- Is Raph Koster responsible for getting a horse to eat your insides?
- How much are indie dev customers really worth?
- Oh, really, what could possibly go wrong with a story involving “F2P game” and “two-year-old”?
- How has Ingress taken over Laura Michet’s life? Can we get her back?
- Why not choose your own adventure?
- What’s Actual Sunlight all about then?
- Why does The Act of Killing stand out against other documentaries about mass murder?
Find the links below.
Click to Escape
When you rode a horse, we simply put the horse inside the player, and spawned a pair of pants that looked like your horse, which you then equipped and wore.
Where once you were worth $20, and then you might have become a fan and bought another 4 games off of us for $20, you were worth $100. We only had to fix your computer for you once, as well, so the next four games amortised the cost of the initial support. If we were lucky you were a gamer and already had drivers and liked our stuff and bought the lot. Sometimes you’d tell your friends and maybe one of them would buy a game from us.
Now you’re worth $1 to us.
Worst of all, in the iPhone version – which surprise, surprise masquerades as “free” – the bike runs out of fuel now and then, and the only way to refill the tank it is to wait for a countdown to expire (slightly harder for a two-year-old than completing a tapestry), watch an advert (evil) or to purchase in-game petrol from the App Store. I first became aware of this when he screamed and hurled the phone across a restaurant table in a fury. I caved in immediately and, illustrating everything that’s wrong with human progress, found myself spending real money on non-existent petrol for a non-existent motorbike in a desperate bid to appease an infant.
I rushed outside and around the corner and stood beside the portal. It was a bike rack shaped like a pennyfarthing bicycle. Someone was hitting it with XMP blasts. Every time they destroyed my low-level resonators, I’d put up another one. It was giving me a lot of XP. The attacker was probably getting annoyed.
Suddenly, a tiny middle-aged woman burst from an alley and started hurrying toward me, eyes locked on her phone. I limped away as fast as I could and hid behind a tree. I stood behind that tree for three minutes, tapping away at my own phone. I fought her off. Then I went back inside my office and informed everyone there that I had just scared off the enemy.
Form is never more than an extension of content. The phrase I repeat most often in life, in art, in writing. The form of story, the mechanical tricks and formats you employ, should inform and be informed in turn by the content of the story you’re telling. CYOA isn’t a broken mechanic, far from it, but the way we’re using for digital storytelling is tragically broken. It explores something interesting about the shape and form of the printed book, provides a single-player substitute for a shared, social experience. The form (CYOA is a form) needs to find it’s native expression within digital space, it needs to find stories to tell that can only be told that way, stories that don’t remediate existing narratives, or are simply being shoehorned into a CYOA shape because it looks easy to do so.
Actual Sunlight‘s insight into power structures and human nature has mostly gone unrecognized. While the critical focus on the game’s portrayal of depression is warranted, developer Will O’Neill’s story goes beyond the mental illness of protagonist Evan Winter. As suggested by Reid McCarter and Patrick Lindsey, Actual Sunlight has a substantial Marxist reading. This reading compels me to reject the common label of “interactive fiction,” a term that says nothing about the power structure that Actual Sunlight opposes from a standpoint of philosophy and genre.
Most documentaries are content to remain small films that tackle small issues in small ways. The larger the issue, the smaller the film generally becomes as documentarians abandon the complexities of the real world in favour of simple moral fables that are easily packaged and easily sold to an audience trained to confuse complexity with confusion and ambiguity with dissemblance. Joshua Oppenheimer’s twelfth film The Act of Killing is something different… it is a big film that takes on a huge issue and provides answers so big and so complex that watching it means forcing oneself to see the world in an entirely new way.
I have had enough of “Link Drag” as a title and am currently brainstorming alternatives.
Some of these links are sourced from recommendations and apologies for not acknowledging where they came from. I throw scores of links into Instapaper every week and I have no record of their origins.
Also, if you get really bored, the Weapons of Progress Twitter account slowly dribbles out links which may or may not be related to my not-gonna-be-finished-for-a-while book on videogame economics.