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Tycho / on Fri, Sep 25 2015 at 10:28 am

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Personae

It seems like it’s getting more difficult to retain one’s identity.  Is anyone else getting that impression?  It’s bad enough that you need to fucks with all your autopay shit and get a new card, but settling on a new identity can be fraught for real.  You might want to have one on deck just so you’re ready when the inevitable happens.  Next time I get “the call,” I’m gonna go with Burnaby Swaggler and I’m gonna be super into teak.  Yeah, I mean the wood.

That’s gonna be my thing.

I really liked the first two Amnesia games.  I think SOMA is also an Amnesia game, for a lot of reasons, but also because you can’t really talk about it without ruining it.

There is something kind of strange about trying to approach a “Lovecraftian” project, as they did with the first Amnesia: the Mythos trades on the unknown, and indeed the unknowable.  So in order to do something that is Lovecraftian in the truest sense it can’t be Lovecraftian in a material sense.  Bloodborne is an amazing example of something that feels “right” while only evoking the broadest strokes, and it gets there because its mythology is its own.  You have a right to disagree on this obviously, but deep down these stories are about what we can know.  What it is possible to know.  One concentric ring out from that idea, one parenthesis, we start talking about who, or what, actually contains this “knowing.”  It turns out that it is a super good thing to make a game about.

I was always going to buy SOMA, which I think I’m going to start typing as Soma.  I like games where you walk around and feel bad; it’s what I do the rest of the time, so I’m something of a gourmet.  But the video that made me excited that I had bought it is this one, what they call the “Story Trailer.”  I really, really don’t like the end of it.  I think Kris Straub would call that “body horror” though it’s possible I’m wrong and body horror is something else.  But can we agree that it’s horrible?

The last time I felt like I do in Soma is when I played The Swapper.  I don’t consider The Swapper optional in the overall interactive ouvre - it has some of the best puzzles and best writing in the medium.  I haven’t put a bow on Soma yet, both of these games get at some of the same themes: what it means to be who you are.  I had to stop “playing” last night because it was late and my reserves were low; I couldn’t handle the atmosphere anymore.  I was “playing” a “game” but it’s hard to imagine the things I experienced being considered a leisure activity.

(CW)TB out.


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