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VA-11 Hall-A and why you should be very afraid of artificial life

October 08, 2017 1 min read

With the recent cinema release of Blade Runner 2049, as well as a handful of Blade Runner shorts on YouTube, I don't really need to tell you that there is a sense of dread surrounding "Replicants" and enhanced humans. It's not just a problem with how strong, fast or intelligent these creations are – they manage to bring out the worst in humans, because some humans can switch off their conscience when it comes to artificial life.

A game which explores this issue from a different angle is the brilliant VA-11 Hall-A: Cyberpunk Bartender Action, which is available on Steam(a Vita version is in the works). It takes place in Glitch City in the year 207X, after humans have been infected with nanomachines to keep track of the population. Some people use technological developments to their advantage, enhancing themselves to become more agile, stronger or more suited to their jobs. Others suffer from nanomachine rejection, with the atmosphere slowly killing them. Lilim (humanoid robots) are used in the entertainment and sex industries. By playing as a human bartender, Jill, the player gets to see into how nanomachine infection and the integration of cyborgs into society have changed human behaviour. And these changes are largely for the worse.

Beware: this piece contains minor spoilers!

VA-11 Hall-A and why you should be very afraid of artificial life screenshot