I was totally ready to be an asshole tonight. I've been pumped all week for the premier of OMOCAT's OMORI demo at Giant Robot's Game Night I wasn't going to let anything stop me. I got in early, walked around sheepishly waiting for the pc to be set up, and once everything was ready immediately snatched the controller and started playing. I was the asshole who played the OMORI demo before anyone else.
But then people started circling around me. They started joking about the rabid bunes and poor sick Space Boyfriend, pointing where I was supposed to go next on screen, one of the team members (I'm sorry I don't know who!) had to explain to me just what the hell "Calm Down" did.
Then I handed the controller off to someone else and joined the rest of the crowd; shouting, pointing, playing together.
That's when I knew that more than nostalgia trip, more than an "Earthbound clone" as another jokingly called it, OMORI was special. Few games make me eager to pass off the experience to someone else and OMORI as buggy and rough as it was managed to do just that.
[font='Helvetica Neue', HelveticaNeue, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif][/font] [font=Helvetica Neue, HelveticaNeue, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif][u]Taken on a 3DS. MPO Here[/u][/font]
For the first time seeing two kids discover a game by themselves didn't make me cringe and go into backseat-gaming mode. It was a joy seeing them explore the world, take in the surroundings, learn how to sneak past the bunes because oh my god I don't need to get into another six rabbit battle.
I've seen OMORI get compared often to Earthbound, and the comparisons are absolutely spot-on. But more than riff off some superficial elements, for just one short hour it recreated and elevated what it felt like to play Earthbound again for the first time. The simultaneous sense of wanderlust and anxiety for what was up ahead along with a radiant joy with discovering each room is something I've rarely seen so-called "Earthbound-inspired" games do yet OMOCAT has done so with flying colors.
[font='Helvetica Neue', HelveticaNeue, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif][/font] [font=Helvetica Neue, HelveticaNeue, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif][u]MPO img here[/u][/font]
Did the demo have problems? Absolutely. There were bugs everywhere and a lot of stuff seemed hacked together by multiple RPG Maker scripts not working entirely in tangent. And as rare they were reportedly supposed to be, the abundance of ridiculous 6-rabbit mobs made fighting them so tedious we instead started getting skilled at outrunning the little buggers on the overworld (one guy Solid-Snake'd through like 5 of them and the crowd started going "WHAAAAAAT").
But it honestly didn't matter because despite how rough it was OMORI had an undeniable charm and mystery to it that demanded to be discovered and shared.
One last story.
We were reaching the end of the demo. At the beginning a talking chest embarked us on a fetch quest for several items because before getting sick Space Boyfriend opened the chest and scattered their items across the moon. Now after a bit more than an hour of circling around the same areas looking for anyplace the last person who played missed, we finally found all but one. We got back to the chest and he told us the last item was in the room. We checked everywhere, multiple times (we were stupid enough to go outside the room
to look). One of his hints was that it was something that was watching us all along. Ignoring OMOCAT's hint that the chest's hint was a red herring I saw a plant in a corner of the room with an emblem on its vase that vaguely looked like an eye.
"CHECK THE PLANT IT HAS AN EYE ON IT."
We go check it. Nothing happens.
"GOD DAMN IT"
Meanwhile OMOCAT and her friends are laughing with their heads in their palms because I just made us move from one side of the room- where the last item actually was- to opposite side. I was super embarrased. Later on when I talked to OMOCAT to express my gratitude she replied along the lines of "Oh my god, you're the guy who made everyone check the plant. Oh my god that was hilarious."By the end of the night I wasn't the asshole who waited to play the demo first before the PC was even set up. I was the dude who made the funniest goof of the night. And I'm probably an asshole for thinking I was that funny.
[font=Helvetica Neue, HelveticaNeue, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif][u]This is the first post of the not-yet-relaunched CrackedComms. Congratulations for getting through! Please read it there too! There's also a version available on my Kinja blog.[/u][/font]
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