All posts by Daniel Sebastian

Pentametron – A clever little bugger :)

We all have those quirks that makes us care seemingly a little too much about small details that ruins your whole experience, but no one else cares about. I, for instance, ABSOLUTELY !!HATE!! when developers of software choose to save money when developing the UI (user interface), it takes me as close to killing someone as I ever will come, but very few people share my view on this, at least not consciously. In Elit, this feeling also surfaces a little at times, especially in the generative genre, because to me it doesn’t hold up just putting in words and creating an algorithm  that regurgitate out bullish*t and then call it art! Not even if you afterward come up with some far-fetched “meaning” behind it that the artist force down your throat, and you should just accept it. And no, it’s NOT art just because it  provokes the viewer who gets mad because someone takes a stick and tie a rope to it and saying “This is a sarcasting comment to the society wanting to get as much as possible with as little effort as possible”… Sorry for the long rambling, but this shit really annoys me in the world of creativity. Hey, I’m not saying people can’t do what they want, make whatever they want, but then I also get to mean what I want about it ;P HOWEVER, Pentametron is NOT one of these “Let’s make it say random, weird stuff, it’ll be fun haha “, although it DOES say random and weird stu, and it IS funny. But the reason, at least in my opinion, that the random  and weird stuff this bot tweets is because of a few small features in it’s algorithm, it has a kind of consistency in it’s content, it rhymes, and the sentences always has the same rythm, which are basic trades for classic poetry. Even though you know it’s a bot, it sort of still make sense… …in a way… …even though it doesn’t… You know what I mean ;P But no matter what you might think of the tweets in themselves, or if you find some kind of meaning in them, to me the true artistic work lies in the performance, namely how and, well how… With the first “how” I mean the algorithm/code that’s in the back-end. I have enough knowledge to know that seemingly the simplest task demands an enormous load of coding and thought. With the second “how” I mean how the artist chose to restrain the bot’s tweets to make them follow the the simple rules that it does, and giving the reader the feeling of this making some kind of sense 🙂 We can debate content and meaning forever until the end of the universe, but I mean that the main difference in where we should put value when it comes to human-generated content and computer-generated content is that we know that a computer will always do what it’s told and never anything else, and we will never get any TRUE emotion from it, so the value lies in the creation of the AI (artificial intelligence) and wether, or not it is done in such a way that you for a second actually can let yourself be persuaeded to think there is something more than just 1’s and O0’s there. And I think Pentametron did a good job on this 🙂

So until next time, Dannyboy out

Queens Quest 7

This one spoke to me on so many levels!

Being of the generation before gaming was what it has become today, my love for computer games lay in the realms of the classic adventure game genre. I actually learned English by myself playing Sierra On-Line titles like Space Quest, Police Quest, Leisure Suit Larry, and of course the King’s Quest series, which the title of today’s Edit piece plays on.

In the beginning, these games purely relied on text commands like “Open door”, “Pick up gem”, “Look around” combined with the arrow keys to move around and interact with the surroundings. After each iteration the graphics improved, and from the third, or fourth iteration in all the series they became pure point-and-click games instead, which was one of the most popular game genres at the time. Game series like Monkey Island, Indiana Jones, Simon The Sorcerer, Gobliins, Broken Sword and so many more in addition to the Sierra On-Line ones, are to me what the word computer game really means. Although, when the technology evolved and the demand for 3d games became the norm, these games slowly disappeared as the masses no longer wanted the old fashioned, no-skills-needed, two dimensional adventures, but craved the Warcrafts and Starcrafts of this world, and their evolvements. Today, gaming is a multi-billion industry – even turned sports! And these old classics no longer qualifies as games in some communities…

Queens Quest 7

…is a reaction to this. It borrows so many elements from the old classics, that it warmed my nostalgic heart. Although this is a hyperfiction story, it still captures the atmosphere of the old Sierra and Lucasart games with its absurd and ridiculous humour. But the main story is the one taking a stance against the new generation of gamers not aknowledging the classics as real games.

WhenI started Queens Quest 7 I sort of expected it to be like the old King’s Quest series, with the 8bit graphics and text commands, although realizing quickly this was a hyperfiction piece I didn’t mind it at all. First off it seemed like any other King’s Quest story, waking up in your chambers and getting a description of what you surroundings are, but then, when you move outside of the chambers and explore further, you realize you are not in a medieval narrative, but rather in a post modern environment aboard a space ship orbiting a planet called Video Games. When exploring the ship and talking to others aboard, you get, in addition to a lot of references to old adventures in both King’s Quest and Monkey Island, enough information to realize that the planet Video Games is really a reference to video games as a phenomenon and a concept, and that they, as old games,  are no longer welcome back there even though they were there first. This is obviously a direct play on gamer-gate that occurred a couple of years ago where gaming communities all over the world started to negate these type of game genres as not games. It got kind of out of control with a lot of harassment and even death threats, when trying to rid their communities of the non-worthy.

This piece of elit looks at this situation from the view of the classical games itself, and portrays it as an actual character in an environment close to the classic genre. On the planet Video Games the Masaganerds (gamers) rule, and there is no longer a place for the classics. However, as you proceed in the story you go through a narrative where you kind of fight for your place in the universe, not really fitting in in any other genres, and ultimately are faced with the options of “Destroying Video Games, and rebuilding it from the ground”, or “Inevitably let it destroy itself”.

Elit, or game?

The eternal question within the realm of electronic literature seems to be “where is the line between it being electronic literature or a game” to me, lies around these old classics. But to me, like the masaganerds of this piece, why can’t it sometimes be both? It seems to me that both media have many of the same goals, and neither of them are games nor literature in the conventional way anyway… But I’d have a good story told to me through a screen any day, wether it be electronic literature or a video game 🙂

This was AWESOME

As I opened with, this one really hit home on so many levels. It made me long for the time I spent hours upon hours on these games, woke up the joy of playing a video game, which has been dormant for years, and urged me to download several of the old titles. I don’t know about you others, but me being of that generation really hope this type of game will re-emerge, and maybe more iterations of the old series will come? I see that many of these have been revamped and republished on platforms like iOS and Wii, and the Broken Sword series even got a fifth iteration with the good old fashioned 2D graphics after one incredibly successful Kickstarter campaign. That is proof that there are more out there like me, and thank you for writing this awesome piece of elit!

Here are some old titles you should check out:

Space Quest I-VI
King’s Quest I-VII
Police Quest I-IV
Leisure suit Larry I-VII
The Secret ofMonkey Island
Monkey Island 2: LeChucks Revenge
The Curse of Monkey Island
Escape from Monkey Island
Tales from Monkey Island
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis
Gobliins 1-4
Simon the Sorcerer 1 &2
Touche: Adventure of the 5th Musketeer
Broken Sword 1-5
Beneath a Steel Sky
Lure of the Temptress

…and so many more…

Dannyboy out