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a guest Jul 19th, 2019 106 Never
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  1. There’s no feeling more intense than starting over.
  2. If you’ve deleted your homework the day before it was due, as I have.
  3. Or if you left your wallet at home and you have to go back, after spending an hour in the commute.
  4. If you won some money at the casino and then put all your winnings on red, and it came up black.
  5. If you won an argument with a friend and then later discovered they just returned to their original view.
  6. Starting over is harder than starting up.
  7. If you’re not ready for that, like if you’ve already had a bad day,
  8. Then what you’re about to go through might be too much.
  9. Feel free to go away and come back. I’ll be here.
  10. Alright, thanks for coming with me on this trip. I’ll understand if you have to take a break at any point…
  11. Just find a safe place to stop, and quit the game.
  12. Don’t worry, I’ll save your progress, always. Even your mistakes.
  13. This game is a homage to a free game that came out in 2002, titled ‘Sexy Hiking’.
  14. The author of the game was Jazzuo, a mysterious Czech designer who was known at the time as the father of B-games.
  15. B-Games are rough assemblages of found objects. Designers slap them together very quickly and freely, and they’re often too rough and unfriendly to gain much of a following.
  16. They’re built more for the joy of building them than as polished products.
  17. In a certain way Sexy Hiking is the perfect embodiment of a B-game. It’s built almost entirely of found and recycled parts, and it’s one of the most unusual and unfriendly games of its time.
  18. In it, your task is simply to drag yourself up a mountain with a hammer.
  19. The act of climbing, in the digital world or in real life, has certain essential properties that give the game it’s flavour.
  20. No amount of forward progress is guaranteed; some cliffs are too sheer or too slippery.
  21. And the player is constantly, unremittingly in danger of falling and losing everything.
  22. Anyway when you start Sexy Hiking, you’re standing next to a tree, which blocks the way to the entire reset of the game.
  23. It might take you an hour to get over that tree. A lot of people never got past it. You prod and poke at it, exploring the limits of your reach and strength, trying to find a way up.
  24. There’s a sense of truth in that lack of compromise.
  25. Most obstacles in videogames are fake - you can be completely confident in your ability to get through them, once you have the correct method of the correct equipment, or just by spending enough time.
  26. In that sense, every pixellated obstacle in Sexy Hiking is real.
  27. The obstacles in Sexy Hiking are unyielding, and that makes the game uniquely frustrating.
  28. But I’m not sure Jazzuo intended to make a frustrating game - the frustration is just essential to the act of climbing and it’s authentic to the process of building a game about climbing.
  29. A funny thing that happened to me as I was building this mountain:
  30. I’d have an idea for an obstacle, and I’d build it, test it, and… it would usually turn out to be unreasonably hard. But I couldn’t bring myself to make it easier.
  31. It already felt like my inability to get past the new obstacle was my fault as a player, rather than as the builder.
  32. Imaginary mountains build themselves from our efforts to climb them, and it’s our repeated attempts to reach the summit that turns those mountains into something real.
  33. When you’re building a videogame world you’re building with ideas.
  34. And that can be like working with quick-cement. You mold your ideas into a certain shape that can be played with,
  35. And in the process of playing with them they begin to harden and set
  36. Until they are immutable, like rock. At that point you can’t change the world - not without breaking it into pieces and starting fresh with new ideas.
  37. For years now people have been predicting that games would soon be made of prefabricated objects, bought in a store and assembled into a void.
  38. For the most part, that hasn’t happened, because the objects in the stores are trash. I don’t mean they look bad or they’re badly made,
  39. although a lot of them are. I mean they’re trash in the way that food becomes trash as soon as you put it in the sink.
  40. Things are made to be consumed in a certain context, and once the moment is gone they transform into garbage. In the context of technology those moments pass by in seconds.
  41. Overtime we’ve poured more and more refuse into this vast digital landfill we call the internet. It now vastly outnumbers and outweighs the things that are fresh and untainted and unused.
