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The voting is over.  We've recorded our 61st episode of the Podcast, and announced that 'What Remains of Edith Finch' will be our focus for the next PodPals episode, which will be recorded on February 14th (episode 65).

So, please share your thoughts about this delightful game.  It's not a particularly long game, maximum of 5 hours if you're taking your time.  And enjoy.

Anything you now say, will be taken down, and used in evidence against you on N-E Cafe [065] PodPals (What Remains of Edith Finch).

Thanks in advance.

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So, I might as well post something now. Back in 2018, when I first played Edith Finch, I had this to say:

Quote

I bought this on sale a couple of months back. I recall the Easy Allies considering this one of their best games of 2017, as well as a friend of mine praising it (and he doesn't usually play games like this), so I figured it would be a neat, short Halloween game. As it turns out, this wasn't a horror game at all, it was more like a bittersweet tale.

It's part of the "Environmental Narrative" genre (also called "ENG" or "Walking Simulator" for short) and can be finished in 2-3 hours. You play as Edith Finch, a young woman visiting her abandoned family house and learning about her family history through the lens of magical realism (not unlike the book 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez).

Without spoiling too much, this game's presentation gets creative and keeps you engaged all the way through. By the end, you'll be weaving theories about the more ambiguous parts of the plot. As with most games from 2017, I highly recommend it.

Hm, it's not much... But I was trying to stay vague at the time. For example, that last paragraph was referring to the writing that appears in the background, and often mingles and interacts with what we see on-screen. It's great stuff.

Now I guess I'll dive into some more specific, spoilery stuff:

Spoiler

First of all, I love how creative the different stories are. I mean, we start with a girl becoming various different animals, and eventually eating herself... and it gets crazier from there. A horror story in comic book CGI, a flipbook, a baby's imagination in a bath, and of course, the cannery. There are so many layers to the cannery episode alone, from how the adventure gets more and more detailed, to how you're always required to keep chopping fish.

I like that small hints are scattered from the beginning. Sure, we see that Edith's brother was missing (not dead), but we also see a lot of his art in vents and secret passages. Also, I wonder how many people actually looked down at to see that Edith's pregnant, long before she revealed it? I happened to accidentally send the camera downwards at the beginning, and saw the swollen belly super early. I even wondered if it was just a matter of weird perspective for a while.

I also appreciate how every death seems so... abstract. Clearly the girl wasn't eaten by a sea monster who was actually herself, nor was the paranoid bunker man ran by a train (it's a small island, and the tunnel was a tiny dead end), so we're always left wondering what exactly happened. Sure, what matters is that those deaths are symbolic, and I guess the poetry of it all is what I appreciate.

I still wonder what grandma Edie saw when the sea was down. That's the most tragic part of it, that she never got to tell her story in full. I would assume it would be related to why she died... or rather, why she lived so long. Maybe her lifelong dream was to see the remains of her father's house, and passing it on. Since she assumed Edith read it, she finally passed. But that's just my interpretation.

It's surprising how much I still remember, honestly. It's an impactful game.

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1 hour ago, Jonnas said:

So, I might as well post something now. Back in 2018, when I first played Edith Finch, I had this to say:

Hm, it's not much... But I was trying to stay vague at the time. For example, that last paragraph was referring to the writing that appears in the background, and often mingles and interacts with what we see on-screen. It's great stuff.

Now I guess I'll dive into some more specific, spoilery stuff:

  What Remains of Edith Finch spoilers (Hide contents)

First of all, I love how creative the different stories are. I mean, we start with a girl becoming various different animals, and eventually eating herself... and it gets crazier from there. A horror story in comic book CGI, a flipbook, a baby's imagination in a bath, and of course, the cannery. There are so many layers to the cannery episode alone, from how the adventure gets more and more detailed, to how you're always required to keep chopping fish.

I like that small hints are scattered from the beginning. Sure, we see that Edith's brother was missing (not dead), but we also see a lot of his art in vents and secret passages. Also, I wonder how many people actually looked down at to see that Edith's pregnant, long before she revealed it? I happened to accidentally send the camera downwards at the beginning, and saw the swollen belly super early. I even wondered if it was just a matter of weird perspective for a while.

I also appreciate how every death seems so... abstract. Clearly the girl wasn't eaten by a sea monster who was actually herself, nor was the paranoid bunker man ran by a train (it's a small island, and the tunnel was a tiny dead end), so we're always left wondering what exactly happened. Sure, what matters is that those deaths are symbolic, and I guess the poetry of it all is what I appreciate.

