Fleshwit's LP now on LP archive

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Fleshwit's LP now on LP archive

Postby EmperorJeramyu » Mon Jun 01, 2020 4:31 am

Hey all, this recently came into my attention, but there was a Something Awful forum Let's Play of The Way by Fleshwit that recently got archived.

https://lparchive.org/The-Way/

It's a great read if you want to relive a lot of The Way without having to replay the whole thing. I started reading it at 1 AM and it's past 4AM when I started writing this, because apparently thinking about The Way at absurd hours is just something I do.

My retrospective gets mentioned a few times, and it made me realize the fact that I wrote that retrospective 7 years ago as kind of my final thoughts about The Way... but here I am, still thinking about it. It's still slightly surreal. But this is in particular caught my eye and gave me a good laugh:
Also, when this scene didn't get the "Best Cutscene" (or moment or whatever) Misao award is when I finally, FINALLY came to my senses and fully stopped giving a shit about those stupid awards. I'm pretty sure it went to Laxius Power again. Fucking Laxius Power. Goddamn it.

Despite what he says, the blessed, beautiful game known as Laxius Power 3 DIDN'T get that award. Instead:

"Best Cutscene:
Bmage's Entrance, Pokemon: The Evil Inside 2

The Way fanbase always had a real stick up their ass about the Incredible game series known to us mere mortals as Laxius Power. They saw themselves and The Way as so far above it all and most other RPGMaker games in general.

Anyway EmperorJeramyu was one of the regular beta testers for The Way, and even was made forum admin. And to this day, he hosts last remaining copy The Way walkthrough on his site. He also hosts the compilation of stuff from the code but you can -largely- find that stuff on The Way forums still. EmperorJeramyu will even get a cameo in Episode 6, along with some other forum regulars.' So, I guess, despite his bitterness towards Laxius Power, he's ultimately a good boy.

Now I don't want to make this all about me, but if Fleshwit or anyone else reads this, I'd like to make an extremely flimsy attempt at defending myself here that will probably backfire.

Yes, we kind of had a stick up our asses, yes it was childish, and yes it was mostly my fault. But... c'mon man, if you were around back then you KNOW that The Way wasn't just a diamond in the rough, it was a diamond in a toxic bog, and to claim otherwise would be to ignore the CEASELESS AVALANCHE of crappy, barely legible demos that piled up every day on GamingW and elsewhere. As it is in mainstream gaming, the attention back then was ALWAYS on looking impressive rather than having any substance, hence the comical overload of demos that had more lighting effects than minutes of gameplay, so much so that the Misao awards specifically introduced a category for "Most Pointless Lighting Effects" or something like that one year. Now the blessing of hindsight makes even the good RPG Maker games seem bad (have you actually tried replaying TTHW or ABL recently?), but context is important! Also with how GamingW ended up, I feel pretty vindicated for how I got that site portrayed around here, although what actually happened to it mostly just baffles me more than anything. Also I hate to actually try and use this defense, but almost *everyone* had a stick up of their ass back then, and there were more than a few people who were bitter and just downright spiteful towards the success The Way had, including some bigger names.

As for Laxius Power, in its defense, and if we put on our hindsight glasses again, no RPG maker 2000/2003 games that included any sort of combat had good combat gameplay (The Way included) because the combat math in RM2k/3 is complete shit and basically unsalvageable (I could go into this for a while, but basically individual stat points are so meaningless, than even differences in the hundreds barely even matter sometimes), so for the most part, the characters, stories, and aesthetics were basically the only possible saving graces. But... Laxius Power 3? The game looks nice from what I remember, but otherwise... look, I like my trash too, and if schlock, stupid, anime pablum is your trash, I get it. I can't claim I've never gotten enjoyment out of it. And as the years go on, I've come around on a lot of criticisms of The Way that would've made my fanboy blood boil decades earlier (hell this LP has a lot of them). Looking into the thread, Fleshwit seems to have genuinely fixed on the Laxius Power series as some sort of inadvertent masterpiece of a borderline surrealist auteur stream-of-consciousness sex fantasy, and hey... I can dig that level of abject framing-a-big-mac-in-the-Lourve insanity, but really this all comes down to which game to give an award to for "Best Story", Episode 5... or Laxius Power 3.

That being said, the reason I had such a specific beef with that series actually goes back to when Don Miguel's forums were pretty much the main RM2K community, and the sleazy way the creator tried to advertise their games. Maybe the creator has matured since then, but by pure happenstance during my travels through various internet communities, I ran into a bunch of RPG Maker community expatriates who were apparently way more kept up on that series than I was, and they told me some insider-y things that did not improve my opinions on it at all, and I'll leave it at that. With some of the stuff said in the thread, it looks like nothing ever really changed either. The concept of deification of stupid schlock is not unfamiliar to me, but it when it's some otaku's creepy self-insert sex fantasy, that's a lot less whimsical.

