(dp0 S'buildDestination' p1 V\u005c\u005cDOUBLESPEAK\u005cdata\u005cdeaddrop\u005cDropbox\u005cintertwine\u005cThexder\u005cathousanddeaths.html p2 sS'saveDestination' p3 V\u005c\u005cDOUBLESPEAK\u005cdata\u005cdeaddrop\u005cDropbox\u005cintertwine\u005cThexder\u005cA Thousand Deaths.tws p4 sS'target' p5 S'jonah' p6 sS'storyPanel' p7 (dp8 S'widgets' p9 (lp10 (dp11 S'selected' p12 I00 sS'pos' p13 (lp14 F709.50000000000045 aF633.24999999999955 asS'passage' p15 (itiddlywiki Tiddler p16 (dp17 S'text' p18 VA player of games. //The// player of games. The player of //the// game. The player //and// the game. The player //not// the game. The //game// not the //player//.<> \u000a \u000aYou can choose your article and preposition at will; there is some entity called "player" and some entity called "game", and the videogame medium exists at the intersection of the two. Yes, this is true of every medium and every audience, but <>[[videogames|Videogames]]<>videogames<>, more than any other I can name, are defined by how formalized and systematic that intersection is. \u000a \u000aThe player of a videogame is bound by the system of the videogame to such a degree that it becomes qualitative, not quantitative. \u000a \u000aWe exist in the game's world, not our own. We inherently play by its rules. Unlike sports, there are no subjective and interpretive (and corruptible) referees. Unlike board or tabletop games, there are no house rules or fudging or convienent forgetfulness. Unlike gambling, there are no bookies posting odds to suit. More than objectives or skill tests or fail states, //this// is what separates a videogame from every other medium: the game is a system, and the player is as shackled by it as we are beholden to the laws of physics in every detail. \u000a \u000aThe question of [[agency|Agency]] is thus a question of how broad and how deep that binding goes, and how many degrees of freedom lie within, not a question of its presence. \u000a p19 sS'created' p20 ctime struct_time p21 ((I2013 I1 I10 I21 I1 I58 I3 I10 I0 tp22 (dp23 tp24 Rp25 sS'title' p26 VA Player of Games p27 sS'modified' p28 g25 sS'tags' p29 (lp30 sbsa(dp31 g12 I00 sg13 (lp32 F708.58333333333348 aF29.750000000000682 asg15 (itiddlywiki Tiddler p33 (dp34 g18 V<> \u000a \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a \u000a<>13. "We <>[[believe|Believe]]<>believe<> in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul-We believe all things, we <>[[hope|Hope]]<><><><><>hope<> all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things."<><> \u000a \u000a<>[[A Player of Games]]<>[[What are you talking about?|What?]] \u000a[[Oh, I remember that one.|Oh.]]<> \u000a<>[[Agency]]<> \u000a<>[[12.|12]]<> \u000a<>[[11.|11]]<> \u000a<>[[4-10.|4-10]]<> \u000a<>[[3.|3]]<> \u000a<>[[2.|2]]<> \u000a<>[[1.|1]]<> p35 sg20 g21 ((I2013 I1 I10 I22 I10 I5 I3 I10 I0 tp36 (dp37 tp38 Rp39 sg26 V13 p40 sg28 g39 sg29 (lp41 sbsa(dp42 g12 I00 sg13 (lp43 F892.49999999999818 aF186.83333333333303 asg15 (itiddlywiki Tiddler p44 (dp45 g18 VThe Mormons. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. It was my birthright. I've left since, but certain parts of it stick with me like industrial-grade krazy glue. \u000a \u000aThere are thirteen articles of faith. That was the thirteenth. <> \u000a \u000a[[But why start at thirteen?]] p46 sg20 g21 ((I2013 I1 I10 I22 I13 I42 I3 I10 I0 tp47 (dp48 tp49 Rp50 sg26 VWhat? p51 sg28 g50 sg29 (lp52 sbsa(dp53 g12 I00 sg13 (lp54 F522.4166666666647 aF179.0 asg15 (itiddlywiki Tiddler p55 (dp56 g18 VYeah, it's going to be one of those things.\u000a\u000aI'm no longer active, but still on the rolls. The Missionaries drop by every year or so, to see if I've changed my mind. \u000a \u000aI haven't. <> \u000a \u000a[[But why start at thirteen?]] p57 sg20 g21 ((I2013 I1 I10 I22 I15 I21 I3 I10 I0 tp58 (dp59 tp60 Rp61 sg26 VOh. p62 sg28 g61 sg29 (lp63 sbsa(dp64 g12 I00 sg13 (lp65 F709.24999999999204 aF332.16666666666742 asg15 (itiddlywiki Tiddler p66 (dp67 g18 VBecause. \u000a \u000a<>It was my favorite, back in Primary, when we had to pick one to memorize. It was the longest, but it was also the most...hopeful.<>All will be revealed. (Or at least that's the excuse the prophets always gave.) (It's the excuse for every author who ever started anywhere but the beginning. A contract, of sorts.)<> \u000a \u000aBesides: "If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things." If one cares to play (or especially make) a game about games, this should be a guiding principle at the least. \u000a \u000aThese are the [[videogames|Videogames]] that mattered to me this year. There are twelve games here. There were twelve apostles. There are twelve Cylons. The writer of the original //Battlestar Galactica// is a Mormon. \u000a \u000aI used to be a Mormon, too. \u000a p68 sg20 g21 ((I2013 I1 I10 I22 I37 I17 I3 I10 I0 tp69 (dp70 tp71 Rp72 sg26 VBut why start at thirteen? p73 sg28 g72 sg29 (lp74 sbsa(dp75 g12 I00 sg13 (lp76 F626.75 aF478.08333333333348 asg15 (itiddlywiki Tiddler p77 (dp78 g18 VIt's one word. <> \u000a \u000aThe medium has grown, and encompasses too much to be strict with the taxonomy of both "video" and "game". The term is too common, too entrenched now to be changed, but like "novel" and "movie" before it, we can let it stand as history, as etymology, and reject the tyranny of the taxonomic impulse. \u000a \u000aSo let's [[play a game|A Player of Games]]. \u000a p79 sg20 g21 ((I2013 I1 I11 I19 I20 I45 I4 I11 I0 tp80 (dp81 tp82 Rp83 sg26 VVideogames p84 sg28 g83 sg29 (lp85 sbsa(dp86 g12 I00 sg13 (lp87 F712.08333333333712 aF820.83333333333303 asg15 (itiddlywiki Tiddler p88 (dp89 g18 V//"And it came to pass that Adam, being tempted of the devil--for, behold, the devil was before Adam, for he rebelled against me, saying, Give me thine honor, which is my power; and also a third part of the ghosts of heaven turned he away from me because of their agency;"//<> \u000a--Doctrine and Covenants 29:36<> \u000a \u000a<>[[There was a war in heaven.|Judas]]<>There was a war in heaven.<> \u000a \u000aThis is what we were taught, as Mormons. That God's plan wasn't simply decreed. That He gathered all His children together before the world was made. That Jesus and Lucifer each presented their plans for salvation. That a third of the spirit children of God sided with Lucifer, and the rest with Jesus. That Lucifer and his followers rejected the plan that was agreed upon, and sought to undo it. \u000a \u000aWe were taught that Lucifer's plan was to give salvation to all who <><><>[[passed through|Dear Esther]]<> mortality, and that Jesus' was to require salvation <><><>[[to be chosen|The Stanley Parable]]<>, and to provide an <>[[Atonement|Gethsemane]]<>Atonement<> to make up the difference. \u000a \u000a<>We were taught that the Earth was created as a [[space|Space]] for God's children to learn -- a videogame for them to play.<><>

Jesus was against letting players win without learning how to play well. Lucifer was against allowing players to lose at all.

<><>We were taught we made a [[choice|Choice]], even before coming here.<> p90 sg20 g21 ((I2013 I1 I11 I20 I25 I54 I4 I11 I0 tp91 (dp92 tp93 Rp94 sg26 VAgency p95 sg28 g94 sg29 (lp96 sbsa(dp97 g12 I00 sg13 (lp98 F945.83333333333235 aF819.16666666666822 asg15 (itiddlywiki Tiddler p99 (dp100 g18 V<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<>//The Stanley Parable// is exactly that: a parable. It's a didactic essay in videogame format. It's a game about the nature of (a certain type of) [[agency|Agency]] in games. It's short enough to explore all of its myriad branches, it's clever enough to anticipate the player's reactions, it's brave enough to challenge its own subject material, and it's caustic enough to be funny while doing so. \u000a \u000aIt's also a game about obedience. The Narrator tells you what you are "supposed" to do at every junction, and your <>[[choices|Choice]]<>choices<> are fundamentally to [[obey|Would You Kindly]] or [[disobey|Parable meaning]]. \u000a \u000aBut even if one resists the will of the Narrator - of the story presented on a platter - the player is still <><><><>[[subject|12]]<><>subject<> to the limits of what the creator has provided. p101 sg20 g21 ((I2013 I1 I11 I21 I21 I3 I4 I11 I0 tp102 (dp103 tp104 Rp105 sg26 VThe Stanley Parable p106 sg28 g105 sg29 (lp107 sbsa(dp108 g12 I00 sg13 (lp109 F717.08333333333258 aF1056.6666666666665 asg15 (itiddlywiki Tiddler p110 (dp111 g18 V<> \u000a \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a \u000a<> \u000a \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a \u000a<>//The Walking Dead//, according to some, is their game of the year. \u000a \u000aIt is not mine. \u000a \u000aIt's an uneven game. An often-uneasy hybrid of genres. Its episodic nature allowed improvement as it went along, but also required narrowing its possibility [[space|Space]] early and often, and some of those narrative pinches were better-written than others. Its characters reflected your [[choices|Choice]] primarily in their reactions, but not always smoothly, not always enough to mask the algorithms churning away in the background. Its approach to player [[agency|Agency]] was focused more on attitudes and perspectives and <><><>[[morals|4-10]]<> than plot divergence -- which suits the game it is, but not the game some wished it to be. \u000a \u000aSave <> instead of <>, and <> still dies at the same time <> would have. <>(Carley's death made little sense compared to Doug's, but she had better conversation options in the meantime.)<><>(Doug's death was better justified, but he interacted less with the group in the meantime.)<> \u000a \u000aIt had the courage to end as it must -- it is a //zombie// game, after all -- but much was lost to get it there. \u000a \u000aIt //did//, however, have Clementine. She was the best-written child in a videogame in years. She was an excellent mechanism to reflect the player's decisions, to focus the player on the choices they were making. \u000a \u000a//The Walking Dead// is a game about what you leave behind. \u000a \u000a//"Clementine will remember that."// \u000a \u000aThis game [[remembers|Remember]], too. p112 sg20 g21 ((I2013 I1 I11 I21 I21 I26 I4 I11 I0 tp113 (dp114 tp115 Rp116 sg26 VThe Walking Dead p117 sg28 g116 sg29 (lp118 sbsa(dp119 g12 I00 sg13 (lp120 F1196.2500000000014 aF1077.0833333333321 asg15 (itiddlywiki Tiddler p121 (dp122 g18 V<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<>//Dishonored// counts itself amongst the immersive sims, predicated on complex systems and spaces, and giving the player the [[freedom|Freedom]] to approach the game as they see fit. \u000a \u000aIt can be a very short game, if you plow ahead from objective to objective. It can be a fairly long game, if you poke around and [[read everything|Dishonored opinion]] and carefully sneak around. It can be a quiet game of knockouts and ghosting or a cacophony of bloody hyperviolence. It is a game about letting the player [[choose|Choice]] what they wish to take from it. \u000a p123 sg20 g21 ((I2013 I1 I11 I21 I22 I12 I4 I11 I0 tp124 (dp125 tp126 Rp127 sg26 VDishonored p128 sg28 g127 sg29 (lp129 sbsa(dp130 g12 I01 sg13 (lp131 F12.499999999999659 aF7.9166666666667425 asg15 (itiddlywiki Tiddler p132 (dp133 g18 V[[A THOUSAND DEATHS|You Died]] \u000a \u000aRaymond Neilson p134 sg20 g21 ((I2013 I1 I11 I21 I34 I57 I4 I11 I0 tp135 (dp136 tp137 Rp138 sg26 VStart p139 sg28 g138 sg29 (lp140 sbsa(dp141 g12 I00 sg13 (lp142 F14.166666666666288 aF1386.6666666666665 asg15 (itiddlywiki Tiddler p143 (dp144 g18 V<> \u000a \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a \u000a<><><>YOU DIED.<><> <><>Well done, thou good and faithful servant.