consciousness hologram

by Kit Riemer profile

Science Fiction
2018

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Number of Reviews: 10
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
An actual legit review (I liked this game), May 22, 2021

I'm still thinking about "consciousness hologram" days after I finished playing it. Which means that it was probably a success.

This game feels like a callback to an earlier era of twine. It echoes a lot of the stylistic elements present in porpentine's work, especially howling dogs. The opening was especially reminiscent: you play as some person living in a vaguely futuristic controlled environment (a Martian pyramid habitat), being fed synthesized semi-foods, with heavy suggestions that you live in a simulation.

As with howling dogs, the basic mechanic is a progression over several days, where on each day you wake up in your room and do stuff to escape your despair. Unlike with howling dogs, there is a quite bit more "freedom" for the player character (but not necessarily for the player): they can visit different areas of the habitat, try to contact various acquaintances, and eventually exit for a walk on the surface. But most of these choices are proscribed in some way, either by the AIs that run the habitat or the protagonist's own mental state. This is a story about depression, after all. So the story ends up being mostly linear, with a few major choices that are not necessarily marked as such until near the ending. There are multiple endings, but I haven't replayed to try to see them.

I had some trouble getting past the first day: (Spoiler - click to show)I visited the archive room first before visiting James' old room and the air filter, so I didn't know what to do with the code. I didn't realize that I had to go back to the archive and try to view James' files again.

There is a lot going on in the game. Multiple narrators talk in different fonts and colors. The writing is sometimes obscure in the way that twine games circa 2012 often were. Random physical objects are imbued with both metaphorical meaning and power within the game universe. Links-as-character-actions are mixed with pure hypertext. Everything is interspersed with thematically relevant quotes from utilitarian writers, transhumanists, and the like. It's great at establishing a sense of tension and anxiety, and overwhelming the reader with a kaleidoscope of ideas, but makes the main narrative a bit hard to follow.

As explained in the afterword, the main rhetorical angle here is kind of a reductio ad absurdum of the transhumanist utopia. It's fully automated luxury space communism, but people aren't happier, because they are still lonely and isolated and don't have a reason to live. Some of the transhumanist quotes seem to be placed in a way to show the absurdity or horror inherent in these ideas. "Wireheadding" is a concept that's played around a bit; (Spoiler - click to show) the Martian habitat has extensively used brain stimulation techniques to make people happier and to reduce aggression, but it only succeeded in the latter; depression and suicide (or "opting out") are ever-present plagues. You later discover that your friend James had committed suicide in an attempt to attack the system. But at the end of the story, in the ending I reached, there's still a sense of hope. Even though you're just living in a simulation, because you managed to connect with at least one other person.

Overall, I think this story worked for me partly because I'm predisposed to enjoy the "early 2010s twine" aesthetic. "Thought provoking" is a vague and generic descriptor, but this game really did make me think about its ideas. I'm not sure if I agree with it at the end, but it was worth experiencing.


1 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Rip-off, May 19, 2021

The game was alright but I can't give a positive review in good conscience when it's such an obvious progenitor of solipsism for commodore 64. I'm an artist, I get it, art is derivative by nature but it feels too cliché to rip off one of the most iconic text-adventure titles of the 80s. if you want a fully fleshed out speculative fiction text game revolving around the idea of transhumanism i suggest you search for a rom of solipsism. you'll get what i mean.


1 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
very confusing, May 19, 2021
by enviousworm
Related reviews: spam

i tried to play the game but it made my name conrad? i dont want to be named conrad! that wasn't my name! but when i went to check my ID to make sure, it turns out my name actually IS conrad? help, please.


3 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
An absolute casserole, May 19, 2021
by bakedfood
Related reviews: hard, so, tried, I, end, the, In

[Verse 1: Mike Shinoda & Chester Bennington]
(It starts with one) One thing, I don't know why
It doesn't even matter how hard you try
Keep that in mind, I designed this rhyme
To explain in due time all I know
Time is a valuable thing
Watch it fly by as the pendulum swings
Watch it count down to the end of the day
The clock ticks life away, it's so unreal (It's so unreal)
Didn't look out below
Watch the time go right out the window
Tryin' to hold on, didn't even know
I wasted it all just to watch you go
I kept everything inside
And even though I tried, it all fell apart
What it meant to me will eventually be
A memory of a time when I tried so hard