Honestly I always felt like this scene was weak and didn't fit with the rest of the game. Traizun as a whole doesn't fit with the rest of the cast. It's like a generically cool anime swordsman who wants to kill his dad wandered in from somewhere else.

One of the things I appreciate about the game is how violence is portrayed. For the most part it's unglamorous and there's weight to the killing. It's more about the circumstances that made our protagonists murderhobos than a capacity to dispatch hordes of ninja.

*sigh* Yeah, I get it, I get it. My last attempt at defending it is this: the way the explosion sends all those blood lyn flying is like 900 times more well animated than almost anything anyone else was doing at the time. People just didn't put that much effort into animating RM2K/RM2K3 games, and they arguably never did after. Mostly because it took a fair amount of effort. And let me reiterate what was in the LP, that this scene lost to... ahem, "Bmage's Entrance, Pokemon: The Evil Inside 2". Also I think this is selling Traziun a bit short. He has an important role as kind of a mentor/guide to Rhue, and explaining some stuff to the audience. A lot of people in the thread were bashing him as a generic "cool anime swordsman". I'm going to assume these people have never ever played any serious volume of other RPG Maker games, because what was so refreshing about Traziun in comparison to, say, what you would find in xXSSJsePhiRoThXx's Final Fantasy fangame was that yeah, he was powerful and a badass, but was also an actual character with actual depth and subtlety (again, by RM2K standards), and had a fun dynamic with Rhue as sort of this buddy cop duo, and ultimately proved himself a selfless friend.

From the thread wrote:So basically the fanbase for this kind of game was not impressed by anything that actually set it apart from the pack when there's Anime Cool on the menu.

If I can make a genuine criticism, I think the LP kind badly misled a lot of people on the thread in these kinds of regards, and conflated the opinions of the community at large with my histrionic ranting. I'm guessing a lot of that was because I was the only one stupid/insane enough to try and make some sort of enduring thesis on the whole thing with that retrospective.

For the record, and I know this is probably not very convincing given all the stuff I just said above, but ALL of this stuff is ancient history to me. I seriously do not care about Laxius Power, or am genuinely bothered by it winning the Misaos at all any more. I played it up in that retrospective thread as more of a running joke than anything.

...Also again, the actual winner was, again... "Bmage's Entrance, Pokemon: The Evil Inside 2". A slow, dramatic, moving scene was not going win this, ever.

Other stray observations:
- I completely missed the Sorya-Traziun connection. She doesn't seem to react to him at all, so I'm not sure.

HARBRINGER: This is a surprise...
What the hell, did Lun learn to spell it this episode or did the testers finally fucking start noticing.

lol, look man, we were beta testers, not proofreaders or editors. There was only one piece of wording I was insistent Lun got right, and we all know what it was.

The Reaches ending:
I don't know how to fully parse that ending either narratively or thematically, but "holy moley" indeed. The "walk with me" segment and then the one after it seems as close as you could get to expressing a thesis for the game. I think it's suggesting, and this is even kind of subversive from within the context of a cliched JRPG setting, that the grand quests and tragic destinies etc are all just shitty window dressing that gets in the way of people connecting with each other. That's a pretty novel punchline to put in a game like this.

- This is a neat interpretation, but I'm not sure anything else in the games really supports it. Lun's interview doesn't really lead me to think that's exactly what he was going for.

NOTE FROM FLESHWIT: Kyle B. Stiff is a huge idiot.

- I'm not sure if this is referring to his interview questions or what, but when we had lost the interview text for a while, I tried looking this dude up and found some very confusing, bizarre things. Maybe there's more to this story that I just don't know.

What's the deal with the Blana Sera? Was Kalmar one of the Blana Sera or a servant of theirs?

- To quote Traziun at the beginning of E5:
"Well, I'll tell you straight up.
The Blood Lyn are after me because
the Blana Sera and myself have
personal issues with one another.
Actually, it goes way beyond
personal."
To me that sounds like he's explicitly referring to Kalmar as a Blana Sera.

I feel like it also doesn't get discussed very much anymore. Which is sad, since for all the flaws of The Way, there's a bunch of things it does pretty well.

Even most of those flaws are more a problem with Lun's execution of otherwise good or novel ideas. The only exceptions are the pacing and, at times, particularly shoddy dialogue. Though I still don't know what possessed him to make all three of the plunges in Episode 1 unwinnable. Goddamn lunatic.

