Turn depression into anger.

pg6-NOW-1985

Depressed.

I spent most of today working on 1985. It felt stupid, because it is totally stupid – whatever achievements took place today were all derivative. Yeah sure I have a lot of vinyl reissues that need fixing up and mastering and packaging and then once they come out a whole bunch of people will say how happy they are that they can have something that has already popped out the other side of any risk. Have some money!

Of course that’s normal. Most successful artists do the same thing over and over again. Replicate the first work that got them notice. The same installation idea they had 20 years ago dragging its arse from gallery to gallery. How the hell do they ever reconcile this with their creative spirit? I’m not waving my finger here, I’m asking O great artists, tell me how you avoid feeling that dead, useless, depressing choke of stale air and limp will?

Money! And Applause! and invitations to the Red Queen’s ball! All the shit you don’t get when you’re trying to make real progress. I managed to play it right when getting the HH game up at Adelaide. Play old music, get new game. That was like burning wet leaves but hey, it was a solid attempt.

And-one-must-acknowledge-one’s-legacy-and-ensure-it-is-preserved-as-part-of-the-official-history.

(There are journalists at the virtual door! They want to talk about 1985. Do I still have my 1985 studio set up? Maybe I could dig up some dead band members to join in the chat?)

000039f9_medium

L-R: Deering, Knuckey, Racic, Jones, Bradbury, Ellard.

At my work we’re getting all fussed up about creative coding and giant dome shaped TVs – on one side that’s all just Pyramids for Pharaohs, but on the other side there’s still a lot to do in that realm to make an audience cry or smile. Not that I would ever be allowed to besmirch any of that tasty kit – unless of course it was something I did in 1985.

Got to clear my head. Get all this memento mori out the door and then get back to something risky. As far as the world is concerned that’ll be a return to failure but it is a sure thing that when no one cares you are forced to care enough for the whole world.

It’s in the game realm. That’s where the action is. I don’t know how and I don’t know where exactly, but that’s where the transgressions take place.

[H.H] More paintings of demented rabbits

There’s plenty of places where you can find Internet pictures of demented rabbits. But how about paintings based on Internet pictures of demented rabbits?

Detail

Easter was odd this year. I am sad to admit I did not paint these with brushes, it’s all done by computer. But I have quite a gallery for the game underway.

PS: sevcom.com has had the same bookmark thumbnail for 15 years. I do try to warn you…

Ghostly Game Carts

If you were a child in the 1990s you already know all about this. Me, I’m catching up with a whole branch of hauntology that has passed me by – too old or young or something.

The fable goes like this:

  • There is an old man or woman who is getting rid of junk. Or a shop closing down. Very Twilight Zone episode set up.
  • The protagonist finds a game cartridge, which is in some way a prototype or worn in a unique way. The title is written on the case by hand. Nevertheless the game itself is rare and precious. What a bargain!
  • For some reason the Nintendo 64 seems to be the focus of these stories, this must be a folk tale of a certain time period in the USA.
  • The protagonist plays the game. They have played it before, and notice that there are odd changes to the game play. The game is incomplete or it is hacked. There’s a lot of glitching and impossible physics.
  • As they play, there is an increasingly sinister retelling of the game narrative. The story becomes increasingly menacing and directed at the player in the moment.

Around this point the story usually goes into a bad version of The Ring and ghosts jump out of the console ruining the suspense. The best known variant of this called Ben Drowned is a classic example – starts weird and wonderful, descends into shit rapidly. It’s hard to write good fiction (particularly when your target audience is 4chan).

I’m really interested in the point where the player has played the game before and notices things that are just different. The forbidden book story (for example in The Picture of Dorian Grey) involves hidden contents which must remain unknown. The forbidden video story, likewise you are not to see the contents, that is a transgression. I like the ghost cartridge better because the player is already familiar with the world and surprised by changes to the constructed reality.

These ghosts are ‘real’.

At least two processes are at work in a game, the models and the animation. When they fall out of line there’s a sharp shock – the character should be animated by its internal components, ‘mind’ being an activity of the brain and all that – instead it is torn about by the unseen. And the unseen is both in control and out of control. It can change the game world in any way, but each change tears the game reality apart.

I wish football was really like this

Koji Morimoto’s short film Beyond makes a good stab at this kind of world twisting, succeeding in being one of the few parts of The Matrix projects which had a personality and human interest. But it’s too polite – the distortions that happen in games are uncanny and threatening while hilarious.

