Tuesday, 21 February 2017

A Symbolic Analysis of "Banality"

To the loyal readers of my blog, this post was originally created in video form. If you want to read the script to the video, you've come to the right place.

Watch the video here, but read the script below.

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After another long while of either procrastinating, working on my latest project or doing literally anything else, I’ve finally put together a suitable analysis post for my game, Banality.

If you haven’t already, I would recommend taking a look at my previous post on Homogeny for some context on this one, though it isn’t necessarily vital. Additionally, you can download and play Banality for free, link is in the description.

The game opens with the character in their bedroom, but unlike as in Homogeny, they are not sitting on their bed. Where the bed represents the character’s comfort zone, the opening line “What now?” creates the idea that they are beginning to question things outside of their comfort zone.

The opening level bears a remarkable resemblance to my previous project, Yet Another Puzzle Game, which could be considered a prequel to the formative sequence displayed in the main trilogy. “Yet Another Puzzle Game” draws attention to the ephemeral and simplistic nature of things commonly heralded as “the standard” - the standard in this case being an incredibly simple puzzle. The same soundclip of me saying [puzzle] gets cut off and launches the character into the second level.

This is intended to symbolize the fact that after the events of Homogeny, the character can now realize that a button and a door laid side-by-side does not in fact constitute a challenging puzzle, and similarly, the things previously taken as entertaining are being outed as trivial.

The building in the second level is actually just to symbolize a social institution – perhaps a school would be fitting, as the other characters visible in the building represent two states of being. The first two are lethargically laying down as the player passes, while the last is standing up, but has their back turned to the exit and is looking down – they have no aspirations.

Pressing the “A” button to speak to any of these characters plays a short sequence of the main character on a platform being lowered into a kind of grave. They become less “alive” and more like the zombies that surround them, as shown by the greying of the character’s eyes. The sound effect – distorted noise – is designed to symbolize the total lack of meaning in anything being spoken between them.

The third level is somewhat more difficult. Even being near the other characters at this time will cause the grave sequence. This is to symbolize that as time goes on and the character moves further away from other people, becoming more stoic, they become more aware of the faults and imperfections and become even more repulsed by them.

There are three non-player characters in this level, each symbolizing three more states of being. The first one is stuck in a hole, to symbolize people who can’t – through no fault of their own – escape where they are now and achieve what they wan to achieve. The next most egregious form of bloody normie is, as detailed in the last level, those who are too lazy or unmotivated to achieve what they want to achieve.

The final character is laying prone under the ground, who has become too used to inactivity and sheer lack of creativity that they have lost the ability to achieve at all.

The word “regret” appears on the screen before the game exits. “Regret” in fact refers to the themes of the third game in the trilogy, Monotony. 

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If you have done, thanks for reading. Only time will tell whether or not the symbolic analysis of Monotony is a video or in text. Stay tuned!

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