Existence

Stuff

So, uh, some people on the internet seem to believe that I don’t exist. In fact, they seem to believe this entire blog is some sort of elaborate marketing exercise, or maybe an act of trolling. And instead of adapting the work of Straton of Stageira, the Croteam game actually invented Straton.

Which presumably means Croteam also invented my PhD, which is a real relief, because it was a lot of work and I’m glad I didn’t have to do it myself.

Seriously though, folks: it’s just a game. A pretty good game, but nevertheless just a game. And this is just some old WordPress blog that never really went anywhere. I have no deeper secrets to share, no hidden levels to tell you about. I can’t even give you a hint about the upcoming DLC, because I hadn’t even heard about it until five minutes ago when I did a Google search. (Will I buy it? I don’t know. The story seems interesting, and I enjoyed the original, but I don’t know if I’ll have enough time to pay it properly, and I don’t want to use a walkthrough. So we’ll see.)

Oh, for those who asked about the documentary. It does look like there’s a version floating about that’s been edited into an advertisement for the game. It’s actually just a fragment of the full version, so basically I’m still looking.

(I’ve written to Croteam to ask where they got the footage, but haven’t heard back yet. Then again, I only sent that email an hour ago.)

Review: The Talos Principle (Croteam)

Reviews

Croteam

Wow, that took a while. I kind of zoned out and forgot to finish this review, but then a flurry of activity in the comments (apparently due to the game) made me decide it was time to stop loafing about.

I’m not exactly a great gamer. I played Myst and Riven back in the day, but it seems my brain cells have decayed a fair bit since then! That is to say I struggled badly with some of the puzzles… but I refused to give in an use a walkthrough. And unlike Myst and Riven, I actually finished this game!

And what did I think of it, I hear my near-nonexistent readership ask.

I liked it. It wasn’t what I expected, but it’s interesting.

To be fair, I’m not sure what I expected, precisely. I mean, how do you adapt a philosophical principle into a game? I expected something on the educational side. Instead, I got sort of a classic sci-fi story that uses the Talos Principle more as a lens through which to consider the various ideas presented than as an historical subject. There are some interesting biographical bits about Straton of Stageira himself in there, so that’s cool, but the game is more concerned with materialism and the impact of the principle on its characters. So – how do you deal with death when it suddenly becomes very real? How do you think about civilization when your own existence is so limited? And so on.

The game doesn’t exactly take sides or argue for a single specific philosophy, but it doesn’t sink into the mire of postmodernist wishful thinking, either. It does assert the existence of a single, specific, observable reality – it just wants you to figure out for yourself what it all means. Straton would approve. It’s also rather positive on the subject of the human species, which I found refreshing.

I should mention that I didn’t get all the stars, and I did end up watching the third ending on YouTube. Some of the secrets are just too well-hidden for me, I guess. The built-in hint system is also somewhat bizarre, but it didn’t actively bother me or anything. The graphics were pretty, the music was excellent, and the voice acting was much better than in any of the games that I played when I was younger. I can even say that I was genuinely moved by some of it, which I did not expect.

All in all, I’m glad this exists.