journal

5/19/2022: Just as a warning, this entry is me talking about a horror game with themes of death, particularly suicide. It includes spoilers for the game Flesh, Blood, & Concrete, so if you'd like to avoid either of those things please skip this entry. Thank you.

Yesterday I played Io's Flesh, Blood, & Concrete. It was extremely enjoyable. It has a nostalgic feel to it, even if the childhood it depicts isn't the kind I lived. I'm going to talk about my thoughts on the endings. The game is quite short, it took about an hour to complete once through, and it is free. I highly recommend playing it before reading this entry. Even if you do decide to read ahead, I hope it makes you want to experience the game for yourself.

Lera and Nika share the feelings of alienation and isolation. Lera wants to die, but never in a gruesome way; she preferred the idea of getting lost in a snow storm, to go as peacefully as she could. So of course, Nika, quickly growing attached to Lera because of her own isolation and because Lera is the first to treat her well, does her best to tempt Lera to become one with the building, to become part of something greater than herself. The player must decide whether they want to join Nika's family, or to leave Nika. Joining Nika's family means Lera functionally dies, but her consciousness seemingly lives on while in the flesh. She will always be happy, never alone again, always loved and cared for. Leaving Nika means Lera will simply continue to live the life she just tried to leave.

I want to leave a disclaimer here that I'm aware that what I'm about to say may not have been the creator's intention at all, and that I'm just projecting. But I still want to share the feelings that Lera's story invoked in me.

I do not believe either ending is a "bad end." If one end was bad, I'm sure Io would have named it the "Bad End." That being said, neither is named the "Good End," either. The Happy End is NOT a Good ending, at least not any more than the True End is. Lera may be happy, but she is dead. The Happy End is suicide. Think End of Evangelion; never again will Lera suffer, but what does it matter if she no longer has a life to live? She will never be alone, but what does this matter? It's a tempting end for certain, but it is not a Good ending. That being said, it's not a Bad ending, either... Suicide, after all, does mean an end to suffering; an end to life means an end to suffering.

The True End, however, is Lera regaining the will to live. She does not want to abandon her life. She wants to see her grandmother's cat again. This ending holds a lot of significance to me. Being told she has no choice but to succumb to a pleasurable demise, Lera makes the decision to demand to live. And Nika sacrifices herself for Lera. To me, this ending is entirely more meaningful. The Happy End may feel warm, but it is in its own way tragic. Does Nika even get to speak to Lera when Lera becomes part of Nika's family? Nika says she speaks to her family, but does she really? Will Nika not simply be alone again? We know that Nika cannot leave, she has tried many times. I find it to be a much more fulfilling end, for Lera to find the will to live on, and for Nika to achieve the happiness she longed for, consumed by and one with her family. I don't believe anyone would be wrong for wanting the Happy End for themselves, as I myself find it a comforting fantasy, but if confronted with the choice myself, I would hope that I would choose to live on.

Flesh, Blood, & Concrete is, as I've seen one person put it, unmistakeably human. The depth in its emotions is palpable. Although I find the True End to be the better ending, it's difficult to entirely dismiss the Happy End, and to me that makes the entire story all the more compelling. I am extremely grateful that this game exists and I highly recommend it to anyone who can stomach allusions to suicide and gory imagery. It's well worth it.


5/12/2022 I've been having trouble trying to figure out what to write about for my first journal entry. I actually wrote one about a month back, even went so far as to add it to the site, but within 24 hours I had deleted it out of embarassment. That feeling has been the main obstacle in getting this page out (that, and indecisiveness over layout). I know I could just not have a journal on my site, but I want my site to be an outlet for expressing myself. And a journal is a relatively easy and direct way to express oneself, so I'd like to have one. A personal journal would protect me from the embarassment, sure, but that isn't really the point. I want to put pieces of myself out there for other people to see. I'm by no means looking for any kind of fame or even really attention, but just having pieces of myself out is a special sort of validating, if that makes sense? It's like proof that I'm real, I exist, I experience things, I can share them.

Well, anyway, some topic ideas I've had: why I like Will Wood (this entry would be incredibly long and repetitive, I'm sure of it); analyzing and/or gushing about "Tomcat Disposables" by Will Wood (would also be incredibly long and repetivive); my OCD and what it's been like (speaking of long and repetitive...); a brief introduction (going to save this for an about page); an entry about my coding endeavors so far; and whatever this vaguely meta journal entry is, where I talk about journal entries. Generally, I don't plan on my entries really being structured, they'll probably always just be me rambling about whatever, but a first entry just feels different. I need to introduce myself or something, right?! Well, this is all you get for now in terms of an introduction I guess. I've set up a guestbook now, so if anyone does in fact have any interest in asking me questions or leaving a comment, they can, and maybe that'll be how I introduce myself. (For convenience's sake, here's the link!)

I think this entry was a decent icebreaker. I hope it wasn't too long, or too short. Maybe next time I'll write about one of those topics I mentioned up there, or respond to guestbook notes if they come in. I like the layout of this page as well, but I don't know how long it'll last. I keep making and scrapping and remaking pages, partly because I have no idea what I want my pages to look like, and partly because I keep getting better at HTML and CSS with every new page, so every older page is just worse... I'm thinking my next task will be redoing the index page, maybe... But I think this is all just part of the fun. ヾ( ̄▽ ̄)

Welcome!

I'm thinking I will publish an entry once every week or so. These entries are just rambles about whatever is on my mind at the moment; they're for putting longform thoughts down that I want to share for whatever reason or another. I hope you enjoy my little rambles...