Chapter no 25

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow

Although professional reviews did not entirely determine a game’s fortunes in 2000, the reviews for Both Sides ranged from mixed to bad:

“For those of you who have been eagerly awaiting the next release from Mazer/Green, let’s get this out of the way: Both Sides is not a game for fans of the delightful Ichigo series.”

“Some of the graphics in Myre Landing are among the most beautiful visuals I have ever encountered in a game, but unfortunately, Myre Landing shares space with the maudlin Mapletown.”

“While I enjoyed aspects of my play, the game is twice as long as it needs to be.”

Both Sides suffers from a major identity crisis.” “Ichigo fans should skip it.”

“…the game seems schizophrenic, as if it has been designed by two different people, and the play is unsatisfying.”

“The weather in Myre Landing is the best character in it.” “The game’s ending is twice as clever as it needs to be.”

“We can all agree that we need more games with female MCs, but I didn’t like either Alice Ma or Rose the Mighty.”

Ichigo is so different from Both Sides that it is hard to believe that the same set of designers made it. Maybe Ichigo is more Mazer’s

game, and Both Sides more Green’s? Mazer, usually the more public of the team, was curiously absent during the promotion, while Sadie Green was definitely front and center. Maybe Mazer knew he had a flop on his hands?”

Both Sides thinks it’s blowing your mind, but mainly what it induces is a minor headache.”

“I guess I was expected to feel emotion at the end of Both Sides, but the only thing I felt was the strong desire to throw my controller across the room.”

“There is so much technically right with Both Sides. Amazing graphics in the Myre Landing section, a haunting score by Zoe Cadogan, great sound design, a reasonably clever concept. So why did I hate it so much? Because it’s pretentious, it’s boring, and it’s not that fun. Better luck next time, Unfair.”

During its first week of release, Both Sides sold approximately one- fifth of the units Ichigo had sold in its first week. Marx was still optimistic. “It’s a great, special game,” Marx said, going into Sadie’s office. “Maybe it’ll take longer to find its audience?”

“People hate it,” Sadie said.

“They don’t hate it. They just don’t understand it. They expected Ichigo, and marketing and publicity didn’t do a good enough job telling them that it wasn’t going to be Ichigo,” Marx said. “And I haven’t given up yet. We’re going to buy more ads. We’re going to send out more copies to gamers and reviewers. The retailers are still excited about it and you guys. It isn’t over yet.”

“They hate it.” Sadie put her head on her desk. “I’ve got a headache.” Marx bent down, and he lifted Sadie’s chin up. “Sadie, this isn’t over.

Believe me.”

She did not. “It might be a migraine. I think I’ll go home for the day.”

“Okay. Take the afternoon. I’d come with you, but I’m having lunch with the boys,” Marx said. The boys were Antonio “Ant” Ruiz and Simon Freeman. While Sadie and Sam had made Both Sides, Marx had begun expanding Unfair’s producing efforts. The first team he’d brought on was Simon Freeman and Antonio Ruiz, who were both juniors at CalArts. The boys—as Marx called them—were making a Japanese-style RPG, inspired by their favorite game, Persona. The game took place in a high school, and each character could summon alternate versions of themselves through a complicated system of wormholes. Love Doppelgängers, its tentative title, was part romance and part science fiction. “Do you want to come? Sam said he was going to try to join.”

“No.” Sadie took the Dead Sea disk from the shelf. Dead Sea was her comfort game. She decided she’d go back to her apartment and kill zombies for a while.

Sadie left the office and walked home to Clownerina, who now seemed to be mocking her with his foot that wouldn’t kick. She drew the curtains, and she got into bed, without taking off her clothes or her shoes. She felt ashamed and foolish. She felt covered in failure and she felt sure that people could smell and see it on her. The failure was like a fine coating of ash, after a fire. But it wasn’t only on her skin; it was in her nose, in her mouth, in her lungs, in her molecules becoming part of her. She would never be rid of it.

Dov called her and she let it go to voicemail: “Critics are vile,” he said. “The game’s brilliant. The atmospheric effects on Oneiric are fucking great. Hope you’re doing okay. Call me.” Sadie listened to the message, and then she hit delete.

Sam called her, and she let that go to voicemail, too: “Sadie, pick up.

We need to discuss this. This isn’t just happening to you.”


Sadie fell asleep. About fifteen minutes later, someone was knocking on her apartment door. She could hear Sam’s muffled voice.

“Sadie, let me in. We have to talk,” Sam said. Sadie didn’t answer.

“Sadie, come on. This is stupid. Talk to me. They mostly hated my side,

not your side.”

Sadie still didn’t answer.

“Sadie, please. This is ridiculous. How long is this going to go on?” Sadie got out of bed. She swung her front door open, and Sam walked


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