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Time Bandit – Stealth Prologue released

December 7, 2022

[Ed: Time Bandit is the game I’ve been working on for a long time. It’s been quite a while since I posted anything on this blog! I wrote this strange bit of marketing copy crossed with an autobiographical essay and critique of indie game development. It’s been so long since I’ve written something longform on videogames and, figuring it was enough of a critical article and that it touched on themes I was dealing with the last time I was here (over 4 years ago!), I decided to cross-post it to the blog. I had fun writing it and mixing genres in such a strange way. I have an idea for another piece that would pay even less mind to all genre conventions… so perhaps I’ll see you here again later, but no promises on how long that will be. Anyway, back to this one!]

Yes, Time Bandit is receiving a second prologue chapter!


Truthfully it’s because the game needs a big marketing push. This is a big, experimental game with a lot of different parts, and for a long time I found it very hard to explain exactly what you *do* in the game or convey how it is, in fact, fun to play. The first prologue was more or less an intro to the story, and that was it. I really like how, in the real-time spirit of things, even the main mechanics are introduced slowly in a tutorial that’s spread out over a couple of real-life days. I was happy with it artistically; it begins at the beginning, and I had no problem releasing something like that early on as a teaser to the game. Unfortunately, it was terrible for marketing. These first moments of the game aren’t at all representative of the game as a whole. The first prologue has different goals entirely than the game that follows, namely, to introduce a story and set up the idea that this game will give you an unusual experience of time. And certainly, these things can make up part of its appeal. But at the same time, it’s leading with the parts that are the most complicated to explain, and it’s just not possible for me to convince people with something like that that there’s also a rather traditional game loop to come. And as with most things that stare you right in the face, it took me much longer than you might expect to figure out how to explain exactly what you *do* in the game in the most basic terms. But this is it: Time Bandit is a resource management game in which you try to sneak out time crystals in order to sell them for money, which you need to buy more fuel in order to solve more puzzles to collect more time crystals. See, a loop. It’s simple! And it’s definitely circular, as a loop should be! And this is a significant part of what people want to hear, I think, when learning about the game, alongside whatever makes it unique (and for that I’ve developed a line about how this is a “wholesome”-seeming idle adventure game where everything you do takes an unusual amount of time because the company you work for is hiding a dark secret). Around the same time that I finally discovered how to describe Time Bandit, I was also able to do some playtesting, and I quickly realized that I should use a save file to jump people past the whole story intro and into that game loop. Then it wasn’t long before I also realized that giving players the opportunity to experience this game loop should have been part of the marketing all along. So, this second prologue does just that: it jumps you ahead to after all the main mechanics are introduced and throws you right into the stealth so you can get a feel for how the game works. I sacrificed some artistic integrity in deciding to release something like this. If you were already sold on Time Bandit and have no need to experience this game loop, I recommend just waiting for the official release so you can experience the real-time mechanics as they’re intended!

A lot of very practical-sounding people say that a game should be made according to what is most marketable and that this is clearly where I should have started. But if you follow this logic to its conclusion – and many do – then you will arrive at the point of thinking that, since this is what sells, it is all that any game should be: an addictive game loop that can be wrapped up all nice and neat under the bow of a marketing hook that fits into a tweet. Don’t get me wrong, I think repetition of one sort or another is an important element to just about any one of these things that we call videogames. I’m interested in the expressive power of many of the aesthetic forms that arose in the history of commercial videogames, something that I think is clear enough just from taking a quick glance at Time Bandit. But Time Bandit is certainly more than its game loop as well. It is also, more than anything, the different experiences of time that it’s designed to create. In fact, it’s not just the prologue that’s different from part 1, in which things get into the swing of the game loop: all its parts differ from one another and are designed to create different kinds of temporal experiences, something that will become clearer as the game goes on. I’m interested in expanding and contracting the time frame at which the loop takes place, in breaking it occasionally by offering moments of reprieve and opportunities for reflection. But the game simply offers up these shifts in time as suggestions, intended to craft an experience about the historical forces that shape our temporal experience and how we can challenge them. In the end the player decides how to integrate the game into their life, the habits and rituals that they would like to make with it and, of course, when and whether to play at all.  

