Human consciousness required tools that let it produce abundant resources so people could transition from simple survival to prosperity, which allowed humanity to further discover the world and find a place in it. Tools advanced into machines given more sophisticated logic, motor, and communication systems through developments in electronics, networking, and artificial intelligence. But a world is like a person- the more it becomes one thing, the less it’s like something else. Nier: Automata examines how machines are becoming the new owners of our world but will continue a tragic human legacy, by using videogames to give us a glimpse at how machine logic is coding its own soul.Continue reading “The Soul in Nier: Automata’s Machine”
Final Fantasy 7 so thoroughly revolutionized JRPG’s that its legacy was long and wide reaching. From it’s move to polygonal graphics that allowed its characters a deeper range of expression to its dense and layered environments that didn’t rely on sticking the perspective in the ceiling of the world to look down on its inhabitants to its mind-blowing CG cutscenes, it tolds its story of good and evil with a memorable cast of characters with cinematic (though not always consistent) flair. So it’s fitting that as a pivotal entry in the Compilation of Final Fantasy 7’s timeline, Crisis Core is the snake’s jaws wrapped around the back of its own head, further realizing the cinematic ambitions of that important milestone.
The first time we see Wei Shen is through the monitors of a Hong Kong PD drug sting as he tries to conduct a transaction. When the sale goes bad, we take control as he charges through a densely packed fish market chased by a squad of uniforms. Unable to elude arrest, he gets thrown into lock-up and reunites with his childhood friend Jackie, now a low-ranking member of the Sun On Yee, one of the most powerful criminal organizations in the city. Jackie promises to make an introduction. When Wei’s pulled into interrogation, we learn the setup for the story, and the linchpin connecting the game’s mechanics, systems and narrative; Wei Shen is an undercover cop, just back from fifteen years in America, trying to take down the triads. Sleeping Dogs is a bloody saga of betrayal and loyalty as Wei Shen takes down the Yakuza from the bottom up.