Wherein I discuss contemporary language, a ninja’s mental terror, and an intriguing independent impersonation.
A word that has been rustling my jimmies for a while now has been “deserve.” A term that, objectively, means: to do something or show qualities that warrant a reward or punishment of sorts. However, I regularly see it being applied in ways that, when trying to apply this dictionary definition, do not make sense. Phrases like “We don’t deserve Sonic Mania” “Pokémon fans deserve better than Sword and Shield” or the spicier “Star Wars 9 is the film fans deserve.” When applied like this, it implies the fans, the audience, and those passionate about something, anything really, either deserve or do not deserve something as compensation for their devotion.
All of which is antithetical to the very concept behind the word deserve, which implies that there exists a degree of fairness, standards, expectations, and active engagement, which fans of media don’t really do. All they do is buy stuff. And when you buy something you do not ‘deserve’ quality, you are not entitled to excellence. You only deserve a functional product that is accurate to its description.
You deserve a raise when you go above and beyond the expectations imparted on you at your job. A mass murderer deserves to be imprisoned. An adulterer deserves to be viewed with scorn by somebody who they promised to be faithful to, as they broke an explicit or implicit agreement. But some schmoe who buys a $60 AAA video game does not deserve a ‘premium quality $60 AAA experience’. They do not deserve an experience they enjoy. They do not deserve any quality above baseline functionality. That’s how commerce works. That’s how media works. You consume, you criticize, and you inform, but nowhere along the line do you ‘deserve’ something good or bad.
Stepping off my soapbox and into the wild green yonder of this week in the games industry, things were fairly quiet. Which, incidentally, are my least favorite weeks to make Rundowns, as I feel the need to bloat them with rambling diatribes, rather than relaxed sophomoric insights into the game industry.
Ninja Theory is using their Microsoft funding to pursue an experimental psychological thriller by the tentative name of Project Mara, a grounded title that focuses on mental terror based on real-world experiences and detailed research. All of which is unsurprising considering how much mental terror and psychosis played a role in Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, and how the studio assuredly developed a taste for the subject matter in doing their research. But rather than offering a proper reveal trailer, the studio instead fed the modern news cycle by putting out a small teaser in what is likely meant to be a string of gradual reveals that cause more buzz and media to be generated about your piece of media. What did this teaser show? An office building and some woman freaking out in a dark room. Riveting stuff, lads.
Seeing as how Zero Escape and Danganronpa did great things for visual novels in the west, and appear to be dormant franchises at the moment, it is no surprise to see western independent developers try their hand at something similar. This has been going on for a while, with games like Remember, Remember and Quantum Suicide (which is currently crawling its way out of development hell), but I also recently became aware of Thief’s Roulette. A dreary futuristic adventure game set in traversable 3D puzzle-laden environments that has the player pair up with four of fourteen other characters to solve puzzles and a greater mystery that is gradually unfolded by pursuing alternative paths.
While the presentation in earlier footage could use some work, Thief’s Roulette has been undergoing a visual overhaul based on Kickstarter updates and has managed to stay relatively afloat unlike many other small upstart projects of a similar caliber, with the title having recently garnered the support of a publisher with a varied catalog. The title is currently aiming for a September 2020 release on PC, PS4, Switch, and also the Vita, surprisingly.
Okay, what else? Um… Game Freak is bringing their, from what I heard, half-baked and unrefined RPG Little Town Hero to PS4, which seems weird, until you remember that they are not actually owned by Nintendo. …Yeah, I’ve got nothing. Here’s hoping next week brings something worth discussing in rigorous detail. Until then, see ya.
Header image is from Student Transfer.
I originally wanted to use something from my expansive image library as a header image, but I struggled to find something quick and wound up going down a rabbit hole of searching for bulk OCR converters that can turn PNG and JPG files into TXT documents. A search that wound up fruitless, so in lieu of any better ideas, I decided to manually search through an old development build of Student Transfer for the word “deserve.” I then modified the in-game text a bit to be less situational, loaded that ish up in Ren’py, skipped forward from a new game, and took a screenshot. …I hate hunting for header images sometimes.