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Episode 1: To the Moon => To the Moon - Discussions => Topic started by: felipepepe on January 03, 2012, 01:39:04 PM

Title: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: felipepepe on January 03, 2012, 01:39:04 PM
So, I finished TtM this weekend and gotta say I was really loving it on the start. The humour is stupid and sometimes get in the way of the story, but that didn't bother me much. I was enjoying the couple's life, a nice mix of good & bad momments, that as the scientist said, "should be lived one momment at a time".

But them it gets ugly...The whole "going to the moon" was supposed to be a metaphor IMHO, a way for Johnny to remeber who he really is and be again the boy that understood River. I can picture a scene of her showing him the bunny and him saying that he see's the Moon, just like when they were little. That would be subtle and beatifull, would have made me cry.

I simply cannot understand why the autor decided to ruin the game by LITERALLY going to the Moon! A couple that loves each other would try to remain together at all cost, so why sacrificing YEARS of relationship just to literaly fullfill a metaphor? And why ressurect his brother? Instead of going for a deep & mature ending, it's just "magical science saves the day"!

I got seriously pissed off by this! I don't want a refund or nothing like that, just to understand why the author decided to do this...
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Just Lance on January 03, 2012, 02:07:23 PM
I'll also answer you IMHO ;) Don't worry it's not a waterfall of insults. :)
Well that's a good point but you're looking at it for the point of human. The machine doesn't have that kind of "imagination" to create a possibility like this. Yes Eva and Neil could modify it but that would take time and time is exactly what they lack in this kind of "business".
Also maybe they did sacrificed the years of his real life, but they created a whole new life where was John and River who end up together so they spend all those years in relationship anyway.
But that's my personal opinion as that one above is yours.
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: SenorKaffee on January 03, 2012, 02:12:39 PM
If you have a look at this thread, there is someone that has similar problems with the finale as you do.
http://freebirdgames.com/forum/index.php?topic=3671.0 (http://freebirdgames.com/forum/index.php?topic=3671.0)
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: felipepepe on January 03, 2012, 02:43:51 PM
Well that's a good point but you're looking at it for the point of human. The machine doesn't have that kind of "imagination" to create a possibility like this. Yes Eva and Neil could modify it but that would take time and time is exactly what they lack in this kind of "business".
Sorry, but I can't see how 'technical limitation' can be an issue when they raised a dead brother from the grave and created a whole new life where they literally go to the Moon...

Quote
Also maybe they did sacrificed the years of his real life, but they created a whole new life where was John and River who end up together so they spend all those years in relationship anyway.
And that makes the whole previous life seems "wrong". It was a beatifull but hard life, filled with good & bad momment, and the author erases all that so they can literally go to the Moon.

I know that they lived a whole life after that, but it feels forced, fake. That why I said that instead of a mature and metaphorical ending, we got and weak 'dreams come true' end...it seems such a waste of potential.
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Reives on January 03, 2012, 02:53:04 PM
Hm, interesting take. I personally didn't think them literally going to the moon (though in reality, they never did -- which makes it more of a tragedy the happier it seems) had any effect on the underlying meaning.

Even throughout Johnny's endeavor to go to the moon, never at any point was his real motivation a matter of planting a flag on the lunar surface -- all along, it was a matter of fulfilling the pact between him and River about reuniting on the moon if one were to get lost from the other. River got "lost" after she died, so in Johnny's subconscious and naive mind, she was waiting for him on the moon, which just happened to be the place they stated.

And that was where he aimed to go; not because of the moon, but because of her. In the process, it ended up with them going there together, because she was still alive in this realm and wanted the same thing, at least in his own mind.

I remember having a discussion about this in the private beta board back then too, actually. I think had the last scene been one where they were actually on the moon, then it would've rather demeaning in that manner. But in the last scene, the machine-construct flickered, and Johnny possibly realized that this wasn't real -- and as River held out her hand, he realized that it didn't really matter, because all he wanted was to hold her hand and see her one last time, even if it's like a mere dream. The moon merely makes a brief glimpse right before the game ends, as a nod to their naive childhood promise about to be fulfilled.


Man, that's probably the cheesiest and forwardest I've written about this so far, hahah. But aye, that was my own take on it; hopefully it helps a bit.
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: felipepepe on January 03, 2012, 03:16:23 PM
Thanks for replying here and on the other thread, and I see your point, but maybe is a matter "who was lost".

As I played and found out about Johnny's past, to me he was clearly the lost one. That's why he could not understand Rivers bunnys and why she snapped when she learned that when he invited her to the movies, he didn't remember they where together as kids.

To see him returning to who he was and recalling about everything would have made River come back to him too. As I write this now, I realize that to me, River was the person that was suffering the most and I wanted to see happy again, not Johnny. I wanted to finish the game to see River happy, beign understood by her husband. To see her vanish and be replaced by a "new" River that hardly says a line was very frustrating.

Perhaps this is where personal experiences comes to the interpretation...the point where the autor can't control its creation impact on people.
 
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Reives on January 03, 2012, 03:23:57 PM
Yeah, it's really frustrating indeed. And I agree that Johnny was the one lost, and this whole thing was more of a tragedy for River as opposed to Johnny -- and perhaps it's her who deserved the comfort more.

But one important fact: River's already dead.

The real patient here is Johnny. It's a situation where they had to choose between perhaps a discomforting option and one that's even worse. They can't bring the real River back and give her that peace, but they could at least make Johnny die happy. And I think at this point, had they revealed to Johnny what he had missed with River, he would be far from happy. And even more than that -- he would've been helpless to do anything about it now.

So instead, it was like a mere a shot of morphine for Johnny; except on some level, at least, it fulfilled something between him and River from what he missed.
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Merlandese on January 03, 2012, 03:34:47 PM
To see her vanish and be replaced by a "new" River that hardly says a line was very frustrating.

You say "new" River, but the River construction in Johnny's head was and always had been Johnny's mental version of her. His memories, like all of ours, had room for error and opinion. We can't be sure how much River was actually like that, so even if the "old" River was erased, it was never the "real" River. Like Reives said, that River's dead.

Furthermore, the "new" River was constructed only using Johnny's mind--the same palette used for that "old" River. In other words, Johnny got to make and live with River twice--both being interpretations of his own making--and through what felt to him like two entire lifetimes. Again: almost literally the girl of his dreams held his hand through two lifetimes. Johnny may not have remembered one of those lifetimes in the moment of his passing, but that guy was lucky.
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: felipepepe on January 03, 2012, 03:47:57 PM
But one important fact: River's already dead.
Yeah, I guess that's unchangeable and the reason for many storytelling choices. It's just hard too be aware of that limitation while playing.

In the end, even thought didn't ended up with a positive view of the overall game, I got deeply connected to River and her life with Johnny, so I guess that's something for a game writer to be proud. :)

Thanks for replying and good luck on your next game.
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: ryan-d on January 03, 2012, 10:34:58 PM
I simply cannot understand why the autor decided to ruin the game by LITERALLY going to the Moon! A couple that loves each other would try to remain together at all cost, so why sacrificing YEARS of relationship just to literaly fullfill a metaphor? And why ressurect his brother? Instead of going for a deep & mature ending, it's just "magical science saves the day"!
As I played and found out about Johnny's past, to me he was clearly the lost one. That's why he could not understand Rivers bunnys and why she snapped when she learned that when he invited her to the movies, he didn't remember they where together as kids.

To see him returning to who he was and recalling about everything would have made River come back to him too. As I write this now, I realize that to me, River was the person that was suffering the most and I wanted to see happy again, not Johnny. I wanted to finish the game to see River happy, beign understood by her husband. To see her vanish and be replaced by a "new" River that hardly says a line was very frustrating.

Hello, first-time poster (literally finished the game minutes ago), and this is exactly how I felt. The first 90% of the game blew me away. It was filled with so much poignancy and honesty. Which made the lack of catharsis in the ending was all the more frustrating.

The real patient here is Johnny. It's a situation where they had to choose between perhaps a discomforting option and one that's even worse. They can't bring the real River back and give her that peace, but they could at least make Johnny die happy. And I think at this point, had they revealed to Johnny what he had missed with River, he would be far from happy. And even more than that -- he would've been helpless to do anything about it now.

I understand this, but the ending didn't really give me the impression that Johnny was happy. I guess the first two acts built River up as central to Johnny's life - she was what made him happy. Going to the moon was cake decoration. The conflict in this story is a broken relationship - why is the resolution a shuttle launch? I feel I would have liked the ending better if it had dealt more substantively with Johnny's "new" relationship with River.

As an aside, I don't understand why Dr Rosalene had to move/remove River. Couldn't she have just prevented Joey's death, and created a less messed-up Johnny who remembers River and grows up to give her the kind of happiness he wanted her to have? He might have still applied for NASA and gone to the moon (fulfilling the doctors' legal obligations). Johnny would still have died happy, but the happiness in this case would stem from River, not from going to the moon.

Please don't take any of this to mean that I didn't enjoy the game. On the contrary, TtM had one of the best stories I've ever played through in a game. It was an amazing story about love and loss and selfishness and being human (also loved the quirky humour; the mini-games were a cute touch). I'm just frustrated because it had so much potential to be perfect.
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Merlandese on January 03, 2012, 10:54:25 PM
The conflict in this story is a broken relationship - why is the resolution a shuttle launch? I feel I would have liked the ending better if it had dealt more substantively with Johnny's "new" relationship with River.

The shuttle launch is Johnny's "new" relationship with River.

The first poster was disappointed that the shuttle launch (or going to the moon) was heavily symbolic for the need to fix the relationship, but was then turned literal. But the act of going to the moon retains that symbolism throughout the whole game, not just prior to the ending. The shuttle launch does represent that relationship. By showing Johnny and River in the manner you both seem to desire, that would be taking the theme and making it literal.

As an aside, I don't understand why Dr Rosalene had to move/remove River. Couldn't she have just prevented Joey's death, and created a less messed-up Johnny who remembers River and grows up to give her the kind of happiness he wanted her to have? He might have still applied for NASA and gone to the moon (fulfilling the doctors' legal obligations). Johnny would still have died happy, but the happiness in this case would stem from River, not from going to the moon.

You say he might still have applied for NASA, but that's not true. There was an entire scene where they tried to manipulate him into joining NASA, but he wouldn't. As long as River was there in High School for him to fall in love with, he wouldn't have the urge to meet up with her (go to the moon). So they had to get rid of her. With her gone, Johnny's psyche acted up (much like it did when she really died two years prior) urging him to visit the moon--albeit without conscience explanation. She had to be removed, otherwise he wouldn't miss her, and thus wouldn't try to meet up with her, and thus wouldn't want to go to the moon.

And awesome input, guys! Thanks for being so forward. We Freebirdians love talking/debating about the game (or at least some of us... whoops :p).
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Judedeath on January 04, 2012, 12:05:27 AM

But one important fact: River's already dead.


Old River was as dead as a doornail, this must be distinctly understood or nothing wonderful can come of the story I am about to relate.(Yes I have watched too much Christmas Carol)
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Merlandese on January 04, 2012, 12:29:13 AM
I often wish I could be as succinct as you, Jude.
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Crusism on January 04, 2012, 12:43:19 AM
Remember, Johnny taken a heavy overdose of beta blockers which interfere the function of certain neurotransmitters in the brain; leaving a permanent scar. Due to this, he suffered heavy memory loss.

The machine cannot stop this from ever happening. It's a medical problem.

The same goes for River's illness with the lack of funds and what she wishes for. It's a finance problem which couldn't be avoided due to Johnny's profession.

The reason why Joey could've been saved is because Dr. Eva Rosalene emitted the scene without Joey being the victim; preventing his death in Johnny's memories.

For this scene, Eva couldn't use River for any purpose to push John to his dream as she would be a distraction. Therefore, she was just merely brought to another place. A place where she could continue accordingly to Johnny's memory to pursue her aim to go to the moon to be reunited with John as promised to meet each other during an earlier memory.

Joey would be with John to walk him through his dream to go to the moon so he wouldn't be alone and perchance give up midway. And the beta blockers still had an impact on John and even though his mother didn't go crazy and his brother didn't die in his new memories. So John could not remember the promise, but he felt the need to go to the moon. Since Joey survived the earlier memory, he was able to remind and encourage John.

That's how they both end up going to NASA because they were both away from each other and were focused on getting to the moon whether concious or not about meeting each other.

It's true, River is dead and it's sad that all the real memories with River that could have or not have any sense of hardships were removed in the process; saying "not have" because it's a possibility and sometimes shown that John didn't try hard enough to care in if which he did, he could've either saved River or giving him no need to regret or feel lost bringing the need of him going to the moon in the first place.

But realistically, he's only human to feel the need to relive a different ending. The protagonists, mostly Eva's part, did successfully give him the cake whether real or not, and that we have no right to say if he deserves or not. In the end, John is happy whether he realises it's real or not, and that's all that matters.

Lastly, we all - if not, most - sympathised River and wished or hoped at least that a fragment of those real memories with her were kept or probably some cheesy 'win everything' ending; though is would be wrong of us to wish for due to the true factuality of life and the fact that if it did end like that, it would've felt like a retarded slap to the back and I would've disliked this to a great extent. And technically, River did die happy knowing that John kept his promise to give company to Anya with the house built there as well as taking care of River as she went off; possibly even knowing that John realised to go to the moon if he was to ever lose her.

This is a great and beautiful story not because it had the perfect ending but a believable and valuable ending. An ending which is real and can be learned from. An ending that felt complete. And an ending which was best from all possibilities.

I've honestly been trying to find and express what was this game was to me. I probably can't describe it any better but here it is,


In life, we do things. Some, we wish we had never done and some we wish we could replay a million times. They make us who we are and, in the end, they shape and detail us. If we were to reserve them, we wouldn’t be the person we are today. So, just live. Make mistakes and have wonderful memories. But, never second guess who you are, where you’ve been and, most importantly, where you’re going.
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Mav on January 04, 2012, 04:54:01 AM
I think You missed something.

1. Whole game is a metaphor for our lives ;)
2. Our doctors had to "deliver" Johnny to the Moon, LITERALLY,  because of contract they signed. And they are professionals, aren't they?
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: ryan-d on January 04, 2012, 10:30:30 AM
But realistically, he's only human to feel the need to relive a different ending. The protagonists, mostly Eva's part, did successfully give him the cake whether real or not, and that we have no right to say if he deserves or not. In the end, John is happy whether he realises it's real or not, and that's all that matters.

Lastly, we all - if not, most - sympathised River and wished or hoped at least that a fragment of those real memories with her were kept or probably some cheesy 'win everything' ending; though is would be wrong of us to wish for due to the true factuality of life and the fact that if it did end like that, it would've felt like a retarded slap to the back and I would've disliked this to a great extent. And technically, River did die happy knowing that John kept his promise to give company to Anya with the house built there as well as taking care of River as she went off; possibly even knowing that John realised to go to the moon if he was to ever lose her.

I appreciate the responses and I can understand this sentiment. I understand that the point of the entire procedure is to make John happy, not River. My point is that while I was playing through the ending, I did not feel that John was at all happy. The way I saw it, physically going to the moon was never Johnny's dream. In the last accessible memory, he can't remember why he wants to go to the moon, but we as the players know - it's because he wants to regroup with River. He and River are both lost, disjointed, and some part of him remembers this. What he really wants is to be with River again, perfect and whole, the way they were meant to be.

In the ending we were given, the focus was not on River - it was on the shuttle launch. The shuttle launch is not Johnny's new relationship with River. It's a shuttle launch! River gets relegated to the sidelines with no exposition whatsoever. What I wanted to see was only hinted at in the ending - the flashing sepia sequences of his new life (on Earth, outside NASA) with River - one that he can live fully and completely without the childhood trauma of his brother's death holding him back.

That was Johnny's perfect life, not being an astronaut (at least, I didn't feel there was any evidence that he actually wanted to physically go to the moon, not before the desire was implanted. He never expresses any enthusiasm for actually being an astronaut. The only time he ever expresses this idea is in relation to meeting River again). I'm not arguing that he should keep his "old memories" or that he should be denied a happy ending. What I'm saying is that I don't see how going to the moon is a happy ending at all.

There's no cake in this ending. Only emptiness.

Edit: Crap, just realized there are two threads running on this topic. If a mod or someone could tell me which thread I should be posting on that would be great so the discussion'll be easier to follow.
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Crusism on January 04, 2012, 02:51:46 PM
He did get his cake with his new memories. He relives his life with his twin brother. And by being an astronaut, he got to meet River, not the same but still meaningful, and had sufficient funds to build the house next to the lighthouse, Anya. Even enough to prevent River from possibly suffering her fate. Through this, spending the rest of his memories with her to the very end.

If Eva failed to fulfill the legal obligations, both Neil and Eva would lose their job or worst, and Johnny would've died empty regardless. At the same time if Eva just did it blindly and didn't do any proper planning, John would've just went to the moon with nothing to hold for in his memories. And considering that they could only transfer his latest desire as a drive which was unclear of its reason, Eva had to take a risk. The risk that would mean everything to John.

Therefore, John relived his life with a desire which he couldn't understand until he went through with it. As whether he was happy or not, I felt that he was. And if not, then at least in peace.

Though, I think the focus is on this topic. No need to swap. Oh yeah, forgot. Welcome to the forums.
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Merlandese on January 04, 2012, 03:30:18 PM
Edit: Crap, just realized there are two threads running on this topic. If a mod or someone could tell me which thread I should be posting on that would be great so the discussion'll be easier to follow.

I think this one's preferred.
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: felipepepe on January 04, 2012, 03:50:10 PM
If Eva failed to fulfill the legal obligations, both Neil and Eva would lose their job or worst, and Johnny would've died empty regardless.
Question is, isn't metaphorically going to the Moon enough for the legal obligations?

That's the whole point of our frustration, why not recreate the first time they met, with both characters looking at the moon and Johnny remebering everything?It would even be great to show why the scientist failed to make "kid" johnny want to literally go to the Moon.

We start the game wanting to send him literally to the moon. Then we learn it was just a metaphor made by River, that makes a lot of sense. But still the scientist send him literally to the Moon!
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Crusism on January 04, 2012, 04:08:00 PM
It was already explained at the start to Lily, John's caretaker.

Manually writing entire memories will take too long or most likely impossible due to having too many dimensions. Because of that, the machine is left to do its work. Taking the latest desire and sending it as a drive to an early memory. Small changes can be done here and there.

Eva can't stop the beta blocker incident from ever happening so she covered it as if it never happened by preventing Joey's death but that doesn't mean the effects from the same beta blockers will be gone as it left a permanent scar to all early memories. There was no way John could remember why he thought of going to the moon.

