Review – Aaron Reed’s Blue Lacuna, Part Four!

February 16, 2009

This review comprises chapters three through the beginning of nine.  I am as surprised by that as you are.  (Chapter eight, where did you go?  Was the harsh light of the Glulxe interpreter too cruel to be granted dancing rights upon thy photosensitive visage?  No, seriously, I missed it completely.)  So far, I have found this game to be as compelling as a thing that is moderately to severely compelling.  It’s not over yet, though, and honestly I’m sort of surprised by that as well.

At this point, to increase word count before the cut, I would like to wax approvingly of Hollywood Alley (on Baseline, near Nappy by Nature).  They have several different beer things on tap for people who actually enjoy beer and can tell different ones apart simply by tasting them, and also they have pear cider for people who just want a pear cider, and no matter what you order, the bartender will say “very good” just like butlers in movies!  Also there is pool and air hockey and foosball and a dartboard with only two darts left, and jungle drum & bass on Tuesdays.  It is very exciting.  You probably don’t live in Mesa.  That’s okay.  When you come to Mesa specifically so you can go to Hollywood Alley, I will meet you there so you don’t feel foolish.

[spoilers begin here]

Whatever else you might say about me, and believe me, you’ve got many options there, each less flattering than the last, I’m no goddamn creeper.  Nuh-uh.  Not now, not never.  (Who paid for this floor?  Not me.  Probably some creeper.)  I know this.  You know this.  Progue does not seem to know this.  As we speak, he is testing me for the three main qualities of creeperhood, and I am enjoying myself hugely.

Well, crap, failed the first one.

Oops, failed all the tests.  But made up for it on the bonus question, which… no shit, chapter four?  Already?

Oh, awesome, it’s raining.  Allegedly the treehouse has a secret that only shows up in the rain.  I hate secrets.  Things that used to be secrets, though?  Love ’em.

That was fun.  Is it evening yet?

“Moisty hells” is a very good swear, if not so much with the sensemaking.

One of the consciousnesses in my dream just warned me against the other one.  Intrigue is sexy.  I suspect I’m going to have to find every place on the island that looks like a good napping spot and sleep on it.  The annoying bit is that I can only sleep when I’m tired.  Guess I could try to get the ropeway working…

Oh!  All of the messages are backwards!  Knowing that will make them much easier to solve without finding that damned left ear!

“As long as… something… something… should… something something something.”  Right.  Much easier to solve.

As a whole, they form one large ephemeral torus, tilted about thirty degrees to the ground, and giving the pyramid a wide berth, like some strange probability cloud bound to an origin by one force and repulsed by another.
I suspect I would be better able to visualize this had I gone to MIT.  For everyone else who didn’t, here is the prettiest Google Image result for “probability cloud”:

Purty, don’t it?

Ah, okay, if I use this crack to scale the cliff, I’ll be able to investigate the pyramid while it’s receiving steam power.  This is not something I would ever, ever be able to do in real life, but it’s sort of all right if I pretend my character grew up on the Gymnasium Planet.

Progue really does not want me fucking around with that pyramid.  I wonder if he realizes how much more determined this makes me to fuck around with that pyramid?

Dear Parser,

I realize the word “hand” was right there in bold for me to type, and that I am some sort of massive idiot for not just typing it.  But do you think, do you honestly think, after someone told me that handshakes, on their homeworld, were no mere introductory courtesy but a massively significant gesture indicating that you’d decided to be friends with somebody, “increase the circle of those you cared about by one,” and then this person very very tentatively offered their hand to shake, awaiting my rejection or approval — does it really make bloody sense that under these circumstances I would turn around and shake a tree?

Just, y’know, a thought.

Hmm, maybe I won’t be climbing this crack, not with the water making it all slippery.  Wonder if I can do anything about that?

> x creature
It’s scampered off now, but you realize you’ve never explored off in that direction.
Oooh, nudgy!  I approve.

“Goodbye, father.  May you something your something again.  Lethe.”

*** Run-time problem P47 (at paragraph 898 in the source text): Phrase applied to an incompatible kind of value.
Tsk tsk tsk.

Glulxe.exe has encountered a problem and needs to close.  We are sorry for the inconvenience.
Well, poop sex!  I hadn’t saved since… gah, the treehouse in the rain.  This crash is particularly evil because this game unfolds so organically —  I haven’t just lost progress towards static, sequential puzzle solutions, I’ve lost the tiny wooden flower Progue carved for me, etc.  Oh well, back on the horse.

