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Video Game / Paradigm

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Paradigm (Cyrillic: Пaрaдигмa) is a comedic, surreal point-and-click adventure video game by Australian indie developer Jacob Janerka, and made as an homage to classic adventure games such as Monkey Island and Grim Fandango. The game funded through a Kickstarter. It went live on April 5th, 2017 on Steam and Humble Bundle.

The titular Paradigm's unfortunate life begins at DUPA Genetics, a company who sells prodigy children to the rich and powerful who don’t want to leave their inheritance to their poor excuse for biological children. However something went wrong during Paradigm's growing process and he was left horribly mutated. To save their reputation, DUPA dumped the hideous infant in a broken down power plant in the apocalyptic Eastern European country of Krusz, forcing him to fend for himself. Paradigm didn’t let this get him down and found solace in music. He dreams of becoming the best electronic music artist the world has ever seen! Unfortunately his past is set to catch up with him and he must reluctantly step up as the world's saviour. When really he just wants to make some "phat beatsies" and finish his latest EP.

"Hello, Interesting Tropes!":

  • 20 Minutes into the Future: Set in 2026.
  • A Degree in Useless: One of the promises DUPA makes is that their prodigy children won't throw away their parents' money by getting liberal arts degrees.
  • Aerith and Bob: Paradigm and John.
  • After the End: Most of Eastern Europe was implied to be plagued by the nuclear fallout for years. Radiation-Immune Mutants who walk the surface shrugs it off.
  • Artificial Intelligence: John is the AI for Paradigm's house.
  • Autosave: The game has an autosave file that only a wizard could save over!
  • Awesome Aussie: John 3000 has a thick Australian accent. The "awesome" part, however, is questionable.
  • Bait-and-Switch: When visiting the Butt Observatory, Paradigm will suddenly see his home blow up in a nuclear explosion, which melts off his face. Turns out John 3000 was just sending him an audiovisual hallucination to mess with him.
    • The IT technician appears to be a friendly and beautiful woman... but she's suddenly revealed to be a hologram covering an ugly and unpleasant, stereotypical nerd.
    • The game's trailer begins with Paradigm explaining that he's an alien who came to Earth with Olof to teach humans peace and alien lovemaking, before admitting that he's lying.
  • Black Comedy: Every part of the game that isn't Surreal Humor is full of this.
  • Body Horror: Aside from Paradigm himself, the scientist guy comes back from teleportation with his limbs reversed and his head attached to his stomach.
  • Brain Bleach: Due to watching Paradigm through a CCTV system, Olof apparently saw what Paradigm does alone when he thinks no one is watching. His reaction is... telling.
  • Cast of Snowflakes: No two characters are alike.
  • Catchphrase: Paradigm consistently refers to his tunes as "phat beatsies" and likes to reference them a lot.
  • Companion Cube: The Cone(tm)'s wife is a mannequin wearing only a wig.
  • Cloning Blues: Averted. Paradigm destroys his clones without a second thought after they served their purpose. Admittedly, they were completely braindead.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Several cast members are more than a little loony, but most notably Space Cadet, the local drug addict.
  • Crapsack World: Krusz is an absolute hellhole. The only way to bear it is through vodka, nonchalant apathy and surrealism.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Paradigm is quite snarky.
  • Designer Baby: DUPA sells them to rich parents. Paradigm is a failed example.
  • Do Not Try This at Home: When giving his mutant dog, Igorski, vodka mixed with paint thinner, he warns the player to never try drinking paint thinner, unless, of course, they have the stomach of a weird mutant dog.
  • Fetch Quest: At one point, Paradigm has to collect the scientist's limbs from around DUPA Genetics HQ.
  • Fixed Camera
  • Forced Transformation: The Glam Metal Messiah actually loves being in the form of a pug.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: The PAGST Membership Card is only seen up close for about two seconds but features several of these.
    PAGST - people against generally shitty things.
    Honourary Membership: Parryadigmy ♥
    One free cupcake at Cuppy Cakes. 15% off Personality reconstructions ("Your personality is bland and terrible"). One free punch in the face.
  • Guardian of the Multiverse: Parodied with the Keeper of the Multiverse. He's actually a massive Troll who kills his time by telling dad jokes to anyone trying to teleport, and by starting to answer if you ask him the big questions of life, only to teleport you out before he finishes.
