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Video Game / Galatea

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Galatea is an interactive fiction created by Emily Short in 2000. It is based on the Greek myth of Galatea, a statue of a woman who came to life after being created by the sculptor Pygmalion.

You play an art critic at an art show. Beyond that, the game varies wildly with how you interact with Galatea, an exhibit at the show.

Can be played here.

Contains examples of:

  • 20 Minutes into the Future: The main character is an art critic specializing in animates, humanoid pieces with artificial intelligence. At the beginning of the game, he believes Galatea is one.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Galatea isn't rude, but she is a dry being in general, and can be outright snarky depending on the topics you choose and her affection gauge.
  • Debug Room: Emily Short provides two debug commands for players curious about how the game works "behind the scenes" on her Cheats and Walkthroughs page.
  • Driven to Suicide: The artist, potentially.
  • Eldritch Abomination: In the "Reflections" ending, Galatea is one.
    With a laugh like that of a child being let outside, she turns – to wood, the color and style of a product of Old Kingdom Egypt. To glass, faceted, her hair scattering the downshot light to a thousand tiny points. To a sculpture of sand, to a pillar of salt, to flowing water, to flame.
    And finally her substance has fled entirely, and she is only a shadow, passing around you in a cool whisper.
    “I am what you think I am; I am what your treatment makes of me.”
  • From Beyond the Fourth Wall: The special verb EUDOXIA is only revealed in the "Brute Force" ending, where it is too late to be of use. The player must UNDO or RESTART to use it in another path.
  • Guide Dang It!: There are 70 unique endings (although many are variations on specific endings). The nuances of each ending are dependent on hidden stats related to what the player character and Galatea have discussed about. Targeting specific endings requires the player to ask about certain topics before taking an action.
  • Humanity Ensues: One ending has Galatea become human after praying to Zeus.
  • The Man Behind the Curtain: One ending reveals Galatea to be controlled by a woman behind the curtain.
  • Multiple Endings: Ranging from getting depressed about cancer, to the artist being behind the curtain controlling Galatea, to you getting kicked out by security for tearing down said curtain. In all, there's around seventy different endings.
  • No Infantile Amnesia: Commented upon, where the title character says she remembers how she was constructed, while others don't remember how they were born.
  • Pygmalion Plot: In fact, this is how the game got its name.
  • Relationship Values: Galatea has hidden relationship values with the player character. What value they are at upon reaching an ending determines which variant of the ending is shown.
  • Schrödinger's Gun: The "Avatar" ending reveals that Galatea is controlled by a woman behind the curtain. This is not necessarily the case outside of this ending — tearing down the curtain will reveal an empty space, and get you kicked out by security.
  • Sense Freak: In the "Stilton" ending, where Galatea tries food for the first time.
  • Sexy Backless Outfit: Galatea's dress exposes her back. This can contribute to tension between her and the player character, who can reach out to examine her body, such as running a finger along her spine.
  • Shout-Out: The "Eliza" ending, where you use her as a psychotherapist.
    (Someone should write a psychologist program for animates. It would make millions.)
  • Speech-Centric Work: The game is mainly chatting with Galatea.