In Everlast, You Can’t Evade Corporate Greed Even In Death
Uploading our consciousness to a digital realm is the stuff of cyberpunk dreams: scan the brain, create an emulation of our consciousness as vividly as possible, and send that image over to a supercomputer. In the FMV game Everlast, this technology has become so prevalent that it is now a full-fledged service, with the eponymous company presenting this as a haven for the afterlife. It’s a platform for your consciousness to exist beyond death, and which, in Everlast’s own marketing slogan, means “death is just a new beginning™”. But this experience also puts forth an eerie, unsettling suggestion: what if the brands we all know (and don’t love) are the corporate sponsors and partners of this platform, and can enact significant influence over our consciousness?
That’s the premise behind Everlast, which presents a sobering reality we may someday need to reckon with. As a recently deceased human who has met with a fatal accident (I’ll let you discover the details of that event on your own), you’ll first come face to face with Everlast’s greeter, an AI who helpfully informs you about your demise, your departure from the wetware of your physical body, and the following steps you can take from here. You’re promised an eternity of bliss, happiness and possibilities, and you’ll be able to enjoy all the amenities you had when you were alive in your physical body—but with none of the consequences.
Terms and conditions apply, of course. Before you can gain access to these and move on to this digital afterlife, you’ll need to answer a few questions, with the AI performing a brief background check on your mortal life. This is a simple formality; it’s to see which of the three Everlast packages—Basic, Premium or Elite—you’ll be eligible for in this realm. The kind of packages you’ll be entitled to is based on your online conduct and brand loyalty to Everlast’s corporate sponsors when you were human. Wish to upgrade your package to a more substantial one? You best be ready to offer something of value in exchange.
Luckily for us, this reality is fictional for now; there simply isn’t the technology to merge all our minds towards a singularity just yet today. But what makes Everlast so unnerving is our familiarity with the boundless appetite of corporate greed. The platform itself feels largely unwelcoming, enveloped in the kind of clinical, synthesised sounds that would not be out of place in a corporate brand video. The AI presents themselves with a human face, but has the tendency to dispense careless and deeply unsympathetic advice about surviving this virtual place. Even in this alternate reality, we are still constrained by the whims and caprices of faceless organisations, doomed to perform repetitive labour and pay back our dues.
The difference in Everlast, however, is that there’s no end to this Marxist nightmare. All these are punctuated by a sardonic, even caustic, sense of humour that permeates the game. You may very well be dead in this universe, but you still have bills to pay.
You can download Everlast for free on itch.io.
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