Air Pressure


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DoraAir PressureWhat happens when infatuation becomes complacency? Or dependence? You take on the role of a young man having doubts about his current relationship, and whether it really is what he wants out of his life. Air Pressure, a short visual novel by Bento Smile, might be a simple story about falling out of love... or something else entirely.

It's not exactly a cheery game by any means. In fact, it's barely even a game at all. While it lacks the outright morbid feel present in, say, Every Day The Same Dream, if you draw certain conclusions about the subtext present in the game it starts to feel more and more like you're peering uncomfortably through a window into a particularly rocky chapter in someone else's life. You play by clicking to advance text on the screen, and clicking to choose from one of two responses or actions whenever the opportunity arises. There are three endings possible depending on your interactions with the female lead, and telling which one is "good" and which is "bad" isn't quite as obvious as it might seem.

Do yourself a favour and play this game without reading the impressions of other players first. Once you know what's happening, making the connections is fairly easy, but it's interesting to play the game with a clear perspective and see if you draw the same conclusions others seem to be making about the scant plot. From a purely technical standpoint, Air Pressure is a competent, if relatively unremarkable, example of the visual novel genre; the pixelated look along with the limited interaction puts you in mind of the days of monochrome, handheld gaming. It's well written, but the problem is that gamers looking for something "just" entertaining will probably be dissatisfied with the short, simple presentation and heavy symbolism. It's an abstract little bit of work hiding underneath a very light appearance.

Introspective narratives in gameplay are becoming more and more popular as a form of expression, and you either like them or you don't. Air Pressure is quite a bit less open to interpretation than some, and serves as a snapshot of life and choices that may hold more meaning for some people than others.

Note: The unspoken themes in this game will probably go right over the heads of most kids, and the content taken at face value is very tame, but it's been given a slightly higher rating just to be on the safe side.

Play Air Pressure

Walkthrough Guide


(Please allow page to fully load for spoiler tags to be functional.)

Unlike some other "Choose your own adventure" walkthroughs that I'm trying to write, this one is very easy thanks to its shortness. I think it really helps that I'm not trying to script this game - I don't have the time to do that, nor do I have much of the desire. I'd rather my efforts be spent on much more difficult games like Choice of a Dragon or my ultimate ongoing project. (Hourglass of Summer, if anyone here has ever heard of it).

Anyways, to read this walkthrough, start by opening up the spoiler for START and pick your choice. It will have a number, which you will open up and choose again, and so-on so forth. In true "Choose your own adventure" fashion, it really makes little sense to try and read from top to bottom - so don't do it or you'll get lost. Endings are in CAPITAL LETTERS.

Air Pressure Walkthrough:

START

Let's just stay in: 2
I'm going out: 11

2

I'm sorry: 3
I'm with you all the time: 19

3

...About the day we met: 4
Do you want to listen to some music?: 24

4

Yes: 5
I'm not sure: 27

5

Why are you here?: 6
Do you like me?: 14

6

What makes you say that?: 7
Is it really that obvious?: 21

7

Yes: 8
Uh...: 16

8

Thinking about us: 9
...Just thinking: 22

9

Get closer: 10
Wait: 30

10

Yes: HOSPITAL
Wait, what was that?: ACCEPTANCE

11

I should stop: 12
Carry on: 34

12

Yeah, I wouldn't mind: 13
No, I'm fine: 39

13

Yeah, let's go sit somewhere quiet: 27
Why don't we head back home?: 5

14

I'm not a very nice person: 15
Maybe I need more friends: 42

15

Yes: 16
No: 8

16

Hey...: 17
...: 25

17

I want us to be closer: 18
I was just checking: 38

18

I'm sure: HOSPITAL
W-wait: ACCEPTANCE

19

So every day is equally special!: 20
I just didn't notice the date: 43

20

Yes: 5
No: 31

21

There's no harm in it: 8
I could be more independent: 16

22

Being stuck: 23
What was that?: ACCEPTANCE

23

I don't need control...: HOSPITAL
I need to change: ACCEPTANCE

24

Forgive her: 5
Make her feel a little bad: 31

25

Stop thinking: 26
Keep thinking: 48

26

Am happy: ACCEPTANCE
Need to be alone: REJECTION

27

Buy ice cream: 28
Confess: 36

28

...we should go sit by the river?: 29
...I rely on you too much?: 40

29

Forget it: 8
Learn to live with it: 16

30

Get closer: HOSPITAL
Pull back: ACCEPTANCE

31

Apologise: 32
Stay silent: 44

32

It's my fault: 33
...Because: 46

33

Yes: 8
No: 16

34

No, I'm not: 35
...: 49

35

I'm so glad: 27
I hate it: 50

36

Yes: 37
No: 57

37

More friends: 16
Instead of you: 53

38

I'll just see what happens: ACCEPTANCE
Take control: HOSPITAL

39

I wish she was here now: 27
I'll be fine: 50

40

No: 8
Yes: 53

41 does not exist because I made a boo-boo when writing this up


42

I don't mean it like that: 16
Is it wrong for me to want more friends?: 53

43

I'm sorry: 31
...: 31

44

Wait...: 45
...I don't care: 47

45

Apologise: 16
It's not unreasonable: 53

46

I don't know how else to fix things: 8
Don't accept it then!: 16

47

...No: 16
Yes!: 53

48

Yes: REJECTION
No: ACCEPTANCE

49

Look, it's not you...: 50
What are you doing here anyways?: 31

50

Sit down: 51
Keep walking: 60

51

Feel better: 52
Feel worse: 65

52

Confront her: 53
Forget it: 16

53

No: 54
...Maybe: 58

54

I've made up my mind: 55
H-how dare you!: 63

55

Make her leave: REJECTION
Wait for her to stop: REJECTION

56

I need her: 16
We need to talk: 53

57

Apologise: 16
Let her leave: 53

58

I'm not happy: 59
Forget it: 64

59

Ask her to leave: REJECTION
Apologise: ACCEPTANCE

60

Feel better: 61
Feel worse: 56

61

Leaving her: 53
Staying with her: 16

62 does not exist because I made a boo-boo while writing this up.


