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Pain is the most intimate form of relationship

I am one of the people who care very much about restoring the true meaning
of the word "sadism", which has been sadly twisted somewhere
between petty sexual fetishes and neurotic social conduct.

I am one of those people who take immense pleasure in causing and witnessing
a merciless and slow destruction of a human's physical and mental well-being.

I am one of those people who consider pain to be most intimate
form of relationship one person can ever share with another.

And if you, my friend, are here today...
You are probably a lot like me.

-An excerpt from Swotter-



Warning: This review is SPOILERific


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Gameplay -- Do I really even need to tell about this?
===================================================================================
- It's a warped dating sim and a puzzle game.
- Personally I didn't mind the walk speed and all that. It wasn't like the maps were big.
- Besides, it fits the mood and atmosphere of the game.
- The one tile at a time didn't bother me.
- Saving once made me more aware of what I should do and what kind of "tortures" I have to work on.
- This game is about deciphering people and making sure they break-ish under the right tools.
- There are tons of other reviews of it already, if you want to know more read the,

===================================================================================
What I think? -- A true "art game." Read on if you want to know why.
===================================================================================
Note: This game has been on my "To play list" for quite a while now. I had always been a psychology fan of human behavior.

> Beautiful Escape Dungeoneer is a story about a man named aliased Verge. He's a sadist, a loner, and a man that has nothing left for him.

He's a Dungeoneer, an elite group that takes pleasure from torturing people in the most creative way possible. To break a person mentally and physically -- something that isn't really in a coma state or in a death state, but rather, something that made them wish they didn't have to live through it at all and just died there. They wish they never lived at all.

Verge uses his social skills to gain the trust of his victim. He finds their softspot, their fears and, their goals. Sadism after all, is an elaborate art. For these sadists, they think that showing exquisite pain shows their affection to their subject. Why am I saying this? Because of the victims that you picked:

- A model/actress/waitress who is taking care of her ill mother and family. Extremely talented. Despite her familial issues, she shows that bright smile of hers.
- A man that wants to get along with people. He's just really horrible at it. Has history of being bullied because of his need to impress people and for them to accept him.
- A religious, motherly woman that is a kindergarten teacher. Her husband is disabled and she doesn't have kids.
- A child prodigy that fell off his path and working hard to patch up his life. He stopped his addiction of smoking and instead of resorting to violence -- he worked towards on working with music and "trying to do the right thing for once," as he says.
- A professional photographer that is hypochondriac. He loves girls. You can also get along with him easily as a friend to hang out with.

Each one of them, have a trait admirable and can be easily likable. Some are if you're willing to look beyond their negative traits and look over their positive traits. Normally, a person would regard these strong willed people with admiration and respect. Verge eloquently spoke to his reason why he does this:

"It always pleases me to see such variety of people, all those faces, each telling a different story."
"Not all of them appeal to me. There are ones I've been watching for some time, now."

"I think I wanted to be part of her(their) life in a way no one else could ever be."
"She(They) was(were) very special to me. I wanted to be special to her(them) too."
"It was more satisfying than any talk or kiss we've had, or any sex we could have had..."
"I was just not completely satisfied because I felt I wanted to kill her(them) again... often."

In short, "I am one of those people who consider pain to be most intimate form of relationship one person can ever share with another." This is how he shows his affection towards these people. Does this make him evil? Who knows.

Why am I saying these stuff? It's because of Calunio's subject matter. If you ever heard of Performance Art, then you should be able to see where I'm going. If not, I'm going to say what my Art Appreciation teacher told me: "Performance Art is an art that involves the artists in the art piece itself. Leaving an unforgettable impression and something that evokes thought and feelings from the audience." An example of such art is Circus Acts, etc. It's the experience for the audience is where it matters. Something where the audience can't forget. Performance art makes you remember the "art piece" and urges you to talk about it whenever it's brought up. It is something that is seared into your mind.

The art in this game is the experience. This experience makes it a Performance Art--an Art Game. Now before you tell me that this can't be art, "art is art, shit is shit" then you'd better do some research on all kinds of Performance Arts! I'll happily send you videos/stories/school examples, if you really feel strongly about it.

What also made this game deeper than most art games is that, Calunio used his psychologist experience to create a believable main character. The workings of a mind of a sadist. Someone where you can't empathize because of moral barriers and the belief of NOT wanting to understand such a "vile" person. He makes people think and ask, "Why is he doing this?"

Even though I was irked by some of the dialogue, I can definitely see the personality of each victim. They were vibrant and alive. While the dungeoneers have that aloof, cold and, predatory glare. It gives a stark contrast of how these people are just different.

