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Life is Strange EP3: Moment of Pure Joy

By Shamus
on Friday Apr 7, 2017
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning


Link (YouTube)

Has the meaning of “poser” migrated? My memory of it was that it meant “faker” or “impostor”. But here Max walks up to the skater guy and strikes up a conversation. She makes no effort to pretend she knows anything about skateboarding, but he calls her a poser anyway. (Technically she’s a poser AFTER she rewinds time and uses some fresh lingo to bluff her way through the conversation.) He seems to be using the word to mean “lame”. I dunno. It’s been a quarter century since I heard “poser” used as a derogatory term, and I can imagine usage has changed.

Also, I brought up the game Bully in this episode. Eleven years ago, Rockstar took a break from making open world games about car theft and murder to make this small, focused little game about one boy at a private school. I remember really enjoying it. I liked the non-lethal combat that ended fights by stuffing foes in lockers or garbage cans. I liked how each student character model had a specific name and identity, as opposed to filling out the school grounds with generic nameless clones. I loved the school itself. It wasn’t perfect or anything, but I’m sad the game seems to have been forgotten. It felt like a solid prototype for a much better game. Too bad Rockstar doesn’t seem inclined to revisit the idea.

Comments (73)

  1. Jokerman says:

    Eh, i still here people talking about a Bully sequel here and there… id really like that, Bully was easily my favorite Rockstar game of the ‘PS2 era’ and only behind Red dead Redemption and GTA V to this day…

    It had something about it, the school felt homely and familiar, you really got used to the pupils in the school… as they were always in the game just wandering around between missions. The story was fun… silly, but fun… it just brought back so many memories of being that age (i was a naughty little bastard mind…) The brawling gameplay was pretty good too, felt smooth, responsive… brutal… comical.

    I feel “solid prototype for a much better game” is harsh, i think it was a really good game for it’s time, id love to see a revival.

  2. Christopher says:

    Baychel sounds so much like Alyssa! I never realized until this instant. Granted, it’s been a while since my playthrough.

  3. Henson says:

    I must be the only person who tried to rewind time as little as humanly possible. I mean, it’s clear that it’s causing Max pain from those ‘cloudy bloody migraine’ flashes she gets after rewinding; and I just felt that the characters needed, for the most part, to be free to make their own decisions, their own mistakes. And that included any bad choices Max may have made as well.

    So in short, I played this game totally not as intended. And it still mostly worked.

  4. Christopher says:

    They talked a lot about the choices in this episode. What do you all want out of a game like this? Because personally, I could do with less “choice”. It’s more just customization. It lessens the impact for me when I know telling on Nathan or not doesn’t make a lick of difference, and sometimes the customization I do doesn’t fit with the narrative of the game(There’s a nightmare sequence later on that makes much more sense if Max dislikes Warren, for instance). Some games do it better than others. But even Until Dawn, which is the pinnacle of this kind of storytelling to me, still has characters that are left out of the proceedings even if they aren’t killed(Jess and Matt), and Jess’ death scene in particular makes a lot more sense when she’s killed.

    I’d kind of prefer if they just made it all linear, no choice at all. Save the actual choices for the games with branching stories, like Undertale or Tsukihime and just give me a great linear story. It’s too frustrating when Garrus is always renegade, or saving the council doesn’t matter, or whoever you choose to save in the Walking Dead is inevitably killed one episode later so they can cut off that branch.

    In a sense, I wonder if Bioware haven’t abandoned the Important Choice. There was hardly any of it in Dragon Age Inquisition, save for one where I got to decide between some dork I’d never heard of before and Hawke, or let either me or some NPC get possessed by some weird essence. I wonder what they’ve got in Andromeda.

    • Mike S. says:

      It works better (for people who played the previous DA games, at least), where the Warden on that quest is Alistair or Loghain. (Stroud was in DA2, but even people who played it mostly don’t remember him.)

      I finished a playthrough last month where I had Loghain, and while the choice wasn’t really a hard one (my dwarf Warden had learned a certain respect for Loghain by the end of DAO, and as a royal scion himself understood ruthlessness in power politics, but my Inquisitor was an elf who didn’t get far past “sold a bunch of alienage elves into slavery”), I did at least have some investment in both characters.

      • guy says:

        Personally, imported!Hawke pissed me off and I sent her to her death for going all anti-mage crazy. She was all “blood magic is inherently evil and can never be used for good ends” and I was all “you spent all last game telling Merril to make people’s blood explode!”

        Alister was alive in my playthrough but busy kinging alongside Anora. I sent him dudes to do things and he gave me a nice sword or something.

