Dark Rooms and Butterflies

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Okay, time to get Life is Strange out of my system.

Namely, Episode 4. 

Daniel, what are your thoughts to the very last scene in the latest episode?

“…that sick fuck.”

Yeah…me too. 

Okay, from this point, we’re going to spoil everything, so if you haven’t seen the episode, take a deep breath, and back away. Mmkay?

Okay! Let’s go Daniel!

“…where?”

You know! Episode! Thoughts!

“You’re the English buff. You give your thoughts. I’ll just pop in every now and then as the obligatory fanservice guy.”

See? You’re better at this than you think. Ugh…fine.

Sooooooo, this episode’s major plot twists, along with my guesstimations.

  • The Dark Room Recap

This episode involves our favourite hipster and her BFF- whom she kills in another dimension by the way- friends once more after Chloe’s tantrum at the end of last episode, as they go on to investigate Rachel’s disappearance. Everything’s all butterflies and rainbows, including a crowning moment of awesome for Warren who punches Hipster Draco Malfoy in the face, when all of a sudden, BAM! Rape dungeon. 

More specifically, apocalypse bunker used as a rape dungeon. Either way, seedy shit is happening down there. Chloe finds out that Nathan/HDM receives his drug deliveries at an isolated barn on the outskirts of town, so she and Maxlock Holmes head out to investigate. After searching the barn, we it. Duct tape, creepy sex art, sedatives in the form of needle injection (squick), and the real kicker, photos. Of Rachel and Kate Marsh. That’s not all. In the midst of all these rape dungeon photos, there’s one photo taken at a garbage dump, with Rachel is lying on top of a freshly dug hole…

Yup. Rachel’s dead. At the very least, she’s dead in this universe. Which means Chloe is mad. So now it’s time to hunt down Nathan. After searching for him at the End Of The World party (worst attempt at ironic humour EVER), we get a text from him, telling us that he’s going to get rid of the evidence. Back to the dump site; oh good, Rachel’s still there. Still dead. Yay. Everything’s okay- BAM! MAX GETS SHOT WITH A SEDATIVE. BAM! CHLOE GETS SHOT WITH AN ACTUAL GUN. BAM! IT’S NOT NATHAN, IT’S *gasp* PROFESSOR SEXY! Or Mr Jefferson, if you prefer.

“…I find your tendency to want to jump the villain of every story hilarious.”

…I’m never gonna find love, am I Daniel?

“Hey, I never said you fell in love with them. I merely said that you wanted to get in their pants.”

Fair point.

Anyway, our last shot before the episode ends completely is back at the rape dungeon, where Mr Jefferson/Evil Hipster is filling an injection needle, while Max pleads in the background. Meanwhile, the world’s ending. Sheeeeeeeeeeeeet.

Now’s my favourite part. Predicting the future, ie. The finale episode. Let’s do this.

  • Jefferson’s Story

It’s obvious by this point that Jefferson has something to do with Nathan. He’s in his family’s bunker, using drugs that Nathan bought. Why? I refuse to believe that he’s a Malfoy, because that would be a lame way to justify how he has access to the bunker, so I’m thinking that Jefferson is blackmailing him in some way. Originally, I was thinking that Nathan was an accomplice, due to Chloe’s own drugging, but now I think that Jefferson may have found out about his mental health history and drug dealing, and blackmailed him into buying him drugs and letting him use his bunker. 

“Wait, I get the drug dealing but why the mental health thing? Doesn’t the school already know about that?”

I’m not entirely sure, Daniel. But I think that if it got out to the general public, who hate the Malfoys/Prescotts, then they would be in ruin. 

“Why? Because he suffers from mental ilness? The town’s not that shallow, is it?”

I actually saw it another way. There was a letter highlighting how his dad refused to support his son and help him receive therapy. I imagine that this would be more exploitable than just the mere knowledge that Nathan Prescott needs meds to function properly. Speaking of which, he’s not taking them. 

“Oh?”

There’s a full bottle of pills in his room. I’m betting you that he’s not taking them.

“Very well. I’ll bite. Explain.”

Okay. It seems that Nathan’s behaviour has been cooking for a while. I imagine that Jefferson was probably taunting him about him having to be on medication, so I’m going to take a gamble here and say that Nathan couldn’t handle it, and decided to try going off them. Or the illegal drugs he’s taking are clashing with the legal ones and are fucking with his brain. But I feel that if that were the case, then this sort of behaviour would’ve become apparent long before the events of the game, as neither the medication or the drug use have been taken up recently. Anyway, I think that Nathan’s deterioration allowed Jefferson to mould him into the perfect accomplice and scapegoat; his family owns the barn, Frank’s book proves that he purchased drugs and asked them to be delivered there, he’s obviously deranged- deranged enough that he’s being dragged along as an accomplice in all this-, he has photos of a drugged Chloe in his room, and he’s already a suspect in Rachel Amber’s murder. Remember? Rachel in the Dark Room, Rachel in the Dark Room.

“I like your theory.”

