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Monday, October 31, 2005

"Don't Miss" Tour interrupted

It was late in the evening when the stranger waded into town. At first he had no empathy for the sadness filling the air- it was merely curiosity which drove him here. A large sign stood by the entrance, as if to introduce this strange place, but all it said was “Don't Miss”. Gazing into the wide street in front of him, he perceived not a town but a lake. This was partly because the water reached his torso, but mostly because it simply didn't have the features any town ought to have- people, for instance. There were also no trees or vegetation, no animals, no vehicles, and not a sound but the water beneath him. The sky was perfectly clear, and the moon had only started to rise. To either side of him as he walked were tall walls with so many cracks it was a wonder they still stood. The windows were shut and the curtains drawn, but curiously enough there was some light shining out.

He passed many old walls of increasingly curious design. Some music was being played on some sort of string ensemble -slow, quietly emotional and faintly Jewish- but it faded away. Finally the traveller came across what might be considered a doorway, but the door was nothing more than an old and ratty cloth. He pulled it aside and entered. He wouldn't consider it a house, because the roof did not cover the entirety of the area, but it was certainly a home. A lady was sitting still in a rocking chair, and made no indication that she had noticed the intrusion, or if she did that she cared. Her husband kissed her on the forehead and walked out the door slowly. As he passed through, he faded away.

The floor must have been elevated, because the water only got to knee-level. There was a fireplace in the corner- a fire was burning in it without producing any smoke. Each room was separated by more drapes, and the explorer passed through a kitchen, then a bedroom, and then it seemed as if he had reached another house without realizing. Apparently the entire area was connected. He passed many families which sat or stood in place, and many people faded away as he watched them. Had he decided to return along the path he had come, he would have found that they all had vanished; but he wished to progress. The doors did not distinguish between house and the streets, and he soon understood that the distinction was irrelevant. Each area was distinct, as if there was once good reason to distinguish between them, as if there had been life here once. He moved on, all the while trying to imagine what life was like here back then, but soon reached a dead end. Several children were playing, and he understood that this was what he had come to see.

That's when he'll stop playing, satisfied with the experience, and go back to the menu. On the top of screen will be written: "An exploration collection by Mordechai Buckman”. The other works included will mostly be more straightforward. One will celebrate childlike exploration (as typified by my experiences in 7th grade), with nameless and faceless people running from place to place oblivious to the secret passageways, physical impossibilities and shortcuts surrounding them. Every rooftop will be accessible, though it may take some tricky climbing and jumping. Another world will experiment with abstractions-

What the hell is this?
Hey- who do you think you are, butting in like this?
The guy who's supposed to buy this stuff, that's who! You expect me to be impressed with this elitist crap?
I'm not interested in impressing you. There is nothing wrong with aiming for something with a little class. If you don't understand what I'm doing, that's fine with me, but I don't need to put up with this abuse. Get off my blog!
Wake up, kid. You gotta sell to someone, you know. Or do you want to be one of those nuts who have shitty lives, all in the name of not doing anything anyone will like?
No, I want to be an artist, who creates good art which is appreciated by the public.
This public of yours doesn't exist. You wanna sell this to some old geezer who's never picked up a controller in his life? I play games for fun, man. Where's the fun here? This “Don't Miss” level – it sounds like you don't do anything but wade in the water!
Personally, I have fun exploring, and I have fun viewing art. I think this collection would-
Personally? The game industry isn't just some toy you can play with by yourself! You need a big team of programmers and artists, and you need a big budget for this sort of thing! Where are you going to get that money back from – selling thousands of copies to yourself? You need to sell it to guys like me, who buy these games, and I'm sorry, but this really doesn't sound like the sort of thing anyone's going to buy! And where would you even find a publisher dumb enough to try this? You do realize you need a publisher, right? And even if you get the team, and get the millions of dollars you need, and assuming there is someone, somewhere in the world, who is weird enough to buy this, you still gotta advertise it to that guy somehow! This guy will obviously be completely against the idea of having fun, or else he wouldn't even consider getting this game, so he won't be the sort of person who would buy a videogame, will he? You see, you just don't think these things through, do you?

I could try to get fans of Myst and Metroid.
Man, what are you talking about? Myst is an adventure – you know, all those puzzles and stuff. Does your game have puzzles? No. And why Metroid? That's a first-person shooter, isn't it?
No! Definitely not! While it does technically have shooting in a first-person perspective, the essence of-
Then of course it's a first-person shooter. Does your game have action in it? No. And you know why Halo sold better than Metroid?
I don't care. What I care about is the quality of the game. Metroid Prime is excellent art, and Halo is third-rate entertainment. If all the world but ten people reject my art, it will be enough, for it will mean that I have reached those ten. The rest of the world may go on ignoring me, but I will know my triumph. You may call me a nut, and chances are I will call myself a nut, but I will always know that I made a good game. It does not need to make sense to the rest of the world, it only needs to make sense in itself.
And the sign saying “Don't Miss” makes sense how?
Okay, so maybe not that. Otherwise, this will be a great game which stands up to the world and says... something or other. Boy, this is tiring. I'm glad I don't have to face the world today.



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