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* BadFuture: From the 2051 sim onward, the game is a series of ''increasingly'' bad futures, with the worst being 2081 (after civilization has collapsed altogether).

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* BadFuture: From the 2051 sim onward, the game is a series of ''increasingly'' bad futures, with the worst being progressing from a DyingTown in 2051 to an increasingly harsh {{Dystopia}} in 2061 and 2071 to an outright DeathWorld in 2081 (after civilization has collapsed altogether).


* BenevolentAI: After PRISM discovers that he's actually an AI and his whole "life" was a simulation, he takes it... fairly well. Then he willingly goes into further simulations where his world gets progressively worse and he dies over and over again, all so that humanity can avoid destroying ourselves.

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* BenevolentAI: After PRISM discovers that he's actually an AI and his whole "life" was a simulation, he takes it... fairly well. Then he willingly goes into further simulations where his world gets progressively worse and he dies over and over again, all so that humanity human civilization can avoid destroying ourselves.itself.


* EverythingTryingToKillYou: The 2081 simulation. Described in the official hints as "very deadly", almost every direction leads to a death event. It doesn't help that by this point in the simulation's timeline, PRISM's analogue is elderly.

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* EverythingTryingToKillYou: The 2081 simulation. Described in the official hints as "very deadly", almost every direction leads to a death event. It doesn't help that by this point in the simulation's timeline, PRISM's analogue is elderly.elderly ''and'' starving to death.


* BenevolentAI: After PRISM discovers that he's actually an AI and his whole "life" was a simulation, he takes it... fairly well. Then he willingly goes into further simulations where his world gets progressively worse and he dies over and over again, all so that humanity can avoid that fate.

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* BenevolentAI: After PRISM discovers that he's actually an AI and his whole "life" was a simulation, he takes it... fairly well. Then he willingly goes into further simulations where his world gets progressively worse and he dies over and over again, all so that humanity can avoid that fate.destroying ourselves.

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* KickTheDog: The Border Security Force excels at this. In 2051, 2061, and 2071, they always manage to pick the ''worst'' moment to conduct warrant-less raids on your home.


* LateToTheTragedy: The 2081 simulation, in a sense. You appear ''after'' everything has finally collapsed into barbarism, but while you can remember there were once "civilized days", you seem to have no thoughts about the final straw that broke civilization's back, be it nuclear war, environmental collapse, plague, societal disruption widespread enough to wreck what remained of the world's food chain, or (given how awful 2071 was) probably some combination of all of these. And you die well before you can discover any clues to the "mystery".

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* LateToTheTragedy: The 2081 simulation, in a sense. You appear ''after'' everything has finally collapsed into barbarism, but while you can remember there were once "civilized days", you seem to have no thoughts about the final straw that broke civilization's back, be it nuclear war, environmental collapse, plague, societal disruption widespread enough to wreck what remained of the world's food chain, or (given how awful 2071 was) probably some combination of all of these. And you die well before you can discover the sim reveals any clues to the "mystery".


* {{Feelies}}

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* {{Feelies}}{{Feelies}}: The original game box included a ''Dakota Online'' magazine and a map of Rockvil.


* FascistsBedTime: From the 2061 simulation onward, the government of Rockvil imposes a 9 PM curfew on citizens. In 2061, breaking curfew results in a night of jail, but in 2071, it earns [[DisproportionateRetribution a drunken summary execution]].

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* FascistsBedTime: From the 2061 simulation onward, In later simulations, the government of Rockvil imposes a 9 PM curfew on citizens. In 2061, breaking curfew results in a night of jail, but in 2071, it earns [[DisproportionateRetribution a drunken summary execution]].


* DeathIsASlapOnTheWrist: In the simulations, death merely kicks you out of the sim, with nothing to stop you from entering the sim again. In fact, the deaths actually ''help'' you, as you must record some of them to show how badly the Plan will fail.
* DeathWorld: The 2081 simulation. Almost everywhere you go, you will be killed by collapsing infrastructure, feral dogs, or (most often) the barbarians and cannibals that the surviving humans have become. And even if you just stand still at your starting point, you discover that you're in the last stages of starvation and keel over anyway!

