A sword on the ground, a God in the clouds, a pox on the populace


ActRaiser (1993)

I’ve had manys a job in my time, you know. I’ve managed a theme park, briefly. I swear, you bring in thousands of children a week without getting a hint of recogition, but five or six go missing and suddenly the newspapers can’t get enough of it – not for me, thanks. I followed that up with a stint in town planning, but I had to knock that on the head as well.

Those citizens were driving me up the wall, going on about open sewers or something, and they kept opposing my plan for a downtown public incinerator. Once I began emblazoning my face on every billboard, poster and bus-stop I could find, and announced my intention to create a Ministry of Truth, the game was up.

But it certainly caught my attention when I was thumbing through Dole Weekly and saw a job opening for God. No fancy title like Hot Beverage Technician or Septic Sanitation Officer, nothing highfalutin like that. Just God. It sounded great, with some pretty nice perks: I could do whatever I wanted, including telling all the little people what to do. I’d be allowed to call down fearsome lightning, torrential rainfall, and even earthquakes.

I’d get my own blue tick on social media, a verified God of the realm. I could even forsake the humble people if I fancied a day or a millenium off, let them fend for themselves in ant-to-ant combat. And if they didn’t like that, or if they complained too much, it’d be a bomb or a blazing sun in all their miserable, mortal faces

The job was being offered by a place called ActRaiser Ltd, and I just couldn’t wait to get started. It was time for me to mosey on over, see what was occurring. Well, I looked for a phone number on the ad, but it just said “Those interested, pray to our angels”. I wasn’t sure what it even meant to ‘pray’, but anyway, I’ll try anything once – I got down on my knees and started with the old, “I’m a solutions focused team player. What’s your sexual harassment policy, please?”

Suddenly, a heavenly angel descended from the clouds, which I found bizarre as it was a perfectly sunny day. Were this crowd above board? Anyway, she was coming down to talk only to me. Me! In My mind, I had the gig already, but you’ve got to do the formalities haven’t you. so I cleared My throat and looked up, trying to catch a sneaky old glance at her angelic figure as well. She was wise to it though, and gave Me a reproving look before introducing herself as Angelique Wildthroat. Funny name for an angel, but how many angels did I know personally?

She told Me that I’d be a God of both land and sky, based out of a cloud palace that could move freely around the continents under My control. There was a bit of a snag with the role though, there always is. The God whose role I’d be assuming had recently taken the larrups from Satan, or Tanzra to give him his censored title.

It meant that I was a fallen God, left with precisely zero people in My dominion, which is pretty much redundancy territory for any deity. If I was gonna have anyone to boss around, I’d have to descend to the ground and fight to rescue My worshippers from the clutches of evil, before bossing them around from the sky.

So, it was to be a dual role – 50% side-scrolling action on the ground, where My godly spirit would possess a mighty knight so’s I could swing My sword through as many monstrous faces as I could find. And the other 50%, giving building orders to My lemmings, sealing monster lairs and generally cramming as many people into tiny wooden huts as possible so that I could get stronger.

More bad news though, it turned out that one has to follow a strict dress code to be a divine being – in this case, I’d have to dress up as a tiny, arrow-firing cherub, with My little bum sticking out and everything. I suppose we all want to climb the greasy celestial pole and become an adonis like Zeus, or someone else on the deity C-Suite. But couldn’t they at least give Me a stitch to wear? A leaf to cover My heavenly shame, perhaps?

I mustn’t complain though because you get in with a pretty good crowd, doing this God lark. The gig with ActRaiser Ltd put Me in close contact with another God, this one a God of music, Yuzo Koshiro. The man could get an incredible tune out of a bass so deftly that I was half-tempted to ask him if he’d take a look at My pondrous rabble of foot-soldiers, see if he couldn’t bring them to life with a jig or two. He seemed too busy, unfortunately, muttering away to himself about raging streets and 90s dance music or something. Anyway, a God of Creation like Myself is above such things as the morale of His devotees.

We all enjoy some parts of our job more than others, and to be honest the two facets of My role mixed together quite well, in a way I would have never thought. If I’m even more honest though, I was wishing the side-scrolling bits to be over as soon as possible so that I could get back down to the nitty-gritty. That is, actually rebuilding the cities of My glorious land by forcing My vermin followers into risking their lives for the cause. While doing so, I was obviously careful not to listen to their mewling, unless they had an offering to give Me.

Angelique, the lovely Ms. Wildthroat, or Mrs if she was married to Saint Peter or somebody, came to have a look at My progress. What a woman, you know, she gave Me nothing but loving praise and support, a proper office mother. The sound of her speech did get a tad annoying, but no worries there – I was able to speed that up or even make her messages appear instantly.

Sound bizarre? I’m God, remember. The foot-soldiers certainly remembered it, when I sent down a terrible earthquake that would get rid of the low-density, shambolic housing and encourage them to get a few proper gaffes built there, further upping My numbers. A little trick I learned from My town planning days, that.

I’m based in Europe, or I used to be based there – as a God, I’m based everywhere at once now, including every masturbation den under ActRaiser Ltd’s canopy. And trust Me, that’s not a privilege I particularly relish. But when it came to ActRaiser’s European dominion, things got difficult right when I was about to slap Satan upside the head for ever disrespecting Me.

He sent all his commanders after Me at once, see. A boss rush, I think the peons call it, and it was near impossible to recuperate My strength. It was far easier for Gods based out of the United States. Well, that’s just bias against Us fruitier Eurotypes, isn’t it? Mind you, Japan got a pretty tough and laggy deal their side of the water as well. I know this because ActRaiser Ltd gave Me one of those Eye of Providence thingies, as well as a company chariot.

In the end, the whole experience ended up being almost hypnotic, so I called it a day. It was a nice little stint, you know, the perfect length. I got to listen to some nice tunes, chop up a few enemy scrotes, watch My people give their lives for Me, and I had plenty of fun throwing lightning and gales after the peasantry for a laugh. If you want My testimonial about ActRaiser Ltd, it’s a gig I’d recommend to anybody. I don’t think you’ll ever find another role that combines two very different day-to-day deities’ duties as well as this one does.

8 December 2020

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