Jul 20, 2022·edited Jul 20, 2022Liked by Nathan Brown

These musings hit me at all the right angles. I am a game designer. I am a dad. I am the owner of a lightly-used power washer.

I respect these games, even if I'm not particularly interested in them either. Mostly I think it takes a certain kind of guts (or insanity) to pursue the development of such experiences. Given how difficult it (still) is to make a basic game, I applaud whatever internal mechanism propels a person to do this. This and go even further by polishing it up to the level of Power Washing Simulator.

Maybe reconsider your instinct to label this one 'overthinking it.' As you noted, many different types of games can be built around common abstract mechanisms. In one, you're blasting aliens. In another, you're blasting bits of dirt. The presentation, themes, and relationships of mechanics to the rest of the system all suggest—but ultimately must defer—to the player's inner sense of meaning.

It's easy to grasp the innate joy of a power washer through a screen. It's much harder to fit a power washer into a life that requires one. There are costs in money, time, and hassle to consider each time I have even a glancing urge to employ that machine.

This game (and its strange popularity) isn't based on the nuanced removal of crud from non-descript surfaces. Instead, it's a deliberate wrapper of the flow state around careful study and restoration of things inherently valuable. It would almost be an exercise in gratitude—except that the illusion likely works best on those people (lots of them children) who aren't in the clutches of burdened ownership.

Whatever the innate pleasures of Power Washing Simulator—it seems lost on those of us who actually have houses, gardens, cars, driveways, and all things that need washing. Dreams tend to take us, inward and outward, towards different unlived realities. Many people who live and breathe games routinely traverse worlds unimagined. I'm not so surprised that they dream of escaping to the mundane.

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Jul 19, 2022Liked by Nathan Brown

Absolutely brilliant. That is all. :o)

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Jul 20, 2022Liked by Nathan Brown

Probably not the intended reaction, but this article did prompt me to pick up a power washer that I probably should have gotten a long time ago (20% off at Homebase at the mo, in case anyone else is also as behind on their dad jobs as me).

So, I work in a primary school and the most mindful task I have come across is… laminating. At first I found it deeply frustrating as it’s one of these tasks that is slow enough that you feel you ought to be able to do something else at the same time, but requires just enough manual involvement that you never actually have time to fit anything else in. So you have to wait. And there is no hurrying a laminator.

But once I realised it was alright to go slow and gave myself permission to do just that, everything seemed to click into place (and it is admittedly quite a satisfying result when a laminated sheet comes through and those colours pop with that bit more contrast).

Not sure where I’m going with that; Laminator Simulator would make for a terrible video game, I’m sure.

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You might think that people in the Caribbean are accustomed to the heat (I lived in the high 30's most of my life) you get used to it, yes, but it doesn't mean it is horrible. At noon nobody walks nowhere because it is so hot. Everyone has their air conditioning unit or ceiling fan on, damn the electricity bill.

But what you have is very, very different. Is a dry heat that kills people (people doesn't die here of heatstroke, mind you)

And since our houses are all so airy and open, if its cold it is suffering o'clock. So.

Nice write up. I should try and think about getting a house when I am 50 if the world exists, and the housing crisis has ended (I am currently 38)

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