Despite last week’s post in which I opined I would not become a cultist, I must announce that I have not merely joined a cult but founded several.
(Un)Fortunately, not in real life. One of my dear friends ended up with two copies of the decadent pastime that is Cultist Simulator, “a game of apocalypse and yearning” in which you play a person who discovers there are occult truths behind the world and seeks to learn more.
While I initially wondered if the aesthetic of a card game would be distancing, the crunch under the hood really captures what it might be like to be a cultist.
Because there’s no manual; only semi-cryptic hints. Therefore, progress is mostly achieved by combining cards and actions to see what happens, then extrapolating from what worked (or didn’t).
And both despair and obsession loom as possible ways of loosing, making both to slow an exploration of the preternatural and too fast an exploration equally risky.
Add in the homage to fin-de-siecle excess in both the art and text, and one feels enough like a decadent 1890’s occultist to crave absinthe.
I don’t drink absinthe of course; such a ritual practice might attract the attention of the Suppression Bureau.