Well, not quite yet. This is an intimidating length, but less-is-more seems not to have panned out for Love-De-Lic. Please, stick with my word barrage if youre a fan of the following things:
Team ICOs philosophical approach
Games that make fun of RPGs
Games that celebrate RPGs
The Last Express' "real-time world"
In-game customizable soundtracks
Japanese, American, or European adventure games
Earthbound 3's tone
Dragon Quest III as the archetypal video game
Games that make fun of video games
Games that make fun of you for playing them
Weird stuff in Super Mario RPG, Incredible Crisis, or Grasshopper Manufactures work
Vanpool, Skip, and Punchline
Crying like a widdwe tyke
Still with me? Aware that youre treading ever closer to being pompous re: video games? Able to stomach a first-time reviewer who needs to return to his college coursework immediately? Lets go, then.
NOTE: No spoilers. :NOTE
When we look away from the screen 1 day and realize that its 2030 and all those elitists and schemers who tried to denigrate our hobby have died and that, by God, were still around and so is Mario, I imagine well each feel like a child whos woken up on exam day, cheek affixed to page 3 of his textbook. The general public will have ceased its antagonism for straightforward interrogation. We, the video gaming masses, will notice our games-as-art homilies suddenly sound like defensive clamor. The thoughtful will demand serious answers of our console warriors, our Starcraft-wedding-cake patrons, and our podcast critics, and I suspect well meekly link them to a top 10 list.
Some among us recognize the barrenness of the form and thrive as tribes on the digital veldt. Like fur-faced cave dwellers or fur-faced hipsters, we use our prized possessions as emblems. A few don the tinfoil hat of Kojima fandom. Our Ueda and Miyamoto folk spend hours exhausting synonyms for elegance. There are those who stare, unblinking, at the PCs artistic glory years, while others join Ken Levine as he looks to the future (presumably fixed slightly above and to the right of the camera). Are you one who clings to 1-note indie games? Divert the energy spent knocking over Gamestops magazine racks to construct meaning from your preferred ludological Lincoln logs! Flower wont be profound by itself, you know.
That senseless cheap shot taken, I confess I fly a banner of my own. Today, Im uncertain whether this essay is Love-De-Lics introduction or valediction. The new Tingle game wont leave Japan, the new Chibi-Robo is nearly a lost cause, and NeoGAF may claim 3/5 of Little Kings Storys net sales. Though Im religious and rationing curses for the years of political work ahead, I can spare a collective, Fuck you, to those whove ruined my fun. But what Skip, Vanpool, and Punchline produced was mostly fun, no? Excepting each companys spectacular debut, they contented themselves with mere heartfelt, startlingly detailed entertainment, and they have received their due reward. Kenichi Nishi, THE artist of our day, makes iPhone music generators. Taro Kudou, perhaps the most innovative designer in games, will toil in the Tingle mines until Japan rediscovers its imagination or IGN runs out of leotard gags. And Yoshiro Kimura, the indispensible humorist of the 3? http://www.n-sider.com/contentview.php?contentid=3918 The man lost his company and is clearly not well. Hell surely find himself institutionalized or Suda 51s understudy (i.e., soon-to-be-institutionalized).
Yet, even in proximity to each other, the men of Love-De-Lic couldnt help but drag games forward. Sans Nishis control, U.F.O.: A Day In The Life outpaced The Legend Of Zelda: Majoras Mask by a year and outclassed its storytelling with serialization, silent acting, and black comedy. With little influence from Kimura, L.O.L.: Lack Of Love silenced the narrator and game designer in order to demonstrate how superfluous Spore and Flower would be a decade later. Together, however, gamers saw why theyd abandoned the Super Nintendo-Playstation 1 Squaresoft gravy train, why they heralded the mainstream respect video games enjoy today, why th-
They failed? In Japan? They didnt get any games translated? And a game their masterwork decimates split international sales records that year like a Buster Sword through a wobbly analogy? So, English users have to read about Moon: Remix RPG Adventure, the greatest game yet made, on NeoGAF or 1 of these places?:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Love-de-Lic (Read this before continuing.)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moon:_Remix_RPG_Adventure (Simply read the gameplay section and then save the remainder of these links for later.)
http://www.rpgfan.com/reviews/moon/index.html (I want to explain why this is art. If you find yourself confused in sections 3 or 5, read The Gameplay Of Moon.)