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* DeathIsASlapOnTheWrist: In the simulations, death merely kicks you out of back to the sim, real world, with nothing to stop you from entering the sim again. In fact, the deaths actually ''help'' you, as you must record some of them to show how badly the Plan will fail.
* DeathWorld: The 2081 simulation. Almost everywhere you go, you will be killed by simulation, which is full of lethal threats -- collapsing infrastructure, feral dogs, or (most often) the barbarians and cannibals that the surviving humans have become. And even if you just stand still at your starting point, manage to avoid all of them, you quickly discover that you're in the last stages of starvation and keel over anyway!


It is the year 2031, and the player controls PRISM, the world's first sentient computer. The economy of the [[ExpandedStatesOfAmerica United States of North America]] (USNA) is failing. Great numbers of youths are turning to "Joybooths" (a device which directly stimulates the sensory input of the brain) and committing suicide by over-stimulation. A new arms race involving nuclear weapons no larger than the size of a common pack of cigarettes threatens to turn the USNA into a police state. Unaware that it is a sophisticated computer, PRISM has been living for 11 years (in real-time, 20 years within the simulation) as an ordinary human, "Perry Simm". Dr. Abraham Perelman, PRISM's "father", informs Perry of his true nature and gently brings him from simulation mode into reality. Perelman explains that he has awakened PRISM so a vital mission can be performed: running a simulation of a revitalization plan (dubbed the Plan for Renewed National Purpose), sponsored by Senator Richard Ryder. The plan calls for "renewed national purpose" through de-regulation of government and industry, military conscription, a unilateral approach to diplomatic relations, and a return to traditional and fundamental values. PRISM will enter a simulation of a typical American town at 10 year intervals following the plan's enacting, and observe... for good or for bad.

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It is the year 2031, and the player controls PRISM, the world's first sentient computer. The economy of the [[ExpandedStatesOfAmerica United States of North America]] (USNA) is failing. Great numbers of youths are turning to "Joybooths" (a device which directly stimulates the sensory input of the brain) and committing suicide by over-stimulation. A new arms race involving nuclear weapons no larger than the size of a common pack of cigarettes threatens to turn the USNA into a police state. Unaware Initially unaware that it is a sophisticated computer, PRISM has been living for 11 years (in real-time, 20 years within the simulation) in a simulation as an ordinary human, "Perry Simm". Simm".

Dr. Abraham Perelman, PRISM's "father", informs Perry PRISM of his true nature and gently brings him from simulation mode into reality. Perelman explains that he has awakened PRISM so a vital mission can be performed: running a simulation of a revitalization plan (dubbed the Plan for Renewed National Purpose), sponsored by Senator Richard Ryder. The plan Plan calls for "renewed national purpose" through de-regulation of government and industry, military conscription, a unilateral approach to diplomatic relations, and a return to traditional and fundamental values. PRISM will enter a simulation of a typical American town -- Rockvil, South Dakota -- at 10 year intervals following the plan's Plan's enacting, continuing his existence as "Perry", and observe...record the Plan's results... for good or for bad.


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* EvilPlan: The Plan ''wasn't'' intended to destroy civilization, and actually enjoys massive bipartisan support at the start of the game... but it ''becomes'' an Evil Plan after its sponsor, Senator Ryder, is shown the consequences, ''still'' wants to enact it, and is even willing to murder Dr. Perelman and PRISM for getting in the Plan's way.


* DisproportionateRetribution: In the later sims, even minor crimes can earn the death penalty. Worse yet, by the time of the 2071 simulation, instead of the laborious process that comes of enacting the death penalty in modern-day America, the condemned are ''immediately'' sent to execution matches in Rockvil Stadium -- or just draggged out back, beaten, and shot!

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* DisproportionateRetribution: In the later sims, even minor crimes can earn the death penalty. Worse yet, by the time of the 2071 simulation, instead of the laborious process that comes of enacting the death penalty in modern-day America, the condemned are ''immediately'' sent to execution matches in Rockvil Stadium -- or just draggged dragged out back, beaten, and shot!


