Video Game Poems and the Devs Poem
A recurring character on the popular Netflix series Devs is Katie’s father, Stewart. At one point, Stewart recites a poem in the entryway of their apartment building. It isn’t Shakespeare, but it’s something he knows — Aubade by Philip Larkin.
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1. It’s a good way to get your thoughts out
While it may not be as easy to integrate poetry into video games as, say, a simple code-golf tournament, there are some ways that developers can work with the poetic. For example, in the popular sandbox game Minecraft, poet Victoria Bennett and her partner Adam Clarke used the game’s block-based landscape to create a visual interpretation of their poem. They did this by turning stanzas into digital rooms, allowing players to experience the poem as they play.
Another way that poetry can be incorporated into video games is through speech. As seen in the seventh episode of Devs, Stewart recites a stanza from Aubade. It is important to note that this wasn’t Shakespeare, as Katie suggested—it was the poem by Philip Larkin. By using the poem, Stewart demonstrates how a single word can change a phrase’s meaning. This is a similar process to how a small tweak to an input string can drastically alter the results of a hashing algorithm.
2. It’s a good way to test your code
If you’re writing a Python library, then you’ll need to know how to build and package it. Poetry is a Python dependency manager and package tool that makes this process easy. It helps you manage dependencies and synchronize versions by creating a virtual environment for your project. It also allows you to publish your packages to PyPI, which makes it easier for other developers to install and use your library.
While this is a great way to manage your dependencies, it’s not the most efficient way to do so. It’s more convenient to use a tool like GitLab that supports the software development life cycle on both the collaboration and automation level. Using Poetry in conjunction with GitLab can help you create and deploy a Python package quickly. You can even automate your CI/CD pipeline with a tool like Earthly, which provides fast and repeatable builds. This can save you a lot of time and energy.
3. It’s a good way to impress your code reviewer
Despite what Katie and Forest say about Stewart, the man in the entryway wasn’t quoting Shakespeare (though he might have been). He was reciting the poem “Aubade,” by Philip Larkin. It’s a fitting choice, as this episode is a bit of a deus ex machina (which Garland explored in his 2014 movie “Ex Machina,” where a powerful tech company founder perfects an artificial intelligence system).
While it may be challenging to integrate poetry and video games, there are a number of ways that they can work together. Whether by immersing players in words or turning stanzas into digital rooms, developers are finding interesting ways to integrate poetry into their games. The meter and rhyme of poetic language aligns perfectly with the instinctive, reactionary tasks found in video games. The complexities and nuances of poetic language require the same kind of critical thinking and juggling that are required in puzzles and logic games. This is why tools like Twine and Bitsy are popular for experimenting with poetry as game art.
4. It’s a good way to impress yourself
Whether you’re trying to impress your code reviewer or just yourself, the devs poem is a great way to do it. Just be sure to keep it short and sweet so that you don’t overwhelm the reader with too much information.
The key point in the story is that it’s not a deus ex machina, but rather a demonstration of how powerful technology can be. The fact that Stewart recites the piece from memory suggests he’s using it to try and comfort himself.
The real magic of the poem comes from the fact that it’s read by Twilio’s text-to-speech engine, Alice. She’s capable of delivering 26 different dialects, and can be made to sound like a man or a woman. The result is a perfectly human voice that can deliver the poem in exactly the right tone. It’s a perfect way to demonstrate how far the technology has come. And it’s also a reminder of how much we can achieve with our own imaginations.