Terraform, June 15, 2015
“Homunculoid” by Joshua Chaplinsky
Reviewed by Eric Kimminau
On reading the title, for a moment I had a brief flash of memory. “Somewhere out in space live The Herculoids!” Herculoids was a late 60s pseudo-barbarian technobabble cartoon series. While this was nowhere close to what I was about to find, it was a good indicator of what I found instead. “Homunculoid” by Joshua Chaplinsky is a future review of a future MMORPG that sounds an awfully lot like the Milton Bradley game of Life with the significant difference being that you immediately start the game as either “Differently Fortunate” (the flotsam and jetsam of humanity) or an Entity of Means and Privilege otherwise known as an EMP. Upon conception, you are randomly assigned into one or the other class and from then on, you have 700 to 1000 hours of game time. This felt like a socio-political commentary on being born privileged vs having to rough it through life. There seems to be no real reason to continue playing if you didn’t “win” by being born an EMP unless you really want to slog it out through the gutter of humanity or experience the pleasure of extreme depravity with zero consequences should you be rewarded with being born an EMP. Not even sex to keep the interest, summarized as a Gestation Bank deposit. Meh. Nothing really new or groundbreaking here to see. For me, HOMUNCULOIDS was over before it ever began. If only it would have had “Gloop and Gleep, the formless fearless wonders!”.
Eric Kimminau is a BBS geek turned IT professional for a Fortune 10 global IT company.