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Old 12-01-2012, 12:10 PM   #626
Prestidigitweeze
Fledgling Demagogue
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kumabjorn View Post
Grillfiend? Suddenly I feel relieved I have never been invited to a BBQ
That's where you've been missing out. Barbeques with the Grillfiend are that much more entertaining! No more irritating guests asking about the padlocked room in the back (we serve them first), or why the pieces being cooked look a bit like our late neighbor Zed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by xendula View Post
My nephew would have loved me had I gotten him that for Xmas. . . .
I, too, used to think such things were for nephews alone. But spending a day with novelist and then-professor Michael Joyce at Brown University, learning about hypertext fiction in the 90s, and hearing descriptions of the plots of various M-rated Japanese games from friends in early 2000 made me aware that, compared to the most intelligent narrative games, most movies are insipid and unintelligent:-- bad investments of one's time.

The first games which taught me this were loans from a very literate friend who also lent me his PS2: Rule of Rose, Ico and Silent Hill 2.

Rule of Rose had a soundtrack that sounded like Bartok's chamber music and a visual style which was a cross between Dorothea Tanning and Edward Gorey. Its narrative was a nightmarish rendering of Billie Holiday's "Gloomy Sunday" transposed to an alternative Victorian age. Ico looked like a steampunk De Chirico landscape, and Silent Hill 2 was all carnage through fog and amnesiac spiritual loss.

I tried another game as well: Fatal Frame 2, which involved a ruined Hiroshima landscape within a house permeated with dangerous ghosts that could only be fended off with a camera, the protagonist's sole weapon.

None of the games ended happily, as movies usually do, and all were more quirkily written than any blockbuster you might see. And despite the sporadic gore, all were also more evocative than most post-70s horror films. For every Kim-Jee Woon, there's a plethora of hacks making chainsaw xeroxes.

All of this made me realize that the future of fiction in new media will combine film, writing, music and aleatoric elements into a total experience: The logical splice of film and hypertext fiction, in which the reader is also the protagonist, and moves through a kind of dis-gaea: vast spaces which don't exist in the physical world, but may be vivified in the virtual one -- balm for the claustrophobia of modern urban life. In the near future, I expect there to be SIM travel packages for people who lack the money to travel physically: Exact recreations of cities and regions in other parts of the world, where the player may interact with AI citizens in sandbox fashion, without ever being held to a gaming narrative. The idea would be for people to explore those virtual landscapes purely as vacationing tourists.

That already exists now in provisional form (the GTA series, for example), but I expect to see versions in the future for people who would never touch a game.

I avoided games for most of my childhood and adult life because practicing piano, reading books, composing and writing were more important.

Yet my paltry time with gaming has convinced me that games are important and will become more so over time. Ultimately, I expect them not to resemble games at all. As the creation of games gets easier, I also expect more academics and serious writers to create experimental works equivalent to history's avant garde gallery exhibitions.

Gallery of (badly captured) images from Rule of Rose here.

The semi-silhouette above the house is not that of a dirigible but rather a giant floating fish, causing the viewer to wonder whether the fish is airborne or the house is underwater:



The fish is incidental and surreal, and does not threaten or attack.

For the protagonist, exploring the house leads eventually to an entrance to the hull of a Victorian industrial floating ship, hence the metaphor.

Criticism which is closer to the actual texture of the narrative than standard populist or gaming criticism in America tends to get.

Last edited by Prestidigitweeze; 12-01-2012 at 11:24 PM.
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