Ha, diverted the water from the crack.  I am awesome.

Hmm.  We hadn’t had this conversation last time, but this conversation makes conversations we did have make more sense.

…wait, chapter five?  Really?  Quoi le fuck?

This is nothing like chapter five was right before the crash.  There was a boar, and I was in uniform, and someone suspected me of being a something, or with the something.  This chapter five is just me still on the island, about to have a nice soak with my crazy friend.

…wait a minute, if he’s waiting to meet me at the hot springs, how is he on the beach blowing a horn?  This game has some ish.

Saved us both from drowning and here is chapter six.  Well, all righty then.

Ha!  There’s that ear!

In all worlds you’ve wayfared to, while the writing always changes, the spoken language, strangely, remains the same.
“Strangely?”  You mean “conveniently?”

I think I understand why Progue wanted me to stay away from the pyramid now.  He knew I would be confused by this glowing-sphere-color-icon-thinger puzzle.  Oh, wait, maybe it’s not a puzzle.  Maybe it’s just telling me I need to find some trees.

The first of my kind these alien minds communicated with was Progue, huh?  Kinda thought so.  And he went batshit, eh?  Good times.

Things are getting very interesting indeed.

Chapter seven, and dammit, never learned what to do for jellyfish poison except to stay the fuck away from jellyfish, which is no longer an option.

He was angry, and they did not know why.  He stopped talking to them, stayed away, and they do not know why.  They are confused.  But they have a theory.
This sounds like every straight guy I’ve ever met talking about his girlfriend.

Reminded a little of Slouching Towards Bedlam here.  When given the choice to side with the hive mind or the familiar human types with their familiar human flaws, it’s very tempting to choose the latter, but I have a hard time convincing myself that it’s morally “right.”  Not that humans don’t have the capacity for awesome, it’s just tempered with all kinds of icky distasteful stupid violent war crap.  Somehow, though, I don’t trust these particular hive-mind fuckers one damn bit, and I’d really rather not be driven insane by them, or I might never make it back to my painfully dull boyfriend, which I seem to remember was sort of important.

Found the last tree.  If I told you how exciting I am finding this, you would accuse me of sarcasm.  There is no reason for this to be so exciting.

The trees make it simple:  say any single and memorable word.  Say it now.
> pudding
It is done.

What’s with these wires?  Is this… a math puzzle?

That was fun.  I could make some sort of joke about being an eleggtrician now, but that would be just awful, wouldn’t it?  No time for it anyway, I have to go make a choice between the creepy hive-mind trees (pudding) and the humanlike people (sandwich).  Naturally, although my heart says sandwich, I am going to save and choose both.

Oh weird, I’m the doctor.  I certainly hope no one’s expecting me to do any doctoring, although I did once give a dog a Caesarian.

Wandering around the City all attached to wires and things is making me miss my dull boyfriend and our freezing house.

Four broad avenues run foff
I’m not the only one getting tired, I see.  Wait, chapter nine?  Where did chapter eight go?

The book is titled “A Scientific, Technical, and Medical Analysis of Somenium Carcerate Six, Based on Original Research and Data Stolen From the Great Forest Link, by Hunter Smoothfaced.”
I really wanted “Pat the Bunny,” but it was checked out.

Looks like all is not right in humanpeople society.  Some group called the Greeneyes, tree sympathizers most likely, are, um… what were they doing again?  Causing unrest?  Oh, right, they’re “at large in the city, holding secret meetings and plotting to overthrow our government and invade our territory.”  That’s bad, right?

You know what this part of the game is reminding me of?  Remember that bit in the Lord of the Rings after Small Plucky Hobbit and Co. Defeat Great Evil And There Is Much Rejoicing, then they go home and Saruman’s not magic anymore but he’s still being just a giant dick, and they have to deal with that, and they’re tired, and reading about it makes you tired, and you’re all “What the fuck?  Where did this come from?”  It’s a bit like that.  And yes, Tolkien was making a point, and that bit as allegory is perfect and necessary and what have you, but at the end of the day you’ve gotta look yourself in the huge fiery eyeball and ask, “Am I making a point here, or am I being epic?”  Because it’s not that you can’t have both, it’s just that you can’t have both if you’re sacrificing one.

Sweet chicken in a biscuit do I hope that last paragraph made some sort of sense, because man, is it bedtime.  We’ll deal with these revolutionaries later.

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