Wednesday, September 15, 2010

My Favourite Characters: Venus Jones

Speaking of distant, inhospitable worlds and the dregs of humanity forced to live and work there (like Luna in The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress) there's my new favourite computer game and current obsession SPACE COLONY from Firefly Studios & Gathering (see the trailer here).

Yes, I'm so far behind the times the times are beginning to lap me. In fact, the Time magazine called this the fifth best new game of 2003!  A year or so after that glowing endorsement (but never having heard of it) I bought the thing at Value Village for a buck because its cover says: "If you like the Sims and Sci-Fi, You're Going to Love Space Colony".

I only ever owned PC computers, so this MAC version sat unplayed on various shelves.

Six years later, and I have an old eMAC.  So I dusted 'Space Colony' off and tried it. 

Electric Playground was right. I love it!

Set the future machine for 2153, where Blackwater Industries ('Putting Profits Before People') is establishing cheap domed mining settlements across the galaxy and conning the sort of random people you might find unconscious in a bar into working for them.

The guy or gal at the keyboard acts as a combination of city planner, construction crew, manager/director and (possibly for eugenics purposes?), a matchmaker. (A recent mission requirement was to get Dean the neat freak medic to hook up with Candy the apprentice space chicken farmer.)  

It's a quirky and fun 'hole-in-the-bucket' game, more strategy than action, and I cannot get the infectious title track 'You're So Gangsta' by Montreal electro-funk band Chromeo out of my head. Yes, in a good way.

If you can't keep your colonists happy and turn a tidy profit... well, I understand they die.  I haven't had it happen yet, but all ten of my little sprites have caught a pernicious virus from the cuddly space rodents they keep letting in the airlocks because they're so CUTE.  The fools!  The tiny, non-existent fools!  They vex me so!

Except Venus.  Healthy as a Ridley's xenomorph and twice as dedicated, Venus gets the job done with far fewer grisly kills than the Internecivus raptus, as well.  Go humans!

Affable, average, with no particular burning desires save doing a good job and going home someday, Venus Jones is therefore my favourite character in this game. More social than Stig the Scandanavian biker dude, less drunk and lazy than Tami the cowgirl, and with far fewer glaring personality disorders than Vasilios (the guy who thinks he's a robot and won't work more than 15 minutes a day unless you buy him an observatory).

I understand the game features alien combat later, too, and I imagine Venus will take to it like a tiny, red-headed computer-generated Ellen Ripley.  I also imagine Vasilios will die.  Very horribly.  Possibly from 'friendly fire'.

Space Colony: best dollar I ever spent on a computer game. Period.

1 comment:

Bookmonkey said...

Congrats Mr. Guy - I'm a huge fan of playing the "Oldies but Goodies" in every format.