SM and HG and PM


#1

So at this point we know Sean pretty well. He is quite the postmodernist. He loves to take meaningful patterns and ideas and present them to his audience (we) just to basically shove it in our face as ultimately meaningless and as a big joke. This is classic postmodernism.

So to understand NMS and Waking Titan we have to work from this basic starting point. Both are presented as cohesive universes, with the promise for some unifying meaning. But the whole point is to turn it around in our faces as a big joke.

For example, recall in NMS how SM breaks the 4th wall a few times in the lore by suggesting it is a simulation and that the creators are jaded. He is basically pointing out the fact to the NMS universe that the NMS universe is just a game and we are but players and HG is a group of jaded nerds who created it for profit. Again, this is pure postmodernism.

So some implications:

  1. We have to realize WT is ultimately going to prove to be meaningless lore-wise. Some of it will turn out to be a joke on we the audience.

  2. HG is Mercury is The Atlas Foundation or at least behind it. HG is the jaded organization behind the creation of Atlas. HG is the mystery hidden in plain sight. HG may even be the ones imprisoning Elizabeth Leighton. HG has always presented themselves as an antagonistic force in the NMS universe.

  3. Don’t fall into the trap of taking this too serious. If you do, the joke is on you most of all. That is the dismal purpose of postmodernism. It loves to belittle.

So we can debate whether postmodernism has any merit (personally I despise it for a number of principled reasons), but it is the key to unlocking the literary/artistic value of NMS universe’s lore, and hence WT’s.


#2

Oh, that’s actually a really nice analysis. Also a very interesting way to take the meta to the next level.

In a way I suppose that fits portals just fine. You get more options to travel to randomly generated planets in a closed simulation. More grandeur and more options to hide the fact that you’re still not getting anywhere, that, in a way, it is all to no end. (Except maybe curiosity.)

Edit:
As I thought some more on it, it may also give us an indication on what to expect. As we saw in phase 1, there were some great puzzles, and quite good rewards (180 free steam keys). They were however, all in the middle of the phase, it ended with just a “good job” note.

It kinda reminds me of Mario, where after some epic battles, you encounter that dratted Toad “sorry Mario, the princess is in another castle.”. From that we might learn that this ARG more than anything is about enjoying the road and the trip in general, and not to expect much of the destination itself.

Coz the thing is, HG are not truly evil, they add plenty of things to explore and enjoy in both their game and this ARG, they just didn’t put it in the place where most have come to expect it (the end), which is, and I have to agree on that, a great joke to some extend.


#3

I had a similar thought on how I took the ‘reaching the center of the galaxy ending’ as a sort of commentary on modern games and gamers.

I actually find the center of the galaxy end-game goal to be an amusing response to how some types of players are more concerned about ‘end game’ while developers put so much work into making highly detailed worlds that often get taken for granted.
Kinda like ‘here’s your reward, if that’s all you’re here for’.
While the true game experience is reserved for those who seek to enjoy the ‘journey’.

It kinda weeds out the non-serious explorers, IMHO.


#4

@crushbrain, what is this "4th wall you speak of?? What madness are you spouting here, bro! :rofl:

A lot of you have probably noticed that I immerse myself in the world “inside the walls,” because taking it seriously makes me a part of it all, makes it more vivid and “here” for me. It adds a sense of urgency to the quest for truth, and might possibly sharpen my dull wits a bit. And being a writer, it’s more fun to post about it like that.

I’ll have to quibble a bit about your take on all this. I see Sean and the HG team as kind of crazy artists and poets who want to spin a weird tale that sort of has a whoopie cushion in our flight seats. The difference between it and what you propose is subtle but discrete. It’s the difference between Sean having a good laugh at our expense, “Oh you thought there was something more to it all, silly you,” and “No, it really is just 42 - surprise! But have you thought about the whole of it?”

I know it’s possible that much of the team are a bunch of life weary, jaded, snarky, fatalistic folk that think it would be fun to punk us all. But the sense I get of them is that they’re kind of like me. Ideas and philosophies and theologies and social mores and all that human stuff are fun to play with. My writing and my music is created to make the participant think. I want it to be a fun ride, but I want to nudge their minds, that there are shades of meaning to life that most people brush off as no big deal, why bother with it?

The line from Shakespear in the puzzle on the search page at Echo-64, “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” Most of us reject something so utterly existential. We have a sense in the core of our being that there is right and wrong and Something/Someone who stands for justice. Laughing at a crying child that had an accident and possibly hurt themselves is cold-hearted and cruel, but helping them is kind and proper. Robbery is evil. Murder is evil. The crushing of countries under the tank treads of communist nations “for their own good” is evil. The genocides of NAZI Germany and the Gek First Spawn are most certainly evil. If Earth was being swarmed by the First Spawn and there was a confederation of worlds that could intervene but didn’t, we would be outraged.

We don’t have anything quite that drastic in No Man’s Sky - yet, but we do have moral choices, interestingly enough. We can jip and backstab people. We can be pirates, murderers, plundering our way through the galaxy. Or we can fight those people. We can do things that help out the three cultures. We’re even faced with conflicting choices. Help out the Gek, or help the Vy’keen who want to settle an ancient grudge.

And our life experiences are wrapped in a curious package: none of it is real. Do you take it all seriously anyway? Or run with it, and since nothing you do matters, just do whatever you feel like at the moment?

I see Sean as a guy who wants to give us a playground of ultimate freedom to do as we please. But then, he also sets these life choices in front of us of right and wrong. I don’t think a jaded existentialist would do that. This is what I would do too. I don’t see him as preachy as I would be, but a guy who wants to nudge our psyches and our brains.

(And now back to our regularly scheduled in character me). :grin:


#5

I also think there’s a huge cultural breakdown on how our European culture clashes with the American one. I always had the feeling America is mostly more polarised than EU: good and evil, the “right thing to do” we usually hear from our favorite movies and TV series, etc. while the EU (and probably Britain on top of us all!) has always posed a cultural accent on how things are grey and nothing should taken morally for granted.

So people somehow are expecting to be guided in their experience, towards the “good”, their ending. HG kicks us in the face in the ending telling us “were you trying to go to the extreme of the range? were you in just to get to the end? no way, go back to the beginning, because the reward is the journey itself”


#6

Actually, if you look back towards more medieval times, you will notice that there is a lot of “good” and “bad” going around, with no middle ground anywhere to be found. Even more recently, you’ll find it a lot in religion, and even modern day issues. That being said, I do agree that it seems like at the very least American media are more inclined to look for a “good” and “bad” side. :slight_smile:


#7

It is one of the wonderful ironies of postmodernism that the focus on what is commonly refered to as “identity politics” leaves just as little if not less space for gray areas than modernist moralism did. At least those acknowledged the existence of moral dilemmas, a concept which seems to be very much absent from the mindsets of post-modern ideologues… :man_shrugging: