Peter Escott (The Native Cats)
This year my daughter was born and my son started talking. He was a late starter but now he’s full of little jokes and questions and requests. He makes me read the words on all my T-shirts aloud to him and asks for the name of every CD we listen to in the kitchen. Did you know that it’s literally impossible to say “Boards of Canada” to a two-year-old without feeling like a figure of achingly modern fun?
I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s counterproductive and futile to try not to be the very model of a Hipster Dad if that’s the place your whole life has been leading you to, and that essentially anything goes if it’s good for the kids’ development and enjoyment and not just for your own cultural self-worth. So I’ll keep singing the kids to sleep with Lambchop and Morrissey (right at the lower end of my vocal range, thus ideal for being sung very quietly, and strong enough vocal melodies to work a cappella), and spend the odd couple of hours with the boy down in the home studio and let him loose on a Korg and a microphone run through a delay pedal to do whatever the hell he likes, but I’ll say thanks but no thanks to Boredoms pyjamas and restrain myself from running breathlessly to social media every time I see him cautiously grooving to a Fall song. It’s a fine line.
11 video games I discovered in 2013, each available cheaply or freely, each developed at roughly the level of creative innovation and independence as the bands you dig, each of which reminded me why I love video games at a time in my life when I felt like maybe I was over them for good, each with brief summaries aimed at readers who do not love video games but feel they would like to:
FTL: Faster Than Light – Every time you play it’s like a new piece of Star Trek fan fiction written by a sociopath.
Papers, Please – A game about a desk job your very life depends on, requiring none of the skills that usually help you survive in a video game, and all of the skills that usually help you survive in a desk job your very life depends on.
The Walking Dead – Almost entirely unconnected to the comics and the TV series. There was one final worthwhile thing left to say through the medium of zombie fiction, and it has now been said.
Don’t take it personally, babe, it just ain’t your story – Facebook voyeurism and vicarious living.
868-HACK – Pac-Man meets Quaristice.
Device 6 – It’s like if The Prisoner was a novella, but the novella was a trap designed by Number 2 from The Prisoner.
Rogue Legacy – Run, jump, collect gold, bop beasties with a sword, die quickly and repeatedly, learn the rules as you go, delight in small victories.
Spelunky – Run, jump, collect gold, bop beasties with a whip, die quickly and repeatedly, learn the rules as you go, revel in small victories.
VVVVVV – Run, flip gravity, dodge everything, die quickly and repeatedly, learn the rules almost instantly, feel like a rolled gold savant with every small victory.
Don’t Starve – Because it’s nice to be rewarded just for staying alive once in a while.
Gone Home – A revealing walk through an uninhabited house. And I do mean uninhabited, so chill. There are about fifteen different themes and motifs in this game (e.g. creative angst, teenage sexual discovery, suburban America in the ’90s), and I reckon anybody could pull something big out of at least three of them.
Kentucky Route Zero – I want everybody to play Kentucky Route Zero. I feel I could say or do just about anything around a person who’s played Kentucky Route Zero without fear of being misunderstood.