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One thing would have really made my day - a really hard to find succession of choices that allows me - sorry, Selena - to end up actually ruling the world. Pretty please......  --StephenC
Nyehehe. Sorry, nope. One of my personal grumbles about VisualNovels is when a choice the player makes has influence over when something else happens in-game. E.g. in one game I played, what you do talking to a girl one evening affects whether someone else gets killed in a shuttle accident the next day. Without the slightest hint of any reason why. I'm fairly anti that kind of thing. That said, it was strongly tempting to include such a path... but I'm afraid the post-credits omake is all you get by way of bonus features this time :) --AlexChurchill
OK, while you couldn't plausibly have one of Selena's choices causing the Agency to actually exist, you could have one of her choices causing her to eventually end up ruling the world by some other means. As both Eletis and Takeshi point out, she has a lot of potential :) In fact, we're free to imagine she does endt  up ruling the world after some of the existing endings; there's nothing in the text to preclude it. --Rachael
Do you mean, Alex, that all the endings offered in the game are part of the same reality? Is the paragon lover of the first ending really the same person as the treacherous ******* of the fourth? *Shudder*. (It's just occured to me that VisualNovels do a good job of showing us why 'no-one is ever told what would have happened' (Aslan?)) --SC (Psychologists indeed! She just needed a little more TLC....) --SC
Perhaps at the start. By the end of ending 4, though, I think she's a bit far gone for that. --AC (nice quote though)
Mental hospitals as a literary motif typically have something of the gulag about them: 'The Woman in White' and 'A Streetcar Named Desire' spring most readily to mind. (I studied the latter for 'A' Level and always felt sorry for Blanche, who gets betrayed and carted off at the end - which possibly explains my excessive anger.) I suppose it's just possible that T could have had a benign purpose in bringing in the men in white coats.....but no! He betrayed me! - I mean...her. The Agency will make him pay for what he did! They're all against me, now, every one of them, but WhenIRuleTheWorld, they shall suffer for their sacrilege. He who betrayed the future Ruler of the World shall wish that he had never been born! I can hear the screams now: the sweet music of his tortured soul. Sweet, sweet music..... --Selena   
Etto... *nervousgrin* I very deliberately didn't say psychiatrists. Then again, as a psychologist's son, I'm probably excessively attuned to the difference between them. Whoops. --AC

Interesting.  I enjoyed playing through it.  While I'd also be interested in seeing Selena becoming ruler, it would be a considerably different story.  The thing that I do think would improve it is some sort of middle story/stories involving both Eletis and Takeshi centrally - currently, we either concentrate on Eletis or Takeshi to the exclusion of the other, which seems to halve the interesting interactions that could occur. --Angoel
You're right.  Like many things, that was an aspect I didn't have time to do while fitting into the one month deadline. But that's one thing that people commented about the omake, was how fun it was to see all three of them interacting. Since E is living in a different town it would have to have T coming with Selena to see him... but yes, that would be fun to see them interact. --AC

Theology


My basic theological critique of the story is not the simplistic one that 'The Agency' equates to God. Rather, it is what seemed to be the moral of the story: self-reliance and self-determination. Takeshi (who seems to represent the Authorial Voice) says, 'Choose your own path. Dream a dream. Invent your future self'. Takeshi's supreme achievement is that Selana is 'growing into (her) own person'. Further evidence for this view can be seen in the fact that Selana's choice to be true to herself and falsely continue to believe in the Agency's existence results in heavenly bliss, while attempting to follow what is actually true, against her 'gut instincts', brings perdition.
I disagree. Her choice to be honest and not lie to Takeshi results in "heavenly bliss" and eventually the ability to sincerely believe the truth; as opposed to her attempt to fool him and herself, which causes her to fail to do either, and lose sight of the objective truth. --Rachael (and it's Selena - she's not the Empress of Gobikah :) )
The aforementioned Empress is, I believe, Salana. I knew I was in danger of confusing the two, so I made sure I changed the 'a' to an 'e' - I just forgot to change the second one). For the benefit of the uninitiated, the reference is to a CCMS show written in blank verse, in which PsychoBabe took the eponymous role, and the present writer played a DarthVader? clone, and enjoyed it far more than was good for him. --SC
It's all not very far from 'I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul'  [from Invictus] ,which could surely be the words of Lucifer himself.