63

Yes...: REJECTION
Shut up!: ACCEPTANCE

64

Fine: ACCEPTANCE
...: ACCEPTANCE

65

...This is unhealthy: 53
...I should go back: 16

The three endings:

HOSPITAL:

This is the ending where you understand a bit more about the true nature of your "girlfriend" Leigh - if you pay close attention to all the text during the game. I would suggest you play this game with this ending in mind several times to come up with your own conclusion, but it is clear that Leigh represents some sort of addiction that is life-threatening.

On the surface, though, this ending is obtained by choosing the "good" choices (in terms of any normal dating sim), but it is clear after going through this that this is a "bad" ending.

ACCEPTANCE:

This is the ending where you decide to accept your girlfriend Leigh into your life. It is vague as to whether this a "good" ending or a "bad" ending, but I suppose in a normal dating sim, this would be considered the "neutral" ending. Here, the player is unsure whether to be happy or sad that Leigh is still around.

In this ending, they show Leigh with static in her character, making thus furthering the player's curiosity - what does the static mean? More reason why I say that this is the "neutral" end - the player is left with an unanswered question that would not make sense unless they play the other endings.

REJECTION:

In this ending, you decide to force your girlfriend Leigh out of your life. In most normal dating sims, this would be the "bad" ending. However, if you read the text, it shows that the player is happy that Leigh is out of his life, and hopes never to see her again - this shows that this is actually the "good" ending for this game..

This ending is one that really doesn't make sense unless you play the other endings - for some of the routes, its very easy to take this ending at face value, that the player wants to get out of a one sided relationship. Beyond the static that is there for some parts of the game, there are no signs to show that Leigh wasn't even human in this ending. That said, as with the other endings, keep it in mind when playing again.

My brain... it hurts (it should - 9 pages!)... If I missed anything, or incorrectly numbered a choice (all too easy with a game like this), please leave a message and correct it for me. I need a rest...

If anyone wants to use this to write a scripted walkthrough, go ahead. I have zero intentions of doing that.

84 Comments

Wait, what? Was he a

Vampire or something? Because she ended up in the hospital and they were talking about her veins and... yeah, it just seemed like it.

Seriously, this isn't a retorical question. Was he?

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tenkuchima Author Profile Page March 9, 2010 6:28 PM

not quite sure how I feel about this. I didnt really get and deep or meaningful sub text out of it, and without that it was just kind of boring.

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StephenM3 Author Profile Page March 9, 2010 6:32 PM

I'd like to echo the urge to not read any further comments before playing! When I first played this, the most interesting part is the process of discovering the subtext -- it's not nearly as interesting if you know from the start.

I got the chance to play this before it was ported to Flash. It's really quite a moving experience. While it may seem that your control over things is pretty limited, there's a lot more here than first meets the eye! There may be only three "endings" but before the conclusion, the story branches into dozens of little paths. If you were trying to find every possible piece of dialogue in here, it would take you a very long time.

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I also agree that it was quite boring. Perhaps it's the fact that I've never been in a relationship or am just too young to understand, but I didn't get it.

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I'll be honest, I didn't get the subtext.

The hospital ending was a big hint, I know, but I can't place exactly what the heck is going on.

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StephenM3 Author Profile Page March 9, 2010 6:48 PM

Well, if you've played through it a couple times and aren't seeing any sort of metaphor, try

doing everything you can to be happier with her and 'closer to her.' There's one ending that makes it pretty apparent what's really happening. If you really want to know what (I think) is going on, I'll talk about it in the next spoiler.

This works as a metaphor for addiction and dependency, particularly drugs. If you play through keeping in mind that she is 'drugs,' and being with her is being under the influence, it suddenly becomes pretty easy to see the analogy.

I think the choice of metaphor is really interesting. By using a relationship, Benito set things up to where we don't necessarily reject the dependency right away. If it had said up front, 'this is about drugs,' it would be obvious which way to go for the good ending. But being overly dependent on a relationship isn't always seen as a bad thing, so it leaves things up in the air long enough for you to undergo a process of discovery.

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I must be stupid, because I have no idea what is up with the

hospital scene. It happens after when they make love, I think, but why?

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dsrtrosy Author Profile Page March 9, 2010 6:49 PM

Hmmm....I'm not finding much in the way of subtext. Sounds very juvenile to me--as if it were written by a teenage boy. I've tried for several different endings and get the same sense from it. Sorry! Not as deep as expected!

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Grant Thurston Author Profile Page March 9, 2010 6:51 PM

I've gotten two of the three endings, the one where...

you talk about staying like this forever, that you won't be happy or sad, and it seems like an all around neutral ending.

and the one where

You ask her to leave, she gets uninvolved in your life, and you look forward to starting anew.

I'm curious to find the third. How do I get it? What kind of decisions do I have to make?

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Grant:
I think it was something along the lines of:

Go on a walk
Stop and wait
Go back to the house
Thinking about us
Do you like me?
I don't think I am a nice person
Get Closer

I may have missed a few of the choices.
I'm still thinking through what exactly he means, and whether this story holds much depth or not. That 3rd ending is fairly confusing.

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It's fairly difficult to discuss this game without potentially spoiling it for anyone who hasn't "clicked" with it yet.

Addiction is one of the hardest things to deal with in fiction. To an outside observer, it seems obvious: "Just stop! Your addiction is bad." It's apparent to everyone but the addict and therefore difficult to develop a connection.

By portraying a drug addiction as a seemingly innocent relationship with a cute character, gamers will instrictively want to defend and protect the relationship in the same way an addict does. Even when the relationship takes a dark turn, most gamers will probably seek to repair it in order to "win the game".

It's a fairly brilliant approach to the subject matter if you ask me, even if the game could have been fleshed out a bit more.

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Anonymous March 9, 2010 7:14 PM

One way to get the third ending

Stay in. Make wimpy, keep this relationship alive decisions..then decide to get closer to her

This is because ...major spoiler here...

she's a ghost. At least, that's what I'm getting out of this. She has static lines across her at times, as though she's becoming less real. When you try to get closer to her, you make a suicide attempt and end up in the hospital.

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Sam Garret March 9, 2010 7:46 PM

Wow - thanks OficiallyHapHazard, finding the third ending made it ten times better. I was struggling to see the point before that. I love it when the penny drops and drops hard.