And film isn’t yet a medium where you’d be able to watch it again and see the plot bend into an altered state. Game media is the only form that can do this (include interactive fiction in ‘game’) and that could be the saving virtue of it.

There is such joyous potential in this kind of storytelling. Casablanca with a glitch where the actors fall out of sync, walking through invisible doors from the last scene and announcing their lines to an empty corner. I’d like to see that more than Casablanca as it is. You could do it by painstakingly masking each onto their own layer and then time stretching them. It would be great… but still a game engine is going to be a better option soon enough. Rip the plot into fragments, drag the actors through solid walls – you’re testing the limits of reality the way that Vertov did back with Man With A Movie Camera.

SAM aaggaaiinn it yalp

I almost admire World Of Warcraft for the first time ever, now that I learn of uncanny goings on that are partly pranks by the programmers (the mysterious “Goldshire Children”) and places that the programmers have abandoned, and remain hidden in the world, useless and foreboding until somebody breaks in via an impossible  act.

From these falsehoods, real ghosts shall arise!

LikLik Retpela Hat

Here it is. My contribution to the Gay And Lesbian Mardi Gras. Or as the mouth breathing scum that rejoice in the title ‘common people’ call it: “The Mardi Gras” with all that pervert stuff taken out. Oh they will be there – the radio has been pumping ‘I Will Survive” all week. Every straight guy within a km of Oxford Street is lisping and mincing but will be back to bashing pooftas and Muslims next week. Woo! Woo!

If I had a float, it would have Superintendent Mike Thomas on it. I don’t know what he looked like but he’d be the main attraction. I reckon. I think he was the Phantom.

Or Condoman, who as a near brother of the Phantom did all he could to save the indigenous population from AIDS. Back when we had Labor government. Don’t get me started, I can usually hold my inner Bolshie in check but the mouth breathers have been particularly bad recently.

Perhaps why Pauline Pantsdown is doing a show this weekend. Whenever I feel a bit queasy about going out and doing more shows I thank god that unlike Simon at least I don’t have to put back on the greasepaint. But it’s started to slide again and somebody has to …

INTERMISSION – Some drunk English dolly bird has fallen out of the Cricketers Arms into in my doorway babbling glottal stops on her smart phone like a parody of every UK Washed Up Raver Moved To The Colonies – “nah mate, it’s called Dub Side Of The Moon, Geddit? Drum And Bass! Wicked! Australians GO OFF this Mardi Gras mate not like back home of course what time is it there yeah got a job here cold calling gonna go to Thailand next” etc. etc.

If we are going to put people “on the boats and send them back” like the mouth breathers want can we start with this lot thanks. At least get out of my fucking doorway thank you. There, peace again.

Anyway. Simon teaches sound production at KUNST KAMP and is rightly known as one of the few locals to raise a ruckus over the evil racist shit that was going on at the time. He was rewarded with some popularity which didn’t save him from a bollocking at the same Homebake festival at which we performed in 1998. Of course the kids think something is hilarious, but even more hilarious is to beat up the person who did it. Then forget.

(sips his Victory Gin). No hope in the Proles.

This is getting maudlin. We need a joke. So the young bohemians are in need of a model again. Seems that Olde Darlinghurst is back in style, and they have discovered Madeleine Preston’s photo archive from the 1980’s. I enjoy this because I was there, but I can’t imagine why anyone else would. For example, my old drum machine:

Will the youth of today set fire to theirs so it looks chic toasted? Anyway the joke is a fashion glossy is going to be covering that extremely chic band Severed Heads and wondered if I had a bigger copy of:

Such style! Such Poise! And some minimal synth! He looks like he just realised he needs to go to the toilet and the synthesiser is too heavy to lift. The reality is it’s 1984 and I think we’re doing something for City Slab Horror. The scary thing is half the people I recognise in this photo archive are already dead.

I quite like this one:

The party is really swinging! On the floor is Bradbury and Cornaga probably arguing about something. On the bed please admire my taste in red socks and cheap trousers. Only the best from the local opportunity shop! Obviously rapt in conversation and cheap cask wine is the divine Chlorine Presley Smith who was the woman who tolerated me at the time. This is what people did before the Internet folks! Glower at each other.

(sips his Victory Gin.)

Detecting ghosts using Picasa

The family home having been put on the market all the children have taken their burden of the artefacts that filled our parents’ lives. As the parents were in competition with the British Museum to pillage the planet for statues, carvings, parts of UFOs and weapons of mass destruction, I haven’t been able to fit much share in my little house. What I have taken on is the media including photographs that go back to the late 1800’s. I have catalogued and scanned about 4,200 so far. I think there are a few thousand more to go.

