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Parish
03-03-2008, 03:53 PM
At Tomm's request, we have the latest experience from the creator of Passage, you can download it for free here (http://hcsoftware.sourceforge.net/gravitation/index.html).

Gravitation
Jason Rohrer | PC etc. | Life | 2008

It's all of eight minutes, so play it before commenting. You may want to comment again after playing it again as you try different things and the concepts become clearer.

BEAT
03-03-2008, 04:32 PM
I have played all 8 of it's minutes.

And I... don't really get the vast symbolism. And the author's notes only made me more confused.

I don't really consider that a spoiler.

Eirikr
03-03-2008, 04:42 PM
Okay. So I played with the girl and the ball for a little bit before I realized that you had to start jumping up. Then you lose this high jump ability. Then you get it back.

These are the creative leaps he is talking about? How creation in itself is not a constant succession of leaps, but how the mind will narrow for a bit until you get that next spark. Patience rewards the creator. Patience will allow you to get higher and higher with your own idea as you allow it the time to be more complex. Maybe the girl at the beginning is supposed to be a creative inspiration? I did not know where to go until playing with her allowed me to see the first hole in the sky.

Also, the more I read about the creator's personal life, the more I want to well, not punch him in the face, but perhaps look upon him in disdain as a member of middle America. Probably out of jealousy.

JCDenton
03-03-2008, 04:43 PM
But why did she leave me????

First time I got a score of 7. The second time was 75, which I would be moderately proud of if it didn't feel as though a much higher score could be attained. I don't think pushing two or three at once really got me anywhere I wanted to be, so one a time it is next trial.

I really like the overall feel, particularly the whole creative process symbolism I may or may not be imagining.

Edit: Only 80 for the third try. Oh well.

Edit the second:

These are the creative leaps he is talking about? How creation in itself is not a constant succession of leaps, but how the mind will narrow for a bit until you get that next spark. Patience rewards the creator. Patience will allow you to get higher and higher with your own idea as you allow it the time to be more complex.

Makes sense. I figured there was some commentary on having to reach for ever higher peaks in order to maintain a slowly decreasing level of progress. Reach/jump too high though and you'll instantly find yourself cold, alone and unloved.

Parish
03-03-2008, 04:54 PM
I didn't see this as being a parable about creativity but about parenthood, about how the lives of a parent and a child are so closely tied. But ultimately, the parent has to go out and provide. Eventually, when you're not paying attention, the child grows up and leaves the nest. But then, I didn't read the notes, so maybe I'm totally off.

JCDenton
03-03-2008, 05:00 PM
I didn't see this as being a parable about creativity but about parenthood, about how the lives of a parent and a child are so closely tied. But ultimately, the parent has to go out and provide. Eventually, when you're not paying attention, the child grows up and leaves the nest. But then, I didn't read the notes, so maybe I'm totally off.

That's a pretty interesting way of reading it. I was biased by the subtitle: "a video game about mania, melancholia, and the creative process".

Red Hedgehog
03-03-2008, 05:56 PM
I interpreted playing with the girl as giving you inspiration - letting you know that there's a reason to do things and strive to come up with more - but that if that is all you focus on, eventually you will become short-sighted and no longer able to reach those places you once could. I was genuinely sad when I came back from gathering ice block to find the girl gone.

pence
03-03-2008, 06:05 PM
A few things I noticed:

- The fire in the kiln slowly dies over the course of the game.
- Your mood will naturally fluctuate slowly. The only way to artificially increase your mood is by playing with the child or grabbing a star.
- Grabbing a star will cause your mood to rapidly fall after it increases. Playing with the child does not.
- Burning the solidified stars for points will not affect your mood.

If getting points won't increase your mood, why bother trying to get a high score? The game doesn't even have a leaderboard.

Probably because the alternative, simply staying at the bottom of the board, is pretty boring. The child won't disappear if you just hang out with her for 8 minutes; I think I spoiled her.

I was genuinely sad when I came back from gathering ice block to find the girl gone.
Aeris fans take note.

JCDenton
03-03-2008, 06:11 PM
A few things I noticed:

- The fire in the kiln slowly dies over the course of the game.


