The Let's Play Archive

Time Hollow

by Cyouni

Part 2: Welcome to the New Age

Update 2: Welcome to the New Age

Hmm...something seems different. Ignoring the elephant in the room for the moment, let's see if we can figure out what it is.


: (Wait--where's the carpet!?)
: (...!!)
: This is...a different room!?

Ethan: What is it, Sox?

Item tutorial. Not very interesting.

: (This looks normal.)

I'll save you the other ones, since they're just varieties on this line.

: (Is desk?)

: ...
: (Could that be...the same hole I saw in my dream...? Wh-what should I do? I guess it couldn't hurt to take a look...)
: (Hey--what if I tap it with this pen?)

Because that's totally the first thing you think of when you find a glowing hole in reality in the middle of not-your-bedroom.



: What was that!?
: (I...guess it's what you'd call a flashback, huh.)
???: What's going on, Ethan?

: Uncle Derek...?

: Oh, er, hi there... Come to see Mom and Dad again today?
: Huh? You still half-awake, kiddo? And what's with all the sweat?
: ? (Was Uncle Derek always this buddy-buddy with me...?)
: Breakfast is ready, but go shower first or you'll catch a cold.
: Uncle Derek!
: Hey, what's the big idea? You're getting sweat everywhere!
: What happened to Mom and Dad?
: Wha-a-at?
: You know...Mom and Dad.
: Now I KNOW you're still sleeping. You think I'd go through all this if I knew where they were? After all, it's been 12 years since they up and disappeared.
: What?
: (So is Uncle Derek looking after me, then? Yeah--he was a freelance writer, wasn't he...?)
: (...At least, I think he was. I can't remember exactly.)
: C'mon, snap out of it! You can't spend your whole day dreaming!
: Or am I going to have to slap you awake?
: I remember now--back when I was a kid, Mom and Dad...
: Aw, man... Fine. I'm starting breakfast without you.

Derek leaves, and we get our first note on flashbacks. These are specifically noted as fragments of past memories that Ethan never actually had.

: (...Yeah, that's it. Mom and Dad disappeared 12 years ago. Uncle Derek lives in this house and looks after me.)

: (Living with Mom and Dad--was it real? Or was I dreaming?)

So this is how flashbacks work. They start out vague and unclear (or "unconfirmed"), and it'll take some research to understand them (moving them to "confirmed"). Let's take a look at what we have right now.

Flashback: Garbage Dump posted:

Flashback: Breakfast with Derek posted:

Flashback: Building Fire posted:

Oh, on that note, we also have a new item to look at. Let's see what it is!

Hollow Pen posted:

...Thanks, game.
While we think on that, let's investigate our new room.

: (I get the feeling I used this blanket...once upon a time.)

: Mrowr.
: (I see Sox hasn't changed a bit.)

: (I...think this might be my desk.)

Maybe some breakfast will help sort this mess out. Wonder if Derek's a good cook?


: (We were tea-drinkers. But I do remember this smell...)
: Hey. You awake now?
: Uh-huh... (He's like a completely different person...)
: Okay, I'm going out. You're on dish duty, all right?
: S-sure thing.

This is a new table. Let's check it out.

: (Toast and coffee. I guess this is what we usually have for breakfast.)

: (This door leads too...oh, yeah. Uncle Derek has a study in there now.)


: (There are a bunch of coffee beans here. Seems Uncle Derek's quite the connoisseur.)

: (That's right--I've got school. Better get dressed and head out.)


: (Man, I just couldn't keep my mind on my work today...)

: Are you serious? Lemme take a look!
: I'm totally serious. I found it when I went to take the garbage out. Isn't it awesome?
: Whoa! Dude! Lemme have half!
: You nuts? What're you gonna do with half a clock?
: Man, that's a real find!

: (A clock, eh? I wanted a clock of my own yesterday. Now I couldn't care less.)
It should be noted here that everyone in this mini-conversation means a watch. I am told that this is due to the terms for 'clock' and 'watch' being the same in Japanese.

