Rap Game Derrida


writer at ZA/UM

IGF-nominated narrative designer/writer 🏴 Games, literature, criticism, OSINT 🏴Prev: Neurocracy, PhDing hypertexts & politics & textual materiality 🏴

The jar of Kraken’s ink on the shelf appears slightly more transparent than the empty space that surrounds it. The glass itself seems to have no thickness, and along some parts of its surface, appears to not even exist at all. This is because unlike other species of squid whose ink absorbs light, the Kraken’s ink rejects light altogether, and spits it out slightly faster than the speed at which it entered.

When the ink is allowed to cling to an opaque substance, its effects are more readily apparent. Rather than obscuring color, it instead corrupts it; the wavelength of reflected light becomes wildly unstable, resulting in a glittering pointillism more complex than the human visual cortex can process. To gaze into this chaotic rainbow for more than a few seconds can result in significant brain trauma.

This plays a key role in the tactics used by the Kraken to attack ocean-bound vessels. Before wrapping its tentacles around the hull, it allows itself to drift just beneath the water’s surface in parallel with the ship’s path. Then, once in range, its ink-jets spray across the starboard side diagonally, painting the masts with a thousand maddening colors. Those above deck are forced to close their eyes or lose their minds; those below can choose to either join them, or wait to be devoured.

How such a singular creature came to exist is not immediately clear; with no natural predators and only seafarers as its prey, it seems as though it could have only come into existence after the emergence of mankind. This hypothesis is further evidenced by the organic weaponry stored inside its body, which seems specialized to exploit the anatomy of creatures with complex brains that live in the path of direct sunlight. Perhaps most compellingly, human bodies provide far too little biomass to sustain such a colossal monster’s diet; as such, its metabolism seems instead to be reliant on the slow digestion of timber.

This evidence has led to the superstition that mankind brought the Kraken to life through storytelling and artwork. A more realistic hypothesis, though perhaps just as far-reaching, is that this lonely beast is the only remaining survivor of a lost era, when monsters like it were plentiful, and adapted specifically to hunting our kind.

Original with secrets here.

What is the best hangout media? Stories where the primary appeal is spending time with the characters and getting to know them and their relationship dynamics.

Pictured: Persona 5

graha tia from final fantasy xiv raising a burger in his hand and marveling at it, openmouthed

final fantasy XIV has a sprawling cast and is surprisingly good at this, particularly in the later expansions. You may have seen this shot on social media before... a lot of the content in the endwalker expansion is hangout-centric

Zin from Trails in the Sky telling the party "At this rate, we're gonna be here forever no one wants to be the first to say bye and leave everyone behind."
Estelle from Trails in the Sky sitting on a bench with Joshua, very excited about her smoked ham sandwich.
Estelle from Trails in the Sky looking at the party and saying "Man, this is the best reunion party ever..."
A trails in the Sky art piece showing the main party--a bunch of people picnicking/drinking under cherry blossom trees.

@lmichet's chost is extremely on point. FFXIV is great for that. It is one of the main reasons I keep playing.

I can think of several JRPGs that depict cool/interesting/touching relationship dynamics (and mechanics)--Fire Emblem: Three Houses, the Atelier game, Xenoblade 2, etc. But sticking close to @bruno's wording ("primary appeal"), I gotta go with Nihon Falcom's Legend of Heroes series--esp. Trails in the Sky and Trails of Cold Steel.

Yeah, there are huge robots and magic and ancient artifacts and big bads. But Sky, for example, is about watching Estelle grow up as much as it is about watching a sprawling cast of characters interact, grow close, grow apart, fall in love, betray each other--whatever--over a number of years, across generations and countries. The Big Anime Shit, villains included, mostly matters because it's personal.

Those personal stakes exist (and matter) because the games are loaded with (not-so-)quiet hangout moments--characters just talking, meals among friends, drinking, fishing, shopping sprees, coming home, villages/cities with uniquely named NPCs that characters (and you) remember, someone who's been away for 100+ hours suddenly popping up with a dumb grin on their faces. People actually miss each other. It's all networks of relationships.

Play the Trails series. You got 200+ hours, right? Right.