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Video Game / Last Word

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Last Word is a PC game developed in RPG Maker by Merlandese. It is set in the fictional nation of St. Lauden, where the photographer Whitty Gawship had been invited to the dinner party at the house of Chet Chatters, a renowned linguistics professor who wishes to demonstrate his new invention to his guests. Once they arrive, however, it soon turns out that they’re intended as audience for the powers of the Mouth, the professor’s device supposedly capable of winning any conversation in history. Professor Chatters also doesn’t intend for them to leave until he’s satisfied with its performance, and it’s up to Whitty to persuade him otherwise, which involves getting to the bottom of many mysteries of the estate and its guests.

Last Word was originally created in 30 days for the 2014 IGMC contest, and can be freely downloaded on A full, commercial version of the game had also been released on Steam on May 8th 2015.

Last Word provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Alternate History: Invoked subtly. While St. Lauden is obviously a fictional country, it is still located in Europe, as real-world countries like France get occasional references. Then, the setting seems to be technologically equivalent to the time of First World War, or perhaps slightly earlier, as while electric lighting is present, one-way intercoms are said to be still in prototype stages. Socially, however, it has a greater accent on noble classes, but practically no gender divide, as female boxers are normal, and women freely serve in the army, with a female general (something still rare outside of a few countries in the real world) being present at the party. It is, however, after 1918, as that date is mentioned in an out-of-date book in the study.
  • Another Side, Another Story: Reading Seymour's journal involves playing as Seymour in Discourse against people, such as Holden McCall, for the second entry.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: Averted for all the noble characters, as while they can be considerably arrogant and out-of-touch, no-one, not even professor Chatters can be reasonably described as evil.
  • Armies Are Evil: Averted, especially as the game seems to imply that the only battles they engage in are verbal ones. This is because conventional weapons are never referenced, General Sandhoff offers Whitty to joins the army when she’s beaten in conversation, and most importantly, when Professor’s conversation machine is discussed, Whitty asks "Are our soldiers going to hide behind it?"
  • Color-Coded Characters: In the free version, all of the characters are just silhouettes, distinguished by body type and posture, colour and a few other details (i.e. the bowtie on Whitty Gawship, or the star on General Sandhoff’s uniform.) In the commercial version, characters map sprites are still the same silhouettes, but proper portraits appear during conversations.
    • The colour serves another story function, too, as it designates the house each character belongs to. When Professor Chatters reveals he is related to Whitty and thus is actually part of House Gawship, his silhouette briefly changes colour to match hers.)
  • Cool Shades: Seymore wears those, and they’re the only detail on his character sprite. However, he’s just too dorky for them to work properly.
    • These are changed to Nerd Glasses in the commercial version.
  • Dialogue Tree: Subverted. Every time you talk to someone you begin with a choice of Gossip, Chatter, Discourse and Leave. Out of those, Discourse starts the verbal argument minigame, while Chatter will have the other character automatically say whatever they want to talk about. With Gossip, you do get to pick a topic of interest, but it’s done before you approach the person through a separate menu.
  • Developer's Foresight:
    • When you find the Last Word and thus gain its immunity to being subject to commands, you can attempt to leave the estate, and Whitty only stops because she feels she should stay, instead of being stopped by The Mouth as with immunity, it can do nothing to stop you.
  • Easter Egg: Winning the Hopeless Boss Fight against Chatters will lead to some humorous banter about how Whitty wasn't supposed to win. She then pretends she lost so the story can continue the way it's supposed to.
  • Foreshadowing: Pay close attention to the characters and the reasons why there were invited. You may notice that Mr. Boasting is the only one not explicitly invited to the party.
  • Haughty Help: Banter, the servant at the Professor's mansion, is notably disdainful of the guests attending the party. He doesn't much bother to hide it, meeting any criticism of his attitude with further barely-concealed put-downs. If Seymour's journal is to be believed (which it sometimes might be), he's been waiting a long time for the chance to sneer at his supposed betters. His relationship with the Professor seems to go beyond simple employment, so he probably wouldn't get in trouble for it even if it were a more normal party.
  • He Knows About Timed Hits: The servant, Will Banter, outright says that, "I see you have enough Stored Experience. I’m obligated to teach you a few of the more advanced skills I’ve seen over the years."
  • Hidden Depths: The characters initially appear rather one-dimensional, but you learn a lot more about them and their history through conversations. For instance, Saymore's shyness is rooted in the difficult relations with his overbearing mother who ended up deserting the estate with Private Prattle.
  • Hidden in Plain Sight: The Last Word turns out to be written on the collar of Saymore Family cat, who remained at the Saymore Estate after it was bought out by Chatter.
  • Hidden Villain: While "villain" might be too strong a word, Mr. Boasting had taken the stone holding the Last Word. This fact is only discovered on New Game Plus.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight:
    • Two of them. The first discourse you ever engage in is one where Level 1 Whitty is pitted against Level 12 Ms. Prattle, who then devastates her in a single turn. You’re similarly out-levelled during your first discourse with Professor Chatters. However, it is possible to, in a New Game Plus, to have enough equipped skills to defeat Ms. Prattle even at Level 1, and you can also overgrind in order to have a more likely chance to defeat Professor Chatters.
    • Inverted with the two last discourses: Whitty has the Last Word by that time, and so she simply cannot lose - that is, as long as it doesn't break.
  • I Am Not Left-Handed: If Seymour's last challenge is to be believed, Servant Banter is actually on the level of the Judge and was just holding back when Whitty faces him. Considering that the only times anyone wins against him is when Mr. Chatters wants them to lends credence to this.
  • Infinity -1 Sword: Once Whitty gets the Last Word, she gains the Immunity skill automatically - which allows her to ignore the effects of losing. However, during the final battle with The Mouth, it weakens every time she would had lost.
    • Infinity +1 Sword: The Last Word also offers the skill "Last Word" - which costs 50 Bows to equip, but allows Whitty to instantly win all discourses at the cost of not getting any EXP from it.
  • Jerkass: Banter doesn't even pretend to not look at the party guests with disdain. He does respect his employer, however, who pretty much looks the other way to this.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Professor Chatters has plenty of fun with it when his servant interrupts their face-to-face meeting with Whitty.
    "I was just disclosing details of my master plan. I like to be fairly thorough when disclosing such details to strangers."
  • Last-Name Basis: Holden McCall and Judge Boasting have obviously known each for a long time, and yet they only ever address each other as Mr. Boasting and Mr. McCall, respectively.
  • Likes Older Women: Private Prattle, the son of Miss Prattle, has always had fondness for "aged wine", as Seymore puts it when asked. This is relevant, as It turns Seymore's domineering mother sold her Estate to Chatters to pay off her debts and run away with Prattle, and so "Chatters' Estate" is actually former Seymore place. It's also implied that he wasn't fully on board with it, and had to be compelled through Chatters' legendary powers of discourse.
  • MacGuffin: The Last Word acts as one as soon as it's introduced. No-one ever explains how it works, besides revealing that it was found during the archeological digs at one of St. Lauden's overseas colonies.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: Discourse is absolute law in the game's world (at least in the characters' circle), where having the last word in a conversation has great persuasive power.
  • New Game Plus: In a New Game +, Whitty starts back at Level 1, with all Key Topics locked, but she keeps all of the skills and Bows she had earned. Barring the ones related to holding the Last Word.
  • Once Upon a Time: Whitty remarks on that being how Seymour starts his journal on the night's events:
    He started the story with "once upon a time"? This might be a tough read.
  • Passive-Aggressive Kombat: The entire game is this, as presented in the most literal way possible.
  • The Password Is Always "Swordfish": The St. Lauden system of using codes for family houses just writes them in SMS-speak, with Prattle House being PR8TL, Boasting being 80AST, etc. To be fair, apparently it isn’t supposed to be a huge secret, and Saymore House’s code is a more respectable (but still punny) W84ME. Later updates simplified the codes into shortenings of the family names.
  • Permanently Missable Content: The last wine bottle gets thrown at the Mouth by Ms. Prattle halfway through the game. If you don't have enough levels in Wine Tasting and don't interact with it until that point, better reload. Or try again when you start a New Game Plus.
  • Point of No Return: Activating the door to confront the professor is preceded by Will Banter saying:
    If you have any unfinished business, do it now.
    Are you certain that you're ready?
  • Punny Name: All of the characters' surnames are some sort of a speech-related pun. Same applies to family house codes (see The Password Is Always "Swordfish").
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: General Sandhoff acts as one throughout the game, not losing her cool even when the conversation touches topics she feels strongly about, like like Private Prattle's desertion:
General Sandhoff: "To leave your patriotic duty in the name of love and dreams is a military sin. I can’t respect it."
  • Romantic False Lead: There’s some semi-romantic dialogue from Seymore towards Whitty. However, it doesn’t actually result in any romance, at least not by the end of the game, as Whitty reasonably points out that they’ve only just met.
  • Sequel Hook: The New Game Plus ending suggests that Mr. Boasting still has the Last Word.
  • The Battle Didn't Count: Parodied. Winning the Hopeless Boss Fight against Professor Chatters (entirely possible with enough Level Grinding) will lead to some Easter Egg dialogue where everyone is flabbergasted. Chatters will then request that Whitty pretend she lost the battle so that the plot can continue as planned.
  • Visible Silence: Sometimes, characters' speech boxes are just an ellipsis, like when Holden McCall is defeated in the final part of the game.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Will Banter calls you out if you’ve defeated him in the scripted discourse by asking just what exactly you’ve achieved.
    "I realise that you’re eager to take advantage of a servant by engaging him in discourse and putting his job on the line. And I respect that. But our previous discourse was one small, rare, non-repeatable event. Never stop feeling bad for spoiling a servant’s pride."
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Mr. Chatters' reason for seeking the Last Word is because he knows that the military could pull this on him and strip him of his honorary house status after he finishes their weapon.
  • You Have Researched Breathing: Whitty needs to purchase levels in wine-tasting from a cat before she can try those fine wines for herself, as well as purchasing a level in Photography from the same cat before she can talk about it and her job to others.