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ChaoSpectre Author Profile Page March 9, 2010 8:02 PM

So I clicked around.

Seemed innocent enough. I had tended to deal with stuff that looks a lot like this when I was younger.

Clicking.

Clicking.

Amusing stuff.

Cute(?) endings, if ambivalent, or ominous... or... portentous.

I had to keep clicking.

There was something else behind this story and I wanted to find out what it was.

Click.

Click. Click. Click.

Get Closer? Hmm... This is hardly ambivalent.

Let's do that.

Click.

Veins? Arteries?

There's something deeper here if you are willing to find it.

I had to click on the spoilers, because I was a little confused at what I had gotten at.

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mr1black Author Profile Page March 9, 2010 8:24 PM

Well, I've been in a relativley simmilar relationship (the real thing, not the subtext.. :-) few month ago, and I have probably not yet goten over every emotion connected with it, so to me, the real text was somewhat meaningfull, ok written and made me sigh a bit.
First I have "unlocked" first two endings, and nothing seemed unusual, so I thought those few sighs were all what this game can get out of me. Only afther the last, unusual ending, the subtext became clear. Pitty I anticipated it, the impact wasn't so great, but still, it was interesting twist.
So the most interesting thing in the whole game to me was the well presented fact that the real life relationship can sometimes become so... wrong, like the theme in subtext...
What is the real happyness? Is somenthing that just looks like happyness realy it? Realy the best? What is more important - freedom, or not beeing lonly! Etc, etc, etc...

Sorry for the ""All your base are belong to us" effect! :-)

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JustAGirl March 9, 2010 8:34 PM

Wow. Just wow.

At first, I just thought "Oh, this poor sap needs to fix his relationship with his woman." I got the "Get Closer" ending on the second try. But then, when

he ended up in the hospital, it took me a while to figure out what was going on, then it hit me: "Holy Crap, she's a drug!"

Suddenly, everything took on a new meaning:

"Wrapped around [his] left arm?" A tourniquet. All this talking like he's co-dependant? An addict. Egads, in hindsight it's brilliant! The portrayal of drugs as a beautiful woman?!

It's brilliant!

This game is like a cayenne pepper; small, but packs a major wallop once you bite in.

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mr1black Author Profile Page March 9, 2010 8:45 PM

Well shoot. Now that I've established I have some emotional response to main text, watching the whole game with subtext in mind gets creepier by the minute:

"Ever since I met her, she wrapped herself around my arm..." "Let's stay home together, just the two of us" "Am I realy happy with her?" ""She seems to magicaly appeare every time I'm lonely" "I'm here becouse you need me." "It was hard to stop my hands shaking."

And that creepy music. So simple and gentle, but allso a bit irritating and too retro... Brrr!
Great job, love the games that make me think so much!

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emita81 Author Profile Page March 9, 2010 9:14 PM

After seeing the third ending, I wonder if it is possible that the subtext refers to

depression, or a 'dark side', rather than drugs? The nurse seems to be referring more to a suicide attempt than an accidental overdose.

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Playing the game made me feel very uneasy, which I think is a good thing.

@emita81: That was my thought as well, although it raised more questions than it answered for me.

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Anonymous March 9, 2010 9:33 PM

Oh, frack!

So my theory about an incestuous relationship with a niece was wrong?

(But seriously: not having stumbled on the "revelatory" ending, the story looked just plain. A few hints along the way would have done lots of good to this title)

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Gabriel Author Profile Page March 9, 2010 9:43 PM

I agree with emita81- the third ending could imply

self-mutilation/"cutting" just as easily as drugs.

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Anonymous March 9, 2010 9:56 PM

There is another interpretation that hasn't been discussed:

The couple are in an abusive relationship. She is the abuser, he is the victim. She talks about how she "does" everything for him and how he'd never manage to do anything without his help. She seems abnormally controlling of his every action and expects him to take the blame for all issues in the relationship. These are typical behaviors of abusers.

Domestic abuse is commonly portrayed in media as male on female, but female on male abuse is much less reported.

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The subtext here is really obvious after like 1/2 to 1 playthrough. I think it's pretty well done.

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Did you ever see that show on A&E, "Intervention"?

There was one episode where this smart, beautiful girl was killing herself with heroin, and her family begged and cried for her to accept treatment. I couldn't understand why she wouldn't accept--couldn't she see how loved she was and how much better her life would be by getting clean. But it completely made sense when she told her sister "This is like my spouse. Imagine someone trying to force you divorce your husband, when you are completely in love with him."

I think the same goes for battered wives who won't leave their creep husbands.

This game sort of seems to be a cool literalization of that concept. Kind of depressing, but very interesting.

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ShadowmancerLord Author Profile Page March 9, 2010 10:57 PM

Half of you guys aren't getting it.

The guy is a heroin addict. Most if not all heroin addicts shoot up in their left arm; he "depends" on her and she makes him feel "happy". Self-mutilation does not make you feel happy; I would know, I have friends that do it. Then, in the hospital ending, he says he's "shaking" before he gets closer to her; this is a reference to the shakes an addict gets when they need their fix. As for the hospital itself, you notice that the nurse only says veins and nerves. Heroin is injected into the arteries, which go straight to the heart and pump the drug to the entire body. If you inject heroin into a vein, it can cause incredible pain and even the loss of that limb.

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What's strange, is

the bit where he ends up in the hospital, and talks about how he feels better, less under pressure I think.
The game is called air pressure, and for some reason I got the impression that he drilled into his own head. It is actually, though uncommon, something long term drug addicts do sometimes, thinking it'll relieve pressure.

Just a thought.

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What kind of drugs are you on? It's obvious she's a demon which only he can see and that exchanges wishes for his blood!
Just kidding!

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One of the things that I find interesting here is that everyone is warning everyone to stay away from other people's interpretations, and yet the conversation kind of evolved around the popular interpretation anyway. It's like everyone is so intent on seeing the game from the perspective that ShadowmancerLord outlines directly above me.

Don't get me wrong, that's a very compelling interpretation, but in my mind, not exactly the most useful one. Even if it may be the most technically consistent.

I actually much prefer Rob's take because it points not so much to one specific instance as it does to a common aspect of the human condition:

In other words, yes, the game seems to cater most specifically to heroine abuse. However, it has a broader and perhaps more significant reach when we look at it as a metaphor to our addiction to abusive relationships, whether that relationship is with another person, or with a drug, or any other source of addiction.

