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Archive for the ‘A Colloquy of the Bobs’ Category

Though I spend my time on this blog commenting films and television, often at such length that I wonder if anybody actually takes the time to read what I’ve written, my main creative interest remains game design, especially when it comes to pushing the medium further in narrative directions via my system of interactive dialogue. Cinema’s a fine medium, but sometimes it’s so passive that I long for an escape into more lucid flights of fancy. It’s a feeling that’s harder and harder for me to ignore while watching movies that focus primarily on video-game culture like Tron Legacy or Summer Wars, and if my own reviews of those recent pieces of science-fiction appear to be conspicuously absent on this site, know that it’s mainly because I don’t quite feel that I could adequately cover how I feel about them in mere prose.

Perhaps at some point I’ll tackle them via some kind of shallow game-review as I did with  Film Socialisme, but until then, I thought I’d share this latest game of mine, which follows suit with the same spirit in which I approached Godard’s most recent curiosity. Before, I was merely reviewing a film by making a game, rather than making another film as the New Wave pioneers sought to do. This time, however, I’ve made a game itself the subject of my ludological rant– or rather, two games. I’d like to think that Adam “Atomic” Saltsman’s Canabalt has become widespread online and on the iPhone enough for some of our readers and/or contributors to know about it by now, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it’s as new to all of you as Tristan Perich’s one-of-a-kind Kiljet. For anyone who isn’t familiar with the indie-gaming scene, however, they’re two of the most essential releases out there, and when it comes to putting together an opinion on them goes, I don’t think that simply writing does either of them justice (though I did plenty of that for my own work).

A good game can help you forget about your troubles by inventing new ones, for you. By and large, that’s what both Canabalt and Killjet do, and in some small way I hope that Talkpack does the same. At any rate, you can follow the link above to my own blog, and then to Play This Thing, where my written review is posted. Saturday’s a good day for things like sci-fi, cartoons and video-games, anyway, and if I’ve made just one person’s brains rot a little more with this contribution, I’ll call that a job well done.

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Very often when I see a movie I find myself conflicted as to whether or not I actually like it very much. Over the course of this year I’ve seen a number of films that I’m more or less 50/50 on– the beautifully shot, but dramatically laughable I Am Love; the dramatically intense but more or less by-the-book backwoods noir of Winter’s Bone; the charged, yet somehow illogical and meandering Animal Kingdom. But of them all, I find myself most divided on the matter of Jean-Luc Godard’s latest, Filme Socialisme, a movie that has already become notorious not just for its narrative (such as there is), its politics (such as they always are in a Godard film) or its visual power (such as it always is when Godard is at his best), but even for its subtitles (such as they are).

So divided am I by it, in fact, that I’m unable to articulate my feelings on it simply through a traditional written review, but have instead decided to supply my own commentary on it via my main creative passion– game design. Being that I’ve been concerned with making games that are all about interactive conversations for the past few years, I figure I might as well use one to start a conversation about a film that more or less demands an active participation to get anywhere with it, rather than a traditional, passive and linear cinematic experience. As such, I’m going to leave this article alone then, and let everything play out in the game and the comments-section– itself a kind of interactive conversation game.

Godard famously said that the best possible way to review a movie was to make one yourself. Well, I’d like to think that I’ve at least met him halfway with this. I more or less expect this will be somewhat outside the gaming-literacy of some of our members here, but it’s worth a shot. You can access it either by clicking the screenshot above or by simply going to my blog here. Oh, and remember to click on the SWF when it opens, and use the Control-Key for… well… pretty much everything in the game.

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