So this game is really about incest right?

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SuchDogeMuchWow
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Re: So this game is really about incest right?

Post by SuchDogeMuchWow » Wed Oct 15, 2014 6:17 am

You say that the original thread is extremely vague, yet you pull details from it to aid your interpretations of endings. In your explanation of the wife ending, you take the stabbing scene (first cutscene of the original thread) to represent feelings of guilt. In your explanation of the little boy ending, you pull the scene of Thomas promising to protect his sister to explain his fear of neglecting her. Elements of the originating thread exist in all of the endings. It's impossible to make any sense of them at all without it.

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gagaplex
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Re: So this game is really about incest right?

Post by gagaplex » Wed Oct 15, 2014 6:30 am

Yes, but the stabbing for instance does not have to be about sex nor does it have to be about an actual stabbing, it could just mean a feeling of being responsible for harm, regardless of the details of what actually happened.
That's why the stabbing works both for the bit about the father feeling responsible for the dying daughter and also about the little boy feeling like he neglected his sister even though she's actually fine.
You don't have to disregard the originating thread, but the fact that it's vague allows us toy interpret the originating thread differently depending on what ending we're talking about and the context in which we put it.

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SuchDogeMuchWow
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Re: So this game is really about incest right?

Post by SuchDogeMuchWow » Wed Oct 15, 2014 7:03 am

In theory your idea of reinterpreting elements of the originating thread in the context of different endings makes sense, however in practice it doesn't work out as well. You picked the theme of stabbing and reimagined its place in different endings quite well. However that is easily one of the most flexible themes in terms of the amount of leeway you are given to slap different meanings on it. Other parts of the game don't fit nicely into certain endings (square peg in round socket). For example, the mutated baby makes sense in context of the Final Descent ending, but what relevance does it have with the ending where Thomas and Gabby are still children?

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gagaplex
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Re: So this game is really about incest right?

Post by gagaplex » Wed Oct 15, 2014 9:38 am

SuchDogeMuchWow wrote:For example, the mutated baby makes sense in context of the Final Descent ending, but what relevance does it have with the ending where Thomas and Gabby are still children?
Perhaps exactly that: Thomas is the bigger brother. He would've seen Gabby as a baby in his own early childhood. Imagine his mother transferring some responsibility for the baby way too early in his life. Not only might he be haunted by fears about not protecting his baby sister well enough, it might develop into a full-blown fear of being around the baby herself. Caring for his baby sister, protecting her always, always being at risk of not living up to that might become monstrous in itself.

Here's another idea using your opening post: You didn't mention the baby monster yourself. Or the miscarriage-imagery that appears here and there in the game. Instead of using that for my idea, I could also slot that into your idea by saying that not only did they have sex, Gabby even became pregnant but either miscarried or self-induced abortion. Perhaps she didn't even commit suicide as you think but died in the attempt of performing an abortion on herself.

Vague enough to allow all sorts of different interpretation. Of course I haven't actively thought about every single aspect of the game just as you apparently didn't include the miscarriage-imagery, but so far I haven't seen anything that couldn't be made to work. But please don't take that as a challenge to try and make me explain every single aspect of the game in this way. *shrug*

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matt
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Re: So this game is really about incest right?

Post by matt » Thu Oct 16, 2014 9:45 am

Wow, this is quite a discussion! :-D I feel a little bit sad that I offered a director's commentary as a backer reward with my interpretation of the game, but I don't think there is a right or wrong answer. The Astronauts wrote an interesting post about how they wouldn't offer the official explanation of the ending of The Vanishing of Ethan Carter and ended it with a quote from Seal:
People sometimes misunderstand the words or misinterpret the lyrics, and they build their own mental image of what the song is about. To some my songs are about the beauty of love, to others the same songs can be about sadness or loss. People grow up with these songs, get attached to certain emotions the songs evoke. It’s a beautiful thing and I don’t want to interfere with it.
I deliberately designed Neverending Nightmares to be about the emotions rather than the narrative, and you can reconstruct the story however you'd like.

To me, the endings are separate and contradictory, but perhaps a theory that covers them all is a much better interpretation of the game. :-D
-Matt Gilgenbach
Lead Frightener at Infinitap Games

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