Today, you’ll learn about Moon: Remix RPG Adventure, the greatest game yet made.

#1


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 you’re a fan of the following things:

Team ICO’s 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
Watercolor
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 Manufacture’s work
Vanpool, Skip, and Punchline
Crying like a widdwe tyke
Games-as-art



Still with me? Aware that you’re 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? Let’s go, then.



1: Introducing
NOTE: No spoilers. :NOTE

When we look away from the screen 1 day and realize that it’s 2030 and all those elitists and schemers who tried to denigrate our hobby have died and that, by God, we’re still around and so is Mario, I imagine we’ll each feel like a child who’s 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 we’ll 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 PC’s 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 Gamestop’s magazine racks to construct meaning from your preferred ludological Lincoln logs! Flower won’t be profound by itself, you know.

That senseless cheap shot taken, I confess I fly a banner of my own. Today, I’m uncertain whether this essay is Love-De-Lic’s introduction or valediction. The new Tingle game won’t leave Japan, the new Chibi-Robo is nearly a lost cause, and NeoGAF may claim 3/5 of Little King’s Story’s net sales. Though I’m religious and rationing curses for the years of political work ahead, I can spare a collective, “Fuck you,” to those who’ve ruined my fun. But what Skip, Vanpool, and Punchline produced was mostly “fun,” no? Excepting each company’s 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. He’ll surely find himself institutionalized or Suda 51’s understudy (i.e., soon-to-be-institutionalized).



Yet, even in proximity to each other, the men of Love-De-Lic couldn’t help but drag games forward. Sans Nishi’s control, U.F.O.: A Day In The Life outpaced The Legend Of Zelda: Majora’s 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 they’d 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 didn’t 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.”)
http://www.hardcoregaming101.net/lovedelic/lovedelic.htm
http://vgmdb.net/album/2100
http://www.rpgfan.com/soundtracks/moon/index.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vanpool_(company)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skip_Ltd.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Punchline_(company)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_King's_Story
http://lovedelicgames.wordpress.com
http://love-de-licious.livejournal.com
http://www.gamefaqs.com/console/psx/file/573238/50336
http://gamejikan.web.fc2.com/capture/cap_moon/cap_moon.html
http://homepage2.nifty.com/bambixx/game/moon/cara.htm

What a shame.



2: Explaining
NOTE: Premise and 1st hour spoilers. :NOTE

Moon’s yet another example of gaming metafiction surpassing its fiction. Imagine that you’ve 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=pVowC_qkKFQ
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. It’s 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 hadn’t lost the full Amano-esque portrait you glimpse in the menu!) You concede a bit more as you proceed. Love-De-Lic’s 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, it’s through the looking glass. Boy’s new world looks awfully familiar. There’s 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 cereal’s 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 concern’s justified.



Fading fast, you investigate the castle. “Hero” seems hostile, not at all like the way YOU acted earlier. Hero doesn’t speak, has no personality, and possesses no memories. The townspeople soon pay little heed to the Hero’s 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 dog’s other identity springs to your mind, you’re comforted by the familiar safety of irony. It’s just a stupid parody game, so you follow Tao back to his home and hope for some Phantasy Star puns.

Instead, your heart’s 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 you’ll learn to love the girl crying, “Obaa-chan!”) You meet 1 of video games’ great NPC’s, 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. You’ll learn a handful of minutia like these during the weeks Boy cares for her, but here, she tends to him first. “Who’s there…? Is someone there? Oh, Tao, don’t bark like that! Could this be Zieg? Are you Zieg? Ohhh… My sweet little Zieg, you’ve finally come home… Where HAVE you been all this time? Please don’t leave your granny alone like that again… Ahh…I knew something good would happen today! Well, then, come here, come here! Let’s 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 grandson’s 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.

 
#2
3: Analyzing
NOTE: Major Soul Catching and Love Catching spoilers. :NOTE

I’m sure you’ve tired of my innovative “narrate what occurs onscreen” analytical style, but the game rests on its transitory initial mood. Moon isn’t simply the lost Earthbound game, graceful fiction in a palatable nostalgia shell. It’s come to bury the RPG as it praises it. Nearly every game Nishi, Kudou, and Kimura produced comes from a God-blessed universe where the American/European and Japanese adventure game fused and took its rightful place atop the artistic hierarchy. The armies, guns, fists, and swords marking every other genre make destruction pleasurable, setting them against the upbuilding discourse Love-De-Lic observes in the graphic adventure.



In Moon, the JRPG blatantly violates the inherent communal tranquility of the adventure game world. Boy likely spends the next day exploring the castle and town of Love-De-Gard, making small talk and purchases. As he returns to Granny’s house, he witnesses 1 of many murders (as the game calls them). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZKKwfHNenYQ#t=8m48s&feature=PlayList&p=4D426F4EC09E6ABB It’s, well, funny. You remember it from Fake Moon, Sly the slime electrocutes amusingly, and Hero obliviously pushes onward. You’ll see Hero kick in people’s doors and rob them, and you’ll chuckle at RPG conventions. As Hero gets stronger, however, he kills more effectively and with greater savagery. He roasts a tribe’s fish god alive, and he rends right through an elephantine enemy. He puts arrows through dogs and lays low a whole household of humanoids. At times, you’ll watch him crow as “Level Up!” appears above his helm. Simpler RPG parodies have abstracted “the grind” before but Moon presses the point until discomfort. Boy spends most of his time interacting in populous places, so he scarcely sees Hero. Boy simply happens upon the destruction Hero wreaks when he ventures into “dungeons.” The aftermath would be eerie but for the more profound shame that occurs when Boy does encounter Hero. A fallen slime, the adoration of the villagers, Hero’s supposed ability to move boulders, and an encounter at a peculiarly American-looking house all reinforce the notion that what’s occurred was preordained mere hours ago. Boy isn’t merely in Moon. He’s atoning for his playthrough by witnessing it firsthand.

