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I am decidedly analogue.
Mixed tapes were my jam, and I made them often for friends. (Remember how you had to make sure the song ended at exaaaaaactly the right timing for the end of the tape?) I don’t feel the need to post my every whereabout on #saturatedsocialmedia, nor my pets. And the last time I played a videogame, you had to jump on turtles and hit them into other enemies in a 2D 2-for-1.
One of the wonderful appeals of Fifth Sacred has always been the Upcycle element: Though set in the future, civilization has broken down to the extent that different parts of the United States don’t communicate, so trade is lacking. People have to reuse old materials in new ways. And this resurgence of matriarchal and pagan religions is the ultimate upcycle of previous centuries, informing the new world in old, wizened ways.
Despite my VHS tendencies, I was recently invited to attempt the Playstation 4 game, Horizon Zero Dawn. I knew zero (ha) about the game. After a very steep learning curve trying to understand how to move and view, I got into the story… and couldn’t believe how similar the world is to The Fifth Sacred Thing.
Filled with a lush apocalyptic narrative, you follow the world through a lead character, who is a woman. There is no choice about this: You’re not Luke. Not Frodo. You are a woman. And not only are you a female lead, but the world around this female lead reveres the feminine in a matriarchal culture. Some cataclysmic event caused a collapse, and so the people in this world feel haunted, deeply spiritual, and reverent of natural processes. As this glowing Washington Post review says: “In the new world, flora and fauna flourish and the rivers run clean….The open-world RPG fuses the allure of primitivism with that of futuristic technology. It is wish fulfillment of a high order: Eden 2.0 with gadgets.”
Most astonishingly in this game, many in this world hold contempt for technology, shown by how you battle these leftover machines. With graphics that rival the best Hollywood blockbuster, you travel through this woman-focused world to understand how to heal the rupture between technology and nature.
Needless to say, I was blown away, and felt the need to share: This is a wonderful artistic addition to our conversations around spirit, activism, and the arts.
The reverberations of Fifth Sacred keep pointing more toward the world being ready, every day, to face the Goddess, the Mother and the Crone with humility. Perhaps by returning and upcycling to Her, we can suture nature and technology…
and not just abandon our Playstations.
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