Proxi

“[Proxi] is in some sense a game of self-discovery, a game where we actually uncover the hidden you – your subconscious, your inner ID, and bring it to the surface, bring it to life so you can interact with it, you can play with it, you can learn from it and it can learn about you.”

-Will Wright

It’s an interesting idea. Create a proxy for yourself that interacts in a digital world, so you can view your behaviors with some perspective. Learn a bit about yourself and use that knowledge for self-transformation.

The problem, of course, is that journeys of self-discovery tend to be painful. What happens when you discover something about yourself that you don’t like?

What most people do is try ignore it or tell themselves that what they learned is not really how they are. There’s levels of deniability. I’m not a self-absorbed asshole. I’m not usually a self-absorbed asshole. The people around me are self-absorbed assholes. My environment is making me into a self-absorbed asshole. And so forth.

The appeal of this game, at least initially, will be the same appeal of psychology. People that want to learn more about themselves. The problem is that a lot of those people are self-absorbed assholes, and since they have put themselves on a pedestal, they’ll be inclined to blame the game or game the game. They’ll change the representation to reflect their views of themselves. So, it will perpetuate the delusions of self they already have and not be an exercise of self-realization.

So, the market for the stated purpose will be very much like the market for painful self-reflection in our everyday lives, almost nil. People use games as a way to escape reality. They rarely use them to gain insight into reality.

Borogove.io

This is a free hosting service for Interactive Fiction games. You can upload games and share them with others by giving out a link to play online.

Games must be either parser system story files or HTML files. Currently supported file formats:

* HTML (including Twine and Texture)

* Z-Machine (Inform, Dialog, ZIL)

* Glulx (Inform)

.* gam, .t3 (TADS)

* HEX (Hugo)

* Å-Machine (Dialog)

* Ink JSON files

Game uploads can be public or private. Public uploads can be found in the gallery on the front page. Private uploads aren’t listed anywhere and can only be accessed through the direct link.

https://borogove.io/

Disco Elysium

“This is why I love Disco Elysium. Why I think it is one of the most shit-stained, beautiful, and hopeful games I have ever played. Throughout its entire length it never fails to give testimony to the pain and splendor of Revachol and of life. I have thought about it every day for the last year and a half because it was the game that helped me learn what to do with my own bullets.

Tell stories and never stop, even when it hurts. Reach into the holes and pull out lead. Plant seeds in the wounds, and then watch them bloom.”

-Renata Price, “A Year Later, I Still Can’t Stop Thinking About Disco Elysium.” Kotaku.com. August 30, 2021..

The article above has spoilers. The main thing you need to know is that it is highly recommended. To confirm, I checked in with Steam’s reviews. This is the top recommended review on Steam over the last 30 days by someone with over 80 hours in game:

“Masterpiece.

Best RPG I have played in the past years. It is a very strong title. Like Heavy Rain, Dishonored, SOMA, Dragon Age: Origins, Walking Dead, Last of Us, Witcher.

It is like an interactive book. With decisions. With consequences. With unique skills. Memorable characters. Story that is more deep than you can imagine even in the middle of the playthrough.

It is a comedy. It is a drama. It is a world with grey colors in everything: characters, choices, outcomes.

At one moment you will be laughing at great jokes, idiotic situations, main character, somebody else. At the next moment you will be depressed because of some outcomes.

Beware that gameplay mostly consists of reading and choosing the options, so if you are not into this, you may not like it.

Disco Elysium deserves even more than it’s regular price.

This is truly a gem in modern gaming market. Such a pity it happens so rarely.”

WilliamRockwell on Steam

Bookmarketing so I can pick this up in a few years when it is on sale for $10, which is how I buy video games that are not on Linux.

Play Your Own Game

1. Judge less.

At least half the people doing things with money that you disagree with are playing a different game than you are. You probably look just as crazy in their eyes.

2. Figure out what game you’re playing, then play it (and only it).

So few investors do this. Maybe they have a vague idea of their game, but they haven’t clearly defined it. And when they don’t know what game they’re playing, they’re at risk of taking their cues and advice from people playing different games, which can lead to risks they didn’t intend and outcomes they didn’t imagine.

-Morgan Housel, “Play Your Own Game.” Collaborative Fund. May 13, 2021

Interactive Fiction: ink & inklewriter, et al.

“* inklewriter is an easy-to-use online tool to write basic interactive stories.

* ink by comparison is a more powerful narrative scripting language that is primarily designed for professional game development, though it can also be used to write and share choice-based interactive fiction. It is also surprisingly easy to learn, though for ease of use it’s hard to beat inklewriter!

https://www.inklestudios.com/ink/

h/t to Interconnected and the post “Filtered for some text-based virtual realities.” I could have easily made posts for

The whole post is gold for anyone interested in what’s going on and the tools in current use with the interactive fiction community. My knowledge of the tools stopped at Inform 7.