So all this stuff about time complicates the game loop quite a bit (even if I have found that extending a loop in time, at least, does not make a game less addictive but, in fact, maybe even more so — something that I think is proven by Animal Crossing, but I’m not sure if people believe me when I draw the comparison). They make Time Bandit more difficult to explain and for that reason less straightforwardly marketable. And I would never argue against the basic point of any of those eminently practical capitalists who say you should simply make a more marketable game if you want to sell it to more people. That’s undeniably true. Artists expecting that their ideas, however avant-garde, should turn them into self-sustaining businesspeople are simply bad capitalists, and they’re constantly liable to be led down the path of becoming reactionaries because of it. This is why it can be dangerous to encourage people to get into something so unsustainable, particularly while not being completely forthright about how much capital you’ve invested into marketing and contracted labor yourself. When I began, I was certainly less aware of the need to invest tens of thousands of dollars into marketing, without which quite simply not enough people would hear about the game and it would sink in the algorithms, streamers wouldn’t bother to play it, journalists wouldn’t bother to cover it. It’s not impossible, but then you’re basically counting on having to go viral, and so you’d better have a simple hook and easily GIFable game (Time Bandit has neither). I know this is starting to sound a lot like I’m complaining, but to be clear, I’m not – least of all about my personal problems with marketing a videogame. Indie game development, at least as it exists in the current context, is a privilege, not a social cause to be championed. When you’re marketing an indie game, the norms of the discourse are to always be positive, to encourage others to make games, to show support for all the other indie developers. I’m not trying to be needlessly negative – not least because I’d like to avoid inviting the dogpiling that I’ve seen coming from those who are invested in a thing— but I do think it’s important to be clear-eyed about the context within which indie game production and the discourse around it currently takes place. Because by making financial success sound easy, you are, at best, creating people who might invest a lot of time into something with the idea of success that will never come and, at worst, creating people who go on to become small business owners who exploit others themselves by contracting out labor and marketing when they realize it’s the only way to make it in the present context. 

Time Bandit is as close to a “solo developed” game as such things come. I haven’t contracted out anything. But even then, can I be said to have made this game “all on my own”? When people ask, that’s what I usually say, because I think it’s true according to the implied premises of the question. Of course we think: my playtesters didn’t “make” the game, and neither did the code I took from the Internet, the sound effects I got from, my tools (Unity, etc.); my computer didn’t “make” it; and yet think about how much labor in fact went into each of these! And it’s hard to imagine any way around it with something as technically complex as a videogame. The production conditions are such that no one individual should ever be taking credit for anything. Yet everything about our markets demand that we do just that, that someone claim overall ownership, because it is through property claims alone that you are recognized as a business and make money. An interesting way around relying on unpaid playtesters, at least, might be to make a game that doesn’t require playtesting. We tend to think that software has to “function” at some baseline level, but the iterative model of software development is only one way of doing things, which just so happens to produce these neatly wrapped gift box commodities. But I wouldn’t necessarily disagree with the idea that maybe we just shouldn’t be making videogames at all except under socialized conditions of production.

And yet, here I am. I find myself not just making but marketing this game, under the given historical conditions. Even dedicating a lot of time to doing it. Why? Ostensibly because I want to make money in order to continue dedicating my time to working on the game. That’s what I’ve often said. Yet when I take a step back and get out of the mindset of doing the marketing – in which it is easier than almost to be believed to get lost, even when one is an anti-capitalist – I can see how it’s almost as if I were on autopilot. As if I were doing it because it was the thing to do. Listen, I didn’t buy it when I saw people making it out like it was easy to come by financial sustainability making games, yet somehow my actions have still said the opposite. As if deep down I still believed otherwise. That’s the power of this stuff. Does this make me a hypocrite, in the same way as I’ve been accused many times of being a hypocrite for trying to sell an anti-capitalist game “for a profit”? Setting aside the fact that the chances of me making a profit are slim indeed, what does a profit even mean when I’m making something because I enjoy it, when there are no wage laborers and I’m simply making it on my own? Profit is defined as earnings minus cost. My quantitative costs are, then, supposedly just the money I had to spend to live while working on it. Yet what is not counted in that equation is my enjoyment, the skills I learned by doing it, the aim towards a future where I can keep doing it – measurements of profit presume a timespan, but what if I blow that timespan up? When it comes to any analysis of purely capitalist production, or of the wider capitalist economy, things should absolutely be measured by their exchange-value, which is a function of the labor-time with which they have been invested. But life is more than what fits along the tiny plane of capitalist life.

