Thursday, July 10, 2014

Video Games and the House on Loon Lake

Confirmed: Rapture is real (image from PopMatters).
This week on PopMatters I write about the House on Loon Lake.

No: it’s not the latest indie darling that Jorge and I are fawning over. It’s an old episode of This American Life about an abandoned house full of artifacts left by its former inhabitants. The episode tries to unravel the mystery: Who were these people? Why did they leave? Why is the house still full of stuff?

The nerdiest part of my brain immediately made the leap: it’s like Looking Glass created a real life immersive sim and made a radio show about it. On a more serious note, it’s a good reminder that environmental storytelling (even tropes like abandoned diary pages and broken dolls) is based in reality. It’s easy to roll our eyes at audio logs and graffiti messages scrawled across walls, but sometimes reality is just as cheesy as fantasy. I mean, finding an abandoned letter from a woman who had just given birth, imploring the father to come to the hospital and go along with the lie that he was her husband? It seems unreal.

Hopefully you’ve listened to the show at this point, because I’m going to spoil it: the mystery is never solved. More accurately, it is only partially solved and the explanation is a quiet, ambiguous one that leaves a multitude of loose ends. It’s fully explored, but it’s hard to shake the feeling that you want more and that if you search, you’ll eventually find something. Some missed clue or hidden code that will keep the story’s boundaries from becoming hard barriers.

 I think this is the feeling that keeps the search for Luigi in Super Mario 64 alive. Giving up means admitting that even the most mysterious world is ultimately finite.

1 comment:

  1. Are you interested in attaining enlightenment and personal growth?

    Try doing the following two yoga exercises daily:

    Sodarshan Kriya Yoga

    Sat Nam Kriya Yoga

    Are you interested in preventing and curing cancer, Alzheimer's, high blood pressure, and many other common diseases using an inexpensive, natural indian spice called turmeric?

    Take two teaspoons full of turmeric powder mixed with a cup of warm soy milk (or any kind of non-dairy milk that you'd like). Also eat 2 or 3 black peppercorns along with it, as the pepper helps your body absorb the turmeric better. You also need fat for the turmeric to be absorbed properly, which is why drinking turmeric mixed in water won't work. You have to drink it with milk or some fatty based liquid. Do this twice a day and you will start to feel amazing within a few days.

    Lastly, please read the following two ancient indian scriptures which talk about the divine love of God:

    Ananda Vrindavan Campu PDF

    Govinda Lilamrta PDF

    If you have any questions about yoga, meditation, spirituality, or natural cures, feel free to email me at

    . . .