Saturday, September 28, 2013
Socrates Jones: Pro Philosopher
Socrates Jones: Pro Philosopher is not a game that took the office by storm, but rather a game I stumbled upon, while searching for another game on the Kongregate portal. I ended up playing it throughout the workday yesterday.
It's basically a knock-off of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney. Or maybe it's more of an homage, instead of a knock-off. You play as Socrates Jones, an accountant from NYC. In his family of philosophy buffs, he's the black sheep -- utterly clueless about any and all philosophical notions -- that is, until he and his daughter are transported to the "Intelligent Realm" via a car crash.
The "Intelligent Realm" is like the afterlife to which great thinkers are transported after they die. Or maybe it's more like a purgatory? Socrates' daughter, Ariadne, isn't quite dead, just in a coma. She's free to go back to the realm of the living; Socrates isn't so lucky.
Instead, Ariadne proposes that her father debate the Arbiter of the Intelligent Realm on the origin of morality. Should Socrates win the debate to the Arbiter's satisfaction, then both Socrates and his daughter may leave the Realm. Should Socrates lose...then they both must remain in the Realm forever.
Armed only with the basic weapons of a philosopher -- asking for clarification; prompting an opponent to support their statement with evidence; questioning a statement's relevancy; and drawing attention to fallacies -- Socrates (and the player) "battle" famous philosophers on the points of well-known theories in ethics/moral philosophy.
If this game had existed when I was in 12th grade, I probably would have done better in my high school philosophy class. Or at least I would have not regretted dropping organic chem for philosophy. In that sense, I completely identified with sense of utter confusion demonstrated by Socrates Jones, even though I was at least vaguely familiar with the material. Still, it took me about 4 hours to get through the game. If philosophy is your bag, it might take you less time. But then again, you probably already know all this stuff. It mostly sticks to basic intro to ethics material.
It's a lot of clicking and reading, but so are the Ace Attorney games. The dialogue has its moments of brilliance and the portrayals of the famous philosophers (e.g. Hobbes is kind of a pompous asshole and Kant is kind of a...weirdo) is also amusing.
Anyway, if you've ever dreamed of slapping a dead western philosopher in the face, while shouting "NONSENSE!" as you pick apart his argument, then Socrates Jones: Pro Philosopher is kind of like the GTA:V of philosophy-themed games.
Cross-posted from Rabenteuerlich