In any case, I think the implication of those saying I shouldn’t sell Time Bandit for a profit is that they think I’m suggesting that it is merely profit that’s the problem. A way of thinking that comes from imagining that the world is suffering only because of what we all see on the surface, the individual motivation for greed, rather than the material fact of EXPLOITATION in the production process that underlies it. Here’s the thing: we’re all in the process of something larger than ourselves. Even if indie game production that doesn’t use wage labor isn’t directly capitalist production, it does participate indirectly in the capitalist production that surrounds it from every side, from its reliance on the tools made by others to its marketing and distribution. For the very same reason, this whole thing will, undoubtedly, come across as insincere marketing posturing as a political rant. And so what? How can anything that I say about my project possibly be conceived otherwise than, at least in part, an attempt at marketing? How can any of us be sincerely, purely free of that in a world that shapes our very being into brands? Who I sincerely am is what I have been made to be, and that is, because of these historical conditions, the brand that I am plus everything else that is me. It doesn’t make me or any of us insincere. There is no opting out from this world. There is no mythical unalienated being. Precisely the problem is to reshape the conditions that make us who we don’t want to be.

And I, like anyone, can’t help but wonder, every step of the way, and more and more lately: Is this actually a good use of my limited time on this planet? I enjoy making the game. And I like making something that can have an impact on people. But couldn’t I have a far greater impact, in far less time, making something that wasn’t a videogame? Especially when factoring in the marketing that must to be done in order to possibly reach an audience?

If I must do marketing, I would have liked to make it a valuable part of the experience in itself by playing with the audience’s expectations, in the way that Metal Gear Solid 2 is notorious for having done. To some extent I’ve attempted that in various ways (most particularly, with this “wholesome” parody trailer), but the obvious limitation that I ran up against is that MGS was really within the milieu of hype for technological innovations in realism; a game that is more experimental on the surface and doesn’t have a mass audience lying in wait for it simply doesn’t have the same opportunities to deconstruct that. I’ve also thought about swinging in the opposite direction and trying to talk to you in plain terms. I’d like to lay bare the production process of the game as well as how I market it, and this is an attempt at that, I suppose. I want these themes of demystifying exactly how this game and others are produced and entered into a market to be on clear display in the game. It’s just as well to discuss them here, as it will be a long time still before I get around to developing them in the game — sometimes it’s nice to just write, without all the technical apparatus implied by developing a videogame. I don’t know if there’s any audience out there for some longform writing like this anymore, just as I don’t know if there’s any audience out there for Time Bandit — it’s almost imperative for me to have put this into a video instead — but boy would that make the process of getting it out there a lot more labor intensive and less fun for me. This is how I like communicating, and I hope some of you like reading it. Maybe I’m not talking to anyone at all. But even if I’m just talking to myself — yes, this is marketing (perhaps very bad marketing), and yes, there seems to be a deep paradox when it comes to trying to say what you mean while doing anything connected with marketing, but … idk, here I am, this felt worthwhile to spend time on, and it is at least more me than I’ve felt in other mediums.

Practical Aesthetics: How to Use Art as Argument – My Different Games Conference 2018 Talk

October 14, 2018

1. A Brief History/Mythology of Theater Used as a Political Tool

In his book Theater of the Oppressed, the playwright Augusto Boal characterizes the history of the aesthetics of theater as a series of aesthetic techniques that were alternately progressive, expressing the freedom of the insurgent revolutionary social class, and reactionary, being used repressively by that social class once it had become dominant to help to secure the new status quo and quell any further social unrest.

First theater was the free singing and dancing of people, Bacchanalian revel, or pure paideia, as we might say if we were nerds who studied games. But nothing can ever be completely free: everything in reality is limited in one way or another, and it just depends on who gets to decide what those limits are. In a hierarchical society, the people at the top generally decide on the limits for those at the bottom. So the chorus was introduced to the theater to represent the expression of the people, but it was used to express what a people obedient to the state ought to express. Then a protagonist separated himself off from the chorus, which was a great leap into individual freedom, but the protagonist would nevertheless have to be a great man, in other words an aristocrat, and if he were shown to be free in any way that threatened the state, Aristotle’s aesthetics of tragedy would ensure he would be punished for his freedom; his freedom would thereby be turned into a tool for social control, because while the audience would be made to empathize with the protagonist throughout the play so that they could vicariously enjoy his vices, as in a kind of videogame escape fantasy, they would in the end be purged of acting on any of these vices in real life once they saw the punishment undergone by the protagonist.

