WHODUNNIT? Icky-Ichabod Crane: The Wolf Among Us

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Oh, Ichabod. Can we all agree that it isn’t him?

Let’s be honest: a man who runs, screaming in terror, from a horseman with less than optimal (optical?) eyesight is not exactly a man of brave constitution. Killing and butchering bodies takes a certain physical, as well as stomach, strength. While ~magic~ might solve the first, it doesn’t solve the second. For all his nastiness, I doubt Crane can stand the gore.

Also, this revelation happens in the second episode. Plot-wise, it’s crazy to reveal the killer less than half way through the story when the point of the game is to solve the mystery. (This might work for something like True Detective, down the road, but I think Telltale’s sticking to the beaten path here.)

Crane’s relative innocence is also reflected in key characters’ opinions: Snow intuits that Crane is not the killer and Bloody Mary laughs in his face.

“Bigby, I don’t think he did it.” Snow says. “Look at him. Do you really think this man murdered these women? He’s not… he wouldn’t be brave enough. Not to put his stamp on the world like that.”

She’s not correct about everything, but I agree with her on this. Crane can be a bully when he’s comfortable enough, but killing someone involves a level of risk he can’t stomach.

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Hi Guys!  I have another WHODUNNIT? post which should be out tomorrow, but I just wanted to let you know: my computer has been at DEFCON 1 for the past week. It might have lowered to DEFCON 3 now, but the blue screen of death lingers beneath the safe haven of hibernation. I wanted to give you a heads up in case you don’t hear from me for awhile. It’s probably because my computer gave up on life.

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Why Dead Space is so F-ing Scary

Major spoilers for the Dead Space series. If you didn’t watch/play, what are you doing here?isaacclarke copy

This post is dedicated to all of the people out there who don’t exactly get what’s so freaky about Dead Space. You brilliant bastards are above such trifling things as jump scares – and frankly, you just don’t get why anyone else would find a game like this frightening. Well, when I was eleven I spent two months unable to go near a sink after watching fifteen minutes It. I’m a chicken.

And even a seasoned horror junkie might quake in his boots when he plays Dead Space. But somewhere out there, there are these mythical creatures – these purported humans – who endure that game and go: I don’t get it. Was that supposed to scare me? Roughly 76% of these people are lying through their teeth, but that remaining 24%* really doesn’t get it.

To that twenty-four percent: this is how Dead Space scares the shit out of people, and this is why you might have terrible survival instincts.

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WHODUNNIT? Bluebeard, the (Ex) Serial Killer: The Wolf Among Us

bluebeard copy3I just love that – “ex” serial killer. Oh, no worries, it was a college thing. I stopped butchering young women when I got my first job and became a real adult. I’m a new man now, babe, I promise. Marry me?

It’s even worse that he has sweet Lee’s deep voice. (Run Clementine! Run!) He probably lulls his prey with that smoky timber and then POW! Head detached from body. This man is Danger, with a capital D, but not in the same way that Bigby can be. This is the Lex Luthor to our muscular, but slightly clueless, Superman, and he’s already making a power play.

Ransacking Crane’s room? Roughing up Flycatcher? This man has a penchant for violence and something to hide. That is why he’s on our suspect list.

Bluebeard comes from a French literary fairy tale about a man who murders his wives if they open the secret room in his house. The secret room happens to hold the bodies of his former beaus. He has a blue beard which disturbs everyone profoundly, even his soon-to-be wife…. who quickly gets over it when she finds out how stinkin’ rich he is. Still, as a safeguard she makes her weapon-competent brothers promise to come running if she ever calls.

Bluebeard then runs off to deal with business, entrusting his new wife with the house keys, but making her promise to not use one golden key to open the small room beneath the house.

Naturally, she goes and opens it right after he leaves.

Turns out, she isn’t Bluebeard’s first wife: in fact, he’s had slews of them – they’re all hanging from hooks on the walls, dead. Horrified, she drops the gold key into the pool of blood, staining it so, when Bluebeard comes home, he knows exactly what she has done. Time to get a new bride!

The soon-to-be-dead wife pleads for time to say her prayers and, when granted it, promptly locks herself in the highest tower, where she screams her head off for her brothers to come. Smart girl.

