Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Auto Assault: the multiplayer role-playing game, or, Why do cyborgs need boobs?

Shacknews - Auto Assault Preview:
We do love this alien-race theme. Figuring out how, or whether, these storylines draw on old myths of the Titans (half earthly, half godly) would make a good research paper. Mostly these beasts are human, though, the females complete with the requisite and (one would expect) non-functional mammary glands. Why don't female cyborgs ever produce milk?

But a more important question might be: why are humans so imaginatively stunted? Why are our stories so often a repetition of stories already told? Artistic originality must be a figment of our pathetic imaginations. The market, of course, figures into this question. But let's say this story were told even if there wasn't money to be made selling it to teenaged male couch potatoes. Would it be the unique product of creative genius, an original story worthy of copyright protection and literary accolades without market analysis predetermining content, and without niche marketing predetermining audience? Is mass media producing cookie-cutter narratives, or do we just have a profound inability to think beyond fairly predictable storylines?

An excerpt from the review on shacknews.com:
"Auto Assault is set on a future post-apocalyptic Earth. Years ago, an alien force sent down contaminants and mindless drones to begin terraforming the planet for their own ends. Like a plague, the contaminant destroyed most that it touched, but some humans managed to survive its contact, developing various physical mutations. Seeing themselves as having been chosen to evolve to the next stage of humanity, the mutants went to war with the humans. Unable to hold their own, humanity outfitted volunteers from their number with cyborg technology, creating the half-human, half-machine Biomeks. However, the Biomeks proved incapable of dealing with the mutant army, and the humans abandoned them. They went deep underground and unleashed the world's stockpile of weapons of mass destruction in an attempt to rid the surface of mutants and Biomeks alike. Decades later, upon emergence, it turned out that both factions were able to survive that apocalypse, and unsurprisingly none were too fond of the others. Humanity sees the Biomeks and mutants as abberations, the Biomeks continues their longstanding war agains the mutants and sees humanity as betrayers, and the mutants believe that only they have the right to survive as the next step in human evolution."

Here's a male:

6 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

And notice the obligatory stubby cigar on the male character to make him look even more like a tough guy, along with the body armor and "eyepatch", female cyborgs aren't the only ones being stereotyped

8:20 AM  
Blogger Zinc Chameleon said...

Cyborgs will use their boobs, but not until the game designers accept the fact that sf people take for granted: silicon/metal technology is on its way out, to be replaced by carbon nano-architecture. Boobs are part of the lymphatic system--the immune system--and a cybernetic version would be proactive, seeking out infection and destroying it. Same with Bartholic secretions; anything that can interface with another being's body fluids is a potential advantage to cyborg dominance. But most game designer are teen-aged guys who would faint at the sight of menstrual blood, or breast milk, rather than see it as a resource.

8:47 AM  
Blogger Allison Muri said...

but presumably a cyborg could keep the lymphatic system without having the great big milk duct system? Or maybe male and female cyborgs both will have great big mammaries just to improve the efficacy of their immune systems.

9:26 AM  
Blogger Allison Muri said...

I agree the males are stereotypes too--of course! That's part of the question: they're pretty traditional heroes aren't they? In the very old-fashioned sense of Northrop Frye's system of literary archetypes. The story is an old one: near apocalypse, destruction of most people, no vegetation, darkness, chaos, and then along comes a (usually) male saviour figure who brings fertility and lush growth and stability back to the world.

9:38 AM  
Blogger Allison Muri said...

...so what typically happens in these virtual-world role-playing games? If you are the ultimate victorious hero? How much of the story tends to become a typical victory scenario? Is there rising action, climax, denouement, closure? In some, yes, there is sort of an approximation of that structure. (I'm no authority on gaming, as you can tell).

9:41 AM  
Blogger Lucca said...

This is perhaps the reason that I left gaming behind with my teenage years. Cookie-cutter narratives that try and out do one another with graphical displays become as entertaining as "how quick can i push the button" games. While they offer a form of interactivity, they lack the creative capacity to entertain my needs. That and I met the next generation of game designers at the animation collage I attended. *shutter*

As an artist ,the idea of repetitive stories and originality is somthing I have to deal with every day. Somthing that is original and bold enough to be consider "new" often comes with a lack of understanding. although if i ever did come up with somthing that new, I wouldn't mind the confused looks, becuase the audience could be huge(or at least the pay check). In the mean time I have to find a way to use oringiality and exsisting structure, to bring the viewer into my experience and what that entails.

1:11 PM  

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