Author Topic: Did music ruin the saddest part of To The Moon?  (Read 3434 times)

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Abrom

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Did music ruin the saddest part of To The Moon?
« on: November 23, 2014, 04:20:27 AM »
What I'm referring to is the scene where John's memories of River were being taken away - http://youtu.be/AP71oYBWr34?t=10m58s (If the video doesn't start at 10:58, then just skip to it.)
My first reaction when it came to this part wasn't to grab a tissue, but instead smile and chuckle at how over-the-top corny the music was. It felt like someone was trying to make me watch a SPCA commercial. And, the reason I feel this way is because I believe that music in films/stories should be infrequent and subtle mood setters. My one complaint about To The Moon was that it overused its music. NOW, DON'T GET ME WRONG! I think if all parts were to have music, the music that was played was very suiting. But...I just think that creators should have more faith in their audience to know how they should feel about an event without constantly telling them how to feel with musical cues. I also feel that the music will have an enhanced effect if we're not constantly subjected to it.
When I put myself in the mindset that the scene I'm referring to should be really sad, and I just watch that scene itself, I can kinda get into the music. But, since I had been listening to sad music all throughout To The Moon, I just thought it was a little too much at that point. So anyway, what was your first reaction to the scene of River being erased by John's memories? Were you in tears, or laughing like me?
River: *Drops hacky sack*
River: "Can you throw this is as far as where Anya's at?"
John: "I can try."
John: "(Now I'll amaze her with my feat of strength.)"
John: *Throws hacky sack into ocean*
River: *Runs to cliff edge*
John: "River! Stop looking at my awesome throw and get away from that ledge!"
River: *Backs into John and silently sits down*
John: "(...Nailed it.)"

Dev J Chand

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Re: Did music ruin the saddest part of To The Moon?
« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2014, 06:08:06 AM »
I do feel that To The Moon could have been a lot more subtle with its use of music yes. Personally, I find it very depressing to have to listen to sad tunes all the time, and I think it did make the whole game more melodramatic than it should have been. I've noticed that the detractors of To The Moon complained about this too, and I think it's something that could be worked on in the next game.


Jesicani

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Re: Did music ruin the saddest part of To The Moon?
« Reply #2 on: November 23, 2014, 07:16:16 AM »
I was neither laughing nor crying because I didn't find this moment to be the saddest part of the game. If anything, I was furious at Eva at the time for "deleting" River (yes, I know River wasn't actually deleted).

I think one of the reasons you burst out laughing is because you didn't listen to the music and assumed it was sad music for sadness' sake. It's the only song in which lyrics are sung in the game and there's an importance to listening to its words.

Lyrically, the song was ironic since the words sung contradicted with what we were seeing. The song is actually a happy song, not a sad one, with the singer stating that everything will be alright so long as your with me, yet in the game we're seeing the exact opposite take place, with River fading out of existence.

Overall, I think the music served its purpose well, at least in my case, which is to arouse emotion, whether it be anger or sadness is up to the individual viewing it.

I also have to respectfully disagree with your statement saying, "I also feel that the music will have an enhanced effect if we're not constantly subjected to it."

Well, actually, no I don't disagree with it, the music will certainly be more special if there was less of it in the game, but I think the entirety of the TTM experience will have been diminished if there was less music in the game. It's easy enough to say the game could use less music, but where?

TTM is both a game and a story, but is lacking game-play and lacking descriptive details. Dialogue and sprite-based animations don't offer much information and it was the music that kept me chugging along.

As an example, when that playful little tune comes up when you ask for the kid's help in looking around the house, it foreshadows their mischievous nature perfectly. Could I have ascertained this from the dialogue? Sure, but it wouldn't have been nearly as interesting.

