Showing posts with label hacks. Show all posts
Showing posts with label hacks. Show all posts

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Grinding as repetition as savefiles as insistence

In "Portraits and Repetition", Gertrude Stein argues that repetition is better understood as "insistence":
"... there can be no repetition because the essence of that expression is insistence, and if you insist you must each time use emphasis and if you use emphasis it is not possible while anybody is alive that they should use exactly the same emphasis." (PDF)
This rings true to me for basically any activity. Woodworking, cooking, dancing, guitar-playing, painting, writing, welding, negotiating, swimming, typing -- everything requires practice, and in practicing, we insist on the continued value of that activity each time. We can never repeat any performance or action exactly, by virtue of memory and time. Each repetition always means something slightly different, and changes the meaning of all the repetitions before it.

Game design theory formalizes this repetition as a "core gameplay loop" or "mechanic" or whatever, but let's keep following Stein's insistence on insistence for a minute:

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Sonic XL

(image / link stolen from Auntie Pixelante)
Sonic XL is an amazing Sonic ROM hack where collecting (onion) rings actually makes Sonic fatter, until you're so slow and fat that you can't even run fast enough through a loop. Rings become something dangerous and scary, but still vitally important to ensure your survival. It sure makes Sonic a helluva lot more methodical.

[To play Sonic XL, (1) download the Sega emulator Kega, then (2) load the .bin file over here.]

In many ways, Sonic was a really good choice for this hack. What if the same was applied to Mario, a much slower platformer about collection? It's not the same -- the loss in speed, a portly plumber merely getting fatter -- the effect would've been lost, I think.