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<  The Path - discussion  ~  'The Horror' in The Path?

Xanadu
Posted: Tue Aug 25, 2009 8:23 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 28 Mar 2009 Posts: 45
Alex H wrote:
The most frightening things are those that you can't control, not those that you can.


Not necessarily. You can control when you meet your wolf. You can even choose to never meet a wolf, and explore the forest with all the girls. The fact that you control meeting your wolf, but you make the choice to face that, is terrifying. If you can't control something, you can relax in a sense: you no longer take responsibility. Taking that responsibility is quite terrifying, and quite possibly what drives the sense of fear in, "The Path"
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Alex H
Posted: Wed Aug 26, 2009 12:10 am Reply with quote
Joined: 20 Jul 2009 Posts: 47 Location: Baltimore, MD, USA
But you don't control what happens afterward. Besides, the choice is somewhat of an illusion. Sure, you could play without meeting any wolves... but has anyone actually done that? It'd be as though you stopped reading a Shakespearean tragedy before act 5 to "save" the characters.

The Path is nonlinear because of its modular storytelling and the randomization of the intractable objects, but not in its overall structure. There is only one ending to the game, and only one way to get there.

EDIT: The fear that I got from the Path was mostly caused by the inevitability of the decision, the fact that no matter how many times I chose to avoid the wolf, I'd have to meet him at some point, whether I liked it or not.
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Xanadu
Posted: Wed Aug 26, 2009 4:27 am Reply with quote
Joined: 28 Mar 2009 Posts: 45
But that's just it. What if you played through the game, every time, without meeting your wolf? What happens when you meet every wolf, and go through the epilogue? You go back to EXACTLY the same place as when you first started. All the girls come filing back in. If you never met the wolves, there is still plenty to do: you can explore the forest, look around, enjoy the sights, play with the GiW. In theory, that would be a completely legitimate way to play, and you can continue that indefinitely. In fact, follow the game, "Rules", and you will never so much as meet a wolf. And unlike in Shakespeare, you don't have to stop short of the end to avoid death, you just need to choose a certain style of play. But humans are curious, especially about the wolves in the forest. We know that we shouldn't, but we go after them anyways. It's certainly a choice, but we feel compelled to go along a certain route. And that's scary. If a little girl is dragged into the path by monsters, that's kind of scary. But isn't it far scarier when she chose to wander of the path, chase after the flowers, and chose her actions, and then finds out that she was the architect of her own destruction? Fighting monsters is scary, but fighting your own choices is scarier. To expand this into a criticism of other games, you can shoot demons, you can't shoot your inner demons.
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Alex H
Posted: Thu Aug 27, 2009 4:28 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 20 Jul 2009 Posts: 47 Location: Baltimore, MD, USA
In my case, I felt more self-disgust than fear when I sent each girl to their doom. Its neat how the same experience can evoke such different emotional responses from two people.

I could be wrong. I'll try another playthrough of a girl sometime and pay closer attention to how I feel this time. It won't be the same as the first time, but it should give me a general idea.
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Xanadu
Posted: Thu Aug 27, 2009 11:25 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 28 Mar 2009 Posts: 45
I don't think there is such a thing as a wrong interpretation. What you take away is what you take away. I would be interested if you change your mind. Horror has always intrigued me.

I brought this up to a friend of mine, and he actually gave an answer far better then I expected there to be. He said, "If you feel the need to control something, making a choice that dooms you is scarier. If you do not need to have control, not having a choice and being doomed by that is scarier". he actually put it better then that, but that's the gist of it. I think there might be something to that.
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Alex H
Posted: Fri Aug 28, 2009 7:00 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 20 Jul 2009 Posts: 47 Location: Baltimore, MD, USA
When I said I was wrong, I meant that I might've been wrong about how I felt. I wasn't playing that much attention to my emotions at the time, and so I might have actually been terrified at the time, but just forgot.
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Sythion
Posted: Tue Sep 01, 2009 6:17 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 01 Sep 2009 Posts: 3
The horror of the game obviously varies from person to person. There is certainly a creepiness to the game, and when I've went to bed the last couple of nights I fell asleep to that damn song ringing in my ears. However, the game itself is not very frightening once you realize that the dangers of the forest are simply waiting for you to face them on your own time. Also, since I decided very early that the sequences represented painful change, it made the encounters with the wolves to be more natural and less dangerous to me.
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Fahnette
Posted: Tue Sep 01, 2009 7:17 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 15 May 2009 Posts: 130 Location: In Newly-Wedded Bliss
Interesting point, Sythion.

Perhaps some people's first playthrough is more of an emotional shock because no matter what you've read or seen of The Path, playing it yourself takes you through some seriously strange places. Then you reframe the experience based on what you want or need to get from the game.

I was a lot less disturbed by the game after I realized I was using it as a tool to ease my pain and anger over my father's death.

This would make a great social experiment!
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