The La-Iin Series
“The Limit of Haven”
“I think I’ve played Haven in Dystopia a lot by now, Mama,” La-Iin said.
“You probably have. I’m surprised you’re still playing it, given you got it back in May…”
It was dinner time, and Mit-Sun and La-Iin had only just sat down to eat. La-Iin seemed eager to talk about her game, and given that she had been relatively well-behaved that day, Mit-Sun decided to humor her. ‘I just hope humoring her won’t keep her from eating…’
“I think I may have played it to the limit, though. There’s lots of things to do but even then you’re limited. At first I liked to play in only evil ways, but I was curious as to how things went out when you play in good ways too. Some of the good ways lead you to story parts where there’s super-hard bosses, so I had to play them anyway.”
“Did you enjoy them?”
“Not nearly as much as the evil ways,” La-Iin huffed. “I wish I would have saved those for last and done the stupid good ways first. But the whole story when you do all the ways is pretty interesting, I guess. And it’s not all goody-goody or happy ending. The best ending in the game isn’t even all that happy because you still need to kill some people. That part of getting the best ending was fun.”
“….is there any ending in that game where nobody has to die?”
“A few, but I don’t think they’re that good. Anyway, but what I like even better than the story is the gameplay. Because I know there’s lots of games where it starts getting repetitive after you play it a few times. But because of all the different ways you can do things, there are lots of different gameplay styles for Haven in Dystopia. My favorites are in the best ending path and the betrayal path.”
“The betrayal path is when you kill everyone except the people who are manipulating you. That one is fun and it was the first one I did. It is a lot of fighting but it’s pretty fun all the things you have to do differently in the battles when you play certain ending paths. Some of the ending paths even have parts of other game genres. There were music minigames in one of the good ending ones…that one wasn’t so good…” She sighed.
“You have to do things to a rhythm. It was really weird because it didn’t feel like it fit Haven in Dystopia so much. But the music wasn’t all bad. Most of the music minigame music was bad. But the game had pretty good music. They have a music gallery when you beat the game for the first time, but I wish they had a CD so I could listen to it every night.”
“Speaking of, you haven’t used your player in a while.”
“That’s because I only have the same few CDs,” La-Iin grumbled. “But lots of video games get music CDs so maybe this one does too. I hope it comes in multiple CDs so that I wouldn’t have to hear the music minigame songs.”
“Did they have singing in those songs?”
“No, they were just music. ….well, there was one with lyrics, but I don’t think it was all in Vaelis…but playing through the game, I found out who my favorite character is. There’s this one guy who looks like a Pureblood Cicadin. He’s a burly guy and he at first just seems like a jerk, but then you find out he’s genuinely evil. And then in one of the ending tracks you also find out he’s half-Minomix. I saw that one coming though. Not many Cicadins have that kind of body build.”
“Why are you looking at me like that?”
“I was just a little surprised to hear you gush so much about this game,” she said. She smiled. “Guess I made a good purchase, huh?”
“You getting Haven in Dystopia for me was one thing you did right. I really love it. And my least-favorite character is the stupid Fairy. I wish you could kill her. But there’s one ending where she gets what she deserves, eheheh…anyway, the Minomix-Cicadin guy is named Yyul-Saeu. Even though I liked killing lots of the characters he was kind of hard to kill. There are some endings where you have to kill him though….”
“You sure have to kill a lot to complete this game…”
“That’s one of the fun parts about it. Basically every character in the game needs to be killed for you to get some ending or something in the game. So there’s a chance to kill lots of characters.”
“…did you have a favorite one to kill?”
“There’s a girl in the game named Haru-Sonar, and she kind of acts like Fer-Shi if she was super obnoxious. You have to kill her for more than one ending. That was fun. But it wasn’t fun having to do some of the good endings. Haru-Sonar is part of some stupid love storyline with the main character sometimes. Those burn even more than the goody-goody they all make it out alive endings.”
“Listening to all this, you know one thing I don’t understand?”
“If there’s endings where they make it all out alive, then how come you have to kill people to get the best ending? That doesn’t make any sense.”
