How I Spent My Summer Vacation

Rhapsodies on games, gaming, and why we play.

Category: convo

I fixed it, but it’s still broken!

by anbrewk

I fixed my game, I thought, but it’s still proving buggy to some. A disappointment that it is being judged for gross technical failure and not all its other many failings. Labyrinth of Loci is not a winner! Yet, I am finding some solace in playing other games entered into the IFComp — not, as one might assume, because they are so much worse, but because I am honestly enjoying so many others. And some of those which I am so enjoying are also being panned for things that I rather liked.

Of course there are also some games which I found to be simple nothing experiences that are gaining praise.Which, I guess, is just part of the judging experience — shitting and loving, the biogenesis of a critic! (I was justly criticized for using overly formal words incorrectly. But, I like the idea that shit and love are living excretions from the activity of “being a critic.” (at least right now as I am emotionally recovering from the stings and bruises of having my creation critiqued)).

It is still most disappointing that my game is proving to be technically flawed in some way that I do not understand. Ah, well. To be shit on.


On Mastery of Systems

by berv

This morning, anbrewk sent around a link to the Wikipedia article on Chess960, a chess variant that randomizes the starting positions of the back row of pieces. Much as in those days of yore when we all lived under the same roof, a conversation started up.

berv: OH GOOD

anbrewk: I think this actually looks really exciting and eliminates the frustrations presented with playing someone who simply memorized opening moves (something I think you, berv (or maybe Frange?) had expressed as a negative component of the game).

“The random setup (if it did not equate to the classic starting position) renders the opportunity of obtaining an advantage through the memorization of opening moves impracticable, compelling players to rely instead on their talent and creativity.”

berv: Yeah! It was me. I hadn’t thought about it that way. That would indeed solve some of my issues with chess (which were some of the same issues I had with the original Starcraft) while retaining the mind-fuck ten-moves-in-advance challenge of the game. I’m still not sure if it’s for me, but it’s a step in the right direction, IMO.

Upon further reflection, I think this actually makes the game a degree harder. Across multiple plays, one can’t get used to where pieces begin, and so would be forced to better understand the pieces in multiple contexts. No longer could you rely on bishops to guard your king; you’d have to adapt and find your new and alternate guard. I wonder if there are setups that would make for faster games (i.e. king in a particularly vulnerable position)? Hm.  A knight in a corner has only one legal move at the beginning of the game. Interesting.

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