If you’ve ever met me, this has probably come up in conversation at least once. Perhaps it even came up during our initial conversation, though I’m not so socially inept that I typically introduce myself as ‘Nerd Stacey’.
Really. Still, you might have noticed that I get excited about nitpicky little facts about the migration of humans, the way molecules interact, or certain types of Legos.
One of my nerd-loves in computer games. You’re either nodding your head or gasping in horror. Let me explain a bit further: COMPUTER games. Not video games. Not stand-up giant machines that used to be in arcades next to the pinball (although I do like pinball…). Not any crazy-shot ’em up, drive tanks, kill people or cars or zombies craziness. I have no great wish to kill or even maim real or imaginary things. I’m talking the old-school solve-puzzles, talk-fairy, get-bowl, adventure games like King’s Quest and Monkey Island and even some later games like Myst. These games apply to the mathematical side of my brain (different number and directional systems to be understood, puzzles to solve) as well as the storytelling side. And while some of them may be more or less graphically pleasing, they leave enough room for me to imagine solutions and methods and most of all, exploration of some other place. It’s like having a secret garden without the work of maintaining a garden.
Of course, technology has sped up to a point where these types of games mostly are not on the market anymore. There’s the Nancy Drew mystery games, which are somewhat similar. There’s probably movie-related games that I am unaware of that didn’t ever really spark my interest. There’s Portal, a video game which I only know about because of Mike and is basically a live physics problem (how cool is that? Nerd). But really, there’s not much, and quite possibly not a big market for it.
When I was in China, however, with tons of free time on my hands, I discovered AGS. It’s a website/community/freeware system devoted to the preservation and continuation of adventure games. I love it. Every once in awhile I go back there when I have some extra free time to see if there’s anything new. I also am supposedly working on a game myself, which was supposed to be done for my sisters before I got back from China. Oops. But the point is not really about my own lack of motivation. The point is that somewhere out there in a land far, far away (known as the UK), despite a lack ‘sell-ability’, there are still people hanging on to this imperfect dream that is my-kind-of-game. For those of you who did not meet it in its nascent splendor, there’s KQ I and II (free!). Thank you blue cup man and co., wherever you are.