Greg Hunter

Welcome!/Thank you, Lawrence Weschler

In Games on August 10, 2009 at 8:51 PM

I was reading this book, called Everything That Rises by Lawrence Weschler, the other day, about a few of the many uncanny connections between art and life. It’s a great book, one that I could probably go on at length about on some other blog, but here, I’m skipping to one of my favorite parts. In a piece titled “How Suddenly It Can All Just End”, Weschler comments on the presidency of Mikhail Gorbachev with a (to me, at least) very cool analogy:

Tetris was designed by a Soviet programmer named Alexey Pazhitnov and is the first Soviet computer game to enter the United States market. It’s not hard to guess where Mr. Pazhitnov came up with the idea. This past week marked the fifth year of Mikhail Gorbachev’s tenure as the head of the Soviet Union, and in retrospect his entire term might be likened to an epic game of Tetris.

The box art for the original Amiga version of Tetris

The box art for the original Amiga version of Tetris

It made me really happy, as I got ready to write my first post for The Gutter, to read a great writer writing about videogames. Maybe Tetris doesn’t inspire Weschler like Pollack and Godard do—I mean, it’s just Tetris—but he does look at it in the same way he looks at the art he discusses elsewhere in the book: as a creative work capable of inspiring thought and feeling. Yes, it takes some pretty liberal imagining to really think and feel about a game about falling blocks, and the game is vague enough that it could be a metaphor for almost anything, but hey, that wild imagining is what games are all about. When we play games, we get to make up our own stories—taking down the Omega Weapon after twenty tries; free-scoping the tween with the headset who keeps yelling the n-word; whatever. And looking at that first old Tetris box now, I’m having trouble getting Weschler’s story off of my mind.

I’m excited to be able to post these kinds of stories somewhere. (Read: these kinds. Thankfully, I think, political gaming metaphors are not my forte.) I’m even more excited to be able to post them here, alongside the great stuff Alex, Greg, and Jonah will be sharing. Hopefully, you members of the elect, our Readers, will have fun reading what we write, even if you don’t feel the rapture of a great game, or comic, or any other scrap of niche entertainment media we write about.

In sum, Hi, I’m Tom Fry. I’ll be writing n00b-friendly reviews and stories of games for The Gutter. This is The Gutter, a new blog about a few friends’ geeky tastes. Thanks for visiting.

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  1. I’m excited to see where you guys go with this project. So far the best games writing I’ve seen has been on Popmatters, especially L.B. Jeffries (http://www.popmatters.com/pm/archive/contributor/258). You ever check him out?

  2. I meant the best games writing I’ve seen until I stumbled on your post, of course.

  3. I haven’t, no. Thanks for the recommendation! (And the complement.)

  4. i like computer games that are first person shooting and strategy games .

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