but I figure that every step forward, even a small one, is more interesting than the safer, pandering releases that get coverage all the time.

Actually, This Sometimes Feels Really Close to the Truth :)


Finally, I'd like to leave everyone with this, which has to be my new absolute favorite Onion video.  I will say I feel a bit weird about them co-opting Elisha Cook Jr.'s image from House on Haunted Hill, but I can't get over the amount of DETAIL they put into this.



This is like the perfect joke for someone like me, and I busted up when I realized who the anchor was!   (If the playback is as rough for you on this site as it is for me, just link through to the home page for a better rate.)

Have a good weekend everyone!

Posted by Fade2Gray

Great video, I laughed myself to death the first time I saw it! I just recently started watching ONN and can't stop. It's the best thing since I found Revision3. I'm a huge news junkie so ONN feels almost like it was custom made just for me.

Posted by jakob187

KEFKA!!!


Oh, wait...sorry...you said something completely foreign.  I was over here hoping for an evil MIDI laugh.  =  /
Posted by ahoodedfigure

Kefka :) I guess I should have expected that :)