The passionate Pot
For the love of the game
Sometimes you have to cry a little
For the love of the game
- Semisonic, For The Love Of The Game
Culture created from the refuse of other culture is made more for love than purpose or profit. In the voice over for his game 'Getting Over It' (with Bennet Foddy), Bennet Foddy (ex-philosophy professor, current game designer) said of b-games: "Designers slap them together very quickly and freely, and they’re often too rough and unfriendly to gain much of a following. They’re built more for the joy of building them than as polished products. Passion is a practice positioned between abandon and masochism. "Like patience, passion comes from the same Latin root: pati", Mark Z Danielewski reminds us in House of Leaves, "It does not mean to flow with exuberance. It means to suffer.”
'Getting Over It' is a game about passion, insofar as it is a game about suffering. About struggling with something for its own sake, a philosophy adopted by Diogenes, after whom the game's character is modelled, pictured here in their respective pots. It has left many a twitch streamer inconsolably frustrated as the game's slippery mechanics send them back to the start. But it's also about love. A love letter to all the janky creations that have been made quickly and freely, with enthusiasm and sincerity (specifically, Sexy Hiking). The mountain you climb in Getting Over It was built entirely from pre-built, recycled game assets - assembled in the game, not created for it. Just collected along with the game's public domain songs and philosophical quotes.
But that's the charm of b-culture. The same enthusiastic naivety I was drawn to in the thumbnail of this youtube video: All my pets. (found through this Reply All episode and evidently stolen for myself) It's matter-of-fact, unapologetic.
It thinks only of itself.
It is not about you.
On the podcast Baby Geniuses, artist Lisa Hanawalt and comedian Emily Heller invited listeners to draw a bicycle from memory, and I think the resulting drawings are much more interesting than an accurate rendering. What they lacks in accuracy, they makes up for in enthusiasm - flattening out technical detail to leave an image that is less concerned with the external workings of things than our internal understanding of them.
Out of the anxious impulse of collective, hoarding, preserving - we find a new kind of confidence.The confidence to be flawed, to be vulnerable, sincere. To say "I made this". And hope somebody fixes it to their fridge with a magnet.
"I dedicate this game to you, the one who came this far. I give it to you with all my love."
- Bennet Foddy, Getting Over It