At the beginning of Norco we are a young wandering, a southern vagabond that has traveled for most of the United States, which is forced to return home after the death of his mother. During the epilogue, and about images of pixelated trains and anonymous roads, we have been able to build our history; Deciding the reason that prompted our march and establishing how we feel after leaving behind our problematic brother and that mother with which we can never have disagreements will never be. It is impossible not to think about Firewatch and the introduction of him when the title of Geography of Robots allows us to have control, not only from the emotional state with which our character approaches the game, but also from the past of him. Because Norco starts leaving us to decide what we are going to play: if we are before the story of redemption of a woman who should never have abandoned her house or before the parábola de la pródiga daughter that she always dreamed of returning.
In the nursery at which the first scene, the most universal images – the posters on the walls, the teen fantasy books, the desk with the dying laptop – are mixed with what is specific to its location. In the game, Norco is a town in southern Louisiana that is built around an oil plant. But although the vibration of the barrena and the profile of the exploration tower are not familiar, the image we see through the window yes that is. Norco is a liminal space that we find in Sean Baker’s films and, more specifically, the type of dying, contaminated and mutant people, which the director represents in red rocket. in some way, that the game goes on one of one of Those sites, between industrial estate, marsh and agglomeration of prefabricated houses, transmits us with a specific idea of poverty that we can only associate with an emboispitalist society like the American. A place with gold in the subsoil that is not able to maintain decently to those who work it. A site whose wealth necessarily passes through the most absolute degradation and in which growth is linked to the disease that brings corruption of water and air. But here everything we thought we knew.
At the door of our family home, we explore alone, there is a broken statuette of the Virgin Mary. If we scratch tightly the cracks of her face, the plaster dissolves to let ourselves see ourselves a block full of LEDs, connectors and cables that surround the opening of what a card reader looks like. Norco is a mix of genres that the traditional structure of Southern Gothic, updating it through Ciberpunk. But do not stay there. The title of Geography of Robots delves into the culture and tradition of New Orleans to introduce magical elements that in certain concrete scenes, especially in flashback, send us to magical realism; While in others they limit themselves to represent a current culture underground linked to marginality. This mixture, which strangely works and gives the game a unique tone and personality, is better explained through references such as Kentucky Route Zero (the most obvious, by main gender and tone) and Red Strings Club, where he takes as much his approach To science fiction contained, as a fight against a great corporation that at no time forgets, in action, the most human elements.
In the center of Norco there are two mysteries. The first, the most classic, leads us to investigate the disappearance of our brother, a violent and lonely boy who seems to be going through a depression linked to despair for the future. It is in this plot where we see more clearly the influence of southern Gothic and the claustrophobia with which the universe of it is normally defined. Although Norco, unlike other fictions of the genre, does not stop to raise the southern identity linked to harmful conservative ideas, yes that imprisoned us in the obligation to visit characters of our childhood who will put us in the face of the consequences of generational trauma and The pain linked to a dry land that at no time leaves us. The second mystery, which happens to discover what is exactly what our mother was investigating before dying and why his movements became an objective of the refinery company, is more linked to magical realism and has details that can only be defined Like “post-cyberpunk”.
The plot that revolves around our mother places us at a nonspecific moment of the future in which all technological achievements, from the Internet to the ability to preserve our memories after death, have remained disused because of poverty. Thus, robots have not been converted into a tool that prevents us from carrying out the heaviest and painful jobs, but they work as the instrument of repression that forces us to do them. Internet has stopped seeing a platform for knowledge and communication, and has become a precarious work source, which is represented through apps that force us to go from one place for another in exchange for valuable virtual money that we will have May convert into uncomfortable dollars. Of course, Norco’s technophical nature does not remain economically, but is filtered into social, developed with perversity the idea of influencer as guru and leading the representation of parasocial relations to the extreme. The future posed by Geography of Robots, is as far as nearby, and remains focused through references to _Fake News that have mutated in sacred beliefs and an approach to Catholicism that is equally exotic and real than the vodoo.
Faced with technology and economic and social corruption, Norco places magic, not because this is saving but because it is the only alternative. Parallel to the Internet, Geography of Robots discovers a “meat virus” formed by magical links that can be located in dusty souvenir stores, isolated storage rooms or abandoned shopping centers. The game is built through suggestive images that transmit us the idea that behind everything ugly and how dirty, within low quality constructions and plastic jewelry, there may be a flow that gives them power. The characters explain it with a phrase “the synthetic has a moment and a place”, which serves to introduce ourselves the belief that a ruby ring belonging to the French nobility is more valuable than a robbed zirconium from a house of efforts because We measure the value in a very concrete way.
It is possible that the literary style of Norco can be done at heavy moments. Their references are not precisely light, and the resulting mixture is difficult to control and maintain balanced. As point and click it is possible that it is quite simple, perhaps simple, since the puzzles do not require us more than paying attention to reading to discover the codes and the necessary sequences. There is not much ingenuity in your design and, however, the experience as a whole is a trip; An approach to a universe on the border between the real and the imaginary, which takes place in such a future time that seems the past. The title of Geography of Robots is attractive in its ugliness as all the representations of industrial zones. It is pessimistic in a lovely way that can only occur in the most marginal areas. It is unique and personal. The best fictitious representation that New Orleans has ever had.