  • Hair Metal: With an entire religion based around it!
  • Hollywood Hacking: Parodied. When Paradigm "hacks" the Head Mart terminal, a big flashy animation of a scaling neon grid plays, complete with a "Hacking" progress bar and Synthwave music playing in the background... then it's revealed that he just guessed the ridiculously easy password.
  • I Didn't Mean to Kill Him: Played for Laughs, thrice. The active murders Paradigm committed are essentially a water tank, a water cooler and a giant can of candiesnote , which Paradigm seems to have no remorse for.
  • Irony: The goals of DUPA's founder was ultimately to procrastinate by resolving to glam metal and professional wrestling. His true successor, Paradigm, procrastinated long enough to have a productive living with Phat Beatsies which was the arts that DUPA genetics are trying to avoid.
  • Killer Robot: Olof sends one after Paradigm to dispose of him. Fortunately, it's dumb as a bag of rocks.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero: As usual for these kind of games, Paradigm collects a lot of seemingly useless things.
  • La Résistance: The PAGST (People Against Generally Shitty Things) are an organization devoted to taking down DUPA Genetics and preventing them from taking over the world... however, there is absolutely no evidence that it has any other members than the slightly loopy leader and her mutated cat.
  • Let Us Never Speak of This Again: Paradigm says this if you enter the forbidden mouse hole.
  • Loser Protagonist: It often lampshaded that Paradigm as a person is rather slovenly, lazy, ill-tempered, not altogether that bright, and have some really weird preferences.
    Paradigm: What else do you know about me?
    Rebel Leader: Other than the fact you're a self-loathing loser who can't handle criticism and never follows through with his goals? Not to mention whose internet viewing habits would make long-time fetishists gag.
    Paradigm: ...You know, I was hoping for a more fun answer.
  • MacGyvering: Pick up everything. Combine into other things. Save the day. Make phat beatsies.
  • Make the Bear Angry Again: There are mentions of a "Neo-Soviet Union" which was active in Krusz until its dissolution. How scary they actually were is up to debate, seeing as they built a butt-shaped nuclear missile silo and a space station partially made of a pickle jar, among other things.
  • Meanwhile, Back at the…: DUPA Genetics.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Because Paradigm was originally going to be a Designer Baby, it makes sense that he would be called a name that means "a model or set of patterns".
    • In polish DUPA means "ass"! Their logo even looks like one.
  • Mega-Corp: Almost everything in the game, including the main characters, were manufactured by DUPA Genetics.
  • Misplaced Accent: Olof. He's a sloth living in Eastern Europe who was genetically engineered by a Swedish businessman... and he has a British accent for some reason.
  • Money, Dear Boy: In-Universe. Kuba Janerkowski, the artist behind the illustrations in the Your Mommy is an Evil Company Called DUPA Genetics, straight up admits as much in his short bio in the book.
    I'd much rather do my own stuff, but shit man, I gotta pay dem bills. This mac and cheese addiction doesn't come cheap. Especially when it comes to my bowels.
  • Moon Logic Puzzle: Downplayed; being a humorous surrealist point-and-click adventure game, this trope is a given, but the puzzles are sensible once you start thinking about unlikely but reasonable uses for unlikely objects. There are, however, plenty of red herrings to throw you off. Example: getting a decapitated head of a policeman to gain access to the drug dealer's house in itself requires about half an hour's worth of gameplay spent exploring and looking for unlikely parts in unlikely places.
  • Multiple Endings: Parodied. Right before the final puzzle, the game lets you choose which ending you want to see. One of them is labeled "Actual Ending" and it's the only one that will let you proceed.
  • No Name Given: The rebel leader is only ever referred to as such.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Zig-Zagged. Some characters (for example Paradigm or the rebel leader) speak with various light Eastern European or Russian accents. Others (like Secretary Knight or the Cupcake Salesperson) don't bother.
  • NPC Roadblock:
    • Happens just as Paradigm finds the floppy. Naturally he can no longer get inside the plant to use it.
    • The evil water cooler will stop you leaving the DUPA office until you drink him.
  • Plant Person: Doug the beat dropping eggplant.
  • Plot Coupon: The back-up floppy is the first.
  • Point-and-Click Map:
    • Paradigm uses a postcard that he finds inside a mailbox...that was inside another mailbox...that someone mailed to his mailbox.
