The HotSpot - To the Moon - 12/2/11

Freebird Games' To the Moon is pretty stellar, and the HotSpot crew explains why you seriously need to go buy it right now. WARNING: Massive spoilers.

by

POW! Right in the kisser, straight to the moon! OK, I can say that's the first and only Honeymooners joke you're gonna get as the HotSpot crew tackles the comedic, thought-provoking adventure game To the Moon. Shaun McInnis, Kevin VanOrd, Tom Mc Shea, Van Ngyuen, and Tom Magrino seriously rave about this game for a full hour. Be warned: Serious and massive spoilers ahead!

The HotSpot - To the Moon - 12/2/11 by gamespot

Number of technical snafus experienced creating the below video - 0. Number of good god thank-yous issued by producer as a result - 1,000,000,000,000*.

*Note: Approximate figure.

Discussion

79 comments
rjfern7
rjfern7

Is this douchebag (Tom) still with the company?

boreddoom
boreddoom

First hotspot I've ever watched and it was great :D

ZackMAck43
ZackMAck43

God, hotspot is becoming so good : D Love "To the Moon" , Cried and Cried....so awesome everyone should play this, and i have to thank Gamespot for giving me the opportunity to play this game, because i never would have know about it if it wasn't for you.

Keir21
Keir21

whut, I think it's heavily implied they got to the moon. It fades to black as the moon is in sight...Well, unless you're refering to the fact that it's all an artificial memory.

Bepedos
Bepedos

@RyuRanVII I like that you mentioned PS:T because all the references the crew could come up with when talking about good story-telling and story itself was Bioshock, The Witcher 2 and Enslaved. First of all, I can't say for the other two, but Bioshock ? Granted, it has a great atmosphere, but a good story ? Those are two different things. To talk about story, I would have mentioned Heavy Rain, and for story-telling Mass Effect 2. But most importantly, they only mentioned modern games. When you say PS:T, you also have to make the connection : Infinity Engine, and thus, Baldur's Gate, which is a "real" game (coming from Bioware, very good story-tellers). And if you go further back in the history of games, you have to remember those point-and-click adventures (exactly like TTM) like Secret of Monkey Island or Discworld, with very funny moments and great universes, and that despite the fact that Discworld isn't an original IP. At that time, the "indie-scene" didn't even really exist, but it didn't need to. So why did studios stopped doing that ? I can't believe that there isn't a large audience of gamers that despises the same old FPS formula reappearing every month on the shelves with a different packaging. So is it just that they don't have to try anymore because their audience forgot all about the great games of the past, which had to have a real story in order to succeed because graphics weren't enough to bring a story to life ? I'd really like to know the answer.

JackZor23
JackZor23

This one's gonna win the "best video game that's not a video game" award.

Viiper
Viiper

Oh yeah! It's Hotspot day today.

eiji1
eiji1

(cont.) [SPOILERS] You have literally no control over the progression of the story, or where it progresses. Once you do make the move to change Johnny's memories, nothing changes because of the brilliant twist that propels the rest of the game forward. When Johnny's memories are finally actually changed, you're not in control of that change - in fact, you're struggling futilely against it. And then you end up being wrong all along. [/SPOILERS] Just thought I'd say my piece a day before this podcast post goes into the archives.

eiji1
eiji1

@TomM_GScom @TomMcShea @Kevin-V Hey, I've been having problems getting into Paypal off the game's site so I just ended up watching it on youtube (I'm still gonna pay full price for it, though - it's entirely awesome!), and I totally agree with you that the game is an incredible experience, truly thought provoking and emotionally resonant. However, I do feel the need to point out a flaw I see in your thinking when you compared TTM's story to others in games. The basest problem I have with that comparison is that there is no real reason TTM should *have* to be a game. Having watched it on youtube, my mouth gaping at the second car accident, getting choked up at Johnny and River's first meeting, and laughing uncontrollably at the second act's silliness and the awesome Plants vs Zombies reference. I didn't have to play TTM to get how incredible it is. In fact, since I didn't have to slog through the puzzles and the orb searching myself, I feel I experienced the story more purely. Most story-heavy games made today, like The Witcher 2, Bioshock, Mass Effect and Skyrim would have been decidedly lesser experiences, were they not games. I belive this is because they supply one feeling that is entirely devoid in TTM - Agency. (cont.)

