Save the Date!
Things are going well. She liked your choice of restaurant. She loves the food. And look, there off the balcony... dolphins! Everything seems to be going perfect, in an almost magical way. And then it all goes horribly, horribly wrong. In Paper Dino's free visual novel Save the Date!, you have just one objective... to make sure your dinner date with your bosom buddy Felicia doesn't end... um. Poorly. Which is harder than it sounds considering the universe seems determined to make the worst case scenario come true no matter what you do. Click on the choices you want to make as they appear, and right-click to save and load your game.
Save the Date is a short game, only a few minutes required for a single playthrough, but a difficult one considering it seems to be running on some sort of Murphy's Law type of engine. While the events in the game are no doubt horrible and nothing you'd ever wish on anyone, the more you play to try to win and keep getting stymied at every turn, the more morbidly hilarious it becomes. You'll need to fail a lot, however, no matter how discouraging it might seem, and you'll want to replay even through scenarios that lead you to that failure a second time. Trust me on this one. It's difficult to really talk about the game without ruining it the surprise its more clever bits impart, but with some surprisingly good writing and unique mechanics, Save the Date is a funny, weird, and unexpectedly philosophical visual novel that stands out from the pack in a big way with a ton of replay value.
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Mac OS X:
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That was umm... reall sad actually.
I (think?) I played it all through... tried some of the suggested things too, and even went looking for an alternative ending on the internets, and found it, but it didn't "feel" that good:
I'm going to write a bit about the alternative ending here...
It's basically more or less hacking one of the game files to open up another branch, but the story on it is sort of goofy and didn't work as an ending to me. If you think about it, maybe this game felt so sad to me because it reflects what real life is like... you can have all good times you are able to have, but the ending is always the same... ...
Play this game! Now! And stick with it!
If you really need a tip:
Honesty goes a long way
Something crazy: Last night I watched Groundhog Day for the first time. Today I play a game on JiG that talks about the movie! - Seriously
I must be a character in a story.
But I have choices to determine how it goes.
Major game spoiler. Read at your own risk.
Its really better if you play the game and try to finish it first.
There are too many branches in this game. I may as well just post the text of the final ending.
The background is a night with city lights and shooting stars in the sky.
After an already pretty extensive philosophical debate.
Player: Wait! Don't leave. Calm down. Now I'm sure of it!
Felicia: You do? You know what this game is about.
Player: Yeah. I already figured it out in a different branch but played some more anyway.
Felicia: Are you sure that -
Player: Yes, don't worry. But you talking about winning the lottery and owning a tropical island does add to my enjoyment of that "hacker" ending.
Felicia: I'm...glad? Do I get those things in this ending too?
Player: Of course, I'm this super awesome hacker, erm I mean writer now. You can get whatever you want.
But I have to seriously disagree on one point the game's author though. And this is about what I said when you tried to leave.
Felicia: I had to. Otherwise, you'd just keep going!
Player: Exactly. A game's (or game maker's) main contribution to me is its entertainment value. This game has a particularly good writing and its fun to read. Its fun to see what the author came up with for all the choices I can make, not myself. That's why I kept playing even after the overwhelming evidence of (what I think is) the author's intent.
Felicia: So you watched me die a few more absurd death even after?
Player: Oh, yeah. You wouldn't believe it.
Sure, I can make stuff up if I want to, but then I may as well make a game or story myself. What's the interest in playing in the first place? Its much more interesting to see what the author has to say.
But on the other hand I also understand that making such a point in itself makes it a more interesting game. I made a game not too long ago and was also surprised how much a player holds onto what the game tells them is going on. All I did was make it say "you win" on a loss and "you lose" on a win (with some brief explanation of each). Of course, the ending where you lose was much more difficult to attain and it should have been clear from the instructions that the "win" wasn't the end of it.
But looking at the comments, it seems like quite a few players genuinely stopped playing after "winning" once. I thought it was pretty obvious because the game couldn't be that short. (So I can appreciate the need for extra nudging in this particular piece here.) Of course, it could be that they didn't like my game and just stopped. But usually, I'd think people don't stop at least after a few tries. I was...rather disappointed to say the least.
Well, I think time's almost up. Its time for me to make up a critter-filled island and give it to you to finally end this. Good night.