Play the Plot: Tabletop Games for Your Favorite Fantasy Book

“In honor of this glorious, beautiful, multitude of games that are just begging to be played, I’ve set up a few tabletop roleplaying games with some new pieces of genre fiction. I tried to pick out games that have been written recently, and none that originated in the 70s! Take a look, and maybe support a game or two. We’ll start with Fantasy, diving right in with games and books that go from epic to short, historical to urban, so take a deep breath, and let’s dive in.”

Linda H. Codega, “Play the Plot: Tabletop Games for Your Favorite Fantasy Book.” Tor.com. October 5, 2020.

Hedgemony

“RAND researchers developed Hedgemony, a wargame designed to teach U.S. defense professionals how different strategies could affect key planning factors in the trade space at the intersection of force development, force management, force posture, and force employment. The game presents players, representing the United States and its key strategic partners and competitors, with a global situation, competing national incentives, constraints, and objectives; a set of military forces with defined capacities and capabilities; and a pool of periodically renewable resources. The players are asked to outline their strategies and are then challenged to make difficult choices by managing the allocation of resources and forces in alignment with their strategies to accomplish their objectives within resource and time constraints.”

Hedgemony

NetHack / The NetHack Learning Environment

Reminded of NetHack this morning after hearing of Facebook’s release of The NetHack Learning Environment.

“NetHack is one of the oldest and arguably most impactful videogames in history, as well as being one of the hardest roguelikes currently being played by humans. It is procedurally generated, rich in entities and dynamics, and overall an extremely challenging environment…”

I’ve only played this casually, but it’s very complex. It might be a fun project to learn a little bit about artificial intelligence. Or, you might simply wish to play the game yourself.

Worth a look. It’s free and runs on pretty much any computer you’d want to use. Almost everyone will want to get a version with graphic tiles.

GOG Games on Linux, Featuring Blade Runner

Blade Runner is a point-and-click adventure, a genre that was still very popular on PCs at the time of its release. Games like Beneath a Steel Sky had already used the format to tell Blade Runner-inspired cyberpunk stories. Given the usual state of movie adaptations, a Blade Runner adventure game wouldn’t necessarily have been anything to get excited about.‘Blade Runner’ really does make you feel like a detective

What Westwood did with the license, however, was inspired. The game isn’t a straight retelling of the movie. (Harrison Ford’s Deckard is nowhere to be seen.) You play a detective named Ray McCoy on the tail of replicants linked to vicious animal murders. While the story takes place at the same time as the movie and involves some of the same locations and characters, it plays out in parallel without intersecting too strongly. This was a great decision for a narrative adventure, allowing the game to evoke the movie without feeling predictable.

-Sam Byford, “The resurrected Blade Runner game is a genuine classic.” The Verge. December 18, 2019.

Blade Runner is currently on sale for $8.99 until January 2nd, 2020, at 2 PM UTC. And, if you are into free (as in beer!) games, and who isn’t, you could also download the previously mentioned Beneath a Steel Sky for nothing.

But, there’s a catch. GOG doesn’t provide much help getting these games installed on a Linux system. I didn’t see any instructions, but let me save you some time. I documented what I did to get it to work, and now, you have the very instructions that should be on the GOG website, but are somehow, inexplicably, not there. We’re going to use Blade Runner as our example, but while I was looking into how to get this thing running, it was apparent that these problems happen on the Linux platform with many of GOG’s games.

Installing & Getting the Games to Work

Before starting, let’s make life easy for ourselves and get an outdated audio library that is needed in order for the game to launch.

$ dpkg -i libsndio6.1_1.1.0-3_amd64.deb

You’re also going to need Simple DirectMedia Layer 2, which you can install the standard way, through the repository:

$ sudo apt-get install libsdl2-net-2.0-0

Now, with those preliminaries out of the way, let’s get to the task at hand, shall we? Download the Blade Runner file from the GOG website. Open a terminal:

$ cd Downloads
$ chmod +x blade_runner_1_0_varies.sh 
$ ./blade_runner_1_0_varies.sh 

After installation, it should be in your Show Applications, which is in the bottom right corner for people using the standard Gnome window manager, and then, select the game you’ve just installed, if it isn’t Blade Runner.

Or, maybe you’ve learned to love the terminal, you could launch the game from the command line by opening a terminal:

$ cd GOG\ Games/Blade\ Runner/
$ ./start.sh

The game should launch from this point. If not, contact GOG and …Good Luck!