• has anyone figured out how to open the hatchway in failsafe, or if there's something else you have to do that i'm not picking up on? turns out i missed the part of the description saying it was open when i typed "open hatch", oops

    also, i've gotten AMFV to run on dosbox ok, but the links to download d-box seem to be broken.

  • Oh, interesting theory! Dmitri is so evasive about the rumor -- "if it wasn't this rumor, then it would have been another ..."

    I've noticed that, he has a lot to say but he likes to dance around the truth of the more vague subjects, which I guess makes sense thematically. Might be more likely that what the rumor itself doesn't matter. Besides, I don't know if my theory works so well now that I think about it; the countess did say she's dueling you out of revenge, but that's a pretty broad description. The one common thing between the rumor and Matilda's murderer (she does imply she was murdered at least) is that we don't know what/who both are.

    Yeah, likewise. Also Dmitri's seemingly-huge body of responses to your keyworded inquiries. I love that sense of stumbling into deep water.

    Yes me too, that's a good way of putting it!! The dress up parts in all three games are cool in how they lightly encourage you to try all your options for laughs or greater world detail, but as someone who wants to try everything those parts in Midnight were so rewarding.

    I'm playing it again and only now did I remember the Red Death reference was from Poe's story! I'm kinda embarrassed I couldn't recognize it even though I knew it was a reference to something. I'm seeing more clearly now the fairy tale/masquerade stuff in Midnight Swordfight, compared to Secret Agent Cinder's French Revolution take on Cinderella and Magical Makeover's own internal fantasy lore, as a hodgepodge of references to Poe and Carroll (and probably others), meant to take familiar gothic and surreal elements and load them with a stranger thematic weight. Reading the description of the beast's colossal size for example, it really strikes a chord and forces you to think about it outside the level of straight literary reference. And I'm pretty sure no one else thinks the Jabberwocky was THAT big in the poem, anyways.

  • Wanted to write something out before the week was up but I wound up writing a whole lot more than I thought I would:

    Besides the link between the three games of "getting dressed/made up for the fairy tale ball" that Jake mentioned, another related theme I found is the PC is an intruder or at least personal enemy to the upper classes who are throwing the party. Your dress becomes a disguise and tool by which you win out against aristocrats. Using makeup you have no clue of the effects of in Magical Makeover is revealed to be part of your plan to steal from the princess, in which success or failure depends on if you chose right in the beginning, though failures have their value in helping you understand the world you're in. You escape or win the final duel with the countess in Midnight Swordfight through constantly experimenting with costumes and weapons to see how you can interact with and within bizarre and abstracted spaces. And even if dressing up in weapons in Secret Agent Cinder has ultimately no effect on anything, it's a funny little bit that helps set up the revolutionary spy character nicely.

    An interesting character in Secret Agent Cinder is the dauphin, because he isn't as clear an antagonist as the other two games but he occupies a similar role, since he's also royalty. However he doesn't want the "choking protocol" of the elite class and is romantically interested in YOU, unlike how the other two games involve the PC having some degree of romantic feelings for the royalty that wants your throat. Seeing the option to punch him after reading his long marriage proposal made me laugh, and it offers a nice counterbalance to the "happily ever after" choice. Unlike the rags-to-riches ideology of the fairy tale, marrying the prince means at best you're going undercover, at worst you may be headed for the guillotine. And the reason why a perfect ending is impossible becomes clear in light of the fairy tale: Cinderella will always leave a shoe behind as evidence.

    Reading Emily Short's thoughts on how Magical Makeover succeeds where sorting hat CYOAs often fail, I agree with her that MM works as a "tightly knitted anthology". It feels cheap when these sorts of games have you make choices that correspond to completely different universes, but this game feels like it has one cohesive world. It's the little threads between endings that sell that feeling, like when Millicent receives a premonition that you're in trouble in one ending, and in another you find out that it was your fairy friend/prisoner psychically reaching her to help you. Another thing is that every ending involves fantasy grounded in real life details, so no story feels weirder than another: the PC has magical flight sickness, Amherst exists in an alternate reality that's basically ours but with plant people, the baby cassowary you try to free dreams of going to a normal school, etc. Emily also mentions the satire of the premise, of a world where makeup actually defines your future as much as cosmetics companies want you to believe it does, but I appreciate the way the details of the world seep in anyway. It adds a human touch to the premise that makes the whole experience more memorable and kinder. Also girl games are horrible, I can confirm this from seeing the SA thread the author mentioned.

    Midnight Swordfight is pretty dense to take in with a LOT to talk about, but that's what made it interesting. The way space and time fluctuate and run over each other was very cool, I thought it was a clever way to distort how players approach adventure games, time being infinitely at your disposal as you explore a finite space. I thought the sequence in which you fly to the moon as a pig, which was probably my favorite bit in the game, could be compared with Magical Makeover's sense of getting a huge, unexpected result from trying something out of the blue, though the constant, smaller discoveries made in this game are what makes this moment more unique to the rest of it. I don't know exactly how to apply Chandler's commentary to his game on the whole, maybe it relates to perspective or the reality of things being beyond parody or belief, but the paleontologist's find does make me think specifically about the vorpal blade and huge corpse of the beast on the moon. That and Dmitri saying the vorpal blade "can cut through anything simply because it doesn't exist" has got me thinking if there's more to it than just absurdity. I hope other people will add their thoughts about this! There's a lot of facets of the game I wonder about even if I'm completely off about them, and it's my favorite of the three for that reason.

    Btw I never found anything else about Matilda, but I think she’s the reason the countess hates you, thinking you killed her friend. It’s the best guess I have for what the “rumor” could be.