Preludes or One-offs

October 8, 2007

Over the last few days, Dash has been the recipient of more than a few letters of inquiry regarding the raison d’etre of Yesterday’s Salad. Partly this was engendered by the sudden appearance of a new saladeer, one bizarrely writing about traveling and not the modes of transportation, all the while portraying feminine traits (in contrast to Yesterday’s Salad’s known misogyny); partly this was caused by Dash’s desire to break free of the construct known as time (particularly problematic given his nom de blogeur, dailysalad [emphasis added]); partly there was a sudden Hemingway idee fixe replacing an obsession with le royaume des gros seins Brandy Taylor; partly the enlargissed (obs. To bestow bountifully) video game review section is “to blame”; partly this is because of the absence of (once and future) collaborators L.P. Mandrake, Cody Hess, and ibiteyoureyes; and partly this reflects the masses’ belief that Yesterday’s Salad should be the 8th best Anne Hathaway blog in the tri-state area. But as Yesterday’s Salad changes, as it transforms into a new space where JT is upheld and celebrated as reader without need for aufhebung, it would perhaps be best to read YS contrapuntally, to be aware of the simultaneous dimensions of past and present. In other words, YS will still misuse critical theory, and (like Aphra Behn) we’ll still value verisimilitude and “outward pretension” above all else.

But it is true that things are changing. The polyphony of writers has devolved into a hocket (let it be said that Columbia does wonders for your repartee) over the last few months, but lately the trend has reversed and the number of voices are increasing. Among many desiderata, however, is a fashion columnist (applications should be sent) so that we may better serve and reflect society writ large, so that we may better function as both mirror and lamp. The truth is, no matter how much I may want to write “Of the History of the Ascot in Modern Times, and the Reflections thereof in the Literature” I am surely incapable of doing anything more than pointing the reader to Fred Jones from “Scooby-Doo”

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and Peter Bogdanovich.

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I can begin the deconstruction with the etymology. The word ascot, as it were, is derived from a proper noun, a village named Windsor, and the fashionable race held there. The word then attrib. comes to be used for clothing designed to be worn at such an event or worthy of being worn , in particular the ascot tie, known in the U.S. as an “ascot.” Also, those wishing to practice their Polish (i.e. all lovers of gros seins) should visit this website for ascot tying instructions. But I cannot move beyond the beginning.

I write now in the hope that this will not be a one-off (really a half-off), but a prelude, a hope that we will soon be graced by legitimate fashion criticism at the Salad. Or, barring that, illegitimate fashion criticism of clothing worn in AGS games and/or world of warcarft.

ATZiens

October 8, 2007

In response to Joseph Campbell’s theory of the hero’s quest, the lengthy and complex journey of the “Hero With a Thousand Faces,” Kurt Vonnegut posited his “hole” theory of the novel. Roughly, the “hole” theory is as follows: 1. Hero gets in hole, 2. Hero gets out of hole. Given that Campbell was an interpreter of myth and the mythic (a category into which you can lump much of James Joyce), while Vonnegut wrote short stories and novels, perhaps their schemas are both correct, albeit for different tasks. As far as adventure games are concerned, while there are a few games that are truly epic or mythic in scope, given that brevity is the soul of wit, most would-be game designers would do well to constrain themselves to the hole theory.

atzshot1.gif“Alien Time Zone,” or “ATZ,” is a short first effort by Babar, and a perfect example of hole theory; the author set reasonable goals, which lead to an intriguing game. In “ATZ,” you play an alien named Ejak who has found himself trapped in a cave on Earth. Weakened by a bop on the head from the locals, Ejak must find a way out of the cave without breaking the doors down or digging his way out. However, Ejak has a Tralfamadorian ace up his sleeve: he can travel through time in the same space.

The graphics for “ATZ” are functional but cute, and the sound is intriguing, with music courtesy of m0ds. The effect of Ejak jumping through time is truly weird and arresting (describing it here would diminish its initial shock), but it fits well with the setting and character. The puzzles aren’t too difficult, and as one might imagine, most solutions center around Ejak’s peculiar chronology. Overall, the game is brief and enjoyable, and one hopes that Babar will bring us more of the same caliber in the future. •