Virginia

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The Sonic Mole
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Re: Virginia

Post by The Sonic Mole » March 8th, 2017, 3:37 pm

DomsBeard wrote:
Chopper wrote:Sadly, it really fell apart in the final act. If they'd just stuck with a conventional story at that point, I feel there was enough substance to the game and story to carry it off.
Agree. Finished it last night and genuinely have no idea what happened. Here are the only things I think happened:
Spoiler: show
1. You investigated your partner (don't know why), 2. Investigating a missing child which is never solved
Think that is all I know. There is a balance between letting people know the story and letting them find out themselves and this game gets it wrong. Everyones gone the rapture gets that balance right (though ironically I have never finished that as I don't know where to go) as I know the story and who everyone is and their motives.
I had to Google articles by more perceptive people than myself to understand the ending. However, it was an enjoyable experience and hit a rare, unique vibe.

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ratsoalbion
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Virginia

Post by ratsoalbion » January 3rd, 2019, 8:50 pm

Here's where you can contribute your experiences and opinions of Virginia* for potential inclusion in the forthcoming podcast.



*With apologies for the rather unexciting reveal of this particular show, due to us wanting to get some community correspondence in before recording.

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Sage + Onion Knight
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Re: Our next-but-one podcast recording (6.1.19) - Issue 352: Virginia

Post by Sage + Onion Knight » January 4th, 2019, 9:16 am

I'm quite glad you're covering this one, as it'll give me an excuse to replay it and see how much I still agree with what I'm about to type:

My initial disappointment with this game was down to the fact that I'd been really looking forward to it: both as a fan of more narrative-focused "walking simulators", and as a massive fan of David Lynch; the idea of such a game that cited Lynch and Twin Peaks as an influence had me eagerly anticipating 'Virginia'.

Unfortunately, when it came to actually playing it, all that excitement gradually disintegrated away. I respected the game's boldness in doing away with dialogue and telling its story through what you see, hear, and do in the game world; but then, I often found the game wasn't bold enough when it came to - for example - applying its "Lynch influence" in a way that wasn't far too overtly referential for my tastes (I love Lynch for the fact that his work can be so distinctively unorthodox and experimental, not just because the characters might sometimes to go to a diner and drink coffee).

When it came to the gameplay, I found the smash cuts got in the way of everything I love about the "walking simulator". I'd try to explore these (often aesthetically beautiful, by the way) spaces that the game put me in, only to be smashed into the next scene. At points, it started to feel like that 'Waterworld' arcade game that Milhouse plays in 'The Simpsons'. Ultimately, I found it a game that wasn't accessible enough to be enjoyable, and not experimental enough to be appreciated on that level.

As I say, I might replay it again: when I think back to it, I have fairly vivid memories of some of the locations (driving under those clear skies, the dark loneliness of the protagonists' apartment, some of the more surreal areas towards the end), and it would be great if playing it with lower expectations revealed qualities that I hadn't noticed on my first playthrough. Because - to return to the subject of David Lynch - I was left cold by 'Mulholland Drive' when I first saw it, but now it's one of my all-time favourite films. Silencio.

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Re: Our next-but-one podcast recording (6.1.19) - Issue 352: Virginia

Post by Simonsloth » January 4th, 2019, 11:23 am

Virginia lives and breathes on the strength of its sound design and score. Imagine this game with a distinctly average audio experience and I doubt Cane and Rinse would be covering it. The developers obviously had so much confidence in their score they hired the Prague philharmonic orchestra to record it which says a lot about their ambitions.

The game clearly has many other merits but the atmosphere, emotion and sense of agency the score generates is astounding. The storytelling is delivered in short vignettes with jump-cuts similar to Blendo games’ Thirty Flights of Loving. The main difference is that Virginia is much longer and so it can become quite exhausting. I do believe that as a result the player is much more vulnerable to the more emotive parts of the game and it’s soundtrack when the scenes shift in increasing frequency. In those moments it’s a rollercoaster that doesn’t allow you to relax for a second whilst the score swells to an overwhelming crescendo. The game reduced me to tears in these more intense moments which would surprise a casual observer as it’s less about the precise scene and more about the build up to that moment.

The game doesn’t patronise the player, it hangs plot threads in the air to be grasped and for connections to made which may or may not be correct. Dream sequences, LSD driven hallucinations, character switches, flash-forwards and flashbacks are all in service of the non-linear storytelling. I still don’t really know what is real and what is not. I still don’t know
Spoiler: show
if the missing boy at the end was genuinely there or whether she was still hallucinating/dreaming
. This is part of what I love about the game in that every time I play the game I start thinking a little differently about the chain of events and where each scene sits chronologically.

There is no spoken dialogue in this game. There is very little interactivity. It’s not really even a walking simulator as there are more stationary moments than actual walking. You are a passenger in the experience and for some the ride may not be worth it. For me it’s a trip I will be taking again and again.

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Tleprie
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Re: Our next-but-one podcast recording (6.1.19) - Issue 352: Virginia

Post by Tleprie » January 5th, 2019, 3:28 pm

Is it fair to judge one walking simulator against another, when they all strive to do such differing things with the medium? Perhaps not. Am I going to in the interest of making numbered lists? Yes, absolutely.

Virginia would be fairly low on that list, but as with many of its kin, it is a short enough experience that I don't mind the rough parts in it nearly as much as in a longer "traditional" game.

