Change does not come of complacency. Witches know this; their craft is that of action. Nestled in the heart of the city, one of them steps out of their dwelling to a dystopic city block: propaganda lines the walls, morose denizens wander aimless, homeless shiver street-side.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
A Bewitching Revolution from Australian developer Colestia (@colestia3) presents the player with the opportunity to enact sweeping improvements to this block through guerrilla tactics. Cats litter the locales you explore, providing politically-charged commentary about the plight of man within the systems of capitalism. These lead into tarot readings you provide to citizens (free of charge, naturally) that further discuss the cruelty of a society predicated on the creation of capital. The dialogue and writing come across as something of an interactive manifesto, laying out the crimes of the bourgeois, a call to arms against the demands of labor and the exploitation of those forced to take part in the rat race.
One of the first things you do as a revolutionary is to break open vacant housing to give to those who lack shelter, rather than allow these places to serve as nothing more than manifestations of investments, a place to store cash in the form of a home. A free press is developed within the walls of one, paper airplanes begin carrying a whisper network of the stories that run afoul of the fear-mongering mainstream. You topple electronic signs espousing “war keeps you safe,” morphing them into solar panels; free, clean energy instead of a boot keeping you underfoot. You unionize a workplace, allowing the employees to take breaks, to enjoy time off, to be free. Hostile architecture is disintegrated, allowing for owls to roost where they were once banned.
Your actions begin to bubble beneath the surface of the city and enact greater changes: a temp agency is modified to provide information for free communal events, strikes and protest begin to take shape, and ultimately, a central space for the people forms. Your abode is within a bar, and the citizens begin to flock to it once they are allowed some amount of wiggle room from the pressures of capital. Across the block, you shove acorns into cracks in the streets, guerrilla gardening creating trees that bear fruit you then collect for any patron who wants some. The unionized workplace transforms into a community kitchen, feeding the hungry, rich or poor alike. Life begins thriving here, like it surely must have long ago, and an energy crackles through the air.
But, change is not something that can come easily. The iron grip of capitalist structures convulse against the tide of the future, unable to accept collapse of the established norm. Police break up protests, and eventually lock down the streets in a state of emergency.
To truly break the chains of capitalism, one must act.
Act you do, utilizing the communal space and the people you have rallied to lead a charge against the oppressors demanding you give up your cause. Crafting “Potions for A Revolution,” your magical molotovs shapeshift the cops into literal pigs who quickly flee back to HQ. The overwhelming force of the people is able to break the bars of the prison that place resides atop, the convicted free to live their lives once again. Like anyone else, you provide a sanctuary to them, and to all here.
Change is facilitated by the cooperation of the many. Police forces, power structures, and wage demands all pale in the face of the people united. A graffiti slogan lines the wall of the prison at one point: “They may shoot us to death, but they can’t shoot us back to work.” As the cat tells you, capitalism demands the capitulation of the people for it to function. Without compliance, these systems stall and decay.
This overthrow of oppression need not require magic, however. Together, we can create the ability to push back against the never-ending forces putting us down, making us miserable, killing us. When people lock arms, anything can be possible. We can turn away from the capitalists, from the societal systems established, and create for one another. There is no greater satisfaction than to provide for another, to facilitate the safety and care of our fellow man.
We need only try.
A Bewitching Revolution is currently available on itch.io.
Catherine Brinegar is a trans game developer and filmmaker who explores the surreal and abstract in her work. Beyond her creative endeavors she enjoys losing herself inside other worlds, interactive and not. Finding inspiration in everything, Catherine aims to see all the world has to offer, through the continual conversation of art. You can keep up with her on twitter @cathroon.