Also, it was John was the one who promised River that if they lost each other, they would meet at the moon. River just held on to that. When they met together during school, she saw no reason to go to the moon anymore as John was already with her. And as it all followed up, they had finance problems to solve both River's illness and her wish.

Saying again, Eva took the risk to get both of them to meet up at NASA by letting the machine do the work after the changes she did. With the funds John and River probably had from retirement or whatsoever, they had enough to handle everything and lived together to the end of John's new memories. And from the looks of it, John is happy.

As for metaphorically going to the moon being enough, I doubt it. Contracts are very strict. You'd be surprised how many people get fired everyday by trying to do workarounds that may seem so. And if there's one thing I learnt in life is that workarounds aren't always the best idea. It would've been sort of half-!$#ed.

As going to the moon, well that's a bonus. Perfect place for the honeyMOON.
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Merlandese on January 04, 2012, 04:19:54 PM
I'm personally having trouble understanding this. I'm going to quote Ryan-d, but only to help me illustrate my question.

...he can't remember why he wants to go to the moon, but we as the players know - it's because he wants to regroup with River.

Here, it seems that you understand that a trip to the moon is a metaphor for fixing the broken relationship with River.

Quote
The shuttle launch is not Johnny's new relationship with River. It's a shuttle launch!

Here, you abandon that metaphor entirely, implying that the symbolism can not co-exist with a literal representation of that trip.

Why?

If going to the moon is a metaphor for a perfect relationship with River, what could be a metaphor for getting there? Using the same type of symbolism, I'd say a shuttle launch.

In the end sequence, that launch is shown almost in parallel with the building of a relationship with River, symbolizing that they are one and the same. (They even focus on them holding hands!) And they also show the metaphorical moon landing--Johnny and River in old age.

But they never show the literal moon landing, do they? Only the metaphorical.

In general, what about the ending sequence prompts the abandonment of the metaphor? Because I saw it carried all  the way to the end.
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Wulfsten on January 04, 2012, 04:33:37 PM
Yeah, it's really frustrating indeed. And I agree that Johnny was the one lost, and this whole thing was more of a tragedy for River as opposed to Johnny -- and perhaps it's her who deserved the comfort more.

But one important fact: River's already dead.

The real patient here is Johnny. It's a situation where they had to choose between perhaps a discomforting option and one that's even worse. They can't bring the real River back and give her that peace, but they could at least make Johnny die happy. And I think at this point, had they revealed to Johnny what he had missed with River, he would be far from happy. And even more than that -- he would've been helpless to do anything about it now.

So instead, it was like a mere a shot of morphine for Johnny; except on some level, at least, it fulfilled something between him and River from what he missed.

Seems like the discussion's moved here, so I guess I will too!

I pretty much agree with Felipe. The key tension and conflict in the game's narrative seems to me to be the dissonance between River and Johnny. She folds paper rabbits, asks him to throw hackey sacks at the moon, and makes him promise to build a house in a significant place because she is trying to tell him something desperately important in the only ways she knows how.

This tension is finally resolved in a scene that had me choking up when the fundamental misunderstanding leading to this dissonance is revealed. At this point, I fully expected the tragedy that befell Johnny early in his life to be cast as a price he pays for a true, honest connection with River. For the life they led together, which is now recast with perfect clarity. For their ACTUAL life, which is the one that both Johnny and we, the players have connected with so closely.

All the mysteries are revealed to us in retrospect (the rabbit, the hackeysack, etc.), but they are robbed from Johnny, and replaced with a fictional pastiche account that presents River to us as a total stranger, devoid of any sort of context. At the precise moment when he could have relived his troubled life with River and finally understood her completely, the woman he fell in love with and the life he led is replaced by a facsimile orchestrated by a woman (Dr. Rosalene) who seems as interested in correct paperwork as she is in the happiness of a dying man.

I think the fundamental disagreement between us is that you think that the revelation of these mysteries would have made Johnny unhappy; the realisation that he had never fully understood her because of a stupid accident in his youth and some cruel medication. I understand what you're saying, but I couldn't disagree more. The realisation of the true meaning of everything his wife (who loved him to the end) did, and the understanding of the full depth of her love for him (all her problematic behaviour was an attempt to reconnect with him, after all), would make for an incredibly satisfying and touching ending. What is ostensibly a tale about sheer reckless escapism ("Wanna go the the MOON!") would instead be subverted into a validation of life's value, warts, troubles and all.

Instead it goes through and does fulfil the promise of cheap escapism after all. You say that the final experience Johnny went through boiled down to a shot of morphine, and I agree. That's why it disappointed me. Because it could have been something tremendously more meaningful, both to Johnny and us.

Sorry if this was way too long and boring to read.
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Merlandese on January 04, 2012, 04:46:52 PM
I think that's really well said, Wulf! And I see how you can imagine that the knowledge would make Johnny happy, rather than unhappy. But I would imagine (or, that is, I do imagine) that the realization of all of River's actions, love and meaning would make him feel tremendously helpless.

He'd finally understand what his wife was trying to tell him two years after there is no longer any way for him to rectify the issue, or make it up to her. He may even go so far as to think that his ignorance was something he had control over, and that he was neglecting her for years. Understanding the value of what River was supposed to mean to him would also highlight the fact that, throughout their entire relationship, he never understood her. And now that he does understand her, she's dead.

I think it would be emasculating right at the instant in his life when he wanted pleasure.
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Reives on January 04, 2012, 04:56:15 PM
I think the fundamental disagreement between us is that you think that the revelation of these mysteries would have made Johnny unhappy; the realisation that he had never fully understood her because of a stupid accident in his youth and some cruel medication. I understand what you're saying, but I couldn't disagree more. The realisation of the true meaning of everything his wife (who loved him to the end) did, and the understanding of the full depth of her love for him (all her problematic behaviour was an attempt to reconnect with him, after all), would make for an incredibly satisfying and touching ending. What is ostensibly a tale about sheer reckless escapism ("Wanna go the the MOON!") would instead be subverted into a validation of life's value, warts, troubles and all.

It's true, but I think that's a rather one-sided take on the matter. Johnny would certainly be happy that all along, River did indeed care about him after all, and all those things were for him -- that would certainly bring a lot of self-fulfillment.

But what about River? As Felipe pointed out, throughout these whole events, River was the one who was the most displaced, and it was Johnny who was lost. And to give Johnny that previous self-fulfillment would also result in giving him an even greater regret and realization -- the exact same feeling that Felipe had about it; except even worse, because he would know that all the suffering she went through was, to many extents, because of himself.

The fact that his wish was centered around River is certainly a testimonial to how much importance he personally places on her, so I think it'd be a fair guesstimate that such a burden would destroy him.
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Crusism on January 04, 2012, 05:03:24 PM
I like the tension in this topic. Makes it feel like a lively debate. I would suggest we would do this in chat but that would avoid the long comprehensive posts.

But yes. As I said before regardless of how selfish it felt of John to wish to relive, he's human and it's rational to understand that he deserves and has right to at least some measure of happiness even though he could've probably acted ahead and avoided River's death or not feel any regret after her passing. Also, I felt more connected to River's all-too-sad realisation.

The real reason why we should be happy for John is that at least he unconsciously wanted to make amends in the end in some way to honour his memories with River. And that showed enough that John truly loved her.
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Reives on January 04, 2012, 05:12:29 PM
Huh, I thought it's just a normal discussion with different opinions and whatnot. :p But just in case: Please don't feel like there's any hostility or anything, guys! Discussions like these are awesome; it helps me and everyone else to see things from different perspectives, and bring important subjects to my attention for future episodes too. :)
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Crusism on January 04, 2012, 05:25:24 PM
Hostility? Hmm, I didn't really feel anything like that at all other than just replying back as how I usually do. Am I exhibiting any signs of enmity or any of that sort?

But... *cough* any tips of what the next episode might be about...?

Hah! Just joking. Though it's good to hear from you.
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: ryan-d on January 04, 2012, 05:30:49 PM
He did get his cake with his new memories. He relives his life with his twin brother. And by being an astronaut, he got to meet River, not the same but still meaningful, and had sufficient funds to build the house next to the lighthouse, Anya. Even enough to prevent River from possibly suffering her fate. Through this, spending the rest of his memories with her to the very end.

Welp, different takes I guess. I understand all of this logically, through lots of thought and hindsight, but the way it was presented didn't resonate with me emotionally. It's great that in his new memories, Johnny got to grow up with his twin brother - but Joey wasn't the character that was built up in the first half of the story. River was. It's great he became an astronaut, but this was never what Johnny really wanted in the first place. River was. It's great that he had enough funds to build the house, but financial/housing problems aren't the core of this story. River is, and she didn't get enough airtime in the ending.

It's hard to quantify precisely why this was so frustrating for me. I've been thinking it through and trying to break it down and I think the best I can come up with right now is this: the first two acts made me care about Johnny and River (and once again I have to add that it did this beautifully) because they were so broken. River was hurt and incapable of expressing herself, Johnny was bewildered and helpless. I wanted to see their problems resolved. Not their physical problems (lack of funds, ill health, etc) but their emotional relationship. I wanted to see Johnny being able to relate to River, I wanted to see River at peace, I wanted to see them tangibly happy. Other than the final shot in the shuttle, there is no... intimacy in the ending.

Take the scene where Johnny is playing the piano at NASA. This is a clear parallel to the original scene where he plays the piece for River in their house. But compared to that scene, the NASA scene has so much more distance between the two characters. River is standing in the crowd, watching John. They don't interact. It's not even clear he wrote the piece for River (or was the title change meant as a nod towards their rediscovered shared childhood memory?).

I get that they're probably happy and perfect and enjoying each other's company off-screen, but as a player I was left with the feeling of things being unresolved.

Here, you abandon that metaphor entirely, implying that the symbolism can not co-exist with a literal representation of that trip.

Why?

If going to the moon is a metaphor for a perfect relationship with River, what could be a metaphor for getting there? Using the same type of symbolism, I'd say a shuttle launch.

I believe the abandonment of the metaphor is felipepe's issue, but I'll answer this as far as it's addressed to me. Yes, going to the moon is a metaphor for a perfect relationship with River. In a metaphor, the literal interpretation is less important than the figurative one - here, the relationship with River is what Johnny cares about, not actually going to the moon. What I wanted to see was that relationship being fulfilled, not the literal space-travel. Yes, the ending given presented both, but undue weightage was given to NASA and the shuttle launch in preference to the relationship with River. As felipepe has pointed out, River has maybe all of two lines in the new memory. It's just not satisfying.

Oh yeah, forgot. Welcome to the forums.

Thank you :)

Edit: Wow, six new replies while I was writing this. Apologies if this post missed anything.
Edit again: Everything Wulf said :D
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Zombieva on January 04, 2012, 06:30:04 PM
Quote
I think the fundamental disagreement between us is that you think that the revelation of these mysteries would have made Johnny unhappy; the realisation that he had never fully understood her because of a stupid accident in his youth and some cruel medication. I understand what you're saying, but I couldn't disagree more. The realisation of the true meaning of everything his wife (who loved him to the end) did, and the understanding of the full depth of her love for him (all her problematic behaviour was an attempt to reconnect with him, after all), would make for an incredibly satisfying and touching ending.

Imagine for a moment that you are in John's position. You've lived your entire life with a wife who seems to have issues with making emotional connections and has an obsessive hobby -- making countless origami rabbits, day in and day out. You love her dearly, but the relationship is stressing you, and what's worse is that you feel like you owe her something, but you don't have a clue as to what.

If you were shown how to right every wrong in that relationship, whether it be the problem with the rabbits or that of her apathy, but this information was revealed to you while you were dying, two years after she passed away... would you really be happy knowing that problem stemmed from you? That she was trying to make connections, but you couldn't see it?

I don't know about you lot, but I damn well wouldn't.

The point is, the magic of To the Moon's ending is the fact that it actually holds true to their wish, in a sense. If you're a kid and you're talking about going to the moon some day, you're not going to have matured enough to understand any figurative meaning behind that. If you say, "Then we'll regroup on the moon, silly!" you're going to take that as literally going to the moon.

There was a metaphorical meaning later on, yes, but you have to realize that John didn't see that side of his desire due to the overdose of beta blockers. His subconscious mind still had some reasonable understanding of it, and that's why the only thing he remembers is wanting to go to the moon, literally. River might see the metaphor behind it because she remembers, but John doesn't.

That's my take on it, anyway. I'm quite fond of the ending; it's much more realistic to me than John suddenly remembering everything.

Edit: Also, I feel the need to point out (though it's been said before, but hey) that River was happy when she died, because John actually went through with building their house over with Anya. That was her dying wish, and it was granted. In John's memories, River's situation can't be helped, and I don't see why it would need to be, as she presumably died happy.

Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Crusism on January 04, 2012, 06:43:36 PM
It's hard to quantify precisely why this was so frustrating for me. I've been thinking it through and trying to break it down and I think the best I can come up with right now is this: the first two acts made me care about Johnny and River (and once again I have to add that it did this beautifully) because they were so broken. River was hurt and incapable of expressing herself, Johnny was bewildered and helpless. I wanted to see their problems resolved. Not their physical problems (lack of funds, ill health, etc) but their emotional relationship. I wanted to see Johnny being able to relate to River, I wanted to see River at peace, I wanted to see them tangibly happy. Other than the final shot in the shuttle, there is no... intimacy in the ending.

I get what you mean and you know what's funny? A week ago, I actually wished that there were hardships between John and River shown, more than just the frank backstory. To show that John was strong by River's side. When I was playing, I felt like there should've been several subsections of the memory to make it more detailed before proceeding further into an earlier memory.

As I kept playing to the end, I felt utter most sympathy for River even though she died happy and felt like the story shown John at his worst at most times. I felt that John could've acted but didn't want to which led him to be oblivious to everything that was happening. I felt like he shouldn't have been selfish; in fear, doubt and care. Along with going on like nothing was wrong. And worst of all, I resented him at the end.

Of course I understood and wanted him to get the ending which I think he deserves and I was happy when he did get it. But until this day, it never felt right because none of it was real.

From the start to the end of 'To The Moon' to me as I describe it to be brilliant, valuable, realistic, mature, beautiful and superb. I'll even say that this story has one of the few best endings I've had with an interactive story since the 90s. I insulted myself for thinking that this game was going to be some kind of mediocre. Heck, I'll probably pay twice for the next episode if my budget is enough during that time after seeing what other pieces of art Reives and his gang have cooked up.

But I couldn't help it but to feel like the plot was using River just as a tool in order for John to be happy. Everything sentimental that meant a lot to this relationship was thrown on the floor and stepped on. Though I wished the ending to be a dream, to allow both John and River to go through everything we hoped for and to see a happy ending, it would never happen like that. Because if it did, the ending would carry no meaning and this story would've crash down hard.


'To The Moon' teaches a lot of valuable lessons and touches controversial topics that are meaningful. Because of this, the best ending is not the one that sucks up to most people, it's the one that mattered. And I'm thankful enough that it ended as that with both of them passed away and meeting up as children with the stars because no matter what, they got that happy ending to be together for real.
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Merlandese on January 04, 2012, 06:46:37 PM
... but undue weightage was given to NASA and the shuttle launch in preference to the relationship with River. As felipepe has pointed out, River has maybe all of two lines in the new memory. It's just not satisfying.

I suppose this is more an issue because we have the doctors' perspective, but I can dig. That NASA weight is something we players had to deal with in order to complete the doctors' mission. Even though it's implied that Johnny and River's new life was long and happy, the ending didn't expose us to enough of that to satisfy, is that right? I can certainly appreciate that sentiment. Thanks for the clarification, Ryan-d!

Huh, I thought it's just a normal discussion with different opinions and whatnot. :p But just in case: Please don't feel like there's any hostility or anything, guys! Discussions like these are awesome; it helps me and everyone else to see things from different perspectives, and bring important subjects to my attention for future episodes too. :)

^-- This.
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Crusism on January 04, 2012, 06:59:13 PM
No worries Merlan, I doubt this topic would become some kind of shooting flame wars fest where in the end we all kiss. Unless you want to skip the shooting and go to the family kissing?  :vikonsmile:
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Wulfsten on January 04, 2012, 08:59:25 PM
I think the fundamental disagreement between us is that you think that the revelation of these mysteries would have made Johnny unhappy; the realisation that he had never fully understood her because of a stupid accident in his youth and some cruel medication. I understand what you're saying, but I couldn't disagree more. The realisation of the true meaning of everything his wife (who loved him to the end) did, and the understanding of the full depth of her love for him (all her problematic behaviour was an attempt to reconnect with him, after all), would make for an incredibly satisfying and touching ending. What is ostensibly a tale about sheer reckless escapism ("Wanna go the the MOON!") would instead be subverted into a validation of life's value, warts, troubles and all.

It's true, but I think that's a rather one-sided take on the matter. Johnny would certainly be happy that all along, River did indeed care about him after all, and all those things were for him -- that would certainly bring a lot of self-fulfillment.

But what about River? As Felipe pointed out, throughout these whole events, River was the one who was the most displaced, and it was Johnny who was lost. And to give Johnny that previous self-fulfillment would also result in giving him an even greater regret and realization -- the exact same feeling that Felipe had about it; except even worse, because he would know that all the suffering she went through was, to many extents, because of himself.

The fact that his wish was centered around River is certainly a testimonial to how much importance he personally places on her, so I think it'd be a fair guesstimate that such a burden would destroy him.

I take your point, it probably would be a difficult thing to experience. But to me this seems to be a case of truth being beauty. The lie that is constructed and presented to Johnny has no meaning because it has no truth to it. It's simply the product of elements of Johnny's mind jumbled up and straightened out into a more pleasing order. My feeling was, both when I was playing the game and on further reflection, that it would have been far more significant, meaningful, and positive if Johnny had found a way to make his peace with his life.

I feel that from a narrative point of view, that's what you want out of a story about a man's death. You want the threads to come together, and you want the character, even if he's on the point of dying, to have grown and changed, and travelled some distance. After all, nothing is a more significant climax than a certain death, and the ending to that should tie together the whole narrative to give a sense that all its parts meant something, both to the characters who lived them and to the players who experienced them.

Instead it became a pure deus ex machina, a last-ditch escape from the awkwardness of his married life into an imaginary reality where things are much simpler and brighter. But it can't help but feel like a dull brightness, if not to Johnny, then to the player.

Again, please don't mistake my comments for animosity. Although I'm conflicted, I did love the game, and I guess the fact that I'm here discussing it is testament to how special a thing you've really created!
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: SenorKaffee on January 05, 2012, 07:30:13 AM
From what I read it sounds like River suddenly pops up naked in Johnny's room without that pesky Aspergers syndrome and they are totally happy for the rest of their lifes. That's not the ending that was in my game.

