Friday, January 22, 2010
Hell is Other Demons
Solium Infernum is my latest game obsession. You play an Archfiend of Hell competing against other Archfeinds for the right to rule Hell. It is a turn based strategy game like something damned souls of Avaolon Hill designers would play in Hell. In other words, it is genius. Well, inscrutable, bewildering and mad genius but have no doubt, genius nonetheless.
I promise this all relates back to porn so bear with me.
Solium is a highly special kind of game. There is no fancy computer animation but there is a lot of beautiful art. Every single legion, artifact, ritual etc has a unique art piece. Every thing has its own flavor text too, imbuing the entire world of Hell with a rich history that is only hinted at. What it lacks in bells and whistles it makes up for with incredible detail.
As for the game itself, it plays like an old fashioned board game from the Golden age of war games. The rules here are dense. The options are immense but making sense of it is a bitch. I can't stress enough how much depth there is but I also can't stress how overwhelming it is as well. Like all things of brilliance, you either hate it or love it.
The game was designed by one man, Vic Davies. It is his baby. It has all the things he loves and all the things he wanted. It carries his affection for diversity as well as his supernatural scorn for a tutorial. You look at this game and you feel like you know him personally.
Which brings me to porn. I look at Solium Infernum and and I see something really special. I try to figure out what makes it special and I can only come to the conclusion that it is special because it is exactly what Vic wanted it to be. Because he doesn't work for a big game company, he didn't need to have 3-D graphics. Because he is a big board game nerd, he was able to make a game only a board game nerd could love. Because he is smart, he made a game for smart people.
The thing is, he made exactly what he wanted and it is brilliant. In porn however we often spend a lot of time making what we think other people want. I feel BDSM fiction especially goes through some sort of pre-approval system at times. People create a lot of porn that looks a lot like other porn because they think that's what people want. I think sometimes what people want is to see what YOU, the writer want.
I know I have been preaching this line of thought a lot. I can't help it. I see a game like Solium Infernum and I know it might never be a big money maker but it is a work of art, pure and simple. I want to make things as beautiful as that game. I think we all can and I think we all should.