An Existential Doll-Making Game About The Future Of Bodies

Ship of Theseus is a straightforward game. You are given dozens of body parts with which to design and construct an android. Mixing and matching pieces until you settle on a unique creation is a lot of fun. But Ship of Theseus is also a meditation on the human body and what it means to modify our own flesh.


Ship of Theseus gets its name from one of the most famous thought experiments in history. If Theseus sets sail on his boat and slowly replaces the wood planks through repairs over the course of his journey, is it still the same boat? It’s a interesting abstract question, but when you apply it to a person, it’s pretty weighty.

Ship of Theseus packages this existential question within the frame of a doll- making game. You have a selection of different heads, arms, legs, torsos, and other body parts to mix and match when crafting your android.They cover a wide spectrum of aesthetics, from punk pieces brimming with spikes and hard edges to anime-inspired pieces with hearts and angel imagery. You put them together in a free-form fashion, selecting from a menu of numbered parts.

Science fiction has approached androids and body modifications from similarly diverse angles. Ghost in the Shell posits a world where minds can transfer from body to body, allowing people to swap genders or leave diseased bodies behind. Games like Deus Ex or Cyberpunk 2077 use designs that emphasize a clash between metal and flesh. Ship of Theseus accounts for all of these images and allows players to creatively explore whatever visual design they want.

We’re getting closer to cyberpunk-esque body modification in the real world. Pioneering individuals are testing out advanced bionic prostheses, even if there are barriers to the people who could most benefit from them receiving them. As technology develops, we’ll be forced to think about the nature of our bodies more and more. Ship of Theseus is mostly a fun dress-up game, but it’s also a relaxing way to think about what might come next in the real world.

Former Senior Writer and Critic at Kotaku.


Joe the Tech

Somehow, deep down, I always knew that my future body modifications would be dictated by their capacity to kill and/or fuck.