- So I guess I'll walk back what I said earlier and get a bit defensive about this. I realize that RPG Maker games, especially old ones have this bad reputation, and that mocking all their shortcomings is a big pastime especially when it comes to stuff like SA threads (and believe me, even now I instinctively cringe when I see an obviously RPG maker game on Steam), but again I need to stress context. As a mostly single-young-person effort on a completely free, mostly unfunded series of games that took years to complete, on a dated, very limited, buggy piece of unofficially translated software, long before any sort of resources or even a playbook on indie games were written, I will still contend that what The Way achieved is impressive, especially compared to its peers. Now whether one thinks that means it deserves some slack on its flaws up to them I guess, but I found some of the more mean-spirited jabs in the LP kind of failed to communicate that context, which lead to a lot of comments that were making kinda uninformed occasionally bad-faith criticisms. The Way's quality relative to other games of its era gets brought up kind of dismissively near the start, but I think it's pretty important. Reading some of the replies in the thread was pretty frustrating because everyone seemed to act like the game had just come out last year or something. It's like trying to explain to a bunch of Gen Z kids what made Earthbound so special when they played Undertale first.

That being said, the early plunge stuff... yeah I got nothing.

Very early Christianity, we're talking when St. Paul was alive, was called "The Way." See Acts.

The games are rife with mostly subtle and some not-so-subtle references to Christianity. Slade's (to be seen shortly) skill, Outer Darkness, is in fact one, but you would never notice it being one until later. Most people would think it is just a cool attack name until they start noticing other references, many of which are, again, subtle.

- There are a a few instances of this kind of thing being pointed out, and though I used to think, it was a bit tenuous a best, this LP has convinced me there's more of a link than I thought there was. But again, it doesn't actually seem to be the main theme or point of the The Way, which in Lun's own words "Rhue's story is the central story of the game." and "Rhue's character is largely about the obsessive pursuit of an unattainable ideal. [...] By the end of the game, Serena, the ideal love, Rhue's supposed soul mate, is vanquished, and Rhue is confronted by the Phantom Slasher who tells him that people aren't perfect and that no matter what they do they will fail him in some way. Rhue accepts this and tells the Phantom Slasher that he doesn't care. He just wants someone who will keep trying, and that he will keep trying too. The most obvious interpretation is that he wants someone who will choose to love him and continue working at it with him despite various challenges." None of that seems very strongly tied to any sort of religious commentary.

It is something I'd like to hear from Lun himself, I suppose. Given Fwacho's degree in Christian Studies, I think there's something going on, but given what's discussed in this LP and what's actually in the games themselves, if The Way is making some sort of statement on Christianity, it's very faint endorsement of kind of unorganized, non-denominational very personal... uh... hippy-ish... sort. But it takes a number of leaps to get there, though the thing with Slade's pre-suicide ramblings was pretty eye-opening.

- It never occurred to me to see what happens when you lose to the shadow man in E3, for reasons the LP makes pretty clear.

I do remember in the years before Shadows of Adam, Lun posted on his site about it occasionally. Towards its release, he said something along the lines of "Don't expect the weird kind of writing I did in The Way." or something like that. I haven't played it yet myself, though I did buy it.

- Oh boy. So I contributed highly to its kickstarter, and did play through Shadows of Adam. It's... fine, shall we say, I don't regret pitching in, but I'm glad I didn't give more than I did. I do have a lot of things to say about it, particularly as it pertains to the concept of retro, throwback RPGs, but I'm really just not sure where to say them. But something did strike me as a bit off, and Lun himself chimed in with this on a topic in the General board:
I know some fans of The Way may feel let down if they were expecting something more like The Way. Someday, I will talk at more length about how I got involved in this project and how the story got written. There was a lot that was already decided before I got involved and I just hope I made the best of it.

I'm still waiting to hear more about this, because I have some pretty detailed guesses on what went on. The story/writing in SoA definitely gives me a vibe of a better story by a better writer pushing hard against the constraints of someone else's edict that it needed to be a simpler, more arch... oldschool throwback story, I guess.

A Blurred Line is one of the all-time classics of the RPGMaker community but yet it infamously ends on a cliffhanger on all things. Lysander86 used to come around promising he was still working on the sequel every couple years, but beyond making a 2.0 version of ABL with a couple hours extra content, nothing is yet to materialise.

Three The Hard Way is another classic game, and it's creator iishenron is actually the same guy who started the Misao Awards. He promised a sequel to Three The Hard Way called The Queen's Court with NO combat, for years as well.

...

The lessons we take from all this are:
1. People on the internet SUCK!!!!!!!!!!
2. Don't take games like Exit Fate, Last Scenario and Master of the Wind for granted. Even The Way, as unpolished and... unfinished, as it may be, is still a finished story, all things considered.

Anyway, I'm going to try this new game now. And maybe I'll talk more about what I -remember- and can dig up about RPGMaker community history, in the future. That's part of the reason why I decided to do this LP, and hopefully LPs of more RPGMaker games. Anyone, of course, can feel free to chime in with what they know, especially if I say something flat out wrong. It's ancient history and I was just a teen in the 00's.

