The original is described by its designer as being,
I don't know what 'egodystonic' means ('thoughts in conflict with desires' - thanks Wiki), but my interpretation of it is as a commentary on the absurdity of established video game logic. In the narrative, the player guides the hero through familiar video game tropes (jumping, collecting treasures, bashing enemies) while the hero himself delivers a postmodern commentary on the realities of these contrived mechanics. Eventually and unavoidably the aesthetics flip and the hero descends into some kind of mental breakdown. The title is (I assume) from Aristotle, meaning literally something like Task / Reason, and could thus be interpreted as highlighting the ever-present contradiction in mainstream video games between the actions we are expected to perform and the (arguably more interesting) motivations behind them."A meta-platform game based on the stream of consciousness of an egodystonic homosexual hero, but it fails miserably and becomes a piece of non-linear kinetic visual poetry written by a teenager obsessed with post-structuralist French philosophy."
Regardless, the Ergon / Logos framework represents a fascinating opportunity to produce a text-based game that's accessible, fresh and fast paced. Doing so has been on my list for a while, just after starting this blog, buying a flat, and
One challenge is coming up with an artistic concept to wrap around a piece of technology. In all my other projects I've either been working with mechanics broad enough to support a variety of approaches (Penumbra) or developing new mechanics to support what I want to say (ir/rational). Ergon / Logos' abilities and limitations are specific enough to demand a more bespoke approach. As I see it they are:
- Use of formatting as a major tonal toolset
- Time pressure
In short, using the framework to produce a straight text adventure would be fun, but hardly taking advantage of what's on offer. Currently, I'm really interested in the idea of looping. Not only can text be shown to turn back on itself, but it can join other streams of narrative midway through. To my mind this suggests the possibility of a revisited narrative, an exercise in perspectivism. How does the same story change given a different context or angle of approach?