Peter A. H. Peterson pedro at tastytronic.net
Thu Nov 1 15:13:42 PDT 2012

Quoting Leonard Richardson:
>    Given the apocalyptic theme of the upcoming release, it would be nice
>    to get to 666. I'll keep coming up with more; send me your suggestions
>    and I'll incorporate the ones I like, while being a little more
>    selective than usual. If I removed an NKI that you really like, let me
>    know that too.

Thank you for undertaking this monumental task!

Following is the [somewhat large] list of cut NKI that I would miss
(or ones from Dave that I specifically like). This is just my opinion,
however, and since you trimmed them you must not like them!

I starred the ones I am most fond of, but I think I touch on why I
like the others below. I wouldn't die on any of these hills, except
maybe #11.

Anyway, discuss:

1. A crowd of people, and at the center, a popular misconception.
2. A haircut and a real job. Now you know where to get one!
3. A stegosaurus, escaped from the stegosaurusfindsrobot game.  It finds you.
4. A team of arctic explorers is camped here. **
5. It's a burrito stand flyer. "Taqueria El Ranchito". **
6. It's a cardboard box full of 8-tracks.
7. It's a copy of "Zen and The Art of Robot Maintenance". **
8. It's a "HOME ALONE 2: Lost in New York" novelty cup. 
9. It's Lucy Ricardo. "Aaaah, Ricky!", she says. **
10. It's the handheld robotfindskitten game, by Tiger.

But especially:

11. Youv'e found the fabled America Online disk graveyard! **


These NKI represent a few themes that I like about the game that I'll
try to explain.

I like it when NKIs turn into objects things that aren't (1,2) -- it
gives me a nice kind of fuzzy cognitive dissonance feeling. I also
kind of like that robot finds a haircut and a real job, although
clearly he doesn't need either. 

I notice that you have cut a lot of NKI that are referrent to robot,
kitten, or the game itself (but not all of them), so I can understand
if you don't like 2,3,7 or 10 for that reason, although I like the
absurdity of 3 and the concept of a collision from an alternate
simulation of some kind.

There's a character of many NKI, and of rfk in general that is very
absurd and dreamlike to me. Things that don't belong are crammed
together, some things are oddly detail-free, while other things have
lots of detail. I like 4 for the incongruous aspect, and I like 5 for
the strange amount of detail. 

Now, 5 is a real taco stand (in Chicago), but it was never a big
hangout or anything so it was more about its nature as an odd, lost
piece of litter, rather than a vanity reference. If people like that
concept, but not the fact that it's a real place (as we are purging
many plugs), we could make up the name of a burrito joint.

But it's also a piece of strange trash, as are (in a way) 6, 8, and 11.
I like that kind of forgotten, forlorn junk. I don't love 8, but what
I like about it is it makes me ask "WHY DOES THIS EXIST?" and I
imagine robot's disgust at wasting its time only to find it. (That's
weirdly specific, I guess.) But it's such a piece of crap, and that
was the point. (I bet I wrote that one.)

I think the "Zen and the art..." is funny, but perhaps it is too

I have always loved the Lucy NKI, because it is so absolutely absurd
but also an image that is burned into my brain. (Maybe it doesn't
translate internationally...)

10, I like because it is an oblique reference to the many rfk ports,
and I imagine it being made with those terrible fixed-sprite LCD
screens. How would that game even work? It's like the Tiger version of
Double Dragon. It's only like Double Dragon in the weakest possible
sense. (But it's also self-referential, and you have ejected a bunch
of those things which I respect.)

But 11, especially 11. I think it's a neat little encapsulation
of both technology and just the passage of time. There are NKI that
were created 10 or 15 years ago that we would just never think to
create now. Purging them because they seem a bit dated I think loses
some of the richness of the game and its history. In a sense, the
older it gets, the funnier that NKI gets!

Peter A. H. Peterson
Graduate Student Researcher
Laboratory for Advanced Systems Research
University of California, Los Angeles

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