What a shame.
NOTE: Premise and 1st hour spoilers. :NOTE
Moons yet another example of gaming metafiction surpassing its fiction. Imagine that youve prepared, as you do for all great art, by changing into your coziest pajamas. Eating your salad bowl of sugar cereal, you watch the logos pass and immediately control a boy in his coziest pajamas, watching the same logos flicker into the living room.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rCCNa7yFZ0Y (I strongly recommend you watch both before continuing.)
http://www.gamefaqs.com/console/psx/file/573238/50336 (Find Fake Moon Translation.)
Having played the Earthbound trilogy, you anticipate the gentle pastiche. A Bahamut Lagoon dragon and ominous synths prepare you another toothless parody of a histrionic genre. Its more elegant than most, of course. Each backstory screen diminishes more and more negative space until it fills the screen with 10-point characters. Boy, your avatar, admits defeat and skips through it. (Oh, if super-fan Wyrdwad hadnt lost the full Amano-esque portrait you glimpse in the menu!) You concede a bit more as you proceed. Love-De-Lics trademark detail drops your guard, and you can enjoy the cloned character models and their hyper-detailed, ill-suited dialogue portraits. You begin to hear the droll narration in Gary Owens voice. Slimes and O-Mete? Those are like Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy, the wags! Truly, this game has proved itself the equal of Parodius, Space Quest, and Segagaga! As Boy nears 20 straight hours of in-game progress, his character reaches the highest level. He begins mincing the dragon, 9,999 hit points at a time, when his mother wakes to find him in a button-mashing stupor. Then, its through the looking glass. Boys new world looks awfully familiar. Theres a recognizable hero terrorizing the locals, and this talk about dragons, devoured moonlight, and abducted princesses sounds suspiciously similar to the drivel you ignored earlier. The soggy cereals gone warm in your lap, so you set distractions aside and try to recall any character detail. What was that 3rd vignette by the house? Is there a reason you were knocked back after putting on the Legendary Equipment? As Boy ambles slowly from existence, you begin to worry about your own previous thoughtlessness. The concerns justified.
Fading fast, you investigate the castle. Hero seems hostile, not at all like the way YOU acted earlier. Hero doesnt speak, has no personality, and possesses no memories. The townspeople soon pay little heed to the Heros quest. Although the shopkeeper expresses interest in Hero-branded merchandise, the baker initially disagrees before noting, But then again, what do I know about the tastes of the younger crowd these days? Oh, Kuraudo! you think as you go watch Hero chase a dog. As the dogs other identity springs to your mind, youre comforted by the familiar safety of irony. Its just a stupid parody game, so you follow Tao back to his home and hope for some Phantasy Star puns.
Instead, your hearts broken for the first of a dozen times. (Stick with the Fake Moon Translation and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jzhtFZfshHY#t=6m34s&feature=PlayList&p=4D426F4EC09E6ABB . The audio improves later, and youll learn to love the girl crying, Obaa-chan!) You meet 1 of video games great NPCs, a lumpy, blind lady named Granny. She speaks in reconstituted, breathy French. When she inhales deeply or stretches, her whole body follows through. She makes cookies for you every morning, and she loves nature even though her vision and vigor have left her. Youll learn a handful of minutia like these during the weeks Boy cares for her, but here, she tends to him first. Whos there ? Is someone there? Oh, Tao, dont bark like that! Could this be Zieg? Are you Zieg? Ohhh My sweet little Zieg, youve finally come home Where HAVE you been all this time? Please dont leave your granny alone like that again Ahh I knew something good would happen today! Well, then, come here, come here! Lets hear all about it! *She gets exhausted and goes to her rocking chair.* The people of the town all said you died, Zieg. But Well, I always believed in you that my little grandchild would return home humnumnum Zieg? Welcome baaa humnumnum Seems that Granny fell asleep! humnumnum Zieg Welcome back You finally came home humnumnum Near death, you collapse in her passed grandsons bed and dream deeply. The peculiar woman there concludes, Do you know? What the most important thing is, here in Moon World? That would be Love. As Granny dresses the invisible boy in the familiar hat, jacket, gloves, and shoes, you realize you already learned that.