Most Survival Games Have Problems That S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Solved Long Ago

Why are you responding to literally everything I say?

Artifacts and anomalies are NOT mcguffins

They are, just look at the definition:

"...plot device in the form of some goal, desired object, or other motivator that the protagonist pursues, often with little or no narrative explanation."

Let me draw you an analogy since you don't seem to understand.

The Flux Capacitor is a macguffin, and we know just as much about it as we do anomalies. We know Doc Brown suddenly came up with the idea after hitting his head, he built it, it's powered by a Nuclear reactor, and it allows time travel. We know how it's function is activated (activated at 88 mph).

Similarly, we know just about as much about the artifacts. They were created as a result of the C-consciousnesses experiments (How exactly? Who cares, magic!). They are created in anomalies. And they have certain properties that they can imbue to the user when worn on a belt. That's pretty much it. They exist only as an object of desire to motivate people to go to the Zone in the first place, but are completely tangential to the actual game. You could go through the entire game without ever even touching one.

Secondly, the definition of a Deus Ex Machina is: "a seemingly unsolvable problem is suddenly and abruptly resolved by the contrived and unexpected intervention of some new event, character, ability or object."

The C-Consciousness is a Deus Ex Machina. They appear to Strelok at the end of the game, and in one fell swoop they completely resolve the mystery of the zone: Blah blah blah experiments, blah blah blah we went too far, blah blah blah magic crazy land appears. There are no more questions to be asked as this point, because the C-Consciousness is a god-like-being and can do or generate anything it wants without any problem.

Instead of creating some neat fleshed out story of how the Zone was created and evolved naturally, they basically wait till the end of the game and go "Surprise! The Zone was made by God in 7 days!"

When you create a god-like being that can do anything it wants it detracts from the value of the story. Many Star Trek stories were panned for doing this, because a god-like being has no nuances, it's perfect, you never need to flesh out the specifics, in essence, it's "magic".

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