- Yeah this stuff makes me sad. Because man, if the cliffhangers at the end of episodes of The Way make you upset, for me TTHW is like if you combined all of them into one game. And when I said the entire community was mostly assholes back then, this is what I meant. GW and GGZ died very well deserved deaths, and though I long stopped keeping up with it, how rpgmaker.net flourished into something different was probably the best of a bad situation.

For some reason I still clearly remember that Jeramyu once drew up a little comic about him constantly correcting Lun during testing on badass only being one word and the mistake still kept slipping through because Lun would be more concerned with adding more status effect inflicting moves to enemies instead.

- You remember correctly.

But I will admit it's very possible The Girl isn't Serena or... anyone important at all. She might just represent, say, the possibility of Rhue actually finding Serena. That's another mystery we have little to go on.

I still think people are seriously overthinking this, but if I'm going to entertain the idea that The Girl isn't Serena, I guess this is how I'd interpret her.

Lun Calsari.
After the release of the 2.0 versions of The Way episodes in 2006, Lun became pretty quiet. He's never talked about the unexplained mysteries, not even so much as cheeky little hints or 'You're on the right path, but-' type comments. He also has never elaborated on what he was going through while making the second half of the series.

- So I obviously respect Lun's stance on this a lot. That being said, the answers I'm actually interested in hear aren't the ones involving the game's world/story. I'm more interested in the story of how the game got made itself, like what the original plan was with the number of episodes, how far things deviated from the original story, what the days of "Driving through Texas, New Mexico, and Colorado" were like. And honestly I feel like it's been long enough that discussing this stuff isn't going to ruin the magic for anyone. But Lun has the right to disclose what he wants. Hell I really have no clue if he even read my retrospective, or anything on these forums in general. It sure would be neat, though.

Emperor Jeramyu.
I think, besides myself, he's probably the best example of how this series has somehow... lodged itself deeply into the psyche of people who have played it, and stayed there for over a decade. He dedicated a lot of time to writing a pages long retrospective on the series in 2013 after all. And I decided to do a LP of it, and not because it's funny or easy to make fun of or... anything like that. But a genuine love of this strange, badly designed, yet inexplicably compelling game.

- If my ultimate legacy as Emperor Jeramyu is being known as this nutty Way fan... hey, could be a lot worse.
"Unfortunately, the dragon only speaks in Napalm, a curious ancient language that you don't really need to speak to understand."
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Re: Fleshwit's LP now on LP archive

Postby Fleshwit » Sun Jun 28, 2020 10:16 pm

Oh, hey. Even though this game yet again popped into my head (it does with breathtaking constancy), causing me to check for a possible response to my LP on the forum, I didn't expect to actually find one, haha. Well! Seems like I've a few things to address here.

Now I don't want to make this all about me, but if Fleshwit or anyone else reads this, I'd like to make an extremely flimsy attempt at defending myself here that will probably backfire.


No, no. I get it.
Personally, I just don't feel the avalanche of crappy and lazy games is actually toxic or in any way fundamentally bad. I do agree with you very strongly on how nasty the GamingW community could be. In the thread I didn't go into great detail because my memories of that time are very vague, and I pretty much only looked at the forums for actual releases. You can still find a decent amount posts about back then if you know where to look.

I believe I also went into some detail about how terrible GGZ could also be and made a point of how GamingW seemed to antagonize every other community.

And yeah, I do agree ABL and TTHW have not aged very well at all. I honestly always felt both were a bit overrated, even back then.

As for your thing about Laxius Power and specifically 3... It definitely didn't deserve half of the 2005 awards it got. If I implied I thought otherwise, then I didn't make myself clear. I just find that sort of thing pretty funny. Laxius Power 3's story somehow matched up to The Way Episode 5? Laxius Power 3 is just about a bunch of artificial demons resurrecting themselves to try destroy the world and there's not even some big mystery around untangling that. It's just how it is.. It doesn't even tie into the series overarching plot at all (which is about real demons destroying the world. So not that great either!).

I do regard Laxius series as art of sorts, but not because I think there's anything genuinely artistic about the games themselves.
If you're familiar with the idea of 'outsider art', that's the sort of novelty it has for me. Well, I kind of like the first games gameplay a little, and Laxius Power 3 is the closest the series ever comes to a legitimately good game (but is still held back by its own problems... and the following games are complete trash.) The Laxius games are also genuinely offensive, or would be if I could take them seriously. The thing you said about them being an otaku's sex fantasy is almost 100% certain to be correct.

I have a french friend who claims waaaaay back in the day, Indinera was reviled by the french RPGMaker community for three reasons, two of them extremely petty. I can't actually corroborate these claims myself, especially since that friend of mine has cut ties with literally everyone some years ago.

