I’ve mentioned before that I’m a gamer, but haven’t written much about the subject because…well, almost universally, video game writing is terrible, and bears little resemblance to traditional writing due to a myriad of issues.
But games can explore some great themes, and I think that Deus Ex: Human Revolution has a lot going for it, writing-wise. I would have liked to have written something up once I’ve finished, but Kieron Gillen of Rock Paper Shotgun has beaten me to the punch.
Seriously, you should read this article. Here’s why:
Human Revolution is a meditation on technology’s ability to make us more than human, and the dangers (both perceived and actual) herein. This is a universal, perpetual theme that’s interwoven with civilization. We have been made more than human since our greatn ancestor chimp picked up a rock and bashed the living shit out of something that was trying to kill it.
I’m a cyborg. I am able to write this today because the technologies of antibiotics and surgery were able to remove a malfunctioning organ when I was 24. If this was 200 years ago, I would have died from the common appendicitis. Now, I sit with a hole in my belly, my physiology altered for the better as much as any of the cyborgs in Human Revolution. Equally, unless you’re crouched in the corner of my room, watching over my shoulder, you’re reading this via an internet technology developed to avoid the hammer-footsteps of nukes instantly removing the military’s ability to scream “Fucking hell! We’re fucking fucked!” at each other when the bombs started wiping them out. You could be in an office, or a beach, or a packed train or wherever, and my thoughts are being projected directly to you. And that in turn rests on the technology that made us more than human several thousand years ago, able to transmit thoughts across time and space. The written word allows Plato – 2400 years dead – to project his thoughts directly into the mind of anyone who bothers to read him.
Now seriously, get over there and read it. Then consider maybe playing the game if you haven’t.