Each photo is scanned and added into Picasa, where I add tags and comments that e.g. ‘the baby in this shot went on to World War One and then must have survived because he’s the fat man holding another baby sometime later’. I turned on face recognition which was annoying at the start, but soon proved useful when it recognised Uncle Something Or Other over the decades. What I didn’t expect was that Picasa is determined to find every person in the shot no matter how bleary and distant they may be. I was deleting them when I noticed that Picasa was finding ghosts.

Here’s a typical Picasa face:

Nothing weird going on here. Ancient Ellard relative with beer.

Here Picasa insists that a face is somewhat to the left of what you or I might expect. But look again.

I am aged 8 and sitting on a couch. Picasa is much more interested in whatever is looking in the window. I can’t see it but then again Google is better at searching.

Quite typically our first real ghost is holding a ghostly beer. At least that’s what it looks like to me.

It’s the Invisible Man!

It’s not easy being green. That’s probably why he looks so down.

Keep in mind that all these showed up with face detection set to high confidence / low errors. I’m going to back up the database and then do another search with lower confidence – that’s going to really flush out all these spirits!

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The Ghost of James Dibble

James Dibble has died.

If you are Australian and are not wearing black, you are not an Australian. If you are English then you should, because we’ll get upset when YOUR queen dies. Yanks – I guess the comparison is Edward Murrow, although it must be said Murrow was the greater man who took on demons and vanquished them.

Dibble is symbolic of … well of course whatever you want to him to be … but for me symbolic of the old colonial/socialist hybrid that was Australia, that ran on the well meaning corruption and crisp speaking we inherited from the United Kingdom. The elite were running the show, the workers had jobs, the indigenous people were tucked away out of sight, and broadcast was a signal that came from on high, holding it all together. The opposite of blogs like this.

Yet Dibble was one of the freaks, the stirrers. He was simultaneously the Voice of Control and out of control. He’d get in all kinds of escapades and could be found hanging out with the hippies and the punks in the right eras. That was part of the old system too. The ABC was an enlightened despot, as with the BBC, but with that tropical fever of the colonial administration.

In the 90’s Dibble got into computers and Internet. He probably was that 15 year old girl you thought you were chatting up on ICQ.

Richard Morecroft was like the ‘new doctor’, you know, when you grudgingly accept a younger reincarnated Time Lord and only realise how much you’d got used to him when he finally gets the shaft. Morecroft only lasted 20 years …

Must have been the flying fox he kept hidden under the news desk.

Now here’s a bit of weird shit. So I am reading about Dibble. Any cultured person would be, no doubt you already have. The odd thing is that a short while ago, out of the blue, I had a compulsion to read about Dibble. In times past we’d question what was meant by ‘a short while ago’ and did I really do so or is this just confabulation?

But browsers have memories too. On the 7th Dec at 9.23pm for some reason I did a search for ‘James Dibble’ and read his bio on Wikipedia. About a newsreader that last appeared in 1983 and I don’t think I had thought about him in quite a long time. Why?

Possibilities:

  • I am psychic about long retired television news readers. No.
  • He made a final mental broadcast from his death bed for all true viewers. Like it, but no.
  • I had posted on YouTube a cut up of the new ABC news theme I did in 2002 and it reminded me about the old news intro and consequentially James Dibble. Then he dies days later.

Sadly it’s number three. Jung would be well pleased, as it reinforces his ideas on synchronicity. As would Fort. But no psychic prowess required. Damn.

Hi Tom,

I may have posted this to you before, or to one of the Twister forums. Before you write me off as another Twister Loon, please check this link (one of Dibble’s ramblings/narrations with Russell Guy).

http://www.rumble.net/psychedelicatessen/

I’m sure you have a copy – but just in case it is lost in the archives….

Cheers

Lyle (Rhizomic)

How to write real ghost stories

Space Capsule calling Planet Earth! Retired Astronaut Vincent Grant reporting for duty! Nope, wasn’t sucked into a space vortex and no Klingons round Uranus. My damn daughter gone and put me in a home, the thanks you get for fifty odd years of washing nappies. When she was small I used to take the kids riding in the Studebaker down to the tip, and I’d say ‘Now Millie, you stop biting your mother or I am going to leave you here on this tip.’ Sure enough the girl would quiet down fast but damn her when she said she was going to leave me on the tip she’s gone and done it. The Grants were always big on revenge.

