Ooh, it’s all go at BIT.TRIP creators Gaijin Games. They’re not Gaijin Games any more, for one thing. Well, they are a bit, sometimes, in certain circumstances. But under the new name Choice Provisions they’re getting far away from Japan, blasting off into space by announcing two cosmic new games. Laserlife is “a metaphysical journey of euphoric sights and euphonic sounds” about a spaceman’s memories, which does sound pretty BIT.TRIPPY. Tharsis is certainly different, “a turn-based, perma-death, realistic space strategy game” on the first manned mission to Mars.
Tharsis sounds like a digital single-player board game. You’re merrily on your way to way to Mars when an asteroid clonks you and everything goes a bit Pete Tong, leaving your fate in a handful of dice. Choice Provisions describe it thusly:
A game of tiny decisions with huge consequences. It uses regular six-sided dice to model emergencies, repairs, research, collaboration, futility, and the madness that can only be achieved three days from the red planet with low air, no supplies, and an electrical fire in the greenhouse.
Splendid stuff! I’ll be fascinated to see how they do astrocannibalism with D6. Though my primary point of reference for such a scenario is John Carpenter’s Dark Star, which is perhaps a mite sillier than they’re going for.
Laserlife, meanwhile, deals with something that’s already dead, having players “guide a series of lasers to the beat of an electronic soundtrack” to reconstruct a dead spaceman’s memories. It does sound quite TRIPPY but Provisions also describe it as “an exploration game with high-concept science fiction themes focused on the idea that human life is much more than the sum of its physical parts.” Familiar, but aiming for a little more highbrow.
Why the name change anyway? Choice Provisions explain that they’re not too keen on how “gaijin” is sort of a derogatory word. They’ll continue to use it for their old games and any new BIT.TRIP games they might make, though.