Continue?9876543210 and Jason Oda

In the early 2000s, I played an ambitious Flash game called Emogame and its politically-themed sequel. I was impressed by the effort that had gone into these games. (Note: I seem to remember that there was content that some might find objectionable, though I don’t remember exactly what.)

When I stumbled upon the game Continue?9876543210, its description made me curious and I did a little research. It turns out that it’s by Jason Oda, creator of Emogame. That and what I’d seen of the game so far was enough for me to justify a sort of impulse-buy.

Continue is the story of a video game character who has died. The player has chosen not to continue the game, so the character wanders the system’s memory, awaiting eventual annihilation by the program’s cleanup process.

The official site describes Continue as “artsy” and “philosophical.” These can be polarizing terms, but I tend to like games that aim for this sort of thing, even if they can be tedious in some cases. (If you haven’t played an artsy, philosophical game before, I recommend Passage. It’s free and takes only five minutes.)

The game’s character must come to terms with (while attempting to temporarily delay) his or her impending oblivion. This, of course, invites the player (of this game, not the player who chose not to continue the other game) to consider his or her own life and mortality. Some of the ideas and situations in this game are apparently based on a personal experience of Oda’s.

The same day I found Continue, I also discovered another of the author’s games called Skrillex Quest. This is a free one that seems to have been created on commission for music group (kind of like The Quest for the Rest, I suppose), and it’s also worth a look.

A couple more links:

 

Exploring Glitchy Atmospheric Landscapes

These are a couple of free independent computer games that I came across some time ago and found interesting. Both feature a glitchy aesthetic and neither offers much explanation.

 

Icefishing V

Icefishing is a series of projects by Nate Gallardo. Icefishing I-IV are sound-only, and can be found on this Bandcamp page. The fifth is the game, and can be found here:

http://nategallardo.com/works/icefishing-v/

In each area of the game, you’re to find and enter an object that resembles a telephone booth. How to do this in each area is up to the player to figure out. At one point, I thought I had exposed an unintentional glitch and become stuck, but after a sort of detour I was able to continue.

 

 

Memory of a Broken Dimension

For this one, even reaching the main part of the game can be a challenge, unless you are familiar with command line interfaces.

Here’s a hint (highlight to reveal): dir

And here’s the solution, if you need that:

1. remote
2. voidscan
3. dive

These are direct download links for the game:

Alternatively, you can play it in your Web browser here:
http://www.datatragedy.com/wipmoabd/


 

Césure

Here’s one more that I happened to discover the day after I originally made this post. Unlike the other two, this one doesn’t appear to have any goals other than exploring the nightmarish landscape. (I could be mistaken about that, however.)

These are direct download links for the game:

 

Belbury Poly and “Hauntology”

I wasn’t aware of “hauntology” as a musical term (or any other sort of term) until I came across Belbury Poly. Philosopher Jacques Derrida coined the term to describe the relationship between the past and the present. The music that falls under the label is a mixture of old and new electronic sounds. It’s generally quiet music, with occasional vaguely sinister undertones.

Jim Jupp (Belbury Poly) described his own music in this way in a 2009 interview:

Part of a theme that’s ongoing in all the Belbury Poly records . . . is a tradition of British science fiction, where you’ve got on the one hand the setting of a very traditional background, with very ancient things, but you’ve got this weird, cosmic stuff happening [at the same time]. A lot of old British sci-fi books – John Wyndham, for instance – have these really mundane, quaint little village settings, but all of a sudden something really freaky and cosmic appears in the middle of it.

What is freakish is not necessarily overt – a nuclear war, or a sudden landing of carnivorous aliens – but a more subtle, unsettling sensation that the ordinary world is lying side-by-side with any number of other, stranger ones. It might only take turning a street corner at the right (or wrong) moment; opening a door that you’d never noticed before; switching on the television in time to catch a sinister glitch in the broadcast: any momentary gap in the border between here and elsewhere might thrust you into a new – or an old – reality.

I like all of the Belbury Poly albums, but if I had to choose one to recommend starting with, it would probably be From an Ancient Star.

A couple samples (Youtube links):

The Advisory Circle is another artist in the same genre and on the same record label. As the Crow Flies would also make for a good introduction to this type of music.

A couple samples (Youtube links):

A heavy influence on hauntology music is library music of the type produced by BBC Radiophonic Workshop. One example of their work that I like a lot is Fourth Dimension by Paddy Kingsland.

A couple samples (Youtube links):

I happened to discover Kingsland’s music through a independent game called Space Funeral. It’s quite an interesting game, and I recommend trying it if you think a very short, very unusual RPG sounds like fun. You can get it for free here.