November 29, 2012 by Chris Whitman
So mcc says that Liz Ryerson says that all games are domination fantasies. OH NO SHE DIDN’T.
Anyway, the challenge was to write out all the games you’ve made and their plots/themes/what you do. I am going to do this while drinking vanilla tea and eating an entire bag of dried mangoes. Here goes!
Porta Lucis—You are obsessed with a nondescript door in the city. One day you discover it is unlocked. Passing through, you enter an endless, nightmarish basement where you must use your wits and pocket knife to survive against much more powerful monsters. Meanwhile, in a parallel narrative you are an inmate in a shadowy, dreamlike asylum. Can you escape? What is real? Domination fantasy? It’s hard to tell what this might be a fantasy of.
Famous Authors—Three games surrounding two brilliant, troubled writers and one exceptionally exhausted game developer. Biographical/Semi-autobiographical. You have to press X repeatedly. Domination fantasy? Probably not. Unfortunately no one ever really got the takeaway for this, which is that producing almost any piece of work, whether mundane or genius, basically boils down to a lot of pressing X repeatedly.
Merlin, Build Me a Castle—You play as either King Arthur or his brother King Brothur. Destroy your brother’s flying castle! The person with the tallest castle after fifteen seconds is declared the winner. Domination fantasy? Absolutely and without a doubt.
Run—A small, isolated farming village is struck by a three-year plague of darkness. A stranger, who does not appear in the game (and some speculate to be the player), tries to save the villagers by bringing light from the future through a series of meditations. Speculation on tools and the body, digital representation and the uncanny nature of city life. Domination fantasy? Possibly, in the sense that it’s definitely about using tools to dominate depersonalized, “natural” forces. On the other hand, it’s mostly about how the struggle to overcome something at all costs changes you irrevocably into something else, something defined and delimited by that struggle.
The Story of the Cat—Follow the humble house cat through its evolution from a single-celled cat, to an ancient cat-fish, to a modern day cat, struggling for survival against its natural enemies (vacuum cleaners). A meditation on the possible future of cats. Domination Fantasy? Yes, but that’s cats for you.
??? (Unreleased, very heavily WIP)—Domination Fantasy? Yes. The inverse of Run, in a sense. How an obsession with preserving the past ultimately changes the past, how all justifications, when gripped tightly enough, grow brittle and meaningless, how the will to dominate ultimately destroys the thing being dominated.
Here are some games I’ve worked on for other people.
Glitch— (R.I.P.) Explore the minds of seven giants in this off-beat, non-violent MMO built in the spirit of cooperation. Domination Fantasy? Pretty much intentionally the opposite.
Dungeons of Dredmor—The evil Lord Dredmor has returned from his n years slumber or whatever. Descend into the Dungeons of Dredmor, eat cheese, read funny item descriptions and try not to die. Domination Fantasy? Ostensibly yes, but really more like a masochistic fantasy. The game is almost impossibly hard. You are congratulated for dying.
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