This doesn’t happen nearly enough with video games. It did with Portal 2 (even here) and it has, in some respects, to the rather more straightforward Journey. But it’s with some delight that I was directed to this synopsis and review (in the strictest sense of the word) of the recent PSN title Datura.
There’s considerable discussion in the first draft of the piece explaining the experimental PlayStation 3 title’s inner workings and subtext, but it’s in the appendix that I found most resonance. I adore this about certain videogames, not least because it normally sails over most people’s heads and then warrants another visit with a guide in hand.
In this case, the author relates Datura with the Via Dolorosa, the Way of Suffering – a street in Jerusalem that’s split into two parts and is long thought to be the path that Jesus took with the cross.
“As startling as it may sound, the study of Faith and Religion remains a taboo which still affects the medium of games in a fiercely restrictive manner,” says the author. Your religious beliefs aside, the article makes for a brilliant read.
Along the Way there are currently nine stations.
Just taking two as a quick example, Jesus is condemned to death is the first, relating to two elements within Datura – the pig in the road and the washing of the hand. Jesus carries the cross is the second – mirrored by carrying the infant from the tree.
No doubt there’ll be some that don’t make much of this particular interpretation, but this deeper analysis of games is all too often missing, regardless of the theories. I couldn’t do the article justice by attempting to summarise it here, so, honestly, just dedicate an hour and go read it here.