Until Dawn EP11: Asylum Sing-Along

By Shamus
on Dec 1, 2016
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning


Link (YouTube)

I know I’m ranting about how dumb Mike is, but if I was playing this would probably be my favorite part of the game. There’s some suspense and atmosphere, and most of the gameplay is exploration-based. I know I’m picking on the coat thing, but that’s not really a problem. Mike’s continued survival is easily within the bounds of movie physics.

Personally, I like this adventure-game stuff better than the bits where you have to decide which idiotic and counter-productive thing you want to make your current Dumb Teenager say. It’s not that the teens should be “smart”. They’re acting according to tropes and that’s all good. It’s just that I don’t find that stuff to be really interesting or fun from a gameplay perspective.

The one misstep here is that Mike has seemingly abandoned Jess. I know that she technically could have diedOr possibly “died”, I’m not sure where all of this horror stuff is going just yet, aside from the fact that I know not everything is as it seems. in the previous sequence if Mike had botched the chase. But as it stands, it seems like she might be alive. Mike is trying to be the Big Dang Hero, but leaving her to freeze to death at the bottom of the elevator shaft seems pretty un-heroic. I think this could have been fixed if they just contrived a clear reason why Mike couldn’t possibly follow her.

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Footnotes:

[1] Or possibly “died”, I’m not sure where all of this horror stuff is going just yet, aside from the fact that I know not everything is as it seems.


2020201272 comments? This post wasn't even all that interesting.

From the Archives:

  1. Christopher says:

    The spoiler warning schedule hasn’t had a great effect on the game. Last week, Shamus wrote:

    By this point in the story a horror movie has usually established a villain. The townsfolk have told some stories about the beast that’s been spotted on the edge of the swamp in October. Or the old woman told a story about what happened in this old manor a hundred years ago. Or the bookish old guy has revealed the town’s secret history of witch-burning. Whatever. By this point we have some kind of frame of reference for what kind of story we’re seeing and what the stakes are.

    And here, while the mystery is hardly solved yet, Mike is going around getting all these hints about what’s really going on, reading old newspaper articles and journals and looking at the remains of shit that went down years ago. If they had kept playing, they would get the backstory in minutes. Instead, it took a week of waiting. Granted, only Shamus and Mumbles don’t know the whole plot already.

    We talked about Mike abandoning Jess some in the comment section last week, and I agree, they should have made it clearer why he didn’t follow Jess down. Neither that or his prank a year a go ruins the character for me(He was being a dick, not murdering the twins himself. And was it his idea, or Emily’s?), but I can see why one might not like him that much. I still like him.

    • el_b says:

      it was probably emily cause shes a rotten cunt lol. honestly if i was him id have dropped her for hannah ages ago, shes way better looking, a nicer person (most people are) and rich as fuck. more proof that mikes an idiot, no idea why shield took him on :P

      • Peter H Coffin says:

        Really? That’s the descriptor you’re going to use? Sexist obscenities? Not reasonable, not cool, very unimpressed.

        • Shamus says:

          Cunt is one of those words where nobody can agree on its profanity level. When I was growing up, it was basically a synonym for “bitch”, which is just the feminine version of “asshole” or “dickhead”. It’s not nice, but that’s kind of the point of an insult.

          But then at some point in my 30’s I started running into conversions (online, not in real life) where the word was considered MUCH more shocking, basically the equivalent to a racial slur like the dreaded N-word.

          I suppose it’s a bit like the US vs. UK versions of the word “fanny”.

          • Shamus says:

            Addendum: I think part of the problem is how people respond to the word.

            If an American uses the word “fanny” in front of British people, the British person often understands the intended meaning and can politely explain to the American the difference.

            But when two people disagree on the profanity level of “cunt”, neither of them seems to be aware that the other person is working with a slightly different mental model of the word and its particular usage. Instead the listener responds as you did and calls the other person “sexist”. Calling someone a sexist is basically accusing them of being a horrible person. (Yes, you called the WORD sexist, not the poster. Which I really appreciated. But not everyone bothers to make that distinction.) The other person – still working with their original mental model of the word – decides that you’re taking offense over trivialities.

            Imagine if someone jumped in here and started scolding people for saying “fuck”. You can imagine the group’s response to that sort of behavior. That’s how your argument will sound to people who have a less-scandalous version of the word in their heads.

            • Mumbles says:

              Letting people call women cunts on here makes me hella uncomfortable but okay.