I still wonder what grandma Edie saw when the sea was down. That's the most tragic part of it, that she never got to tell her story in full. I would assume it would be related to why she died... or rather, why she lived so long. Maybe her lifelong dream was to see the remains of her father's house, and passing it on. Since she assumed Edith read it, she finally passed. But that's just my interpretation.

It's surprising how much I still remember, honestly. It's an impactful game.

I've just finished it this evening, but won't speak about it just yet! 

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I've started and finished this today. It'll take a bit to come up with a good write-up but for now I can say... wow.

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Depending on how today goes, hopefully I'll get into it this evening!

From the responses so far, I'm expecting a good experience..

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9 minutes ago, nekunando said:

Depending on how today goes, hopefully I'll get into it this evening!

From the responses so far, I'm expecting a good experience..

The game is rated highly and lots of us like it...I'm expecting you to hate it. :p 

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On 24/01/2021 at 2:23 PM, Hero-of-Time said:

The game is rated highly and lots of us like it...I'm expecting you to hate it. :p 

I just finished the game there now so.. I guess we'll have to see what my thoughts are come episode 65 of the podcast :grin:

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This week I've managed to beat two classics. 

Super Mario Galaxy is up to 60 stars and Bowser has been pummelled. And with that the 3D All Stars collection is done.

Donkey Kong Country 2 has also been settled. I've taken third place on the podium with 20 DK coins. So exactly half.

Still have a lot to go through in both games and sweep up if 100% completion is the goal. Thoughts on the Cafe next week. 

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1 hour ago, Nicktendo said:

This week I've managed to beat two classics. 

Super Mario Galaxy is up to 60 stars and Bowser has been pummelled. And with that the 3D All Stars collection is done.

Donkey Kong Country 2 has also been settled. I've taken third place on the podium with 20 DK coins. So exactly half.

Still have a lot to go through in both games and sweep up if 100% completion is the goal. Thoughts on the Cafe next week. 

That's a very abstract interpretation of What Remains of Edith Finch :grin: 

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3 hours ago, Vileplume2000 said:

That's a very abstract interpretation of What Remains of Edith Finch :grin: 

Technically that was last week. On Saturday I think... I posted about it in the Game Club thread. 2 hours 20 for 100% and all achievements. No one has any excuse not to contribute this time. :grin:

 

OH shit. Wrong thread... :grin: Can a mod please move my previous post to the diary thread?

Edited by Nicktendo
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My thoughts having just completed it:

Spoiler

I downloaded ‘What Remains of Edith Finch’ following Lee’s recommendation in a previous podcast, but hadn’t yet played it.  Thankfully PodPals gave me a great excuse to finally play all the way through this engaging game.

I haven’t played many ‘walking simulator’ games before, and was thrown at the beginning by being forced to move at such a slow dawdle.  A few minutes in and once I entered the house, any concerns about movement speed evaporated, as the story and activities move along at a brisk pace, even if the protagonist herself doesn’t.  Everything is cleverly designed and linked so close together there’s little wasted time between sections.

I enjoyed how each character’s story played out differently, whether it was through graphical style or employing different gameplay mechanics.  My favourite was probably Lewis’, having to control a character through a simple maze with one control stick, and the other constantly having to cut the heads off and dispose of fish, even if that section lasted maybe a little too long.

Not all of them worked, but by avoiding repetition it kept each one interesting as I started each one wondering what I’d have to do each time.

It’s not a difficult game, nor does it pretend to be.  It wants you to play out the story, and it lives or dies by just how engaging the player finds the family tale.  It wasn’t until I’d played through a few of the characters’ stories that I really understand what was happening, but once I did, I was more intrigued to find out what had happened to each family member, and was often surprised by the twists and the fates of each (Walter and Sam for sure I didn’t see coming!).

A short game, but the better for it.  I really enjoyed my time with it and did find the story engaging.  I think I will remember this one, and I’m glad I got to experience it.

Spoiler
Quote

@Jonnas: Also, I wonder how many people actually looked down at to see that Edith's pregnant, long before she revealed it? I happened to accidentally send the camera downwards at the beginning, and saw the swollen belly super early. I even wondered if it was just a matter of weird perspective for a while.

Good spot!  I had moved the camera down, but I never twigged! I kicked myself when she revealed that! :hehe:

 

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Finished this Tuesday night and think I've finally digested it enough to share some deeper thoughts here. 

