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Virtual Thoreau

2012 May 9
by ahageman

Here’s the link that recently came across the ASLE listserv for the forthcoming Thoreau’s Walden videogame.

I embrace the concept of building a videogame of Walden, but from the promo video, I feel like this particular version is taking the wrong approach, as if the game-builders are denying the platform and media they have chosen. Get rid of the old-timey music and sappy, conventional visuals. What’s great about Walden is its striking weirdness. Squatting down to look back and upside down between one’s legs. Aphoristic quips about maggots in the head like wheat in Egyptian mummies: “The head monkey at Paris puts on a traveller’s cap, and all the monkeys in America do the same. I sometimes despair of getting anything quite simple and honest done in this world by the help of men. They would have to be passed through a powerful press first, to squeeze their old notions out of them, so that they would not soon get upon their legs again; and then there would be some one in the company with a maggot in his head, hatched from an egg deposited there nobody knows when, for not even fire kills these things, and you would have lost your labor. Nevertheless, we will not forget that some Egyptian wheat was handed down to us by a mummy.

In other words, I want the videogame of Walden that uses maudlin Johnny Cash covers of Nine Inch Nails songs.

One Response leave one →
  1. smonani permalink
    May 10, 2012

    Thanks for the link, Andy. I can see this as a perfect teaching tool, when it’s out and would be very curious to hear your pedagogical comments on the affective responses students have to the game with its choice of audio-visuals and interpretations of nature/culture.

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