Minutiae in Molloy and Limmy’s Show
I can’t think of anything to write about videogames, so I’ll just mention something about two of the “media” that I am “consuming” at the moment, the novel Molloy by Samuel Beckett and the (sketch comedy) TV series Limmy’s Show by Brian (Limmy) Limond.
One of the characters in Limmy’s Show I really identify with is the slow-talking (sometimes incomprehensible) stoner/drug-addict character who mostly stays at home watching TV and slowly cogitating about what he sees or imagines. There’s a particular version of this where he’s watching an ad for Danone yogurt and becomes kind of obsessed with the idea that the ad involves two different pronunciations of “Danone” – so obsessed that he waits for hours, watching TV, just so he can see the ad and confirm this belief (he’s right about it). That thing of becoming deeply invested in “understanding” or “working out” some small piece of existence is something I very much identify with.
In Molloy, which is pretty much a stream of consciousness novel narrated by a kind of crippled (maybe homeless?) man. It’s a weird book for all kinds of reasons, but, again, one of the appeals for me has been the way that Molloy (the man) goes into these weird extensive, looping meditations on some really trivial little aspect of his life. Recently there were multiple pages in which he’s thinking and rethinking a strategy for how to have a supply of “sucking stones” in his pockets such that he can rotate them around and avoid sucking the same stone twice etc. Again, I really identify with this drift of thought, become really invested in some ostensibly trivial piece of life.
I could attempt some sort of bridge here to an idea about game mechanics based around this sort of understanding/interaction with life I suppose. Some sort of game that embraces the idea of being deeply engaged and interested in minutiae somehow, as an antidote to the generally much wider-angle focus that videogames tend to lead us toward (even as videogames themselves perhaps are another form of minutiae in our real lives?). We’re playing Hidden Folks at the moment (so charming!), and maybe there’s a sense in which this evokes some of the idea of being deeply focused on a kind of unimportant task (working out where a chicken is in a big image, say)? But I don’t think it quite gets at what I mean.
I guess the problem is that the interesting bit about the obsession in Molloy and Limmy’s Show is that it’s about thinking about something, not just doing something. And there’s just aren’t so many games that involve that kind of privileging of thought over action? Could be totally wrong though, it might be that I just don’t play those games. But yeah, games where you think about trivial things?
Sounds great right?! Thank me later when the market is saturated with these things. When Should I Roll Up My Sleeves This Afternoon IV and Counting My Teeth With My Tongue Part II are the new blockbusters. Thank me then.