Full Course: Deponia

Content Warning: The Goodbye Deponia section discusses sexual assault, child molestation, slavery, and racism. The Deponia Doomsday section discusses transphobia briefly.

Comedy is difficult. Dark comedy is probably the most difficult comedy style of them all. Using dark comedy as your window dressing for a four game narrative about the importance of balancing ambition with accepting finality is ridiculously difficult, and Daedalic Games actually tried pulling this off with what is effectively their most popular original series, Deponia. There are few game series with highs so high or lows so low, a series of works I want to praise and recommend to everyone but most certainly can’t as I remember those awful, offensive lows. Yet that last game is quite possibly one of the best point and click games I have ever played. I can’t deny that.

So, Deponia, I say…

Huzzah! And maybe a boo.

Full Course Deponia

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Full Course: HuniePop

Content Warning: This article discusses sexual assault, not in the games featured but in discussion of subcultures related to said games. Reader discretion is advised.

…well, I’m about to talk about videogames made by chan regulars that isn’t the much beloved visual novel about living with handicaps. This series went in a weird direction, talking about sexy puzzle and tycoon games. Normally, this wouldn’t be writing about these sorts of games, since they’re usually too simplistic or crude to be worth the musing. When games informed by chan culture come around, they usually turn out to be pretty terrible irony games you can easy spot as trash from a glance (see “The Triggering”) or seemingly normal games that end up being incredibly idiotic social commentary that either misses the point (The Last Night, the product of a gater) or is informed entirely by ignorance (Aerannis, which includes the mascot of a harassment campaign as a celebrity cameo). But out of all of them, it’s HuniePop that’s somehow been the most controversial release, and possibly the most tame. That may be the secret to its success.

Full Course HuniePop

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Full Course: Syberia

Benoît Sokal. There are few names in gaming that grab my interest as much as that one, which is strange, because it was only just last year that I found out that this man existed. Born in Brussels, Belgium, Sokal was mostly known as a comic artist for most of his years, creating a series about a drunk, smoking detective duck called Inspector Canardo. He created a pretty wide variety of pulpy works, coloring them with a personal computer, and he probably would have remained a minor figure in the comics world if not for the spread of the CD-ROM. This invention inspired Sokal to try making games, and his ambition grew as he partnered with Microids, one of Europe’s most significant names in the point and click genre. The end result was 1999’s Amerzone, and come 2002, Sokal topped that with one of the most memorable point and clicks ever made: Syberia. It became his most famous work and a major series among point and click die-hards.

It’s fitting that a game so focused on riding a train would go off the rails so hard.

Full Course Syberia

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Full Course: Lisa

Content Warning: This article will be discussing suicide, depression, child abuse, sexual assault, drug use, and a great deal more. Reader discretion is advised.

Back when I wrote on Alan Wake, I brought up the philosophical idea of determinism, the idea that people act based on what has been done to them. I originally wasn’t expecting to return to that idea so soon (as the original plan was to revisit the crude comedy point and click, Randal’s Monday), but I had to rush through a game series for an assignment and found determinism rearing its head yet again, though with less meta-textual and a more realistic framing. This is made odder because the theme came up in the game series Lisa, which induces gaming personality Jim Sterling as a hidden boss who asks you to jump off a cliff, wear a dress, and take hallucinatory drugs made partly from garbage.

So yeah.

Full Course Lisa

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Full Course: Shadowrun Returns Trilogy

Better cyberpunk than The Last Night.

Full Course Shadowrun

How did I not know about Shadowrun before now? If I had to guess, the title probably threw me off. “Shadowrun.” That’s the type of generic, lifeless name you’d expect to see on the newest financial bomb FPS from Activision or EA. That is not a name that inspires confidence or interest …these days. Back in the table top scene of 1989, Shadowrun was something fresh and new. It was a bizarre combination of cyberpunk and fantasy, and those two very different flavors somehow fit together better than peanut butter and chocolate.

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Full Course: Dragon Age: Origins

Okay, before I get heavy into this, let me address the elephant in the room.


How the fuck is Morrigan straight?

No really, how? She’s a swamp witch who dresses like a goth, practices forbidden magic, and constantly makes snarky, emasculating comments. She couldn’t be coded more queer unless you had her express an interest in Sailor Moon. Now I will give Bioware points for giving her a femdom fetish and giving an ending where she fucks your boyfriend to save your life, but come on. You have two bi characters in the cast! Why can’t I have my girl kiss the Satanist goth girl!?

This article took 130 hours of play to prepare for. I am taking this one indulgence.



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Full Course: Alpha Protocol

Full Course is a new series I’m trying out where I go really in depth on a given game, show, or whatever. If you have any thoughts on how this article came out, feel free to leave a comment! I’d love feedback on this one.

Western RPGs are rarely my thing. If they’re fantasy, it’s incredibly tired fantasy cliches (dragons, elves, orcs, ect), and when they’re something else, something about the mechanics rarely click with me (though I do hope that will change as I try getting into Deus Ex, which I’ve only toyed with in the past). But I ended up playing eighty hours of Alpha Protocol for two weeks straight, four plays finished. So clearly, it’s doing something right. Alpha Protocol taps into a lot of common western RPG tropes and design styles, especially from Deus Ex, but there’s more going on there, and the context to its systems changes everything.


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