Wednesday, August 31, 2011

EXP Podcast #139: The Mega-Music Show

This week's show is all about music games. It's a big topic, so Jorge and I recruited a talented trio of musicians and video game writers to help us out: Dan Apczynski, David Carlton, and Kirk Hamilton were all kind enough to stop by to discuss the merits of music games. We cover a huge swath of topics ranging from pedagogy, to musical philosophy, to Bon Jovi's genius. We've known Dan, David, and Kirk for a long time and it was a blast to have an excuse to hang out with them and record the show. Hopefully you all enjoy listening to our podcasting jam session as much as we enjoyed recording it. Thanks again to all our guests and thank you for listening!

And now, inspired by Kirk's reference, here's a kid playing Guitar Hero while solving Rubik's Cubes:

Some discussion starters:

- What is your take on the state of the music game genre?
- What do games like Rock Band teach us, both about music and game design?
- What are your hopes for the future of the genre?

To listen to the podcast:

- Subscribe to the EXP Podcast via iTunes here. Additionally, here is the stand-alone feed.
- Listen to the podcast in your browser by left-clicking here. Or, right-click and select "save as link" to download the show in MP3 format.
- Subscribe to this podcast and EXP's written content with the RSS link on the right.

Show notes:

- Run time: 1 hr 15 min 34 sec
- "the beatles, rock band, and genre," by David Carlton, via
- "Rock Band, Guitar Hero, and Musical Convergence," by Kirk Hamilton, via
- "Games of the decade: Rock Band," by Mitch Krpata, via
- Shameless self-promotion: "A Day in the Life," "I'm Looking Through You," and "Yesterday," posts about The Beatles: Rock Band by Scott
- Music provided by Brad Sucks

Feed Updates

Hi folks! In case you missed Jorge's programming note at the beginning of last week's podcast there have been some small changes to our various RSS feeds. Here's a quick run down:

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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Being Annoyed by Catherine

I usually avoid writing about a game before I finish it, but this week I'll make an exception for Catherine. I've held off on reading much criticism on Catherine, but I know it has generated a lot of insightful criticism, especially from Jorge and the rest of my fellow PopMatters writers. I'm looking forward to reading more of their commentary on Catherine's treatment of gender, relationships, and design after I finish the game. But before I do, I feel the need to gripe about what is probably a comparatively shallow topic: the game is extremely annoying.

Hell's bells

I get it: the constant, ominous ringing of the church bell at the top of the tower represents Vincent's inexorable progress towards an uncertain fate. It's a nice metaphor (if a bit on the nose) and it provides some heightened tension towards the end of the stages. But does it really have to keep ringing after the level is over?

Maybe it was specifically designed to grate on my nerves? I don't know how Vincent feels, but the maddening tempo and tone of that bell has become one of my most despised video game sounds. I find its constant ringing far more dreadful than any of the monsters that pursue Vincent as he scrambles up the tower.

I've taken to simply skipping most of the optional dialogue between levels in order quiet that infernal chime. It's a shame, as the dialog and voice acting in Catherine is reasonably good (if poorly mixed, but more on that later) and I'd like to talk to all the other wayward sheep. However, the price for being social is listening to that incessant ringing and my sanity just can't afford it. It's bad enough I have to listen to the game say "edge" every time two blocks become attached at their sides. As if the blue light that signifies a connection and the hundreds of previous "edge" announcements hadn't clued me in...


As an (admittedly) amateur audio editor, I appreciate the difficulty of achieving consistent sound levels over multiple audio tracks. Jorge and I try to keep the sonic peaks and valleys to a minimum on our podcast, but sometimes mistakes happen. However, the sound mixing problems in Catherine are truly baffling.

Why are the cutscenes drastically louder than the in-engine sound? Why must I adjust my volume between the bar and the tower sequences just to hear the dialog? I am honestly interested in the answer. I mean, when all else fails, can't you just ratchet down the gain? What about giving me some in-game audio options instead of making me reach for the remote every time the scene changes?