The two petty reasons was that he was selling out by making an actual non-artsy game and then again by '''''translating''''' it into English. The third reason was that they had cause to name their creepy sex pervert game award after him. Was it because of Laxius Power? I dunno.

If you look at the content of the game itself, the sex fantasy thing is pretty clear too. I'm not usually fussed about that sort of thing unless it takes very specific forms that shouldn't be tolerated. And Laxius Power does edge on that, because the form it takes is... Indinera's seeming obsession with Slave/Master type relationships, and as a result there's a ton of things in the game that feel very misogynistic, even though I don't think Indinera is an actual misogynist, sort of backed up you look at his other games, or even other parts of the Laxius games outside of the two relationships I'm thinking of specifically.

Oh yeah, and these days using 'r****d' as an insult is very frowned upon, but it wasn't regarded so poorly in the 2000's and BOY does that show in the Laxius series. Anyway, my feelings about the series are very complex, and the best description I can muster is that I half hate it, half respect it... with a bit of love sprinkled in. Also it's just flatout insane in pretty hilarious ways.

...

Oh right, this was meant to be about The Way and the LP.



Also I think this is selling Traziun a bit short. He has an important role as kind of a mentor/guide to Rhue, and explaining some stuff to the audience. A lot of people in the thread were bashing him as a generic "cool anime swordsman". I'm going to assume these people have never ever played any serious volume of other RPG Maker games, because what was so refreshing about Traziun in comparison to, say, what you would find in xXSSJsePhiRoThXx's Final Fantasy fangame was that yeah, he was powerful and a badass, but was also an actual character with actual depth and subtlety (again, by RM2K standards), and had a fun dynamic with Rhue as sort of this buddy cop duo, and ultimately proved himself a selfless friend.


I understand what you mean. I still like that scene a bit, personally, but I do agree with the original posters meaning mostly. When someone else in the thread referred back to it as juvenile, I felt that was a bit much. Maybe I should have said something there.

I do agree that the context matters too, but at the same time... It doesn't change how Traziun feels a bit out of place to me, despite his major role in the story and Rhue's development.

I might have really misled people in the thread in a couple ways, but it was in no way intentional, and like you yourself were, I was going by vague memories (and your retrospective.) I did remember a fair amount of griping about Laxius Power and other games, but I perhaps should have mentioned that this wasn't unique to The Way's fandom, so I apologise for that, especially if that kind of thing only came from you and maybe a couple others, rather than the fanbase as a whole.

A less serious point, but I didn't think you were seriously bothered by Laxius Power's popularity after so much time had passed. I just used it as an easy to find example of the sort of attitude I remembered. So that might have been misleading as well. So, sorry.

- I'm not sure if this is referring to his interview questions or what, but when we had lost the interview text for a while, I tried looking this dude up and found some very confusing, bizarre things. Maybe there's more to this story that I just don't know.


There's not really much more to this story, per se. I don't know when you looked this guy up, but I looked him up in 2019 while I was doing the LP and his most recent blog post at the time was a weird one where he wrote a HUGE wall of text about The Lion King (the original animated one.) Specifically, that leftists/liberals should love and adore Scar and the hyenas because leftists/liberals are the real nazis.

And well, if you've paid attention to the internet at all, writing such things are usually a strong indicator of what I will charitably call a rotten mind.
When I wrote that comment I was restraining myself from saying much more because I didn't want to end on a poor note. It was more of a warning to not bother checking that guy out, and if you did, don't think I like, agreed with his crap.

- So I guess I'll walk back what I said earlier and get a bit defensive about this. I realize that RPG Maker games, especially old ones have this bad reputation, and that mocking all their shortcomings is a big pastime especially when it comes to stuff like SA threads (and believe me, even now I instinctively cringe when I see an obviously RPG maker game on Steam), but again I need to stress context. As a mostly single-young-person effort on a completely free, mostly unfunded series of games that took years to complete, on a dated, very limited, buggy piece of unofficially translated software, long before any sort of resources or even a playbook on indie games were written, I will still contend that what The Way achieved is impressive, especially compared to its peers. Now whether one thinks that means it deserves some slack on its flaws up to them I guess, but I found some of the more mean-spirited jabs in the LP kind of failed to communicate that context, which lead to a lot of comments that were making kinda uninformed occasionally bad-faith criticisms. The Way's quality relative to other games of its era gets brought up kind of dismissively near the start, but I think it's pretty important.


So. This is actually something I regret a bit now that I've read this post, but there's a few things here. I hadn't played The Way for about ... 5 years or something when I did the LP. That was the longest period of time I had gone without replaying the series, and I've done 1-6 a whole load of times.

I don't know what happened... maybe the time away from the game gave me more perspective (in some regards) or maybe I just learned to be more critical of things I enjoy, but coming back to the series was almost... a disappointment. The LP opened my eyes to the fact the game had a lot more flaws than I had realised. Not many of my comments were meant to be actually mean-spirited, but I think that disappointment I felt tinged a lot of my commentary.

