{I Think, Therefore I Fight!}

Game Concept

Charles Darwin in Science Kombat

~ “The first thing to realize, if you wish to become a philosopher, is that most people go through life with a whole world of beliefs that have no sort of rational justification, and that one man’s world of beliefs is apt to be incompatible with another man’s, so that they cannot both be right. People’s opinions are mainly designed to make them feel comfortable; truth, for most people is a secondary consideration.”
~ Bertrand Russell, The Art of Philosophizing

Nikola Tesla in Science Kombat

~ “There is but one truly serious philosophical problem and that is suicide. Judging whether life is or is not worth living amounts to answering the fundamental question of philosophy. All the rest — whether or not the world has three dimensions, whether the mind has nine or twelve categories — comes afterwards. These are games; one must first answer.”
~ Albert Camus

Pythagoras in Science Kombat

“Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”
~ Aristotle
“As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.”
~ Henry David Thoreau

Einstein in Science Kombat

Thesis: {I Think, Therefore I Fight!} is a cooperative side-scrolling brawler with a retro sprite-based art style and a meaningful story featuring a cavalcade of your favorite philosophers throughout history. From the ancients and on into modernia, this roster of legendary thinkers’ minds have been converted into raw martial power, which they will need to fully utilize to traverse the fantastical and monstrous landscapes of the strange world they have been cast into. Team up with your squadron of philosopher-warriors and brawl your way through the nigh endless hordes to a mystery at the heart of the journey.

TEMPLATE: Retro side-scrolling beat ’em ups ~
Turtles in Time – 1991 | The Simpsons – 1991 | Cadillacs & Dinosaurs – 1993
The Punisher – 1993 | Dungeons & Dragons – 1993 & 1996 | Alien vs. Predator – 1994

“It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you, not by angels or by demons, heaven or hell.”
~ Buddha

Setting: Caverns, forests, mountains, plains, deserts, volcanos – all manner of natural landscapes and rogue wilderness full of dangerous enemies, in shimmering palettes of multi-colored, alien shades ~ In a rogue demiurged world called “Mundus”, a select collection of human souls have been gathered for a singular yet mysterious purpose. Known as philosophers, their hearts, minds, bodies and souls have been brought to this world not just to think, but to fight! Compelled into combat against the strange daemons, angels and otherworldly & intelligent creatures that hunger for philosopher blood, your fighters will be facing a randomized map of monsters.

Dungeons and Dragons: Shadow over Mystara

“Conquer yourself rather than the world.”
~ René Descartes

The strange omniworld of Mundus

Characters & Story: A full roster of varied fighter-philosophers is available from the start – a squadron of up to four can team up to fight across the landscape of myriad violence from monstrous threats. Awakening from their timeless slumber within an all-too-familiar cavern, lit by fires and beckoned by dancing shadows, our fighters soon break their chains and enter a fully realized world. Empowered by strange auras known as “Nen”, in the spiriting procession into Mundus, each philosopher has now manifested their abilities into distinctive martial styles. This newfound ability to fight quickly comes to govern their newborn existence in their dangerous world. Using these powers, our philosophers fight their way through the landscape, espousing many a word from their respective pantheons of writings along the journey…

Philosopher-Fighter concept art ~ art by Murata / source: https://onepunchman.fandom.com/wiki/Great_Philosopher

