First of all, I want to thank everyone for the awesome time, and I’m super excited that I won! What a privilege! Of course, it was exciting just getting to enter. Thank you to everyone: the judges, the reviewers, and especially my fellow authors. It’s the community coming together that really makes this an exciting and fun event.
I’ve assembled my ending thoughts on Coloratura at my blog, which already had a series of design notes. It was way to assemble my thoughts and get some finality to the project so that I can move cleanly onto my next project. Huzzah!
Congratulations on your well-deserved win. Your entry was both innovative and intruiging on a number of counts, and was a first-rate piece of horror fiction in any medium.
I’ve thought about Coloratura several times since playing, and have several unresolved questions about the characters and narrative. I’ve decided I need to replay the game to explore these issues better, but before I do that I have one question: if we consider the particular character of Mercy, then from the particular perspective of Mercy is Coloratura generally an optimistic tale, or generally a pessimistic tale?
In my playthrough my ending included the following
The Mercy dives after you, grasping firmly to your Cellarium. Her body cells scream for oxygen, and the pressure concaves her delicate frame. So she abandons it, entering into the Song instead. The body maintains its desperate grasp on your Cellarium, and you puppet it in a way that pushes your Cellarium exactly back to the infinite junction. The connection of this place overwhelms you, and you Sing unending. Mercy sings with you, an eternally blissful duet. White. Perfection.
My initial impression was that Mercy was damned (if we consider damnation here as a metaphor for ontological estrangement)-- which I thought was an astonishing end, aggressive even for a horror tale, and which was one of the reasons I gave the game top marks. Yet upon further reflection I’m not so sure, particularly given the disjunction of this particular snippet with the “Epilogue,” in which during my playthrough Mercy was found to be still in her raft on the surface. Was some content planned but not implemented, or was something cut for some reason?[/spoiler]
Perhaps you could comment on this issue? Thanks for a great game, as always. [emote]8-)[/emote] [emote]:D[/emote] [emote]8-)[/emote]
Continued spoilers about the ending of Coloratura…
[spoiler]The epilogue was set up to initially seem like it was about the Mercy, but actually deals with finding of the Medic, which is revealed in this sentence, “You can see that she wears the colors of a Corpsman, and you grimly appreciate the irony of one medic saving another.”
Also, in the proper game, there are several buried hints that the Medic split after she saw you while reviving Mercy - she runs away and is never seen again, there were two life boats that are at this point reduced down to one (this fact is not highlighted because the Aqueosity would not feel that the number of lifeboats is significant), and if you go to check on the tape in the Pilot House/Braincenter, you will see that is has been removed.
Mercy is absolutely “damned” if you look at it that way… but if she thinks she’s experiencing eternal bliss, who else can say otherwise?[/spoiler]
The game’s duality and ambiguity is so strong it continues in the thread long after the game’s been finished. [emote]:)[/emote]
Seriously, congratulations. Your game had me hooked from the very beginning. In a game where you can > EXAMINE UNIVERSE you know you’re in for something special.
I certainly agree with Peter-- one of the most compelling aspects of Coloratura is the author’s deft use of ambiguity as a pervasive and vital component of the work.
[spoiler]Mercy leapt into the sea, and was damned. This is what I thought when I read the passage I quoted, and this thought incited in me an authentic (if empathetic) sentiment of horror. The incitement of a sentiment of horror in the reader is the most noble purpose of any horror literature. I’m thereby saying that Coloratura is an effective and hence a successful work of horror literature-- a rare and laudable achievement.
My proposition regarding Mercy’s fate rests in part on a notion that the player-character (let’s call it, er, It) invariably (to the point of naivete) conflates categorically It-centric hedonism with virtue. In my reading the narrative perspective of the passage I quoted is the perspective of It, and therefore the report that the duet with Mercy was “an eternally blissful duet” is an entirely one-sided report. The duet was perceived as blissful by It, and we need not doubt this is a sound accounting of the perception of It-- yet perhaps Mercy (whatever she was after the death of her physical body, she was still not an It-kin herself) felt quite otherwise about the whole affair. Likewise the declaration of the text that Mercy entered the Song upon the death of her human body does not indicate to me that she did so with nontrivial enthusiasm or that if other options were available she would not have preferred another fate; the event occurred, but we simply know not how Mercy felt about the event (despite evidence of some deliberation on her part). Based on the text, presumptions of both optimism and pessimism are equally likely assignments to Mercy-- in this as well as a number of other important moments in her narrative. I think a sufficient number of relevant criteria can however be evaluated to make a metaphor of damnation (eternal suffering of ineffable intensity to which one individual is condemned by another individual) at least a reasonable suggestion. Yet I don’t wish to bog down the author’s party with my interminable philosophizing, so I’ll leave off such matters there.[/spoiler]
I love all the musing, actually. I’m glad it had that kind of effect. [emote]:)[/emote]
It’s an outstanding game and truly terrifying.