Much later in history, the protagonist would be able to decide his own fate, but only insofar as he represented the shrewdness of the dominant point of view of the bourgeoisie, whose ultimate value was money and whose principle of action was how best to exploit others in order to make money.

Then it wasn’t until the beginning of the preceding century that the playwright Bertolt Brecht freed the actor from the protagonist, advocating for an aesthetic technique in which the actor would distance themselves from the events of the play and express a critical attitude from the point of view of the working class. Brecht treated the spectators not as vehicles for empathy but rather as free-thinking individuals who could, following the example of the actor, maintain a critical distance. If they were not fully immersed in the play, they could reason about the injustices being represented and come out of the theater not calm and complacent citizens purged of their vices, as Aristotle wanted, but rather ready to immerse themselves again in their reality, and furthermore inspired to act to change the injustices about which they had learned.

But Boal points out that there is still a hierarchical relationship here, with the dominant ideas of the playwright or poet being expressed through the actor, and while this technique treats the audience as free thinking and inspires them to take action after the play is over, they remain passive during the play itself. The theater had freed the protagonist and the actor and used each of these as tools, at times for progressive and at others for reactionary ends. Finally, Boal says, it had to free the audience, so that plays could be used directly as rehearsal for revolution. In other words, Boal argued that theater, finally freed, is politically efficacious interactive theater, or games.

2. The Situation with Propaganda Today

What Boal’s history or mythology shows us is not only that art has always been political, but also that it has always been a political, social, and economic tool, and that it educates people effectively. Aristotle’s method is the most succinct example, and probably the most influential historically. Boal summarizes it as follows:

Tragedy imitates the actions of man’s rational soul, his passions turned into habits, in his search for happiness, which consists in virtuous behavior, remote from the extremes, whose supreme good is justice and whose maximum expression is the Constitution.

The protagonist, the great man, the aristocrat is shown to be fully responsible for the actions that lead to his downfall. He is shown to be virtuous except for a single flaw, and the flaw is not some mere error that occurs spontaneously and all of a sudden, but rather a habit that he is fully responsible for having developed over time. In this way change is both represented and shot down. When they see the tragedy that the great man leads himself into due to his bad habit, the spectator will realize that they should get ahold of their own bad habits and step in line with the orderly society prescribed by the law.

For Aristotle, a good habit is that which is good for maintaining the status quo of society. In fact, he defines virtue as achievement in habit of the average and avoidance of the extremes—what we might call centrism today, that which is, at best, politically ineffectual and, at worst, deliberate obfuscation of a scheme to preserve the way things are.

I want to suggest, however, that Aristotle’s general conception of habits actually isn’t wrong at all, and that if we steal it from him, it can be put toward progressive rather than reactionary ends. It seems obviously true that we all have beliefs and habits and that we are never just acting, just sending a completely free action out of nowhere into the world, but rather always acting from our beliefs or habits, whether consciously or unconsciously. And these beliefs or habits each represent a field of possible actions, possible because they appear possible to us. The real choice that we have is whether we are conscious of our habits, and if we are conscious of them, then we can get control over them, choose them, change them; they become our commitments. By becoming conscious of our commitments, we can begin to change the actions open to us. Whereas Aristotle’s aesthetics emphasizes the development of what he considered bad habit in order to represent change in an individual and shoot it down, we can see how, on a collective level, it would be helpful to develop our ability to make what we might consider good commitments, the commitments that are necessary to get control over the actions we can take for collective change.

What does this mean for art and artists today, in 2018, when we are all expected to be self-responsible individuals who take care of our financial and our mental health problems, without recourse to our communities? How does art help to convey this dominant ideology? What are videogames, which in the main paint the picture of the atomized individual sitting alone in their room in front of a computer or TV screen, and are in this way perhaps the paradigmatic artistic medium of neoliberalism? Instead of tragedy, many videogames are escape fantasy or power fantasy, but the principle—and ultimate effect—of the immersion and empathy involved is the same. It serves to quell rather than to inspire change in thought or action. This is exemplified by the trope that I like to call the fatalistic plot twist, which demonstrates that there is no possibility of choice.

