This review contains spoilers

i wonder what the first rationalization was, for the finding of a young corpse inside a closet, killed at hands puppeteered by the violence of parents, family, church, school, science. what story did they tell themselves, to explain what they found in there? were they saved, or damned? were they a tragedy, or a warning, or - depressingly common in stories throughout history - was the murder of this young life, so full of potential stories to enrich all of our visions - a comedy?

these stories - these parables - are tools used to build our children - don't do this or ██████, do this and you'll ██████. they are stories wielded in violent ways towards violent ends: to cut us into shapes that they deem good, that they deem right. don't paint your nails, say your prayers, stay out of the woods, and you won't be a ██████, you'll be good little boys and girls and you'll be Saved.

tomorrow won't come for those without ██████ communicates this strongly. and if that was all it did, it would be a fine experience. but it does more than that. it cuts deeper than that. this knife has two edges. it doesn't offer simply the familiar story of people sanded down and lost to religious violence. it also shows us the other side of the coin.

because to simply say that religious parables and thoughts are tools of violence and social control is also a story we tell ourselves, with a specific purpose. it is a truth, yes, but not the only truth, and not the whole truth.

religion and faith have brought immense joy to many. i am not one of those people, but it would be churlish and insensitive for me to deny the immensity of my grandfather's faith and the strength he derives from it, from the faith of so many good people who follow religions that I am not a part of. are those thoughts evil? are these bad people, because the words they hold so dear are used as violent weapons against people? these stories have inspired people to kindness and warmth that means something, and that comes from a framework that, for some, left them unable to think of pokemon cards as anything other than categorizations of demonic entities.

here's another truth: humans tell stories about everything. we can't help it. while I am loath to say that any part of a human being is fundamentally true it is an often agreed-upon scientific assertion that human beings survival instincts in the early days of our existence operated like miniature storytelling: the recognition of a berry that made us sick, so we should not eat that, is a kind of story. our entire world is one enormous meta-narrative, everything given a name, categorized, introduced, developed, and concluded. the scientific process is telling ourselves a story of what we believe the world to be.

but that's another edge to all this, isn't it? reason, science, the thing we often put opposite faith, is a religion in itself, no more infallible than the Bible or the Quran. terrible violence has indeed been done to queer people in the name of religion, but has science been any better? for how long were gay people considered mentally ill or broken? how long are trans people still going to be considered as such? science called us ██████ for years, how is that any better than what religion has done for us?

religion and reason and everything else is all an ouroboros: each one feeding into another, each one determining how we see the world. christianity has shaped the world, and the world has shaped us. science has changed us, and many of us have changed science. neither of those things are good or evil inherently, but they are stories can be wielded or told in ways that have done good and done evil. they are the stories we have created, and the stories that created us. which is not to say we all turn out exactly the same. we've all come from our own choirs, ran off into our own woods, and come back changed...but never entirely.

i was raised catholic, and found a deeply catholic resonance in much that was in this game. but to say that I was raised to be catholic is not as revelatory as it may seem, because what it means to be raised catholic where I live, in Northern ██████, is very different from what it means to be raised catholic in the united states, or even different from what it means to be raised catholic in the republic of ██████. just like Rem and Ori, we can stand in the same place - the same religion, and see different things.

catholic families here are, predominately, working-class, poorer than protestant families, and (at least in my own admittedly limited experience of only having been raised once) operating within a strange kind of puritanical socially conservative leftism. that uniquely northern ██████ catholic upbringing is undoubtedly a key part of why i'm a communist today: my parents and grandparents were some of the first people to talk to me seriously about capital in terms that I could understand - but they were also homophobic, transphobic, sometimes casually racist and sometimes outright racist, and those stories affected me just as deeply as ones about what Thatcher did to them. that manifested in my past as me being a little shit uncritically regurgitating homophobia and transphobia, and manifests now as sheer terror at the day my family discovers my transness.

some of the things my upbringing - my faith - have offered me are valuable. some of them are not. but all of them form the framework with which i view the world. all of it is entangled together, cutting into each other, an enormous frankensteined mass of viewpoints, ideologies - stories. these frameworks are inherently a part of us, and we are a part of them, constructing and reconstructing and deconstructing stories for ourselves and those around us every time we speak.

this is not to say that bad ideas and bad stories should not be argued against or denied or rejected - there is a fundamental need to interrogate assumed truths, imo - but that any critique we make, every idea we raise, it all comes from within that framework, and is fundamentally shaped by it's opportunities and limitations. everything we believe to be true or false, it all comes the human perspective, not a celestial one: even fundamental maths and other "pure science" concepts are constructed from the stories that we tell: it's entirely possible - almost certain in fact - that a hypothetical alien would not comprehend this framework, and have a different one that is so outside of our perspective that we cannot even imagine it. a ██████.

we need a story in order to survive. just like our ancestors needed to know which berries were safe to eat and which ones were not, to interact with anything, to have meaning in anything, we need to tell stories about them, otherwise, we're just floundering in the dark, blind and deaf and dead.

so, if all we can do is trapped by this perspective, these stories, are we doomed to just perpetuate them over and over? i don't think so. i think we have some creativity, some possibility space, afforded by ██████ perspectives, to make games like this one. games that offer no easy answers or simple resolutions, games that force us to push against it's and our own sharp edges and can cause violent reactions, but things that can change or expand our stories. we can make beautiful things out of rough stones.

one of the things I found most affecting about this game personally - as someone who has made awful rpgmaker games before - is how this game wears the limitations of rpgmaker core toolset through it's "puzzles" and user interface. to say such thoughtful things so beautifully out of the same fundamental building blocks i used to make my shitty vagrant story knockoff affected me more than I dared expect. others in the backloggd discord game club were not enthused by these puzzles but for this reason they were one of the most affecting parts of the experience for me. i guess that's my story bleeding through.

tommorow won't come for those without ██████ is a difficult game, abrasive and unwelcoming. i found it to be an emotionally upsetting and violent experience. but that's why I loved it. because just like religion or science or anything else, violence means different things depending on where you stand. a knife can hurt us, cut into our flesh, make us bleed and kill us...but it can also cut at the net that surrounds us.

it can cut us ████.

Reviewed on Sep 21, 2021