What Games Would We Send the Aliens?
What would you choose?
In their 2012 review of Journey, Polygon wrote that the game should be shot into space. The writer drew parallels with the information we stuck on the Pioneer 10 space probe, information that if it was discovered by aliens would tell them all about humanity.
So, being a writer without a shred of originality, I got to thinking: what other games would be good candidates for the aliens?
One of my first thoughts was GTA V. A game that has sold millions of copies every month for over half a decade. And while it started off as a satire of America, it’s now just an accurate representation of what actually happens in the US of A.
It felt like a fitting choice, after all, if aliens do visit they legally have to hover over New York, like it’s the only place that will comp their parking, so it would give them a good taste of what to expect.
But then I realised, GTA V is too hopeful. It tries to have two characters who aren’t overflowing in white privilege for ‘diversity’ but everything works out for them in the end and it’s not real representation. It just offers players the ability to micro-dose what it would be like to be black or mentally ill in America while things still ultimately work out. We don’t want the aliens to get the wrong idea about this place…
No, if we want to truly show aliens what America will be like for them, we need to send them GTA IV. You know, the story about an immigrant’s (alien) experience trying to make it in the US and all the hardships that face him because he’s not ‘from here’. It’s perfect, it really explains to the aliens what sort of a welcome they can expect when they get here. Though I wonder if they’ll find Roman annoying as the rest of us did.
The next game I would send to our extra-terrestrial neighbours would be Frog Fractions 2. If only for the shits and gigs.
For those who don’t know, Frog Fractions 2 is practical joke inside a practical joke inside a joke wrapped up as an ARG and a meme. You don’t even know that you are playing Frog Fractions 2; the game instead presents itself as Glittermitten Grove. Then, once you figure out how to start the game, you are led through a series of mini games, including one that requires you to upload a Mass Effect save file. This teaches the aliens absolutely nothing about us and I would send it to them more as a social experiment. Though there’s every possibility that they are so advanced they crack it instantly or it pisses them off and that’s why they choose to invade. Either way, Jim would be proud.
Obviously the next game we send them is a mainline Pokémon game. I’m quite agnostic to which game we send (though maybe wait until Scarlet/Violets performances issues have been resolved), though I’m absolutely adamant that we accompany the game with season one of the anime as educational viewing. It’s not that I want to mislead the aliens into thinking our entire existence revolves around the blood sport of animal battling lead by ten year olds roaming the wild unaccompanied, but I think it will help soften the blow when they eventually discover that we do still have child labour, animal abuse, and have let many species animals go extinct by our own hand.
Finally, we need to send them a classic, and I couldn’t thing of anything funny to say about Pong or Pac-Man, so I’ve decided we are going to send them Donkey Kong, as well as a copy of the last Planet of the Apes movie and King Kong (any version). Its going to convince the aliens that we need saving from our life long enemy the gorillas and so when they arrive here, we’ll look extra cool having become the dominant species and having most of the gorillas locked up in zoos. To add a bit of spice I’ll wait and few weeks and then divulge that we evolved from apes and watch as confusion spreads as to what really happened.
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