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TheMcD
May 4, 2013

Monaca / Subject N 2024
---------
Despair will never let you down.
Malice will never disappoint you.





What's all this then?

Stories Untold is an episodic horror adventure-puzzle video game developed by Scottish indie development team No Code and published by Devolver Digital, released for PC/Mac in 2017 and the Switch/PS4/XBox One in 2020. It's a fairly short romp through some scenarios centering around technology from the 80s. The first part of this game, "The House Abandon", was released in 2016 as part of Ludum Dare 36 and was eventually developed into this full game. I believe at some point during the videos I mention something about a Kickstarter or something, but it seems I was mistaken on that part, and it was just a prelude.

What will this LP be like?

Standard fare VLP. Of course, as I've already seen this game several times, it wouldn't be too fun if the only one playing this horror game already knows the scares, so I've brought along Anaxite to see this game for the first time.

That logo looks familiar...

The logo and cover art we see on the title screen is, in fact, made by Kyle Lambert, the artist that also worked on Stranger Things. Some degree of resemblance is probably intentional, given that both have a strong connection to the 80s.

Anything else?

Yes. For one, :siren: EPILEPSY WARNING! :siren:
This game has some segments that go very hard on the flashing images. I am not an expert on this matter, so I would say that if you are in doubt, I would just say you should take the safe option and just not watch. However, in addition, I will also be posting an "epilepsy advisory" under spoiler tags with every video, where I will be giving you timestamps for moments I consider to be bad. So you can use those to avoid those moments.
Furthermore, this is a horror game. As such, it has moments designed to startle. And I will admit, I am very bad with being startled, and I know there's more people like me out there. So if you would like to enjoy watching the game, but could do without being startled, then I will give you a "startle advisory" under each video, giving timestamps for startling moments in that video.
Otherwise, nothing much else. This game is best experienced without knowing what's coming - though as I've just established with the advisories, experiencing it with a bit of an idea what's coming is still better than not experiencing it at all. Still, if you can, just go right in.

Spoiler policy?

No spoilers past where we're at, even under tags. The game is four short episodes, just keep yourself contained, alright?
And with that, let's kick things off.



Epilepsy advisory: None in this episode.
Startle advisory: 12:15-12:30 | 16:10-16:25 | 19:46-20:00



Epilepsy advisory: 18:10-18:40 | 18:50-19:00 | 19:20-20:00 | 21:30-21:55 | 23:55-24:30 | 26:15-26:45 | 27:40-30:15
Startle advisory: 18:30-18:35 | 19:40-19:55 | 21:35-21:45 | 24:00-24:20 | 26:20-26:40



Epilepsy advisory: None in this episode.
Startle advisory: 26:05-26:10 | 36:10-36:20



Epilepsy advisory: 03:35-04:00 | 34:20-34:50
Startle advisory: 03:55-04:00 | 33:55-34:05

TheMcD fucked around with this message at 17:32 on Feb 27, 2022

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kw0134
Apr 19, 2003



At the end could you accost yourself?

Humbug Scoolbus
Apr 25, 2008

The scarlet letter was her passport into regions where other women dared not tread. Shame, Despair, Solitude! These had been her teachers, stern and wild ones, and they had made her strong, but taught her much amiss.


Clapping Larry

That was really cool.

biosterous
Feb 23, 2013




nifty!

Anaxite
Jan 16, 2009

What? What'd you say? Stop channeling? I didn't he-


kw0134 posted:

At the end could you accost yourself?

From what we talked about after the recordings, I got the impression that the final inputs are fairly limited. At that point you're all in on the theme.

SystemLogoff
Feb 19, 2011

End Session?



Hey, is there a reason your videos are unlisted on YouTube? It would be nice to have them appear in the updates feed.

Looking forward to future parts :toot:

TheMcD
May 4, 2013

Monaca / Subject N 2024
---------
Despair will never let you down.
Malice will never disappoint you.



SystemLogoff posted:

Hey, is there a reason your videos are unlisted on YouTube? It would be nice to have them appear in the updates feed.

