Stolen Pixels #117: The Path Will Take Her to The End

By Shamus
on Aug 18, 2009
Filed under:
Column

I promised I’d write a villanelle at some point. It was certainly more challenging than I expected, but I liked the result.

Okay, it’s not a strict villanelle. At the end, I varied the wording of the final phrase. I’ve seen this done in a villanelle before, and I do think it makes the form more potent.

This is the 117th comic I’ve made, but I’m pretty sure this is the very first time I ever thought, “I wonder how [the game designer] would react to this?”

I haven’t put more than a couple of hours into the game, but it has stirred up an unprecedented surge of creative energy.

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20121 comments. Blackjack!

From the Archives:

  1. Yar Kramer says:

    You know, this doesn’t sound at all like the kind of game I’d have any interest in playing, but I think the girl in the last panel sums up everything you’d want to know from people who’d directly like it as a game (as opposed to respecting it in an artistic sense and finding this a Good Thing, which is the impression I got from your review).

  2. Drew says:

    You’re right. Deviating from the form at the end there did in fact strengthen the poem. So nice work.

  3. Rutskarn says:

    Huh. Interesting.

    I’m still on the fence about this game–of late, I’ve taken an interest in the games-as-art genre. It’s just that, uh. Up until this point, that hadn’t actually cost me anything.

  4. Ript says:

    MichaĆ«l Samyn is a creepy fuck, for the record. I don’t mean creepy like the sobbing Count who never sees the light of day, I mean creepy like the fat guy with a gravy stain on his shirt who watches other people’s kids on the playground.

  5. froogger says:

    Insightful comment by Rutskarn there. I’m uncertain whether I want to play this or not. I consider digital games the next great artform, and this seems to be an effort to break new ground, which I approve wholeheartedly. The theme does sound rather … bleak I would say.

    I’ve heard some say art isn’t good unless it hurts. I suppose that’s the attitude you get from going to artcollege, but for me, it’s about truth. Being true to yourself, your ideals. Seeking truth can sure be painful, and it’s certainly worth pursuing. But publishing something provocative just for the sake of raising an eyebrow doesn’t make it great. Now, since we’re all individually different and ways of expressing ourselves are different (culture, matureness and all that), reading someone elses review just doesn’t cut it for me. I do like the screendumps I’ve seen so far, though.

    Damn, I just realized I have to play it to form an honest, unbiased opinion. Ah, well.

    Lovely poem, Shamus.

  6. Dev Null says:

    Rules of poetry are there to be broken, and as others have pointed out it actually adds emphasis by breaking the established rhythm. I liked it.

    I’m also liking the game, though after a couple of hours of toying with it I still have no idea whats going on. I like that about it.

  7. Robert says:

    If you think villanelles are challenging, try writing a lushi, or another form of jintishi.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shi_%28poetry%29

  8. Factoid says:

    I like Villanelle’s also. It was my favorite poetic form when I took a college poetry writing class. Having a form to work in is almost always easier than writing in blank verse and it can add a lot just by virtue of its association with all the other great works that share the form.

    The way I was taught a villanelle is supposed to have variations in the repeated lines. Almost every one that I wrote I did the same thing you did and I never caught any flak for it.

    It was a good poem, I liked it.

  9. Kdansky says:

    Poetry + Games = Awesome!

  10. Davin Valkri says:

    Technically villanelles are supposed to be in iambic pentameter, but I like this version better. The tetrameter seems to “mesh” more with the whole “Little Red Riding Hood” bit for some reason.

  11. Mark says:

    Interesting…

    Oh, and is it just me, but does the blond guy with the cigarette in the third panel remind anyone else of Spike from “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”?

  12. Julian says:

    Villanelles were pentametric? I always used the Whatever Strikes My Fancy meter when writing my villanelles.

  13. zimboptoo says:

    According to wikipedia there is no specific meter requirement, though trimeter, tetrameter, and pentameter are all commonly used.

  14. Davin Valkri says:

    To zimboptoo: oops. That’s what you get when the only villanelle you remember is “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night”, I guess.

    Although to justify myself, the article says that most 20th century villanelles are in pentameter. And we’re living in the 21st century, so…yeah.

  15. Avilan the Grey says:

    I think Yar Kramer has a point; maybe a generealized one, but I agree. You have to have a certain mindset to like this game and that mindset tend to usually come together with A) Goth “subculture” or B) People who like the kind of art I hate.

    (Type A) would LOVE IT and tybe B) would find it “interesting”).

    For the record, I am one of those uneducated idiots who thinks good art is “nice pictures”. All other art is labeled as “pointless” in my brain.

  16. Picador says:

    Shamus: lovely poem. I will say, though, that your disclaimer at the end was a sour note for me. I’d like your work even more if you didn’t feel the need to disown it.

  17. Broggly says:

    Avilan: You should be careful of Irregular Webcomic, made by David Morgan-Mar (who also does the Darths and Droids comic).
    One time he made a webcomic of nothing but 4 black panels, and as part of his “end of the universe plot” had several weeks of white panels slowly fading through the colours seen as a blackbody cools.

    That, or just stick to the ones about hobbit puns.

  18. Avilan the Grey says:

    @Broggly: ?
    Not sure what you mean.

    (I found those pages hillarious, anyway).

  19. beno says:

    the villanelle was cool. good rhythm. I feel like writing music again…

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