The MoeGamer Awards 2018: Coolest Transportation Method

The MoeGamer Awards are a series of “alternative” awards that I’ve devised in collaboration with the community as an excuse to celebrate the games, experiences and fanbases that have left a particular impression on me in 2018. Find out more and leave a suggestion here!

This award was suggested by Krystallina.

What good is a massive game world if you can’t get around it in style?

No good at all, that’s what! So today’s award celebrates my favourite means of getting around a particular virtual locale without getting wet, dirty, injured or terrified.

Well, maybe not that last one.

And the winner is…

The Uppy Engine (Evenicle)

AliceSoft’s games over the years have taken something of a Final Fantasy/Dragon Quest approach to monster design: they’ve incorporated the same enemies over the course of all their different releases, but perhaps redesigned or refined them to better fit the various games’ aesthetics.

This is actually true across separate series, too; a lot of monsters that are primarily associated with AliceSoft’s flagship Rance series show up in Evenicle, leading some to conjecture that Evenicle may, in fact, be unfolding at some indeterminate point in time and space somewhere in Rance’s universe. As of the time of writing, we have no confirmation one way or the other in this regard, but it’s certainly an interesting and quite plausible theory.

But I digress. My point was that there are a number of monsters that appear in a lot of AliceSoft games, and one of them is the Uppy.

An Uppy, as seen in Rance VI

Uppies first appeared in the third Rance game (which has not been officially localised, but which fan translations are available for) and appear as a giant slug with prominent antennae and an enormous black void of a mouth. They are unable to make any sound except the utterance “Uppy” in a similar fashion to how Pokémon are depicted in the anime, and they are generally depicted as being non-aggressive unless disturbed, despite them frequently appearing as stock “random encounter” monsters in Rance.

The Uppy’s most distinctive characteristic aside from its appearance is its high magical power, which manifests itself through the creature’s ability to breathe fire through its enormous mouth orifice. When combined with the fact that it is possible to train Uppies, it should be obvious that these monsters have a number of applications for both military and non-military purposes.

In Evenicle, the character Kathryn is presented as being a gifted and talented inventor — albeit one with a certain degree of awkwardness about her. She keeps a “pet” trained Uppy known as Mr Edison, and over the course of the game we see him play an increasingly important role in how the party finds its way around the World of Eve.

One thing it’s important to remember here is that although certain parts of the World of Eve appear to be technologically advanced, most of that “technology” is actually powered by magic rather than scientific or technical understanding. As such, conventional machinery is a relative rarity; you certainly don’t see anything like cars going around the place, as most people seem to get around by carts pulled by AliceSoft’s take on the humble cow.

At one point in the narrative, it becomes clear that the party needs to cross a body of water, but seemingly has no means of doing so. It’s impractical for them to get a boat due to various other happenings in the story, so Kathryn comes up with a bright and untested idea: why don’t they fly?

As an inventor, Kathryn is one of the relatively few people in the World of Eve who has a solid understanding of basic scientific principles — such as that of hot air rising. Using Mr Edison as a heat source, she designs a hot air balloon that, despite scaring the absolute bejeezus out of the otherwise unflappable and responsible Riche due to her hitherto unrecognised fear of heights, allows the party to cross the ocean safely.

The hot air balloon isn’t ideal for getting around, however, since it’s somewhat beholden to air currents to determine its direction. As such, Kathryn works on a more suitable solution in collaboration with the perverted Poppins who call the land of Humpty home: she wants to make a ship, but she doesn’t want it to be a sailing vessel.

The Poppins take some convincing, primarily down to the fact that despite their technical proficiency, they inevitably only end up building various implements for sexual gratification. But once Aster and the party are able to resolve their problems, Kathryn gets to work on her masterpiece: the Uppy Engine.

Kathryn recognises the possibilities that steam power offers, but how to produce sufficient heat to make use of such technology practical? You guessed it: Mr Edison. The Uppy is integrated into the design of the new ship allowing it to move around pretty much perpetually due to the apparently limitless supply of magical fire Mr Edison harbours within himself.

Moreover, the lack of reliance on the wind to get around means that, through the use of the Uppy Engine-powered ship, the party is able to move freely around the world by sea, allowing them to fully explore every corner of the World of Eve (which is flat, much like Rance’s world, lending further credence to the theory we discussed earlier) and reach the far-off lands of Hamlet and the Central Empire with ease.

There are a couple of things worth noting here, since this may sound awfully like poor old Mr Edison is being used as a slave. The first thing to note is that, according to AliceSoft lore, an Uppy is an “insect”, which means that it is a soulless creature born from fragments of the Four Holy Beasts that hold Rance’s world (and possibly the World of Eve) on their backs. As such, they have no capacity for thoughts and feelings.

Despite this, however, the second and more important thing to note is that Kathryn never treats Mr Edison poorly. She is appreciative of his efforts, and it’s clear that he’s been a beloved companion of hers for some time now — even throughout the seeming years she spent locked in her house, unwilling to admit any visitors even on official business.

She comes out of her shell over time.

With that in mind, Mr Edison’s contribution to the Uppy Engine brings something of a smile to the face; after being taken care of for so long by Kathryn, he’s finally able to give something back. And everyone appreciates him greatly for it.

That makes him a pretty cool means of getting around in my book!


More about Evenicle

Thanks for reading; I hope you enjoyed this article. I’ve been writing about games in one form or another since the days of the old Atari computers, with work published in Page 6/New Atari User, PC Zone, the UK Official Nintendo Magazine, GamePro, IGN, USgamer, Glixel and more over the years, and I love what I do.

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