In light of all the game formalist whatever nonsense that has been flying around the video game internet recently, Line Hollis made another fabulous mixtape. It is called the No Interaction Mixtape, and I encourage you to go look at it here.
Lots of people put lots of time into making video game mixtapes, and I thought this was a prime moment for me to take a mixtape, play through it, and write down some thoughts about the games. When I was a #teen, a mixtape was a kind of love letter (let’s be real, a mixtape is still a love letter.) So this is me taking Line’s love letter, thinking about it, and passing a note to her in class the next day. And yes, that note would DEFINITELY have check boxes.
4 Minutes and 33 Seconds of Uniqueness
The conceit of this game is that if anyone else in the world plays it at the same time as you are your game ends. You cannot complete the game if anyone else is having the same experience you are at that exact moment. So of course as soon as I started it up I was consumed by anxiety–what if someone else plays? What if my time is wasted and I have to start over? What if I get caught in a vicious loop of starting and ending with some random person? Thankfully I made it the whole way through, and I got what I started the game to get: I had a unique experience that no one else in the world was having for four minutes and thirty three seconds. That uniqueness came with an equal amount of anxiety and fear, and I didn’t enjoy the time so much as suffer through it. Was it worth it?
A Mother in Festerwood
I started this game super smugly. I read Line’s small bit of text, read the proverb that opens the game, and started it out. I pushed my child back into the home until he hit his teen years and then I let him start wandering. He went out into the woods and came back home. He went out into the woods, got some treasure, and started coming back home. He was killed by a cyclops. A very effective game.
Six Shots of Whiskey
I didn’t dig this game very much, although I think it is a great example of a zero-player game. No real feels about it, sorry.
Anna Anthropy is the undisputed master of making games that mirror social situations, and sex is no different. I defer to Line on the analysis here–I don’t have anything to add other than I thought the pages of text were going to go on for much longer.
This game points to the tension of the word interactive in brilliant ways. Most of the game has the player clicking through the game to see facts about the Drill Killer or maybe looking at some up-close drill killings, but a later section features player movement and clicking. There isn’t anything to do other than walk through doors and click on teens to murder them, of course, but I can’t see how that’s functionally different that a CODBLOPZ murder corridor.
A massive, navigable structure. I wandered around a bit and looked at everything and tried to imagine what it would be for. Like an art museum that takes up your entire imagination; a speculative fiction generator.
I couldn’t get Unity Web Player to work and I fiddled around with it way longer than I should have so who knows.
Terra Tam: The World Warrior
This is sort of the apex of comedy, but it makes me wonder if the reason that games rarely succeed at comedy, or even attempt it, is because comedy requires the player to go along for a ride. For something to be comedic, it has to be a little unexpected, and if you “interact” your way through a situation, the likelihood of unexpectedness goes way down. Bulletstorm has a wonderful moment where it appears that a boss fight it about to happen, but a pipe falls from the ceiling and makes the monster fall into a radioactive goo pit. You can’t do anything but watch; interactivity has to be taken away for the comedy to work. Something like that is going on here, too.
This game is about duration and it makes you feel that duration.
I couldn’t play this because the link was broken! Oh no!