Thank you….but?

“…but you’re missing one thing. The photo of him standing over Rachel’s body. Your theory implies that he was dragged into this. So why’s he posing with her?”

That, I don’t really know. Maybe he didn’t know she was dead and was just being stupid. Or, maybe he was high on something and wasn’t lucid enough to realise that Rachel was actually dead, or that Jefferson was taking the photo. If that’s true, then it’s another piece of blackmail on Nathan’s back. But yeah…to be honest, I haven’t really accounted for it.

“Well I think that it holds up, though I reckon that the photo will end up being the primary item of blackmail, rather than the mental illness. But it would be an interesting explanation, and it would probably make Nathan more tragic.”

Okee, so that’s the relationship between HDM and Professor SexyEvil Hipster out of the way. Next on the agenda:

  • Escaping the rape dungeon

Like I said before, the world’s ending outside. Max is in the bunker with Jefferson, and if it weren’t for the fact that he’s a rapist who killed Chloe and Rachel, it’s probably the safest place for her right now. The main problem is disposing of the Evil Hipster. Unfortunately, she’s equipped with nothing but her time travelling abilities, which is going to make things difficult, especially since that injection appears to effect her abilities, though I don’t know if she’ll be completely incapacitated. Rewinding can give her more time to escape, but unless there’s a way for her to actually escape her restraints, it won’t be much use. Stopping time is the same, (although I can see that more useful in another scenario…) which leads me to believe that her latest ability is going to be equipped, if not a Rachel Amber ex-machina.

Like they say, if a gun appears on stage, at some point during the play, it must go off. Likewise, that photo we took with Warren at the party is probably going to help us change the past. Not only will we be able to get one step ahead of Jefferson, but we can stop Chloe from dying (again). The only problem I can foresee is that Max will go back to a new altered present, and if she’s not back in the rape dungeon/bunker, then she’s going to be stuck in the middle of a hurricane, while everyone dies around her. 

“Why can’t she die?”

Shhhhh. Because she’s the protagonist.

“Doesn’t stop you.”

I’m not a protagonist, I’m more like Scrappy Doo. You’re the one this story’s about, I’m just a disaster waiting to happen. Unfortunately. Anyway! That’s the idea that I have for how Batmax is going to escape. 

  • The Final Resolution

From that point on, it seems like a pretty crappy situation. You’d be stuck in an apocalyptic wasteland with Chloe, everyone you invested in emotionally would be dead, and Rachel’s probably not going to get justice, and neither will Kate. 

…unless.

“Hmm?”

…do you remember that episode of Doctor Who where Rose saves her dad and creates a time paradox? And as a result, those monsters come out to try and remedy the situation via mass murder?

“…oh no….”

Yup…I’m not just talking about saving Chloe. I’m talking about every little decision that Max made which changed the course of history. Everything’s been building up and is now the size of a hurricane. 

“…I hated that episode for a reason.”

Me too…you see where I’m going with this, right?

“…excuse me. I need to go man up.”

Daniel’s right, this fucking sucks. But remember that blue butterfly picture we took, right before Nathan shot Chloe and we discovered we can turn back time? Guess what, we have another Checkov’s gun here! Almost literally when you think about it.

“…YOU WENT THERE.”

…sorry. In all seriousness though, every problem we’ve encountered so far can be resolved if Nathan shoots Chloe before they happen. Nathan gets arrested for murder, because not even the MalfoysPrescotts can worm their way out of that. When he’s behind bars, he’s gonna start singing like a canary, leading the police to Jefferson and the rape dungeon. Kate can get help for what happened to her before she tries to jump off a roof, Rachel can finally rest in peace, the Prescotts can get thrown out of Arcadia thanks to the court of public opinion and the universe doesn’t have to correct itself by wiping out Arcadia Bay via tornado after Max’s meddling.

Unfortunately, it means that Chloe has to die. And that fucking sucks.

“Objection!”

Yes Phoenix Wright?”

“Hey, I want to be Edgeworth.”

No. You brought up the series, you have to be the title character. That’s how it rolls. 

“What if I speak in a posh accent?”

*posh voice* Too late. Make your point, Wright.

“Fine…aren’t there some cases where things can be evened out if something else is sacrificed in its place?”

I’ve never heard of that theory. 

“Are you sure? What about that Charon game you watched the other day?”

That crappy visual novel dungeon crawler?

“The very same. Remember? Protagonist kills themself so that a girl won’t have to die.”

Oh right. They probably changed the rules for convenience though. It’s Charon.

“Yes, because it’s obvious that all rules concerning time travel are proven fact.”

Fineeeee. But I don’t know enough about the rules of time travel to know if it works or not. 

“Okay…how about a less dubious source?”

There’s more?

“Year Walk. You remember that game better, don’t you?”

Ah yes, my first horror game. Oh!

“NOW do you get it?”

Uh huh. In Year Walk, the guy violated the rules of time and space, and as a result, he ended up killing his girlfriend. That was the price he had to pay for trying to meddle. But then Theo sent him the knife via the box, so that he could take his own life, as the watchers demanded that he make a sacrifice for his crime. 