Generally, I consider the public facing side of my YT channel to be for other stuff, but honestly, gently caress it, it's been a literal decade since I've had any meaningful uploads in that direction. Guess I'm going public, at least with this. I wonder how long it will take until I regret this choice.

kw0134 posted:

At the end could you accost yourself?

Anaxite posted:

From what we talked about after the recordings, I got the impression that the final inputs are fairly limited. At that point you're all in on the theme.

Yeah, it's linear. Not a lot of choice going on. I did go back and find out that if you type in "it was all my fault" when the game prompts you to instead of "sorry" like I did, you do get "I DON'T BELIEVE YOU. LIKE YOU MEAN IT, PLEASE..." back and have to type it in all caps. That's the thing I was remarking on when I backspaced it out and rewrote it in lowercase.

DreadUnknown
Nov 4, 2020


The sound design for the first part is so insanely good, it blows me away.
Also their choice of font for the title is so so very good.
I think the computer on the desk is a Spectrum?

TheMcD
May 4, 2013

Monaca / Subject N 2024
---------
Despair will never let you down.
Malice will never disappoint you.



DreadUnknown posted:

I think the computer on the desk is a Spectrum?

Well, it's a Futuro 128K +2, technically speaking, but yeah, it's very much aping the analogous Speccy. Appropriate for a Scottish indie dev to use one of the quintessential British micros as a base.

TheMcD
May 4, 2013

Monaca / Subject N 2024
---------
Despair will never let you down.
Malice will never disappoint you.



New video!



We sign up for a science experiment. I'm sure this is all above board and nothing will go wrong.

Epilepsy advisory: 18:10-18:40 | 18:50-19:00 | 19:20-20:00 | 21:30-21:55 | 23:55-24:30 | 26:15-26:45 | 27:40-30:15
Startle advisory: 18:30-18:35 | 19:40-19:55 | 21:35-21:45 | 24:00-24:20 | 26:20-26:40

kw0134
Apr 19, 2003



That final puzzle kind of killed any sort of tension that might accrued had I been playing it, because I'd be raging. Also it kind of blew its narrative load when it set up the scientists as unethical assholes and gave you no incentive to stop (not that you could, I assume).

TheMcD
May 4, 2013

Monaca / Subject N 2024
---------
Despair will never let you down.
Malice will never disappoint you.



kw0134 posted:

That final puzzle kind of killed any sort of tension that might accrued had I been playing it, because I'd be raging. Also it kind of blew its narrative load when it set up the scientists as unethical assholes and gave you no incentive to stop (not that you could, I assume).

The unique situation I was in of "I have seen the game played through several times, but have never actually played it" kinda bit me in the rear end here. I definitely freaked out a bit inside as I realized I don't have a loving clue how this puzzle worked and have to figure it out myself now.

biosterous
Feb 23, 2013




the visions reminded me of mass effect and the flashing lights reminded me of how much i hate when games/films use flashing lights to rack up the tension. it backfires for me because instead of drawing me into the scene it makes me go "ow, my eyes, stop doing that you jerks"

Slaan
Mar 16, 2009

I GAIN POWER FROM EATING PEOPLE, JUST ASSUME I'M ALWAYS VOTING TO EAT PEOPLE





Yeah, i had to look away for the entire last segment because it was making me far more naseous than creeped out

TheMcD
May 4, 2013

Monaca / Subject N 2024
---------
Despair will never let you down.
Malice will never disappoint you.



New video!



A remote weather station in the icy wastes. But I'm sure everything's fine...

Epilepsy advisory: None in this episode.
Startle advisory: 26:05-26:10 | 36:10-36:20

kw0134
Apr 19, 2003



The end was a mindfuck but when you started getting the reference to your name in Episode 2 it felt like you were definitely getting primed for some, uh, shenanigans.

Snorb
Nov 19, 2010


The coordinates you wondered about in the video were in the Pacific Ocean, somewhere south of the Aleutian Islands.

bewilderment
Nov 22, 2007
man what





When I first played this game I thought the hinting wasn't obvious enough, but now that I'm watching a let's play it seems a bit more obvious.

