The sinister sounding Darkstalkers II: Soul Harvest is more than just an iOS marketing tie-in that let’s fans of all things dark and stalky unlock special goodies prior to the game’s release next month. It’s also how I imagine the anthropomorphic personification of the end of all things would get things done in the digital age. Why risk your unlife travelling to Waffle House to harvest 12 souls when there’s an app for that?
Being Death is a busy job. Imagine having to personally attend the end point of every life in the universe, gathering each and every soul and carrying them by hand to their final destinations. It’s unrewarding. It’s exhausting. It’s downright dangerous, really, as anyone that’s read Piers Anthony’s On a Pale Horse can tell you.
Face it (or grinning skull it, per your preference): no one personally attends anything anymore. We video conference. We email. We order in. Why should the harvester of souls behave any differently? I know we like to hold tight to tradition, and for some reason picturing death as a scary skellington with a bloody big scythe is comforting to us, but holding our fictional explanations of difficult concepts to a higher standard than we hold ourselves is bullshit.
The modern, connected Death rides a pale Prius, but only to the store to buy groceries. He’s got a plaid button up with tiny, thematically significant skulls all over it. He wears skinny jeans, because he likes to imagine he has skin somewhere. He wears glasses with transition lenses that go dark in the sunlight. He has a pair of expensive ear buds threaded through the holes on the side of his head, dangling playfully from either side of his jawbone.
And he has an iPhone. When he wants to harvest souls he opens up an app and taps on a spot with his stylus (no skin, remember?). Oh look, the Atlanta modelling Academy has nine souls to harvest. Funny, he would have thought there’d be more. Oh well. *taps*
Darkstalkers II: Soul Harvest simulates this experience, allowing players to harvest three locations every 10 minutes. The more souls harvested, the more rewards are unlocked. They’ve got mobile wallpapers, a Prima Games Dungeon Guide (there’s a dungeon. There’s another!), an issue of the Darksiders digital comic and some sort of in-game weapon. And harvesting souls that have checked in at Best Buy earns players extra points, just like the real death.
Darksiders II: Soul Harvest [iTunes App Store]