        • Mike S. says:

          I hadn’t done a new DA2 playthrough, so set up a sarcastic Hawke who sided with the mages and romanced Merrill (though he did kill Anders) in the Keep. I don’t remember how he felt about blood magic, but he obviously wasn’t very anti-mage. (Good thing, since my Inquisitor was one.)

          I actually liked Loghain better since I “knew” him from my DAO replay. But even leaving aside my Inquisitor’s feelings, the story clearly pointed towards his expiating the guilt that so clearly weighed on him by staying behind.

    • Jeff says:

      Just FYI, the alternate to Hawke depends on your import. I think if all the folks you knew are dead or otherwise unavailable it’ll chuck a new NPC at you.

      • Ronixis says:

        Stroud isn’t entirely new; he also had the role of ‘Warden who shows up here if Alistair doesn’t’ in DA2 (Loghain showing up was not a possibility there, however). The point that almost nobody cares about Stroud still stands, though.

        As for Loghain, I’d be interested to see statistics on that – while most don’t really like him, most of them won’t have him to start with.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      It may not make a difference for the grand story,but that doesnt make it meaningless*.Saving alyssa,for example.You are still fleshing out max as a character,and her relationship with alyssa.Also,it impacts you as a player.

      *Until the very end.But Ill talk about that bullshit when we get there.

      • Christopher says:

        This isn’t an either/or situation. Even if it was completely linear, they could still include all those bits with Alyssa. They could also, and maybe even should, remain optional “sidequests”. I’m not saying games shouldn’t have optional content here, or scenes that aren’t vital to the plot. I’m saying it shouldn’t present fake choices as alternate paths, especially not with the “*Warren will remember this” kind of bombast.

        • guy says:

          In this case, I think not knowing whether a choice will be consequential is kinda the point. Max can reset specific events, but her rewind period is limited and she has to commit to choices before she can know their final effects. She can dither over her choices for as long as she likes, but she doesn’t get to know if something will maybe come up in passing once or twice later or end in a pool of blood.

          • Sleeping Dragon says:

            I’m with Daemian and guy on this one. For me these games are largely an experience in roleplaying a character so if a choice doesn’t have visible consequence it’s still something that helps me tell or shape who the character is and their interactions with others are still something that has worth to them even if they do not directly affect the events of the game.

            Heck, I was even okay with the Walking Dead game (I only have experience of the first one) doing things like “X will remember this” and then killing that character in the next scene. Because it fit thematically with death being easy to stumble into in the WD world, because it is a nature of choice not always knowing if it’ll pay off, because games tend to simplify reactions between the characters to the level of a vending machine not just on “do quest-get reward level” but also on the personal interaction level (Bioware romance is essentially “put agreement/sympathy in, take cuddles/sex out”). And particularly in this story where unintended consequences is a key theme (Victoria, but we won’t really get into that until episode 4).

          • Daimbert says:

            That might be the case, but I think Christopher’s point is that if you are going to hint that choices matter, you either have to make them matter and have that reflected in the game, or else you might as well not make them matter. For the Warren choice, I think the issue is that they drop a hint that it IS meaningful, but a) don’t do anything with it and b) somewhat act as if you made one of the two choices when you might not have. So, in general, in a game where the player isn’t supposed to know what changes matter:

            1) Don’t have the GAME, at least, hint that a choice is important if it won’t be; tell it in narrative. For the Warren case — and again, I haven’t played the game yet nor have I watched the video, so they might have done it that way — it’d be the difference between the narrator or Max saying that it will be important in a way that all of the important choices are highlighted and, say, Warren saying that he’s going to remember this or Max simply worrying that he’ll remember it. For the latter, if it doesn’t come up at all later players won’t typically get that upset, and might even enjoy the irony of a big deal turning out to not matter at all.

            2) For all such choices, be careful with your story so that it doesn’t assume that you made a choice that you didn’t make. If Max, for example, avoids conflict with Warren, a choice that works better if they had a conflict will stand out.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          They arent fake choices.Their impact may be minor,but its not fake.

          Caring for the plant properly or not does not impact anything outside of that room,for example.But its still a choice that you make that does have an impact on the plant itself.Its not fake.

  5. Writiosity says:

    Around here (UK) poser generally meant someone who was trying hard to appear like they knew things they didn’t. The sort of person who uses philosophical-sounding words and phrases to appear wise, but generally just gets a ‘ugh, stop being such a poser’ in response.

    • Joe says:

      That’s how we use it in Australia, too. Though, basically nobody ever says that.