Yeah, I noticed that too, though I assumed it was because the star/block/things were made of ice and pushing enough in the fire would extinguish it. Thought maybe I could "win" if I put it out before the 8 minutes were up, but that is just idle speculation I have no intention of testing.

Psyael
03-03-2008, 06:17 PM
Eventually, when you're not paying attention, the child grows up and leaves the nest.

If it only worked that way. Usually they only leaved when absolutely forced, as I and I'm sure many others have set as example.

Kind of struck me as another symbolism for the sake of symbolism idea.

JCDenton
03-03-2008, 06:26 PM
Kind of struck me as another symbolism for the sake of symbolism idea.

Well, the developer does seem kinda...artsy? A free spirit? Pretentious? Take your pick.

I should stop posting so much.

MCBanjoMike
03-03-2008, 06:29 PM
Here's what I got from this game:

Drugs are bad, m'kay?

Octopus Prime
03-03-2008, 06:30 PM
So this is from the maker of Passage eh?

I can honestly say I'm not fond of the guys work.

Parish
03-03-2008, 07:51 PM
Thanks for contributing!!

SamuelMarston
03-03-2008, 08:32 PM
I can't get it to run. Do I need to download the SDL library to do this thing?

Am I building from source?


EDIT: Passage really moved me, and I would really like to play this.

Tomm Guycot
03-03-2008, 08:59 PM
I've still only played it once. However reading his statements "feels like my brain caught on fire" is pretty obviously represented in the game.

Want to play more before I comment further - tomorrow.

Traumadore
03-03-2008, 10:01 PM
I definitely felt this would be more meaningful if it was about the parent-child relationship. I was sure that was what it was about before looking at the comments here, but I guess maybe it was just one interpretation.

I don't like the correlation of creativity being either far away, a burden, or futile.

If that's what this game is about, then screw that. If it's about the parent and child I will file it with Passage as strangely touching.

Brickroad
03-03-2008, 10:13 PM
I broke the game by jumping as high as I could without getting any stars, then grabbing them all on the way down. They formed a stack so tall that I couldn't get on the left side of them to push them forward. I assume the little girl got trapped there and froze to death. Hurrah!

But yeah, symbolism for the sake of symbolism. I feel like there's a strong possibility this guy just likes making crazy art piece games and then trying to attach meaning to them after the fact. I kind of got that vibe from Passage too.

If this guy is really trying to say something meaningful with his games, it must be "life is beautiful, but ultimately pointless."

eta: High score is 87 after three playthroughs. I don't know of a more optimal strategy than the one I was using, so that's probably where I'll leave it.

Tomm Guycot
03-03-2008, 10:31 PM
How in the world can you say the meaning in Passage was ascribed afterwards? The whole graphic effect was predicated on the symbolism. That wasn't accidental.

Brickroad
03-03-2008, 11:24 PM
How in the world can you say the meaning in Passage was ascribed afterwards? The whole graphic effect was predicated on the symbolism. That wasn't accidental.

I didn't say he ascribed symbolism to it after the fact, I said "that's the vibe I got from it." Kind of like those overzealous English teachers who insist there is a deep hidden meaning in every paragraph in, say, Huckleberry Finn. Sure, maybe the raft is a symbol of unrestricted freedom in an otherwise rigid and unyeilding world... or, you know, maybe it is just a raft.

In Passage, it was easy to understand what the author wanted you to understand, not only because the game was pretty simple and linear, but also because he wrote an eleven-paragraph essay about it. In Gravitation, you play ball with a little girl until your head explodes, and then push blocks of ice into a fireplace until time runs out.

It's a cool little diversion, and like Passage it'll sit on my hard drive until I want to go at it once every few weeks or so, but maybe the blocks of ice are just blocks of ice.

reibeatall
03-03-2008, 11:46 PM
Ok, so I got genuinely sad when the girl wasn't there when I got back TO PROVIDE FOR HER. Seriously, after she was gone, I felt no reason to go on.