Spoiler

To get the things I don't like about the game out of the way first, on a technical level: I played it on my PS5 through backwards compatibility, and the frame rate dips were very noticeable at times, which took me out of my immersion (in a dark room, with headphones on - something I find myself rarely doing) a little bit. On a gameplay level: I thought leaping from branch to branch when playing as Molly while she's a cat was pretty janky in terms of how it felt, and for that part where she was swooping down as an owl too; flying the kite as Gus was probably the weakest level for me by some margin, it felt a little uninspired, though it was a neat enough way to mix things up. 

That's me nitpicking, though. That aside, I absolutely adored this game. 

It's not only short, but it's brilliantly paced and directed. You're always engaged by doing something, whether playing through a short segment as a member of the Finch family, looking around for how to make it through to the next room, or just interacting with the environment, but it never feels overwhelming. The game forces your perspective a bit throughout, keeping paths or stairs just barely out of sight until you've looked around, the most memorable instance of which for me was walking out towards the little bridge where you climb through a window to access Milton's paintings, and when you walk out, you notice you walked past a path, which must have been barely out of view, to your right which leads up to the next area. Doors, hidden passages, it all feels so natural a guide in taking you forwards, and I thought the house was really well designed in this way too. 

My favourite level is the longest level by some margin, and I'm sure the one most think back to when playing this game: Lewis's time at the cannery.

To all those who say storytelling has no place in video games, this is where I'll be pointing them moving forwards, because I think it's the best and briefest example of what I think introspective video game storytelling aims for: to make the player empathetic, because you can actually, in a virtual space, put them in someone else's shoes.

I can't tell you what it's like to go crazy, to become so immersed in my own fantasies to distract me from the pains of life, that it takes over my peripheral vision to the point that I stay past the end of the day, but I can experience, to a very limited extent, what that might be like for someone by playing through this level. 

Monotonously dragging a fish from the left, to the right, cutting off its head, and tossing it forwards, all in a dark space surrounded by a sea of greys and browns. Through gameplay, we are instantly connected with Lewis in that this is boring and repetitive work, plain and simple.

He starts to imagine, very simply at first, a different world, and as the player, it immediately grabs our attention and is much more engaging than the work we were doing before: it's brighter and more vibrant, and a little more complex than the process we were going through of beheading fish before, drilled home by the fact that we control Lewis's character in this imaginary world all while we continue to behead fish. 

It slowly becomes more complex, as the imaginary world then goes from being simply top-down and us navigating a maze, to isometric and guiding a ship, before it starts flinging options our way as we sail towards the next goal on Lewis's imaginary conquests. And later on in the sequence, as more and more of the screen is taken over, we eventually go all-in on living in this imaginary world as Lewis, fully immersing himself in it from a first-person perspective in a 3D space, before he guides himself to his untimely and gruesome demise. 

It's brilliant storytelling, and it's brilliant level design, and while it's my favourite example of it in the game, there are certainly other strong levels. Gregory's drowning, while incredibly bleak for his age and also considering what his parents were going through with the divorce, fully erupts into a Fantasia-esque sequence backed by Tchaikovsky's Waltz of the Flowers, and it's so colourful, and brilliant, and the only case (that I remember) in the game where we get to experience a bit more than a sudden cut to black and his death; it's almost as if Gregory died peacefully, at least when compared with the other deaths in the game. Barbara's comic book style murder was brilliantly done as well, and I really think the narration went a long way to setting the tone throughout that segment. All of the levels just feel so unique, and even if some are certainly stronger than others, a lot of the weaker ones are on the shorter end, so it's hard to complain. 

Something I don't think really mentioned with this game is how there aren't any controls pointed out to you, and you kind of just feel your way around the controller to figure things out, and I really love that. Using the triggers to swing back and forth to get higher and higher as Calvin comes to mind as I type this, it was such an instinctive thing I'm sure most of us figured out pretty much immediately? Which is amazing, especially considering I feel this is something all of the levels have in common.

Also, I don't know if it was just that I had something to focus on while walking around the house when compared with how The Unfinished Swan surrounds you in a sea of white, but I didn't find myself feel nauseous at all playing this, which is definitely something I feel is worth mentioning as someone who normally takes a bit of time to adjust to first-person perspectives in games. 

What Remains of Edith Finch is easily one of my favourite indie experiences, and a very memorable one at that. I really think that there's no greater testament to just how strong an experience this is than @Jonnas being able to recall so much of it, years after he last played it. 

 

Edited by Julius
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