      • Felblood says:

        In the parts of the US where I have circulated in “scene” cultures (goths, emos, ravers, historical recreationists, wannabe pro-gamers, etc.), it is generally understood to mean “person who is adopting the surface trappings of our group, but has not sufficiently invested their time, resources or personal identity into our group for me to consider them a full member.”

        However, it has largely fallen into disuse, as it was one of the easiest parts of those forms of slang to learn, and thus became quite popular among newbies looking to carve out a place in the pecking order. Overuse of the term came to be one of the red flag warnings of someone who isn’t as knowledgeable want you to believe. “Poser” is a “poser” word, especially if you spell it “pousier” or some similarly faux old-timey BS.

        So, while it might just be the local dialect in this town, this is probably a case of the writers being adults with full-time jobs, who can’t waste all their time hanging at the mall, keeping up with the shifts in the way kids-these-days are talking.

        That said, dialects vary from town to town, especially in places without cable internet, and especially among high-school students. Like any pejorative in the English language, you can reasonably use it in any situation where the Jargon file allows for the use of “Bogus“, and your meaning should be understood.

        –even if you do come off sounding like a guy in his forties writing dialogue for a teenage skater punk. Mega grody, dawg.

  6. Talifabian says:

    Contextual question: Josh, Chris, and Bay have all played the game through, Ruts has played episode one and no further? And how much has Shamus played?

  7. Daemian Lucifer says:

    To be fair to max,that scene in the bathroom happened while max was mostly hiding,and nate had a gun.Its understandable that she didnt recognize chloe.We saw her face in full and in close up,but max didnt.

  8. Daemian Lucifer says:

    That thing with julia was nice.It wouldve been so easy to simply omit her real last name from the list,so that the player has to do one more rewind puzzle.But this way,you can play max as someone who actually does know her classmates,and not just only as someone completely disinterested in them.

  9. Daemian Lucifer says:

    What Id like to know is:
    Why didnt Josh fly the drone?
    Why didnt anyone prompt Josh to fly the drone?

    You all lose your nerd cred for that.

  10. Isaac says:

    Bully has to be the most tightly-designed open world game I’ve ever played. Little to no filler, collectibles & side missions that actually mattered, a fun, well-paced story and an open world that was big without being a chore to travel through.

  11. Mersadeon says:

    I’ll never forget Bully! Not because I played it, but because over here in Germany, a famous Comedian called Michael “Bully” Herbig (who, by pure chance, has the same birthday as me) tried to get the name changed, since he feared negative associations with his name. It was a douche move by someone that doesn’t understand new media, but somehow it always stuck around in my mind.

    • Lachlan the Mad says:

      In the PAL regions of the world, it was released under the title “Canis Canem Edit” (“Dog Eat Dog”, the motto of the school where the game takes place). This may have been partially influenced by that comedian. I think the Australian government were also mildly upset at the implication of a game about bullying? The Scholarship Edition (a re-release for Wii and 360) was just called “Bully” everywhere though.

  12. Son of Valhalla says:

    The scene with the paint bucket was funny and cruel at the same time. I feel like Max put a bit too much elaboration in shooing Victoria and friends away from the doorway. Probably could’ve just went in with bare fists, or taken the Rutskarn approach and slathered them with white paint with her own hands.

    • Corsair says:

      If you think that’s too much elaboration you clearly never played a Sierra adventure game. If this were Gabriel Knight this would be a three hour quest to acquire a key to get into the woodshed to get a trap to catch a squirrel so you can send it up the ladder to drop the paint bucket on Victoria.

    • Corsair says:

      If you think that’s too much elaboration you clearly never played a Sierra adventure game. If this were Gabriel Knight this would be a three hour quest to acquire a key to get into the woodshed to get a trap to catch a squirrel so you can send it up the ladder to drop the paint bucket on Victoria.

    • Henson says:

      If you think that's too much elaboration you clearly never played a Sierra adventure game. If this were Gabriel Knight this would…wait, something is different.

      Did I rewind time too many times?

  13. Absolute_Apocalypse says:

    For what it’s worth, it is poseur not “poser” and I’m reasonably certain it isn’t slang. Really surprised nobody else has said this yet.

    • Matt Downie says:

      Posuer: A word adopted from the French, meaning a person who attempts to impress others by assuming or affecting a manner, degree of elegance, sentiment, etc., other than his or her true one.

      Poser: An English word, meaning one who poses. Pretty similar to poseur.

    • Joe Informatico says:

      It was “poseur” but eventually the music and hobby subcultures that adopted it became ignorant of its French origins so it evolved into “poser”. (Similarly I first heard the word “clique” in Canadian history class so I learned to pronounce it the French way, but later I kept hearing people pronounce it “click”.)