The player must watch all of this. Though there are many secrets and dedicated tasks to miss, every player learns that the JRPG model possesses a distancing, ugly core. Moon: Remix RPG Adventure’s characters, dialogue, and mechanics subtly denigrate Japan for making destructive gameplay the norm during the NES-Master System era. (I shouldn’t claim that every second of Moon is austere mockery. A hobo named “Gase” is a hostile old man who collects stuff of no value. He even makes wild claims about his identity that are familiar to fans of a certain game developer. Oh, and he essentially concludes them with, “But I’m poor now.” Was part of Square’s old Nintendo contract utter contempt for the competition?) The argument isn’t heady, so the solutions are appropriately simple. Boy comes across animal corpses by happenstance or effort, at which time he identifies them in his bestiary. The bestiary describes how the creature passed its life. Even those who play poorly or on a superficial level can grasp the means of progress. Boy must absolve himself by putting the animal’s souls to rest. A soul’s presence may depend on Moon’s simulated days and weeks, on a peculiar habit, or on the player’s dexterous thumbs. A caught soul returns to its body and a U.F.O. takes it into space, whereupon Boy is rewarded with Love. As Boy gains more Love, he can exist in Moon longer without resting. I’ve taken a reverent tone throughout this piece, so let me relate that the 52 puzzles are not profound and aren’t designed to be so. They are the principal means to ease travel, community, and puzzle-solving, so they’re appropriately lighthearted. Reanimate the corpses of “Jimi” and “Bonzo” (animals, mind you!), so they can reunite Animal Sacrifice for a swansong. Resemble carrion, so the vulture-like creature circles down from the sky. At the American-style home, you can only catch the Mister Value (yes, it’s a tray of McDonald’s food) if you have 500 neka, plus tax. I favor “Eternal Dog God,” who is related to Tao somehow. Every location Tao frequents yields nothing, so the exasperated player resorts to tracking his movements. At the dead of night, Tao runs out of the house into the middle of the woods. Boy stalks him, only to realize that Tao’s simply relieving himself. And, lo, from the ether, Eternal Dog God sniffs Tao’s urine pool! The presence of scatological jokes isn’t what marks soul catching, however. The process is so wearisome. Each new location reveals a handful of warm bodies Hero dispatched in seconds. Boy toils for at least 10 minutes to save each animal’s soul, which builds to an incremental disgust as the player reaches his 15th or 20th hour. Your wonder when introduced to Rabanastre or a Suikoden castle is exactly inverted here. Hero has already exhausted the locale’s possibilities, so Boy must bear the consequences. The cataclysm of the sidescrolling shooter, the turn-based tactics game, and the Japanese role-playing game are salved by the Western adventure game.



At a few thousand words, however, we can transcend superficialities. Moon is a blueprint, not a diatribe or a parody. Soul catching advances the easy critique and the easy laugh: it’s a clever game that makes Boy wash his hands before catching the soul patrolling the bathroom and video games certainly are pandering, delusional timewasters. Love catching guards the rhetorical flank: “Who cares? They’re just games.” The weeaboos and teabaggers who think this way may casually solve the aforementioned brainteasers, but they must bend to Moon’s ultimate design. The inhabitants of Love-De-Gard are troubled people. Let me underline that: the characters are people, not flags or plot contrivances or lockboxes for precious items. They live something like lives, different each day and each week. Though Jordan Mechner limited The Last Express’ similar gameplay impeccably, he unknowingly limited the potency of his themes. Robert Cath and the supporting cast are purposely mercenary in their interactions. Every player action, then, is akin to managing political constituencies, not consoling aggrieved friends. The player never cares about August as an idea personified nor Miloš as a character and, indeed, Mechner never directs the player to do so. No amount of Cath’s harassment or questions will prevent Mechner from orchestrating his characters around Paths A or B. The train passengers reciprocate: Anna won’t learn from Cath unless the plot dictates it, and Tatyana’s course is as fixed as any Kingdom Hearts NPC’s. Measure The Last Express’ active world against Moon’s, Fallout’s apocalyptic world against U.F.O.’s, and SimCity’s life-simulation against L.O.L.’s, and the comparison becomes clear. The West’s games may innovate spectacularly, but they’re soulless and purposeless at the essential level. Since I’m not a trolling blogger anxious for any opportunity to throw garbage Peter Molyneux’s way, let me briefly describe my favorite bit of Love-De-Lic’s assertion.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bVkQw173Li0 (I apologize. This is 1 of only a couple scripted events, though you can fail it. This is also 1 of only 2 times where the girl playing has no idea what she’s doing. I actually cut minutes from this, and the drama and humor are still compromised.) An introduction for the unfamiliar: Mamas is the housewife of the ‘50’s-era American family. She’s initially materialistic and dependent on appliances. Daia is the daughter, and she loves/loves to battle with her pet Perogon. Her birthday party, featured here, is as Perogon-obsessed as many kids’ were at Pokémon’s zenith. Papas is a famed comics artist, the creator of “Platina Surfer,” “X-Man,” and “Scawn.” See, he has a horrible case of writer’s block. He hasn’t invented any new characters in a long time, and, desperate, he’s beginning to “appropriate” other cultures’. If Boy looks at his drawing board, he’s learning to draw Japanese, shounen-like characters. His prototype character looks like Goku from Dragon Ball. After Daia has opened her birthday present (a massive stuffed Perogon), a familiar clanking noise occurs outside. As Daia sprints to save her beloved pet, you recall that the house was the backdrop for 1 of Hero’s Fake Moon battles. Perogon’s death is fated because of your actions. If you try to make like Crono and offer a JRPG hero’s sacrifice, you waste time and Hero slays Perogon. If you look for weapons or special items or power-ups, you exhaust your time and Perogon is murdered. If you adhere to Moon’s principles, however, you’ll apply altruistic adventure game thinking. The only thing Hero wants at this moment is to perpetuate his delusions of power. Perogon is simply an entry in a quest log. Thus, Boy must give him the battle that occurred in Fake Moon. If you recall, Perogon developed both inexplicable JRPG conventions: duplicating a false self and catching fire. Boy rips open the back of the Perogon doll and waddles obliviously out the door. Hero is momentarily confused, but Perogon’s growl gives him away. You run Boy to the fireplace, who storms out aflame and would be killed but for the doll’s stuffing. Hero, ever proud, walks away victorious. Suddenly, Papas has a burst of imagination! He sets to work on Hero-Man, which must surely be the tale of a virtuous invisible boy against a thoughtless world!





The West doesn’t understand.

