After listening to the latest episode of Unlimited Hyperbole I found myself in need of something else to listen to while I worked. The cat was dozing quietly and I figured I might as well try another podcast linked in the episode’s shownotes.

As it happens the podcast linked to seemed to bear only a passing resemblance to anything related to videogames. Quite some time was devoted to discussing a blogger’s publicity generating penis. Given his prodigious length I couldn’t help but feel sorry for him – good luck not hurting yourself or your partner with something that long!

I skipped past much of what he had to say simply because I got bored. I’m not particularly squeamish but there’s only so long I can listen to someone prattle on about their privates for. He wasn’t particularly arrogant about it it was just intensely dull.Jonah-Falcon_532_1549164a

Fortunately there had been other things on the podcast that were actually of interest. The one that stuck with me was in a discussion about Pac-Manhattan.

Basically it’s a game played with real people in the field and a partner in a control room. The ghosts only know each other’s location whereas Pac-Man knows where they are and everything else on the map.Pacmanhattan-group

When it comes to Pac-Man my only real point of reference is Pac-Mania on the Acorn Archimedes. We completed it once in the mid nineties back when I attended St. Michaels, I even remember where in the school that happened. It makes me sad that there tree outside the classroom has been cut down…1

The point being that despite playing it as a child I’m only nostalgic for the place it happened, not the game itself, and most definitely not the original piece of repetitive garbage. That wasn’t what interested me about the piece – it was the attitude of treating games as their own concept and then using technology to make them better.

Instead of thinking about a videogame as a piece of software subservient to the hardware the idea is to think of the hardware as enabling the more complex mechanics of the game. This is fairly true of old RPGs like Fallout and its ilk. It uses the SPECIAL system to underpin its mechanics and at the appropriate times the game makes virtual dice rolls to determine the outcome of a player’s actions.

Essentially the same game could be played as a boardgame in theory.

This made me wonder whether I should attempt to approach design documents for videogames like I would with boardgames. I’ve got a fair bit of experience with that sort of thing so being able to merge the two disciplines might actually be very helpful.

Or it could be a shambling mess that is no fun whatsoever. Yay!

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