I don't know how this compares to life, I really don't. Not being a parent might have something to do with that. Regardless, I felt joy playing ball with the girl, but I knew she needed melted ice to be happy, so I went out for her. I'd get back and play for a little while, but then work would call. When I got back and she was gone, I was sad I hadn't played with her more.

I then spent the next three minutes pouting about how pissed off I was that they took her away from me, and then how strange it is that these two games (Passage and this) can evoke such a strong emotion from me.

Tomm Guycot
03-03-2008, 11:52 PM
Given rei's reaction, I think the game is about the battle between creative energies and achieving w/ them vs. family and enjoying their time / providing for them.

If you try to stay around the girl, you never achieve your potential heights.

Eusis
03-04-2008, 12:28 AM
This was interesting, though it didn't have the impact of Passage.

I focused on playing with the girl at first, and after awhile of my head being on fire each time I bounced the ball back up, I jumped up and got that star, played for awhile more. Head was set back on fire, jumped higher, got more, and that lasted shorter than last time. Tried getting two blocks, and managed to get them in, and my head would still be on fire. After playing with the girl a little more, I jumped up and grabbed several more blocks... And she was gone. I pushed them in, just kinda walking around the ball trying to play with it, then wound up jumping up, getting a bunch of the stars down, and futilely shoving them into the furnace even as the title screen popped up.

Makkara
03-04-2008, 12:50 AM
Also, the more I read about the creator's personal life, the more I want to well, not punch him in the face, but perhaps look upon him in disdain as a member of middle America. Probably out of jealousy.

I think this blog (http://stuffwhitepeoplelike.wordpress.com/) was written specifically about that guy.

As for the game, I can't play it right now, but I'll probably give it a go when I get home from work.

BEAT
03-04-2008, 04:20 AM
Ok, I played it again, and I am now prepared to say it's probably just a big mind screw that has exactly as much symbolism as you're willing to look for.

The moral of the story is that friendship gives you superpowers, but also causes permanent brain damage via fire.

I think this blog (http://stuffwhitepeoplelike.wordpress.com/) was written specifically about that guy.I've said it before, and I'll say it again. I wasn't ashamed of being white before I saw that.

Merus
03-04-2008, 05:44 AM
I think maybe it would have worked better if it were not supposed to be 'about' something. I agree that the metaphor seems much more forced here than it did in Passage.

I've said before, I think, that characters that are useful tend to be more easily likable than characters who don't. I think the girl here serves as an example - you play with her, and your field of vision increases, so you've got a clear reward for playing with her, and so it's a little bit heartbreaking to go climbing for stars when she's sitting there waiting for you to come back.

I'm sure I'm not the only one who was tempted to stick around playing catch with the girl for most of the game, especially as the climbing portion of the game just wasn't all that appealing to me. I had some trouble trying to intuit the rules of the game and how high I could jump at any one time, a cardinal sin when you're essentially making a platformer.

Also, I actually like the sport soccer, not just the idea of it. A good game's friggin' tense, man. I think you actually have to be rooting for one side or the other to really feel the cycles of tension and release when the ball moves towards the goal.

TheSL
03-04-2008, 08:38 AM
Crap, all that this or Passage did was make me sad. I agree with the whole "family drives creativity, but that creativity can also destroy family" interpretation of the game.

Makkara
03-04-2008, 09:19 AM
Using the field of vision as a metaphor for mood (or whatever it was supposed to be) was pretty clever. Seeing the fog of war rapidly encroach was pretty startling the first time. Otherwise it wasn't great. The controls were awful, which kind of ruined the platforming aspect. I also don't think the insights the game had to offer were particularly, um... insightful.

