Apr 28, 2007

Science Fiction, blogging, SCUMM, fish 'n' gaming

Guess being bored with blogging, despite not being very boring itself, couldn't go on forever. So, as the gods had luckily foreseen, my extremely short non-blogging period is now officially over. Dead and buried. Gone. No more. Solemnly put to sleep.

Still, it was an admittedly refreshing and very much needed break, even though I apparently just couldn't bare to abandon Gnomes' Lair (or Retro Treasures or Gaming on the Go) like that. It would be such an immense waste of effort and time. So, uhm, I won't, which of course doesn't mean things won't change around here, as blogging had recently started seeming more like another underpaid chore and quite frankly I've had enough of those. Oh, and dear voice of the lair you'll have to be whipped into contributing a bit more, I'm afraid.

So, where were we? Ah, yes. The changes. Well, there will definitely be some of them coming this way. Not necessarily huge or even obvious ones, mind you, but changes that will definitely make Gnomes' Lair more enjoyable and intriguing for me to write and will hopefully bring the blog closer to what us gnomes consider to be a quality web-thingy. But, what's changing? Well, for starters, I'll cut down on those Technorati tags. Maybe even do away with the whole thing too. They look ugly. Then, White Dwarf reviews will have to be shot in the head. Oh, and Museum Monday posts will be less regular as it's getting progressively more difficult to come up with interesting retro gaming sites that could be classified as museums. Other changes will probably include a focus on gaming theory & critique with a slice of ludology, some in-depth retro reviews and an increase of free & indy gaming coverage. Guess a developer's diary might fit in nicely too, but that would require attempting to develop something.

Anyway. Enough with me and the Lair of the future (no, not the PS3 one). It's linking time! Click here and you'll be transported to a brilliant and most interesting piece by Philip K. Dick that goes by the name of How to Build a Universe That Doesn't Fall Apart Two Days Later. It's not an article, but more of a speech delivered in 1978, and even though I strongly disagree with quite a few bits in it (quite a shock, really), I just can't help but notice the -slightly deranged- brilliance and peculiar insight of the man. Actually any text containing paragraphs like the following ones deserves a thorough read. Yes, despite its strong metaphysical flavor.
What is the relationship between the average TV situation comedy to reality? What about the cop shows? Cars are continually swerving out of control, crashing, and catching fire. The police are always good and they always win. Do not ignore that point: The police always win. What a lesson that is. You should not fight authority, and even if you do, you will lose. The message here is, Be passive. And — cooperate. If Officer Baretta asks you for information, give it to him, because Officer Baretta is a good man and to be trusted. He loves you, and you should love him.
In my writing I got so interested in fakes that I finally came up with the concept of fake fakes. For example, in Disneyland there are fake birds worked by electric motors which emit caws and shrieks as you pass by them. Suppose some night all of us sneaked into the park with real birds and substituted them for the artificial ones. Imagine the horror the Disneyland officials would feet when they discovered the cruel hoax. Real birds! And perhaps someday even real hippos and lions. Consternation. The park being cunningly transmuted from the unreal to the real, by sinister forces. For instance, suppose the Matterhom turned into a genuine snow-covered mountain? What if the entire place, by a miracle of God's power and wisdom, was changed, in a moment, in the blink of an eye, into something incorruptible? They would have to close down.
And since there aren't any mentions to Blade Runner (the filmic version of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep) and this is still a gaming blog, do yourselves a favor and read Ron Gilbert's IGN interview. After all, mankind is still celebrating the 20th anniversary of the SCUMM engine and will be doing so till the apocalyptic end of 2007.

Related @ Gnome's Lair: The Interactive Storytelling Sanitarium, the history of the FPS, Indy Adventure News


  1. Dibbs for whipping the Voice!

  2. Think we should tape it...

  3. Good to see you're not leaving us completely!

  4. Scumm engine, my favourite film, disagreeing with phillip K Dick.... (pulls up chair...), MuMo a goner...
    ..im noticing a seed change here... a leaning towards the essentials....

    ..does that ludology slice come in lemon merinque flavor?

  5. Actually it's either that or the hardcore strawberry flavor.

    Oh, and MuMo won't be a total goner, just well a less frequent visitor.

    (takes a moment to think on the essentials)


  6. I'm a huge Philip Dick fan, even after reading "Divine Invasions: A Life of Philip K. Dick." I've been disappointed with the trite movie adaptations [though "Bladerunner" is arguably better than the book], so I've held off on "Scanner Darkly" and "Next." His influence is so embedded in scifi that it's hard to measure, though Harlan Ellison would argue that he's bigger. :) He and Jorge Luis Borges are similar in many ways.

  7. Similar with Borges you say, huh? Well, guess it's quite an intriguing thought really. As for me, I obviously enjoy Dick and Ellisson, bt for some reason I really think that Le Guin would be my top pick closely followed by Mr. Spinrad... Actually quite love the genre. Its filmic adaptations too, even if they are either too Holywood or too cheap.

    BTW, have you seen Stalker or Solaris?

  8. I... erm... enjoy a bit of Dick now and again... *cough!*

    Bladerunner is one of my favourite films and I actually thought a Scanner darkly was excellent if not a tad too hard to understand!

    Great to see you back Gnome! :)

    You simply have to keep the Lair going or the Universe will implode...

  9. Great to see you waiting here dear Father. And come to think of it an imploding universe might be fun.

    Oh, and the Blade Runner adventure is supposed to be quite a game y'know...

  10. Gnomey, glad to see you're not leaving for good. Who else would I reminisce with? No one, that's who!

    And I know what you mean about being tired of blogging. Some weeks it's awesome, while other weeks, you have to drag it outta yourself.

  11. I would definitely buy the Bladerunner game, but due to it's age I'm not sure it would run on my PC (I have already investigated it...)
    still if it would then I would definitely buy it...

  12. Why, you are absolutely correct dear amber and that's why I'll be staying around...

    Father, I think one could use DosBOX or something and get it to run... Then again dosbox doesnt always work..

  13. I liked Ellison when I read him, but I admit I've let his obnoxious personality get in the way of my reading more of him. Spinrad is probably underappreciated.

    I did read and then saw Solaris, both of which were good, but I haven't heard of Stalker, so it's going on my netflix queue. It's a 1979 movie, right? And I will see Scanner Darkly. I imagine it's a hard movie to understand . . . the book was. His later books are interesting but less easily digestable. (I had to restart Valis a couple of times.)

    I'll vouch for the Bladerunner game. One of my favorites, which I still have. I debated trying to install it not too long ago.

  14. Well, wouldn't be sure if Stalker was late 70s or early 80s (hold on, right Imdb-ed it and its 1979), but it's an excellent and deeply philosophical movie with a few sci-fi bits. Oh, and apparently it has vaguely influenced the recently released S.T.A.L.K.E.R. game, though no guns were used in the movie. An absolute must see really.

    As for Vialis, I wouldn't like to read it as i'm sure it would shatter my image of PK Dick.

    Oh, and you've posted about getting Bladerunner to run?