“Hah. Suck it Edgeworth.”

You can find a lot of fanfiction where I do just that, sweet cheeks. Wait…so when you say sacrifice…

“Yup. Is it really out of the realm of possibility for Max to shove Chloe out of the way and take a bullet for her?”

Holy shit you’re right. WAAAAAAAAAIT.

“…you’re meant to say Hold it.”

Hold it! Would the sacrifice theory apply to Rachel Amber too? Maybe the reason she’s dead is because she meddled with time and was faced with having to sacrifice her best friend or herself. Just a few things I remembered; Rachel was perfect– maybe she had the same power Max did, and rewrote everything so that everyone loved her. And another thing; Rachel saved Chloe’s life, according to her. Who’s to say this wasn’t literal?

“…if that’s true, then Chloe is a frigging magnet for rogue time travellers.”

That’s an understatement. But then we have another matter on our hands. Namely, why did Jefferson leave Max alive, but shoot Chloe in the head? Before, I had assumed that for some reason, he decided that Max more rapeable than Chloe (ewwwwwww!), but now that I consider the theory that Rachel may have meddled with time, and the fact that Rachel ended up dead at Jefferson’s hands, what’s to say that he knows something about time travelling himself? Those are the only reasons why I can see him preserving Max while killing Chloe. As for why Rachel died, maybe he tried to sedate her over a long period and ended up overdosing her on whatever’s in those needles. 

“And on that note, I think we’ve covered everything.”

You sure?

“If we try and think about it anymore, we’ll explode. Max will escape the rape dungeon via photographic teleportation, and ultimately decide between sacrificing Aracadia Bay and sacrificing Chloe. Or herself. And it will be revealed that Rachel was also a time traveller who ultimately died because of meddling, and that Jefferson may also be involved somehow. Also, Jefferson is blackmailing Nathan with his drug addled brain. Those are your predictions, correct?”

..yeah.

“Then I don’t think you need to go further than this. And I want to catch on Lisa.”

Okaaaaaay, we’ll go watch NicoB. Just one thing. How do you know the plots of crappy yandere games better than I do?

“…I get bored when you’re working.”

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The Mad Cat Games

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Now for a less depressing list. I like dungeon crawler RPGs, visual novels and basically anything with a good story. So here’s a list of games I’ve played and would recommend to similarly fucked up people.

Yes, I really don’t have anything better to write about right now.

  • Dangan Ronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc & Dangan Ronpa 2: Goodbye Despair

My personal favourite series, I would recommend the games to anyone who enjoys mystery and dystopia stories. 

Plot overview: A class of fifteen students (sixteen in Dangan Ronpa 2) are held inside their academy/a deserted island by a teddy bear called Monokuma (upupupupu). The only way to escape their confinement is to get away with killing one of their classmates and avoid getting discovered at the class trial, where they go over the evidence. Think of the Ace Attorney games with pink blood and zero grownups.

Thoughts: Dangan Ronpa somehow manages to maintain this lighthearted, colourful atmosphere, even though each chapter is about finding out who murdered your classmate. I got really invested in the characters, they’re so dynamic and complex, and I loved figuring out all the puzzles and mini games. What I enjoyed most about the games though is that they kept me guessing, which I find is an impressive feat. The thing with me is that I very rarely get surprised when it comes to the conclusion of a mystery or a story in general, because I can usually gather what could happen based on the information given, and prepare myself for the potential outcome. But Dangan Ronpa’s mysteries, I’ve found, will hide that one piece of information that’ll narrow everything down to the culprit until the very end, and in Chapter 2 of the first game and Chapter 4 of the second game, the unveiling of the culprits made me yell out at the console, that’s how off I was. 

I’ll have to say this though; the typos in the second game really peeved me. I played the first game after watching a playthrough of the fan translation, and their spelling was pretty spot on, which made the second game so much more disappointing when it came to grammar and stuff. If it wasn’t Dangan Ronpa, I would’ve stopped playing, to be honest. I understand that the reason the spelling’s not that good is because they had to rush the translation, but seriously. This game is a visual novel, people. The story is the most important part. Pleaaaaase don’t do this again with Dangan Ronpa 3! I don’t care if it takes longer to translate as a result, just make sure everything is perfect! And that goes for voice acting too. I’m looking at you, Oogami’s voice actor from the English Dub! Seriously, your Japanese voice was heaps better. You did good with Gundam Tanaka though. *ovary explosion*

Squirmy parts: In my opinion, Dangan Ronpa 2 covers darker material than the first game, as it goes deeper into the dystopian universe that you barely brush on in Trigger Happy Havoc. The backstories of the students in particular become a lot darker in the sequel, and there’s a few creepy moments when you realise how much some of your classmates have gone off the deep end into psycho crazy. Also, YOUR FRIENDS ARE GETTING MURDERED. Squirm material RIGHT THERE.