Bluebeard’s not a fan of this and tries to break the door down, only to be stopped by the weapon-proficient brothers, who dispatch of him. And they all live happily ever after!

Now, this is the “mundy” version of the story: as Bluebeard appears to still be kicking, it must have ended differently in the Fables universe.

What can we take away from this? First, Bluebeard definitely has the constitution to murder someone, particularly women who enter into a sexual relationship with him. More importantly, it reveals something about Bluebeard’s nature: he likes to manipulate people.

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New Series: WHODUNNIT? The Wolf Among Us

WAUWhodunnit copy

Hi all, long time, no post. Sorry for the absence, I had to take my GRE this past Friday, which was about as fun as it sounds. (Seriously, it was four hours long and manned by TSA agents in training.) But it’s done and my free time is actually free.

To celebrate my freedom, I’m kicking off another series of blog posts revolving around The Wolf Among Us. This game, like all Telltale games, is awesome. I’ve been watching since the beginning, and recently been going through on my own and with my siblings. (My little sister is in charge of the controls for our group play-through, so I have enjoyed yelling “Q! Q! Q!” in a loud, panicked voice. It is cruel? Maybe, but I like to think of it as concentration practice for high-stress situations. She could become a surgeon.)

If you haven’t played through The Wolf Among Us, do it – I haven’t “died” (or failed) once, and I die every five minutes I play Half-Life 2. Even when it’s on Easy. I know. Plus, the game’s got a strong story, fairytale goodness, a crime-noir feel and talking pigs. Talking, snarky pigs.

My one gripe is that most of these characters and their stories technically do not fit the criteria of a ‘fable’ so it’s a misnomer to call them one. Of course, they’re not all fairy tales or folk stories either, so there’s no categorical term we can use that adheres to its usual criteria. Oh well.

All literary-wanking side, this blog series will go through all the primary suspects – as well as some ancillary ones. Is it Bluebeard? Is Crane a nasty old pervert? Is Bufkin secretly a crime lord with a monopoly on alcohol? Two of those things are true. (Or not.)

I want to pull in some source material as well – and by source, I mean the fairy tales/fables/folk stories themselves. I took a course on the construction and history of fairy tales, so this should be fun.

Just a heads up: I have not read the comics. I want to, but I’m waiting until this series is over (which may or may not be when I retire at a ripe old age.) so all of this commentary/wild theorizing is based on the released episodes only. Please don’t spoil me. Please.

Expect profiles to come up soon, though I want to play through the last episode once more before I make my speculations/theories. (I may have left Bluebeard alone in Crane’s room the last time… whoops?)

Okay, it’s time to get my thinking cap on. Talk to you soon!

 

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Bioshock Infinite: Burial at Sea, Episode 2 – Right in the Feels

Major spoilers for Bioshock Infinite and its DLC, Burial at Sea. If you didn’t watch/play, what are you doing here?burialatsea

We’re all rubes!

Okay, so this is going to be very general, all-encompassing, gut-reaction to the DLC. Given just how much Irrational stuffed into Episode 2 I can’t chew through everything, or anything very thoroughly in this one post. There will definitely be more posts later about the finer details. (Hello, Daisy.)

So let’s get our Little Sisters in order. What in the every-loving world just happened?

Plot Set Up (Quantum Superposition Me)

I see it like this: as I mentioned in my Booker-Elizabeth doppleganger post, part of Elizabeth’s ‘Fall’ was becoming like Booker. We are able to ‘become’ Elizabeth in this DLC because, in essence, she has become Booker in a skirt. (Girl, where did you go so wrong?)

The reason for this, as we find out in Episode 2, is because not only did she burn poor Sally, she kidnapped her and sold her so she would become a Little Sister.

Okay, I get vengeful, ball-busting, take-no-prisoners Elizabeth who, in the heat of the moment (I’m sorry, I had to) maybe turned up the boiler a little too far to get dear Sally out, but kidnapping and selling her so that she could be leashed and used for her powers? I feel a little compelled to cry foul, particularly since omnipotent Elizabeth could not have missed that parallel. Even so, according to BaS 2, she actually used the similarities to torment latent memories out of Comstock. Ugh. So much for intent mattering, huh, Elizabeth?

