To the Moon Play-Along – Act 1

A little while ago Naithin, of Time to Loot, came with another idea for a shared blogging project. This time it is kind of a “book club” version of games, where we all play a game until a certain point and then discuss it.

The discussion in this case is more like answering a set of questions proposed by our host, Naithin. It is a good way to keep things focused so people don’t ramble on about different aspects of the game in each of their blogs. If you want more details, including links to all the posts from participating blog, you can find it here.

The first game we are playing for this project is To The Moon, from Freebird Games. I bought this game a long time ago, during a promotion, since I heard good things about it. But as is too common with me, I didn’t play it immediately saving it for when I was in the “mood” to play it and just forgot about it completely.

So, this seemed like a good opportunity to correct that mistake! Just from Act 1 I can already say it was worth every cent and just Act 1 alone already hit me in the feels more than I expected. 🙂

WARNING: From this point on there will be spoilers about Act 1 of the game. If you don’t want to be spoiled stop reading here.

1. Let’s start off with the big guns — at the completion of Act 1 — how do you now feel about the very concept of granting someone’s dying wish by overwriting their memories with new ones?

I think it can be dangerous. What if you mess up somewhere and end up giving the wrong memory and thus completely changing the memories of everything from that point to something terrible?

There is also the question of an existential crisis. If the person realizes they have a fake/changed memory what is to stop them from questioning which of their memories are real and which ones are fake?

The game seems to be already hinting at that possibility of something going terribly wrong, with how they were unable to go back to Johnny’s childhood memory and his question about if he was real at the beginning of Act 2 which could be a hint to that too.

2. What did you think of River’s choice to put her treatment behind that of Anya?

I think it is a valid choice. She obviously loved that lighthouse, had some good memories of it and wanted to make sure someone would look after it after she died. That is how I am interpreting it right now and I see nothing wrong with her choice.

But I can also understand Johnny’s attempt to lie to River about it. He loved her and people in love don’t tend be very rational, specially when their significant other’s life is at stake.

3. In response to Neil commenting that it was like watching a train-wreck unfold, Eva says, “The ending isn’t any more important than the moments leading up to it.” Do you agree?

I agree. I think the ending doesn’t have as much meaning, if any, without all the moments leading to it.

It is like skipping to the end of a book. Will the ending feel satisfactory without all the events that led to it? Without a whole story to give it context?

4. What did you make of Johnny’s decision not to read the book offered by Dr. Lee?

I think he was just afraid of what he could find out about River’s condition or maybe that if he knew more his feelings would change.

5. How do you feel about Johnny as a person now, particularly after his revelation of why he (at least initially?) was interested in River?

It hasn’t really changed. I had a hunch it was something stupid and it turned to be actually true. But I also agree with Neil in that teenagers can be pretty terrible people and do a lot of idiotic things.

To be clear I am not saying that the fact he was a teenager absolve him of choosing to date River for terrible reasons. There is no age range where that is acceptable. It is more like I kinda expect that kind of thing from teenagers.

Fortunately most people grow up from that and Johnny seems to not only be one of those cases but actually grew up to love River for who she was. He stayed by her side even through all the times he felt frustrated because he couldn’t understand her.

7. We saw River’s obsession with origami rabbits very early in the piece — and some of the events that tracked back as a possible origin along the way. After Johnny told her about his initial motivations is when it all kicked off. Neil thought it might’ve been River holding onto a grudge. What do you think?

I don’t think it is grudge at all. I think it is connected somehow to Johnny’s wish to go to the moon. In Japanese folklore it is said there is a rabbit living in the moon, making mochi.

I just don’t have any idea how it is connected though. The only theory I have so far is way too wild and feels illogical to be true. So I will just keep quiet about it and keep playing to see how it goes. 🙂

4 thoughts on “To the Moon Play-Along – Act 1”

  1. When I played the game and I saw all the origami rabbits, it was a bit of a strange happening for me but overall… It really does have a significance in the game. It took me by surprise when I found out what it meant and how it helps the game, including the song being played on piano!

    Reply
    • Sorry for taking so long to reply! Your comment was mistakenly tagged as spam and I only found out now. Hopefully it won’t happen anymore.

      Anyway, yeah, the quantity of origamis threw me off. If it was a crane one I could imagine it being for a wish to come true. But the rabbits I still have no idea about their significance and Chapter 2 didn’t throw any more light on it. Now I am even more curious to see how the game will explain it. I also didn’t expect the song in the piano having more significance than it being Johnny’s way to show his love for River. That is something else I am curious about now! 🙂

      Reply
  2. Ohh I very much wish to hear your theory! And I had no idea about that japanese folklore tie-in either! That might become interesting again to you later on though possibly. Will be interested to hear more about it then, perhaps!

    I agree with your way of thinking re: moments on the journey vs. the end, too. I can unreservedly get onboard with your thinking here. 🙂

    I won’t say too much on your thinking around the dangers of the process yet, except to highlight that at least Neil and Eva’s belief (and Eva has done any number of these now, Neil is her Junior but has been around the block a few times too) is that they can reset and try again before ‘committing’ the memory as it were.

    Still… That doesn’t mean you’re wrong though. (Or that you’re right. Muahaha. Next Act’s will start to shed some light in any case.)

    Reply
    • The theory is extremely flawed and wild. Kinda like, Johnny may have mentioned casually about wanting to go to the moon to River. Then River once she discovers she has a terminal disease decides to make those rabbits so Johnny remembers his wish and try to make an effort to realize it.

      Writing it down makes it have even less sense. Even more so because it also would require both of them to know the japanese legend which seems unlikely.

      Yes, I know they can reset everything before committing it. But what about a casual, seemly harmless comment, like the one Neil gives in response to memory Johnny’s question about where he is real or not. They leave it there, don’t check on it later and then commit the whole memory. Next thing they know the patient on their death bed is having existential crisis about what is real and what isn’t. I don’t think the game will get that dark but it is one of those dangers the makers of the technology would have to think about when putting it into the market.

      And now you are making me even more curious about the next arc. Good thing I intend to play it tomorrow as the schedule proposes. XD

      Reply

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