Tuesday, 1 July 2008
Des Reves Elastiques Avec Mille Insectes Nommes Georges
Right, so I said I was going to write something artsy and now I will. First though, a recommendation: if you ever go on a train and it’s really full, I mean like deportation-to-Australia full, like you’ve got to stand up all the time full, if you get to that point and are at the edge of one of the coaches and you see there’s a really nice-looking cosy free space in a corner, then before you go and take position in it, CHECK that it’s not the door to the motherfucking toilet, because otherwise you’ll spend the entire trip invested with a succession of ‘winds from the Southeast’ every single time someone opens it. It happened to me on my return from Cambridge, I spent the trip of my lifetime with a procession of women of all ages passing in front of me (including some really cute girls, who’d have thought it of them in particular, but they made it worse than having a dead camel on the coach), reaching the edge of gagging every fifteen minutes, until in the final part I thought it was all over when this short fat Pakistani man dropped us with one of those bombs which could evacuate bears from their forests in Nebraska.
Now as for the artsy bit, I thought that Mory’s post in his own blog (http://i-m-not.blogspot.com/, go pay him a visit) deserved a full response on here, rather than a mere comment on his page. So: for starters, let me second his recommendation to download and play this game called Something-in-French-I-can’t-be-bothered-to-write-the-accents-down-for:
It will take you less to download and play through it (like, three times) than it’ll take me to write this blog-post or indeed than it would take a spliff to burn if it’s rolled by Stephen Hawkings, so stop moaning and just do it.
I’ve already lost my thread of thought so let me just begin by saying something stupid. I have never read a book in my life and I enjoy wearing my mother’s clothes. (That for the record was a sentence that some bint once wrote on my university open student forums through my account when I forgot it open on her computer one night. Obviously I hit the roof when I read it and since that happened at an instant when I was drunk like the spread guts of a lizard, I ended up replying, and both post and reply ended up being seen by my professors which rebuked me “kindly” and gave me the reputation of the floss-head of 2003. Fuck.)
As for the game, it’s a pretty clever little piece, actually. Some of the parts are a little weak (the discussion with the two blob-things about how games should only be about fun and not art etc. is pretty kitsch, and the closing sentence was superfluous if you ask me), but other parts have some pleasing wit to them and the overall realisation displays real charm. The structure has some limits but it’s hard to fault it for them when it’s only meant to last five minutes.
What’s really interesting though is the capacity it has to question and destabilise its own narrative. Play it a second time and you’ll see what I mean. It begins by establishing the authority of its narrative by means of an order of events which appears inevitable and inalterable, and later undermines that same authority by changing that order of events (and therefore the order of signification). It’s an interesting hermeneutic play because it suggests that meaning is not a stable feature of the text, but is invested onto it by ourselves; i.e. it is us who arrange the text’s signifiers into a schema which produces signification, rather than signification being a characteristic inherent to the text.
In a sense it’s like reading a story, then reading it again and finding that there’s no meaning at all, but that you can invest your own meaning onto it as much as you want – and it’s not an imposition or a profanation, but the natural thing that we do with every text. Wuzza.
Kind of goes to show why games are interesting – you could argue that they’re an inherently hermeneutic medium (or form of narrative). But that’s enough yacking on my side, just give me some closure now, and I’ll stick it into this blog-post’s heart like a wooden cross!
PS: Don't know what the title of the game refers to. I don't recall meeting any Georges over the course of the game. Maybe it's a quotation, which would explain why the French? Whatever. God knows.