Saturday Morning Gaming: On Fighting For Your Purpose
I’ve been playing Hades and it’s absolutely amazing. I’d say “run, don’t walk” to get a copy of the game and just start playing it. It’s a 2D isometric game that has you, the son of Hades Himself, trying to escape from Hades (the place). You’re going to die a lot and upgrade yourself by inches and soon you’ll be a freight train rolling through monsters that used to kill you 20 deaths ago. It deserves screen shots, discussions of the umpteen kinds of currency used to buy the umpteen kinds of upgrades, and discussions of mortality. I don’t have time to write that. I’ll get started during the week for this one for next time.
In the absence of the discussion that I know I ought to have, I’ll just point out that the Epic Games Store has The Fall for free. We talked about The Fall briefly back in 2014 and, lemme tell ya, it was an *AMAZING* game back in 2014. A puzzle game with a lot of dialog.
In The Fall, you are an AI running a specialized suit for your pilot. The game begins with a fall from a great height (“I know writers who use subtext and they’re all cowards“) and, after a pretty rough landing, you wake and run a quick diagnostics… you’ve got some damage. You don’t know how your pilot is doing. He (or she, I guess) is not responding and it is your job to repair yourself enough to run diagnostics and figure out how your non-responsive pilot is doing. Dead? Unconscious? You don’t know and it is your purpose to help your pilot complete his or her purpose.
So the game is about repairing yourself. You’re going to need the following MacGuffins and, lucky you, they happen to be scattered around the (mostly abandoned, mostly hollowed out) world in which you now find yourself. Go, find the MacGuffins. Find out about your pilot. Fulfill your purpose.
This was one of the best stories I played back in 2014. The puzzles were challenging intellectually but didn’t require twitch reflexes (some of the combat was gratuitous… the game would have been better off without it or with the combat as a short cutscene instead), the characters with whom you interacted were exceptionally interesting (and, 7 years later, I very much remember the tests in the house that I needed to pass in order to become a domestic robot and the conversations I had with the Administrator still haunt me. The developer made a lot of Nietzsche references which means that the reviewers who reviewed it at the time kept making Nietzsche allusions and, while that might be a hair over the top, the game explored a lot of philosophical concepts such as self-knowledge, death, and utilitarianism in service to a singular overall purpose. This is a game that you will be chewing on for a few days after you beat it.
If you find yourself wishing you had a pretty good, interesting story-based game to play but were a little short on cash? You should get The Fall (for free!) from the Epic Store.
If you have $25 burning a hole in your pocket, get Hades. It’s worth every penny and I’ll have a full review of it come next Saturday.
So… what are you playing?