Dec 18, 2017 Last Updated 2:49 PM, Dec 18, 2017

New Tokyo: One JRPG's Take On Modern Policing

Published in Editorial
Read 1144 times
Rate this item
(0 votes)
Tagged under

There was a moment in police work, about fifteen years ago, when criminals had become frighteningly tech-savvy, while many cops couldn't work a computer.

Traffickers of any product banned in broad daylight utilized chat rooms to connect with consumers, distribute goods, and transfer payment. Bookies ditched their telephones for email accounts and websites with automated betting. Particularly, producers and consumers of child exploitation material thrived; closet pedophiles made predators rich and swapped images anonymously to complete their explicit collections. Chance discoveries of hard drives packed with their galleries led us to a new realization: we needed a new kind of street level cop, because the meaning of the “street” had changed. We thought we knew about organized crime already, but The Godfather's got nothing on our internet.

All of the sudden, the people we look to keep us safe were totally out of their depth. The average police detective maybe had a kid who knew something about AIM. A department on the east coast of America would know someone's toddler went missing, and on the other side of the country a week later another department might turn up a picture of that kid on a suspect's hard drive, but there was no central database or way for them to coordinate about these things. Criminals developed extensive and sophisticated networks to conduct their business over the internet before police even figured out they had a problem.

So law enforcement turned to kids for help.

To the digital nomads. Suddenly, teenagers were the experts, and young adults just breaking into the criminal justice field were the most valuable members of an investigative team.

It's a parallel that came to me while I reviewed Operation Abyss: New Tokyo Legacy, in relation to the power used to fight that game's monsters that manifests in ordinary high school students but fades as those students grow up: “The writing embraces the ethical problems of Japan's police knowingly training and throwing high school students into danger, and the chief police detective you interact with expresses his frustration with the growing obsolescence of his role”.

Operation Abyss already offers a solid critique of the child or teenager in fiction who takes on adult responsibilities and outperforms actual adults.

Further, however, it examines the adults who are, or have been, in the process of being supplanted by recruits who, though utterly unqualified when it comes to real work experience, are simply better at a given job because they are younger [EN: eSports]. Circumstances are such in Operation Abyss that the time when your player controlled characters were born gives them different expertise, much like the fresh graduates snapped up by agencies today.

In the crime nonfiction book Caught on the Web, author Julian Sher describes a typical investigation hub which, although it was the best police could assemble, couldn’t handle the data mining job: “their computers were far from the latest models, and their surroundings were typical police drab. The gray carpet was stained from age. On a crowded coffee table, an empty coffee maker fought for space with a big open jar of peanut butter. One entire wall was covered with a large whiteboard detailing their mountain of assignments.” A whiteboard. That's how bad it was. They didn't even use Excel.

I read plot elements of Operation Abyss, in one way, as an allegory for the existential crises internal to modern policing. The chief detective NPC in particular has trouble ceding duties to you, the player. You represent that generation with skills that only youth have by sheer random chance. You, too, will become dated. [EN: You, too, will get old] We gain an opportunity for insight into an expertise-based conflict in our own world via sympathetic older police NPCs in an anime dungeon crawler RPG.

Kelsey Erwin

Kelsey seeks out RPGs with the narrative clout of Greek tragedy and strategy sims more punishing than QWOP. Their favorite part about being a gender neutral PC gamer and reviewer is that it's probably the only thing no one else on the site will put in a biography. Super saiyan special snowflake originality! Kelsey always keeps a pot of hot tea close at hand, and the sign of a truly great game is when it can monopolize Kelsey's attention so completely that the tea grows cold. While a dedicated believer in the PC Master Race, Kelsey also still spends time with their old favorite console, a cinderblock size Playstation 2.

Related items

  • Artificial Humans to Enrich Your Business in Starship Corporation

    Publisher Iceberg Interactive and developer Coronado Games announce the release of the ‘Artificial Humans’ content update for their space ship building simulation game Starship Corporation (PC). Starship Corporation is currently available through Steam’s Early Access Program. The Artificial Humans’ update adds a new type of crew member: Cybernetic Organisms (CyO).

  • Headup Games Announces Bridge Constructor Portal

    Developer and Publisher Headup Games announces that for the last year, they've been secretly working in their underground labs on the next iteration of the million-selling Bridge Constructor series. This new stand-alone title will release on PC, MacOS, Linux, mobile devices, and console, and fully embraces the Portal license, one of the most beloved video game franchises of the last decade.

  • Amazon Retro Zone Invites You to Compete Nov.14-15

    Amazon Appstore’s Retro Zone, which claims to be "the ultimate online destination for all things retro gaming," is partnering with Twitch influencers this Nov. 14-15 to stream retro games available on the Amazon Appstore and compete in speed runs against viewers.

  • Paris Games Week: OPN Meets Ninpo

    The most intriguing game of PGW was Vanishing Stars Colony War, developed by Ninpo — mostly since we were surprised to hear that these two genres could be merged into one; the independent scene allows this type of originality. And to hear Cedric's passion for his tower defense MMO, we can’t wait to play it!

  • BadLand Games Announces Do Not Feed The Monkeys to Release Q1 2018

    A story-driven title in which you invade the privacy of dozens of strangers while you witness their most intimate moments, trying to keep up with the rent payment and have enough money to buy some food from time to time... 

  • Gravel: Devs Announce Four Disciplines To Be The Number One

    Gravel, Milestone’s latest IP, is back with a new Dev Diary focused on the career mode developed around the Off-Road Masters, the annual TV show where the best riders in the world compete in races all over the planet, organized by the Gravel Channel, the extreme sports TV channel completely dedicated to off-roading.

  • It’s-a-me, Mario!

    He captured our hearts and minds since he was 8-bits of pixel jumping across abstract floating platforms, smashing similarly-floating bricks with his gloved hands. Mario (Mario Mario, to be precise) is one of the most iconic figures of anything in the world – not just gaming.

  • eSports

    It’s hard to pinpoint the inception of the esports movement, but much speaks for placing it somewhere around the year 2000. Fueled by fears of the end of the world (brought about by the Y2K bug), public sentiment took a downturn. In Asia, specifically South Korea, a financial crisis had ravaged the economy and conjured a bleak outlook onto the future. Scores of yuppies were fired and turned into NEETs. Instead of browsing the internet and doing nothing at their office jobs, they now passed their time in cyber cafes, playing online multiplayer games.

More in this category: Screw You, Chuck Norris »