“Get a taste of how it feels to live as a [consumer] in The Architect’s city, surrounded by all of your favourite [products,] […] [in this] short surreal altgame[.]”
“BRAIN YOU LATER (The Architect Saga, Chapter I)” is the start of a new game series, which already proves the high worldbuilding skills of its creators. The introduction scene shows a commercial for a fictitious product called “pet friend”, which reminds me slightly of the popular Sea-Monkeys. However, the pet friends are way bigger and need a single aquarium for themselves. The whole advertising spot follows a dramaturgy that is known of similar videos made in the fifties and sixties, as it does not only show us why this certain product is so great, but also includes a tutorial how to use it. Although, this ad does not only promote the pet friends; it also serves as a promotion for The Architect, “your loving overseer”.
Our character has no known name and seems to be a real Average Joe, just one unremarkable individual living in a world full of pure thoughtless consumers. His apartment looks dingy and is only sparsely furnished: A bed, some nearly empty cupboards, a fridge that could use some stocking, not much more can be seen except for four aquariums. After watching the spot, the protagonist decides to go to a place called “The Paradox”, where lots of different products can be acquired. Of course, there are pet friends to purchase, but also television sets, drinks, plants and even new hands. The last little detail is not important to progress in “BRAIN YOU LATER (The Architect Saga, Chapter I)”, but again it tells us something about the scenario that gets established: Not only everything is disposable, but also everyone.
When the new pet friend is bought and the game cuts back to the apartment, something strange happens. After following the first steps of the ‘manual’ that shows us how to properly take care of the strange lifeform, the creature starts to talk with us. A cryptic conversation about reality, free will, simulations as well as artificial growth begins. You will get more knowledge about your environment as you ever hoped for, though even in the end you will be not completely sure what you just have experienced right now. Maybe our next dive into The Architect Saga will tell us more. [PLAY]