The Let's Play Archive

The Chzo Mythos

by Quovak

Part 37: 6 Days, Part 8: Pride Several Millenia Before a Fall

6 Days, Part 8: Pride Several Millenia Before a Fall

News: Investigation continues into the circumstances that resulted in a nano-explosive detonation in the county of Buckinghamshire six days ago. The blast completely demolished the Optimology building, which had been purposely evacuated beforehand, and several lead Optimologists are being held for questioning. Although the detonation has not yet been found to have caused any loss of life, two individuals last seen in the area have been reported missing, and environmentalists are already calling this the biggest ecological disaster in the entire history of the country. The investigation continues.

Chief questions include "How did nobody die in an ecological disaster that destroyed the entire county?" and "Why didn't anybody investigate a mass evacuation we knew was taking place from an area where several people had gone missing?" Police have claimed that the good faith clause responsible for the latter mishap will be revised at some point 197 years down the line.

As for the first question, Buckinghamshire is apparently just the Optimology building and that sign, and "atomize" seems to mean "make a hole". In fairness, the dirt that makes up the hole is probably made of atoms, so the bomb's description might have just been good marketing.

And yet, I wonder. I wonder why the Order of Blessed Agonies expected Chzo to enter this universe. After all, a creature so dependent on magic could not possibly survive in a world where there is none. The prophecies were wrong, but why?

This sounds sophisticated and pensive, but basically he's just saying that the cult screwed up even more than they already have. This has been a 600-year process from DeFoe first being split into pieces to the soul finally being destroyed, and anybody with a cursory understanding of the prophecies (say, Theo) could see that it was to accomplish absolutely nothing. That sure is one way to add drama to the series... maybe.

For what purpose was the bridge really constructed? It was open for mere seconds. Nothing came from the Ethereal Realm. So did Chzo's plan simply fail?

At no point has this been referred to as Chzo's plan. In fact, Chzo didn't really do much except sit around while his servant murdered people, and he didn't seem like he was a huge fan of people who tried summoning him. I think this is supposed to be a plot twist, but "those people you thought were being idiots were actually idiots" isn't the best note to end a series on.

Maybe his true goal was not to deliver, but to receive? None of this matters. I led Dacabe to the destiny demanded of him by the timeline. Now I must wait. Two centuries from now, my younger self will require my guidance. The eternal cycle must be set in motion again. I find that I do not relish this task.

Malcolm's quite a defeatist. "Well, I wasted a ton of time and will have to do something I find horrible, knowing that my actions will be responsible for death and destruction, and as a being of pure will I could probably do more or less anything, but... eh, destiny or something. I won't bother.

...The book of the Prince, the book of Victims, and the book of the Bridge. This is a central tenet in the faith of the Order of Blessed Agonies.

Even the Order doesn't consider the whole future affecting the past thing (as revealed in the "Book of Prayers") to be canon. Good to know.

What is not known, even by the highest acolytes, and likely not even by the prince himself, is that there was a fourth book. It seemed to contradict the other prophecies, and Frehorn discarded the draft, thinking it a garbled message. Here is what it said...

I've been harsh on this series, but I'll admit that I really do like this actually final ending. It's creepy, unexpected, and satisfying, even if everything leading up to it was pretty horribly contrived. The entire thing will be presented in screenshot form:

Very little of this text is there in the original edition, but this is one of the few places where directly throwing text at you is important. Consider it a $5 charge to know what the hell's been going on.

As weird and nonsensical as Chzo's design is, more gods need to have laser eye proboscises. It seems like a good way to gain converts.

Chzo wanted to replace the Prince as his servant, and the Prince decided to sabotage this plan. This is what the actual conflict of the entire series was, and it's only revealed in the last five minutes of the fourth game. If you paid money for it. That is some phenomenal pacing.

"I, who has seen" makes it unfortunately easy to imagine a lolcats spinoff with gods of laser eye pain. Please don't make this.

If you were awake at all during the last two weeks, you may remember that the body/mind/soul triad was brought up all the time. Well, it was all incredibly unsubtle (but effective) foreshadowing to this. Theo has been pretty agonized, having fallen down an elevator shaft (body), taken advantage of a psychotic girl who also raped him depending on how Yahtzee feels when he's explaining it (soul, kind of), and was a main character in this game (mind, which may have also been taken care of back when he worked with county planning). Despite the cultists chasing after it for a lifetime, attaining great purity really only takes five days or so, and as such...

I have to confess, I don't just tolerate this plot twist, I love it. I enjoyed small parts of 5 Days and played the next because I assumed it would have taken what worked and discarded what didn't. I hated 7 Days and had to force myself to go onto Notes, which I did only based on word of mouth. I loved Notes and was excited to go onto 6 Days, then I suffered through 6 until I got to Day 5. Everything after that made me fall in love with the series, which I only realized was a retroactive love when I went back and played them again. In terms of rough draft potential, however, this twist is brilliant... if poorly executed.

Nothing screams technology like 1st century BC druid cottages, that's for sure.

You wouldn't have been replaced if you had let yourself be the bridge, but, once you realized that I wanted to make the bridge to replace you, you refused to be the bridge, encouraging me to make a bridge and replace you. I wouldn't have replaced you if you had just helped me replace you!

