Show and tell

06 April 2006

Matt Webb’s talk at Goldsmiths on Scfi he likes. On the plane to ETech, Matt showed me these slides. It was really interesting to hear him narrating the whistle-stop tour of the slides; I’m very glad to now have the chance to go over it all again more slowly. Plus, to click on the links.

I got a nice email from MacDara today regarding my mention in the Guardian. I spoke to Aleks after Technology 2.0 (albeit briefly – would have loved to have chatted longer) and didn’t realise that things would go this far, but it’s flattering to see. Infovore, for those of you who might be coming here having googled the word, is just the name of this domain and blog. It’s a made-up word that roughly describes my attitude to data around me: gobble it up, spit it out later.

And I’ve been thinking about show-and-tell, about something coherent just on “stuff I like”. Something on gaming, perhaps. A lot of people I know are interested in games, want to engage, but you know, it’s a big medium, you’re playing a lot of catch-up.

I got asked at ETech a few times what my favourite game was. I can’t answer that question truthfully – I have many – but I always gave the same response, explaining it away as my favourite example of “what modern games can be“.

That game is Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. The original Prince of Persia was one of the first games I played, when I was seven. When I first played the seminal Tomb Raider, it reminded me of the joyous acrobatics and minimalist combat of PoP. POPSOT was the final piece in the puzzle – the Prince rendered truly, accurately, joyously in 3D. But it’s so much more – it combines remarkable play mechanics, a character that’s a delight to manoeuver, with a remarkable streak of storytelling that’s only really possible in games. It fills me with a glow when I think about it; it’s a truly sensuous game, a deliciously controlled aesthetic, and in its short, linear, seven-eight hours, it contains multitudes.

So, right now, I’m thinking about what titles you need to play – not for completism’s sake, but to get a hold on where games are now. Where they came from. What we mean when we say “games”. And what they mean for everything else.