@yeso - Thanks for bringing up the issue of “Disco” and what it actually means. I was born in the mid-80’s and grew up in and around Toronto, and I remember automatically assuming that disco did, in fact, suck. This went on for most of my early life, until I became a teenager and started getting into music and realized that, in fact, a lot of what is called “disco,” at least in North America, is pretty awesome.
But in the context of the game, “disco” seems to mean something more all-encompassing, and perhaps something uniquely (Eastern) European, which I am in no way equipped to understand. So your question then got me thinking about what other nuances and references in the game most likely flew straight over my head. My knowledge of intra-European conflict and history is sadly limited, so I suspect there are a lot of jokes I’m not really understanding, and probably a lot more meaningful commentary as well.
I take your point about the maudlin zone in that flashback, and I see where you’re coming from. As a white cishet dude, that scene felt relatable in a way that I chose not to question too deeply. It never struck me as lazily sad-macho, but in retrospect, I can see how it might come across that way. I’d definitely be interested to hear more critical writing about this game from a non-white, non-cishet dude perspective. There never seems to be enough of that in regard to any game that exists, but particularly in regard to this one, where cultural identity and class politics are so salient, it would be valuable.
@JoJoestar - I loved your idea about this game being a vertical slice of a human being, or a mind, or an experience. I’ve been mulling that over for days, and still am not sure how to respond to you in a way that will add meaning to the conversation. But I think you shed light on the one area where this game feels “gamey,” and that is the amnesia aspect. You could argue that it’s necessary, in order to facilitate a character who must cobble his perception of reality back together from fragments of understanding, and rampant alcoholism and drug abuse do create a plausible-enough explanation.
But that got me thinking about how the “vertical slice” could be the aspect of this game that gets picked up and carried forward. Its contribution to the medium, if you will. @exodus is absolutely right to be mad at ZA/UM for knocking it out of the park so emphatically on their first attempt (it’s frankly baffling), and I’m on board for whatever video game they make next (Disco Elysium is slated to become a TV show and a board game, but those don’t interest me much), but I do wonder how they’ll choose to proceed from here.
What’s more interesting? A continuation of Harry’s (or Kim’s, or Cuno’s) story, or more stories told in this world? Or, creating an entirely new story around @JoJoestar’s “vertical slice” idea, in which elements of a character’s psyche wage conversation-wars with each other? I know I’d favour the latter, and I think that gameplay mechanic needs to be picked up and explored in lots of different situations, by lots of different (types of) creators. The question is, how do you make it work, apart from having an amnesiac, alcoholic detective as your protagonist?