This fall it’s all about the distortion of innocence–and its unexpected resurgence.
We’re looking at two games by Daniel Mullins, Pony Island and The Hex, and anticipating a third, Inscryption. What’s the connection between them? We don’t really know yet. But as the new game’s description helpfully says, it’s going to be even less about ponies.
Pony Island Discussions, Selected References
Week 1 – Fix Start Menu
Week 2 – Passwords
- Settlers of Catan, Adventure of Link, mirror mode a la Castlevania: Symphony of the Night or Mario Kart 64? Startropics’ snowman?
Week 3 – Run With the Speed of a Thousand
- Infinite Jest, De anima, Avicenna and Averroes, MissingNo, Goat Sim, emergent gameplay, Mario flagpoles, Foucault’s Pendulum, Knights Templar and Baphomet, Jim Sterling and PewDiePie
For The Hex, we’ll cover one character/genre each week, plus an extra discussion on the endgame
- We talk secret endings and best openings, Evoland, walking sims: Dear Esther, Ether One, Mind: Path to Thalamus, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, What Remains of Edith Finch, and the game as short story collection/ novel of ideas. And from the after-class chat: On ratings and reviews in the strange case of Fallout 76
Week 2 – Hot Strawberry Pie
- Jeremiah and Lazarus, a Steambot Crusader? Undertale’s dummy, race in games, Street Fighter and Super Smash meta, the search for balance in an OP world, and best villains
Week 3 – A Gift Kraken
- Zelda (ears), EarthBound (treehouse) and Magic: The Gathering (Kobolds, sweaty). Livestream lingo (#freebandito) and the dilemmas facing girl gamers. The Sphinx, Oedipus, and The Hobbit’s riddles. The void, Sartre’s hell, self-harm, Charon, fishing, coins, crunch, MissingNo (again), doppelganger fights, the mimic mirror, the metaphysical status, ie. existence and essence, of game characters. Catharsis. As I Lay Dying. Bugs and features, bugs and patches. Remember Reboot?
Week 4 – Hologram Concierge
Week 5 – Artifact Heist
- Modern Warfare/ Halo, CD Projekt Red’s woes, Ben’s approaches to gaming, Spec Ops: The Line, Papyrus, CS Lewis on maturity, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Triforce, PUBG /Fortnite Errant Signal, Artifact, community v civil society, Clue
Week 6 – Lionel Wants This
- Video game bathrooms, The Beginner’s Guide, Dostoevsky’s Demons/The Possessed, Satan in Pony Island and Lou Natas in The Hex, Id Engine, Gretchen in Faust, Standard Library quirks, Sauron, Endervale, Back to the Future II, Arcade Bartenders, “God is dead”
Week 7 – Beneath the Surface
Interviews with Daniel Mullins
Additional Recommended Reading
and of course, Goethe, Faust