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Great question. If I only had one video I could play it would be this.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Issue : Games : Copycat



So this thing can make a gun that can shoot, like, one bullet? Ah, cool. Remember that one science fiction story where instead of using the cool new technology to make something that benefited humanity, the people got really worried about the one bad thing it did, then ran out there with pitchforks and beat it to death?

And then when the people were sufficiently scared of the new technology and wanted nothing to do with it, the people that got them all riled up in the first place went ahead and made the one bad thing with it? Their reasoning being defense against the people that would make the one bad thing? I don't know, it's an old science fiction story, can't remember the last time it was used.

We are never getting a hoverboard at this rate. Blade was right, "Some motherfuckers are always trying to ice-skate uphill."

Video games are hibernating. This is the time where every one holds cards close to the chest because convention season is coming up. You will see a lot of fluff pieces, "Critical examinations," or straight up opinion and conjecture, depending on where you go to get your information.

Game companies use this time as an in between crunchtime version of crunchtime. Your game is out, or your demo is pretty much code complete, so it's when you see post mortems on projects, people pitching DLC docs, or otherwise reintroducing themselves to work lost in the last sprint.

The other thing going on is research. This is when we finally have the chance to do the thing we got into this business for in the first place, play games. The trade off is that once you see the inside of something the analysis of that something never truly turns itself off.

It begins the second you launch a title. In your mind you say things like, "Oh, that was a nice splash screen!" Or, "Wow, that took forever, and I couldn't even skip it." You automatically navigate into the options menu, just to see what is offered. You benchmark, you watch the credits.

You scroll through the unlockables, collection items, and trophys. You putter around the user interface, taking mental note on font, system design and ease of navigation. There is a game in there somewhere, but what's the rush? It starts out as work, then becomes a ritual. You see every disparate element being assembled in real time, you see which battles programmers won, and which ones designers lost.

You experience the communal thoughts, feelings, and perspective of these people you may have met, will meet, or are long gone, but all share a love for something you thought particular to you. It's a game in itself. It's also work.

I don't miss how I used to see games very much at all. Actually, if the game is good enough I forget to judge it on the first pass, and instead enjoy it for what it is. The reproduction of what a younger version of myself thought to be magic in this waking life.  

Metro: Last Light is still downloading. I have enough time to grab some grub. Nah, I'll just go ahead and starve to death. Fuck tha hunger po-lice. Also This Week in Gaming, Also, JERBZ.

The Protoculture Mixtape v.160 Issue : People : Forge

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