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 References (Spoilers)

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Ramirez
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PostSubject: References (Spoilers)   Mon Jun 20, 2011 9:40 pm

(Seeing as most of us have completed the game, and the fact that I'm too lazy to code stuff, I'm not going to bother with blanking stuff out; the thread title is hopefully enough warning.)

It seems like Skies of Arcadia makes a lot of references to historical events, characters from various famous works of literature, and so on. I think it'd be interesting to compile a list of all the works and such that Skies of Arcadia refers to (symbolically and literally)

The most obvious one is Drachma's character. He reminds me a lot of Captain Ahab from Moby Dick. Rhaknam is Moby Dick himself. Plotwise, the whole Drachma/Rhaknam saga loosely resembles Moby Dick, especially the part where the Little Jack harpoons the arcwhale, and it takes the ship down, and Drachma himself even stays with his (apparently) doomed ship.

Valua itself, I think, is a reference to Imperial Spain. A lot of the names (Theodora, Alphonso, Enrique, Vigoro, Gregorio, Belleza, De Loco, and so on) are Spanish or seem Spanish. Even Ramirez, who isn't technically Valuan, has a Spanish name. I don't think it's a coincidence at all that they gave the Valuans Spanish names.

I also think that Valua could even symbolically be representing the United States, especially the part where they destroy Nasrad. That scene, for some reason, makes me think of the US's aggressive foreign policy, and reminds me somewhat of Operation Desert Storm. I'm pretty sure that the game came out before the most recent war in Iraq, but if it didn't then it might even be symbolic of that, especially since an Iraqi would view the latest U.S. invasion as a conquest, and furthermore because the leader of Nasr was executed, just like Saddam Hussein.

Furthermore, the whole part where Valua has conquered Ixa'Taka and is basically raping the land in search of the Green Crystal is a huge reference to the Conquistadores. It's the classic tale of an advanced nation discovering a comparatively primitive land and taking advantage of the fact that the two aren't even close to evenly matched. The burning of the forest in search of the crystal can also be symbolically construed as the way the Spaniards destroyed the Aztecs for the sake of the treasures of the New World. For that matter, I think, Ixa'Taka itself is a reference to the New World; bright and green and alive, as opposed to the sterile industry of the Old World (Valua). Plus, a lot of the architecture in the ruins of Ixa'Taka (Rixis) resemble ancient Aztec/Mayan architecture.

I'm not so sure what Nasr represents. My guess is that if Valua is Spain, then Nasr is the Moors. Spain and the Moors did not get along very well.

I'm not sure what Yafutoma is supposed to represent. My guess is Japan, since the culture seems to most resemble Japanese culture. Obviously, the volcano (I can't remember the name) is like the very famous Mt. Fuji in Japan. As for the part where the Valuans come in? I'm not too sure. I'm not an expert in Japanese history, so perhaps any reference is just lost on me. The detail about Yafutoma that throws me for a loop is that wall, which is a blatantly obvious reference to the Great Wall of China.

The Rains of Destruction are a reference to nuclear weaponry, along with the Gigas. I picture the war of the Old World (before the Silver Civilization nuked everyone, not Valua, as I referred to earlier) being the equivalent of World War Three, since the outcome would be almost identical; it would basically end with the total collapse of civilization and almost everybody dies.

This is all I could think of, feel free to add more if you can think of them. I'll probably do that myself.
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PostSubject: Re: References (Spoilers)   Tue Jun 21, 2011 12:52 am

I agree with about everything you said and it's just amazing how great writers and storytellers can do this, work history into fiction. My favorite example of this is all the politics in the Star Wars prequels (1-3) because the Emperor's actions to get power were exactly what Hitler did to gain power. Every little move was perfect. I could go on for days about the politics in Star Wars and it's incredible writing, but I'll spare you.

Also, I'd like to point out that all of the flagships in the Armada were named after a constellation, situated in the Northern sky. My favorite in particular being Galcian's Serpent, because later he gets the Hydra, which is a multiple headed snake. I never noticed that connection until now, honestly. I also really like Ramirez's Monoceros, which is a faint constellation on the celestial equator. The name is Greek for "unicorn".

And I vaguely remember reading there being something similar to how the admiral's names were, like Vigoro being because of vigor, but I just could not find what I think I read. I do like that De Loco literally translates to 'the crazy' in Spanish, though.

I also really love the subtle philosophy in this game. Mainly, the Gigas. I think the Gigas represent nuclear weapons far more than the rains of destruction, because the people built the Gigas. And then abused the power and the world went to hell- and there's that subtle philosophy, at least in my opinion. It may not be intentional, but I really think they're trying to have a message in that. They gave themselves this great power, but abusing it led to the end of the world. The Rains of Destruction was a lot more like a divine intervention, cleaning the slate. Like the floods, in the Bible- at least, that's what comes to mind first.

On Yufatoma, I really think it's more of just Eastern Culture in general, and how it contrasts other cultures so much. More so China, I'd say because of the isolation. I think I should be thinking of China. I don't know, I love history but I haven't read too much on China's or Japan's.

I've noticed a lot of things that remind me of history, and like I've said, I love that, but I love the idea of just compiling them all into one place for reference. Maybe after this thread goes on for awhile, I'll take them all, and put them in one organized post that's locked and only for reading. I love history and intelligent conversations. This is my new favorite thread.
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PostSubject: Re: References (Spoilers)   Tue Jun 21, 2011 10:35 pm

Now that I think about it, The Dark Rift might be the Arcadia equivalent of Jupiter's Red Spot. Essentially, the Dark Rift is a persistent storm system that has been going on for years, similar to Jupiter's Red Spot.

The Rains of Destruction very well could be a Biblical reference, too. It makes more sense to compare the Rains to the Great Flood. Rain can cause flooding, so it would make sense that the Rains of Destruction - which as you said, wiped the slate clean - could be compared the the flood from the Bible, which essentially wiped the slate clean.

Speaking of Star Wars, the opening scene of the game where Fina's ship is being hunted down by a Valuan Imperial ship is similar to the opening scene in Star Wars Episode IV: a large Imperial vessel pursuing and capturing a smaller vessel, with a girl in white clothing on an important mission onboard. Of course, that reference ends when The Albatross comes on the scene; there was nothing like that in that particular scene of Star Wars.

Furthermore, the part where Vyse rescues his dad/the crew. For those imprisoned in Valua's Grand Fortress, it's comparable to Alcatraz, the infamous prison near San Fransisco, nearly impossible to escape. Presumably, many prisoners try to escape from the Grand Fortressonly to fail, just like Alcatraz. Only one escape attempt from the Grand Fortress was successful (Vyse, twice.) just as there was only ever one successful escape attempt from Alcatraz (or, at least, it might have been successful).

Plus, Valua itself does vaguely represent the Bay, especially when you take into consideration the two cities: Upper Valua would be similar to San Francisco (beautiful architecture, ect. ect), whereas Lower Valua is more like Oakland (stereotyped as being more poor and industrial) which is across the bay from San Francisco. I think this one's a bit of a stretch, though.

I was thinking that Yafutoma as a reference to the Far East is plausible, simply because of the volcano (Mt. Fuji in real life) and the Great Wall are from two separate yet vaguely similar countries.

I'm sure that some of the Discoveries in the game could very well be references to real-life places or historical events. The Ice Princess (Found in the Lands of Ice) and the story behind it sound familiar to me for some reason.
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