Recently I was asked why I fell hard and fast into horror rpgs. That’s a very strange and specific genre to just randomly take interest in. But honestly there are two things that make that a little less left field then you would automatically think. First and foremost two of my favorite games of all time are Digital Devil Saga and Nocturne, both fall rather heavily into horror. My current phone wallpapr is Hitoshura and Raidou trying to pry Mot out of his coffin for heaven’s sake. Then there’s the way the characters are written. Each one a little bit more then you would initially expect when you first lay eyes on them. Is Aya Drevis the perfect little princess she looks like? Hardly. Is Garry an emo tool? Not by a long shot. Does Seccom Masada have anything to him? Yes. Yes indeed.
Probable spoilers below for Ib, Yume Nikki,and Mad Father. And apparently Final Fantasy 15, a tiny mention of Persona 5….maybe some other stuff too depending on how ranty I’m feeling…
This is it. The picture that started me on this thing. Three maybe four years ago I was browsing through Zerochan looking for a new avatar for Myfigurecollection when I came across this incredibly surreal picture. What is it? What’s going on in? What’s it trying to tell me? I mean looking at it no two things in this picture even look like they go together. I had to know. It was listed as a game and there was a very brief summary that it was a horror game about a girl trapped in an art museum. Naturally I looked for it in Amazon….no such luck. To google then, ah an RPG maker game. Unfortunately I’ve never had much luck with emulations. So with a disheartened sigh I gave up…..for the time being.
Last month though I was going through some of the folders in my computer and I saw that picture again. It crawled back up from my memories crannies like we had a promise of a reunion and with a new found determination I set out again. This time I was going to do it. I was going to figure out how to play Ib. It took about an hour of fiddling with the memory on my phone and poking and prodding at different apps before I finally figured it out. Four hours later I was staring at the Forgotten Portrait ending. That was not allowed to be a thing. Because by then I was already in love.
A world were Ib was an emotionally repressed girl that didn’t have a friend like Garry to rely on was too sad for me to deal with. So I wasn’t going to allow it. No way no how. I kept playing full of determination. I played safer, more thoroughly and I found my rose in the toy box. That meant something was different. I was on the right track this time for sure.
But I accidentally hit the wrong button and didn’t give Garry my handkerchief. So I got the ending where they both lived but forgot each other.
Now I had saved Garry, which was amazing. I was so happy that I kept him alive this time. He was like the ultimate big brother character! Carrying Ib when she passed out, offering her candy to help keep her calm, trading his freaking rose for hers to Mary….. And what of Ib herself and her emotional attachment, I mean yo can go off with a fake Garry and never see your parents again as an ending because she’s more attached to him then she is them. Oh no I was going to get the right ending hell or high water.Take three found me with the Reunion ending and God I felt good. I had finally achieved saving both Ib and Garry and letting them remember one another. It was about damn time too. I was finally satisfied. But what about Mary? I didn’t feel particularly bad for her at first. I t actually wasn’t until about three days ago while playing a game about loneliness and desolation that I decided I needed to give Mary a happy ending at least once. In spite of every once of better judgment that I possess I dove back into Guertena’s world to deal with these paintings just one more time. Mary had ensared two people into this world so that she could replace one and go out into the real world, Ib was to be her sister, Garry her sacrifice. It was a very hard pill for me to swallow to willing go sacrifice my favorite character (It’s like replaying SMT Apocalypse for the bad ending all over again). Dammit though Mary was so happy and she didn’t actually become a legit threat until she was threatened (this line of thought is what is commonly known as rationalizing in an abusive relationship) so I went for it. I kept my relationship points as low with Garry as I possibly could and stayed as close to Mary as I could……and I got the World of ending wherein all three stayed in the painting….well that’s not quite what I was aiming for. So…..One more time? And so I finally finally achieved the Together Forever ending which left me feeling a little cold inside. Like the power of the gallery rewrote the world outside to make Mary fit into it and to cut Garry’s existence out. That’s some pretty impressive stuff there. guess what I’m getting at is when I finished Final Fantasy 15 and the entire cast died I didn’t feel bad about any of it because they felt more like caricatures then they did actual characters. Ib had a thirtieth of the game time that I spent on 15 and I was so invested that I wasn’t going to be satisfied until I had an ending that was happy enough for everyone. Even if it couldn’t all be in the same ending. The 15 cast got DLC for characters that I like and my thoughts were “Eh maybe I’ll look into that….someday……..”
