On the Nature of Life

This time around I'm going to break form and do a freestyle rant on a game, but it comes with a huge disclaimer right up at the top:

SPOILERS AHEAD

Really, though, Moirai is an excellent, interesting, very short, very free game by a few awesome dudes, and reading anything more about it will really spoil the fun of it, so just go play it right now if you haven't and come back. Really, it took me like 10 minutes, it's worth your time. If you're at work or something just stop reading this then and play it when you get home. I don't even care if you come back, it's really cool, give it a try, please.

I'm writing the rest of this assuming you've played it, so you won't even get anything out of ruining it for yourself.

Moirai

Moirai is a simplistic first-person adventure game (for lack of a better genre) where you follow a very linear story through a very pixly world with very limited interactions with anything. The story is about the disappearance of a woman from your village, but that's not what the game is about. This game is about choice.

Now, a lot of games are about choice, and it's so cliche that I feel bad saying it. It's not about "choice" like in Mass Effect or choice like in Undertale, it's about one specific choice. When you come upon a blood-covered farmer, you're given the choice to attack him or to walk past him. It looks bad, the situation looks awful really. He may've killed that woman. He may have killed the last farmer. There's no way to know. And the revelation as you leave the chamber with the woman, which ends in you bloodied either way, that the last farmer was a player like you, is great.

Or, well, it would have been.

On my first playthrough I got a farmer who was literally the internet, in the worst way. He even included a URL to visit.. I did not. Oh well. I'm afraid at that point I suspected what was going on here. But let's imagine a world where the other guy was not memes and vulgarity.

Moirai is about a choice, and it's a very human choice, and it's a humbling choice, and like all choices in life, it's presented to you before you understand the context of it, and before you can grasp the ramifications of either option. In retrospect you will realize that you couldn't have had all the information, that you likely never will have all the information, to know if the choice you made was the correct one, the "just" one. It's a reflection on the very nature of justice and morality and what it means to be human. It puts you in the position of deciding the fate of another (as an aside, Moirai are the fates) and then immediately shows you how little you knew in making that decision, and then turns around again to put you in that person's place, explaining yourself to the next unknowing sod. And that's it.

We'll email you with your fate, though.

I found this one really compelling. This is the kind of thought-provoking commentary on the nature of the world that I love, and a great example of the power of interactive media to do more than tell a story. Thank you Chris Johnson, Brad Barrett, and John Oestmann, for enriching my life. This is the kind of game I aspire to one day produce.


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