I’m going to be playing the Star Ocean 2 remake this weekend. The original is one of my favorite games ever. I would be starting sooner but yesterday I played so much of Baba Is You that I promised myself to not play any video games for a couple of days.
I didn’t participate, but I would have chosen other. I once played an FF game, in an emulator of an old console. I think there was a maze full of clouds so you couldn’t see the paths, and after I had solved it through brute force, I found out that one of the F-keys on my PC disabled the cloud layer of sprites. I think the game maybe started on an airship that was bombarding something? But really, this is all I know about Final Fantasy. I’m under the perhaps mistaken impression that it exists only on consoles, and I’ve never owned a console.
That’s been true for most of the franchise’s lifespan, but every mainline game has made it to PC now. A big push to port the NES and SNES games happened in… 2022, I believe.
After writing a lot about interactive fiction, I wanted a break from writing. Unfortunately, I discovered my newest favorite game of all time:
CRYMACHINA is commenting on Japanese queer politics and our reluctance to interrogate humanism. I couldn’t believe what I was playing; its radical politics aligned with mine so much.
I see there’s a PS5 demo. Downloading…
I downloaded the demo. I’m not very good at… Platinum-type games, haha. To me, Bloodborne is fast enough. I liked that there was a casual mode for people who just want to experience the story; that would be my preferred mode of play. I’ve added it to my wish list.
I thought of Nier Automata, though that seems a very different take. There, the absence of humans is meant to be a shock, and the continued strivings of its servants… bitterly ironic? I don’t yet get that impression here. It’s been a while, so I may be misremembering.
But posthumanism seems very apropos and timely here. I really enjoyed your piece!
One thing that remains very unclear to me after reading your article is what you take humanism to be. It is a notoriously slippery term, of course. For myself, I would say that humanism is the idea that value lies in us, in you and me, in people; and not in gods, countries, ideologies, or whatever other idols are presented to us for worship.
I find this hard to square with your claim that: “Humanism is the lie we tell ourselves that the continuing stratification is necessary for our advancement as a species.” So presumably you are working with a very different definition of humanism?
I had the impression he/she means humanity. But I may be wrong.
I won’t put words in Kastel’s mouth, but I think the definition or scope that delineates what human is… that is political or ideological. So a “human-centered” (secular) policy is as apt to uphold power as much as anything else. My read.
a lot of users include their pronouns in their profiles, which can save you some guesswork
Ah thanks. This way I can be more polite. Kastel is a “they” then.
Yeah, the usage initially confused me but agree that my sense is the term’s primarily being used to mean something like humanocentrism - not seeing validity or value in other forms of existence (which feels like a sci fi conceit but of course we see this kind of thing in the real world with respect to animals).
Yeah, when antihumanists like Friedrich Nietzsche and Michel Foucault describe humanism, they are referring to how we define humans as political entities without really saying so. This often means exclusion. I’m thinking alongside political philosophers like Frantz Fanon who argued that colonizers don’t really view the colonized as people and that’s why colonizers don’t see anything wrong in enslaving them. I’m sure we’ve seen throughout history (and current affairs) that people are more than happy to call other people non-human because of their skin color, “intelligence”, and so on, so I don’t think this is controversial.
What makes the game pretty provocative is the fact it recognizes what Gijsberg is saying and agrees that should be the ideal, but it may not necessarily be true based on what we see in history. The people who have power are quite good at destroying the environment and other people. I’ve been thinking about people like Elon Musk who want to proliferate their own version of humanity at all costs, at the expense of the environment and even people themselves. This is what the game ends up attacking: not humans as a whole per se but the people who have power to define what is human. It wants to envision a world without categories, without any difference.
So I view antihumanism as a whole as a way to preserve that ideal of humanity that most of us decent people agree on. Antihumanism is less misanthropic and more critical and interrogative. Just because we are humans doesn’t always mean our actions and ideas are good for all of us. It asks for a critical reassessment on what we value and perhaps we can create a new humanism (or some -ism) that actually doesn’t discriminate. It’s an utopian project that I’ve always been thinking about; Crymachina simply clarified it.
I also think Crymachina is an allegory and you can see how it charts to like actual things that are happening today, hence me bringing up what’s happening in gay rights in Japan. It feels like it’s applicable to tensions around assimilation…
This is off-topic and about games, but not really relevant to the ongoing conversation.
I think I might have just rolled the best Yahtzee game I’ll ever have. I got 834 points.
The next game I completely bombed and got 133 points.
So I thought some more about Crymachina and wound up buying it. Something on the list (probably Like a Dragon Gaiden) will have to wait.
I think Observer System Redux is the worst commercial game that I’ve played to completion in a long, long, time. Disruptive stealth sequences in an exploration/narrative game really bother me. I feel bad about the late Rutger Hauer’s involvement, though he did a good job, alternating between exhausted exasperation and exhausted bafflement.
I played it because the development studio, Bloober Team, is making the Silent Hill 2 remake. Hm. Maybe their more recent offerings are better, but nothing here screams “capable of remaking one of the most iconic survival horror games of all time.”
Some of you may remember me mentioning World of Horror, a roguelike with an aesthetic influenced by Junji Ito, cosmic horror, and… Hypercard. It finally released (it had been in early access) in October. Games are very short (hour or less). There are unlockables, but they don’t seem to make the player more powerful. Not yet, anyway. So I’m not calling this a roguelite.
It still kind of feels like early access, as it promises content and modes of play “coming soon.” Still, it’s got a great look. World of Horror is a decent game snack. The developer (it’s one person) had a day job. Don’t know if he’ll be able to focus on development full-time now.
I think that clarifies things. If I understand you correctly, it would in fact be possible to appropriate Sartre’s famous slogan and say that “Antihumanism is a humanism” – in fact, the only real humanism. (Whether one would want to depends on whether one thinks there’s something appealing and useful about the term.) (I’m a little bit worried about the term ‘antihumanism’, because people who actually call themselves humanists are fairly likely to be people who can be allies in good causes.)
I don’t disagree, but antihumanism is a very old term describing thinkers who see discussions centering around human agency and nature as not that useful at best and egoistic at worst. The most I am willing to accept is Sylvia Wynter’s posthumanist project where she rejects Western humanism (a very over-represented one) in order to create a new kind of humanism.
I obviously can’t speak for all antihumanists and posthumanists, but I think the label is a good reminder to ourselves that the structural powers that be are describing who’s human and who isn’t. At the moment, we have to assimilate ourselves and let them shape us in order to be considered a “human”.
Good to see my propaganda working. And yeah, I recommend just keeping it on casual mode. It only decreases the enemy’s HP and the “gameplay” lasts like a few minutes anyway; it’s honestly more like a visual novel where you read scenes and documents.
An interesting bit of news, if accurate (just the first post, I’m not encouraging anyone to read the whole thread). This rumored Switch 2 would be a significant performance leap beyond the current Nintendo hardware.
But… this wouldn’t be the first time people have succumbed to wishful thinking re: the performance of future Nintendo products
For those of you interested in such things, Jimmy Maher has kicked off a typically excellent series on JRPGs.
I started playing in stars and time which is about a vg protag stuck in a time loop and having existential crises!
I just bought Pentiment. I’m not supposed to install it until Christmas day, but sweet Crowther, my fingers are itching.