in_your_realm
in_your_realm

Also, sorry for the double post but in the game it shows Johnny re-experiencing his wedding (after landing on the moon which it doesnt show) and it shows the house being completed, and them sitting next to the lighthouse.

in_your_realm
in_your_realm

Great find Shaun! Just finished it as well and it was superb!

hrothgar99
hrothgar99

also super excited about the skyrim spoilercsat :D

hrothgar99
hrothgar99

really surprised to see how emotional the GS staff have gotten by simply explaining the game .....but yeah the game is awesome ..

Merlandese
Merlandese

Hilarious and thought-provoking podcast, gentlemen. My friend from Budapest says that "Anya" is Hungarian for "Mother", though I can't be sure it's officially connected. It'd make a nice connection, whereas mothers look after their young ("Who'll look after us...?) and lighthouses can be personified as caring, guiding figures. I guess it's also backwards, since Johnny and River look after Anya.

Tyralyon
Tyralyon

Thank you GS for letting me know about this game, and thank you for the great spoilercast. It was very interesting to hear you all discuss the themes and meanings of the game. I haven't got anyone to discuss it with yet, but this was certainly the next best thing :) I also cried, something I don't think I ever have done in a game. The thing that tore me the most up was the moment you realized what all those paper rabbits mean, what River was trying to signal to John.

shaunmc
shaunmc moderator

@Gelugon_baat I am a man of many tastes.

BenderUnit22
BenderUnit22

I would really love this story told in a Studio Ghibli anime. It's a bit of a shame To The Moon is held back by the limitations of an RPG maker, if it had the cohesive production values of say, a Braid or Bastion, it could very well be this year's indie breakthrough (although I guess that's Bastion already).

RyuRanVII
RyuRanVII

For people who enjoyed . And vice-versa. Deep, philosophic, emotional and memorable stories are very rare in videogames.

RyuRanVII
RyuRanVII

What could be more beautiful than watching the Gamespot crew discussing about an indie game made on RPG Maker?

RealHarry
RealHarry

Can we PLEASE have a Witcher 2 spoilercast now?

DrAmazinDood
DrAmazinDood

I felt compeled by To The Moon the first time i saw it on the site and now because of this podcast I'm defenitly sure I'll be playing very soon Awesome show guys keep it up

Kevin-V
Kevin-V moderator staff

@ptrpedrohung -- Well, each review has a big ol' text. I am always confused when people ask that particular "why;" the reasoning is all right there in the words. To the Moon is great, and earned its 8. But it is also a limited, linear experience focused on story; what little gameplay there is is either overly simple, or just not good. A game like Skyrim is very, very, very different. Read the reviews; what you need to know is all there.

ptrpedrohung
ptrpedrohung

@TomM_GScom Tom please don't take this the wrong way and I had a hoot listening to this podcast and am really interested in this game. But while you guys spent an hour raving about this game, it only gets an 8.0 and games like Skyrim (which you said is inadequate in story telling) gets 9.0? Is it because that the plot is the only aspect where To the Moon shines?

saadomar1109
saadomar1109

Cool factoid guys: Rosalind is actually a satellite for the planet Uranus, how the Moon is a satellite to our planet! Isn't that neat?

Tyralyon
Tyralyon

Ok, I'm now playing TTM, and I was wondering if anyone else noticed the reference to The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy? It's called The Pilgrim's Guide to Origami. Couldn't find anyone mentioning it by googling, so thought I'd post it here :)

Echofoxz
Echofoxz

Oh yeah, for those that are still on the fence about the game, GO GET IT! After you finished the game and cried for about 5 minutes, you will know that it's worth it.