"What we got here is a failure to communicate"

Catherine is largely a story about miscommunication, and its dialog systems to an irritatingly good job of conveying this theme. Your responses to the game's questions flings the morality meter to and fro with little feedback as to why certain choices elicit moral shifts. Honestly, I can't get too worked up over this, as I think it is actually a clever representation of how seemingly benign conversations shape people's perceptions of one another. Sometimes you just can't make the rules in a social situation, but you're still bound by the very forces you don't understand. Still, being the downtrodden Cool Hand Luke to Catherine's arbitrarily punitive "Captain" can get wearisome.

Vincent's texting habit is also clever, but suffers from frustrating usability issues. Sending texts in lieu of having real conversations is the natural way to communicate for an evasive loser like Vincent, but the actual act of sending those texts is exasperating. Cycling through each reply option necessitates inputting and erasing the same line repeatedly until the choices repeat. While this isn't efficient, I do see the artistic statement that is made by forcing the player to mirror Vincent's indecision. Who hasn't deleted and restarted a text or email half a dozen times?

However, I think it's fair to say that most people have a "tone" in mind before they begin writing. This idea could be integrated into Catherine's dialog options in much the same way Mass Effect handles its communication: players could choose an abridged message option that hints at what will eventually be said. The player could choose from "apologetic" or "angry" without having to continually backtrack through dialog options. This would eliminate superfluous inputs and tedious backtracking while still allowing the writers creative room to give the final responses unexpected connotations, causing the player to erase them and choose something else.

A Slippery Slope

This is perhaps the most subjective irritant I have, but it's an important one. Something about the Catherine's controls feel off. It's difficult to articulate, but after multiple stages, Vincent's movement still feels unintentionally unpredictable. You would think that a game in which movement is locked to a grid would be precise, but I am constantly finding myself guessing as to how long I have to press a button down in order to get Vincent to move.

This is a problem when the stage is falling away at my feet and Vincent inexplicably climbs to the back of the tower rather than to the left like I expected. All too often I find myself frantically hanging off the side of a block, scooting past the square I want to be on, and messing with the camera. Maybe I've been spoiled by VVVVVV's precision movement or maybe Vincent's spastic clambering is a conscious decision. All I know is that it is frustrating.

Despite all this, I fully intend on finishing Catherine. My stubbornness and masochistic streak will ensure that. I do find the themes and concepts in Catherine interesting, but I keep coming back to the same question: Where is the line between purposefully pesky and accidentally aggravating? Once person's challenge is another person's nuisance, and I'm trying not to let my exasperation cloud my sight. Even so, it's awfully hard to admire a game that is so annoying.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

In Defense of Spoiler Warnings

This week's PopMatters post is about spoilers.

I'm sympathetic to Tom Bissell's frustration by gaming's obsession over spoilers. Too much tongue-biting stunts the critical discussion. While there is no consensus over how soon is "too soon," I think it's fair to assume that if you are reading a critical piece on a particular game, you take responsibility for your own exposure to spoilers. Maybe there should be a one year statute of limitations on warnings in general? Whatever the case, the ultimate onus is on the reader.

That being said, I am firmly of the opinion that spoilers matter, and that "going in blind" is an important experience, especially for critics. A recent study out of UC San Diego suggests that people find spoiled stories more "pleasurable" (whatever that means), but it's important to remember that stories are about more than hedonism.

Puzzling through an obscure narrative may not be as immediately pleasing as simply consuming the story, but such experiences are crucial learning experiences. Gaining the skills to make sense of a confusing situation is a skill applicable to life in general; life rarely offers convenient spoilers. From an artistic perspective, we must acknowledge that any preconceived notions impact our reactions to a piece of work. For those that say spoilers stunt the critical conversation, I ask the following: Is not an "unspoiled" perspective a legitimate, even useful perspective?

One of the most valuable things video games give players is the opportunity to make sense of new systems. Like literature and film, Video games tell stories with characters, plots, and cinematography. They also tell stories with mechanics: the player's journey from neophyte to an expert is a story about discover, learning, dedication, and practice. Being told that there is a secret block in level 1-1 in Super Mario Bros. is different from discovering it. In the former situation, the player is given the knowledge. In the latter situation, the player obtains the knowledge and has a story to tell afterwards. In my opinion, this is a far richer experience, and is one of the reason I avoid mechanical spoilers more seriously than I do plot-related spoilers.