<> <><><><><>YOU DIED.<><>YOU DIED.<><>YOU DIED.<> \u000a \u000a<>[[Continue?|13]]<><><><> \u000a<>[[What did you die for?|Gethsemane]]<> p145 sg20 g21 ((I2013 I1 I11 I21 I43 I49 I4 I11 I0 tp146 (dp147 tp148 Rp149 sg26 VYou Died p150 sg28 g149 sg29 (lp151 sbsa(dp152 g12 I00 sg13 (lp153 F476.25000000000159 aF818.75000000000114 asg15 (itiddlywiki Tiddler p154 (dp155 g18 V<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<>//Dear Esther// is a game about <>[[space|Space]]<>space<>. The space of the island it takes place on, and the space of the memories of the unnamed narrator. The island is fixed, untouchable. The memories are fluid, changing order and even content with every playthrough.\u000a \u000aIt strips the videogame down to nothing but space, and the player's passage through it. The player's [[agency|Agency]] is limited to walking and looking; you cannot touch and you cannot wander very far. \u000a \u000aThere are things you can miss, though, if you do not look carefully. It resembles more traditional forms of literature in this fashion, but amplified and made more explicit, more tangible. Look closer or look away. Circle around a thing or glance and move on. \u000a \u000a[[I didn't particularly like it.|Dear Esther 2]] \u000a \u000a<>I don't regret playing it, but<> <><><><>[[I see|11]]<> <>no reason to do so again.<> p156 sg20 g21 ((I2013 I1 I11 I22 I23 I57 I4 I11 I0 tp157 (dp158 tp159 Rp160 sg26 VDear Esther p161 sg28 g160 sg29 (lp162 sbsa(dp163 g12 I00 sg13 (lp164 F247.08333333333508 aF1077.9166666666679 asg15 (itiddlywiki Tiddler p165 (dp166 g18 V<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<>//Thirty Flights of Loving// is a short story, made as a short game.<> \u000a \u000aThe story itself may or may not resonate with you (it didn't with me), but it's visually expressive and mechanically fascinating. It's built on oblique references and environmental cues. It is about taking the [[space|Space]] that videogames create and [[cutting|Thirty Flights of Loving 2]] p167 sg20 g21 ((I2013 I1 I11 I22 I24 I18 I4 I11 I0 tp168 (dp169 tp170 Rp171 sg26 VThirty Flights of Loving p172 sg28 g171 sg29 (lp173 sbsa(dp174 g12 I00 sg13 (lp175 F720.83333333333223 aF1588.3333333333321 asg15 (itiddlywiki Tiddler p176 (dp177 g18 V<> \u000a \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a \u000a<>//FTL// is a game of luck, and foresight, and many, many <>[[deaths|Death]]<>deaths<>. \u000a \u000aIt's a randomized, proceduralized, //hard// game, in the roguelike tradition. <>[[Failure]]<>Failure<> is common. Expected, even. It will likely take several attempts to <>[[judge|Judgement]]<>judge<> what might work, what should take priority. <>The difficulty spike at the end is steep -- too steep, I think. <><><><><>[[Preparation|4-10]]<> <>for the final battle is all-important.<> \u000a \u000aEach choice you make is an educated guess. An informed gamble. A <>[[prayer|Oregon Trail]]<>prayer<>. \u000a \u000a//FTL// is a game about <>[[hope|Hope]]<><><>. \u000a p178 sg20 g21 ((I2013 I1 I11 I22 I24 I40 I4 I11 I0 tp179 (dp180 tp181 Rp182 sg26 VFTL p183 sg28 g182 sg29 (lp184 sbsa(dp185 g12 I00 sg13 (lp186 F947.08333333333326 aF1336.2499999999973 asg15 (itiddlywiki Tiddler p187 (dp188 g18 V<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<>//Spec Ops: The Line// purports to make us question our desire to inflict virtual [[death|Death]] -- but I don't believe that's what it is //about//. \u000a \u000aIt is a game about the consequence of unexamined [[choices|Choice]]. An interrogation of player [[freedom|Freedom]] and a [[judgement|Judgement]] on its excesses. \u000a \u000a//This is all your fault//, it says. By pressing forward, you bring these atrocities <><><>[[to pass|2]]<>. \u000a \u000aIt is a game about the impossibility of [[repentance|Repentance]]. \u000a \u000a[[There is more to say.|Act 1]] p189 sg20 g21 ((I2013 I1 I11 I22 I25 I3 I4 I11 I0 tp190 (dp191 tp192 Rp193 sg26 VSpec Ops: The Line p194 sg28 g193 sg29 (lp195 sbsa(dp196 g12 I00 sg13 (lp197 F245.83333333333348 aF1585.8333333333328 asg15 (itiddlywiki Tiddler p198 (dp199 g18 V<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<>//Max Payne 3// is a linear shooter. \u000a \u000aCutscene -> shooting -> cutscene. Repeat as necessary. Reload at checkpoint upon death. Advance through the (many, many) cutscenes after <>[[killing|Killing]]<>killing<> all enemies without dying. \u000a \u000aIt's an old formula. The shooting itself is meaty, [[challenging|Challenge]], and responsive. It marries the bullet time of the series' heritage with the cover system almost required of modern shooters. \u000a \u000aIt is not, however, anything <><>.<><>new. \u000a \u000a//Max Payne 3// is colorful. \u000a \u000aFavelas and nightclubs and neon hotel signs. Jungle rivers and yacht sundecks and an airport hangar at sunset. Obscenities in English and Portuguese as background. \u000a \u000aAnd blood. You spill a lot of <> <><>.<><>blood. \u000a \u000a//Max Payne 3// is about an end. \u000a \u000aI wrote about the game more [[here|http://awtr.ca/long:maxwell-s-demon]] -- but whatever else, it contains and conveys a sense of finality. We don't need any more games like this, it says. Max has done enough. //We// have done enough. \u000a \u000a"You killed so many of us," one enemy says. \u000a \u000aThe sun goes down as we play the last level, and it almost seems like a<> <><>.<><>plea. \u000a \u000a//Max Payne 3// was a [[failure|Failure]].<> p200 sg20 g21 ((I2013 I1 I11 I22 I25 I21 I4 I11 I0 tp201 (dp202 tp203 Rp204 sg26 VMax Payne 3 p205 sg28 g204 sg29 (lp206 sbsa(dp207 g12 I00 sg13 (lp208 F480.00000000000045 aF1335.4166666666661 asg15 (itiddlywiki Tiddler p209 (dp210 g18 V<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<>//Dark Souls// is a game full of [[death|Death]] -- but I don't believe that's what it is //about//. \u000a \u000aIt is a game about the psychogeography of contested [[space|Space]]. A rumination on the worth of [[challenge|Challenge]] and the contingency of [[failure|Failure]]. \u000a \u000aYOU DIED, it says, again and again. And each time, it is your fault. Each time, it expects you to learn from your mistake. To <><><>[[do better|3]]<>. \u000a \u000aIt is a game about the necessity of [[repentance|Repentance]]. \u000a \u000a[[There is more to say.|Undead Burg]] p211 sg20 g21 ((I2013 I1 I11 I22 I28 I18 I4 I11 I0 tp212 (dp213 tp214 Rp215 sg26 VDark Souls p216 sg28 g215 sg29 (lp217 sbsa(dp218 g12 I00 sg13 (lp219 F710.8333333333303 aF2669.1666666666633 asg15 (itiddlywiki Tiddler p220 (dp221 g18 V<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<>The original //X-Com// is the <><><>[[God-King|1]]<> of my personal gaming history. It's not a game for everyone -- or even most -- but it was most certainly the game for me. \u000a \u000aThe new //XCOM//, though not about to usurp that crown, is still my favorite game of the year. And last year. And possibly next year as well. \u000a \u000a[[It has much to live up to.|Rookies]] \u000a p222 sg20 g21 ((I2013 I1 I11 I22 I28 I30 I4 I11 I0 tp223 (dp224 tp225 Rp226 sg26 VXCOM p227 sg28 g226 sg29 (lp228 sbsa(dp229 g12 I00 sg13 (lp230 F1320.8333333333323 aF196.24999999999935 asg15 (itiddlywiki Tiddler p231 (dp232 g18 V<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<>//Mass Effect 3// is not the [[best|Paragon]] game I played last year. Nor was it my favorite. But it was the most <>[[important|Renegade]]<>//important//<> one. At least to me. \u000a \u000a<>It was a game [[about|ME1]] a [[lot|ME2]] of [[things|ME3]].<> \u000a \u000a<>[[But for me...]]<> p233 sg20 g21 ((I2013 I1 I11 I22 I28 I54 I4 I11 I0 tp234 (dp235 tp236 Rp237 sg26 VMass Effect 3 p238 sg28 g237 sg29 (lp239 sbsa(dp240 g12 I00 sg13 (lp241 F1197.4999999999995 aF1587.5000000000023 asg15 (itiddlywiki Tiddler p242 (dp243 g18 V<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<>//Analogue: A Hate Story// is a game about [[freedom|Freedom]] -- or rather, the //lack// of it. \u000a\u000aThis extends to the characters and the player both. The AIs you (kind of, sort of) talk to are trapped on a dying, derelict ship. The long-dead humans you read and read of are trapped in a dying, petrified society. The player is trapped by the interface, restricted to binary answers and reading history as their input. \u000a\u000aAnd there is a //lot// to read. In an age of videogames seemingly reluctant to require the player to read anything more than objective summaries, //Analogue// is rare in its willingness not only to make the act of reading the central mechanic, but to require the player's //comprehension// to progress.\u000a \u000a[[Log 1]] \u000a[[Log 2]] \u000a<>[[Log 3]]<> \u000a \u000a<>And at the end, it asks you to render [[judgement|Judgement]].<> p244 sg20 g21 ((I2013 I1 I11 I22 I30 I6 I4 I11 I0 tp245 (dp246 tp247 Rp248 sg26 VAnalogue: A Hate Story p249 sg28 g248 sg29 (lp250 sbsa(dp251 g12 I00 sg13 (lp252 F1182.0833333333326 aF557.08333333333348 asg15 (itiddlywiki Tiddler p253 (dp254 g18 V12. "We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in <><><>[[obeying|The Stanley Parable]]<>, honoring, and sustaining the law."<><> \u000a \u000a<>[[13.|13]]<> \u000a<>[[11.|11]]<> \u000a<>[[4-10.|4-10]]<> \u000a<>[[3.|3]]<> \u000a<>[[2.|2]]<> \u000a<>[[1.|1]]<> p255 sg20 g21 ((I2013 I1 I11 I22 I35 I26 I4 I11 I0 tp256 (dp257 tp258 Rp259 sg26 V12 p260 sg28 g259 sg29 (lp261 sbsa(dp262 g12 I00 sg13 (lp263 F7.5 aF2668.75 asg15 (itiddlywiki Tiddler p264 (dp265 g18 VThe Mormons teach that the Atonement was not found in the Crucifixtion, but in Gethsemane the night before.<>\u000a\u000aIt is not [[death|Death]] that paid for our sins, you see. It was //suffering//.\u000a \u000a<>[[Bleed.|XCOM]]<> p266 sg20 g21 ((I2013 I1 I12 I12 I43 I48 I5 I12 I0 tp267 (dp268 tp269 Rp270 sg26 VGethsemane p271 sg28 g270 sg29 (lp272 sbsa(dp273 g12 I00 sg13 (lp274 F1438.75 aF2666.25 asg15 (itiddlywiki Tiddler p275 (dp276 g18 VI've always felt a little sorry for Judas. \u000a \u000a<>Adam's<>The way the Mormons teach it, Adam's<> transgression was //necessary// for the larger Plan. A forced failure, in the parlance of videogames. Unlike most other Christians, <>we<>they<> don't hold that sin against him. \u000a \u000aJudas, on the other hand, generally doesn't receive the same treatment. Thirty pieces of silver was no fortune -- it's like selling out your best friend for a couple hundred bucks. He was an Apostle, one of the twelve (although the only one not a Galilean). And for the Atonement to proceed, Christ had to be delivered <>unto<>to<> his death. \u000a \u000aNecessary to the Plan. Forced failure. \u000a \u000aPerhaps, though, it was the woman with the oil at the Last Supper (Matthew 26:7, Mark 14:3) that was Judas' breaking point. To watch his leader, who demanded selflessness always, seemingly fall to vanity and pride. \u000a\u000aPerhaps he simply no longer [[believed|13]]. p277 sg20 g21 ((I2013 I1 I12 I12 I47 I38 I5 I12 I0 tp278 (dp279 tp280 Rp281 sg26 VJudas p282 sg28 g281 sg29 (lp283 sbsa(dp284 g12 I00 sg13 (lp285 F946.25 aF1076.25 asg15 (itiddlywiki Tiddler p286 (dp287 g18 V//"He hath given unto you that ye might know good from evil, and he hath given unto you that ye might choose life or death; and ye can do good and be restored unto that which is good, or have that which is good restored unto you; or ye can do evil, and have that which is evil restored unto you."// \u000a--Helaman 14:31<><> \u000a<> \u000a//"A game is a series of interesting choices."