ETAO Podcast, Episode 34.
Zach Barth is back to talk about Opus Magnum and SHENZHEN I/O, the latest in each of Zachtronics’ semi-distinct trademark genres: games where you make things that makes things, and games where you actually code or script, respectively. We talk about how these two parallel tracks came to be, where their audiences do and don’t overlap, and what some yet-to-emerge third order of zachlikes might look like. (We also talk about maybe not using the word zachlike anymore).
We also discuss the good and bad of otaku storytelling, parents playing Zachtronics games with their kids, and Opus Magnum being studiously and emphatically not steampunk. And again, and always, whether Zach is a real game designer. That, too. And yes, William Gibson comes up. How could he not?
As I say in the into, if you haven’t heard my triptych of interviews with Zach from 2015, then you might want to give those a listen too/first/simultaneously:
17. On the Art of the Anti-Puzzle
19. On the Semi-Unspoilability of Infinifactory
21. A Pseudo-Instruction That Has No Effect
• Here’s that talk that Zach did at the NYU Game Center, which I briefly mixed up with his previous NYU lecture.
• Some notable non-Zachtronics zachlikes include MHRD and Silicon Zeroes, though Zach will be delighted to know that neither is tagged “zachlike” on Steam.
• I think that this is the University of Washington paper about tutorials that Zach was referring to.
• You can get You Died right here, if you’re so inclined.
• Dick Dastardly is the villain on Wacky Races. Am I really going to tag this episode “Wacky Races?” Am I really going to make a tag for Wacky Races?
• Bear witness to the diamond ad grandeur of the Opus Magnum trailer.
• Griffin McElroy’s Nuzlocke Run of Pokémon Y is a joyous thing.
• RIP (for now) Zachtronics Podcast. If you only listen to one episode, make it the Zoop episode.
• Truly, truly, no shade to Can I Pet Your Dog?
• The original version of Chron X does seem to be lost to time. Interestingly enough, a publisher by the name Darkened Sky Studios currently owns the rights, and they say they’re planning a spiritual successor of some kind.
• Castle Infinity, however, straight up lives!
• I referred to sympathy in The Name of the Wind as magic. We at the Everybody’s Talking At Once Podcast regret the error.
• Here’s Hercules and Maui fighting, and also the Souls timeline thing.
• And right, right, Keynes:
“Even apart from the instability due to speculation, there is the instability due to the characteristic of human nature that a large proportion of our positive activities depend on spontaneous optimism rather than mathematical expectations, whether moral or hedonistic or economic. Most, probably, of our decisions to do something positive, the full consequences of which will be drawn out over many days to come, can only be taken as the result of animal spirits—a spontaneous urge to action rather than inaction, and not as the outcome of a weighted average of quantitative benefits multiplied by quantitative probabilities.”
• I have no idea what the original source is for the idea that “Humanity can endure anything but unfairness” aphorism is, if I’m honest. I stole it from Kieron Gillen forever ago.
“All The People Say (Season 2)” by Carpe Demon.
“Brainstorming” from the SHENZHEN I/O OST and “Sigmar’s Garden” from the Opus Magnum OST, by Matthew S. Burns.
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Barth’s works are beautiful! Especially the T-100 ( https://rawg.io/games/tis-100 ). It’s real masterpiece. Thank you.