How was I born? – The Knight of Lodis

Hey, more knights, yaaay!

Um, hi y’all, Alice here! The end of my “How was I born?” series nears completion. Only a couple more to go! This here episode is devoted to a little videogame in the Tactics Ogre series, called The Knight of Lodis (2002 for GBA).

So this is a neat little strategy game, kinda like the better known Final Fantasy Tactics. You got your cute little group of soldiers that you manoeuvre around a cute little map to battle your cute little enemies. After that, a cute little cutscene unfolds, you do cute little training sessions, and battle a cute little demon angel in the end!

Seriously, everything is cute and little in this game! Like d’aaaww, lookit your iddle dragon-training knights with their iddle winged helms!

Then you get to the story and the cuteness ends. You’re part of a military order of religious nuts, you go to further the oppression of a small island country, battle its brutal regent lord, kill your battle-brother, and just barely prevent the resurrection of the aforementioned monstrous demon angel. Afterward, your deeds are forgotten by history.

Soo… yeah. Dis game look cute, but the contents? Dark as the international petroleum business.

And, since I’m a creepy bitch, I love it! However, I don’t love it just for the sake of its cuteness (though it’s a factor), or its darkness (also a factor). I love it because it does something grander. On a meta level. Kinda. Lemme explain.

So Knight of Lodis is a videogame, right? It’s pretty fun. It looks attractive, building your army is cool, not to mention digging for treasure and trying to storm that goddam Ostorea Castle! It’s fun. It’s entertainment. As in, it wants to entertain us.

(Your mileage may vary here – dying pathetically in Ostorea for the twentieth time may not be your idea of entertainment, but it was fun for me, at least.)

However, despite being entertainment, Knight of Lodis doesn’t shy away from a mature story rife with heavy themes. And to boot, it isn’t self-flagellant in its darkness (like ooh, ooh, things are so grimdark here, they eat babies, ooh, ooh!), nor does it rub any undue complexity in the player’s face. It’s pretty low-key about its maturity, really.

Like, it’s entertainment, but it still assumes you got a brain. It lets you use that brain, too. But it isn’t like, “Oh, you gotta figure this puzzle out in order to GET ANYTHING!” It’s just, yo girl, dis world pretty complex, like da real world, jus’ try to get your army around as best you can, alright?

Okay, so, I’m kinda excited and can’t put this into writing very well. What I wanna say is, The Knight of Lodis recognises that there’s no line between “serious art” and “entertainment”. It’s all one big category where everybody’s fucking everyone else.

Like, you can have a brain and be pretty. You can be a killer and be loving to strangers. You can be a Red Cross volunteer and molest children in your spare time. And, folks, you can be genuine in all the categories. Y’all understand? It’s not like, you’re a brainiac under that nail-polish shallowness – like one category is a fake, and beneath that you’re the true you.

No, the true you is both. The true you is like, I wanna paint my nails and have fake eyelashes and bling on like crazy, and these new cancer meds need more tests, Imma be in my lab.

So, like, Knight of Lodis was one of the first games to tell me that. Like, you can overclock cuteness with your angel knights and contemplate the lure of authority at the same time.

I know Knight of Lodis isn’t the only game (book, film, you name it) to do that, ‘course. It’s just that for me, it was the first. Or the one I remember, anyway. If you’ve got your own games, novels, or films that did the same to you – please, tell me, I’m all for finding new ones!

Okay. Until next time, peeps. And remember, it’s always AND, never OR!

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