    • Later at DUPA he uses a little electronic device with pixel icons.
  • Pun: Doug is a beet who drops beats for money. His name is also a homophone for "dug". Beets are a root vegetable.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: Everybody working at DUPA Genetics are just doing their jobs (or sometimes not even that), none of them have any honest wish for world domination save for Olof.
  • Radiation-Immune Mutants: At least half of the cast is horribly mutated from all the nuclear waste stored underneath Krusz, but they seem to be doing fine otherwise. The cupcake salesperson in particular takes this trope up to eleven - she has become so accustomed to radiation that she actually needs it to survive - she's breathing pure plutonium.
  • Room Escape Game:
    • The beginning of Act II has you escaping from an "evil water cooler" at DUPA.
    • The IT guy references this trope by name after you escape his trap.
  • Running Gag:
    • Many times when using the "Pick up" option on objects, Paradigm will say a cheesy pick up line instead of picking up the object.
    • Nipples are frequently used in the game's jokes, which Paradigm notes.
  • Ruritania: Krusz, the apocalyptic Eastern European country the game is set in, plays up every single stereotype about the region for the sake of Surreal Humor. The total population of the country is allegedly five people, one of which is the local drug addict and the other the country's only drug dealer, texts are randomly in English, Polish or Russian, the "Neo-Soviet Union" built a nuclear silo in the country, and the entire region is full of radioactive waste. That doesn't explain the knight secretary or the candy-vomiting sloth, of course...
  • Scenery Porn: The backgrounds and characters are very well designed.
  • Schizo Tech: In Krusz, computers run on floppy disks... and there's genetic engineering. One room also has both a magnetic tape computer and a teleporter.
  • Self-Deprecation: Paradigm doesn't have a very high opinion of himself. References to his sedentary lifestyle, romantic bad luck and Ridiculous Procrastinator tendencies abound.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: The entire first half of the game turns out to be this. The power plant was never under any threat of nuclear meltdown, it was just a lie John 3000 fed to Paradigm to get him out of the house so he can have his dates over.
  • Shout-Out: Plenty, particularly to classic point-and-click adventure games like Monkey Island.
  • Slobs Versus Snobs: Paradigm's slob vs. Olof's snob.
  • Superior Successor: Olof's beefs against Paradigm is being the legitimate successor for his dead owner. The reason of death for DUPA's founder also implies that he died from the issue that Paradigm is capable of tolerating, diabetes.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: The drug dealer's manor features a colossal sign reading "NOT A DRUG DEALER". He is also consistently referred to as "Not a Drug Dealer".
  • Take That!
    • Prodigy Children as a whole are a big Take That! to parents who want their children to pursue the "right" goals in life and consider art degrees useless.
    • On the other hand, the game pulls no punches on pretentious artists either, most notably during the dungeon sequence.
    • Towards the end there is a massive Take That! to pay-to-win games and developers who release crucial content as DLCs. Paradigm has to scam somebody out of her money to buy a DLC that allows him to fight Olof.
  • Talking the Monster to Death: At one point, Paradigm convinces a robot to commit suicide.
  • Tomboy with a Girly Streak: The rebel leader appears pretty tough but she also swoons over her boyfriend and writes Paradigm's name on his PAGST membership card as "Parryadigmy" with a little heart over the I.
  • Trade Snark: The Cone TM
  • True Art Is Incomprehensible:In-Universe, Apple Head and the other reject Prodigy Children definitely seem to think so. If Paradigm asks her what true art is, she responds with an incoherent growl and notes that true artists have moved beyond human language.
  • Unlockable Content: Parodied. The final chapter is locked through a literal paywall where you either pay or unlock it through an exorbitant number of clicks. You can unlock it by telling an old lady to pay the chapter for you or do the 10,000 clicks on the spot.
  • Unusual Pets for Unusual People: The rebel leader owns a two-headed, telepathic cat.
  • Vengeful Vending Machine: Kind of. The mutant octopus inside the space dust vending machine is acerbic and apathetic but she does eventually help Paradigm just to annoy her employer/owner.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: The Cone TM is afraid of flying cones.
    • Olof can't resist climbing trees. Fitting, as he's a sloth.
  • We Can Rule Together: The Glam Metal "ending" has Paradigm suggest this, and Olof agree. Cue Crapsaccharine World of glam metal, professional wrestling, and excess enforced by "light torture".