Sometimes I have strange feelings, very difficult to articulate.
In the cases that I’m talking about, it’s how I get about narrative approaches to code. I am completely entranced by narrative approaches to code. If I find one of these examples while browsing, every single other thing in my life gets backburnered until I finish digesting the narrative. It’s like finding a unicorn. You drop your pack of gold and hold onto that sucker because you’re going to get a wish. This sometimes leads to major decision trees that have probably led to a lot of “Hello? Where are you?”-type missives directed on me. I apologize to everyone, in retrospect and advance.
Here’s some examples:
- Why the fact that you can make some points jumping near Donkey Kong on the arcade game version is a bug and not a feature.
- A collection of heavily commented Atari 2600 cartridge disassembies.
- The process of improving Crazy Climber in Free Play mode.
Coding is magic to me. Over time, obviously, it has lost some of the zest and spring because there’s such a large industry associated with it and people can let the hardware do the thinking. That is, they no longer find themselves with a bucket, a length of rope and an orange and have to get to the top of a castle. They say SEND_TO_CASTLE and they’re done, they don’t even care what’s happening under the hood. But when you take 20+ years of experience with coding and the advances we made, hie yourself down to these long-ago games, and just rip them apart in the operating theater, I’m going to be one of the interns up in the bleachers watching everything.
Does this stuff sound familiar from me? It might. I’ve certainly done my share of raving for Krakowicz’ Kraking text files, and this care paid off in an interview I scored with him a couple years back.
It’s the tour guide aspect I love. It’s the guy at the front of the boat, telling you where to look, giving you the context. Sure, it’s a bunch of code, but what was going on when it was made? Why were these choices made? Why was there such intense work to make this one piece act like it did? The tour guide, a good tour guide, will wrap it all up for you. Even if they’re not 100% complete, they send you on the way you would want to go to find out even more.
I think, personally, the future is in being a tour guide. I think that’s what we’re all becoming. I’ll write about that shortly, I’m sure.
Meanwhile, I never get tired finding out how large the collision detection block is in Donkey Kong, or how well they tried to hide the chips in Crazy Climber… and that ultimately, no secret got left behind.
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