Triage Simulator 2019

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Upthorn
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Triage Simulator 2019

Postby Upthorn » Wed Sep 04, 2019 4:31 am

"Pathologic 2 is like a video game adaptation of Pathologic" -Grosezero (on Youtube)

Pathologic was a bizarre Russian indie game about being a doctor in an isolated village facing an apocalyptic plague. I never played it, because the translation was legendarily bad, and I never managed to get around to learning Russian. Apparently the gameplay was also pretty jank, and consisted primarily of walking across town, making rounds of house calls, never quite knowing if any given patient actually needed the visit.

Pathologic 2 is the studio's attempt to revisit their masterpiece of writing and try to turn it into a masterpiece of gaming, by adding actual game mechanics to their video game.

Although the early reception by both critics and player missed the point so hilariously as to be memetic, I believe they were successful.

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(Pathologic 2's Steam Discussion forums on release day, paraphrased).

Pathologic 2 is a game about being a human being, with limited abilities and resources, in a world that needs superhuman effort to save. You are faced with constant decisions about how best to make use of your resources to survive, thrive, and save as many people as you can, in a decaying surreal world with strange taboos you must learn when to honor and when to transgress.

The town is impoverished. From day 1, there's barely enough food to go around, and the economy is beginning to experience hyperinflation because their scheduled supply shipment is late. If you can manage to negotiate the complex web of scavenging and trading well enough to keep yourself from starving for the first couple of days, you'll find the town beset by a mysterious plague so infectious that even the buildings develop lesions. This is when the stress really begins to set in.

Every resource you can use to save someone else, is a resource that you, yourself, need to survive. And resources are scarce from the get-go, only growing scarcer as time goes on. Unlike in many narrative driven games, time does not wait for you, and every moment you spend doing one thing is a moment you cannot spend doing another. There is literally not enough time to do everything that needs to be done, and every event you complete, or fail, has consequences that aren't necessarily predictable.

I spent much of day 4 scavenging the town for a barrel of water I could convince people to drag to my friend's house, so she could set up a homeless shelter, only to be informed at the end of the day that my failure to do so had prevented the plague from spreading into her district of the city.

The narrative arc of the game unfolds over twelve days. After two weeks of play, I've only made it to the end of day 4. This isn't because the game is long, though. It's because, as it progresses, it becomes increasingly stressful to play. I find myself, more and more, giving into the urge to go back and do things differently, because there is too much I didn't manage to do. I'm not good at triage. I want to be everywhere. I want to save everyone, even though the loading screen tells me explicitly that I can't.

This game is physically and emotionally exhausting to play, but it's also fulfilling in a way I can't describe or explain.

Here, maybe just watch this well thought out, halfway coherent review.
How fleeting are all human passions compared with the massive continuity of ducks.

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zaratustra
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Re: Triage Simulator 2019

Postby zaratustra » Wed Sep 04, 2019 6:09 am


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Upthorn
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Re: Triage Simulator 2019

Postby Upthorn » Wed Sep 04, 2019 9:11 am

I understand that perspective, but I also feel like Ice-Pick Lodge's games are useful to me precisely because I have anxiety and depression.
How fleeting are all human passions compared with the massive continuity of ducks.

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Lottel
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Re: Triage Simulator 2019

Postby Lottel » Fri Sep 06, 2019 12:23 am

This game is just my Sunday night D&D game to the point I showed it to my DM and told him some stuff and he smiled in a way I never have seen before. It was a happiness of being understood.

This is a man who I said told him his games were "cruel philosophically" he laughed briefly before doing a curt bow and thanking me.
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Friday
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Re: Triage Simulator 2019

Postby Friday » Fri Sep 06, 2019 4:00 am

Was Papers Please a commercial success? Because I get a similar vibe of "russian, resources, depression, anxiety, escalating difficulty, new rules each day, fun isn't the point".
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Upthorn
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Re: Triage Simulator 2019

Postby Upthorn » Fri Sep 06, 2019 4:11 am

I'm not sure if Papers Please was a commercial success. I do know that the original Pathologic came out *prior* to it.