And I'll be really clear here, that disappointment was that this wonderful series I dearly loved could have easily been so much better. Maybe if it had been a bit better in this way or this way... it might have gotten the love and attention I feel it deserves. And I do think it deserves a lot more than it gets. I really, truly do. That is why I LP'd it. My intention wasn't to mock it, even if I did do that here and there. But it definitely was an impressive achievement for the circumstances you described. That was specifically why I quoted the part of the retrospective where you talked about that, and said I felt you put it into better words than I ever could.

And yeah, maybe I should have talked a lot more about it's quality relative to a lot of the other RPGMaker games of the time. There also wasn't much of an indie game market at the time too, which made it doubly special.

- If my ultimate legacy as Emperor Jeramyu is being known as this nutty Way fan... hey, could be a lot worse.


Haha. I wouldn't say nutty. And I'd bet good money I'm nuttier, even if you are. That aside, it's not our fault that now and then some guy on the internet just happens to make a game that's so unexplainably and bizarrely compelling.

We'll always have The Way, bud.


And I'll actually be linking to these posts in my current LP (Master of the Wind, for which I've managed to contact Volrath for some commentary(one last regret is that I didn't try to contact Lun.))
I'm pretty sure some of the people who read The Way LP thread read my next one, and if not, they may be inspired by this to go read it.

And uhh, speaking of Lun, on Twitter, in April he was hiring pixel artists and said they had to be able to emulate the RPGMaker XP style, while the rest of Something Classic seems to have been working on two different games, so he might be up to something!
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Re: Fleshwit's LP now on LP archive

Postby EmperorJeramyu » Mon Jun 29, 2020 4:24 pm

Hey Fleshwit! Thanks for the response. I guess I'll do the response to the response thing for any curious onlooker.

Fleshwit wrote:Oh, hey. Even though this game yet again popped into my head (it does with breathtaking constancy), causing me to check for a possible response to my LP on the forum, I didn't expect to actually find one, haha. Well! Seems like I've a few things to address here.

Now I don't want to make this all about me, but if Fleshwit or anyone else reads this, I'd like to make an extremely flimsy attempt at defending myself here that will probably backfire.


No, no. I get it.
Personally, I just don't feel the avalanche of crappy and lazy games is actually toxic or in any way fundamentally bad. I do agree with you very strongly on how nasty the GamingW community could be. In the thread I didn't go into great detail because my memories of that time are very vague, and I pretty much only looked at the forums for actual releases. You can still find a decent amount posts about back then if you know where to look.

It's actually interesting, you referred to The Way as a "GamingW game" (or something like that, as opposed to a GGZ game), having discovered it through rpg2knet and then just through Lun's site directly after that, it never would've occurred to me that was actually the case, but yeah it would've had to have been. It's just odd because I don't really remember seeing that much talk about it on the actual GW forums. The best I remember was Lysander86 sounding nonplussed and stating that Lun was going to burn himself out (which annoyed me at the time, but ended up being pretty true).

I'll admit I'm probably too hard on the "scene" from back then even still, but I think it's just because the bad stuff is unfortunately a lot more memorable. I guess what stood out to me wasn't necessarily the bad demos themselves (I'm certainly responsible for a few of those myself), but the perpetual stink of adolescent oneupsmanship that surrounded them. I have very few memories of amiable folks earnestly working on passion projects, and a lot of memories of egomaniacs posting a zillion overproduced screenshots and claiming they were making the greatest games ever and then farting out a 5 minute demo and vanishing forever.

Fleshwit wrote:And yeah, I do agree ABL and TTHW have not aged very well at all. I honestly always felt both were a bit overrated, even back then.

They're still top 10 RPG Maker games for me, and I love TTHW a lot (now there's a game that would be interesting to LP...). But they both have a lot of dated elements.

Fleshwit wrote:As for your thing about Laxius Power and specifically 3...

Understood. I wasn't trying to shame you or anyone who enjoyed it, but it was a bit hard to parse your commentary on it.

Fleshwit wrote:
Also I think this is selling Traziun a bit short. He has an important role as kind of a mentor/guide to Rhue, and explaining some stuff to the audience. A lot of people in the thread were bashing him as a generic "cool anime swordsman". I'm going to assume these people have never ever played any serious volume of other RPG Maker games, because what was so refreshing about Traziun in comparison to, say, what you would find in xXSSJsePhiRoThXx's Final Fantasy fangame was that yeah, he was powerful and a badass, but was also an actual character with actual depth and subtlety (again, by RM2K standards), and had a fun dynamic with Rhue as sort of this buddy cop duo, and ultimately proved himself a selfless friend.


