I wouldn't be opposed to discussing 'the finer points of game design' at some later stage, but it would make more sense to discuss it elsewhere, possibly PMs, considering it no longer directly has much to do with Gone Home.
It's your call, I guess.
Anyway, I realise that having a career and being able to afford to live is very important. I didn't mean to imply otherwise. All I was saying was that it's refreshing to see a focus on the romance side of things here. Far too often nowadays games, and even other media, have darker stories, with heartbreak, death and a general absence of light-heartedness. Stories where characters would choose their career over love. I'm not saying that I dislike stories that are dark - I very much enjoy them - just that it's nice to see something different.
Realistically, of course, pursuing love over an education, or a career is generally fraught with failure. It's a completely irrational, naïve thing for someone to do and more often than not, they end up regretting it. Despite all my talk, I myself would probably never do it.
But as I've said before, in some cases it can work, and I like to believe that Sam and Lonnie could make it work too.
The main reason I find it somewhat uplifting is because I'm looking at it in a positive light. I'm not looking ahead at the other possible problems which would inevitably present themselves, when there are plenty of positive situations to consider too.
If we were to look at any sort of teenage romance story (not that I'm generally a fan), be it on TV, in a book, manga, whatever, we find they usually have 'happy endings'. The boy gets the girl and they seem happy. The end. Of course, if we stopped and thought about it we'd realise that their happiness is likely fleeting. They're in highschool. What about after? What happens then? In reality, it's likely they'd break up and go their separate ways. Very few teenage relationships succeed in the long run. Why does anyone ever find those stories uplifting? Because to look beyond the confines of the story itself is missing the point.
The whole story in Gone Home focusses around Sam and Lonnie’s relationship. And for a large part, it’s tinged with melancholy at the prospect of the two being separated. So, when they finally are together, presumably ‘for the long haul’, I think it’s a least a little uplifting.
Just briefly regarding your mention of Rantasmo and Brokeback Mountain fanfic, I get the point, but I wouldn't exactly call fanwriters making a happy ending to the story 'disrespectful'. It's disrespectful if they know that their altered endings can insult people and do it anyway, but not if they just wanted to make an alternate ending because they enjoy it.
Say what you will about fanfic writers, they are often a very passionate group who get very attached and involved in the stories they produce fanwork for. I imagine some of them were upset or depressed by the 'real' ending of Brokeback Mountain and so write their alternatives to act as some sort of closure. It may well be cathartic for them, so I think it's unfair to call them all disrespectful. Some of them, maybe, but all of them? No.
I guess my problem is that I'm speaking from a point of view where I've known many people in similar situations to Sam. Not just 'running away with their partner', but just being generally poor, moving out, parents disowning them, etc.
I've known many people who have lived on their own, or with a partner who have made it through. And they had virtually no support from anyone. They too were going to college with no job or any real expertise, and some of them didn't even have a partial scholarship… and yet, they got through. They were able to either pay off their loans when they were finished, or they found some other means to pay for their education. I know people who even went into a Creative Writing course, just like Sam, with no scholarship, lived alone and ‘made it’. So obviously, this is going to affect my judgement. I firmly believe that most students could probably manage if they approach things in the right way, or contact the right people. The majority in these situations probably don’t always make it, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they couldn’t. It’s not easy by any means, but possible? Yes. In regards to the game, it all depends on how you want to look at it, I guess.
Well, you’re right, Lonnie may well not be the one, and as I said earlier, highschool relationships rarely work out in the long run. But that doesn’t change the fact that the game is going for a somewhat realistic approach to the situation. And teenagers do stupid things. Many teenagers have and still do run away with their partner, sacrificing, or compromising their situation for it. You (and I) may not think it’s a smart thing to do, but it happens, so I think it’s okay for it to be included here too.
Okay, I concede on your point about Lonnie going AWOL. I never even considered it, and I guess that is quite a big oversight in the story.
I can certainly feel for you and your situation, and I never said, nor thought that you couldn’t relate. I imagine that many individuals have
come out to their parents though, potentially jeopardising their funding.
And in any case, as I said before, I think there’s a very large possibility that Sam’s parents would still pay for her. For all intents and purposes, Sam and her family have all been a fairly close one, and I doubt that they would let this break them apart completely. Sam will have some time to herself with Lonnie, cool down and then likely return and confront her parents. I think that if it came to Sam leaving permanently, or for them to at least accept the idea of her being with Lonnie, they’d at least try. They may not be happy with it, remain in denial, or continue to claim it’s a ‘phase’, but I don’t think they’d completely disown Sam, so really I think this whole discussion has become a bit pointless.
You have repeatedly mentioned that the developer doesn't ever address the issue. Well, I think they do address it, but just in a more subtle, indirect way. They don't explicitly state anything. The game is full of interpretation, and I think that's the case here too.
While I have said I found the ending somewhat uplifting, I do have to say that I don't think it is merely just 'uplifting'. I think it has a very bitter-sweet tone to it. From the slow style and slightly sombre tone that Sam uses, to the music choice.
Compare the speed and tone that Sam uses there to some of the audio logs earlier in the game. Parts where she was very happy. It's quite different - it’s similar to points where she expressed her uncertainty and worry… and there’s clearly a reason.
Sam's final words during the ending are:
"...and you'll just know... that I am where I need to be."
This to me highly suggests that Sam knows that what she is doing is risky. She knows that if something can't be done, if the situation can't ultimately be resolved, she'll be out on the street.
It seems that she knows very well what can and will happen, but she's doing it anyway.
Life is one long journey, made up of many steps, and this is just her next step. Whether or not things work out is beside the point. This is 'where [she] needs to be'.
I think this is how FullBright are addressing the issue. Not directly, but with suggestion. You can interpret it as being completely uplifting, or not at all. But they do bring it up.
I don’t know, perhaps I’m just overthinking things. :p
I doubt we’re going to resolve this dispute all that much, but I just wanted to say, don’t at any point take any of my arguments as personal attacks or anything (as some have in the past). Despite our disagreement, I still have the upmost respect for you, and wish you the best!