I’ve been really enjoying Time Extension’s deeper digs into videogames past recently, they do a fantastic job of getting across the messiness that is humans making videogames, the tightrope walking that often involves and expressing a genuine love and excitement for the games that were or weren’t.
Unity is, perhaps rather obviously, one of the greater “if only things had worked out” in videogames for me. Take a look at the videos and the screenshots that have been floating around for a long while now, they’re beautiful even in lossy, low res, passed down through the ages-o-vision.
The light synth that is Neon is a truly beautiful thing, the things that could make appear on screen, move around on screen, be piloted by people, was an incredible feat and its Unity heritage is clear to see. I’m glad it escaped embedded as a visualiser in every Xbox 360, sad for Team Llamasoft it never got to the public in any other form. This is videogames though and anything being launched is a minor miracle. I’m grateful for the stuff that crosses the finishing line and into folk’s hands.
Obviously, as these things tend to do, they evolved somewhat and the more recent (and wonderful) releases from the Llamasoft stables show a clear throughline from there to here. Whilst I can’t afford a headset and even if I could, couldn’t wear one for more than about 5 seconds without absurd amounts of pain thanks to my silly body, getting a small 2d taste of what flying inside these digital, arcade hewed, dreamscapes must be like in VR is tantalising stuff. Rushing down a Moose Life shaped tunnel in 2d is overwhelming, having that pumped straight into your eyeballs must be something else indeed.
I remain, still, an enormous fan of what Jeff and Giles can and do achieve. I’ll never tire of dreaming of an alternate timeline of Unity being finished, released, and a Minter shaped GameCube game existing. And I’ll never tire of reading about a thousand videogaming what ifs in general.
And obviously, some gaming what ifs will forever be closer to my own heart than others.