South Park Self

making carpets on treadmills

The year is winding down, thank the FSM, which means I'm over the worst of meetings and orientation editing and what have you. Right now my life is only rendered hideous by (a) the weather (too hot), and (b) the particular kind of student whose auto-response is to whinge "DM, DM, I disbelieve!" about their failed course/ungranted supplementary exam/exclusion/inability to graduate, and to demand that I implement their denial of reality posthaste because it's All Our Fault, Not Theirs. Sometimes legal action or daddy are invoked, or, in extreme and laughable instances, the president. I'm generally, as a person, incredibly bad at saying "no" to people who want something I'm able to give, but some of these kids are introducing me very quickly to the concept of being a stone-cold bitch. Because there's narcissism, and there's entitlement, and then there's the particular level of self-involved fantasy which imagines that the rules and requirements of a large and prestigious institution are somehow irrelevant to the unique and beautiful snowflake who is the fantasist. I am detecting in myself a dreadful tendency to devolve into addressing some of these kids as "sweetie", which is horribly condescending even if it's in most cases richly deserved. If you catch me doing it outside the context of entitled student whingers, please kick me hard.

In between fending off student denials of reality with an assortment of electric cattle-prods and a dexterously-wielded rulebook, I have discovered ASCII browser games. These are pleasingly minimalist and ridiculously entertaining, having as they do an innately high level of self-conscious quirk. I am loving A Dark Room, which is a resource-management/mini text quest sort of thing which slowly, inexorably and slightly unexpectedly builds a historical, generic and narrative context in the background while you're busy collecting furs and smoking meat. At the moment it's asking me to play a sort of space-invadery dodging game at which I suck beyond the telling, but hopefully I'll blunder through it eventually. (Jo is hanging up on her inability to gather sufficient teeth and scales). A Dark Room is recommended, although prone to cause swearing the umpteenth time you misjudge your travels and starve accidentally to death.

I am also amused thus far by Candy Box, whose jolly little icon person \o/ goes tripping merrily through adventures without you apparently having to do anything. I am unable to relate what happens when you throw candies on the ground, although that may simply because I haven't thrown enough of them. But it seems to be playing self-conscious D&D-reminiscent games to an even greater extent than Dark Room does. Also, there's a curious appeal to watching \o/ attack GOBs repeatedly.

I am currently playing both of these concurrently with the perennial favourite, Echo Bazaar, for my daily dose of politely Cthulhoid Victorian subterranean surreal. All three of these games involve waiting periods as resources or cards build up, so multi-tasking is not only possible, it's imperative. Sneaky.

I go on leave for three weeks from Thursday next week. Roll on the day, say I. But in the meantime I'm perfectly happy planting lollipops.

Subject line from David Bowie, "It's No Game", for no adequately defined reason except that I'm currently immersed in The Next Day, which is an amazingly internal and ruminative album whose sound and tone skips across Bowie's album history in a series of meditative flashbacks. Still a sucker for self-consciousness.