* DyingTown: The later simulations show Rockvil as a dying city, strangled by poverty, urban decay, pollution, and religious persecution. By 2081, Rockvil is ''dead'', having become a post-apocalyptic ruin with death around every corner.

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* DyingTown: The later simulations show Rockvil as a dying city, strangled by poverty, urban decay, pollution, violent crime, and religious persecution. By 2081, Rockvil is ''dead'', having become a post-apocalyptic ruin with death around every corner.


* BenevolentAI: PRISM takes finding out that he's actually an AI and his whole life is a lie fairly well, and he willingly goes into simulations where his world gets progressively worse and he dies over and over again, all so that humanity can avoid that fate.

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* BenevolentAI: After PRISM takes finding out discovers that he's actually an AI and his whole life is "life" was a lie simulation, he takes it... fairly well, and well. Then he willingly goes into further simulations where his world gets progressively worse and he dies over and over again, all so that humanity can avoid that fate.



* ControllableHelplessness: In the less grim simulations, breaking the law results in spending several turns in jail until you're released. In a later, extremely bleak, simulation, you're stuck there until executed. Fortunately, since it's a simulation, getting killed merely returns you to the non-simulation world.

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* ControllableHelplessness: In the less grim simulations, breaking the law results in spending several turns in jail until you're released. In a later, extremely bleak, simulation, bleaker simulations, you're stuck there until executed. Fortunately, since it's a simulation, getting killed [[DeathIsASlapOnTheWrist merely returns you to the non-simulation world.world]].



* DeathIsASlapOnTheWrist: In the simulations. In fact, you have to record some of your deaths to show how badly the Plan will fail.
* DeathWorld: The 2081 simulation. Almost everywhere you go, you will be killed by collapsing infrastructure, feral dogs, or (most often) the barbarians and cannibals that the surviving humans have become. And even if you just stand still at your starting point, you discover that you're in the last stages of starvation and keel over!

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* DeathIsASlapOnTheWrist: In the simulations. simulations, death merely kicks you out of the sim, with nothing to stop you from entering the sim again. In fact, the deaths actually ''help'' you, as you have to must record some of your deaths them to show how badly the Plan will fail.
* DeathWorld: The 2081 simulation. Almost everywhere you go, you will be killed by collapsing infrastructure, feral dogs, or (most often) the barbarians and cannibals that the surviving humans have become. And even if you just stand still at your starting point, you discover that you're in the last stages of starvation and keel over!over anyway!



* EarnYourHappyEnding: [[spoiler: After enduring the increasingly [[CrapsackWorld Crapsack Worlds]] of the Plan simulations up to 2081, defeating the Plan unlocks the epilogue -- a 2091 simulation where you finally get to see a ''good'' future.]]



* InsideAComputerSystem

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* InsideAComputerSystemInsideAComputerSystem: Doubly invoked. As an AI, you ''are'' a computer system, and you spend the game mucking around inside simulated worlds.


* AstralFinale

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* AstralFinaleAstralFinale: [[spoiler: The 2091 simulation that appears after the Plan is defeated and a liberal New Plan is enacted instead. Far from destroying itself, humanity is prosperous and reaching for the stars. The game ends with you and your wife boarding Earth's first generation ship to explore interstellar space.]]


* ElderAbuse: Played briefly in the 2061 simulation, when children make fun of you for being around fifty years old; but in the 2071 simulation, it is so much worse (as the children can straight up stone you to death while chanting childish rhymes that you deserve to die). Worst of all, you are -- God help you -- ''seventy'' in the 2081 sim-wreck with EverythingTryingToKillYou!

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* ElderAbuse: Played briefly in the 2061 simulation, when children make fun of you for being around fifty years old; but in the 2071 simulation, it is so much even worse (as the children can straight up stone you to death while chanting childish rhymes that you deserve to die). Worst of all, you are -- God help you -- ''seventy'' in the 2081 sim-wreck with EverythingTryingToKillYou!

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