As we wind up our discussions of Pony Island and The Hex, the age-old question arises: what should we play next?
Or, to put it another way, quo vadis? Where are we going, reader? What’ll we click on next?
If, as I’ve been arguing in the past few posts, intuiting the answer to that question of larger purpose involves something as superficially unserious as the uses of free time, then we had better give the related question of what to play next some careful thought.
Should we equip our best relics and hop aboard the airship in search of friends, spending our time on another classic like Final Fantasy VI? Should we follow our pet weasel into the rose garden next door and play more indie darlings, a la The Hex? Should we, in short, devote ourselves to breaking out the big guns, or should we take to a trail of bread crumbs, forsaking the beaten path?
To my mind, we get closer to answering this question by appealing to deeply-held principles–the dialogue between us as we play–rather than falling on the horns of the either-or, the alternatives of what we play. There’s no shortage of places to find good commentary on classic games, and we can easily tap into endless streams of critique and analysis on new releases that run the gamut from ubiquitous popularity to niche hipsterdom. It’s not as though we are doing anything new under the sun, providing anything otherwise unsupplied elsewhere, regardless of which route we go. The only difference is that it’s we who go there, carrying on our peripatetic discourse, informed by all we’ve read and experienced. That’s something no one else can do for us. And while our lives may outwardly differ hardly at all from plenty of other aspiring scholars and teachers who podcast, few if any of the people talking about games have the broad and deep reading in literature and philosophy we bring to bear on the new art form. If you happen to feel the same, or if you know of someone like that, we’d love to hear from you. With a Socratic and neighborly love, we certainly would!
Meanwhile, we’ll keep playing both fun little games on our phones and epoch-making urtexts of the zeitgeist. Along the way, contemplating and conferring amongst ourselves, we’ll also keep gadflying about, trying to make inroads by responding to some of the big players:
- Discussions of significant books and articles (just don’t call them a canon) with the wonderfully chiasmus-y Games Studies Study Buddies
- Interviews with game developers, scholars, and youtubers from Critical Distance
- Those intrepid originals, the Retronauts, podcasting on Video Game History Foundation, pop culture, and the history of game history
- As for the bread crumbs, Still Processing addresses them in a recent episode
All of them have their own forums for feedback and discussion, worth checking out. Or you can join us on patreon to help guide our steps.