20 January 2020

Fax Art

I tend to think of my first computer game as being Baldur's Gate, but it's possible that it was actually The Manhole.

A lot of that Mac software I cut my teeth on was stuff published by Brøderbund: The Manhole and Myst, both by Cyan, Prince of Persia, Kid Pix. Those Cyan games in particular maintained a deliberate picture book metaphor. The worlds called Ages in Myst, if you didn't know, are contained in books authored by the game's characters. The Manhole, before Myst, and before its Masterpiece Edition CD-ROM remaster, was originally a black-and-white HyperCard program.

There's a pleasant sense of continuity between those 1-bit raster graphics and the drawings one finds in analog picture and puzzle books by the likes of, say, Christopher Manson. And a common thread  one can follow through all of these images is a relish for perspective.

Which brings us to the present, or nearly. Almost as late to the party as our eagle-eyed East India Company insurance inspector, I've now completed 2018's Return of the Obra Dinn, and, in hopes of extending aforementioned continuity, hereby submit my own report on the maritime calamity.

Spoilers ahead.