Again, I'm not calling for critics to practice self-censorship. I am simply pushing back against those who would say that spoiler warnings are meaningless, especially when they claim to speak with empirical authority. Lively, honest discussion about games fosters a healthy critical community, but carelessly discarding the unspoiled experience destroys some of the rarest, most unique stories games provide.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

EXP IndieCast #6: Traumatic Parables

We have clicked though the photograph, plummeted through spiked filled tunnels, and shattered the fourth wall entirely on this week's independent games focused podcast. Join Scott and I as we journey through the surreal landscape of Trauma, flip ourselves upside-down in VVVVVV, and try to wrap our heads around the strange construction of The Stanley Parable. As always, we encourage you to check out these games on your own, listen to our discussion, then chime in with your thoughts in the comments section below.

Also, as you will hear in the episode, all listeners who subscribe to the show using the feedburner RSS feed will need to switch your subscription to the libsyn feed to keep the flow of juicy EXP podcasts coming. How you ask? Simple, just click the stand-alone feed below and subscribe as normal. We thank you all for your patience as we make some technical adjustments.

To listen to the podcast:

- Subscribe to the EXP Podcast via iTunes here. Additionally, here is the stand-alone feed.
- Listen to the podcast in your browser by left-clicking here. Or, right-click and select "save as link" to download the show in MP3 format.
- Subscribe to this podcast and EXP's written content with the RSS link on the right.

Show notes:

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Watching the Pros

GamesCom, the largest game-related convention in Europe, just wrapped up its third annual showing. Held in Cologne, Germany, the event draws thousands of gamers, journalists, and industry insiders to appreciate and exhibit the latest industry happenings. It also draws seasoned gamers, the best of the best, to participate in weekend long tournaments. Blizzard, Riot, Valve, and others held championship games with some of the best players around, offering hefty awards to the victors. Valve went so far as to offer a one million dollar prize to the winners of their Defense of the Ancients 2 tournament. Riot upped the stakes by announcing a five million dollar purse to League of Legends Season 2 champions. While I will certainly never claim such a reward for myself, the act of watching tournament level play alone enhances my own gaming experiences.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Sheep Men: Choice and Individuality in 'Catherine'

My latest PopMatters article is no live! Sheep Men: Choice and Individuality in 'Catherine'.

I have a hard time thinking of a videogame protagonist I dislike more than Catherine's Vincent. The dolt has very few redemptive qualities, shows little if any foresight, and has the most sudden, bizarre, and incomprehensible character arc I have seen to date, regardless of what decisions players make. In regards to the greater themes through which Catherina navigates, I agree with Michael Abbott lamentation that "prime moments for player choice - situations that might lead one to fully explore Vincent’s darker desires - are off the table." In some ways I feel bamboozled by Catherine's marketing and risque subject matter. It was a weird game, yes, but it fell far short of expectations.

In regards to the tower-climbing puzzle levels, I actually quite enjoyed the gameplay. Various reviews cite the Catherine's sudden difficulty spikes. Knowing of this complaint going in, I played the entire game on easy. In this mode at least, the difficulty seldom posed any serious problems. There were certainly a few daunting moments in each section that took a frustratingly long amount of time to surpass. The worst puzzle sections demand one specific solution from the player. If the solution does not come quickly, then you will likely force your way through the puzzle using trial and error.

The fact players can make the game more difficult for themselves while playing is an interesting part of Catherine's gameplay. One might make a staircase to reach a certain point only to realize the same staircase now impedes their progress. Alternatively, pushing blocks out of the tower entirely to cause entire sections to lower can both help and hinder players. With the higher reaches sometimes difficult to comprehend from Vincent's vantage point, even with a quick camera peek, the strategy proves quite risky. At times, however, one quick push of a block can result in a beautifully elegant solution opening up before your own eyes.

Each of the puzzle segments, themselves composed of three or four stages, add new block types or reward new strategies, making for compelling adjustments to play styles. In certainly behooves players to learn techniques from their fellow sheep, some of which become invaluable in subsequent stages. By game's end, I found myself quite confident in my abilities, speeding through towers until I hit one or two snags, and then forcing my way through using trial and error. I should say I made liberally use of the "undo" feature available, I believe, only in easy mode. The game plays far better as a puzzle than a race against time. If you do want to give Catherine a try, I encourage you to play it on easy. Also, do your best to drown in Vincent's incessant whining and remember you're just a sheep in the herd.

Image from ~ClydeVII via Deviant Art.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

EXP Podcast #138: The Halo: Reach Recap

Jorge and I love talking about Halo almost as much as we love playing it. This week, we discuss what was supposedly Bungie's last Halo game: Halo: Reach. It's a wide-ranging conversation that encompasses everything from the gameplay systems to the grand plot of the Halo universe. As always, feel free to join in with your thoughts and comments.

Some discussion starters:

- For those of you who played the game: What are your thoughts?
- What challenges and opportunities do video game prequels present?
- What aspects of Halo do you wish to see Bungie bring into their next project? What should they leave behind?

To listen to the podcast:

- Subscribe to the EXP Podcast via iTunes here. Additionally, here is the stand-alone feed.
- Listen to the podcast in your browser by left-clicking here. Or, right-click and select "save as link" to download the show in MP3 format.
- Subscribe to this podcast and EXP's written content with the RSS link on the right.

Show notes:

- Run time: 46 min 19 sec
- Music provided by Brad Sucks

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Six Vs and Me

I wanted to start writing this post a bit earlier, but I was so close to grabbing that tempting shiny trinket. I could finally see the the path I needed to take in order to avoid the spikes and hit every crucial bounce wire.

"Just a few more tries," I thought.

One minute and ten failures later, I still had nothing to show for my efforts. "A couple more tries," I promised myself.

After what felt like several dozen deaths, I looked at the clock and realized five more minutes had slipped by. I figured that wasn't such a bad time/failure ratio and decided to give it a few more tries. After all, I had perfected my strategy; it was only a question of whether my fingers would cooperate.

When I hit the fifteen minute mark, I still didn't have a trinket. I did, however, have a deep admiration for VVVVVV.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Getting to Know Zelda

This week, my PopMatters post is about Zelda.

In this case, "Zelda" isn't shorthand for the franchise title "The Legend of Zelda." I'm talking about the Princess herself. I recently finished The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks and was pleasantly surprised to find that Zelda was an active participant in the adventure. She usually spends the majority of the game imprisoned or in hiding, emerging only at the end to offer Link a tightly-scripted helping hand. Spirit Tracks bucks this trend by pairing Link and Zelda at the beginning of the game and forcing the player to master both characters' unique skills.

The Zelda series is regularly criticized for being stagnant. Some of this criticism is deserved: its overall format haven't changed much since the early 1990s and the games' specific plots are essentially interchangeable. However, in terms of specific design choices, they remain some of the most clever games out there. Every challenge builds on the last by forcing the player to learn new uses for old tools and apply some actual thought to discerning the puzzles' solutions. The Zelda games are about the player mirroring Link's transition from novice to master through developing skills rather than grinding for experience or groping around for a random solution.

Still, it's all grown very familiar to veteran players. Link's bombs might have multiple distinct uses, but they're the same uses we discovered years ago. Spirit Tracks shakes up the routine by including Zelda as a playable character, one who has drastically different abilities with novel applications. This creates a familiar sense of growth over the course of the game while adding some welcome variety to Link's traditional arsenal.

From a plot perspective, I love seeing Zelda and Link actually interact with each other. Zelda herself is usually a non-entity, and her relationship with Link is usually taken as a given. Spirit Tracks isn't a masterpiece, but it does manage to give Zelda a personality in its own quiet way. The combination of Zelda's amusing dialog and her ludic contributions in some of the dungeons reminds me of the dynamic between the Prince and Elika in 2008's Prince of Persia. Both games include princesses in danger, but neither is reduced to simply playing a damsel in distress.

So, what is the future of Zelda as a character? The trailers for the forthcoming Skyward Sword don't inspire confidence, as they suggest she'll be returning to her role as a prize to be won at the end of the game rather than a meaningful character. This is a shame because Zelda's involvement in Spirit Tracks, modest though it may be, is a breath of fresh air in an often-stuffy series.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

EXP Podcast #137: Cross-Media Legends and Downfalls

Last week Scott and I discussed Mark Filipowich's article on cross-media storytelling. Out of that podcast came a challenge: We would put Mark's theories to the test by watching Halo Legends and Dead Space: Downfall. We have returned with our lives, if not our dignity, intact, bringing you our views on these films and what they add/take-away from their parent franchises. If you rank amongst our bravest listeners, you joined us on this journey and we encourage you to leave your own thoughts in the comments section below. If you have not watched them but are curious enough to do so, both films are currently streaming on Netflix for those with the service.

