2.09.2010

Why ASCII

There was a little "discussion" on TIGSource about ASCII games and text as art instead of bitmaps. It was in a thread about an ASCII shmup with pretty good usage of ASCII art - animated and colorful with lots of moving things on the screen. Someone felt to give a rant about ASCII in general and I really don't understand why. I mean different people like different things. Some are 3D whores, some are pixel enthusiasts, some like smooth animations. And as a fixed font fetishist, this is really what I love about ASCII or text games in general - they consist of pure symbols. No such silly bitmap files, no too concrete things. And you may guess what I want to say here: it's symbolic. That means there are lots of ways to interpret how it could look in reality and your fantasy begins to play the game, too. Ever read a book and wasnt satisfied by the movie? Because your imagination gave you another understanding of it, another scene? A lot of people read books especially because they can choose how it looks in their head. That's the power of imagination. And the first time I played Nethack I had this exact feeling. Why is it a goblin? Why is this a statue? Could it be that this is the head and this it's sword...? Don't you see the cold, wet cave walls infront of you? Close to the Succubi throwing kisses and poisened magic at you? Look at her satanic eyes, smell the blood the on their lips and finally decide to kill her with two slashs from your previously imbued holy sword to give what she deserves - a death between thousands of other precedic creatures, leaving corpses where you stay just to look at them later when you'll return to where came. And all this happening in huge labyrinthic dungeon with dozens of new possibilities every new level you'll be able reach. Imagination is a powerful weapon and far more immersive for people like me. I can imagine a lot of things if there's no concrete representation. Games like roguelikes which only work with characters are really intensive. The power of words and screen characters. NO other kind of game visual can deliver that awesome feeling a roguelike can give. I don't talk about graphical roguelikes. No. They don't work that well. My personal vision is to make a game consisting only of text and font symbols - using all the light, effects and physics shit you can find in modern 3D games, too. To form something unique, something absolutely ASCIIrotic. Yes, that's my vision. And it will come true - even if it will take several years to make. I want to take text games to a new level of quality. The next level of text games. Next gen imagination.

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