Video Game: A Very Long Rope to the Top of the Sky

Look at this one, Ivy
This is a very special plant—
a plant that aches, that loves.
It's called a "Mourning Vine."

Do you see it, daughter?
See the pretty flowers?
See how every bud is
connected on the vine?

If I clip one,
I can press it in this book,
and it will be
beautiful forever...

but all the other flowers
will wither when it's gone.

A Very Long Rope to the Top of the Sky is an Eastern RPG by Kasey Ozymy. It is set in an original, and generally coherent, universe with a relatively rich history, both ancient and modern. The game uses RPG Maker VX as its engine, but makes use of an entirely original soundtrack.

The plot starts with Ivy and Mint, two sisters (ages 14 and 12, respectively) who have grown up in a harsh environment inside a massive, barren chasm. The only person they know, besides themselves, is their father Gram, and Gram has just died a day ago. Ivy and Mint are left to fend for themselves as best they can, but they very quickly discover that the world they inhabit is not the world they thought they inhabited, and the plot twists only get more convoluted from there.

This game provides examples of:

  • Action Girl: Ivy.
  • Actually, I Am Him: Walker was supposed to deliver an apology from King Albus to Ivy, but didn't realize that Ivy was the nice lady giving him directions!
    Walker: I'm supposed to deliver this to Ivy.
    Ivy: I'm Ivy.
  • Advanced Ancient Humans: See the entry for Apocalypse How.
  • After the End: A few millennia after the end, in fact.
  • A Form You Are Comfortable With: Raccoon invokes this when you finally find him in the Ubiquity's computer system.
  • A God Am I: Weiss, in a particularly tragic example. Also Raccoon, at the end.
  • Apocalypse How: The prehistory of the setting; a Planetary/Species Extinction example, with a twist. The Lydians and the Somnians were in an all-out species-wide war, and had been for a while. The Somnians developed nuclear technology, while the Lydians investigated saecelium instead. When the Somnians nuked Logos-3, the Lydians retreated to MUB-5 and counterattacked with unstable saecelium weaponry. In the process, the entire surface of the planet was turned into a haunted wasteland; every Somnian, save for a few isolated tribal groups, was killed. Disgusted with his own race, Solomon trapped every remaining Lydian in a time loop on MUB-5, brought an ancient (and, in his eyes, untarnished by the war) Lydian civilisation forward in time, and then escaped to the Ubiquity.
  • Brick Joke: In the first hours of play, the party finds a mansion with a maze in the front garden, and a servant trapped inside. Half playthrough later, after the time-skip, there is a soilder now.
  • Chekhov's Gun: This shows up a lot:
    • Every character with a face portrait (who doesn't die or join your party) is recruitable for Sanctuary. Since there are quite a few such characters, many of whom are relatively out of the way or seemingly incidental at the time, it takes some significant memory of whom you've talked to before, and where you found them, in order to recruit every eligible NPC.
    • The chimera. As the very first boss of the game, you've almost forgotten it exists by the time you have to fight it again.
    • The saecelium mine. You escape from it once when searching for Ivy, only to have to do so again to satisfy Switch's quest.
    • Hidden within the large Infodump in the Central Research Database is the information that taking away a saecelium crystal from the "stable eight" configuration makes it very unstable. Rutger then proceeds to find this out the hard way!
    • In some cases, Chekhov's Boomerang applies:
      • The reflecting pond. You know it's going to come back when you save Richard, but you think you're done with it when you save Alan thirty years later. But nope, it comes back again when you have to play back everyone's Soul Tears.
      • The God's Eye. Justified in that it's an incredibly powerful weapon, so any number of people want to get their hands on it.
  • Constructed World: The history, and prehistory, of the Lydian continents and the surface underneath them is fairly in-depth, including a few things that almost no one knows, and the PCs have to rediscover.
  • Dawn of an Era: King Albus rejects the long-standing association of Balfur with the Church, and as a result (and, in fact, the primary goal) accepts Somnians into Balfur as humans, just like Lydians. So far, though, the only one who has taken advantage of this is Ivy.
  • Demonic Possession: Rutger's final stand; also involves Transformation Of The Possessed.
  • Enemies with Death: Pallance is in this scenario, although it's never entirely clear why Death is chasing him.