poetfox
03-04-2008, 09:57 AM
So, okay, going to read everyone's comments after I write this, so... yeah.
On a whole, I don't think I "get" this game at this point as much as Passage. Passage left me with a clear feeling at the end and a clear understanding of what was trying to be done with the game. For most of this one, I was a bit confused at my goals. I guess my score was 24? I wasn't paying attention to how I got those points.
Anyway, I played with the girl until I caught on fire, and then I went jumping... collected a few stars... and then the sides of the screen went back in on me, so my immediate reaction was to fall back down and play with the little girl some more, which I did... then I jumped back upward, got some more stars, the same thing happened... this time when I went back, there were ice cubes? Some with arrows. So I pushed at them, taking breaks to return the ball, until they were all in the little fireplace, and then I jumped again... and I basically repeated that for the rest of the game. It kinda made me blink when the girl was gone and only the ball was left... I wasn't sure what I had done to make that happen. There was an emotional twang there, but not nearly as strong as, say, when the girl died in Passage and I literally stopped playing for awhile and I'm like "What?"
Anyway, if I had to take a guess at this game's message, it would be one of balancing family and work. Spending time with your family (playing with the girl) gives you the strength to go and do work, (collecting the stars) but if you work too hard, you can't get anything done, and may even neglect your family to the point that they go away. But I mean, I dunno. Now I'll read what everyone else has said and see if I have anything else to say.

Edit: Okay, yeah, post reading these impressions impressions, but not having read the guy's essay on this one... I like Parish's idea of the whole child moving out interpretation. That works pretty well too, I think, and certainly seems a little more uplifting with the girl disappears, although still a bit depressing.
For those like Rei who got a strong emotional reaction out of this one, go team. I really didn't, though, and if I had to explain why I didn't here from where I did in Passage, it was that I knew what I could and couldn't do... if that makes sense. While playing Passage, I honesty never understood the mechanics. I was just walking and experiencing, and it touched me, you know? Whereas in this... my rule-loving brain could turn on easily and say "okay, if I want to jump I have to return the ball X times and I can extend that amount of time with stars..." and while I'm thinking of this game as, well, a game, I'm not experiencing it so much as attempting to beat it? I was focused on trying to figure out how to see everything the game had to offer to comment about it. The more "game" aspects of this kind of removed that emotion, I suppose. I don't know if that makes any sense.

Sprite
03-04-2008, 10:34 AM
So when I first played it, I thought I had to play with the ball to get my jump power/fog of war dissipation back. So every time I couldn't go any further I went all the way back to play with the ball. Once the girl left I realized I could've just waited for daytime. But by then I was so sad she was gone (those hearts are just precious) and time was so sparse that I didn't care enough to try again. I especially thought the dying hearth and the lonesome ball were good touches. What's the point of flying high if all I do is destroy my relationship with my daughter? I don't care if there's a metaphor, I just wanna go awwwww.

awwwwwwwww

P.S. If you stay with the girl the whole game does she stick around the whole time, or does she still leave?

Parish
03-04-2008, 10:41 AM
I wish I had not read the developer commentary. I liked my interpretation better.

Makkara
03-04-2008, 10:50 AM
P.S. If you stay with the girl the whole game does she stick around the whole time, or does she still leave?

She stays until the end. Trapped in an unhealthy relationship with a father who won't let her grow up and live her own life.

Tomm Guycot
03-04-2008, 11:11 AM
There isn't one set point or distance where the girl disappears.

The first time I played she was gone at 300 and I had to slowly wait for inspiration to come to me (instead of being inspired by her frequently).

This last time she didn't vanish until 130 or so. It appears you can strike a balance if you work at it.

Dadgum Roi
03-04-2008, 07:15 PM
I like it. I saw it as being about balancing your family life against the rest of your life. Your family needs you to be there for them and to spend time with them, but you also have to leave home and go out into the world. There's an interesting dichotomy going on with the stars and the girl; the stars have an immediate effect on your mood and your ability to move higher, but it's a fleeting effect, and one which becomes even more fleeting the more your rely upon it. Playing with the girl doesn't have these ill effects, but requires much more effort- you have to abandon what you're currently engaged in, travel back home, and once you've done that, playing with the girl takes longer than merely picking up a star. But if you are careful, you can progress farther by going back and playing with her than if you stayed away and relied on time and stars to improve your mood and permit further progress.