When we were talking about this amongst ourselves, I didn't see any of the heroine interpretations, and my initial instinct was that it was detailing abusive romantic relationships. Given the gender roles in this game, people may skip over this possibility, but I have known of relationships where the female was both mentally and physically abusive.

So, yes, on a microscopic scale, there are plenty of references to support a specific heroine interpretation. But I think what is more important is that whether it be an abusive spouse, a drug, alcohol, heh, even the internet, the way we find ourselves in this addictive cycle can seem so innocent, but when we finally make that decision to break that cycle, we find it so difficult.

That's where the potency, for me at least, comes from in this game. When you tell her you are going to quit her, the arguments she puts up for not quitting her, those are nearly universal. An abusive spouse, cigarettes, heroine, you tell yourself you won't be quite as good without them as you are with them. That's where the real difficulty comes from in quitting, overcoming these lies.

Yeesh, okay, that went far longer than I intended. Sorry about that.

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zbeeblebrox Author Profile Page March 10, 2010 2:42 AM

A very well-made game. Brilliant execution! And that's got to be the most apt analogy for the given subject matter that I've ever seen. Bravo! :D

Spoiler for answering confusions. Read it if you've played the game and still aren't sure you understand.

It seems people here are having trouble piecing together the subtext. It's incredibly, incredibly subtle, so that's understandable. Several have already drawn the conclusion that the character's girlfriend is an addiction. This is accurate. But nobody here has pinpointed the correct addiction yet.

Heroine was a good guess, because of the application of a tourniquet, but with heroine you're trying to hit your artery, not the other way around.

My dad used to work with patients suffering from this particular problem, so I caught on pretty quickly. Specifically: the game is referring to cutting. It usually develops while the cutter is a teen. Cutters tend to focus over time on a specific body part, usually a particular arm. In this case, his left. It usually starts as a response to depression, as a way to "feel something" or "be in control" - all three of those aspects were mentioned at some point in the game as attributes of the girl and why he was with her. And eventually, cutters become very good at making cuts that don't leave lasting marks. Hence the nurse's comment at the end about him being lucky that he didn't hit any arteries, and his thought-response that he's too experienced to ever do that.

As long as you're not specific, the analogy can apply to any addiction, in the broader sense. But where the details are concerned, the game plays more accurately as a metaphor for cutting.

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ChaoSpectre Author Profile Page March 10, 2010 3:40 AM

Guys, guys, guys!

I leave, and everyone gets so worked up!

Everyone's trying so hard to be right about what the game is about. I'll admit that the game does foster that train of thought. It begins and you want to figure out the point of this seemingly insipid relationship simulation. Then there's a flicker of something interesting and (if you haven't already figured it out by then, and I hadn't) you are taken in. You must figure out what it all meant.

But

whether the game is depicting self-mutilation or heroin (which seem to be the two theories with the most substantiation), addiction in general or abusive relationships is immaterial to the point or the message. This claim needs some defending, doesn't it?

We'll you've all done a great job for me. The game so clearly had affected a great deal of you, regardless of your awareness of the issues at hand. I know it touched me in ways I was unprepared for, and I knew none of this technical and involved information that has been so generously provided (citations would be nice, guys). And all of you passionately discuss this game despite your lack of consensus. In this way, the game has proven to be accessible to a great deal of people.

If this game were "A Day In The Mind Of A Self-Mutilator/Heroin Addict," wouldn't the author gone out of his way to make that clear to the part of the audience that won't pick up on the more subtle cues?

If the game isn't "A Day In The Life...," what is it?

Well... what is a game?

I like to go with the "series of interesting choices" model. You may remember something about this in the article (interview?) on that game where you are a Dragon? That game that was released for the iPhone? I forget its name now...

Anyway, some choices take the form of "go left, go right" and "jump now, jump later." "Shoot, reload, hide, run" is also a popular model. In this game, you're presented with more personal choices, and in return for making some of those choices, you're presented with some consequences of those choices.

When I put it this way, every game becomes about the consequences of the choices you make. But what this game does is bring the game construct into the context of life as we live it. We don't have a victory chime when we do something "right." We don't have a stock of lives that increments by -1, or a chirpy little tune that reminds us of what it means when we fall off of the screen. Both of the "normal" endings in this game were equally as ambiguous. They leave us only with hopefulness and determination concerning the future.

So I think I've dealt with everything except what to do with what the endings may actually mean. With a "Good End" that is brought about by holding a steadfast desire to be self-sufficient, a "Bad End" that comes from caving into pressures and insecurities, and a "Silence of the Lambs End" that comes from trying valiantly and then failing miserably, the game seems like if it gave any kind of message, it would be polarized in some way. The implications of the endings do serve to cement real consequences in the story, strengthening the immersion and the investment of the player. Beyond that, I have no prescription for you. It's not my place to force one onto you.

If you all want to discuss what the message might be, by all means, go ahead. You won't come to a conclusion because it will mean something different to all of you, as any meaningful work of literature or media will.

Meaningful works tend to present life. That is what is being done here. The rest is left to us, the people on the other side of the medium.

It's not our job to figure out what to take from it. It's to acknowledge that we have taken something from it and proceed.

PS.

If you're upset with the wishy washy tone I've just taken on the entire issue, go ahead and grumble amongst yourselves about whether razor blades or needles are the big boss fight. Barring extreme personal experience and investment, will the subject matter of our Stephen King endings truly change how the game made you feel?

Bento Smile's trying to make you feel. How do you feel?

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The details are irrelevant.

The point is, in the end, Leigh is a self-destructive addiction of some kind, and the protagonist is at a crossroads. He can either take the wishy-washy approach, neither succumbing to it nor breaking free of it, he can give into his addiction entirely, or he can kick it.

To be honest, the first time I got the hospital ending, I was under the impression that he had almost committed suicide, though his subsequent dialogue nixed that assumption.

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Ah, that explains it. I too (like Ryusui) thought it was a suicide. I however missed some text due to some fast space-bar pressing. Anyhow, the theories are indeed interesting and I think that the message of addiction is a strong one. Interesting game.

