Options, a Monolith

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It says everything and nothing. It says as much as the way we park our cars or wash our dishes. Just think of the sexual subtext of parking; rear-to-rear, slip-in-along-side, ‘I can squeeze in there’. Or look at dish washing in respect to ecology; make a machine to do the job, out-of-sight-out-of-mind, I’ve done my part you do yours. All things can be interpreted metaphorical for something else. All such juxtapositions create a meaning. All are equally useful and a complete waste of time. Just look at surrealist art for any number of examples. A melting clock, a lobster on a telephone. So what? The exchange is there, it can be made.


Between people there’s a felt suggestion to share understanding, usually an invitation to teach or be taught in some way. To neither educate or be educated is to suspend a concept. I very much enjoy that. What understanding is perfect? Every confidence is a hierarchy of trust, absolute truth is a consequence of belief and honesty that’s as fragile as the time it takes to process. Time spent learning, communicating, gives an illusion of the indefatigable, but without understanding one’s time spent is just one’s time spent.

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Vextro Reading List Vol. 3

Vextro is uh, there’s uh, patreon. I’m tired but hey I guess let’s also be tireless. Conflict, conflict, conflict, I see dark skies and dead horizons. Let art unite and recharge us at the very least. Support your friends, give grace to your rivals, and no mercy (no patience, no credibility) to those that’ll bring harm. I’m not a fan of optimism, I fill my dark pits with action and recourse. Whatever works though. Stay alive friends and readers. I’ll keep supporting the small, ignored, and downtrodden, in a medium notorious for those states.

Games still listed in order of how long they take to finish. I’ll say support underground games, but I’ll add: make some games! There is nothing holding you back from fighting entropy. Everyone can make games.

continue to volume 4

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By Any Other Name

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Retro games, conceptually, are notoriously attached to signifiers and little else; retro is essentially a memetic marketing device that refers to any sort of callback to older games. A concrete relationship isn’t important. A retro game just needs aspects vaguely “old” enough to pass some muster. Not surprisingly, I’ve noticed retro isn’t used very much anymore. It’s still used sparingly in adcopy, and is definitely used to group actually old games, but the aforementioned memetic use has slowly been phased out. I noticed Owlboy avoids any mention of retro in its own copy. Fans and pundits describe it as a “pixel platformer” which is just as or even more cumbersome than retro, but whatever. There’s really no weight to this noun transformation, pixel art is still bandied out derogatorily, an aesthetic deigned to be ever retro. We’re transposing the same meaning into a similar phrase with similar roots. A collective rebranding.

I played Enclosure which was developed in NAGI, a clone of Sierra’s proprietary-but-defunct Adventure Game Interpreter engine. Not to get true scotsman, but if anything fits retro like a glove, it’s a videogame that has an identical limited development environment as a retro game. Ironically, identical functioning games are written off as homebrew or homages, wielding less legitimacy as actual retro games than other games, which inspiration boils down to barely. It’s interesting, an aesthetic that’s absolutely rooted in how authentic a videogame is—retro as a development philosophy is undoubtedly to invoke comfort or familiarity facilitated by proximity to old formats—holds more power the closer it can get to feeling or appearing aged than accurately emulating and depicting that age. An authentically retro game is anti-fashion, anti-trend; though I cherish my Battle Kid carts, it’s bitterly obvious why Shovel Knight has cultural penetration instead.

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