Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Barack, open your present…

'Michelle, I'm just playing, er, a game...'
Diplomatic protocol says you buy a present when a major world leader visits, as President Barack Obama recently did when popped by Poland this past Friday and Saturday. But what to get a man who not too long ago bought GM and a big swathe of the American banking system?

An iPad, Prime Minister Donald Tusk and his boys decided. Before you roll your eyes at what appears to be a gauche gift, that iPad was brimming with modern Polish culture, including prominently a copy of the PC game Witcher 2, the real focus of this post.

I have personally not played it -- after all I'm a serious analyst who would never do such a thing as play "games", oh no -- but by all accounts it is another PC blockbuster for a Polish games company.

Yes, I said another. Yes, Poland is not just a land of patriotically insane, wreath-laying pious former dissidents. Poles also do crazy cool things like make interesting, intricate, morally complex games like the Witcher series, known for tackling adult themes (see picture for a whiff). The Witcher was based on the books of Andrzej Sapkowski, who has created a hugely successful series of books. Imagine Tolkien for adults, sex included.

Poles likewise come up with amazing animation like the Animated History of Poland (Barack got this on his new iPad) and City of Ruins, a fly-over of the ruins of Warsaw after the failed uprising of 1944 (Barack also got this one).

To counter the close-minded Poland that lingers in the words of certain politicians (Jaroslaw Kaczynski) and in the minds of too many, there is the Poland of the Witcher and Tomasz Baginski (who did the Animated History...) and many more. Tusk and gang thus did a bang up job highlighting this in the gifts for Barack. If only they could do equally well reforming the country....

1 comment:

  1. The solution is simple, really. Elect more animators and artists to office. They have vision, the ability to create, few political ememies... BUT stay away from the computer programmers, even if they are lauded high and low in Poland. We've had enough of their rigidity to last the next 20+ years.

    Time to go out of the box. Time to sandbox in Poland.