There must be someone else who feels this way, but I’ve never met them - to the best of my knowledge Gabriel is the only person who doesn’t find Will Wright’s games enthralling. Or, in any case, he’s the only person who doesn’t mind saying so, willing to put his gamer card at risk by taunting Olympus.
I’ve said in the past that what distinguishes me from him (and perhaps from you) is that I am willing to meet a game half-way. There may be more points of distinction, but this one is germane to the discussion. I can (as an archaeologist might) use a tiny broom to brush away particulates on an otherwise fascinating surface. Gabriel’s issue with Will Wright’s games (if I am paraphrasing him correctly, here) is that Will Wright doesn’t do the opposite: they won’t meet him. He’s hesitant to even call them games, actually. They often don’t define any kind of linear progression outside of those you determine yourself, which for him is the equivalent of handing someone a box of potentially intriguing but largely alien widgets and telling you to “knock yourself out” before running in the opposite direction.
Of course, systems based on interlocking parts I must generate a narrative framework to contain, well… Yes. I probably don’t need to tell you that even the construction of an ordinary sentence, clearly stated, is my life’s great pleasure. I have esoteric refrigerator magnets, I have an H. P. Lovecraft set and a Cooking set whose coitus has breached a terrifying, if perhaps overly specific, cavern of linguistic delights. So the management of towns, the ratios of their districts, yea, even unto the codified feng shui of their tiny living rooms bears a certain grammar that has been my constant fascination.
I don’t know if this specifically is a console/PC gamer distinction, I’m open to a discussion on the topic, but I believe that is my associates’ contention - that I’ve been trained as a PC gamer to find the sweet liqueur even in an otherwise revolting bonbon - isn’t entirely without merit. Simultaneously, I find interacting with systems I have personally imbued with meaning to be an experience that transcends the raw mechanics of most games I play. So, yes. I am willing to put up with a lot, if the upshot is that I can author universes.
On Monday, I’ll talk about the portables.
that cursed you and your reasons