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beyond the Kuiper Belt, over the sea

A Little Mad

October 1st, 2010 by Kit

I fear I have gone a little mad. My mind and time have been so occupied by one thing—linguistics—that I retaliate by thinking about another—games and their design—as much as I can. I am filled with a manic energy, and sleep goes by the wayside. I read for my classes as fast as I can, internalize the ideas and render them almost automatic, and then go back to grappling with whatever the question of the week is—how to encourage this sort of story in a game, how to model that. I get to bed at 3am, I wake up at 9 on the days I can get up late. It all fits, somehow.

The theme of one of the games I am working on is this very madness—not the madness of someone trapped by their own mind, but the madness of someone driven, someone with ideas fighting their way out, demanding to be realized. Jonathan Strange in his time in Venice seems not an altogether inappropriate comparison; I fear that were someone to enter my chambers, I might very well be distracted by the sensation that a pineapple were issuing forth from their mouth, rather than words. Except, here, a pineapple is meant to stand for a narrative structure, or a game idea, or perhaps a strange discourse pattern.

This is what I came here for.

And yet, there is more. I do not simply overflow with game design and lack of sleep. I teach, and hopefully clarify. My students are a joy—they ask questions, they understand the material, they dig deeper until they reach the limit of what I can usefully explain and they can understand. I hope I help more than hinder, of course.

So, I ask your pardon if I have been monomaniacal. I am still here, just full-up. I’ve been singing, some. It helps.

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  • Brad G.

    Are we talking IF here? I mean, I know narrative structure and stuff can apply to any game, and I know a couple of blogs that focus on such plot/structure/narrative meditations about games in general, but when it comes to individuals planning to Do Things with those thoughts, I’m more used to hearing them in an IF context.

  • kit

    I’m really talking tabletop RPG. IF is rather too directly structured for my current thoughts.

  • Reminds me of one of my favorite Orwell quotes, from “Why I Write”:

    “Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.”

  • Ratatosk

    When I was in law school I realized that as stimulating as it was, I sometimes really needed to to something mentally stimulating that was not at all like law school. Your situation sounds similar.

    What is the opposite of linguistics? It should deal with concrete things, or at least build them out of abstractions, rather than vice versa. It should also involve creating rather than data-gathering or analyzing. It should focus at least some of the time on human activities unrelated to communication.

    Thinking about game design seems like a pretty good choice, actually.