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⤹ the fair dealer in a game of addiction

Hello hello! This is Zabeth torturing you with more time on her hands than she's ever had before with a blog on Buckshot Roulette, a 2023 indie tabletop horror game that's been streamlining the YouTube forefront for a few days now. This blog will contain mentions of addiction, gambling, and the play of religious figures like God and Demons. The contents of this post is merely opinion and my interpretation not meant to harm anyone or made with ill intent. As always, Enjoy Reading!~

The Fair Dealer In A Game Of Addiction

The game Buckshot Roulette has been a game I have had my eyes set on for about a week or two now, it's a simple point and click game that features an improvised version of Russian roulette where the player chooses to either shoot the Dealer or themselves; choosing the latter option with a blank in the chamber skips the Dealer's turn and the player gets another turn. A round is won when the player depletes the Dealer's hit points or what the game calls "charges". The second and third rounds are simple as you get an assortment of items that can either skip the round, give you an extra charge, or see the bullet in the chamber of the shotgun you're using. Simple and cheap game for only a dollar on itch.io it has quite the impressive AI made for the dealer.

The AI knows how to play and it's quite surprising from a game whose price is only a dollar. It knows how to play in a way where it will also get a random assortment of items and use it to it's advantage if you give it a chance. One moment I'll find myself itching for victory and the next I'll find myself on the brink of death.

But what's most interesting about this AI, or this Dealer as they're called is their sense of integrity.

The Dealer

Never once do they cheat or manipulate the player in any way. They make you sign a waiver, a telltale sign that the next things that are about to happen, your death or the dealer's, are happening by the choice of the player signing the waiver and willingly joining this game of death.

This game has rules and will follow them religiously, even handcuffing himself with no hesitation if you give him a pair of it. This is what I call an honest antagonist, a fair villain, which is rare because typically in most media we see, villains have a reason to lie. They have a reason to deceive the main character or us in the cases of games or perhaps it is in their nature to do so. But our dealer doesn't. He values nothing except the rules of this twisted game of his.

By my speculation, it is maybe that he is a representation of something in our lives. Which is why he doesn't feel the need to have to win the rounds because all the outcomes or endings are perhaps within his favor. So playing fairly is simply a small handicap for him. But since I mentioned it, let's take a dive into the 3 different endings of the game itself. Each one telling us a little more about our toothy dealer.

You're Lucky It Left You With A Charge!

The first ending happens when you die in either the first or second round. You'll awake in the bathroom where you started and in front of an unknown man who revives you with one last charge left by the dealer. He exclaims in relief (seemingly) as he calls you by your name, seemingly knowing you, and tells you that the night is young. Leaving you with no choice but to go back to the dealer and play one more game.

The first ending must represent the most addictive part of it as even after coming near death leaves no choice other than to go back for more. Knowing that it is your only option. The dealer itself is well aware that you'll always come back which is why no matter how many times you die in the first two rounds, he leaves you with one charge left. But as the game comes to it's last round, it is not so gracious.

Welcome To Heaven

The second ending happens when you die on the third round. The screen cuts to black abruptly. Instead of finding yourself being revived by a defibrillator by the unknown man, you're greeted by a hellish white void and beyond it is a gothic gate. Large spikes just out of the ground at awkward angles and piercing the sky, rising so tall that you can barely see the tips of it. It's as if after losing your life in the game, you find yourself in this sort of distorted version of heaven and the pearly gates of it itself. Left to wander nothing in this black and white void with only your thoughts to keep you company.

If the first ending been the sign of addiction, it's the start of the game littered with signs of addiction. Pill bottles everywhere, always being sent back to the beginning by a man who forces you to stay alive for the thrill of it and with no other choice but to go back, this ending represents what happens to those who are not so fortunate.

To the many fallen from the addiction into the pits of death itself. Whether it may be a physical or mental addiction, this is the fate of many who become addicted. And just to mention, there is a part in the second round where as you pull out your items, you'll find yourself greeted by a bloodied version of the waiver you signed. Except the name on it is not yours, but instead is God's.

Now there are many interpretations of this, but if I were to share my thoughts, I believe that this bloodied waiver is a sign that God wasn't a divine deity in the world of Buckshot Roulette and we can then assume that the dealer is some sort of demonic creature then. God could have been the leader of this world, someone who believed themself it but found themselves failing at the last shot. I saw some other theories that the dealer is god himself, a wicked representation of it. The bloodied waiver in their interpretations represented a sign of loyal faith of this creature to the game itself even if they were to be "killed" at the end of it.

I Won

The third and last ending is one where you win the last round. The dealer "dies" and a robotic arm hands you fat stacks of cash within a sort of suit case. This is considered a happy ending but it ends in a melancholic tone as you drive back home with the shotgun and suitcase. The melancholy of it seems to be asking the player, was it really worth it?

For most addictions like gambling, it's never really worthy of the effort put into it. If you win in this game, your reward is at most $70,000 max. For a game that puts your own life in the line and especially in today's inflation, that's not much at all. All of what you went through for that sum of money really wasn't worth it. He "dies" but seeing as how that's in quotes you can guess that I don't truly believe that.

With all the advantages he's been given, you'd see him cheat if his life was in any danger right? Seeing as he doesn't, he plays fairly throughout all of your playthroughs, I can assume that he's probably waiting for his next victim or unconscious hence why I think he's an honest villain. He doesn't backstab you or convince you to play again, he's done his job, his part and you won fairly and get to leave. You might be back but even then, when you do, it was all your choice to do so.

Just to add to this since I don't think this is worth much analyzing, some other signs of addiction within this game is present in not only the representation of the items but also the other games that the creator, Mike Klubnika, has made.

First is the various items. The can of beer used to skip a round is a clear sign of alcoholism, the handcuffs a sign for a sex addiction for the kinky ones, the cigarettes a sign of a smoking addiction, the handsaw could be a representation of how serial killings could become an addiction (as they release the same chemicals in the brain as a drug addiction does) or could be a sign of just an addiction to violence itself. The magnifying glass is still a mystery to me, though I have a feeling it is a representation of the act of stalking. How seeing into someone else's personal lives without them knowing can become thrilling and in some cases also addictive.

Second is the games that Mike Klubnika has made, his games revel in the same themes of addiction like Unsorted VHS and Carbon Steel. But that is all from me. Check the games out for yourself if you wish to see more of his games.

How do I conclude a topic like this? Simple. Our dealer is nothing more than a watcher as we drag ourselves further into addiction, may it be death or success. Wherever we end up, he is our viewer in the actions we do that can lead us to ruin. The second interpretation that I had of the Dealer being God cements it for me in the sign of him signing his own waiver that ended up bloody from his loss. This lease of liability, tells me how God has declared that he is no longer responsible for or watching over me. He has left his position of being a guide and instead becomes a watcher to our suffering. When we come out dead, he sends us to what was his paradise. When we come out alive, we are left with questions.

Was it worth it?

And that is it! Thank you for reading this far into my blog on Buckshot Roulette. Now this might just be me overanalyzing it but what's the fun in life if you don't give things meaning right? This is all my interpretation, I mean no ill intent with this post in all honesty. I'd love to hear your thoughts on the game itself and as always thank you once again!

With matsalab,


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⊹ ࣪ ˖ elizabeth

⊹ ࣪ ˖ elizabeth 's profile picture

wc: 1775 words!! <3

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