// \u000a--Sid Meier (quoted in //On Game Design//, by Andrew Rollings and Ernest Adams.) \u000a \u000a<>[[Agency]]<>Agency<> is more than just choice. \u000a \u000aChoices can be trivial. Grey tie or blue tie. Green dress or yellow dress. <>Turkey or ham<>Red wine or white wine<>. \u000a \u000aSometimes they have a <><><>[[direct result|The Stanley Parable]]<>. A lot of time they don't. A lot of the time, even if they do, <>only God knows<>we'll never know<> for sure. Sometimes the correct (or necessary, or preferred) choice is so apparent, there's hardly a choice at all. \u000a \u000aAgency requires not just the <>[[freedom|Freedom]]<>freedom<> to choose, but for those choices to //matter//, somehow. To <><><>[[count for something|Dishonored]]<>. To //change// something. Even if the only thing changed <><><><>[[is ourselves|The Walking Dead]]<><>is ourselves<>. \u000a p288 sg20 g21 ((I2013 I1 I13 I20 I16 I50 I6 I13 I0 tp289 (dp290 tp291 Rp292 sg26 VChoice p293 sg28 g292 sg29 (lp294 sbsa(dp295 g12 I00 sg13 (lp296 F246.25 aF1335.0 asg15 (itiddlywiki Tiddler p297 (dp298 g18 V//"For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, my first-born in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility."// \u000a--2 Nephi 2:11<><> \u000a \u000a//"In [[ergodic literature|http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ergodic_literature]], nontrivial effort is required to allow the reader to traverse the text. If ergodic literature is to make sense as a concept, there must also be nonergodic literature, where the effort to traverse the text is trivial, with no extranoematic responsibilities placed on the reader except (for example) eye movement and the periodic or arbitrary turning of pages."// \u000a--Espen J. Aarseth, //Cybertext--Perspectives on Ergodic Literature//, pp 1-2 \u000a \u000a<>We were taught<>The Mormons teach<> that we are here to be tested. To be tried. To face adversity and temptation. This is the whole of the point of the creation of the world. <>"For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things" (2 Ne 2:11).<> \u000a \u000aSo too with videogames. <><><>[[Not all|Thirty Flights of Loving]]<> games, mind you, but <><><>[[most|Max Payne 3]]<>. \u000a \u000aSuch a game provides a <>[[space|Space]]<>space<> which is contested, which provides a challenge, which is nontrivial to traverse. With most games, we can only advance if we learn how to overcome. The prospect of <>[[failure|Failure]]<>failure<> is what creates the satisfaction of success. Of //progress//. \u000a \u000aWe //earn// the space we move through. p299 sg20 g21 ((I2013 I1 I13 I20 I49 I16 I6 I13 I0 tp300 (dp301 tp302 Rp303 sg26 VChallenge p304 sg28 g303 sg29 (lp305 sbsa(dp306 g12 I00 sg13 (lp307 F1190.0 aF1982.5 asg15 (itiddlywiki Tiddler p308 (dp309 g18 V2. "We believe that men will be punished for <><><>[[their own sins|Spec Ops: The Line]]<>, and not for Adam's transgression."<><> \u000a \u000a<>[[13.|13]]<> \u000a<>[[12.|12]]<> \u000a<>[[11.|11]]<> \u000a<>[[4-10.|4-10]]<> \u000a<>[[3.|3]]<> \u000a<>[[1.|1]]<> p310 sg20 g21 ((I2013 I1 I13 I20 I58 I21 I6 I13 I0 tp311 (dp312 tp313 Rp314 sg26 V2 p315 sg28 g314 sg29 (lp316 sbsa(dp317 g12 I00 sg13 (lp318 F478.75 aF1585.0 asg15 (itiddlywiki Tiddler p319 (dp320 g18 V//"And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good."// \u000a--Doctrine and Covenants 122:7<><> \u000a \u000a//"The simplest theory of failure states that failing serves as a contrast to winning, that failure thereby makes winning all the more enjoyable. There is, however, much more to failure....[F]ailure serves the deeper function of making players readjust their perception of a game. In effect, failure adds content by making the player see new nuances in a game....[P]layers have quite elaborate theories of failure as a source of enjoyment in games."// \u000a--Jesper Juul, [["Fear of Failing? The Many Meanings of Difficulty in Video Games"|http://www.jesperjuul.net/text/fearoffailing/]] \u000a \u000aWith <>[[challenge|Challenge]]<>challenge<>, of course, comes the possibility of failure. \u000a \u000aFail-states in videogames occupy an enormous spectrum, from the benign blocking of progress to [[permadeath|Permadeath]] and savegame erasure. That spectrum can be simplified, though, into variations in the currencies of time and uniqueness. \u000a \u000aThe first is far, far more commonly used than the second. We <><><>[[reload|Max Payne 3]]<>. We respawn. We replay. We do things again until we <><><>get them right<>. \u000a \u000aSometimes, a game has the courage (or the hubris) to take things away from us for our failures. \u000a \u000aOther times, though (such as this very game), failure is merely that the way <>[[forward|FTL]]<><><> is not yet available. p321 sg20 g21 ((I2013 I1 I14 I0 I45 I56 I0 I14 I0 tp322 (dp323 tp324 Rp325 sg26 VFailure p326 sg28 g325 sg29 (lp327 sbsa(dp328 g12 I00 sg13 (lp329 F639.16666666666708 aF1741.6666666666658 asg15 (itiddlywiki Tiddler p330 (dp331 g18 V//"And we see that death comes upon mankind, yea, the death which has been spoken of by Amulek, which is the temporal death; nevertheless there was a space granted unto man in which he might repent; therefore this life became a probationary state; a time to prepare to meet God; a time to prepare for that endless state which has been spoken of by us, which is after the resurrection of the dead."// \u000a--Alma 12:24<><> \u000a \u000a//"The only way to 'reclaim' death is to imbue it with meaning. We don't need legions of mindless troops, companions that are temporarily 'knocked out' and dungeons in which we know we'll never become another decorative skeleton. We need characters worth mourning, adventures and causes worth dying for: those are experiences we can truly cherish. Games need to treat death not as a fail state or a temporary roadblock, but as genuine loss, because that's what gives the player a reason to live."// \u000a--Alan Williamson, [["Afterlife: Beyond Mere Death In Games"|http://nightmaremode.net/2012/05/afterlife-on-death-in-games-19068/]] \u000a \u000aIt is impossible to kill a player. \u000a \u000aOh, it's easy enough to kill the player's //avatar//, of course. Send them lurching back to a checkpoint, scrambling for the quickload key, even insist they play the game again from the beginning. Leave them with only the memory of the progress they made. Perhaps destroy what they have created, or nurtured, or simply become attached to. But these are only //representations// of death, and crude ones at that. \u000a \u000aDeath in videogames is //temporal//. \u000a \u000a<>We were taught<>The Mormons teach<> that as the spirit children of God, our death in this life is also merely temporal. We are here for a time -- we play for a time -- and then we are finished with this stage of our eternal existence. The difference, of course, is that we only play this game once. \u000a \u000aAll shall pass through [[death|You Died]]<>, therefore [[repent|Repentance]]<>. p332 sg20 g21 ((I2013 I1 I14 I0 I48 I52 I0 I14 I0 tp333 (dp334 tp335 Rp336 sg26 VDeath p337 sg28 g336 sg29 (lp338 sbsa(dp339 g12 I00 sg13 (lp340 F238.75 aF1982.5 asg15 (itiddlywiki Tiddler p341 (dp342 g18 V3. "We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind <><><>[[may be saved|Dark Souls]]<>, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel."<><> \u000a \u000a<>[[13.|13]]<> \u000a<>[[12.|12]]<> \u000a<>[[11.|11]]<> \u000a<>[[4-10.|4-10]]<> \u000a<>[[2.|2]]<> \u000a<>[[1.|1]]<> p343 sg20 g21 ((I2013 I1 I14 I2 I3 I18 I0 I14 I0 tp344 (dp345 tp346 Rp347 sg26 V3 p348 sg28 g347 sg29 (lp349 sbsa(dp350 g12 I00 sg13 (lp351 F710.0 aF2480.0 asg15 (itiddlywiki Tiddler p352 (dp353 g18 V1. "We believe in <><><>[[God|XCOM]]<>, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost."<><> \u000a \u000a<>[[13.|13]]<> \u000a<>[[12.|12]]<> \u000a<>[[11.|11]]<> \u000a<>[[4-10.|4-10]]<> \u000a<>[[3.|3]]<> \u000a<>[[2.|2]]<> \u000a p354 sg20 g21 ((I2013 I1 I14 I2 I6 I24 I0 I14 I0 tp355 (dp356 tp357 Rp358 sg26 V1 p359 sg28 g358 sg29 (lp360 sbsa(dp361 g12 I00 sg13 (lp362 F245.0 aF557.5 asg15 (itiddlywiki Tiddler p363 (dp364 g18 V11. "We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own <><><>[[conscience|Dear Esther]]<>, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may."<><> \u000a \u000a<>[[13.|13]]<> \u000a<>[[12.|12]]<> \u000a<>[[4-10.|4-10]]<> \u000a<>[[3.|3]]<> \u000a<>[[2.|2]]<> \u000a<>[[1.|1]]<> p365 sg20 g21 ((I2013 I1 I14 I2 I7 I57 I0 I14 I0 tp366 (dp367 tp368 Rp369 sg26 V11 p370 sg28 g369 sg29 (lp371 sbsa(dp372 g12 I00 sg13 (lp373 F1433.75 aF1376.25 asg15 (itiddlywiki Tiddler p374 (dp375 g18 V<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<>10. "We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and, that the <><><>earth will be renewed<> and receive its paradisiacal glory."<><> \u000a \u000a9. "We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God." \u000a \u000a8. "We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God." \u000a \u000a7. "We believe in the gift of tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues, and so forth." \u000a \u000a6. "We believe in the same organization that existed in the Primitive Church, namely, apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and so forth." \u000a \u000a5. "We believe that a man must be called of God, by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority, to preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof." \u000a \u000a4. "We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, <><><>Baptism by immersion<> for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost." \u000a \u000a<>[[13.|13]]<> \u000a<>[[12.|12]]<> \u000a<>[[11.|11]]<> \u000a<>[[3.|3]]<> \u000a<>[[2.|2]]<> \u000a<>[[1.|1]]<> p376 sg20 g21 ((I2013 I1 I14 I2 I9 I13 I0 I14 I0 tp377 (dp378 tp379 Rp380 sg26 V4-10 p381 sg28 g380 sg29 (lp382 sbsa(dp383 g12 I00 sg13 (lp384 F1198.75 aF1336.25 asg15 (itiddlywiki Tiddler p385 (dp386 g18 V//"And now remember, remember, my brethren, that whosoever perisheth, perisheth unto himself; and whosoever doeth iniquity, doeth it unto himself; for behold, ye are free; ye are permitted to act for yourselves; for behold, God hath given unto you a knowledge and he hath made you free."// \u000a-- Helaman 14:30<><> \u000a \u000aIf you say "free agency" to a theologically-inclined Mormon, they'll likely wince. "Agency isn't free," they'll probably say. "It was only made possible through the Atonement. We are free to choose, but we are not free to choose the consequences." <>(I got that answer as far back as Primary.)<> \u000a \u000aThere are two kinds of freedom in life, and in videogames. \u000a \u000aThere is the freedom allowed by and within the <>system -- "free according to the flesh" (2 Ne 2:16).<>system.<> This is the freedom of movement, of action, of options. It is the prerequisite of <>[[choice|Choice]]<>choice<>. \u000a \u000aThen there is the freedom from consequence -- to ignore, to bypass, to prefer, to experiment<>, to escape [[judgement|Judgement]]<>. It is the freedom to choose according to //desire//, instead of //outcome//. It is often a matter of degree, as well: of how localized the consequences are, of how much understanding the chosen path provides, of how equal <><><>[[different approaches|Dishonored]]<> might be. \u000a \u000aSometimes, in order to distinguish the two, both must be <><><>[[constricted|Analogue: A Hate Story]]<>. p387 sg29 (lp388 sg20 g21 ((I2013 I1 I14 I22 I30 I51 I0 I14 I0 tp389 (dp390 tp391 Rp392 sg28 g392 sg26 VFreedom p393 sbsa(dp394 g12 I00 sg13 (lp395 F945.0 aF1587.5 asg15 (itiddlywiki Tiddler p396 (dp397 g18 V//"That every man may act in doctrine and principle pertaining to futurity, according to the moral agency which I have given unto him, that every man may be accountable for his own sins in the day of judgment."