obelisk postmortem

We had our DMA senior show, and I was really gratified that my friends played along and posted itch.io comments to situate the game as being a diminished version of some sort of idealized game from their childhoods.

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situating obelisk

I finally figured out how to situate obelisk and connect it to folks without multiplayer or networked elements or having the game placed in New Art City and it’s so simple and good and I am really happy and excited about it- like the last important puzzle piece just connected, and it won’t add any complexity or stress before the show.

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version lock

Fixed a problem with the online book reader and everything seems… ok for now. So I am version locking everything until after the senior show. 😅

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Obelisk version 1.2.3 beta notes

updates since version 1.1

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whitestone.jpg

'have fun staying poor'

In Race after Technology Ruha Benjamin describes whiteness as “a form of property.” That excellent phrasing made a connection for me to cryptocurrency “whales”, who are sitting on a massive investment that is slowly being shown to be a useless, massively-destructive waste- but in order to maintain the value of their investment they must convince new people to buy into cryptocurrency, driving up the price, but further shutting the door on legitimizing it as an actual currency. Whiteness can also be thought of as a sort of pyramid scheme- If you can convince someone of their natural superiority, or even their position as a “default” human, you continue to maintain the implicit rationalization of their place in an exploitative and violent social hierarchy, and dangle the hope of in-group citizenship as a carrot for any groups that could threaten to dismantle that hierarchy. I’m also thinking of the smirking cruelty of the all-pervasive crypto slogan “have fun staying poor”, and the edge of desperation that it carries- and how it ties in to ideas of class aspirations bound to extraction. I felt moved to include that slogan in the game, along with a reference to the stones as “whitestone”. I hadn’t yet addressed race directly in the game, but ideas from American Artist’s Black Gooey Universe are definitely part of the mix. And my fixation on the early macintosh was part of my own class aspirations as a child.

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impersonal markets and minmaxing through the floor

In Obelisk, the disaster to blame for the state of the game isn’t so much the invention of money, rather it’s a system of extraction and materialism difficult to challenge, since it’s enshrined in the rules of the game. The obelisks in the game can’t be reasoned with, they remove the slippery complexities of human judgement and relationships in order to assign value to humans and to smooth the path for war and enslavement. The NPC’s are just trying furiously to get some pie in the sky, and the ground is collapsing.

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