Remember the thousands of times I pointed out the various things the Prince wasn't doing? Given that the Prince is willing to defy his master to keep serving his master, he did absolutely nothing substantial to prevent the bridge from being completed, even given at least 200 years to prepare for it. We're finally at the end, and with the benefit of hindsight I think I can safely say that there hasn't been a single competent character at any step in the process.

The Prince's sprite doesn't really lend itself to any positions besides standing up and looking menacing.

We can actually move around and examine things, all of which give us replies like this (with the obligatory "it hurts" thrown in there every now and then).

I don't believe there's a ever a reason given for Trilby being tortured here. He was supposed to destroy the component parts of the Bridge, and he very indirectly did exactly that (watched Simone destroy the body, sent the idol into space for Malcolm to destroy it, and lit a fire to make a bomb blow up the body). This allowed Chzo to do exactly what he wanted. Did Trilby make an enemy out of Chzo by not having a good enough morale about it?

Alright, I'm done bitching for this update. Yahtzee came up with a really good ending for this series, and I'm not going to take away from it. The bitching will return in the epilogue updates, and there will be a few of them. Don't go anywhere, because the LP is far from over.

Coming soon: a string of bonus updates, the credits, the final parts of the challenge, and more. As I said already, don't go anywhere; the series is over, but the LP has only just begun has two or three more updates to go.

Creator Commentary
Well, I guess everyone's been expecting some final thoughts from me. Truth is, I was skimming a little as Quovak was going through 6 Days. As I said, by that point I was pretty much just wrapping it up because it needed wrapping up.

I've been talking a lot about what I'd have done differently if I were making the games today. But a lot of that's largely irrelevant, because we live in a world where the games were made by the younger, more naive me. The catch-22 is that I was inexperienced when I made them, but the only way I could have gained that experience was by making them. If it hadn't been them, it would have been some other idea for a game that might not have been as popular, wouldn't have pushed me to make the rest of the series, wouldn't have allowed me to grow as a creator. My first published magazine article was one on designing adventure games, which I otherwise might not have been able to write. Now I'm a professional games journalist. Go figure.

So Chzo was, objectively, a Good Thing for me. There's no reason to be ashamed by past works because the only person who should be ashamed is the person you were when you made them, and that person no longer exists. It's said that every artist/writer/whatever creative type has 10,000 bad paintings/stories/projects in them, and it's just a matter of getting through them all. Chzo was part of that. So I don't regret anything about them. I can't make people forget about the rougher bits. But I can criticise them along with everyone else.

I'm not sure what else to say. I'll just field some more questions if anyone has any left.

RedMagus posted:

So, with such a bad run of games and plot holes you can drive the gulf oil spill through, here's my question: why does this game have such a following?

You got me. Creativity, especially on the internet, is throwing shit at a wall until it sticks. Chzo stuck. I'm not a great judge of my own work, me. I'm constantly referring to the ZP Wikiquote page to find out for myself what the funniest line that week was.

Quovak posted:

1. Many of us, including myself, attributed the crazy way that Chzo Time works to you having written yourself into a corner. Is this basically the case, or was there actually more to it than that?

2. Are there any parts of the series that you can still look back on and be amazed/satisfied by what you wrote?

3. Are you glad you came out of internet seclusion for this thread and do you think it will last?

4. Would you say that 7 Days a Skeptic is better or worse than Too Human?

1. I'm not sure. It seems like there would be better ways to write myself out of a corner. But I have given a lot of consideration to the concept of non-linear time. Chzo-time is basically still linear, it's just that from Chzo's perspective all events take place at the same moment. Which makes sense for an undying creature. If something has an infinite lifespan, it wouldn't have any need for a concept of linear timekeeping.

I had one character a while back I never wrote much about who could mentally time travel to previous points in his life, because all time is simultaneous and our perception of it is just our mind's way of interpreting it. So logically someone with enough mental control would be able to alter their own perception of what moment is 'now'.

2. Maybe the 'die' puzzle, I'm still quite impressed at myself for that one. And I still like the concepts of Chzo and Trilby enough to want to still use them as characters. Trilby in his asshole Art Of Theft mode, of course.

3. I contributed to this thread because I was absolutely certain I could contribute something relevant. As for posting anywhere else, I doubt it. I actually registered an alternative account a while back but soon realised I didn't really have anything I wanted to say. Nothing that I couldn't write as an actual article, anyway. Maybe I've been disillusioned by the Escapist comments but internet forums seem to be full of an awful lot of white noise. When I read LP threads, I tend to skip straight past the comments to the content posts, and I suspect a lot of lurkers do the same.

4. Without wishing to seem immodest, 7 Days is like wading through a mixture of semi-dry asphalt and vomit, while Too Human is the same, but also you have to stop every now and again to clap your bollocks between two rocks.

"Agent Rush posted:

This is incredibly late, but did you actually play "Nocturnal Illusion" or was that just a throwaway reference for the gag?

Yes, I did have a look at it after reading Scott Sharkey's review. Awful game, of course, but I was somewhat intrigued by the premise. Also the titties.

flatluigi posted:

Would you ever consider remaking the games to try to fix the numerous issues in them?

No, I don't really believe in remakes. That seems like the sort of thing you do when you're ready to sell out and go milk the last thing you were sure was good, and I've still got too many new ideas to indulge.