  • Corpse Party & Corpse Party: Book of Shadows

Ah….Corpse Party. Gruesome slaughtering of adolescents? Check. Completely unnecessary fanservice during these moments? Check. Sexy sociopaths that have me question my taste in men? Check. The first game is another dungeon crawler RPG horror, whereas the second game follows the typical visual novel point-and-click layout. 

Plot Overview: The moral of this story should be DON’T DO CREEPY GHOST RITUALS, KIDS. This game’s about a group of students who get transported to the remains of Heavenly Host Academy, which is notorious for the murder of three primary school aged children (yes, it’s elementary in America. I’M CALLING IT PRIMARY. Thankyou,) by a teacher. After doing the Sachiko Forever After charm, the students find themselves separated from eachother, and desperately trying to survive and find a way out of there. The anime’s even worse- only two of the five characters who survived the game make it out alive. Kind of a ‘fuck you’ to those who played the game and said “haha, I know how this is gonna turn out,” when it came to watching the anime. Hahaha…NOPE.

Thoughts: Corpse Party isn’t my favourite game, but it’s still one that I’d consider a classic. Yes, yes, the panty-shots of possessed teenagers get old after a while, but it creates a story that stays with you long after you’ve finished the game. It touches on the adult fear that you could disappear and no one would know you’ve gone, that no one knows or cares that you’re spending the rest of eternity in pain. It also makes you wary of creepy ghost children for the rest of your life. I think that even if I have children, I will automatically be on guard if one of them wanders around at night. What’s that, tiny Satan? You need a glass of water? Too bad! The sequel, however, Book of Shadows, isn’t much more than a needless fanservice/additional gorn spinoff. The short stories following the original game’s bad end, while interesting, were too random in structure for me to get invested in, and the actual Book of Shadows portion of the game ends up as more of a bonus chapter than the focus, with a pesky to be continued after arguably the most nerve wracking part of the entire game. My personal opinions? Watch the game, don’t play it. There’s not that much playing to do. Watch NicoB’s let’s play of it.

Additionally, Corpse Party introduced me to one of the most annoying protagonists I ever had the misfortune to come across. I’m talking about Ayumi Shinozaki, who’s role in the plot is probably to make everyone else look better. I get why she’s in the story, of course. She, being a psychic, is more susceptible to the horrible atmosphere surrounding her, and therefore displays the immediate effects of being in Heavenly Host Academy. The problem is that she almost immediately falls to pieces, and pretty much stays that way for the rest of the game. And because the player doesn’t know about the darkening yet (and won’t till Chapter 5), this comes across as more of a character trait than something else manipulating her. It’s not just this though. Whenever Ayumi’s ‘back to normal’, after a possession or something, she just becomes even more of a bitch. She blows up at Yoshiki, who’s just trying to help her and has been saving her ass this whole time, and when they finally reunite with their friends, what does Ayumi do? Tell Naomi to avoid getting close to Mochida, her crush. Sigh…Ayumi, get your priorities straight. Alienating your classmate who’s best friend has killed herself to her knowledge and who just attempted suicide herself is a definite bitch move. Not to mention you should be focusing on getting out of this demon infested school first.

Squirmy parts: Child murder. Lots and lots of child murder. And they’re very very graphic about it. Attempted rape-turned-murder. Panty-shots, girl on girl, and lots and lots of psycho crazy ghosts. And the anime is worse.

  • Mad Father

I wrote a post on this a while back, discussing the difference between psychopaths and sociopaths. Just to warn you, there’s gonna be a lot about dungeon crawler Rpg horrors here. Come on! They’re so much fun!

Plot overview: So this is about a sweet little girl called Aya who lives with her father after her mother died mysteriously a year ago. One day, her house is overrun with zombies, so she goes and tries to find her father and rescue him. Mini chainsaw in hand, she makes her way through the absurdly large house and uncovers the truth behind her mother’s death. Oh, did I mention that Aya’s dad has been experimenting on people in his basement, and they’ve risen from the dead in order to get their revenge? Yeah….that’s happening.

My thoughts: Let me get this out of the way. The ending was made sense. Yeah, it caught me off guard too, but after the shock wore off, I realised that it had been in the cards from the start. Aya’s grown up with the screams of people in her basement, and shares the same DNA as her father. Then you stop to consider the more subtle hints at Aya’s future; where did Snowball get his wound from? Why is Aya so comfortable with a chainsaw? Not to mention she cuts open a dog to get a key in its stomach. There’s also a few other pieces that you wouldn’t get unless you went back and investigated Aya’s room; there’s a dead bird and cat in her drawer, like her father did in his journal. *gasp* Then again, if you’re one of those people who chooses to believe the alternate interpretation, that Aya became a doctor to actually help people, then that would make sense too. Just because Aya had a traumatic past doesn’t mean necessarily that she’s destined to be the abuser in the future. That doesn’t really explain why someone needs to be put under anaesthetic for an ordinary checkup though.

