LISA: THE PAINFUL RPG is an interesting game all around. Through a colorful palette and uniquely designed characters, it provokes in players a wide range of different emotional reactions. At certain points during the adventure, it will make the player laugh at the ridiculousness of the situations its characters find themselves in; at others, the player will be made to reflect on complex moral topics; it even might just drive the player to tears. Horrace Finkel, nothing but just another one of these brightly colored sprites on the screen, will, surpringly enough, is capable of single-handedly evoking all of those feelings in under five minutes — which is the approximate amount of time it takes for the player to meet and defeat him. Although his role in the game's plot was minimal, the memory of his life and death shall forever be remembered. Or not.
New to the Lisa series? Check out the synopsis for each game below!
LISA (also commonly referred to as LISA: THE FIRST to distinguish it from subsequent titles) is an exploration game created with RPG Maker and released in 2012. It draws heavily from Yume Nikki in its design, as the player may freely roam through the game's universe — a representation of the tormented mind of its protagonist, a young girl named Lisa Armstrong who is trying to cope with her father's abusive behavior. The plot progresses as the player finds several items while her mental state gradually deteriorates. Lisa's story does not have a happy ending, but it is only the beginning.
Brad Armstrong, the protagonist of LISA: THE PAINFUL RPG meets Horrace Finkel for the first — and last — time while exploring the Construction Zone in Area 2 of Olathe. Upon coming across a bulldozer, Brad can drive it all the way to the end of the area, killing anyone in the way no matter how powerful they are (and gaining experience in the process, which Introspective Terry finds morbid). Seeking to stop this meaningless violence, Horrace Finkel runs into his own bulldozer and bravely confronts Brad. However, just before he engages the player, memories of his past suddenly resurface, and he gives up on fighting.
Hey listen I don't really feel like doing this anymore. I'm just gonna turn this off and go home... Let me just press the off pedal annnd... Oops!
As he attempts to back out with the bulldozer, however, Horrace accidentally moves it forward, crashing into Brad's bulldozer and initiating a fight. During the fight, Brad will still be inside his bulldozer, which should allow him to perform unique actions such as Ram and Dozing (inflicts Cry status effect), while his companions will be able to acess their default skillsets. Horrace, on the other hand, will find himself confused about the bulldozer's controls, crying and stalling out through several turns, which makes defeating him rather easy even with his natural resistance to Fire-based attacks and skills and the occasional moments when he might lose control of the bulldozer, dealing some damage to Brad's party.
In his final moments, Horrace calls for his lost love, Becky, stating that he has failed again as the bulldozer explodes. His sacrifice is not in vain, however, as he was at least capable of damaging Brad's bulldozer enough that it stopped working, preventing him to use it for any violence... despite the fact that he was the last of the construction workers alive. All that remains to carry his legacy after the explosion is his hardhat, which can be picked up from the ground after the fight and equipped by any party members capable of wearing hats for +22 DEF.
When he was still a child, Horrace Finkel's parents passed away from uknown causes, forcing him into the care of his grandfather. He was an energetic and positive kid, and wanted nothing more than to follow the family trade and become a bulldozer driver, like his father and his grandfather before him. At all times, from childhood until adulthood, Horrace always wore the hardhat that belonged to his father, who, before passing away, left the following message engraved onto it: "Dear son, don't drive bulldozers, you'll never succeed". Still, Horrace pushed through, and the hardhat was to him both a work tool and a reminder of his family's legacy. He knew that being a bulldozer driver was his destiny, and as such he wore this hardhat proudly.
At some point prior to the White Flash, Horrace met and fell in love with a woman named Becky, whom he married. They never had any children. Horrace's determination never wavered though, and he spent all of their money into getting his bulldozer driver license. On graduation day, Horrace was the last of his class to receive his diploma — although it appears that his name was mistakenly spelled as "Morrace Dinkel". Despite that, Horrace leaves enthusiastically, promising to "show the world what [he's] made of!!!" It's assumed that, from that point on and up until he meets Brad Armstrong, Horrace began working as a bulldozer driver. However, one day, a fridge accidentally fell on top of Becky, making her hurt and unable to move. Horrace acts heroically to save his wife's life using the bulldozer, which he spent so much money and time trying to master.
Yes my love! I will save you in no time! I've trained for many years and wasted all of our money. To learn how to operate this beast! For I am... Horrace! The Shining Bulldozer Prince!
Despite his efforts, Horrace was nevertheless incapable of rescuing Becky from her early death. According to the priest that was present at her funeral, Horrace could have saved Becky's life... If only he weren't so bad at driving bulldozers. Horrace's grandpa would also make an appearance at the ceremony with words of comfort to the newly widowed grieving man.
You suck grandson. You'll never be a REAL bulldozer driver.
Horrace's relevance for the plot of LISA: THE PAINFUL RPG is brief and minimal, but his life and death were not meaningless. Despite his unsupporting grandpa and father, he still strived to master the fine art of driving bulldozers. However poorly fit he was for the task, his determination and attitude are definitely commendable. Even though he grew up an orphan and was raised by a grandfather that didn't care for him much, he still managed to find love in Becky. The fact that he wasn't the most dependable or responsible husband to have ever lived is of little significance, when compared to his passion and positivity. And no matter how utterly mediocre he was at everything he ever did, he still found enough self-esteem within to proclaim himself The Shining Bulldozer Prince.
At a first glance, it's easy to see Horrace as an unimportant character thrown into a game for the sake of comic relief. But that truth is that he has a much more important role, as he carries a simple but yet valuable life advice into the game: don't be a Horrace Finkel. He was a true hero, a dignified man and led an incredibly tragic and madiocre life guided by no great ambitions and marked by no meaningful achievements. Even after the White Flash, his situation never changed: he continued working as a bulldozer driver in a construction zone, and died as one, at which point his tragic life and countless sacrifices were rendered pointless and the only thing left to remember him by was a hardhat onto which some hard truths were enscribed, and that the player would soon replace by a new piece of armor.
What exactly can we learn from Horrace's (many) mistakes? Maybe to recognize our strengths and weaknesses, and realize that the accomplishments of our fathers, grandfathers and great-grandfathers are not our own, and do not define what or who we should become. It's possible you just might not be a good bulldozer driver, but that's okay. You're probably good at something else. While you try to figure out what your true calling is, be patient and persistent, and be ready to apply yourself wholly to achieve it, despite whatever obstacles life may throw your way — whether they come in the form of a disapproving father, an unsupporting grandfather or the whispers of strangers. Also, maybe don't waste all of your family's resources to pursue your dream; your dream is important, but that's still pretty selfish.
A man named Morrace Dinkel arrived late to his graduation ceremony, during which he was supposed to be awarded a bulldozing diploma. Strangely, however, once he got there, there was no diploma with his name on it, as the last diploma had already been claimed by a man named Horrace Finkel. That was the first most tragic thing to happen in Morrace Dinkel's life. He would go on with his life and strive to survive even after the White Flash, eventually establishing a orphanage for children who have been abandoned. Meeting Brad Armstrong would lead to all of the kids in Morrace's orphanage being accidentally set on fire and die — the second most tragic thing to happen in the life of Morrace Dinkel.
You've reached the end of SHINING PRINCE OF NOTHING, a small tribute to Horrace Finkel. If you're interested in learning more about this character or LISA: THE PAINFUL RPG, I'm afraid you'll have to play the game itself (available on Steam), or watch any of the Let's Play series available on YouTube, as there isn't really that much witten online content about Horrace (or the LISA series, for that matter). You can also browse through the official LISA website and the LISA Wiki, which have plenty of information about the games.
Hopefully, you have now come to appreciate Horrace Finkel like I do, and maybe you have learned something valuable and/or entertained yourself for some time — I sure did. This page was born from an ironic appreciation for Horrace Finkel, which soon developed into an actual, real appreciation for Horrace Finkel, and wasn't intended to be much more than a coding exercise. It was originally planned as a fully-responsive and mobile-friendly website — and it is, although I would not recommend viewing it on a mobile device at all. If you are interesting in looking through other tributes similar to this one, feel free to visit Storyteller for more ramblings about fictional characters. Now, I wish you a good trip around the internet, and be sure to keep Horrace Finkel's words of wisdom with you.
[Horrace is fidgeting with the controls...]