These Loves Fly Just High Enough

            Both of the titles on this week’s reading list really piqued my interest. I have the pleasure of saying that I own and have owned every video game system minus two – Colleco Vision and Commodore 64.  I consider myself a gamer.  I love the story aspect of a good game.  I am a mission-based person.  Icarus Needs and With Those We Love Alive placed me on a mission.  I do not have access to Android so that limited my experience with Icarus Needs, however, the video gave me a great sense for the experience.  The experience With Those We Love Alive was straight forward, the controls were a breeze to use and the story kept me going – to a point.

            Icarus Needs instantly sparked images of the famous story of Icarus and his escape gone bad. Icarus in the famous tale wanted to return to the people he loved, unfortunately, he flew a bit too close to the sun.  I easily reminisced over the pixelated graphics In Icarus.  “The only thing missing is the ability to fly,” I thought.  The images brought back fond memories of the Atari and how important it was in my life.  As a child, video games were a way for me to connect the stories and ideas I had in my head to the real world.  Video games allowed me to play out my fantasies on the screen.  So when I play a new video game, I tend to try to get into the character’s head.  The protagonist in Icarus is on a mission to save his lady love from the evil King of Squirrels.  Love this image.  (I thought right away about a bag of cats.) King of Squirrels is already giving off a crazy vide.  The craziness gets off to an abrupt start when the protagonist encounters another entity in the game who describes himself as a door and the player must find the key.  OK, I’ve run into plenty of people (actual and virtual) who were not only bigger than a door, they were bigger than a house.  Whether or not racism would come into play never ever once crossed my mind.  The video shows the player retreating from the encounter asking him or herself, “He’s a door?  Doesn’t look like a door?  Is that racist?”  I would have never expected the story to take that kind of turn.  Both the image representing the player and the image representing the person being described as a door were both the same color.  They both had the same look.  I was a bit confused.  Then I retraced my steps and recognized that the setting is within a dream realm.  Good.  Racism is a nightmare. At least in this instance I can chose a righteous path.

            With Those We Love Alive is incredibly similar to my own chosen presentation title, The Hunt For The Gay Planet.  With Those We Love Alive, players read a selection and then make a choice as to which direction to travel.  In one instance you are in the palace.  In another instance you are out exploring the world.  What loved the most was that the player can go out in the woods and meditate.  The software actually instructs the player to breath and relax.  I had so much fun with the story and trying to see if I could change outcomes by selecting rotating paths.  Alas, I could not and that would be my only point of contention.  While open enough to explore the world in With Those…, has player pushed down a path.  Platforms such as these were designed to head off in a million different directions so that the fun of developing the story would never end. 

Back in the 1970s a game called Zork came out.  It is the framework for all games like this.  In Zork, players start off with the simple idea that they are standing in the woods a bit west of an old house.  From here it is anyone’s guess.  After entering the home, the only forced part of Zork, the world below the forest is wide open.  Both of these titles offer that experience to a degree.  I enjoyed the time jumping back into the past when I would play games like these to all hours of the night.  After I got the story to unlock – it was all about the high score.  While a high score isn’t the main accomplishment here, knowledge is. I like to think about how others think and these titles helped me to continue my mission toward understanding.         

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