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letterclub.games: May 2021 - May 2022

Started by droqen, May 10, 2022, 07:26:04 PM

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HAIKU games

QuoteI want to describe to you a kind of game that I like to play, and a kind of game that I want to play.

The one that started it all. Haiku games!

QuoteI am very interested in the design of these games, the way they facilitate learning through play. I like learning things this way, and I like doing their dances.
What is the minimal form of games that can do this?

Jack sets out this beautiful abstract question: what is this nameless quality and can we use the lens of haiku, of this minimalist and traditionally-rigid-but-not-rigid-anymore form of poetry, to help us understand it better?


It's particularly exciting to see all the Responses to this first post, though I'm not sure it's especially useful... Click and scroll down close to the bottom, just above 'Leave a comment'. P.S. Hey, wait, we have comments enabled?

Hopefully I'll get to these in their own time, but such enticing titles:

  • non-gamefeel content
  • What's actually happening? Videogames are REAL.
  • Creativity in social games
  • Telling our stories inside and outside the games
  • Brevity is the dark souls of wit
  • On life, games, and everything else (42)
  • play is form
  • Slime Logic


Actually, I just noticed we have no 'Next post' button, which means the natural way to browse is only by following these links... What happens if I do just that?

non-gamefeel content

Quote from: droqLearning to dance

Quote from: droqWhether or not it cares about it, every game has gamefeel.

gamefeel | meaning

Quote from: JackFor a long time I, like you, have felt a dissatisfaction once the GAMEFEEL CONTENT of a game is done, and there is nothing more to chew on besides repeating the ROUTINES I have established for myself – often over and over and over again.

Quote from: JackDiscovering the game's systems through GAMFEEL is a very similar process to discovering meaning in a poetic presentation!

During the GAMEFEEL CONTENT of a game, there should be enough clues for the player to piece together a model of a system that EXPLAINS the way that the simulated system works (or at least mostly). [..] In HAIKU games, I imagine that the game ends at this point, the moment of mastery, at the peak of the player's engagement and understanding.

Oh, there are comments! So this is where all that good Zeigfreid content lives :)

Quote from: ZeigfreidBy "reading" do you mean after you play the game and it ends, you reflect on the game you just played? [..] gamefeel and reading are both (I think, and I think Swink thinks) results of being "jacked in" to the cybernetic circuit of game/player. They happen continuously, so I'd say that the player is reading while they are gamefeeling. The reading can continue after the player has put down the controller, but arguably so can gamefeel (nausea, the Tetris effect, etc...)

And this is where this particular thread ends. I feel like it goes like this...

The experience of playing a game and engaging with its GAMEFEEL is part of the content. Additionally, one must not necessarily be playing the game to be engaging with this content; as with imagining the world of a book beyond its pages, and as evidenced by the Tetris effect, GAMEPLAY merely facilitates the cybernetic "jacking in" to GAMEFEEL content. We can do it all on our own, too.


Stepping back, we have On life, games, and everything else (42), but this responds to multiple other posts... well, we've already covered two of them, but it looks like we'll have to rewind a bit...

or a lot...

goodness, this is a tangled web

Creativity in social games

Quote from: MerAll games ask you to intervene, that's kinda what makes them games, and you could say that all interaction is a form of creativity, in the way you have to come up with solutions to problems. But I'd argue that finding a solution within the tools that the game provide is not the kind of creativity I want to talk about here, but the one where you have to bring up your own ideas into the system.

Here, Mer sets us on a different path. Where GAMEPLAY and GAMEFEEL are the domain of the tools given to you by the game, she starts talking about player creativity and freedom.

Quote from: MerIn roleplaying games, you could argue that you can do whatever you like, but you're actually restricted to the situation the GameMaster just described, and you have a Character Sheet that puts you back in the box.

Quote from: MerGames like Dixit give you absolute freedom [..] you can say a single word or even just a sound and it's a perfectly valid entry.

This is actually something I'd like to bring up to Mer... she neeeeds to play a roleplaying game with some more wild storytellers.

Quote from: MerIn Among Us, that shared setting provides a safe space to create in. First of all, it creates a lot of real interactions: you need to take care of the ship, you encounter other players, you have to actually kill/being murdered. So when you discuss about who the suspect is, you don't have to imagine you were doing something, you were actually doing something when the crime took place.


What's actually happening? Videogames are REAL.

Quote from: droqI want a game to exmerse me; by contrast to immersing me in its fictional world, I want to be pulled out of it as quickly as possible, so that I can instead focus on the actual details of my experience and the real people around me

Quote from: ZeigfreidEmersion is an antonym of immersion, in particular I think it fits because an "emersion program" (as opposed to an immersion program) is a an activity like a spiritual retreat where you are trying to remove yourself from some obstacles to a deeper understanding of reality

The birthplace of EMERSION, a concept we will return to.

[pingback: Emersion]


Brevity is the dark souls of wit

Great title.

Quote from: Jackthe more I play these games, and the more I understand how they work, the more I am left wanting – wanting for something more than the crystalline perfection of the design. I've learned this system, but now what? I can dance in it, play it like an instrument, and there is certainly a perennial joy to be found in that!

Quote from: ZeigfreidVideogames have a resolution problem: they will never be our musical instruments, languages, or literature. "Videogames" is a hobby with a great deal of depth and room for study, but I think each videogame is more like a hobby with not a lot of depth. [..] You can read the text of FFVII, but I assure you there are more interesting texts in other media.


