Hein (fub) wrote,

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Rogue Legacy, a subversive game

We're all raised with the idea that if you work hard enough, success will automatically follow. And if it doesn't? Well, you just haven't worked hard or smart enough!

But we also know that is a lie. Some people have parents who can give them the resources to get an advantage. I'm the third generation of my family who went to university, but klik was the first of her family. A university-schooled family tends to get the higher-paying jobs and value education more, which results in more of their offspring to get into university. And that is only one way that your parents' situations (and other 'environmental' factors) determine your outcomes.

This is best illustrated in a game that I bought recently in the Steam Autumn Sale, Rogue Legacy.

'Rogue' is a text-mode dungeon crawling game that uses randomly generated dungeons. And that's where the 'Rogue' from the title comes from: it's an action platformer, but the dungeons you cross (or the castle, or the swamp) are randomly generated. So far, so good.
But the 'Legacy' part is the subversive part. You see, your character is the founder of a bloodline of heroes who all go off into the dungeon. If you die, you choose one of the offspring of your hero to continue. The money your parent gathered can be invested in better equipment, or a better mansion so that you have better health or more mana. So equipped, you enter the castle once again and try to gain as much gold as you can to make life easier for the next generation. With that gold, your offspring can better their station after your inevitable demise.

You do this for a few generations, and indeed: the castle becomes easier to navigate because of the better equipment, increased hitpoints and what-not. Having it as one of the main mechanics of the game makes it very, very obvious how these things work. In this way, it's a very subversive game, because it demonstrates that it's not just hard work that makes you a success.

(As for the game itself: it's terribly good fun. You can choose from three children for the next generation, and they all have their own class, spell ability and traits. Sometimes they're colorblind (which means you'll see everything in greyscale), sometimes they're giants (so they're bigger) and sometimes they have irritable bowel syndrome and fart with every jump you make.
Every adventure in the dungeon is a mad rush to find chests containing as much gold, so that you can give your next generation a boost so they can get further into the dungeon. Sometimes you fail miserably, sometimes you succeed.)
Tags: games, society

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