Sub Specie

Pouring inspiration into a life of words and history. A companion to Sub Specie, Evening of Light and whatever other journals I keep in the world.
-Oscar hide
This poor little tealight had no cup or wick, but we fixed it right up.

Glockendon, Albrecht


Dream-I-Believe I brought        out of the night still streaming                out It was real I was right!
Dream present still I could still        believe in, writhed and twisted                likelihood to serve it…
Dream that was gone I mourned        and quoted, sought and lingered                on sections to my liking.
Dream I had had depended        on puns, events, encounters                even to come to mind now.
I seemed to have held four faiths        by breakfast, and I’d packed them                fighting to their buses.
So I could sit exhausted,        stretching in the sunbeams                like my mother in the old days.
—Glyn Maxwell, “Dream-I-Believe”Art Credit Sophie Cauvin, Elevation, 2010, Technique Mixte Sur Toile

Control & horror.

I’ve been trotting through ‘Amnesia: a Machine for Pigs’ the past few days, while thinking about the functioning of horror in games.

When I was discussing ‘Phantasmagoria’ with my wife she argued that its use of cutscenes heightened the sense of fear in the game precisely because it wrenches control away from the player at key moments.

Running AMFP on our aging PC unintentionally brings about a similar effect. The controls and movement are sometimes very slow to respond, and I’m constantly hoping that I don’t run into any scary monsters, because I’m not certain I can flee properly when it’s necessary.

A sense of control is central to feeling safe in the real world, so the same applies to any fictional worlds we inhabit. Compromising (physical) control is one tool games can apply to engender fear and threat in a player, even inadvertently.

‘Woodpile’ by Zvuku is my new jam.