What makes it a true art game? If this was a film, the impact of the game isn't as strong as how I strongly felt about playing the game itself. Calunio isn't saying, "SADISM IS AWESOME AND FUN TIME!!!!!" But his goal is something different, entirely.

I don't enjoy torturing people, not at all. However when I was playing this, I detached myself as much as I could from the characters and only cared for one thing, getting impressive reviews from my fellow dungeoneers. I was doing this for the sake of moving on. I didn't enjoy it but I needed to do it. I still made elaborate traps and made them scream to get at least 500 points (to get the MASTERPIECE rank) and made sure it was a ~Beautiful Escape~ It was all in a day's work.

- Did I enjoy it?
Not at all.
- Why did I do it?
It's work/just playing, that was all.
- Doesn't it bother you at all?
I try not to think about it.

Does this make me a sick person? Hardly. I felt bad for torturing these fictional characters, I didn't want to do it, but in order for me to move on, I have to do it. It invoked an emotion of Apathy. And because of this apathy I realized a lot of things that most people didn't realized at first, as Calunio said, "That's funny... no one ever thought of that. I'm more surprised you did notice."

This apathy made me think as a fellow sadist. For one, Verge's affection for Daily is almost laughably stupid. I wouldn't be surprised if he were to be a victim of Daily's sadism. After all, their affection is to inflict pain to the person they want to make an impact on. She was also speaking a new type of torture. And if I were to put my preference when it comes to ...things (girl fights maybe), this method of torture is probably related on how to inflict pain emotionally and putting manipulation into a whole new level.

That's when Belaud appeared where I became suspicious -- and hitting my head on the desk for Verge's trust. You're a person who's not popular at all in dungeoneering. People barely know you. Suddenly, a man wants to interview you and asked you the most personal questions. Really Verge, really?

What makes it even more suspicious is how Daily and Belaud just KISSED there and there was no sign of love from Daily. Verge just shrugs it off and not EVEN suspect?

Finally, what really got me is this last victim of mine:

- A local chief of the firemen. No family, friends, or life. He's extremely dedicated to his work. A very moral person, compulsively helpful and the type where you have a hard time picking out flaws. The kind that keeps darkest secrets.

Why in the world would I want to torture this guy? The Society needs more MEN like him???
But alas, Verge is so engrossed into winning the contest that I completely shrugged it off as much as I could. I made elaborate traps and made sure I succeed. A MASTERPIECE as they said. Proud of the endeavor and now progressing through the storyline--

Only to find out that he was my (Verge's) brother. Name changed. Living his life helping people, even though he experienced hell once.

The anger I felt and the rage. I understood what Verge felt when he confronted Daily about it. How he kept his WRATH (silent anger) and manipulated Daily into being a victim herself. Torturing her even felt horrible but it didn't change the fact I WANTED to do it.

When it was all over, all that left inside me was nothing but cold, guilty feeling of regret. There was nothing beautiful about it. I know it's a game. I know it's not real. It also made me think how it's close to fitting in society. How we can't always get what we want and the things we do to get approval from other peers/groups. In order to fit in the environment.

The fact it evoked such emotions and an impression is what made me think of it as an art game. It is a "performance art for me."

It wouldn't be the same without me experiencing first hand how it's like to be them. How much moral barriers I had to break down and the things I did to get the approval of the group in flying colors. How this game made me still challenge it and at least feel some sort of victory. However, this game doesn't want that to happen. This game makes sure you feel like shit. This is because there's nothing glorious about sadism. That's what it's trying to do.

The fact it evoked such emotions and an impression is what made me think of it as an art game. Even with "flaws" in its execution, I thought of these "flaws" as something to make you think in their shoes and think of how to proceed to each level with a ~beautiful escape~.

Post-Mortem Edit
The feeling I got from this game is that, I felt like I entered into war. I shut off all my emotions to judge this game from a logical standpoint. After the entire experience, I felt bad. It's like I murdered someone, it's like I got a post-traumatic stress disorder vibe going on. This game is definitely not for the weak-hearted.

While it's far from perfect, I'm giving it a 3.5. It made an impact to me and I appreciate it in an art sense wise.

Posts

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I really like this review! I love how you interpret, decode and summarize the game. You should definitely write more reviews.

And yes, it's very impressive how you saw the ending of the game coming from those clues. But I guess it's not that surprising that Verge himself didn't notice these... "oddities".

I'm very intrigued by something: did you get a 5 star masterpiece score at any point?
chana
(Socrates would certainly not contadict me!)
1584
In any case, Archeia_Nessiah, I salute your courage.
author=calunio
I'm very intrigued by something: did you get a 5 star masterpiece score at any point?

