March 9, 2012

abbr. Game Poem for Atari 2600

abbr. is the final Atari game poem in my Monday triptych.

It was premiered at the Louisville Arcade Expo, March 2-4. Over a dozen people were genuinely interested! I want to thank everyone who was courageous enough to try it out.

I will have a postmortem in some form in the near future. Until then, however, I would like to offer you the game poem, the source code, as well as directions on how to build the bridge rail controller*. These can all be found at the Sonny's Work page, or by clicking here.

The directions to the game poem are found on the cartridge itself (look at the main label).

* though you could just use the right player's fire button. Remember, to simulate standing on the railing, you must hold the fire button in, and to simulate jumping, you let go.

Now, here's the spiel I used at the expo:

"Okay, now: You've spent eight hours at a job you loathe. You've spent hours more in traffic just getting you to and from this job. It is at this point where this day, this Monday, you find yourself on" [turns game poem on] "the 2nd Street Bridge.

"That little line there is you. You stand there amidst traffic. You have no money. You're topped out in anger. These are the only things you can think about, and you do so obsessively. Impulsively, you stand on the railing." [instructs player to stand on bridge rail controller]

"See you now, standing on the bridge railing? Now, just close your eyes and listen to your heartbeat. Breathe. Can you imagine being at a point like this in your life where this is the best alternative?

"Your time has come; jump off the bridge." [player jumps off controller; character jumps off bridge to blackness]

"And that is the end. It's over." [player reacts]

"Now, since this is my creation, my re-imagining of my world, I can do something about it. Since this is on the Atari, I can do what I've always dreamed of: I can put the difficulty switch to easy," [switch difficulty to easy] "hit reset," [hit reset] "and boom: I'm on the beach.

"I'm on the beach, where the world is black and white, everything is right or wrong, and I know exactly where I fall morally and ethically. Simple.

"The storm is always off in the distance, and all I can do now is pick up rocks, and chuck them into the water. Listen to the ocean roll, and throw rocks into the water.

"A perfect life."


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