Bunch of crotchety old fools in here let me tell you. I said where do I get the Internet I got writing lessons I got to keep up. Mrs Doodlewhatsit was all, ‘you got TV and you got bingo what you need Internet for that’s for kids’. The only time I get online is pizza night and that’s got be shared with Alfred Stott and his dumb ass Facebook.

So we will now learn how to write a real ghost story. You will want to do this to scare your wretched ungrateful children into line or to have something to do when you’re 3 days into lunar orbit and run out of drinking songs. Note this SUBTLE ART of DEFLECTION. You basically have to say everything backwards to the way you want the audience to take it. By making yourself sound like a complete idiot you will have everyone convinced. GHOST STORY JUJITSU! I will give you the MASTER STEPS.

STEP ONE: Always start by saying of course you don’t believe in ghosts and hauntings and all that shoot. Because the more you say you don’t believe in it the more they will believe everything you say. “Of course ghosts are a load of crap” immediately gets the response ‘Yeah? Maybe they ain’t!’ The audience wants to argue and this is the first thing they latch on to.

STEP TWO: Now you have to throw in some Essence Of Humble Times. This was back when you were ‘ a poor student living on noodles’. Or you ‘were stuck without a job living with your crazy religious parents’ or ‘had this job in a dingy office’. Never ever place the story when you were running the local Wells Fargo and sniffing coke off a hooker’s tits. People are suckers for hard luck stories and somehow being a bum makes you more attuned to the spirit realm. Or maybe rich people don’t get haunted, I wouldn’t know.

STEP TWO and a BIT: If you do go for the student/hippy/wacko angle you should throw in some weed or booze or whatever kids do these days, Quaaludes? But you always got to say that you didn’t notice any effects. Like ‘I was up to my fifth bowl of Quaaludes but they hadn’t kicked in at all’.

STEP THREE: So the place you’re at has a really bad reputation but you don’t think much of it. Like ‘people said that my front room was where 3000 Indian braves were squashed by a giant alien skull but the rent was pretty cheap so I took it.’ Always make the bad stuff sound real bad and your nonchalance real flippant. Because then they think that you deserve what comes next!

STEP FOUR: Keep it mundane! Whatever you were doing that night has to be really dull. Like slopping out the pig pen or arranging the fork drawer so the forks are all lined up. No one ever has ghosts when they’re disco bumper bowling.

STEP FOUR and a BIT: This is where you need a pardner. Lots of ways to play this – a younger brother works great, some people use the dog but whoever it is they have to be Robin to your Batman. You get to excuse all kinds of stupid moves in convincing the pardner that there’s no such things as ghosts. Fool me once fool you twice or fool me again or whatever young Bush said.

STEP FIVE: Now something’s definitely not right but you are going to shrug it off. Sure, some problem with the aircon makes it below zero which is why the cat is now hoisting itself up the wall backwards speaking Latin and I reckon it’s the wind that is making those cupboard doors slam in Morse code U R  G O I N G  2  D I E. Same old.

STEP SIX: Here’s where your pardner is going to suggest something sensible like let’s get the hell out or don’t you go wading into the dark pit where the screaming is from. Because then you have your excuse to go do exactly that dumb ass thing just to show them up.

STEP SIX and a BIT: Sometimes you can use the little brother wandering off as the excuse. Or sometime you think you hear him calling from down the Hall Of Doom, when really he’s still straightening those forks.

STEP SEVEN: All systems nominal, we have ignition! You can drop in pretty much anything now, although creepy little girls in period clothing has served well for the last couple of centuries and damned if people won’t be seeing creepy little girls on Mars in the year 3000. Apart from that bitch of a daughter of mine I don’t know what it is that makes little girls the worst case scenario for floating upside down in the basement gibbering.

STEP EIGHT: Robin having already got the hell out of Dodge you are right behind him and somehow end up in the Bat car first. Get out of there!

STEP NINE: the next day everything is normal and you look stupid.

So let’s check out this writing system in action!

“Now I don’t believe in ghosts or any of that but something weird happened back when I was out of school one summer back east. I just couldn’t find a vacation job and my parents were giving me the evil eye every breakfast about it. So when I heard they needed somebody to straighten the forks at the local piggery I figured the low pay would be offset by a break from the toxins at home and maybe be enough to buy me some underpants.