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Anonymous March 10, 2010 6:33 AM

With experience in both

drug use and self harm

I agree it doesn't really matter which the game is about. It had a creepy effect on me through all three endings (played many times). Great atmosphere.
On an anatomical note, and also from experience,

the posters above have veins and arteries mixed up - arteries are the spurty ones with a pulse with blood going away from the heart, veins are the bulgy torniquet ones going to the heart. Never inject into an artery, this causes arm/hand/leg/foot damage - Never inject into a vein - This wrecks your life.

Enjoy this game and chill out.

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downpour_guy Author Profile Page March 10, 2010 8:03 AM

I played this game through, got the 3 endings and had 3 different ideas to the general theme.

But after thinking long and hard about I'm pretty sure I came to the same conclusion as everyone else.

I first got the hospital ending, and leading up to it she was kind of fading in and out on the screen, don't know if this is a glitch or purposefuly there, but it made me think of a second personality.

This was hightened when the neutral ending adding a few sentences along the lines of "I have always helped you" and "I will always help you, even if you don't want me to" or something like that.

But after thinking about the hospital ending again with the other dialogue in mind, I realised it was about drug addiction. I re-did the hospital ending and realised that if somebody got closer to their multiple personalities it would probably create a single personality and reduce any problems they have, and would be less likely to attempt suicide.

That was my journey through this game anyway.

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I'm going to throw out some immature levity:

When I saw"infatuation" next to "Air Pressure", I thought it said "flatulence"...and I went into the game, not having read the rest of the review, expecting a more lighthearted game.

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Wow. This was actually a great representation of

addiction, whether it be to self-mutilation, drugs, or anything else. The addict may want to end it, but the addiction whispers (metaphorically, of course) "Come on. How far do you think you'll get without me?"

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Bookworm March 10, 2010 2:08 PM

I got the subtext by the second scene - "left arm" is a big clue, but that's only because I knew it was there to find.

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Acidifiers Author Profile Page March 10, 2010 3:16 PM

The first time getting the hospital ending, my impression was that he was a maniac, a compulsive serial killer, and he'd finally tired of Leigh. The doctor being a psychiatrist; our character being cunning enough to evade suspicion, managed to talk his way out of that situation and dodge much of the blame and all of the consequences. I didn't think, at first, that he was the one that might be hurt.

And, one last thing: The (generally accepted as) correct interpretation can work from either end. One could say drugs are comparable to love.

Or love is a drug.

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Guys, listen up! I figured out the true meaning with research of Bento Smile:

It IS self mutilation. With the evidence from the game, and the veins and arteries, I found out something via Newgrounds.

Bentosmile's game published after that is "Suicide is not the answer" referring to intentionally hurting yourself. I don't think it's suicide, because we know that the girl is definitley not real.

Hope it helps

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The hospital ending made me think of suicide, especially the bit about the arteries. Also,

I didn't expect addiction personified to be so gosh-darned adorable!

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crimsonthread Author Profile Page March 10, 2010 8:18 PM

Sal, did you play the game you mentioned? [spoiler]It's about a guy who really needs to use the bathroom. [/spoiler]I don't think it can be applied as proof for any theories about this game.

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Whats His Face March 10, 2010 9:36 PM

its obvious to me he tried to kill himself

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Anonymous March 10, 2010 11:45 PM

What a fabulous metaphor and brilliant execution!

I am so recommending this "game" to my friend who is an addictions counselor. Wow, just wow, she will love this and probably find a good use for it. It's a great way to explain addiction of any kind. Major kudos to the game developer, excellent job!

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WOAH once I got the subtext and read all of you guys' comments... :O how deep...

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Unlike some other "Choose your own adventure" walkthroughs that I'm trying to write, this one is very easy thanks to its shortness. I think it really helps that I'm not trying to script this game - I don't have the time to do that, nor do I have much of the desire. I'd rather my efforts be spent on much more difficult games like Choice of a Dragon or my ultimate ongoing project. (Hourglass of Summer, if anyone here has ever heard of it).

Anyways, to read this walkthrough, start by opening up the spoiler for START and pick your choice. It will have a number, which you will open up and choose again, and so-on so forth. In true "Choose your own adventure" fashion, it really makes little sense to try and read from top to bottom - so don't do it or you'll get lost. Endings are in CAPITAL LETTERS.

Air Pressure Walkthrough:

START

Let's just stay in: 2
I'm going out: 11

2

I'm sorry: 3
I'm with you all the time: 19

3

...About the day we met: 4
Do you want to listen to some music?: 24

4

Yes: 5
I'm not sure: 27

5

Why are you here?: 6
Do you like me?: 14

6

What makes you say that?: 7
Is it really that obvious?: 21

7

Yes: 8
Uh...: 16

8

Thinking about us: 9
...Just thinking: 22

9

Get closer: 10
Wait: 30

10

Yes: HOSPITAL
Wait, what was that?: ACCEPTANCE

11

I should stop: 12
Carry on: 34

12

Yeah, I wouldn't mind: 13
No, I'm fine: 39

13

Yeah, let's go sit somewhere quiet: 27
Why don't we head back home?: 5

14

I'm not a very nice person: 15
Maybe I need more friends: 42

15

Yes: 16
No: 8

16

Hey...: 17
...: 25

17

I want us to be closer: 18
I was just checking: 38

18

I'm sure: HOSPITAL
W-wait: ACCEPTANCE

19

So every day is equally special!: 20
I just didn't notice the date: 43

20

Yes: 5
No: 31

21

There's no harm in it: 8
I could be more independent: 16

22

Being stuck: 23
What was that?: ACCEPTANCE

23

I don't need control...: HOSPITAL
I need to change: ACCEPTANCE

24

Forgive her: 5
Make her feel a little bad: 31

25

Stop thinking: 26
Keep thinking: 48

26

Am happy: ACCEPTANCE
Need to be alone: REJECTION

27

Buy ice cream: 28
Confess: 36

28

...we should go sit by the river?: 29
...I rely on you too much?: 40

29

Forget it: 8
Learn to live with it: 16

30

Get closer: HOSPITAL
Pull back: ACCEPTANCE

31

Apologise: 32
Stay silent: 44

32

It's my fault: 33
...Because: 46

33

Yes: 8
No: 16

34

No, I'm not: 35
...: 49

35

I'm so glad: 27
I hate it: 50

36

Yes: 37
No: 57

37

More friends: 16
Instead of you: 53

38

I'll just see what happens: ACCEPTANCE
Take control: HOSPITAL

39

I wish she was here now: 27
I'll be fine: 50

40

No: 8
Yes: 53

41 does not exist because I made a boo-boo when writing this up


42

I don't mean it like that: 16
Is it wrong for me to want more friends?: 53

43

I'm sorry: 31
...: 31

44

Wait...: 45
...I don't care: 47

45

Apologise: 16
It's not unreasonable: 53

46

I don't know how else to fix things: 8
Don't accept it then!: 16

47

...No: 16
Yes!: 53

48

Yes: REJECTION
No: ACCEPTANCE

49

Look, it's not you...: 50
What are you doing here anyways?: 31

50

Sit down: 51
Keep walking: 60

51

Feel better: 52
Feel worse: 65

52

Confront her: 53
Forget it: 16

53

No: 54
...Maybe: 58

54

I've made up my mind: 55
H-how dare you!: 63

55

Make her leave: REJECTION
Wait for her to stop: REJECTION

56

I need her: 16
We need to talk: 53

57

Apologise: 16
Let her leave: 53

58

I'm not happy: 59
Forget it: 64

59

Ask her to leave: REJECTION
Apologise: ACCEPTANCE

60

Feel better: 61
Feel worse: 56

61

Leaving her: 53
Staying with her: 16

62 does not exist because I made a boo-boo while writing this up.


63

Yes...: REJECTION
Shut up!: ACCEPTANCE

64

Fine: ACCEPTANCE
...: ACCEPTANCE

65

...This is unhealthy: 53
...I should go back: 16

The three endings:

HOSPITAL:

This is the ending where you understand a bit more about the true nature of your "girlfriend" Leigh - if you pay close attention to all the text during the game. I would suggest you play this game with this ending in mind several times to come up with your own conclusion, but it is clear that Leigh represents some sort of addiction that is life-threatening.

On the surface, though, this ending is obtained by choosing the "good" choices (in terms of any normal dating sim), but it is clear after going through this that this is a "bad" ending.

ACCEPTANCE:

This is the ending where you decide to accept your girlfriend Leigh into your life. It is vague as to whether this a "good" ending or a "bad" ending, but I suppose in a normal dating sim, this would be considered the "neutral" ending. Here, the player is unsure whether to be happy or sad that Leigh is still around.

In this ending, they show Leigh with static in her character, making thus furthering the player's curiosity - what does the static mean? More reason why I say that this is the "neutral" end - the player is left with an unanswered question that would not make sense unless they play the other endings.

REJECTION:

In this ending, you decide to force your girlfriend Leigh out of your life. In most normal dating sims, this would be the "bad" ending. However, if you read the text, it shows that the player is happy that Leigh is out of his life, and hopes never to see her again - this shows that this is actually the "good" ending for this game..

This ending is one that really doesn't make sense unless you play the other endings - for some of the routes, its very easy to take this ending at face value, that the player wants to get out of a one sided relationship. Beyond the static that is there for some parts of the game, there are no signs to show that Leigh wasn't even human in this ending. That said, as with the other endings, keep it in mind when playing again.

My brain... it hurts (it should - 9 pages!)... If I missed anything, or incorrectly numbered a choice (all too easy with a game like this), please leave a message and correct it for me. I need a rest...

If anyone wants to use this to write a scripted walkthrough, go ahead. I have zero intentions of doing that.

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I think the link to Every Day the Same Dream in the article is broken.

[Fixed, thanks! -Jay]

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I gathered that "Leigh" was supposed to represent something (kinda obvious), but I didn't quite get that she represented

an addiction, or some other specific self-destructive behavior - I guessed it was some kind in general

- until I came here and read the comments. The VN makes you think and feel, and so I rate it a success.

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Anonymous March 13, 2010 2:19 PM

Huh. I missed the hospital scene and I suck at finding subtext, so to me it was about a delusion (imaginary friend). It still worked very well though.

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@crimsonthread wow i feel like a fool, and your spoiler tag is wrong :p

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Wow. I was moved. I think that the drug was a metaphor for the interpersonal relationship as much as the other way around. That's what makes this story so fine.

I happen to have just had to make that decision myself. Not the metaphorically implied but exactly that decision. To tell someone very close to you that you can't see them anymore, and knowing that it will hurt them, and that it will be difficult to be on your own, because you have come to depend on oneanother. And those are the three endings I could have chosen. It's always the easiest not to make a decision, but then there will be no development.

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Magnolia March 21, 2010 4:25 PM

The hospital scene should be quite easy to understand once you've played the game with all three endings.

If you pay attention to the beginning, he says "she wrapped herself around my left arm", which should give you the hint that she is like a drug in which involves a needle.

Knowing this, when you get to the hospital scene and the nurse says "It's a good thing you didn't hit any nerves or ateries." that should clearly state that he took a large dosage of ____ drug and could've hit a nerve in the process.

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Wizardbaker March 21, 2010 9:52 PM

I think the main character is on drugs, and the girl plays the role as the drug. He relies to much on the drug to make himself happy, and he is trying to get off his addiction. Either that or she is a ghost.

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in the third ending

he attempted suicide

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This is actually a beautiful game. I especially love how I said "Oh, I get it now!" about two or three times before I did. If you're really having trouble figuring it out, here's how to piece it:

Hospital scene, dependence symbolism, and "attached to my left arm"

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I must say, first of all, that this game is extremely touching. When I played through the first few endings I was just like wow... then I got the last one.

(don't read the spoiler if you haven't played all of the endings yet. It's so much more gratifying to figure it out on your own)

I saw ShadowmancerLord say "Self-mutilation does not make you feel happy; I would know, I have friends that do it." Actually, until you've experienced it first hand and HAD reasons for self mutilation, don't try to explain what it does and doesn't make you feel. I have first hand experience with self mutilation, and when you want to escape, it very much does make you happy afterward. Not later, when you notice the cuts or scars or anything, but in the moment. I've literally broken out in laughter after cutting a few times just out of the sheer joy of forgetting what mental pain I was in at the moment. So please, don't try to explain our experiences. I'm not saying it makes EVERYONE who self mutilates happy, but from personal experience and experience in therapy, there is a feeling of joy afterward in a good amount of us.