You’d rightly object, of course. Removed from context, the Battle Of American House is but a Luigi’s Mansion puzzle in which the family was mere plot point. If this is emblematic of the game’s soul catching, Moon’s a creative failure. Would a series of such condensed incidents create a critical failure, however? With apologies to Anthony Gallegos and Alice Liang, could those who complained about the “purposeless” villager interaction in Little King’s Story care about a realistic digital citizenry? Has the podcaster who decries the 7+ hour game soured on diets devoid of setpieces, cookies, and flashing lights? I suspect those who fill silence with iPhone games won’t appreciate a game marked by them. Nevertheless, Moon demands that you learn to play differently. Each character’s feelings and behavior are dictated by the hour, the day, the week, and Boy’s total time in the world. Characters don’t wait expectantly for Boy’s appearance, nor are their schedules explicit. The only way to learn their behavior, their quirks, and their hidden wishes is to spend time in their presence, approach them with an item from Boy’s inventory, or speak with them. Those who play for short-term thrills are turned back at every instance. Burrn’s the bluntest example. He’s your average music store geek and a novice guitarist, and he doesn’t take kindly to those who flip through his business’ record collection. The “purpose” of Boy’s interaction is to correctly name a series of tunes Burrn plays. He only spins 3 seconds of each, so the player who approaches him for his Love Points and without a MoonDisc collection will fail each test. If Boy repeatedly shows up to Burrn Hall and purchases his records, Burrn’s hostility gives way to neediness. Burrn only relates to people through shared taste in music, so others are bored by him. When someone does attempt to befriend him, Burrn quickly realizes that the would-be pal knows less than he does, so he scolds the person into flight. Boy’s continued interest in him and his music negates Burrn’s petulance. Meanwhile, you’ll naturally learn the music through play. When Boy correctly answers Burrn’s questions, he claims his place as Burrn’s “music friend,” and Burrn begins looking for new sorts of companions. An opportunistic player certainly won’t unlock the game’s more involved relationships. The guard Fred’s secret wish is as loud as a checkered leotard. On certain days, he constantly yawns, his decorates his room with rock memorabilia, and he sports a superb moustache. A dullard would barge into Fred’s room at night, set up camp in the castle’s largest room, or mash the X button in the adjoining hallway. Moon doesn’t gratify devotees to those sorts of RPGs. If you talk to Fred and his associates, you learn that he’s very self-conscious. If you spend your days around Fred, you’ll find that he watches Ibirii, the other guard, to ensure he heads to the bar at night. Thus, if you’ve learned Ibirii’s lifestyle and hide out of sight, you can witness Fred’s metamorphosis to rock god: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xD26_t914CI#t=5m20s&feature=PlayList&p=4D426F4EC09E6ABB



Consider Noji. Noji is the prince of a land of toys who’s on a fact-finding mission in Love-De-Gard. He constantly comments that “he doesn’t belong here.” Unless you’re illiterate or the very notion of anagrams causes you dizziness, you grasp the parody. …I’ll pause here. Come now, a quick scan of the game’s credits reveals that Taro Kudou designed its events, Kazuyuki Kurashima did all of the monster designs, and Kenichi Nishi and Akira Ueda designed the maps! (Yoshiro Kimura was doing battle systems for Romancing Saga 3 at the time.)

_______?_______
_______!_______


I don’t know that the last bit is copyright infringement, but Boy only witnesses Mario pop out of the car if he waits at dawn for Noji’s Rube Goldberg alarm. Whereas Geno is a mighty warrior from the stars, Noji needs to learn what Love-De-Gard’s kids do for fun. Geno speaks with the cadence and vocabulary of a nobleman. Noji sounds like Ralph Wiggum. Again, players presume that Moon is like Itoi’s games or the Mario RPGs themselves, so we laugh at the absurd version of everyone’s favorite doll demigod. Instead, Love-De-Lic made Noji 1/2 of their game’s longest quest. It unites all of Love-De-Gard: find a lady’s wedding ring, show it to her estranged, mushroom-addicted husband, heal an injured tribesman, restore a man’s restaurant, resurrect the tribe’s fish god. Each quest may demand the time and persistence to learn much about the character’s life. After a few hours’ play, Boy unlocks a fishing hole that sometimes turns up Gamestations. Noji’s anticlimactic thanks hints at unfinished business. While Noji awaits his father’s return, a different father hopes for his own reunion. You’ll likely have learned that Ibirii clumsily flies toy airplanes on Days Of The Sun. If drunk, he’ll relate that his son promised on the day Ibirii and his wife divorced that he’d join him for a toy plane crash course. Every Day Of The Sun, Ibirii exhibits his atrophied talent on the balcony in case his son wants to see him again. These are no idle tales of NPC woe. The player who pities Ibirii may come visit him on that day. Ibirii puts on a brave face and concentrates a bit more on his technique. If Boy cares enough to visit 7 days later, he’ll merit sincere thanks tinged with regret. However, if Boy demonstrates his sincere kindness with a 3rd consecutive pep talk, Noji notices the dad’s distress and helps him soar: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KPFvnkVTp_o#t=5m15s&feature=PlayList&p=4D426F4EC09E6ABB He’s the toy prince, you know. Unfortunately, Ibirii’s a lonesome sort and Noji exudes cheerful obliviousness (Couple his face and set Ralph Wiggum’s voice on a loop: “I’M WAITING FOR DADDY!!”), so Ibirii imagines that he’s been abandoned in this country. Each time you speak with Ibirii, he can barely conceal the joy fatherhood would bring him. Those concerned with speedruns can abandon the pair to unhealthy fantasy. Those who’ve endured the trials with them can see it through. Noji wasn’t abandoned, of course, as a later hologram of his father announces. Conversations reveal that Noji’s worried about Ibirii’s wellbeing, so you can deduce that he wants to sneak away when Ibirii’s not on patrol. If you’re present, you’re rewarded. May I remind you that Noji should be a simple sight gag? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XIZ0hCReHfE#t=3m57s&feature=PlayList&p=4D426F4EC09E6ABB



I must note that the simplest test is also the most tenderhearted. You’ll likely adore Granny more than many games protagonists. I can approximate the bond Boy builds with Granny as that of a parent’s and child’s. At game’s beginning, she gives you life. By taking her grandson’s favorite clothes, you develop your identity. Your earliest actions are limited in scope and power, so you must run home often for your own comfort and survival. As Boy grows stronger and independent, Granny’s home is less vital than convenient. Nonetheless, you appreciate the cookies and mattress. The day Boy earns his own home, however, Granny’s struck down by a curse. Hero killed an animal outside her home and the soul has haunted her for vengeance. She mumbles something about her readiness, and she concedes that it’s terminal. She and Boy exchange words frankly, as old folks do, and she entrusts Tao to Boy. “Teach him!” That charge is acceptable for the Tao in Captain Rainbow. The Tao in Giftpia is a rather obedient pooch. Moon’s Tao strikes me as the most horrid beast ever allied with a video game hero. It is stupid. It is disobedient. It is greedy. Start from video 24 if you want the full story. Bring Tao a bone and give it a command. If it does perform, you laud it and you can move to the next tier of commands. If it doesn’t follow commands, you must scold it to preserve your progress and try again. No one warned me that Tao wants Granny to die a tortuous death or that it has some kind of cognitive disorder. Boy can only shovel bone after bone into Tao’s insatiable maw as Granny writhes pained in bed. Tao’s spiteful bark taunted my waning will. Granny’s house is completely superfluous once Boy receives his own, it seems, and Granny’s house is tucked conveniently away from mandatory areas. She produces no ghost, and Tao doesn’t maul you in rage. If Granny hasn’t endeared herself to you, you may abandon her at no cost. I taught Tao to sit and to lie down. I even taught it to call. I demonstrated altruistic action and perseverant care for the grandmother who adopted me as her own, and I earned this scene (Mind you, this girl has done the quest as early as possible, thereby spending as little time with Granny as possible. And yet… Watch until 4:58, too.): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9UR1nwOwYeY#t=2m01s&feature=PlayList&p=4D426F4EC09E6ABB Granny’s regained strength lets her cherish the outdoors again. For me, each conversation in the open air was its own emotional payoff. All of these intricate or wearying quests glorify how games make us feel while castigating the ways they typically make us feel it. If Western games normalized thoughtless play, those from Japan can resist it.

