Organ trading in space isn’t even the strangest thing in this new game

You sit alone in a drab room lit only by the glow of the terminal in front of you, gasping in your throat as you prepare to press the ominous red “Commerce” button.

The second that button is pressed, you’ll have to get your hands dirty in a frenzied battle shoveling piles of organs for the juiciest and most valuable body parts, all to meet the ever-growing needs of a human body. intergalactic society in decline. It is Space Warlord Organ Trade Simulator, an indie game that puts you in the shoes of an organ trafficker in a very dark future dystopia.

SWOTS It may look and sound like a quirky, quirky indie, but it delivers a thoughtful commentary on capitalism that commodifies the very things we need to survive. Creator Xalavier Nelson Jr. tells Reverse its title is a direct rebuke of modern capitalism that simultaneously glorifies an underrated period in gaming history.

“There are a variety of places Space World Organ Trade Simulator “But one of the most important has been realizing how capitalism has screwed us up and destroyed our ability to process information in a way that still allows us to be human. “

Strange Scaffold is the development label of Xalavier Nelson Jr. He has also worked on games like SkateBIRD, Outlaw of hypnosis, and An airport for aliens currently run by dogs.Courtesy of Xalavier Nelson Jr.

In a way, Space World Organ Trade SimulatorThe organ buying gameplay isn’t the strangest thing about it. Released in December 2021, the game fully supports Microsoft Kinect, the full-body motion sensor released over a decade ago for Xbox 360 in response to the popularity of the Nintendo Wii.

With the Kinect, you didn’t have to use any additional controllers or peripherals. Your body has become the controller. However, the execution leaves a lot to be desired, even after Microsoft has improved the technology over the following years. Kinect support finally slowed down before it was officially stopped in October 2017.

Yet for some reason, a contemporary video game on commercial organs resuscitated the dead device. Nelson says it has a lot to do with a callback to a bygone era when gambling was arguably weirder.

“There is an abundance of weird gaming experiences with a device that you see in the fifth generation and the sixth generation,” he says, “which essentially ceases to the Xbox 360 generation due to the scale of development required. and the number of resources invested in a single Game. “

The Xbox 360 alone worked with a variety of peripherals, including Rock band instruments, a board controller for Dj hero, a keyboard “chatpad“which plugged into the bottom of the controller, and the Large button block used exclusively for The scene ? Games. Meanwhile, Nintendo has long dominated the peripheral scene with accessories such as the NES ROB, the Power Glove, Donkey Kong Bongos, and most recently the entire Labo building kit line.

Kinect’s big gimmick at launch was the fact that it didn’t require any controllers or peripherals.

In the modern game, The goal of most publishers is to acquire as large an audience as possible and keep spending as long as possible, but Nelson argues that this approach means developers “lose the ability to design for specificity.” Instead, he wants to focus on experiences that exemplify the “kind of absurd, empathetic people that we are.” In the case of Space Warlord Organ Trade Simulator, that means catering to a niche group of Kinect enthusiasts among many just for the fun of it.

“We have a small amount of time to inhabit this planet,” says Nelson. “It’s a joy to use this amount of time to bring unnecessary things to life. “

Nelson works with the programmer Sam chiet, which was inspired on a sleepless night to program the Kinect feature for Space Warlord Organ Trade Simulator. In the FAQ section of the game Steam page Nelson writes: “I work with a brilliant and slightly off-balance creative programmer named Sam Chiet, and one day at 3 a.m., I blurred my phone open to find a video of the game working with all the features on a computer. Kinect. And a tablet. And a Wiimote. You know, for the Nintendo Wii (2007).

While the act of programming the Kinect integration wasn’t very difficult, the real challenge was making sure it worked for everyone, assuming they had the right hardware.

“I would say one of the biggest challenges for Kinect is just testing,” he says. “Even until launch day, we couldn’t find anyone else who had a Kinect other than Sam. So there was this internal terror within the team about whether the integration of Kinect really worked or if it would work on more than one hardware configuration.

While Strange Scaffold briefed Microsoft on their plans, they kept the details brief.

“We tried to be as private as possible about what exactly we were doing with the Kinect,” says Nelson. “Because when a multibillion dollar company decides to kill a piece of computer hardware, it doesn’t seem incredibly wise to say, ‘Hey, by the way, we’re going to bring it back. “

Even the SWOTS launch trailer looks like a feverish dream.

Physical juggling organ However, trading with your body feels like a total nightmare, let alone browsing huge lists with hand movements. the Steam FAQ post promises a $ 50 gift card to anyone who could beat the entire game with a Kinect. It hasn’t happened yet, but not for lack of trying.

“Almost every other day I get a somewhat disturbing message with someone’s computer or television set up with a copy of Space Warlord Organ Trade Simulator running on it, and a Kinect sitting in front of that TV, ”Nelson says. “So the answer was people were looking for Kinects and buying adapters for the sake of novelty. It’s the equivalent of “I played a Kinect game in 2022 and all I got was this ugly t-shirt. “

The novelty of a video game with Kinect support today also speaks to the heart of Strange Scaffold’s approach to unconventional storytelling.

SWOTS, for example, delivers his story through pieces of flavor text on organ requests and other rare pieces of text. The first time you start SWOTS you get the briefest of glimpses, with the game set in the distant future, where organs have become the most valuable commodity for a variety of reasons. Through mood text you hear stories about massive galactic warfare as soldiers become your customers, robots search for new organs to replace their failing organs, and the world seems to be teeming with crooks and crooks. .

“I’m fascinated by the idea of ​​telling a story in pieces, by the idea that any piece of a world provides an honest description of reality from its point of view,” Nelson says. “Establish an expectation by using a small piece of flavor text, then using another piece to undermine that expectation and provide a moment of pleasure or horror. It is my bread and my butter.

Each organ even comes with its own stats, including size, condition, and rarity.Strange scaffolding

While integrating Kinect has only been a small piece of the overall puzzle, there are currently no plans to use it, or other peripherals, in the future. Nelson notes, however, that it just depends on the type of game the studio is making. He is not opposed to the idea of ​​using a defunct device again if appropriate. But who knows? Maybe that will change if he ever has to buy that $ 50 gift card.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, Nelson’s favorite Kinect game is Kinect Adventures.

About Cedric Lloyd

Check Also

Live updates: EU launches legal action against UK over Northern Ireland Protocol

©Bloomberg Whitbread sales beat expectations as the UK’s largest budget hotel operator pulled business from …