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Video Game / Headlander

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It is the future. Well, it's what people living in the 1970's thought the future would be like. You wake up on an abandoned spaceship, having just come out of cryosleep. Only problem is, you're just a head stuck in a space helmet. Fortunately the helmet is equipped with rockets allowing you to move around and attach to various robot bodies. Unfortunately the AI known as Methuselah has declared you an aberration and is sending an army of robots called Shepherds after you.

Released in 2016 by Double Fine, Headlander is a Metroidvania style game available for download from Steam.


  • After the End: The Archives hold a clip of a news report announcing the end of the "Ever-Wars" and the need for remediation of poisoned farmlands. Another clip describes the Impostor robot bodies as capable of withstanding the changing climate. It's strongly hinted that the space station is all that's left of humanity's legacy.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Methuselah is an old AI that went rogue and now runs pretty much everything. On the other hand there's ROOD, the AI in charge of opening doors. He's not evil, but he can be difficult at times. Then there's Electrosux Zed-Four, who is very passionate about keeping things clean. Homicidally so.
    • Towards the end of the game you learn that Earl is really ERL, an AI designed to stop Methuselah from going out of control. Averted in that he really is on your side.
  • Brain Uploading: In order to live forever the human race has uploaded their minds into robot bodies called Imposters.
    • It is implied that Methuselah was created by several uploaded minds being combined, one of which belonged to the character that the player character is a clone of.
  • Crazy People Play Chess: Halfway through the game you must enter an arena run by the Queen, an AI who has taken chess and turned it into Grid Clash, a game with chess pieces shooting lasers at each other.
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  • Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: Methuselah believes that "something" is missing from him. He is unable to get it from his experiments on the citizens and believes that the only way to become whole is to merge with the player character.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Remember Mappy? The infodesk robot you killed over and over just to get a pdf map file you didn't even need? Methuselah upgrades him to Killbot status near the end of the game. His weapon is weak, but he's a tank for health and comes in hordes.
  • Heroic Mime: Justified, and even lampshaded in the opening cutscene. Your character is a disembodied head attached to a succession of robot bodies; you can't talk without lungs.
  • Justified Extra Lives: Partway through the game Earl reveals that you are a clone. Near the end of the game Methuselah reveals that you're not just one clone, but a series of them. Whenever one of you is killed, a new clone is teleported into its place.
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  • Losing Your Head: You spend the entire game as head in a space helmet with no body.
  • Neat Freak: Electrosux Zed-Four will do anything to keep the station clean, up to and including murder.
  • Restraining Bolt: All citizens are fitted with an Omega Gem to keep them in line.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Vilified: A group known as the Daughters of Lucia-13 fight to overthrow Methuselah and return the human race to their original organic bodies.
  • Smart People Play Chess: Averted. White Queen is clearly off her rocker and reduced to fighting gladiator games.
  • Teleportation: Here they use "zapping" to teleport from one place to another.
  • Voice with an Internet Connection: Throughout the game "Earl" will walk you through what to do over the radio.
  • Zeerust: Everything in the game is based around what a person living in the 1970's thought the future would be like.

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