But here's a really important difference, though: where I wanted to want to play Papers Please, so I could appreciate the art it expressed, I actually enjoy playing Pathologic 2, because it actually is fun to play, and not just fulfilling in an abstract art-appreciating way.

The fact that it manages to use its mechanics in an artistic way to convey an artistic message on top of it... that's what makes it feel so brilliant to me.
How fleeting are all human passions compared with the massive continuity of ducks.

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Mongrel
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Re: Triage Simulator 2019

Postby Mongrel » Fri Sep 06, 2019 5:01 am

FWIW, I thought Papers Please was not only quite poetic and used the medium to express itself very well, with pathos and sensitivity, but also that it was hilarious and fun.
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Friday
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Re: Triage Simulator 2019

Postby Friday » Fri Sep 06, 2019 12:42 pm

I bought Papers Please and played it for about 2 hours before setting it down forever (I don't regret buying it, it's worth supporting) because I just am absolutely terrible at what the game asks me to do. Doing paperwork in real life has always been a nightmare for me, for reasons I don't understand. It triggers massive anxiety and confusion and exhaustion. Headaches, stomach aches, blurred vision, even anger.

So you can imagine a nightmare paperwork mode (which is what Papers Please is) with a ticking clock element is like Hell for me.

This game is more just about the ticking clock, so I can probably deal.
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Brentai
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Re: Triage Simulator 2019

Postby Brentai » Fri Sep 06, 2019 1:03 pm

I go to pieces when asked to triage software projects; I know full well I'd be unable to triage human lives. I don't need a budget video game to shove it in my eye.
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zaratustra
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Re: Triage Simulator 2019

Postby zaratustra » Fri Sep 06, 2019 5:18 pm

Friday wrote:Was Papers Please a commercial success? Because I get a similar vibe of "russian, resources, depression, anxiety, escalating difficulty, new rules each day, fun isn't the point".


At least 1.8 million copies according to Pope.

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beatbandito
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Re: Triage Simulator 2019

Postby beatbandito » Fri Sep 06, 2019 7:36 pm

damn, the pope got 1.8 million copies of papers please but wouldn't even play the one undertale matpat gave him
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Friday
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Re: Triage Simulator 2019

Postby Friday » Sat Sep 07, 2019 8:09 am

because undertale fucking sucks

undertale more like underFAIL

more like blundersail

more like dunderpail

more like at two stacks of sunder -you can start doing damage to it and- WATCH THE FUCKING TAIL
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Friday
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Re: Triage Simulator 2019

Postby Friday » Sat Sep 07, 2019 8:09 am

just heal me
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Smiler
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Re: Triage Simulator 2019

Postby Smiler » Sun Sep 08, 2019 6:08 pm

The fact that they had to call the game Pathologic 2 definitely fucked them over sales wise sucks because it sure is just a remake of the original. It does some cool meta stuff with the story that you'll be able to catch if you know the story beats of the original, but other than that it's just the first game but infinitely more playable.

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Mongrel
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Re: Triage Simulator 2019

Postby Mongrel » Sun Sep 08, 2019 8:34 pm

Friday wrote:just heal me

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atog
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Re: Triage Simulator 2019

Postby atog » Sat Sep 14, 2019 1:37 pm

Yeah I watched Mongrel playing Papers, Please.

He handled it surpassingly well and appeared to be having a lot of fun with the cheesy characters and eye-rolling bureaucratic chain-jerking. And then things spiraled out of control in a dreadfully short time.

I don't do very well at these Kobayashi Maru simulators, but the point is, nobody is supposed to.
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beatbandito
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Re: Triage Simulator 2019

Postby beatbandito » Sat Sep 14, 2019 3:15 pm

this is the "really good game that I will never beat" thread now

LISA is the painful
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