i am amazed by the atari 2600 library so far. this is my first real exposure to these games as a cohesive body. they’re so abstract that they create their own systems of language, like little puzzleboxes. it lets me feel like i am inhabiting a truly unique reality in a way i rarely get to feel with more recent games, representing a sense of mature authorship i often miss in these spaces. they don’t seem yet mired under the suffocating expectations of visceral entertainment; so many get to be interesting contraptions of their own merit. that freedom lends to a kind of expression that feels very liberating to me, a kind which reminds me of the indie games scene (my first exposure to a small authorial games culture) around 2005-2008. it feels much more open-minded. in the absence of psychological manipulation, i feel treated more respectfully. that kind of respect opens doors for having earnest dialogue with a work. it is amazing to witness an era of game design completely naive to the patronizing and infantilizing practices that would follow it decades later. i know i’ve talked about how pop game design seems to be moving towards casino design as time goes on, but that rings especially true to me in this moment. i can’t help but feel inspired by something so many have left behind, if not in memory then in character.

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