One of the things I like most about the Mad Father series are the little side quests where we get to help the ghosts find peace, and learn a little more about their backstories. One of my favourite moments was when the little girl ghost got reunited with her mother, and it was just moments like those that made me feel like Aya was trying to make things up to these angry spirits who were hurt by her father, and it showed what a different person she could become. Keep in mind that that was before Aya was revealed to be psycho crazy as well, subsequentially crushing the remains of my soul.

Squirmy parts: The psycho crazy is strong in this one. To add to the mix, we’ve got zombies, creepy dolls and a demon called Ogre. But he’s friendly. I think?

  • Mogeko Castle

Yes, yes, this game is practically infamous. That’s why I played it. Dungeon crawler RPG horror with a lot of WTF moments.

Plot Overview: Okaaaaay, here we go. You’re a highschool student named Yonaka who accidently ends up at the mysterious Mogeko Castle. What’s a Mogeko, you ask? They’re cute little cat/bunny like creatures who are obsessed with prosciutto and high school girls. Yup. They wanna get in your pants. No, it’s not just subtle hinting, they openly talk about wanting to have sex with you. And your job is to get out of the castle. Simple.

Thoughts: Like I said before, a lot of WTF moments. But the story’s actually not bad, once you get over the fact that these cutesy bunny things are trying to rape you, and the music’s pretty awesome. While I can stand the not-so-subtle sexual references, I do have a problem with how the ending turned out. The thing is, if you’re making a game with a lot of WTF moments, you want the end to make at least a LITTLE bit of sense. It just came out of nowhere! Yonaka escapes, and concludes that it wasn’t a dream, goes home, finds her brother who’s just killed their parents, and kills him. And that concludes the Mogeko’s story…where it’s revealed that he’s reading to a comatose Yonaka whom he’s been drugging into unconciousness for an indefinite amount of time. Bwaaaaaaaah? Wait, how did we get here? No! You’re not allowed to jump through time like that, Game! No! Bad Game! I want answers! What happened between Shinya dying and Yonaka’s drug induced coma? How did she end up back at Mogeko Castle and into the hands of King mogedick? (Not his real name, FYI, people who haven’t played, I just really don’t like the asshole.) How much of the game was happening in Yonaka’s head? The only reason I’m not going on a rampage because of this is because there’s (apparently) going to be a sequel to this game, following one of the subplots featuring the Russian Mogekos (do you really need to ask?), so hopefully, they’ll show at least a little snip bit of what was actually happening. Mogeko Castle, you get a reprieve. For now.

Another problem I had was Yonaka’s character derailment. I don’t know about the rest of you who played it, but I liked Yonaka. She was the Straight Man, er, Girl. Or Woman if you chose that option with the sleeping Mogeko. She was this quiet, reserved girl who rarely shows emotion (except when reacting to the Mogeko’s shinanigins, making everything more hilarious), and throughout the game, she manages to keep her shit together despite this whole situation. She wasn’t the stereotypical kawaii student council president who would break down and need her companion to drag her everywhere (Yes, I’m looking at YOU, AYUMI. Whiny bitch.) and I liked her for it. THEN, out of almost nowhere, she turns into this Onii-chan fanatic, who attempts to resurrect her brother in the normal end, even though he tried to kill her. As for the interview in the bonus dungeon, don’t get me started -_- As I said before, I’m hoping there’s more clarity in the sequel. Otherwise, they just threw out Yonaka’s personality and turned her into Little Sis-cest. For nothing.

Squirmy Parts: Let’s see…Mogekos are trying to molest you. So there’s that. There’s the Corpse Party-esque bad ending where you get a vivid description of how the Mad Mogekos eat Yonaka alive. There’s implications that Shinya and Yonaka have an incestuous relationship. Interracial love, if you ship Yonaka and Defect Mogeko. Lots of creepysauce. There’s the psycho Mogeko girl who keeps you as a sex slave in another bad ending. Aaaaand, finally, if you don’t like pre-marital sex, there’s the section where you can agree to sleep with a Mogeko. But COME ON. Please don’t play this game if that sort of stuff disgusts you! It’ll be your own fault for getting offended, and I will flick you in the nose for doing something so stupid.

  • Dreaming Mary

A side scrolling adventure game that gets real dark real fast. 

Plot overview: A girl called Mary goes to a world deep inside her dream, where she meets some of her old friends, who play with her before inviting her to go deeper into the dream. I’m sorry, did you think this was a cute game with bunnies and sunshine? Yeahhhhhh, no.

