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Video Game / Thirty Flights of Loving

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Thirty Flights of Loving is a 2012 Environmental Narrative Game, and the sequel/Spiritual Successor to Gravity Bone, with which it now comes bundled. In it, you start off playing as an unknown man, who is planning some sort of heist with co-conspirators Anita and Winston. And then things get weird. It is focused on abstract, non-linear storytelling and often credited being the first game to introduce jump cuts into the gameplay itself, which inspired spiritual successors of its own, such as Virginia. However, this came at the price of further stripping down the already limited gameplay mechanics in Gravity Bone's, often reducing the player's role to simply walking from the start of one scene to the transition point where it cuts into the next.


Thirty Flights of Loving provides examples of:

  • All There in the Manual: Some of the notes on the characters are only explicitly spelled out in the commentary.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Anita has an artificial arm and leg in some scenes. Since she doesn't have those during the wedding and the bike ride, we have a pretty good idea of what happened...
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Anita and Winston's special skills, being Demolitions, Mechanic, Sharpshooter, Confectioner, and Forger, Safe Cracker, Pilot, Best Man respectively.
  • Author Appeal: Brendon Chung's particular fondness for the feel of peeling oranges is exactly the reason why some oranges appear in the game.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Since the game apparently takes place in an alternate version of Argentina, a lot of the signs are written in Spanish, though their meaning is obvious enough to be understood regardless. Knowledge of German, though, lets you translate the sign above the bar in the opening (Wilkommen Auf Zauberbury) as "Welcome to a magical place."
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  • Black-and-Grey Morality: The player character and his co-conspirators all seem to be career criminals, whose heist targets a vault in a civilian airport that appears to be used by thousands of innocent people daily, many of whom could've had gotten hurt in the event. However, the Nuevos Aires government they're stealing from is ruled by an El Presidente who's just extended his lifespan through a mecha body and appears to have taken Hobbesian philosophy to
  • Bottomless Magazines: Zig-Zagged Trope, even though the player character never actually uses a gun in the game.
    • Played straight: Winston never runs out of bullets during the scene where he repeatedly fires two UZIs at once while player character drags the cart with his wounded body.
    • Averted: The early scene used as the game's title card above. Anita actually keeps pointing her gun at YOU, and repeatedly tries to fire it, but it can only click uselessly, presumably after she expended all the ammo to wound Winston. It's left open as to whether you or Winston were the one to have mortally wounded her.
  • Bullet Cam: Used several times by Winston's shots to hilarious effect, as he misses on both occasions.
  • Call-Back: The "Mecha-Presidente" mentioned in one of the background newspaper headlines is the same one from Atom Zombie Smasher.
  • The Cameo: One of the guests at a party you're flashing back to is a woman with a red streak in their hair with a bored expression... Much like the person who stole Abel's photos and killed him in Gravity Bone.
    • This woman has an extended role in this game, too as the last flashback to that place strongly implies you ultimately slept with her that night, rather than Anita as earlier flashbacks make it seem. This is likely to have put a rift between you and Anita, and potentially explains the shoot-out that wounded Winston and claimed her life.)
  • Creative Closing Credits: Presented through a museum exhibit presenting the game.
  • Downer Ending: Can be assumed.
  • Driver Faces Passenger: Anita looks at you instead of keeping her eyes on the traffic, causing your motorcycle to crash into an onrushing car.
  • Dystopia: The newspaper headlines and the non-alcoholic drinks at the bar seem to hint at this.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: One of the advertisements in the airport is for a later Blendo game, Quadrilateral Cowboy.
  • Failed a Spot Check: Taken to the absurd levels. In the very first scene at the bar, you can take every single bottle of the Maple Victory in sight, with no indication of paying for it. There are two bartenders watching you who do absolutely nothing, and it's not like they are unable to stop you - jumping onto and behind the counter will reveal that there is an UZI-like gun stashed there. You can take that gun as well, which also elicits no reaction. Sure, they ARE letting your group use their place as a hide-out, but still...
    • A little later on, and you'll be carrying heavily wounded Winston on your shoulder past the crowds at the airport, who couldn't care less as well. Then again, given that's often possible to outright walk through them as if they were incorporeal, perhaps they do have bigger problems to worry about.
  • Fauxshadow: In the apartment building which houses the flat your trio shares, there are multiple signs advising to use ladders in case of fire ("En Casa de incendio no use El Elevador use Las Escaleras.") You might expect the building to go up in flames at some point, but it never does.
  • First-Person Shooter: Subverted. You can pick up all the guns you want, but you never use any of them. However, the game does control like one, in a similar fashion to its predecessor.
  • Gainax Ending: After a car crash, the credits shown as a museum exhibit, and a demonstration of the Bernoulli principle, the game ends with you riding on the back of Anita's bike again.
  • Informed Ability:
    • Anita is supposedly a demolitions expert, a sharpshooter, and a mechanic. She never does any of these onscreen. Moreover, it seems like she actually expended all the ammo in her UZI shooting Winston at the airport, which left her defenceless against the player character - and didn't even kill Winston, to boot! Hardly the conduct of a sharpshooter.
    • Winston also never cracks any safes or forges any letters onscreen either. At least he actually does fly the plane.
  • Jump Cut: Dreamlike, the plot suddenly jumps between unrelated settings.
  • Let's Play: A particularly hilarious one by EatMyDiction1.
    • Cry also did a LP.
  • Made of Iron: Winston, who despite being wounded, fights his way out of the airport with your help and a luggage cart.
  • Mind Screw: Much like Gravity Bone before it, the appeal comes from how most of the story is implied rather than made explicit, leading the player to draw their own conclusions.
  • No Name Given: The protagonist. Since the game is fully in first-person, we don't see his face either...except for the Winston's "Best Man" montage, where he's almost certainly the groom. Activating developer's commentary lets you linger there and see it in detail.
  • No Sidepaths, No Exploration, No Freedom: Well, you're encouraged to explore and take in your environment...within the confines of a single room or a hallway, that is. Paths potentially leading you elsewhere are always blocked off in one way or another.
    • In the apartment building, going down the ladder instead of up and towards the rooftop party is impossible because "Malfunctioning Stairs Are Under Repair.", and you can see a single plank swinging up and down on its own volition. Developer's commentary acknowledges how stupid it is, but claims it was worth it as a fun gag.
    • However, there are no comments to be found in the airport, when you have to steal a cart off a guy to place wounded Winston onto it. You're thrown over there by a jump cut, your face looking at the objective, and leaving it before carrying out the required action is impossible: the normally crowded terminal behind you is suddenly dark and empty, while both its ends become perfectly solid walls. It magically goes back to normal once you do what is demanded of you: you won't even notice something was off unless you consciously turn around and away from the easy objective.
  • Self-Imposed Challenge: The developer, Brendon Chung, wanted to make the game without ever using dialogue text, voice-overs or HUD, and thus relying on the clues left in the environment alone. The only break from this are the two static montages which
  • Shout-Out: A few of them, some clarified through developer's commentary.
    • The hallway in the opening scene has several newspaper front pages framed on its walls. One of them, "PICAYUNE", carries the following headline, partially quoted from Leviathan: "Mecha Presidente: We will rebuild with a new identity: solitary, poor, nasty, brutish".
    • The airplane Winston pilots is named Death Knocks, which directly refers to said Woody Allen film, according to the commentary.
    • One of the posters in the airport advertises Lone Goose and Gosling - apparently, a direct reference to Lone Wolf and Cub.
    • During the Kickstarter campaign to fund a relaunch of the Idle Thumbs podcast, a copy of this game with a special mode was available as a backer reward. All character models resemble Jeff Goldblum and all vocalisations are replaced with impersonations of his vocal tics.
  • Title Drop: About a quarter way into the game in the scene where a wounded Anita is pointing a gun at you, and is even based off a classic movie title card.
  • The 'Verse: Besides taking place in the same universe as Gravity's Bone, it is apparently connected to the past and future games of the developer as well. In the developer's commentary, the city of Nuevos Aires, the country of Cervidia, the non-alcoholic drink Maple Victory and a bar called Bitter Melon are singled out as shared elements.
  • You ALL Look Familiar: There's an obviously limited selection of character models. Strangely, this is most obvious at the very start of the game, where the first two NPCs you see are completely identical elderly bartenders, with no-one else around them to take away from the impression.
    • Using the developer's commentary to walk around the scenes in the montages reveals something else: for both versions of Anita's "Sharpshooter" scene, a woman with red lock of hair is present (two in the discarded version of the scene.) That is the same face type as the bored woman you've potentially slept with at the party, or indeed, as the woman who killed Abel in Gravity's Bone.