I can’t speak for the rest of humanity, but it’s rare that I give my memories a second thought. Most events that present a significant degree of adversity in my life, are handled without much effort. I tuck them away in a dead place in the recesses of the darkest corners of my heart. Yet, every so often, the visceral ones resurface. You know the ones I’m talking about: the big heart break, an extreme physical trauma, or an event of abject horror; they are the memories that live in the recesses of our minds we hope never come back up. For reasons I can’t explain, sometimes I’ll bring back the terror of being struck by a car while riding a bicycle from university. On darker nights, I can recall the metal of a prop-gun pressed behind my head as someone tried to mug me, and the pent up rage when I fought back. I find myself pretty lucky that these memories seldom come back. Others can’t help but relive their trauma every time they close their eyes. Like I said before, I never gave my memories a second thought, that is; until I played Transistor.
At its core, Transistor is all about memories. When players travel through each level, the disembodied voice of the narrator regards certain places with a hint of nostalgia. When the game wants to take a break from the plot, a random door appears and takes you to Red’s Beach, a place for players to engage in various challenges that help digest the enemies they encountered and practice skill they’ve acquired. Heck, there’s even a hammock that fills the screen with a virtual sunset while the music of previous stages plays in the back ground. Throw in a pack of Coronas, and you’ve got yourself a commercial.
It’s safe to say that Transistor wants you to revel in memories, and it accomplishes this by treating memories as a modular resource, but what does that mean? Let’s look at the general gist of the game. Transistor follows the revenge story of Red, a singer with a stolen voice, sealed away in a sword called Transistor, which just happens to take the imprint traces of the recently deceased, weaponizing them into abilities called Functions. The abilities Red gains usually relates to the sum culmination of the soul’s life experiences. For example, if Red finds the soul of a magician and uses it, she disappears from combat. The more functions Red adds to her arsenal, the more the player can mix and match the different powers to invent a unique player style. How unique? In total, there are 22,283,705,698,113 combinations of Transistor Functions. That’s a lot of customization, but there’s a bold statement behind that fact, which is punctuated by the end of the game. The true nature of the weapon, the enemy, and the plot of the game, all which I won’t spoil, seem suggest that I should treat my memories even the sad ones, as tools rather than the crippling bouts of sadness that used wash over me.
To label this approach as “thinking positive” would be disservice to some of those memories, and to the general message the game sent to me. Instead, Transistor makes me want to accept those memories as part of who I am to fuel my ambitions in a different way. A friend of my once said, “Transistor is about the souls of the dead, protecting those that are alive” and in a way, he’s right. My memories aren’t there to torture me, but can be used to make me smarter, stronger, and more determined to complete a new year of resolutions.
Blog / Library / General Updates
I know I’m late to the party, but HAPPY NEW YEARS GUYS! Like every new trip around the sun, I lend myself to continue the age old tradition of making a resolution. This year, I resolve to play more video games. Maybe it’s a weird thing to say, but I could count the number of games I finished this year on both hands:
- Alan Wake
- Alan Wake’s American Nightmare
- The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (didn’t finish, but put a lot of hours into it)
- Never Alone
- Shovel Knight
- The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
- The Typing of The Dead: Overkill
Along with the games I’m always playing because I have a problem
- Clash Royale
Since more gaming means more writing, I’m more than happy to indulge.
I’m also glad I got to finish Transistor, which was just so full of depth that I had way too much to write about. Here’s some of the ideas I came up with:
- · Memories, Music, and the Mind: How Transistor teaches us the value of existence.
- · Transistor: Digital life in the post-human apocalypse.
- · How the best story is the one that’s never told.
In general, there was so much to write about for a game that I finished in a couple of weekends. My total playing time with Transistor clocked in at about 16 hours, two of which I spent in a New Game Plus mode just to come up with more writing ideas. In the end, I thought it was best to write about how the game changed the way I approached my darker memories.
Now that that’s out of the way…
- The Typing of The Dead: Overkill
ACQUIRED (Fuck you Winter Sale)
- Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition
- Dark Souls II
- Invisible Inc.
Already started Dark Souls, since I plan to finally beat this game. So far, let’s just say Dark Soul’s is so meta, installing it is probably part of the game.
Till next time!