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I find myself wondering if this game is perhaps some form of meta-irony? 

The way that the characters look just like caricatures from an Internet Historian video, being able to walk right through several objects and the dialogue between characters sounding just like some of the Discord RP sessions I had when I was 16, I just simply am unable to tell whether this was part of the meta-ironic commentary on capitalism, or whether this was the intended mature experience supposed to portray deep characters and meaning.

I would love if you could give me some insight whether this is unironic, or whether I have indulged in a work of ironic game design. Thank you. 

This was definitely interesting to experience either way, and I consider it one of the games I've ever played.

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Haha, interesting question. I had to think before answering. I also had to google "meta-irony," so I certainly wasn't thinking about it in those terms when I made the game. I *did* think of it in terms of "satire". This vision of the future is what I considered to be "the logical conclusion of our current capitalist society", but it was certainly not an actual prediction of where society is headed (I believe/hope that extraction capitalism will crash and burn long before we get to the point of "planned obsolescence of planets"). The characters are supposed to be parodies of the rich and powerful people who run the world for sure; Ozymandias especially is a mishmash satire of our own spectacular elite, some sort of Bezos/Musk/politician hybrid. The character designs are just me messing around and having fun, not to be taken too seriously (Ozymandias's hand is a Buddha's-hand citrus fruit, his face is Andrew Ryan from Bioshock, and his legs are the legs of Ozymandias from Watchmen.)

But I think at heart I'm not a good (or at least not a pure) satirist, because I don't like writing about characters who I can't relate to at all. So I tried to give them all some genuine character and real emotion as well. I think that as a result I might have arrived at something quite like meta-irony without knowing it, if I'm understanding the term correctly.

Along these lines, a fun fact that I'm not sure if I've mentioned elsewhere--Jack and Lio are heavily inspired by Joan and William Burroughs (their faces are photos of the Burroughses), and some of Jack's dialogue that might sound ironic or just plain weird, like when she's talking about lizards, is lifted from episodes in their lives. I guess there's a lot of stuff in the game like that: references to other works or to historical figures or things I was interested in at the time, which is just in there because I liked it, and not because I expect or really even intend for anyone else to pick up on it.

The characters being able to walk through objects has absolutely no deeper intention. I made this game as a college student with no professional experience in games and I just wasn't that sophisticated of a programmer :D.(Although if you think this awkwardness can provide some additional meta-irony, let's go with that lolol. I subscribe to "the author is dead" philosophy, especially now that the game is over five years old and I'm a different person than I was when I made it.) In some parallel reality I have returned to the game since then and cleaned up a lot of stuff, added some things that I didn't have timed for and changed some other things... I have never really considered it "done", but I had to call it that in order to graduate.

Anyway, this got a little long but I hope this helps your understanding of the game! Thanks for playing and engaging :)

Phoebe, Thanks so much for making this game. I seriously dont think any current game can compete with the density of pure; interaction, immersion, quality, originality. That this game provides. I think the way you put yourselves in others shoes so perfectly made for excellent characters that felt real. They felt like people i had simply forgotten and was remembering after a long time. People that even with their flaws, I wanted to know and know more about. I may not have much hope for our world, but I have hope for you Phoebe.

There is something passionate and unapologetic about Even in Arcadia. The characters are each unique and fully developed. No stone unturned. The gameplay is simple by design and interactive where needed. No jangling of keys to keep the baby's interested. its environments are not complicated yet obviously purposeful in every artificial, polyester, vacuum sealed leaf decorating the launch garden party. Every character and character path makes sense according to where you are in the story. The design is also surprisingly intuitive as if Phoebe read your mind. Even when you think "aw I cant get behind that door.." The game is waiting for you to realize what you learned these 400 loops. And lemme give you a hint, its NOT that Phoebe disappoints!    