              • Shamus says:

                To spoil my secret hidden motive:

                My ulterior motive here was to encourage el_b to re-think using the word by helping them understand WHY other people get so offended. This would let them come to the decision on their own, and not because of public shaming. (Which tends to backfire on the internet.)

                It’s not so much “I’m fine with this”. It’s more like “I understand why this keeps happening and having this conversation is the only way to fix it”.

                • Mumbles says:

                  It looked more like you were explaining why it’s okay to call women cunts here. I know it’s your site, so you make the rules, I just want you to know it makes me uncomfortable.

              • el_b says:

                ok, im a brit so its not as big a deal as in america but ill leave it off here in the future.

            • el_b says:

              from what i understand fanny means butt in the us, over here it means vagina.

            • Neko says:

              Ultimately, I feel that it’s not so much about the choice of words but how much bile you put behind the words. I was quite surprised to find when I went to high school here in Australia (formerly UK) that calling someone a ‘sick cunt’ is actually a compliment. Likewise, people can take ordinary words and infuse them with such hatred that I really don’t want to be in the same room as them.

              Of course, this distinction is easily lost in text. Which is bad. Easier to just avoid over-use of common swear words. And try to be nice to people! Why can’t we all just get along?

          • Henson says:

            Kinda, yeah. ‘Cunt’ is much, much more common in both the UK and Australia, and doesn’t have the same kind of taboo that we Americans seem to have with it. I’ve also gotten the impression that it’s fairly gender-neutral in these places as well, which is odd at first, but you get used to it.

            Check out Jim Jeffries, for example, his comedy seems to include calling everyone a “dahmn cahnt”.

            • Zak McKracken says:

              I can attest, though, that in the UK, that’s also a very unfriendly thing to say, even to people who have no problem saying “fuck”, and especially to or about women.

              Case in point:
              When calling a bunch of guys “bitches”, it’s clear you very likely don’t mean it in the sexist pejorative way. If you call a female that, especially if it’s plausible that you actually don’t like her, the same word can take on a completely different meaning.
              I was wearing my “Science works, bitches!” shirt to a friend’s barbecue party when a 7-year-old girl asked me why I had that word on my shirt because her mother said it’s a really bad word. I had no good explanation, really…

              I put Emily at the bottom of my own hierarchy how much I like the characters but calling her somehow sounds worse than saying “I don’t mind if she dies” (in the context of a teenage horror story).

              • Daemian Lucifer says:

                When calling a bunch of guys “bitches”, it’s clear you very likely don’t mean it in the sexist pejorative way.

                What if you do it in a pejorative way?Why is “he is such a little bitch” an ok insult?In fact,why are any insults separated into ok and not ok.They are insults.They are meant to offend.If they do not offend,they are not insults.Does it really make a difference if you call someone “a despicable person”,”a piece of shit”,”a dickhead” or “a cunt”?You are conveying the same message:”I despise this person so much that I must use a nasty word to refer to them”.

                • Viktor says:

                  An insult targets one person, a slur targets a group. A slur may be aimed at someone specific, but it’s an insult at everyone who is in group the slur describes, which makes it automatically bigoted.

            • Distec says:

              See also Bill Burr. I don’t think you can sit through a single Monday Morning Podcast without him calling a person (man or woman), a group of people, or even his audience “cunts”.

              Also, I can’t help but think of the below scene from Snatch:
              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aocAU7nW3D8

              I don’t hold anything against people offended by the word, but I am put off by the insistence that some sort of sinful transgression has occurred here.

          • ehlijen says:

            The potentially sexist meaning of the term in this case, is compounded by the immediately following sentence, however, which judges the person being called by that term as an inferior partner based on appearance, attitude and wealth.

            It may not have been intended as sexist, but it certainly came across that way, and not just because of that single word.

            • Viktor says:

              Yeah, people judge on this site, and judge hard. And that’s fine, that’s fun. But it’s inescapable that a large portion of people on her judge female characters differently from male characters. Ignoring the slur it was still definitely judging her on sexist metrics, and I’m surprised Shamus allows that sort of thing on here.

              • Shamus says:

                I thought that the comment was a dig at Mike, not an ACTUAL judgement on a fictional character. “These are the things Mike values in women, therefore even by his own shallow standards he’s an idiot”. The comment about him going to work for SHIELD made me think this is not a comment to be taken seriously.