So this game very much struck me in a deep place... after getting the hospital ending, I just gasped and shivered all over. I can very much relate to it on that kind of level, and I appreciate this kind of delicacy with this sort of situation. It just brought tears to my eyes. I have been through almost all of those endings in real life, but luckily I quit before I could EVER reach a hospital ending. Thank you for posting this game so much.

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No, its a drug. Think about it, he said he wasn't stupid enough to hit a nerve. Plus she said he was like everybody else without her, and that she didn't belive he could leave her. Plus he said he "left her within the month", meaning it took him about a month to get over the addiction. He is injecting drugs.

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the worst possible way you can interpret this game i think is "he is addicted to drugs. end of." or "he self harms. end of". one of the beautys about a game like this is that it could mean either or those things, or both, or something entirely different, all depending on how you look at it and how you want to see it.

personally the first time i played through, i thought he had got with her and then realised that it wasnt what he had wanted and tried to commit suicide to escape how bad he was feeling. after reading all the comments however, i realise that it could mean any number of things.

overall i think this is one of the best games i have played in a long time, and hope to see many more like this

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sashaisme June 21, 2010 11:06 PM

I managed to find all three endings.

Personally, He just didn't want to be around her anymore.

Although, I think that all of the conclusions you guys have come up with are good, and always up for debate.

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BOBITOxD July 11, 2010 12:12 AM

FOR THOSE WHO DONT KNOW:
he(you) is a self-multilator (self inflicting)
person she represents him cutting himself if he needs her he cuts himself and sends himself into the hospital thus the hospital ending

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Anonymous July 13, 2010 2:13 PM

wtf glitched where the first screen is the background of the rest of the game O.o

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My mind wants her to be real I guess because my conclusion until reading these reviews was "she's one of those people who drink other people's blood and in return for her company, he lets her drink his blood!"

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Anonymous October 9, 2010 9:01 PM

Um...

About the hospital scene...
They were "closer than they'd ever been..."
And then he was in hospital and he's lucky...
He "didn't puncture any veins or arteries..."

WOAH! My take is that SOMETHING happened while they did it...

And what the nurse says might hint that he has a record of doing that but the text said "they were CLOSER THAN THEY'D EVER BEEN" so how can he have a record?

My conclusion is that he's done it to a lot of people.

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She represents death... Look at the Endings, if you actually play through it, you decide to "Get closer" and you end up in the hostipal for cutting your wrist. You "Reject her" and your character lives a happy life. You "Accept her" and you are no closer to an ending then when you started the game... I hope this helps some of you out there

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how do you get ending 3
?

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I understand the game now!!
The ending

in the hospital

is what happens after a drug overdose. As people have said before, the game is about addiction and dependence. That ending is about the addiction one. The other ending

when he leaves her

is about giving up the addiction.
The last ending is about staying with it as he depends on the drugs to be happy and high.

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I think the game is about

depression or self mutilation. You can live with it, never being happy but you never have to face anything. If you push it away, you can be happy. If you get closer, you can embrace it fully and take it to the next level - killing yourself.

Either way, beautiful game.

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although I suppose that this is entirely subjective, here's what I think.

she is depression, he uses it to make himself interesting, I.E. dark poets or the 'starving artist' deal, she isn't drugs, because drugs don't usually make you cut close to your important veins. She even says that he can't cope without her, that she helped him deal with everything that's bad. A lot of people tend to use depression as an excuse to be sad, but with willpower we can be free of it, as our protagonist has shown us. if you push her away, he says that he's happy again and that he hopes that a day never comes where he sees her again.

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For anyone who doesn't understand, Leigh is heroin.
For example:

"From the second we met, she wrapped herself around my left arm, and has stuck there ever since."
Most people are right handed, so they inject heroin in their left arm. Get it?
It also explains the hospital ending, when the nurse says that you didn't hit any major nerves or arteries.

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I dont understand...

why does the girl become blurred before the endings and what is the ending related to the hospital means

please help

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Akane1313 April 11, 2011 12:46 PM

Isn't it rather presumptuous to assume that you've got it all figured out and post "For those of you who don't understand..."? I mean, I've read through all of these comments (some of which don't even attempt to hide spoilers) and have noticed that some people are taking a bit of an arrogant tone in relaying what they think the game is trying to tell us.

Personally

I agree with a lot of people in that I think it does have something to do with addiction. The parts about him having shaking hands and interesting details like her attachment to his right arm make it seem like a drug addiction. She seems like a hallucination the way she tends to appear out of nowhere like a ghost.

At the same time, this can also sum up being in a bad relationship and staying, not because you're happy in it, but because you've gotten used to the cycle and are afraid of change at this point. There were times when her character seemed a bit like that as well. As though she was hiding behind excitement to ignore the fact that things weren't working between them. She was so quick to totally forgive him for forgetting their anniversary and seemed to be doing all she could to keep him from feeling negatively toward her. In the first scenario I played through, she went all crazy on me and talked about how I didn't mean it and whatnot, but in the second one, she tried to stop me from breaking up with her a bit, but quietly agreed to breaking up without much conflict. It made it seem like, rather than him just being addicted to her, they were kind of addicted to each other even though neither of them were getting real happiness out of their situation.

But that's just my long-winded opinion. :3

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Here's my take on it:


I don't think she's a drug because she talks about keeping him honest and making him a better person, which are more of a self mutalation thing. Either way, I thought the story was really well thought out. At first I didn't really get it :P

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In the hospital ending, with veins... Was anyone else thinking... If you cut a vein, you lose a whole lotta blood. I think...maybe she relies on you more than you think. Good game. Sad and very powerful.

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My first clue was when I saw the Google ads. Then the left arm. Then all the stuff about f2fher "helping" you... Creepy. Sad. Moving. I got the good ending, where you drop "her."

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warstorm111 October 23, 2011 12:56 PM

i wonder why the addiction's personifcation is so as many have said cute or adorable?
well... your the addict and addiction is a pair of rose tinted glasses. you dont see how bad it is or that this is not the answer.
you see it as a good thing.
you see it as something you can rely on.
you see it as something that you shouldnt leave.
in the end thats what its like
you dont have second chances.
make a mistake and lose your life
tough luck kid

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why the heck cant i get to the hospital ending? i keep trying, but always get to the acceptance ending.

