Tuesday 28 August, 2018
While the last areas of the game give more insight to the context and location of these events, the game staunchly refains from making many firm declarations.
The onboarding of guests to the behemoth the game takes place in, and the grotesque scenes of their feasting answered my previous question about who was eating all the food the cooks were preparing. My eventual failure to avoid one of these voracious guests also more firmly placed them as an objective threat, in that he ate me. This placed the player character more definitively in a survival and self-defense position in my mind.
Conversely, in one of the more uneasing scenes of the game, the player character feeds on a gnome even though that very same gnome offers out a more than ample sausage. I felt vindicated in my earlier suspicions of the player character and their supposed implicit righteousness.
It would seem that the events of the end, where the player character feeds on the shadow woman, that the player character is simply a monster. Exacerbated by the fact that when imbued with the shadow woman's power, it proceeds to directly kill several guests during the final scene. However, it could be argued that the compromises the player character had to make to reach this point somehow intoxicated it with some form of evil, culminating in its absorption of the shadow woman's darkness. The player character becomes infected, and is so overtaken.
Trying to work from this perspective, I focus on the game's persistent theme of food, consumption, and eating. Eating is a necessary facet of life as we know it; nothing that abstains from food or water survives for very long. More often than not, one living organism must consume another living organism, whether plant or animal. In the same way, each time something is consumed in the game, something else loses. The figure in the beginning that gives up its plate is the most mild example. But the player character continues to escalate its apetite, going from necessity to a sort of preference. The action of the game ramps up as food becomes more present. From the complete lack of food in the beginning to piles of it later.
While the game flirts with elements of imprisonment, torture, and despair, it seems to me that the game places the ethical question of consumption at its center and posits an escalating extreme. The player character is starving, and another person willingly gives up food for it; I thought it was tragic but sweet. The player is trapped by the long-armed enemy using food as a lure; a threat that takes advantage of this base need. The player character eats a rat caught in a trap; it is gross, but can be understood given dire circumstances. The player character feeds on the gnome despite easily accessible food; this crosses the line from survival to corruption. The player character feeds on the woman; this is wholesale voraciousness. Eating becomes less about survival as it does about dominance.
Great job Gary! You have so many ethical analyses here but the theme of consumptions, and its transferal from being about survival to dominance, as well as the theme of the player character’s role and the inability for the player to show gratitude are particularly interesting. Any of these themes could be the basis of an interesting OPA.
Wednesday 5 September, 2018 by cwesting