Thursday, June 16, 2016

Long Live the Queen - 13/20 hours

Long Live the Queen was probably the wrong game to play while trying to navigate through a complex move (good news, though - I actually have an apartment to move into!). The main advantage to this choice is that you only have to commit about 20 minutes per playthrough. The main disadvantage is that when you only have 30-40 minutes at a time, it can be difficult to remember which skill checks you need make and which order you need to train in order to succeed at them. I feel like I've been chasing at shadows. Whenever I get close to something new, it melts away into the oblivion of a failed skill check or poorly chosen dialogue option.

As a result, I've started using an online guide. It's not quite as helpful as I thought it would be. It tells me which skill benchmarks I have to reach by what day, but the plan for getting there must be of my own creation. That might be for the best, though. It turns Long Live the Queen into a puzzle game. Can I orient the blocks of time into the right shape to achieve my goal? Often so, but sometimes not, which does lend the game a satisfying bit of challenge.

I still have 22 achievements to go, and some of them seem quite obscure. I'll probably have to play through at least 40 times or more to get them all.

I'll admit, it's starting to get to me. It's not really the repetition, in itself, that's the problem. I'm not bored. It's just, seeing the same story, over and over again, with a variance of details that ranges from the subtle to the dramatic, I'm starting to feel a little out of touch with reality (granted, my unrelated life stress might have something to do with it as well). Long Live the Queen is turning into a hallucinatory maze. What is real? What is imagined? Does any of this matter?

Elodie has died so many times, I'm not sure her life means anything to me anymore. It's just words on a screen. A few provident mouse-clicks and she'll transform, from powerful sorcerer-queen, to a master of cunning and manipulation, to a feckless ingenue. Do I control her character or am I simply glimpsing a cross-section of many worlds?

I hope to learn something from this experience. To grasp a greater theme that unites all the myriad variations and makes the twisting paths into a coherent whole. Although, maybe the disunity of the different stories is the game's unifying theme. You may wish you had a different life. You may think that all your problems would go away if you made different choices, if you had the knowledge necessary to deal with this crisis, but such a thought is a fantasy. No matter who you are or what you do, your life is defined in part by your mistakes, by the paths not taken, and whatever safety you carve out for yourself, it can never be a perfect safety, so long as you yourself are a limited being.

Or maybe just Elodie, specifically, is screwed no matter what she does. It's hard to be a Queen.

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