“Sometimes other bad things happen like they’re all really sick and beat up,” La-Iin said. “In some of them they never say. I can only think it’s because they were idiots or because something else bad happens. But to me those sorts of endings aren’t the best endings because they’re pretty boring. I bet the people who wrote the story liked the more bad endings too because those are a lot more detailed.”
“You know, I think they did a good job of translating species powers to the gameplay format though. Like the Animated Pumpkin characters can use flame powers and the Witch characters can use lots of spells, but they take forever to cast, so they’re annoying to use. Of course the strongest ones physically are the Minomixes. And the avian characters can mostly fly except for this one stupid guy called Ael-Biv who I think they wanted everyone to feel sorry for because he’s a disabled Siren. But I don’t care at all.”
Thinking back on Ael-Biv made her think about Dosa-Mina, just as she had when she encountered the character in the game. ‘What’s with Sirens and not being able to fly?’
“They should have done a disabled Wingyrm. Now that would have been difficult.”
La-Iin glared. “How could that have translated to gameplay then? Even though Ael-Biv is annoying at least he can still sing. Although singing works a little differently in the game than it does in real life. I think that’s supposed to be so that you can’t just kill them on the spot. You have to have Ael-Biv and the two other Siren characters sing their whole song otherwise the enemy won’t die. But it’s a really bad gameplay feature. It kills the enemies right away if you finish the song, but all the other people in battle have to plug their ears and then they can’t fight. At least with the other two Sirens they can fly away from enemy attacks during the song, but Ael-Biv can’t. He’s such an annoying character to play as and in the storyline too, but I still prefer him over Haru-Sonar. I actually think Haru-Sonar is a little broken.”
“In what way?”
“Sometimes when you attack as her, chunks of her sprite start attaching themselves to the wall….”
Both Mit-Sun and La-Iin were silent for a while.
“Anyway, I’ve played lots of Haven in Dystopia. There have been some endings I’ve gotten lots of times and I think I know the characters pretty well by now. I also figured out some of the best ways to handle the boss fights. Playing it makes me wonder how other people who played the game thought of it.”
“I wish I knew someone who played it now.”
“You shouldn’t. Besides, you maybe do already but don’t know. What if Dami secretly plays this game!? Or Granddami maybe, or maybe your boss or that creepy lady who has the same name as you!”
“I really doubt my father would play that game….he doesn’t like violent media all that much.”
“What a pus–”
Mit-Sun glared. La-Iin glared back.
“But I like playing it a lot. I think I’ve almost seen everything there is to see in the game. I just need to do one more ending I think. And I think you need to kill Haru-Sonar in that one too. Even though the people who made the game seem to like her a lot, she dies a lot too.” La-Iin grinned. “I like that.”
“Given how you speak about some of these characters, I’m glad they’re just game characters….”
“Hm….but I like this game a lot. Thank you for getting it for me, Mama. I’m going to miss playing it when I get everything…”
Mit-Sun was taken aback. ‘La-Iin, thanking me? Is the apocalypse scheduled for tomorrow!?’
“…you have a stupid look on your face.”
‘Typical La-Iin.’ Mit-Sun gave a mental sigh. “I’m glad you like it, La-Iin. I may not get it all that much, but I’ll gladly listen. You might need to explain a few things though…”
“I will. Or maybe not.” She gave a sly smile. Mit-Sun rolled her eyes.
“Well then, how do you expect me to understand what you’re talking about?”
“You’ll understand somehow.”
“Ugh….well, La-Iin, again, I’m glad you like it. And remember, even if you stop playing now, so long as you keep everything in good condition, you can play again in the future when you’ve forgotten most of what happened.”
“As if I’ll ever forget some of the things that happened,” she scoffed. “But I guess that’s a good idea.”
“Mm.” Mit-Sun glanced down at La-Iin’s plate. “….finish eating dinner, La-Iin,” she sighed.
La-Iin groaned and continued eating dinner.
As she sat in her bed that night dressed in pajamas, Bes-Isa tucked in next to her and waiting for Mit-Sun to arrive, she finished a boss battle in the hopes that it would lead her to a new ending track.
“I love this game so much,” she said quietly. She kicked her legs back and forth, still feeling excited even at the idea of encountering dialogue she had already seen before.