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Life Arts    H4'ed 1/28/21

Game Review: Gods On Demand (G.O.D.): Homo Machinas -- The Singularity

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Adam and God Call It Quits
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Game Review: Gods On Demand (G.O.D.): Homo Machinas -- The Singularity

by John Hawkins

"A fast-moving video game that's not over until you've constellated new firmaments with your joystick!" - PC World

Gods on Demand (G.O.D.): Homo Machinas: The Singularity, from Savoir-Faire├ "× , is a hell of a game for our Inferno times. If you ever wanted to feel the adrenal rush of being God (Abraham's) for a few hours and totally unaccountable to anybody, then this is the game for you. (But do go to dinner when called: wink.) I laughed so hard I cried at how easy it was to laugh, then I cried some more. Essentially, the object of the game is to hack into a target's mind and play poltergeist with them -- be a noisy, relentless drill sargeant type and effect mental mayhem. They will go wild trying to figure out a way to get you out and will soon, if you play your cards right, become your meat puppet, who will do things against their will when you leverage the promise of some peace and quiet.

Targets come with various levels of resistance built in - from Lefty idealism (fun to watch shatter!) to QAnon zombie-f*ckers (running down fatty was never so much fun!). Bonus actions and points have you face off against the Ultimate Resistor, a kind of Terminator for the Left - in actuality, a"psychopath" who was captured and re-programmed and turned into a guardian AI defending human consciousness. (In fact, industry could save some R&D money by rounding up some psychopaths for re-programming, instead of spending silly money on exoskeletons; and psychopaths already think like machines. Problem solved. Money saved.) The Ultimate Resistor refuses to be surveilled.

There are so many rich features built into the game. You can play Peeping Tom, like Ed Snowden did with LOVEINT (Are you done with that dumpling?, a voice-over asks), with impunity onnaccounta the program refuses to exist (wink). You can load up various DSM-based characters, with the whole kit-and-kaboodle of personality flaws (and lots of interchangeability, as with astrology profiles) to add unpredictability into the equation. You can even go among the hoi polloi, ex machina, and have some fun with trust (wink). You can choose soundtracks to dominate by, or import your favorite German grunge band to spark your purpose.

G.O.D. is intense and habit-forming (wink) and may be difficult to break away from. It is roughly in the same league as Grand Theft Auto (except, of course, you're stealing minds for joy rides, instead of autos) and has many of the bloody, dark themes of Call of Duty. Look out, power pilgrim. Keep some OxyContin handy. G.O.D. comes with an amazingly crafted joystick that is hard to describe, but looks something like the combination of an indigenous totem pole and Jeff Bezos's Amazon phallic symbol (scrotum pole?). There are buttons and keys you push that, as you learn them, turn the joystick into almost a musical instrument tuned to your orchestral needs. You will never feel so much at home with a machine, this side of the Singularity. Trust me.

If I'm over-the-top and raving about the "fun" this game brings it may be because I am myself poltergeisted and have been warned that I'd better promote the game like the Devil promotes the burning bridges I left behind, if I ever want to see my family and friends again. What's more, they flash compromising scenarios - just to see how you'll respond - and do it all day. Why, you'll feel like a virus being fucked with by gain-of-function lab Igors. You'll actually start feeling empathy for Corona: be careful, you may even fall in love.

This brings up the amazing dioramas featured in this early iteration. So smooth are the shifts in scenery sometimes that you don't know if it was the scenery or you that shape-shifted. Pass the bong stuff. I loved the scenarios. Waziristan offers the opportunity to plant WMD and then use it as a pre-text - just as the Big Boys do it! While you're in Pakistan, why not solve the Kashmir problem, once and for all; you're a big God now. I had so much in Abbottabad Amusement Park, put up just after bin Laden was exploited shot: You can go look for bin Laden and take him out on one of the rides, while children scream in horror; or, ride in the Tunnel of Hate and look for forensic evidence that bin Laden was killed; or, just ring his bells. (I know it sounds conspiracy theory-ish, but trust me it's way more fun than that.)

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John Kendall Hawkins is an American ex-pat freelance journalist and poet currently residing in Oceania.

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