Roster of playable philosopher-heroes ~

  • Thales ~ uses the elemental power of water to displace enemies
  • Anaximander ~ wields the mystical apeiron, a substance of potentially infinite power
  • Leucippus ~ fires rogue atoms at his foes
  • Democritus ~ shreds the atoms of his foes
  • Zeno ~ conjures and throws blocks of stone
  • Pythagoras ~ shapes his surrounding universe into triangular shapes and unsounds of cosmic power
  • Parmenides ~ able to teleport friends and foes
  • Heraclitus ~ wields a firebrand sword
  • Empedocles ~ summons the spirits of Love and Strife to aid him on the battlefield
  • Socrates ~ shouts questions at his foes
  • Plato ~ able to power his body up to perfection, but only for temporary periods of time
  • Aristotle ~ master of every martial art, a variably superb fighter
  • Confucius ~ every attack is new and unique
  • Laozi ~ follows a flowing path that appears randomly on the ground – following it empowers his attacks
  • Buddha ~ floating at Padmasana pose; he passes his enemies by
  • Pyrrho ~ conjures objects representing judgment, which then suspend themselves over enemies and fall
  • Epicurus ~ swerves his body through opponents at high speeds
  • Lucretius ~ adapts to the battlefield and opposition as your journey
  • Seneca ~ conjures tragic images and songs
  • Marcus Aurelius ~ an armored sword fighter
  • Epictetus ~ lets his enemies come to him
  • Diogenes ~ wanders lazily and helps or harms his surroundings with his commentary and odor
  • Philo ~ combines the attacks of his fellow fighters
  • Plutarch ~ writes his opponent’s actions into being upon a scroll he never lets go of
  • Plotinus ~ emits a strange, mystic flow
  • St. Augustine ~ flies with angelic wings
  • Boethius ~ summons the ghost of Plato to his side
  • Avicenna ~ can control of health of his foes
  • Al-Farabi ~ fights with the Final Art, a consummation of all martial arts
  • Al-Kindi ~ fights in a myriad of stances
  • Al-Ghazali ~ battles with an endlessly renewing spiritual flow of energy
  • Anselm of Canterbury ~ employs a teaching influence
  • Immanuel Kant ~ fights with straightforward strikes
  • St. Thomas Aquinas ~ fights a perfectly balanced bo staff
  • Erasmus ~ forges bonds between Mundus and Earth
  • Machiavelli ~ empowers his fellow fighters; can turn opponents against one another
  • Montaigne ~ conjures and fights with personal anecdotes
  • Francis Bacon ~ breaks down his opposition into pure hypothesis and conclusion
  • Thomas Hobbes ~ conjures a monstrous leviathan
  • René Descartes ~ manifests his thoughts weaponry
  • Blaise Pascal ~ wagers Nen energy against his opponents or for his allies
  • Baruch Spinoza ~ empowers himself with the power God, periodically using all Nen of all allies and foes upon the battlefield
  • John Locke ~ fights freely in accordance with natural law
  • Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz ~ enters the battlefield with an invincible optimism
  • George Berkeley ~ able to perceive the weaknesses of every foe
  • Voltaire ~ able to conjure wit into blades
  • Jean-Jacques Rousseau ~ calls upon the will of the people
  • Adam Smith ~ relies upon the self-interest of his allies and enemies
  • Thomas Paine ~ fights to increase the freedom of his allies
  • Edmund Burke ~ locks his foes into place
  • David Hume ~ rationalized his foes into dust
  • Mary Wollstonecraft ~ attempts to break the conditioning of her allies with new forms of martial ability
  • Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel ~ processes his opponents into ideals and unto annihilation with theses and their opposites
  • Karl Marx ~ gathers the Nen energy from himself and his allies and transmutes it into collective power-ups
  • Mark Twain ~ slays his foes with dripping wit
  • Søren Kierkegaard ~ conjures a rogue raincloud above his head
  • Ludwig Feuerbach ~ dispels the Nen of his opponents
  • Henry David Thoreau ~ fights alongside the natural world
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson ~ wields the Oversoul from the tips of his fingers
  • William James ~ fights with a big club
  • Friedrich Nietzsche ~ summons the dark spectre of nihilism
  • Jean-Paul Sartre ~ summons a wall to crush his foes
  • Albert Camus ~ summons Sisyphus to fight for him
  • Simone De Beauvoir ~ empowers herself with freedom and responsibility
  • Bertrand Russell ~ uses maths and logics as bullets
  • Ludwig Wittgenstein ~ imbues his philosophy of mind into his body
  • Arthur Schopenhauer ~ uses pessimism as a weapon against his foes
  • Martin Heidegger ~ uses language and symbology to manipulate
  • Ferdinand de Saussure ~ attacks with linguistics
  • Jacques Derrida ~ deconstructs his foes
  • Michel Foucault ~ fights atop a panopticon, an institution of absolute power and control
  • Gilles Deleuze ~ uses a ‘Schizophrenic Flow’ attack upon his foes
  • John Dewey ~ uses the power of the group to educate himself on martial arts
  • Antonio Gramsci ~ summons a hegemonic aura to surround him
  • Carl Schmitt ~ employs a Nen field “State of Exception”, which manipulates the battlefield
  • Leo Strauss ~ fights with the vestiges of power of Plato and Kant
  • Hannah Arendt ~ critiques the power, and evil, of her foes
  • John Rawls ~ occasionally conjures “The Veil of Ignorance” over friend and foe, reorganizing the battlefield
  • Robert Nozick ~ summons the ‘Utility Monster’ to dispatch his foes
  • Isaiah Berlin ~ can emit chains of positive or negative liberty unto his friends / foes
  • Richard Rorty ~ emits shadows of the mirror world around him
  • Jürgen Habermas ~ battles with a series of critical dialogues
  • Other [player-added philosophers]