When my ending started, I felt very sad. Eva sounded so tired in the scene before that, having to follow the words of a contract rendered totally meaningless by what they found in Johnny's childhood memories. Seeing Johnny reunited with his brother was sweet, but he was always alone, there was no other River to keep him company on his life journey while his brother seemed to do very well.

Then there she was, and suddenly I felt very proud of Johnny. His image of the real River created a strong woman, capable of getting into NASA on her own. He found the music in his life again, symbolized by the public performance. I'm not sure when they fell in love again, but I'm sure it wasn't before River heard "her" song.

When the simulation started to glitch, because the real Johnny was in his last moments, River took his hand. It was like she was at his deathbed, saying without words -  "Everything's alright".

Beautiful. Just beautiful.

Happy endings without hardships are hollow. But both River and Johnny earned their happy ending. The player earned this happy ending.

Don't overthink it. I nearly fell into that trap with "OH NOES NOW LILY AND HER CHILDREN ARE HOMELESS Y U NO THINK OF THE CHILDREN". :D
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: felipepepe on January 05, 2012, 08:15:19 AM
I feel that from a narrative point of view, that's what you want out of a story about a man's death. You want the threads to come together, and you want the character, even if he's on the point of dying, to have grown and changed, and travelled some distance. After all, nothing is a more significant climax than a certain death, and the ending to that should tie together the whole narrative to give a sense that all its parts meant something, both to the characters who lived them and to the players who experienced them.

Instead it became a pure deus ex machina, a last-ditch escape from the awkwardness of his married life into an imaginary reality where things are much simpler and brighter. But it can't help but feel like a dull brightness, if not to Johnny, then to the player.
I think that sums up nicelly.

I know some people said that having Johnny understand that part of River suffering was because of him and that he can't do anything to change that would have been harsh. I agree, but he would still understand how much she loved him! To make a person realize he was loved his entire life is a much greater achievment than just giving him a fake fairy tale ending where everything is perfect!

To use a silly comparison, is like chosing to stay in "the Matrix" instead of facing lifes hardships. I know that lots of people would actually prefer that, but that "weakness" of will is not what I expect on a beatiful love story...
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Judedeath on January 05, 2012, 10:21:58 AM
Don't overthink it. I nearly fell into that trap with "OH NOES NOW LILY AND HER CHILDREN ARE HOMELESS Y U NO THINK OF THE CHILDREN". :D

lol I totally saw him giving them the house coming XD

Also I'm really liking reading this, I'm not that big on this heavy discussion though, but I am really enjoying reading it.
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Wulfsten on January 05, 2012, 01:11:55 PM
From what I read it sounds like River suddenly pops up naked in Johnny's room without that pesky Aspergers syndrome and they are totally happy for the rest of their lifes. That's not the ending that was in my game.

Neither was that the ending in mine. Barring the nakedness and the lack of Asperger's, though, she did essentially pop up suddenly in NASA and they did go on to be totally happy for the rest of their lives.

Then there she was, and suddenly I felt very proud of Johnny. His image of the real River created a strong woman, capable of getting into NASA on her own. He found the music in his life again, symbolized by the public performance. I'm not sure when they fell in love again, but I'm sure it wasn't before River heard "her" song.

When the simulation started to glitch, because the real Johnny was in his last moments, River took his hand. It was like she was at his deathbed, saying without words -  "Everything's alright".

Beautiful. Just beautiful.

I understand what you're saying, but the fact of "his image of the real river" is precisely what I'm trying to say. It's unsurprising that he imagined River entering his life at some point in the fantasy; she was, after all, probably the most important person in his life. It's unsurprising that he imagines River is the kind of person who might, during a problematic moon launch, turn and hold his hand. We're not learning very much about Johnny's conception of River, here, just that he thinks highly of her.

Meanwhile, the player has gone through the entire game revealing the secrets and tensions in their real life, and the complexity of their relationship. Then at the end we're presented with the realisation that none of it, in effect, matters, because Dr. Rosalene's going to go ahead and fabricate a new fantasy altogether.

I agree that the final hand-holding was a touching moment, but it was out of place, and without context. This isn't the real River, of course, but neither is it anything close. It's just a jumbled mix of his recollections of a woman he once loved. Reives said that in sum, this makes for a lovely final shot of morphine, and I agree, but this cold comfort doesn't do as much to satisfy the player as it could have.
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Crusism on January 05, 2012, 03:31:36 PM
I agree that the final hand-holding was a touching moment, but it was out of place, and without context. This isn't the real River, of course, but neither is it anything close. It's just a jumbled mix of his recollections of a woman he once loved. Reives said that in sum, this makes for a lovely final shot of morphine, and I agree, but this cold comfort doesn't do as much to satisfy the player as it could have.

I agree with you, however;
When I read a story, I don't look for satisfaction in the end. If I wanted satisfaction, I would've wanted something that would've made us all happy. But if it did, I wouldn't have given it the praises it deserves.

A good ending from a good build up of the story doesn't always bring satisfaction to the viewers. Endings like those gain their reception mostly by feeding on the emotions of their viewers with deception. When in reality; melodramas, miracles and the constant gain of the ideal never happens and turns out wrong. In short, it would've been as bad as fan service.

To me, 'To The Moon' has a good, beautiful and tragic ending because it shows how real people would have faced this matter. Both the protagonists and the subjects at their hand. And even though it felt bitter and sad in the end, I can say and acknowledge that something good happened. With that, I'm happy with how it ended.




Speaking of something else,
The real thing to truly debate is the fact that why was Neil so helpless in the end against Eva when he's the technician expert of the team? I mean it was obvious why he couldn't do anything about sucking up to those olives because he didn't want to bust his cover and waste time to reset the memory. But seriously, throw pots?!!?
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Merlandese on January 05, 2012, 04:18:08 PM
It seems to me that the few who didn't approve of Johnny's "fake life" ending don't really have an issue with that story in particular, but with the technology. It appears to me (though possibly incorrectly) that these people put so much stock in the real events of a person's life (and not unduly) that this story could have been totally different and they still wouldn't approve of anything less than the doctors leaving the patient with all of their memories, realizing that what they are doing is destroying lifetimes, and quitting their job.
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: felipepepe on January 05, 2012, 05:27:17 PM
It seems to me that the few who didn't approve of Johnny's "fake life" ending don't really have an issue with that story in particular, but with the technology. It appears to me (though possibly incorrectly) that these people put so much stock in the real events of a person's life (and not unduly) that this story could have been totally different and they still wouldn't approve of anything less than the doctors leaving the patient with all of their memories, realizing that what they are doing is destroying lifetimes, and quitting their job.
No, you are missing the point.

I wanted to see those memories to be "improved", but not replaced. As you erased his whole life and created a new, I, as a player, got the feeling that I'm not watching the end of the movie I was enjoying, just another movie with the same actors.
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Merlandese on January 05, 2012, 10:08:18 PM
I wanted to see those memories to be "improved", but not replaced.

That replacement is the point of the technology, though. It isn't meditative therapy designed to enlighten the patient about their lives; it's a swapping machine. It alters a link in the chain and allows the patient to rebuild the rest instinctively.

I completely understand that you wanted Johnny's life to be "improved" in the manner you've stated/implied previously, but I think that's a resolution not intended of the device or the practice. With no intention of sounding offensive or stubborn, at the moment, I still think the main issue you and perhaps some of the others have taken is with the technology. It seems you might prefer that it works as a memory projector, allowing the patient to witness the beautiful points of their life like a slideshow. Though that would be awesome (especially in Johnny's case considering that he was blind to so much of it), it's not that.
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Crusism on January 06, 2012, 02:56:31 AM
I completely understand that you wanted Johnny's life to be "improved" in the manner you've stated/implied previously, but I think that's a resolution not intended of the device or the practice. With no intention of sounding offensive or stubborn, at the moment, I still think the main issue you and perhaps some of the others have taken is with the technology. It seems you might prefer that it works as a memory projector, allowing the patient to witness the beautiful points of their life like a slideshow. Though that would be awesome (especially in Johnny's case considering that he was blind to so much of it), it's not that.


The machine doing all the work was the base of story. To me, it was the golden concept. It's getting someone happy by letting them replay their life with their latest desire. Sure, the protagonists has done a few changes here and there but it's not rewriting the entire memory. They just did little changes to let big changes happen.
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Tumbles on January 06, 2012, 04:14:26 AM
When the simulation started to glitch, because the real Johnny was in his last moments, River took his hand. It was like she was at his deathbed, saying without words -  "Everything's alright".

Beautiful. Just beautiful.

Happy endings without hardships are hollow. But both River and Johnny earned their happy ending. The player earned this happy ending.

Don't overthink it. I nearly fell into that trap with "OH NOES NOW LILY AND HER CHILDREN ARE HOMELESS Y U NO THINK OF THE CHILDREN". :D

^--This.

Whether your take on the ending is a happy or tragic one (or both), it still doesn't take away from the fact that it's a great ending. Enjoy it for what it is, because nothing will change it :)

As a side note, I'm really enjoying reading this topic. There's been some great points :)
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Reives on January 06, 2012, 06:27:01 PM
Eep, sorry guys, I've been sucked into way too much paperwork in the past couple of days and got behind here. :P I'll try to squeeze a few responses in:

To use a silly comparison, is like chosing to stay in "the Matrix" instead of facing lifes hardships. I know that lots of people would actually prefer that, but that "weakness" of will is not what I expect on a beatiful love story...

The entire foundation of the game's premise is choosing the red pill -- everyone who signed up for the service essentially chose a fake but blissful artificial construct over a harsh but actual reality. I'm actually a little surprised by the quote, because I think an important point of the story was the fact that Johnny precisely wasn't exactly a strong-willed hero. On many levels, he was selfish, and this wasn't exactly meant to be a perfectly threaded love story as much as something simple as to make an old man die happy.

To quote one of your posts from the other thread:
I wanted to see River showing him the bunny and asking what he see's, and him replying 'the Moon'!

The problem with that is, if Johnny remembered that, River wouldn't have been making the rabbits in the first place. In a way, Eva and Neil are kinda like genies -- they can move people around, freeze/unfreeze them and the like, but they can't change their free will or mind. Johnny's memory of the moon was concretely pressed into the subconscious, and not even a life time, including River handing him that final rabbit, could've brought it back. It's not something that they could've helped.

And even if they could have, again, the River who "benefits" from such a fix is not the real River who actually suffered.


I think it's important to note one of the big issues that initiated Eva's conflict to begin with: They are on a signed contract to send Johnny to the moon. I'm not sure if you've any personal experiences with them, but the bureaucracy within corporations are like a gigantic sticky net. And with something like this, the legal implications are seriously significant.

Isn't it the case that, in many developed countries, the hospital cannot perform a potentially life-saving procedure even with emergency victims being rolled in until someone with the right has signed the consent? We're talking about changing someone's memories here, with a predefined term that the patient himself signed. And as Eva said, there are a lot of alternate tangents other than what the patient asked for himself that would make them "happier" or make things more "perfect" -- it's the case in every case and patient. But that doesn't give the doctors the rights to personally play God with them as they see fit.


Instead it became a pure deus ex machina, a last-ditch escape from the awkwardness of his married life into an imaginary reality where things are much simpler and brighter.

I personally can't see how it was a deus ex machina. To be as such would mean something just swooped down from nowhere, without any logical implications from previous events, and saved the day. But what happened with Eva's move was pre-planned with a logical consistency (I think, at least) with everything that lead up to it.
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Reives on January 06, 2012, 06:35:46 PM
Hm, I think something that has been one of the spawning points of the different points of view is what this whole procedure meant for Johnny's old life.

Personally, I don't think giving him this new set of memories resulted in his real memories becoming a nil matter. Everything that has happened, happened. Whether he had a clear recall at that one short point at the end doesn't change that. And I think even then, it's not exactly "erased" -- if it had been, then his real wish wouldn't even have been affecting his new life, which was obviously not true for Johnny to take that path to see River again. If anything, the old memories were merely bumped to the subconscious, much like the origin of his desire to go to the moon.

I'd like to think of it as a second run at life, as opposed to re-writing the first. I think it's much more morally acceptable as well, regarding this particular topic.
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Merlandese on January 06, 2012, 06:54:18 PM
And I think even then, it's not exactly "erased" ... If anything, the old memories were merely bumped to the subconscious, much like the origin of his desire to go to the moon.

Interesting that you say that, especially because a perfect example of this concept is present in the game. Beta Blockers (or the relatively under-developed version we know today) work exactly like that. They don't erase memories (many believe erasing memories is impossible) but rather block them or lessen their importance mentally (like how the dinner you had three years ago this day is never truly forgotten, but is so unimportant it's likely you'll never recall it again).

Hypothetically, the end results of the technology have instances that mirror the effects of the Beta Blockers. If players are introduced to this idea in the game, and seem to have no issue with it when it's presented, it shouldn't be so hard to accept the possibility of it occurring again--that is, that the lifetime memories are buried rather than destroyed.

Instead it became a pure deus ex machina, a last-ditch escape from the awkwardness of his married life into an imaginary reality where things are much simpler and brighter.

I personally can't see how it was a deus ex machina. To be as such would mean something just swooped down from nowhere, without any logical implications from previous events, and saved the day. But what happened with Eva's move was pre-planned with a logical consistency (I think, at least) with everything that lead up to it.



That's the second time someone's said that, and I agree with Reives. If we can even be having a discussion on how these last events came into play, it can't possibly be a deus ex machina. With deus ex machina, there's nothing to theorize about--it just happened to wrap things up. But because there are ongoing conversations involving the deeper meaning or the decisions that lead up to it, it's not deus ex machina.
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Zombieva on January 06, 2012, 07:01:57 PM
Quote
Instead it became a pure deus ex machina, a last-ditch escape from the awkwardness of his married life into an imaginary reality where things are much simpler and brighter. But it can't help but feel like a dull brightness, if not to Johnny, then to the player.

A deus ex machina is a plot device in which a seemingly unsolvable issue is resolved with something coming straight out of the blue to save the day, no? If memory serves, the ending being so "perfect" was brought about by the fact that River was so utterly important to John that he, himself, brought her into his new life.

Edit: I agree with Merlandese and Reives. Wait, if I was ninja'd, why did I bother...?

Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Judedeath on January 06, 2012, 07:05:28 PM
I can't link to the exact time but http://penny-arcade.com/patv/episode/deus-ex-human-revolution (http://penny-arcade.com/patv/episode/deus-ex-human-revolution) 2:30 in.
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Merlandese on January 06, 2012, 07:26:55 PM
I'm now addicted to that show, Jude.
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: felipepepe on January 06, 2012, 07:30:09 PM
I'm actually a little surprised by the quote, because I think an important point of the story was the fact that Johnny precisely wasn't exactly a strong-willed hero. On many levels, he was selfish, and this wasn't exactly meant to be a perfectly threaded love story as much as something simple as to make an old man die happy.
Humm, you're right. You know, discussing a story with its writer is a very interesting experience. The clash between what I wanted to see and what you wanted to show made me realize various points about the plot. Gotta say those details I overlooked helps understanding the story better.

Even so, I just a spoiled human, and I still wanted to see that scene with River showing Johnny the bunny. ;)
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Wulfsten on January 06, 2012, 10:26:38 PM

Personally, I don't think giving him this new set of memories resulted in his real memories becoming a nil matter. Everything that has happened, happened. Whether he had a clear recall at that one short point at the end doesn't change that.

This is exactly why I think it's still a brilliant game. Everything that happened to Johnny in his life was communicated artfully, with a spectacular subtlety of touch and emotional warmth.

Concerning my deus ex machina comment, I accept that from a factual point of view, Eva's actions did lead on logically from her experiences in Johnny's memory throughout the game. The thing that makes it feel like a deux ex machina to me is that Johnny's "new" life with River doesn't seem to have any connection to his previous life (beyond, as you stated, Johnny's subconscious longing for River), and does in fact, simply swoop down from above (the "deus" in this case being Dr. Rosalene and Dr. Watts, which is quite apropos considering the whole "playing god" thread of this conversation :P)

Yes, Johnny clearly does long for River, and as you said, that's why she ends up appearing in his "new" life. That's a lovely thought. But that's all it is, a thought. It's not a real set of experiences that we as the player can experience and get behind. That set of experiences, that the game so lovingly recreates, is left behind and, quite literally, forgotten. And so we as players end up feeling a bit forgotten, too! That was quite literally the entirety of the game for us to that point!

I understand that the ending makes perfect sense in terms of the premise; it's not unbelievable to me that that series of events would unfold the way it did. I'm arguing from the point of view of some (clearly not all) players, who might have felt that the characters in the game should have given more respect to Johnny's life experience. Failing that, the game itself should have recognised a bit more fully the tragedy of erasing this man's well-lived life from his memory. The cutscene with the beautiful sung melody was very fitting; I was right on board with that. But then there's a clean break in tone and we're expected to accept that the "new"life is the happiest possible ending.

I'm not saying there definitely should have been a different ending, just perhaps that the present ending should've been treated a little differently...
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Merlandese on January 06, 2012, 11:03:43 PM
I think that's one of the sparkling ideas in Reives' decision to make the doctors our continuous eyes in the series. It may not have been obvious with the end of this game, but this experience will still live with the doctors, and we, as players, will certainly feel the resonance of Johnny's life in new titles--even if it isn't explicit. Because whether his memory was changed or not, Eva and Neil are now the only people who hold those memories and know that story. In a way they now carry the burden of the legend, of the truth, and of the heart of that patient. So it still happened, and it was definitely forgotten by Johnny, but Eva and Neil remember.
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: HooHah on January 07, 2012, 03:24:15 AM
Hello,

I just finished To The Moon and I'd like to weigh in my thoughts on the story.  The build up of John and River's story was superb.  I was deeply invested in their life together.  However, I felt that my emotional investment in these two characters was betrayed by the story's resolution.  I understand that the tragedy of River's life was irreversible as she had already passed.  John, on the other hand, although he did not fully understand why, he was seeking to do right by their life together with what little time he had left.  I think that by erasing her life from his mind, Neil and Eva completely dishonoured her memory.  The reason why John and River's story touched me so greatly is that it is relatable.  I am married and can see myself on my last days living with a few regrets.  Even so, the last thing I or my wife would want is for me to erase our years together and replace with it a falsified version of our lives.  The River that Johnny held hands with on the space shuttle was not her.  The real River (or at least as "real" as a fictional character represented by a 2D sprite can be, anyways) was the one that suffered from a mental disorder from a young age.  She was the one that tried so desperately to get John to remember their first meeting as children and their promise to one other.  She was the one who ultimately lived a happy life with him and had her dreams fulfilled.

I would like to have seen John retain his genuine memories and ultimately travel to the Moon.  There he would have remembered as best as he could the reason why he wanted to go in the first place, and in doing so, find himself at peace with the full memory of her intact.  Of course, I am not suggesting that this should have been the ending.  That would be inappropriate as the story is a product of artistic expression, but that is the happy ending that I would have preferred.