I interpreted the stars/ice blocks as being material possessions and/or career goals. Those things are generally what we pursue outside the home and we often rely on them to act as a salve against life's slings and arrows. In one of my playthroughs, I decided to stay outside the house for most of the game and concentrate on gathering stars. I spent much more time in an emotionally myopic and unproductive state than I would have if I had gone home to play with the girl. When I did finally venture back, there were so many blocks in the house, I couldn't get to the girl to play with her, and then she disappeared. This really underlines the fact that the girl isn't some kind of NPC who is there for the sole benefit of the player- people seek out relationships which are mutually beneficial and eventually abandon relationships which aren't. By ignoring the girl in favor of material possessions, I lost the chance to interact with her.

Dadgum Roi
03-05-2008, 07:59 AM
I wish I had not read the developer commentary. I liked my interpretation better.

I don't think the commentary rules out your interpretation.

Sprite
03-05-2008, 09:26 AM
Normally I would say the creator's interpretation overrules everyone else (meaning either you're interpreting it wrong or the creator failed to get his message across) but this guy seems to want people to come to their own conclusion about his work, so I agree with Grant.

TheSL
03-05-2008, 09:38 AM
Isn't that the whole point of art to take your own interpretation on the artist's creation?

Sporophyte
03-05-2008, 09:41 AM
I played this game 4 times.
The first time I got stranded up in the middle of nowhere, with nothing accomplished.
The second time I figured out the balance of using the stars for boosts and I made it to the ceiling of the world. As I came back down the wall of Ice prevented me from actually returning to the bottom.
The third time I went halfway up and then tried to go back and remove the ice but i'd still overdone it. Walled in again.
The fourth time I only ever collected 4 stars at a time then returned to remove the ice. Grand total 24 points and the girl stayed to the end.

I'm not sure I can tell you what the point the creator tried to get across is, but I can tell you what this game is missing: Fun. Ultimately it doesn't matter what your esoteric message is. If your game isn't fun it has failed as a game.

Sprite
03-05-2008, 09:53 AM
Isn't that the whole point of art to take your own interpretation on the artist's creation?

Depends on the work of art. If a creator wants his/her work to have a specific interpretation he/she has a responsibility to get that across to the viewer. If the viewer disagrees with the creator's interpretation then either the viewer is ignorant or the creator failed.

I once read a play called Death and the King's Horseman for a Contemporary World Literature class. It is about a tribal ritual in which the King's right hand man (horseman) commits suicide in order to join his master in the afterlife. English colonists break in on the ritual and kidnap the suicidee. In the preface to the play the author states that he wanted viewers and readers to concentrate on the mental dilemma of the horseman, who wants honor but does not want to die, so he does not stop the intrusion. The author also stated that the one thing he did not want viewers and readers focusing on was the culture clash issue. He was interested in the main character's mental struggle and that was the focus of his play.

The only thing our class focused on was the culture clash issue. When I complained and cited the preface the professor said "well, authorial intent is important to take into consideration, but..." and then the issue was dropped. Instead of trying to get to the true heart of the piece we instead did the same post-colonial rants that accompany every work of this kind. I truly believe the class was interpreting the work wrong, because the author stated as such in the preface.

As for Gravitation, everything Jason Rohrer says leads me to believe he wants people to come to different interpretations to a certain degree. Anyone who argued that Passage wasn't about life and death would certainly be wrong.

Makkara
03-05-2008, 10:03 AM
I truly believe the class was interpreting the work wrong, because the author stated as such in the preface.

I would say the author is the one who failed, if he didn't manage to make his interpretation the most interesting one. If he didn't want people to focus on the culture clash, he should probably have downplayed it more, or excised it completely.

Tomm Guycot
03-05-2008, 10:08 AM
My favorite part of his (longest writeup yet) message that he claims isn't meant to point out any meaning is that he says something like "you will see everything is intentional, so don't ask."

Now that's just silly. I'll be the first to acknowledge accidents often fit into an overall vision. Maybe it's all subconscious in the creator's mind, but I do it all the time in writing and stuff.

For him to say "That's right, I planned IT ALL" is silly.

poetfox
03-05-2008, 10:19 AM
I once read a play called Death and the King's Horseman for a Contemporary World Literature class. It is about a tribal ritual in which the King's right hand man (horseman) commits suicide in order to join his master in the afterlife. English colonists break in on the ritual and kidnap the suicidee. In the preface to the play the author states that he wanted viewers and readers to concentrate on the mental dilemma of the horseman, who wants honor but does not want to die, so he does not stop the intrusion. The author also stated that the one thing he did not want viewers and readers focusing on was the culture clash issue. He was interested in the main character's mental struggle and that was the focus of his play.

