NORCO Analysis – A bizarre new charting adventure that clings to the economic crisis

The novel La Ciudad y la Ciudad de China Miéville transcends two cities confined in the same physical space, separated by another type of barrier. The inhabitants of one city try to “destroy” all the elements of the other, identifying architectural patterns or donning features to immediately forget that they are there. Two realities that emerge in parallel, where the maximum act of transgression is to recognize the agent among the crowd and maintain the gaze. This psychogeography is not part of the concept of the city that marks the beginnings of the Geography of robots: a theory in which different social classes operate at different levels within the same space, without knowing the consequences in the same way. material crises.

NORCO translated us into an alternate version of Louisiana depicted in a style born of Turkish Gothic but also feels at home with sci-fi elements, an approximation that ends near New Weird. The protagonist is Kay, a young man who has spent some time in North America and returns home after the death of his mother. Upon arriving, it is discovered that his brother Blake is missing, and each search deals with a much larger mystery that includes business conspiracies, mysterious job apps, and bigoted internet jokes.

It plays like a graphic adventure Point and click, with an interface similar to that of Disco Elysium, which relies on hypertext as the main interaction with the world. While it retains some of the hallmarks of the genre, it’s relatively parked in the chip inventory, pulling more through the acquisition of information to unlock new conversations, one-time mini-games, and a few shortcuts. There are not many pitfalls in this apartado, but if we are affected at some point, we can talk to the fellow travelers that we will pick up along the way so that they give us a lead or repeat key information that we were able to pass. Quiz will have surprising results but also has a fairly simple turn-based battle system. Each person has their own style; Because you have to pulse a few gimmicks by repeating a sequence, some characters attack by pressing buttons rhythmically and others just generate area damage automatically.

In any case, the narration weighs much more than the puzzles. Often we don’t make as many decisions as writing the story, altering Kay’s past and planning her future at the same time. The real, the fantastic and the futuristic come together naturally, like extensions of the same whole. A robot can be more of a troubled family, and that doesn’t mean Geography of Robots introduces historic New Orleans hits as part of the plot, including fatalities caused by Shell gas leaks. The main basis of the game is its text, of course, with a few words as expensive as tenants, but also the time to transfer them to this Louisiana with some details. pixel art. NORCO finds beauty in the most delicate palms but ahonda also finds beauty when it comes.

Reading the previous paragraphs, it’s possible that some elements of the description could be attributed to Kentucky Route Zero, but its approaches to the same theme couldn’t be more distinct. Where KRZ was a journey in parallel with the economic crisis of 2008, which evolved and changed the duration of almost a decade touching a wide range of subjects and extending beyond its premises, NORCO captures a unique moment of precise form and returns to a heavy and aggressive atmosphere which is built as much in the texts as in the soundtrack. KRZ carried a note of hope; it’s something more difficult (but not impossible) to find in NORCO.

It is a story of the economic and social crisis, written from the margins and observing what is left after the hurricane. A plot inseparable from its physical context but with ecos that resonate globally. Overseers speak of the devastation of big business littering the environment, evicting occupants from their homes and devoting the resources of certain lands unable to water the floodplains of the riads. That is to say also from a recovery that has only benefited a middle class that can allow us to look to the other side; occupied garages turn into fashion pubs, abandoned hospitals into lofts for artists. It is the story of the losers of the crisis, of this people whose cities have “emerged”, suffering from social but also material consequences; advanced technology to make it even better.

This whole set would work less well without the comic ramalazos who have to live this part too close to reality; black as the moment, but comedy at the end and at the end. In fact, there is an almost reverse path from the expected: it opens with the most canonically dramatic part of the game and then develops some short humor (Kay’s main plot) while altering some of the saddest notes (the interludes we played with his mother Catherine), a time before cancer devoured your body). The tram becomes more extraordinary, more comical and even more real with the appearance of a sect. This element serves as a catalyst for talking about toxic online communities and their ramifications in the physical world, emphasizing a group that can only be described as a panda with delusional inclinations in search of a messianic figure to forget their own mediocrity. . A religion organized around invisibility and suspicion, with conspiracy theory as dogma.

I see the victim who, while writing the analysis, crosses my path Can’t Get You Out of My Head, the latest documentary by British director Adam Curtis. In his first episode, political scientist Richard Hofstadter appeared on the strained relationship between United States history and conspiracies, the “dark paranoia” present since the first settlers arrived to stay in a cohabited society” he never dispelled the suspicion from his minds”. It is a logical consequence of this same crisis in turn to turn the tables: when the structure that sustains the world has failed, leaving some people on the sidelines, those who see the potential to use them to their own advantage will always appear.

The game lasts only six hours, but never loses interest due to the density of situations it presents. At this time, several themes will be able to function almost miraculously until reaching an end from which they lack a rat to recover. The graphic adventure of Geography of Robots is one of those games that manages to close with millimetric precision in the rhythms, releasing its context a little and accelerating vertically until the final track.

NORCO is a sadly true story traversed by a master in a plot that revolves around fantasy and sci-fi to make the rest easier to deal with. A photo of the consequences of the economic crisis which has no difficulty in dispersing in various directions, always with clarity, but which also knows how to change tone when the time comes. It’s a strange, sinister, mystical, current and visceral game; NORCO contains a lot of it and does not attach to the wrist with any of its contents.

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