Number of Reviews: 3
Write a review An ultra-surreal game about hypercubes, Berkeley, and set theory, April 10, 2022
This is the third game by this duo, the other two in the past having been very long, surreal games, one of which reflected a psychotic break and really felt like what such a thing would be to experience.
This game starts with the first author confessing that he/she (both pronouns are used) made sexual advances to their trans step son whom they've lived with for 9 years, and that it has ruined the partnership of the two authors, after most of this game had been written, and that the author is trying to make up for it.
Much of this game isn't real, so it's hard to know if this is, but it certainly seems so, which is sobering and disturbing.
The rest of the game focuses mostly on a few recurring themes:
-The idea of very large cardinal sets and non-principal ultrafilters on them. This is an area of math that is extremely abstract, especially since (as mentioned by the author) most of these things are non-constructible and cannot be proven to exist in any meaningful way under normal mathematical assumptions.
-The author's life at the Lothlorien coop in Berkeley, which still exists and houses people today.
-The idea of using psychic energy to communicate with Hong Kong singer Deng Ziqi telepathically.
-The author's relationship with Staci (who I believe is also Maev?)
The game is laid out on a six-dimensional hypercube, corresponding to 6 binary digits, corresponding to the 6 cardinal directions N,E,S,W,U, and D. Unlike most games and real life, N and S are not opposites and have no relation to each other. Instead, going North cancels itself out, so going N twice will bring you back to where you started.
Not all 64 options are filled; about 20 or so are empty 'unfinished' rooms. One room had its connections backwards (so that going U and D changed the N and S bits), which may or may not be intentional. The room names are based on the binary numbers.
In the rooms are found items, one at a time or zero. There are lots of scenery objects described in the text but none are implemented.
I received around 432 points (I think) out of 530 or so. There is no overarching goal outside of 'binding' some items together in a chain, which just gives more points. One room contains a complete walkthrough for the bindings.
Overall, as a game it continues the glimpse into a surreal world offered by the previous games, but the confession at the beginning overshadows everything else and renders it all heartbreaking.