Yes I did. At Richard Scott :|
I am not proud of it

author=chana
In any case, Archeie_Nessiah, I salute your courage.
Thanks.

The feeling I got from this game is that, I felt like I entered into war. I shut off all my emotions to judge this game from a logical standpoint. After the entire experience, I felt bad. It's like I murdered someone, it's like I got a post-traumatic stress disorder vibe going on. This game is definitely not for the weak-hearted.
Wow, that's actually very good news. I calculated the game scores in a way that a 5 star score would be possible, but I never actually got one. My highest score ever was like... 481, and I've never heard of someone getting 5 stars. I was even asked if it was possible at all, and my reply was "in theory". That makes you, Nessiah, the most bad-ass Dungeoneer in town. :D
author=calunio
Wow, that's actually very good news. I calculated the game scores in a way that a 5 star score would be possible, but I never actually got one. My highest score ever was like... 481, and I've never heard of someone getting 5 stars. I was even asked if it was possible at all, and my reply was "in theory". That makes you, Nessiah, the most bad-ass Dungeoneer in town. :D

I'm pretty sure that'll make her feel worse than she already does.

I'll agree with everything Ness said in her review. Granted, I didn't get a 5 star review and I don't think I felt guilty after the game - I saw it as a game and nothing more. It's the same as if I were playing an RPG where you killed cute bunnies - I don't feel guilt for the pixels. I know I'd never stoop to something like that in my real life and the chances of me becoming a sadist are negligible - I feel too much for those I know. And even those I don't.

Reflecting on my experience, though, I will admit that I felt kinda squicky about the content. I can't really put it into words, but it did make me feel bad in some way, so I guess you did your job, even if I never really realised that I felt it at the time.
chana
(Socrates would certainly not contadict me!)
1584
@calunio :What I would like to have is some kind of clue as to WHY you made such a game?
benos
My mind is full of fuck.
563
There's also nudity as well.
I guess in my goal in the game, yeah I succeeded becoming the best...dungeoneer in that regard.

author=chana
@calunio :What I would like to have is some kind of clue as to WHY you made such a game?


he wanted to make a thought provoking game. That's what. Something different from the norm. I know I'd do the same (except not about sadism and torture).

author=benos
There's also nudity as well.

didn't bother me at all. It's just...pixels
Nice review, lengthy and thoughtful, like all reviews should be. ...I only wish you had delved more into gameplay and all others aspect of the game instead on focusing in just a couple of them. I think every review should be 'stand-alone' instead of relying in other reviews for the player to get a better picture about the game. (Even if the player should read all reviews anyway) But to each its own, I guess.

Somewhat related; I think you were being a bit too redundant about what you did cover in this review. But maybe you just were trying to show how much you were struggling with your emotions? ...On that note though, why pushing yourself to play trough something you're not deriving (much) fun from? If you were a paid reviewer then sure I'd see why'd you do it, but you're not. Are you? =P
author=alterego
Nice review, lengthy and thoughtful, like all reviews should be. ...I only wish you had delved more into gameplay and all others aspect of the game instead on focusing in just a couple of them. I think every review should be 'stand-alone' instead of relying in other reviews for the player to get a better picture about the game. (Even if the player should read all reviews anyway) But to each its own, I guess.

I thought the gameplay was REALLY straightforward for me to explain about it. That's why I didn't. And really, if I DO explain gameplay then it might be overkill. I would go on what's the best torture method. What combinations can give you a ~Masterpiece Rank~ gameplay, etc. That would seem...grotesque.

Somewhat related; I think you were being a bit too redundant about what you did cover in this review. But maybe you just were trying to show how much you were struggling with your emotions? ...On that note though, why pushing yourself to play trough something you're not deriving (much) fun from? If you were a paid reviewer then sure I'd see why'd you do it, but you're not. Are you? =P

That was the point. And it's not like I was not having fun or having fun. I was just playing. It wasn't until the end that the entirety of the thing sink into me. I'm an empathetic person, when I play I want to BE the character to understand them more. This is why I get bored by a lot of RPGMaker games, I can't put myself into the shoes of the character or I wasn't given enough reason to really bother and care.

It didn't have much of an everlasting effect though, these are the types of games I want to make myself (the ability to understand the character's morale, etc. but at the same time not being able to accept them), so I get over it fast enough.
I am curious as to what methods you used to get a Masterpiece score though. Can't believe you're better at this game than me. :O
Sorry calunio. I already brainwashed myself about how I felt and played this game. I had to do it or it's going to haunt me forever u_u
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