There wasn’t too much competition for the position, probably due to rumors that circulated about the place. The farm was supposed to have been built over an old graveyard and pigs would occasionally go missing only to be found picked clean and buried some days later. Joe at school reckoned he’d once seen a hand come out from the muck reach up and reel in a squealing pig, trotter first, but then he also said his dead mother slept with him at night which was a better reason to avoid the guy entirely.

I got the job. One other guy was already working there called Smiley on account of his being a bit simple, an oversized kid but seemingly harmless & not much for conversation. I asked him about the graveyard and he just shrugged it off. He’d do the spoons while I was on the forks, the manager would do the knives during the day. Did I mention this was the night shift?

The night in question was extra muggy and the pigs were making a hell of a racket over something. I’d soon learned that pigs enjoy bacon as much as anyone and there was always a smaller or sicker animal being noisily worn down by the pack. Smiley was in a foul mood and kept bending the spoons. My forks were tangling around each other for no reason and it was taking all my concentration to keep the prongs on the straight and narrow. The racket from outside kept on the up and up until it reached a crescendo of porcine howling and hooting around 3am.

Suddenly the noise from outside went dead quiet. Not a grunt, not a squeel – quiet like a gunshot. Once the shock wore down a little I started to feel curious. Something was going on in the yard and even while real scared I had to know. Grabbing one of the bigger forks I started out to the back door.

No! You no go!’, howled Smiley, ‘Under yard bad pigs! Pigs coming!’

Somehow the warning made me more curious to find out what was going down. Plus I figured it was my job to reassure Smiley that everything was going to be just fine.

‘Just fine’, I murmured.

There was no light in the yard – I guess I’d never been out this way at night. I stumbled softly to where I knew the gate would be, rolling the fork along the wire for sonar. Nothing stirred, no sound. What on earth was making the pigs that quiet? Maybe I could reach in and tap one, see what happened. Right then I heard the front door slam shut. Smiley had exited the scene, at speed. Coward I thought.

Through the gate and tiptoeing gingerly through the yard, I kept sweeping my boot to touch a pig. But the slush kept on further than I seemed to remember – or just deserted? As my eyes adapted I could catch a soft pink glow coming from up ahead, at ground level. What would you do? I went towards it.

It – was a ditch – no, a hole – straight edged – a big hole – light was coming up out of the ground – pink light – a kind of haze and – there were the pigs. Lined up. Lined up in rows. Making…

Stairs.

Damn Alfred Stott wants his Facebook now I’ll have to finish this next time.

Viva Sonyland!

Here’s a huge bag full of discarded Betamax videotapes. Yay! Let’s see what crazy stuff we can find here.

This looks particularly good:

best

The best or nothing. I want the best. Let’s get the tape out and see what this is…

viva

VIVA SONYLAND! Betamax Demonstration Tape. Two parts here – Inside Betamax and Visiting Sonyland. Each of these sounds more exciting than the other… quick let’s rewind the tape and watch it.

First up a lot of tape rolling and noise. This is really messed up, but eventually we get this guy at a desk.

sonyland1

The soundtrack is all screwed up, the HiFi is turning off and on and I can only get bits. He sounds Dutch or German and really angry about something. This is the Inside Betamax section? Don’t you fools see – Betamax is the superior format. It’s U loading and …

sonyland2

AAAAAAAEEEEEEE. If this is Sonyland I think I am going VHS. What the fuck? This sat on screen for about 20-30 seconds while the German kept babbling. The picture rolled for a while and then it was still sitting there. I was thinking maybe there would be a title but no, just this and the guy yelling.

sonyland3

Probably the same guy kept opening and closing the jaw on this skull. Open. Close. Open. Close. Maybe he was making it say ‘bottle of beer, bottle of beer’, but there was almost nothing on the soundtrack except for thumping sounds that didn’t seem to have anything to do with the skull. That thing doesn’t look human either, the cranium is flat.

sonyland4

No it’s some other guy in a lab coat. He’s just holding the skull up to the camera, don’t think he’s saying anything. The thumping sound just keeps happening, I think it’s music. Everybody put on your lab coat and pick out your weird shit flat headed skull partner for the next stand-still-looking-at-the-camera.

sonyland5

Great, a staring competition between the guy in the lab coat and somebody that looks like they have been flayed alive. I think the latter is winning. This shot holds for way too long… they are staring at each other and you’re staring at them and you’ll be the first to blink. Return of the first guy on the sound track yelling something that sounds like the titles of Magma records. Seriously. It’s not German it’s something gutteral.

sonyland6

This face sits on screen and the eye gets inserted into the eye socket from behind. Obviously people in Sonyland are hollow and and have other people that come and insert their eyes when they go out to parties. What would you like? I’ll have a glass of eye thanks!