The distinct traits of these individual philosopher’s minds have been converted to Nen (via Hunter x Hunter), an aura that surrounds all beings, which by a force of will, creativity and discipline can be focused and localized into energy to do a variety of things to a person’s body, physical surroundings, or other’s auras. For example, aura can bolster one’s strength, or launch itself in the form of bolts of lightning – or create items or images within the world. There are six distinct types of Nen, each governing our philosophic champions within the game:

Enhancers ~ Strengthens and reinforces natural abilities; are simple and determined. Most of them never lie, hide nothing, and are very straightforward in their actions or in their thinking. Their words and actions are often dominated by their feelings. They are generally very selfish and focused on their goals. This is reflected in their Nen as Enhancers typically rely on simple and uncomplicated Nen abilities.

Transmuters ~ Changes the quality of aura; are whimsical, prone to deceit, and fickle. Transmutation users have unique attitudes, and many are regarded as weirdos or tricksters. Often they put forth a facade while hiding the truer aspects of their personalities. Even when they don’t hide their personalities they rarely reveal their true intentions. Many Transmuters rely on techniques that give unique and unpredictable properties to their Nen that reflects their personalities.

Emitters ~ Shoots out or projects aura; are impatient, not detail-oriented, short-tempered, and quick to react in a volatile manner. They resemble the Enhancers in building their impulsivity, but the difference between them is that Emitters probably tend to calm down and forget easier. Because of the nature of Emission, many Nen abilities created by Emitters are primarily long range.

Conjurers ~ Materializes an object out of aura; are typically high-strung or overly serious, stoic, and nervous. They are often on guard as to be cautious. They are very observant and logical, rarely falling into traps. Being able to analyze things calmly is the strength of Conjurers. Many of the items that Conjurers create are often used by them in a very deliberate and practical, logical fashion.

Manipulators ~ Controls objects or living things; are argumentative and logical. They advance at their own pace and tend to want to keep their families and loved ones safe. On the other hand, when it comes to pursuing their own goals, they do not listen to what others might have to say about it. While Manipulators often use techniques that allow them to control their opponents, some choose an inanimate medium to control.

Specialists ~ Unique, distinctive aura; are independent and charismatic. They won’t say anything important on them and will refrain from being close friends, but, because of their natural charisma that draws others, they are always surrounded by many people. Because Specialization is unique and can have many facets, most Specialists possess only one Nen ability.

Hisoka’s categorization of Nen-users ~ courtesy of HxH manga

~ The kind of Nen they focus upon determines the style of fighter each philosopher is. Enhancers typically use their fists / Transmuters deliver empowered strikes which utilize the four elements of water, fire, earth, and wind / Emitters deliver bursts of volatile energy from different zones of their bodies / Conjurers fight with summoned beasts or weaponry / Manipulators use their own Nen and that of their allies/opponents to confuse and control their enemies / Specialists imbue their Nen with a special character unique to their individual person to many distinct effects…

Each of the philosopher’s Nen categorization:

Marcus AureliusAl-GhazaliAl-FarabiMontaigneAnselm of CanterburyDiogenes
St. AugustineErasmusSt. Thomas AquinasThomas HobbesMachiavelliMark Twain
BoethiusGottfried Wilhelm LeibnizRené DescartesVoltaireFrancis BaconMichel Foucault
Al-KindiJean-Jacques RousseauJohn LockeGeorg Wilhelm Friedrich HegelBlaise Pascal
Immanuel KantMary WollstonecraftAdam SmithSøren KierkegaardGeorge Berkeley
Baruch SpinozaKarl MarxThomas PaineFriedrich NietzscheEdmund Burke
David HumeRalph Waldo EmersonLudwig FeuerbachJean-Paul SartreBertrand Russell
Henry David ThoreauArthur SchopenhauerLudwig WittgensteinAlbert CamusMartin Heidegger
William JamesFerdinand de SaussureLeo StraussGilles DeleuzeCarl Schmitt
John DeweyJacques DerridaRichard RortyAntonio GramsciHannah Arendt
Isaiah BerlinJohn RawlsJürgen Habermas
Robert Nozick

Simplicity, patience, compassion.
These three are your greatest treasures.
Simple in actions and thoughts, you return to the source of being.
Patient with both friends and enemies,
you accord with the way things are.
Compassionate toward yourself,
you reconcile all beings in the world.