(For those of you who believe I’m praising Love-De-Lic too highly, let me mention something from the Moon Official Book. They originally planned that Granny would be faking her blindness. She would have misidentified Boy to have a companion to abate her aloneness. This is roughly as bad an idea as Ebenezer Scrooge discovering a pair of discarded crutches in the back room before finding Tiny Tim’s run off with the fattened goose. They aren’t messiahs.)

 
#3
4: Appreciating
NOTE: Spoiler for character appearances, but only the photo album reveals plot details. :NOTE

May we step away from the industry-upending design for a moment? I won’t spent much time on aesthetics, both because they’re best witnessed firsthand and I’ve alluded to them often enough in the piece. Those who like the music should check the SketchesOfMoondays Youtube account. Those of you who want to find screenshots of every major event, animal, and locale may go here: http://s902.photobucket.com/albums/ac230/SketchesOfMoondays Most of the colors draw from a dark palette. Many of the backgrounds aren’t innovative or strikingly designed, as befits a middling RPG like Fake Moon. The most intriguing (all by the lead designer of Contact and Sakura Note) are the plot-related ones, so stick to the “00” album for now. Kazuyuki Kurashima moderated his character designs to match the wistful environment (fans of them should enjoy Endonesia’s). They don’t have the concentrated insanity of U.F.O.: A Day In The Life’s or the Tingle games’, nor are they tweaked archetypes, as Little King’s Story’s are. Players or playthrough devotees will find the designs primed for a skewed RPG.

Those who want jokes spoiled can check the updated Wikipedia entry. My favorite RPG parodies? Baker the baker, Lady Techno, Femi, the Eco-Club’s professional feminist (L.O.L. and Park Patrol make me think twice, but there must have been 1 of us conservatives on staff), Robi (who is absolutely not Chrono Trigger’s Robo). My favorite visual gags? I hadn’t seen an inventory joke since The Secret Of Monkey Island, and then Curio the creepy, self-aggrandizing shopkeeper opened an after-dark store. The only items you can buy are a magnifying glass(?), a white dress(!), a flower (aw…), and chloroform. None of them turn out to be sinister and none of them are related. Also, note the character art. All of the Moon people are clay models, the Technopolis robots and the American-esque family are 3-d computer models, and everyone else is in 2-d. Oh, except for the 3-d Grand Nippon isolationist Grandpa, who openly despises the American family as he accidentally appropriates their language and mannerisms. Jokes!



For all of the industry’s embarrassing juvenility, we can’t accuse its leaders of conceit, of disdain for the people who make their livelihoods possible. From Korean MMO wage slaves to Miyamoto’s incredulously constant joy, our industry is one pleasantly devoid of sociopaths. Our designer idols like us. I don’t know this tale as well as those who experienced it, but the official Moon soundtrack strikes me as 1 of the standout examples of player appreciation. The subset-of-a-subset who clamored for a proper release saw the development house fall before the album was printed. A near-decade of rights wrangling hadn’t diluted the affection Nishi and company felt for the community. I’ll let someone who knows better explain what they did: http://www.rpgfan.com/soundtracks/moon/index.html

I’ve attempted to avoid GAME REVIEW TEMPLATE 1-A throughout, but I need to emphasize the soundtrack’s enormity. Yes, there’s interstitial music, and the preludes and postludes are (excellent) traditional fare. And, yes, you COULD choose to play the rest in awful, imposing silence. Claim your first MoonDisc, however, and you’ll realize how impoverished current audio design is. 15 artists, 36 extra tracks, and a 10-slot playlist let you control the game’s mood. If your trek is particularly wistful, cue the cellos. If casting a line reminds you of a 4-on-the-floor dance club date, put it on repeat. All of these tracks are fully formed. They don’t loop. All of them are full pieces in divergent styles: romantic classical, classical classical, medieval classical, tribal, pop, classic rock, glitch, free jazz, koto, ragtime, chiptune, blues-folk (like, Hungarian folk, not American), funk, trance, calypso, and house. Any fans of The Neverhood or Skullmonkeys reading? Flip to Day Of The Space Festival for a country-fied “The Worm Graveyard” or “Adder Electro” for a sitar-and-backbeat orchestration of 1 of Moon’s minigames. For God’s sake, the “epic” special song that hits the top of the charts (and the one that rolls over the credits) is a toy piano, bell, and electric bass-driven song with nonsense words for lyrics! What must they do to spur interest? Tired of reading paeans to “Inquiry - Cornered” or “Terra’s Theme?” Well, your top 5 certainly won’t match anyone else’s, which means your playthrough and your neighbor’s will be uniquely shaped. To spark interest, here are my favorite, er, 15. That’s traditional, no?

