Hardspace: A shipbreaker from Game Pass is an essential, deadly respite of sci-fitropes, but it's still an issue

Hardspace: A shipbreaker from Game Pass is an essential, deadly respite of sci-fitropes, but it's st

Video games love space. It''s easy to see why the space allows for impossible vistas and a sense of wonder. It facilitates so many childhood dreams of having our own spaceships to take us on cosmic adventures, filled with fantastic creatures and laser beams. It usually goes hand-in-hand with a general sense of optimism and hope, influenced by Star Trek''s seemingly utopian visions.

It''s something that had been infinitely attractive in childhood, but lately it is becoming increasingly hollow the further into the future we develop. Hardspace: Shipbreaker is completely aware of this, bringing the fantasy of living in space back to Earth.

Hardspace portrays you as an unintentionally accomplished mechanic living alone in a huge garage in high Earth orbit and subjected to a billion dollar debt to the LYNX megacorporation. This is the only chance you''ll ever have of seeing the stars, the tiny hope that you will one day repay your debt and leave the bourgeois outer colonies.

Shipbreaking is a process of meticulously (or haphazardly, if you prefer) dismantling and stripping disused spaceships for parts and raw materials. Every 15 minute long shift ends with an itemised breakdown of every penny of value you managed to extract minus the rental expenses for your tools, room-and-board, and other service expenses. Everything else goes towards repaying your debt, leaving another spit in the ocean.

The only window in your tiny habitation pod is of endless corporate suffering amidst a sea of scrap. A hulking railgate a central component of the interplanetary travel network occasionally pulses with activity, a reminder of a bigger universe that youll most likely never live to see. As you master the systems and duties, the daily grind settles into a paradoxical thread.

While watching that billion dollar debt decrease may seem deflating, but it does not detract from how good it can be when you excel at stripping a complex ship down to nothing. So you relax yourself with the loop, the trickle of dopamine you get when you guide a nice large chunk of titanium into the furnace. And you do not have to worry about that existential discontent from snapping at your heels.

It''s a bleak and pessimistic representation of what space has to offer. It''s a profound and profound contrast to the often uncritical way in which videogames utilise science-fiction for nothing but power fantasy. If space ever was the one place not corrupted by capitalism, its certainly not the case in Hardspace. LYNX, an omnipresent entity, has colonized the majority of the solar system, has all of its assets.

There is no fully automated luxury gay space communism on the way. Space travel is no longer the responsibility of private enterprises, but infrastructure and technology required is now all in the hands of private companies. Terraforming is functionally impossible. While our corrupt institutions allow the rich and powerful to hoard as much wealth as possible.

If you meet an untimely conclusion during your employment, the very first thing you do in Shipbreaker is sign a 24-clause agreement with the LYNX company that, among other things, signs over ownership of your own body. More than that: your existence. You are automatically signed into LYNX''s health insurance, which allows you to get a flash-grown clone with a backup of your personality and memories. The initial process of extracting your biological information is tragic.

Once upon the start, youre playing a clone from DNA that is now the sole property of LYNX. Any intellectual or material property you may have, however, is now the property of LYNX. All your ambitions, all you are assuming, are accomplished by someone else, resulting in the accumulative effect of which you once was. Finally, you will only be a Shipbreaker, owned body and soul by an entity that will never know you as a blip on a spreadsheet

Hardspace may not sound like a ghost town in which you would normally desire to visit. It''s essentially a tedious task, in a medium that is often used to to give you various distractions from the one you already have. It''s brutal and cold and there isn''t much to look at. You won''t be going on any thrilling adventures to alien realms, or getting into any exciting space battles. Most likely, you will be deep in the guts of another metal behemoth, carefully trying

Hardspace: A sense of humor in the game is evident, but it''s also a sense of purpose in making it an absolutely essential piece of video game science fiction. It takes real courage to exploit boredom and repetition this effectively, to have confidence that players will engage with it on its own terms. Hardspace: If you want to see video games use spaceships for something other than escapism, then here''s how to do it.

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