                Every time I run into a poorly constructed joke that leads to backlash I think of this:
                https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wAIP6fI0NAI

                • el_b says:

                  mike seems to go exclusively for looks, at least jessica isnt as bad, just a little annoying, but its probably her playing up to cover her insecurities as she says.

              • el_b says:

                i wasnt being sexist at all shes an utterly horrible person. she abuses her boyfriend, verbally attacks her exes girlfriend on sight, openly says at one point that she is perfect and never wrong and matt should accept it as a rule…theres more but i dont want to spoil anything.

            • James Porter says:

              ^ This

              Frankly I can’t think of anything more clear cut of needing moderation. Maybe I’m just a bit more sensitive to this stuff, but I like this site, and want people to feel safe here.

            • Daimbert says:

              … however, which judges the person being called by that term as an inferior partner based on appearance, attitude and wealth.

              Um, if you were trying to judge who would be the superior romantic partner what traits would be less shallow to judge on? Sure, wealth ought not matter that much, but if someone had a choice of two partners and said that the one was a nicer person, better looking, and had more money it’s hard to imagine that there’d be anything else that could tip a purely objective assessment. The only response for choosing the other one would have to be “But I really love them!”.

              • Syal says:

                Well, there’s other possible attributes too. ‘Smarter’, ‘more ambitious’, maybe ‘keeps better company’ as an edge case.

              • ehlijen says:

                “if you were trying to judge who would be the superior romantic partner ”

                Why do that at all, though? The original question didn’t ask for that info, nor does it really have anything to do with the subject matter (which is who came up with the prank).

          • Grimwear says:

            To add my two cents we all need to remember that we all come from different areas of the world with different customs. For instance doing the ok sign is fine where I am but is deeply offensive in Turkey (according to a quick google search). The same can be said for thumbs up, or backward peace signs, and a multitude of other things. This includes the c word. It can be offensive and lots of people will take offense to it but I like to think we can give each other the benefit of the doubt and know they weren’t trying to deeply offend people and directly attack them. It can be hard to remember what one can say to others, particularly when you use a word or gesture daily.

            • James Porter says:

              So I don’t want all the comments to be about this, but the issue is hardly even the word. From context clues we can clearly see the post is being offensive. And frankly I feel like defending this case sets up an unfortunate precedent.

              The comment was clearly, blanketly sexist, and its not okay.

              I think i’m done now

              • Grimwear says:

                Is the post still offensive to you without the word? Would this have been an issue for you if he had simply stated that Emily was a rotten person? Honestly much of the discussion is actually over the use of the word. In fact specific comments deal only with the use of the word and otherwise seem fine detailing dislike over Emily and her actions. Is it not ok to criticize her then and call her rotten?

              • Shamus says:

                “The comment was clearly, blanketly sexist, and its not okay.”

                Sure, if you ignore or dismiss every single thing I said to help you understand.

                Fine. Go be outraged. Topic closed. I’ll delete any further replies to this thread, unless el_b wants to jump in and clarify / double down.

                Thanks for taking another chance to understand these arguments (and thus each other) better and turning it into just another exchange of bile in the fucking culture war.

                EDIT: Sorry for losing my temper. I thought just once we could do this the nice way.

                • el_b says:

                  im not usually one to self censor but i get that its a tough word, its easy to forget that different areas have different sensibilities and i apologise. i love this site and i have for years, it helped me get through a really tough time and ive been hooked since, im sorry i caused an argument on here. however i am not sexist because the word isnt sexist, its something you can call anyone here in the uk and youd be surprised at how commonly it is used in different communities. its not like a used a racial insult on matt or anything. the initial reply was meant to be humerous but obviously i failed hard. ill avoid using that word here in the future.

                  • Shamus says:

                    Thanks! You made my day. :)

                    • Ninety-Three says:

                      The fact that you are out here doing this instead of just nuking the comments section made my day. You are the only internet person I know who seems interested in understanding, and I appreciate it so much.

                  • Jokerman says:

                    As someone from the UK… Im not so sure, it’s certainly seen as a very harsh way to describe someone here.

                    • I find when the word is used to offend, it’s, well, offensive. If I’m hearing an Australian or someone from the North of Britain use it for punctuation, it does come off as being different sort of usage. That said, parts of the UK make some great puns with it. One went along the lines of “How could you have elected [INSERT CONTROVERSIAL POLITICIAN HERE]?” The reply was, “We used to be a kingdom, and now we’re a country.”