Felicia: You understand that from my side this is just real life, right? Thanks and good night.
As she gets on her bike, the nearby statue falls and crushes Felicia.
Ok,got it, this game is very good, but I can't clear it yet, I'm being trapped in a moment I think is really near to the end, but I can't change it... A VERY HUGE SPOILER
You know, when you go to see the stars, then aliens comes and shoots you two with a green beam I think, I can't evade it, and I tried it a least 8 times starting the game from the beginning, any idea that could get me out of there?
I got the hacker ending, but I'm curious what branch let you actually discuss being a hacker on the hill. I just can't find it.. I can get her to run off in a huff but I get a much different result when I ask her to stop (other than the statue, of course)
I've found only one way to "save the date":
In order to save the date, she cannot become the date. This means you must select the last option in the first branch of the game. But since you made the decision to not go on the date, and it is the simplest, quickest way to end the game, can it really be considered a rewarding victory?
Only read this if you've progressed through a majority of the game. PHILOSOPHICAL SPOILER WARNING.
James Ellick who posted above me is right. After killing Felicia over 20 times in 11 different ways, the only "happy ending" for Felicia is to let her live a happy life with someone else. If may not be a happy ending for you, but it's just a game for you. For Felicia, it's real life and the only way to make her happy is to not play the game. I didn't return to that final option until after James's comment but I think that this is one of the moral's of this story. That "The End" is really just "An End".
Good game, though I didn't really appreciate the (deliberate) lack of closure. I even ended up downloading Ren'Py to see if I could reverse-engineer the game's code to find out if I was missing something.
I spent an inordinate amount of time looking for a 'true' ending. I'm inclined to think that JIGuestinator's comment up there actually comes from the game's author, and that
there isn't really a final ending as described in the spoiler above.
For further insight see http://forums.tigsource.com/index.php?action=printpage;topic=33753.0 which also supports what I think above.
Philosophically, I don't recall a game which has explored such themes before. I wasn't exactly awestruck by the ideas though. Your mileage may vary. Overall, this is well worth playing.
I'm honestly not sure what to make of this game. It was pretty hilarious once I figured out what was going on. But I racked up a lot of bad endings before I did.
You can trigger the 11th way to die (and a pretty interesting discussion) by first getting her to talk about the game, and when you get the option to say nothing and look at the stars, choose that option. She'll come up with a new topic of discussion From there you have to get Felicia ticked off at you and try to storm off before the aliens show up.
But if you want to get a true "happy" ending, James Ellick above is right: the only way to win is not to play, so to speak. (Or open up the game files and follow the instructions on how to "hack" the game to get the silly ending, but that's nowhere near as rewarding.)
I loved it but it's left a bitter aftertaste on my mouth... mileage, I guess...
I don't remember exactly but its somewhere where the story suddenly branches out a lot.
I think it can be considered a rewarding victory. But I don't like how others (briwitz7, mandichaos) are interpreting what you wrote (especially the part about it being the "only way" and "true ending"). I feel like a good chunk of the game's intent is missed because of this.
Although I shouldn't impose my views on this game, I'm writing this so anyone else reading these comments could consider other possibilities. (Rather than just see 3 comments in a row all arriving at the same conclusion.)
No, I am not the author of this game (and don't know and haven't chatted with the author either).
I thought I wrote enough to make it so something like this wouldn't stick. Your other remark is, of course, right (in spirit; I'd have made a different choice of words).
Sometimes devs pop by here but I don't think that's the case (as far as I can tell). I kinda want to ask a question (unrelated to anything else discussed up to now).
The game refers directly to many pieces of modern media. Chrono Trigger, Groundhog day and Final Fantasy 7 to name a few.
But on the nomenclature of temporal assassination, Felicia comments that her terminology is
At least 10% cooler. Maybe even double that.
Maybe this game is set in the not very distant past? Or maybe it only refers to games and movies? But then the player notes
The next season of 'Game of Thrones' is not very good.
when asked to prove you are indeed a time traveller. Game of Thrones is a TV show going on right now. Or is this all just a coincidence?
When first revealing your knowledge of Moore's Hills, Felicia exclaims
It's not scientifically possible!
YOU are not scientifically possible!
