Cactus Blue Motel
[spoiler]I scored this game a 10. Three young adults at a crossroad in their lives are forced to decide whether to escape reality by pursuing their base comforts, or if they are ready to accept the burdens of adulthood in order to achieve something much greater. But who cares? This story is not about them.
I felt the three characters, Maria, Becky, and Lex, to be awfully bland. There was some relationship issues going on, they were having a tough time trying to figure out which paths they should take in life, all very mediocre, all very unimportant, the author could have replaced these three characters with anyone and it wouldn’t have mattered.
The main character in this story is the Motel.
Where this game really shines (pun intended) is in the Motel. This is where the author demonstrated story craft mastery of the highest level! And I am capitalizing Motel because it was a very real, and very living character, at least in its importance to anyone who crosses paths with it sometime in their lives. The imagery was vivid, it changed physically, emotionally, and spiritually to reflect how the friends were changing, everything about it was so alive that I would swear that the walls had blood pumping through them. The tenants were unable to leave because they were actual parts of the Motel, like separate appendages autonomously grasping out for that which they desire now, constantly feeding but never being satiated, and all connected (imprisoned?) to one central body.
The game “implied” Dean was the leader, I believe the author was being intentionally deceptive here, not maliciously…just playfully(?). Dean was just as trapped as everyone else. He was the lone drifter, constantly looking for acceptance in a world more complicated that his casual brooding demeanor would betray, pleading with people to stay so that he wouldn’t feel so alone.
Don, the Motel manager, never able to find the monetary wealth in his past life, now finds value in human numbers, being part of a collective, never happy with just the people around him, he constantly craves for more and more people. It is all quantity over quality for Don.
The Smoking Lady, consumed by passions out of her control in a past that seems foreign to even her, she now consumes herself with the one thing she can control.
The Lost Author, untapped genius hindered by his fear of criticism, he sabotages himself, presenting poorly written pages because the criticism of writing he doesn’t care about is less painful than that which he does. He will never be able to become a famous author hiding in his bunker, but that is what he wants, that is what comforts him, it is more comfortable to drift into obscurity, then it is to face any sort of criticism. The fact that his typewriter has a blank page is all the more appropriate because he knows nobody will ever read anything of his because he won’t allow it, he will not allow himself to feel vulnerable by pouring his true self onto sheets of paper.
The Band: “I always want to say to people who want to be rich and famous: ‘try being rich first’. See if that doesn’t cover most of it. There’s not much downside to being rich, other than paying taxes and having your relatives ask you for money. But when you become famous, you end up with a 24-hour job.” - Bill Murray. They found this lesson out the hard way.
And finally the Jackalope…Now we are finally at the ringleader of this operation. A wall full of red herrings, sending Maria on wild goose chases that just debunk all of his trap theories ever so conveniently…very suspicious…I am not sure if what the Jackalope was doing was an act of deception to entangle victims further into its web, or if it needed on some individual or otherworldly level to make sure visitors had all of the information to make a decision on whether they wanted to leave or stay permanently, but the one thing I do know is: that bunny is running the show.