Disco Elysium as a Mirror to Mid-life Crisis

If you're someone intimately familiar with the dreaded mid-life crisis and your personality makes you prone to introspection, there's a good chance you saw a lot of yourself in ZA/UM Studio's detective RPG Disco Elysium. And whether that's the case or if you're simply interested in a glimpse of what it's like to be filled with endless regrets, you should check out this recent Rock Paper Shotgun editorial that proclaims Disco Elysium to be a dark mirror to mid-life crisis and likens it to an old man's Planescape: Torment.

A few paragraphs to get you started:

In the yard below, a corpse hangs from a pine tree.

It is my failure and my shame for all to see, rotting in plain sight.

Martainaise, the broken-down home of Disco Elysium’s broken-down police story, is an excoriating light shone not just upon its broken-down policeman, but also upon me, and my failure to be the person I thought I was. It is my mid-life crisis writ in grey rainfall, my dread realisation that death is coming and I’m not who I ever meant to be.

In the yard below, a corpse hangs from a pine tree. Decaying in the rain. It’s been there for days. Everyone sees it, no-one mentions it.

It’s my job to get the dead man down from the tree, cut the noose from his neck, grant him some dignity, and restore a sense of hope to this neighbourhood that is entirely impossible when every day begins with the sight of a corpse.

I cannot get the dead man down. I lack the strength, and I lack the wit. So he yet rots, right there in front of everyone.

I look in the mirror and I see the wreckage of a person staring back at me. An old man who once thought he was everything, but now all hair and age and grime and yesterday’s booze.

I am not him, but I am him. I don’t have an alcohol problem, but I can feel, deep in my stomach, the knot of regrets and worries and disappointments that in some people might lead to an alcohol problem. Might make them want to escape the oncoming train, any way they can.