The Eclectic Hot Mess – POP: Methodology Experiment One


POP: Methodology Experiment 1 – Game of the Saeculum Edition is a lengthy and obtuse game name for a brief and obtuse playlist of small game vignettes. I choose to describe it as an eclectic hot mess.

popme1launchgotse_2mbI call it such for its ability to be rough around all the edges but still be captivating and alluring. Having run through it a few times I still maintain this same vantage point. I feel like most knee jerk reactions will be to extort from it some grand notion baked in by the author, Rob Lach. Rob was on a few months back to discuss his part in Chicago’s Bit Bash event. I disagree. I don’t feel as if there is some larger gestalt to deduce. It is more so a peek into the musings of a creative bedfellow.

And that’s okay. As a matter of fact, that is more honest than most.

I enjoy this collection of experiences that I think is most accurately described as video game vignettes. Not just for my affinity for this newborn term, but in how precise it is. More compelling still is the structure that surrounds these interactive moments. A disparate set of video clips strung together create a loose conceptual narrative. This facilitates us as players towards a more accommodating mindset. In doing so, and given its breadth of presented aesthetics, players catch as catch can to what reverberates most to them. I found myself with a particular fondness to 70’s cartoon intro with the continental United States imbued with the image of Mt. Rushmore accompanied by a funky bass line all as a prelude to a helicopter shooting gallery. While it is an unspecified location, one cannot help but make the mental leap to place it Vietnam given the peculiar preceding jingoistic images.


I still argue that it this game isn’t trying to make you have some sort of deep stirring in your own psyche. However it is effective in helping us make these mental leaps, which, again is worthy of applause and celebration. I find the whole thing rather pleasant even if it is, by design, made to leave us scratching our heads. Feeling as though we have no better grasp on what it is trying to communicate from the outset. Perhaps this is missing the point entirely, like I mentioned earlier I feel as if there isn’t some “large message” to unlock. Rather, it’s about the structure that we create with the bread crumbs we gather as we go passing through. Due to its formal structure of individual vignettes strung together it is more similar to that of an art installation. All crafted with care by Lach. And this is perhaps something he discovered through the process of creating the game. And this is how he could communicate that discovery.

It’s about the journey, not the destination… or whatever.

Regardless it is something that is now taking up some of my own mental capacity and I will have to suffer this fate until we can bring Rob in to discuss the nature of this experiment.