You know… I would generally say that I enjoy doing Goddamn Mondays. It’s an excuse to force myself to play things I haven’t gotten around to, and then to write in a casual, easygoing manner that comes rather natural to me. Sometimes the gameplay can be a bit frustrating, of course, but it’s usually an overall positive experience. I’m not that hard to please, after all. At the end of the day, I played a game, and hurray for that.
But this week… this week was different. Scrambling to find a game that I could play onehanded (as I effed up my left wrist), I settled on Recettear: An Item Shop’s Tale. I’d heard it was charming, well written, simple, and fun. Sounds like a great time to me!
The pit of madness that awaited me was impossible to predict.
So, I’ll spare you the game’s intro- it’s simple enough, and well written, so there’s nothing for me to really praise or mock. Basically, you are Recette, the daughter of a man who ran off to be a hero one day, leaving you alone. It seems he’s not being a very successful hero, because he’s disappeared completely, and a billing agency has sent a fairy named Tear to your home to look for him. When they do not find him, they offer you two choices- vacate the premises so that they can reclaim your house to repay the bill, or turn your home into an item shop to gradually pay off the debt and keep your house. Recette agrees readily enough, and she partners up with Tear, the fairy, to form Recettear, an item store.
So at first, business is smooth enough. I have eight days to come up with ten thousand pix- their local fantasy nonsense currency- to make my first loan payment. As you would expect, the economy experiences rather exponential growth. Making more money means you can buy more items which means you can make even more money. The ground rule is that you want to sell any product for around 130% of its base value. Not everybody’s willing to play ball, though- my first day, I try to sell an old man a sword at 125%, and he storms out in a huff. The customer is always right, though! I just need to learn their tells.
My bread and butter is weapons- I can buy a bunch from one place, and they seem to move off the shelf decently fast. I buy them from the Guild Master at the Merchant’s Guild, which is bizarre because the Guild Master is one of my best customers. I buy a sword from him at, say, 800 pix, and then he comes to my store and buys it from me for 1500 pix. Does he just hate money…? I can’t complain, though. He’s keepin’ the lights on for me.
After a few days of nothing but weapons, it’s time to diversify. I buy some gloves, some armor, a book, and a few more weapons just to be safe. Man, those gloves are flying off the shelves! They’re just not worth very much, though, so I don’t make that big a profit on them. Another couple of walkouts- I’m really not being that unreasonable with my prices, I feel like. Hmmm. Maybe some people were never really serious to begin with, they’re just asking what it costs to see if they can get away with daylight robbery. Especially these old men! They’re all mega stingy.
At the end of each day, I’m getting a rating on my performance, and it seems pretty… stupid? It is purely based on what I’ve earned, so if I bought a bunch of stock to sell over the next couple of days, it shows up as a loss, and I’m told I’m a bad shopkeeper. I mean, I’m not great, but be fair!
Ooooo, now I can buy items from customers who come in looking to sell! This kid came in with a candied apple and I bought it at 66% of its value, then turned around and sold it to a lady for 125% of its value. I feel like Gamestop. That is to say, like a pimp.
Days are going by, and now it’s the eighth day. At the end of this day, I have to pay that ten thousand pix bill. Man, that came outta nowhere. I mean, not literally, but… it felt like not a long time at all. Okay. I’ve got just under 8k now, if I can make 2k today then I’ll have this, no problem. Hopefully I can make a little more than that so that I can buy new stock tomorrow, but we’ll see. Half the day gone, and I’m at 9k. The Guild Master comes in. He wants to sell me this statue. Wow! It’s worth 4,550 pix! That’s a lot of money… and I don’t have a lot of dough to spare. Well, if you’ll take 2,550 for it, maybe I’ll consider… wait, what? You agreed? I’m totally ripping you off man, are you out of your- I mean, thank you for your business, you drive a hard bargain!
I am gonna be so rich. Oh man. I better save now, make sure I sell this thing for a ton of money. Alright, saved. Now, there’s just one segment of the day left to open my store and make the money I need to pay that bill. Oh… the bill. And I just spent 2.5k. And then saved. That was… probably really stupid, huh? Well, I hope this thing sells….
It didn’t sell. I get an extended cutscene extolling my failure, then it kicks me back to Day 2. Harsh! Well, I was so close. All I needed was to sell that statue- it’s worth more than all my other items put together. Let’s just load that save and try again.
Dang, a lot of customers this time! I mean, five, but I usually get like three every time I open up, so that’s pretty good. First one walks up to the counter. “Do you have any food?” he asks. I sigh. No. I do not have any food in stock. He walks away, disappointed. Next customer. “I’m in the market for some food.” …You are kidding me. Nope! One more! “I was hoping to pick up some food.” ashkflfsflasfsfaskj GET OUT.
Another game over. Goddamn it. Let’s load again.
Let’s load again.
You know, I think to myself, they say that doing the same thing over and over and over while expecting different results is the definition of insanity. What, then, do you say about someone whose only option is to keep doing the same thing over and over? There’s not enough time left before the ingame day ends to go buy better items to sell, or really do anything except open the shop and pray. Eight. Eight game overs now. I keep trying.
And what can you say about a person trying the same thing over and over and over who does get different results? Because yes, I’m failing, I’m failing every time, but it’s a different way every time. Never the same. Sometimes people are completely ridiculous about prices. Sometimes not enough people walk in the door. Sometimes someone even wants the statue, but they just don’t have enough money on them to possibly afford it. Fifteen game overs. I’m starting to wonder if this statue will ever sell. I am not reliving the same day over and over- that would be generous. I am reliving the same four ingame hours over, and over, and over.
Twenty game overs. I’ve started to get aggressive- charging insane prices for things for no good reason. That sword, worth 200 pix? For you, 1000. And when I do offer a reasonable price, and the person says no, I get angry beyond belief. “You son of a bitch,” I think (and sometimes even say). “Get the fuck out of my store.” Still the statue stands. Waiting. A golden monument to all my failures.
So many people coming on, asking for things that are clearly not on my store shelves. Food, of course. They always want food. But not just that. Bracelets. Hats. Really, anything but the relatively wide range of items that I actually am selling. The Guild Master wanders in- the man who started this all. Started it fifty-five game overs ago. “What do -you- want,” I think to myself bitterly. “Come to ruin me further?”
“Do you have any treasure?” he asks. I jump. The statue. The statue is treasure. I present it to him, and he smiles. “Wonderful! How much?” No way. No way. The man I bought it from is going to buy it from me and end this nightmare. After so many people unwilling to buy it, I don’t want to mess around. I offer it to him at the base price. 4,550 pix. “Hmmm, that’s a bit high, don’t you think?” My eyes widen. I have to sell this I have to sell this. I drop the price to 3,550. Under the base, but more than I bought it from him for. Right now, I just want it gone.
He accepts. The nightmare is over.
I watch with a gentle weariness as the end of the day cutscene between Recette and Tear plays out. It was a struggle. God, was it a struggle. But I made it. I paid my bill with around eight hundred pix to spare. That’s not a lot for a fresh start tomorrow… but it’s something. I do still have some stock, as well. It’s gonna be okay.
A new day. I check my calender. At the end of the week, I will have to make a thirty thousand pix payment.
Well, that was Goddamn Mondays! To hell with it all, I’m outta here! See you next week.