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Author Topic: Yet another "loved this game" thread with comments and questions [SPOILERS]  (Read 9712 times)

Offline Findswoman

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OK, this game made a significant impression on me, and I've been meaning to write this post for a while now; it's just been a matter of (a) letting all the awesome intricacies fully sink in, (b) collecting my thoughts, and (c) getting the time to sit down and write a proper post. In a nutshell, I consider it one of the most exquisitely beautiful, intellectually rich, and thought-provoking computer games I've ever had the pleasure to play, and it's left me with an overflow of thoughts and questions that I would love to discuss further.

First--without meaning to start a big sticky religious discussion--I loved the fact that the main character has religious convictions that were not simply dismissed as being fanatical, illogical, or just plain silly. Rather I very much got the impression that Horatio's desire to build, rebuild, and help the lost stemmed in large part from his belief in Man. And it's interesting to see that Horatio's deep respect for those who build even goes back to his career as the airship Horus. (The log sequence was one of my favorite parts of the game--makes me choke up a little, even.)

Second (and I've chatted with Mark a bit about this already), given Horatio's faith, it seems rather funny--perhaps ironic--that the only Primordial Steward he doesn't get to meet in the course of the game is Steeple--though admittedly the ones he does get to meet are all either inactive or dead except for MetroMind. I was left with quite a bit of curiosity about Steeple--are we supposed to consider him "one o' the good ones," or not? Whose side was he really on?

Lots of thoughts and questions on the endings, because there are so many of them and they are all so interesting:

On endings, part 1: In the "use Thanatos on the radio tower" ending, what exactly is being "thanatosed"? The city of Metropol? All of the Earth? And what is the significance of showing the candles and lamps at that moment (other than, of course, the fact that it's yet another exquisite piece of artwork by Victor P. ;) )? I guess those are the same ones sitting up on the high shelf in the UNNIIC/Horus?

On endings, part 2: When you use Thanatos on Scraper, is it only shutting down Scraper, or is it shutting down MetroMind, too? It's hard to tell, because on one hand she screams out "What have you done?!" and her screen goes blank, but on the other hand Horatio's comment "Find your darkest tunnel and hide" suggests that he thinks MM is still alive, just beaten into submission.

On endings, part 3: Anyone else get the impression that there's a sort of Minority Report-like thing at work with the endings where you just say "yes" or "no" to MM's offer to merge? Much is made in the commentary track of MetroMind's ambiguous moral status in the final scenes of the game, but one of the things that really made up my mind about her was finding from both of these outcomes what she was capable of doing: either (a) assimilating me Borg-fashion or (b) killing me.

Many thanks once again, and much kudos!
... Findswoman

Offline MarkYohalem

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Re: Yet another "loved this game" thread with comments and questions [SPOILERS]
« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2013, 11:41:36 PM »
Sorry for the slow reply!  Here goes!  (Cross-posted on GOG.com.)

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I was left with quite a bit of curiosity about Steeple--are we supposed to consider him "one o' the good ones," or not? Whose side was he really on?
I always thought of him as a good guy, but Starmaker had a pretty devastating take-down of him, here: http://www.gog.com/forum/primordia/is_primordia_antireligious/post6

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In the "use Thanatos on the radio tower" ending, what exactly is being "thanatosed"? The city of Metropol? All of the Earth? And what is the significance of showing the candles and lamps at that moment (other than, of course, the fact that it's yet another exquisite piece of artwork by Victor P. ;) )? I guess those are the same ones sitting up on the high shelf in the UNNIIC?
My own view was that it wiped every AI within the radio-broadcast cone of the Council Tower, which included Horatio's ship (as the propaganda broadcasts at the beginning indicate).  Starmaker posited a theory that it only affected Metropolitan AIs, and the moth was a spy, which she elaborates here: http://www.gog.com/forum/primordia/obvious_spoilers_who_has_finished_this_game_d/post37

As with all her interpretations of the game, it's a clever and careful reading of the lore, though it diverges from my own.

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When you use Thanatos on Scraper, is it only shutting down Scraper, or is it shutting down MetroMind, too? It's hard to tell, because on one hand she screams out "What have you done?!" and her screen goes blank, but on the other hand Horatio's comment "Find your darkest tunnel and hide" suggests that he thinks MM is still alive, just beaten into submission.
As I mentioned in a recent thread, my own intent was that it only knocked out Scraper.

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Anyone else get the impression that there's a sort of Minority Report-like thing at work with the endings where you just say "yes" or "no" to MM's offer to merge? Much is made in the commentary track of MetroMind's ambiguous moral status in the final scenes of the game, but one of the things that really made up my mind about her was finding from both of these outcomes what she was capable of doing: either (a) assimilating me Borg-fashion or (b) killing me.
Borg-assimilation isn't necessarily evil.  MetroMind's view is that robot-kind is doomed by power and material shortages unless some kind of singularity occurs; to achieve that singularity, she's trying to create a single massive parallel computer.  She might be wrong about the doom (although the world does seem pretty bleak), and she probably *is* wrong about whether her methods will achieve a singularity, but I'm not sure it's per se evil to prioritize the collective good over individual freedom.  (In my own view, those who routinely justify themselves with the slogan "for the common good, we must sacrifice the individual" tend to sacrifice individuals for the common *bad*, but reasonable minds can differ on that point.)