I mean with everything else being named so explicitly, its just so strange that the player could come up with lottery numbers like
I just noticed in the download links at the end of Dora's review says Mac OS X even next to the penguin. Is this some kind of social commentary on the state of current operating systems? :)
You won't get this until you've found the same ending I have. I can't really explain it, because it's something you have to experience yourself. Let's just say that you can get a good ending, although it's not in the way you would expect.
"I'd love to win the lottery and own my own tropical island." She smiled wryly. "Just sayin'."
"You know," I looked over at her, taking her hand in mine, "I think I can arrange for that to happen. But would you really be happy if I just gave it to you?"
"I guess not." she shrugged "we do have an alien invasion to stop afterall."
"And if we can't stop it tonight?" I ask.
"You've already broken the rules of time by replaying, why don't we build a time machine?"
So we did just that. We turned around and left the burning city behind us. I gave her the lottery numbers, and she bought her own private island where we learned physics, and eventually came up with a formula to bend the laws of reality. And finally, once we had built our time machine, we went back and negotiated peace with the aliens. Turns out they were a demolition crew that had taken a wrong turn at pluto, and if they didn't get to the frozen wasteland they were supposed to be busting, their boss was going to be pissed.
She didn't care that I wrote it all for her, and I didn't care that it sounded like something out of a Doctor Who episode. After all, life is strange sometimes, and whether or not we get to bend the laws of the universe, we are all writing our own endings all the time. We just don't typically get a chance to go about it this conscientiously.
Today we celebrated Felicia and my sixtieth anniversary. Together with our time machine we've really turned this world around. Global warming is a thing of the past, war has been all but eradicated, and we've shared the secrets to happiness wherever we've gone. We've even repopulated several endangered populations of wild birds here on our home. Our children and grandchildren surround us on this island paradise home we've built for ourselves. It would be easy to say that this was all me, that I built it with my own mind alone, but really, it was a collaboration. I may have found the door into a new world, but Felicia held the key. She unlocked my mind, so we could build this world together. Sharing a story began in the mind of someone else and finished here. Telling eachother words that could bring us happiness. Living, laughing and loving.
Dreaming up new worlds, testing them out until we found the one we wanted to live in. One storyteller passing off the tale to another to find our own ending within.
After all, isn't that all a game really is?
Hacker ending aside, do you think the author left the Python file of the game so there was ANOTHER option to create our own ending?
In response to the various replies to my message, I'd like to add that I really enjoyed this game:
especially the philosophical discussion you have with Felicia at the Hogwarts secret stop once you've broken the fourth wall. I also think I understand the author's intention in not including a "perfect" ending where you go on a date with Felicia and she survives.
I was just saying I preferred some of the endings where she dies because you learn a lot more about her (and in turn, the author?) than if you chose the safe option where you learn very little, but your goal to "Save the Date" is a success (although I guess she technically isn't the date if you never got to go on a date with her!). Like someone at some point in time has possibly said: It's not the destination or length of the journey that's important. However after seeing all of these endings wherein she died, and the only "successful" ending, I've come to realise that all of these endings are important because, without them, the "good" ending would be seen differently.
In reference to my opinion on the "no date" ending expressed in my previous post, I've given it some additional thought and would like to revise it. The "good" ending will only be reached once you've exhausted the alternatives. Although it is an option that is available right from the beginning, it is highly unlikely that you would opt not to go on the date ie. highly unlikely that you would choose not to play the game in order to complete it, before even knowing that the "goal" is to stop playing the game. If you did choose to finish the game this way any time before you had broken the fourth wall with Felicia, this ending could only be seen as a fail, because you'd naturally still be expecting a perfect outcome to exist. When you look at it like that, making the choice to sacrifice your date in order to save Felicia is quite a rewarding ending, in a Donnie Darko kind of way.
All of this is ignores the hacker ending.
I have to say, I'm actually disappointed in this game. My complaints are likely to line up with one of the posts above, but to put it bluntly (and pre-emptively tl;dr), I'm not put off by the message of the game, but the assumptions that it makes.
My understanding of the game is that the author encourages players of games to not be frustrated by pre-determined endings of games that are not to their liking. The author then goes on to encourage players to create more satisfactory endings.
