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Gaming for Social Connection

Posted Dec 14 2008 8:25pm 1 Comment

There is a charming article on game developer/programmer Jason Rohrer “The Video-Game Programmer Saving Our 21st-Century Souls” as part of their “best and brightest” of 2008 stories. Rohrer is clearly a poet and artist, sensibilities that manifest here through programming skills. Esquire is offering a free download and hosting of Rohrer’s new game “Between. ” It will, however, foil your antisocial urges to avoid social interaction, a common complaint among those who keep a running list of the evils of video gaming. “Between” has no single-player mode. I like that it draws attentions to the social nature of gaming. See how beautiful Rohrer’s synopsis is from the Esquire site:

You know exactly what you need to do — you can see it shimmering right there in front of you. You can see it while dreaming, too, and the difference has become subtle. Dreams wake into dreams, and people blend in and out: real characters and dream characters, all woven into the same script. Finally, they fade completely, and you’re alone in the expanse with the construction. With time, you feel something growing, a pinhole that eventually yawns into a deep ravine of longing. The construction languishes, though the expanse seems indifferent.

One night, in a dream, they appear: things that you clearly could not have conjured on your own. Not snowflakes. Not the self-similar forms of leaves. Not distant planets’ erosion networks as viewed through telescopes. Not those things that are beautifully external but lack the signatures of consciousness. These things that appear are ugly and non-procedural: indecipherable transmissions bubbling up through static, faded messages floating in bottles, and charcoal handprints on cave walls. Evidence has reached you through time of unknown duration and distance of unknown magnitude, but stale evidence is still evidence.

Somewhere, across whatever barriers stand between, is an other .

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Thanks for posting. I just printed the full article to read.
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