Out of an internet game sphere spun by half-hearted creators and an environment that just tried to pump out as many attention grabbers as it could… I still can put myself in my seat, hovering over the Newgrounds game loader to prepare maybe a 8mb game that would take me half an hour to wait and play––if I didn’t have to stop and refresh it somewhere along the way.
But I also remember the first time I actually saw games as more than just entertainment.
Like many others, I loved Cookie Clicker when it first exploded in popularity around 2013. Orteil is one of those developers who hold an instantaneously classic, refined style that just sticks with you; and this holds especially true for a game that kept me up for days: Nested.
For my final in my Sound Art class, we were prompted to respond and craft a world that reflects this new, uneasy state of quarantine around us. In the middle of probably the worst months of my life (not because I hate loneliness, but because the absolute breakage of the world’s systems exposed to me how futile everything really is–-worse, how complacent people can be), I remembered the person I was at 13 when I could just sit down and create. I mourned for the child I was many steps backwards too, who would fill up notebooks with color and story and wave presumptuously around rooms, siring people’s attention when I had all the reason to, filling up nonsensical––but perhaps misunderstood even if they were brilliant–-stories about gods and girls and grand worlds. In my house, I would piss my parents off by grabbing sheets of printer paper to take to school and fill up with doodles of lands and worlds and blueprints and house schemes of these fantasy realms. I would debate with a friend who talked to me about the World Wars (not taught in Philippine Catholic middle school, clearly) and I back about what I read from Terry Pratchett. It was beautiful.
This is the first edition of house, a universe explorer focused in sound. It can also be explored in your file system if you really wanted––but there are over a thousand sound file and spaces out there. I have much more work to do with house, but here is it in its initial form.
House is a universe explorer built minimally through files and sound, first positioning you in the very beginning of the universe.
It’s disgusting how we’ve left living–what a beautiful thing–to the few. Life as we know it is about making life better than others at the expense of your own. That’s love. The act of time, sacrifice, attention. Not in the transactional sense, but love is about giving.
Life is never meant to all be happy but I do presume that there should be more good than bad. But what have we done as a society? From our markets to relationships, we treat everything as if it is finite and the few and up hoarding so much. There are millions out there suffering, as there are people who suffer so much that the very few moments of hope (and the way people play with this bar for hope) are all we cling onto. Is this what we want?
Life is about making it better for others in an unjust world. So they don’t fall below a net happy. So there is still goodness and worth.
Inevitably, for a few it’s simply not worth it. You could argue it’s selfish; but they do need help.