crazy theories fireside chat

Gamers as Reapers

reapers.jpg

I know this is ridiculous. But the taking control of individuals across vast distances, the calculated aim toward a specific goal disconnected from the psyches of the world around those possessed…

“Grayson had sensed no anger or rage on the part of the Reapers as they had used him as an instrument of wanton slaughter. The massacre wasn’t motivated by hate or even a sadistic desire to destroy organic life. The Reapers had analyzed the situation, determined a course of action, and followed it without any emotion whatsoever.” (Mass Effect: Retribution, I think the 3rd ME book)

So if you get paid to read too much into things (and I used to get paid to do just that! it’s called a scholarship to grad school) you could read the Reapers as a critique of a specific type of gamer*. Those who fling themselves onward toward victory without thought or care for the context or consequence of their actions. The taking-over of bodies described in Retribution, from Grayson’s perspective as it happens to him, is a.) really really disturbing, right in line with the descriptions in The Calling of what it feels like to become darkspawn (I cannot deal with horrific bodily transformation; I turned Willow off as soon as those guys started screaming as their bodies turned into hogs. Nope nope nope nooooooope!) and b.) comparable to the taking-over of player characters by players and the manipulation of them through this world without regard for any pre-conceived notions they might have about where they fit in that world. All of which came to mind because…

Geth As Gods (Or Not)

geth

…I just finished the reunion with Legion in ME3. Spoilers if you’re the two people who read, this, haven’t played it, and are going to. This whole sequence was fantastic, not the least of which because it didn’t involve combat — just a deeper forestation of the moral landscape that has largely remained simplistically barren to us up to this point. The best line of which is “Hope sustains organics during periods of difficulty. We…admire the concept.”

Part of the pull with the geth storyline is that they only wish to survive, having advanced to this desire from only wishing to serve — which was how they were first created. So this seems to be equating self-preservation with sentience. But the perpetuation of the species seems like a step down from what could have been loftier desires. Is that really the measure of life by which we deem it to have advanced from synthetic to organic? That’s the “you’ve made it!” banner? Having begun as computers, they should come at this with the calculations already done: there should be more than just survival. Yet that animal instinct to survive is this huge hallmark for them — and for humans regarding them. This would not be enough for me. But the yearning toward hope, the capacity for admiration of it if not yet the embracing of it outright…that tugs at me.

They could have been ellimists though, people. They could have been ellimists! And instead they just want to keep on keeping on. They could have been gods.

*Or a specific type of game. Those which just want to shovel you through a world without investing in its characters or story. Pride itself on its “emotionally affecting” content as a company might, I don’t think that pride translates down on a writerly level to consciously building in a rebuke for those games which fail to emotionally affect their players. Could’ve been done unconsciously, though…

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