Overall, it was a great game.  It was very refreshing change to play a game made with such genuine, heartfelt emotion.
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Zombieva on January 07, 2012, 03:58:19 AM
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I think that by erasing her life from his mind, Neil and Eva completely dishonoured her memory.  The reason why John and River's story touched me so greatly is that it is relatable.  I am married and can see myself on my last days living with a few regrets.  Even so, the last thing I or my wife would want is for me to erase our years together and replace with it a falsified version of our lives.

You might be forgetting that John willingly agreed to have his memories altered to conform with his wish. Neil and Eva didn't replace his memories because they felt like it, they replaced them because they were contracted to do so by a completely willing client. They didn't exactly have a choice -- I do see where you're coming from, though.

Also, as stated prior, they didn't exactly erase his original memories as much as they shoved them into his subconscious mind, in a sense. That might be the reason why I don't see the issue with the game's ending, actually -- changing his memories didn't rewrite the past, it just changed one human being's perception of it. It still happened.

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The River that Johnny held hands with on the space shuttle was not her.  The real River (or at least as "real" as a fictional character represented by a 2D sprite can be, anyways) was the one that suffered from a mental disorder from a young age.

I'm quite sure River was still suffering from her condition in John's new memories, actually. At least, it seems like it, considering she still has issues with making eye contact and communicating with others. That's irrelevant for the most part, I just felt the need to point it out.

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I would like to have seen John retain his genuine memories and ultimately travel to the Moon.  There he would have remembered as best as he could the reason why he wanted to go in the first place, and in doing so, find himself at peace with the full memory of her intact.

Except that's pretty much impossible. Even remembering what happened "as best as he could" would have left him without a reason. The effects of beta blockers are not things you can curb. They leave a permanent scar on the memories of those that take them, so all John would be left with if he "remembered as best as he could" would be... nothing. All he knows is that he wants to go the moon, because that's something he remembered subconsciously.

The only way it would really work out like that is if someone (River, for example) explained what happened to him, but even then, he would be trusting them on blind faith alone, and he probably wouldn't be particularly comfortable believing it. That sort of ending just wouldn't work out logically.

Come to think of it (this is looking back at the previous arguments against the conclusion of TtM), the ending you lot seem to want is much more of a deus ex machina than the actual one. Or is that just me?


Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Crusism on January 07, 2012, 08:50:02 AM
"If life could be easily changed, it would be taken for granted. But to relive it is to lose everything to work from the start."


The value of life exists because of the price where the price could be anything. What the machine does is give that sense of happiness with the price of forgetting everything from your previous memories. To take the latest desire of the first line worth of memories, using one check point and ditch them to let the patient relive anew with that desire along with little changes that allow the patient to maintain the direct goal. Thankfully, questions concerning moral ethics are already answered for.


I would like to have seen John retain his genuine memories and ultimately travel to the Moon.  There he would have remembered as best as he could the reason why he wanted to go in the first place, and in doing so, find himself at peace with the full memory of her intact.  Of course, I am not suggesting that this should have been the ending.  That would be inappropriate as the story is a product of artistic expression, but that is the happy ending that I would have preferred.

That would've been impossible even if the beta blockers didn't happen. Why would he want to go to the moon, when he's already with River where as the reason to go to the moon was to find each other if they were lost? We can't ask for everything, for much miracles are followed by many misfortunes.
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Merlandese on January 07, 2012, 06:28:30 PM
Come to think of it (this is looking back at the previous arguments against the conclusion of TtM), the ending you lot seem to want is much more of a deus ex machina than the actual one. Or is that just me?

Yeah, I agree. All parts of the current ending were set up and executed logically. The ending they want would require dismissing all of that logical build up and replacing it with an emotional satisfaction that would drop from the sky on a chariot and rescue Johnny.
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Crusism on January 07, 2012, 10:26:16 PM
Come to think of it (this is looking back at the previous arguments against the conclusion of TtM), the ending you lot seem to want is much more of a deus ex machina than the actual one. Or is that just me?

Hmm, good point.

Yeah, I agree. All parts of the current ending were set up and executed logically. The ending they want would require dismissing all of that logical build up and replacing it with an emotional satisfaction that would drop from the sky on a chariot and rescue Johnny.

:P Didn't I say something similar to that in Page 3 and earlier?

Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Merlandese on January 07, 2012, 10:42:29 PM
Haha! Probably! XD I think I've said my opinion with as many of my own words as I could already. Now I'm just starting to repeat your stuff! :p I think I'll cut out of this thread and leave the rest to you guys. I can't be any more clear without sounding repetitive.
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: ryan-d on January 07, 2012, 10:58:46 PM
Come to think of it (this is looking back at the previous arguments against the conclusion of TtM), the ending you lot seem to want is much more of a deus ex machina than the actual one. Or is that just me?

I think you should be wary of conflating all the different opinions here. Speaking for myself, for example, I don't think that John's memories shouldn't have been replaced or that he should have learned of River's love for him.

Anyway, I spent about half an hour drafting another post but I think I've already posted most of what I wanted to say, and evidently not everyone had the same emotional reaction I did to the ending. Let me just state three points:


That's about it. Obviously not everyone feels the same way, but that's how I feel. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have an essay to finish. Good luck everyone!
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Zombieva on January 07, 2012, 11:38:16 PM
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I think you should be wary of conflating all the different opinions here.

It's difficult not to, considering the amount of posters in this thread (apologies if I confuse one user's opinion with another, though). In the post you quoted, I was referring to those who had called TtM's ending a deus ex machina, not everyone opposing the ending on a whole.

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Emotional satisfaction doesn't necessarily imply a "cop-out" or "fan-service". Catharsis can result from a tragic ending as well - what's important is resolution. The conflict in the story needs to be resolved.

Personally, I think To the Moon accomplished that. As I see it, the main conflict of the story is the issue between River and John, and while the way it was dealt with might not have been the best solution, that was resolved and taken care of.

In all honesty, it depends on what you see as the conflict of the story. Otherwise, it's reasonable to say it was resolved in one case, but not reasonable the next.

We're all starting to sound like broken records. >>
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Wulfsten on January 08, 2012, 12:29:56 AM

  • Just because a story is internally consistent and has a logical progression doesn't mean it's a good story. A story should also be cathartic, or emotionally satisfying.
  • Emotional satisfaction doesn't necessarily imply a "cop-out" or "fan-service". Catharsis can result from a tragic ending as well - what's important is resolution. The conflict in the story needs to be resolved.
  • TtM's ending didn't make me feel that way because of its lack of focus on the relationship between John and River that had been the focus of the story prior to the ending.


Brilliant post, I pretty much agree with everything said here.

I, too, specifically didn't want to suggest an alternate ending, mostly because it wasn't my work of art and so it's not really my place to. I can only comment on where it left me and where I felt it didn't quite live up.


As the person who first started talking about deus ex machina, I feel I should try to defend my usage of the phrase here a little (although I agree about the broken record bit!). The ending of the game felt like a deus ex machina to me because it pretty much made a clean break with everything that we had learned about River up to that point, and started from scratch.

The hackey sack, the folded rabbits, River's condition and its toll on their relationship, as well as the brave (if flawed) ways Johnny tried to cope, all that was gone. None of it was necessary for the space story ending fantasy; River's actual life with Johnny could have been completely different and it wouldn't have had an overlarge impact on the content of the ending fantasy. This is what I mean when I say it was devoid of the vast majority of the game's context to that point (the only remaining part being Johnny's general affection for a person called River.)

It was also a deus ex machina in terms of how this plot event was introduced. Dr. Rosalene suddenly realises what she has to do, and quite apart from it being a dawning realisation that this was the logical or narrative inevitability of all events leading up to that point, we are as confused as Dr. Watts is as to why Dr. Rosalene is choosing to do this, and we are asked to simply trust her. Fair enough, but when later that trust is disappointed (as it was to "us lot" as Zombieva refers to us :P), it feels like a plot device more than a decision which fits into either the characters or the narrative in a satisfactory way.

It would have been perfectly possible to have an ending which wasn't deus ex machina. It would have needed to not only preserve the context and characterisation and narrative to that point, but resolve it in a satisfying or cathartic way. This might involve retaining most of Johnny's memories (since that forms the entirety of the plot before the ending), and resolving the various threads of tension and mystery presented to us throughout the game in some sort of revealing or satisfying (though not necessarily happy) way. This, to my mind, would feel a lot less like deus ex machina since the conclusion would be reliant on the content of the previous 4 hours of gameplay, as opposed to independent of it.

Another way it could have been more satisfying would be if the ending were kept identical (deus ex machina and all), but were cast in a tragic, or at least semi-tragic light. This would give the players the space to feel that the decisions made by Dr. Rosalene were, or might have been, terribly wrong (dishonouring River's memory, as  ryan-d says). As it stands, you're welcome to feel that the Doctors' decision was wrong (and I do), but the game clearly implies that you should be feeling really happy for him and generally consider this to be the best possible ending. This alienates the player from the game a little, which is a shame since it had done such a great job of being emotionally intimate to that point.

Apologies for a definitely tl;dr post.
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Zombieva on January 08, 2012, 01:23:06 AM
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The ending of the game felt like a deus ex machina to me because it pretty much made a clean break with everything that we had learned about River up to that point, and started from scratch. The hackey sack, the folded rabbits, River's condition and its toll on their relationship, as well as the brave (if flawed) ways Johnny tried to cope, all that was gone. None of it was necessary for the space story ending fantasy; River's actual life with Johnny could have been completely different and it wouldn't have had an overlarge impact on the content of the ending fantasy. This is what I mean when I say it was devoid of the vast majority of the game's context to that point (the only remaining part being Johnny's general affection for a person called River.)

The hackey sack, origami rabbits, and the ways John coped with the issues were gone -- that's something that can't be argued with. But they were only gone from his memories (oh, boy, now I really feel like a broken record), and the fact that his perception of the past changed did not change the past itself. They still lived through all of these struggles and hardships. I don't know why, but I always feel the need to stress that even when it's been mentioned a hundred times over.

On the other hand, though, a lot of evidence points to River still suffering from her condition. She still has problems with making eye contact, and her communication skills are still lacking. These could just be aspects of her personality, but the way I see it, she's still afflicted.
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It was also a deus ex machina in terms of how this plot event was introduced. Dr. Rosalene suddenly realises what she has to do, and quite apart from it being a dawning realisation that this was the logical or narrative inevitability of all events leading up to that point, we are as confused as Dr. Watts is as to why Dr. Rosalene is choosing to do this, and we are asked to simply trust her.

Pretty much. I can't imagine she would willingly tell Neil what she was up to, else he would reset the memory over and over to keep her from doing her job (proven by the fact that Neil tries and fails to reset the memory when River is dragged out of it).

I personally find that being left in the dark made that part of the game more [in]tense, considering the way you don't know the full details of her plan (though educated guesses can be made), though it's hinted that what Eva is up to is something to dread.

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That's not what makes it deus ex machina. It's the fact that the plot and characterisation to that point is rendered irrelevant by the ending. The original example of a titanic war which ends when god simply smites one side inevitably leads to the question "well what was the point of doing all that stuff in the first place, if you're just going to go ahead and do that!?".

The characterization probably would have been rendered utterly pointless with a lot of alternate life tangents, to be honest. River would need to be introduced later (thus nullifying the characterization) with almost all of them as well, considering John's wish and the requirements that needed to be met for the whole thing to come together and work.

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It would have been perfectly possible to have an ending which wasn't deus ex machina. It would have needed to not only preserve the context and characterisation and narrative to that point, but resolve it in a satisfying or cathartic way. This would probably involve retaining most of Johnny's memories (since that forms the entirety of the plot before the ending), and resolving the various threads of tension and mystery presented to us throughout the game in some sort of revealing or insightful light, or in some way making them unravel and settle in a pleasing (though not necessarily happy) way. This, to my mind, would feel a lot less like deus ex machina since the conclusion would be reliant on the content of the previous 4 hours of gameplay, as opposed to independent of it.

It would be difficult to execute that kind of ending without inadvertently making it a deus ex machina, because the entire conflict of the game is built upon the fact that John can't remember. There probably is an ending that would be "perfect", but at that point, I think the development required for it would add an extra four hours of gameplay.

I'm actually quite fond of the fact that the ending is the way it is, because it just shows how utterly selfish one can be -- to throw away an entire life with their significant other just to achieve their own life goal, I mean. I feel that those aspects of it are what make it more real and believable than any other alternate life tangents mentioned up until this point.

An ending like the one you lot guys seem to want would have seemed... I don't know, more fairytale-like than the real ending. To me, anyway. The in-game ending is more realistic, which is the one of the reasons I'm so fond of it.

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Another way it could have been more satisfying would be if the ending were kept identical (deus ex machina and all), but were cast in a tragic, or at least semi-tragic light. This would give the players the space to feel that the decisions made by Dr. Rosalene were, or might have been, terribly wrong (dishonouring River's memory, as  ryan-d says).

Lots of people think Rosalene's decision was terribly wrong without prompting from the game itself. :P

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As it stands, you're welcome to feel that the Doctors' decision was wrong (and I do), but the game clearly implies that you should be feeling really happy for him and generally consider this to be the best possible ending. This alienates the player from the game a little, which is a shame since it had done such a great job of being emotionally intimate to that point.

It's supposed to be considered one of the best endings because it fulfills John's wish. The entire premise of To the Moon seems sort of selfish, honestly, so it's only natural that it would focus on making John as happy as possible. After all, why wouldn't he be? It might not be the same life or the same River, but he's still with her again.

... come to think of it, though, doesn't going to the moon with River somewhat nullify the point of going there in the first place?

Well, my apologies for bringing about yet another redundant TL;DR post. These debates are just too fun.
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Reives on January 08, 2012, 02:15:37 AM
Okay, hang on guys, I think we got a gap in the point of the discussion here. :P

  • Just because a story is internally consistent and has a logical progression doesn't mean it's a good story. A story should also be cathartic, or emotionally satisfying.
  • Emotional satisfaction doesn't necessarily imply a "cop-out" or "fan-service". Catharsis can result from a tragic ending as well - what's important is resolution. The conflict in the story needs to be resolved.

I don't think anyone argued either of that -- stating that something was logically consistent doesn't mean that it necessarily translated to its effectiveness because of that. And I agree with the utmost importance of emotional resonance and catharsis in a story.

But I think we're talking about the wrong thing here: The problem here isn't a matter of logic vs. emotions; it's that what some found to be cathartic wasn't found as so by others, which is expected by the very nature of the subject.

The ending of the game felt like a deus ex machina to me because it pretty much made a clean break with everything that we had learned about River up to that point, and started from scratch.

The hackey sack, the folded rabbits, River's condition and its toll on their relationship, as well as the brave (if flawed) ways Johnny tried to cope, all that was gone. None of it was necessary for the space story ending fantasy; River's actual life with Johnny could have been completely different and it wouldn't have had an overlarge impact on the content of the ending fantasy. This is what I mean when I say it was devoid of the vast majority of the game's context to that point (the only remaining part being Johnny's general affection for a person called River.)

I think that's one of the major differing takes on the story between us. It seems like you felt that everything that was shown before then meant nothing because of the new memories. But for me, the new memories were built atop the existing ones. The whole journey backwards throughout Johnny's life was stating the reason for his simple, final wish.

In fact, if it were done such that they kept Johnny's life similarly and essentially just "edited" it by adding that Johnny remembered River, then that would've rendered his real memories more meaningless by implying that it was version 1.0 which got patched by version 1.1.

i.e.

Case 1:
Real life: original life
Second life: A fixed original life.

Case 2:
Real life: original life
Second life: second life

The difference being that the first case implied that the original life was put on a patch to overwrite the original, where as the second case used the second life to extend that of the first. It's a matter of a patched version of the original, vs. a continuation built on some foundations that were only established by the first -- which was the case, since the stepping stone to achieve what he did in the second life was only possible because of his first, which would mean that his first did have an utmost importance even after the insertion.

----------------------

Hahah, I'm not even sure if that made sense. But having written all that, it doesn't matter one bit. Because this is a matter of emotional response -- and that's something that discussions and debates wouldn't change. What you felt was what you felt, and what I felt was what I felt.

The most we could do with this is to communicate the basis on which we felt those things. But even then, no amount of reasoning could change either of our opinions -- my emotional response to the scenes is as alien as yours to mine; but that's okay. :) As long as we all realize that, it's a positive thing. And really, I think with that being said, there's not much we can do here other than repeating how we legitly felt about how things went from our own perspectives.
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Reives on January 08, 2012, 02:24:11 AM
Mm. . . Okay, since the story of this game's one that's rather personal to me, I thought I'd just add a final note, from my own, personal perspective as I wrote it:


When John held River's hand in the end, of course it wasn't the real River, in more ways than one.

But to John himself, in his mind, it was the River. The projection meant the River to him. And seeing her again meant seeing the River again to himself.

And in the end, that's all he asked for. He didn't want to fix all those things that could be fixed throughout their life, and he didn't want to "optimize" every outcome to provide the maximum amount of happiness to everyone.

He just wanted to hold her hand one last time before dying.
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Raxus on January 08, 2012, 02:52:03 AM
Woah... that's even more beautiful than anything I surmised. :'(
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Zombieva on January 08, 2012, 03:03:08 AM
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Woah... that's even more beautiful than anything I surmised. :'(

Agreed.  D':
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Amarganth on January 08, 2012, 07:15:52 AM
Mm. . . Okay, since the story of this game's one that's rather personal to me, I thought I'd just add a final note, from my own, personal perspective as I wrote it:


When John held River's hand in the end, of course it wasn't the real River, in more ways than one.

But to John himself, in his mind, it was the River. The projection meant the River to him. And seeing her again meant seeing the River again to himself.

And in the end, that's all he asked for. He didn't want to fix all those things that could be fixed throughout their life, and he didn't want to "optimize" every outcome to provide the maximum amount of happiness to everyone.

He just wanted to hold her hand one last time before dying.

Sounds beautiful...makes no sense.

If the memories were just a continuation of the already existing memories, and John indeed didn't meet River again in school but at NASA, then the fact remains that they got married and lived together AFTER going to the moon. Hence, John will not remember holding her hand and going to the moon as the last memory, which also makes it really questionable as to why it is the last thing the player sees. If one argues that it is the last thing John remembers before dying than one would pose the question how on earth could a fictional unexplained desire to go to the moon be his last memory? Surely if he loves River it would be their wedding, or something similar.

