Blog titles

19/01/2010

I spent ages thinking of a title for this blog. I dunno how happy I am in the end. Not sure if “Intelligence Artificer” would have been better. It’s really hard to think of a title that isn’t a pun or up it’s own arse. So now let’s play the game again.

I know some people who I would like to get to write posts about games. This blog was supposed to be about me and things I do and develop. I’m not really just supposed to scream and rage about stuff. I’m supposed to talk about neat algorithms I’m developing and PhP design patterns and that. So I want to start a team blog. So that needs a new name.

I love Rock, Paper, Shotgun, Citizen Game is alright, Idle Thumbs is great. All puns. Consolevania? Pun. Gamasutra? Pun. There’s good and there’s bad. Eurogamer is just descriptive I hope, and not supposed to be “you’re a gamer”. As for my own title, by the time I’d thought of “Lewd Icarus” it was time for a lie down. “Ludo Cress”? er.. we are the offshoots of the cotton wool revolution. Um, but about games?

Then what about not punning, but just using a jargon style phrase as is. Splash Damage are a development house, ragdoll physics, er… collision detection? Problem with your unique googlability of course. Infinite lives seemed like a good name for a blog about different games writted by different people about the many lives that we all can lead in many games and so on… Yes, that’s why it’s taken.

The other night I found myself moving from the pun to the pretentious. My dad used to say that the latin for “I hear, I see, I learn” would be “Audio Video Disco”, so I found myself wondering about “Ludo Scribo Disco” I tried concatenating to Scribodiscoludo or Scriboludodisco or Ludoscribodisco or Ludodiscoscribo. I am reliably informed these seem like gibberish. I thought that maybe “Ludo Disco” was enough. It was only then that I realised that my favourite “Ludo Scribo Disco” has nice initials. Try pronouncing it all stupidly too, Lu-Dos-cribod-isco. Or summat.

Pure pretentious is half a classic quotation and an ellipsis… I looked up loads of quotes. Best I found really was “Nothing is sacred to a gamester” Bernard Joseph Saurin 1706-1781, French Dramatist. Apparently. Not exactly famous enough really, and can hardly call the blog “Nothing is sacred…” Might as well go the whole cryptic hog and call it “Holy Zero”.

I’ll leave the comments open as per usual. Ahem.

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Maybe there’s still some horror, but it’s the existential horror of the banality of existence. You know the type.

In conversation I’ve come to realise that I didn’t really say all I could in my last post about Judith. I’m not going to say any of it now either really. I am going to say why I didn’t say some things about it, and then say them about a different game instead. Maybe I won’t say them about that either. Hey, this post sure is a must-read. This is the only Wittgenstein joke in it.

I didn’t really give much of a description of Judith, just told you to go and play it. Today I’m going to tell you to go and play Every day the same dream Okay WordPress took ages to do that bit then so I actually had time to read my last post and maybe I actually described the game as best as I could. Still didn’t explain why that was the best I could do though.

Today’s game is even shorter than the last one. Plus there’s no need to download, it’s one of them flash thingies. I was reminded of its existence by DO NOT CLICK this Gamasutra post DO NOT CLICK which annoyingly sort of says the thing that I didn’t say about what I couldn’t say about Judith. DON’T READ IT YET. Cos it says too much really, so maybe it’s crossed my invisible line and doesn’t really say the thing that I want to say.

YES that’s it. That article talks very nicely about the way that there are some stories and the way that they are told that can only be told in Video Games, or are better, or at least different. It then goes on to sort of tell you the story, describe the world. It tries to avoid spoilers, but THE WHOLE THINGS A SPOILER. If some stories are best told in video games, don’t tell me what it is. Just shake me by the shoulders until I obey you and play it. Well if it’s short. Make me a cup of tea at least. Is it alright to smoke in here?

Brevity is key. Plus it’s free and is Flash. Every day the same dream (which was a runner up in this Experimental Gameplay Competition is less than ten minutes long, and fuses the way it tells the story with the story. That is probably more than enough information. I mean it, I might delete some of the information in this paragraph. In which case I’ll definitely leave in the previous sentence.

