Saturday, March 27, 2004

You Are You 

Wish I were sitting by the pool with the beautiful people in Florida at the ICFA, but I'm not, I'm sitting here slaving over a hot computer (with an intermittently noisy video card fan) updating the website.

Meanwhile, I have decided to attend the Nebulas in Seattle after all. Actually, both Yeong and I will go, making the weekend a little mini-vacation in place of what might have been a more ambitious trip in some other more flush year. The opportunity for a sneak peek at the new SF Experience museum proved a critical lure. We'll arrive Friday after lunch, and leave Monday morning before lunch.

Submissions are pouring in for Locus Online's annual April investigate news issue, where we break the stories, and review the books, no one else dares mention. The inspiration for this tradition began at ICFA, three years ago, and this year's edition should be a worthy one.

Finally, I spent a few hours this past week engaged with the 'expansion pack' downloadable update to the computer game Uru, which was initially released late last year. I mention this despite not knowing anyone in the SF community, or even personally, who's aware of or interested in this game or its 'Myst' predecessors; I fell rather all alone here discussing something I'm pretty sure no one reading this will 'get'. Anyway. Calling them 'games' rather trivializes them, because the attraction for me isn't the occasional puzzles (though I like puzzles), but the 'sense of wonder' charge from being immersed in an alien environment--like stepping into your favorite Richard Powers or Paul Lehr cover painting, brought to life by the latest, most sophisticated computer graphics and sound effects--wandering at will, and figuring it out. It's a different kind of skiffy experience than any book or film can provide. The 'expansion' update released this past week entailed, in effect, being given entry passes to neighborhoods of your favorite city you'd previously only heard vague, mysterious rumors of, where you find key clues to the ultimate solution of the meaning of it all. Except for the teasers of more to come.

Update 30 March: Discovered that one of the concept artists for Uru is Stephan Martiniere, who has a page of samples online, of which only the first four (Kadish) are in the portions of the game released so far.
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Mark R. Kelly

The opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of Mark R. Kelly, and do not reflect the editorial position of Locus Magazine.
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