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Thanks again, kudos galore, and looking forward to more wonderful things from Wadjet Eye and Wormwood! Bravissimi!
Thanks!
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Offline Nimrod-0

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I had always thought that transmitting the Thanatos Virus via the tower 'disabled' everything within the signal range, which I'm guessing was pretty far. If I'm not mistaken, the Thanatos virus was uploaded to Goliath by the human crew aboard the UNIIC (or Horus), so we have already seen first hand the effect it has.

Offline Findswoman

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If I'm not mistaken, the Thanatos virus was uploaded to Goliath by the human crew aboard the UNIIC (or Horus), so we have already seen first hand the effect it has.

I got the impression that all the events recorded in the Horus's log--including the sending of the virus to Goliath--took place only after Horus's human crew is all gone... doesn't it say right at the beginning of the log sequence that there are no humans present and only one servitor (i.e., the 'bot that will eventually become Horatio)? It's been a little while, though, and I'm not in a place where I can easily double-check. But yes, the Goliath scenes do give us a first-hand an idea of exactly what this virus can do. (And then the Fallen story gives us a little bit of background about why!)

Offline MarkYohalem

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Yes, Findswoman is correct, the start of the log indicates that the human crew has been wiped out, which is why the HORUS's AI takes control.  Otherwise, your take is correct, Nimrod!  (Or, at least, is coincides with my authorial intent.)
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Offline Nimrod-0

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So.. I suppose Fallen takes place before Horatio gets into Metropol, because the bot was looking for a power source to Metropol. But it couldn't have been S.C.R.A.P.E.R. because he refers to himself as 'Autonomous 8'.

Or was her crew humans fighting in the war of the four cities? I didn't think so, because the bot acted as if he'd never seen a human before, and there were supposed to be a few thousand of them before Metromind gassed them.

It's pretty cool how deep you guys were able to take the story.  ;D

Offline MarkYohalem

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I never even thought about the possibility that SCRAPER and Autonomous 8 could be one and the same!

Technically, "Fallen" takes place some indeterminate time after Primordia.  (Unfortunately, the press materials for "Fallen" called it a prequel, which led to some confusion.) 
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Offline Findswoman

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I don't know... Autonomous 8 (which always reminds me of Anonymous 4) seems too articulate to be the same robot as Scraper. In any case, I don't think of Scraper as being nearly so garrulous and talkative!

Plus, my understanding is that the story of Fallen was designed to work with any of the possible endings to Primordia--and if Autonomous and Scraper are one and the same, the story won't work with the "use Thanatos on Scraper" ending. Or am I totally wrong about that? I may have to reread the story...

Offline MarkYohalem

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It works with any ending other than using Thanatos to wipe out everything.
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Offline Findswoman

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Ah, that makes sense. And now you just have to write a sequel that accounts for that ending! ;)

I'm trying to think who the precedent for Autonomous 8 within the game might be... obviously it has to be someone who's surrendered all (or much) to MetroMind. A subsequent reincarnation of Laurence, maybe?

Offline Nimrod-0

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I never even thought about the possibility that SCRAPER and Autonomous 8 could be one and the same!

Technically, "Fallen" takes place some indeterminate time after Primordia.  (Unfortunately, the press materials for "Fallen" called it a prequel, which led to some confusion.)

Well that leaves a lot to think about!

So, the Thanatos virus wipes out every single bot on Earth? Or is it only bots within the radius of the tower's transmission?

Offline Findswoman

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Well that leaves a lot to think about!

So, the Thanatos virus wipes out every single bot on Earth? Or is it only bots within the radius of the tower's transmission?

I had been wondering the very same thing, and when I asked Mark about it further up in this thread, his answer was the latter--only bots within the broadcast radius.

Though gee, if bots elsewhere on earth have access to the "Voice of Metropol" via the Primordia universe's equivalent of Sirius or XM... now, that could definitely have some serious effects!

I guess this means there's more to that "Voice of Metropol" station than just the audio. Or is the Thanatos virus working in this case somehow like a touch-tone--a purely auditory signal that nevertheless causes something to happen on the receiver's end?

Offline MarkYohalem

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if bots elsewhere on earth have access to the "Voice of Metropol" via the Primordia universe's equivalent of Sirius or XM
That is essentially the humans' plan in "Fallen."

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Or is the Thanatos virus working in this case somehow like a touch-tone--a purely auditory signal that nevertheless causes something to happen on the receiver's end?
It's definitely a magical piece of technology, but the basic idea is that it's a data packet that destroys any AI that receives the data.  I suppose it could be as fatal if transmitted by some means other than radio, although that's how it was "weaponized."
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Offline Nimrod-0

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Or is the Thanatos virus working in this case somehow like a touch-tone--a purely auditory signal that nevertheless causes something to happen on the receiver's end?
It's definitely a magical piece of technology, but the basic idea is that it's a data packet that destroys any AI that receives the data.  I suppose it could be as fatal if transmitted by some means other than radio, although that's how it was "weaponized."

But Horatio was able to fix Goliath, and the Thanatos virus was used on it. So does the virus completely erase/deactivate the AI's OS when it receives it, or does it just "power it down"?

Offline MarkYohalem

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I guess my thinking was that Goliath was fast enough to dump his personal matrix into the servitors (A, B, and G) before Thanatos completely scrambled his circuitry.  Horatio then rebooted the system (i.e., when you fix the sparking brain), the servitors uploaded themselves, and Goliath reconstituted himself.

The exact mechanics of that are kind of dubious. :)
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