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Monday, September 12, 2005

Abandonding Geek

Theme has always been a problem in American game criticism because they think it somehow matters, as if it is an integral part of the design. European designers treat it as something of a joke. Martin Wallace never actually played Secrets of the Tombs but he did get around $10,000 in advance for designing it, his proof that he never took its crappiness seriously. We and they, the true professionals, don't forgive design failures because firstly they are failures and secondly because they are obvious in play, and how could they not be? Whether some players are looking past it or genuinely are unable to spot the problems doesn't matter, as it results in the same thing. Thus naughty old Knizia has learnt to publish everything, even Stephensons Rocket.

I have little or no interest in Prof. Tolkien, or his works, and espeially not in the wake of the films, and its certainly not his fiction that he would have liked to have been remembered for. He died just before the potential value of LotR began to be realised. I imagine a curmudgeonly old bugger who was far too intelligent not to dislike analogy, at his happiest spouting that elevated combination of Welsh and Finnish he liked to call Elvish on Radio 4. Sinilarly the genuine themes of his books are rather high-minded, almost sophisticated, and as such have been over-used as the basis of academic coursework. Tolkien did take his fantastical hobby seriously, however, as do we, which may not have been so common in his time.

One reason Jason may be puzzled is that he clearly mixes up his own subjectivity in his first paragraphs with his perceived objectivity later on. Its harder to lose objectivity if you feel thats the only way you can judge the quality of a game's design. The fundamental point of Sauron's hunt for the Ring in the books is that he never considered that his enemies would try to destroy it, at least not until a few seconds before the deed was done. Reproducing that, by a simple method of indirectness, is this game's crowning achievement, and what the rest failed to do and the reason why they don't really work. I think this was actually admitted in the notes of the SPI game.

Turning to Master Tripp's post, I'd hope that here we are in a clique, and not just on Geek Mk. 2. As for the Cayenne, clearly its supposed to be faster than the similar VW Toureg, the silly Turbo being neither family nor utility in its fuel consumption, but excellent across muddy fields. BBC's Top Gear showed in December that a Murcielago driven by a racing driver could not get away from an Evo VIII, and eventually he spun out trying to.
I think the Lamborghini was red, but does it matter?