                      For some real contextual fun, I recall a story about how the FCC has a load of headaches trying to apply broadcasting regulations to Spanish radio stations. Apparently, Cuban, Mexican, and Puerto Rican flavors of Spanish share a lot of common words that have vastly different meanings when it comes to trying to offend someone, and the broadcast personalities often exploit this for humor. I believe a word for “cow” was what it said on the tin for one dialect, was a mildly childish word in another, and a vastly offensive one for a third.

          • Daimbert says:

            The difference — hopefully skirting the no-politics rule — comes down to feminist analysis. If you agree with the feminist analysis, it is exactly like the N-word. If you don’t, then it’s the equivalent of the Quebec French “tabernacle” sort of cultural difference, where there their swear words, as far as I can tell, tend to be religious, while North American, at least, tend to refer to body parts and functions.

            Eventually, this will get sorted out. But not in time for people to not have very angry reactions one way or another.

    • lurkey says:

      And was it his idea, or Emily’s?

      Wiki says it’s Jessica’s. 8-)

      • Mike Munroe says:

        Yeah, the opening heavily suggests that Jessica, Emily, and Mike were the main perpetrators, and everyone besides Sam just went along with it. Chris is in an odd position because he was passed out with Josh while the prank was going down, yet his dialogue later on suggests that he was involved somehow. Maybe he knew about it but didn’t try to stop it, or maybe he deliberately got drunk with Josh to keep him out of the way, or maybe he just feels guilt by association because he’s an innocent pure soul who must be protected.

        I like Chris – shadup. I know he’s super annoying.

      • Christopher says:

        Wiki says it’s Jessica’s. 8-)

        Oh SHIT!

  2. tzeneth says:

    The question is whether people like New Jessica more than Old Jessica? I mean, New Jessica is a real b***h. ;)

  3. Daemian Lucifer says:

    I like that they made mike a beefcake.That makes some of the sillier things about him easier to believe.

    On the other hand(pun not intended),if you cut off your fingers,does it still use the same animations?

  4. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Also,that doggy seemed to be a tame one,which is why it let mike to pet it.But otherwise,when encountering a hostile/guarder/scared dog or a wolf,you should never try to pet it from the above.They would feel threatened by that and probably bite you.Crouching,to come to their level,and giving them your hand from below to sniff is the way to go.

  5. Benjamin Hilton says:

    As far as Mike “abandoning” Jess goes, I think this might be a partial trope subversion in that while she does survive the fall, Mike is thinking in real world logic, assuming that there is no way she survived.

    Now I can agree that allot of people would still try to get to a loved one, not wanting to believe it’s true, but it seems to me that Mike completely believes she is dead at this point.

    • MichaelGC says:

      I was just watching that bit: he’s immediately distracted in his nascent grief by the silhouette of whoever he’s chasing – it’s that bit where Josh took aim with a headshot but did not shoot – after which he straightaway resumes pursuit, which perhaps for now pushes all other thoughts aside. I guess there are generous and also less-generous ways of taking that!

      • ehlijen says:

        A simple yelled ‘you killed her, you bastard’ could have made the situation more clear.

        • ZekeCool says:

          A note: A later cutscene has Mike say “Jessica’s dead.” referring to this area, whether she actually dies or not. Though she can survive the fall, the intent is clearly that Mike believes there is no possible way she could have.

  6. Andy_Panthro says:

    There’s a few visual flourishes that I love about this game. From the fixed camera angles, use of shadows and those foreground objects. The skeleton grinning in the foreground as you walk through the corridors is a lovely touch.

    The rat crawling out of the corpses mouth was a classic horror moment.

  7. baseless_research says:

    manamana to-tu to du do
    manamana to-tu to du do
    manamana to-tu to du do to du to to du do to-du-do-du-du do.

  8. Andy_Panthro says:

    Almost forgot to post the only Ducktales theme you ever needed to hear (NSFW!):

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Th7Mx2B4sXg

    helps if you’re British or probably Scottish though

  9. Benjamin Hilton says:

    I’m not sure how to take what Josh said about that being a useless totem. I mean it is, but not for the reasons they seem to think. That scene isn’t from anything in the Asylum which Josh seems to be implying. I know that Mike does a bit with fire here, but that totem referenced the end of the game. At the end of the game if you get Sam killed then Mike will make the sacrifice play and blow himself and the wendigos up so the others can escape. So it is pointless in that you do not control Mike at that point. It’s the game’s failsafe so that even if you completely whiff it, the Wendigos don’t escape.

