Videogame (2014). Giant Spacekat. Designed by Brianna Wu. Platforms: iOS.
Revolution 60 is an independent ("indie") Adventure game for IoS platforms. It contains elements from several gaming genres; it utilizes the touch-screen capability of IoS platforms, employs turn-based combat, allows multiple-choice decision-making using a "dialogue wheel", and makes use of Quick Time events (see below). The game received praise for its ambition, both as an Independent Game and for its attempts to combine a strong narrative with so many different genres on a fairly limited platform.
Revolution 60 is set on an indeterminate future Earth. The game has an all-female cast – unusual aspect in a videogame – with the central characters operating together as a team. The player predominantly takes the role of Holiday, an assassin who, along with the rest of the group, must regain control of the malfunctioning US orbital Weapons platform N313 which has apparently drifted over China, causing an international incident.
The game's narrative evolves through either exposition and decisions made between character conversation via the dialogue wheel, or through Quick Time Events; moments where the player activates one or two commands during a cut-away video of events. Quick Time events were initially popularized in Resident Evil 4 (2005) (see Resident Evil), and slightly later via David Cage's exploratory detective game Heavy Rain (2010) and Beyond: Two Souls (2013), but are also common in tablet-based graphical adventures such as Telltale Games' The Walking Dead (2012). The dialogue wheel, which functions as a central part of the narrative in the Mass Effect games, presents the players with ongoing conversation options that help the player build an Identity for the characters they play. In Revolution 60, the choices made here ultimately affect the ending of the game (of which there are twenty-four alternatives). Revolution 60 was compared to both Mass Effect and Heavy Rain in early reviews, despite being a game on a much smaller scale than either of these Triple A (AAA) titles. The art style also borrows from gaming history, combining elements of the anime Sailor Moon (1992-1997) and the videogame Space Channel 5 (1999). Reviewers tended to conclude that the combination of these elements sometimes overstretched the game, but overall it received positive reviews and was praised for its forward thinking in both content and the ambition of its design.
Revolution 60 was developed with a specifically Feminist agenda – namely to promote the appearance of strong female characters in games, and to create more diverse characters as a result. Although the characters are archetypes, it is relatively rare to see so many different aspects of female representation in a single game. This ethos was also reflected in the development team, who were also predominantly female and made the game during a period when women in the games industry were experiencing considerable harassment and misogyny. As a result, the game received relatively high or optimistic reviews from the industry itself, but low review scores from disaffected gamers wishing to discredit Brianna Wu's work. [EMS]
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