If it cost you money, you’d want a review to tell you more than just if it was good. Unless you really trusted the reviewer. You’re never going to spend £30 on a game if you don’t know what it’s like. You might not want to know the whole plot, but you’d probably like to know the genre. However, in games the plot is so often neither here nor there. What matters is the gameplay. We’ll sit through 10 hours of shitty story that doesn’t really hang together if the bloom and explosions are right and we can pretend to be super soldiers. Yes that’s right I own Crysis:Warhead. I did not buy it for the plot. So a review can talk about how realistic the shotgun is, if that level of realism matters, the framerate, the look and feel, how cluttered the maps are, the freedom or no, they can certainly afford to tell you the set up of the plot. Probably the ending too to be honest. It’s like a Hollywood blockbuster in that respect. There are some films that you go to see to throw popcorn at the screen and have a good time. Having said that, imagine if you saw the film Predator if you’d only seen the trailers for Commando. You’d be enjoying Arnie the action hero and then be very happily surprised when it went all SF. Well I would be. Films always pick up when the alien reticules appear. Sod you then.

However, if someone was reviewing a 5 minute film or animation they’d restrict themselves to an analysis of the quality. Well they might. Just tell you if the actors in it were good, if the idea worked, whatever. Well I’m not going to tell you that much about this game either. Really short games I don’t want to tell you about the game mechanics. I’m not telling you if there are actors in it. Its short and free just play it. Then you can read that Gamasutra article.

Right. I’m becoming nicer and more like a proper blogger every day hongu. I’ve included links and acknowledged the existence of others. I’m even going to post a picture of the game I am reviewing. Oh noes surely that goes against everything I just said!

startup screen for every day the same dream

That's all you're getting

Or do I mean terror? I’m sure I’ve had a long rambling discussion with several folks about the distinction between terror and horror. However, that may not really be relevant. Hey, not being relevant could be what this here blog ting is all about.

Right. Subject matter, that’s what’s important hongu. As in, what is the subject of this post. I’m actually going to talk about Terry Cavanagh’s Judith. Hey, did you like the way I said “Terry Cavanagh” then as if we all know who he is? Actually “he” is really a “she” shows what you know. Well, actually I think he’s a he. With or without quotation marks, in all honesty I have little to no idea. What I gather though is that he/she/it write VIDEO GAMES FOR THE COMPUTAMABOB, which is relevant to my interests. MEME!

Dr T.Cavanagh is in the news this week because of new game called VVVVVV which seems like Jet Set Willy with a lot of save points. When I say “in the news” I mean that I read a post about it on Rock Paper Shotgun Interesting stuff there about issues surrounding difficulty and frustration. That’s one of the central issues in gaming really. If it’s a pain in the arse it’s not fun. If it’s too easy it’s not really a game. Issues of grind, wage-slavery, I paid for this I want fun, if it’s not a challenge it’s not fun nyarrnyarrr let’s have a paragraph break.

Welcome back! Before the paragraph break I was telling you about VVVVVV but I was NOT telling you about my internal argument about how to format the title of that game, and all other ones that I may write about. Oh well, that’ll help with the inconsistency, and I can get angry about it later, and that will help with the violence. BLOG POST MUST MAKE BLOG POST. So in that RPS post I linkied to about VVVVVV they mention that Terry Cavanagh has previously written more sort of arty games that are less pixel-perfect frenetic. They’re also a lot more free than VVVVVV so that’s a definite bonus. I click and so on to see what’s the score with Judith, and am happy to see that it’s free and SHORT.

Judith looks like olde worlde FPSsss like DOOM or Wolfenstein. Do you know what they are? Nevermind. It’s really lo-res and may not really be a game. It’s definitely interactive fiction. Whatever that means. It definitely manages to convey a sense of suspense and terror or horror or something. It’s flawed in some ways yes, but it was a really good way to spend the time waiting for dinner to be ready. Otherwise I’d have watched some policemen with dogs on the telly. I mean, I like dogs and everything, but filler low culture. Judith might be high culture. It might be, like, good for you. It’s definitely let me feel like I am being a good consumer of culture without having to pay anything, or go to Shoreditch. Certainly within the sphere of VIDEO GAMES it’s high art, and yet it’s still entertaining! Go figure. Actually, go download

Judith was co-written with Stephen Lavelle who I seem not to have mentioned until just then.