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About the Story
Winner - Tiny Utopia Jam
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Number of Reviews: 2
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This game was part of the Tiny Utopias game jam. In this game, you select between two words at a time, each selection generating the next two words in a process that is opaque but interesting to experiment with. At every stage, you can change any previous answers, rewinding the game to that point.
This game is small, but it's mechanic is fun. As the name suggests, the number of possible choices is a large power of 2. I found the Utopian part of this game to be the freedom of choice the ability to make decisions in life without criticism or outside analysis. This is obviously up to interpretation.
This game did not affect me emotionally as much as other tiny utopian games, and (although it was meant to be tiny), I wished for a bit longer exploration of the central idea.
A game about words in the B Minus Seven tradition. Words are not used here to tell a story. Instead the words are the story; or rather, their sounds are the story, and the story is how those sounds flow through your thoughts as you read.
B Minus Sevenís games are always razor-sharp when it comes to wordplay and rhythm. In Powers of Two, everything else has been pared back to allow the gameís words a chance to exist as pure sensations, unencumbered even by their definitions.
As so many things do, because Edward Gorey is such a large reference point for me, this game reminds me of Edward Gorey, whose little books were sometimes nothing more than lists and alphabets. For example, consider this passage from The Unstrung Harp:
Mr Earbrass stands on the terrace at twilight. It is bleak; it is cold; and the virtue has gone out of everything. Words drift through his mind: anguish turnips conjunctions illness defeat string parties no parties urns desuetude disaffection claws loss Trebizond napkins shame stones distance fever Antipodes mush glaciers incoherence labels miasma amputation tides deceit mourning elsewardsÖ
Goreyís words are unmoored, but their cloud forms a mood.
B Minus Sevenís words, on the other hand, arenít quite as lacking in context. In Powers of Two, they represent a utopia. A utopia, perhaps, where meanings arenít necessary, where explanations arenít demanded, where language is free to simply play in the space between the authorís and the readerís minds. Thereís no pressure. Only pleasure at the languageís cadence. A small ritual to create a tiny utopia in your day, and to suggest a larger utopia where people are emancipated rather than constrained by what they can say.