Comments

Log in with your itch.io account to leave a comment.

(+1)

I thoroughly enjoyed this. It's a story about how actions can have consequences and it's something the resonates with me very well. My only gripe about this is that I feel the epilogue should have been told thoroughly instead of a quick few sentences. It would have been interesting to see a change in Sam's behavior from a bully to a victim and how Molly would have dealt with it knowing that either a) Adrianna, Sam's best friend, started the whole thing (possible redemption sub plot) or b) Olivia, the new girl, sparked a revolution of sorts against someone who has bullied others for years.

Hi Token! Thank you so much for playing, and double thanks for your feedback. It's really helpful to me, as this was my first game ever!

Based on your feedback, and the feedback I've gotten from a few other people, I'm really wanting to create an expanded version of this. I unfortunately did not go as fast during development as more experienced Ren'Py users would have, and as as result, had to squeeze in some semblance of a resolution.... but I honestly DO NOT like it myself. I almost scrapped the whole project, but I wanted to finally finish something.

(+1)

It's an unusual concept to design a game on, but a decidedly necessary one none-the-less. I feel bad that there is no happy ending for Sam. The bullying doen't stop for her regardless of what we choose. She either learns it's her best friend behind it or Olivia. The students who ganged up on her suffer no consequence for their actions and no remorse for their awful behaviours. Honestly, I'm not quite certain which ending is worse.

Thank you for writing this. It must have been difficult, but I'm glad for the necessary message it portrays. Good luck with your future game building.

(+1)

Hi! Thank you so much for playing. I'm very happy to hear your thoughts on it.

Both endings are horrible because usually, these things don't have happy endings. It's a bleak outlook on the situation but I honestly have never seen bullying handled appropriately by the school once... not in my personal life, not in my readings, not in the news... It's a complex situation and very difficult to deal with.

It's even harder in this story because Sam has been bullying others for so long and went unchecked by the same school staff that didn't protect her either. Some may find that the endings are "good" because she leaves the school that she was both a bully and a victim at. I don't see it that way, but it was to really make you think about when is it ever truly "okay" to treat someone poorly.

Anyway, I basically just barfed on the keyboard. Thanks again for playing. :)

(Edited 1 time)

Rather than see the endings as "good", I think it might be better to refer to them as a "fresh start" instead. However, the experiences Sam endured at the school will probably haunt her forever, permanently affecting her behaviour in the future. In one ending, she is more likely to never trust another person again because of her friend's betrayal. In the other, she may cut herself off entirely from any reminder of the school, including from the people who were genuinly trying to help. Based on the details provided, it seems she already had. Either way, I doubt she will return to being a bully, but I also doubt she will properly move on from being a victim. She knows how awful people can be - how awful she herself has been, and will thus have an even harder time remembering that there is good in people as well.

On the other hand, I suppose I can understand the "good" impression people have found. Were Sam to remain at that school regardless, and the bullying problem had been "handled", she would still be attending a school in full knowedge of being hated with only one support (a previous victim, in fact) to rely upon. She'd never be receiving the opportunity to move on and become a truly better person. We don't know the reason why Sam became a bully. From Molly's perspective, it seems Sam hadn't always been that way. Molly believes that Sam can become better and has the capacity to change for a reason. Perhaps by distancing herself from the physical manifestation of her problems, Sam can finally begin to view her choices and situation more objectively in a means to eventually handle her burdens properly. Perhaps after some time away, she'll be able to change for the better and actually find some good friends to surround herself with.

To be honest, I'd really love to see how Sam's future turns out. I'd like for Molly and Sam to accidentally reunite and discuss this moment in time fully. Why Sam was mean to Molly, what she learned from the experience, whether she successfully managed to move on or not, how Sam views Molly now, and if the two can become proper friends now that the past is behind them are all questions that I'd be interested in learning the answer to. Of course, I wouldn't want them to reunite until after they've become adults, since I feel that anything sooner may just be too soon. On the other hand, once Molly has matured some, she may be able to provide Sam the proper help that she needs if Sam is still caught up in the past. As seemingly the only person who truly treated Sam with respect during that time, Molly might be the only person Sam feels capable of relying on to help her move on from that time.

