I’ve been reading a few random things that have really piqued my interest. The first is an e-book called, “Permanent Death”, and it’s about a guy’s experiment playing through FarCry 2 (or 1, but I’m pretty sure it’s 2) on normal difficulty, but only having one life; that is, once he dies once, it’s over. The thesis statement of this book is something I really find fascinating. It’s about how the introduction to “multiple lives”, or even checkpoints or other forms of error-correction in playing a game serves to decouple the player from his representation (ie., his avatar). While it’s virtually impossible to create a game that has absolutely no reliance on multiple lives in some way (even if dying to a game-over screen, and then loading the most recent save), the roguelikes are the only games that I can think of that religiously adhere to a one-life character play-model.
The second thing is a blog by a guy who is playing Minecraft, but in a very unconventional way. He isn’t crafting, or building, or mining. He gets up every morning, walks east as far as he can, while taking note of the landscape and whatever else he runs into, and then, at sundown, takes refuge in a makeshift shelter, creating and using only the resources absolutely necessary for survival. He writes each day as a post, and it’s interesting, even if only for its strangeness.
I like things like this, because it highlights something I really enjoy about games. Also, it makes a distinction between a facet of myself and something I don’t see in any of the people I know who play games. Most of the people I know, if they don’t exclusively play only multiplayer, competitive games, play single-player games in a much different way than I do. I play with a faint hearkening back to my childhood days of pretend. I play with the theory of “creative play” in the back of my mind, and through this form of indulgence, I am fulfilled on an artistic level, in a way. Also, it seems to help me focus my own artistic endeavors. But I think it’s largely overlooked when people think of games; especially single-player games. Games are mainly seen as ways to be competitive, ways to win, ways to accumulate and dominate, to perfect a strategy, to “hone your micro”. I despise these forms of game-playing, because I believe it is indicative of an undeveloped mind, and indicative of a mind that is imbalanced in that social sense.
So, I like these kinds of strange, idiosyncratic experiments, and sometimes wish I were truly original enough to think of something like it on my own, or at least, to attempt something like it.