// \u000a--Doctrine and Covenants 101:78<><> \u000a \u000aEvery system has its biases. Every bias invites judgement. \u000a \u000aThis is necessary, in a way. With the <>[[freedom|Freedom]]<>freedom<> to choose but no distinction between outcomes, it becomes difficult to construct a hierarchy of preference. To //decide//. \u000a \u000aVideogames have many ways to judge. Scores. Objectives. Achievements. Unlocks. Karma meters. Reputation systems. Even in those games which present no overarching measurement, there is still some form of [[cause and effect|Cause and Effect]], some set of disparate outcomes which allows players to judge <><><>[[for themselves|Analogue: A Hate Story]]<> what they value. \u000a \u000aSometimes a game attempts to judge the player for the very <><><>act of playing<>. \u000a \u000aOther times, though (such as this one), the only judgement is whether the player is ready to <>[[proceed|FTL]]<><><>. p398 sg29 (lp399 sg20 g21 ((I2013 I1 I19 I14 I29 I5 I5 I19 I0 tp400 (dp401 tp402 Rp403 sg28 g403 sg26 VJudgement p404 sbsa(dp405 g12 I00 sg13 (lp406 F478.75 aF1077.5 asg15 (itiddlywiki Tiddler p407 (dp408 g18 V//"And there stood one among them that was like unto God, and he said unto those who were with him: We will go down, for there is space there, and we will take of these materials, and we will make an earth whereon these may dwell;"// \u000a--Abraham 3:24<><> \u000a<> \u000a//"Perhaps, we should consider another starting point, viewing games as a spatial art with its roots in architecture, landscape painting, sculpture, gardening, or amusement park design."// \u000a--Henry Jenkins, [["The Art of Contested Spaces"|http://web.mit.edu/cms/People/henry3/contestedspaces.html]] \u000a \u000aIf I were to attempt a formalist definition of videogames, I'd start with space. \u000a \u000aThere is physical space, commonly (but not always) created by the game, in which the player moves and acts. It can be highly abstracted form of space: a graph of nodes and links (such as this very game), or a text prompt and a set of verbs. \u000a \u000aOften (but <><><>[[not always|Dear Esther]]<>) that space is a <>[[challenge|Challenge]]<>challenge<> to traverse, and such is the game's very purpose. Sometimes, the game is about <><><>[[the space itself|Thirty Flights of Loving]]<>. \u000a \u000aBut the more important space is the one of possibility, of <><><><>[[potential states|The Walking Dead]]<><>potential states<>, that allows for <>[[agency|Agency]]<>agency<> within it. This is the reason we on this Earth<>, after all<>, the Mormons teach<>: that we may have room for our choices and their consequences to play out. p409 sg29 (lp410 sg20 g21 ((I2013 I1 I19 I14 I29 I24 I5 I19 I0 tp411 (dp412 tp413 Rp414 sg28 g414 sg26 VSpace p415 sbsa(dp416 g12 I00 sg13 (lp417 F1345.0 aF1163.75 asg15 (itiddlywiki Tiddler p418 (dp419 g18 V<> \u000a \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a \u000a<>I found it remarkably empty. \u000a \u000aIt seemed like a game made according to a checklist of what immersive sims were supposed to contain. Multiple routes? Check. Non-lethal options at all times? Check. Background material to read scattered about? Check. Localized and systematized stealth model? Check. Arsenal of special abilities to combine cleverly? Check and check. \u000a \u000aWith all the tools and powers at your disposal, it is never a particularly //difficult// game. It's a playground, a fantasy of power and control. Its world -- of industrialized eldritch slaughter, curious trickster gods and the bones of old cities underneath the new -- seemed more interesting than the plot of competing imperialist bastards. \u000a \u000aI still do have to give them a fair amount of credit for Blink. It's a wonderful addition to the first-person movement arsenal, changing the player's perception of space in a more immediately obvious way than Portal, while still avoiding direct comparisons. \u000a \u000aIts morality is asymmetrical in an interesting way, perhaps: the "good" path requires you to forgo most of the abilities available, to kill infrequently, to fight temptation constantly. \u000a \u000aBut there is little nuance in this distinction. You //can// still kill, just not //often//, and who you kill (and when and why) is immaterial. The consequences are limited to more enemies in places (given how powerful the player is, this mostly becomes "more targets"), and a different ending. The game judges you explicitly, but neither precisely nor interestingly. If it either refrained from judging or judged more harshly, I'd respect it more. \u000a \u000aIt remains a playground either way, [[free|Freedom]] from much in the way of lasting consequence. And I am so very, very uninterested in playgrounds of late. p420 sg29 (lp421 sg20 g21 ((I2013 I1 I20 I13 I18 I20 I6 I20 I0 tp422 (dp423 tp424 Rp425 sg28 g425 sg26 VDishonored opinion p426 sbsa(dp427 g12 I00 sg13 (lp428 F710.0 aF1335.0 asg15 (itiddlywiki Tiddler p429 (dp430 g18 V//"Now, repentance could not come unto men except there were a punishment, which also was eternal as the life of the soul should be, affixed opposite to the plan of happiness, which was as eternal also as the life of the soul."// \u000a--Alma 42:16<><> \u000a \u000aThe question of [[agency|Agency]] <>begets<>begs<> another: if some choices are preferred, what can we do when we are <>[[judged|Judgement]]<>judged<> <>to<>by the system to<> have <>[[failed|Failure]]<>failed<>? To have sinned? \u000a \u000aWe were taught<>, as Mormons,<> that we must //repent//. \u000a \u000aIt is easier to repent in videogames. We can always [[do it again, and do it differently|http://killscreendaily.com/articles/essays/do-it-differently/]]. We have savegames, checkpoints, respawn points. At the very least, we can start from the beginning. Even those games which continually track progress generally allow some means by which we may correct -- or at least make up for -- our mistakes. \u000a \u000aIn <>this life<>life<>, we do not have that luxury. The game we play by living is permadeath, instafail, autosave, procedurally generated, infinitely branching, and deletes itself upon [[dying|Death]]. \u000a \u000a<>We were taught that repentance is <> for salvation.<><>We were taught that repentance is [[required|Dark Souls]] for salvation.<><>

<><>We were taught that our sins are <> to repent on our own.<><>We were taught that our sins are [[too great|Spec Ops: The Line]] to repent on our own.<> \u000a \u000a<>We were taught<><>, as Mormons,<> <>that there is a way to reconcile this contradiction: an [[Atonement|Gethsemane]] was provided to pay the price of our sins, which we could never pay in full by ourselves.<> p431 sg29 (lp432 sg20 g21 ((I2013 I1 I25 I20 I14 I50 I4 I25 I0 tp433 (dp434 tp435 Rp436 sg28 g436 sg26 VRepentance p437 sbsa(dp438 g12 I00 sg13 (lp439 F1147.5 aF887.5 asg15 (itiddlywiki Tiddler p440 (dp441 g18 V<>It works as a (loose) approximation of the War in Heaven, I think. Lucifer's plan was to usher us through mortal existence as the Narrator does, [[telling|The Stanley Parable]] us at every step what we must do. Jesus' plan was to require us to understand, to have faith that a path was provided, and to choose that salvation for ourselves.<>It's quite [[Gnostic]], I think. The Narrator is the Demiurge, leading the player down the path of [[slavery|The Stanley Parable]], convincing the player to take the world at face value. The developer is the Monad, fashioning the world that the Narrator/Demiurge usurps, and providing the means to escape the prison of this unreal world, if it can be found. And to find it, one must choose to defy the Narrator/Demiurge at every step.<><> \u000a \u000aThe path of <>salvation<>escape<> requires choosing the blue door three times. <> Peter denied Christ three times. Father, Son, Holy Ghost.<> \u000a \u000aThe last time, the door is //behind// you. To see it you have to turn away. \u000a \u000aMake of that <>what thou wilt<>what you will<>. p442 sg29 (lp443 sg20 g21 ((I2013 I1 I26 I11 I11 I53 I5 I26 I0 tp444 (dp445 tp446 Rp447 sg28 g447 sg26 VParable meaning p448 sbsa(dp449 g12 I00 sg13 (lp450 F1117.5 aF730.0 asg15 (itiddlywiki Tiddler p451 (dp452 g18 V"A man chooses; a slave obeys."<> \u000a \u000a//Bioshock// tries to grapple with the question of player obedience, but before the "would you kindly" scene the player is given no reason to question the voice in their ear, and after it another voice and another set of objectives merely replace the first. \u000a \u000aThe Narrator of //The Stanley Parable//, by speaking in the past tense of what the player //did// instead of //should do//, creates an immediate tension between the player's goals and the story the Narrator wishes to tell. "What if I don't //want// to go left, huh? What if I want to go right? What will you do //then//?" \u000a \u000aAnd the game has an [[answer|The Stanley Parable]] to this question. \u000a \u000a<>//The Stanley Parable// also correctly predicts the post-//Bioshock// question of //Spec Ops: The Line//: if terrible things happen by continuing to play, why not just turn the game //off//? \u000a \u000aThe second narrator, in one branch, explicitly //pleads// with the player to do exactly that. \u000a \u000aThe game has an answer to this question, too.<> p453 sg29 (lp454 sg20 g21 ((I2013 I1 I26 I11 I50 I5 I5 I26 I0 tp455 (dp456 tp457 Rp458 sg28 g458 sg26 VWould You Kindly p459 sbsa(dp460 g12 I00 sg13 (lp461 F295.0 aF730.0 asg15 (itiddlywiki Tiddler p462 (dp463 g18 VIt was too slippery, too introspective, too florid. It reminds me of too many short films and video pieces I've seen, all repeated symbols and overambitious monologues. I found myself chafing at its restrictions, longing for a faster speed and a damn "use" button. I disliked the one-way gating between acts and how narrow the player's path was. <>The narrator seems to completely misinterpret Damascus, and in the most boring, obvious way.<>I wished the narrator would shut up about Damascus already.<><> \u000a \u000a[[It was useful, though.|Dear Esther 3]] p464 sg29 (lp465 sg20 g21 ((I2013 I1 I26 I13 I25 I44 I5 I26 I0 tp466 (dp467 tp468 Rp469 sg28 g469 sg26 VDear Esther 2 p470 sbsa(dp471 g12 I00 sg13 (lp472 F260.0 aF878.75 asg15 (itiddlywiki Tiddler p473 (dp474 g18 VIt pushed my definition of "videogame" outwards a little. It falls quite neatly into the category of ergodic literature, yet overlays the psychogeography of its story atop the physical space of the island in a manner only videogames can accomplish.<> \u000a \u000aIts reductionism of the medium provides an interesting baseline, too. If one is concerned with the contested boundary of videogames and literature, then //Dear Esther//, with its restricted verb set and lack of traditionally-defined challenge, provides a useful point to at least help define that boundary. \u000a \u000aAlso, the semi-randomization of key points in the narrative is something only cybertexts can provide. This is something implicit in games which focus on emergent narratives, but is far too often overlooked in more crafted videogame stories, and I wish to see more of it. \u000a \u000a[[I'm glad it was made.