Echofoxz
Echofoxz

I know a lot of people already mentioned the thought-provoking story, hilarious dialogues, and interesting characters, so I leave those unsaid. What really impressed me is the music. Without the music, the game wouldn't have been as special as it is. I seriously think the music in To the Moon is on par with Bastion's soundtracks. Both incredibly well done, and both games wouldn't be the same without the music.

mjc
mjc moderator

After finishing the game I just wanted to chat to someone about my thoughts on it. Thanks for the podcast - it helped with this.

Jannradio
Jannradio

Just played through, yeah it is about 4 hours long and so worth it. Great story, a little depressing at times but it's a perfect blend of comedic moments with dramatic moments which shape it into one amazing adventure.

boiardee14
boiardee14

wth? 2 hotspots in 1 week? AWESOME

arun_pullat
arun_pullat

I hadn't heard of this game till Gamespot highlighted this, and for that... thank you! The music in this game is the most effective I've heard in years.

jecht_35
jecht_35

Anya in russian means grace or favor. Anya in sanskrit it means the inexhaustable. I don't know if that helps but there you go.

Kevin-V
Kevin-V moderator staff

@oOoOopthoOo -- I am not exactly sure why I was doing that! I think that the game inspires introspection; most of the time, when I am doing that, it seems I am reaching for exactly the right words.

juliano001
juliano001

where do i get this game? Its not available via steam and i dont find it in ebay. Anyone can help me?

MegamanX2011
MegamanX2011

I would love to play this game, but i cant afford to experience strong emotions and sadness now. Im glad though that these kind of games still have great acceptance for gamers.

TruSake
TruSake

wow, an hour long video? Jeez, no thanks. Plus, I can't play games with that old graphics, no matter how good the gameplay is.

oOoOopthoOo
oOoOopthoOo

Why does Kevin talk with his eyes closed?

Viiper
Viiper

@TomM_GScom D: I had no idea. Bummer!

Nodashi
Nodashi

@carolynmichelle Oh cool, thanks for the hint, will do :)

BenderUnit22
BenderUnit22

I just played through the game in one sitting, definitely a tear-jerker in the most positive of ways, but also never too dramatic to skip on a funny joke along the way. I think one of the reasons it works is that its compelling story is condensed almost without filler into the game's play-time. Too often you see games that do have good stories (not necessarily particularly emotional or complex ones, but entertaining ones like the Uncharted series) but lose their effect because of padding segments in between. To the Moon is almost all story, almost everything you do is to press its compelling story forward and given its playtime, I think many a game couldn't fill an hour with just their stories, let alone four. I personally could've done with even less gameplay, as collecting these memory pieces and then hadouken the protective barrier felt kind of contrived as just a way to somehow make it interactive to be able to call it a game.

HailToTheGun
HailToTheGun

Anya Jenkins is a character in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. From wikipedia, "Within the series' narrative, Anya was originally human, but spent over a thousand years as a vengeance demon, wreaking havoc by granting the wishes of women who had been wronged by men. The character becomes human again in her first appearance, and is forced to learn what it means to be human again in subsequent episodes." Both Firefly and Buffy were written and directed by Joss Whedon.

Fiscaldeal
Fiscaldeal

@cyberxspeed I'm of the opinion that the ability to complete this game comfortably in a single sitting really worked in its favor rather than against it, as I walked away from the screen feeling completely satisfied. Everything concludes itself so expertly in its 4 or so hour span that anything more would have just been padding.

carolynmichelle
carolynmichelle moderator staff

@cyberxspeed I understand. My feeling is that it's worth it because it's a 4-5 hour game you'll probably remember more vividly than some 10 or 20 hour games you may have played. But you can try an hour of the game for free before purchasing, which might help you make up your mind.

cyberxspeed
cyberxspeed

I've watched the whole thing not having played the game yet (I don't mind being spoiled). Now it really got me interested. Just not sure if $11.99 is worth 4-5 hr game.

carolynmichelle
carolynmichelle moderator staff

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

carolynmichelle
carolynmichelle moderator staff

@Nodashi Don't let that stop you from checking it out. It's an easy download from Freebird Games' [url=http://www.freebirdgames.com/]official site[/url], and you can even play the game for an hour for free if you're not sure it's something you really want to purchase.