Anaxite
Jan 16, 2009

What? What'd you say? Stop channeling? I didn't he-


The tension in the game really is something if you've never experienced it.

To some of kw0134's comments earlier, I came into the experience expecting a whole lot more jump scares, but when they didn't appear, what got to me was a growing sense of dread. The expectation of horror got me at the beginning, and it gradually got replaced with unease at seeing the different gruesome situations the game gave us.

And as you piece together what happens in each level, well...

TheMcD
May 4, 2013

Monaca / Subject N 2024
---------
Despair will never let you down.
Malice will never disappoint you.



New video!



The last session. Will we find the answers we seek? I can only say that you're not ready.

Also, this isn't the last episode of the LP. There's a bit of unfinished business.

Epilepsy advisory: 03:35-04:00 | 34:20-34:50
Startle advisory: 03:55-04:00 | 33:55-34:05

AceOfFlames
Oct 9, 2012


Dunno if this will be part of the next video but the credits for the first three episodes list James Aition and Peter Hennings as "Drivers", Daniel Alexander as "First Aid" and Ty Williams as "Security". That is my favorite foreshadowing bit.

Also, nice to see someone else appreciating ALEXKANSAS/The Monument Mythos. I heavily recommend them.

Anaxite
Jan 16, 2009

What? What'd you say? Stop channeling? I didn't he-


AceOfFlames posted:

Dunno if this will be part of the next video but [...] That is my favorite foreshadowing bit.

GOD DAMMIT

Ignatius M. Meen
May 26, 2011

Hello yes I heard there was a lovely trainwreck here and...



I remember when I played through this myself the first time I tried to talk anyone else into driving Jen and telling her I can't drive either before even trying to get the keys. As you'd imagine with this sort of story, it does not work in the slightest, even though it really undercuts the whole "come to grips with your guilt over the horrible thing you did, you monster" point.

e: To be fair to this game, it's still on the whole an entertaining game and I love the style! This just commits a pretty common videogame writing sin and undercuts its power as a result.

Ignatius M. Meen fucked around with this message at 22:32 on Feb 20, 2022

TheMcD
May 4, 2013

Monaca / Subject N 2024
---------
Despair will never let you down.
Malice will never disappoint you.



Ignatius M. Meen posted:

I remember when I played through this myself the first time I tried to talk anyone else into driving Jen and telling her I can't drive either before even trying to get the keys. As you'd imagine with this sort of story, it does not work in the slightest, even though it really undercuts the whole "come to grips with your guilt over the horrible thing you did, you monster" point.

I mean, it doesn't really undercut it that much. This isn't about what could have happened or what could have been done differently. This isn't about taking one of the several off-ramps to potentially avoid this. This is about what happened, and how James specifically did not take any of those opportunities to not go through with this. Like how I ended up writing "slow down" in the driving part and all I got back is "That's not what really happened though, is it?". James is still hiding mentally, ducking into fantasy to keep from having to accept reality. This segment is about him specifically going through exactly what happened that night, every last step of it, and after three sessions of hiding in fantasy, having to finally accept the actual reality that he's been trying to keep from facing. That's why it's railroaded. The player is to specifically go through the sequence, seeing every pitfall and every mistake, all the way to the collision, and then seeing James make his situation even worse by trying to frame someone else for his mistake in the heat of the moment.

TheMcD fucked around with this message at 22:40 on Feb 20, 2022

Ignatius M. Meen
May 26, 2011

Hello yes I heard there was a lovely trainwreck here and...



TheMcD posted:

I mean, it doesn't really undercut it that much. This isn't about what could have happened or what could have been done differently. This isn't about taking one of the several off-ramps to potentially avoid this. This is about what happened, and how James specifically did not take any of those opportunities to not go through with this. Like how I ended up writing "slow down" in the driving part and all I got back is "That's not what really happened though, is it?". James is still hiding mentally, ducking into fantasy to keep from having to accept reality. This segment is about him specifically going through exactly what happened that night, every last step of it, and after three sessions of hiding in fantasy, having to finally accept the actual reality that he's been trying to keep from facing. That's why it's railroaded. The player is to specifically go through the sequence, seeing every pitfall and every mistake, all the way to the collision, and then seeing James make his situation even worse by trying to frame someone else for his mistake in the heat of the moment.

