egypturnash: (HGA)

A while back I played this art game called “Sunset”. In Sunset, you took the role of a maid, wandering around a super awesome bachelor pad the developers had built based on a spread in a late sixties issue of Playboy. You found messes, you clicked on them, the screen faded out and back in, and then they were cleaned up again.

There was something about a romance between your character and the Brazilian dictator who owned the place, told through furtive notes left lying around as the game progressed. But I don’t remember anything about that. What I remember is that after a while playing it, I closed the game, got up, and did some cleaning around the apartment that I’d put off. I never returned to it afterwards and probably never will.

I bring this up because I am feeling the same sensation from Cultist Simulator.

I drag a few cards into slots, I watch a timer expire, and then I am told I have Made an Art, which resulted in some mix of money, fame, and the occasional emotion. Sometimes, at random, I am told I have made a Great Art. If I made it secretly about something majgickqghahl then I get a lot more famous a lot faster. Which is not without its own problems, but it sure makes it easier to make money making art that’s about nothing but my own passions.

I look at my Tarot deck and the obvious opportunity presented by reprinting it, and I feel the same sensation I felt playing Sunset: “get up”, my brain says, “get up, stop pretending to do this, do this for real”.

And maybe get up and break out the books on majgicqgh and try to spend a little time with that more days than not, too. Probably not to the extent that I become a notorious cult leader who sends her minions off to raid libraries and ruins for ever-more-esoteric texts and trinkets, that sure sounds like some work.

Cultist Simulator is a much more compelling system than Sunset. There’s a lot of things to play with. A lot of things to figure out. And I can feel it tickling the same parts of my brain that the beginning of an idle clicker game does, before it starts taking longer and longer to build up enough resources to do anything interesting. There’s a lot of neat little stories that assemble themselves out of the masterfully-crafted snippets of prose throughout the game, and those are fun to see when they happen.

But I can feel restlessness growing inside me. I can fee the urge to get up and resume the Great Work, whatever I determine it really is.

And if there is one thing this game has taught me, it is that Restlessness turns into Dread after a little while, and that if enough Dread piles up then you succumb to it. And die.

Five stars out of five. Would stop playing again.

Mirrored from Egypt Urnash.

egypturnash: (Default)
When I'm depressed, I play video games. It's a way to escape, I suppose.

I've been down for the past week or so. I think I'm starting to come back up, but I'm still kind of low. This article that coldly analyzes several of the top platform games in terms of the gameplay elements made me decide to play one of the big mascot platformers that I've never really gone through: Super Mario World on the SNES.

Hey, I had to do something while I was bleaching and dying my hair. "Sexdroid purple", as I call it, because it makes me feel like one when I look in the mirror. More formally known as "Wildflower".

Many, many words of pondering the appeal of this game. )




Why do I keep wanting to write about these emulated games I've been playing now and then? Why was the original version of that post on Vasara 2 full of the story of how I analyzed the system, the thought processes I went through to get to the point where it went from a challenge to boredom? Perhaps it's because I wonder what I do get out of video games, aside from the obvious points of a solitary solace, a way to create a meaningless challenge that I can feel skilled for overcoming. What's going on in my head when I play these things?

I thought I'd pretty much finished with video games the year before last. I still find myself drawn to them, even though I'm keenly aware of how much of my life has been slogging through games I didn't even enjoy all that much, but that'd gotten a hook into my reward/satisfaction channels.

I should be drawing and painting and creating. But I'm kinda depressed, this week.
egypturnash: (Default)
I have finally figured out how to properly play modern bulletstorm shmups. Turns out it takes all the fun out of them for me.

What I want in a reflex game is, essentially, a music visualizer with interaction and bleepy noises. I want to close a reflex loop between the screen and my hands, and turn my brain off. It's a kind of meditation, when it works.

What I get in a bulletstorm shmup half the time is a system to analyze and break.

I was playing 'Vasara 2' via the magic of emulation. I caught myself playing it in different ways: first an all-the-quarters-in-the-world continue fest that ended on the final level, where continuing resets to the beginning of the level, rather than picking up where you left off, then a few serious, analytical goes at it, playing with the weapons you're given and the rhythms of the game. I really noticed myself analyzing it.

Peggy picks Vasara 2 apart like a paralyzed crab. )

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Margaret Trauth

February 2019

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