Browsing posts from: Catherine Brinegar

IV drips pulse, carrying anesthetic down the tube, through the needle, and into the bloodstream of your wife. She lies beneath lamplight, her breathing slightly irregular, but it should be okay, her vitals are stabilizing. You have to put her under, again, to get through the study. In the two beds besides hers are your other subjects and colleagues. One an archeologist, the other the neurobiologist whose research brought you here. On the monitor, the process fills progress bars as sense-data flutters along the wires, cris-crossing between workstation and subject.

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The internet is a weird place. It allows us to connect to each other over vast distances, instantaneously share information, be with our loved ones across the ocean, and, sometimes, introduces swaths of people to a bizarre VN/fighting game hybrid that is tangentially related to one of the most massive anime-media empires we’ve seen since the inception of Dragon Ball. Of course, I’m talking about the expanded universe known as the “Nasuverse”.

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Your tiny baby legs patter across the metal grating as you sprint towards a cop, praying to your boss, God, that he doesn’t turn around and pump you full of lead. You lunge forward and possess him. His body pulsates as your powers take hold, and you begin steering this meat puppet that will finally grant you access into the next room. Once you get there and his job is done, feel free to throw him over that railing into the vat of acid. Just make sure you pop out first, you certainly don’t want to take the final swan-dive with him.

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Launching the interstellar spaceship “Hope,” humanity shunts a baby into the cosmos off of a shattered Earth, its remnants orbiting the fractured rock. You awaken twenty-some-odd lightyears out, the cyropod next to yours bloodied, bearing a note reading “Find me.” Now grown, you don an exo-suit and set off for the alien surface of a nearby planet with nothing more than a trusty blaster in tow.

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One thing I really like about outlandish games is seeing how far I can push their boundaries. As an interactive art form, games are uniquely in their ability to react to impulsive desires. For instance, in The World is Your Weapon from Japanese developer kagaya (@qqrypwqy), you are thrust into the world as Weaco, a young girl who works as a Weapons Merchant. Here, everything is a possible bludgeon for you to wield against monsters. It’s incredibly silly to pick up a full-sized tree over your head and slap about some slimes with it. It’s even sillier to have that tree break mid-battle, so you pick up one of the slimes, and use them to beat down the rest of their compatriots.

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Darting between overhangs, I’m desperate to put distance between myself and the security drone on the other side of the road. Raining, again, but I need space. My battery is running low already, but I can see batteries just one more building away. Not wanting to risk it draining while waiting for the rain to subside, I choose to sprint from this dilapidated sanctuary to the next. The rain proves too corrosive, however, and spells my end. I collapse in the street before my vision goes dark. Time to try again.

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Warning: The following contains spoilers for Can Androids Pray and features discussions of derealization and suicide.

Across the war-torn battlefield, mechanized corpses lay smoking, holding bodies inside like metal sarcophagi. Craters scar the wastes, reminders of the convulsions of humanity sparring for unnamed ideations. In a pocket at the edges, two Venusian Confederacy fighters lie locked up and damaged. Servos burnt out, they stare at each other alongside the wreckage of a Mercury Protectorate soldier, a reminder of who caused their downfall. Here, in their last moments, a momentary rest is found between these two in their solitude.

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Be warned, we’re getting into spoiler territory here from the outset. Turn back now if you’ve yet to finish the game.

For you can tie me up if you wish,

but there is nothing more useless than an organ.

When you will have him a body without organs,

then you will have delivered him from all his automatic reactions

and restored him to his true freedom

To Have Done with the Judgment of God, Antonin Artaud

LUCAH: Born of a Dream, from gamedev collective melessthanthree, thrusts you head-first into a world beyond any sense of logic or understanding. Everything around you coalesces into an undulating mass of incomprehensible action; the only thing that makes sense anymore is fighting. Some of the first words that greet you in this world: ”You can’t help but feel you’ve been here before. You can’t help but feel they only want to hurt you. But you know you must move forward. You must fight.” And fight you do, pushing back against the ever encroaching Darkness that blankets the land.

This Darkness exists as an extension of the world, to a degree, leading you to press ever-forward, unable to turn back. In it, we move toward a cyclical process in which this place eventually dies, destroyed one way or another, only to return once again to its original state of being. It’s an endless feedback loop; one that seemingly betrays no signs of stopping. You find yourself trapped in this place, fighting through loop after loop, attempting to enact change to no fruition. LUCAH’s world is one destined to fall, only to rise from the ashes again and again, a dark, undying phoenix. Decay holds no permanence here.

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The yawning void stares at you. An infinite murk, resting beneath a cloud-tumbled sky. In the distance, a tower reaches out into the heavens above, a light atop it blinking. You sit beside Christian, another soul lost in the ether, like you. You call yourself Lucah, at least, now you do. The Marked One. A cursed child tossed into this realm of madness, damned to fight a Sisyphean battle against the twisting horrors that await your ever deeper plunge into this beckoning unknown.

Christian decides time is up for this moment of peace. Your heart-to-heart finishes abruptly, and they demand a fight from you. Death is the only true peace in this world, so far as they can tell. And they desperately want to be at rest, finally, entirely; to find an escape from this world is to find hope and love once again.

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