Monday, April 17, 2017

All About Those Nodes: Marxist Criticism

Not literally.

Much like in the previous Node, Marxist criticism is a Node which was too easy to write thanks to my prior familiarity with the theory; so, needless to say, my concerns with the Node fall under ‘is it original enough?’ And, again, the answer seems to be that since these Nodes need to be understood by high schoolers, I think the answer must be a ‘yes’ compromised with a ‘no’ since it is by the familiar which the original is injected.

Regardless, this is the first Node to take place within the confines of the castle from the poem. The previous Nodes took place within the vast wilderness; this Node is one of the many which will take place within one of the few ‘civilized’ areas left in my articulation of the poem.

Since we are dealing with Marxist criticism, I thought that it would be prudent to use the classic scenario—workers organizing.

Essentially, this Node is jam-packed. The basic set up is this: since the castle is one of the few productive areas left in the world, the factory is large and produces many commodities. The downside: since there is so few such areas producing these goods, then the demand always exceeds supply and workers are shunted in both workplace quality as well as payment. The solution? Organize!

The player encounters a group of workers called the ‘Floor Coordinators’ who are set-up as a representation of Organic Intellectuals. These people are opposed to the ‘Floor Agents’ who, of course, represent the dominant pre-bourgeois ideology of exploitation. Obviously, each group advocates something different—raising the political unconscious of the workers and False consciousness respectively.

In regards to how I represent the idea of capitalism’s economic ‘Base’ and social ‘Superstructure’, I encoded the workshop floor and break room respectively; whereas it is in the workshop itself which produces economic activity—through labor-exploitation—it is in the break room where capitalist phantasy is created. I am actually quite proud of this encoding as it seems too obvious yet unfulfilled in a lot of media.

Rounding out the Node, is a group of female coordinators who are oppressed by their male counterparts as well as a pseudo-corporal representation of Ideology.

The female workers are there to represent Proletarian Feminism. This is important since even within the ranks of the revolutionary Left, there exist great bastions of reaction in the form of male chauvinism and sexism (not to mention sexual abuse). To ignore this cancer in the heart of those who advocate for great change is to ignore the dynamics of revolution. Since I have similar groupings of female outcasts in other Nodes, those shunted aside because of their Sex/Gender, I hope that the player will pick up on the myriad of ways in which female-identified persons are given the short end of the stick time and time again.

Finally, we have that semi-corporal representation of Ideology. Here I decided to go with a fantastical creature which the workers simply call ‘The Phantoms’. They are like ghosts, but more wispy, to the point where they move like smoke or fog. The idea here is that they influence peoples’ emotions and logic simply by being in the same vicinity. Ultimately, it will be unknown if these creatures actually exist or if they are just the product of the imagination. At any rate, originally these phantoms were going to be a kind of semi-intelligent ‘dust’ which would be inhaled by the workers, but though that idea I still think is cool, I just wouldn’t know how to work with that or to artistically represent that idea. Still, something for the future, perhaps in a challenge Node?

Charlemagne (Notes:58)

Charlemagne was long lived and the most influential Carolingian king. Born in 768 and dead in 814, he reigned for over forty years. Ind...