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Dec 13, 2017

In this episode Gino, Pete, and a special guest discuss The Binding of Isaac! We talk about the gross aesthetic, the fun gameplay, and the interesting items in the game. We also cover the somewhat diminishing returns of the game and its focused goals. Be sure to get emails in for our upcoming email show! deeplistenspodcast@gmail.com and deeplistens.libsyn.com


Peter
over three years ago

Billy was, in fact wrong, but meh, whatever.

Hey guys, I'm a big fan of the podcast. Just thought I'd weigh in on your Isaac talk. There is a lot more to the game than you guys experienced. (Spoiler warning, FWIW) From your talk, it appears that some of you beat Mom once or twice, and that was about it. After beating Mom, you will gain access to a new pair of levels called The Womb; Where you fight Mom's Heart (don't ask me to explain that anatomy). You then get the option to go up to The Cathedral/Chest, or down to Sheol for one of two final confrontations. I don't blame you for missing this stuff. it takes multiple playthroughs to unlock and the game is deliberately cryptic.

One of you mentioned that the game felt like a rushed flash game, and that's because it was. Edmund McMillan was completely burnt out after spending years developing Super Meat Boy and decided that his next game would be simple and quick and out the door in a couple of months... then it came out and people loved it, and he's spent the last 6 years updating it, and remaking it, and adding new stuff.

As for symbolism and analysis. There's a lot that would be missed by only seeing as far as the Mom fight. Edmund has talked about the meaning behind the game in a few interviews, and here's the deal: It's actually semi-autobiographical. When Edmund was growing up, one side of his family was very strongly religious, and condemned him for his interests in video games, and D&D, and creepy monsters, and all the other stuff that you can imagine the creator of SMB and BoI would be interested in as a kid. That being said, I don't view it as a condemnation of religion, it just borrows a lot of imagery. The Bible is a usable item, and if you use it during the Mom fight, you automatically win. This game is about a sensitive and creative kid living with unbearable stress in an environment that is actively rejecting him, and his ideas. As you go further in the game, there are numerous references to suicide and self harm (the razor blade item lets you trade health for increased damage. There is a noose, called transcendence that makes you fly. And the final unlockable character in the original game is basically zombie Isaac). In one of the endings, you learn that Isaac's father left him and his mother after his sister Maggie died. Mom went crazy in her grief and abused Isaac. The Maggie you play as in game is Isaac being forced to wear a wig. Cain is Isaac's internal self-blame for her death. The rabbit hole goes deeper, but this message is already too long. so I'll leave it there.

Cheers, and good luck on future podcasts.

P.S. Please put FF6 near the top of your Final Fantasy list, it is for me what 9 is for Geno.