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still life games, haiku games

Started by droqen, May 14, 2024, 07:15:16 PM

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where there is a tiger in the garden,
i see a single creature among the flowers prowling
all alive but all calm
the petals in the wind moving more than the cat.


roadwarden's still life scenes, next to text
la-mulana's still life rooms
slay the princess' rooms, scenes, tableaux
uurnog uurnlimited's save room...
starseed pilgrim's stillness when in the air. the blocks that grow, the time you spend just standing there, waiting. minimal action. strategy?
databug has no timer, no time pressure... it waits for you to act and then proceeds
geomoth. i'm not sure. something about the way the scene is set and made of blocks. something.
crossing flowers. the world goes on without you but in a non-destructive way. there is waiting, there is no waiting for the perfect timing.
tabletop roleplaying games are an enigma to me. you create a character. you wait between sessions... you see what unfolds... anticipation. storytelling. improvisation.
the quiet sleep has discrete rules, like starseed pilgrim, but with hidden implications. there is text. hmm. it tells a story... you interact with its parts.
kingdom of loathing... you have a limited number of actions, you take them, you take efficient actions (or try). limited resources with a cost.
in etrian odyssey you draw a map, you move turn by turn, measuring your steps. the combat is turn-based as well. there is a map that scrolls, but you control it, if you like. the scrolling is not smooth but tile-by-tile.
fire emblem and disgaea are both tactics-battle games. they are not like Into The Breach, where every turn is wildly different. the enemies move and do their thing. you know where they might end up -- and better yet it's usually pretty obvious where they will end up. there is chaos, but the chaos is tempered by almost boring spatial certainty.
secrets of asherah. an mmorpg, but divided into discrete scenes. i've always held a soft spot for it.
well of souls. well of souls, what a weird game. same as prev.


i am keeping an eye on these things but features that stand out, which i've rejected now and then, for one reason or another.

art style / screen composition: a lot of 2d games. fair number of games with text, but never a full screen of text. maps are common. there is a sub-theme of games with black or white abstract backgrounds; in my opinion these are the less attractive games although i have selected multiple. i have a preference for the games with strong theme or sense of place, and which feel 'alive', full of grass and plants and living people and things. calm, bright colours are nice. (fire emblem, etrian odyssey, starseed pilgrim.) my penchant for 'ugly' colours is not really very nice or appealing to me at all from this perspective. (databug, uurnog.)

rote tasks: drawing a map, exploring, number go up (well of souls, crossing flowers)

interesting decisions: choosing when to break out of a loop and move forward (disgaea, secrets of asherah, etrian odyssey), thinking about where a secret might be hidden (etrian odyssey, la-mulana), selecting a route or path (roadwarden, slay the princess, kingdom of loathing, etrian odyssey - i am noticing many of these route/path selections take the form of interacting with characters, possibly my own character development but USUALLY interacting with NPCs)


control schemes: clicking on things, moving a cursor around to select things (i.e. clicking but in a console/handheld context), moving around a little platformer character

actually there are a surprising number of click/touch control scheme games. out of 16 games, how well is each control scheme represented?

platformers or top down controlled characters - 7 games
selecting options from menus or using an on screen cursor to poke the world - 7 games

so they're about equally represented here, and yet in my own game dev practice platformers and top down controlled characters are much more well represented.


I would like to take some time to consider the game arts curators kit notes I took earlier this week.


It returns me to my recent letterclub, "fear":

Quotewhat does it mean to seek out a haiku game?
what does it mean to be satisfied by a haiku game?
what does it mean to wait for a new haiku game?
what does it mean to remember a haiku game?
what does it mean to share a haiku game?


from gack:

- consider what you have to gain from the online experience
- choose the software or tool based on your audience and the experience you want to create
--- what is my audience?
--- what is the experience i want to create?
--- (and, consider my choice of software/tool/platform...)
- ludic experience: playful, dynamic ways of approaching the game experience... "field trips to online games with a specific goal (scavenger hunts), virtual performances, ludic gatherings playgroups[..]"

- audience can go beyond regional boundaries, wide reach, low costs
- analysis or critique of online-adjacent themes
- don't expecting anyone to be in front of a screen 24 hours a day; digital events can provide set times for interaction; mix sync and async activities

- know why you want help - specific labour and skills? excitement, diverse skills, and community growth? "What do you need help with?"

- "Only do work that matches our shared vision and goals" (attempting to define vision/goals)
- "Celebrate all work"
- "Say no to growth when we are low on energy or time."


from gack (cont'd):


Looking at goals from a new perspective; initially I wrote that these are all "internal. Self-serving." but now. i guess i see it differently... these are useful to understand. reflecting.

"gain recognition for games underrepresented"
---> shorter games with less action - not sure if they are underrepresented - what is the external social value of this? consider the social value of emersion, emersiveness... games for people... who want games to remain part of their lives, but can't or don't want to engage with really large monolithic games?

"provide visibility for cultural and social groups marginalized"
---> do i do this? i try to strip away identity into abstraction. what would it mean to make games that bare more culture and social context? ... a question for later.

"provide audiences with methods of engaging critically with games"
---> throw the games you don't like in the recycle bin :) yes this is interesting. critical by default. you can share individual play-systems, individual moments. i like this, i don't like this. the parts can be detangled. neatness that appeals to me. what's the external value? shareable. i mentioned sharing above, too. i thought about it w/r/t 31 unmarked games, too. bite-sized games can be individually criticized, can be individually shared, etc. that's interesting to me. they won't be eroded and disappear in patch notes...

"celebrate videogame subcultures"
"recognize, expand, and celebrate gaming skills and expertise"
---> hmm.

"[share] videogames as critical cultural phenomena"
---> the games themselves as critical? a problem for later. this relies on the content of the videogames.



- educational workshops
- skill-building events
- networking opportunities
- worker rights

- interest in specific games and genres

- broader view of culture
- cultural comparisons


it's too soon, i think, to curate that which does not yet exist.


character stories. i wanted to know... what happens to the characters? cave story, etrian odyssey, slay the princess, kingdom of loathing, fire emblem, disgaea; these all have characters of a sort. grimgar, the black company, .hack//sign, about time, these are all human stories about people's struggles with situations. the stakes are human.

a haiku... i think of a haiku as written by someone... there is a character there, i think. the speaker is a character. it does not feel quite so with a game, especially one where the design has taken over. there is no speaker, there is no speaker. the speaker recedes. the speaker becomes invisible. the speaker dies.


hmm. a thought i return to time & again.

being noticeably against something is less interesting to me than giving it no regard, leaving it be.

to think of the self as one of these things, in a work. to find the center between caring and uncaring...


Lack of movement, freedom of movement... being a tourist. Every room, or every haiku, full of further secrets, nested. My unreleased "golden grape" game has a beginning and an end. I'd like to do away with that...

What I mean is that my impulse, developing it further, is to put something in between the player and reaching the end. Subversions, diversions, distractions, all. I can't tell how I feel about the trees. But I feel something about them. I think: I could add another system. The roots, you could attack the roots to kill the trees on the surface.

Maybe my negative present emotion is not at all about the trees but about the second game I made, the attempt to build an ultimately RTS-like system. I don't know any of the implications of this system. I wish I had a name for this bad feeling. Designing a system doesn't feel bad all the time, but there's something about this one that does. There's no input, no play.