Let me tell you a story. Videogames had just entered the scene, electronic play was still a novelty, consisting of young families clustered around television screens in absolute awe and rapture. And it was into this milieu that Polybius was born.
There are many different ways to describe the highlights or fallouts of a first date, and these descriptions also work when we talk about the first few hours of the video games we play. Many grab your attention instantly and grow to a love worthy of a heavenly shout, whereas others offend so badly that the disc is sleeved within the first hour.
BioShock is not a game. Neither is Half-Life, and neither is Braid. We shouldn’t be calling things games when we aren’t playing them against people. Is this a problem? Not really.
At a pub, among friends, a wave of nausea has hit me. There is no pain as such, but rarely has the word discomfort been so appropriate. It’s loud here, all of a sudden, and everyone is standing too close. I grow warm, begin to sweat, my stomach and its assorted, associated tubes feel leaden inside me.
The essence of the phenomenon of place, regardless of whether a landscape is virtual or physical, is in the experiencing and sharing of a spatially charged environment. Such developments promote a sense of place, and the truth that we are inextricably linked by a series of complex attachments to the features of the physical world.
In thinking about contemporary gaming, I’ve identified three different kinds of PCs: There are Characters, Conveyers, and Containers. These three types are delineated by the amount of control the player exerts over the in-game avatar, and a specific relationship to the player exists for each. For Characters, we are the Audience, for Conveyers, we are Actuators, and for Containers we are the Animus.
I’ve historically viewed gamers’ nostalgia with distrust. I’m not terribly interested in excluding people, and don’t have any illusions about how “oppressed” I am. But the other day, I tried to play Baldur’s Gate again, and afterwards, I realized there might be something more to this particularly powerful form of nostalgia than simply a desire to be separate and unique.
We’re back, we’ve changed our look, and we’ve brought home some friends. I can’t tell you how excited I am to showcase some truly quality games writing here on the Geek. We have some fantastic writers lined up here, and the pitches and drafts I’ve received are all top-notch.