This game punched me in the philosophy.

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Ry74
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This game punched me in the philosophy.

Post by Ry74 » Mon Jan 09, 2012 9:42 am

Since the game is out, and I've gotten Good Ends on all routes, I figured now was a good a time to start posting on the forum as any. :)

While I don't know if this game hit me as hard emotionally as it did some others (though the fact that I'm still trying to sort that out probably says something on its own), what really has happened is this:

On most/all dedicated gaming sites or forums, you'll hear people rave and rant about how they always want this or that feature in their games, and any game that doesn't deliver this or that is trash and whatever. How they have these specific, fixed wants. I had been playing the demos, and then the full game mainly out of some form of curiosity, but what really ended up happening in the end was that KS ended up being the game that I didn't know I'd always wanted. When I get my hands on a new game, I still go back and play others I've had for some time, but in the days since I've started playing and finished KS, other games just can't hold my interest at all- I'll start them up, but quit about five-ten minutes in because there's nothing in them that interests me as much as the stories of Hisao and the other denizens of Yamaku Academy.

So what this game has made me do is step back and have a really serious think about what I really want out of video games. Not just in the "things from KS I want to see in other VGs", but in the sense that I'm going right back to the basics and seriously examining and questioning the past preferences in games that I thought I had, like some kind of video gamer René Descartes. This is something that has never happened before in my 20+ years of electronic gaming. I just thought it was a bit noteworthy, and wanted to drop it off hereabouts. Seemed as good a place as any. :)

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sporkaganza
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Re: This game punched me in the philosophy.

Post by sporkaganza » Mon Jan 09, 2012 9:44 am

I thought this was going to be about Rin's route. Shit was deep.
100% completion!
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Jintor
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Re: This game punched me in the philosophy.

Post by Jintor » Mon Jan 09, 2012 9:50 am

The way I see it, games have three primary sources of enjoyment - mechanical enjoyment (derived from the interaction of gameplay systems), moment-to-moment aesthetic enjoyment (derived from the at-any-given-time quality of art, music, writing etc) and long-term narrative enjoyment (derived from a broader consideration of themes, overall narrative, and hits to emotional centres). KS hits two of these incredibly well.

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Popo
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Re: This game punched me in the philosophy.

Post by Popo » Mon Jan 09, 2012 4:05 pm

It's funny, Jintor. I thought you were gonna bring up a whole different philosophical discussion.

What KS did to me was really make me question my thoughts on love in general. I used to be a hopeless romantic, and my blind devotion caused me some heartbreaks. I was the typical "nice guy": gave too many compliments that revealed my needy nature, was afraid to say what I really thought and ended up basically trying to talk myself into believing my lies so as not to cause awkwardness, and my fear of loss and emotional fragility would push them away. More recently, I'd developed way more confidence, and an independent attitude; I don't base my self-esteem on other people's approval anymore, I know I have good intrinsic qualities whether people choose to see them or not. Same goes for rejection from women I might be interested in dating; I don't let anyone else decide my emotions for me. Gone are the days of barely being able to look attractive women in the eyes, out of feeling like I wasn't good enough for them to even consider. I found that people do tend to appreciate it when you're honest, and tell them your real opinion, instead of just what they want to hear, and compliments they have to earn feel more real.

Then I played KS, and those almost foolish feelings of romanticism came bubbling back up, as well as reminders of just how utterly harsh relationships and all of their details can be. Like a lot of other people, it made me yearn for dating in real life to be less riddled with mindgames, and more about genuine affection, emotion, honesty, and love. I thought I had grown strong enough to handle the immense pain of break-ups, and I guess I was partially right; I believe that I can handle rejection and betrayal much better than before, because I don't let it take me down the path of self-pity. I don't bring betrayal upon myself by being good but not quite good enough, it's problems within the betrayers' minds that is to blame. However, break-ups aren't always that simple, and it's the more complicated emotions I still feel some measure of fear toward. It's hard when it's really nobody's fault, especially if a loving, perfectly good relationship is crushed under simple circumstances beyond anyone's control.

I've been thinking about it for a few days, and though it brought on a lot of doubt, KS reminded me what it's all about. Those mindgames can be tough to deal with at times, but even in less than sincere moments, teasing, bantering, and other less than direct types of flirting definitely have their own fun to them, and it is heartwarming to see honest little pieces of each other slip through the facade, as both of you become more and more helpless to maintain the masquerade, as your hearts grow ever nearer. Even the girls of KS have their own barriers, that cause them to avoid certain lines of discussion, so even that's not completely open communication. Tough as it is, that's life, and you can get depressed about it, or find a way to make it like it's a fun little game of truth or dare. I look forward to opportunities to put my confidence to the test, and improve it, as I watch people take notice of my progress.

