[sic] is a community about everything that piques your curiosity and interest Read about getting an account here.
That went fast! Without disclosing too much details, it was interesting enough that I read it in one breath.
I've finished too.
Since no one announced that they started reading, I'll start the spoilery discussion.
"The universe began as an enormous breath being held." delighted me. The story is about entropy, or, if you will, about the ultimate end, but it still manages to put some hope and poetry into that situation, rather than sliding into pointlessness and looking for external validation (although it kind of does the latter by invoking aliens).
There was much less focus on that, but the observation "where is my body?" is quite salient. People tend to think that there's a border between "me" and "not me", whether it's the border of meat/nonmeat, or soul/body. But this seems all arbitrary, and I think it's fluid. If a prosthetic can be "me", then why not a wheelchair, and if a wheelchair, why not my glasses, or my bed, or family?
Sometimes I think we individualized ourselves too much and forgot that alone, we're worth very little. How often do you hear "I've earned all of this alone"? We're ants, and an anthill is a superorganism.
Admittedly, I don't have a rigorous definition of what AAA means, but Myst was one of the biggest games of the time. Monkey Island didn't come out of nowhere. Neither did Planescape: Torment, or Final Fantasy 7.
I'm starting to believe the article is flame bait, hanging from a definition of "good writing" that doesn't hold with books either. "distinctive, individual, human voice". If Portal 2 isn't that, then Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy isn't good writing either by this criterion.
That's a bit of a harsh take, especially coming from a creator of a game. I'm not sure how one can come to such conclusions, except by having limited exposure to games. I've noticed that all the titles listed here were rather similar - 3D, action-focused. Those need a particular kind of a story.
The one outlier here is Portal. But it's by no means extreme. Go further, and you reach proper adventure games. Monkey Island? Myst? The Blackwell series? (Okay, I only played the last one, but the writing was on par with decent books.)
Go further and you get less gameplay and more reading. To the Moon has a story that's based on the same premise as one acclaimed movie (can't say which without spoiling). Keep going and you reach interactive novels like Her Story. Maybe it doesn't contain a lot, but after playing it I felt as if I watched a David Lynch movie.
What makes writing good anyway? Believability? Attention to detail? Uniqueness? World-building? Stirring emotions? I'm sure I can find a game that rises near the top of each category... except maybe uniqueness. Ubik is unbeatable there.
Check it out for yourself. It's only a few pages: http://www.lib.ru/GIBSON/hotel.txt_with-big-pictures.html
I like the idea of not having visible upvote counts on comments. It feels good not to have them to obsess over, judging by HN.
I look forward to discussing it with you :)
It's not very dated. You could complain it doesnt talk about events like the rise of China or the North Korean totalitarism, or the weird (in hindsignt) issue it takes with evolutionism, but the events described are used as an example to dissect and extract the underlying political mechanisms, forms of which we still see today.
It's kind of boring in between the interesting parts though.
Hannah Arendt - The Origins of Totalitarianism - it's a gift that keeps on giving regarding many conteporary topics.
Isaac Asimov - The Robot Collection - reveals how old robot tropes are, and sheds some light on the position of robots and neighboring entities in society both today and 100 years ago. Hint: remarkably similar.