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Waxing Poetic on the Zen of Gaming

This blog intends to look at the gaming phenomenon as a whole, its effect on societal norms, its value in education, and its place in our own day to day lives.

Author: rabbidfly

The cake is a lie...

Posted by rabbidfly Friday December 14 2007 at 12:45PM
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Portal has to be considered a candidate for the game of the year. It's genius lies in it's utter simplicity and  uniqueness. Every developer in the world must be looking at that game and thinking... "i could have coded that over the weekend". In a world of bloated budgets, missed deadlines, and increasing complexity in game design, Portal stands out amidst the giants as a delicious morsel of sublime yumminess.

HAL from Space Odyssey 2001 has finally been reincarnated as GLaDOS (Genetic Lifeform and Disk Operating System) - the maniacal and sinister AI with a soft and trusting voice.

"Dave.... I can't let you do that Dave..."

I also couldn't resist the urge to compare cake to soma in Huxley's Brave New World. How can a game so sparse on features evoke so many associations to other, larger works of art?

A new sub-genre may have actually been invented - FPSPG (First person shooter puzzle game).. You know a game is immortalized when it becomes ingrained within our own gaming culture. References to "cake" are appearing everywhere - in blogs, sigs and random postings. Outsiders to our little clique are just as amazed with the seemingly stupid reference to cake as they were with  teh intentional misspelling of words, or grammatically comical translations such as "All your base are belong to us..". My wife often looks over my shoulder and wonders how i can routinely find so much more substance and culture than i do in RL.

Portal isn't just a game. It is just another iconic Companion Cube in our expanding virtual world - a meme of cultural relevance that transcends mere gaming. An idea that travels faster than our collective ability to buy the Orange Box.

There is an inherent beauty in the type of simplicity that can rise above itself. As a powerful design principle itself, it seems to escape the majority of games out there, who instead, drown under their own weight of mediocrity.