It also made me come to terms with losing someone you're deeply in love with. Break-ups, circumstances, and death are all normal parts of life. I no longer carry any false pretenses that I can get over that kind of loss lickety-split; I can deal with some types of it MUCH better now, but I know there's a chance that some kind of losses could shake me to my core, and leave me depressed, possibly for months. Still, dealing with some of the sad events in certain routes of KS' story made me realize that I'm not gonna allow myself to get back into any old self-destructive habits, I have better coping mechanisms now, and...the pain is worth it, because somewhere out there, someone feels exactly what I'm feeling right now, and they need and crave love just as much as I do. It's our duty to find each other and become a whole that's better than the sum of our parts, no matter how huge the risks are.
Every day is a miracle.

viduuskamen
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Re: This game punched me in the philosophy.

Post by viduuskamen » Mon Jan 09, 2012 4:33 pm

I think you coped much better than I did, Popo. May I ask what your approximate age range is? (I apologize first if this is against the rules)

To explain, I understand all too well the feelings you speak of, those of being a hopeless romantic and blindly devoted fool. But unlike you, I have only managed to bury my feelings over the years. While it is fortunate for me that I never went down any self-destructive paths... I did live like an automaton (as comfortably as an emotionless one can be anyway) for more than a decade.

Playing KS forced these suppressed memories to resurface, and sleep hasn't been possible for me now other than at sheer physical exhaustion. And even then it is only short hourly bursts.

While reading your post to see what helped you change your perspective, I was most intrigued by your mentioning of mind-games and the facade/masquerade being inherent and never ending. I guess I still held on to the concept of an ideal romance, and this game only reminded me of what I went through with such expectations.

You also mentioned that you were able to (look forward to) put your confidence to the test; does this mean you that you were able to come to terms prior, and KS only tested your resolve? Or did KS help you build that confidence? Or a little bit of both?

Thanks in advance.
"It's kinda funny, I've played a bunch of VN's and for the first time I'm feeling apprehensive about going down another path. I'm thinking weird crap like how will Hanako ever be happy if someones not there for her.......If Hanako's writer reads this I want you to know that I thank you for giving me this wonderful treasure."
-Rykn

[I feel like a giant jerk for completing the game.]

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Rolanberry
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Re: This game punched me in the philosophy.

Post by Rolanberry » Mon Jan 09, 2012 4:59 pm

I really feel Popo expressed what I wanted to say best.

This game really made me take a backseat to my own life and look at things from a new context. Have my own inner monolog that I was to scared to have to express the truth of a situation rather then love the lie.

And oddly it made me realize that even though some of those truths scared me and could mean losing certain people in my life, it was ok. Those people never really where a part of my life and I was just trying to force them into it.

But its by far not all doom and gloom. no not the least bit. There is hope for progress and hope for a better tomorrow, if even a better present. The stories really showed that sometimes the thing holding you back is yourself.

Jintor
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Re: This game punched me in the philosophy.

Post by Jintor » Mon Jan 09, 2012 5:18 pm

There's so many goddamn messages in this game.
It's funny, Jintor. I thought you were gonna bring up a whole different philosophical discussion.
If OP wants to talk game theory, I'm gonna talk game theory, my man. I personally got gut-punched as well by the game but I don't feel capable of writing about it really - not enough IRL romantic experience really.

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Popo
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Re: This game punched me in the philosophy.

Post by Popo » Mon Jan 09, 2012 5:57 pm

viduuskamen wrote:I think you coped much better than I did, Popo. May I ask what your approximate age range is? (I apologize first if this is against the rules)

To explain, I understand all too well the feelings you speak of, those of being a hopeless romantic and blindly devoted fool. But unlike you, I have only managed to bury my feelings over the years. While it is fortunate for me that I never went down any self-destructive paths... I did live like an automaton (as comfortably as an emotionless one can be anyway) for more than a decade.

Playing KS forced these suppressed memories to resurface, and sleep hasn't been possible for me now other than at sheer physical exhaustion. And even then it is only short hourly bursts.

While reading your post to see what helped you change your perspective, I was most intrigued by your mentioning of mind-games and the facade/masquerade being inherent and never ending. I guess I still held on to the concept of an ideal romance, and this game only reminded me of what I went through with such expectations.

You also mentioned that you were able to (look forward to) put your confidence to the test; does this mean you that you were able to come to terms prior, and KS only tested your resolve? Or did KS help you build that confidence? Or a little bit of both?

Thanks in advance.
I just turned 23 on the 27th of December.