The entire concept itself as an allegory for human kind failing to learn from its mistakes (going around in loops) is artfully done. The piece is also getting better with age as it also takes on a stronger and stronger sense of horror as we hurl ourselves into oblivion via global warming and our murder of the planet.  Play it and play it again, because everyone in the Arcadia launch party has got something to say.

- Kala 2023

Wow! Thank you for such generous words, Kala. Reading this just made my day. I'm so glad the game resonated for you :)

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This game is GORGEOUS. and so, so cool. I had such a great time wandering around and piecing the story together. Thank you for your work!

I talked about Even in Arcadia in my video this week, if anyone reading through the comments is interested:

what a cool idea dood i feel like a real cheesy cheese

I played this game a few years ago. It was so unique and has defiantly stuck with me. A very interesting world to explore and fascinating characters to meet. I like how you can wonder around and get different parts of the story. The feeling of everything being a magazine cutout brought up nostalgia feelings from making art from magazines as a kid. Cool experience! Thank you <3 

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I tried playing this a few months ago and after the first few minutes I realized I needed to set some time aside to truly engage with it. Just did so today. It's great! Very much in the vein of what I imagine interactive theater to be (my anxiety stops me from going to any real life interactive theaters!). Piecing together the people and story and choosing who to follow really adds a lot to the piece. Through the first cycle I actually thought Lio was somewhat sympathetic if deluded by a corpo mindset, but as I followed him through the next couple of cycles I just... God. These characters are really well-written!

I also really love the collage aspect of the thing. Is it bad that I immediately recognized where Ozymandias' legs come from? Either way, the collage aspect makes it feel even more like a play? Like you dressed up a set and these are all actors that are dressed up to clearly indicate their archetypes.

Thank you for making this!

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Thank you so much for your kind words! I'm so glad you enjoyed the story. And recognized Ozzy's legs ^_^ I deal with anxiety too so it's also quite touching to hear that you got to enjoy this game even though you might not be able to enjoy the kinds of immersive theater experiences that were a big inspiration to me when making it. Thanks so much, really <3

Hey, super excited to try the game, but when I just downloaded on Mac, getting a "can't be opened" error

Of all the games I played this year, this one captivated me in a way that nothing else did, and I'm still thinking about it months later. After playing it, I felt inspired to make my own game.

Thank you! I'll look forward to playing your game someday!

Really enjoyed playing this game. Congratulations on creating it. Loved the story and the repeating cycles. After the first cycle, the questions I had really pulled me in for another cycle and then another. 

This is a great game, it's very fun stalking different people around.

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Very beautiful game, engaging mecheanics, well developed characters you care about. A+

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a very refreshing and interesting game, I agree with one of the other comments that mentions it feels like walking around a good theatre production.

Thank you! I'm so happy you enjoyed it :)

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What a game! This felt like a good theatre production. The players actions are largely limited to the choice of who to observe--nonetheless, this was the most engaging walking simulator (sorry--dérive enabler!) I've played in a long time.

The story was intriguing, and the 30 minute cycles seem to flash by as I tried to piece together the plot. Ultimately, I wasn't able to come up with a complete casual chain of events (perhaps an inherent limitation of a narrative without beginning, middle, or end), but I did meet a host of interesting characters!

Above all, what's stuck with with me is the world: a fun, fantastical, and deeply fashionable dystopia that hit me close to home. The world feels much bigger than the game, and if it was your intention to pose a cliffhanger, it's a roaring success. I'm curious to know what lies outside the doors of the gardens, and I'd be excited to see anything more you make in Intrepis Interplanetary's universe!

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Thank you soo much!! That really means a lot! I have thought about returning to the world of Arcadia in future projects, and have some ideas about other stories in that universe, so it's definitely a possibility :) 

This game blew my mind! I had no idea what to expect and was ready for like a 20 minute session on a Sunday morning and it ate the majority of my day. Really loved the writing, the character design, the whole concept, and stellar execution. 

This just warmed my heart thank you so much!! 💖💖