~ Lao Tzu


Distinctive sprite-based combat ~ Each philosopher, depending on Nen specialization, features a full suite of punching and kicking strikes, energy attacks, summonable entities and controlling magicks. Though some philosopher-warriors that share Nen attributes may feature similar attack combinations, each is unique.

Streets of Rage 4

“Whoever fights, whoever falls, Justice conquers evermore.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Five acts ~ The campaign features five acts, appearing in a randomized order during each playthrough, The Planes of Earth, Wind, Fire, and Water. The final act is “apeiron”, a chaotic mix of every element, where the most powerful enemies reside … and God himself, the final boss. Each Plane’s enemies use their environments to empower their attacks, requiring unique guards and counters from your fighters…

The Plane of Earth
The Plane of Wind
The Plane of Fire
The Plane of Water
In the heart of the apeiron

“A man sees in the world what he carries in his heart.” ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Monstrous fallacies ~ The monsters of the game – of which there are {24×5}=120 unique kinds – each represent a logical fallacy. The monsters in the game range from beastly to demonic to angelic in appearance, and each launches attacks with respect to their elemental Plane {5 kinds} and to the fallacy {24 kinds} that they represent. Each is vulnerable to specific types of Nen; as a result, some philosophers are better suited against specific fallacy x element combinations versus others.

Power-ups and discoveries ~ As the squadron of philosopher-warriors progresses through the maps and the planes of combat, they grow in power, gaining new/empowered attack combinations. Each philosopher-warrior levels through three stages of power, achieving ultimate power midway through The Plane of Apeiron. Each of the three stages of martial achievement mirror the philosopher’s own arc in their philosophical art.

D&D: Shadows of Mystara – player select

“The measure of a man is what he does with power.” ~ Plato

Philosophic declarations throughout ~ Throughout the game, each philosopher-warrior shouts bits and pieces from the conceptual ground of their past philosophical inquiries in life, philosophical catchphrases become battle cries! ~ The monsters shriek questions and present fallacious arguments to your heroes, generally just before they are cut down in combat… {the monsters never repeat these utterances in a playthrough.}

Do not repeat the tactics which have gained you one victory, but let your methods be regulated by the infinite variety of circumstances. ~ Sun Tzu, The Art of War

A journey unto God ~ In the final zone of the game’s short but replayable campaign, the philosopher-warrior-heroes, battling through the dark army of this strange world, lead on to the Plane of Apeiron, where all elements coalesce unto a strange and mysterious completeness. It is here that you will face God… His face and form is always different… no two fights with God will ever be the same. Once He is slain, the philosophers return to rest and be at peace, the secret knowledge of the universe secured within their souls, ironically, to be known no more as they return to oblivion, the sweet peace of the abyss from which they were stolen away and spirited into this world for these fights…

The source of coming-to-be for existing things is that into which destruction, too, happens – ‘according to necessity; for they pay penalty and retribution to each other for their injustice according to the assessment of Time.’
~ Anaximander

Inspired by ~

Science Kombat

Charles Darwin
Albert Einstein

The Simpsons arcade game

Hunter x Hunter

Philosophize This! (podcast)

“You come at the king, you best not miss.” ~ Omar

Endgame: {I Think, Therefore I Fight!} is meant to be a short but riveting beat ’em up and think ’em out adventure within the planes of a strange and monstrous demi-world. Think, fight and triumph over God Himself as a cooperative quatro of your fave philosophers wielding distinct Nen auras for slaying fallacies and demons alike.

“Men fear thought as they fear nothing else on earth — more than ruin, more even than death. Thought is subversive and revolutionary, destructive and terrible, thought is merciless to privilege, established institutions, and comfortable habits; thought is anarchic and lawless, indifferent to authority, careless of the well-tried wisdom of the ages. Thought looks into the pit of hell and is not afraid … Thought is great and swift and free, the light of the world, and the chief glory of man.”
~ Bertrand Russell, Why Men Fight