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Chains Of Meaning

Written By mista sense on Thursday, March 17, 2011 | 8:05 AM

Post-GDC, it takes forever to get back to normal. Like, weeks! I'm still working on it! But here are a few fun things I've been working on in the meantime.

If you couldn't tell, I'm a big fan of Jason Rohrer (remember when I got to play Sleep is Death with him last year?) This GDC, he participated in Eric Zimmerman's annual game design challenge, where a panel of sharp designers are tasked with creating a concept based on a certain theme. This year's was religion, and you can read about how Rohrer won the challenge in my coverage here.

I did an interview with Rohrer on his new game, Inside a Star-Filled Sky. He's a fascinating person to talk to, and despite the whole "art game" thing that canopies much of his work, he's terribly pragmatic and upbeat (that contrast between his heavy death themes and his approachable personality is one of the things I asked him about).

Anyway, Rohrer's challenge-winning Chain World design is now at the center of something of an interesting controversy. If you haven't heard about it, catch up here. The most interesting thing about the debate is that even though it seems that Rohrer's intentions for Chain World are being "subverted" (depending on whom you ask), this very sort of discussion and debate -- what defines "good", what is the fate of the "holy object", who can participate, should money be involved and what principles are most important -- is inherent to religion.

I haven't asked Rohrer about this but I have to think he was aware of the possibility that people would disobey his "rules" for Chain World, or that it would mutate in some fashion beyond his foreseeing. But that we're still discussing the "chain of meaning" behind that little USB key is even more proof that his design was a success, I think.

Other than that, I've launched into an analysis of the narrative of pretty much my favorite album, Joanna Newsom's Have One On Me, speaking of meaning. It's a very personal album to me. Probably only people who are curious about music or who like the record would be interested, but I did it one disc at a time: Part One, Part Two, Part Three.

Special thanks/blame for the Joanna series goes to friend/hero Kieron Gillen, whose idea it was. By the way, Gillen just got married this past weekend, and I regard him more highly than most people I know, so feel free to spam his inbox with congratulatory notes, because he isn't busy CONTROLLING THE FUCKING X-MEN or anything.



Today's Good Song: "I'm Losing Myself", Robin Pecknold (Fleet Foxes) feat. Ed Droste (Grizzly Bear) [via Said The Gramophone]

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