Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Fallout 76 is just a modern retelling of The Oregon Trail

This is just mere joke from my part, or a crazy theory but what if The Oregon Trail and FallOut 76 are placed in the same universe? For starters the two games set a close proximity to each other in terms of geographic location, where the protagonist is connected from Missouri and West Virgina in terms of history but also mobilization; in modern times we have I-64.

The geographical correlation between the two games could be a starter in which hints of the apocalypse mostly because the similarities found in the flora, fauna and biological agents that have a correlation  with the mortality in between the games and how much affect the players development i.e. dysentery in the Trail of Oregon and an evolution of the enviroment because of the nuclear war in the Fallout 76 game.

We all know that evolution is a constant process, take a look of the Galapagos Finches that in less than two generations they evolved in to a new species; which two generations span around 40 years and in between a couple of centuries and with the proper catalyst (nuclear catastrophe) a simple viral or parasitic infection mutated up to the point that affected everything around it gained the ability to kill almost instantly anyone.

Let's imagine the scorched, beings who used to be human and were infected by a plague who left them on a semi-conscious state in which they aren't full humans but not full ghouls as they retain their knowledge of who they have become but not who they were. Probably it was.

The Scorched where formed because of a plague, and the plague was product of a biological weapon that the key component was made by an underground fungus found on the Appalachian system; fungi are also common to be used within the Cherokees apothecary medicine as well into modern medicine. So we shouldn't be surprised that Arktos Pharma  experimented with some other agents to create a biological weapon powerful enough that would destroy a complete ecosystem.

Maybe, the staff from Arktos Pharma knew that dysentery on their Earth was powerful enough to kill people back on the 1800's and just used  what they have in their disposition to change the panorama of their world.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Mirror's Edge and Philosophy

Lately I've been trying to organize my thoughts about how mortality is expressed in video games, but also how much philosophical influence you can find into a piece of entertainment, there are several games around but it was Mirror's Edge who got my attention the most because of the use of philosophy such as free will, social contract, politics and how we as a society we can influence our niches and communities but also how politics can model us after a totalitarian regime rise to the power.

The game itself is quite complete even if is an action oriented platformer but the cinematic sequences and dialogues open on how the world of Faith Connors is structured and is not far away on how ours is developing, the parallelism of Faith's totalitarian regime and what is happening in the Americas within the rise of the populist regimes and the cult of personality that the leaders develop.

The necessity of Faith's profession being a runner is a demand created by the offer of traffic information without being detected, because of the controls the regime in the unnamed city has over every single thing in the daily life. We can compare on a certain extent with China and their social credit system in which every citizen is monitored and every action is controlled by the government which led to the development of the runners.

City of Glass
The anti-authoritarianism force can have consequence in the world outside what the government tries execute on the citizens such as manipulating the information but also attacking and dismantling any form of resistance i.e. the pursuit cops.

Also, the game deals heavily with concepts of life and death in which Faith seems to embrace nihilism in her daily life because the game title is her personal philosophy of living between the gloss and the reality, as if everything that is linked to her senses such as her perception to reality and death.

As a player the most gruesome concept of the game is when you die, which much of the time being bullet down by the state police is less horrible than falling to your death, there are no proper words how nerve wracking is to see Faith falling to her death from such high distance which makes you wonder how many other runners had died in a similar fashion, but also how in real life you can have an idea how is to die by falling from a great height just to wake up on the last saving point.

The idea that Faith's reality could be simulated doesn't sound strange; it doesn't matter how many times Faith dies, she always resets to the last spot she was which we can be in an epistemological problem as she couldn't be aware of her own reality in a dystopian future but also why death doesn't affect her.

The game constructs the notion that reality can be manipulated, but also it follows the ideas that reality is what we perceived and how our experiences manage us; we, maybe as individuals pre-programmed that we have free will but in reality we don't, we can be an extension of what makes us social creatures or extensions of the social collective, that is linked to our humanity.


Saturday, November 24, 2018

Elder Scrolls Arena, First Hour of Gameplay

Promotional Image
The first game of the Elder Scrolls that I ever played was Skyrim, it blew me as I never saw something as open as that game in my life, even with Grand Theft Auto I feel that the mobility was limited and the interaction with the NPC's was also extremely restricted.

With the Elder Scrolls: Skyrim it was the first time I played freely in an scenario that let me interact with everything around, and it was a big world map also; as a player I was impressed and it gave me the idea to play the other games without any order just because I wanted to enjoy the experience.

