I’m crap at video games.
1320, my recent competitive rank on Overwatch. I will say no more on this issue, other than, One simply cannot be arsed to ‘git gud,’ so I took the advice of one sagely gamer and ‘fukked ooof.’
I have the reactions of a sedated sloth. Large chunks of my teens were spent on single-player, narrative driven games, namely in the point & click adventure style. So, like the video gaming attempt to swaddle myself in a security blanket, I scoured the Steam store page for that classic 90s pixel-style, point & click hit. Something I could savour, like a fine glass of malbec, paired with Aunt Bessie’s jam roly-poly with Angel Delight crème anglaise; a game that didn’t require the reaction-time/twitch abilities of a 13 year old Dorito-sprog.
Technobabylon became my stodgy, e-number ridden comfort food, whilst also provoking some thoughts, in my brain!
The game takes place in the year 2086 in the city-state of Newton. Newton is governed by an omnipresent AI known as Central who maintains all of the city’s civic systems and implements its jurisprudence. Centralized Emergency Logistics or CEL form the body of ‘police officers’ who take orders directly from Central.
A long and bloody war, or perhaps an accumulation of several wars are inflicted upon America… Or a region of America… Or maybe it’s just Louisiana… Anyhow, THE EVENT leads to a re-emergence of feudalism. Swathes of territory, known as The Badlands, come under the control of seven rival Barons who ban the use of guns, and each have their own holdings, fortifications, serfs known as ‘cogs’ and armies of trained assassins termed ‘Clippers.’ Clippers act a bit like Samurai retainers, and are trained in the art of hand-to-hand combat and melee weaponry. Their sole function is to protect and kill for their baron.
Our main protagonist is Sunny, a man who was found as a child and made Clipper by his Baron, Quinn. In the opening of the first episode, Sunny saves a boy called MK , whose name I assume is either short for Mortal Kombat or Milton Keynes, from a group of good-for-nothing outlaws. Sunny learns that MK was to be handed over to Femme Baron, The Widow, in order to exploit his ‘power’. Basically he’s Deus Ex Machina whenever he bleeds (and performs some sick fatalities).
What piqued my interest in this series was Amazon Prime’s intriguing yet vague synopsis: ‘The series features a story about a warrior and a young boy who journey through a dangerous feudal land together seeking enlightenment.’ With the promotional image being a far-eastern guy with a katana. Immediately I had visions of Mad Max meets Kung Fu. A bit of faux-Buddhism, like the type espoused by cartoon Pandas or men in pyjamas with laser swords, but set instead in a post-apocalyptic America.
Christ, I miss Space Operas; those stunning, camp, grandiose affairs. I yearn once again for cow-pat head aliens, intergalactic treaties and war. Planets ending in the word ‘Prime.’ Shakespearean dramas and philosophical discourses played out in a series of dimly lit corridors. Alien languages that sound like broken Estonian after you’ve had root canal surgery. And most importantly, a sense of boundless optimism; the idea that humanity (and other sentient life) is going places, exploring that boundless, beautiful frontier.
Until as a society we decided humanity was not THE SHIT, just, shit.