How 'Umurangi Generation' Captured 2020's Despair and Neoliberal Decay

Warning: There are spoilers for Umurangi Generation in this piece.

"This is the greatest game ever made or the greatest 2020 game made in 2020 that wasn't actually about 2020 that ended up being about 2020 in hindsight," remarked YouTube creator Blind while exploring 2020's photography adventure game, Umurangi Generation.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/pkdvgv/how-umurangi-generation-captured-2020s-despair-and-neoliberal-decay

I am still confused by how anyone can get past the second level of Umurangi Generation without realising something very wrong is going on in the setting. [The first one, sure, you might rationalise away some of the surroundings… but from the second level onwards…]

I think it’s evident from the very first level that something is wrong, but what Umurangi Generation does well is how it reveals what it actually is. There is suspicion that something is happening just out of view, until there’s no ignoring it, because it’s staring you in the face.

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I suspect you’re slightly misinterpreting the intent of my comment: I’m not saying that UG is bad at subtle environmental story-telling [although I’d argue that if you get through the middle of the game, given the context of the return to one of the early maps a second time, without a pretty good idea of what’s going on, you’re just wilfully ignoring stuff], but that I am surprised at how bad people are at picking up context clues in a game which literally [other than the time limit] does everything to incentivise looking at the smallest detail in every place.