[Chorus: Chester Bennington]
I tried so hard and got so far
But in the end it doesn't even matter
I had to fall to lose it all
But in the end it doesn't even matter

[Verse 2: Mike Shinoda & Chester Bennington]
One thing, I don't know why
It doesn't even matter how hard you try
Keep that in mind, I designed this rhyme
To remind myself how I tried so hard
In spite of the way you were mockin' me
Actin' like I was part of your property
Rememberin' all the times you fought with me
I'm surprised it got so far
Things aren't the way they were before
You wouldn't even recognize me anymore
Not that you knew me back then
But it all comes back to me in the end
You kept everything inside
And even though I tried, it all fell apart
What it meant to me will eventually be
A memory of a time when I tried so hard
[Chorus: Chester Bennington]
I tried so hard and got so far
But in the end it doesn't even matter
I had to fall to lose it all
But in the end it doesn't even matter

[Bridge: Chester Bennington]
I've put my trust in you
Pushed as far as I can go
For all this
There's only one thing you should know
I've put my trust in you
Pushed as far as I can go
For all this
There's only one thing you should know

[Chorus: Chester Bennington]
I tried so hard and got so far
But in the end it doesn't even matter
I had to fall to lose it all
But in the end it doesn't even matter


3 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
tryhard, May 19, 2021

the game tries so hard to deal with all these cool literary concepts but in the end it spills them from its hand like when i spill the groceries on the driveway when i carry them from the car. i would recommend playing SPY INTRIGUE instead for a significantly more cohesive experience.


2 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
not enough worms, May 19, 2021

(Warning: This review might contain spoilers. Click to show the full review.)so you’re probably thinking: what’s the right number of worms for something to have? and the answer is: it really varies. but this piece of fiction just does not have enough of them. let’s consider the criteria. first of all, is the main character a worm? is the main character a worm in a meaningful way? the problem is that in an isolated pyramidal mars colony community, there is no “organic” or “decomposition” beyond that of the human body. given human anatomy, the presence of a worm or any variety, be it platyhelmenthes or our garden variety earth worm, is out of place at best and parasitic at worse. where is the celebration of the simple worm’s presence as a regenerating force in the life cycle? where is the richness of loamy earth, of leaf mould and the scraping radula of snails? even in scenes where a character is dead or decomposing, worms are not centralized, despite the fact that worms are essential for the decomposition of organic matter in healthy ecosystems. so not only is there no worms, there is no healthy ecosystem within which the worm can flourish. there is only human flesh, human artifice, and the barren wastes of a landscape inhospitable to any form of life we can recognize and empathize with. you do not care for worms. your friends do not care for worms. the humble worm does not haunt this story; it is not even in it. 1/5 stars for effort


3 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
Review of Conciousness, Hologram, May 19, 2021

So I go forward and then think I'm making progress, but then it just starts over and I have to start going again, there's almost no warning and no indicator that it's gonna happen. Sometimes it looks like there's something off to the side but you can only get a like a shadow of it, or maybe a reflection, but it doesn't show up. Once in a while it looks like a still image stretching to become the next image but it doesn't stop from image to image, it just keeps going, not really like a video, its a different sort of look to it. I really don't know why I can't get all the colors to work at once, or can only get it to display everything like a rainbow: there's contrasting color options that let you see the image, or you can see just the shape of the image is supposed to represent.

For both all together, though. Stuff is just too bright sometimes, it was easier to go through some parts with my eyes closed once I got the hang of it.


3 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
We have not sinned enough, May 19, 2021

Do you remember the first time you got lost in a Costco?
Do you remember getting an F in Math class?
Do you remember going to Sunday School?
Do you remember learning to drive?
Do you remember the first time you stubbed your toe?
Do you remember the first time you got high?
Do you remember the first time you got high at work?
Do you remember getting pushed into the pool?
Do you remember being born?
This game is like that.


1 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
i mean wario but braile sounded pretty good, May 19, 2021

I beat it in nine minutes with the word "fuffelhaven." Lying down now


1 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
it’s the apology for me, May 18, 2021

first off i would like to apologize. to all my little pogchamps, i’m sorry pilled. i was cringe pilled. i was saying i was a volcel but really i was an incel. i was trying to be chad coded but i’m really virgin pilled. to all the himbo simps who supported me, f in chat. thank you



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