Pretending like I know what I’m talking about

Thanksgiving break is over, and it is officially the end-of-semester crunch for all of us at Rutgers. Meaning these desires to express myself at odd hours of the late night / early morning are likely to become a lot more common, because I can only write when I’m really supposed to be doing something else.

Tonight I’m going to talk about text-based adventure games. Why? Because I look at most video games today and realize they’re full of shit, which leads me to believe we went wrong somewhere, which means I should go back to the beginning and see what was done right. The answer: Not a whole hell of a lot. “Interactive fiction” is next to unplayable, unless you have a lot of free time and brainpower. Which is funny, because people still run entire sites about the damn things, analyzing them and everything.

Well, now I’m going to piss off everyone by saying that I’ve played “Undo” by Neil deMause, and it was the most entertaining game I’ve experienced since Portal. It also had me banging my head against the wall in frustration, before I realized banging the neighbor’s dog’s head against the wall in frustration was a much more productive way to spend my time.


If you consider the Companion Cube to be female, this is like lesbian porn!


There’s no sense denying it; several years late, I have still managed to join the ranks of players and bloggers who consider Portal to be one of the best video games ever. Yes, this means I cannot think for myself and my brain is now the property of the media. Deal with it.

However, this post isn’t about how Portal is mind-fuckingly good. We all know that. If you don’t know that by now, you must be a hopelessly underinformed and sheltered individual (i.e. me until Octoberish). What this post is about, is how to make a good game.

I look forward to people finding this page in the near future and shooting me down.

Without further ado, here comes the list.


If you ever want to get a general idea of the pulse of the Internet, you can do one of two things. The first of these is to travel to underground Washington, D.C., where the tubes are rumored to be located, stethoscope in hand. The second is Google trends.

Looking at Google trends today, I found the phrase “what weapon is synonymous with samurai warriors” on the list of keywords. The popularity of the phrase seems to have started around 8 PM last night, reached a peak around 6 AM today, and started its decline until it was merely “spicy” instead of “volcanic”.

The answer, by the way, is a katana.

Let me tell you a little bit about katanas.

In my senior year of high school, we had to film a movie. (It was never completed, by the way. Senior year of high school, remember?) For the movie – it was something of a cross between a Mafia movie and a spiritual awakening, involving a priest, the Flying Spaghetti Monster, and a plastic figurine of Jesus – we asked everyone participating in filming to bring in as many weapons as they could find.

If you ever want to know more about your friends, ask them to bring weapons to your house. You’ll be surprised. I know I was.

Somebody had nunchucks. Someone had super soakers. Someone else brought in a katana sword and a small knife.

I don’t think I ever found out about the story behind the sword, but I can tell you it was the real thing. Also, they reportedly hurt when you smack them against someone’s knee. We had to take his word for it. Or rather, pained screaming.

Now you probably think I’m some kind of evil monstrosity, prone to violence and hitting people with Japanese swords. Well, I’m not. Apparently, other people are, though.

In Google trends, if you look underneath the main search phrase, you’ll find a list of “related searches”:

So it might be cathatric to see your friend in pain, but come on, people.

So it might be cathatric to see your friend in pain, but come on, people.

See? You have nothing to worry about from me. It’s the other people on the Internet who are crazy.

Doctor Horrible (Neil Patrick Harris) urges a stunned man to "get a pic, do a blog!" as his plan falls into place.

Doctor Horrible (Neil Patrick Harris) urges a stunned spectator to "get a pic, do a blog!" as his plan falls into place.

For eons, the Internet and copyrighted material have been bitter enemies – but a new, made-for-the-tubes movie might be about to change that.

Doctor Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, an idea cooked up by Joss Whedon during the ’07-08 writer’s strike, decides not to fight the Internet, but use it.

“The idea was to make it on the fly, on the cheap – but to make it,” Whedon writes under the not-exactly-secret Master Plan portion of the Doctor Horrible site. “To turn out a really thrilling, professionalish piece of entertainment specifically for the internet.”

Doctor Horrible relied on the inventiveness of the Internet to gain popularity. The site’s front page has four buttons that link to MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, and Digg – four sites that can let a link spread like wildfire, if you’ve got the right people spreading it.

Getting Doctor Horrible known throughout the Intertubes has worked magnificently – almost to a fault. By the time Act III was up (midnight June 19 EST) the company that hosts the website was starting to get a little nervous. In one second, the site received 1,000 hits from viewers. The site went down temporarily to get moved to a larger server that could handle the pressure. Jed Whedon said July 19th “was a frustrating, long day”, and his fiancé, Maurissa Tancharoen, added “We were very very very sorry” about the downtime in an interview by the official fan site. (more…)