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Trying for intelligent conversation? The Path

posted by Plunder_Bunny on - last edited - Viewed by 1.1K users

Hello all my Tell Tale forum friends, enemies, and people who otherwise don't care. I was hoping to have an analytical conversation about the Path, a game by Tale of Tales, which is a bizarre little game basically about Little Red Ridding Hood. If you haven't played it, you can buy and download it for 10 bucks on the Tale of Tales website. It is definitely worth a play.

To start off the conversation, I have a burning question to ask of you all:
Do you think the Grandmother is dead from the beginning of the game? (Yes this game is dark and goth)

64 Comments - Linear Discussion: Classic Style
  • This is the problem when people don't understand there audience. If you are making a game, you will attract gamers, and gamers are NOT patient! As a game, it is boring and tedious, and the creator said that he wanted it to be art and not a game, but I believe you can have both! I'm sure The Path could actually be a good game while still having the same artist quality, but that requires play testing and compromising. One of the things that could help would be to give the player an incentive to leave the path. You get punished one way or another whether you say on the path or not, so what would be the point? It would do wonders to improve the game play by just adding incentive to leave the path!

    Ok, enough about that. Rose. I don't think there is anything sexual about Rose's story line. Robin, maybe. Just because Little Red Ridinghood is a rape allegory and it is showing the most literal version of the tale. I also can't really figure out Rose. I think it is just that her head is in the clouds and that someday she has to come back down to earth. Her wolf was perfectly covered, and not really even human, and more like a spirit of the waterfall then a predator. I guess sometimes when it comes to art (which is not often) Frued is wrong.

    I know the the designer doesn't want to listen and fix the game's faults, but it is very frustrating to me as both an artist and a game designer to watch someone disregard there audience. I am working on an "art" game, but I value playability. I believe there must be a happy medium!

    Sorry I needed to rant.

  • Don't worry, I agree with you. I believe gameplay is also very important in immersing the player into your world, even if you are meaning to make an artistic game, you have to take into account that if you are choosing to use the medium you have to use it well. Hell, even Silent Hill has that sort of effect, and I'm not a big Silent Hill fan. There is a reason why a painting and a game are two separate things.

    But anyway, I think Robin had more to do with death rather than sexuality. There's a whole theme of growing up at grandma's house that suddenly becomes very sinister after meeting the wolf. Robin's profile says that mother tells her to never go into the woods but "never says why." It's almost as if Robin doesn't know what danger or death is. Wolves are her favorite animals, and she is more than willing to play and cuddle with one, but maybe she learns that they are actually dangerous as well as other things in the world. She walks into her own grave in the end room almost as if she has come to the realization that she, like everyone else around her, will eventually die. It's really an experience that I think every child is affected strongly by, so that's the way I see it. Now what her experience is that made her realize it is just up to anyone.

    I think Carmen is the one that most likely experienced rape or a bad sexual experience in general. There's even full-blown sexual themes in grandma's house after you meet her wolf. Because of all the themes with alcohol, she probably got drunk and had sex that she regretted, which in the case of the man, it's still rape if you know the woman is drunk and not herself, so her experience can still be considered rape regardless. In her walk of shame she even looks like she has a hangover. (she occasionally brings up her hands to her head like if she has a headache)

  • I agree about Robin. I said you could stretch her story line to have rape themes, but again, I don't think that is the case. People can get stuck on the sexual stuff, and forget that other themes actually exist.

    I disagree that Carmen is the most likely to have had a bad sexual relationship. I believe that you can read it that way, but mostly I thought her experience was about the vices of partying and the consumption of alcohol, which most likely lead to the unwanted sexual attention. I believe that Ruby is the most obvious rape victim. From her depression and disdain toward men, to the position that she is left in before beginning her walk of shame. Not to mention the way that she holds herself as she proceeds to walk very slowly to Grandma's house.

    Now looking on what I wrote, it seems that Carmen and Ruby's "sins" are very similar, except for the results could have been avoided in different ways. Carmen impaired her judgment buy consuming alcohol, while Ruby made a conscious decision to hang out with a dangerous man.

    Am I the only one who feels like the red curtain falling down with the wolf looming over Scarlet as some sort of sexual innuendo? It just seemed really telling to me.

  • I tried jumping over the spoilers, because I have tried the game twice and didn't manage to do anything with it.

    Short version:

    Try No.1: I downloaded it for free (gasp!) but they seemed to have a brilliant copy-protection... which actually makes the game BORING! I mean, suddenly you're in first person and your moving speed is extremely slow. Even so, with patience, I managed to complete the objective... SPOILEEEEERS!!! ok, sorry about that, but I do appreciate when someone shouts spoilers before I read on and...you know.

    I reached Granny's house and I LOST! How could I lose?