Thoughts: I found the game difficult at times, but I overlooked it because the music and the art style were so good. I will admit though, most of the enjoyment I derived from this game came from after I had completed it and was trying to see through all the symbolism. What formed my interpretation of the story was the Grimm’s version of Sleeping Beauty, where the prince is not a king, who’s not so nice, and he rapes Sleeping Beauty while she’s sleeping, which results in her giving birth to a boy and a girl. My theory is that Mary was Sleeping Beauty’s daughter, and as a result of the curse, she suffers from the same fate that her mother does, and thus, can’t escape her dream without ‘the key’. It’s implied that her father takes advantage of this, and molests his own daughter while she’s in one of these states. One of the saddest endings for me is the one where Mary enters the tree with no flower petals left, and it was only after I completed the ending where I had managed to complete all three challenges successfully that I realised how sad it actually was. In the latter, Mary goes into the tree, where it shows two handprints on the door, as if someone is banging on the door, trying to get away (shiver). There’s none of that in the other ending; she merely walks in, and everything fades to black. In that ending, Mary’s lost all her innocence, and has given up on hope. When Boaris invites her deeper into the dream, she follows him, not because she trusts him, but because she gives up and accepts her fate. WHY ARE ALL THESE GAMES I PLAY DARK AS FUCK?!

I was intrigued by the roles of Bunnilda, Penn Guindell and Foxanne in Mary’s dream, as in the end, passing or failing their challenges doesn’t contribute to you getting the good ending. It’s my understanding that they’re Mary’s maid, uncle and tutor respectively, who Mary went to for help; however, this doesn’t remedy the situation, and it ends up making Mary more likely to go deeper into the dream/submit to Boaris, her father, after all. For me, I saw this as the potential consequences of telling the truth. Failing the challenges causes you to lose flower petals/hope due to their reactions, which are disturbing to say the least; sweet and cutesy Bunnilda suddenly becomes malicious and mocking, and calm and collected Foxanne starts being aggressive towards you. When Mary asks for help, she is condemned for doing so; even Penn, who unlike the other animals doesn’t make a nightmare face upon you losing, sadly turns Mary down. As for the meaning of the red seed, I think that it’s a reference to pomegranate seeds in the story of Persephone and Hades, and how because she ate them, she can never truly get away. I think that Mary confided in the wrong people; granted, she didn’t know anyone else, but the people she told were servants of her father the King, or in the case of Penn Guindell, his brother, and out of misguided loyalty, (or in the case of Foxanne and Bunnilda, fear for their position as a member of the royal household) confide in Mary’s father. In the end, the only way Mary can get this to stop is to break out of the dream herself.

Squirmy parts: It’s pretty much agreed upon by all who played that there’s strong implications of molestation. Bunnilda and Foxanne’s nightmare faces deserve a mention, along with the giant shadow monster that chases after you after you stand up to Boaris. As for Boaris himself, he’s creepy as fuck. Come on. We know what you mean by ‘seed’, you sick twisted asshole.

  • Alice Mare

This game is depressing as hell. And yet it’s one of my favourite stories. What the hell is wrong with me?

Plot overview: Okay, so there’s two demons known as the Cheshire Cat and the White Rabbit, who like to eat children’s souls. They accomplish this by effectively ruining their lives; the White Rabbit uses his power to make parents crueler to their children, thus make them more likely to be fucked up, and the Cheshire Cat takes away XXXX from the children. By doing this, the children are more likely to end up in their own individual nightmare world, which makes them easy prey for the demons. This happens to Allen, an amnesiac, and his five friends, and the only way they can escape is by gathering the keys to these worlds and choosing one of them to stay behind and essentially sacrifice themself. And no, I have no intention of telling you what XXXX is, by the way.

Thoughts: Is it just me, or does everything I love cause me pain? This game has it all; this universe is so interesting and complex, the characters are wonderfully constructed, and the music is gorgeous! Unfortunately, I fell into the habit of calling Teacher, and I quote, “suspicious looking Daniel” and the true end subsequently left me in tears. I found the whole concept very interesting in relation to issues as mental illness, and I ended up spending way too much time thinking about it. Maybe that was the first game that permanently fucked me up. Not that I’m complaining much.

What really got to me though was how they wrote each of the children’s backstories. As I said before, the White Rabbit changes the children’s fate, and there’s a real sense of tragedy in that each of the children blames themselves for events that were really out of their control, and struggle to make sense of their past; one of the most painful stories for me was Rick’s, because it made me think so much of Kaya, and I crumbled when at the end, he asked “is her pain the reason I exist?”. And yes, I figured out who Rick actually was from the start. 

Squirmy Parts: As opposed to the last few games, this one depends more on the atmosphere of the whole situation to scare you, rather than jumpscares or blood and guts. The game touches on plenty of adult themes, and explores how they can effect a child. Unlike Dreaming Mary, there’s no reference to sexual abuse, though physical and emotional abuse is shown, as is neglect. Death and suicide is one of the more prominant themes, as is mental illness, which is referred to in the game as ‘nightmare syndrome’.

Soooooo, those are all the games I’ve been playing. They’re not games like Bioshock or Heavy Rain, but I enjoy them, and they help me stay insane. What games do you nonexistent readers recommend?

Love Cat Madigan

Taste the Whip

Standard

Last time, on The Adventures of Cat Madigan.

I woke up in a brothel that I had to save Daniel from. I also got a dominatrix to take her clothes off.

And now things are going to get weirder.

___________________________________________

Act natural, act natural, act natural. Christ Cat, you’re a frigging model, that’s one step away from a hooker. You can do this.