Minor quibble before the major point:
Asking players to create endings independent of the game experience undermines what I understand to be the contract of the game.
When undertaking a game, a player agrees to submit to a specific perspective of a constructed world and to a specific set of rules. The game experience then becomes about navigating those rules to 'do something.' Leaving the rules behind to construct an ending seems beyond the point of willingly entering a game.
In a more nuanced, game, this would carry more weight. In a visual novel, the game's rules and mechanics are bare at best, so it makes some sense that an author of a VN would investigating frustrating the structure of a VN.
I suppose there can be confusion in interpreting this piece as a game when it functions more like a treatise.
For me, it wasn't until the discussions on the hill that the character of Felicia really came alive for me. She seemed like a good sport during many of the situations that led to that point, but, suddenly, on the Hill, the character (admittedly through the generous nature of the author) suddenly spilled forth with interesting perspectives and hopes. During those conversations, the motivation to "Save the Date" transformed from a mechanical, perfunctory motivation to a substantive one: I wanted to spend more time with this 'person.'
Note that I'm not saying that I wanted a 'happily ever after'. It would have been nice, and I thought the hacker ending was going to justify that impulse, but instead I felt cheapened. Hooray, you broke the loop, and look at all this fun stuff that happened, but it wasn't what I wanted, or even needed, from this game.
Right around now is where you're probably thinking, "If you know you're unhappy with the 'ending' of the game, and you understand why you're unhappy, why can't you do as the game suggests and write an ending you are happy with?"
Because the game is assuming that I have the necessary imagination to do so.
Do not get me wrong. I'm not saying that no one has the necessary imagination to cook up what they want out of an ending. In fact, I'm currently engaged in such a work of fiction that aims to reimagine the entire third part of a trilogy.
But in this particular case, I lack the imagination to give Felicia life. I don't know how to think like her, to have her forward looking perspective. I don't think exactly like the author, and I feel that some idealized facsimile of Felicia is ultimately cheaper than anything I'd be able to muster.
In some way, I think I valued the 'dialogue' I was having with the author through the character. Also, projecting that 'dialogue' onto the character was endearing. Telling me to write my own ending is like, well, telling me to play by/with myself. I hope you'll excuse me for the vulgar metaphor, but I'll do it when I have to or have no other options, but when I'm led to believe I have other options and am told to play by/with myself, I feel insulted.
I may have gone too far in expressing that last point, but I hope it makes the point. I valued the experience of the game, and the message the game wants to impart, but in this particular configuration, the game doesn't necessarily understand what it's really asking of its players on that hill beneath the stars.
In my opinion this game is INCREDIBLE. One of the best games I have played for the most part.
I played for nearly 3 hours after I got agitated with the game and wanted to LITERALY change the game when I found the text document... I did as it said and found the ending was lacking of almost everything... And of course the ending was just plain to short.. With all that said everything else was absolutely worth it, the story was actually sad! (To me at least)and was really able to pull me in.. At first I thought it was a normal RPG game but then I noticed I kinda had to leave the RPG and say it was indeed a game.
Great game � 5/5. My thoughts on the ending:
It seems to me that the whole point of the "hacker" ending ��as bare and unsatisfying as it is � is to point out to us that the "write your own ending" idea can apply whether the game says that you "win" or "lose". The "losses" are of course the various "Game Over" screens where Felicia dies, while the "hacker" ending is a "win"�� officially. I think the author is trying to say that the player can write his or her own ending either way.
Then again, perhaps it is the intended ending. I doubt that, though�
The game's website doesn't appear to exist anymore... :(
Here is the ACTUAL choice and following text of the Hacker branch!
Choice - Actually, I thought we could have an awesome dinner in my floating sky castle because I am a hacker!"
You only get access to this branch *IF* you are a hacker.
You need to set the I_AM_A_HACKER flag to True.
And NO! I am not going to tell you HOW to do it.
Felicia "Oh. That sounds nice!"
"The two of you have a delicious dinner in your magical floating sky castle!"
"Afterward you fly her home, because you can fly, because you are a hacker and super awesome1"
"She grabs the mail on the way in and discovers that she has won like six different lotteries and is now independently wealthy."
"She also now owns a small island paradise in the Caribbean, full of endangered wildlife and stuff."