15: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AZdZITDH_go Simone (MoonDisc Version) I hate jazz. I fear jazz. I fear the lack of rules, the lack of boundaries. It’s a fence! No, it’s soft. The shapes, the chaos! Okay, I couldn’t think of anything to say for a genre I dislike and The League Of Gentlemen doesn’t reference jazz. This is just really cool.
14: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qhly-8MwHfE Bubble Star (MoonDisc Version) Is this called glitch? Can someone who regularly uses the term “microhouse” tell me, because the sensations it creates for me are “sinking in water” or “floating in space,” and I like them. Appropriate name, that.
13: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dFLChNehPNU Promise (Dream Version) (MoonDisc Version) I can’t separate this one from the game. It’s the game’s main motif, and this version plays whenever you recharge your action limit. The 1st half draws you to rest with the Moon Queen’s loving words, and the 2nd fortifies you for continued adventure. It does exactly what it should audially.
12: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wIyD3YjXcBA Moon Fish - Prologue (MoonDisc Version) I won’t claim this is some Mendelssohn-level quartet, but all of you “Thunder Plains” fans, stop here. I actually think this is the one that best suits the game, so it was my default song. Each layer slips on top of the other just so, and before you know it, you’re gripping your controller and haven’t blinked since the track began.
11: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q_Ddb3zZYzQ I'm Waiting For The Night (MoonDisc Version) What if Cocteau Twins’ frontwoman was a tiny Japanese lady? This!
10: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=glBaawIt2AY Moon Castle (MoonDisc Version) Wait, you’re telling me they used a harpsichord? In a castle track?! It’s not groundbreaking, though it does lend regality to decidedly un-regal occurrences, has a great 8-bit mix in “Fake Moon,” and…I’m a sucker for the harpsichord.
9: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XOZH2WxT4tg Madam Car Crash (MoonDisc Version) This will probably be 1 of your favorites. The funk is Gitaroo-Man good. It avoids wank-strumming, keeps introducing new sequences, and just ROCKS. Now, if only the game had 1 sequence where it fit!
8: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=25RulLDSJWM Water Scene (MoonDisc Version) I know NeoGAF loves its David Wise. This is just beneath the Aquatic Ambience/Arctic Abyss-tier of cold, ambient songs. It includes accordion, choir, harp, guitar, electronic strings, and various water sounds, but it never trips into the new age genre. It doesn’t aim for treacly sentiment or climax after climax. It just immerses you in what’s there.
7: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lnt-e9iK1Ks Moonlit Jongara Road (MoonDisc Version) Look, I’m a 22-year old Wisconsinite. I don’t know about Japanese folk music. I’m not sure if this is a dunce strumming away or a modern minor miracle. I was watching this Chikuzan Takahashi guy conjure masterful stuff on a shamisen a little while ago, and that was definitely better than this track. I just know it’s perpetually catchy.
6: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fiVygvRvX7c Please, Give Me The Power Of God (MoonDisc Version) Speaking of old Japan, is it possible for this to make me nostalgic though I’m neither 60 nor Japanese? In either case, the record needle imperfections, simple folk rhythm, and sing-along harmonies make this perfect. You could bring this to a campfire tomorrow and get everyone clapping by the 2nd verse.
5: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ol1J1k7hElY From The Flower Trilogy - Faint Murmur Of The Flowers (MoonDisc Version) Yoko Shimomura, is that you? You only hear this the 1st time the Boy meets “his” granny, and I spent the rest of the game waiting for the opportunity to hear the time signature shift and Legend Of Mana-era Shimomura composition again.
4: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vY_KHJuRo3Q The Highest Level Yeah, this is as good as nearly any NES-era JRPG’s overworld theme. Should I mention, then, that you’d hear this MAYBE 3 times (not 3 instances, 3 TIMES) at the very beginning of the game? And that, after finishing the game once, you’ll never be able to listen to it without its tragic undertones becoming more prominent in the blipping mix? Nah. Better just enjoy it while you can.
3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=drykZCS2004 Song Of Silver Tsumugi Threads (MoonDisc Version) This will probably be your favorite. This is 1 of the only pieces with a radical MoonDisc arrangement, and it is PHENOMENAL. You don’t get this sort of melancholic beauty, neither overbearing nor self-involved, in every game’s soundtrack. Be thankful you haven’t heard this backing shoujo anime excerpts on Youtube for the past 3 years.
2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6H0BijzQHSg Warp Wet Woods (MoonDisc Version) The 1st half: modern Animal Collective. The 2nd half: The Chills, My Bloody Valentine at its most pop, or Britpop that isn’t annoying. If the band that wrote this for Moon came to the States, I’d buy out the room.
1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uDG7-cqiLP0 Blue (MoonDisc Version) Okay, new rule: no using chiptunes or synths in your godawful indie game unless they’re at least this awesome. It’s 5 harmonic hooks, offbeat percussion, and no filler. I love it! Just listen (with the volume heightened).

Moon joins a sparsely populated class of games that marry aesthetics, interaction, and scripting into meaningful play. May we thin the ranks a bit more? I experience art to witness the artist control his themes, not exercise his craft. If I want a novel, I’m searching for an “-evskii,” “-ich,” and “-ov.” 2 hours is better spent with Robert Bresson than Quentin Tarantino. Thus, I’m hurt when I play intellectually muddy games like Bioshock, where the game’s “argument” had disappeared even before the disastrous finale. Moon: Remix RPG Adventure hones the preceding hours’ pathos into an astonishing setpiece finale. When I argue that this is the greatest game yet made, I raise the game’s didactic bookends as plank 1.

 
#4
5: Enthusing
NOTE: These are spoilers for the entire game, essentially. :NOTE



First, if I’ve misrepresented the game to this point as uplifting, forgive me. The game rebukes Western thoughtlessness and Eastern destructive stagnation, but Moon damns the player foremost. By journey’s midpoint, Boy has clearly defined his quest. A dragon has swallowed the moonlight and captured the Moon Queen as it did in Fake Moon. The consequences will soon be calamitous, so Boy must find the means to redeem the world. As he restores the spirits of Love-De-Gard’s inhabitants, he collects rocket ship materials to save the world outright. King Love-De-Gard plans his kingdom’s premiere spaceflight to help Boy destroy Dragon. Ever the hero, Boy blindly pushes onward with his own glorious quest. The townspeople praise you, your Love approaches the highest level, and the Moon Queen’s page, Mutsujiroo, lauds how many animal souls you’ve saved. Boy isn’t even bothered when he discovers the nature of the world. The above picture presents the most recent hypothesis. Real Moon is a disc-like world suspended between an upper and lower plane. If this is a dream world, you reason, then it’s simply a video game. If Love-De-Gard is a genuine reality, Boy has collected a “chip” (akin to prophetic scrolls) that has declared him the person who will preserve Moon from annihilation. Near game’s end, however, Moon erodes that confidence.