It’s easy to not show anything as I walk through this place, but it’s another thing entirely to not feel anything. In truth, I am scared half to death. This place is far more frightening than any of the dungeons or torture chambers I’ve had the misfortune to be in.

The Fury instructed me to go to the cells to find the woman. But this place is huge, and everywhere I looked, there were writhing figures and strange…contraptions with people strapped or chained onto them.

Suddenly, I’m span around, and I’m facing a tall, dark man with piercing eyes. “And what do I call you?” he enquired.

Fuck… “You can call me whatever you want,” I said randomly. The man frowned, so I added, “I think the question you want to ask is, Who are you?Fan-fucking-tastic Cat Madigan.

To my relief he chuckles. “You’re a different dish,” he mused. “But you’re too shy for a Fury.” He grabs me by the waist. “I think my dear, you are wearing the wrong uniform,” he breathed in my face.

It’s like my heart is getting squeezed from the inside. This man is a giant, and he could do whatever he wanted with me at the snap of his fingers.

…no.

Not today.

I slap him across the face, and I know, as he staggers back, that everyone starts watching this new performance, even stopping their own…acts, in order to focus on us. “I know what I am,” I inform him frostily.

“Fucking bitch,” he growls. “You’ll do as I-”

CRACK!

In a split second, I had pulled out my whip and cracked it at him. It slashed his chest and he cried out. “You do not have control over me,” I snarl at him. “I am not yours to command, no matter what you may think.” Conscious of everyone around me, I continue. “The next time you touch me I’ll strike that hand. The next time you curse at me I’ll strike that tongue.” I crack my whip again and he falls to the ground. I walk over to him and pull him up by the hair. I whisper to him, “I am not your whore. I am your mistress, and you’ll obey me till I see fit.”

“Now,” I hold him behind his back. “Take yourself to the cells, I’ll be with you in a minute.” When he hesitates, I bark out, “Now!”

He immediately starts walking, and I follow. It can’t be that easy, I was thinking. This guy was about to rape me a moment ago, why is he doing as I say?

The cells were remarkably like the dungeons in the castle. The only difference was all the…toys. I shove the man into one cell and I close the door behind us.

When the door slams shut, he rushes at me. He grabs my throat and shoves me against the door. He pulls my scarf down and grips my face as if he would crush it in his grasp.

I growl, and hold my five lettered hand down on his chest. They burn into him and he cries out. Now that I have the advantage, I kick off his stomach and he goes crashing into the other wall.

Dusting myself off, I pick up one of his arms and cuff it. He starts refocusing just as I am finishing the other, and he snarls at me. “Fucking cunt,” he spits.

“Oh shut up,” I groan, rearranging my scarf. “I am sick and tired of this place already. I am trying to find my friend and I am not in the mood for anymore of this bullshit. I just want some facts.” I look at his savage face. “Which I’m guessing you’re unwilling to give me?”

He spits at my feet. “Don’t worry, I’m not an actual Fury, so I won’t hit you,” I inform him. “But you’ve probably already guessed that. Anyway, I need to go and you are a very loud person, so…”

Looking at the display on the wall, I ask him, as if I were asking for the time, “Which of these will knock you out quickly?” Ignoring his responding curse, I pick up a cane and analyse it. “Good enough.”

His eyes widen as I swing it up. “Sorry,” I tell him, before swinging it into his temple.

Praying that he didn’t have an even more damaged brain, I quickly got out of there and started listening in the other cells for anything of note. But there was nothing, no talk of humans, or anything sounding remotely like Daniel.

The woman probably lied to me. Of course she did; I had held her at knifepoint, or whatever the flammable equivalent is, and forced her to strip. She wouldn’t get anything from telling me the truth. Why the hell did I believe her?

Exasperated by my ignorance, I started walking out of the cells. But then someone grabs me by the shoulder and pulls me back in. “Let me go,” I snarl at him.

“I need you for something,” the man growls.

“Did it not occur to you I’m busy?” I retort.

“I don’t hear any customers of yours,” he replies. “I just need a helping hand.”

I automatically hear the euphemism first. “Can’t you use a Meek for that?”

“Not that.” He spits out the word as if it tastes foul. “We have a little problem back here, and I want to know more about it. I want someone to read him.”

Read him? “What does that have to do with me?”

“Since you’re not busy, you can do the job,” he replied. He takes me into a cell at the far end, and I look away from the occupants, trying to seem more polite than disgusted. There’s another door in this cell, though there wasn’t one the one I had been using. He leads me through the door into a well furnished room, which reminded me of Daniel’s own chambers. There’s one more door, and when we go through it, I feel a wave of dread crash through me.

Two chains extend from the ceiling, suspending Daniel’s arms in the air. His feet are attached to the floor by a similar set, and when he looks up, his eyes are detached and bleary.

“What can you tell me about him?” The man looks at me expectantly.

I hesitate, before walking over to Daniel. “I…haven’t read many people,” I say.

“And you call yourself a Fury?” the man spits.