I played Virginia in early 2018 and the details of it are fuzzy (though to be fair to myself, early 2018 was six years ago). What stands out most to me, as others have mentioned, is the score. It is one of my go-to soundtracks alongside very DOOM and Persona 5 (and several others) for when I am working on illustration and design stuff.

For me the story had its moments where I connected with the characters, some standout scenes being when you and your partner celebrated something happening in the case, when you rise through the bureau, promoting and firing new agents, and the scene where you give up spying on your partner, and throw all those files out.
I don't remember which of these scenes are definitely real, as opposed to maybe being dreams or acid trips, but they were neat, regardless.

Overall I don't have any major problems with Virginia. I would have appreciated being able to slow down and read some bits, but I can respect the intent that the developers had with keeping things snappy and disorienting. I'll probably revisit it in a year or two, but until then, the soundtrack does plenty to keep me remembering the experience.

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Re: Our next-but-one podcast recording (6.1.19) - Issue 352

Post by Senorb123 » January 9th, 2019, 9:01 pm

Press X button to go on a trip. Virginia certainly did that. Was the bird sticker Anne ate a the end of the game a drop of acid? Did she take one before the trip started? What is going on in this game?

I try not judge anything negatively just because I don't understand it. This game reminded me of the movie Donnie Darko another story I didn't understand and ultimately just didn't click with me. Even after 2 playthroughs I still just didn't get it.

Oh the sights you see on this trip! The game I thought was beautiful. Virginia truly has it's own distinctive art style that I really enjoyed.

Music can make or break any great trip and it is in this department that Virginia really stands out. I don't claim to be an audiophile (I've never never listened to the sound of play sorry) but man the music throughout this game was so beautiful and enthralling that even a layman like me took notice. I have seen a professional orchestra one time in my life as a child on a school field trip and music in this game brought back the memories of seeing this giant group of talented people collaborating together to make an absolutely beautiful piece of music.

In conclusion I adored the audio and visual aspects of Virginia and since it's an really short game would recommend anyone playthrough it at least once. If for no other reason than to experience the soundtrack and art style alone. I didn't enjoy the story and felt that it was just to hard to follow. Hopefully the CnR crew will be able to explain it better to me on the podcast.

Thank you guys this is my first contribution and the 1st year I will be playing along with you guy look forward to more conversations in the future. 😁

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Re: Our next-but-one podcast recording (6.1.19) - Issue 352: Virginia

Post by hazeredmist » January 15th, 2019, 3:01 pm

Tleprie wrote:
January 5th, 2019, 3:28 pm
Is it fair to judge one walking simulator against another, when they all strive to do such differing things with the medium?
Absolutely. The same way we judge FPS games, platformers, I know there is resistance to the naming here but let's be honest, it is a genre and it's absolutely right to bundle the likes of Virginia, Everybody's Gone to the Rapture, Proteus, Firewatch, Gone Home etc and measure them against each other I feel.

Virginia to me was great at the time, not one I've really looked back on as I have with others, but I enjoyed it a lot and I'd rate it fairly highly among it's peers with a strong art palette & interesting subject matter.

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Sage + Onion Knight
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Re: Virginia

Post by Sage + Onion Knight » January 18th, 2019, 9:07 am

I decided to replay this last night in advance of the podcast. With lower expectations, I was enjoying it a lot more than I had the first time: the atmospheric aspects I remembered fondly really stood out this time round, and I can echo the above sentiments about the score (I'm listening to it now, in fact!). Unfortunately though, I still can't rate the game too highly.

Partly because, in many ways, it's the worst case scenario that comes into my head whenever I consider downloading a (rubbish phrase, but we all know what it means) "walking simulator". Over two hours, it definitely gets wearing when the object of the game is to walk around looking for the one thing you're allowed to interact with to progress the story - so much of the exploration-based, non-linear, environmental storytelling that I love about games like Firewatch and Gone Home is missing here. That, combined with the game's sometimes noticeably heavy-handed flourishes towards the cinematic kind of leaves me with that often-unreasonable criticism of narrative games that "these guys just wanted to make a film, didn't they?"

It's certainly a bold game in a lot of ways; a game with an evident deal of care behind it; and I'll say, not quite as overly indebted to its influences as I said in my first post (though I will say, the elements that interest me most about Virginia -- the apparent commentary on institutional racism / that whole conspiracy within the FBI -- do get diminished a bit, for me, by the *SPOILER INCOMING* "let's drop a tab in prison for some reason, laaaaaaaddsss, and then press X through a load of dream sequences, one of which is a bit too close to paying direct homage to Mulholland Drive for me, Clive" conclusion) but still a slightly frustrating case of something that is so close on paper to what would interest me, but that just ends up falling a bit short in practice.

I won't pretend I didn't take myself out of the narrative a couple of times by (a) running around in circles before accepting my FBI badge, (b) staring at a cup of coffee and its blank-faced server before accepting it for a good coupla minutes.

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Re: Virginia

Post by countstex » January 20th, 2019, 4:59 am

One of the more unique First Person Exploration games I've played. And I don't think any game has quite captured the feelings of both classic X-Files and Twin Peaks quite so well, certainly not any games made for those franchises. Nor have I ever been left with so many questions after playing a game. Questions not only of what actually happened, but even questioning my own decisions within the game world. It's also one of those rare games that I find I can replay through just to recapture that feeling of my first playthrough, something which I think only Firewatch has managed for me before. However unlike Firewatch, Virginia remains as much a mystery with each playthrough. The world needs more games like this!

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