Red Trees

"Having friends" is a thing that I've never really understood, mostly struggled to grasp, so it's pretty neat when stuff goes into it. I'd like to think I'm not horrible at it, I try to be nice to people because I think it's neat when I can have people I go back and chat with instead of short "meh" relationships, but I'm absolutely horrible at maintaining contact the second something goes in a direction I'm not perfectly cozy with or they just quit poking me first.
I guess the "fresh" example of that would be just the other day, I like sitting in my friend Colantia's Discord server because I think it's a pleasant little place with all sorts of people who I enjoyed but there are some hard feelings attached to part of it. One big one is that almost everyone comes from another server, specifically one that ended up weirding me out and making me dislike it after a year due to the people, the actions of the people, and the (in my opinion) absolutely braindead idea of holding knowledge behind a Discord server that could get deleted in two clicks (like my dumb ass did) instead of posting it publically on a much more archivable format for everyone to see which is a whole rant for another day. Said place got brought up, I made this whole deal in the past about "hey guys please don't do this I really don't like it because it makes me uncomfortable" and Colantia agreed that not having any discussion of stuff of the sort was just better for keeping chat happy, so when I saw it come up I just pulled a "hey guys what the fuck am I even doing here" and left.
Am I doing a good job at being a friend? Hell no, I'm doing a horrible job at it and I do kinda feel bad about it. In that moment there was no feeling in my head except really just a sense of disappointment in both them for doing it and myself for wishing I could just finally not remember that place. Now I'm on a break for a month or two until I show back up. I guess I just know the voice in my head telling me I need a break is a lot bigger than the voice in my head telling me I should stay around.
I'm seriously amazed people still deal with me because I'm such a flake. I guess I'm just glad that somehow some people managed to figure out how they can call me a friend despite my inconsistencies and flaws.

Red Trees is a cute little RPG about making a friend. It's built in good 'ol RPGMaker and it's made by Caramel who did You, I, and the Long Long Drive which I think I remember playing at some point in college? (I'll have to write about that some day, maybe as just a general game entry.) This was about a half-hour experience, twenty minutes of that being the core gameplay loop while the rest is a puzzle and the ending, and I think it was a quite fun little use of time.

"twenty minutes of that being the core gameplay loop"

So okay, for like damn near ever I've been annoyed at fetch quests. You know them, those "get thing, bring thing back, get a reward" doodads in like every RPG ever? When I usually think of something of the sort, it's some generic NPC with the "please help the evil kobold blarfazerg unlocked the gate on my rabbit pen and now all my bunnies are terrorizing the nearby cheese fields, get them all back and I'll give you a 2x4 covered in chimney soot that my great great great great grandfather won from the holy roman empire" or something equally dumb. I actually really didn't mind that this game was full of those because the message I got from it, something along the lines of "hey, everyone deserves a friend!", made it so all that fetching added up to something that felt like I was helping a town out instead of just trying to get my 5gp and buy a small fishing net.

You start the game off just waking up having heard that the woods are closed off because a guy went into them the night before and got attacked by the same witch that's eating all the bunnies which a rancher raises. You wanna go to the woods because you think monsters are neat, you like horror moves and all that stuff. There's a kid blocking the woods saying that you need permission from the mayor else they won't let you into the woods. I think the goal is pretty obvious, no?

You walk (or run, hold that shift key, moving fast is nice) around the town and find that okay, you're blocked from going to where the mayor is because of someone setting up a blanket to have a ritual to talk with spirits in the way of the path but they'll move if you can give them a dead part of something that had a spirit for them to talk with, real 2D game problems since ya can't just walk around it y'know? You go through your part of the town, meet all the people, be nice and friendly to everyone from the sick guy to the (I'm gonna take a swing at a guess here) sentient humaniod cat and/or catboy otaku dude, and then you get access to the next area. Go up there, talk with the people, figure out issues, go back to the other area because you find stuff that goes down there as well, go talk with the dude who saw the witch...

Eventually you get into the woods, there's a puzzle you can solve for an added wholesome element to the already really nice ending of the game, then you go meet the witch. She's disguised as your dead brother but you talk through that, offer her to quit living in the woods eating rabbits and instead come have a bed and hot food and a more normal life in town, and become a friend. Isn't that cute? I think that's cute.

It's just a pleasant little thing that silly me could kinda think about myself over, remember how I said up in that #3 entry that "I'm amazed people still deal with me"? I guess hey, if your character in the game could take the "evil" witch and make her into a friend because you see all sorts of neat things in her then maybe I guess I can get how some people might be willing to work with me through all the crap I do and consider it being friends.

So yeah, it may not be a game really about the idea of "you need to find this thing in yourself" but I do think this was a neat little experience. It may just be a big fetch quest loop but it was one that felt good, didn't overstay its welcome, and ended on a really wholesome note that I loved. Sure that "nobody should be your friend" voice in my head still exists but I guess it's a nice peek into how someone else might see me and want to be a friend.

Thank you to Tuyaara for telling me to play this, it was really sweet, and thank you to Caramel for making such a pleasant little story.

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