The only thing our class focused on was the culture clash issue. When I complained and cited the preface the professor said "well, authorial intent is important to take into consideration, but..." and then the issue was dropped. Instead of trying to get to the true heart of the piece we instead did the same post-colonial rants that accompany every work of this kind. I truly believe the class was interpreting the work wrong, because the author stated as such in the preface.
Man, I want to be in that literature class. I wish most of mine would have more of this stuff, focusing on what the group actually finds interesting instead of something scripted and rigid like that. One of my best Lit classes ever wasted a whole class talking about if Achilles was gay, for example. There's no serious... benefit in talking about it. It was made in a different time or whatever. But it's interesting to see, and look at how we can perceive things that way and look at the lenses and how they're different between then and now... not to mention it's a lot more fun.
But it's obvious we have a different view on art and such from your statement. And it's all a valid way to look at it. I just find such methods incredibly boring, and personally find that the reader's part (or, in this case I suppose, the player) in creating meaning in a text to be quite important. Oftentimes when I read what an author was trying to do, it kills my enthusiasm about a work, because it no longer means anything TO ME, it just means this. That's why I wrote up all my impressions before I read anything else about the game, because I knew it would do that. And it totally did. And it was even more of a mood killer this time, actually, because of crazy stuff like what Tomm is pointing out there.

Brickroad
03-05-2008, 10:27 AM
Personal interpretation is much more important than author intention. Once a piece of art leaves the hands of its creator, it "belongs to the world" so to speak, and he loses his monopoly on how the work should be interpreted. Ray Bradbury consistantly maintains that Farenheight 451 isn't about censorship, but that doesn't mean it isn't.

Like I said earlier, the strongest point I got from both Passage and Gravitation is that, ultimately, everything you do is pointless. After five or eight minutes the game ends, and does not retain state from one play to the next. Is it better to walk with your wife? To play ball? To seek treasures and stars? To toil against four blocks or push one at a time? It doesn't really matter; in the end all those things (and therefore the things they symbolize) are utterly meaningless when the game (life) ends.

blinkpen
03-05-2008, 10:48 AM
I just played it... what the FUCK was that?

Going back to read the thread to see if it can make any of this make sense.

Edit: Ok, so I've got a better idea of what this game was supposed to represent. It's still hella wierd though. Makes me want to go try this Passage however.

Traumadore
03-05-2008, 11:27 AM
Passage wasn't as frustrating to play. I also think the perspective change made the game very interesting. Can we call these "games"? They have some features common to games, but they strip so much away that I don't feel like i'm playing. It's like those really opressive movies you watch because you feel like you have to if you want to be serious about film.

I guess the "Arthouse Games" is a pretty appropriate description.

pence
03-05-2008, 12:41 PM
Gravitation seemed like, well, a game. Complete with platforms you can stumble off of and jumps you can miss. The platforming elements make the game challenging, and that makes a huge difference in terms of accessibility versus, say, Passage.

When I was playing, I got sidetracked trying to devise a 'winning strategy' (one cube at a time? three? skip every other star?) and spent little time thinking about things like 'why do the stars become ice cubes when you touch them, and why am I trying to melt them in this oven?'

Passage does a better job connecting emotionally during play, because it's so damn simple that you don't have to fight an interface to interact with it. In other words, what Traumadore said.

Red Hedgehog
03-05-2008, 12:47 PM
I wish I had not read the developer commentary. I liked my interpretation better.

Yeah, me too. I wish I hadn't read the commentary work. I kept playing trying to see how it related to creativity and mania and all that, when really in the back of my head it seemed the game was about the balance of spending time with your family vs. spending time on your career.

Sprite
03-05-2008, 01:12 PM
I would say the author is the one who failed, if he didn't manage to make his interpretation the most interesting one. If he didn't want people to focus on the culture clash, he should probably have downplayed it more, or excised it completely.