To listen to the podcast:

- Subscribe to the EXP Podcast via iTunes here. Additionally, here is the stand-alone feed.
- Listen to the podcast in your browser by left-clicking here. Or, right-click and select "save as link" to download the show in MP3 format.
- Subscribe to this podcast and EXP's written content with the RSS link on the right.

Show notes:

Review: Limbo

My review of Limbo is up over at PopMatters.

I was excited to finally play it, as the game caused quite a stir last year. Even now, it still provokes strong feelings. The people that loved it and those that hated it provided one another with enough rhetorical kindling to keep the debate alive for the better part of a year.

I was ready to fall into one of the extreme camps, but I ultimately had a fairly neutral experience. I didn't like it as much as Brad Shoemaker. I didn't hate it as much as Mitch Krpata. I wasn't as moved by its themes as Kirk Hamilton. There were flashes of brilliance alongside some questionable design choices. Ultimately, I decided that the game looks like it has a lot to say, but never commits to making any meaningful artistic statements.

My thoughts on Limbo's sound design didn't make it into the review, but it definitely deserves praise. Limbo is a very quiet game, but its sound effects are more than just aural set dressing. In several instances, sections of the puzzles are off-screen and sound effects serve as crucial clues. It made me realize how often I take sound for granted when playing a game. Sometimes it can be tempting to tune out background noise or to start multitasking by listening to music or a podcast while playing a game. Limbo requires the attention of your eyes, hands, and ears, which makes it a great example of how a game's sound works with the mechanics and visuals to create a rich experience.

I'm interested to see what Limbo's developer, Playdead, will create next. Clearly, they have a talent for creating intriguing game environments and evoking strong feelings. Hopefully, the underlying mechanical and thematic messages in their next game can match these strengths.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Vampiric Temptations

As many of you have experienced first hand, Steam sales have an enthralling power. When classic high-quality games go on sale for less than a deli club, I have serious trouble resisting spontaneous buys. Thus, when I saw Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines for just five dollars, a game that has earned a minor cult following and a great deal of critical praise well after release, I took the first opportunity to purchase it. Developed by Troika Games and released in 2004, VTMB suffered from numerous bugs upon release. While many of these technical problems have been fixed, many still exist today. In my effort to overcome these issues and create a better play experience, I am tempting myself with power a player should never have.

After installing VTMB, my first goal was to install the “Unofficial Patch,” a community made collection of improvements that address a vast amount of bugs plaguing the game. In my pursuit of home-brewed fixes, I happened upon a fairly rich selection of player generated mods. Some offer new quest lines, others gameplay adjustments or character re-skins. If I so choose, I can make the background NPCs more appealing or re-texture bland environments.

The older a game is, the more intrigued I am at the prospect of breaking its rules. Surely we have all felt, at one time or another, the temptation to bend a game to our liking. Justifying game adjustments demands an assessment of the developer’s intent. Vampire’s unofficial patch repairs serious flaws that Troika never intended to appear in the game. Perhaps they would have also approved of the addon I installed to improve NPC eye textures, giving their characters a more realistic and alluring look. Would enhancing the game's diner environment be going to far? What about modernizing character outfits?

The line between cheating and simply “adjusting” game elements is thin. At one point while playing VTMB, I encountered a bug that locked me behind a gate that needed crossing. In order to pass the barrier, I opened the console tool and turned on noclip mode, allowing me to move through the game’s geometry. Once the console was open, I could do almost anything with the game. Unsatisfied with Vampire’s ranged combat mechanics, I gave myself experience points to make up for wasted points allotted in firearms. While stuck in a particularly difficult warehouse, my skills not high enough to overcome my situation as stealthy as I wished, I turned on notarget, making me invisible to the enemies I effortlessly slipped behind and finished off.