And speaking of looking into things the next game I was going to play was most certainly going to be Undertale. This game looked so cool and unique and was finally available on a platform where I could actually play it! Excited much? Oh yes.
And then I remembered something else. Something tickling at the back of my mind again. A crossover picture of Undertale and some other game. Well how hard could it be to figure out what it was right? Right. It turns out the game in question was Yume Nikki or Dream Diary. Well while t was still tickling my grey cells I looked up Yume Nikki. It turns out it was free to play on Steam. Now our blog has it’s name because we live in the middle of nowhere, with what is possibly the worst internet connection since dial up. I never thought my computer could handle Steam but free was the right price to try it out at right? Right. What about Undertale? Ummm later. It’s not like this is going to work anyway right? Wrong. I was now living in Madotsuki’s apartment. A place that she either won’t or can’t leave. Now Yume Nikki is a strange one because depending on who you ask it either has no plot or is so over run with theories of what’s going on that you’ll need a flow chart. So throughout this game you find yourself exploring into the dreams of a clearly troubled young girl. Most of the creatures you encounter in the game are so bizarre that they can’t really be taken worth a grain of salt. Like the thing with the quivering jaw shown here. Well what does it do? Nothing. Why is it there? I think that’s purely to make you wonder exactly that. This game is full of things like that. Things like walls with zipper faces, or strange faces in the sky and incan monkey gods (probably named Kotohi) that have no real purpose other then to drive home that this is a dream. However there are a few people that you can encounter that have a trigger effect that will turn them into monsters. Such as Uboa who either started out as a girl named Poniko or completely devoured her and took her place. Once this event occurs you have no out but to force yourself to wake up. There is also Monoko whom starts off as an extremely creepy but at least normally proportioned individual and has a trigger if you use the right effect to cause er to sprout three more arms from….various places. Then there’s the tall thin man you find in the spaceship. He is Seccom Masada Sensei. He is also the only person…..no nix that… the only individual walking around that I didn’t at least try to stab once. I was going to, sometimes interesting things will happen (though most things just scream and die) but when I equipped the knife Masada backed away from me. I felt terrible for threatening him all of the sudden.I mean seriously what is even wrong with my mentality? I can knife it therefore I shall? So anyway he had such a unique reaction that i started experimenting, what else would he react to? The answers where the cat effect and the stoplight. One causing him to approach you and the other forcing him to stop in place. Hmmm interesting. But it gets more interesting when you bring Yume Nikki Dream Diary 3d into it. In that version you can get an alternate ending wherein Masada Sensei comes back for Madotsuki so she doesn’t have to deal with the trials and tribulations of the real world. He simply wants to play music with her which honestly is kind of stupidly adorable. Good job Masada. This all leads us to some real interesting speculations about what’s real and what isn’t though. You can’t really get taken away by a dreamed up spaceship right? You can’t have money from the dream world when you jump to your death in the real world right? And where did the stairs that she went climbing up in the original even come from? The only speculation for that being reality is that someone else put it there while she was sleeping in hopes that she would take that plunge. So who exactly is Madotsuki? That’s one of the neatest things about the games. No one really knows who she is. There are theories all over the internet over who she is or was ranging from a victim of sexual abuse to being a serial killer. Stunningly there is evidence of both being not only possible but plausible. Was there an alien invasion? Possibly, are there bird people killing people on the streets outside, equally likely. Is Madotsuki in a coma in a hospital after the car accident that killed her dad Shitai and her little sister Monoko? There’s evidence of it. Is the apartment she’s in symbolic of a jail cell because she’s actually a mass murdering psycho path? There’s evidence that it could be a thing. Because at the heart of the matter Madotsuki is whoever you want her to be with whatever motivations you want her to have it’s just as much your dream as it is hers. Unlike in some other game where you delve into people’s heads and it’s almost painfully straightforward. I mean I don’t know what the rest of the world was expecting from going into the hearts and minds of people but I expected slightly more complex motives and imagery then ‘a factory of robots, he must see his employees as inhuman tools’. How clever of you Atlus.
