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Reading Antiquity in Metro Redux

Chris Bishop (Australian National University, Canberra)

Reading Antiquity in Metro Redux.

Chris Bishop (Australian National University, Canberra)

christopher.bishop@anu.edu.au

4A Games’ Metro Redux (2014) plays at the intersection of literature and video games. The suite consists of two games, the first of which (Metro 2033) was based on the self-published novels of Dmitrii Glukhovskii: Метро 2033 (2005) and Метро 2034 (2009). Glukhovskii then worked with 4A to write the plot and dialogues for the second game (Metro: Last Light) which, in turn, served as the basis for a third novel, Метро 2035 (2015).

The games, like the novels, are set in the metro system of Moscow some twenty years after a nuclear apocalypse. Remnant communities, forced underground, congregate in stations that function as nascent city-states. Some stations are independent and unaligned, while others have formed factions (the mercantile “Hanza”, the communist “Red Line”, the fascist “Fourth Reich”). A powerful central coalition, “Polis”, through the agency of its “Spartan” field agents, seems alone in its attempts to bring order to the metro and recolonise the ruined city above.

But Polis and the Spartans are not the only such elements in Metro Redux, and players are quickly immersed in a landscape of Soviet neoclassicism, itself a polyvalent and highly-politicized 20th- century Reception. This paper will begin to explore what such receptions of Reception might mean. Does the Classical pulse, transmitted across multiple media, degrade to a point of white noise, meaningless and unintelligible? Or can we still find significance in the variation of reflection and transmission? And what does the experience of the videogame add to our understanding of Prosthetic Memory and the Cyborg Identity?

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