ETAO PODCAST, EPISODE 112.
Tali Faulkner (better known in internet circles as Veselekov) knew he had something timely on his hands when he made Umurangi Generation, but he couldn’t have known how timely. The base game was inspired by the fires in Australia in 2019, not the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020—but with its themes of friendship and creativity in the face of apocalypse, and neoliberalism ruining everything, it did speak pretty urgently to the latter. Then the game’s DLC took that once-accidental resonance on an even more intentional, direct, unmistakably, morally urgent way.
How screwed are we, in fact? What do do, given that? Where’s hope, and just as importantly, in what seemingly obvious places won’t we find it? How do we make a better new world rather than a worse one now that the old world is gone for good in any case? Umurangi Generation tackles these themes through (of all things) a loving, reverent, technically rigorous simulation of DSLR photography. The game takes creativity and bearing witness seriously as radical acts.
You can get Umurangi Generation on Steam and Switch.
The base game soundtrack is on Steam and Spotify, and the soundtrack to the “Macro” DLC is on Steam, Apple, and Bandcamp.
You can also follow Veselekov (and Umurangi Generation) on Twitter.
• Robin Enrico’s Game of the Month Club presentation on The Flame in the Flood and the history of survival games (especially weird ones) is a fine thing indeed.
• For those unfamiliar with what posterizing does in Photoshop.
• Umurangi is an ultimately untranslatable Te Reo word. It literally means something like “red sky,” but contextually means something more like “witnessing the end of the world.” (The word also refers to the Huia, a bird that was hunted to extinction).
• I found this episode of On the Media to a really good summation of Fox News as it currently exists, from the ways it does harm to the ways it makes money.
• And here’s that paper on respectful design and Indigenous Knowledge.
“All The People Say (Season 4)” by Drew Messinger-Michaels.
“[katikati] Toad Savage” from the Umurangi Generation OST, and then “Vermillion Sun” and “Crimson Skies” from the Umurangi Generation Macro OST, by Adolf Nomura (a.k.a. ThorHighHeels).
Logo by Aaron Perry-Zucker, using Icons by by Llisole, Dávid Gladiš, Atif Arshad, Daniel Nochta, Mike Rowe, Jakub Čaja, Raji Purcell and IconsGhost from the Noun Project.