Holy crap I can play Steam games!!!!!That means…. I can play Mad Father! I’ve only wanted to play that game as long as Ib. I even designed a D&D character off of a character’s design…..
Why did you want to play Mad Father so bad? Well way back around the time I found that one Ib image I also stumbled across a boy named Dio. My husband will tell you that I have a mild fascination with characters that look like hobos. Apparently they get bonus points if they’ve lost an eye at any point too. I mean at three of them that has to start qualifying as a trend right? ……..Huh….I wonder which eye it was Harvey lost…. I’ll have to look into that later. Regardless the first image I saw of Dio did not show me the gaping hole he had on the side of his face so no that is not where this fascination came from. I did look into the story of this one a bit before hand. Apparently a mad scientist was experimenting on people and turning them into human dolls. On the night of a full moon these dolls suddenly spring to life and start trying to kill the scientist and his daughter Aya. Oh and there are zombies in there somewhere too. So as Aya you begin carefully picking your way through the house and the apparent underground labyrinth to try to save your dad from his own creations. He might be a monster but he is the only family she has left. All things considered it might not have been the best plan ever whereas walking out the front door would have been a solid ten out of ten plan. Through trials and tribulations a plenty Aya finally finds her papa. If she saves him from the ghost of her mom then in a craze he will try to kill her. If the father dies in the end he will be revived (?) by Ogre the games over arching kind of antagonist to continue his research elsewhere. You can get the Aya escapes the mansion ending and the Daddy turned me into a doll ending neither of which are ummmmm happy. But maybe Aya should have thought about the possibility of getting cut into pieces before deciding to save daddy in spite of knowing full well the kinds of things he had done. Especially once you find out that he killed Aya’s mom and still has her body in a glass jar. And the two headed pickled baby, if that’s not a sign daddy’s too far gone to be saved then I don’t know what is. So Aya as a character is a unique brand of crazy. Above and beyond thinking her dad is redeemable, she’s scared of the monsters but doesn’t bat an eyelash at the bodies everywhere. Bodies on tables, not scary, bags oozing blood, not scary, pickled babies, not scary, massive amounts of bodies in glass tubes, kind of pretty. Dio’s face, terrifying. Come on girl priorities! So Dio’s scary, dad is kind to her so he’s ok, and the slutty assistant that dad was having an affair with? Trustworthy. So it does but shouldn’t come as a surprise when in the true ending Aya and maria are living together in a small wood cabin….continuing her father’s research. Aya did you forget everything Dio said before burning down the mansion? Oh that’s right she was already mad. That’s why there were dead animals in her drawers in her room. Because the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. A little hope remains though in the If ending two important things happen. The first being Ogre mocking Dio for being so noble and that a world full of villains would be boring but heroes like him keep things interesting. The second is that Dio states that ‘if’ Aya takes the same path as her father he will stop her. It looks like you have a long hard road ahead kid. Good luck kiddo. Dio himself is interesting because he leads you to believe through the course of the whole game that he’s dead. But that’s not true. A victim yes. He was apparently saved by Aya’s mother. Whether this was before or after her death is not stated, but I’m guessing her ghost aided him. It’s stated that she died on the night of a full moon much like tonight so there had to be at least a month between her death and the game. Dio is pretty wily but I have a hard time imagining he was able to hide from Maria and Alfred both for a whole month…. another possibility is that he was the latest victim and that the curse took effect while he was being tortured by Alfred and thus the curse ‘saved’ him…. all in all though that’s mostly speculation anyway. Great kid I wish him all the best.
So anyway do you guys get what I mean by the characters dragging you in? It’s a hell of a way to go about it but if this is what it takes to make me care again bring it on!
Next up I’m going to start the Strange Men series of games. I’ve heard good things about David and I’m looking forward to meeting him. There are four games in the series. Each with a different lead character though I’m pretty sure that some of the characters within the four titles are recurring cast members…. which honestly makes me kind of feel bad for them. But I guess time will only tell if they are characters like Ib and Garry who you want to save, or like Madotsuki and Masada who your more curious about, or perhaps even like Aya Drevis who simply can’t sympathize with no matter how hard you might try.
…….oh yeah I’ll get to Undertale…..sooner or later…….oh hey what’s Alicemare….