[first impression, one playthrough]
Was just looking at Rosa Mekman's work yesterday
and I was trying to remember thinking about who made a Windows 95 shower curtain. I keep coming back to that thought for some reason... what would it be like to take a shower in the Windows 95 desktop? So far, the only parts of my life that aren't dominated by rectilinear raster graphics are my bedroom (just a mattress) and my bathroom (just a bathroom). I intentionally keep those two places blank because I'm worried about not having space to think. It wasn't Rosa in the end but
and the point isn't that I want to shower inside a computer GUI but rather there is a tension there -- it feels dirty and irrevocable to do so. I like hypothesizing about that shower curtain. It's become some sort of bizarre metaphor for giving up.
The first few moments of Leaving Ur gave me the same sensation. Frantically searching internet history, scanning through screenshots taken and immediately filed away, wondering about the contents of a corrupted Zip disk from 1998. I wonder why. It's not the collage. Collage can be warm and passive and pure trash, dead newspaper cutouts and some cans or something. I don't think it was the music, although there is something fascinatingly commodity about classical music. It is still used to symbolize mortal perfection, but as an artifact is unable to fully participate in contemporary capitalism. It has moved beyond that exclusivity of copyright and in a certain narrow way is completely worthless. I feel the same way when I listen to the music on piano society as I do when I listen to the music on SNESmusic, although that is even fuzzier as it was never "claimed" in a sense as having worth of its own. It was never an album.
I zone out on the visuals, I watch the forms and the motions but avoid the detail. I read extremely quickly, like a comic book. "Hall." "Group." "Carpet." The gaggle of ladies from the intro to La Vita Nuova. I let a lot of time pass before I attempt to interact. The orrery of worlds in the upper-left must be controlling all of this. No, oh no into the internet and quickback out. I recognize the formatting of a museum site. I think of all of this as raw material, infinite raw material. It only takes about five dozen similar-ish items to make me think about Library of Babel.
I should say that I felt the same way about playing Quadrilateral Cowboy. It just felt so much like work. Not that the experience was laborious, but rather the visual referents seemed too... familiar. I concede that I might be projecting some work anxiety on my recent interactive experiences. I am maybe losing patience with unlocking doors, even if in the end I was the one who blah blah blah. I think I am starting to overemphasize the wash, the first few seconds of the thing, the color-flavor or the motion-sound-muscle-dance. I think... I am becoming a poor critic! Let me start over.
I loved that the carpet-chase scene looped around. I loved that it was the only gigantic color. I think I saw some cats. I loved that it all ended before I could start to look at the stitching. I wondered where my "friends" were in the museum. I never saw them again, after that playground sprint through the psychadelic art-torus.
I wished there wasn't a credits screen, that showed me the game itself inside-out. I would have liked to been there and then nothing, have it all disappear. That is a stupid way to go about it, I realize. We have no idea who is coming from where and honestly it is on us (who choose this medium) to bring it to and open the door of strangers. It is really our medium-penalty. Why choose a splotch of paint instead of a speech? Why not use words that everybody already knows? Why are you asking people to be uncomfortable? Human psychology is pretty constant across the 7bn living. If things are to be in the dissonant zone, the non-every-day-speech-zone the non-food-sex-shelter zone they need to be justified in a sense. And if that means credits, then so be it! It is certainly preferable to coming across as an uninhabitable and unwelcoming land.
But, anyways, that all happened at the end. I'm really more interested in where my initial reaction came from. The tearing around the edges, the quick cut-out, the Glorious Trainwreck chic. Maybe it was just a triggering of that same process, hurry up and rip the internet apart you only have two hours to make something! Inside baseball, ugh. But, that is truly what this group (and website (rip) is (was)).
I recorded my session, and there was a joke in the middle where I started to browse the museum until I found an illustration of a bear which I proceeded to on-screen-recording-camera cut out (screenshot) and I really wanted to open photoshop and oversaturate the bear and generally neon mess. That's what I wanted to do right in the middle of your game, and I hope that gives you some good feedback.