Posts Tagged ‘LISA: The Painful RPG

19
Jan
15

LISA

LISA

I’ve been playing LISA for around a month now.  I’ve been taking my time and soaking it in.  I’ve held off on writing up my impressions of it up until now, because it’s a tough game to nail down.  It’s a game where I’ll probably have more to say, and my comments today may be somewhat brief.  I’m making my way through the final third of it, and I’ve been consistently challenged the entire way.  This isn’t a game that you chew up and consume without thinking, or else you’re not getting the full experience. It’s a game that will linger in your mind and have you rolling over what you’ve done time and again.  It’s not a game that ends when you quit out of it.  It’s uniquely the message of Austin Jorgensen, and he’s not simply repeating back to you what other games have told him.

LISA’s strongest quality is its ability to leverage the vocabulary of jRPGs to deliver its message.  On its face, you could be forgiven if you thought this might be a parody of jRPGs past, given it’s outlandish and absurd qualities.  In reality, it asks you to participate in jRPG verbs, spaces, and impressions, and then squeezes your pressure points with them.  LISA will make you contort in gaming pain, and force you acknowledge the true value of what you invest in these games by weighing it against moral choices.  It is constantly asking you to compare and contrast the value of your inventory, your party, your abilities, and your own narrative of the game.  This is not an easy game to be a good guy in.  If you make it far enough to reach some of these harrowing choices then these will not feel like artificial, or trivial dilemmas.  It’s what makes the game interesting though – you are trying to figure out how to make the best of a bad situation. It offers a conciliatory and surreal sense of humor to take some of the dismal edge off of the atmosphere surrounding these challenges.  The world is well realized and begs to be explored, and it dares you to try and explain it.

LISA has been affective in ways I’ve not seen very often.  And really, the one example that comes to mind that it reminds me of is the immediate aftermath (spoilers?) of Final Fantasy VI’s world of ruin.  LISA knows despair, and conveys it well.  It can be challenging to consume the game’s message, yet rewarding in completing it.  This may not be a game for everyone, as it includes some rather sensitive themes, but it’s one worth taking note of in any case.  And it warrants a much deeper discussion within our community.

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