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The Expanded Twitterverse
September 9th, 2009 by Ice Cream Jonsey

The hamper managed to tip over on all three cats, throwing them all into some kind of Parker Brother Presents Mouse Trap II: Kitty Jail, so I’m taking the ten minutes I have before the whining becomes unbearable at an evolutionary level to write up what I would have said on Twitter if I had more goddamn space.

But first a word – I like the 140 character limit. On Caltrops, we give people 80 characters in the message title of posts, and we frequently type our whole post in there. So Twitter gives me more space than what I am used to. Additionally, there is an appeal in brevity. If you’re at all like me and ruined your life at age 35, well, welcome to a world where texting a revolving stream of women is a valid method of communication you’d better be good at. I’m all for making a 700KB text game, but Sally ain’t reading that crap before deciding to call the third date off anyway.

Here’s a Twitter comment that could use some expanding in this, the Expanded Twitter Universe:

So me, Galatea and Lex were the only people who didn’t go to #pax, and Lex already ‘did’ swine flu.(I’d risk it for early Scribblenauts,btw)

Let’s break it down.

First thing you need to know is that PAX stands for the Penny Arcade … Expo, I think. Exhibit? I don’t really know, but it’s a convention and like the Montreal Expos, ultimately fated for disaster and ruin, as swine flu has been confirmed to be making the ways around.

I’m not going to go for the easy targets here – there’s a lot of ripe gamers. Senor Barborito called this unclean-ly valley shit years ago here, when it was called Lanwerx. Easy jokes that people are making, easily. Let’s go beyond that. My heart goes out to anyone who contracted hip SARS at PAX.

Emily Short wrote a tweet when PAX was actually going on that she felt like the only person who wasn’t attending. She also wrote a game with a richly-detailed non-player character named Galatea. (In retrospect, it seems like I am calling her Galatea. Not the case! I just thought it would be funnier to reference her creation instead. I can also see Galatea the statue being able to attend PAX before I get a chance to, actually/sadly.)

Lex is on Twitter as “Lettuphant.” He thought he was coming down with Swine Flu over Twitter a few weeks ago. Unfortunatley, I was really pressed for space, so I had to call him by his name, instead of his Twitter handle. (In fact, I had to go with his BBS name “Lex” instead of “Alex” because I was pressed for space.)

The last bit is about Scribblenauts. I can’t wait for Scribblenauts! Get this – somebody makes a game where you write in what objects you want your character to get… and they GET THEM. How great is that? You need a ladder in a game, you type in “ladder,” you get a ladder. You need a machine gun, you type in machine gun and – presto! I would literally give a finger for their database. I mean, not even kidding, that database is worth a small finger on my left, non-dominant hand. To me. (Erm, if I could use it to build a text game off it.) In fact, I’ll go ahead and say that if it contains what I think it does (properties of tens of thousands of everyday objects and animals) that it is the single most-valuable resource in video games today.

And apparently the game was at PAX, well before its release date.

I’d risk a little bit of flu to play it. It’s not like you’re guaranteed to get it. (Swine flu or a few minutes with Scribblenauts, actually.) ¬†However, the thing is, I’ve been teasing my imagination with how it’s coming out next week and everything. I typed “Scribblenauts” into Google News a few hours ago at work and saw something about how it might be pushed to October. Oh no! It might just be the European release, which – honestly, the Europeans don’t deserve this indignity. I don’t have all the facts yet, but I can’t wait till this game comes out, even though there’s little chance it’s going to be as good as it is in my head, based on what I know of the concept.

At any rate, where I really wanted to go with this is how it would be great to make a language-independent, open source DB that was filled with all sorts of characteristics about everyday objects and creatures, for IF. I’ve started to finally implement things like “desk_class” and “table_class” in my own works-in-progress, but man, it’d be great to have access to more. Text game languages give us dozens of verbs “built in,” why not a complete living room set or office setup?

Someday!


2 Responses  
  • Andrew Plotkin writes:
    September 10th, 200910:48 amat

    WordNet is a form of what you’re looking for — a freely usable relational database of words. I don’t know if it went into Scribblenauts in any form. It wouldn’t surprise me.

    http://wordnet.princeton.edu/

  • Ice Cream Jonsey writes:
    September 13th, 20094:31 amat

    That seems to be a fantastic resource, and I had no idea it existed. Excellent! Thanks a bunch, zarf.


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