The best game I played in 2008 wasn’t on a console. It didn’t take a high-end processor to run it and the game was essentially an elaborate extension of the Tower Defense genre. The game was Immortal Defense. You are an ordinary person who has left their body to defend their home planet from invading aliens in hyper space. Using the ability to turn your emotions into weapons, you exist eternally as a spiritual demi-god. Yet as the years go by and you begin to realize that what once made you a hero has now made you a prisoner. Your relationship with the people on your planet and in the galaxy around you begins to change. It does not evolve into a state of understanding or new appreciation, it evolves into a state of alienation. The people you once murdered worship you as a heroic God, the people you once tried to save question your love constantly. The game draws on a wide variety of Hindu elements and philosophical beliefs to communicate these themes. All of this is told through static text sequences and extremely refined game design that lends itself to a superb experience. The average mission takes about five minutes to beat, the difficulty can be customized, and there are over 100 missions to work through. If there is a way to summarize this game into a single question, it would be to ask what if the only thing your existence consisted of was the standard activities you find in a video game? The answer is both profound personally but also questions the very nature of video games themselves.
// Notes from the Road
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