      • Felblood says:

        Seeing how other countries have evolved their use of this term has been enlightening.

        American culture is pretty hostile to allowing loan words to keep European style spellings (for the same reason our horse races run the opposite direction), unless it’s needed to differentiate two homonyms like “click” and “clique.”

        Likewise, expending the effort to pronounce the “i” in clique like an American long e (instead on a short i, which is easier for us) could be seen as making an effort to insult your audience.*

        As American scene kids grow up and gain a sense of self awareness and historical context, they usually phase out forms of the word that might be seen as “pretentious.”

        *Using French words and French style pronunciation is tied to our history of class warfare, which we mainly imported from Imperial England. They are one of the “airs” that the oligarchs and aristocrats used to “put on” in order to flaunt their superior education, “good breeding” and “moral superiority” to the common man. This, and their spreading of the metric system, is widely touted as the explanation for our reflexive hatred of French people, despite the fact that France has been a great ally to us.

    • Zak McKracken says:

      Fun fact: It’s always been “Poser” in German (“always” meaning since at least the mid-90s), which I always assumed came from English. The first time I saw “Poseur” (because you won’t hear the difference in most English peoples’ pronounciation) was when looking up the lyrics to “Teddy Picker” from the Arctic Monkeys. And I thought that looked a bit pretentious.

      Or maybe there actually two different intended meanings?

      … one search later:

      okay, so if I get this right than a “poseur” is someone who acts as if they were part of some scene, to the members of the scene. A poser (as I always interpreted the term) is someone who pretens to outsiders to be proficient in some things.

      So that guy who barely managed to learn the intro to Nothing else Matters to impress girls at parties, that’s a poser (does that still work these days?). But if this guy went to a jam session with actual musicians, he’d be a poseur.

  14. Steve C says:

    There was a third option with Victoria and the paint. I took a photo of Victoria and then gave her the photo. IMO it was the best option. It still shared empathy over Victoria’s situation, and also included an explicit statement that Max was not a doormat. Max could retaliate if she wished. Instead of a weapon it was a peace offering.

  15. Warclam says:

    Well, I promised I’d give this series a chance, even though I hate Telltale-type games that tell you “this will matter” but it doesn’t, and the ending is junk. And then I watch the first few episodes and I find out it’s a crapsack world where everyone with power is evil, which I also hate.

    And so I tried just listening to the commentary, but I’m actually finding it really hard to hear to you guys over the dialogue.

    And then you take a picture of some guy you manipulated into doing a crotch shot. And then use your magic powers to throw paint on some bitch who dares get in your way. …OK game, you bought another try for yourself.

  16. methermeneus says:

    I just noticed something… Maybe I was just thinking about it because Josh mentioned in the last episode that whether or not Max moves back to where she was at the time she rewinds to is inconsistent. In the outdoor scenes, however, it’s very consistent: She stays in place, spatially, when she rewinds. She does this while walking around a lot between takes, especially when she’s setting up Victoria to get splashed with paint. So… Why does no one notice that Max is teleporting all over the place?

  17. Dork Angel says:

    Anyone else finding this series very distracting? There’s quite a lot of dialog in this game meaning the commentators are frequently talking over the characters and I find it hard to pick which one to listen to.

    Or maybe it’s all meta and you are meant to watch the game part first then “rewind” and listen to the commentary… 😲

  18. Gm says:

    Reminds me of the game Remember Me i played once through.

  19. Zak McKracken says:

    Borrowing flashdrives … wha!? Wait a second: Nobody is locking their doors? In a dorm thing? With all kinds if idiots and assholes around? And Warren got into Max’s room, and he doesn’t even live there? And Max doesn’t mind?

    Okay, so I did live in student accommodation, and I actually did leave my door unlocked quite often. That’s because after not very long time all my neighbours were friends, or at least people I got along with well, you needed a key to even get into the corridor (so no strangers), and there were never any signs that anybody had been in my room in my absence (unless specifically authorized). Had that ever happened, that would have been the end of unlocked doors. You don’t go through other people’s stuff, that’s just wrong!

    So despite all of the above, the idea of leaving the door open, in this place, under these conditions, creeps me out.

    • Ivellius says:

      I’m not sure why you think Warren was in her room, and this is also a few days late, but he hasn’t been in there. Max borrowed his flash drive, and he left her a weird note when he gave it to her.

      If he could just go in there himself, he could’ve retrieved it instead of needing Max to do so.

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