I am one of those pathetic souls guilty of agonizing over the issue of whether computer games can ever become real art. Yes, I dared give voice and ask questions like:

>> Can Mafia Wars ever come close to leveling up to the emotional tension and soul of the Godfather Trilogy (well, okay, let’s limit it to I and II)?


>> Will the Grapes of Wrath ever be harvested on Farmville?

And so, rather than lock myself in my basement with a flask of cheap bourbon and write yet another one of those why can’t games be more art-like whines,  I sneaked away from the kids for a few weekends and made an actual game — something that says something about something.

Behold: MelVille.

I won’t ruin it all by making a “statement of artistic intent” or somesuch. I won’t cow-tow about the meta-meaningfulness of satire. But let’s just say that games mean a whole lot to me… and that I’m less than thrilled with the direction the medium is taking  since the undeniable triumph of social network games. Also, Moby Dick means a lot to me. As a literary agent I once conned into a meeting once scolded, “You think your novel is experimental? All experimental fiction written since 1850 is just Moby Dick in drag.” That comment got me to carefully re-read the boring brick I had been assigned in High School… and I realized he was right.

If this game exposes a glimmer of what a Great Book can Do to even one person, I will be Happy.

If it hits an ARPU of $0.10 I’ll be even happier.


9 thoughts on “MelVille

  1. Joyce’s Ulysses and Virginia Woolf’s The Waves are NOT Moby Dick in drag. You need a better agent.

  2. Pingback: MelVille Is Like FarmVille With Much Better Writing (And A Whale) | Kotaku Australia

  3. Is there a way to go back? My browser (Chrome) wasn’t showing the second chapter, and I just kept clicking the “next” button. Now I can see pages again, and I’m at chapter 6. I wanna go back to chapter 2.

  4. “I am one of those pathetic souls guilty of agonizing over the issue of whether computer games can ever become real art.”

    Let’s be “pathetic” together! Seriously though, it is rather disappointing how the social and overall casual genres are so overloaded with mindless entertainment and “twaddle” that can be assembled by just about anyone with computer skills. It’s so cheap and easy to put something together that thoughtful narrative quality is too easily overlooked. Great job on not writing that article, and instead putting together a nice ironic jab at the genre (as well as speaking up for our very under-appreciated classic literature amidst the flood of modern fantasy junk…).

    On a side note, I totally know what Friday’s game review on my blog is going to be about now. 🙂

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