Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Redshirt - 15/20 hours

Lately, I've been running afoul of Redshirt's biggest flaw. It is utterly homogeneous. Being a Bridge Turbolift Concierge shows you the exact same job screen as being a Transporter Accident Cleanup Specialist (perhaps thankfully in that latter case, but still). On your off time, going to the holodeck for an Old West adventure looks exactly like having a romantic dinner in your quarters.

I'm not sure what I want, exactly, but I feel like the game would be a lot better if there was unique art for all of the different events, to better give a sense of depth and texture. Now that the novelty of the faux social media has worn off, I want to do more to explore the setting. As it is, Megalodon-9 doesn't really feel like a real place, and your various friends, coworkers, and lovers don't feel like real people.

This has resulted in the game becoming an exercise in calculated number-shuffling. That's not something I intrinsically have a problem with, but it is kind of dull to write about.

The real question is "how realistic is the game?" It's a satire, but does that satire strike home? I honestly can't say - I've never been in the sort of emotional-hothouse environment the game simulates and I don't know what effect a determinedly manipulative actor would have on that environment.

However, if I had to make a guess, I'd say that Redshirt's satire is superficial at best. People have moods and memories and rough edges. They respond differently to those they're attracted to and are inclined to be curious about the actions of the popular people. Given the oversimplification of the game's social model (though, to be fair, there are aspects to it I don't understand), I think the most you can say is that it satirizes common social media prejudices.

I'd love to see a more fully fleshed out version of this game, or perhaps have a more complex game incorporate social-media backstabbing into its basic gameplay, but for now I'd have to say that Redshirt is only really good for the first six hours or so. It's the sort of game that's worth playing through once, but which loses its luster with repetition.

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