Dream #252: Grew Up in a Ghoom

12.15.2011 § Leave a comment

There’s some loose doggies or kitties in Walgreens that I’m supposed to keep track of. There’s a very special kitty that I’m supposed to help Alan guard. He and I are standing in the book section, and I’m looking at a book that gives examples of portmanteaus formed by overlapping two words, one of which ends with the same letters that another starts with, e.g., “dinnerve.” A computer has illustrated one of these examples—the word you get by doing this to “cauliflower” and “chopsticks”—such that the image can be interpreted to be cauliflower or chopsticks equally. Alan and I get into a conversation about whether one could write an AI that could do the same for video games, i.e. take two video games whose titles can be combined by overlapping in this same manner, and then spit out a game whose gameplay was equally comparable to both of the originals. We decide the technology isn’t there yet.

I’m with Linus in an airport and need to change my shoes. It’s more like an optical illusion than a game by the creators of Portal. The idea here is not only spatial recurrence but also Nietzschean recurrence. In the commercial for it, a robot head like Wheatley gets tired of it all and hurls himself over the edge into an infinite tower of vats and crates; he clang-clang-clangs off obstacles as he tumbles down, and as the sounds get quieter in the distance below, they also get louder coming in from above, and he passes by us and back down again, but tumbling down a different path this time! Crazy, just like a Shepard-Risset glissando, but physical. I’m overwhelmed thinking about how much computing power must be necessary to keep track of all that space that the player can’t see yet is necessary to determine objects’ paths. I guess its like in that ancient Turok game where the dense fog saves it from having to calculate too many things far away from you.

David is in a store or a plantation. He says he grew up in a ghoom, which makes me think of warm jungle nights. I correct him that a ghoom is not an ecosystem. Wearing only boxers, neither of us are dressed appropriately for all the older people around us in town. It seems like the area around Tokyo station, with square blocks and skyscrapers and the Edo palace and that other shopping district besides Ginza, but also has wide streets and old buildings like Paris or something. It has suddenly become night and we’re approaching the riverwalk, where you get in the river.

I’m trying to explain to David how I figured out how this game was similar to Portal, or at least how I could see that it was made by the same team, when someone interrupts me. They’re already barefoot, but I still have my shoes on. I try to be funny and pry my left shoe off with my right foot without touching it with my hands (also to be hygienic though this was less important). Linus, David and Pamela are all looking at me, cracking smiles, but it isn’t that funny, really, because I can’t get it off. These are new shoes, the ones that are slightly too tight and cause me to need massages at the end of the day. I can see that I’m not going to get any laughs out of drawing this ordeal out to an absurd length, so I just give in and take them off by hand. For some reason I leave my socks on, though. I finally finish my story to David, how this game would use the same programming technology as Portal, i.e., that the whole floor of the universe would be a blue portal and the whole sky an orange one.


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