In all of these games, the player is on the one hand asked to suspend their disbelief throughout regarding the fundamental linearity of the game in order to enjoy the escape fantasy. On the other hand, there is a twist at the end that justifies the linearity, apologizes for its presence in what ought to be an interactive medium, by showing how the protagonist was manipulated into doing everything they had thought they were doing out of their own free will. These games all bring a shattering end to the escape fantasy that they begin with; they even imply—or sometimes are quite explicit about—how this is taking place on the meta level: the antagonist is easily readable as the game designer themselves, while the one they were manipulating was you, the player. With this aesthetic that not only makes out the idea of having choice to be a joke, but in the end lets you in on it, it’s almost as though, whereas Aristotle’s prescriptions for art assumed that there was a real threat of rebellion that had to be repressed, art today makes the assumption that there is no such threat. The only really bad habit contrary to the society the dominant class wants to maintain, and whose repression is aided in the realm of art, is the habit of thinking that you might have a choice over anything at all. The society the dominant class wants to maintain is secure as long as everyone has drawn into themselves and does not realize that they have the choice to take action by organizing with others.

But this individualism that is characteristic of our times is reflected not just in the art that is consumed but also in the dominant idea of art production as free self-expression. This is an empty idea on its own, if we say that just being able to express oneself, no matter how, is a virtue, without any consideration for the conditions on expression that always exist. It is an empty idea on its own because it purports that we could have the freedom to express ourselves isolated from the social reality in which we are immersed. But there is no such thing as a truly empty idea; every idea comes from somewhere; really, it is a misleading idea, hiding behind it what is the perfect idea of art for neoliberalism. The idea of self-expression, the expression that springs forth from a lone, supposedly free individual, isolates art from the social reality. By doing so, it prevents us from imagining how we might actually express our freedom by first committing to a collective political project, and allowing that project to guide our expression.

The need for a commitment to a collective project is suggested by Boal’s history of theater. Boal recognizes the social function that art always has, and in doing so he goes beyond our particular circumstances, beyond the merely historically contingent idea of art as absolutely free self-expression that is today mistaken for universal. It gets past the form of art as isolated, a form in which even art intended as radical and political is unable to effectively or meaningfully engage with society or to avoid packaging into a commodity. And most importantly, the view of art that emphasizes its social function is a useful view of art, because we can use it for progressive ends if we only realize our power to do so.

It is clear that art viewed as essentially having a social function is not reconcilable with the idea of art that begins from absolutely free individual self-expression. A commitment to a collective project necessarily involves placing limits on permissible expression—only some expression will fulfill the commitment outlined at the start. We can and should, of course, allow for any commitment to grow and change over time with new discoveries about injustices in the world as well as about the effectiveness of the aesthetic techniques tried out as a means of educating people on those injustices, but a commitment nevertheless always has to be there from the beginning. But how could we possibly decide what this commitment should be? We can only start from our current beliefs about how the world ought to be, beliefs that trace their development originally to the intersection of the various vectors of our social and economic identities. What this will certainly mean is that the art that follows from the commitment will not and cannot be effective for everyone. Brecht acknowledged that his plays would only appeal to the working class, while bourgeois audiences would either respond negatively or simply not understand them. But the social function of politically effective art will be fulfilled today if it overcomes the isolation of individuals that has become characteristic of our reality, and if by bringing together people who share in common aspects of their identities, it helps them to realize their shared interests, and most importantly allows them to explore the practical actions they can take to change reality in order to make it more like the world that the art has committed itself to arguing for.

3. Community

It’s about time for a concrete example.

Different mediums will have different advantages and disadvantages as potential progressive political tools. Interactive theater and analog or physical games are particularly good tools not only for picturing possibilities regarding how the world might be, but also for letting participants or players directly explore how to realize those possibilities themselves. This is because interactive theater and analog games are largely governed by merely normative rules, rules that one ought to follow in order to participate or play correctly but which can always be broken. This is unlike digital games, which are bound more by the descriptive, unbreakable laws of computer code. The process of getting players to explore possibilities in analog games is just a matter of encouraging them to break the rules.