  42. When everything around us is cultural trash, trash becomes the new medium, the lingua franca of the digital age.
  43. You can build culture out of trash, but only trash culture. B-games, B-movies, B-music, B-philosophy.
  44. Maybe this is what this digital culture is.
  45. A monstrous mountain of trash,
  46. the ash-heap of creativity’s fountain.
  47. A landfill with everything we ever thought of in it.
  48. Grand, infinite, and unsorted.
  49. There’s 3D models of breakfast
  50. Gen-xer’s fanfic novels
  51. Scanned magazines
  52. Green-screen Shia leBoeuf
  53. Banned snuff scenes on liveleak
  54. Facebook’s got lifelike bots
  55. With unbranded adverts
  56. And candid shots of kanye
  57. And taylor swift mashups
  58. Car crash epic fail gifs
  59. Russian dash cam vids
  60. Discussions of McRibs
  61. Discarded, forgotten, unrecycled
  62. Muddled, rotten, and untitled
  63. Everything’s fresh for about six seconds
  64. Until some newer thing beckons
  65. And we hit refresh
  66. And there’s years of persevering
  67. Disappearing into the pile
  68. Out of style
  69. In this context it’s tempting to make friendly content…
  70. That’s gentle, that lets you churn through it but not earn it.
  71. Why make something demanding, if
  72. It just gets piled up in the landfill.
  73. Filled with bland things?
  74. When games were new, they wanted a lot from you.
  75. Daunting you, taunting you, resetting and delaying you.
  76. Players played stoically. Now everyone’s turned off by that.
  77. They want to burn through it quickly, a quick fix for the fickle
  78. Some tricks for the clicks of the feckless.
  79. But that’s not your, you’re an acrobat
  80. You could swallow a baseball bat.
  81. Now I know most likely you’re watching this on Youtube of Twitch
  82. While some dude with 10 million views does it for you
  83. Like a baby bird being fed chewed up food.
  84. That’s culture too.
  85. But on the off-chance you’re playing this, what I’m saying is
  86. Trash is disposable but maybe it doesn’t have to be approachable
  87. What’s the feeling like? Are you stressed
  88. I guess you don’t hate it if you got this far
  89. Feeling frustrated it’s underrated.
  90. An orange is sweet juicy fruit
  91. Locked inside a bitter peel
  92. That’s not how I feel about a challenge
  93. I only want the bitterness.
  94. Its coffee, its grapefruit, its licorice.
  95. It feels like we’re closer now.
  96. Composer and climber.
  97. Designer and user.
  98. You could have refused but you didn’t.
  99. There was something in you that was hidden.
  100. That chose to continue.
  101. It means a lot to me
  102. That you’ve come this far.
  103. Endured this much.
  104. Every wisecrack, every insensitivity.
  105. Every setback you’ve forgiven me
  106. Is a kingly gift you’ve given me
  107. We have the same taste, you and I
  108. It’s not ambition
  109. It’s ambition’s opposite.
  110. An obdurate mission to taste defeat
  111. You’ll feel bad if you win
  112. So I put this snake in for you
  113. *This gets more frightening each time you return,
  114. *Knuckles whitening, stomach tightening, once bitten, many times burned.
  115. Have you ever thought about who you are in this
  116. Are you the man in the pot, Diogenes?
  117. Are you his hand?
  118. Are you the top of his hammer?
  119. I think not-
  120. Where your hand moves, the hammer may not follow
  121. Nor the man, nor the man’s hand.
  122. I’m this, you are his WILL. His intent
  123. The embodied resolve in his uphill ascent
  124. Now you’ve conquered the ice cliff,
  125. The platforms, the church, the rectory,
  126. The living room and the factory,
  127. The playground and the construction site,
  128. The granite rocks and the lake side,
  129. You’ve learned to hike
  130. There’s no way left to go but up
  131. And in a moment I’ll shut up, but let me say
  132. I’m glad you came
  133. I dedicate this game to you, the one who came this far
  134. I give it to you with all my love
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