Last time, you decided that freaks of physics are better than beautiful food. As much as I admire delicious dishes, I’m very glad that something so completely unintended (and often unwanted by the developers) is still around. Games are weird and wacky pieces of magic, and that’s great. This week, you have to choose between the strange and the peaceful. What’s better: impossible geometry or games that play the music CD left in your drive?
I like really big unreal places in video games and I really, really like impossible places. You know: a corridor that seems to loop endlessly. a door that takes you somewhere else when you turn around. Escherian megahells from unrelated parts. holes in the world that shouldn’t be; fractal landscapes; stairs that go up more than they go down; paths that randomly change orientation so you can climb walls. endless recursive shape zones. Sure, video games get prettier in simulating reality, but we don’t have to. Embrace the unreality and all its cerebral majesty.
I also like it when the placement of loading zones makes impossible positions. I don’t know if it’s intentional or an oversight, but Dark Souls II has a point where you take an elevator from the top of a windmill in a clearing to… a castle sitting on top of a lava moat? Perfect.
I guess you could consider games with folding screens as impossible. I think mathsfaces has argued that games like Asteroids take place in a torus (donut shape with a ring) but since you can’t eat asteroids I find that unverifiable and think it takes place in an impossible place. If you want to challenge me on this, you need to make me an Asteroids donut, thank you. Any similar arguments about “actually, if we consider 5D space and the Michaels-Robertson-Vaziri hypothesis, all these parts are perfectly plausible” should also be given to me in the form of snacks.
Games that play the music CD left in your drive
It’s a little sad to think that the best thing in video games might already be gone and probably never coming back. Many people will never experience it. A dwindling number of us will be here, decades from now, choking back tears as we talk about the time The Prodigy’s Fat Of The Land synced perfectly with the game you were playing.
To explain: when games made the transition from floppy disks to CD-ROMs, many also switched from synthetic music to pre-recorded CD music. A data CD could also be a music CD, see You could put a game in a regular CD player and listen to the soundtrack and vice versa. These games would expect you to put their CD in your drive to get the soundtrack, but they didn’t check for that and would work just fine with any old music CD that happened to be in the drive. Hence the nice thing: having a music CD (or another game CD) in your drive and having the game treat that music as its own. This could lead to moments of wonderful peace.
Some music might fit perfectly with the game you were playing, taking it in a wildly different artistic direction, but still really bringing out an energy. Or sometimes the mystery music could turn the serious moments from funny to the most enjoyable. Sometimes, sure, it didn’t really work out in an interesting way. But when did it happen? Charming! These opportunities for peace of mind were magnified if you shared a computer with your family and had no idea what could be on the drive. Now that’s what I call music! 44 really went places.
But which is better?
I have many fond memories of peaceful music, but I can’t resist impossible parts. Reality is for squares.
Pick your winner, vote in the poll below, and make your case in the comments to convince others. We’ll meet again next week to see who will be victorious — and continue the great competition.