As 2017 comes to a close, it is a time to reflect on the year, both the good and the bad. While there were many downs and it can be easy to focus on the negatives in a year, especially one as rough as this, we need to remind ourselves of the positive things that came out in a year and how they affected us. There were so many great video games that came out this year that all deserved to be recognized, but one that really stuck out to me in many ways was Nier: Automata from Platinum Games and Square Enix.
Nier: Automata, to me, was more than just a game, it was an experience and work of art. All the beautiful surroundings of the world, the characters, the fluid and fun gameplay, and the story suck you in and leave you begging for more, which made its multiple endings all the more desirable to get to and see, it all just sucked me in.
What really affected me though, was the message and that message was stated beautifully in the game with one quote:
“What is it that separates machines from androids like us? The machine has gained emotion…Consciousness. The final screams they summon on the edge of death…They still echo within me”.
What makes something alive? What makes something different from being human? What does it take to have a soul? I love and media that makes me question what makes us different from other beings and where the line is between using a tool and abusing a being with feeling and sentience that deserves dignity and respect and even love. Even more, is war, pain and causing hurt really the right thing in the end? Do the ends really justify the means? Your enemy might be more like you than you think.
We need as humans to take a step back and reflect on messages like this. We need to see how we affect one another, how we affect the world and how we need to show respect, tolerance and even love more. What a better time to do this than as the year comes to a close? Maybe we could all use the message of this game and make 2018 just a little less painful and be just a little more mindful of how we treat others, even those we may not be able to relate to.
That is why Nier: Automata is one of my favorite games of the year. Cool, fun to play and most of all, poignant. It is really the type of game that really shows how games have evolved from simple “toys” to works of important art and made me think just a little harder of my effect on others.