I think everyone feels those feelings at some point, or something similar. We grow up with every form of media explaining life to us in tiny, scrambled bits and pieces, and it's never exactly like they claim, and then everyone either deals with it somehow, or succumbs. I know how quickly people will throw overly optimistic advice in the trash, because it sounds too good to be true, so I'll give you just one down to earth piece of advice: know that everyone has a chance to change, and make themselves more and more into the kind of person they want to be, day by day. We all share human potential. It may seem impossible at times, but know that no matter how brutally hard it is, people in worse off situations than either of us have become stronger people than we are right now. Just knowing for sure that, though the odds may be colossally against you, it's possible, can make all the difference. A shot at greatness, however slim, is all anyone can ask for, and it's given to just about everyone who survives to a decent age.

My sleep has been a bit troubled lately, too. I always wrestle with insomnia, but I've been waking up a bit depressed each day, as I've dealt with the issues KS reminded me I already had. Ultimately, though, it's a good experience, as it's taught me a lot about myself.

The thing about the masquerade is that it's very often two-sided. I thought I was really sincere when I was younger, but a lot of it was naivete, wishful thinking, and backwards-rationalization. Now I realize the truth isn't always pretty, but sometimes it needs to be said, and my confidence comes not from mere positive feelings, but a rational knowledge that I am a good person with near-boundless potential, no matter my rather rough past. I have good and bad qualities, and I know I can work on the bad ones, as well. The masquerade is almost universal among humans, due to self-preservation instincts for one's own emotions. Nobody can ever maintain it perfectly, though, and the beauty comes in the moments when two costumed fools allow each other to delicately remove pieces of each other's masks, getting peeks at the flesh it hides, until both are laid bare.

KS tested my resolve. I'd already made huge strides in the last 2 years or so, but I still have many more that need to be made. KS made me more sure of myself, in the end, by forcing me to make more realizations about how life works. The beauty of KS' writing is that it's not just escapist fantasy. There's a lot of drama and conflict, many sad and happy moments. It presents people with choices in their perspectives. It led me to accepting that there's always a risk when pursuing your dreams, and part of being a strong person is preparing yourself for it, then soldiering through, for a shot at a happiness that may just make up for all of the pain along the way. It may lead some to want to play it safe and live a life immersed in fantasy, but even they may either give up on the perpetual pain of loneliness and try to make it in the world, or become truly independent and no longer seek a mate. Ironically, even the latter might be surprised by finding love in the most unexpected of places. "As soon as they stop looking..." as they say.
Jintor wrote:There's so many goddamn messages in this game.
It's funny, Jintor. I thought you were gonna bring up a whole different philosophical discussion.
If OP wants to talk game theory, I'm gonna talk game theory, my man. I personally got gut-punched as well by the game but I don't feel capable of writing about it really - not enough IRL romantic experience really.
Haha, I actually used your name by mistake. I meant to address the OP. My sleep's been a bit off, lately. @_@
Every day is a miracle.

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Rolanberry
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Re: This game punched me in the philosophy.

Post by Rolanberry » Mon Jan 09, 2012 6:43 pm

Popo wrote:
KS tested my resolve. I'd already made huge strides in the last 2 years or so, but I still have many more that need to be made. KS made me more sure of myself, in the end, by forcing me to make more realizations about how life works. The beauty of KS' writing is that it's not just escapist fantasy. There's a lot of drama and conflict, many sad and happy moments. It presents people with choices in their perspectives. It led me to accepting that there's always a risk when pursuing your dreams, and part of being a strong person is preparing yourself for it, then soldiering through, for a shot at a happiness that may just make up for all of the pain along the way. It may lead some to want to play it safe and live a life immersed in fantasy, but even they may either give up on the perpetual pain of loneliness and try to make it in the world, or become truly independent and no longer seek a mate. Ironically, even the latter might be surprised by finding love in the most unexpected of places. "As soon as they stop looking..." as they say.
I think I was almost moved to tears by what you said! Its very deep and thought provoking. A good introspective look at once self can be a great thing and I think you've helped me think of some things I might have once forgotten myself.

Well played sir, well played indeed!

Anatole_serial
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Re: This game punched me in the philosophy.

Post by Anatole_serial » Mon Jan 09, 2012 7:08 pm

I am tempted to copy and paste my entire log of reactions, which I have on G+...

But I won't.
Not yet.
Must order them first.

They are hard to digest, as far as I can see.

Here's what I did: As I played each path, I took breaks to write stuff about them, without spoilers.

Suffice to say, some of the stuff there is... Complicated.

The game dredged a lot of baggage I had buried, forgotten, and/or emotionally barred.

Played Emi's first, Rin's last.

Oddly enough, those are the two stories that affected me the most, for entirely different reasons.

Anyways, yeah, this game is great for introspective people.
It messes you up.
And it feels so good to feel like this after so long...

Weaver

Re: This game punched me in the philosophy.