“I can do it,” I tell him hurriedly, even though I have no idea what to do. Kneeling before Daniel, I cup his face in my hand, and I pray that he’s not gone, that he knows I’m here.

Almost if by magic, he begins to focus and he blinks himself awake. Then he takes in the sensation of the chains pulling at his arms and he hisses in pain. I put my thumb over his lips. “Shhhh,” I warn him.

He looks up at me and his eyes flash with shock as he realises who I am. His eyes look me up and down, and I know that he’s registering me, with my scarlet corset and black skintight pants. I turn back to the man. “What do you wish to know?”

“Start physical. Look at him, tell me what you can see.”

I hesitate. “He’s dehydrated. And probably starving. He keeps dissociating, or something of the like.” I just say things at random, in the unlikely hope he won’t suspect something. “Build…” I release Daniel’s face and walk around, checking for anything I can tell the man. Daniel’s shirt is gone, and I can see the bruises on his back. “He’s a fighter,” I say. “He’s taken some recent wounds, but these,” I indicate the lighter marks, “have been there for years. He can take a beating, probably anything you can throw at him.” I pause. “Sensitivity.” I rest my hand on his waist and I feel him flinch. I run it up his side and he groans. “Very,” I said. I turn to the man. “There’s no reason to torture this man. He’s not going to tell you anything while he’s still breathing.”

“You know him,” the man said flatly.

Trying very hard not to show anything, I look up. “Oh?”

“You forgot to mention that this man is human,” the man informs me. “It was almost as if you didn’t notice. Interesting.”

I clench my jaw. “I don’t see the difference, if I may be honest. And besides, who wouldn’t know him? He’s almost as well known as Kaya.”

He flinches. “You should know better than to mention her,” he growls. “The name’s taboo. We’re in enough trouble anyway.”

“Why is he here?” I ask. “I thought they had already interrogated this place. What reason does he have for coming here?” I grimace. “Apart from the usual reason.”

“The Meek,” the man groans. “Or rather, the one pretending to be.”

“What are you saying?” I can feel my heart rate rising at the word pretending.

“There was an infiltrator. What’s more, she was a human one. Understand now, Fury?”

I only took in the word human. “You mean…”

He sighs. “We found the girl after. They don’t know about her yet, but it’s only a matter of time. We should’ve killed her, if I may be honest.”

“You didn’t?” I frown. “Why…if I may ask.”

He looks at me as if I were an idiot. “I’m not a monster,” he says. “I know what everyone says of me, but I can’t kill someone just to avoid bad publicity. You might, but I can’t. It’s…cowardly, but I can’t live with her death on my conscience.”

“I think I can understand that.” I pause. “So you won’t kill her. Or this man.”

“I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I did. But I can’t let them out either.” He thinks for a moment. “They can both work here. They’re both able bodied, well, he will be after he’s fed up again. We need to break them though.”

“Break them?” I already have a bad feeling in my stomach.

“This one especially.” He indicates Daniel. “Let out now, he’d attack the customers. He’s too wild.”

I close my eyes. “Isn’t that the same as killing them?”

“No one’s dying. Not really. Think of it as retraining.”

“Brainwashing.”

“Yes,” he says, completely unfazed. “Everything is fine as long as no blood is spilled. Much like how it is out there,” he indicates where the prostitutes are all coupling.

“There’s still the matter of ‘breaking’ him,” I tell him. “How do you break a man who has endured enough pain for a thousand?”

“Simple. You take the one thing he cares about the most, and destroy it in front of him. And there she is.” He looks at me pointedly.

I’m silent. “Oh don’t feel sad about it,” he says in what sounds like a comforting voice. “For what it’s worth, you put on a very good act. If you hadn’t probed further, you would’ve gotten away with it. You certainly behave like a Fury. And your reading is quite good, for someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing. Maybe that’s just your relationship with him, but still, you seemed to grasp physical and mental analysis quite well.” He smiles at me, but it only reaches his lips. “It’s your eyes which are the problem. Not something people care about usually. But they show too much emotion for someone around here…. If it makes you feel better, he was found fairly quickly, far faster than you.”

“What are you going to do?” I ask. They won’t kill you, but it won’t be pretty either.

“Waste not, want not,” he replies. “You can be broken in too. And then I’ll have two new employees. It all works out in the end.”

At that I burst out laughing. It’s a mad, maniacal sound, but that’s the last thing I care about. “I’m already broken!” I crow at him. “Broken beyond repair. Go ahead! Smash every bone in my body! Take anything you want, take everything I am!”

He shows nothing. “It’s fine,” he says easily. “We have things for freaks like you.”

Only then do I notice the two Fury’s behind me. Before I can react, I fall to the ground, weighed down by the massive shackles on my hands. “This is my field, Lady Madigan,” he tells me. “I make the rules here. And I accept your challenge.” He turns to the Fury’s. “Make sure he watches as you break her. That’s the point of this. Break her soul, and you’ll break his.”

I’m sorry Daniel, I thought, as the Fury’s approached me.

_