New video: ‘Narrative immersion’ in 1982

Thanks to everyone who tuned in and watched my very first vintage Apple adventure game let’s-play last week. There’s a new one this week for you, but first order of business is the cryptoquote from Death in the Caribbean last week.


The first to solve it was Greg Sabo, who translated: “PYRAMID MARKER GUARDS BURIED CHEST. EXCAVATE WITH GREAT CARE.” He writes, “even revealed mysteries are entrenched in dread in this world.” Indeed!

I really was scared by Death in the Caribbean as a kid. This week’s game, The Quake, actually wasn’t one I played in its time, but I had to spend some time with it when I saw how serious its ambitions were for 1982, when it was made. It aimed to be a game about the experience of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, with all the gravitas you’d imagine — it would be dynamic, it would shake and surprise you, the graphics would be breathtaking, the storytelling intense.

I was fascinated by comparing the creators’ goals, as you can see stated right at the beginning of the video, with the result (and I even had a little fun getting all Serious Game Critic on its themes toward the end). Hope you enjoy coming along with me on this one!

In other news, I talked to Ryan Payton about Republique, the App Store’s… Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness? and I also dared to have a critical opinion about Sonic the Hedgehog in The Guardian. I wanted to write about the surreal fan reclamation of a mascot who no longer has a serious franchise — it’s very Liquid Television, very much in the spirit of the 90s ‘attitude’ that birthed Sonic to begin with. The time since has been a bit of a trip for internet stress, although if people hadn’t come out in force with incredibly puzzling, emotional, personal reactions to my criticizing the old games, I would have worried about whether I’d proved my point.

Thanks to everyone who’s asked after my Game of Thrones recaps, but I won’t be doing them this season at Boing Boing, sadly. The site has a designated recaps person now. And a couple of you have noticed my column is missing from your latest Edge magazine — I won’t be doing that one anymore, either. Time for me to keep fracking the new content economy, as I put it during my bit of the soapbox session at GDC recently.

Speaking of GDC, you can now see video of this year’s #1ReasontoBe panel that I co-chaired with the incomparable Brenda Romero. All of the speakers - Anna Kipnis, Colleen Macklin, Deirdra “Squinky” Kiai, Laralyn McWilliams and Lauren Scott — give incredible and different talks and I really recommend listening to them! There is a rousing little intro from me as well that felt great to give.

I’ll be talking at Different Games this weekend rather than going to PAX (duh), so if you want to go to a cool games conference, come check it out!