Electron Dance

Discussion: Filter Bubble

Welcome to the December newsletter (sign up if you want to read it):

In a strange moment of synchronicity, this troubling thought came to me while I was on a business trip to New York. I realised, unusually, that I could hear the world.

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Electron Dance Highlights

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  1. I suppose that means for the 10th anniversary you’ll start making… well, you’ve done games. You’ve done video. Electron Dance as an interactive art installation??

  2. Thank you for the newsletter. It was a great read. Good luck to all our new years!

  3. Andy
    I’ll ossify into a permanent exhibit, the final evolution. I will be, at first, admired and studied. Later, I will be moved into a museum crèche where children will swing from my arms. I will be defaced in a revolution. Future historians will attempt a reconstruction. And then I shall be forgotten.


    Thank you Patrick! Best of luck to your own New Year!

  4. You mentioned Proteus which is a pretext for me to say that I have to upgrade my computer soon which means that I will no longer be able to use 32-bit apps and Proteus is one of the ones that is going to fall by the wayside, along with Nightsky which is absolutely heartbreaking to me. (And the only decent FLAC player I’ve ever been to find.)

    I realized the short version of why I find Nightsky so moving. It’s about not understanding the world around you and not needing to. You always need to go from the left to the right, but everything in the world isn’t about you going from the left to the right. There are background elements that don’t have any effect on gameplay (critters blinking at you, birds flying overhead, the steam engines that somehow look like brothers). There are levels where the last screen is just a bumpy hill you hold right on–from the perspective of challenge it might as well be a straight line, but it’s not. Sometimes you need to cross a whirring machine, and the machine helps you get across, but that’s not its purpose, and its purpose is a mystery. Even the physics engine, which is the very thing that lets you play, is about immersing you in the world rather than solely about the challenge. It’s all framed as a dream because dreams don’t make sense, and it doesn’t matter that they don’t make sense, but they give you a sense of something beyond you.

    Anyway, as I type this, Happy New Year! I hope 2020 is better, somehow.

  5. I have to admit I’ve completely disengaged from politics, and from the media, in whom after this shit-show of an election I hold zero hope of impartiality, even (and perhaps now especially) the BBC. Given the choice between being uninformed and misinformed I suppose I’ll take the former.

    The point-of-contact thing is interesting. Personally I think we lost a lot by moving away from those big, boxy CRT monitors. I miss the sensation that the computer had depth, that I was looking into it through a window. Flat panels offer no such illusion; they’re thin in every sense.

    Here’s to feeling better in 2020!

  6. Happy New Year! The Starks may be routed, but us Wildlings north of The Wall have different plans. I think Lannister’s going to have fewer than seven kingdoms shortly! You’re all welcome, of course.

    One way I use my phone is I have a Google Doc called Ideation Dungeon, into which I cast unwanted game and story ideas (for now). I plan to use it mandatorilly this year. Every podcast commute or YouTube chore must be paid for in advance with One Idea for the Dungeon.

  7. I don’t know you really, but whatever it is that ails you, I wish you get a little bit better this first year of the decade. Love your creative output, man!

  8. Matt

    Is that a thing in the iUtopia? That if you upgrade your computer then 32-bit apps are totally hosed? Jesus, that’s harsh.

    I suppose this is my regular once-a-decade reminder that I should play Nightsky. You didn’t wait very long Matt. It was the first day.


    Thanks! I’m going through a period of enjoying being less politically informed right now, although it’s being filled with anxiety about climate change. Swings and roundabouts. Or should that be swings and slides down into deepest hell?

    I think my Dad misses CRTs as well but, you know, I get so much more space in front of my keyboard these days than I used to. I can’t go back!

    Mr B

    Ah, yes, I missed the other aspect of that little metaphor out. Thanks for an appropriate amendment to my tale :)

    I should put all my ideas into one place, they tend to be a lot more spread out than they should be, always a new list compiling ideas, never compressed into a single list. Good luck to your Ideation Dungeon. You need to find an app which forces that action upon you, “enter idea here”, but will not be fooled by a full stop :)


    Thank you! So many things I want to do, I’m hoping all the pent-up creative frustration will explode this year. Hopefully not taking my braincase with it.

  9. “Is that a thing in the iUtopia? That if you upgrade your computer then 32-bit apps are totally hosed? Jesus, that’s harsh.”

    It certainly is. Here’s the official Apple support page telling you that if you have a 32-bit app, you should search the internet for the name of the developer to ask for a 64-bit app. In other words, go fuck yourself.

    And the explanation for why 32-bit apps are banned appears to be that 64-bit apps run better? But… it’s not obviously the case that having a 32-bit app prevents the 64-bit app from running better? There seems to be an undercurrent of “serves you right for not getting everything though the app store.” But it seems I can pay $80 for a program that will maybe let me run old OSes in the new OS?

    “I suppose this is my regular once-a-decade reminder that I should play Nightsky. You didn’t wait very long Matt. It was the first day.”

    Well, we don’t always have similar tastes in games….

  10. Sorry Matt, that major sucks. Remind me not to buy another iDevice. After my current Macbook dies, that is.

  11. Happy New Year, Joel & all ED readers!

  12. Happy New Year, Shaun!

  13. Thoughts on Unitied:

    I cannot believe this game does not have a fucking undo function.

    This has been Thoughts on Unitied.

  14. Ah, Matt, this is sadly true. It’s a bit annoying when you’ve made an accidental mistake and you have to restart – this kept happening to me on one of the later levels.

  15. wow my comments have been ridiculously cranky! um, I’ve been enjoying Cinco Paus and Into the Breach a lot. They both have the nice thing that I said I got from roguelikes where you have a lot of elements interacting in unpredictable ways.

  16. I’ve not played Cinco Paus enough to get into it – it’s unreadable on the surface and you have to stick at it to get a sense of what’s going on. Into the Breach, well, not even started that, but I did swipe a free copy from EGS recently.

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