Nearly no one understands the white-feathered arrow. Boy finds it buried in Tao’s underground cache, but Granny and the rest of the townsfolk can’t discern its meaning. It has no use, and the official strategy guide doesn’t describe its purpose. It baffles every person but Minister. Though not a dishonorable or malevolent man, the query makes him gaze at Boy while remaining as still as a hunted deer. His private notes or Ibirii’s very public drunken ramblings reveal that the Minister detests King Love-De-Gard’s soft headedness. The King concerns himself more with fantastical solutions (see: above) than applicable policies. Minister decided to create a hero himself. None of that is of much import until Boy discovers the final prophetic chip. Minister had the game’s scientist create mail of unmatched power. The person that enters the armor will destroy any enemy. Immediately, the player must reflect on the implications of 2 omnipotent powers. If Boy will save the world and Hero can defeat any foe, what occurs if they meet? Boy, unarmed, fragile, and transparent, makes for a pathetic warrior, which dilutes the player’s confidence in the moon mission. Boy is no hero. The 2nd portion of the chip makes that clear. The armor’s cost is dear. It’s cursed armor, erasing the wearer’s memory, thoughts, and emotions. For this reason, the scientist designed its activation to be contingent on choice. Minister, following the chip’s designs, shot a white arrow into the castle town. Fans of Ookami or the Kuzuryuu myth will recall that the family whose roof the arrow hit had to put forth a sacrifice. Minister, of course, called the person a “Hero.” Boy sealed Hero’s fate when he voluntarily donned the “Legendary Armor” in Fake Moon. You and Boy are responsible for destroying this person’s past life, turning him into a thoughtless killing machine, having him eradicate whole species, and generally sabotaging the world of Love-De-Gard. If Tao could find the arrow and mistake it for a bone, whose life did you destroy? Which character remains unseen? Who wears the Legendary Armor? You “killed” Granny’s grandson. Boy’s figurative place in the world, that of Granny’s grandson, of the world’s savior, of the atoner for Hero’s misdeeds, of the game’s protagonist, becomes disturbingly literal. Your actions mattered. The Dragon awaits you. The spaceship launches. Video games’ greatest ending commences.

http://www.gamefaqs.com/console/psx/file/573238/50336 (Skip to "Ending Translation.")
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YU33chsBlT8&feature=PlayList&p=4D426F4EC09E6ABB
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8UwpNPeQe8I&feature=PlayList&p=4D426F4EC09E6ABB
(I’m sure the Little King’s Story fans are smiling. If the girl annoys you for some reason, stay with it. No one could “narrate” better for English-only people. Oh, and the ending absolutely wrecks her.)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EJpp_cegbcc&feature=PlayList&p=4D426F4EC09E6ABB
(0:00-1:19) The moon isn’t a dystopian fortress or a final dungeon. Rather, it’s the purest expression of your actions on Love-De-Gard. If you didn’t cultivate love among the populace, your “heroism” is found wanting. If you refused to serve your fellow creatures, they haven’t resurrected on the moon. What you see in the video is a perfect playthrough. Kindhearted Mutsujiroo greets you with the warmth only possible in a vibrant, altruistic community. This is the world where the JRPG, the first-person shooter, and the hack-and-slash never existed.
(1:20-4:05) This story has no villains. The Moon Queen is the seer of the moon utopia, and Dragon is its protector. Real Moon’s moonlight disappeared long before their arrival, bound behind the door. Moon and Love-De-Gard were never in danger of being annihilated, only of becoming a “visiting dream.” Boy must open the door to restore the moon’s radiance. The deaths of Moon Queen and Dragon will reveal Hero’s and Boy’s fates, but they are currently uncertain.
(4;06-8:30) You go to fulfill your destiny by opening the door. You…failed? You played the game the correct way! You saved 100% of the animal’s souls! Your Love is at the highest level! YOU ARE THE HERO!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C1oonHDSh4A&feature=PlayList&p=4D426F4EC09E6ABB
(I’m not sure what’s best. If you want to read along, pause at 6:30 and then start the whole thing over when I tell you. Perhaps you should watch it once completely with the translation, though?)

Game over. Boy played incorrectly or poorly or slowly, and he let the utopia be razed in minutes. 25 hours of dedication and careful stewardship couldn’t withstand 3 O-mete spells. Boy pitted his philosophy and manner of interaction against Hero’s, and destruction prevailed. The thoughtless game will always capture the marketplace. The amount of people you murdered in Grand Theft Auto will always matter less than how many stars appear on the HUD. As Dragon says, “Haven’t we already reached the point of no return?! We are too late… It’s too late…”

So, as gamers do, you continue. You aim to find the flag you didn’t activate, the loot you didn’t pick up, the 101% save file. You’ll restart until you see the correct outcome. You’ll make Boy’s love level conquer Hero’s. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XIuKxlB8X7A&feature=PlayList&p=4D426F4EC09E6ABB&index=133

If that’s the case, Moon: Remix RPG Adventure taught you nothing. It was simply a meaningless game like a lot of other meaningless games. When your foot is on Hero’s throat by whatever nonsensical solution you planned, Moon would be sent to the drawer. Like all of the other alphabetized, unplayed games in your collection, it would become a fleeting dream. Finish video 125, if you haven’t!

I’ve thought carefully about why the industry disappointed me this generation, but what eloquence could match that ending? The tech geeks and juvenile creatives who lead this industry have driven consumers to the extremities. 1 fringe delights in the perpetual world. Hardcore gamers are nothing if not Kierkegaardian aesthetes, sucking the marrow from every last property, fiending for the next sequel, expansion, or downloadable content to perpetuate their digital fantasies. If the developers simply produce enough content (and enough loot drops, overdrives, and brutal kills to maintain the idea that it’s fulfilling), players can exist in their preferred virtual world for perpetuity! Reflective thought in lieu of this month’s map pack could dull the game’s luster, after all. The other pole’s just as dependent on the Internet age. Video games are now “content,” something to be shoehorned into a mobile phone, Facebook page, or movie campaign. A torrent of 1-note, 1-hour games tailored for Twitter trends and message board hype have created incessant demands for our attention, but devalued the video game more than the $5.00 price points suggest. I know friends who’ve deleted more games (that is, unique play experiences) than I’ve ever owned.

Moon: Remix RPG Adventure suggests that video games aren’t doomed to be dopamine treadmills or temporary distractions. It demonstrates a new play philosophy: “Open the door.” The ending portrays a reality in which a video game isn’t bound between a disc’s lacquered layers. Every player shelves his Gamestation, opens his door, and incorporates Moon’s lessons into his own life. A character on a disc mustn’t die there any more than 1 must on a page or on film or after the curtain drops, and the sole reason they do is because developers and gamers prefer it that way. Society treasures Kurosawa’s “To Live” and Sibelius’ Violin Concerto because we draw on them long after their discs stop spinning. Moon spurs reflection and prompts action just like that true art does. No podcast chatter or GDC roundtable has yet produced as powerful and as simple an ethic: “Love more than levels.” A form that produces such lovely thoughts as those, I believe, can 1 day stand among the timeless ones. Gamers, all of us, stand beside Yoshida and Doctor Hagerstein on the sinful sphere we call home. As we pause, breathless, before the glowing door, we must each decide whether this industry’s “mash-the-shoulder-buttons-for-manual-decapitation, ME-I’m-a-L’Cie, let’s-squeeze-in-some-team-deathmatch” philosophy continues or if we’ve learned Moon’s lesson.