This all could have been made much more simple by not including the memory of going to the moon (still there's a lack of explanation), and simply: 1) doctors go inside his memories to find out WHY he wants to go to the moon 2) doctors realize he wants to be reunited with River again and either a) pull the plug (reunited in death), or b) really send him to the moon to die (making the player wonder if perhaps in some way he really will see River on the moon). This way neither John nor the player would be living/playing a lie, and there would be catharsis. Overcomplicating things is never good.
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Tumbles on January 08, 2012, 08:35:22 AM
I'd say that Reives's answer makes perfect sense here.

The important point is that all Johnny asked for was to go to the moon. This was achieved no matter how you look at it, whether it be the metaphorical "meeting up with River again" or physically going to the moon. Both of these were achieved.

Another important point here is that Johnny's memories only truly change just before his death. So 99.99% of his life is spent with his real experiences, and he uses the remaining 0.01% to fulfill his lifelong dream, which he does with River at his side. He's not 'deleting' his previous life; just shifting it to his subconscious. He knows that in death, memories are useless, so he uses the little time he has left to live his dream alongside to person who means the most to him. That's all it is. I'd have to say there's far too much analysis going on here.

One more point for consideration, and I'm sure that Reives will give the old ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ treatment, but I believe that, for Johnny, going to the moon is a metaphor for death, after River dies at least. However, he's unaware of the promise they made when they were kids, so he only knows this subconsciously. That's why he hires the doctors, who give him an amazingly emotional experience before he truly meets River again.

Anyways, time for a snooze. It's been a big day :)
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Amarganth on January 08, 2012, 09:32:11 AM
I'd say that Reives's answer makes perfect sense here.

The important point is that all Johnny asked for was to go to the moon. This was achieved no matter how you look at it, whether it be the metaphorical "meeting up with River again" or physically going to the moon. Both of these were achieved.

Another important point here is that Johnny's memories only truly change just before his death. So 99.99% of his life is spent with his real experiences, and he uses the remaining 0.01% to fulfill his lifelong dream, which he does with River at his side. He's not 'deleting' his previous life; just shifting it to his subconscious. He knows that in death, memories are useless, so he uses the little time he has left to live his dream alongside to person who means the most to him. That's all it is. I'd have to say there's far too much analysis going on here.

One more point for consideration, and I'm sure that Reives will give the old ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ treatment, but I believe that, for Johnny, going to the moon is a metaphor for death, after River dies at least. However, he's unaware of the promise they made when they were kids, so he only knows this subconsciously. That's why he hires the doctors, who give him an amazingly emotional experience before he truly meets River again.

Anyways, time for a snooze. It's been a big day :)

If the doctors are going to send him to the moon in any case then I really don't see the point of revealing the meaning of the metaphor. Either the doctors are really dumb or just plain stubborn. I don't think John's wish was fulfilled in any case. And him seeing River once more is achieved anyway every day by him simply by thinking about her and reliving his memories in his head...whether they are in a shuttle going to the moon or sitting near the lighthouse...hence actually sending him to the moon makes absolutely no difference and doesn't prove a point whatsoever.

His lifelong dream was not to go to the moon or become an astronaut. He went to the moon in his new memories in order to see River. However, simply by making his brother alive in his memories would inevitably "send him to the moon" as there would be no beta blockers and he'd presumably make the connection between the rabbits and the moon (that is, if any living being would ever remember a really short encounter with a girl at a very young age, a girl who didn't even reveal her name). As a matter of fact, bypassing the beta blockers did the trick and there was no real need to mess with his memories at all since he finally remembered his youth, presumably also River (again, his desire to go to the moon despite the beta blockers makes no sense).

He's not living the time he has left, he's remembering. They're not changing his future, they're changing his memories. Hence, again I repeat, there's really no need to change his memories if he only desired to be with River again since he has soooo many memories of her. Indeed, the doctors didn't do anything at all, only messed up his entire brain. And really, his real life was far more beautiful than the new memories of going to the moon.

Exactly, he's unaware...so where on earth does his desire to go to the moon stem from? Other than that, reminding him of that promise would have been a much better ending...like for example bringing him back to the place where they first met. The traveling of the 2 doctors through his memories should have been a retrospective view of his life, putting us the players in the role of the doctors. And just as I wouldn't want to mess with his memories (no matter what kind of memories they are) so shouldn't the doctors have done. And if they really wanted to reunite him with River then...as I said "1) doctors go inside his memories to find out WHY he wants to go to the moon 2) doctors realize he wants to be reunited with River again and either a) pull the plug (reunited in death), or b) really send him to the moon to die (making the player wonder if perhaps in some way he really will see River on the moon)." Just changing his profession and how they met doesn't satisfy anyone. It would inevitably remind him of his youth...if it weren't new memories hence there being nothing to be reminded of since they imply him never forgetting anything...and why all the hassle? Removing the beta blocker barrier would have done the trick. Still, reminding him of his youth really wouldn't reunite him with River or make him understand River better. He loved her more than anything, he doesn't need to understand her better, he doesn't need to be reminded of his youth... And by all means, if only this was more like Lullaby...since all John needs is to be reunited with River so just end his life.
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: SenorKaffee on January 08, 2012, 02:12:57 PM
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If the doctors are going to send him to the moon in any case then I really don't see the point of revealing the meaning of the metaphor. Either the doctors are really dumb or just plain stubborn.

The doctors have a contract to fulfill - in words, not in spirit. They are professionals hired to do a specific job. They do it, they get paid. They mess it up, they loose their license and they may go to jail. It's as easy as that.

Also don't mix what Johnny knows consciously with the things that are in his subconcious and at which point in time who knows that.

Before loosing consciousness, Johnny felt the urge to go to the moon so he called the Sigmund Corporation to alter his memories on his deathbed. This solution doesn't solve anything, but it is a very human choice, most likely Johnny didn't even care.

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However, simply by making his brother alive in his memories would inevitably "send him to the moon" as there would be no beta blockers and he'd presumably make the connection between the rabbits and the moon

Johnny did not only forget not know that he has a brother - to make up for his loss and by pressure of his mother he partially BECAME his brother. The doctors had no idea that he had a brother.

And after they found out about him, making his brother alive again wouldn't help them to fulfill their contract. His brother doesn't have anything to do with his whish to go to the moon. And, as I've written above, that is their ONE and ONLY job. Everything else is just bonus.

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(that is, if any living being would ever remember a really short encounter with a girl at a very young age, a girl who didn't even reveal her name)

Just because you can't consciously access a memory it doesn't mean that it isn't encoded in your subconciousness. Ever had a blackout you painstakingly tried to recover by connecting the dots "by hand"? Every experienced a flashback? Our memory is a mysterious thing, it's sometimes outright scary what can hide there.

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He's not living the time he has left, he's remembering. They're not changing his future, they're changing his memories. Hence, again I repeat, there's really no need to change his memories if he only desired to be with River again since he has soooo many memories of her. Indeed, the doctors didn't do anything at all, only messed up his entire brain. And really, his real life was far more beautiful than the new memories of going to the moon.

The rules of that are a little vague in the game, yes. But once again you undererstimate the complexity of our "soul". I think the whole rewriting of the narrative of a whole life is to fool the "immune system" into accepting the new memories.

We don't know how the memories come to Johnny. I like to believe they come as a kind of mega-flashback with him rexperiencing his whole life in as he dies. That would make sense, Neil says he likes to see his clients die with a smile on their faces.

Because the patients die in the moment of the transfer, the fake memories only have to be accepted for a few minutes. If their clients wouldn't die, it could indeed seriously mess up their psyche.

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This all could have been made much more simple by not including the memory of going to the moon (still there's a lack of explanation)

Why do you want Eva and Neil loose their job? I kind of like them, they are good at what they are doing.

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and simply: 1) doctors go inside his memories to find out WHY he wants to go to the moon 2) doctors realize he wants to be reunited with River again and either a) pull the plug (reunited in death)

Not fulfilling their contract...

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or b) really send him to the moon to die (making the player wonder if perhaps in some way he really will see River on the moon)

...they are working for Sigmund, not NASA.
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Zombieva on January 08, 2012, 02:43:41 PM
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He went to the moon in his new memories in order to see River. However, simply by making his brother alive in his memories would inevitably "send him to the moon" as there would be no beta blockers and he'd presumably make the connection between the rabbits and the moon (that is, if any living being would ever remember a really short encounter with a girl at a very young age, a girl who didn't even reveal her name). As a matter of fact, bypassing the beta blockers did the trick and there was no real need to mess with his memories at all since he finally remembered his youth, presumably also River (again, his desire to go to the moon despite the beta blockers makes no sense).

No. The effects of beta blockers can't be wiped from existence like that. β-blockers are a drug that directly interfere with certain receptors of the brain and leave a permanent scar on one's memories. The “barrier” they leave can be surpassed by the doctors with effort, but changing his memories does not change the past. He still took the blockers – he's not going to be able to make the connection without difficulty.

His desire to go to the moon makes quite a bit of sense to me. He wants to go to the moon because of his meeting with River, but the effects of the beta blockers block most of the memory. Thus, all that's left is an inexplicable desire to go to the moon. He managed to remember that much, but only subconsciously.

I also feel the need to point out that failing to fulfill the desire would cost Neil and Eva their jobs and they would mostly likely be jailed, or at least thrown into several court hearings. They need to “mess with his memories” whether they want to or not.

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He's not living the time he has left, he's remembering. They're not changing his future, they're changing his memories. Hence, again I repeat, there's really no need to change his memories if he only desired to be with River again since he has soooo many memories of her. Indeed, the doctors didn't do anything at all, only messed up his entire brain. And really, his real life was far more beautiful than the new memories of going to the moon.

The purpose of changing his memories like that is supposed to be, in essence, a shot of happiness to ease a dying [wo]man's mind. And, once again, the doctors can't go against their contract, so they don't have a choice. John willingly called Sigmund in order to have the procedure done; it's not like the two just barge into random houses and alter people's memories for the hell of it.

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Exactly, he's unaware...so where on earth does his desire to go to the moon stem from? Other than that, reminding him of that promise would have been a much better ending...like for example bringing him back to the place where they first met. The traveling of the 2 doctors through his memories should have been a retrospective view of his life, putting us the players in the role of the doctors. And just as I wouldn't want to mess with his memories (no matter what kind of memories they are) so shouldn't the doctors have done.

Except that John agreed to have it done, so there's absolutely no problem whatsoever with the two venturing into his mind and changing his memories. Also, contract. I don't want this to be completely and utterly redundant, but the simple fact that you're constantly bringing up not changing his memories is making that difficult.

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And if they really wanted to reunite him with River then...as I said "1) doctors go inside his memories to find out WHY he wants to go to the moon 2) doctors realize he wants to be reunited with River again and either a) pull the plug (reunited in death), or b) really send him to the moon to die (making the player wonder if perhaps in some way he really will see River on the moon)."

The issue of pulling the plug has already been addressed, so I'm not even going to go into that. But as for the other point, Neil and Eva have no way of actually sending him to the moon. They do not work for NASA. They work for Sigmund. It isn't their job to send clients to space, it's their job to alter their memories to conform with their goals/desires.

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Just changing his profession and how they met doesn't satisfy anyone.

Aside from, y'know... John. It's supposed to satisfy the client, not the player.

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It would inevitably remind him of his youth...if it weren't new memories hence there being nothing to be reminded of since they imply him never forgetting anything...and why all the hassle? Removing the beta blocker barrier would have done the trick.

Except that the β-blocker barrier wasn't removed and never can be. It was only surpassed with a great deal of effort on Neil and Eva's part.

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Still, reminding him of his youth really wouldn't reunite him with River or make him understand River better. He loved her more than anything, he doesn't need to understand her better, he doesn't need to be reminded of his youth... And by all means, if only this was more like Lullaby...since all John needs is to be reunited with River so just end his life.

That might be what he needs, but it certainly isn't what he asked for, so nothing can be done about it. The game definitely could have ending differently, but all of these endings would involve Watts and Rosalene losing their jobs and being thrown into prison somewhere.

And again: contracts. Tricky little things.
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Amarganth on January 08, 2012, 04:55:46 PM
Not to quote too much

@Zombieva and @SenorKaffee

No one goes to jail for failing to do their job. Other than that, who could prove they didn't do their job? Other than that, I really don't think their contract means being dumb...so if a patient wants to hit the sack I assume they won't be turning him into a k1 fighter or something.

John didn't care? I believe John cared, I believe he was clever enough to assume doctors dealing with such amazingly complex technology would also have the brains to understand metaphors...and primarily figure out why he wanted to go to the moon, rather then simply sending him to the moon. If John had enough money to pay for such advanced technology he would also have the money to pay for a real trip to the moon (though I've yet to see where he got the money from as it is clearly stated he lacks money for the medication to cure River). Why on earth John would want doctors to make him believe he once went to the moon (which changes nothing whatsoever in his relationship with River) is perplexing and an obvious plot hole.

I don't believe John became his brother, but whether he did is totally irrelevant to the point.
His brother has everything to do with his wish to go to the moon. His brother dying is the reason he doesn't know why he wants to go to the moon. Resurrect the brother and he knows why he wants to go...and suddenly there's no need for him to go since it's a metaphor...easy as pie.

There was no contract. He called them, he never signed anything. Other than that, I've never heard of people going to jail for not doing their job. Sure, they can get fired...but not go to jail. And even if they would go to jail...would you kill a man if it meant going to jail if you don't? But I digress...your argument has nothing to do with mine.

You're constantly bringing up a contract no one knows exists. Even if we did know...what is this, a documentary about signing contracts or a touching love story? Sheesh

Why is pulling the plug an issue? So ending someone's life an hour or two before it really ended is wrong but literally destroying his memories is alright?

If they have enough money to alter memories, and the technology for it...they can send you to the moon...with Megan Fox.

Their job isn't to do whatever the patient wants...that's quite literal and dumb. If the patient wants the memories of a serial rapist and killer? Give a bit of thought mate...

How do you know John is satisfied? All you've seen is him having altered memories. That's just your personal opinion. Mine differs.

Yes, it was surpassed...forever...how? By resurrecting his brother for example... There you go, brother resurrected, now you remember everything...wait, there's nothing to remember. Well, don't resurrect brother, simply bypass beta blockers...forever. Possible, how? Well because it's possible to resurrect his brother...

How do you know what John wanted? He said he wants to go to the moon...now where I come from, when a teenager says that, it doesn't necessarily mean he wants to become an astronaut...it means, in most cases, he wants to get high. Ambiguity...ahhhh

And again, there is no contract, they would not go to jail for not doing their job, and above everything else no one would ever know what they actually did to the guy since...well, he's dead.

IF he's not going to make the connection that easily and if the beta blockers can only be surpassed with great effort...how come they resurrected his brother so easily (someone he forgot existed) and integrated him into his life, altering his ENTIRE life, not only changing one single memory. Inconsistency? Hell yes! Plot hole? Unfortunately.

Yes, it makes a lot of sense to make a subconscious desire you never spoke of earlier in your life your dying wish...does it? Of course it doesn't.

Who on earth would know the docs didn't fulfill his desire? For all people know they could have turned the guy into a Pelican in his memories.

And...you people really want to jail someone...

Please stop mentioning a non existing thing as an argument for everything because

a) Prove there is a contract
b) Prove it states they would go to jail if they didn't oblige
c) Prove messing up someone's life is better than going to jail
d) Prove anyone would know if they turned the guy into a green gay penguin in his mind

PS

Yes I know the answers are tossed around...don't feel like quoting every sentence, sorry.
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Merlandese on January 08, 2012, 05:11:44 PM
This contract has about the same existence in the universe of the game as Dr. Who. We neither saw the contract, nor an episode of the Dr., but we know from brief character interactions that they exist in this universe. There's no need to prove the laws of gravity before applying it to the characters.

However, I think the "jail" segment has also been extreme. We may be able to surmise the contract and some of its basic implications, but assuming they go to jail would be based an actual reading of the elusive text. The only instance where contracts lead closely to jail in my experience is in the military. Maybe I need to be more familiar with civilian vocations, but jail seems a little harsh.

That addresses your points A through C, Amarganth. As for D, I would say there is no proof that we know of. I can make this assumption based on some minor truths:

01) The technology is complicated enough to recreate memories and interact with them.
02) Most complicated jobs, anywhere from science to psychology, have recorded sessions of data for quality control.
03) It isn't unreasonable to assume that this technology is capable of recording sessions or data to ensure quality use.

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Their job isn't to do whatever the patient wants...that's quite literal and dumb. If the patient wants the memories of a serial rapist and killer? Give a bit of thought mate...

I find this sentence disarmingly thoughtless. Give me an example of a corporation--you know, a business structure owned by stockholders and people worldwide, like Sigmund Corp.--that would go against popular opinion and agree to make a guy believe he was a rapist. That's bad media, and no corporation would do this unless there was a dramatic shift in the morality of our overall population. A guy in an alley might, but not a headless structure that exists solely because of the positive opinions and trust of the world. Think old ladies ranting about Grand Theft Auto was bad, wait until they hear about this.

In other words, both parties would have to agree to the procedure, not just the consumer. Most business transactions aren't like vending machines.
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Zombieva on January 08, 2012, 05:39:55 PM
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a) Prove there is a contract
b) Prove it states they would go to jail if they didn't oblige
c) Prove messing up someone's life is better than going to jail
d) Prove anyone would know if they turned the guy into a green gay penguin in his mind

Dialogue from To the Moon, right here for you:

"Look, our contract is to send him to the moon. And the only way for that to happen is if Johnny is motivated to do so."

"But if that means removing River, then what's the point? The reason why he even wants to go to the moon in the first place is because she died!"

"I know, but we are legally bound by the contract to specifically --"

"#@%& the contract! I didn't take this job to make him miserable, Eva. I don't know about you, but I signed up to help the freakin' geezers die happy."

"Me, too. And I like this job. But if we directly go against our legal obligations, we'd be in for court hearings."

"We'll appeal. We know that Johnny would be happier not to go the moon."

So, clearly, the contract exists, and considering the fact that they're discussing going to court for going against it, it's probably written. If they're found to be at fault for what they did, there are quite a few punishments out there, but there's a possibility they could be jailed. A possibility.

How, exactly, does one prove that messing up someone's life is better than going to prison? That's a matter of opinion. Mine just happens to be that, yes, screwing someone else over for your own personal gain is a good idea as long as it's somewhat justifiable. After all, not like it matters to a dead man.

As for your last point, I have to agree with Merlandese. It can't be proved, but it's logical to at least assume that the machine is capable of tracking what the doctors do. If it's so high-tech that it can allow them to access someone's memories, it's probably capable of saving their progress.
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Amarganth on January 08, 2012, 05:51:18 PM
This contract has about the same existence in the universe of the game as Dr. Who. We neither saw the contract, nor an episode of the Dr., but we know from brief character interactions that they exist in this universe. There's no need to prove the laws of gravity before applying it to the characters.

