Recession (Not That Kind)

2009 February 16

; ;

After talking with Rome about Clannad After Story 17 and subsequently watching 18, I can see where Tomoya’s coming from now.

I take all of that back. (Jump for light spoilers.)

That’s something interesting to note about the differences between first-person perspective and third-person perspective – in the anime, I’m irked at Tomoya because he’s being a loser who needs to move on (and be nicer to Ushio, d’awwww), but in the game, I would be Tomoya right now, berating myself for being so weak.

I could testify to the power of the first-person. In Mother 3, during a particular moment in time, you become Salsa the monkey, who’s forced into slavery by one of the Pig King’s cronies, Fassad. What Fassad does to, ahem, ‘motivate’ you is put an electric collar around your neck and shock you whenever you do something wrong – even from far away distances, or even when he’s sleeping! – which is this whole (literally) five-second animation that consists of Salsa getting shocked, being turned to black, then wiping himself clean and continuing; it irked me so much to the point that I had to start speeding up the emulator I was using to play the game every time I got shocked.

The thing with Fassad, though, is that because I’m playing his pet monkey, he’s rather weak and can’t do much, so Fassad steps in from time to time in battle to deal three digits of damage (or throw something to completely obliterate an enemy) where I could deal two. Mother 3 creator Shigesato Itoi mentions this in an interview with Nintendo Dream:

– Salsa’s story in Chapter 3 is pretty sad, too. The way Fassad always electrocutes Salsa really creates a feeling of hatred for him…And it’s also an important point that we’re playing as Salsa, isn’t it?

Itoi: During battles, there are times when Fassad appears to be a reliable ally. That evokes very complex emotions. Basically, the person who hurts you the most is the one who comes to your aid to save you from outside enemies. There’s also the feeling of, “You probably haven’t felt this feeling before, have you?” Games are really interesting because they’re able to do that. You wouldn’t be able to transfer something that evokes emotions in that way into a novel, for instance.

That last sentence, perhaps, is why visual novels and adventure games exist. If a player is a static entity (e.g. reading a plain novel), he would not be as connected to the world as he would be if he were participating in the world (e.g. playing an AVG).

Suddenly, the handful of choices that a player is given in any particular visual novel (if the particular work absorbs him enough) hold much more weight: you’re not just helping the protagonist in making a decision, you are the protagonist making a decision.

Choosing a path for the protagonist to follow is the kind of thing that isn’t possible in a TV anime.

One of these days, I would like to experience Clannad the way it was meant to be. Certainly, it won’t have as strong of an effect on me (as I’ve already experienced the story through that third-person perspective), but when the guys at Baka-Tsuki clean and polish up their translation for release, I’ll be there to experience it – this time, first-hand.

One Response leave one →
  1. 2009 February 18
    ININ permalink

    I caught up on Clannad After Story. Ep 18 was the best episode so far. Is Tomoya going to grow up after five depressing years? We see what happens on ep 19 when he goes back home?

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