Post by Weaver » Mon Jan 09, 2012 7:23 pm

I wrote my entire feelings out in the open letter thread:

http://ks.renai.us/viewtopic.php?f=13&t ... =30#p67588

It's very long so I didn't want to copy and paste them.

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alabaster
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Re: This game punched me in the philosophy.

Post by alabaster » Mon Jan 09, 2012 7:39 pm

Popo wrote:The masquerade is almost universal among humans, due to self-preservation instincts for one's own emotions. Nobody can ever maintain it perfectly, though, and the beauty comes in the moments when two costumed fools allow each other to delicately remove pieces of each other's masks, getting peeks at the flesh it hides, until both are laid bare.
This is what I've always known I wanted and looked for all my high school and adult life, but I've never heard it put so purely and perfect. KS has reminded me, rather painfully, how I have never been close enough to a person be totally honest and unmasked. And, I think to an extent, that I'd given up looking for that person.

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Popo
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Re: This game punched me in the philosophy.

Post by Popo » Mon Jan 09, 2012 8:07 pm

Rolanberry wrote: I think I was almost moved to tears by what you said! Its very deep and thought provoking. A good introspective look at once self can be a great thing and I think you've helped me think of some things I might have once forgotten myself.

Well played sir, well played indeed!
An honest appraisal of one's flaws and positive facets, free from emotional bias, is the first step. Working to change those flaws is the next, and it's much the same as learning any other skill, like cooking or writing: practice and repeat, and learn from your mistakes, rather than feeling negatively because of them. It's a concept beautiful in it's simplicity.
Weaver wrote:I wrote my entire feelings out in the open letter thread:

http://ks.renai.us/viewtopic.php?f=13&t ... =30#p67588

It's very long so I didn't want to copy and paste them.
I, in turn, was a little choked up by this. What got me was the end. Simply inspiring. You make those symbolic gestures into habits, and with some work, you definitely have the potential to brighten up your life, deal with your issues, and become more resilient.
alabaster wrote:This is what I've always known I wanted and looked for all my high school and adult life, but I've never heard it put so purely and perfect. KS has reminded me, rather painfully, how I have never been close enough to a person be totally honest and unmasked. And, I think to an extent, that I'd given up looking for that person.
I thought I never could get close to another person. I went through a lot of trust issues, but I've resolved a lot of them. If I can do it, anyone can. :P
Every day is a miracle.

Anatole_serial
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Re: This game punched me in the philosophy.

Post by Anatole_serial » Mon Jan 09, 2012 9:14 pm

Popo wrote:
alabaster wrote:This is what I've always known I wanted and looked for all my high school and adult life, but I've never heard it put so purely and perfect. KS has reminded me, rather painfully, how I have never been close enough to a person be totally honest and unmasked. And, I think to an extent, that I'd given up looking for that person.
I thought I never could get close to another person. I went through a lot of trust issues, but I've resolved a lot of them. If I can do it, anyone can. :P
I was close to someone, once.

But I never realized how much I cared, and how much it scared me, until I drove her away rather painfully, and some years had passed.

It's, probably, my own big regret.

I don't know if I have overcome any of the issues that I've been carrying all these years, but at least now I am certain that my emotions are not as disconnected/distant as they were before.

It feels good to be able to feel something again.

Which makes me think that, yes, I have never given up, but I have also never done anything to change that.

I feel like I can do this, somehow XD

Weaver

Re: This game punched me in the philosophy.

Post by Weaver » Mon Jan 09, 2012 9:23 pm

Popo wrote:
Weaver wrote:I wrote my entire feelings out in the open letter thread:

http://ks.renai.us/viewtopic.php?f=13&t ... =30#p67588

It's very long so I didn't want to copy and paste them.
I, in turn, was a little choked up by this. What got me was the end. Simply inspiring. You make those symbolic gestures into habits, and with some work, you definitely have the potential to brighten up your life, deal with your issues, and become more resilient.
Thanks Popo, I really appreciate it! I've tried in the past and faltered pretty quickly but things just somehow seem different this time. I'm not sure why but I feel like this is the real deal. I was on time for work today, first time in a year. Though I'll admit the surprised glances from my co-workers were almost enough to make me burst out laughing before I got to my desk.

I just nailed this part of a song I've been trying to learn for the last two days. Sitll have a ways to go, but I fucking got at least part of it. That is mine now, no one can take that.
My fingers are sore as hell and my pinky is weak and noodly, but it feels good to conquer something, to improve.

But enough about me, you really seem like a wonderful person. I'm glad you've posted here with your story because you are a real life person and it's very encouraging to see an actual and physical human being working to improve, and garnering success. And when you talk about playing it safe and living a life immersed in fantasy... that really hits it home for me. And - as a guess - I suspect you are speaking with some experience.

Time for the gym :)
Can't have my fingers hurting alone.

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