Monday, September 18, 2023

The struggle to make things better


I like computer games. A new one is coming out in the next month where one can build cities. It is called Cities Skyline 2. This is the premier city-builder game. It looks pretty amazing. The gameplay is carefully constructed, and it will provide hundreds of hours of entertainment for thousands of people. Using almost all the tools and features of modern cities, one constructs a working city with plumbing, electricity, zoning, waste management, commerce, housing, and transportation.

But I probably won't be playing it. 

It doesn't appear that a person can make canals in it! So what, I ask you, is the point?

In fact, from what I can tell when a person starts a new city in the game they start with one, basic thing: A road connection.


My disappointment is immeasurable.

I have been playing a great deal of a sprawling, clever, and character driven role playing computer game called Baldur's Gate 3. It's pretty great. 

Though it takes place in a kind of crazy Medievalist fantasy realm full of chaos and danger, I can't resist pointing out: 

It doesn't have any cars.

Of course the other game I'm playing, if it can be called that, and it probably shouldn't, is the one where I take pictures of my neighborhood and then obsessively alter them into what I'd like my city to be. A land of tree lined canals, cafes, shops, trains, midrise apartments, rowhouses, gondolas, cable cars, and of course, cats.

This is a lot to pack into pictures of late summer alleyways in the wastefully zoned, sleepy neighborhoods of Saint Minneapolis! So I have most recently found myself going back into the first pictures I showed you, those of dream canals in Saint Minneapolis, and working on them some more. I am trying to make them into not just pretty visions but also places that actually make sense in terms of getting around. I seek pictures that maybe one can imagine oneself walking in and exploring. 

As in most things, the improvements get more and more minute the more I make of them. But it's hard to stop.

Also, it's hard to say what is even left of our original pictures at this point, maybe the cement, which is hard to shake with my photoshop tools, the DNA of the construction and color, and our particular regional foliage.

Here's where we are now: 

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