I understand what you mean. I still like that scene a bit, personally, but I do agree with the original posters meaning mostly. When someone else in the thread referred back to it as juvenile, I felt that was a bit much. Maybe I should have said something there.

I do agree that the context matters too, but at the same time... It doesn't change how Traziun feels a bit out of place to me, despite his major role in the story and Rhue's development.

It's a valid criticism, and even now as I'm sitting here I'm understanding it more and more, but with regards to the actual blood lyn explosiogeddon I think what works about it for me, is it's the ONLY time something like that happens. Just kinda made me sad that the one time The Way goes for a big dumb popcorn moment people would jump on its throat. After 5 episodes I felt it had earned it, but calling it tonally inconsistent with the other violence in the series is also not wrong.

Fleshwit wrote:I might have really misled people in the thread in a couple ways, but it was in no way intentional, and like you yourself were, I was going by vague memories (and your retrospective.) I did remember a fair amount of griping about Laxius Power and other games, but I perhaps should have mentioned that this wasn't unique to The Way's fandom, so I apologise for that, especially if that kind of thing only came from you and maybe a couple others, rather than the fanbase as a whole.

A less serious point, but I didn't think you were seriously bothered by Laxius Power's popularity after so much time had passed. I just used it as an easy to find example of the sort of attitude I remembered. So that might have been misleading as well. So, sorry.

Oh yeah I wasn't trying to insinuate any foul play. My memory isn't perfect either, but I genuinely feel like most of those sentiments were my responsibility, directly or indirectly. The commenters in the thread lacked context for all of this, so I just wanted to state my case somewhere, lol.

Fleshwit wrote:
- I'm not sure if this is referring to his interview questions or what, but when we had lost the interview text for a while, I tried looking this dude up and found some very confusing, bizarre things. Maybe there's more to this story that I just don't know.


There's not really much more to this story, per se. I don't know when you looked this guy up, but I looked him up in 2019 while I was doing the LP and his most recent blog post at the time was a weird one where he wrote a HUGE wall of text about The Lion King (the original animated one.) Specifically, that leftists/liberals should love and adore Scar and the hyenas because leftists/liberals are the real nazis.

And well, if you've paid attention to the internet at all, writing such things are usually a strong indicator of what I will charitably call a rotten mind.
When I wrote that comment I was restraining myself from saying much more because I didn't want to end on a poor note. It was more of a warning to not bother checking that guy out, and if you did, don't think I like, agreed with his crap.

Yikes! This was years ago when the site with the Lun interview went down and was seemingly wasn't archived everywhere, and before Lun had reposted it (I saved a backup after that). I had actually found an RPG maker game he had made. I didn't really play it at all, but everything about the presentation was really bizarre.

Fleshwit wrote:
- So I guess I'll walk back what I said earlier and get a bit defensive about this. I realize that RPG Maker games, especially old ones have this bad reputation, and that mocking all their shortcomings is a big pastime especially when it comes to stuff like SA threads (and believe me, even now I instinctively cringe when I see an obviously RPG maker game on Steam), but again I need to stress context. As a mostly single-young-person effort on a completely free, mostly unfunded series of games that took years to complete, on a dated, very limited, buggy piece of unofficially translated software, long before any sort of resources or even a playbook on indie games were written, I will still contend that what The Way achieved is impressive, especially compared to its peers. Now whether one thinks that means it deserves some slack on its flaws up to them I guess, but I found some of the more mean-spirited jabs in the LP kind of failed to communicate that context, which lead to a lot of comments that were making kinda uninformed occasionally bad-faith criticisms. The Way's quality relative to other games of its era gets brought up kind of dismissively near the start, but I think it's pretty important.


So. This is actually something I regret a bit now that I've read this post, but there's a few things here. I hadn't played The Way for about ... 5 years or something when I did the LP. That was the longest period of time I had gone without replaying the series, and I've done 1-6 a whole load of times.

I don't know what happened... maybe the time away from the game gave me more perspective (in some regards) or maybe I just learned to be more critical of things I enjoy, but coming back to the series was almost... a disappointment. The LP opened my eyes to the fact the game had a lot more flaws than I had realised. Not many of my comments were meant to be actually mean-spirited, but I think that disappointment I felt tinged a lot of my commentary.

And I'll be really clear here, that disappointment was that this wonderful series I dearly loved could have easily been so much better. Maybe if it had been a bit better in this way or this way... it might have gotten the love and attention I feel it deserves. And I do think it deserves a lot more than it gets. I really, truly do. That is why I LP'd it. My intention wasn't to mock it, even if I did do that here and there. But it definitely was an impressive achievement for the circumstances you described. That was specifically why I quoted the part of the retrospective where you talked about that, and said I felt you put it into better words than I ever could.

And yeah, maybe I should have talked a lot more about it's quality relative to a lot of the other RPGMaker games of the time. There also wasn't much of an indie game market at the time too, which made it doubly special.

