DEVTOME.COM HOSTING COSTS HAVE BEGUN TO EXCEED 115$ MONTHLY. THE ADMINISTRATION IS NO LONGER ABLE TO HANDLE THE COST WITHOUT ASSISTANCE DUE TO THE RISING COST. THIS HAS BEEN OCCURRING FOR ALMOST A YEAR, BUT WE HAVE BEEN HANDLING IT FROM OUR OWN POCKETS. HOWEVER, WITH LITERALLY NO DONATIONS FOR THE PAST 2+ YEARS IT HAS DEPLETED THE BUDGET IN SHORT ORDER WITH THE INCREASE IN ACTIVITY ON THE SITE IN THE PAST 6 MONTHS. OUR CPU USAGE HAS BECOME TOO HIGH TO REMAIN ON A REASONABLE COSTING PLAN THAT WE COULD MAINTAIN. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO SUPPORT THE DEVTOME PROJECT AND KEEP THE SITE UP/ALIVE PLEASE DONATE (EVEN IF ITS A SATOSHI) TO OUR DEVCOIN 1M4PCuMXvpWX6LHPkBEf3LJ2z1boZv4EQa OR OUR BTC WALLET 16eqEcqfw4zHUh2znvMcmRzGVwCn7CJLxR TO ALLOW US TO AFFORD THE HOSTING.

THE DEVCOIN AND DEVTOME PROJECTS ARE BOTH VERY IMPORTANT TO THE COMMUNITY. PLEASE CONTRIBUTE TO ITS FURTHER SUCCESS FOR ANOTHER 5 OR MORE YEARS!

Deus Ex

Deus Ex is a videogame developed by Ion Storm and produced by Eidos Interactive in the year 2000. It has received many accolades including being heralded as “the best game of all time” by PC Gamer 1). These honours are richly deserved - Deus Ex succeeds in being a game which is absolutely transcendant. It shows what games can be as a medium and an art form by not shying away from difficult questions, nor preventing the player from making difficult or even morally reprehensible decisions, should they choose to do so.

Game Mechanics and Starting Plot

At its core, Deus Ex is a fairly traditional first person shooter (FPS) with roleplaying game (RPG) elements. The player is able to select and customize the character's inventory, which has a limited capacity. This necessitates careful management of resources, and it forces compromise. Uncharacteristically for the genre, it is impossible to carry an infinite arsenal of weapons and a limitless cache of ammunition. Thus, the player must choose from lethal and non-lethal weapons including pistols, rifles, tranquilizer crossbow bolts, a riot prod (stun gun) and quite a few more. Stealth and non-lethality are highly rewarded by the game, although neither is strictly required.

The year is 2052, and the player takes control of J.C. Denton, a special agent with the newly formed United Nations Anti-Terrorist Coalition (UNATCO) located on Liberty Island in New York in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty, which was recently damaged in a terrorist attack. Given the release timing of the game, the eerie similarity with the attacks which actually came to pass in New York gave this game a raw and terrifying new dimension for a generation of young gamers playing it in high school and university at the time.

There have been a series of economic shocks which have increased inequality and fomented civil unrest, demonstrated in the opening cutscenes by citizens rioting against armed robots in Paris and other European cities. There is a plague which has reached global pandemic proportions, and the only known treatment is controlled by shadowy corporations and government interests who are limiting access to the well-connected and the compliant.

As the player (through J.C. Denton) handles some early missions, they get a feel for the game and for its rich cast of characters who all genuinely seem to possess their own unique agendas. In passing plot-irrelevant non-player characters, the player will hear them having conversations with one another, some of which have to do with J.C. and many of which do not, adding a new level of realism to the social interaction within the game world. Wandering through the hallways of the UNATCO Headquarters really feels like being the new guy at the office. The player spends a portion of the first few missions wandering the halls, checking e-mail in J.C.'s office, and bumping into established staff who size you up, deciding whether or not you'll be a threat.

J.C. Denton's past is shrouded in mystery, but the player is informed that J.C. and his brother Paul are both special agents who have been augmented with Nanotechnology. More specifically, they have received vast quantities of nanites, self-replicating machines so small that they operate at a cellular level. These nanites confer superhuman abilities on the Denton brothers, making them the envy of their co-workers. Nanotech in the world of Deus Ex represents the cutting edge of human enhancement technology, replacing the much clumsier and more intrustive biomechanical Human_Cybernetic_Enhancement technology which is in more common use throughout the game and the main focus of the subsequent Deus_Ex_Human_Revolution. J.C. and Paul's nanotechnological 'augmentations' allow them to look and act like any unaugmented human. Meanwhile the mechanically augmented likes of Gunther Hermann have sawn off limbs, cut out eyes and implanted biomechanical devices in a Faustian exchange for greater strength, speed and combat capabilities.

It is against this backdrop of rampant poverty, worldwide pandemic, statist-corporate conspiracy and transhumanist body modification that the events of Deus Ex play out.

Unique Points

For a game of its time, the graphical effects were well above average, but this was not its strongest suit. In terms of story and total immersiveness, Deus Ex was visionary. It offers an experience of replayability that goes far beyond what most videogames do, largely because of the detail and interconnectedness of the game world. Books, E-books, newspapers and magazines are scattered throughout the game world - the player can read them or ignore them according to preference. Some of the books contain excerpts from actual publications existing in the real world, while others were written exclusively for the game.

The skill system forces the player to make choices about how they will play the game and what kind of tasks they wish to undertake. Since the number of skill points available throughout the game are limited, the player has to choose whether to become proficient with sniper rifles or a tranquilizer crossbow. The player is given the choice of full-frontal assault or subterfuge by using hacking abilities to obfuscate, re-assign the allegiances of lethally armed robots, disable remote surveillance systems and otherwise wreak havoc with the carefully laid traps and security systems of insurgents, government agencies and nefarious scientists.

The game also makes use of consumable special equipment such as hazmat suits and rebreathers which grant a short bonus or virtual invulnerability against certain environmental hazards. Fire extinguishers can be used if the character is set ablaze, road flares allow nighttime illumination without consumption of batteries, and snacks or alcohol can be used to replenish health. The wide variety of items available becomes both interesting and frustrating however when coupled with the limited inventory size.

Medical Ethics and Bioethics

The events of Deus Ex raise many questions in the areas of medical ethics, bioethics, and in our understanding of what exactly it means to be human. The game world can be largely described as post-humanist in the way that biomechanical, cybernetic and nanotechnological augmentations are seemingly everywhere. They have led to new divisions, effectively dividing the human race into the augmented and the unaugmented. This propensity for “improvement” on the base design of humanity has inflamed the passions of some who question whether such experimentation or modification is equivalent to sacrificing our shared humanity in pursuit of nothing more than better hardware. Through the course of the game, the player can overhear UNATCO troops or other characters within the game musing as to Denton’s augmented capabilities and commenting on the fact that the “mechs” (biomechanically augmented human beings) have been rendered obsolete by the introduction of nanotechnological augmentation. Within the gameworld, this rallying cry for human “purity” is not picked up in earnest by any major organizations until Deus_Ex_Human_Revolution however - which chronologically places it prior to the events of Deus Ex. Ironically, the characters in the subsequently-produced prequel are preoccupied with the question of “should we”, while the characters in the original Deus Ex are more concerned with the pragmatic question of whether or not they “could” undertake a given course of human modification.

I will discuss these questions in greater detail in a subsequent article, linking together all three games in the Deus Ex series and addressing some of the ethical and philosophical questions which they raise.

Categories:

Videogames | Philosophy


QR Code
QR Code deus_ex (generated for current page)
 

Advertise with Anonymous Ads