"She is super happy! She moves there the next month, and has a happy, long, and fulfilling life taking care of exotic animals and playing with Bengal tigers."
"She lives happily ever after, and you do sometimes, when you visit, which you do by flying, which you can do because you're an awesome hacker."
"Everyone involved lives happily ever after and nothing bad happens to them ever, and sometimes you think, 'Man, what a great life I have - good thing I'm a hacker!'"
"You are an awesome hacker!"
REALLY! I WILL *NOT* TELL YOU TO HACK THE I_AM_A_HACKER.rpy FILE!
Pretty cool game.
One inconsistency I noticed, though:
she was old enough to recall blast processing, but young enough to still have seen the films of HP when she was a child? If I have to stick to the game's logic, it makes it seem like she must've been in her early twenties when the HP movies came out... And still she fantasised about that magical location on the hill?...
Doesn't make a lot of sense to me.
[Edited for spoiler tags. -Ed.]
It makes perfect sense if you remember not everyone automatically loses interest in fantasy when they hit their twenties. :)
@ChaoSpectre. When it comes to games like this it makes me glad to have sacrificed some sleep and possibly messing up on a very important assignment I have to do for school tomorrow to really enjoy a game/novel that really speaks to me, the game didn't destroy my world or make me reconsider life (That much)but it did something that only happens once in a blue moon. It made me cry. I am a serious gamer and Im not a heart of ice type guy its just difficult to make me really connect with a character that can actually and almost read my mind and gauge my interest with witty dialogue and some dark humor. I also had the biggest de ju vu moment in my entire life when I made it to the Hill and really got to see what Felicia would react to being told that she is a video game character. I have to say it really did make me sad about how brave she was even after I informed her that the whole world was against her and would stoop to the lowest levels to see her die. Now that was just how I liked the game. Granted this review doesn't even begin to scratch the surface of how i feel about this game but that is a moot point and i think I got my point across. Really though what i like about games that leave the player on a what if note is the comments that are elicited from the players. Some are disappointing, some like the philosophy behind it but I really think that @ChaoSpectre did the best job on how a lot of people feel. That there is nothing wrong with wanting to make a better ending because you didn't like it (freedom of speech) but at the same time not everyone or anyone usually can do the ending and/or the characters justice. When people read stories they read them to see exactly how the author envisioned it all the way from start to finish and if someone says "Hey I made a better version of that story over there" then what would be the attraction? To see a better ending perhaps. In all honesty i don't care that much that there is no ending or at least a "Good" ending because the message and the symbolism and quirky dialogue about chrono trigger (I got the bad ending too many times and I still never saved chrono)all made me satifised in a way that a ending just can't do because in the "end" its just a end to the story, no imagination whatsoever involed and that in itself is the best ending. But I do like the cancel the date option after you had the talk with her and I think that is a sutiable ending for those who really want a end. Felicia even though you have died 11 horrible deaths you have grown on me as a person and as a guide to help me become a better writer. 2la84me- Sleepy and still has 4 more pages to write for an essay.
I just played this game, loved it, but it's left such an unpleasant lingering sensation because of it's lack of closure, that I simply have to express it somewhere.
It really reminds me of whenever I can't let go of a relationship or an emotional attachment. Maybe now I can remember this meta-feeling and be a bit wiser.
Point well taken. Well done author.
Delightful! I did notice that the option to
cancel the date
changes to provide some sense of closure after the long meta-talk on the hill.
I found the true ending. Not satisfying for yourself, but in the long run it is, in fact, a "good ending".
Here it is:(don't click this unless you are really determined to spoil the ending)
1. Go through all of the previous endings including the "hogwarts magic pickup spot" or whatever Felicia calls it, the taco place, the taco joint, and the Thai restaurant with the politically incorrect ninjas.
2. Let her die.
3. Start a new game, this time selecting the option to call off the date.
4. This means you will see "she seems hurt that you canceled your plans...
5.Here is where this ending is different. "You remain friendly acquaintances, but that's as far as it ever goes. You never do manage to ask her to dinner again.
umm...not sure if I should post the rest of the dialogue. Don't want to COMPLETELY spoil it. If anyone reading this wants it, please reply to the comment.