    My ego was hurt (back then, I had an ego, now I killed it over a box of cereals) and my brain was like: whaaaat? dude, I played the ENTIRE Silent Hill series and loved it! This is just plain stoopid.

    I deleted the game.

    Try No.2: I downloaded the demo... now THAT's a change of scenery! I also read somewhere that you actually have to disobey the rules... which is not very good for a game that kids have access to, but whatever. I was walking... and walking... and walking... I completely understood the theory that sustains the fact that the Earth is round. (I always thought it was purple, but nevermind).

    Shape or no shape, I didn't get anywhere...and the constant "flying off" that the camera was doing, leaving me without an actual road up ahead (meaning that, due to the camera changining the angle all the time, I had to stop repeatedly so that I could see where I was going), it became frustrating.

    I REALLY want to understand this game, mostly because I understood it brings variety with each character... but 10 bucks for shifting camera angles and repeated soundtrack?

    Seriously, is it worth it or not?

    As I can see, even you guys have different opinions. I just like spooky stuff so, from this point of view, is it worth 10 bucks?

  • Well Silverwolfpet, it really depends on how you look at it.

    As far as mechanics and game play go, it has a LOT of issues that many gamers have complained about. This game was evidently not made for gamers, but for people who don't play games? Something like that.

    If you are in it for the interesting twists and weaving of all the versions of Red Riding Hood, then it is definitely worth the money. My interest in the game was mostly because of how they treated the story, and also research for my sister who wrote her dissertation on Little Red Riding Hood.

    So here is my answer: If you are into the idea of various retellings of Red Riding Hood, thought provoking questions, and the fact that the puzzles of the game are actually trying to decipher what happens through out the game, yes it is worth the 10 bucks. If you are in for the stellar graphics, soundtrack, overall game play experience, save your money and pay off your loans. :)

    I hope that helps you!

    P.S. With the number of death and rape themes running around the game, this was not meant for the kiddies.

  • Cool! Then I'll buy it! :D Thanks!

    A good deed deserves another. If you love these types of games, try playing Silent Hill 2. Also, look for Heavy Rain. :)

  • @Silverwolfpet said:
    A good deed deserves another. If you love these types of games, try playing Silent Hill 2. Also, look for Heavy Rain. :)

    Might I add, I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream. The acting is dire, and some of the logic is questionable at best, but it's definitely the type of story that sticks with you.

    EDIT: I recommend reading the source material first, as the game acts as a sequel.

  • I guess I'm a little too late, but here are my thoughts on the matter of purchasing this "game."

    The mercifully painless short version: I'd rather be giving ten dollars to charity. Or basically other indie gaming companies that are actually fun, effective, long-lasting, or charming (either/or is fine, I'm not picky after playing The Path) and don't constantly have their nose up in the air with every game they spew out reeking of pretentiousness. It's your money though, so you do what you like with it, this is all just my opinion.

    The super merciless and painfully long version that was even painful for me to write: I think asking if someone is in it for the graphics, soundtrack and gameplay is a little lacking. (and the soundtrack isn't so bad and is actually pretty catchy when it's not torturing you by screeching at some points) I think "if you are looking for something that actually has any playability what-so-ever and doesn't feel like you are contributing to nothing but more snobby games when paying for it, this isn't the game for you" is a more fitting statement.

    As a game that constantly tries to get you to see it instead as an "interactive piece of art," it has a lot of faults. For one thing, "interactive piece of art" is what most games, if not all, actually are already. Sure, one could be like an interactive storybook, (Monkey Island) one could be like an interactive novel, (Phoenix Wright) or an interactive painting, (Okami) etc. But the truth still remains: all of those are forms of art. The fact that they made this game, sat back in their chairs and said "yup, this is it, we've just introduced a new form of art in gaming" baffles me. There is nothing even special about the graphics to at least warrant the "interactive painting" notion (or even a screensaver, and there's a lot of very beautiful and artistic screensavers out there) which Okami already took care of. It's just mediocre models and animation enhanced by a bunch of painful bloom and film grain effects.

    Is it an interesting game? Sure, what isn't interesting about a game so chock full of symbolism and surrealism that most of could have easily just been slapped on to the game with no meaning at all with the actual artistic merit left up to the player, and thus making you feel as if you won't get any sleep at all if you don't at least try to understand what this game is trying to say, as such is the reaction to any piece of art, whether it's anything special or not?

    Now look, I'm not exactly trying my very hardest to be an enormous jerk here, I'm usually a very mellow person. It takes a lot to literally make me physically angry at something that has nothing to do with my personal life or that is hurting anybody. (Tim Buckley would be one of them, and also Japanese visual novels with rape themes that for some god forsaken reason have high praise for having "good writing." [I'm looking at you, Saya No Uta. And nobody look that up. I am seriously not using reverse psychology here, don't look that up if you want to live a peaceful life; it's too late for me, I played the whole thing to review it for a blog. :( ])

    So the fact that I'm actually angry at Tale of Tales says something about this company.