It wasn't until this week, where I finally decided to play the first game ever, I bought it along with Daggerfall as I never had the chance to play them when I was younger and I am extremely impressed because there wasn't something as Arena back in 1994, and is easy to see based on the technical capabilities of the time why it influenced players through different decades and the development of other games.

I couldn't imagine my 10 years old self facing the first dungeon and getting killed without even saving and having to restart over, my 34 years old self was screaming when I got killed within the first ten minutes and I didn't even save it, learning from the experience I save every single step that I took because I noticed this game is unforgiven with new players and it can surprise old ones also, the controllers aren't intuitive albeit with some hours of gameplay they tend to get easy.

 One thing that happened with old games loading times within the world map it was that everything would pop out and enemies could just spawn in front of you and kill you really quickly without you even noticing, it happened to me twice with rats because they were following me and I didn't got a clue they were so close.

What is fantastic about the game is that is mostly automatic generated making the experience different for every gamer which for 94' that was a big feauture, adding that it has a day and night cycle, and if you are stuck outside at night beware because enemies will approach from everywhere.

The enviroment is tense, you feel you can die in every corner, but also it gives magnificent scenarios that are quite large to explorer and a wide variety of NPC's and enemies that are lurking everywhere.

The soundtrack is cool, and the addition of cinematic sequences makes the game quite charming, as if it's a little jewel from almost 3 decades ago that is still as relevant as it was when it came out on the market.

One interesting aspect is that this game is relic of is time, it's on the same era as Doom, Wolfstein 3D, Quake Grand Theft, the first two Monkey Island, cult game Normality and the classic Ultima IV. Games that influenced storytellers but also the industry towards PC gaming towards the development of 3D games in PC gaming.


Saturday, November 3, 2018

DeltaRune Demo Review

You have created 
This is a complete departure from the Undertale formula but yet it has the charm of the old game, graphic wise is similar but story and gameplay are a departure of what Undertale was.

I was honestly impressed from the beginning to the end because I wasn't expecting this to be a demo as it's extremely well done but even with some minor bugs and glitches the experience of Deltarune is enjoyable.

To make a synopsis the game is a reinvention of the formula, characters from the previous game appear in new roles and to give a spoiler (assuming that a big amount of players download the demo) there is an influence of Sans through the game in which we can appreciate his "shortcuts" on a physical manner and it can give us an idea extremely quickly.

Being a demo it leaves outside several aspect of the story as well a proper tutorial because you as a player will be interacting with three characters at the same time, the battle system also drastically change from the previous actions in Undertale such as giving mercy or even sparing the enemies because you will have two other sidekicks which are Ralsei which is more of a pacifist and Suzie who is extremely aggressive and can change the outcome of certain events.

King
The controllers are extremely easy to understand, in a certain way the main map interface keeps the old Undertale close as possible but the battle system is where the fun begins as is a complete overhaul, the best way to explain is to mention that the battle is arranged similar to the classic Final Fantasy, three characters arranged in perpendicular position and the characters positioning affects the menu and the combos.

The music is just spectacular, that's the main reason I couldn't believe this is a demo, the soundtrack is just supreme because the music helps the action of the game to flow and even on the most mundane actions such as avoiding an enemy there is a fantastic composition that makes you want to continue playing until the end.

Besides the great technical aspects there are also some Easter Eggs and hidden boss which adds more value to the game, because as the first Undertale you want to discover them all and find every single possible action, there are different endings and secret bosses around the game, is just truly spectacular to find something as Deltarune and that it was for free because it placed Toby Fox again in the center of attention as an indie developer.

Main Menu
Also one important thing that to know with Deltarune is that even on 2018 there is room for a narrative in the video-game industry, this game is not highly advanced in the graphics, it has an old style almost vintage from the early 1990's but the story is complex and interesting, the characters are well developed and it offers an immersive narrative.

Probably Toby Fox's biggest assets as a developer is that he is an amazing storyteller, which can gather people and enjoy his products but we need to add that the protagonist of his mangum-opus is a non-binary person and the other characters at any moment mention Kris about being within any specified gender which it makes this game great for the queer community, because we don't have a proper representation towards the video game industry.

If this is honestly a demo and something else will come, I would love to play it from the beginning to the end because it was wonderful, I would buy every single chapter just to know how the story progress and how the new world is connected to the previous.

If you want to read some further content on Deltarune here are some resources:

  1. Game Crate: https://www.gamecrate.com/toby-fox-shares-more-deltarune-details-including-how-it-connects-undertale/21275
  2. Twit Longer: http://www.twitlonger.com/show/n_1sqn3p9
  3. Kotaku: https://kotaku.com/undertale-fans-already-have-theories-about-whats-going-1830165547