Welcome to the second week of the ‘To the Moon’ play-along. Again, a huge thank-you to everyone who is participating! I’ve added links to other participants posts right here and I will do so again for Act 2 posts. If I’ve missed yours, let me know and I’ll get it there ASAP! :) It’s also still not too late to join in if you’d like to. All the necessary details can be found at that link too.

Please note — if you have not yet played To the Moon that there will be spoilers in these posts. Specifically in this post — I will discuss the details up to and including the end of Act 2.

Feel free to turn away and perhaps return later if you intend to playthrough for yourself at some point and would rather not be spoiled.

With that out of the way — let’s get down to the questions!

Act 2 Questions

1. When Eva was sitting, thinking about the reasons nothing at all changed in Johnny’s simulated memories — what conclusions do you think she reached? What conclusion did you reach?

There is a missable conversation earlier in the game, where Lily asks you how this all works. How is it that it’s at all possible to fulfil someone’s dream in this way, by simply planting the idea of the dream or the aspiration. After all, we have dreams all the time and we’re never guaranteed to see them come to pass. If anything, most such dreams never come to pass.

The answer Eva gives is that those dreams are fleeting. We change our mind about what those dreams even are, all the time. Eva asks Lily, and us, to imagine the power of a dream that persists with you from your earliest memory — reinforced, again and again and never being forgotten or let to slip. What might we then achieve?

It’s a powerful thought.

But like Eva and Neil clearly did up until this point — I still thought they had done enough to effect a change. The desire had been rooted very early into Johnny’s memory, and I found it difficult to accept that going back further should be necessary to see Johnny achieve his goal, or that To the Moon’s narrative would mean to suggest that if you don’t start trying to achieve your goals as a small child you’re doomed to failure.

River seemed to be the focus of Eva’s thinking. But it didn’t seem to fit with how things ‘should’ work. River didn’t come into Johnny’s life until high-school. Eva and Neil had successfully linked to a younger version of Johnny than that and implanted the drive to go to the Moon there. Subsequent memories should therefore have been reformed?

Honestly… I didn’t really have a clear idea of what was happening here. I thought from a game perspective it was just going to be about the fact we hadn’t yet reached those youngest memories and that I was in for some disappointment around the coherence of the message being delivered.

Well… I can’t say much more without spoiling how the game DOES handle it, but it wasn’t a disappointment.

2. The block on the youngest memories and the use of beta blockers… What do you think this will be all about?

As I was playing through for the first time… I wondered if Johnny had some form of mental break. But what the hell makes a kid that young have a mental break?!

The white/black space between the last accessible memory and the younger memories though certainly put me in the mind of something sinister having happened, and led me to at least start wondering if what happened here is what took Johnny down the path of wanting to capture something different for himself by means of River as a teen.

…In short, I had no idea — but I was pretty sure it wasn’t going to be roses and sunshine.

3. What about Neil taking off for a moment while Eva returned with the… ahem… Contained dead squirrel odour? What could have been so important to him?

I HAVE NO IDEA AND IT IS DRIVING ME CRAZY!

All I knew is that I very much wanted to follow him to find out and was frustrated at being rail-roaded into not following.

There are some theories I have now but they’re based on out of game information and hearing a thing or two about the minisodes that follow. So… beyond this, I shall have to remain silent for now.

4. We still have the third act to come. What do you think it will focus on?

We end Act 2 on finally breaking through the barrier to the youngest memories of all.

So I suspected when I first played, that we would find out what awful thing happened that lead to these memories being shut-off in the first place. From here, I reckon Eva and Neil will gain new insight into how to bed down the desire to go to the moon, by identifying what on earth from these earlier memories was so powerful as to override the dream and ambitions embedded in the later memories.