This game has a special place in my heart, probably always will. Ever wished you could turn back time, stop something bad from happening, fix it, make it just right? Turn back the clock and be there for someone when you weren't? Control fate, interrupt the causal order? Now, you can. What will you do with that kind of power?
There's not much more I can say, really. I would recommend it- play it like a movie, pay attention to the story. Let me know if you play it. I think the philosophy of time is one of the most fascinating topics there is, and it's interesting to see the patterns that emerge in different media sources that speak on it (eventually I'll make a post on bioshock infinite). The Butterfly Effect is so dated, but when it first came out I was pretty young still and it was my first favorite movie. I wouldn't call that a piece on the philosophy of time but it was about interacting with the causal order and the brain's responses to grief (like this game). It was one of the sparks that led me to want to study neuroscience, actually -- I wanted to be like the doctor. I wanted to study patients like him. I'd still be fascinated to do that (but I'm not sure 'fascinated' is the right frame of mind into which one should go into neuro-psychiatry...).
The rest of this post isn't entirely about the game, just something it reminded me of. When I played it I read into it as being a larger symbol (for responses to grief), in particular the choice made at the end.
if you read on, spoilers, and potential tw
SymBolism of Final Choice
The game has obvious literal meanings, I thought. I think there's a lot you can do with it, but one, is that the choice at the end (between saving the city and saving Chloe) is sort of a metaphor for a real choice, conscious or not, we often have to make when we lose someone we love.
I had a friend once who was struggling with a similar choice. I hesitate to call it a choice because I don't think he chose the hell that he was living in. It was between living in the world, and living in a world where She still existed. Grief induced psychosis? He said his mind built a fantasy world, where she still existed, and part of him wanted that, part of him loved the memories he still had of her every day. As if she was still with him. But it tore him apart, from the inside. Playing this game, I wondered if the creators were aware people really do sometimes feel they have to choose between the world and the one they love. It's an impossible choice. Even the prospect of making it makes a tornado, chaos. I wondered if the whole story was a kind of fantasy world the main character built in the instant Chloe was shot. That instant stretched into infinity. Sort of like how in the Butterfly effect the doctors think his entire condition was a fantasy world built from him causing Kaylee's death. We'd build whole worlds to avoid that kind of pain. Destroy entire cities.
I'm going to reproduce what my friend told me, it was in a text conversation so I have his exact words. I don't know how many people read my blog. I am not trying to commodify this, that is the last thing from my mind. I do not think he would have minded my sharing. I think he wanted to be heard, understood. It's too late, but hear him now, anyway. I thought of this game when he told me this. I thought of it when he died, again more strongly. I wanted, more than anything, to hold out my hand, reverse the clock. Be there, when I wasn't. But the clock doesn't go that direction. Moments pass, and they're gone. All I could do was Be Here Now. That's all I'm trying to do.
This particular conversation was in Jan 2017. Italics will be his words, other mine.
I want her she’s inked in my skin
and inked she shall stay
but it doesn’t mean it has to keep hurting
Because my mind says she's here
And it isn’t fair
you are right that isn't fair
it isn't fair you have to keep reliving that day
that makes it damn right impossible to move on
To be tempted with what u can NVR have again
And yet there she is
but i do believe you can get better and the visions will stop
then I lose her
has this been happening ever since?
Its built up
Time makes her more real
it feels like she is there with you?
when I see her yes
Do you only see her when you see yourself finding her or do you see her other times too?
She is frozen in time and I just want to save her
To hurt together again
That is a lot to be going through. No wonder you feel the things that you feel.
I’m drugged constantly
because I can’t imagine this getting worse and surviving it
Can I ask u something personal?
you’re in a happy relationship right?
how would you handle loosing it
His imperfections all of it gone
Would you believe in love again
Or would you build a fantasy
A world he’s still in
My minds creating her again but she’s not to be had
For her to be had I’d be detached from this world
it is hard to imagine. i think the process of moving forward would be long and slow and i hope that i would come to believe i could love again. but it would probably take years. before doing that i'd have to accept he was gone but i don't know how i'd go about doing that. i wouldn't want to be detached from this world though. not completely. i love other people besides him, like my family, and my craft, and detaching myself would mean losing them too. and that would mean losing myself
I’ve considered stronger drugs
i don't think daniel would want me to lose myself if he was gone. because he loves me and believes in me and wants me to be the best philosopher in the land. even if i didn't want to "move on" from him i would want to keep living, to make him proud. i might go toward the proverbs that say now he is the wind in my hair, the sun on my back, the energy holding molecules together. a force of nature. the universe and can only be experienced through my eyes and acted through my hands. in losing myself i'd lose that ability to be in the world
What stronger drugs?
if I could get morphine or opium
Maybe it would numb
i can't possibly recommend opiates
Addiction is a different kind of hell
I know I’m bulimic
do you live alone?
but I need peace