    This is also a good example of how it’s possible to really like Mike by the end.

    • Josh says:

      This was what I was referring to. It’s a big fake-out totem that doesn’t become relevant until the very end of the game.

      • Benjamin Hilton says:

        Ah ok. in the video it seemed like you weren’t aware of which scene it was actually in (which would make perfect sense if Chris was right when he said your first play through was nearly perfect)

    • Jokerman says:

      The on at the start is more clever, a premonition of Emily having her face burns off, while you, as Chris, are trying to find the tools to set fire to the iced lock they are standing behind. That on also only makes sense after the fact on a replay.

  10. MichaelGC says:

    It is strange that this game can be so compelling – which it can! – when such a high percentage of the gameplay is just walkin’ around. I’d love to know what the actual percentage is!

    It works well, though – I suppose it acts as a nice contrasting backdrop to everything else that’s going on, and they seem to have a knack for making the wandering around sections long-but-not-too-long; I guess that’s an aspect of the good pacing that Jin already mentioned last week.

    • Mike Gruhunchously says:

      This game has two (technically three) infodump moments, and the rest of the backstory is told by letting you loose in a large area full of clues and letting you wander at your leisure. And since there are no prevailing game mechanics, like combat, climbing, or crafting, the sole purpose of these areas is explicitly to let you find clues without distraction. It might not be to everyone’s taste, but it’s a nice pacing trick.

  11. Jokerman says:

    I mentioned it vaguely last time, but that coat is totally a nod to silent hill, it looks exactly the same as what James wear’s.

  12. Starker says:

    Josh, why aren’t you turning some papers around to read the other side (like at 1:30)? Are you afraid of spoiling too much of the backstory too early?

  13. Paul Spooner says:

    It’s okay Chris. I didn’t have a girlfriend in high-school either. Who needs a girlfriend in high-school? All they do is distract you from classes and get abducted by horror video-games.

  14. Echo Tango says:

    BTW, I’m pretty sure “nose peg” refers to a “clothes peg” on your nose. i.e. The one-piece, old-timey version of the clothes-pin.

  15. So given the mist that appears from the morgue freezer, said freezer is still powered and has colder air inside of it than outside.

    Further, does the lady-corpse have breast implants, or is she a draugr from Skyrim?

  16. King Marth says:

    One memorable horror moment for me is in Metroid Prime 3: Corruption. You enter one wing of a place and find it has captive Metroids, sealed in powered tubes which neither they nor your weapons can break. You walk through a circuitous section seeing more and more of them, each scratching at the walls of their confinement trying to get at you. Then, you reach the end and finally see the upgrade you’re looking for… and it’s inside one of those invulnerable powered tubes. The power for the wing is also controlled in that room, and you need the power cell itself for later. All you need to do is retrace your steps. Through a Metroid-infested level. In the dark.

    • el_b says:

      i love levels where you have to fix or break them and then travel back through and see the changes. cryostasis sleep of dreams did this really well since you can transform whole areas of the ship, and theres a brillant level in quake 4 where you have to reactivate a powered down area. you and your squads flashlights in the dark witnessing all the messed up strogg body horror make it a really atmospheric scene.

    • Shoeboxjeddy says:

      That’s a nice improvement to one of the sillier (but very fun to play) sequences in Metroid Prime 1. Where the Space Pirates turn off the lights and attack you with cloaked units… immediately after you’ve gotten the “see through heat vision” power up. If they had done this even five minutes earlier, it totally would have worked!

  17. Unrelated to the … potential unpleasantness above, I think it must be hard to ride herd on so many people. Stray too far one way, and you’re accused of censorship and autocracy, but stray too far to the other, and conventional attitudes can quickly become toxic and engrained.

    However, I’ve overall appreciated the way in which Shamus has struck a balance here. The good community helps, but the focus on explaining and understanding attitudes takes a great deal of credit. Attempting a sort of socratic dialogue to change hearts and minds is a nice idea.

    • el_b says:

      people are very quick to label others with isms and ists nowadays. im glad shamus isnt one to deal out knee jerk accusations, its why these comment sections are usually such a good read. a bad mod is way worse for a community than the ocassional asshole commenter, or just one thats taken the wrong way.