Uncanny Accounts – History Recurses Forever in Transistor

One of my all-time favorite games is Supergiant Games’ Transistor. I love how the combat works. I love the art style. I love the characters, the world and the overall plot. Cloudbank is a beautiful world, one that was seemingly a joy to live in before the Fall. However, not everyone thought that way, which is why the Fall happened in the first place. That “fall” being the total annihilation of Cloudbank by the “Process,” the system that used to keep the place functioning. This would be terrible under normal circumstances, but Cloudbank is special. Spoilers follow, so please stop here if you still want to experience Transistor with fresh eyes.

Transistor’s Cloudbank City isn’t a normal, brick and mortar location. Rather, it’s a virtual city, with and all its inhabitants being some sort of virtual person. This makes the city extremely malleable, able to dramatically change on the whim of its inhabitants. This sounds great, but this apparently led some residents to grow bored (to an existential degree) and they then started looking for the city’s (or program’s) source in order to curb the constant change.

This eventually led them to the “transistor” an object that somehow contained Cloudbank while simultaneously existing within it. It doesn’t make sense in the real world, but it can within the virtual. This gave the wielders total control, but came at the cost of destabilizing and corrupting the “process,” which devolved from building, maintaining and recycling the city into an unstoppable, all-consuming force of nature. It’s shortly after this “process” is unleashed that the main story of Transistor takes place.

Long story short, there’s no saving Cloudbank. Main character Red is able to restore the “process” to its natural state, but not before it consumes everything and everyone else. This leaves Red with a choice: either rebuild the Cloudbank as she desires and live alone in it until the end her days, or use the Transistor to call itself (that is the world) and start all over again within it. It’s not clear how far back this set’s things back, but it could potentially go all the way back to the beginning.

This potentially means that the exact same history and events will repeat over and over again. Cloudbank will always be destroyed and Red will always make the choice to trigger yet another recursion, making it happen again and again. Cloudbank is a world that’s worse than doomed; its place that’s fated to experience disaster for forever. All because a select few got bored one day and meddled with forces they didn’t understand. It’s nothing less that tragic in execution and terrifying in thought, don’t you think?

Have you played Transistor? What do you think about the fate of Red and Cloudbank? Either way, stay tuned for more uncanny accounts!

Image captured by Hatm0nster