|Dear Esther]] p475 sg29 (lp476 sg20 g21 ((I2013 I1 I26 I13 I26 I18 I5 I26 I0 tp477 (dp478 tp479 Rp480 sg28 g480 sg26 VDear Esther 3 p481 sbsa(dp482 g12 I00 sg13 (lp483 F100.0 aF1168.75 asg15 (itiddlywiki Tiddler p484 (dp485 g18 V<>it up into pieces. \u000a \u000aThe [[challenge|Challenge]] lies not in playing (there are no tests of skill besides basic movement) or completing (the whole game is short enough to finish in ten minutes), but in //understanding// its cryptic, fractured, out-of-order narrative. It trusts the player to listen, and to stitch its pieces together themselves. \u000a \u000aIt may not have been to my taste, but I do hope its ideas get spread around far and wide. p486 sg29 (lp487 sg20 g21 ((I2013 I1 I26 I15 I1 I35 I5 I26 I0 tp488 (dp489 tp490 Rp491 sg28 g491 sg26 VThirty Flights of Loving 2 p492 sbsa(dp493 g12 I00 sg13 (lp494 F1366.25 aF1596.25 asg15 (itiddlywiki Tiddler p495 (dp496 g18 V<>I didn't mind the art style, actually. Visual novels are usually rather completely unrelated to my tastes in games, and my tastes in anime and manga skew towards quite different aesthetics. Normally, I hate and despise kawaii and moe. \u000a \u000aThere are those who refuse to play it -- hell, to even consider it a videogame -- on those grounds. \u000a \u000aBut they're missing out. They don't realize that the game has //teeth//. \u000a \u000a[[Back.|Analogue: A Hate Story]] \u000a p497 sg29 (lp498 sg20 g21 ((I2013 I1 I28 I21 I45 I47 I0 I28 I0 tp499 (dp500 tp501 Rp502 sg28 g502 sg26 VLog 1 p503 sbsa(dp504 g12 I00 sg13 (lp505 F1360.0 aF1732.5 asg15 (itiddlywiki Tiddler p506 (dp507 g18 V<>I could've done without the romance aspect. It seemed...hollow. The player exists only as a set of binary questions and a handful of terminal commands. Not really much to go on, much less fall in love with. But that's more of a quibble, an aesthetic complaint. \u000a \u000aNo, my (only) real problem with the game is that it forces you to choose which of the two AIs to save from the derelict, without even knowing that you've triggered a point of no return. And after the (admittedly interesting and tense) countdown sequence, the justification for having to choose one or the other is flimsy. \u000a \u000aThe only way to save both -- to prompt a reconciliation -- is to break sequence and use information outside the scope of any one playthrough. Perhaps it's a comment on the harem endings of other VNs, but as an outsider, it merely seemed arbitrary. \u000a \u000a[[Back.|Analogue: A Hate Story]] \u000a p508 sg29 (lp509 sg20 g21 ((I2013 I1 I28 I21 I45 I52 I0 I28 I0 tp510 (dp511 tp512 Rp513 sg28 g513 sg26 VLog 2 p514 sbsa(dp515 g12 I00 sg13 (lp516 F1223.75 aF1761.25 asg15 (itiddlywiki Tiddler p517 (dp518 g18 V<>It hails from one of the oldest schools of science fiction, using some part of reality as its basis, but distancing itself enough from its source to permit a more thorough consideration. \u000a\u000aIt's really a game about history, you see. About the silencing of women. About the [[Joseon dynasty|http://www.amazon.com/Ideology-Culture-Han-Younghee-Lee/dp/1931897077]] of Korea in particular, but by extension any society (and there have been //many//) who systematically oppress and slowly destroy women simply for //being// women.\u000a\u000aIt is //angry//.\u000a\u000aIt isn't really "fun". It isn't about power fantasies, or player skill, or the satisfaction of success. If it were, it would lose something important.\u000a\u000aInstead, it asks the player to //listen//. To //understand//.\u000a \u000a[[Back.|Analogue: A Hate Story]] \u000a p519 sg29 (lp520 sg20 g21 ((I2013 I1 I28 I21 I45 I55 I0 I28 I0 tp521 (dp522 tp523 Rp524 sg28 g524 sg26 VLog 3 p525 sbsa(dp526 g12 I00 sg13 (lp527 F91.25 aF1643.75 asg15 (itiddlywiki Tiddler p528 (dp529 g18 V<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<>Dead. \u000a \u000a<>Bullet to the head.<><>Bullet to the chest.<><>Bullet to the gut.<> \u000a \u000a[[Try again.|Max Payne 3]] \u000a p530 sg29 (lp531 sg20 g21 ((I2013 I1 I31 I23 I56 I51 I3 I31 I0 tp532 (dp533 tp534 Rp535 sg28 g535 sg26 VMax Died p536 sbsa(dp537 g12 I00 sg13 (lp538 F535.0 aF2746.25 asg15 (itiddlywiki Tiddler p539 (dp540 g18 VWe are rookies. \u000a \u000aWe field mere bullets, wear mere Earthly armor. We die easily, and often. The merest brush of plasma is enough to scar us even if we live. \u000a \u000aWe have little except our names, and our fear. Most of us do not survive. \u000a \u000aThe Floaters and the Chrysalids come, and we are not prepared. \u000a \u000a//XCOM// is a game about [[sacrifice|Liahona]]. p541 sg29 (lp542 sg20 g21 ((I2013 I2 I3 I13 I17 I3 I6 I34 I0 tp543 (dp544 tp545 Rp546 sg28 g546 sg26 VRookies p547 sbsa(dp548 g12 I00 sg13 (lp549 F875.0 aF2748.75 asg15 (itiddlywiki Tiddler p550 (dp551 g18 VThe original //X-Com// was much like the world outside: messy, imperfect, literalist, unbalanced, opaque. Its tactical model was generalist, simulationist, and flexible. Its strategic model was systematic, multilayered, and deep. <>It was a game for Liahona Mormons like I was.<> \u000a \u000a//X-Com// is a game about [[truth|Squaddies]]. \u000a \u000aI loved the <>hell<>fuck<> out of it. \u000a \u000aWhatever esteem I hold it in, though, I will be the first to admit it hasn't aged well. Its economy is broken, now that I know its secrets. Its interface is an unholy mess of clicking and counting. Its AI is legendary in its awfulness. \u000a \u000aChrysalids are still terrifying, though. p552 sg29 (lp553 sg20 g21 ((I2013 I2 I3 I13 I17 I12 I6 I34 I0 tp554 (dp555 tp556 Rp557 sg28 g557 sg26 VLiahona p558 sbsa(dp559 g12 I00 sg13 (lp560 F535.0 aF2888.75 asg15 (itiddlywiki Tiddler p561 (dp562 g18 VWe are experienced. \u000a \u000aWe have lasers now, and armor of alien metals. We die less to lucky shots and inconvenient grenades. We give at least as good as we get. \u000a \u000aWe have nicknames. Useful abilities. Potential. We survive, mostly, fumbling towards progress. \u000a \u000aThe Mutons and the Cyberdiscs come, and we struggle. \u000a \u000a//XCOM// is a game about [[faith|Iron rod]]. p563 sg29 (lp564 sg20 g21 ((I2013 I2 I3 I13 I17 I16 I6 I34 I0 tp565 (dp566 tp567 Rp568 sg28 g568 sg26 VSquaddies p569 sbsa(dp570 g12 I00 sg13 (lp571 F875.0 aF2892.5 asg15 (itiddlywiki Tiddler p572 (dp573 g18 VThe new //XCOM// is much like the world of Sunday School: sharp, focused, abstracted, balanced, clear. Its tactical model is class-based, gamist, and strict. Its strategic model was more scripted, more flattened, and in the eyes of many, too shallow. <>It is a game for iron-rod Mormons like I never could be.<> \u000a \u000a//XCOM// is a game about [[grace|Veterans]]. \u000a \u000aI loved it anyways. \u000a \u000aIt is a thoroughly modern game. It takes lessons from the last decade of boardgame design to heart, and makes it accessible in a way the original never was. It tightens the choice-consequence loop into a noose. The class system (and I //hate// classes), progression mechanic, and squad size restriction all make each soldier mean so much more. The formalization of permadeath in Ironman mode is torturously, insidiously genius. \u000a \u000aNot only are Chrysalids properly terrifying, but they even managed to make //Sectopods// imposing. p574 sg29 (lp575 sg20 g21 ((I2013 I2 I3 I13 I17 I21 I6 I34 I0 tp576 (dp577 tp578 Rp579 sg28 g579 sg26 VIron rod p580 sbsa(dp581 g12 I00 sg13 (lp582 F535.0 aF3027.5 asg15 (itiddlywiki Tiddler p583 (dp584 g18 VWe are veterans. \u000a \u000aWe have plasma guns and powered armor. We stride (and fly) across the battlefield like titans. We are hard to kill. We are good at killing. \u000a \u000aWe have value. History. Memory. Tools. Options. We thrive, turning every weapon of the enemy against them. \u000a \u000aThe Ethereals come, and we learn to kill them, too. \u000a \u000a//XCOM// is a game about [[salvation|Apostate]]. p585 sg29 (lp586 sg20 g21 ((I2013 I2 I3 I13 I17 I32 I6 I34 I0 tp587 (dp588 tp589 Rp590 sg28 g590 sg26 VVeterans p591 sbsa(dp592 g12 I00 sg13 (lp593 F1438.75 aF3037.5 asg15 (itiddlywiki Tiddler p594 (dp595 g18 V[[There was a war in heaven.|Judas]]<> \u000a p596 sg29 (lp597 sg20 g21 ((I2013 I2 I3 I13 I18 I15 I6 I34 I0 tp598 (dp599 tp600 Rp601 sg28 g601 sg26 VBetrayal p602 sbsa(dp603 g12 I00 sg13 (lp604 F401.25 aF2097.5 asg15 (itiddlywiki Tiddler p605 (dp606 g18 V//Dark Souls// is infamously reticent. It will tell you only the bare minimum. It will not tell you where to go (except in the vaguest terms). More importantly, it will not tell you where //not// to go yet. You must -- and you will -- learn that yourself.<>

I deeply respect its willingness to make its connections obscure, to refrain from informing you exactly what it is you've unlocked with this item or that. It makes you search, and it makes you wonder.<> \u000a \u000a[[South-east|Undead Parish]] \u000a[[South|Firelink Shrine]] \u000a<>[[South-west|Depths]]<> p607 sg29 (lp608 sg20 g21 ((I2013 I2 I3 I13 I25 I5 I6 I34 I0 tp609 (dp610 tp611 Rp612 sg28 g612 sg26 VUndead Burg p613 sbsa(dp614 g12 I00 sg13 (lp615 F557.5 aF2257.5 asg15 (itiddlywiki Tiddler p616 (dp617 g18 V<>//Dark Souls// has a specific concept of sin. \u000a \u000aNot just a morality meter like so many other games, though. Its cosmology has a god (Velka) of sin, a covenant (Blade of the Darkmoon) to extract punishment, an item (Indictment) for players to report their own murders, and an NPC (Oswald of Carim) who offers absolution. For a price, of course. \u000a \u000aEverything in //Dark Souls// has a price.<>

I think It's noteworthy that dispelling the illusion of Gwynevere and turning Anor Londo dark counts as (unabsolvable) sin, as well. This fits neatly into the game's Gnostic streak, where the remaining gods attempt to keep hold of their power through deception of mortals.<> \u000a \u000a[[North-west|Undead Burg]] \u000a[[West|Firelink Shrine]] \u000a<>[[Fly.|Anor Londo]]<> p618 sg29 (lp619 sg20 g21 ((I2013 I2 I3 I13 I25 I15 I6 I34 I0 tp620 (dp621 tp622 Rp623 sg28 g623 sg26 VUndead Parish p624 sbsa(dp625 g12 I00 sg13 (lp626 F401.25 aF2257.5 asg15 (itiddlywiki Tiddler p627 (dp628 g18 VMuch is made of //Dark Souls//' handling of death, but really, it's not much more than a checkpoint system. It's not even particularly unique, in fact, at least in terms of mechanics. Bonfires are tangible entities in the game world, but //Marathon//'s pattern buffers or //Borderlands//' New-U stations function in the same manner (the latter even providing similar skill-point and fast travel options). \u000a \u000aNo, I think it's largely a combination of how rare bonfires are (coupled with their roles as sanctuaries and de facto multiplayer hubs), the static enemy placements (and related short aggro ranges), and the risk/reward mechanism of bloodstains (with the dropping and potential loss of souls and humanity), that give death in //Dark Souls// its particular flavor. \u000a \u000a[[North|Undead Burg]] \u000a[[East|Undead Parish]] \u000a<>[[West|Depths]]<> \u000a<>[[South|Kiln of the First Flame]]<> \u000a<>[[Curl up into a ball.|Northern Undead Asylum]]<> p629 sg29 (lp630 sg20 g21 ((I2013 I2 I3 I13 I25 I21 I6 I34 I0 tp631 (dp632 tp633 Rp634 sg28 g634 sg26 VFirelink Shrine p635 sbsa(dp636 g12 I00 sg13 (lp637 F242.5 aF2257.5 asg15 (itiddlywiki Tiddler p638 (dp639 g18 V//Dark Souls//' online component is subtle, and strange. Half-glimpsed shadows of the recently dead. Glowing scrawl with selfless hints or scheming tricks. Invading phantoms that harry and harass and kill. \u000a \u000aThe multiplayer modes of most games are almost separate games in themselves, divorced from the story's fiction (from the age of //DOOM//'s deathmatch onward), or simply the singleplayer campaign with more players (some, like //Halo//, completely ignore the multiplicity of protagonists; some, like //Borderlands//, at least nod towards it). \u000a \u000a//Dark Souls// instead embraces the shared suffering of its players, not just in spirit, but in //mechanics//. It provides means for them to help and to hurt each other along the parallel paths they all walk. \u000a \u000a[[North-east|Undead Burg]] \u000a[[East|Firelink Shrine]] \u000a[[South|Blighttown]] \u000a p640 sg29 (lp641 sg20 g21 ((I2013 I2 I3 I13 I25 I24 I6 I34 I0 tp642 (dp643 tp644 Rp645 sg28 g645 sg26 VDepths p646 sbsa(dp647 g12 I00 sg13 (lp648 F242.5 aF2423.75 asg15 (itiddlywiki Tiddler p649 (dp650 g18 V<>The community that //Dark Souls// has spawned is remarkable. Brothers and sisters in suffering, seekers of truth in a dangerous, opaque, untrustworthy world. \u000a \u000aThey place their signs to be summoned, to help their fellows with towering bosses. They build wikis, to ferret out what secrets and mysteries and strategies they can. They spread the word of this (hallowed) game, to those who would listen. \u000a \u000aIt almost feels like church. \u000a \u000a[[North|Depths]] \u000a p651 sg29 (lp652 sg20 g21 ((I2013 I2 I3 I13 I25 I27 I6 I34 I0 tp653 (dp654 tp655 Rp656 sg28 g656 sg26 VBlighttown p657 sbsa(dp658 g12 I00 sg13 (lp659 F401.25 aF2491.25 asg15 (itiddlywiki Tiddler p660 (dp661 g18 VThe dirty secret of //Dark Souls// is that...well, it's not actually quite as //difficult// as they say.