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Paradigm: an adventure game that pits a mutant musician against an evil sloth

Paradigm

There are a fair number of video game protagonists who are also unapologetic arseholes. Uncharted’s Nathan Drake, most of the playable characters in the Grand Theft Auto series, my Commander Shepard from Mass Effect and now Paradigm, the titular “hero” in Australian developer Jacob Janerka’s upcoming dystopian adventure game. 

But Paradigm has an excuse for being an arsehole: he’s a hideous mutant and he’s stuck in a post-apocalyptic crap hole. Where the future world of Fallout – one of the inspirations for the game – was based on 1950s America, Paradigm takes place in a world inspired by Eastern Europe in the ‘70s & ‘80s. 

Despite looking like a horrible monster, Paradigm is an inexplicably confident fellow who seems to view the rest of the world and all of its inhabitants as inconveniences, from his sleazy computer with the personality of a horny Australian man, to a beatboxing eggplant.

All he wants to do is make his EP, and to be left in peace, but the post-apocalyptic world and an evil intelligent sloth aren’t going to let him do that.

It’s a “classic point and click adventure” in the sense that it uses a verb wheel – presented as a cassette tape – and is evocative of LucasArts fare like Day of the Tentacle and Full Throttle.

A Kickstarter went up on the weekend, and there’s a Greenlight page as well. But since the game is mostly done, you can already play a demo, which is exactly what I did.

The synthy soundtrack and an art style that’s both colourful and bleak immediately puts Paradigm on the right track, but like all games that rely on comedy, Paradigm’s probably going to rub people the wrong as well as making them laugh.

A sleazy computer and a pug that dresses like its in a glam rock band will have me laughing for a good long time. Using pejoratives like “retard” or a quick tutorial-like explanation that suggests players might have a “mental disability”, that’s more likely to elitic a groan or an eye-roll. But that’s probably the point – Paradigm isn’t a very nice man.

It’s definitely worth taking a gander at, though. Even if you just take a look through Paradigm’s unusual (and amazing) record collection.

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