Monday, January 17, 2022

Video game world


I have been interested in video games for as long as they have existed, though I did take a twenty year break from them to live life and wait for them to get good during the last decades of the 20th Century. But as interested as I have been in games, I have never felt my interest aligned properly with anyone else's. Nearly all of my friends and acquaintances have had no interest in them, and the large online communities' traditional takes on games never seemed to reflect my own very well.

I recognize the importance of gameplay and storyline in games, and these are regularly the thing that even makes games playable, or financially viable for that matter. But over time I have come to understand myself as more of a tourist in these games, and increasingly I relate to these exhaustively, sometimes beautifully developed gameworlds as museums as much as I relate to them as playgrounds.

I have been taking a lot of pictures lately inside of games. And if this were a different sort of blog, or I were in a different frame of mind, I might show you some of these pictures just to demonstrate the artistry of these elaborately and expensively constructed worlds. Instead, as is my wont, I have been mashing pictures of different worlds together, trying to create some kinds of suggestive expressions rather than focusing specifically on documenting the work of others (though there is that).

There are quite a few pictures here today, and though a few may look to be made whole cloth out of a single video game image, none of them are. I am working with games involving Viking era Norway, Marvel Universe alien worlds, a fantasy world in apocalyptic breakdown, and a build-your-own-city in a simple, contained universe. I have also thrown in images from picture books, no doubt throwing more confusion on it all. And then on top of all that I have perhaps gone a little too far to the extreme with filters and editing, but I'll leave that to you to decide.

And so this is today's homage, or theft, or reinterpretation:


  1. So that's what games look like now! My experience with games started when I worked for Control Data starting in 1978. These games were strictly recreational, no work-related. Their graphics were as elaborate as one could get with characters based on 4x8 pixel cells. They were, of course, monochrome: orange on black.
    I played solitaire and mah-jong. I was totally hooked on Scrabble, for which I had opponents across the dialing up to a mainframe, of course. There were several multi-player games, like Empire, Moria, Robotwar, Delphi, Dogfight. I didn't participate in these. My favorite was Drygulch, in which there were 60 levels of mines to explore, things to buy at the general store, ore to be mined and sold to the assayer. It ran in "real time" based on something like 10 minutes in the game equal to a day of clock time. You could even run for office at certain times. I was once elected Mine Inspector and had the power to traverse all 60 levels, rescuing anyone who had been trapped by a mine collapse. I wasted a LOT of time on that.
    Nowadays I play Words with Friends and a handful of solitaire games.

    1. Thank you for your interesting stories of early gaming. I remember a friend who had a computer around when you started with Control Data. We played a sort of interplanetary world building game, and when one attacked another planet we'd have to do something else for several hours while the computer processed it all! Now if I have to wait more than a few seconds for a fully realized world (see above pictures, or tomorrow's post) to be rendered in it's almost not worth the trouble!



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