However, I think the "jail" segment has also been extreme. We may be able to surmise the contract and some of its basic implications, but assuming they go to jail would be based an actual reading of the elusive text. The only instance where contracts lead closely to jail in my experience is in the military. Maybe I need to be more familiar with civilian vocations, but jail seems a little harsh.

That addresses your points A through C, Amarganth. As for D, I would say there is no proof that we know of. I can make this assumption based on some minor truths:

01) The technology is complicated enough to recreate memories and interact with them.
02) Most complicated jobs, anywhere from science to psychology, have recorded sessions of data for quality control.
03) It isn't unreasonable to assume that this technology is capable of recording sessions or data to ensure quality use.

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Their job isn't to do whatever the patient wants...that's quite literal and dumb. If the patient wants the memories of a serial rapist and killer? Give a bit of thought mate...

I find this sentence disarmingly thoughtless. Give me an example of a corporation--you know, a business structure owned by stockholders and people worldwide, like Sigmund Corp.--that would go against popular opinion and agree to make a guy believe he was a rapist. That's bad media, and no corporation would do this unless there was a dramatic shift in the morality of our overall population. A guy in an alley might, but not a headless structure that exists solely because of the positive opinions and trust of the world. Think old ladies ranting about Grand Theft Auto was bad, wait until they hear about this.

In other words, both parties would have to agree to the procedure, not just the consumer. Most business transactions aren't like vending machines.

Does it state how a person not able to talk has signed the contract?

True, it's safe to assume recording sessions is possible, like it's safe to assume both doctors are going to get fired either way then because they really did mess up his memories before "correcting them" and their fight inside his head really didn't help their case. Of course, they are such professionals that they could mask their work and deceive their employers. Fact is however, while turning him into a gay green penguin might cause problems IF sessions would be recorded and IF they didn't know how to mask their work, no one could ever prove they didn't do their jobs for understanding the metaphor. Nevertheless, remember the doctors don't know what John's desire is until they arrive at his deathbed, only then are they told by Lily (it was Lily right?) he wants to go to the moon. Hence, my point A B and C still stand, since I assume he'd name his desire in his contract because imagine the doctors coming to his house and no one but him knowing what his desire is...how would they fulfill it? Well, they would know because of the contract right? Again, this also proves no one will ever be able to prove they didn't fulfill his desire since no one but him and Lily knows his desire. They weren't obliged to let Lily inside the machine. Hence, they could tell their boss he desired to be a green gay penguin.

Exactly, so they aren't obliged to do whatever the patient wants them to do. You only proved my point. Imagine they come to his house and Lily tells them he wants to be a serial killer. They wouldn't oblige even if there were such a thing as a contract in which it states they have to fulfill his desire...and again I state no contract exists because as you've said no corporation such as Sigmund Corp would sign a contract without knowing what the desire is.

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a) Prove there is a contract
b) Prove it states they would go to jail if they didn't oblige
c) Prove messing up someone's life is better than going to jail
d) Prove anyone would know if they turned the guy into a green gay penguin in his mind

Dialogue from To the Moon, right here for you:

"Look, our contract is to send him to the moon. And the only way for that to happen is if Johnny is motivated to do so."

"But if that means removing River, then what's the point? The reason why he even wants to go to the moon in the first place is because she died!"

"I know, but we are legally bound by the contract to specifically --"

"#@%& the contract! I didn't take this job to make him miserable, Eva. I don't know about you, but I signed up to help the freakin' geezers die happy."

"Me, too. And I like this job. But if we directly go against our legal obligations, we'd be in for court hearings."

"We'll appeal. We know that Johnny would be happier not to go the moon."

So, clearly, the contract exists, and considering the fact that they're discussing going to court for going against it, it's probably written. If they're found to be at fault for what they did, there are quite a few punishments out there, but there's a possibility they could be jailed. A possibility.

How, exactly, does one prove that messing up someone's life is better than going to prison? That's a matter of opinion. Mine just happens to be that, yes, screwing someone else over for your own personal gain is a good idea as long as it's somewhat justifiable. After all, not like it matters to a dead man.

As for your last point, I have to agree with Merlandese. It can't be proved, but it's logical to at least assume that the machine is capable of tracking what the doctors do. If it's so high-tech that it can allow them to access someone's memories, it's probably capable of saving their progress.


If their contract is to send him to the moon how come they don't know what his desire is until Lily tells them? Bad writing right there.

He wants to go to the moon because she died implies he knows what the moon means to him, which again is impossible because of the beta blockers. Bad writing right there.

As such, them not knowing his desire first and then stating there is a contract in which it is written, and even that they'd go to court for not obliging...is, well...bad writing.

Once again, you can't be jailed for not doing your job.
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Zombieva on January 08, 2012, 06:15:25 PM

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If their contract is to send him to the moon how come they don't know what his desire is until Lily tells them? Bad writing right there.

I certainly agree that that's a plothole of sorts right there, but considering the vast amount of evidence there is that supports the existence of said contract, it's more logical to assume that one was signed that it is to believe that there never was one because of a single inconsistency.

(Not saying that that's what you're doing [because it isn't], just that it's important to keep that in mind.)

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He wants to go to the moon because she died implies he knows what the moon means to him, which again is impossible because of the beta blockers. Bad writing right there.

"The reason why he even wants to go to the moon is because she died" is just Neil stating what's been happening all along. That doesn't mean John consciously knew the reason, just that Watts had come to that conclusion on his own.
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Amarganth on January 08, 2012, 06:32:35 PM

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If their contract is to send him to the moon how come they don't know what his desire is until Lily tells them? Bad writing right there.

I certainly agree that that's a plothole of sorts right there, but considering the vast amount of evidence there is that supports the existence of said contract, it's more logical to assume that one was signed that it is to believe that there never was one because of a single inconsistency.

(Not saying that that's what you're doing [because it isn't], just that it's important to keep that in mind.)

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He wants to go to the moon because she died implies he knows what the moon means to him, which again is impossible because of the beta blockers. Bad writing right there.

"The reason why he even wants to go to the moon is because she died" is just Neil stating what's been happening all along. That doesn't mean John consciously knew the reason, just that Watts had come to that conclusion on his own.

The vast amount of evidence is just them stating there is a contract? I'd say them not knowing is a much more important evidence of there not being a contract. Since, if there is a contract it doesn't state what his desire is. In any case, you could argue for both sides, and what is true is relevant yet we'll never find out.

If John knew why he wants to go to the moon it wouldn't be because she died but because he made a promise he didn't fulfill. Hence, either Neil's statement is false or he figured out the metaphor. In any case, they know he doesn't really want to go to the moon. Hence, that's why when he said he wants to go to the moon, and I figured out what the moon meant for them, I thought just like Neil did: it's a metaphor, he wants to be reunited. Sadly somehow it played out literally and simply made no sense in the end, lost all of the connotations...like for example the platypus, the bunnies...they all simply weren't worth anything, got lost in the translation.
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Zombieva on January 08, 2012, 06:43:46 PM
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If John knew why he wants to go to the moon it wouldn't be because she died but because he made a promise he didn't fulfill. Hence, either Neil's statement is false or he figured out the metaphor. In any case, they know he doesn't really want to go to the moon. Hence, that's why when he said he wants to go to the moon, and I figured out what the moon meant for them, I thought just like Neil did: it's a metaphor, he wants to be reunited.

In a sense, he was reunited, just not in the way a player would expect. Of course, he can't be back with the real River, but the River that appears in his new life is everything that he perceived her to be. Either way, it's just sort of like Reives said: all John really wanted was to hold River's hand one more time before dying. In a sense, going to the moon is a complete waste of effort because of that wish, but eh.
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Merlandese on January 08, 2012, 06:58:13 PM
I would argue that because there are potentially a lot of contracts and customers, all of the doctors at Sigmund aren't familiar with every one of their stipulations. Likewise, they only get called when the patient is dying (they don't loom around like vultures), and would have to rush out like an ambulance. They may not have had time to go over the details of Johnny's contract, so they asked Lily.

But that's irrelevant. The implied procedure is that they go to the patient's first accessible memory and discuss what the patient wants. In this sense, the contract can be verified without informing the whole working staff, and the on-call doctors can get the details from the "mouth" of the patient. Who cares if they asked Lily? So what if they didn't know? That was just them trying to get a heads-up from the people around Johnny before diving in and asking him straight--just like how they gathered some of Johnny's info before going in. They were just gathering a bit of data until the system was set up. Then they asked the guy "face-to-face". I think it makes perfect sense, but if you want to call it bad writing, I won't stop you.

This would then count as a re-submission of the counterpoints I laid out before (A-D).
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Amarganth on January 08, 2012, 07:14:38 PM
Quote
If John knew why he wants to go to the moon it wouldn't be because she died but because he made a promise he didn't fulfill. Hence, either Neil's statement is false or he figured out the metaphor. In any case, they know he doesn't really want to go to the moon. Hence, that's why when he said he wants to go to the moon, and I figured out what the moon meant for them, I thought just like Neil did: it's a metaphor, he wants to be reunited.

In a sense, he was reunited, just not in the way a player would expect. Of course, he can't be back with the real River, but the River that appears in his new life is everything that he perceived her to be. Either way, it's just sort of like Reives said: all John really wanted was to hold River's hand one more time before dying. In a sense, going to the moon is a complete waste of effort because of that wish, but eh.

I would argue that because there are potentially a lot of contracts and customers, all of the doctors at Sigmund aren't familiar with every one of their stipulations. Likewise, they only get called when the patient is dying (they don't loom around like vultures), and would have to rush out like an ambulance. They may not have had time to go over the details of Johnny's contract, so they asked Lily.

But that's irrelevant. The implied procedure is that they go to the patient's first accessible memory and discuss what the patient wants. In this sense, the contract can be verified without informing the whole working staff, and the on-call doctors can get the details from the "mouth" of the patient. Who cares if they asked Lily? So what if they didn't know? That was just them trying to get a heads-up from the people around Johnny before diving in and asking him straight--just like how they gathered some of Johnny's info before going in. They were just gathering a bit of data until the system was set up. Then they asked the guy "face-to-face". I think it makes perfect sense, but if you want to call it bad writing, I won't stop you.

This would then count as a re-submission of the counterpoints I laid out before (A-D).

He'd be more reunited if they just pulled the plug really...since, well, he could hold River's hand by thinking about her, he had enough memories of her as it is...didn't need to change certain memories...and send them to the moon for him to hold her hand...I'm sure he had a memory of his own where he held her hand. So yes, going to the moon makes no sense in the way it was portrayed.

If they go to the first memory and confirm the contract then only they and the patient know about his desire, hence they can do whatever they want, and like I said...the way they manipulate and change an entire life time...I'm sure they can cover up a recorded session.

Imagine John telling them he wants to murder people...face to face...but, they're obliged by the contract right? That's why it matters if there is a contract or if they asked Lily...and what the contracts states (if there is any). But again, this is hardly my main criticism of the story...and I find it funny we got caught up in such seemingly irrelevant thing.
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Merlandese on January 08, 2012, 07:19:11 PM
I would, with no sarcasm intended, like to hear what games you think have stories more enjoyable than this one, for comparison. I wouldn't mind seeing some games that can be referenced to make this story better. Where did other games go right that this one went wrong?
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: SenorKaffee on January 08, 2012, 07:51:39 PM
Quote from: Amarganth
If they go to the first memory and confirm the contract then only they and the patient know about his desire, hence they can do whatever they want, and like I said...the way they manipulate and change an entire life time...I'm sure they can cover up a recorded session.

Sorry, man - I can't argue with you as long as you clearly not want this part of the story to work.
I could say that the machine is set up to log the doctors work like a blackbox, but there is as little to back this up as your claim that it could be easily manipulated. Let's just move on.

Quote
Imagine John telling them he wants to murder people...face to face...but, they're obliged by the contract right? That's why it matters if there is a contract or if they asked Lily...and what the contracts states (if there is any).

I don't see the problem. If a client wants his memories changed so he goes out in an orgy of sex and violence, who is the Sigmund Agency to judge?
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Judedeath on January 09, 2012, 04:44:50 AM
Ok so I was going to talk about something else but I rewatched the first trailer.
To the Moon - Announcement Trailer #1 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sqkJuSV-23U#ws)

You know how you see that guy at the desk across from Johnny that we never see in the game, and it's implied that he's the one talking to Johnny, notice there is a singular paper there, I am almost 100% sure this is where Johnny signs the contract.
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Amarganth on January 09, 2012, 06:36:52 AM
I would, with no sarcasm intended, like to hear what games you think have stories more enjoyable than this one, for comparison. I wouldn't mind seeing some games that can be referenced to make this story better. Where did other games go right that this one went wrong?


Depends what you enjoy really. I think Lullaby has a much more straightforward and meaningful story than To the Moon.

As far as other games which aren't developed by FreeBird are concerned...I could name a few... For example, artistic games like: Braid, Machinarium, Whispered World, Ico, Shadow of the Colossus, The Path... And then there are games which have a much more complicated story yet presented in a much less complicated way, these games are also some of my favourite...like: Knights of the Old Republic (especially KOTOR 2), Amnesia the Dark Descent, Call of Cthulhu Dark Corners of the Earth, Silent Hill (especially SH 4 and SH 2), etc. I excluded JRPGS because I never found their stories to be deep, only deliberately prolonged and twisted. Of course, this is just my humble opinion.

Quote from: Amarganth
If they go to the first memory and confirm the contract then only they and the patient know about his desire, hence they can do whatever they want, and like I said...the way they manipulate and change an entire life time...I'm sure they can cover up a recorded session.


Sorry, man - I can't argue with you as long as you clearly not want this part of the story to work.
I could say that the machine is set up to log the doctors work like a blackbox, but there is as little to back this up as your claim that it could be easily manipulated. Let's just move on.

Quote
Imagine John telling them he wants to murder people...face to face...but, they're obliged by the contract right? That's why it matters if there is a contract or if they asked Lily...and what the contracts states (if there is any).


I don't see the problem. If a client wants his memories changed so he goes out in an orgy of sex and violence, who is the Sigmund Agency to judge?


Indeed, there is nothing to back up your side or mine, which means you cannot claim the doctors are legally obliged to be dumb and do literally what the patient asks for because they're being watched by Big Brother.

Like I said...if a teenager would want to go to the moon, and they literally send him to the moon, I think he'd be really pissed of.

Ok so I was going to talk about something else but I rewatched the first trailer.
To the Moon - Announcement Trailer #1 ([url]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sqkJuSV-23U#ws[/url])

You know how you see that guy at the desk across from Johnny that we never see in the game, and it's implied that he's the one talking to Johnny, notice there is a singular paper there, I am almost 100% sure this is where Johnny signs the contract.


Never saw the trailer before, should have included that in the game. However, that still doesn't justify the doctors being dumb and taking things literally, nor does it justify actually sending him to the moon.

Other than that: "it will be the last thing you do," is not true...it will be something he believes he has done, and in his case it's not the last thing he believes he has done.

And on a side note, it still doesn't explain why on earth someone would make a subconscious desire he never mentioned before suddenly his dying wish if he actually didn't know what it meant and if it didn't mean being with his wife.
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Crusism on January 09, 2012, 11:37:16 AM
Holy  -cuss-

Two days not being around and already there are two new pages worth to read. I'll post when I'm done and in my time of leisure. However, I will reply to this.

1. I excluded JRPGS because I never found their stories to be deep, only deliberately prolonged and twisted. Of course, this is just my humble opinion.

2. Indeed, there is nothing to back up your side or mine, which means you cannot claim the doctors are legally obliged to be dumb and do literally what the patient asks for because they're being watched by Big Brother.

3. However, that still doesn't justify the doctors being dumb and taking things literally, nor does it justify actually sending him to the moon.

4. Other than that: "it will be the last thing you do," is not true...it will be something he believes he has done, and in his case it's not the last thing he believes he has done.

5. And on a side note, it still doesn't explain why on earth someone would make a subconscious desire he never mentioned before suddenly his dying wish if he actually didn't know what it meant and if it didn't mean being with his wife.

1. Agreed concerning most to a lot of JRPGs.

2 and 3. You mean doctor*(without an s), Eva was the one who planned of doing exactly what the contract said an literally got John to complete his desire. Though Neil didn't put up enough of a proper fight and I get what you mean. Though by literally following the words, Eva did benefit John in making him happy in the end. So by doing what is considered stupid at most times, this time it actually did help someone get a cake. Regardless of what we say(even I don't feel catharsis in the end), the goal was accomplished literally and more.

4. It's a metaphor.

5. It's true, we can't make any claim of what he found out or etc concerning the desire to go to the moon. But we know as a fact that all of us have a part of our mind being in an unconscious state. And for John's case, this could also be involved.

The unconscious mind goes on everyday for everyone. It's the reason why people can get habits and have automatic reactions to specific things. It's also why some people have strange complexes and being extremely being good in something by only doing it everyday without a thought concerning it. Lastly, it's the main reason why people can't explain phobias and desires which goes on in their life.

This fact has been proven enough to fight off controversial arguments from even social science knowledge.

The best part of all? It's also the main theory of why the sons of a family would want to kill their father to have their mother as their partner. Those kind of cases are strange and sort of creepy in a way but funny.


  • Just because a story is internally consistent and has a logical progression doesn't mean it's a good story. A story should also be cathartic, or emotionally satisfying.
  • Emotional satisfaction doesn't necessarily imply a "cop-out" or "fan-service". Catharsis can result from a tragic ending as well - what's important is resolution. The conflict in the story needs to be resolved.
  • TtM's ending didn't make me feel that way because of its lack of focus on the relationship between John and River that had been the focus of the story prior to the ending.

That's about it. Obviously not everyone feels the same way, but that's how I feel. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have an essay to finish. Good luck everyone!

I agree with your third point though for some like me, it did contribute to the ending as a reflection. And I wish you all the best in that essay. As well as thank you for the empathy during this debate. Though I have some things to say.
1. That's true and also a strong connection with the emotion of the reader. However, a story with a lot of plot holes and inconsistent facts doesn't mean it wouldn't be bad. It's great to turn the table and make things go all wacky and lose the senses of reality, and fictional stories can be utterly brilliant. Also stories around places that may be utopias are flawless. This is probably the reason why I bring up Neil's pot throwing extravagant from time to time as it seemed awkward.

Plot holes are not big problems unless they are noticeable enough to ruin the story.

But it is not okay to lie to people. To act like these things are okay or better or never happened. This is why our latest generation is toned down to the perspective of acceptance or at least most of the people I've met everywhere. Where most of our community has a thinking which goes "I don't want to learn anything that's not interesting and not nice to hear about." Where some people treat the weak horribly and judge unfairly while most people don't know this is going on or/and are too lazy to do anything about it other than going with the flow unless it affects them. A lot of them have a one dimensional mind. Where things are over-exaggerated to the point where it ruins the true ideal of noble professions and more. It is to this point where people are even easily annoyed enough to mark things as controversial or wrong for no good reason anymore.

