Playlist: Beyond Good and Evil’s Transgressive Economy

beyond

Justin Keever | Jun 26, 2017

My Summer Playlist Project: Every time I finish a game, I write at least 500 words about it. Enjoy!

Beyond Good and Evil opens with its most thematically charged moment; in the midst of a sudden attack by interstellar adversaries, protagonist Jade scurries to activate a shield that would protect her home, only to find that she doesn’t have enough money to pay the power company to actually turn the shield on. A prerecorded message plays, thanking Jade for understanding, as the invaders storm her island home. This ends up being more of a one-off joke than an actual thesis statement, as the plot shirks commentary on how corporations’ profit motive leads leads to tangible loss of life, presenting a somewhat more typical story of resistance instead; Jade is tasked by a local resistance group to provide evidence that the invading Aliens, the Domz, are working in tandem with a private military force, the Alpha Sections, that has taken over the planet in an apparent effort to fight back the Domz invasion. Naturally, the two groups are indeed working together, kidnapping citizens of the planet Hillys in the staged Domz invasions and smuggling them offworld. One villain says that the citizens’ fluids are being sucked out of them, used by the Domz/Alpha sections to prolong their lives – in a way, one can see this as an allegory for the exploitation of the lower classes for the betterment of the powerful, but to read an economic anxiety into the villains’ motive that coheres with the game’s wonderful opening is perhaps a bit too kind. Continue reading