The tape was really chewed up for while after this, so I fast forwarded and then hit play again. This thing lifts its head and looks at you. It looks like a potato.

sonyland9

This is not getting any better. I think I’ll eject this one.

A week after you watch this tape you will buy a Betamax recorder and make an even worse copy to hand on…

Computer games are not movies. Get over it.

There. Got your attention.

fa-616-red-riding-hood-by-wicox-smith-jessie

What's eating you?

Was rummaging around for treatments of the Little Red Riding Hood story. Last year I got the Kunstlers to read Riding Hood and try to develop plot points, treatment, character outlines and script. Good for them to see how such a simple story still takes sweat to make into a shootable form. So this time I thought I’d give them a basket full of treatments to look at, everything from The Company Of Wolves to this. You know, expand their minds a bit.

And this… in rummage, stumbled across The Path, a recently released game(?) by Tale of Tales in Belgium. The last known thing by these people was The Endless Forest, an online community where players are represented by deer with human faces. That don’t do much. (I recall the Something Awful goon squad attempting to hijack this site and finding the only thing the deer did that was remotely amusing was moo. Hence a mooing macro and much kicking off of antisocial gangs of bleating deer).

The Path is more directed. We have not one but six riding hoods, all dollied up and ready to go get wolfed. Although they’re supposedly sisters at range of ages and personalities each one is wrapped up in some variation of red and black kinky suit and ‘sex me’ boots, a household of over mascaraed emo teenagers with hard synchronised menstrual cycles. The writers plead that the game is ‘slow’, that it’s ‘poetry’, that we should take it as ‘an experience’. All this special pleading can’t hide that the game play is 6 horny teenagers go out in the woods and get murdered. One after the other. Art Hentai.

[vimeo 4014742 nolink]

Pick one pre-teen and set her off down the path, idling along at about 1km a year. This is designed to be boring so you take a shortcut through the woods, where another mysterious girl in white can be seen doing cartwheels off in the distance. You’ll come across derelict cars, gramophones, bathtubs and each time you see one your riding hood will write some emo lyrics about it on the level of  ‘that bathtub is empty and so is my heart’. Each piece of junk evokes an image of your grandmother’s house, which you will store up for later. Eventually you’ll come across a scene where some figure will appear and inspire your riding hood’s hidden lusts. The point where they actually assault her is hidden in a bashful fade, but it’s pretty obvious that after the fade that Red is walking in some considerable pain, and is very likely dead.

I am being necessarily cruel because the majority of reviews are of the ‘this is so wonderfully new so don’t dare hurt it’ type, and I think that time is long up for the infant industry stance. THIS IS NOT NEW. Games that try not be games have been with us a long time now, like Gadget and The Residents’ Freakshow, both from 1995 when the ‘don’t hurt it’ excuse was forgiveable. Both had the same kind of wandering around and not much happening that was slightly disappointing 14 years ago & still leaves one slightly disappointed.

There are no ticking clocks or monsters to defeat. No hard puzzles will ever halt your progress. Most activities in the game are entirely optional and voluntary…

If I was to sit down and list what I wanted from an experimental game, I might write something like this. And I would probably set to making it, until the point where it started to run, at which point I’d be faced with my error. Think of ARGs where puzzles, timing and urgent activity are everything. Take that all out and what have you left? Neither fish nor fowl, less engrossing than a movie or even a good game of poker.

Chris Crawford is a curmudgeon and a stuck record. His Storytron project is stillborn. But he holds the fort about what a game is and is not – without conflict there is no game (WARNING: PDF). You might like to choose another name for this kind of thing – a toy maybe. But a toy soldier can be used in many fantasy missions, whereas The Path stolidly forces you along, from home, to rape, to haunted house. I tried to walk my corpse the other way, towards home. I was punished for breaking the rules, my Red was dumped out in the woods. That’s not even a toy.

I like a lot of things about The Path otherwise I wouldn’t bother with the critique. Example – the overlays of images when the girl is thinking of something works very well. The mood is there, the forest is brooding. I am very pleased to have bought it as an artwork. But  just what is so bad about games? It’s like cooties. Why do we have to hold this ambivalent position of  ‘oh it’s not a game but I just happen to be using a game engine’… come on. Games involve conflict. Embrace it.

At very least – we don’t need 6 riding hoods. We need one hero and a hell of a lot of Jung.