Possibilities aren't a curse

Despite the tone of yesterday's post, I don't actually play many games. When I do, I don't really keep them long—they're fine when they nibble at the edges of my life, but once they start taking bites from the middle they have to go. (As if the games are the ones doing the biting, not me.) I read more about games than I play them. I stand on the outside of the arena and let other people explain to me what is going on inside.

Most of the games I read about are older ones anyway. I read all of Aaron Reed's posts on 50 Years of Text Games. Text games take me back to a Commodore 64 and Zork and being young in the 1980s. The nostalgia angle is obviously what keeps me reading.

But there's one more thing: each of these text games seems like something I could write. I don't mean that to sell short what the best authors did (the mediocre and bad ones, well...). Rather, I can't imagine what it would take, as an individual, to craft any of the technically amazing games that exist now—and obviously I don't mean text games, but whatever contemporary game best exhibits the contemporary wizardry that is available. Text games feel small enough to get my arms around. Technically they seem like they would be easy to code, leaving story crafting as the hard part.

So, several of the stories in the 50 Years series are about side projects and afterthoughts—things that started small and popped. I've never heard of the game Curses. I don't even want to play it. (I would play it, but I'd rather do other things.) The interesting part is that Graham Nelson wrote the game to simply test that a game could be written for the Z-machine interpreter (the old software that let Infocom text games run on various computers) that he had reverse engineered. The game itself wasn't the point, but it's memorable.

The lingering thought is of possibility. There are many different things a person could create in many different media. Possibilities aren't a curse unless you try to optimize. Pick one. See what happens.

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