Thursday, December 16, 2004


Why in god's name did I buy this growlanser thing> I seem to have a pavlovian reaction when presented with Working Designs games. In many ways, I think that their greatest skill is self-promotion. It certainly isn't game selection--Vay, anyone? Vanguard Bandits? Sure, Alundra is swell, and the Lunar games are rather sweet. And yet, I keep getting sucked in by their populist attitude and by the fulsome praise they heap on even the most mediocre game (because they don't actually *make* games, they can do that without sounding obnoxiously egotistical--neat trick, that), and so now I have Growlanser Generations. I've barely touched it; it may turn out to be a decent game or two (although I had immediately turn off the voice acting, which made me die a little inside), but let's face it, I could have lived without it. And I CERTAINLY could have lived without the wretched excess that is the "deluxe" edition. Let me helpfully run down all the crap you get for an extra forty bucks.
--Deck of playing cards. They have a Growlanser back and special jokers. Phft. You've got to be kidding me. If each card had a new front, that would be one thing, but this ain't much.
--Ring. Pretty enough, if a bit gaudy. You could wear it, but let's face it, you're not going to. You're going to fondle it for a bit then forget about it.
--Watch. Pretty nice, actually, especially compared to that bug-ugly thing that you got for preordering Arc Collection. I wouldn't necessarily recommend it, but you could probably wear it in public...or at least, you could if you could figure out how to open the clasp. It's beyond me.
--Soundtrack. This is the only thing that I thought might actually be worth having in some concrete sense, since I greatly enjoyed the Lunar soundtracks. But no; as it turns out, this contains one fair-to-middling vocal track and a whole lotta instantly forgettable background music. Whoo.

Basically, this package is a microcosm of everything that is wrong with our rampantly consumeristic society--a whole lotta STUFF purely for the sake of having more STUFF. Because, whether we admit it or not, we think that having more STUFF is going to fill the void left by a society that has traded in any higher values it may once have had for sheer naked greed. Obviously, I'm not immune from this syndrome. But damned if I like it. I'm not blaming Working Designs in particular here; they didn't create this system, and in any case, this is a fairly innocuous example. Nonetheless, I find it worrying. SOMEONE has got to do something to break this system.


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