by Moss Scheurkogel
*THE GAME SHOPPER HAS MOVED!*
The new link for this article is: http://gameshop.com.au/blog/thegameshopper/2012/06/01/android-and-the-horrors-and-joys-of-thematic-games/
Thanks for your patience.
When people ask about guilty pleasures, they tend to expect answers that involve trashy reality television or secret crushes on fictional characters. For me, my guilty pleasure is a game; and no, it’s not a game about raising ponies or about seeing the world as an impetuous young elf (although I do like that game, too.)
It’s Android. And at a surface glance, Android might not seem that embarrassing. It’s just a strategy game about solving mysteries. In the future. While portraying a conflicted archetype of a hard-boiled detective or a crooked cop. Or a robot. Who will either sink into despair or rise above their demons. A game in which you attempt to solve a crime not by determining who did it, but by pinning evidence on the patsy you want to go down. While you’re dealing with your estranged ex-wife. Or your daddy issues. Or racial tensions surrounding artificial intelligence and the nature of the soul.
You can see the slippery slope here. Android is a game that revels so much in its theme and pulls so few punches that it has spiralled into depths that would terrify a casual gamer. The game demands so much character development that if you play while wearing a pair of sunglasses, you’re practically LARPing.