I think maybe it would have come off differently if the explicit, obvious railroading had started earlier. Type in "tell Jen I can't drive", get back "you've drunk a bit, but you're fine, you're even better than fine right now, and everyone else is clearly way more drunk". Try to ask Mom or Dad etc. and you get "they're clearly too drunk to drive her, and anyway Jen's in a hurry, don't you want to help her out?" Bit of a quibble over when James' mind should have started telling him he needs to relive this vs. the fences being more invisible for longer, maybe, and I don't disagree with the artistic target that was set for this.

kw0134
Apr 19, 2003



No greater horrors than the ones a guilty mind summons for itself, I suppose.

azren
Feb 13, 2011




Normally I hate endings like this, but I feel like this game actually earned it pretty well. I'm a sucker for symbolism and foreshadowing you don't recognize until much later, so I really enjoyed this last episode. I can understand how it was controversial, though.

biosterous
Feb 23, 2013




a lot of this was good, but the text adventure part started falling flat when you were clearly trying to do what the game wanted but the parser didn't like your word choices

Whybird
Aug 2, 2009

Phaiston have long avoided the tightly competetive defence sector, but the IRDA Act 2052 has given us the freedom we need to bring out something really special.

https://team-robostar.itch.io/robostar




Nap Ghost

biosterous posted:

a lot of this was good, but the text adventure part started falling flat when you were clearly trying to do what the game wanted but the parser didn't like your word choices

In fairness, struggling with an obstinate text adventure game parser is a pretty good simulation of trying to perform a complicated task while falling down drunk.

Junpei
Oct 4, 2015

Now then, shall we begin the experiment?

HENSHIN!

THE FULLMETAL MOONSAULT! RABBITTANK!

YEAH!


Oh hey, I had heard about this game before this LP.

Ngl, I understand what they were going for but sadly I'm a type who's always annoyed by the 'it's just a coma dream' thing because I find actual sci-fi explanations more interesting, and I wanted to see them go further with the whole alien invasion thingy parts 2 and 3 were doing.

TheMcD
May 4, 2013

Monaca / Subject N 2024
---------
Despair will never let you down.
Malice will never disappoint you.



New video!



There's some stuff hidden in the audio files for this game, and we have questions. Make sure you stick around until the end!

Alas, my request for answers to the developers did not return any answer, and so, with that, we have arrived at the end of the LP.

-- LET'S PLAY STORIES UNTOLD - THE END --

berryjon
May 30, 2011

I have an invasion to go to.

Casse could also be short for 'Cassette', which is indicative of the quality of the audio being used here.

Snorb
Nov 19, 2010


I'm not sure if it was pointed out in the video, but your codebook in The Station Conduct was called "Central O[/i]perations Message [b]Authentication," and some of the codewords in the book are "Whiskey," "Sibling," "Jennifer," "Sacrifice," and "Drive;" some nice hints towards Jennifer Aition and the car crash.

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TheMcD
May 4, 2013

Monaca / Subject N 2024
---------
Despair will never let you down.
Malice will never disappoint you.



Snorb posted:

I'm not sure if it was pointed out in the video, but your codebook in The Station Conduct was called "Central Operations Message Authentication," and some of the codewords in the book are "Whiskey," "Sibling," "Jennifer," "Sacrifice," and "Drive;" some nice hints towards Jennifer Aition and the car crash.

Yeah, there were quite a few different pointers that we didn't particularly point out. I just mentioned the GCS one because we specifically spent a fair amount of time in the third video talking about it and in retrospect I thought it might have clued someone in a bit too much.

Oh, right, here's something I figured out after the video was uploaded and so didn't have time to put in:



So that's one of the mysteries solved at least.

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