I’m not religious, but if I were, my religion would be Bed. The core tenets of my faith would be:
Bed is sacred
Sleep is worship
We have no need of cathedrals, synagogues, or mosques; our Beds are our cathedrals
Winter is hibernation time, the most sacred time of year; the most devout of us spend all Winter in Bed
Waking up, disturbing, or harming someone who is in Bed is an unforgivable sin, punishment for which is permanent exile to The Sleepless Lands (mine would be an unforgiving god)
Anyway, this month I made a card game about trying to get a good night’s sleep.
Controls: escape: quit; everything else: mouse
The file at this link will be deleted 1 month from now (5/3/22).
All downloads are zipfiles containing a Windows executable.
As long as you abide by those licenses, you can do whatever you want with the download.
Lots of links this month…
I liked this entry to the recent Metroidvania Month jam; it has a neat line in chase sequences.
Matteo Lupetti with a detailed critique of the “wholesome games” concept:
“the risk is making wholesome games just another escapist fantasy where we can find the kindness and the empowerment we can’t find in the real world and where progress and clear feedback are computationally guaranteed”
Axel Hassen Taiari on the r/wallstreetbets gamestop mess from last year:
“Discussions solely framed around profit motives can’t retrace why people outside these communal walls cheered, chose to contribute, or even decided to become part of the community. Why do so many relate? One way to see it: our own groups are threatened or have already been destroyed by those recognizable voices. One group, in response, mounted counter-narratives. They turned digital, memetic formations and lost futures into weapons pointed outward. There is no joke here, regardless of the memes and shitposts involved: the material damage is as real as ghosts, or the stock market.”
Nathalie Lawhead has an excellent roundup of small games from last year:
“The most exciting work isn’t found in the spaces with the well fleshed out definitions and critical acclaim, it’s found at the weird intersections that don’t make sense or even have definitions yet. You have to go look for it to find it.”
…which led me to Kultisti’s itch page, a treasure trove of tiny puzzle platformers.
I like Ada Limón’s modification to the Hunger Games rules.
I somehow found myself listening to this old Ash song at the start of the month. A song that simultaneously 1.) appears to have been written specifically to be included on the soundtrack of a mid-2000’s racing game, 2.) has a desperately sincere chorus that sounds like the sun returning in spring after a long, painful winter (particularly that bridge into the final chorus!), 3.) is named after a Greek hero who, having travelled into the underworld to rescue his lost wife, successfully bargains for her return to the world of the living, on the condition that he does not look back. Of course, on leaving the underworld and seeing the sun rise, he does exactly that, looks back and loses Eurydice forever.
Besides a couple of lyrics in the second verse, the song feels so at odds with its title that I’m really not sure how you’re meant to interpret it; is the protagonist happy that he put his wife through hell, gave her false hope then stole it away through sheer carelessness? Is it meant to be an a-ha! moment by the band to catch out people who are not au fait with Greek mythology? i.e. You thought this song was really upbeat and hopeful, but actually it’s just the brief reprieve before a tragic fall. Look at you not knowing your Greek myths…
Embarrassing, sincere, mercenary, and possibly quite messed up: pop music!
Anyway, here’s an excellent re-telling of the Orpheus myth by Catherynne M Valente, re-centering the story on Eurydice.
Elizabeth Sandifer puts names to some recent tendencies in SF/F in this series of 4 short essays.
Ak Dan Gwang Chil appeared on my twitter feed at one point this month, and I’ve been obsessed ever since. The opener in their KEXP set is wild.
thecatamites with a series of thoughts about videogames. I’m going to quote a big chunk of it, because it feels like it’s received wisdom in games circles that making videogames is incredibly hard, but I feel like that received wisdom obscures a bunch of things:
“it’s alarmingly easy to make games, i say alarmingly because nobody seems to want or know what to do with this property - the way just about anyone can seemingly pick up a game construction set and stumble upon some new and totally unexpected aesthetic property, of such richness that they could spend the rest of their lives mapping it out. how are we supposed to get a meritocracy going if people can just walk around finding things? and so a lot of the art and craft of videogames is learning not to find these things, so that you can instead play as a manful Crusoe, using ingenuity and willpower to tame a hostile shore. it’s “hard” to make games in the sense of spending a tortured fortnight wrestling with the question of whether to set gun recoil at 0.0031 or 0.0032, but this weepy masochism itself is also “easy” in the sense that it provides a ready and comforting answer to the eternal question of, what the fuck am i meant to be doing?
it is exhaustively well documented that abundance can be exhausting, but that’s no reason to give up on it. if abundance is exhausting then it’s surely because our desires are, as well. if i value abundance it’s not even necessarily because it makes people happy - it’s because it can be a more interesting kind of unhappiness than the banal and familiar forms of misery and callousness, forced on us by people who have the option to do otherwise because they’re too scared to look at the stupid shit they really want, want, want.”
Pol Clarissou with a long post on the purpose of the artist. I found this one really useful in articulating certain things I’ve been pondering:
“Towards: culture not as the spontaneous creation of pieces through feats of individual genius, but culture that exists through the social coming-together of people.
An while we’re at it: against crypto and tech art’s deceitful fetish for trustless, humanless, asocial systems and art practices; towards an arts culture of solidarity, trust and respect.”
An interview with Matthew Christopher on photographing abandoned buildings. This line got a nod of recognition from me:
“I’m forty four years old and I feel like my entire life has been watching the ship sink.”
Okay, let’s not end on a completely depressing note. Here’s a daft music sequencer that made me smile a lot.
Well, you got far more links and quotes than usual this month, so rather than agonising over what I’m going to write at the end here I’m just going to sign off by saying: goodbye!