Ok, here’s the deal. Working from home has led to me playing a lot more visual novels. Taking my lunches in my War Room makes that a bit more convenient. So we may be seeing some more of these posts in the future. Recently, I played/read through Analog: A Hate Story by Christine Love, and wanted to give myself a blast from the past, given that two of her earlier works were two of my first posts in this blog that has a hell of a lot of tenure in the old blogosphere. But, time’s at a premium. So I’m going to challenge myself here. Set myself a time limit. Write this, quick and dirty, in the time I have available before my next engagement. So, this is going to be rough. No editing. Little polish. Minimal talking about how sexy I am. Which is very. Just so you know.
I’m getting sidetracked.
Analog: A Hate Story is, as the name implies, a successor to Christine Love’s first work, Digital: A Love Story, and you could maybe call a sequel because for all I know they take place in the same continuities. You’re some sort of future space scavenger. Which basically just means that you go into space and hack dead people’s email accounts. Somebody hires you to go do that to the Mugunghwa, an old Korean space ship that’s just shown up on the parts of space that people bother looking at again after like a thousand years. So you go there and start up the ship and it turns out you’re the first person to do anything with the ship in like 600 years, and everyone’s dead, and even before everyone died things went to hell. So you talk to the AI and snoop through people’s e-mails, which are strangely full of logs that are actually useful and descriptive and more like diary entries and there’s not a penis enlargement spam thing to be seen. I don’t know why they keep sending those to me. My penis is glorious enough already.
I’m getting sidetracked.
Gameplay-wise, the ship itself, you control through a text parser. When you activate the AI, you’ll get a more flexible interface to be reading all the stuff. The AIs are very advanced, incredibly human-like, and have their own motivations, actions, and what not. Unless you know the right codes, you can only see whatever e-mails the AI are willing to show you. The AI’s ability to directly accept speech has been broken, so your interactions with them are limited to answering binary questions they present to you and showing them whatever emails/log entries you want them to comment on. And, that’s how you progress through it. Read the stuff, slowly piece the story together, try and get enough of a dialogue going with the AIs to get to the real good plot-twisty material.
The plot itself largely centers around sexism. And before we get the idiots from both sides that seem to make up the loudest voices whenever sexism comes up in games, this is a specific type of sexism, that doesn’t really apply to modern day life. No matter how much said idiots talking about the game online seem to try to make it do so. In the ship, it looks like most everyone all died at one specific year. 300 years or so before that, something happened to the ship that set their culture, collective knowledge, and overall intelligences back to a Joseon-era Korea style community. So this is about sexism in Joseon-era Korea. With artificial intelligence. And e-mail. And spaceships. It’s a weird sort of anachronism that honestly seems a little forced, although the VN doesn’t say why they got culture-shocked back to the bad times so maybe it makes more sense once the sequel picks it up. In any case, when that happened, AI memory got wiped and reprogrammed, everyone turned into idiots, and things got bad. Like, we see it from the women’s point of view most often, and they definitely got the short end of the stick, but backwards societies are no good for anybody, and, realistically, nobody’s really living up to their potential there. Birthrates have been falling to an incredible degree, men and women’s roles are sharply divided and both are recognized solely for their political positioning rather than their merit, few know how to actually work the technology they depend on to survive and they have even less knowledge of medicine, old age sets in when people are in their 20s to 30s, etc.
C’mon Aether, gotta pick up the pace here.