Author Topic: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?  (Read 34863 times)

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Merlandese

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Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
« Reply #30 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.

Crusism

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Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
« Reply #31 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:

"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."

Wulfsten

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Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
« Reply #32 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!

SenorKaffee

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Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
« Reply #33 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

felipepepe

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Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
« Reply #34 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...

Judedeath

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Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
« Reply #35 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.
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.

Wulfsten

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Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
« Reply #36 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.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2012, 01:14:53 PM by Wulfsten »

Crusism

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Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
« Reply #37 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?!!?
« Last Edit: January 09, 2012, 10:41:15 AM by Crusism »

"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."

Merlandese

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Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
« Reply #38 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.

felipepepe

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Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
« Reply #39 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.

Merlandese

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Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
« Reply #40 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.

Crusism

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Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
« Reply #41 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.
« Last Edit: January 06, 2012, 03:02:39 AM by Crusism »

"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."

Tumbles

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Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
« Reply #42 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 :)

Spoiler: show


                                         

~

Reives

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Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
« Reply #43 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.

Reives

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Re: <spoiler> Please, why ruin the metaphor?
« Reply #44 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.