Associations: Outcast vs Farscape

If you ever played the fantastic open world voxel masterpiece Outcast from 1999, do you remember when you entered the green and lush rice fields of Shamazaar, the first world you enter after the snowy tutorial? This was a place where our wisecracking hero, Cutter Slade, ran around crossing the rice paddies that had farmers at work while wearing pointed coolie hats.

All very inspired by real Asian rice fields.

I’ve been watching Farscape again for the first time in the about two decades since it was first aired. Back when I bought the season boxes I was annoyed by the complete lack of subtitles. Normally I don’t have a problem understanding English, but Farscape sometimes had muddled dialog. Or maybe it was the mixing of the speech, music and sound effects. Either way it eventually made me sell the season boxes, and it vexed me. I liked the show and wanted to watch more of it.

Now, I’m back watching it again in 2019 with English subtitles, thanks to Amazon Prime. I’ve only just started with the first season and yesterday I reached the 6th episode, “Thank God it’s Friday. Again.” John Crichton follows a raging D’Argo to a planet with white-eyed humanoids wearing red clothing.

I’m not going into the details of the story, but it’s a nice episode.

One thing I can say is that it takes place on a planet where its people are forced to work in very big fields. They are digging up alien root crops here but the inspiration is very obvious. There’s a shot of fields as far as the eye can see, and almost everyone is wearing those pointed coolie hats.

Wait a minute! Haven’t I seen this before? Doesn’t it seem awfully familiar?

Apart from the game and the episode having alien fields that look somewhat related, there’s also the presence of the wisecracking hero among them. Cutter Slade. John Crichton. Two characters cut from the same cloth. Also, the game and the episode were both released in 1999. Interesting, right?

Nevertheless, I think this might just be a case of coincidentally shared inspiration. If we’re talking Asian rice fields, there’s a very specific look you have to match – right down to the pointed coolie hats. I think it’s just like those scientists coming up with the same discovery at the same time.

Like Darwin and Wallace. Bell and Gray. Edison and Swan.

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