In a sense, I guess that I'm saying more could be done to the story, speaking from a story's standpoint. However, it could dimish from the message you are clearly trying to convey, but I still think a sequel might be appropriate in this case depending upon how you go about it. You've shown us the power of words when brandished to hurt, but have yet to show us the potential of words when designed to heal and to help. Sure, we saw some of the possibilities  between Molly and Sam's interactions throughout the story, but we've yet to see how a single person can and does make a big difference. I think that pusuing Sam's story following this event, told from her perspective, could communicate this message strongly. Your point is that everything spoken has the strength to greatly affect another human's life. By exploring the after-effects on Sam's life, you could simply be proving the other side of your argument. Yes, humans have a nature of focussing more on the negative, but we cannot forget the impact of the positive. One comment from a complete stranger has the potential to make a person's entire day. I think it's important for everyone to know that and think that you are in a great position to spread that knowledge.

(And you thought your comment was long. Hope I don't intimidate you with this and that you realize these are merely my musings/suggestions and not demands. Just in case you weren't quite as finished with the story as you initially thought. At the very least, it can help you pass the time if you need it. Thank you for listening and replying to my first review. I hope you have yourself a wonderful day between our next interaction.)

Hello again! :)

I am really just thrilled at reading your feedback. I can't tell you how much it means to me that you'll spend the time to type all of this out. I was so close to throwing in the towel on this game because I didn't feel like it was worth it. I felt like I had not written anything interesting or worthwhile.

Your interest and your musings has made me actually really want to create an expanded version of this game. I had to rush the ending because it was (A) my first game and (B) a seven day jam. I feel like there's a lot more I could do with this story, and I would really like to expand on it after reading your musings. 

I'd like to delve further into how Sam got to this point, and why Molly is wanting to help her even though Sam clearly doesn't treat Molly very well at this point, either. They used to be best friends (in my head) but I didn't get the chance to explore that much.

I agree that neither of the ending are good, though. In everything I've ever written.... I've never had a happy ending! I think that says more about me as a person than anything... LOL.

To create a game with this much promise in just seven days is a feat to be proud of. However, as with everything else, further editing can always help. Take my previous comment, for instance. After rereading it, I realized that there were a few places I misspelled simple words that could have easily been avoided and corrected. In addition, had I dedicated more time to considering my words, I believe I could have refined half of what I said to a more acceptable length. With your story, now that you have the time to review and think about how you'd like to go about your planning, it's completely understandable how not everything would meet your satisfaction. But that is exactly the purpose of a first draft: get your idea down so that you know what you're working with before you can decide what has to be fixed. I'm not a game designer, but I do love writing and reading stories. That's why I believe I can say what I am with confidence.

In response to your final comment, I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing. Just as it is unrealistic in life to have everything turn out the way you want it to, it's impossible for every story to have a happy conclusion without being forced. And with this ending, rather than a definitive happy/bad turnout, you've made it a little more vague. It's left up to the readers to decide exactly how this will affect Sam based on the thoughts they've drawn throughout the story, which is why you seem to have found yourself with a divided review over what happens after. These kinds of endings, though not always welcomed, are perfect for inspiring the reader to think. Personally, I do prefer a happy ending, but I'd rather the ending make sense more than anything else.

Since you say that you would like to expand on the story, I think I'm going to reread this one again to see if there's anything in particular I think might help. Let me know if there's anything in particular you'd like an opinion on.

Wow, thanks for being willing to go through the story again. I'd like to pay particular attention to fleshing Molly out. I feel like she is the flattest character. I want her to have more personality, but still be a main/player character that those going through the expanded version can project themselves onto.

If I do end up expanding this visual novel, I think I might redo the sprites and try to get more custom artwork. I am honestly not fond of using the free sprites and whatnot. They're AMAZING resources, but if I'm going to go into depth on a story, I like to have fairly original visuals as well. What do you think about that? I'd love to hear your input.