On second thoughts, maybe the game shouldn't quite be thrown into the outer darkness just yet. Perhaps one has to develop one's self-identity in order to surrender it. Even if one must lose one's life to find it (Matt 10:38), maybe one has to find it in order to lose it in order to find it again.

In any case, it was great fun :) 

P.S. On a completely unrelated note, I first realised the game's greatness when I reached ending four, and my first thought was, 'The utter swine!'. A pretty good indicator of character identification...... --StephenC

You raise a good point about the self-dependence issue. It is one I was aware of, and didn't want to overemphasise. But basically, if someone is trapped in a mindset of lies and delusions (whether self-created or not), the Christian will want them to be free of that. That's one of the things Jesus went around freeing people from. I didn't want it to have a moral of self-reliance, at all: I consider ending 1 the "happiest", and there she's hardly independent of anyone else (see how T is helping her avoid fixating on him). But someone needs to grow into their own person and take responsibility for choosing their own path before they can chose to follow Christ for themself?

I'm not claiming the game should be an evangelistic tool, but I don't think the principles are anti-Christian. If you were writing a good ending to the game, that does end up with Selena free of the delusions, how would you do it? I'll not claim the game's answers are perfect, but I don't think I disagree with them. Although Takeshi is definitely not me - he's rather pushier than I would be, for one thing. --AlexChurchill
I'm not sure if you were asking this, but I actually thought Ending 3 was a 'good ending' that involves self-reliance -- she gets things straight with the otherwise-innocent person her delusions were catalyzed by (he doesn't seek her out and has indeed practically forgotten about her), her beautiful dreams are shattered as a result, but in their place lies the opportunity to become a wiser and better person, and she's the one who's realizing this for herself. Maybe it's my own preconception. Or maybe I just like it bittersweet. Or maybe it's 'cause I'm a humanist, or I didn't read it carefully enough, or whatever. But the game was great in any case. (I was so very gullible throughout!) --RJ?

I don't disagree with any of the events which occur: it's the rationale for them that I dislike. ISTM that dreaming a dream and inventing herself are exactly what Selena was doing when she started believing in The Agency. The mess she ended up in happened precisely because she thought things through for herself without reference to others (though, admittedly, she had a little help from Eletis) - and it was her growing dependence on Takeshi, not her independence, which set her free from the delusions. She had to choose to believe the truth herself, but she couldn't do so without outside intervention. (Not dissimilar to the 'red pill/ blue pill' situation: Neo had to take the red pill himself, but if it weren't for others, there would be no red pill to take.) Possibly whether you put the emphasis on Selena's choice or on Takeshi's intervention is a matter of personal taste. My preference is to spin her choice as Faith (in Takeshi) rather than Works (of logic).

So, what conclusion? Maybe, 'It's not just about believing the truth for yourself, it's about having a relationship with Takeshi': it's a nice touch that in the game the first is a prerequisite for the second :) (If one posits that Takeshi convinces Selena of the truth, but they have no continuing relationship, one can easily imagine her relapsing back into belief in The Agency.) 

However, WWTD bracelets would probably be going a bit far... --SC Note: you should take my comments on the whole issue with a reasonable amount of sodium chloride, as the 'independence' thing has been a big spiritual issue for me and thus I'm almost certainly oversensitive to it.


An odd thing is that I managed to get the whole religious aspect of the game completely backwards. I had just kinda assumed that it was a critique of the whole bible code thing from a few years back. Go figure. --PyTom
Hehe, yes, I remember. That occurred to me at one point during development also. And you're right, the mechanics are closest to that. Theology-wise, there wasn't specifically intended to be any message at all. It was just a story that occurred to me and needed to be told :) I suspect now I've released it that much fewer people would have taken it as related to religion in any way had I not included that question in the omake. Whoops. But oh well, it got people talking, which is both good and fun :) --AC

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