One of the enduring themes of this blog has been what I will call the ‘monotreme’. Art that just doesn’t fit in somehow. Evolutionary dead ends that were interesting but never caught on. Games that don’t get the credit they deserve. This was never my conscious intent; it just seems to have worked out this way. My pieces on Marathon, Imperialism, Unreal World, and now Vangers all revolve around the difference of these games, and I don’t think this is accidental.
Imperialism’s take on economics and colonialism throws the standard approach into stark contrast. Unreal World has an enormous amount to teach about the implicit assumptions survival games make about nature and humanity. And so on. Monotremes are fascinating because they show the breathtaking scope of what is possible compared to what actually occurs, and thereby imply questions about the dominant mode of life. What were the evolutionary forces that made Civilization spawn a legion of imitators while Imperialism died off? These questions reach beyond games qua games and into the world at large.
So, take this post as programmatic. Further discussion of monotremes will follow. I want to start posting more frequently again, but I don’t think this will often take the form of full-length essays. The time and effort involved is too much, and I often have a creeping feeling of remorse that I should be working on something saleable instead. I’ve also mostly avoided topical editorialising unless I felt I had something important to contribute. There’s enough noise out there already.
Instead, I hope to post some short vignettes about monotremes and related issues. At the same time, I have other things cooking. This should result in more ‘proper’ articles (on monotremes, among other things) appearing elsewhere over time, as well as longform work and some design-related follies, eventually.