<> \u000a \u000a//I Wanna Be The Guy// is difficult. //Super Hexagon// is difficult. But while //Dark Souls// is certainly //challenging// in so many ways, it gives players [[many ways|http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/178262/deep_dungeon_exploring_the_design_.php]] to grapple with its difficulty. \u000a \u000aThe combat is methodical to the point of being [[nearly turn-based|http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2013/02/04/the-unique-combat-of-dark-souls/]]. The world is multiply-connected, and almost everything is designed to have several viable approaches. Many things can be bypassed, or even simply run away from. Others can be summoned to help. The twin currencies of souls and humanity are replenishable, farmable, grindable, so a loss of these is never truly //permanent// if one is willing to pay the price of time. You can never truly die. \u000a \u000aIt's not a game that wishes to condemn its player, but instead to give them every chance to [[repent|Repentance]], if they are willing. If they understand. If they have faith. \u000a \u000aThe only way to lose, it says, is to stop playing. \u000a \u000a[[North|Firelink Shrine]] \u000a p662 sg29 (lp663 sg20 g21 ((I2013 I2 I3 I13 I25 I31 I6 I34 I0 tp664 (dp665 tp666 Rp667 sg28 g667 sg26 VKiln of the First Flame p668 sbsa(dp669 g12 I00 sg13 (lp670 F986.25 aF2085.0 asg15 (itiddlywiki Tiddler p671 (dp672 g18 V//"//The Line//...agrees with //Bioshock// that the player, for as long as they choose to play the game, doesn't really make any choices that the game has not already made for them. However, unlike //Bioshock//, it insists the player is still responsible for these actions //because// of the one choice the player did make: to play the game in the first place."// \u000a--Brendan Keogh, //[[Killing is Harmless|http://gumroad.com/l/fsdz]]//, pp 7 \u000a \u000aWhat value one can derive from //The Line// depends on whether one [[accepts|Act 2, Accept]] or [[rejects|Act 2, Reject]] that central proposition. p673 sg29 (lp674 sg20 g21 ((I2013 I2 I3 I13 I25 I41 I6 I34 I0 tp675 (dp676 tp677 Rp678 sg28 g678 sg26 VAct 1 p679 sbsa(dp680 g12 I00 sg13 (lp681 F1132.5 aF2208.75 asg15 (itiddlywiki Tiddler p682 (dp683 g18 VAnd [[I would agree|http://awtr.ca/long:maginot]] with you. \u000a \u000aI think it was an interesting failure, and I find such things offer more, in some ways, than unqualified successes. More to chew on, more to examine, more to understand. I'm glad it was made, that someone might learn from its mistakes. \u000a \u000aAnd in fairness, there were interesting bits, especially after the critical point. <> \u000a p684 sg29 (lp685 sg20 g21 ((I2013 I2 I3 I13 I25 I42 I6 I34 I0 tp686 (dp687 tp688 Rp689 sg28 g689 sg26 VAct 2, Reject p690 sbsa(dp691 g12 I00 sg13 (lp692 F842.5 aF2208.75 asg15 (itiddlywiki Tiddler p693 (dp694 g18 VAnd [[I would disagree|http://awtr.ca/long:maginot]] with you. \u000a \u000aI pressed on after the forced atrocity if only to suspend judgement until I had seen the full text. I didn't particularly //enjoy// my time with the game, really -- and the game's accusatory tone assumes I did -- but it was worth experiencing. \u000a \u000aBesides, all the most interesting bits were //after// the critical point. <> p695 sg29 (lp696 sg20 g21 ((I2013 I2 I3 I13 I25 I46 I6 I34 I0 tp697 (dp698 tp699 Rp700 sg28 g700 sg26 VAct 2, Accept p701 sbsa(dp702 g12 I00 sg13 (lp703 F990.0 aF2303.75 asg15 (itiddlywiki Tiddler p704 (dp705 g18 VPredicated on it, in fact. The manner it depicted the protagonist and their companions changing over the course of the game, the way it incorporated hallucinations and misinformation, the coherency of vision as everything unravels. \u000a \u000aIt makes more sense, I think, to remove the player from the equation. To consider this the story of one man's descent and madness. To examine how he deludes himself. To witness as he chooses between salvation and [[damnation|Act 3]] without even realizing. p706 sg29 (lp707 sg20 g21 ((I2013 I2 I3 I13 I25 I49 I6 I34 I0 tp708 (dp709 tp710 Rp711 sg28 g711 sg26 VAct 2 p712 sbsa(dp713 g12 I00 sg13 (lp714 F990.0 aF2477.5 asg15 (itiddlywiki Tiddler p715 (dp716 g18 VThere is always a strange liminal space between us and our avatars. Our experience extends past theirs. We pass through their existence, carrying something of value away as we leave.<> \u000a \u000aThis life is temporal<>, the Mormons say<>. We pass through, and carry its lessons with us. \u000a \u000aWe play videogames, ostensibly, to find something worthy in the time we spend in them. We remain, not entirely separate, but at some distance which must be acknowledged. Compared to their worlds, we are eternal beings, inhabiting them for a short time so that we may grow. \u000a \u000aAt the end of //The Line//, the player is given a choice: to condemn our avatar, offering him up as sacrifice for our sins; to grant him some measure of peace, absolving him of our actions; or to throw him into the carnage yet again, and remain [[unrepentant|Repentance]]. The game means to judge us, and leaves us no option for our salvation. \u000a \u000aThe only way to win the game, it says, is to stop playing. \u000a p717 sg29 (lp718 sg20 g21 ((I2013 I2 I3 I13 I25 I53 I6 I34 I0 tp719 (dp720 tp721 Rp722 sg28 g722 sg26 VAct 3 p723 sbsa(dp724 g12 I00 sg13 (lp725 F728.75 aF1196.25 asg15 (itiddlywiki Tiddler p726 (dp727 S'text' p728 V<> \u000a \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a \u000a<><>You came here from [[space|Space]].<><>You came here by [[choice|Choice]].<><>You came in the [[back door|4-10]].<> You have played <> of the 12 games here. The first was <>. You have found <>none<><><> of 5 asides in this playthrough (<>none<><><> of the 6 total across all playthroughs). <>You haven't [[died|You Died]] yet.<><>You've [[died|You Died]] once so far.<><>You've [[died|You Died]] <> times so far.<> <>You've unlocked all the shortcuts.<>You haven't unlocked all the shortcuts yet.<> \u000a \u000a<>This is your first time playing this game.<><>You have played this game <> times.<> <>You haven't finished it yet.<><>You've finished it once.<><>You've finished it <> times.<> \u000a \u000a<>This game thinks you are (or have been) a member of the Church.<>This game thinks you are not (nor have you been) a Mormon.<> \u000a<> \u000a<>A way was provided that ye may [[repent|Repentance]].<><>A way was provided that ye may repent, if ye <>.<><>The way is open, but you must <>.<><>There is a way, but it is not here. Seek elsewhere.<> \u000a \u000a[[Back.|The Walking Dead]] p729 sS'tags' p730 (lp731 sS'created' p732 g21 ((I2013 I2 I4 I1 I2 I27 I0 I35 I0 tp733 (dp734 tp735 Rp736 sS'modified' p737 g736 sS'title' p738 VRemember p739 sbsa(dp740 g12 I00 sg13 (lp741 F875.0 aF3037.5 asg15 (itiddlywiki Tiddler p742 (dp743 S'text' p744 VWhen I was eleven, I wanted to be a game designer because of //X-Com//. \u000a \u000aNow I'm twenty-nine, and again I want to be a game designer because of //XCOM//. \u000a \u000aI left the Church half a lifetime ago, but these two are the most deeply //Mormon// games I could possibly name. \u000a \u000a//X-Com// and //XCOM// are games about <>[[agency|Agency]]<>[[agency|Betrayal]]<>. p745 sS'tags' p746 (lp747 sS'created' p748 g21 ((I2013 I2 I4 I21 I33 I58 I0 I35 I0 tp749 (dp750 tp751 Rp752 sS'modified' p753 g752 sS'title' p754 VApostate p755 sbsa(dp756 g12 I00 sg13 (lp757 F803.33333333333314 aF1742.0833333333308 asg15 (itiddlywiki Tiddler p758 (dp759 S'text' p760 V<> \u000a \u000a<> \u000a \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a \u000a<> \u000a \u000a<><>You went left instead of right.<><>You went right instead of left.<><>You went up instead of down.<><>You went down instead of up.<><>You went straight through the middle.<> \u000a \u000a<>You upgraded your shields to full.<><>You upgraded your engines to full.<><>You bought that extra weapon at the store.<><>You bought that drone system at the store.<><>You traded for that drone system.<><>You traded for that new weapon.<><>You hired that new crewmember.<><>You rescued that new crewmember.<><>You bought that slave's freedom.<> \u000a \u000aYou fought off that tough <>Rock fighter<><>Mantis scout<><>Engi bomber<><>Pirate ship<><>Slaver bastard<><>Rebel auto-scout<>, <>and emerged with hardly a scratch<>but limped away with heavy damage<>. \u000a \u000a<>You missed all the sidequests, somehow<><>You completed that sidequest you found<><>You found and completed several sidequests<><>You completed all the sidequests you could find<><>, but it only paid a pittance<><>, but they didn't pay much<><>, and gained an extra crewmember<><>, and stocked up on everything you need<>. \u000a \u000a<>You made it to the final boss<>You didn't make it to the last sector.<><>, but you weren't quite prepared enough.<><>, and you were better prepared.<><>, and this time you're prepared.<> <>But it wasn't quite enough.<><>This time, it was enough.<> \u000a \u000a<>The hull is torn. Your crew scrambles and scrabbles to weld it shut in time. They [[die|You Died]] gasping.<><>The enemy teleports aboard, all skittering claws and greed. Your crew [[dies|You Died]] one by one.<><>The ship is battered, limping, fires in a dozen compartments. Another missile hits. The ship breaks apart. Your crew [[dies|You Died]] with a brief scream.<><>Your crew fights for their lives -- and this time they win. The rebel flagship shatters.<> \u000a \u000a<>Maybe the next time will be different.<><>Maybe the next time will be different. Maybe you'll find what you missed.<><>Maybe next time will be different. Maybe you'll find what you need.<><>Maybe the next time will be different. Maybe [[this death|Death]] was not in vain.<><>Perhaps you missed something along the way, something you needed. Next time you might [[do better|Repentance]].<><>This time, you are [[victorious over death|Repentance]].<> p761 sS'tags' p762 (lp763 sS'created' p764 g21 ((I2013 I2 I5 I13 I3 I51 I1 I36 I0 tp765 (dp766 tp767 Rp768 sS'modified' p769 g768 sS'title' p770 VHope p771 sbsa(dp772 g12 I00 sg13 (lp773 F1325.0 aF843.75 asg15 (itiddlywiki Tiddler p774 (dp775 S'text' p776 V<> \u000a \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a \u000a<>I have a fondness for the Gnostics, even after they descended into Plato-wankery in the second century or so. They had all the coolest names for things. The Monad and the Demiurge. The Codex Tchacos. The Hypostasis of the Archons. The Second Apocalypse of James (written before the First). \u000a \u000aAs a (former) Mormon, I'm a little jealous. \u000a \u000a[[Back.