Continue?
->Yes
No

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ejGiYN6r5fQ&feature=PlayList&p=4D426F4EC09E6ABB
Even the blithest toy piano can’t sweeten the ending’s post facto subtext. Snot-nosed and red-eyed, you watch the game lightheartedly literalize its message. King Love-De-Gard and Minister eye the Japanese Diet, Hero-Man and Kris become household names, and Florence and Wanda rebuild their relationship. Would that there were such a gaming paradise. The game’s final image is meant to be equally humorous. A retail shelf is marked, “Sorry. As per a written request by the makers, we are no longer selling the video game ‘Moon.’” Of course, the game means to represent a world in which players needn’t play tripe like Fake Moon (and in which they are terrified of being trapped and murdered in it, for that matter). Yet, that isn’t our world. Moon sold modestly, successive games died on store shelves, and Love-De-Lic’s output scarcely appears in the collective gaming consciousness. Love-De-Lic split into 3 factions, all of which produced excellent, artistically restrained games after their primary efforts. Kenichi Nishi now refuses to make real games post-Captain Rainbow, Taro Kudou would be busking without the Zelda name slapped on his games’ covers, and Yoshiro Kimura, 1 insolvent company later, makes critical successes (read: commercial disasters) for Marvelous. What irony: by gamers’ mandate, no retailer sells games like Moon anymore.

Despite commercial apathy and critical neglect, the game’s message holds. It doesn’t matter that, in 2009, language still stymies its worldwide acceptance. It’s not of much consequence whether Blizzard has a larger Wikipedia entry or if Valve sold more Companion Cubes than Moon sold copies. Art and its pursuit sustain those minor tribes who grouse about kid’s playthings. Those who will foster games into respectability have memories inflected by the influence of their forebears. Both know that the art that matters rouses you, admonishes you, braces you. Art’s made all of them evangelize in conversation and overdevelop message board posts, too. Art stretches morsels of enjoyment into hours of fond reflection, and when you come upon a feast, why, you’ll remember it for a lifetime. Super Mario is fleeting. Moon’s light can never be swallowed up.



“Have you found love? Sometime, someplace, may we meet again. Now, turn off the game, for heaven’s sake!”

 
 
#5
I sincerely appreciate those who gave effort to read this, and I hope that the essay deserved it. I’m willing to converse about this at any time, so you may ask questions immediately, watch the playthrough first and post thoughts by the weekend, or hunt the game down and bump this 6 months from now. This was a bit risky, but I do hope people produce their own thoughts on the game. It’s just a hope, though. I only have 3 expectations I expect fulfilled.

1. Buy Little King’s Story. It’s now $30.00, it’s the best Wii game there is, and it’s Love-De-Lic’s last shot in America.

2. People shouldn’t be afraid to dismiss sacred cows. We needn’t settle for shlock based on modest expectations given that this exists.

3. At least 6 of Love-De-Lic’s games merit this level of attention.

Moon: Remix RPG Adventure is 1, of course, and it’s my favorite. When we look away from the scrblah blah blah… Every playlist ends with versions of the opening and ending without player commentary, for an optimal experience. Search for some music here, by the way: http://www.youtube.com/user/SketchesOfMoondays#grid/user/80E9FF4DF38AEFF5
http://www.youtube.com/user/SketchesOfMoondays#grid/user/4D426F4EC09E6ABB

U.F.O.: A Day In The Life is their 2nd game and my 3rd favorite. Taro Kudou was the lead designer instead of Nishi, and it shows. This is among the most brilliant concepts in video games. You’re in a Rear Window-like apartment complex, but you needn’t spy from your window. You’re an alien, so you’re invisible, you can warp to any room of the building, and you can time travel. You’re looking for your alien allies who’ve crash-landed on Earth. They’re all invisible, so you can only guess where they are by observing visual or audial cues in the room. By spiriting them back to your mothership, you prevent them from interfering with the apartment dwellers’ lives. This leads to Groundhog’s Day-type alternate histories. You wouldn’t expect a game like this to comment on happiness in the 21st century, but this was made by Love-De-Lic. For those of you looking for the 1-minute pitch, it’s Pokémon Snap meets The Legend Of Zelda: Majora’s Mask with Grim Fandango’s mix of humor and pathos and No More Heroes’ style. It also includes the moment at which I laughed harder than I have for any video game. It’s dependent on buildup, context, and redirection, so I cannot spoil it. It is fairly far into the game and it occurs in Room #102. Except for the premise and opening, this is all pantomimed. Watch it, please!
http://www.youtube.com/user/SketchesOfMoondays#grid/user/C98EDBBD54634F3F

L.O.L.: Lack Of Love is their 3rd and final game as Love-De-Lic and my 6th favorite. Kenichi Nishi takes the helm again. Essentially, this is Spore before Spore, but made by premier talent. You take an evolving beast from egg to…something else, all the while uncovering what the Lack Of Love project is. It’s a game about environmentalism, and I believe it may be most readers’ favorite. Moon is incredibly verbose and complicated. U.F.O. removed all dialogue, allowing for a pure 1-to-1 relationship with a deep gameplay system. This game removes the narrator and tutorial. Your controls shift constantly, but they’re always intuitive and minimalist. This makes the game rather short. You finish the game by retaining a pristine Love-De-Lic mindset. Also, you gain a dedicated urinate button. EVERYTHING is pantomimed. Watch it, please!
http://www.youtube.com/user/SketchesOfMoondays#grid/user/F3B1DC07DE02DB02

Giftpia is Skip’s 1st game and my 5th favorite, directed by Kenichi Nishi. It’s a less self-serious Moon. If you thought my essay was claptrap, try watching this rather hilarious one (NTSC-UK has a English walkthrough). It’s Moon for the masses. It has a smaller customizable soundtrack, it has a cohesive village, and it examines hope and the essence of maturity. It most captures Moon’s heart.
http://www.youtube.com/user/SketchesOfMoondays#grid/user/221CADC4AF5E0006

Endonesia is Vanpool’s 1st game and my 2nd favorite, directed by Taro Kudou. It’s a less self-serious Moon. Itu reimagines the adventure game. You are your entire inventory, and you can only gain new abilities by applying existing ones to the distant isle to which you’ve been transported (There is no English walkthrough). It has a constant soundtrack that regularly drops or adds sounds to the mix, it has phenomenal adventure game puzzles, it best embodies the “entrancing, peculiar world” people credit to the 1st 2 Monkey Islands and the Mysts but which I’ve never felt, and it and it examines the difference between hope, fantasy, and delusion. It most captures Moon’s puzzles.
http://www.youtube.com/user/SketchesOfMoondays#grid/user/F6D30C2A672A33F1

Chulip is Punchline’s 1st game and my 4th favorite, directed by Yoshiro Kimura. It’s a less self-serious Moon. It eliminates the minigames and puzzles for a pristine communal experience. It has a set soundtrack, unrelenting gameplay predicaments, and it examines the seriousness of love. It most captures Moon’s sense of humor.
http://www.youtube.com/user/SketchesOfMoondays#grid/user/0BEC272AC81FB453

I recommend every one. Thank you, all!