Please don't take what I have said as hate directed towards you, because its not, it's all just my view on things.
« Last Edit: November 23, 2014, 07:20:43 AM by Jesicani »
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Abrom

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Re: Did music ruin the saddest part of To The Moon?
« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2014, 07:44:46 AM »
First time through I was listening to the lyrics on and off (was trying to pay alot more attention to what I was seeing more than hearing). Second time through I payed attention to them. It definitely makes it sad. But, like I said, I wished for something more subtle. If you feel differently, that's fine. We all have our own opinions on what we want to see.
River: *Drops hacky sack*
River: "Can you throw this is as far as where Anya's at?"
John: "I can try."
John: "(Now I'll amaze her with my feat of strength.)"
John: *Throws hacky sack into ocean*
River: *Runs to cliff edge*
John: "River! Stop looking at my awesome throw and get away from that ledge!"
River: *Backs into John and silently sits down*
John: "(...Nailed it.)"

Merlandese

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Re: Did music ruin the saddest part of To The Moon?
« Reply #4 on: November 23, 2014, 04:04:49 PM »
I agree that there should be faith in how the player should feel without music, but as a designer, you have to use all of your tools to compensate for the ones you don't have.

In film, there's a lot more showing possible--acting, camera angles, panning, etc. Feelings can be conveyed with extreme subtlety. A low-budget RMXP game loses every single one of those advantages.

I'm not going to claim that TtM did everything right, but I will say that when you have one camera angle the whole game with tiny, pixelated characters, it's not too ridiculous to think that some of the message might not get across. This isn't losing faith in the player's intelligence so much as it is trying to direct the scene despite the limitations. SFX and musical cues are pretty important in picking up the development slack. I'd say it shows a lack of engine capability more than a lack of faith in the player.


Abrom

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Re: Did music ruin the saddest part of To The Moon?
« Reply #5 on: November 23, 2014, 04:48:28 PM »
Merlandese - I do get what you're saying, and I know that it's a very fine balance to keep in check. It's just, to me, I almost feel like I'm being patronized...like I'm not even being given a chance to decipher things on my own. And yes, I know that as a creator, you never set out to do that. I also know that it can't be easy when you have people with different preferences, like between me and Jesicani.
I realize that I'm probably more sensitive than most when it comes to conveying feelings through music. I mean, my only real taste in music is modern heavy metal, so that's not really an option for me. But, also because of my narrow taste in music, I don't want to have to continually listen through something that I don't enjoy, unless of course, the music is called for. I think in almost every situation, the words spoken should set the mood before musical cues come in. And, even then, if it's not a real important/dramatic/overjoyed event, you could always go with silence, and let the words do the emotional work.
You know, everytime I listen to some overplayed/overdramatic music in a medium, I always think about the movie The Rock. There's that scene where Nicolas Cage gets exploded into the water, and he's just floating there while Sean Connery goes to check on him. You were supposed to be wondering if Nicolas Cage was still alive or not, but they totally botched the moment, because the music had already told me that he was going to be fine. See, this is what overused music does to me! IT MAKES ME THINK ABOUT THE ROCK!

Jesicani - Anger never made it into my emotional palette when I viewed To The Moon. At the point when Eva was putting in motion her plan to (re)move River, I had already seen enough of Eva's character to know that she wasn't nearly heartless enough to just erase River. And once Eva said that she was simply 'moving' River, I kinda already had an idea of how John's memories were going to end. I still found it sad when the real memories of River were removed though, because that meant that John's happy moments with her were also gone.
You had said that you didn't find that part to the be the saddest moment. Can I ask what you did think was the saddest? Was the realization that River had spent her last years trying to remind John of their real first encounter, only to never accomplish it? Or, perhaps it was about Joey?
River: *Drops hacky sack*
River: "Can you throw this is as far as where Anya's at?"
John: "I can try."
John: "(Now I'll amaze her with my feat of strength.)"
John: *Throws hacky sack into ocean*
River: *Runs to cliff edge*
John: "River! Stop looking at my awesome throw and get away from that ledge!"
River: *Backs into John and silently sits down*
John: "(...Nailed it.)"