Jack's "but now what?" above addresses this resolution problem. We love these GAMEFEEL games because it can be really interesting to move Mario around the screen gracefully, or to grasp and hopefully master a curious puzzle like Recursed.


HAIKU games made me think "ah yes, videogames: [..] don't pretend to be a piano, or a novel, or life itself. Be Videogames. Videogames have a resolution problem (I insist, there is no escaping it). I take Jack's suggestion as a call to work with that constraint rather than against it.

I think the first time I read this I didn't quite grasp it, but I suppose I'm up next, let's see if the me from last year actually acknowledged Zeigfreid's excellent points here or simply ran off in another direction!

playing videogames, or playing with the idea of videogames

Quote from: droqeach game as not a world or a hobby unto itself, but a single rock skipped across the surface of a great pond.

The KNOWING WINK of mokesmoe's I can't carry all these ducks! relies on an acknowledgement of 10,000 hours spent not playing it, but spent playing games.

The games I love most are the ones that propelled me forward, that made me think about games-in-general and perhaps life in a novel way, not the ones that folded inward and demanded increasing levels of understanding and mastery.

[..] I loved learning to understand how to play a game that I never played again once I finally felt I understood it.


A haiku game is not a piano, or a lifelong hobby. It's a singular creation, a mere artwork or artifact. This doesn't seem like quite the revelation now that it did back then, but I promise it was one.

This particular thread is over and we can finally return to Mer's post...


P.S. Holy crap, so many responses to Brevity is the dark souls of wit! This is quite the spelunk.


On life, games, and everything else (42)

Quote from: MerThe world is not deep. We decide voluntarily to look at it in that way. We decide to give importance to some things and others not, and those we don't know about, is like they don't exist. We invent meanings, goals, interests, reasons [..]

learning is a way of caring.

[..] I keep on dancing to the same tunes and playing a few games repeatedly. Because they GAMEFEEL good. There's no exploration, just plain visceral pleasure. And that's amazing.

[..] you can also be bored by all those things, regardless of their depth. Maybe it's not about running out of things to explore, but of running out of love.

What (or Who) is responsible for the Resolution Problem?

Quote from: JackI think we can give this same amount of care to an individual game.

Quote from: Jackthe piano was designed with a very deep resolution. (Singleplayer) videogames maybe less so. [..] let's not forget about very simple instruments that I think you could say have a 'resolution problem' when compared to piano. Like maybe the recorder? Can you go glitch-hunting with the recorder to find some new techniques of play? Is that breaking through the resolution wall?


When digging into all the reasons that we get bored or not with something, it's good to remember that it is also a product of how much we put in, how much we care.  And it makes me reconsider: why do I stop caring about jumping around in Mario's world? Is it simply the lack of novelty in its challenges? And if so, why aren't I making up my own challenges? What is stopping me?

What (or Who) is responsible? Whoever takes responsibility.

Quote from: droqIs speedrunning Game X the same as playing Game X, or is it something different? Using the equipment of Game X to perform a "speedrun."


players can be coerced, tricked, manipulated, convinced, and a large part of videogames culture involves actively seeking out the designer's intended way to play.

Taking Responsibility for Taking Responsibility

Quote from: Jackgames always take on some responsibility for what the resolution of the game experience is, and it has a limit. They can't avoid it.


many games work like this – with the game being a curious device we operate to drip-feed ourselves some 'non-gamefeel content' which evokes different themes and ideas that we connect with to various degrees.


I often can't connect with non-gamefeel content, and I don't have a good understanding of why. In some cases, the curious device is the interesting thing that we are receptive to, and I have a better time connecting with that, and appreciating it as a game that reaches beyond itself


It seems to me like there should be a way to bring the non-gamefeel content back into the realm of gamefeel content


I want the aesthetic leap of the non-gamefeel content to be a part of the game.

This is fascinating. I feel like there's a discussion that never continued here... mainly, I don't think I follow what's being said, and I would like to follow so we can talk about it.

Taking Responsibility for Taking Responsibility -- The conversation cannot die here!

But in the meantime, let's return to our regularly scheduled reflection.


Responsible childs and lazy adults

Quote from: MerI remember watching Beyblade anime when I was 11. I'd have killed for a proper Beyblade, but they hadn't arrived in my country yet, so I had to content myself with other, less-cooler tops. It didn't matter, I'd spin those things everywhere, creating my own circuits and challenges. A year later, I could finally get some true Beyblades. And... I couldn't play like that anymore. There is a point in your life when lifting a toy-plane and playing pretend just stops being fun, but we don't realize it when it happens.


Maybe as adults we need... validation? Feeling useful? Is this also capitalism's fault?

Recognizing Play

Oh no. This is only September, and I've just noticed how it is a response to several posts which haven't been touched yet - looks like I have a lot more to reflect upon.


There's too much!!! I'm going to stop this incessant quoting, but the problem is that everything is leaping out at me! I want to remember all of it!


when i resume i will fill in the gaps chronologically! i thought i was ready but Timestepped Gamefeel is next and it's only the fourth post EVER so i'm feeling particularly daunted by the task that lies ahead.

dear future droqen: resume @ Timestepped Gamefeel, and remember to have fun!