on May 6, 2016
One thing still worries me about the ARK: Can you stop participating? Can you die? Kill yourself? Erase yourself? What if you become monumentally bored and frustrated with your existence? Sure, it’s a nice simulation and all. But no matter how idyllic the setting, after a few thousand years you might really be done with it. Human beings haven’t experienced lives that long, and we don’t know what kind of mental health challenges that sort of timescale might pose.
The more I think about it, the more I think I’d decline an Ark invitation. Unless it comes with a level editor and some space to call my own. And some tools for composing music. And maybe some programming tools. Actually, this is starting to sound pretty good.
So that was SOMA. The best part of this series has been the interesting comments. People have offered numerous bits of analysis, background, alternate interpretations, and philosophical viewpoints that I’d never considered. This really is a game that gets larger when examined in greater detail.
I feel like I didn’t give this game enough credit in my initial play-through. I went in expecting “Amnesia, but in Sealab” and when that didn’t work out I got frustrated with the crappy monster encounters and sort of plowed through the game. I liked it, but I think I missed out on a lot of interesting things the game had to say.
We don’t get a lot of this sort of science fiction in the world of videogames. Sure, we get a lot of games about shooting aliens with zap guns. And maybe we shoot robots once in a while. But proper speculative fiction? There’s not a lot. And lots of it is strategy stuff like Alpha Centauri, Master of Orion, or Homeworld. Don’t get me wrong, those are wonderful games. But aside from Mass Effect and SOMA, what other major releases feel like someone took science fiction ideas out of a novel and put them in a story-driven game?