Jesicani

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Re: Did music ruin the saddest part of To The Moon?
« Reply #6 on: November 23, 2014, 05:22:25 PM »
I would say the saddest part for me would technically be the ending when Johnny makes it to the moon. Now I say technically because what makes me sad isn't explicitly stated in the ending, but what I realized after viewing the ending.

Johnny and River died with differing memories, and Johnny died with happier memories than River (presumably). There is the possibility that River passed away sorrowfully and feeling alone, and the fact that Johnny gets to pass away happy makes it seem a little unfair.

Of course, there's no way to say for sure that River was miserable when she died, but neither can we know for sure that she was happy.

So I suppose what makes me the most sad is that between Johnny and River, there's the possibility that only one of them got to die happy.

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Abrom

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Re: Did music ruin the saddest part of To The Moon?
« Reply #7 on: November 23, 2014, 05:46:18 PM »
I don't think that River died unhappily. Based on what River was saying on her deathbed, to me, I pictured her saying most of it with a smile on her face. Also, John did abide by her last request, and she said herself that she would be happy. John obviously didn't spend money on the procedure to save her life, and instead put it into the house like she asked. She must have known about it before passing away...you know, due to the whole 'not getting operated on' thing. I think she was happy, but not extraordinarily happy, since she never got through to John about their encounter. But, let's face it, John probably blew her away with the song he made for her. If she did have a frown, it musta got turned upside down.
River: *Drops hacky sack*
River: "Can you throw this is as far as where Anya's at?"
John: "I can try."
John: "(Now I'll amaze her with my feat of strength.)"
John: *Throws hacky sack into ocean*
River: *Runs to cliff edge*
John: "River! Stop looking at my awesome throw and get away from that ledge!"
River: *Backs into John and silently sits down*
John: "(...Nailed it.)"

Jesicani

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Re: Did music ruin the saddest part of To The Moon?
« Reply #8 on: November 23, 2014, 09:03:45 PM »
I don't think that River died unhappily. Based on what River was saying on her deathbed, to me, I pictured her saying most of it with a smile on her face. Also, John did abide by her last request, and she said herself that she would be happy. John obviously didn't spend money on the procedure to save her life, and instead put it into the house like she asked. She must have known about it before passing away...you know, due to the whole 'not getting operated on' thing. I think she was happy, but not extraordinarily happy, since she never got through to John about their encounter. But, let's face it, John probably blew her away with the song he made for her. If she did have a frown, it musta got turned upside down.

I certainly hope so! People dying sad and unfulfilled makes me sad ):
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Erenussocrates

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Re: Did music ruin the saddest part of To The Moon?
« Reply #9 on: December 06, 2014, 06:29:40 AM »
What I'm referring to is the scene where John's memories of River were being taken away - http://youtu.be/AP71oYBWr34?t=10m58s (If the video doesn't start at 10:58, then just skip to it.)
My first reaction when it came to this part wasn't to grab a tissue, but instead smile and chuckle at how over-the-top corny the music was. It felt like someone was trying to make me watch a SPCA commercial. And, the reason I feel this way is because I believe that music in films/stories should be infrequent and subtle mood setters. My one complaint about To The Moon was that it overused its music. NOW, DON'T GET ME WRONG! I think if all parts were to have music, the music that was played was very suiting. But...I just think that creators should have more faith in their audience to know how they should feel about an event without constantly telling them how to feel with musical cues. I also feel that the music will have an enhanced effect if we're not constantly subjected to it.
When I put myself in the mindset that the scene I'm referring to should be really sad, and I just watch that scene itself, I can kinda get into the music. But, since I had been listening to sad music all throughout To The Moon, I just thought it was a little too much at that point. So anyway, what was your first reaction to the scene of River being erased by John's memories? Were you in tears, or laughing like me?


I don't get what you mean, that soundtrack that plays in that time is quite emotional and was fitting to that place, in my opinion. I can understand Kan to not put something even sadder than that, because john got his brother back anyways, so it was a conflicting 50/50 trade, putting something sadder would probably feel like something disrespectful for joey.
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