I'm not saying it must be consistent and logical to the end. But it must not fabricate what truth that our lives revolve around dearly. For me, 'To The Moon' did keep me emotionally connected and did none of the above.

2. I do agree that most stories must be cathartic. However, tragedy is the representative of catharsis as stated by many Greek philosophers and many literate artists where it is seen as this:
"Men will always turn to fear and pity, or sometimes too little. Tragedy exists as the art of suffering to bring people back to a virtuous and happy mean."
It is seen as the reflex for a person to have catharsis in the end of a tragedy like taking medicine. However I don't agree with this wholly. Some tragedies I have read never was cathartic to me but was for others so it seems to be a look of preference. Though, to me, the conflict of the goal was resolved. As for catharsis, I only felt some of my emotions towards the story purged during the ending but it was good enough for me to repress the rest. Though again, this is preference and I respect your view as well.

I wonder how far this topic will go though. As for me, I'm going to read the rest as well as continue my college work.
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Judedeath on January 09, 2012, 12:37:35 PM
I have to say I disagree about the It will be the last thing you ever do being a metaphor, that whole talk in the trailer is saying They'll take you back let you live a different life, from the beginning, which gives me the last thing you ever do as talking about reliving the memories, so if he dies while reliving the memories it would be the last thing he ever does.
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Amarganth on January 09, 2012, 07:05:55 PM
Holy  -cuss-

Two days not being around and already there are two new pages worth to read. I'll post when I'm done and in my time of leisure. However, I will reply to this.

1. I excluded JRPGS because I never found their stories to be deep, only deliberately prolonged and twisted. Of course, this is just my humble opinion.

2. Indeed, there is nothing to back up your side or mine, which means you cannot claim the doctors are legally obliged to be dumb and do literally what the patient asks for because they're being watched by Big Brother.

3. However, that still doesn't justify the doctors being dumb and taking things literally, nor does it justify actually sending him to the moon.

4. Other than that: "it will be the last thing you do," is not true...it will be something he believes he has done, and in his case it's not the last thing he believes he has done.

5. And on a side note, it still doesn't explain why on earth someone would make a subconscious desire he never mentioned before suddenly his dying wish if he actually didn't know what it meant and if it didn't mean being with his wife.

1. Agreed concerning most to a lot of JRPGs.

2 and 3. You mean doctor*(without an s), Eva was the one who planned of doing exactly what the contract said an literally got John to complete his desire. Though Neil didn't put up enough of a proper fight and I get what you mean. Though by literally following the words, Eva did benefit John in making him happy in the end. So by doing what is considered stupid at most times, this time it actually did help someone get a cake. Regardless of what we say(even I don't feel catharsis in the end), the goal was accomplished literally and more.

4. It's a metaphor.

5. It's true, we can't make any claim of what he found out or etc concerning the desire to go to the moon. But we know as a fact that all of us have a part of our mind being in an unconscious state. And for John's case, this could also be involved.

The unconscious mind goes on everyday for everyone. It's the reason why people can get habits and have automatic reactions to specific things. It's also why some people have strange complexes and being extremely being good in something by only doing it everyday without a thought concerning it. Lastly, it's the main reason why people can't explain phobias and desires which goes on in their life.

This fact has been proven enough to fight off controversial arguments from even social science knowledge.

The best part of all? It's also the main theory of why the sons of a family would want to kill their father to have their mother as their partner. Those kind of cases are strange and sort of creepy in a way but funny.


  • Just because a story is internally consistent and has a logical progression doesn't mean it's a good story. A story should also be cathartic, or emotionally satisfying.
  • Emotional satisfaction doesn't necessarily imply a "cop-out" or "fan-service". Catharsis can result from a tragic ending as well - what's important is resolution. The conflict in the story needs to be resolved.
  • TtM's ending didn't make me feel that way because of its lack of focus on the relationship between John and River that had been the focus of the story prior to the ending.

That's about it. Obviously not everyone feels the same way, but that's how I feel. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have an essay to finish. Good luck everyone!

I agree with your third point though for some like me, it did contribute to the ending as a reflection. And I wish you all the best in that essay. As well as thank you for the empathy during this debate. Though I have some things to say.
1. That's true and also a strong connection with the emotion of the reader. However, a story with a lot of plot holes and inconsistent facts doesn't mean it wouldn't be bad. It's great to turn the table and make things go all wacky and lose the senses of reality, and fictional stories can be utterly brilliant. Also stories around places that may be utopias are flawless. This is probably the reason why I bring up Neil's pot throwing extravagant from time to time as it seemed awkward.

Plot holes are not big problems unless they are noticeable enough to ruin the story.

But it is not okay to lie to people. To act like these things are okay or better or never happened. This is why our latest generation is toned down to the perspective of acceptance or at least most of the people I've met everywhere. Where most of our community has a thinking which goes "I don't want to learn anything that's not interesting and not nice to hear about." Where some people treat the weak horribly and judge unfairly while most people don't know this is going on or/and are too lazy to do anything about it other than going with the flow unless it affects them. A lot of them have a one dimensional mind. Where things are over-exaggerated to the point where it ruins the true ideal of noble professions and more. It is to this point where people are even easily annoyed enough to mark things as controversial or wrong for no good reason anymore.

I'm not saying it must be consistent and logical to the end. But it must not fabricate what truth that our lives revolve around dearly. For me, 'To The Moon' did keep me emotionally connected and did none of the above.

2. I do agree that most stories must be cathartic. However, tragedy is the representative of catharsis as stated by many Greek philosophers and many literate artists where it is seen as this:
"Men will always turn to fear and pity, or sometimes too little. Tragedy exists as the art of suffering to bring people back to a virtuous and happy mean."
It is seen as the reflex for a person to have catharsis in the end of a tragedy like taking medicine. However I don't agree with this wholly. Some tragedies I have read never was cathartic to me but was for others so it seems to be a look of preference. Though, to me, the conflict of the goal was resolved. As for catharsis, I only felt some of my emotions towards the story purged during the ending but it was good enough for me to repress the rest. Though again, this is preference and I respect your view as well.

I wonder how far this topic will go though. As for me, I'm going to read the rest as well as continue my college work.

2 and 3 We don't know whether he is happy, he never gets a chance to say so. They could have turned him into a green gay penguin and they wouldn't know whether the change made him happy.

4 Funny how they didn't get that the moon is a metaphor too lol

5 It's one thing to have a subconscious, it's another to suddenly have it shift into your dying wish.


I have to say I disagree about the It will be the last thing you ever do being a metaphor, that whole talk in the trailer is saying They'll take you back let you live a different life, from the beginning, which gives me the last thing you ever do as talking about reliving the memories, so if he dies while reliving the memories it would be the last thing he ever does.

You don't relive anything, you just have different memories. Not only is that...quite impossible and illogical to begin with...but for the sake of argument it's just being able to think about something that never actually happened but believe it did. John doesn't do anything, he dies, and because of the fact that he doesn't have much time both doctors have no clue whether he even was capable of thinking about past memories (probably not), and if he was they have no idea if the last memory he had would be the one in the space shuttle (probably not). Their change is quite irrelevant, pointless, bears no meaning...
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Merlandese on January 09, 2012, 07:26:18 PM
Quote
4 Funny how they didn't get that the moon is a metaphor too lol

5 It's one thing to have a subconscious, it's another to suddenly have it shift into your dying wish.

I wouldn't call an urge that can only be expressed in three words after two years of hard, lonely thinking a "sudden" dying wish, but enough of that. I honestly think the only rectifier for your misunderstanding of the transition between a latent, unconscious experience to a developing urge after a tragic loss of a loved one is to broaden your knowledge of Freudian psychology and what he (and many others) believed the impact of the unconscious could be on a person's life. This isn't a writing error. The company is called Sigmund for a reason.

Freud's ideas may not be universally accepted or even true, but I'll believe them for the sake of the game ff not because most of the world already does. And if you don't understand Freud's ideas enough, you'll never understand why Johnny was already on the moon most of his life.
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Amarganth on January 10, 2012, 06:05:28 PM
Quote
4 Funny how they didn't get that the moon is a metaphor too lol

5 It's one thing to have a subconscious, it's another to suddenly have it shift into your dying wish.

I wouldn't call an urge that can only be expressed in three words after two years of hard, lonely thinking a "sudden" dying wish, but enough of that. I honestly think the only rectifier for your misunderstanding of the transition between a latent, unconscious experience to a developing urge after a tragic loss of a loved one is to broaden your knowledge of Freudian psychology and what he (and many others) believed the impact of the unconscious could be on a person's life. This isn't a writing error. The company is called Sigmund for a reason.

Freud's ideas may not be universally accepted or even true, but I'll believe them for the sake of the game ff not because most of the world already does. And if you don't understand Freud's ideas enough, you'll never understand why Johnny was already on the moon most of his life.

How do you know he spent the last two years only thinking about that? While I believe a subconscious desire can become an important part of your life it will never be more important than River was for John for example...at least that's me speaking from my point of view and how the subconscious works for me. Hence, the desire to go to the moon being his dying wish really can't be explained in a justifiable way other than saying he has the mind of a 15 year old.

I intensely dislike Freud. While I believe he did make some valid points he ranks as one of the authors with the most rubbish written ever in a lifetime...but that's a different topic.

I have a problem with suspension of disbelief, I'm VERY demanding when it comes to writing and plot construction. I spend most of my time analyzing and reconstructing post-modern literature so that's where I'm coming from.

I do believe John was on the moon since he approached River in school, hence me finding him literally going to the moon to be completely irrelevant, unnecessary, pointless...
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Merlandese on January 10, 2012, 06:28:40 PM
How do you know he spent the last two years only thinking about that?

It's implied in two ways: A) the game focuses around him and River and B) the scene where he's weeping at the grave. They're not hard implications to accept, I don't think.

So if you also understand that he was figuratively on the moon while with River, then I don't see why the rest is such a big jump.

While with River, he's happy. As I'm sure you're aware, he wants to be with River. When she dies, I assume (based on perceived implications) that he's mourning her--and greatly. In his head he wishes he could be with her, but there's no way to do that. She's dead. But he still wants it.

At an unconscious level, he knows how to find River if they've been separated. It manifests in an urge that he can only express as "I want to go to the moon." He has no clue why. He just looks at the moon and feels a stirring, maybe, that's similar to being with River. It's this same idea that urges him to adopt his brother's interest. Maybe's he's just really impressionable, but the moon isn't the only instance where his unconscious mind helps him lean left or right, so it isn't too fantastic of an idea in the case of Johnny.

So, when he asks for a final wish, he asks to go to the moon. Why? He doesn't know, it just feels right. If he could express that feeling better, I'd wager he would say "I want to go to the moon because it feels like River's there, waiting for me". There's something beckoning him from the moon's surface. It's like when a person stricken with amnesia awakens and still feels the urge to smoke. Why? Did you smoke before? No idea. But I want a cigarette now, even if it doesn't make sense (there are examples that don't involve altered brain chemistry that are just as valid--like nail biting).

So he literally asks to go to the moon. Now, we know that he's being figurative, even if he doesn't. But he does get to be with River. What if he asked "I want to live a new life with River"? Would there still be a conflict? Because he did get a new life with River--or at least a River of his own imagining (which might arguably be better). So I saw it as him getting both the figurative ending (for Johnny, though it was a gamble of Eva's) and the literal ending (which benefited the doctors for contract reasons--that other can of worms).

Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Wulfsten on January 10, 2012, 08:16:28 PM

And in the end, that's all he asked for. He didn't want to fix all those things that could be fixed throughout their life, and he didn't want to "optimize" every outcome to provide the maximum amount of happiness to everyone.

He just wanted to hold her hand one last time before dying.

You've said this before, and some other people have begun repeating themselves as well, so it wouldn't surprise me if we all start getting frustrated at talking past each other soon! Nonetheless, I'll make a couple of short points, to try to clarify. (These are in response to Zombieva, Reives, and a couple of other people).

1. I understand what you're saying, Reives, but I don't see why resolving the tension and mysteries of River's life is mutually exclusive with Johnny holding River's hand one last time before dying. My conception was that a final holding of hands would have been much more poignant (and just as plausible) had it occurred after everything had been revealed to Johnny, and he could look into River's eyes and truly understand everything she'd been doing and saying all her life. Instead he holds her hand, but as has been established, it's not really River; it's just a ghost. And that may be just as fulfilling to poor Johnny, who doesn't know any better, but it's not quite as satisfying to many of us, the players.

2. I think all this talk about the contract is a huge sideshow. The ending was perfectly internally coherent. The argument originally was whether the ending was best in terms of emotional resonance and the tone it struck. In service of that, the writer should really make whatever changes necessary to the plot to make sure it has the intended effect. Saying "well the plot couldn't have been emotionally satisfying and cathartic because then the plot would dictate that the doctors go to jail!" simply begs the question "well then the plot should've been altered such that this contract wouldn't be a problem, right?" The plot, characters, or themes of the story did not hinge on the fact that they were legally bound by a contract.

3. I understand that the deletion of Johnny's memories does not mean they didn't happen. My contention is that by deleting them, the ending is stripped of context. Yes, those memories still exist in the subconscious, and yes, they still really happened; and we as players enjoyed them hugely, but they aren't carried through to the ending, so that ending doesn't have the legs that it could were it supported by the characterisation and context of the entire game.

4.
Lots of people think Rosalene's decision was terribly wrong without prompting from the game itself. :P

This is actually one of the main points I'm making. If lots of people think that Rosalene's decision is terribly wrong, and the game implies and gives emotional cues suggesting that the ending is actually really happy, then it creates an emotional dissonance with the players and makes them feel alienated. Sure, it might have made sense for the doctors to do that, but that exists separately from what makes a game good and emotionally satisfying. The plot should be in service to the themes and emotions the game hopes to evoke, not the other way round.
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Reives on January 10, 2012, 08:39:53 PM
I understand what you're saying, Reives, but I don't see why resolving the tension and mysteries of River's life is mutually exclusive with Johnny holding River's hand one last time before dying. My conception was that a final holding of hands would have been much more poignant (and just as plausible) had it occurred after everything had been revealed to Johnny, and he could look into River's eyes and truly understand everything she'd been doing and saying all her life.

Instead he holds her hand, but as has been established, it's not really River; it's just a ghost. And that may be just as fulfilling to poor Johnny, who doesn't know any better, but it's not quite as satisfying to many of us, the players.

But here's the thing -- Personally, I think that would've been extremely corny and ineffective. "Overly" perfect, in a way. The façade of happiness that's hollow is an important part of what I personally wanted to have -- that Johnny died out of blissful ignorance, rather than finding out the truth and everything becomes perfect-perfect. It's not a sweet ending, it's a bitter sweet one.

It's perfectly fine that you preferred it the other way, though; it's inevitable with these side of things since there will always be a part of audience getting the short end of the stick. I do hope that the next episode could be better for your views to make up for it!

This is actually one of the main points I'm making. If lots of people think that Rosalene's decision is terribly wrong, and the game implies and gives emotional cues suggesting that the ending is actually really happy, then it creates an emotional dissonance with the players and makes them feel alienated. Sure, it might have made sense for the doctors to do that, but that exists separately from what makes a game good and emotionally satisfying. The plot should be in service to the themes and emotions the game hopes to evoke, not the other way round.

I agree with the last line. But actually, from all the feedback around the net that I've been obsessed with reading, the majority of the population actually found the ending and how things turned out to be the most emotional impactful parts by far. Again, I'm banging my head on the table hoping to please everyone here, but it's just one of those things that couldn't be done; I'm getting some serious headache from this whole thing now -- not because of you, but because of that fact and how much I want to do it. But I can't. So again, hopefully I could make something that emotionally resonates with you more in the next episode. . . but as for To the Moon, as far as this is concerned, that's that.

@Amar:
As a few others said already, I think you missed some important parts of the story/scenes. It could be my fault, but I think rewatching a playthrough of it could help. Searching "Cry plays To the Moon" on YT should lead you to a complete Let's Play chain.
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Serefan on January 15, 2012, 08:01:19 PM
Hello! I've just now finished TtM too, and just like a lot of other players I was left with mixed feelings at the ending. Then I went to find out more about it and ended up reading this thread. And that's when the beauty of this game hit me.

The entire game, we learn more about a helpless and troubled Johnny. The more we learn about him, the more we understand River is the key in the entire ordeal. I think most of us started shoving the concept of going to the moon to the sidelines, and started focusing on Johnny's problems with River and how to solve them. But then you realise, River is long since deceased, Johnny is on his deathbed; there is no way their life's problems can still be fixed.

Essentially, the game gives everyone a nice and happy ending. Except for one person: the player himself, who understands this isn't a happy ending, but a tragedy. Johnny's feelings of helplessness are in fact transferred to the player by the end of the game.

Note: I've just read the comments above and realized I've probably been repeating some stuff that's been said too; I'll apologize for this but do understand. It's almost 3 o'clock nighttime, and I didn't have the courage anymore to read the entire thread. :reivsweat: But I felt obligated to leave a comment since I was genuinely moved by this game. A big congratulations to the devs!
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Question Mark on January 15, 2012, 08:42:48 PM
I thought this thread was locked. O_O
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Judedeath on January 15, 2012, 09:06:30 PM
I thought this thread was locked. O_O

Yeah, I'm sure this one was locked and the other dissapeared!
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Reives on January 15, 2012, 09:45:41 PM
I unlocked it a day later. But for the record, I didn't remove the other thread -- Amar deleted it himself.

And thanks for the post, Pino! :)
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Cronos90 on January 22, 2012, 10:30:30 AM



 So again, hopefully I could make something that emotionally resonates with you more in the next episode..



You don't need to do that, i think :). I've finished the game yesterday....At first, I didn't get why the game ended this way...but then I understood, and the forum disussion sure helped a lot. It's very sad indeed ;____;

NINJAEDIT: Fixed quote tags.
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Unimaginative Username on February 05, 2012, 02:13:13 PM
Quote
There is no doubt that Marley was dead. This must be distinctly understood, or nothing wonderful can come of the story I am going to relate.

In a way it reminds me of A Christmas Carol, we have to understand that River is dead. The events therefore leading up to John being on his deadbed cannot be changed. All that can be done is change Johnny's memories so that his life with River had less regret in it for him as I think he was still haunted by the thoughts that he caused her to go crazy, which we discover was actually River's way of reminding John of their first meeting/s, but he didn't know that.

