Appreciate the update...and the update about the update :)
I'll download the new version and give it a shot.
Hey there o-m-hochstetler
So far, I have to say I agree with Crazy565k on just about every point they made, so I don't wish to just repeat them. Consider my thoughts to largely be a +1 to those comments.
It is obvious you've put a lot of work in here. I also found the humor didn't jive well with the rest of the tone. Buthead/dogfarts aside, a lot of that was referential humor, and it seems you're in agreement there.
I'd add that using Earthbound as an example, modern references worked better in that game because the settings was very similar to modern-day North America. The examples given don't quite jive here, but references to fantasy settings, other RPGs, etc work well as long you don't beat people over the head with them.
To expand on Crazy565k's example of Kyle's description of Shovel Knight believing in its world and not resorting to 'winks and nods', I played 'The Messenger' recently and found it didn't seem to believe in itself in that same way. The game starts off with some excellent platforming action that wore its Ninja Gaiden inspiration on its sleeve, and there's an interesting story hook. And then you get the ability to wall hang from a mystical shopkeeper, who says the technique was invented by "Joe Gaiden"...and it took me right out of the game. I still enjoyed it, but I found myself gritting my teeth whenever I had to interact with an NPC, because large sections of dialogue just seemed to be "See! See this is what we're referencing! Isn't that clever?!" I'd rather just enjoy the story and world the creator has made.
So, I wouldn't say get rid of all references, but things don't need to be fourth-wall-breaking. As Crazy565k, the dialogue in the tavern is largely good, and I think your writing works well on its own.
Since you mention that you'll be releasing a Prologue 2.0, I think I'm going to hold off on playing the rest of this version, and wait to see what you've changed. All the best with the revision. I'll be looking forward to it.