Gameplay Journal#1 — Transistor

Dylan Whiteman
2 min readJan 20, 2021

Supergiant Games’ Transistor is a critically acclaimed Action RPG. The Narrative of the game trains the player to engage in the world environment to establish more of the game’s plot, since the game begins In medias res. There is also a thematic emphasis on Identity shown through the players’ upgrades being linked to the past lives of characterized individuals. Throughout gameplay, the player is given periodically the option to be selective in what upgrade branches they have. These upgrades also can have chaining effects and additional boons to modify gameplay, depending on how they are augmented, via other swappable upgrades. This level of modularity encourages players to experiment with different combinations of what skills to use for combat and what skills to use to augment skills being used for combat. Early in the game there is a segment that explains the ability to slow time for tactical skill usage, which subsequently trains the player to do this as much as possible.

The resulting effect of these influences can be culminated in the training of the player to be engaged in the various complexities of identity held by individuals and their nuances. Additionally, the modularity of combat augmentation coupled with a tactical ability to slow time, incentivises the frequent usage of slowing time, to accomplish a chain of complimentary attacks to deal maximum damage. These can see affirmation with Dovey and Kennedy in exploration of D&D subculture: “subculture is an interest in ‘imaginary Worlds and that these appeal to persons who bear… a will to… master complex systems…’”(Dovey & Kennedy 71).This further incentives experimentation of play styles, and different modular configuration to achieve an optimal chain of attacks. Alternatively, the increased leveling of these upgrades can unlock bio information of the individual the upgrade is associated with, giving the player a secondary incentive to experiment and commit to alternative play styles, regularly.

Dovey, Jon, and Helen W. Kennedy. Game Cultures: Computer Games as New Media. Open Univ. Press, 2011.