???: Ethaaan!
: Who, me?

And two girls appear on the bottom screen.

: Uh...
: I know Ashley is Vin's little sister, but who are you?

: Emily, eh? Well, thanks for the birthday wishes.
: Wait! Don't go anywhere! What about your present?
: Huh?
: C'mon, Emily, where is it?
: Oh, right. Um, this is...f-for you, Ethan...

Gift Clock posted:

Ashley: It would mean a lot to her if you just accepted it, you know!
Emily: Ashley! Cut it out!
: Er, thanks.
: Emily heard you liked clocks and picked it out special.
: And if you don't like it, just throw it out or something.
: Wha-a-at? Ash-LEY...

I am beginning to hate all these new expressions in this damn school area with the damn railings/windows, and am longing for the good old days of simple house ceilings.

Vin: Yo, Ethan!
: Rats, it's my brother!
: See ya, Ethan!
: G-goodbye...

The two girls run off, to be immediately replaced by...

: They gave me a birthday present.
: Who did? Ashley? Gah! Nasty! Throw it away!
: Why would I? She went to all that trouble...
: (A clock for my birthday... Just what I was asking Mom for yesterday.)
: What's up, Ethan? You're so quiet. Choked up over that present, eh?
: (Think I'll ask around.) Hey, do you know anything about my folks? Anything at all.

: Aha--you really don't want to talk about that present, do you?
: Yeah, we can read you like a book!
: No, no--that's not it...
: (Although the whole present thing WAS sort of embarassing...)
: (But I really would like to see if anyone knows about Mom and Dad.)

Let's tackle this from left to right.

*Conversation: Ben*
: Didn't you say they went missing when you were little? That's all we ever heard about them.

*Conversation: Vin*
: Your...parents, eh? I remember how your mom would buy us candy as kids. But that's about it.

*Conversation: Morris*
: I'm not quite sure how to put this, but... I heard they went missing about 12 years ago.

And converge.

: Yeah, I figured as much... (Just like Uncle Derek...They all say my parents disappeared 12 years ago.)
: What is it, Ethan? Are you feeling all right?
: Hey, if you've got a cold, go home so we don't catch it.
: ...Ha ha ha... Sorry, guys. I'll see you later. (I'll think this over when I get home.)

And now we get to see the town in its full glory. This is the town map we'll be seeing for a large portion of the game, stitched together for your viewing pleasure. (There's also one for night, but it looks pretty much the same, just...darker. Not worth my time.

Before we go home, let's do a little wandering. There's only two locations of any real interest - to the rest, Ethan simply says something to the effect of "I have no reason to be here."

Our first destination is the Station. When you arrive there...

: You guys headed home?
: Yeah. What are you doing here?
: N-nothing in particular...
: (What AM I doing here...? Did I come here for no reason at all?)

Yes. By the way, it's noted that Ben and Morris live on the other side of the station, whereas Ethan and Vin live closer to school. Just in case anyone was wondering.

The other stop is Chronos. There we find...

: Oh, hi--Emily, was it? What are you doing here?
: I-I'm meeting Ashley.
: Ah, I see. No club meetings today?
: N-no, not today...

Okay, detours over. Back home we go.

: (This is my house...)

: (Oh, yeah--I think I'll put that clock in my room.)

*Front Door*
: I'm home... (Looks like Uncle Derek isn't home yet.)

{Soundtrack: Silence}

*Ethan's Room*

: (That clock looks pretty old. It might even be an antique.)
: Clocks...more clocks. (...Wasn't Dad supposed to tell me something today, on my birthday?)

: Mrowr...
: Hey, Sox...huh?
: (Huh? There's paper on his collar. Maybe it was attached to that pen this morning.)

Ethan: (Hollow Pen? Like, that pen from this morning?) "The Pen will glow when certain conditions are fulfilled. Then you can open a Hole in time. You'll learn the rest at the school's garbage dump. Be there 7 hours before on May 5." (7 hours before? What the--? ...I'm so lost.)