Alright, I’ll admit I cheated, and here is why:VTMB is almost a great game. Within the first two hours of play, I knew it offered something special. Unfortunately the best parts seem buried beneath frustratingly unpolished mechanics. I am trying to resist the urge to abandon normal play entirely, making my character a minor deity amongst vampires, but the temptation is strong. While I feel comfortable making the game my own, with too much power in my hands, I may end up sacrificing a meaningful experience in pursuit of a better game.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Divine Responsibility in From Dust

This post is part of "The Sensationalist," a continuing series here at Experience Points in which we examine games' abilities to evoke emotions and sensations in video game players. Please have a look at the series' introduction as well its previous entries.  

My latest PopMatters article is now live: Divine Responsibility in From Dust.

My original plan for this article was to discuss the sensation of responsibility in games in general using From Dust as a jumping off point. As a god game, however, From Dust raised too many interesting themes to casually brush aside.

On the subject of responsibility alone, I believe there is an inverse relationship between the sensation of responsibility and the scale of the game. I have written before about how successfully Bioshock 2 creates a unique parental bond between Eleanor and Delta. Ico similarly creates a bond of responsibility between the protagonist and Yorda. These relationships are not predicated on weak supporting characters. I felt deeply responsible for the fate of my team in Mass Effect 2, despite knowing they were all loyal and proven soldiers. The tribesmen of From Dust are far more dependent on the player than the crew of the normandy is on Shepard, yet my feelings of responsibility dwindled as the game progressed and I become both more powerful and more busy.

How can we talk about a god game without talking about god? Naturally, my mixed feelings about the game's attempt to personalize the relationship between the player and her flock brought reflected some of my own interests in divinity and spirituality in From Dust. I should say I am not a religious person. I am agnostic at my most devout, although I find religion a deeply interesting and important topic. While contemplating the prayers From Dust's villagers shout to the heavens and my own mostly catholic upbringing, I wondered how my island inhabitants would interpret the failings of their minor deity. As I grew distant, why did they not turn to a different god, perhaps the one causing all the devastation in the first place?

 From Dust is a decent experience and more than a little interesting, but when think upon my time spend with the villagers I feel sadly disconnected. I feel uncomfortable playing an impersonal and inadequate god who fails to maintain divine responsibility.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

EXP Podcast #136: Cross-media 'Cast

Today, it feels like more games than ever enjoy an "expanded universe." Books, TV shows, comics, and movies all develop worlds and characters that first appeared in video games. This might be great for devoted fans, but what does it imply about games' abilities to stand on their own? This week, we use Mark Filipowich's article on cross-media storytelling as a starting point for discussing the ways in which supplemental media affect the stories games try to tell. We also lay out some plans for a cross-media adventure that will be the topic for a future show. As always, we're glad to have you all along for the ride and look forward to reading your comments!

Some discussion starters:

- What are some of your favorite examples of game-related cross-media storytelling and why are they effective?
- How can we separate marketing cash-ins from legitimate additions to a game's story?
- Does an abundance of ancillary material degrade in-game content? How can games tell stories that stand on their own?

To listen to the podcast:

- Subscribe to the EXP Podcast via iTunes here. Additionally, here is the stand-alone feed.
- Listen to the podcast in your browser by left-clicking here. Or, right-click and select "save as link" to download the show in MP3 format.
- Subscribe to this podcast and EXP's written content with the RSS link on the right.

Show notes:

- Run time: 32 min 00 sec
- "Games and Cross-Media Storytelling," by Mark Filipowich, via PopMatters
- Music provided by Brad Sucks

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

3D Day Dreams

I've been thinking about the 3D since reading Jorge's post on 3D gaming's lack of high-profile proponents. Between the 3DS' lackluster debut, the shaky 3D movie market, and the relatively small number of 3D television sets in people's homes, the future of 3D technology still looks a bit blurry.

Jorge called on people like Ken Levine to lead gaming into the third dimension. Ken seems like a busy guy, so I thought I'd throw out a few ideas as to how to integrate 3D in meaningful ways. I'll preface this by saying that I am in no way an expert on the technological capabilities of 3D technology. For all I know, these ideas might be technologically impossible. This is more about theoretical design applications. However, if 3D technology can't at least implement parts of these ideas, I think we should ask some hard questions about what 3D has to offer the medium in the first place.

With that being said, here are some of my 3D day dreams: