No matter what you choose, it’ll end badly. Let’s get the technical details out of the way so that we can get to the juicier…
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During my free and not-so-free time, I like to indulge in gaming. I like playing indie games, demos, and AAA titles when I have the means to. I like games with good writing, some outwardly political element to it, and great art. I am certainly not the best at ‘evaluating’ games as good or bad, because I find the process a little disrespectful. However, I do have some that I’d consider extremely engaging.
My way of evaluation here perhaps will not tell you if the game is good or bad, but will definitely provide games that can be food for thought. I am not going to go into a lot of details, rather I will only give a short context to the game, and one of the favorite moments from it.
I suspect this RPG is on its way to becoming a cult classic.
About: This dialogue-heavy game set in an open-world is nothing short of a literary and a film masterpiece. You are a detective who is investigating a murder in the fictional town of Revachol. As the game begins and our main character wakes up after a night of heavy drinking, we realize that he’s lost all his memory, has no money, and has no recollection of his surroundings. This puts the main character of the game and the player on the same plane: we have to figure out all of it together. Coming to the murder: Revachol is a corrupt town. The atmosphere is heavy with the tensions between the dockworkers’ union and a corporation; and the lynched man belonged to the corporation. The player has control over the political quests, emotional responses, what path to follow in the city and in the investigation, and what skills to make use of.
(One of) My Favorite Part(s): Right in the beginning of the game as we approach the dead body, we meet Cuno. Cuno is a foul-mouthed twelve year old who is throwing rocks at the dead body. One interesting thing about him is that he is an illeist: he always refers to himself in the third person. When we point it out to him, asking him about it, he says “The fuck are you calling a ‘third person’?! Cuno’s the fucking FIRST person.” This part stuck out to me. A lot has been written about illeism: in terms of narcissists, egoists, and discordant behavior. But it sparked my interest in doing a study about illeists and its use in forming a discord between the linguist self and the self.
About: This is a war-survival game. But we do not play as a soldier or any other active-participant in the war. We, rather, play as civilians who are trying to survive in the burnt down, blown up houses, with next to no resources. We have to go into the hostile night to scavenge for things, and during the day time we make sure that the occupants in the building are not near giving up. This goes beyond the resources we need for sustenance: it includes their emotional capacities. I cannot use the phrase ‘emotional well-being’ because it seems too much of a privilege for these occupants. Apart from this, we also have to entertain whoever shows up on our doorstep. The game is about making tough choices, living with them, and being cold-hearted at times.
My Favorite Part(s): I am finding it hard to mention just one of the several parts of the game I enjoyed. So, I am going to say that the part where we make choices are the best. When we go out scavenging at night, we have to keep an eye on potential threats, and also the time. So when we are prompted with choices at times like this, the anxiety we feel has very physical symptoms. For example, I chose an elderly couple’s house one night to scavenge in. There were some medicines at that house that I wanted for my building for other survivors, particularly for this pregnant woman who was also not doing good emotionally. The man in that house was very sick, and his wife was pleading with my character to not take the medicines. It was almost morning, and there was a threat right outside this couple’s house.
I do not know why I like to put myself in these anxiety-inducing situations through video games. Perhaps because there is a certain kind of calmness that awaits when we finally quit the game and step away from the screen. But the experience, regardless, is worth having.
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