Reinventing Harrier Du Bois

Get your shit together, detective.

Content notification on substance abuse, suicide.

Harrier Du Bois, 18 years a cop for the occupying forces of Revachol, solver of 216 cases, killer of 3 people, is too afraid to kill himself. So he drinks himself into an amnesiac oblivion: he cannot take being “this kind of animal anymore.” His substance abuse helps him cope with the reality of Revacholian capitalism, further encouraged by his precinct because it makes him good at his job. Life doesn’t stop for existential breakdowns, so Harry must get up and solve the case of a hanged man with his partner-in-solving-crime, Kim Kitsuragi. Reduced to a pathetic mess reeking of alcohol and piss, Harry cannot handle the stench of the corpse to perform an autopsy at the start of Disco Elysium. Kim gently tells Harry to get his shit together—unlocking the “Volumetric Shit Compressor” idea, which in most runs the player must internalize in Harry’s psyche to progress. “Your shit is *apart,*” Harry’s mind tells him, “and it’s rather unbecoming of a cop and a human being.”

I am a trans woman, four years transitioning medically, three in the pandemic. Forced to work most days in a world that is hostile to my existence, pretending nothing is wrong, watching the situation get worse every month for trans people. My shit has been *apart* and substances abused. To play Disco Elysium after these past four years, to see Harry at his absolute rock-bottom, pathetic, sorry-pile-of-shit worst, felt like seeing my own life. Revachol is a bad place. No matter what bad things will happen. There is no good ending to Disco Elysium. Harry cannot escape being this kind of animal, a cog in the machine. Nor can I. Harry can, at least, get his shit back together and heal after cracking under the pressure of the world. So can I.

By Evelyn Grey

Evelyn Grey is a freelance writer with a penchant for RPGs who writes at the intersection of video games and queer experience. She also doubles as a walking trivia bank for all things horror. You can find them retweeting Pokémon fanart on Twitter @Sidereal_Star

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