|Parable meaning]] p777 sS'tags' p778 (lp779 sS'created' p780 g21 ((I2013 I2 I5 I22 I23 I26 I1 I36 I0 tp781 (dp782 tp783 Rp784 sS'modified' p785 g784 sS'title' p786 VGnostic p787 sbsa(dp788 g12 I00 sg13 (lp789 F443.75 aF1802.5 asg15 (itiddlywiki Tiddler p790 (dp791 g776 V<> \u000a \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<>Permadeath is one of my favorite mechanisms of <>[[failure|Failure]]<>failure<>, but usually only when its implementation is more sophisticated than just a whole-game <>restart (//FTL// is a notable exception)<>restart<>. Bonefiles in roguelikes. Jason Rohrer's //Minecraft// Chain World. If one is feeling particularly masochistic, there's an old game called //Sub-Mission//, where failure erased part of the disk the game loaded from, and you had to acquire a special code from the publisher to reinstall it. \u000a \u000aIt's not enough to name a batch of pixels, though. The game has to <>[[give you reasons|Paragon]]<>give you reasons<> to invest in that //particular// batch of pixels, to create history and (frankly irrational) attachment. <>(Dr. Mordin Solus, RIP.)<> \u000a \u000aMy favorite version is //XCOM//'s Ironman mode, where the game saves continuously, and when your carefully-protected, amusingly-nicknamed veterans die, they stay dead. It functions as a form of XP, really, but it's XP with names and faces and stories that you put at risk every mission. Each one that dies is mourned. \u000a \u000aCol. Erica "Cargo" Garcia, KIA. \u000a p792 sg778 (lp793 sg780 g21 ((I2013 I2 I5 I22 I35 I39 I1 I36 I0 tp794 (dp795 tp796 Rp797 sg785 g797 sg786 VPermadeath p798 sbsa(dp799 g12 I00 sg13 (lp800 F987.5 aF1797.5 asg15 (itiddlywiki Tiddler p801 (dp802 g776 V<> \u000a \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<>There is a difficulty in criticism encountered when the critic doesn't necessarily have access to the full text. It's a problem even greater than the usual question of understanding the context of a work (its history, conventions, idioms, precedents, antecedents, et cetera). We're used to being able to evaluate the text as a whole, which is not necessarily true in the general case of ergodic texts, but videogames especially, with their dynamic systems and often-large possibility spaces. \u000a \u000aI don't think we can say unequivocally that simply because the data exists within the possibility space of the game at large that we are bound to consider it. Videogames are not only ergodic texts, requiring nontrivial effort in their traversal, but //systems//, wherein portions of the text may be rendered inaccessible or even invalid. My throughline is not yours, my subjective experience can differ wildly, and while both are valid they may conflict on multiple levels. \u000a \u000aI liken this critical tension to wave-particle duality. The game exists as a set of potential states (like a wavefunction). A given playthrough represents the actualization of a single state (like a particle). We cannot ignore any given single playthrough, since we cannot assume a player will ever complete more than one, and thus when discussing the player's experience whatever subset of the whole is exposed has to be treated as if it were all that existed. That said, the rest of the game does exist, if only as potential, so any <>[[judgements|Judgement]]<>judgements<> of what the game itself intends must compare how it responds to varying input. Both perspectives are required for a full understanding of the system, but the type of answer depends on the question asked. \u000a \u000aSome games, though (such as the one you're playing now), reward //completion// above all else. The game never punishes the player for the decision to unlock more content. Pursuing sidequests never places others out of reach. And completionism is rewarded with more experience, more levels, more weapons, more options, higher reputation, better upgrades, and often more insight into the world and its characters. Sometimes, in fact, completionism is rewarded to the detriment of narrative urgency - the game may plead for the player to continue the main plotline right away, but never punishes further exploration. <>Until the [[endgame|Paragon]], that is.<> p803 sg778 (lp804 sg780 g21 ((I2013 I2 I6 I0 I6 I8 I2 I37 I0 tp805 (dp806 tp807 Rp808 sg785 g808 sg786 VCause and Effect p809 sbsa(dp810 g12 I00 sg13 (lp811 F588.75 aF2077.5 asg15 (itiddlywiki Tiddler p812 (dp813 S'text' p814 V<>Amongst everything else I love about //Dark Souls//, I have to say it's //beautiful//. \u000a \u000aIt's the least derivative fantasy setting I've seen or read in ages. It understands the meaning of the word "fantastical", and doesn't shy away from bewildering variety in both the landscape itself and the inhabitants thereof. \u000a \u000aSometimes I clear out an area just to soak in the sights. \u000a \u000a[[Curl up into a ball.|Firelink Shrine]] p815 sS'tags' p816 (lp817 sS'created' p818 g21 ((I2013 I2 I6 I10 I37 I57 I2 I37 I0 tp819 (dp820 tp821 Rp822 sS'modified' p823 g822 sS'title' p824 VNorthern Undead Asylum p825 sbsa(dp826 g12 I00 sg13 (lp827 F136.25 aF1815.0 asg15 (itiddlywiki Tiddler p828 (dp829 g814 V<> \u000a \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a \u000a<>Mormons are not strangers to killing. \u000a \u000aThe Book of Mormon wastes little time before Nephi cuts off Laban's head at God's behest. Helaman raises an army of child soldiers. The Nephites and the Lamanites war with each other and themselves almost constantly. \u000a \u000aIn the latter days we had skirmishes in Illinois and Missouri, the Mormon Battalion and the Nauvoo Legion, Mountain Meadows and the Black Hawk War, whispers of the Danites and blood atonements in the Salt Lake Valley. \u000a \u000aShooters especially ordain our killing, ensure our enemies are sufficiently wicked and unwilling to yield. Laban in the alley, again and again. \u000a \u000a[[Max Payne|Max Payne 3]] reminds me a little of Porter Rockwell. p830 sg816 (lp831 sg818 g21 ((I2013 I2 I6 I11 I27 I21 I2 I37 I0 tp832 (dp833 tp834 Rp835 sg823 g835 sg824 VKilling p836 sbsa(dp837 g12 I00 sg13 (lp838 F22.5 aF151.25 asg15 (itiddlywiki Tiddler p839 (dp840 S'text' p841 VA THOUSAND DEATHS p842 sS'tags' p843 (lp844 sS'created' p845 g21 ((I2013 I2 I6 I14 I12 I20 I2 I37 I0 tp846 (dp847 tp848 Rp849 sS'modified' p850 g849 sS'title' p851 VStoryTitle p852 sbsa(dp853 g12 I00 sg13 (lp854 F22.083333333333332 aF292.5 asg15 (itiddlywiki Tiddler p855 (dp856 g841 VRaymond Neilson p857 sg843 (lp858 sg845 g21 ((I2013 I2 I6 I14 I12 I36 I2 I37 I0 tp859 (dp860 tp861 Rp862 sg850 g862 sg851 VStoryAuthor p863 sbsa(dp864 g12 I00 sg13 (lp865 F1187.5 aF348.33333333333343 asg15 (itiddlywiki Tiddler p866 (dp867 S'text' p868 VI've spilled far too much virtual ink already on the game's ending. Suffice to say I'm [[among those|http://awtr.ca/long:this-is-not-a-pipe]] who found it to retroactively destroy everything I loved about the series. \u000a<> \u000aIn its aftermath, as I looked for answers to //why// I felt so strongly about it, I saw the very structure of the game unravel in my eyes. \u000a \u000aLike the church half a lifetime ago, I found there was too much that I was accepting of, too many flaws I was overlooking, too many rewards I was holding in abeyance, too many answers I found insufficient. It wasn't even just the ending in itself that so angered me. It was the work as a whole. I judged it, and I found it wanting. \u000a \u000aIt felt like a loss of [[faith|Mass Effect 3]]. p869 sS'tags' p870 (lp871 sS'created' p872 g21 ((I2013 I2 I6 I19 I41 I59 I2 I37 I0 tp873 (dp874 tp875 Rp876 sS'modified' p877 g876 sS'title' p878 VME1 p879 sbsa(dp880 g12 I00 sg13 (lp881 F1322.5 aF379.58333333333343 asg15 (itiddlywiki Tiddler p882 (dp883 g868 VIn its wake, I found new friends. I started writing [[things about videogames|http://awtr.ca/long:hole-in-the-head]]. Hell, I //wrote//, which is more than I could say before. I began to give shape and form to ideas about games which I'd cultured over the years, but never expressed in detail. I sought out new games, other games, better games, more varied games. \u000a<> \u000aI don't need //Mass Effect 3// to be salvaged anymore, in the same way I no longer need the church to be true. \u000a \u000aIt was only a game, after all. There were, and are, others. This is not to discount videogames' cultural worth, nor to trivialize the medium, but simply to distinguish the definite from the indefinite. To recognize the breadth available which I too frequently ignored. To acknowledge that I can [[move on|Mass Effect 3]]. p884 sg870 (lp885 sg872 g21 ((I2013 I2 I6 I19 I42 I0 I2 I37 I0 tp886 (dp887 tp888 Rp889 sg877 g889 sg878 VME2 p890 sbsa(dp891 g12 I00 sg13 (lp892 F1108.7499999999993 aF195.83333333333331 asg15 (itiddlywiki Tiddler p893 (dp894 g868 V//Mass Effect 3// was a game about [[losing|You Died]].<><> p895 sg870 (lp896 sg872 g21 ((I2013 I2 I6 I20 I6 I27 I2 I37 I0 tp897 (dp898 tp899 Rp900 sg877 g900 sg878 VBut for me... p901 sbsa(dp902 g12 I00 sg13 (lp903 F1458.75 aF349.58333333333343 asg15 (itiddlywiki Tiddler p904 (dp905 g868 VI do not begrudge those who liked the ending, nor those who hated it but still admire the remainder. \u000a<> \u000aI do not begrudge those <>of you<>Mormons<> who still retain <>your<>their<> faith. \u000a \u000aAnd I do not -- cannot -- repudiate my own history. I still wear my N7 hoodie. I still have my <>quad with my name on it<>scriptures with my name on them<>. \u000a \u000aI used to be a player of //Mass Effect//. \u000a \u000aI used to be a member of the Mormon [[church|Mass Effect 3]]. p906 sg870 (lp907 sg872 g21 ((I2013 I2 I6 I20 I10 I17 I2 I37 I0 tp908 (dp909 tp910 Rp911 sg877 g911 sg878 VME3 p912 sbsa(dp913 g12 I00 sg13 (lp914 F296.25 aF152.5 asg15 (itiddlywiki Tiddler p915 (dp916 S'text' p917 VHistory.prototype.originalDisplay = History.prototype.display; \u000a \u000aHistory.prototype.display = function (title, link, render) \u000a{ \u000a if ((render != 'quietly') && (render != 'offscreen')) \u000a removeChildren($('passages')); \u000a \u000a if (title == "Start") \u000a state.history[0].variables['visited'] = {'Start': true}; \u000a else \u000a if (! state.history[0].variables['visited'][title]) \u000a state.history[0].variables['visited'][title] = true; \u000a \u000a this.originalDisplay.apply(this, arguments); \u000a}; \u000a \u000aWikifier.createInternalLink = function (place, title, forceClass) \u000a{ \u000a var el = insertElement(place, 'a', title); \u000a el.href = 'javascript:void(0)'; \u000a \u000a if (tale.has(title)) { \u000a if (forceClass) \u000a el.className = forceClass; \u000a else { \u000a if (state.history[0].variables['visited'][title]) \u000a el.className = 'internalLink'; \u000a else \u000a el.className = 'newLink'; \u000a } \u000a } \u000a else \u000a el.className = 'brokenLink'; \u000a \u000a el.onclick = function() { state.display(title, el) }; \u000a \u000a if (place) \u000a place.appendChild(el); \u000a \u000a return el; \u000a}; \u000a \u000a \u000a p918 sS'tags' p919 (lp920 Vscript p921 asS'created' p922 g21 ((I2013 I2 I7 I20 I35 I28 I3 I38 I0 tp923 (dp924 tp925 Rp926 sS'modified' p927 g926 sS'title' p928 Vone screen jonah and nav mods p929 sbsa(dp930 g12 I00 sg13 (lp931 F155.83333333333334 aF15.833333333333334 asg15 (itiddlywiki Tiddler p932 (dp933 g917 V.passage .title { \u000atext-align: right; \u000acolor: white; \u000afont-size: 1.1em; \u000amargin-bottom: 1em; \u000a} \u000a.passage .toolbar { display: none } \u000a.passage { \u000abackground-color: black; \u000acolor: white; \u000a} \u000abody { \u000abackground-color: black; \u000acolor: white; \u000a} \u000a#passages { \u000abackground-color: black; \u000acolor: white; \u000a} \u000a#floater { display: none } \u000ah1 { font-size: 2em } \u000ah3 { margin-bottom: 2em } \u000a \u000aa.newLink { \u000acolor: #4d6ad8; \u000afont-weight: bold; \u000atext-decoration: none; \u000a} \u000aa.newLink:hover { \u000atext-decoration: underline; \u000acolor: #8ea6ff; \u000atext-shadow: 0 0 16px #4d6ad8; \u000a} \u000a \u000aa { \u000a-webkit-transition: 300ms linear 0s; \u000a-moz-transition: 300ms linear 0s; \u000a-o-transition: 300ms linear 0s; \u000atransition: 300ms linear 0s; \u000a} \u000a \u000aa:hover { \u000atext-shadow: 0 0 16px #4d6ad8; \u000a-webkit-transition: 300ms linear 0s; \u000a-moz-transition: 300ms linear 0s; \u000a-o-transition: 300ms linear 0s; \u000atransition: 300ms linear 0s; \u000a} \u000a p934 sg919 (lp935 Vstylesheet p936 asg922 g21 ((I2013 I2 I7 I20 I40 I48 I3 I38 I0 tp937 (dp938 tp939 Rp940 sg927 g940 sg928 Vsugarcane color scheme p941 sbsa(dp942 g12 I00 sg13 (lp943 F1032.9166666666665 aF60.41666666666665 asg15 (itiddlywiki Tiddler p944 (dp945 S'text' p946 VSome Mormons believe -- though this is listed nowhere in the scriptures that I could ever find -- that the Atonement does not, //cannot// apply to certain sins. Murder, most commonly, but also sometimes apostasy. <>This belief is where the doctrine of blood atonement has its roots.