Thursday, 20 January 2011


  These are far from coherent thoughts, but came to me as I was out boarding this morning. Something like snowboarding (in a non-competitive way) resonates with certain types of gameplay, where both are solo, skill based, leisure activities. There is a special thrill, when boarding, of getting to a skill-level where you can 'read' the slope as you go, matching your turns to the curve of the mountain and pushing yourself to the point of almost, almost crashing out completely. Even when intensely familiar with a certain run there is a limitless potential to try out new things within a very constrained set of rules which for me is incredibly appealing. So, while out doing some of this today and letting higher brain functions free-wheel lead to a connection being made, snowboarding like this is extremely similar to how I came to play the first Halo game.

At first glance this statement is ludicrous. How on earth could snowboarding and Halo have any sort of relationship at all? Well, without thinking too hard, Halo is I think the only game where I gained a high enough skill level for the experience of playing to become akin to what I described above. I'll make it clear here also that I'm talking about the single player campaign, there is probably a comparable experience from becoming so familiar with the multi-play mechanics and improvising within that framework, but there was something incredibly special about the emergent situations springing from identical starting conditions again, and again, and again, which gripped me in the single player.

What had me hooked was the pursuit of flow, efficiency, making the best use of all the systems available, exactly the same as what I pursue when boarding. Making the slope work for you, finding efficient paths that make you feel, in no uncertain terms, like a badass, knowing where to go and when. It's not necessarily all about speed either. Fitting a quick trick into your run, a few fast turns in switch and then back as the slope drops away, sniping that Elite perfectly so you can speed past his entourage of Grunts and take to the skies in the now-vacant Banshee, all of the above give the same feeling of gratification, of mastery, of I've-got-this-fucking-down-ness. It's a feeling of building momentum, of chaining, essentially tapping into the same drive towards perfectionist gaming that is embodied in combo-meters and no-miss multipliers. Where others were dismayed at Halo's recycling of levels I exulted in the chance to become familiar with the space and it's tactical limitations twice as fast.

You know how you know you're an incurable games-geek? When your brain is making connections between winter sports and first-person shooters.

And back.

Well that was a bad time to start this, a couple of weeks in France without any sort of reliable internet connection followed by maybe the busiest two weeks of my time at Uni so far didn't exactly help with getting this off the ground.  I'm back in a state where I've got time to do more than just sleep and eat now though, so will probably throw up a couple of posts that I was working on over the holiday today, and one about a project I'm starting that is getting me quite excited, namely adapting the Source mod 'Dear Esther' into some sort of performative/theatrical work.

Good stuff.

Monday, 20 December 2010

Obligatory Horrible First Post: What this is for.

So here's a post on a blog written by me, stumbling like a scared little thing into the scary world of public writing where the scariest thing is no-one reading it.  The stuff that will get put down here will probably be quite varied, but I do have some definite areas of interest and thoughts I want to put out in an arena where hopefully, eventually, other people will respond with various opinions of assent, dissent, dismissal etc. and we can get a good old internet debate going.

So, the two things that will be discussed most heavily here are theatre and video games (it is definitely two words) and probably a lot of thoughts on comparisons/crossings between the two.  There will of course be some personal stuff thrown in, most likely some political nonsense every so often and I have one or two ideas for some more creative stuff that might get thrown up here, but that's a long way off.

I'm generally quite good at starting projects like this and abandoning them fairly fast, so this may become a sad little page on the internet, all alone without a comment in the world to call its own.

I'm going to have a poke round all the stuff I can do with this lovely blogspot account and try and make this place look a bit nicer.

First post down, first hurdle jumped.