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Video Game / YIIK: A Post-Modern RPG

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The needle of the record player has dropped... the sound that the world now hears will change the nature of all realities.

This is a story of what happens when you look for someone who can't be found.

YIIK: A Post-Modern RPG is a role-playing video game released on January 17, 2019 for the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, and Steam.

Set in the 1990s, the story follows Alex Eggleston and seven strangers who came to know each other on the web and became the closest of friends, living their lives carefree.

Until the fateful day of April 4th, 1999, when a woman named Sammy Pak suddenly went missing.

That night following her disappearance, a video of her last known moments was uploaded online. All of the friends excitedly watched as she is pulled from an elevator by something otherworldly, and decide to investigate the truth for themselves. As he gathers companions seeking to resolve the truth behind her disappearance, Alex's search for the woman spirals into an epic quest with stakes higher than he could have ever imagined.



  • The '90s: The game takes place in 1999. Allegedly.
  • Action Commands: When a character performs an attack, an object related to their move will appear and the player has to time button inputs to boost their attack power. When a party member is attacked, a prompt will show up to determine whether they defend themselves from the attack or dodge it completely.
  • Ambiguous Ending: Both endings don't conclusively show what happens in the aftermath of their events.
  • Anachronism Stew: Despite supposedly taking place in 1999, there's a number of things that contradict that. Examples include characters partaking in late 2010's fashion trends and slang, citing games released just a few years before 1999 (such as Chrono Trigger and Secret of Mana) as their "childhood," and, most infamously, a gravestone for Satoru Iwata— who was still alive and active in 1999— that states the real-life date he died.
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  • Art Shift: On the day the group heads to New York, the entire scenery and everyone else turn into still neon-drawings.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Despite Alex's and everyone's best efforts, Proto-Alex succeeds in destroying their reality and Alex is left as the only survivor. Though Alex manages to obtain new help from another version of himself and his friends from another reality to finally destroy Proto-Alex, with the alternate Alex returning home and the original Alex deciding to stay in the Soul Space.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: The very beginning of the game requires the player to input names and various things about themselves, even though none of it affects the game's characters. This information eventually becomes relevant as the player is addressed as an "Alex" from another universe, and the game uses the names they input earlier for the party members in the final chapter.
  • Broken Aesop:
    • After losing the unwinnable Final Boss battle against Proto-Alex, Alex gets a fourth wall-bending pep talk from the main character of the failed Two Brothers, who essentially laments the failure of his game, remarks that "some people have worked really hard to prevent me from finishing my quest", but concludes that "I'm happy with what I accomplished." All this paints the picture of the developers being satisfied with Two Brothers despite the haters. The problem is, the biggest issue most people who played Two Brothers had was that the game was unplayably buggy, something the developers could've fixed to salvage the game, but instead abandoned the game entirely, making this scene come across as the developers living in denial about why people didn't like Two Brothers and refusing to truly accept their failure.
    • The endgame also cribs from Persona 4's Shadows, where the message behind them was "Accept your flaws, instead of denying you have them." The problem is, YIIK stopped at that, while the full message behind the Shadows was "Accept and overcome your flaws." The fact that, after being confronted with an aspect of himself that represented his laziness and fear of taking things into his own hands, Alex ends the game by simply allowing the player avatar to deal with Proto-Alex for him while Alex follows their lead, implies that Alex never truly overcomes his flaws, and by deferring multiverse-saving duties to someone else, doesn't actually grow as a person.
    • The moral of the story is supposed to be to not treat the universe like it revolves around you. This moral is pretty undercut by the fact that Alex really does end up being the centre of the universe, though. The original Alex is plugged into a computer mainframe that resets all universes when turned off, implying universes live or die by their Alexes. It also takes two different versions of Alex to take the main Alex down, and the player themselves ends up being another Alex!
  • Cut the Juice: How Alex finally destroys Proto-Alex and Essentia, by disconnecting their division.
  • Description Porn: As part of the Purple Prose that the game's writing suffers from, it has a habit of spending several text boxes describing something already on screen in great detail.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Alex slowly slips into despair as soon he learns about the world's inevitable destruction. As soon everyone and the world is destroyed, he starts to lose all sense of hope as his only companion Panda abandons him, only drifting through the Soul Space endlessly to the point he starts to forget himself. He only recovers after finding a world Proto-Alex hasn't destroyed yet and uses the opportunity to finish the job.
