Submachine in relation to Descartes

Welcome to the Subnet

I was struggling with the topic of this essay in its relation to René Descartes’ philosophies. I had a few ideas that I entertained but all of them came up short in terms of substance. Then, while thinking about what I was going to do at home, I was reminded of a tab I had saved on my internet browser for an update to a flash game that I have been playing since its initial release; Submachine! I was so excited when I thought about this game because I realized that it had a good parallel with Descartes’ philosophy of the Self, God, and the World. Submachine is a Flash game series created by Mateusz Skuntnik who, so far, has nine games released to play on the internet. They involve point-and-click and exploration mechanics that take you to a vast variety of different worlds. To “finish” the games the player must collect items and use them in specific places and find clues to help solve puzzles that can open up more locations to explore. Though Submachine relates to all three of Descartes’ factors, it relates to them in different ways.

The Self in Descartes’ philosophy and the player in the Submachine series is the only similar factor that stays consistent with both sides. To Descartes, the Self was the cogito and knowing that we exist. In Submachine, the player is represented as the cogito and is even described as a sort of messenger of the game’s God. In the game Subnet Exploration the player can find and read a letter that a scientist had left stating that M, we will talk about him later, has a new subject that he has been working with. This subject can be speculated as the player and later letters state that M has purposely led the subject astray to get lost in the world. This is the last similarity that is seen in both sides of the philosophy. The God and the World of Descartes are very different from Submachine, but it is easy to see how they can still relate in a “they exist” terms.

The God of the Submachine series is named Murtaugh, Mur, or just M. Since the game series is not fully completed, I cannot confirm my ideas about who M really is, but I can personally say that he is a two-faced, double-crosser, who is way too powerful for his own good. When the player first sees the name Murtaugh, it is just in a journal entry that he wrote. It describes how he mentally reached a new plane of thought and that he can see things made out of, what he calls, karma. The next interaction she has with M is an actual interaction. The player is on a computer with no keyboard and yet communication can still be made with M. he states that he is here to help us and that he knows of some coordinates, these will be discussed in the next paragraph, that may help us in our journey. By this time we are in the fourth game, Submachine: The Lab, but the truth finally comes out in the sixth game, Submachine: The Edge. This is why I do not like or trust Murtaugh anymore. The player finds out that Mur has been sending people into the Submachine, the actual machine in the game, and just leaving them there for his overall experiment. She also finds out that he purposefully sent her to the loop, a trap in the Submachine and the entire concept of the third game Submachine: The Loop, and did not think that she would survive. The very fact that M tried to kill us for an experiment and then acted as if he was our friend just rubs me the wrong way. Again, we may find out that M was actually a really good guy and others were just saying he was malicious to steer the player in the wrong direction. However, if Murtaugh is tricking the player and sending her to her doom, it shows that the Submachine’s God is not a perfect Being. I will say that in the case of the world of the Subnet, this type of being could still be considered God. In terms of Descartes, God exists because there is no sense experience of infinite or absolute or necessary Beings and by the causal principle the cause has to exceed the effect, so the idea of God can only be created by something as powerful as God himself. In Submachine, Murtaugh created the Submachine and the Subnet so we can say in parallel to this infinite type of world that it is indeed possible that an imperfect Being could naturally exist.

Speaking of the world of the Submachine games (finally), one of the greatest things about them is how crazy the world is. The science behind the Submachine itself appears to be infinite. The world of Submachine is called the Subnet and it consists of over 1,000 different possible locations in a single dimension. It has been stated in the game that there are multiple dimensions and some locations may appear identical to each other but they exist in a different space! The way the player can get to these combinations is with one of the more important features of the game. Submachine’s transporter device, the official name escapes me, is a very unique machine that has three slots for inputting the numbers 0 to 9 on it and those 1,000 groupings can teleport the player to anywhere in the Subnet. The Subnet, in itself, can also be described as infinite. As described above, each location is placed in a certain space in a certain dimension and multiple copies of said location can exist at the same time but may be in a different space. If anything, the Subnet is the most confusing part of the games. Also I need to mention that the Subnet is the world of the Submachine which is the overall mechanism that created the Subnet to exist. In theory, the Subnet would not exist without the Submachine which was invented by Murtaugh. Considering Descartes’ philosophy that the world we experience exists because we see it as it is and it is clear and distinct, one can tell that the Subnet is not exactly what Descartes might call as undoubtable. The world created from the Submachine can lie; there are even rooms that fall apart and some rooms that have teleportation portals that appear out of thin air. In general it can be safe to assume that the Subnet’s only truth is that there is more to discover than meets the eye. So the world of the Submachine games and the World of Descartes are complete opposites. One world must be clear to be real and one world is fuzzy and confusing but is still comprehended as true, in terms of the game play.

Author: Hollistyn