The value of knowledge is having something of a moment in the popular zeitgeist. People are wondering more and more about the role of information. What happens if it disappears? What happens when people try to destroy it?
These questions are right up my alley. And luckily, people are using varied mediums to try and answer them. In addition to being a book lover, I am a video game nerd. Many games engage with the value of books and ideas. The first one I remember playing was Myst. Myst in all of its early 1990’s glory featured a grand puzzle. To solve it, the player used a red book and a blue book and, among other things, went on a quest for missing pages. That game must have made an impression on me because I still think of those books as the perfect mystery. I’m not alone in that. Though 20 years have passed since Myst came out, video games still ask about the value of books.
I was thrilled to stumble across the next game that will feed my obsession with the topic. Quote, an isometric adventure game developed by Vindit, follows Bliss, the god of ignorance. As his role suggests, Bliss is not a fan of information sharing. In fact, he would like nothing more than to purge the land of all knowledge. To do this, he sends one of his priestesses on a quest. The player takes on the role of this priestess, a young girl named Novella. Throughout the game, Novella must kill authors, burn books, and eliminate thoughts. She can also gain power through playing in the Infinite Library dungeon.
Quote draws heavily from writers like Umberto Eco, Kurt Vonnegut, and Aldous Huxley, all of whom explore what happens when information is tightly controlled. Despite the dark subject matter, Quote is filled with color and humor. The relationship between Novella and her avian friend Tatters is particularly entertaining. As is in real life, nothing in the game is simple.
Though the game’s development preceded the rise of “alternative facts”, its questions remain timely. In the digital age, how do we sift through information? Do facts matter? How can we make meaningful connections without knowledge?
Quote will be finished sometime in 2017 and is available for early access on Steam. I’m excited to support a game that is asking questions like this and can’t wait until the full version is released. Hopefully it will inspire more creators to make games for readers.
All images are from the Quote factsheet.