Vouching, 2016 Edition

Vouching, 2016 Edition

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, here are three things I’ve recently fallen in love with:

1. Kentucky Route Zero.  It’s a point-and-click game–it brought back memories of Maniac Mansion, the first videogame I ever played, joystick and all.  However, MM‘s control scheme was frustrating and felt outdated even on a Commodore 64; Kentucky Route Zero‘s developers managed to preserve the best parts of the genre without the drawbacks: the result is a game with beautiful and stylish graphics; a gorgeous, immersive soundtrack; and a unique mixture of Americana and dread.

I just finished Act I, but here are a few screenshots that really don’t do it justice:

Also, if it matters, I’m not alone in my love for this game, which is also a unique mixture of weird-but-accessible.  I’m bad with directions and hate feeling lost in the world of the game, so most 8-bit adventure games are off the table.  I gave up on Year Walk, and even the beautiful worlds in Fez eventually became too tiresome after I couldn’t figure out the world map.  But somehow, I felt lost and disoriented in KR0 without ever becoming frustrated.  Can’t wait to start Act II.


2. This band and this song.

3. I avoided reading Station Eleven for a long time. I don’t know–I love postapocalyptic stuff, but after a while, I noticed a certain sameness creeping in.  Even beyond tiresome character tropes and scenarios, sometimes it felt like writers were using the genre to lazily spew an uninteresting brand of nihilism.

Anyway, at a point when everyone was talking about this book and I was flush with cash, I bought a ticket to hear Emily St. John Mandel give a talk in Pittsburgh.  (Also, one of my New Year’s resolutions was to read more contemporary books.)

I was really impressed with Station Eleven: the author was clearly aware of the genre’s conventions and made some smart decisions to make the subject matter feel new and fresh.  Also, many of the ideas in the book are genuinely thought-provoking.  I can’t wait to hear what she has to say on Monday.


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