I love the look and tone of this game, I really do...but I don't think I'll be able to continue for now because the mouse sensitivity gives my hand cramps. It's so so sensitive that the slightest twitch goes halfway across the screen... I hope this can be addressed because I'd really like to finish this game...
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That's fair. Again, I don't disagree with your choices, I just think it's important for people to know this isn't 100% the original text.
And goodness, that'd be...quite the laborious undertaking. I think it was a good decision that you didn't. I could easily see trying to edit all that text adding 5-6 months of dev time minimal just trying to work through all that. You'd probably been better off just rewriting the novella yourself at that point! XD
Ah no problem, the sensual vs sensuous thing is very confusing, even native English speakers get it wrong all the time so very easy mistake!
(also warning for anyone reading this who hasn't read the book or played the game yet: spoilers will be mentioned)
I definitely agree with you, from what I've read...LeFanu is definitely not a great writer. Not even slightly. And he was sort of passed off as a sort of sensationlist genre writer even for his time. I definitely think he's far more interesting to see how he has pioneered and influenced a lot of his contemporaries rather than for his actual text in and of itself.
So I subscribe more to the second of your takes on Baron Vordenburg. I think he's important, but also...yeah, very poorly written and definitely a deus ex machina (when I first read Carmilla, I was legitimately confused if I misremembered the General as a Baron because the Baron was so out of nowhere at the end.) I feel he runs counter to your interpretation of being open minded to that which cannot be easily explained because, well, he literally does that. Comes out of nowhere at the very end to give an (overly clean) explanation to everything as well as a convenient (male) expert to explain away anything there was left to wonder about Carmilla. If there's any wonder or mystery to be had in the text of Carmilla, Vordenburg kills all of it in an almost Holmes-ian way, except worse. And, if you were to tell me that LeFanu needed an extra 10-20 pages to fill out before sending the manuscript to the publisher so he threw in that last chapter, I'd believe you. However, I do think that final chapter (though poorly written...though...the whole of Carmilla inherently textually is pretty spare under analysis) is still important to because it does give the final explanation of Carmilla...or Mircalla... (because LeFanu has laughable taste in anagram names...) and gives finality to the events. I also think Vordenburg is extra-textually important because he is, ultimately, a contemporary of famed the Van Helsing. I don't think Stoker's Van Helsing would exist had LeFanu not written Vordenburg beforehand (that said...Stoker's vampire hunter probably deserves his greater fame).
Ultimately though, I don't mean the baron is important because he's a crucial piece to the whole text as a mega important character, I don't...think much anything in LeFanu's Carmilla is written in a way where anything deserves that honor. The bigger concern for me was that I saw a bunch of comments talking about how they'd never read Carmilla before, and it concerned me that many people could walk away having played this game thinking they've read the full text when an entire chapter was omitted. I think if people knew that this was an editted adaptation that was not 100% the real text, then I honestly wouldn't have a problem at all. I think this project was beautifully put together with a very interesting interpretation. It stands very well as an example of recontextualizing and reconstructing a literary (can I call Carmilla "literary"...?) piece of work under analysis. And the fact you put this up for free is insanely amazing, I was actually a little sad I couldn't give you at least a donation (I don't know if maybe the fact it leans so heavily on an existing work made it so that you couldn't monetize this project). And I totally understand not wanting to delay the project and devote more dev-time for the last chapter, again especially because this game is free. My biggest concern really is transparency that this is more of an adaptation or heavily editted edition to the players.
All that said, I'm hoping you continue to expand on Visual Gothic, namely some of Swedenborg's work since you seem so passionate about it!
P.S: Did you ever find it...odd? How similar? Swedenborg and Vordenburg's names are? LeFanu is definitely the type of writer who would make low effort references so.........
P.P.S: For clarity's sake, I don't think Carmilla is so bad it's not worth engaging in. I don't want anyone to feel like I'm trashing on Carmilla as an unreadable piece of work. I think it's a lot of fun and a great exercise to see how it influenced Bram Stoker's Dracula and later contemporaries, and some of the research on its conception is also a lot of fun too. But, a great writer, LeFanu is not haha.
What a beautiful and poignant experience, and one that leverages the "I must replay a narrative game with choices over and over against to see all the options" as a core mechanic. I found how you feel the humdrum of the repetition to reflect the jadedness of the passenger quite poetic, and how each new piece of the narrative I uncovered made me eager to learn more, like I was getting closer to my conclusion, artful. I hope this demo remains available as its own piece after the full experience is released, because its brevity allows it to be something quite beautiful. With that said, I am a little concerned about the full release. While I found this experience poignant, I could definitely feel that if it were longer, it could definitely outstay its welcome. I hope that when the full version is released, it will have enough changed and added to warrant that longer playtime. But I also hope this version remains as its own experience.
Very well put together and also a good example of how modernized formats can help a wider audience to engage with older works. While I don't particularly care for this style of art, it is well done and kudos to the care and detail done with the characters' expressions. And the music was surprisingly mood setting while also remaining un-intrusive which works well for different reading paces.
It was interesting playing this for me because I had actually already ready Le Fanu's novella (however I have not read In a Glass Darkly), so this was not my first foray into the literature. It really struck me how close to the original text the visual novel was, it is almost a 1 for 1 alternative to reading it in traditional format. Most of the differences I noted were small and innocuous (such as removing "fat" for the description for Madame or changing Carmilla's hair highlights from gold to violet to better match character portraits) to notable improvements (removing the description that the ugly demonic woman in the carriage as being "black", removing the racism in that passage -- thank you for doing that, greatly appreciated). There is one exception that struck me odd though, and that was the complete omission of the final chapter (Chapter 16 in the original, though this format combined most of the chapters together) with Baron Vordenburg's explanation. It's pretty crucial to the narrative as it is the expositional wrap-up of the whole novella, so it struck me odd that it was almost entirely omitted (though subtly referenced in the final bits). Also struck me odd as Vordenburg had almost no character portrait or any focus at all in this version. If I were to be cynical, I suspect it may have to do with the fact that he and the final chapter does not entirely line up with the interpretation presented in this edition, but it could also simply be development time and funding ran short.
This interpretation of Carmilla I found very interesting, well researched, and thoughtfully contextualized. That said...I personally don't find it be the best fitting interpretation, interesting as it is. It's a great addition to the original text and other interpretations and research, but alone I'm not entirely sure. My opinion might change after I've read In a Glass Darkly though, as I haven't read Carmilla within the context of the entire anthology.
Oh and there seems to be a slight miswording in the Notes for Camera Obscura. It states "the Camera Obscura implies objectivity of human sensual perception and therefore, by extension, scientific objectivity". However, "sensual" refers specifically to the senses in regard to the carnal or sexual. I believe "sensuous" was the intended word here, "sensuous" referring to something pertaining to the senses rather than the mind or intellect.