Archive for the ‘You Really Can’t Tell?’ Category:

Lorem Ipsum: The Videogame – High Concept, or Meaningless Garbage?

Lorem Ipsum is a strange game. In fact, arguments have sprung up all over the internet as to whether Lorem Ipsum is a game, a “reading simulator”, or an extended interactive hate mail to a Lauren Ibsen (Although the evidence for this theory has been somewhat scant on the ground, this critic notes). I’ve played it, in the sense that I have opened the program and experienced what I have to offer, and I’ve got to say…

…I’m pretty bloody impressed.

The game, at first, appears very scant. There is a page of latin text, and your options, at first, are to scroll to the next page, or close the program. A very linear start, and it is at first discouraging that scrolling down reveals… Another page of the same latin text. Indeed, scrolling back and forth between the first fifty pages reveals exactly the same paragraph, repeated the same three times, regardless of input.

But the fifty first was the revelation. Yes, there were still three paragraphs, but one of them was now sideways. And it was in this moment that I truly understood the message of Lorem Ipsum. Or rather, I thought I did. I thought it was about nonconformity. But pages 52-101… Were exactly the same as 1-50. It was discouraging. Was I meant to feel discouraged? I genuinely didn’t know. But now, I wanted to find out. And page 102 seemingly gave me the answer. One of the Lorem Ipsums of the page was hyperlinked, and also sideways. I clicked… And was immediately booted back to the beginning of the document. A detailed examination of pages 1-102 showed no differences, so I can definitely confirm: This game has fail states, and they are fairly arbitrary. But this, also, had to mean something.

In the end, I found no meaning. I’d scrolled through 500 pages, gotten kicked back to the beginning and read laboriously through each time, until I felt I could recite Lorem Ipsum from memory. I tried the kickbacks in combination. I saw it sideways, I saw it mirrored… But the Lorem Ipsum only ended on page 501, without fanfare, and I was devastated. It had no meaning.

But it was never meant to have meaning. Lorem Ipsum is a nihilistic work, meant to show us the pointlessness of our toil with a nonsense latin paragraph used in book-keeping, repeated just over 1500 times. No matter how you look, the game hammer home that your seeking is pointless.

I need a drink after playing this game, and you probably will if you play it.

EDIT: I have also been informed that, while I was counting pages, there were in fact page numbers. They don’t count 1, 2, 3. There is no order I can see, no pattern. Why did anybody hate gamers so much that they made this game?

UPDATE: By screen capturing each of the 501 pages, players were able to find 501 copies of the same image, each shifted by precisely 1mm vertically. From this, they were able to piece together this image.

Look at the date.

No, I don’t know what it means either.

Crusader Kings 2 Moving to “Free To Play” Model in June

Everybody who’s anybody in the strategy gaming world knows Crusader Kings 2. Like any good strategy game, it’s spawned narrative Let’s Plays (Including one which featured a Rap Battle, Flamboyant Schemers), stories of gambits succeeded and lost, and even moments where the game’s logic is a little strict or loose have spawned their own fantastic tales, such as vassals who conquered the rest of the world while their liege did… Well, nothing.

But the gaming world was shocked at the announcement that the game, already rich with DLC, was going “Free to Play”. In a way, it was almost a betrayal. But, our source at Paradox states, an inevitable one.

“Even though our downloadable content has often been rich in additions, and we have a reputation for listening to our players… They still weren’t satisfied. We thought about donating to Tarn Adams, maybe employ him to create an all encompassing DLC for Crusader Kings 2, but that was a dead end. [laugh] Dwarf Fortress really is his life project, so he politely declined, and, as developers who love games, we respect that.”

“So, in the end, we decided to take our modular design philosophy with Crusader Kings 2 to its logical progression.”

At this point in the presentation, all seemed sensible. All was right with the world. But it was not to last.

“The core of the game, as we see it, is the conquest and the economics, centred on South Africa, so this will be the free to play content, with micropayments unlocking a variety of features: Europe, marriage, colonisation (New World is included, don’t worry about that!), with the higher level strategic content (Religion, plots, european and muslim technology, and breeding) obviously costing a little more. It’s a fairly complex game, but it can be broken down into simple elements, and, beyond the conquest… Not a lot of those elements are really necessary, at least as far as the larger demographic shows. Everybody wants to rule the world. Not so many people are fond of the… responsibilities of rulership. So they can now have all of the fun, but very little of the responsibility.”

Crusader Kings 2: Online will be released in June 2015. The UI will largely remain unchanged.