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Snow Game

Started by droqen, May 22, 2024, 03:45:36 PM

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Jack sent Snow Game to the letterclub crew, and so I played it.

Some weeks ago I happened to check out increpare's... twitter? cohost? I'm not sure, it was on some feed-based medium. I saw that increpare was making a lot of puzzle games, to a similar or greater degree of prolificiency (prolificness?) as me. And, playing them, I noted: This is a lot of puzzle games.

Something I noted about myself is that after about, I don't know, five or ten daily platformers, I get tired of making platformers, and I want to do something else with it. But then, I do something else with it, and I think: Ah, this isn't really as good as making a platformer the right way. Whatever that means.

So, when I played Snow Game, I thought... this is that type of creative work. A quivering. A vibration along a straight line to nowhere.

A certain idea from game poems comes to mind. My summary of one thing that the book identifies as interesting to the author -- and to be clear about my own position, I do not like it -- is that the game poet plays with the extant language of videogames in order to do something with it. Magnuson writes "Videogames have established visual and auditory vernaculars that are ripe for poetic intervention" and I think I can see increpare here at that same sort of "play."

To me, it is not play. It is struggle, it is pain, it is disappointment.

I wish now that I could say I have lost interest in the language of videogames and therefore lost interest in such intervention, such struggle, such play. But I am in too deep. I have spent decades playing and making games. I know too much to leave it all behind. At the same time, I do not think I am interested in playing with games. To play requires a mutual respect, a willingness to cooperate on some level, a certain collaborative spirit.

No, my relationship to games is becoming something altogether different. So I am not a good collaborator. There are other relationships one can productively have with a thing.

See: The Art of War


Oh, yes. Back to Snow Game. I apologize to the artist. My judgement of Snow Game has very little to do with the contents or the medium, and much more to do with my interpretation of your relationship to our art form, my projection of my own recent years of dissatisfaction upon you and yours.

I cannot look at Snow Game outside of its context. I can only understand Snow Game as someone who has played a hundred, a thousand, simple games wherein you control an avatar in a world of tiles with the arrow keys on your keyboard. In the past such games were almost always about solving simple puzzles. Then players of these games felt a longing to move on, players as much as makers. Rather than move on, some of them, some of us, moved deeper and struggled to claw what we could into our little hole.

I suppose that my feeling is that this is a niche within a niche. A very low local maxima.

Returns diminish.


~ linked from my close reading of The Art of War