Well, he couldn't have eliminated the culture clash aspect because it was integral to the plot: it was the only way the horseman could avoid death. But otherwise you have a point.

Man, I want to be in that literature class. I wish most of mine would have more of this stuff, focusing on what the group actually finds interesting instead of something scripted and rigid like that.

The problem is, what the group found interesting also felt scripted and rigid. They pigeon-holed everything into "boy isn't colonialism terrible" and had the same conversation for every piece of work we studied. Meanwhile they ignored an incredibly interesting and nuanced character.

But you're right, we're coming at art from different perspectives. Personally I think making the reader's interpretation paramount kills a work. When I read something I want to peer into another person's soul, not have my own preconceived notions reflected back at me. I already know what things mean to me, I want to see what they mean to someone else.

ShakeWell
03-05-2008, 10:12 PM
I haven't played Passage, but I think this is the most pretentious game I've ever played. And I played Killer7 and Metal Gear Solid 2!

Seriously, it's like Andy Warhol made a videogame, and didn't realize it was a sham. And reading his little essay only made it worse! He's also incredibly self-centered! Your character... yeah, that's actually him. And the little girl... well, you guessed it, his daughter! Having read that has, in hindsight, completely removed me from the experience. Now it's not "me" playing with the "little girl." It's me playing as "Dude Who Made Gravitation" playing with "Dude Who Made Gravitation's Daughter."

In short, I didn't much care for it. It seemed obtuse for the sake of being obtuse. But, hey, at least it's only eight minutes long!

Dadgum Roi
03-07-2008, 05:54 AM
And reading his little essay only made it worse! He's also incredibly self-centered! Your character... yeah, that's actually him. And the little girl... well, you guessed it, his daughter! Having read that has, in hindsight, completely removed me from the experience. Now it's not "me" playing with the "little girl." It's me playing as "Dude Who Made Gravitation" playing with "Dude Who Made Gravitation's Daughter."


Autobiographical elements are exceedingly common in practically every other medium I can think of- fiction, film, music...some people even write biographies- about themselves!

Why is it self-centered to do this in a game?

Dadgum Roi
03-07-2008, 05:58 AM
Yeah, me too. I wish I hadn't read the commentary work. I kept playing trying to see how it related to creativity and mania and all that, when really in the back of my head it seemed the game was about the balance of spending time with your family vs. spending time on your career.

I don't see the "career" elements as excluding the "creativity" elements. The author earns his living from his creativity, so in fact they go hand in hand.

As for the mania and melancholia, look at how the character's field of view changes. When it draws in, you can see little and can't accomplish much, either. It can even prevent you from playing with the little girl.

poetfox
03-07-2008, 06:36 AM
Autobiographical elements are exceedingly common in practically every other medium I can think of- fiction, film, music...some people even write biographies- about themselves!

Why is it self-centered to do this in a game?
I don't think using autobiographical elements is BAD, perse, but look at his other thing, Passage. The girl was supposed to be his wife in that one. And yet it has a feeling of universality to it anyway. It doesn't matter that that is who it is, it still makes a point. Reading that that was his original idea doesn't really bother me, because that it was his wife was just kind of a side note.
In Gravitation, though... well, I don't know. His essay just made it harder to feel that way... to feel that he was applying what he had experienced in life to a universal concept. The essay did seem more self-centered to me. And that does color the game a bit.

Dadgum Roi
03-07-2008, 10:12 AM
I don't think using autobiographical elements is BAD, perse, but look at his other thing, Passage. The girl was supposed to be his wife in that one. And yet it has a feeling of universality to it anyway.


I think this is just because the subject matter of Gravitation is inherently less universal, and this is acknowledged in the author's statement. Passage's themes of life, death, and love are probably the most fundamental human experiences. Everyone can relate to the first two, and almost everyone can relate to all of them. Gravitation just isn't going to resonate with some people by dint of its subject matter; I just don't see how the author has amplified that in any way through his use of autobiographical elements.

Balrog
03-07-2008, 03:32 PM
I liked the graphics and music, the rest of it reminded me of pretentious art school crap.