Continuing: so Elizabeth’s got a massive debt to pay as well as a massive headache. We become Elizabeth because she must see this through and save Sally. But – surprise! – Elizabeth from BaS 2 is not the same Elizabeth from BaS 1, who still manages to look pretty after being fatally thrown through a wall by a Big Daddy. Big reveal: playable Elizabeth has forgone her crazy omnipotence in order to save Sally.

But why does she have to?

Well, DLC logic has it coming down to a Lutece conversation (it always does, doesn’t it?) which is shown in a flashback after Elizabeth discovers her body.

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Luke, I Probably Am Your Father: Booker and Elizabeth (Doppleganger Series.)

Major spoilers for Bioshock Infinite and Burial at Sea: Episode 1. Didn’t watch/play? DON’T READ!bookliz3

Hi all! I hope everyone is blazing away at BaS: Episode 2. I’ll definitely blog about it in the upcoming weeks, but in celebration of more Elizabeth (and apparently Booker), here’s a Doppleganger post about their relationship:

One of the most interesting aspects of Infinite is the Booker-Elizabeth relationship. They (and we) start off with no idea about their relationship, and then we all get walloped over the head with it in the end.

I’m not going to lie: I pegged Booker as her father pretty early on. (And then I got blindsided by the Bookerstock revelation.) I had vaguely remembered being spoilered about it, and then the “AD” on his hand fit the names “Anna” and “DeWitt” together pretty nicely and I figured it out. Besides, there was definitely a Last of Us Joel-Ellie vibe between the two by the time we broke into dear old Lady Comstock’s tomb.

But there’s definitely more to it than the “Luke! I am your Father!” element. Booker and Elizabeth go on concurrent, opposite character arcs.

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The Evil Twin or The Prophetically Evil Twin? Comooker or Bookstalk (Doppleganger Series)

Major spoilers for Bioshock Infinite. Didn’t watch/play? DON’T READ!bookstock copy

Another clear double in the Infinite universe is the Booker-Comstock dual: two men, the same man who made a different choice.

What’s interesting about these two is how unalike they are, in comparison to the Luteces. They both are, to a certain extent, evil: Comstock has the racist, religious zealotry with a dash of hypocritical violence in his corner, while Booker has the gave-up-my-infant-daughter-for-money and the repenting-racist-who-still-shoves-skyhooks-into-people’s-faces evil in his corner.

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Booker DeWitt is Not a Hero: Why Bioshock Infinite is So Violent

Major spoilers for Bioshock Infinite. Didn’t watch/play? DON’T READ! booker copy

I’ve read a lot of controversy about the excessive violence in Bioshock Infinite – how it doesn’t make sense in the scope of what the game is about. It’s interesting, because I actually have the opposite opinion.

So first let’s get this out of the way: Bioshock Infinite is a violent game because it’s a first person shooter and that’s what people have come to expect. Half-Life 2, Metro 2033, Deadspace – even the first two Bioshocks, these games all have a certain level of violence in them, some give plot reasons for it, others do not.

But people have a gripe more with the level of violence in Infinite than the presence of it. To illustrate:

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About that Trailer… Bioshock Infinite: Burial at Sea, Episode 2 (Speculation)

Major spoilers for Bioshock Infinite and its DLC, Burial at Sea. Didn’t watch/play? DON’T READ!

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I know, I know, I blog about Infinite constantly, but did you see that trailer?

If you’ve been living under a rock for a month, go see it NOW.

Okay, now you’re back, confused? Me too. Where the hell did Booker come from – and how did he get to Rapture?

Theories!

1) Booker has become “unstuck” like the Luteces and Elizabeth. Probably the most straightforward theory, but a little strange. I’ll admit, I didn’t think of it first, maybe because Booker doesn’t strike me as the omnipotent helper type. The remote stoicism was weirding me out.

That said, it’s entirely possible. Something about Booker’s death unstuck him from time. My hunch would be the fact that he was drowned before he became Comstock or remained Booker, but retained his memories of being Booker post-choice. The Elizabeths created a paradox where in order to drown Booker and erase Comstock they needed post-choice Booker but if they drown post-choice Booker to destroy the chance of Comstock they also destroy any chance of post-choice Booker which means that there is no Booker to drown. Time paradox! So maybe Booker exists on some omnipotent, time-traveling level with the Luteces.

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