    This isn't the first time they've let loose their infamy. You should check out this article on their free game, The Endless Forest. (note that since this is a Somethingawful article, there is lewd humor and cursing, so if that sort of stuff offends you, watch out) Sure the article is hilarious, but just take a look at the hissy fit the creators throw, and the fact that the article itself acknowledges their god complex.

    Now that isn't exactly so insulting, I mean it's free, and it's a game about fuzzy deers in a happy forest. Sure they have weird faces and the fanbase is just outright creepy, but there's nothing really there to make anyone angry.

    Oh but here's a good idea! Let's release a game where you walk an old lady on a perfectly linear path to a bench in a graveyard, have her sit on it, have a strange foreign song play, and then you walk her out of the graveyard, and that's the end! BRILLIANT! And it's free! Oh wait, just kidding, you have to pay five measly dollars for the full version that you can be using as a starving college student to feed yourself maybe ten meals worth of ramen. What's the difference between the full version and the free version, you ask? Why, in the full version, the old lady has a 50/50 chance of dying on that bench. ISN'T THAT ARTISTIC? Isn't that totally a basis for a game and not, say, a god damn screensaver?

    I'm not even joking, that exists, and that is all you do.

    Ok, let me just level to what Tale of Tales is trying to say here. They're trying to introduce some ***revolutionary*** method of art to games, right? So what are they trying to say by making us pay five dollars for the possibility of death? That death is really just a materialistic illusion? That money is truly the epitome of happiness in our lives, even for the sweet release of death? That we are failures as human beings for indulging in a set of pixels instead of using the five dollars to help the actual living folk the song in the game is trying to portray? That for every five dollars you pay for stupid things, an old lady dies somewhere? Okay Tale of Tales, you just made me spend a good hefty amount of my time pondering the notions of your small company, so I guess you did your job. (good thing I never wasted five dollars on it though)

    Now to get back on the subject of The Path, it's very hard to describe why I felt this was a colossal waste of my time without spoiling it. Maybe this is just a clever marketing strategy for the "game" but ok I'll try.

    First of all, like I've already mentioned, the fact that you are actually supposed to pay for this thing is one of the reasons it ruins it. It tries to insist that everything you decide to do is up to your own choice, and nothing is right or wrong. Except that is completely far off, since there IS a right choice as preferred by the game considering there is a "success" and "failure" ending. This, and the fact that you paid money for it sets you on a mindset of "I paid ten stupid bucks for this game, and I damn well didn't do that to walk to the end of a boring path each time." It's like you choose the explore the forest by obligation and not curiosity, and it's one of the ways this game breaks the fourth wall and makes you see it as a game rather than the emotional effect it supposedly goes for, so there's one failure.

    Basically, after you do everything you can do with one of the girls, you'll have about five girls left, and everything from that point on is just a big "it would have been much more fun for me to just look at the rest of this game on youtube" play experience. I can't speak for everyone, but that's how my friend and I felt. We continued to play it because I basically felt bad since this was a gift and all. The sort of feeling you get when playing the first girl is that of "oh god something is going to get me" and "where do I go? Good lord, I'm lost!" However, a lot of horror games that are much more entertaining than this have that effect too when you know nothing of the game. Like I said, I'm not a big fan of Silent Hill (except for that one dog ending) but I have nothing against it and it's a masterpiece compared to this game, and both the literary and game version of I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream are wonderful and shouldn't even be compared to this game.

    I think mainly what's so off-putting about this game is their "silly gamers, this is ART" attitude. There are far more artistic games that exist already and actually make some sort of attempt to use the gaming medium to its full effect and not underestimate and mock it so blatantly as this one does. And yes, this game does mock you in a lot of places. The creators have said it themselves as much. It's very mature and nice of them!

    Yup.

  • Well BluePecan, your rant was worth the ten bucks to buy the Path. It sounds much more like you have a problem with Tale of Tales rather then the games that they produce. I must say, the the company does irritate me, and all of the points you have made are valid. If there is one thing that every game developer should know, it is that you should NEVER insult the player or make them feel stupid. You and I played the game for very different reasons, and for me, it was worth it. Of course I find that being able to discuss the game adds to it's value, as well as ripping it to shreds and learning how NOT to make a game. I always try to see the up side of a situation...

    Tale of Tales does need to get a hold of its ego, and actually listen to what people have to say, but the sad part is, they will probably continue in there ways and still make money. *sigh*

    By the way, your description of the the Graveyard was stellar!

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