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Friday, March 17, 2017

On concepts of personhood in NieR: Automata


Game Theory by Matt S.

NieR: Automata is a very dense game, and it covers off a great many themes, ranging from gender and identity politics, to the impact of religion, the meaning of existence, and the structure of video games themselves. One of its absolute key themes, however, and one that binds most of the rest of the game together, is the continued debate about what it is to be “human” - or at least the kind of rational thought and behaviours that we prescribe to humanity.

This debate itself can be looked at both from the perspective of the androids that you control through the game, and the robots that are, in theory, their enemies. For the sake of this piece I’m going to look specifically at the enemies, because NieR’s director, Yoko Taro, does some really interesting things in exploring this theme through those robots, and it’s something worth discussing in isolation.

It goes without saying that the following is going to be spoiler-heavy, though I’m going to stick to the first plot arc through to the first “main” ending. If you want to avoid spoilers, then simply don’t read on.
On concepts of personhood in NieR: Automata
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