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My JRPG fantasy is fighting for a clean environment


I think my sick video game fantasy is undoing the environmental damage. There is something attractive and perhaps also naive to think that we can actually undo the damage caused by large-scale ecological disasters. And even if the current outlook in real life may be bleak, I have games like Final Fantasy 7 Remake And PowerWash Simulator to help me imagine other worlds.

While the two games don’t seem to share much other than their publisher, each is in some way about improving the world and environment around you. In PowerWash Simulator you clean gunk with a pressurized water jet. And in Final Fantasy 7 Remake you team up with a group of friends to oppose an evil energy company and its ongoing mission to exploit the Earth for its resources. Lucky for me – one Final Fantasy 7 And Power Wash Sim crazy – PowerWash Simulator gets a special Final Fantasy 7 Remake DLC that allows you to clean up various set pieces.

Collaboration is likely to help promote PowerWash Simulator to the public of Final Fantasy 7 Remake, and vice versa. But the DLC also feels weirdly fitting given the way the two games play off each other.

Final Fantasy 7 Remake is set in Midgar, a city run by a power company named Shinra Electric Power Company that exploits the environment for its resources. This extraction hurts some residents of Midgar more than others. As video essayist Jacob Geller so eloquently argues in “The architecture politics of Final Fantasy 7”, the class dynamics in the city are underlined by the physical architecture. The wealthier working class literally lives on a giant metal plate that hangs over the slums, leaving the slums to bear the brunt of the environmental impact of the massive energy industry.

Play through the PowerWash Simulator With DLC we can limit some of that damage. The DLC allows players to take jobs from Shinra and from members of the rebel group that Cloud Strife is a part of, Avalanche. As they clean, players will have to scrub special dirt such as “bio-residue” from machines, which I can only imagine is the result of the power company’s misdeeds.

The DLC is very ironic, but I don’t know, it all just feels a little too real right now. As I write this, an ongoing environmental disaster is unfolding in Ohio, where a train carrying toxic chemicals derailed. The prospect of cleaning up and using sick magic powers and summons to battle corporate entities feels like fantasy.

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