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About the hospital

The nurse says something like "you were lucky you didn't hit a vein or artery" then he says "as if I would be stupid enough to do that". So if it was a suicide attempt then why would he purpously not hit an artery? So no it does not apply to that kind of situattion, please read the text carefully when making these decisions.

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When I played, I went through it three times, twice with the "neutral" ending and once with the hospital ending. But after those two, it clicked in my brain what this game was about because I myself am fighting this battle.. When I found out, I started freaking out because I didn't make him leave her in the first three tries, lol.. He's a

cutter, and she's the blade, the pain.. He was happy before her, and now he's numb with her, and he can be happy without her.

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When I first played this, I wanted him to do what was right, obviously in this case leaving her. And then when she got mean, I was like "Holy sh*t, I need to get the HELL out of here!" But I failed.

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emily79965 Author Profile Page February 16, 2013 1:37 PM

First, I got the "ACCEPTANCE" ending and I was like

Why is she all staticy? Is this a glitch or something?

I played a second time and got the "HOSPITAL" ending.

Veins? Arteries? This is getting so weird...

I still had unanswered questions, so I played a few more times. It took me a few tries to get the REJECTION ending because I didn't know the meaning of the game yet. Then it finaly clicked,

OH MY GOSH!!! SHE'S DRUGS!!! WHY DIDN'T I CACTH ON TO THIS EARLIER!?

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I am surprised no one is really getting this in the comments. Leigh is not a metaphor for drugs or addictions, the author himself has said;

It's a metaphor for cutting/self mutilation. It's his left arm, he did not hit any major arteries or veins... ect. I thought it was pretty clear.

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Hi Crane! The problem with assuming that is

you're also assuming everyone has had the same life experiences to make it that clear. Everyone is familiar with drug abuse to the point where it's a major focus of culture... it's the plotline in TV shows, movies, books, we're warned about it in school, talked to about it by our parents. Self-mutilation? Less so. If you haven't gone through it yourself or don't know someone who has, it's not what you're immediately going to think of when the sorts of imagery and metaphors in this game start popping up.

To be frank, that's what's great about art games though... different people with different experiences can find meaning and importance in it even if that's not the original message the author intended, and I think that's something to be proud of.

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noschultz4 Author Profile Page May 25, 2013 10:34 PM

Also, to go along with the whole drug thing they talk about how the only reason why it seems like they're together is that she feels he needs him and he feels that he doesn't NEED her, but he can't seem to stay away. This also shows that they don't really like each other (drug addicts aren't always fond of their drugs) and that even if she's not a drug she's an addiction.

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aliendestroya Author Profile Page July 8, 2014 12:59 AM replied to Brooke

To clear up the confusion, I was initially confused about this game. The first few times i played it on another site i didnt get the meaning, until i looked at the comments below and it made so much sense. Some comments, and i belive these were the right ones, said the girl represented Self mutilation. Now, heres why. "She wrapped herself around my arm and has been there ever since" (scars). Now in the hospital ending the nurse says

"You were very lucky this time. You didn't hit any nerves or arteries this time.

This makes sense as well because in the ending when you want to get 'closer' to her, (meaning cut deeper) which causes you to faint and end up in the hospital. Other comments said she was a drug, and that kind of makes sense but doesnt really. Other comments on the gaming site said she represented 'Addiction' as a whole. While she could represent addiction to bad things such as drugs, i am more leaned towards her representing self mutilation. When you play the game with these in mind, it makes a lot sense. Whichever one you want to go with is up to you. However, i have no idea why some people think this is about a bad relation ship with a girlfriend or wife, but i can kind of get their drift. Hope this comment helped. (Also brook, he was not a vampire, hoped this answered your question as well.)

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aliendestroya Author Profile Page July 8, 2014 1:03 AM replied to Brooke

To clear up the confusion, I was initially confused about this game. The first few times i played it on another site i didnt get the meaning, until i looked at the comments below and it made so much sense. Some comments, and i belive these were the right ones, said the girl represented Self mutilation. Now, heres why. "She wrapped herself around my arm and has been there ever since" (scars). Now in the hospital ending the nurse says

"You were very lucky this time. You didn't hit any nerves or arteries this time.

This makes sense as well because in the ending when you want to get 'closer' to her, (meaning cut deeper) which causes you to faint and end up in the hospital. Other comments said she was a drug, and that kind of makes sense but doesnt really. Other comments on the gaming site said she represented 'Addiction' as a whole. While she could represent addiction to bad things such as drugs, i am more leaned towards her representing self mutilation. When you play the game with these in mind, it makes a lot sense. Whichever one you want to go with is up to you. However, i have no idea why some people think this is about a bad relation ship with a girlfriend or wife, but i can kind of get their drift. Hope this comment helped. (Also brook, he was not a vampire, hoped this answered your question as well.)

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Gift Rush 3> Johnny123 Your cute-as-a-button spider guy is looking to feed his hungry kids some cake. Swing through each level, grabbing your kids and drop them in the general vicinity of their favorite birthday treat. Be sure not to eat it yourself!  ...
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Exit Fate> Dora In this free indie RPG heavily inspired by the likes of Suikoden and other classics of the genre, Daniel is a man betrayed by his country and trapped behind enemy lines who suddenly finds himself in a unique position to help end the fighting. Recruit 75 party members for your castle, take part in huge battles, and enjoy hours and hours and HOURS of play time in this massive game.  ...
The Silent Age: Episode Two> Kimberly Joe is back to finish up what was started in the second episode of this fantastic point-and- click adventure. With the fate of humanity on his shoulders, Joe needs you to help him travel through time to find answers on how to prevent the human race from going extinct.  ...
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The Rogue Puzzle Game> Satori Clear your way through the dungeon in this unique Sokoban-like puzzle game by carefully selecting which swords to shove into which monsters to vanquish them all. The Rogue Puzzle Game was picked as one of only three finalists in the Game Nomad competition and is set to be presented at Gamer's Day, Arabia's largest gaming event.  ...

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