IFcomp 2016: The Skyscraper and the Scar

And now: “The Skyscraper and the Scar”. Zombies and violence!

We have a zombie apocalypse game, and its author appears to be somewhat less conversant with English than is comfortable. The game offers two different languages, and I suspect it might have been originally written in the other language and then translated. The translation doesn’t always work: there are some rather odd word choices or phrasings, a couple of which come across as creative, but for the most part I don’t think they work.

The story takes place mostly in a skyscraper where a lot of people have sought shelter in the wake of the zombie menace. Society in the tower has devolved into a sort of feudal police state–realistically enough–in which a single distant and mysterious figure sits at the top, while a cadre of “Neighbourhood Patrol” volunteers enforces the laws, protects the community, and takes what perks they can bully out of the ordinary people. Meanwhile, there is apparently this one zombie with a scar in its chest, who seems to have a bit more intelligence than the ordinary shambling beast, and who might be something different.

There is supposedly some complex stat-tracking involved to determine the sort of person you are based on your choices; presumably there are alternate actions available to people who play a certain way, but I do not think I saw anything that appeared as a result of being “character appropriate” as opposed to being an immediate result of the previous action. Perhaps I haven’t explored deeply enough, or perhaps the alernative choices require adherence to a much narrower and more specific path than the ones I trod.

What I did find was a rather bleak depiction of a post-apocalyptic society. I don’t know that a lot of it really makes sense: the perks of being with the Neighbourhood Patrol seems rather disproportionate compared to what is available, and it’s important to remember that the world these survivors inhabit is not sustainable: there’s going to come a point very soon (perhaps in less than a week) when no-one is going to have any food left, and someone like Mr 70, the “feudal lord”, ought to be aware of this and taking steps to mitigate the situation, even if it’s only to maintain his own power for a little longer. The scarred zombie seems to have some sort of control over the general zombie horde, but I don’t understand why or how … and for someone set up as being as significant as he is, attacking him or joining him both seem like somewhat anticlimactic options.

As a breakfast, it’s maybe cold pizza and strong coffee. Everyone loves pizza, and we’re all familiar with what it entails; but didn’t we just have this yesterday? And I’m afraid something may have been lost in the translation. The coffee gives us a bit of a kick, at least.

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