Ah, home again, home again – jiggedy-jig. So, with a freshly brewed cup of Joe and some time to kill, a bit of a wordy waffle.

First of all, may I commend the honourable sirs @RocGaude @feenwager @angryjedi and @beige for a stellar kick-off for season 2. Sharp and snappy, never lingering, a nice conveyor belt of ideas and dialogue that never caught itself in the eddies of inanity…but rarely, if ever, has the SoS found themselves in such places and not had the capacity to make a clean and intelligent getaway. Hot shit and horse shit, a great segment. Wonderfully selected music, too. Not much more I can say without the waft of gut-churning fawning entering the collective nostril, but very much looking forward to more.

In regards to the The Curfew discussion, and the suggestion that it’d perhaps benefit from being created in NA and soaking up all the clandestine Neocon/Alex Jones-esque New World Order conspiracies or concerns, I personally think it’d lose something in the transition. If it’s a case of simply applying bigger budgets and resources to a project, then that’s all very well and good. Despite the relatively average acting (I didn’t think it was too bad, to be honest, and I’ve no time for limp conveyance), it had a remarkably Old World feel to it and everything that comes part and parcel with the complexities of an empire quondam valde finding itself torn between elder Imperial sensibilities, particularly volatile idealogical overhauls amidst a stagnanting clutch for the status quo and that brooding ache of a continent de tumulte historique.

Not in any way would I suggest there isn’t the cultural subtlety or depth for something like The Curfew to take place anywhere within the New World, colonies of the Commonwealth included, but I suspect it’d need to be something more than its not if it had the big budget treatment. I think @beige hit it right on the head when he said it felt like an edutainment package that would be suited rather well for highschool classes. It had the right tone and pace, a balanced spread of characters with a relatively pronounced sense of demographic appeal. It did strike me as having the same innocent and self-perpetuated grandeur found within Neil Gaiman stories, The Curfew channeling the BBC production of Neverwhere in particular – despite being thematically far-removed.

Anyway, I just wanted to say my two cents on that game. It was quaint, quite atmospheric for a browser game, nice production values and seemed to speak to my far-flung antipodean ideas of a miserable, stoic but ever-trundling England. Cliche and stereotype serve as a soft side-serving to an interesting take on the notions of preserving order, conveyance of decay and its accelerators and bugbears on either side of the societal coin. Much like STALKER being a game that could have only come from the forlorn romanticism associated with Eastern Europe, I feel The Curfew is a clever little distillation of Mother England’s thorns – both the realities from the bottom and the phantoms from the top – in a very accessible format.

In regards to gaming literacy…

I prefer to liken the games medium to architecture, an artistic format of interpretation with tangibility – more as a defense for my own sanity under both the Ebert naysayers and the frankly embarrasing kneejerk-protectionist responses from a swathe of the gaming public. Architecture has an undeniable physicality, whereby intent, dimension and direction meet to form something a lot easier to compare a game to than, say, a Klimt, a Tarkovsky or a Proust. With the great artworks and their respective mediums, it’s always been at arms length and through the internal two-step filtration of creator’s interpretation then viewer’s. What I like about gaming is that it is, indeed as @feenwager said, a interest in possibilities within a construct – however restrained or seemingly linear. Architechture is a practical form of artistic expression that goes that one step further than what we generally perceive our classical art to be: it’s a fully-functional interaction of both restraint and possibility. So when considering what literacies or fundamental pillars I’d suggest to someone to get at least familiar with or experiment within, it’d be games that celebrate that physicality and sense of actualisation within a construct, as well as the the possibilities Jeff mentioned.

I’d probably suggest these as “further reading” for the Gaming Literacy course after the SoS profs have handed out their semester plans.

1 – Galcon. It’s an argument for delegation within an entirely visible playing field, and it’s super simple. The basic “mass” logic is there, as is the notion of realtime and on-the-fly switching of direction. It’s a mechanics primer that’d suit progression into the strategy genre – both RTS and TBS are covered in terms of location control and the ability to shift one’s emphasis of interaction, be it passively, in preparation or retaliatory.

2 – Breakout. Primarily as a suggestion of player-driven choice and tactile, fast-paced observational reaction. Breakout, or any old brickle/arkanoid clone, would serve as an introduction to the flow-on effects of player-choice and definitely showcases tangible interaction with and within a virtual environment. Tetris “fits” in nicely as well, and would be just as applicable.

3 – Thief 2: The Metal Age – This is the biggest step up, but apart from having a lore about it that puts most other games to shame, the Thief games encourage exploration, the concepts of virtual light and dark, simplistic yet understandable interactions between the player and an NPC that involve basic logic when considering pathways. There is no emphasis on combat, so it’s a game where location and the actual habitation of the construct is the key to the experience. Sound itself is synthesised to such a degree that fundamental understanding of surface and movement isn’t a notion locked beneath menus or statistics. Of all the titles where Jeff’s possibility concept can come into play, Thief 2 is definitely up there as a case in point.

That’s my wandering, wilting view on what I consider a literacy in gaming. It’s about the interaction, with the idea of being “well-read” coming later. The gulf between classical art/entertainment and gaming seems to dip with actual interaction, so I feel covering those bases like one would a car or other product would lead to the building blocks of appreciation. It’s only after these things are understood that we can enjoy and revel in the nuances of an Ando concrete-and-glass construction or the decrepid Art Deco amalgam found within Rapture.

And with that, an empty coffee cup and a fond good night to you gentlemen.