Saturday, April 16, 2016

Redshirt - 6/20 hours

I feel like I should write a think-piece about this game. It seems tailor-made for critics to pick apart, to say things about the fickleness of relationships in a digital age, the intractability of entrenched power structures, and the way we construct our identities as a way of adapting to the world around us. For example, my playthrough so far has been perfectly didactic. I managed to skip several career ranks by befriending the hiring managers and using social media to acquire jobs for which I've been less than qualified, but when I finally got up to the third-highest rank, there was a job in the second-to-highest rank for which I was perfectly qualified, having to resort to no social media shenanigans whatsoever to attain, but when I applied for the job, I was completely shut out because the hiring manager refused to even consider a human for the position.

I mean, that means something doesn't it? It's not often that a game just straight-up sandbags you with racism. This is an important issue with relevance to society at large. I should say something profound and insightful about it . . .

It kind of sucks, you know.

That's all I've got. I mean, it's a little weird the way that I can be totally unprepared for all the rank 3 and 4 and 5 jobs and then find a rank 6 position that fits my skillset exactly. How many people could accomplish great things if given the opportunity, but will never get the chance because they can't overcome the arbitrary obstacles that are placed in their way in the name of "paying your dues?" Add to that the fact that there are all sorts of unwritten rules, like the way that your skill at networking is an important predictor of your success in virtually every field, regardless of its relationship to the actual tasks of the field itself.  And then, even if you survive all of that, maybe the gatekeepers just won't like you and dismiss you for some arbitrary reason outside of your control.

Really, the big novelty of Redshirt is that it doesn't bother setting up plausible deniability. It just straight up tells you that you didn't get the job because of your race. In real life, there are a thousand reasons to fail, and in all likelihood, when you don't get that job they'll tell you "they went with a more qualified candidate" (if they bother to tell you anything at all) rather than just baldly state "there is no way someone like you will ever get this job."

Whether that's better or worse is hard to say.

What is not hard to say is that Jo Spaceman is almost certainly going to die. Rising up the ranks to become the Commander's Assistant was my main plan for avoiding whatever ominous event is at the end of the game's countdown timer. But with this roadblock in my way, there's no chance whatsoever of getting up to rank 7. Right now, all I can hope is that the racist hiring manager suffers an unfortunate Away Team accident or that maybe it's not too late for me to grind up my sucking up skills and thus skip rank 6 entirely.

Thus is the life of a Redshirt, I guess.

1 comment:

  1. I love the thoughts this project provokes from you.