_______
_______
 
#13
Odrion said:
Woah, never knew this game existed. Why isn't there a translation?
robut said:
So what you're saying is the game is basically a lot like Doom?
Malio said:
I'm going to need more details about this to make a play decision.
More seriously, no one knows. ASCII was fine financially, and Wikipedia says: Although the game was apparently featured prominently at E3 in 1997 with plans to release the game the following year, ASCII decided not to release Moon outside Japan.[1][2] The game was advertised shortly afterward for a US release in GamePro magazine[3], but was never published by another company.
 
#15
LocoMrPollock said:
Where can i buy it? And what system is it for? Is it in english?

Sorry if it's all been answered above, but I don't have time to read the entire post, yet.
Playstation 1, Japan-only, with English and easily-Google-Translatable Japanese walkthroughs available. Himeyashop.com will special order things for you. Also, there are illegal ways if all else fails (and it may). Amazon.co.jp has copies, but I've forgotten if they do international shipping. A playthrough's right above you if you just want to watch a perfect run.
 

Brobzoid

how do I slip unnoticed out of a gloryhole booth?
May 8, 2006
14,295
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#16
I think I hate you for making me want to play a game only available in Japanese... :( I hate playing a game and having to look at a FAQ every time I run into some text. Fuck.
 
Mar 10, 2007
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#17
Thank you, GhaleonQ. Thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you. I really appreciate this.

I've been wanting to learn more about this game *for ever* (And the other LDL games). Do not let this thread die!
 
#20
Red Scarlet said:
Weird.

And that's as long as a thread title can be.
As you can tell, I previewed every post before posting, and I tailored it to the character limit it allowed me! CURSES! If you're shortenng it, could you put a period after "made"?

I'm delaying thanks in case this topic dies. It's gasping already (by page views, not posts, even). *sniff*
 

Drkirby

Corporate Apologist
Jan 29, 2008
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#23
Uhhhh..... Sometimes less is more when it comes to giving information. I am trying to read what you are saying, but a bunch of it just isn't coherent.

Is there an English version of this?
 
#25
Drkirby said:
Uhhhh..... Sometimes less is more when it comes to giving information. I am trying to read what you are saying, but a bunch of it just isn't coherent.

Is there an English version of this?
Are you watching the videos? What parts?

And, yeah, just read the RPGFan or Hardcore Gaming 101 links above. As I said, no one cared when they just alluded to its awesomeness, so I really analyzed the gameplay and story. It's just tough to tell people what's occuring in the scenes, the premise, the gameplay, AND describe why it's incredibly complex and rewarding. I reread it a couple of times, and it's certainly "coherent."

Sorry if that put you off, though.
 
#28
RevenantKioku said:
Dude, I just noticed your PM. I feel like an ass, sorry.
This game has been on my want list for a loooong time but it is so. damn. expensive.
No worries! Like I said, I was the jerk asking you for favors. I just substituted another example instead. Seriously, don't even pretend to fret.

I just paid $150.00 for a perfect, non-PS1 Books crappy case version for a good (VERY good) friend. Yeah. People should try to play or watch it however they can. I posted the playthroughs in case people have no other option.
 
Oct 6, 2007
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#30
GhaleonQ said:
Just so I can measure, how long does it take to read?

Hooray! They can't see this, right? So, if I thank you later, I won't get punished for superfluous posting?
Heh, I haven't even finished reading a quarter of it ( Sorry ): ), I've been on the Wiki and watching these few gameplay videos here: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x8jhnn_001-moon-intro_videogames
That said; however, I am going to finish reading the rest of your posts and continue trying to find a proper place to purchase it.
 
Mar 10, 2007
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#31
From bits and pieces I've read on this game, I got the impression that Moon was just Harvest Moon without the farming, or a fetch-quest RPG without the battles. Wasn't expecting the NPCs to be this interesting. And I admit, the thing that attracted me to the game was the fact that it celebrated/made fun of RPGs.

It's a pity that I can't experience it. But I think I'll play Chulip, Little King's Story and maybe L.O.L if I can ever get hold of it.
 
Apr 21, 2007
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#36
This looks so interesting to me but I have failed every single time to enjoy playing imports RPGs with only a walkthrough. If this ever gets a translation, I will play it for sure.
 

Jangaroo

Always the tag bridesmaid, never the tag bride.
May 28, 2009
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#37
I'll say this again just like I did in the Little Kings Story thread, every game that has managed to make it overseas by these folks are golden. It's a bit of a shame that Chulip didn't get as much of a reception over in NA.
 
#42
SnakeXs said:
I can't even digest it all, so in a HOLY SHIT SO MUCH INFO THAT'S DEDICATION HOLMES way.
Fair enough! I wrote it in Word, and it's much easier to read if you put the window to about half the screen (paper-width). I got a headache trying to read it across the widescreen, if that helps. Thanks for giving it a shot, at least. I appreciate it.

Waikis said:
Tim Rogers, is that you?
It's in Japanese, of course, it's super-complex, and it's fairly lengthy, so it was either pretension or me rotely explaining events. Sorry!
 

firehawk12

Subete no aware
Sep 10, 2007
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#45
Based on the effort of the post, I feel like I need to check this out even though I don't even know how to do it. :lol

Really though, it does seem like a shame that this was never brought over. It feels like there are some novel concepts that probably would have been great over a decade ago.
 
#48
SabinFigaro said:
With Prince Alexander being your avatar, I somehow feel that I can trust you.
I would repay the compliment, but everyone loves Final Fantasy VI, right? Still, *thumbs up*.

By the way, NO copies on Ebay or Japanese Ebay. Himeyashop is the only import shop that will special order it, and you could get it for less money if you don't mind its condition or version. The videos are up there. Otherwise, it's up to you.
 
#49
Willenium said:
there is literally no way i'm going to read all of those words.
1. Buy Little King's Story, instead.

2. Try parts 1, 2, and 5?

3. Thanks for trying. I promised I wouldn't get uptight because I intended it to be definitive. I really do appreciate people glancing at this. Thanks.

Willenium said:
and Moon was already released on DS in America:
WORDPLAY!