ActRaiser SUCKS... or does it???

I would consider injecting surrealist satire notes would be explicitly problematizing!

I’m not a fan of didactic games either, but I felt like actraiser was explicitly didactic that exterminating native cultures was good for the world.

ActRaiser gave me the same bad vibes as reading phil eklund’s defenses of british colonialism in the pax pamir 1st ed rulebook

It was played fairly straight, and I thought that made your actions even clearer.There wasnt much obscuring what was going on unless the player was under fifteen. And there’s the very beginning, the burst of Authority that imbues you with life and commands you to Clean. Especially viewed in a Japanese context and with the themes they would go on to play with in other games, it’s clear they view imposed religion under a dark light.

I’m curious what concerns you about satire on these themes. I think it’s an excellent form if your target is authority, rigid and self-important and with violence underlying each word and deed.

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satire is completely useless


Poe’s law.

I mean that making the work satirical in any way would mean the work explicitly problematized the naked colonialism

I don’t need npcs going “DID YOU KNOW WESTERN IMPERIALISM IS BAD” while I play the game, but any kind of thematic richness to change the repulsive politics of the original would be an improvement

at the risk of sounding naive, i only played Actraiser when i was 13 at a friend’s house. so memory on it is vague. what…is the implied/satirical colonialism?

You play a judeo christian god who spreads his religion over the world by destroying evil false religions, which are all obviously based on real world religions

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ah interesting. i feel like i missed the latter, probably not knowing enough about other religions at the time. i thought you were just “expelling demons” but ok…

i guess i feel like it being from Quintet originally, that maybe offers some escape
route, but…yeah.

So I think we disagree on the intention of the game, because I think it’s very clear the game intends you to reevaluate your actions, communicated through the way situations keep getting worse, the binding together of the defeated gods, the recasting of the terms. We talked about this a year ago, actually. I think it’s an excellent example of narrative through mechanics and I’ve used it as an oddball example in lectures.

On satire problematizing colonialism. Isn’t it appropriate for culture to problematize things that are bad?


I agree but that doesn’t make it less enjoyable

I actually get frustrated that the discovery that it doesn’t “work” has led people to conclude that all art should


I think it genuinely plays it too straight to be read as either critical or uncritical which on balance makes me not like it, it’s very close to, like, erasing genocide

yes, thats what I’m saying

I think I’m confused about your argument that satire isn’t appropriate for the subject matter, then.

I was trying to clarify that that wasn’t my argument

Ah, ok, that that’s an approach, unlike just out right being didactic. Ok, I think I’ve got it.

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yes exactly what I meant; sorry for being unclear

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I honestly can’t tell if I’m obtuse but I apologize too!

My hot take on ActRaiser is that it’s a simple story about god liberating various dispossessed peoples from their oppressors.

well, that’s what it should be about imo. (It could stand to stick the landing a lot better.)

The rogues gallery being representatives from various religions reads more as a Big Goof from developers too enamored with a pulpy conceit (god vs gods!) to fully consider its implications — at least, that seems more likely to me than probably-Buddhist Japanese folks earnestly advocating for Christian Dominionism or whatever. For that reason, I’m willing to forgive the game for that mistake (although the boss of Marahna still makes me feel uncomfortable).

ActRaiser 2’s decisions to make the big bosses original embodiments of the seven habits for highly effective people deadly sins and to pare down its aesthetic influences more towards vaguely Renaissance-era European religious art speak to me as Quintet acknowledging their mistakes with ActRaiser 1 and attempting to make something more thematically intentional/coherent. OTOH, I haven’t actually played ActRaiser 2, so my take here might be more off-base than usual (who knows, it could be doubling down on those flaws in those text boxes speedruns skip over).

[I was going to put a paragraph here about how reincarnation plays into the ActRaiser’s plot and population mechanics and how “Reincarnation is good” is the most intentional the game gets on a thematic level (esp. as it connects to the population mechanics in the -Raiser half), but I’m too tired to come up with anything coherent at the moment. Also, it’s starting to occur to me that arguing about what is “intentional” in a piece of art is a bit of a fool’s errand. Good night.]

I dunno. I like the game in spite of it’s failings. (The ending still makes me mad for a couple reasons that I might elaborate on in another post.)


interesting actraiser talk should be split into its own topic, so that other people/me can follow up upon it when we get around to playing it?