Your Body a Temple, or the Postmodern Prometheus

by Charm Cochran profile


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Beautiful, November 12, 2023

Your Body a Temple takes a dark premise—your body has been destroyed, and you’re now choosing from a variety of “spare parts” that will form you a new one—and turns it into a fun, powerful game. You're presented with four options for each significant body part (face, torso, arms, legs, genitals), which range from a robot head to live branches, and seeing what the slate would be each time was a big part of the appeal. But what really makes the game excellent is the narrative voice. An unnamed person, referred to with she/her pronouns, is building this body for you, speaking to you as she works. She describes each potential option—its pros and cons, the ways it will affect your new life—in a caring, maybe slightly fussy, voice that’s rich with personality and sets a tone of lightness and kindness even as you can build yourself a face of nightmares and arms of live wires.

The intention of getting revenge on those who hurt you is mentioned, but it's left up to the player to decide what that will mean. There’s a human option for each body part, and the descriptions of those note that while they will offer connection with others, they also make you vulnerable. Monstrous/inhuman parts, on the other hand, will help you protect yourself and/or be a threat, at the cost of possibly driving others away. But embracing your humanity may be the best revenge after all: a “distressingly human” face “asserts personhood in the face of dehumanization. It declares agency in the face of destruction. This is a face that demands to be remembered. It is a face that haunts assailants' dreams.”

As has likely been evident from the get-go, this is a very trans story. Beyond just the conceit of choosing one’s own body, the genital options include a “masculinized orifice” and a “feminized appendage”, with no standard P or V in sight. And in a choice that feel adjacent in the way it inverts cultural beauty standards, the human option for the torso is “fat”, and its description pushes back against any negative connotations: “This is a torso built for intimacy. You will be good at cuddling, good at warming others.” In its queering of bodies and embrace of other-ness, even monstrousness, this game is quite beautiful.

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