To Be a Giant

The Stanley Parable is thematically related, but aesthetically pretty much the opposite.

You might have noticed that I’ve been thinking a lot about giants lately and about what they mean to me. It’s time to start assembling the game that I’m playing in my mind when I start describing them. So here are some of the rules I’ve been intuiting, and want to bottle:

  1. Giants are objectively terrifying. They not only made (and casually abuse) the Earthen-Beings — the mortals, like you and me — to do their work, but they also challenge the sleeping Great Names themselves. The idea does not yet exist that any one of them is a “person”, even less so the tiny slaves they birthed to do their brutal work for them.
  2. They have a task — a destiny — for which they were made. To defy it is to act hubristically, with the hope that neither the Great Names nor fate itself will notice. Despite their enormous, sky-upholding, god-consuming, mountain-hurling stature, their only choices are petty. I imagine them like middle schoolers, finding out where they can push a rule while plausibly saying that they were doing as they were told in such a way that they can affect the only change they can: making someone else feel pain.
  3. They are immortal, unless their hubris catches up with them. The thing about being immortal is that it’s only a matter of time until something catches up with you. The game takes place at that moment of realization, and ends when it catches up.
  4. Mortals, whom they have crafted from clay to do their work for them, have free will because their destiny is unclear. But the Earthen-Beings also live in fear of the chthonic Giants. Eventually, Tiamut will teach the tiny, momentary, feeble Earthen-Beings how to write and the difference between lies and the truth, but right now, they are little more than wild animals with pointed sticks who live in fear of starvation and ambush by the Earthen Beings of another. The Giants think this makes them easy to control. They don’t know that humans also are developing compassion that gives them solidarity with each other.

The challenge, you’ll note, is making a game about a lack of free will. I expect I’ll have something, tiny and experimental, but playable sometime this month.

Yes, I’ve been playing The Stanley Parable. In some ways, it overlaps profoundly. But not aesthetically.

Modular systems are a function of industrial society. But do people of The Fifth World still know how to agree to standards? With their acute interest in efficiency, I think they might have carried that lesson forward!

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