getinthedamnbox: games, sounds, and other work by Matt B

NEETs of Gēcí

Each year, I make an experimental game with input from friends, and then I run a single playthrough of that game. The results are never what I expect, but that’s the point. I spend the entire playthrough resolving problems, moving the game forward, and—best of all—explaining every hiccup with lore.

The rules of NEETs of Gēcí 2015 and 2016 are explained here:

Gēcí Lore

“When a new war starts, the first days are more mess than battle. Commanders are forced to make tactical decisions in an unfamiliar and untested environment. It’s even worse for the NEETs: they’re sent into combat without yet knowing how to exist, let alone fight. Do they have bodies this year? Is there gravity? Any physics at all? Sometimes, entire factions are wiped out before they know which way is up.

Unlike matter-based planets, Gēcí does not need to cool after forming. It can, however, be unstable. Some years, the aftershocks of genesis are so pronounced that they result in a micro-collapse, resetting the war.”

–Gēcí historian Jìyì

“Although suffering and death are not features of life in Gēcí, rivalry and revenge most certainly are. A defeated faction never forgets the NEETs that took it down.

The NEET language has an expression that translates literally to ‘blood debt’—despite the fact that NEETs do not bleed.”

–Gēcí historian Jìyì

“Sooner or later, light skirmishes always give way to full-blown conquest. But it does not happen all at once: some corners of Gēcí fall more quickly than others. The first time this happens, the entire continent takes note. For the NEETs, every war is a world war.”

–Gēcí historian Jìyì

“It is reasonable to believe that intelligent creatures loathe conflict because of its mortal horrors: gore, pain, murder. But what does it say when even in a deathless war, some succumb to despair?”

–Gēcí historian Jìyì

“In the twilight between wars, the NEETs do not train, fight, or even squabble. It would be futile, like an athlete practicing without knowing which sport is to be played.

Peace, then, is enforced through global helplessness.”

–Gēcí historian Jìyì

“Why do the NEETs fight? If they were to work together, they could open the Lock in a matter of days. But instead they choose conflict. They elect to get in each other’s way. Why? Stupidity?

No. The NEETs of Gēcí are intelligent enough to lob valence hacks and zero scrubs; they adapt to new realities with ease. Simple ignorance cannot explain the NEETs’ unwillingness to choose peace.

When war erupts in Gēcí, there is certainly a good reason for it. We just lack the ability to understand what it is.”

–Gēcí historian Jìyì

“Are there times of silence in Gēcí? Or does music play continuously?

The answer to both questions is ‘yes.’ There is silence, but its beats are counted.”

–Gēcí historian Jìyì

“Fairy tales in Gēcí often center on themes of failure and defeat. In one well-known story, an outnumbered group of NEET defenders persevere for many days but are eventually overwhelmed. The NEETs fall one by one, and the earth beneath them hums a single note for each. (Storytellers commonly vocalize the note as, ‘Bo!’) Over the course of the climactic final battle, Gēcí sings the conquered army to sleep, one NEET at a time: ‘Bobobo-bo! Bo-bobo!’

It speaks volumes about the NEETs that, in their fairy tales, Gēcí almost always sides with the fallen over the triumphant."

–Gēcí historian Jìyì

“Only in Gēcí do individuals have the chance to self-avenge. A NEET’s pronouncement that they will haunt their betrayer is not an appeal to the supernatural.”

–Gēcí historian Jìyì

“Silhouette… Yes… I’m familiar with the concept. It extends well beyond Gēcí and is therefore outside my area of expertise. But I can speak of it in general terms.

‘Sightings’ of Silhouette have been made on many worlds, but they can hardly be described as such, because they never involve sensory evidence. Witnesses recall an unexplained changing of the mind, a break in the continuity of their thoughts. They say it is barely perceptible, to the point where most eventually let go of the idea, putting it in the same category as déjà vu.

Empirical evidence of Silhouette exists, but it is sparse and inconclusive. The phenomenon has been observed only in the way that the wind is observed in the fluttering of a distant leaf.

For Gēcí, specifically, some scholars have proposed Silhouette as an explanation for peculiar behavior among the NEETs. In one war, for example, multiple NEET factions left a lush region uninhabited for no clear reason, maneuvering around it with inexplicable synchronization. Tactical rationale was provided during combat, but, upon later review, it was found to be shaky—even to the NEETs that came up with it in the first place.

Many believers claim that Silhouette is a perspective-shifting force: camera rotation in an isometric world. Nothing changes, but somehow everything does, and you realize, mid-conversation, that the lights are out and you are alone.

To a devoted few, Silhouette operates with intent—not as an ‘it,’ but as ‘they.’ The motives of Silhouettes range from malice to mischief to instruction depending on who you ask, but one unifying belief is that they have an appreciation for irony. An obstacle disappears, and for a moment you rejoice. But then it hits you: What if that obstacle had actually been protecting you all along?”

–Gēcí historian Jìyì

“Every NEET hopes their final hours will be their finest.”

–Gēcí historian Jìyì