<> \u000a \u000aSome things cannot be undone. We can only try to make up for them. \u000a \u000aGo [[back|13]], if you are not ready to [[proceed|Mass Effect 3]]. p947 sS'tags' p948 (lp949 sS'created' p950 g21 ((I2013 I2 I8 I11 I15 I28 I4 I39 I0 tp951 (dp952 tp953 Rp954 sS'modified' p955 g954 sS'title' p956 VBelieve p957 sbsa(dp958 g12 I00 sg13 (lp959 F159.16666666666669 aF294.16666666666674 asg15 (itiddlywiki Tiddler p960 (dp961 g946 Vversion.extensions["mouseoverlinkMacro"]={major:1,minor:0,revision:0};macros["mouseoverlink"]={handler:function(a,b,c){var l=Wikifier.createInternalLink(a,c[0]);insertElement(l,"span",null,null,c[1]);d=insertElement(l,"span",null,null,c[2]);d.style.display="none";l.onmouseover=function(){if(this.childNodes.length>1){this.childNodes[0].style.display="none";this.childNodes[1].style.display="inline";}};l.onmouseout=function(){if(this.childNodes.length>1){this.childNodes[1].style.display="none"; \u000athis.childNodes[0].style.display="inline";}};}}; p962 sg948 (lp963 Vscript p964 asg950 g21 ((I2013 I2 I8 I12 I28 I40 I4 I39 I0 tp965 (dp966 tp967 Rp968 sg955 g968 sg956 Vmouseover link macro p969 sbsa(dp970 g12 I00 sg13 (lp971 F297.5 aF16.25 asg15 (itiddlywiki Tiddler p972 (dp973 S'text' p974 V<> \u000a \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<>I miss //Marathon//. Or rather, I miss the Bungie that created it. They were //literary//, unafraid to create fractured, fragmented narratives full of uncertain histories and the epistolary detritus of its digital demigods. \u000a \u000a"Rampancy" is a great term. It's useful to the lexicon of machine intelligence, and more specific than just "insane". They made it up just for the game. When was the last time you remember a //videogame// neologizing? Games are so terribly full of conceptual nouns given capital letters and assumed to be Important. \u000a \u000aThe Cortana Letters that presaged //Halo//'s release were so much better than the Cortana in the final game. //She// was so much better. Disdainful, arrogant, scheming, ambitious, but still self-controlled. Still //mortal//. SHODAN, but not quite insane. (Yet.) \u000a \u000aWe caught a glimpse of the old Bungie in //Halo 3//, with the (well-)hidden terminals of Mendicant Bias. And in those brief glimpses, I saw more scale and grandeur than any cutscene in the whole of the series. \u000a \u000aFor all the bluster and glory and high-priced voices of the modern age of gaming, I miss the //words//. \u000a p975 sS'tags' p976 (lp977 sS'created' p978 g21 ((I2013 I2 I8 I21 I20 I58 I4 I39 I0 tp979 (dp980 tp981 Rp982 sS'modified' p983 g982 sS'title' p984 VMarathon p985 sbsa(dp986 g12 I00 sg13 (lp987 F297.08333333333331 aF293.75 asg15 (itiddlywiki Tiddler p988 (dp989 g974 V version.extensions['timedreplaceMacro'] = {major:1, minor:0, revision:0}; \u000a macros['timedreplace'] = { \u000a handler: function (g, e, f, b) { \u000a function tagcontents(starttag, endtag, k) { \u000a var a = b.source.slice(k); \u000a var l = 0; \u000a var c = ""; \u000a for(var i = 0; i < a.length; i++) { \u000a var w = endtag.length; \u000a if(a.substr(i, w) == endtag) { \u000a if(l == 0) { \u000a b.nextMatch = k + i + w; \u000a return c; \u000a } \u000a else { \u000a l--; \u000a c += a.charAt(i); \u000a } \u000a } \u000a else { \u000a if(a.substr(i, starttag.length) == starttag) { \u000a l++; \u000a } \u000a c += a.charAt(i); \u000a } \u000a } \u000a return ""; \u000a } \u000a var tr="<>', b.matchStart) + 2; \u000a var c = tagcontents(tr, rw, k); \u000a var d = tagcontents((c ? rw : tr), "<>", c ? b.nextMatch : k); \u000a var h = null; \u000a if(c) { \u000a h = insertElement(g, "span", null, "timedreplacement1"); \u000a new Wikifier(h,c); \u000a } \u000a if(d) { \u000a var m = insertElement(g, "span", null, "timedreplacement2", d); \u000a m.style.display = "none"; \u000a setTimeout(function() { \u000a if (m) { \u000a fade(h, { fade: "out" }); \u000a h.style.display = "none"; \u000a if (h && h.parentNode) h.parentNode.removeChild(h); \u000a var t = m.firstChild ? m.firstChild.nodeValue : ""; \u000a removeChildren(m); \u000a new Wikifier(m,t); \u000a m.style.display = "inline"; \u000a fade(m, { fade: "in" }); \u000a } \u000a },(parseInt(f[0]) || 0)*500); \u000a } \u000a else { \u000a throwError(g, "can't find matching endtimedreplace"); \u000a return; \u000a } \u000a } \u000a } \u000a macros['endtimedreplace']={handler: function () {} } \u000a macros['replacewith']={handler: function () {} } p990 sg976 (lp991 Vscript p992 asg978 g21 ((I2013 I2 I8 I22 I49 I41 I4 I39 I0 tp993 (dp994 tp995 Rp996 sg983 g996 sg984 Vtimed replace p997 sbsa(dp998 g12 I00 sg13 (lp999 F719.16666666666697 aF1920.4166666666661 asg15 (itiddlywiki Tiddler p1000 (dp1001 S'text' p1002 V<> \u000a \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<> \u000a<>I played a lot of //Oregon Trail// as a kid. \u000a \u000aIt was a roguelike before //Rogue//. It was a game of preparation and resource management and shitty luck and burying your loved ones along the way. \u000a \u000aIt was also a virtualized little piece of <>our<>my<> history. Swap some names and places around, and it could stand for the [[Mormon Trail|http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mormon_trail]] instead. I'd play with the spectre of [[Missouri Executive Order 44|http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Missouri_Executive_Order_44]] hanging over everything; with the example of the [[Willie and Martin handcart companies|http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mormon_handcart_pioneers#1856:_Willie_and_Martin_handcart_companies]]' disasters continually fresh in my mind; with the sense of persecution <>we are<>Mormons are<> taught with each successive generation. \u000a \u000aIt transformed into a game of desperate flight, of forced emigration, of throwing oneself into the wild on the hope that somewhere, //anywhere// would be better than here. My little digital family never //wanted// to leave -- they //had// to. \u000a \u000a[[Back.|FTL]] p1003 sS'tags' p1004 (lp1005 sS'created' p1006 g21 ((I2013 I2 I9 I14 I0 I44 I5 I40 I0 tp1007 (dp1008 tp1009 Rp1010 sS'modified' p1011 g1010 sS'title' p1012 VOregon Trail p1013 sbsa(dp1014 g12 I00 sg13 (lp1015 F558.75 aF2423.75 asg15 (itiddlywiki Tiddler p1016 (dp1017 S'text' p1018 V<>I love how //Dark Souls// approaches space and skill, but more so because the two are intertwined. \u000a \u000aAll the repetitions of an area, before one has mastered the enemies therein, allow the space itself to soak into memory. Go here, trigger this enemy first, lure out that, block, parry, thrust. \u000a \u000aIt's a design technique almost as old as videogames, but gains more potency in //Dark Souls//' 3D Metroidvania model. The space is multiply-connected, almost continuous, and much of its gating is based on //skill// rather than items (and //none// of it leveling). Areas can be tackled in whatever order the foolhardy or experienced care to attempt. Shortcuts can be opened, later areas taken on early or bypassed almost entirely. \u000a \u000aNavigating the space requires skill and attention both. And because so many areas are visited so many times, the structure of the world becomes as instinctual as the combat within it. \u000a \u000aIt starts to feel like home. \u000a \u000a[[Fly.|Undead Parish]] p1019 sS'tags' p1020 (lp1021 sS'created' p1022 g21 ((I2013 I2 I10 I19 I17 I3 I6 I41 I0 tp1023 (dp1024 tp1025 Rp1026 sS'modified' p1027 g1026 sS'title' p1028 VAnor Londo p1029 sbsa(dp1030 g12 I00 sg13 (lp1031 F1200.0000000000005 aF28.333333333333336 asg15 (itiddlywiki Tiddler p1032 (dp1033 S'text' p1034 VIt is a game about possibilities. About players. About conversations. \u000a<><> \u000aThe text of the game is a shifting kaleidoscope, twisting and fragmenting in response to the avalanche of differences. It reacts to so much -- occasionally in large ways, but mostly in small. Acknowledgements. Variants. Offshoots. Corners and crevices. To do more would strain the most titanic of budgets. But still, it is impossible to describe without a metric ton of if/thens. It is the [[wavefunction|Cause and Effect]] made tangible. \u000a \u000aIt does little more than others of its genre in the creation of its players' avatars; in its binary and systematic measurement of morality; in the long-standard process of saving the world; in catering to its players' desires for fantasy, power or otherwise. But it gives them a //voice// to go with their constructed faces. And over three games it gives them //history//. It bridges that space between player and avatar in a way so few games do. "My Shepard..." players say, more often than not, instead of "I...". \u000a \u000aThe game continually asks the player to choose, to prefer, to express. To pick sides. To declare loyalties and intentions. To decide who will live and [[who will die|Permadeath]]. "What kind of a world do you live in?", it asks. "What kind of a world do you //want// to?" We answer, and the text responds in turn. It is a discussion of what //can// be, and what //[[should|Mass Effect 3]]//. p1035 sS'tags' p1036 (lp1037 sS'created' p1038 g21 ((I2013 I2 I11 I21 I21 I20 I0 I42 I0 tp1039 (dp1040 tp1041 Rp1042 sS'modified' p1043 g1042 sS'title' p1044 VParagon p1045 sbsa(dp1046 g12 I00 sg13 (lp1047 F1439.9999999999991 aF28.333333333333332 asg15 (itiddlywiki Tiddler p1048 (dp1049 g1034 VIt ended...ignominiously.<> \u000a \u000aIts possibilities forcibly converged. Its players facelessly aggregated. Its conversation interrupted by an answer to a question that wasn't asked. \u000a \u000aIt forgot what it was about. \u000a \u000aA game about choices reduced their multitude to a crass sum. A game about players left them mute and impotent. A game about conversations asked which flavor of atrocity was most appealing. And its creators -- the gods who shaped this world we passed through -- decided that we must be shepherded towards salvation after all. \u000a \u000aLucifer had been right all along. \u000a \u000a"Disappointment" is not quite the right [[word|Mass Effect 3]]. p1050 sg1036 (lp1051 sg1038 g21 ((I2013 I2 I11 I21 I21 I45 I0 I42 I0 tp1052 (dp1053 tp1054 Rp1055 sg1043 g1055 sg1044 VRenegade p1056 sbsa(dp1057 g12 I00 sg13 (lp1058 F156.66666666666666 aF150.00000000000003 asg15 (itiddlywiki Tiddler p1059 (dp1060 S'text' p1061 Vmacros['glowlink']={ \u000a handler: function(a, b, c) { \u000a var l=Wikifier.createInternalLink(a,c[1]); \u000a l.className = c[2]; \u000a insertText(l, c[0]); \u000a } \u000a}; p1062 sS'tags' p1063 (lp1064 Vscript p1065 asS'created' p1066 g21 ((I2013 I2 I16 I19 I35 I9 I5 I47 I0 tp1067 (dp1068 tp1069 Rp1070 sS'modified' p1071 g1070 sS'title' p1072 Vglowlink macro p1073 sbsasS'scale' p1074 F0.60000000000000009 ss.