Tags: Soma

Is Lovecraft too racist for gaming?

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Eurogamer with a screaming hot take on H.P. Lovecraft’s racism. The foundation of the piece, that Lovecraft had some extremely racist opinions even for his time, is not new. What is new is that Eurogamer’s contributor, Sam Greer, proposes that his racism so tainted his work that it should not be used in any context in gaming. In Sam Greer’s view, games recreate the xenophobia and racism inherent in Lovecraft’s writing, but through the sanitization of gameplay, and making it appeal to a general audience, offers no criticism or self-reflection. Additionally, Greer accuses the Mythos of being boring and overused.

It’s time to let go of Lovecraft. No more tentacled multi-eyed monstrosities, no foggy fishing towns or ancient aliens posing as gods. These are jokes and the remnants of a poisonous world view. Let’s move on.

SOMA, Greer writes, is a good example of a game that trades on themes of existential terror and loneliness without invoking Lovecraft. Clanking around the deserted science fiction facility while being chased by mechanical terrors offered a fresh take on cosmic horror, according to Greer. Lovecraft not needed at all.

Where does that put coming titles like Cyanide Studio’s Call of Cthulhu: The Official Video Game or Frogwares’ The Sinking City? Are players cleared to separate the art from the artist, or is the act of gaming in Lovecraft’s universe an implicit approval of his xenophobia?

Is gaming ready for its version of Lovecraft Country?

Soma on Xbox One will have 50% less scares

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Soma is getting an official “safe mode” that removes monster attacks. Frictional Games’ lauded techno-horror game will land on Xbox One on December 1st, and the developers have added a mode that removes monster attacks so the player can freely explore and experience the psychological fear without worrying about running from clumsy automatons. According to Frictional, some mamby-pamby cowards have been too frightened of the monster attacks to play the game. This new version of the game should solve that problem.

Players on PC have had a Wuss Mode mod available almost since launch thanks to the Steam Workshop.

If you’re hiding from monsters, you may as well check out Soma’s backstory

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Frictional Games’ Soma was released on September 22nd, and if you’ve braved the horror game’s corridors already, you probably have a few questions about the plot. Frictional isn’t promising that all questions will be answered, but if you’re itching for some background, they’re releasing an episodic video series showing some of what happened before the game. There are some light spoilers in the video, so if you haven’t panicked your way through Soma, you may want to hold off watching the series until you do. Frictional says they will upload a new episode every day until October 5th. If you do want to watch the video, you should start with the two teasers from the live-action series which were released here and here in 2013 when the game was announced.

Soma is available on PlayStation 4 and Windows PC.

Drink in the Soma-fueled nightmare

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Frictional Games’s latest project is being teased. The newly launched “Soma Systems” site leads to a progress bar (currently at 18%) and some futuristic error messages. According to the “Vivarium” case file on the web page, some researchers have found an ominously primitive item during a salvage mission. The accompanying video (seen above) seems like it could’ve come straight from the depths of the SCP Foundation, which would imply that Frictional is sticking with horror.

Soma, by the way, is a potent drink used in Vedic rituals and appears as a drug in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World as well as Phillip K. Dick’s VALIS. A quote from VALIS appears on the Soma website in a coded message. “It is sometimes an appropriate response to reality to go insane.”