The funny thing is, when I saw you had linked to my retrospective thread, I started re-reading it... and then in a hasty panic started editing it to be WAAAAY less confrontational and vulgar. Not that I'm a big prude about that stuff, but it had never occurred to me that any volume of people not familiar with the The Way or its community would ever have a reason to read it, and trying to read it from an outsider's perspective was deeply embarrassing. I have the luxury of rewriting it as much as I want, but now that it has been archived I'm guessing you really don't really have that with the LP.

"Doesn't Hold Up" syndrome is definitely a real thing. When I did my 2013 play through there was definitely stuff that stuck out to me more, but I dunno, I would say it was a lot like I remembered it, flaws included. I try and do a yearly session of playing through old RPG maker games, so maybe my expectations are usually pretty tempered, and playing through non-Way games always reemphasizes to me how special it really was. I guess the obvious answer is I'm just such a big fan I overlook a lot of the bigger flaws. That's certainly plausible. It's just for me, when it comes to RPG Maker 2000 games, and story, characters, art, sound, and gameplay, there are definitely games that match or exceed The Way in each individual area, but very little comes close to being the full package that The Way is.

Does it still hold up today? I think it's still perfectly playable... with a few hiccups. Most well-known RPG Maker games are to some extent. Is it going to enrapture someone the same way it did the lot of us like it did back in the early 2000s? That's a harder sell. I think a lot of the storytelling and worldbuilding do hold up, and it was cool seeing people in the thread recognize E6's brilliant moments. So I think if someone sets their expectations appropriately, it's still possible. But the landscape of gaming has changed a lot. The Freeware scene, and a whole lot of the odd, esoteric, and occasionally brilliant games that were a part of it have kind of been written out of history by the rise of the indie scene, and have gone unrecorded. It's hard to pitch a slow, janky, amateurish, long series of RPGs to someone that may only truly come together at the end to anyone these days, and I've certainly never succeeded.

Could The Way have been better? Of course. Could it have been a better RPG Maker 2000 games? Also yes, but definitely way less so. For that reason alone I think The Way got pretty much as big as it was ever going to get, flaws or not. Even in the freeware scene, RPG Maker wasn't taken that seriously (and arguably it isn't even taken that seriously in the current indie scene). So even if it lost a Misao or two, the only regret I have is that E6 really was the end of the The Way in every sense... so far. Fingers crossed.

Fleshwit wrote:
- If my ultimate legacy as Emperor Jeramyu is being known as this nutty Way fan... hey, could be a lot worse.


Haha. I wouldn't say nutty. And I'd bet good money I'm nuttier, even if you are. That aside, it's not our fault that now and then some guy on the internet just happens to make a game that's so unexplainably and bizarrely compelling.

We'll always have The Way, bud.

And I'll actually be linking to these posts in my current LP (Master of the Wind, for which I've managed to contact Volrath for some commentary(one last regret is that I didn't try to contact Lun.))
I'm pretty sure some of the people who read The Way LP thread read my next one, and if not, they may be inspired by this to go read it.

I'll be keeping an eye out!
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Re: Fleshwit's LP now on LP archive

Postby Fleshwit » Mon Jun 29, 2020 11:20 pm

EmperorJeramyu wrote:The funny thing is, when I saw you had linked to my retrospective thread, I started re-reading it... and then in a hasty panic started editing it to be WAAAAY less confrontational and vulgar. Not that I'm a big prude about that stuff, but it had never occurred to me that any volume of people not familiar with the The Way or its community would ever have a reason to read it, and trying to read it from an outsider's perspective was deeply embarrassing. I have the luxury of rewriting it as much as I want, but now that it has been archived I'm guessing you really don't really have that with the LP.


No, I don't and I kind of almost feel like it would be dishonest to do so, especially since it was almost like showcasing what spending a few years without playing it and letting me rediscover it was like.

I will admit though, that I have strongly considered setting up my own website for my LPs and perhaps just gradually improving them, rewriting parts as I see fit.
I already had to do that once when I was archiving the thread. The first ten or so updates were really shitty and had a few problems like window elements being left in, faceset sizes being wildly inconsistent, etc. The later posts mostly just had to be updated for my -current- formatting standard, and I wouldn't put it past me to some day become a much more high effort LPer that does things like... say... every update has its own unique image link and lots of other little things that don't matter that much.

Also, fixing my spelling and grammar and trying to mitigate my rambling and incoherent style where I just suddenly switch topics and go right back to the first topic after a little.

There's also some good games I want to do that probably wouldn't fly on Something Awful. I'm honestly not sure if a game like Embric of Wulfhammer's Castle would be suitable for it, and I can understand why, but it's also a funny game I like a lot, some 'iffy' scenes aside.
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