Difference Engine jammers Sagan Yee (Icarus) and Hannah Epstein (The Immoral Ms. Conduct) are joining forces to develop an experimental video game project called PsXXYborg based largely on Donna Haraway’s seminal essay “A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century”. Presenting at a DAMES MAKING GAMES TORONTO Social at BENTO MISO on a rainy Saturday night, along side presentations by Lindy Williams (Face Hugger) and Noreen Rana (NBA Baller Beats), Hannah and Sagan showed a series of proof-of-concept videos as they described a video game that aims to have players transcend the bounds of their personalities and embrace a cyborg consciousness. “Because your flesh is the disease” quipped Hannah while discussing the gameplay.
Alternating between traditional mini-games, which were compared to those of WarioWare, a large portion of the game will have the player answering volleys of increasingly absurd questions in an effort to wear down on the player’s psyche through a process of depersonalization, making them ripe for a paradigm shift of consciousnesses. Example questions included “How many opinions does Kenya have?”, “Which of these chairs is more sexually arousing?” and “Which of these land masses has the most irritating contours?” and all were spoken by an oddly meditative robotic voice reminiscent of GLaDOS from Valve’s PORTAL games. The questions were furthermore accompanied by lo-fi trippy video rife with artifacts and digital distortion. The aesthetic is meant to replicate how the creators perceive a computer might try to conjure human concepts of its own volition.
Though still in the pre-production phase, PsXXYborg has already secured some development funding and both Sagan and Hannah are enthusiastic about seeing it through. We at TIFF Nexus, for one, can’t wait to throw off the bonds of flesh and embrace a cyborg state of mind when a prototype comes to fruition.