Why the memories where changed to what they were at the end is this i think:

1). The contract needs to be fufilled so John must get to the moon.
2). However to do so he needs to be reminded of his childhood meeting/s with River and what he said about regrouping on the moon if they get lost - Therefore Joey must survive so that the memories remain unblocked as he won't take the beta blockers if he doesn't die.
3). The desire of going to the moon needs to be triggered. Hence River must be removed at school so that he remembers what he said about going to the moon to regroup and sets his goal towards it (we must remember here that this is in his mind, it doesn't need to make complete rational sense).
4). River must reappear once he has got into the space program so that the contract is fufilled and so that he meets her again and they can live the rest of his life again with her.

This means that after going to the moon I imagine his memories are the same as the original ones except without River going mad tried to get him to remember, it also provides him enough money to pay for the house and her treatment so they can live together happily in his mind till he dies with no regret this time round. Which oddly enough was only going to happen if he went to the moon.

The only life that could change was Johnny's, River is dead so her one cannot be changed, so he goes to the moon as a final tribute to her even though he doesn't realise it. Face it, it was the best ending he could of had. It was the life he wished he had had with her.

To be honest...I didn't realise it was a metaphor. I took it literally.
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Kaleb702 on February 12, 2012, 11:20:51 PM
The one thing though is that making Joey live does not stop the beta blockers. They leave permanent brain damage, today. Rather, it was just Eva trying to make up for moving River, activating his subconscious desire to go to the moon.



And I like the bittersweet ending. Without it, it'd be much more hollower.
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Variable Rush on March 23, 2012, 10:08:05 PM
Hello. I finished To The Moon some time ago, and this is my thoughts on the ending, and of Johnny's wish.

Okay, River said this, "I never told anyone... but I always thought they were lighthouses. Billions of lighthouses... stuck at the far end of the sky." She also mentions that she wanted to meet one and befriend it.

Anya, the lighthouse was something very important to both Johnny and River, it's why they bought the land and built the house on it.

Now, remember how they were to regroup on the moon if they got separated? I'd say her death was a "separation" am I right? Do you see where I'm going with this?

I was very disappointed when the new memories showed Johnny getting interested in space flight and going to NASA.

What I hoped would happen is this: In the new memories, River dies. So Johnny starts working on their separation plan: He starts building a space ship, no, scratch that, he turns the lighthouse into a space ship. He then flies off in Anya the lighthouse spaceship. He finds River on the moon.

Why is she on the moon? Does it matter? She's there. It's all that matters.

Then, together, River and Johnny leave the moon and seek out the lighthouses at the far corners of the sky, and befriend as many of them as they can.

That's the ending I was hoping for. While I did like Johnny's brother coming back to life, it didn't fulfill the desire I had of the ending I was hoping the story was going toward.
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Merlandese on March 24, 2012, 12:52:14 AM
So you wanted the symbolic meaning behind the moon travel to become so literal that it borders on extreme fantasy? You wanted Johnny to imagine he'd accomplished a reality-bending task and accept it as his new life? It's an interesting thought, but I think you're in the minority here. Sorry it wasn't what you were expecting, but I hope you enjoyed it nonetheless. :)
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Unimaginative Username on March 24, 2012, 09:48:59 AM
 In my opinion that ending would decimate the whole feel of the game and the plot, and I would be extremely dissatisfied with it.

Besides Anya was the lighthouse/star River befriended, she only said she wanted one.


And I removed one of my posts trying to edit this one. Damn phone.
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Variable Rush on March 24, 2012, 10:20:18 AM
The story already has a suspension of disbelief, why would this be any different?
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Just Lance on March 24, 2012, 10:35:45 AM
Because nothing of applied technology in current version is not scientifically impossible?
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Variable Rush on March 24, 2012, 12:32:33 PM
More like scientifically improbable. Real memory doesn't work that way.

The story went the way the story went. The only way to change it is to grab the memory changing device and use it on the dude who made this game...
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Unimaginative Username on March 24, 2012, 02:17:08 PM
The story already has a suspension of disbelief, why would this be any different?

Because it would of at least of been possible for him to get into NASA if he worked hard enough, but building a rocket with unlimited fuel goes beyond disbelief since it is impossible. It also starts to loosely resemble a Wallace and Gromit episode.

I think that the laws of physics have to be obeyed in the reconstructed memories, because if I wanted something like that done I would want it done in the most realistic way possible.
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Andri on May 09, 2012, 01:21:35 PM
I think that the game is actually a self searching journey for Johnny to remember what he has forgotten and to discover that the most important thing in his life has been there all along.

I was spooked at the beginning of the game by the paper rabbits and the platypus doll, but as the story progress I eventually learned about their significance.

This game portrays a beautiful love story between a traumatized man and an autistic woman. Nothing in life is perfect, but love conquers all.

I know that sounds very cheesy, but I personally haven't been emotionally moved with a game since Final Fantasy X.  This is a great visual novel experience, gamespot gave it 8.0 and I totally agree.

This game also showed me that you can do creative things with tools like RPG Maker XP.

Thanks for the game   :music:
Title: That choice
Post by: BlueOrange on July 25, 2012, 12:32:41 AM
I feel a little embarrassed to be posting in the mega-thread where it seems that all the ground has been covered several times over, especially when I haven't read the whole thing.

But let's note that:
- One of the doctors made a decision, and forced the other to go along with it
- The question of whether the right thing was done is left open, which is uncomfortable.  Discomfort can be good for people, even audience members like us


I think the point about the pain and suffering caused by knowing the truth is a really interesting one.  Hopefully, one of the games in the series will explore that.
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Alistair on July 25, 2012, 07:48:45 AM
Personally, I don't understand the complaint here at all. The metaphor wasn't ruined, because the ruined metaphor is the central aspect of the story, not the metaphor itself.

The basic tragedy behind this story was that Johnny, due to not being able to consciously remember a specific childhood event, took the metaphor literally. He neither knew what going to the moon actually was supposed to mean nor that, while going there literally would be theoretically possible, going there metaphorical was impossible, namely re-uniting with River, because she was already dead.

His "literal" wish needed to be fullfilled in order to grant him peace. It doesn't matter that literally going to the moon wasn't what he really wanted, because he himself didn't know. He had the dire urge to get to the moon, this had to be done.

So I think he really got his perfect ending: his conscious wish, going to the moon, was fullfilled, but he meaning behind it, the unconscious wish, being together with River, was fullfilled as well. Going to the moon was achieved, both literally (which had to be done) and metaphorically (which is only a bonus, though more important).
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Flownaway on August 10, 2012, 10:03:11 PM
Hmmmm maybe it is just my point of view, I guess every single person who plays the game has a totally different one.

To me, the metaphor is still there. I mean, the last memories they made him to believe, are not true. It is all fake. The space travel is visual but never happens. It's just the last thing he sees before passing away, resembling him making his last journey, but with River (so as not feeling lonely in his last moments)

I found the ending a bittersweet one. His grief finally stops, but the memories he has before passing away aren't true. It is like they erase his true memories to made him believe he lived a life he never really had. But, as he just wanted to die happy, without feeling guilty of something he didn't even know, they just grant his last wish avoiding his entire true existence. But you know, he wasn't really aware in the end, so...
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Ferdk on August 19, 2012, 06:11:54 PM
I took the time to read this whole thread (I'm at work with nothing better to do). At first it seemed nice to hear others' opinions, but then it got a bit like attacking the game and the arguments were really... dumb.

One main point I see most of those who didn't like the ending didn't quite get, is the point of the game, or more importantly, the point of the doctors.
They didn't like that they didn't choose to make the "right thing". But, um, this was obviously going to be like this from the beginning. Its a corporation, with employees that do their job to get a paycheck. The game never stated these people were in for some altruistic desire to help old people. That's just the catchphrase, slogan of the company. "Just go in peace with your dying wish fulfilled!". Watts eventually shows some concern and I actually thought he was quite out of place to be honest, while I obviously had this emotional bond with the characters and wanted them to succeed, they're not there to help people, they're there to do their job.

Imagine tomorrow I sign a contract with Warner Music to make a music album. But then, I go to the CEO and say "actually, you know, I've been studying your psychologic profile and your current life experiences and I think the reason you wanted me to make an album for you was because you are in search of some financial gain to feel secure to sustain you family's lifestyle. I actually have a better solution for that!", then I break the contract. Do you know what will happen? I'll get sued. Sigmund Corp fulfills the wish you ask, they don't offer to make you happy, they offer to fulfill whatever you ask them. If you didn't know what you wanted, well then you wasted your money. Not their problem.

To me it never felt wrong because it made PERFECT sense to be this way, and Watts was the one acting illogically, he should've known better being on this job for a while. And certainly will go against him if he always feels like doing the "right thing" (Eva says something like that to him too).
The whole emotional satisfaction for the player is given in the stargazing scene. That's my opinion. To me that scene if when you say "this was worth it", and then the game resolves the loose ends by giving the proper closure for the setting created for it.

I had some opinions on specific things said by others but since this thread is really old it doesn't really serve any purpose at this point xD
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Alectrick on August 21, 2012, 02:53:52 PM
It seems some people didn't understant all the details of the game... this goes to the ones who say that the travel to the moon should be only a metaphor.

• First of all, the most important fact, remember this sentence: "Because one day... I'm going to befriend one of them". That are River words, she wanted to befriend a star. Why do you think that she was so happy when Johnny told her to build a house near Anya? because she knew that Lighthouse should be her Befriended Star. The most important star for her was the moon since she met Johnny, because that was their "meeting point" if they get lost or couldn't see aymore each other, and also Johnny knew this, so they made their way to the NASA to fulfill not only their desire to rejoin and stay together, also to fulfill the desire of Riven to Befriend a star.

• Johnny didn't know why he wanted to go to the moon, becuase of the B-Blockers, he couldn't remember ALL of his childhood memories with River and the importance of it, but i belive he remembered something, something about meeting on the moon and River befriending a star, so he convinced that going to the moon was the answer to see River again and making her wish true. Johnny is a really kind person, he was never selfish, he always wanted the best for her.

• It was the contract of Eva and Neil, their client asked for them to grant his wish to go to the moon, and they make it perfectly, because he went to the moon accompanied with the love of his life, nothing better than that for him...


Such a beautifull ending needs to be properly interpretated to get all of it...
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Judedeath on August 21, 2012, 05:59:48 PM
Wow it's nice to see someone saying Johnny isn't a horrible horrible person and super selfish.
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Tumbles on August 21, 2012, 06:08:41 PM
Oh, Johnny's a great guy, there's no doubt. :seraismile: But from time to time he can be a bit of a smug douche.
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Merlandese on August 21, 2012, 06:22:18 PM
Johnny was super selfish, but I don't think selfish and bad are synonymous. It's a part of his character, but he didn't treat people horribly.
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Ferdk on August 21, 2012, 07:14:44 PM
I don't see how Johnny was selfish except for his reason to date River back then. To me it always felt like Johnny himself didn't have thaaat much interest in the lighthouse, and he only cared for it just to go along with River. The whole house thing was just his way of giving back to her, he only cared about her, basically (as an example of not being that selfish).

As for not remembering, that's pretty clear something he can't do anything about, and he did try to talk to River about her behavior, it just so happens that she isn't exactly the easiest person to talk about thing. But he tried. That's gotta be worth something right?

If we take his convo with Izzy about the treatment, call me crazy but even if she says he's selfish, I don't think so. Caring about someone is not selfish, just because they want to end their lives doesn't mean you just gotta sit and watch. If my sister wanted to shoot herself, I wouldn't feel selfish for stopping her. It only means I care.

I think he's only overshadowed by River's sad story. Which is indeed very sad. But its not Johnny's fault, in my opinion xD

But that's my 2 cents, feel free to disagree :P
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Merlandese on August 21, 2012, 07:28:01 PM
Oh, I do disagree. :p

Good intentions aside, if I make a decision, and you disrupt my decision so that I'll stay in your life, you've decided that the happiness you feel when I'm in your life is more important than my free will. In other words, you disregard my decision for your own happiness. Even more simple: what you want > what I want.

Replacing my choice for your comfort is selfish. A tricky kind of selfish, maybe, but selfish at the core.

As for Johnny's high school selfishness, that drags on through his life, I believe. We know that he doesn't like his normalcy. His name, John, is even normal. He represents your average Joe, and his feelings towards the stars--how he thinks they all look the same as each other--shows that he has a real yearning to be unique. This probably stems from the fact that as a child he was the "lesser" of an near-identical pair. But whatever the reason, his view of River, in both meetings, is primarily fueled by how unique she is. He wants that.

I could argue--and shall argue--that his interest in the unique was such an attractive force that he wanted her in his life so that he wouldn't be so normal. There are a few lines between them where he asserts that the issues she's having are interesting in some way. The love he feels for her is a grown comfort. I'm not saying it isn't genuine, but that it stems from a selfish desire--to have something that makes him unique--and is perpetuated by a selfish desire--to keep that something.

At it's core, Johnny is acting only in his self interest, even if he doesn't know it. Until River's decision to forgo treatment came up, his selfishness never clashed with hers, and so it never seemed like a problem. And of course, it's not a problem. There's nothing wrong with Johnny wanting what he wants, but I maintain he was doing it for his benefit first and foremost.

I can understand if not everyone sees it that way, though. :p
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Judedeath on August 21, 2012, 07:34:46 PM
You guys are forgetting the biggest thing the people keep bringing up, Johnny not reading the book.
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Ferdk on August 21, 2012, 07:45:45 PM
But Merlan, by your reasoning I am selfish if I try to stop my sister from shooting herself in the head?... well, I guess one could say that being extremely literal. It is because I don't want to have a life without my sister, maybe. But isn't because I think there's something better for her too? I don't know.
If you're always indifferent about what your loved ones do because its their decision, I don't think that shows selflessness, but carelessness. You just don't care.

If the difference here is not if you care, but if you do something about it, then Johnny let her die and built the house. So I guess he had to suck up his feelings.

Hmmm, I guess if I have to think it overly literal I may agree, and I'd go back to when you said: selfish doesn't mean bad. I guess the reason I think he's not selfish is because i don't think he's negatively selfish :P
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Merlandese on August 21, 2012, 07:54:06 PM
I get what you're saying (and the whole topic of it could probably be a thread in itself), but here's where our ideas of caring diverge, I think. In your mind (I'm inferring), your sister's existence is more important than her decision. By stopping her from killing herself, you care because now she has her whole life ahead of herself. Completely reasonable.

In my mind, her actions and her ideas are what makes her who she is--they're her free will, and what makes her a person. If I stop her (not that I wouldn't try to reason with her), I'm giving her life, but I'm giving her a life in which I've shown that I think her decisions aren't important. So by allowing her to do what she wants, I've shown I care about who she is, even if that means she won't be in my life anymore.

Using suicide is an extreme way of talking about it, but I think what I was trying to convey still comes through. :p
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Ferdk on August 21, 2012, 08:12:27 PM
Hmmmm, I guess I'm selfish then :P you're making me reflect on past decisions now... XD I guess, um... I guess I'm guilty of being "that" guy that thinks he knows better than you what you need, sometimes. Now I'll go back to my daydreaming and introspective reasoning to update my database
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Alectrick on August 21, 2012, 08:19:51 PM
Oh, I do disagree. :p

Good intentions aside, if I make a decision, and you disrupt my decision so that I'll stay in your life, you've decided that the happiness you feel when I'm in your life is more important than my free will. In other words, you disregard my decision for your own happiness. Even more simple: what you want > what I want.

Replacing my choice for your comfort is selfish. A tricky kind of selfish, maybe, but selfish at the core.

As for Johnny's high school selfishness, that drags on through his life, I believe. We know that he doesn't like his normalcy. His name, John, is even normal. He represents your average Joe, and his feelings towards the stars--how he thinks they all look the same as each other--shows that he has a real yearning to be unique. This probably stems from the fact that as a child he was the "lesser" of an near-identical pair. But whatever the reason, his view of River, in both meetings, is primarily fueled by how unique she is. He wants that.

I could argue--and shall argue--that his interest in the unique was such an attractive force that he wanted her in his life so that he wouldn't be so normal. There are a few lines between them where he asserts that the issues she's having are interesting in some way. The love he feels for her is a grown comfort. I'm not saying it isn't genuine, but that it stems from a selfish desire--to have something that makes him unique--and is perpetuated by a selfish desire--to keep that something.

At it's core, Johnny is acting only in his self interest, even if he doesn't know it. Until River's decision to forgo treatment came up, his selfishness never clashed with hers, and so it never seemed like a problem. And of course, it's not a problem. There's nothing wrong with Johnny wanting what he wants, but I maintain he was doing it for his benefit first and foremost.

I can understand if not everyone sees it that way, though. :p


Thats true... what i want > what you want is being selfish, but remember what Johnny said when he talked Isabelle, he wanted all for her, to pay the treatment and pay the house, that was his real desire, but he couldn't do it because they didn't have enough money, and think about this, what is the meaning of having the house and the lighthouse without her? nothing, and also think about the promise that Johnny made with River about caring the house and the lighthouse, after all he made it, even without understanding why she cared much for them, so he wasn't selfish there.

Back in High School, I understant that Johnny had that problem with himself. He wanted to be different, not another normal person, and when he saw River he knew that she was different. If we think it like that way, he's an asshole because he only wanted to be with her so his image can change to the others, or change his own mind about his life. But think about it, did he really wanted that at the end? he discovered that River is the love of his life and he always did everything for her. So many people start bad things or errors, but in the end, what it matters is the result... is not bad to change, worst is to keep those errors and make a snowball of them... and Johnny is not that case, because he gave EVERYTHING for her, so i can't think that he's selfish.

Anyway, it's my oppinion, i respect yours, but i want to be clear for what i said on the another message :P

 :DOT: Sorry for my english, i know it's not perfect but i hope you can all understant my "formal writing" xD  :DOT:
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Chippy on September 07, 2012, 09:37:54 AM
Personally, I think this
River showing him the bunny and him saying that he see's the Moon, just like when they were little. That would be subtle and beatiful
is the "magical science saves the day" one, while the game ending is the mature ending
like in one part Eva said they weren't "there" to play God
Title: Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
Post by: Ferdk on September 07, 2012, 11:49:32 AM
That quote about the bunny doesn't make any sense, really (no offense intended if the poster is still around).

If River is showing him the bunny, its because he doesn't remember. Why would he snap out of it just like that? It doesn't make sense that something like the beta-blockers is introduced so they don't actually work later on. They're there to block the memories, the whole deal is that he can't remember. For him to remember would've made no sense whatsoever, but for him to remember at THAT moment (with the bunny) it would've made even LESS sense.
If anything then meeting River in highschool could've broken it, not a paper bunny.

But I originally didn't want to address specific points because the discussion is old and these posters are probably not around anymore, so its kind of unfair we can't give them the opportunity to reply back :P