Boss Battle is an analog game I made—I like to call it a new Marxist roleplaying sport—in which the workers collect balls that represent oil and pass them to each other in assembly lines to get them into a bucket, while the boss watches them and then decides how much gold to pay them after each financial quarter based on their performance. But that’s just what happens on the surface. Everyone gets a work contract at the start laying out the rules, but the boss gets an addendum to the contract from the company’s shareholders, while the workers get an addendum from the union. And the union is telling the workers, if they feel they’re not being paid fairly for their work, to steal gold from the boss’s bank account while the boss isn’t looking. Workers can then choose whether to pocket the gold for themselves or donate it to the union.

And it’s amazing to see what happens when you hand something as simple as this off to people and just imply that the rules are merely normative and breakable. It’s basically all that you need for people to begin the process of working through the intended argument of the game themselves. The boss will earn more gold than he is paying the workers, and the workers will begin to negotiate for fairer rules. When negotiation alone doesn’t work, the workers realize that they have to take action directly by going on strike, even though striking isn’t mentioned in the rules at all. Not every individual worker participates in what benefits everyone—some fill their pockets with gold to keep for themselves, and some steal not only from the boss but also from the union. Sometimes bosses realize that they’re being stolen from, and a worker will gladly betray the others by offering to become a security guard just to take a slightly higher wage. But the argument is nonetheless almost always effective, because the game is rigged in favor of a collective solution—because this is what I wanted players to learn to seek out.

Although the argument works through the players breaking normative rules, the physical strength in the number of the workers is perhaps the primary support for the argument and what allows the normative rules to be broken and reshaped most radically: it is a descriptive fact of the game that the workers, due to their physically greater strength in numbers, can, if they work together, fight back to get what they are owed and take action collectively for justice. All of the rest of the events of the game, tossing balls and negotiating rules with the boss and so on, is just part of the necessary process of going through the argument themselves and coming to realize this fact that was true all along and just had to be put it into action—and, in fact, in almost every game I have run, players do eventually figure out that they can break the game completely and bring an end to it if they just make a run on the boss’s bank account together, or physically restrain the boss in order to steal all the gold.

As I mentioned, art that makes political commitments won’t be effective for everyone, and the point of making it isn’t to change the minds of people who benefit from the way things are—trying to change the minds of business owners about how their workers need a union, for example, would almost certainly be a waste of time. People will bring to an experience like this the ideas that they already have about work and politics, and the argument won’t be effective on them if it opposes their interests. But if they agree with the argument, and if they see that others do as well, and if they learn to work together with them, then it will be a forum for them to sharpen their thought and their action. It will be a success if it can bring together a community of people and help them to recognize their shared interests and, most importantly, to explore the practical actions they might take outside of the game to change the social reality that currently keeps them isolated, together.

Time Bandit

March 19, 2017

By Joel Jordon

I’ve been working on a game for a long time, and for a shorter amount of time I’ve been writing about it on a development blog of sorts. I thought it might make sense to cross-post some of the more theoretically oriented posts here, so here’s the first.

Game Unfeel



Here is a bit of a strange thing I realized as I was working on implementing crawling and also had the sudden idea that an item allowing the player to pilot a drone would be appropriate: very little of the programming I have done before now has involved physics. This is the first time I’ve found myself tweaking numbers to adjust the feel the player gets for moving stuff through the world, whereas most everything else in the puzzles that I’ve worked on moves objects an explicit distance through space and time that gets calculated beforehand. Attempting to move a box, for example, instantly initiates some collision and raycasting tests just to see if anything is in the way; if there’s a wall or something, it tells you no, sorry, and if not, it goes ahead and takes a half hour to move it to its precise destination. In addition, the non-puzzle systems pretty much consist purely of numbers that wait patiently until such time as they can dole out a punishing consequence to the player. I think this probably says something about how coldly numerical and deterministic the universe I’ve created so far is, and I maybe wouldn’t mind calling this “realism” on my more pretentious days. (It would be nice to make a game someday where I could just focus on creating pleasurable interactions for the player, though.)

I think what I’m trying to get at is that games concerned with larger systems and games whose primary interactions are physics-based are equally material and deterministic, but the latter might shift the focus onto the graphical (which is, at bottom, just numbers) enough to cover up this reality with fantasy. Framed this way, it’s unsurprising that many of these games are about the player eventually overcoming challenges and winning, usually by smashing objects into each other one way or another. A more “realist” game, I think, would confront the deterministic formal qualities of games made with computers head on.