PEGBRJE: Path Out and 2000:1: A Space Felony

Welcome to 24, prepare for emotions.

Oh god I hope this works.

Path Out is a JRPG masking an autobiographical tale created by Causa Creations, an indie studio group that hails from Europe. It features the tale of Abdullah Karam as he makes his way out of Syria in 2014; not only by showing players and having them play but also a commentary by the individual himself.

The game itself is a semi open world in which a young boy must complete challenges in order to progress forward in the plot, which of course is about escaping from the country of his birth. JRPG fans will recognize much of the game feels similar to past experiences, as players will explore different regions, open doors, collect items and utilize said items in other places to cause a reaction. Now due to the setting and attempt at realism, this does mean that these events are rarely fantastical and usually deal with more ‘mundane’ tasks such as interacting with family members, running errands, and fleeing from fanatical soldiers while avoiding mines. No flight or mystical MP here, unfortunately.

Of course, the true reason that makes Path Out stand on its own is how it delivers the source material that it is attempting to convey. Right from the start, players are dropped in the dark with little to no understanding, only to find themselves cornered with guns pointed at them; it’s at this moment that a window pops up and fellow begins to narrate to us. Similar to Dujanah, this title puts the director’s commentary directly within the game, with Abdullah Karam giving pieces of information as the game progresses depending on what the player interacts with or where they are in the plot. The tone is somber yet still a tad cheeky, as the game and Karam are a bit at odds with each other; he knows that this is not a complete 100% adaptation of his events and attempts to gameify his past, and he’s able to poke fun at some of the inconsistencies and the more obvious stereotypes of Syrian lifestyles. It gives an odd sense that a friend is narrating a movie that they helped to direct, giving that insider scoop on how the story actually goes, all the while having control over certain elements of the in game story for comedic effect.

This sounds almost jovial, with our narration’s self-aware jabs at the title, but Path Out knows that this is only to relieve the tension that is the source material at hand. The player is completely helpless to the events that occur as Abdullah is forced to flee his country, and we’re given a first-hand look at the measures necessary just to get to the border. Running through destroyed towns while hiding in plain sight is terrifying enough, uncertain if the plan is going to work and fully knowing that a single bullet ends the game; for those fleeing, that means that their life ends. It wants you as the player to understand these situations through this game, understand just how devastating of a loss having to flee your country can feel and not even being certain that you’ll survive the act of running.

Currently it’s only a single chapter long, which won’t take longer than an hour to play, but if you want a tale that showcases a real point in our global history with some commentary from one who lived it, then this is your game to witness.

Time to solve some CRIME.

Brought to us by the same team that had us solving time jumping crime in Once Upon a Crime in the West, 2000:1:(to) A Spece Felony, or: ‘How I Came To Value My Life And Murder Mercilessly’ is the lengthy title of a detective adventure created by National Insecurities. As a detective, players will arrive on a spaceship headed for Saturn that had broken communication a year ago, and it is up to the player to ascertain what exactly took place and expose the true story that the AI may be hiding.

As a prime space detective in the late 2060s, players will be exploring the USS Endowment in order to find clues as to the events that occured prior to the player’s arrival. While the entire ordeal is going on, the player will be constantly receiving a narration from another room seen above, looking like an interrogation office with a man with a tie and glasses reviewing the events that transpired during the investigation. Each photo taken (with M1) that triggers an important piece of information will zoom the camera back out to this view, complete with two TVs that have the picture taken and a middle TV that allows for the player to still move around. It’s eerily similar to a body-camera setup if one wishes to make that comparison, where the middle TV is a constant livefeed that we as the players are then reviewing with this interrogator. As such, the conversation and tone of the events on the ship is all worded as if it had happened in the past, with the interrogator speaking in absolutes for every action as they know what we have already done. It also helps to ensure that players aren’t just taking photos everywhere and hoping for important pieces of evidence to hopefully be buried within.

This evidence is then utilized within the examination period with MAL, the AI that originally was piloting the ship for the crew. Here the influences are put on full display for the player, if the title’s combination of references didn’t already make that clear. The situation is very similar to that of 2001: A Space Odyssey with HAL, with much of the game’s setting and general space feeling paying homage to the powerful film. The other half of the title gives us our Dr. Strangelove themes, furthering the parody aspect as well as inferring the somewhat absurd situations with MAL’s witty tone. There’s an air of darkness within the actions, yet it’s portrayed in such a comical way at times that it’s hard not to laugh. It definitely feels like a parody with its execution, but also displays love for the film and its genre with the ability to simply float and explore space to the lovely classical music that plays in the backdrop.

I’ll not spoil the end, which can be acquired within the hour of starting the adventure when players are able to determine what exactly happened to every crewmember thanks to MAL’s inability to lie when faced with specific evidence due to its inability to contradict itself. Just like in the previous title of this bundle, 2000:1: A Space Felony utilizes a relatively interesting mechanic to portray a fun detective narrative thanks to the constant flipping back and forth to the interrogation room and the spaceship itself. If you have a few moments and want to immerse yourself in a space murder-y mystery opera, then this is definitely the one to dive in to.

Links

Game Dev who decided to take on the monumental task of giving an overview of all 59 pages in the bundle for Racial Justice and Equality. We keep going.