  • Eyepatch of Power: Rutger; also Ivy, who gains Peek-a-Bangs after the time-skip
  • Fantastic Nuke: The God's Eye, and unstable saecelium weaponry in general.
  • Fantastic Racism: Modern Lydian society regards Somnians as "children of the Eater", and the common Lydian religion sentences Somnians (and their supporters) to death. Something similar, although less severe, is the case with the black-winged "witches" who live for hundreds of years and have extremely powerful magical abilities; they are regarded as "demons" and avoided unless necessary.
  • Final Boss, New Dimension: In order to fight Raccoon, you have to enter the Ubiquity's computer system.
  • Floating Continent: The Lydian continents, as well as MUB-5, the Flying Mountain. Unlike many examples, these (except MUB-5) are truly continent-sized, with Terasu and Balfur in particular each requiring three separate world maps in order to display even just their accessible portions.
    • Colony Drop: Logos-3, although it was pretty much accidental.
  • Functional Magic: It's even taught in the school at Mossvine.
  • Genki Girl: When you first meet her, Yvette is extremely energetic, with the particular additional quirk that she comes up with outrageous lies for seemingly no other purpose than to either make herself look good or energize the whole group. Later, she tones this down a bit, but it still shows though sometimes.
    Raccoon: [referring to Yvette and Mint] Come on. The hyper twins are chomping at the bit.
  • Give Me Your Inventory Item: Just once, when part of the Chain of Deals in Silver Spring leads you to an NPC who only wants a potato...
  • Gladiator Games: The Coliseum in Terranoire used to be like this, before Greta "opened it up".
  • He Knows About Timed Hits: A couple of examples.
    • When Ivy and Mint are first exploring the cave, Mint casually mentions that the SHIFT key is used for running.
    Mint: Oh, and Ivy? You might be able to catch me if you use SHIFT to run.
    • When you recruit Amos for Sanctuary, he becomes the in-game reference for meta-game data, such as the number of steps you've taken, or the number of times you've saved. The general impression is that it's Played for Laughs. One of Lovie's many dialogue phrases does this as well.
    • Rose, in the post-game area, basically does nothing but this.
  • Heroic BSOD: Ivy, for 30 years after Mint's death.
  • Holier Than Thou: Archbishop Gebhart, who is a Fundamentalist and Principles Zealot who strongly believes in With Us or Against Us and has a particular fondness for Abomination Accusation Attacks.
  • Human Subspecies: Lydians (who have wings) and Somnians (who don't). They are definitely biologically compatible, though, as Ivy's and Mint's existences demonstrate.
  • Ill Girl: Mint, although, unlike more conventional examples, this doesn't stop her from adventuring with the rest, to the noticeable detriment of her health. Her condition is strongly implied to be genetic (or at least congenital), and the major way it manifests is that she will occasionally just collapse from too much excitement, strain, or some other strong emotion. She dies because of this.
  • Kill the Cutie: Mint; also Pallance's dog.
  • Kill the Poor: Not directly, of course, but this is what ends up happening to most of Raccoon's "work force".
  • Law of Cartographical Elegance/Videogame Geography: Incredibly, averted for the most part due to the fact that there are multiple world maps, each of them is shaped very, very irregularly, and there is good justification for why you can't walk off of any of the edges (mostly having to do with them tending to be the literal edges of the Lydian continents).
  • Lady and Knight: Yvette and Leif, although both are Badasses and probably qualify as Bash Brothers. Claire and Magnus are a much more traditional example.
  • Leaked Experience: Pretty standard for an Eastern RPG.
  • LEGO Genetics: Averted, since Ivy and Mint aren't obviously "half-and-half" except inasmuch as would be entirely realistic; phenotypically, both lack wings, but Ivy has blue eyes, which is a Lydian trait.
  • Lost Technology: Basically anything to do with saecelium.
    • The teleporters are probably the most obvious example.
    • The reflecting pond.
    • The God's Eye, a Lost Superweapon.
  • Love Letter: Emil writes one to Genevieve, in the form of a poem, and asks Ivy for help with what similes to include. Depending on the player's choices, Genevieve can either accept or reject the letter. This divergence persists even after the time-skip, affecting where you'll find Emil and some of the relevant dialogue.
  • Mechanical Lifeforms: Despite being created by pre-catastrophe Lydians, droids like Oliver are as "alive" as anyone, in everything except automatic reproductive capability, which they don't have. They live in villages of their own, like Attis, and describe themselves as being alive regularly.
  • Minovsky Physics: The properties of saecelium are remarkably well-defined: it exists in the "liminal space between realities", and as such is fixed in spacetime relative to other saecelium; it outputs a fixed amount of power for a stable crystal of a given size; and fallout from unstable saecelium has (for the most part) known effects.
  • Morality Kitchen Sink: No one is entirely good or entirely evil, and in many cases it's impossible to tell what counts as what; that said, A Lighter Shade of Grey and A Darker Shade Of Grey are not unheard of.
  • Neutral No Longer: Ivy, after Raccoon attempts to kill her for refusing to aid him.
  • New Game+: Allows you to access alternate endings!
  • NINJA: Darius, the Bandit of the North Wind.
  • Not-So-Omniscient Council of Bickering: Silver Spring's city council. Especially after the establishment of Sanctuary!
  • Nothing Left to Do but Die: Raccoon eventually decides this, but forces the PCs to kill him instead of committing suicide.
  • Old Soldier: Both Lief and Magnus qualify; Lief invokes it.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Raccoon. This ends up being for a good reason.
  • Please Wake Up: Ivy's reaction to Mint's final collapse.
  • Power Crystal: A small stable saecelium crystal can power a droid effectively indefinitely.
  • Power Glows: Justified; since an active saecelium crystal gives off constant power, some of that power is inevitably going to be lost via entropy as electromagnetic radiation, including visible light.
  • Really Gets Around: Yvette after the time-skip, although she's not actually quite as bad as her reputation would seem to indicate.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Sylvia, Oliver, and Weiss. Justified, since they're droids.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Walsh, for a short time.
  • Rebellious Princess/Tomboy Princess: Yvette, although she doesn't fully understand at first just how extreme the difference between her life and that of a commoner actually is.
  • Recursive Reality: The Ubiquity's computer system.
  • Replacement Goldfish: Several examples.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Yvette and Albus both qualify, although Claire not so much.
  • Schizo Tech: Justified, since the world is gradually rediscovering the Lost Technology of the ancient Lydians, while still developing some new technology of its own.
  • Sliding Scale of Unavoidable vs. Unforgivable: Raccoon goes through a lot of Angst over this, not that it stops him in the end.
  • The Sociopath: Raccoon, after the time-skip.
  • Static Stun Gun: Oliver has one, and it's one of his most powerful abilities; Gainer eventually gets his own from Switch.
  • The High Queen: Yvette, after the time skip.
  • The Pollyanna: Mint is seemingly incapable of dropping her incredible positive outlook. When Ivy and Mint are prevented from legally seeing their mother, Mint takes this as a personal challenge, remaining inexplicably overjoyed at breaking into Avishun's prison to visit Rose. Even when close to death, Mint is cheerful.
  • Time Abyss: Solomon; also Raccoon, near the end.
  • Transferable Memory: A lot of characters, later on in the story, will give you Soul Tears without much comment. It turns out that they store a kind of memory that the reflecting pond can display.
  • Trauma Inn: And boy, are there a lot of them. There are also some Healing Springs as well, along with the majority of Save Points being Healing Checkpoints. The latter end up being Suspicious Video Game Generosity much of the time.
  • Undying Loyalty: Lief, towards Yvette; Magnus, towards Claire; Darius, towards whoever employs him.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: The shapeshifters that infested the reflecting pond could take basically any form, and used their power to mess with people.
  • Wasteland Elder: The tribal Somnians have "Grandpa."
  • Winged Humanoid: The Lydians. A less ridiculous depiction than most, since their wings don't actually do anything; in particular, they don't let Lydians fly (by natural means, that is).
  • Would Be Rude to Say "Genocide": The ancient Lydian President regarding the near-extinction of Somnians perpetrated by his orders; also, Raccoon regarding his "work force."
  • Wrench Wench: Switch. Her father Gunther is as much of An Engineer as she is.
  • Year Inside, Hour Outside: The Ubiquity's computer system takes this to an extreme, with a few days outside being equivalent to several eons inside!
  • Zeppelins from Another World: Just Oliver's, but it's pretty important.