We also get the Mysterious Letter as an item in case we're really forgetful.


: Oh, Uncle Derek--you're back.
: Yeah, so? What's it to you?
: N-nothing... (Uncle Derek sure isn't the easiest guy to talk to...)
: Where you headed off to, anyway?
: Huh?
: You were nearly out the door. Just what time do you think it is, pal?
: Er, well... I just wanted to get some fresh air...I've been studying all this time.

This is pretty much the most obvious lie ever if Derek's been around for more than ten minutes.

: ...
: (It's not like I can tell him I'm headed to school to look into that letter, after all.)
: .....
: Make sure you lock up. I'm turning in.
: O-of course.

Derek leaves.

: (Phew...)


*Outside House*
: (Maybe I'll stop by the school...)
: (The garbage dump is that spot next to the schoolyard.)


*Town Map*
Ethan: (The school garbage dump, eh?)

Look, game devs, we're not so forgetful we need to be reminded of it every screen.


*School Gates*
: (The garbage to the schoolyard.)

I give up.


*School Courtyard*
: (I should be able to get to the dump from here--below the school on the right.)


*School Garbage Dump*
: Well, here I am...

{Soundtrack: Silence}

: (Hey, wait a minute...!)

: (This is the place they mentioned in that letter...)
: (So something must have happened here "7 hours before".)
: (Now it's 10...which means around 3 today.)

Oh, yeah. Let's talk a little more about flashbacks now that we've seen this scene. You saw the flashback menu earlier. You can click a flashback to see more details about it, and if you've confirmed all the relevant details, it moves over to confirmed. Since we've gotten all the information about our first and second flashbacks, we can go and switch those over to confirmed.

Flashback: Garbage Dump posted:

Flashback: Derek in the Dining Room posted:

Once we've confirmed our flashback, things begin to happen...
: Whoa!

Ethan: (Wha-a-at? How'm I supposed to do that?? Just...draw a circle here or something?)


Okay, so here are the rules for what the game's termed "Digging".

Above is our completed flashback, or the past. The bottom is the present. We can draw a Hole at any point to make a connection, and interact with the past that way. A Hole can't be too big, but it's generally fine as long as you dont try anything crazy.

The bar at the top is our Time, which decreases every time we close a Hole. No Time, no Holes.

Through the hole, you have four possible interactions when you select an item.
Look, which gives us a brief description. ("Something's there, but what?")
Examine, which lets us get our hands dirty. This also lets us grab things through the Hole.
Talk, which isn't generally useable for reasons.
Item, which lets us use an item from our inventory in the past, so long as it's appropriate.

For hopefully obvious reasons, Examine and Item are going to be our main tools for messing with history. Like so.



{Video: First Hole}


Ethan: "The Holes you open must be closed, or time won't start up again. The holder of the Pen must have the Time to use it. Once you've gotten the hang of the Pen, come and rescue us. P.S. This box is for you, in memory of the first Hole you ever opened. -- Dad"
Ethan: ...Dad!?

Ethan: Huh? Th-this watch...It's the one I wanted yesterday... So THAT yesterday wasn't a dream after all!
Ethan: Oops! I have to close up that Hole or else!
: Gotta close that Hole...

As you've probably guessed, we tap the glowing circle in the top right to close the Hole.



And the leaf frozen in time begins to fall again.

: Wh-what the heck was that...? (It got dark there for just a second...)
Ethan: ... ...Achoo!
: (I'm going to catch a cold if I stay here. I should head home and try to process all this.)

: Sox...
: ...Do you remember when I tried making you take a bath? You gave me a nasty scratch. Even Mom was fed up with you.
: Mrowr...
: I remember. After all... it was only yesterday.
: Mrowwwwwwr...

: But what happened to the part that comes after yesterday? It's got to be somewhere...

: It WASN'T a dream! I know it wasn't!