“It’s a dense text, but a strangely relaxing game in my experience…”
Links to the episodes and to suggested readings will be posted here as we go.
In the meantime, hop on our 3rd Strongest Academician’s twitch stream Tuesday evenings to watch the playthrough!
The prospectus from Prof. Ben:
The game is roughly structured into four (or five) sections, each of which constitutes a “new game” in the logic of its structure.
January-March: Game #1 (10-14 hours of play; 8-12 class sessions)
- Discussion 1: Emotions are Prohibited (Opening)
- Discussion 2: None of the enemies in this area are hostile (City Ruins)
- Discussion 3: This Cannot Continue (Desert)
- Discussion 4: Must…become…more…beautiful (Amusement Park)
- 5: Where does the wind blow from? (Way Underground)
- 6: A Concept Like Loyalty (Forest Kingdom and Leviathan)
- 7: The Core of Humanity (Copied City to Endgame)
April-May: Game #2 (10-14 hours of play; 2-3 sessions)
- 8 But why are we eating this plant matter? (Opening to Adam and Eve vignette)
- 8.22474487139… Such Intense Curiosity (On coloring books and other pop culture)
- 9S: Corruption Potential Critical (Remainder of game 2)
June-August: Game #3-5 (10-14 hours of play; 8-12 sessions)
- 10: The Light of Hope (New new game)
- 11: It reads “soul box” (Pod 153 to Pod 042…)
- 12: My list of things to analyze later (Endings)
Game #1 works very much like a normal game – characters and mechanics are introduced, there are quests and side-quests, the main plot is advanced. Happily, like Final Fantasy VI, there are some pretty logical plot events we can orient our play around, like chapters, most of which end with a boss fight. So our first session will likely run through the “prologue” – up until we return to the spaceship; our second will introduce the main hub world; our third will take us to the desert, and so on.
At the end of Game #1, the credits roll, and Game #2 is unlocked. Game #2 repeats the events of Game #1, but from the perspective of one of the other characters. So while it will likely take as long as Game #1 to play, we’ll probably only need to take two or three sessions to discuss it.
Game #3 continues where both Game #1 and Game #2 leave off. It advances the plot (dramatically and rapidly), and re-contextualizes a lot of what has gone before.
Game #4 would theoretically require a replay of Game #3 (much like Game #2 to Game #1), but unlike Game #2, you can re-load a save and see Game #4’s ending in five-to-ten minutes of play. This technically introduces Game #5 – which also takes about five-to-ten minutes to play. So we can cover all this in an epilogue session to end our discussion.