I’ve had this sentence in my head for a little while now, it’s kind of facile and will require an explanation to even make sense — but since I’m just recuperating from a big project and have nothing else going on, I’m just going to write it anyway. Here goes.
The soundtrack to Botanicula is what happens when Brian Eno and the Polyphonic Spree has a baby, and that baby is raised by bees.
Let’s talk a little about that.
Recently, I spent a not insignificant time not playing a video game. Not that I washed the dishes or chopped down a tree or earned a salary or did any of the other boring activities that counts as not playing video games, I actively and with great purpose sat down to not play a video game.
Let me explain.
I wrote this piece while I was working on thesis project in theoretical physics, as a way to wrap my mind around supersymmetry. Hopefully, it is written in a way that is understandable to most readers.
A few years ago, in a class on modern physics, I listened to an astronomer complain about his colleagues. He probably talked about a lot more but since the man was boring beyond belief I don’t remember anything from the hour-long lecture, apart from the skepticism in his eyes when talking about the people he worked with. You see, he had been forced to start collaborating with particle physicists, and particle physicists have a weird way of doing things that, especially to an outside observer, seems to consist of assuming that what they consider to be the “prettiest” option is the correct one. Infuriatingly, nature almost always agrees with them; “it seems to have worked out OK for them before”, in the words of my boring astronomy professor.
“Arkham Horror” was one of the flag bearers for the wave of cooperative board games. It is a beast of a game that covers a good five hours of time and two well-sized tables of space, only made bigger by countless expansions drowning it in bizarre amounts of cards and markers, a system overload covering up a mechanic that boils down to Whack-a-Mole with Shoggoths.
Like a cubic meter of cotton candy next to a sturdy vegetarian chili, you can often find “Arkham Horror” right next to masterpieces like Agricola or Ticket to Ride. I despiseit, but it is nevertheless surprisingly popular, spawning a multitude of expansions that have sold very well for Fantasy Flight.
Ladies and gentlemen: allow me to present Robert Florence:
This link goes to an article by Joss Widdowson, a photographer that has taken on the role as a wartime photojournalist in the game DayZ, an open world zombie mod for Arma2. It is fascinating stuff in and of itself, but also represents the willingness for people to take on specific roles within that community, as both the subject matters and the writer himself has done.
Let’s spin a yarn from early 2010, the heady days when pre-alpha Minecraft was little more than a pacifistic Infiniminer-clone, a big, 3D, multiplayer MSPaint. When left-clicking placed blocks and right-clicking removed them. No restrictions, no mining for resources, no monsters. Nothing between you and your creation except inspiration, hard work and time.
Walking through an online-server in those days was a crazy thing. Untethered creativity and rampant griefing (intentional damage) meant servers quickly developed into messes of colorful blocks, like joyous, three dimensional Jackson Pollock paintings.