Some Thoughts on Killing Time at Lightspeed

I can’t think of anything to write about, so I’m going to write about a video game.

The premise of this game is that you’re on an interstellar trip, checking notFacebook, where each time you refresh a year passes by. This reminded me of Makoto Shinkai’s Voices of a Distant Star, which is why I was interested, but the game went in a different direction. Rather than dealing with the difficulty of the ultimate in long-distance relationships, we deal with issues of technology, automatization, and its effects on society such as whether a sufficiently advanced AI should have rights, what rights to privacy are to be expected when a device can record every moment of your life, and intrusive advertisement. All that good stuff.

I have to admit: I was disappointed. It’s short; I spent a total of 2 hours on the game. This is not inherently a bad thing, but while the issues they dealt with are important, there didn’t seem to be any depth or insights that the game was trying to convey. Also, while I am the type of person who gets attached quickly to fictional characters, there aren’t enough details of the player character’s relationships to understand their interactions. There were limited opportunities to interact with the other people, and this doesn’t feel like a deliberate design decision. In fact, the interaction seems to be meaningless, since the results seem to be mostly the same if you don’t interact with the other characters at all.

But enough complaining. I liked the premise of the game. Though, it should be noted that I do like “games” that are more appropriately called interactive reading. And reading notFacebook feeds was a novel and welcome concept. They captured the feeling of scrolling through social media and news feeds well, despite the terminal aesthetic. If you have irrational attachments to fictional characters like me, you’ll likely have some emotions when events affect your fictional friends. When your friend goes to watch a violent riot or starts a romantic relationship with an automaton or goes on a journey to unplug from modern society, they all have some emotional impact (again with that caveat).

So I don’t entirely regret my purchase (I’ve wasted five dollars on worse things before), but I can’t exactly recommend the game, either.


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