Archive for December, 2012

That Shark Game WIP

In the second person, with elements of creative non-fiction.

That Shark Game

There’s this game. You’re a shark and your job is to evolve. You think that’s your job. There’s this economy where some of the fish that you eat give you gold and diamonds, and you use the gold to pimp out your shark (???) and the diamonds to revive yourself if you die. Your other job is to not starve to death. Oh, and if you collect these seashells, they give you secret missions. And the secret missions help you upgrade the shark.

With each shark that you upgrade, things seem to get a little harder. There are a lot of things that can hurt you if you don’t eat them first: puffer fish, swordfish, rays, other sharks. You end up eating a lot of other sharks. And then there are a few things that you can’t eat: noxious gases escaping from busted open canisters, jellyfish, mines, and lionfish. Maybe with the later sharks all the humans that you end up eating learn to defend themselves. In some playthroughs, you eat more humans than any other species – except maybe butterfly fish. Apparently the ocean is lousy with them.

The level is big, but your shark is fast, so it doesn’t take long to get from side to side. If you go too deep, the pressure makes your life bar decrease faster. It’s a fun game. For the iPhone.

Except you wonder what it’s like to be a real shark, and you realize it’s probably much more difficult. For one, the distances are longer, and you know that there is some realism to the game’s obstacles – except they left out some because it would have made it, well, maybe too hard. Sharks are tough as hell, and all. You know that they, like alligators, have existed in large numbers since the time of the dinosaurs. Except now they don’t exist in large numbers anymore.

If a real shark ate a person, that shark would be dead. Deader than dead. And probably the people whose beach it is would want to kill all the other sharks around. Some beaches have these things called Shark Hooks. They bait hooks and leave them a certain distance away from the shore. If any sharks get close enough to shore to smell the bait, they are supposed to hook themselves. For the safety of beach goers, sharks aren’t allowed to come near the coast. They should stick to their normal hunting grounds. After all, that’s where the finning ships can get them and sell their fins for somebody’s wedding. It isn’t as if they kill them or anything: they just take their fins, and then release the shark back into the water. That isn’t the same as killing them outright.

So, maybe the sharks shouldn’t stay near their usual hunting and breeding grounds. Maybe they should go not-too-close-to-shore and not-too-close-to-where-instinct-tells-them-to-go. After all, there’s plenty of food in the big blue, right? Plenty of fish in the sea.
You think, actually, that sharks should try hanging out near that garbage spiral – the one that’s the size of Texas or whatever – the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Wikipedia calls it a “gyre of marine trash.” Very Yeats. Surely they could find something to eat there.

Oh and then don’t sharks have natural predators? Like, squids and killer whales and such? Not to mention that dolphins like to chase them off by shoving their noses at them and pushing tourists up so that they can get a photo-op.

Yeah, it is a pretty good game. But it lacks realism, or whatever.

Tabletop RPGs

Hey there,

Today I’m doing something nerdy and planning a session of a tabletop RPG for my friends. I don’t know what other people’s notes for a session look like, and if you’d even be interested in seeing what mine look like, but I figured I’d share some old notes anyway. An important thing to know about me is that I make up a lot of things on the fly – especially additional characters, situations (my players tend to look for ways to jump off cliffs instead of going on the beaten path), and anything else that comes up and is needed during the session.

The campaign is called Star Wars: Jet Plane Overdrive Mach Seven, and it’s quite silly. It isn’t combat-heavy and tends to involve a lot of diplomacy. These notes are from parts 1 and 3 of my campaign. They’re unedited, and what might have happened during the session could be quite different from the notes I have written down here.

EDIT: Another note – When I write my notes, I usually figure out the mechanics later, especially since one of my players has encyclopedic knowledge about the rules, sometimes down to the page to find things on.



Soliloquies 16 in print

Just dropping a quick note to let you know that Soliloquies 16 is now in print, and it is a gorgeous artefact designed by Candice Maddy. It was a very limited print run, but if you can get your hands on one, you should. If not, you can always read Soliloquies 16 online. Since I’m in 16.2, I’ll be selfish and link you to it.

Also, look out in the new year for news about a new pilot project that I’m becoming involved in that has to do with video games!

(And I promise that I’ll write over the holidays, as soon as I’m done making presents.)

Po’try: Drift

A draft called

Drift from the horror of recognition
To Hawaiian folk sleep
The horror! the horror!
Of getting to know someone
Better than you would have liked
When they were yesterday’s pleasant stranger
The baggage from someone you
Actually, truly, really care about.
And you were getting so good
At liking them
But the honeymoon phase is over
And they were never your honey.

Drift from idiosyncrasies
To driftwood guitar
Forget that you can’t avoid
The habits of the close ones
Of your closest ones
You may smile if you find it in you.
In the chords, maybe.
Realizations are sad and
Maybe you’ll remember that
We’re all human so
Even if the little things add up real quick,
There are the pleasant things, too.

Forget that their foibles force you
To modify your behaviour,
That which comes natural
And listen to the chords.