  • Failed a Spot Check: The Ultima Mystical LP record had Vella's name and year release right on front of it, something that had to be pointed out to Alex. The revelation happens after several trips across three towns.
  • Fission Mailed: No matter how hard you fight, you will always die to Proto-Alex, except that's what you're supposed to do. Then the story progresses when you click "Yes" repeatedly on the Game Over screen.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • In version 1.25 onwards, the cutscene before the Golden Alpaca fight and the fight itself leave clues about later plot points. For one, during the cutscene, we see the area the Essentia 995 and Proto-Alex reside in, with two Alexs sitting in the chairs. For another, here are some of the Golden Alpaca's lines:
    (Referring to Michael): And you... stitched into reality's fabric, for dramatic effect, playing the childhood mate.
    (Attacking Alex): Begone, Reality Breaker!
  • Fully Absorbed Finale: Roy from Two Brothers has a plot-relevant appearance here. It's rather pointedly not a finale, as Roy admits his story isn't finished and probably never will be.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight:
    • You cannot inflict any damage during the first encounter against the Soul Survivor. The only option is to run.
    • When you deplete the Proto-Comet's health, it remains in battle and proceeds to banish each party member.
    • Proto-Alex is undefeatable and remains standing even if you've taken out all his HP. You actually need to destroy the statues behind him and then purposely lose the battle to progress.
  • Improbable Weapon User: The gang uses hula-hoops, phonograph records, picket signs, and cameras to harm enemies.
  • Infodump: One aspect of the game that came under scrutiny was that large chunks of exposition are simply dropped on the player in long monologues without warning. When Essentia joins the party, there's a nearly half-hour dialogue scene that basically tells you everything the game's writers thought you needed to know. And then you're told later that it was all lies, though the source telling you such is rather unreliable themselves.
  • Interface Spoiler: Examining the graves in the graveyard in Windtown will reveal that one of the graves is for Carrie Mancer, which gives away that Rory hasn't been completely honest with you and that his sister is dead, not missing.
  • Jump Scare: Happens near the end of the trailer when Sammy's apparition appears on the screen.
  • Mind Screw: The game has its surreal elements with the supernatural elements or nonsensical enemies you fight. Once Alex meets Essentia and she explains her existence, though, things start to get even weirder.
  • Missing White Woman Syndrome: Chondra complains that if her missing brother Aaron (a missing person-of-color) was a white woman, people would be more concerned about his disappearance.
  • Mistaken for Prank Call: Alex shrugs off a mysterious message he received from an unknown voice that called his house.
  • Mood Whiplash: A very serious cutscene revolving around Rory revealing that his sister committed suicide and his resulting trauma from the event is interrupted by a Golden Alpaca attacking the party and yelling "Lemonade!" over and over. Version 1.25 and later would change the cutscene to better match the tone of what preceded it.
  • Multiple Endings: At least three different endings, all of which are canon, have been confirmed to exist by the development team. The third ending has yet to be implemented in the game proper, with the creator saying data mining won't find it or put it in.
    • Ending 1: Alex and the party attempt to fight the meteor, only to fail anyway and their reality destroyed. After losing all his companions, he finds one more reality untouched by Proto-Alex, and reaches out to the player to get the companions to defeat him. After confronting his flawed selves in his own Mind Dungeon, he comes to the confrontation with Proto-Alex, but fails after being unable to defeat him at all. After a pep talk from the protagonist of the studio's previous game, Alex entrusts the player themselves with the task of defeating Proto-Alex, and the game ends after they literally pull the plug on him.
    • Ending 2: Unlocked by first finding "Sammy" in Alex's front lawn on New Year's Eve before setting off with the party to New York. With that, a special email "Unseen32 and Better Endings" is received. After reading it, the back door unlocks, allowing for Alex to traverse the overworld himself to the KNN building, where the NPCs begin addressing the player by name rather than Alex himself. After completing all the tasks for the journalists, Alex is finally reunited with Sammy, and the game ends with their embrace.
    • Non Standard Game Over: On the way to Ending 1, Alex eventually journeys to a planet in the Soul Space where all the alternate Alexes are gathered. On the dark side of the planet he encounters a group of four Dark Alexes that encourage him to join them. Agreeing here causes Alex to merge with them to form the reality-destroying comet. The credits roll at a quickened pace, capped off with "Thanks For Playing...?"
    • Ending 3 is as of November 2020 only viewable online and not in the game itself. Completing some unimplemented puzzles allow the party to explore the large lighthouse out in the overworld's water, which eventually sends all of them to the room the final boss would be in way ahead of time, without the group being Banished and reality being destroyed. With Proto-Alex (named "Wilfrid" for some reason) and Essentia being much weaker, they are defeated and reality is saved. Since the room "exists outside of time," the party returns to just before the events of the game and Alex sets out to improve himself, starting with getting the groceries he was told to get at the beginning of the game. Alex is also aware of the events of the first ending and how it was impossible to stop Proto-Alex/Wilfrid before his reality's destruction.
  • The Multiverse: YIIK centers around multiple realities with different rules and features to them, all connected to the Soul Space. Each person has an Alternate Self across all other realities with the same "soul" as them.
  • Padded Sumo Gameplay: Combat uses double digit numbers at most and even after a dozen hours most of your attacks struggle to break past 20, and the enemies hit you for just as much or less. The small numbers is compounded by the fact that every single attack (even the basic ones) is paired with a minigame, with some going as long as half a minute, and every enemy attack has an Action Command to reduce damage as well. Each of those elements combined creates an incredibly slow turn-based combat system where a regular enemy encounter takes several minutes to complete.
  • Precision F-Strike: Not that the story's willing to shy away from harsh language, but one straight highlight is right before the Final Boss, where in the middle of Proto-Alex's ramblings as he mocks Alex and Essentia, Alex outright shouts, "What the fuck are you talking about?!"
  • Purple Prose: The dialogue, starting with Alex's inner monologue, can get needlessly verbose.
  • Revealing Continuity Lapse: One of the first indicators that Alex is jumping between universes is when Michael inexplicably moves one house over with no memory of this happening.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: Every prior plot thread goes unresolved with the destruction of Alex's reality. At the end, Proto-Alex claims that everything was a lie from Essentia to get Alex into a position to defeat him.
  • She's Got Legs: The scene introducing Rory's mother has her leg take up the foreground. Alex even comments on her legs. The scene ends by showing Rory's mother is just a leg.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The game has Michael mention a number of popular games that were his childhood... that also came out only a few years before the year the game canonically takes place. Alex also explicitly mentions Two Brothers, a game made by YIIK's developers.
    • There's a bar that has a bartender named Jill that's clearly an expy of the main character of the same name in VA-11 HALL-A... except she doesn't act like VA-11's Jill in the slightest, making it come off as baffling. Turing from Read Only Memories (as in the actual Turing themselves rather than an expy, despite canonically not being built yet) can also be seen standing on the counter, oddly enough offering Hassy despite their issues with it in their home game.
    • The Soul Survivors look a lot like the Starmen from EarthBound.
    • The game came under fire for straight up lifting text from After Dark.
    • Aeris can be seen mourning at Semi's grave in Alex's hometown during the Ultima Mythical LP Legend section of the game.
  • Show, Don't Tell: There's a scene - the only scene narrated by anyone other than Alex - where a female narrator describes the surroundings and appearance of Essentia. All of this is described as the game shows it to the player, making it an odd case of Show and Tell.
  • Theme-and-Variations Soundtrack: One of Vellas songs is riffed repeatedly throughout the game particularly in the Title and Mind Dungeon themes. This music itself also takes several riffs from Where "Do I Begin?" The main theme of the movie Love Story.
  • Title by Year: Named for the coming In-Universe millennium of 2000.
  • Title Drop: The plot's climactic confrontation takes place at the turn of the millennium. "Y2K" is mentioned a lot when discussing it and its related fears within the public.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: Nearly every in-battle action in the game is a long, drawn out minigame.
  • Variable Mix: In Vella's Mind Dungeon, you go about rallying up stage performers. As you progress this objective, the background music gets more instrumentation added.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Alex tends to be on the receiving end of this, whether for inconsiderate comments towards others or flat out Jerkass moves like yelling at Rory no one cares about his dead sister right after they nearly just died themselves. Usually the angry party eventually turns around and apologizes for being too harsh, whether it was deserved or not.
  • World of Weirdness: The otherworld has bizarre sightings, with some leveling on Acid-Trip Dimension.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: Chapter V gives the main cast the task to train up to fight and defeat the comet that's going to destroy their reality on New Year's Day. Regardless of how much effort the player's put into training, the Proto-Comet cannot be defeated, and the current reality is inevitably wiped out.