Understanding Humanity with Folklore
When I was younger, I remember seeing a violent video on the internet. I think a lot of Millennials, like myself, have come across one of these videos. A candid, horrifying video filled with blood, guts and an inhumane act. I was twelve at the time, I think. The next day I had an emotional hangover – I was angry, upset, and I wrote some poetry to let out my hurt. I think it worked, but I can truly say I’m still scarred from the experience – just like most of you, I assume. What we thought was a wonderful world of positivity and opportunity became a world of cruel, disheartening situations too. My world didn’t collapse, but my optimism did.
Recently, over at The Koalition, Editor-In-Chief (and wonderful friend of mine) Richard Bailey Jr. asked us to write our top three current-generation video games. I knew a lot of mainstream blockbuster games would have been mentioned in that list, and so I opted to pick a game that was far different from the rest. I wrote about Folklore:
“Folklore is one of those underrated video games that deserve so much more recognition than it gets. This action RPG takes the gamer into a truly enchanted, mysterious land that wraps you up in a creepy story about murder and a family’s past. If you enjoy the world of fantasy, this game is definitely for you. It’s a great rainy day game, in my opinion. Just yesterday while I watched the rainstorm from my room, I thought to myself, “Man, I really want to play Folklore right now.” Alas, my dreams were shattered when I realized I had other work to do.
Folklore isn’t a game for everyone. I introduced a friend to the game, and she was instantly turned off by the comic-style cut scenes. “It’s a lot of reading,” she said.
I decided to never see her ever again.
I kid, I kid. But I understood that Folklore was something more for the gamers who loved story-telling in a game. Even more, playing a game with two main protagonists was very interesting. Moreover, the use of sixaxis in the gameplay was absolutely phenomenal. My stars, was it phenomenal. Sucking up those Ids was so satisfying I couldn’t even describe it to you. If you ever hear a gamer say the PS3’s sixaxis was useless, you can be sure they have never played Folklore in their life. It’s okay if you pity them a little bit too.
Folklore’s story was incredible, and its gameplay was excellent. Unfortunately, I’ve found that not many gamers know of this game and because of that, it’s become a game I’ve only enjoyed on my own. If you ever get a chance to play Folklore, do it! You won’t be disappointed.”
When this article was posted on N4G, I was floored by all the Folklore praise in the comments. Never would I have assumed that there were other gamers out there who loved this game as much as I did. I was overwhelmed with joy, and hence, did the only logical thing I could have done: I played the game again.
This decision, mind you, was a bit controversial among my peers. With Grand Theft Auto V out, it was odd that I decided to play a game I already played again. But I’ve always been a patient gamer. I don’t want to game with a big crowd. There’s something about playing a game on your own that makes the gaming experience that much better. Or maybe I’m just showing my introvert side again.
While replaying Folklore, nostalgia flooded my mind. I’ve had Folklore’s soundtrack in my playlist for years, but reliving the gaming experience of this music was really something special. Once again, I was in a mystical, fantasy world – filled with Pokémon-type creatures and cool comic-style cutscenes. I was once again in love.
Here’s what makes this game so profound: Folklore’s exploration of the ‘ideals’ regarding death and the afterworld. After playing the game, I realized I came across each ‘ideal’ years ago when I watched that violent video. When death became a prominent thought, humanity became hateful, and the afterworld became an obscure medium, I began to ponder what is really out there. Perhaps you did too.
There were four different ‘ideals’ on death and the afterworld throughout the game:
- Humans should know that there is an afterworld. Therefore, humans can look forward to the afterlife without being cynical. Moreover, humans can once again be ‘enchanted’ by myth and legends.
- Humans should not know that there is an afterworld. Therefore, they can live their current life to its fullest instead of waiting to die.
- It is best to cut off humans from the afterworld entirely because humanity has become such a horrible, negative norm and it is disrupting the afterworld.
- The fear of death and all the horrors behind death should be embedded in all humans. This way, humans would not be so destructive and therefore would not disrupt the afterworld.
These were such interesting and extraordinary perspectives on death and the afterlife. I feel each viewpoint has merit as well, so it’s definitely a great topic to talk about.
In a world of cynics and war, it’s hard to talk about the afterworld without being judged. Folklore acknowledges this. Perhaps this game presents a theme much deeper than the average game. Is it suffice to think that, in today’s social culture, humanity has lost its moral centre and has resorted to violence, anarchy, etc?
Folklore is an extraordinary game, and it brings up a lot of compelling thoughts. What are your opinions on humanity and death? Let me know in the comments.
– Jennie Bharaj