PEGBRJE: Tonight We Riot and Diaries of a Spaceport Janitor

Time for some RIOTS to CLEAN UP THE STREETS

FIGHT THE MAN IN A MONSTER TRUCK. ARE YOU HYPED YET.

Tonight We Riot is a beat-em-up action brawler by Pixel Pushers Union 512 and published by Means Interactive, and features exactly what you would expect from such a title. You take control of the workers in the year 20XX as you riot against the corporate greed and seize the means of production by any means necessary. There is no one person you play as, but the collective of workers as you control only one of them until death has you switch to another. The only way you lose is by losing all of your workers before reaching the armory and liberating it from the suits.

While its political nature is obvious, I found that the synergy between its theming and its gameplay to be Tonight We Riot’s strongest attribute. If playing solo, the other workers act as both companions and lives for the player to utilize as they storm over the riot shielders and gattling gun trucks. Liberating buildings and other soldiers gives the player more resources to work with, while also giving them more insurance in case they run into something deadly. Couch co-op is seamless as the other player just picks up another worker to play and the ‘lives’ are now shared between the two. You can fight the corruption with a friend, or by yourself, and the overall gameplay won’t necessarily feel effected, similar to an arcade. Hop in, beat up some boot lickers, and hop out when you feel done.

The parallels to the current geopolitical climate are staggering, so I cannot say that everyone will enjoy this game on the theming alone. If you need a break from the stalemate and wish to punch a bunch of people in the name of revolution (and who can blame you really), Tonight We Riot has your needs covered. If you are looking for an arcade brawler that ‘leaves modern day politics out of it’ then you may wish to look for a different hobby since in all technicality, all games have some form of modern day interpretations of politics in them. But you should still be able to enjoy Tonight We Riot, because it is still a fun beat em up with various zones, bosses and corporate greed hoarders to explore, beat, and watch flee.

Now on the opposite side of the spectrum… actually, after playing I’m not sure that’s true.

Diaries of a Spaceport Janitor is an… ‘adventure?’ game by Sundae Month and published by tinyBuild Games, whom I recognize from their various other indie hits. You play as a nameless Janitor who cleans up the trash of a spaceport and dreams of somehow getting off of this forsaken rock, only to get cursed by the dungeons below. It’s Janitor’s job to clean up the streets while figuring out a way to get rid of this annoying skull curse, and hopefully find out if there even is a way to leave. Oh and purchasing smut sometimes for creepy vendors.

DSJ as I’m going to call it falls into the category I’ve come to lovingly refer to as ‘WaitWhatHuh’ group of games. It’s premise sounds relatively simple in theory, a tale of somebody longing to leave their horrible life for something better. However, this is an ‘anti-adventure’ — instead of finding ways to get off the planet, most of your time is spent doing your actual job of cleaning and incinerating trash. If you don’t, you won’t make enough money to survive. Your life is already difficult enough just trying to get by without the skeleton curse hovering over you all day, with the need for food, recharging, luck and even gender fluctuation. Apparently the species of the Janitor has gender fluctuation issues, and if not dealt with causes the screen to be fuzzy and text to become illegible. Thankfully this can be fixed — for a cost.

Does this sound familiar? DSJ could be considered a life simulator, with the mundane requirements constantly filling up your time and your personal problems are an afterthought as you attempt to solidify the daily earnings. People of the spaceport ignore you unless spoken to, speaking in garbled tongues overlapping each other and filling different areas to the point of crowding them. Janitor is just another gear in the machine fighting for survival, their species required to pay to alter their gender so that they can continue to function properly. The one time they attempt something greater than their station, they are met with a curse almost instantly and lose their luck. Talk about demoralizing, yet uncomfortably realistic. Unlike the previous title, however, there are no ways to revolt — instead of fighting guards, they just steal your money if they catch you awake past curfew.

Diaries of a Spaceport Janitor is an unnervingly real representation of a common worker attempting to make more out of their life while keeping themselves afloat. Days end with diary entries input by the player detailing what they were able to accomplish, only to put into perspective how little was accomplished throughout the day. Luck is an actual stat that is constantly in the negative. Yet we wake up every day in the hopes of finding just enough time to do something with ourselves, and hopefully do it enough to break free.

If this existential crisis doesn’t scare you, Diaries of a Spaceport Janitor is a game that you may enjoy. It isn’t going to be a fun time, per say, but it will be interesting. I’ll promise you that.

Links below for both, and hopefully the revolution goes smoother than my playthroughs of either of these games.

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.