Steppe Into History: Pleasuredromes Of Kubla Khan

“Very important, historical Khan game”, thecatamites writes, introducing his latest jolly hockysticks adventure, The Pleasuredromes of Kubla Khan. It’s experimental learning, an explorable history lesson with a life of its own that has a rant at Edward Said and then almost literally vanishes up its own backside. There are probably all kinds of gloriously detailed and accurate details to discover but it’s possible to rush through the lesson in five minutes or so if you’re that way inclined. Go and learn!

Use the comments to make a list of all the clever things you learned. I’ll start by admitting that I didn’t realise until now that ancient Mongolia looked like it was coated in pizza topping. This may well be the most ambitious first-person study guide that you play with today.

Since you clicked for more despite there being no promise of a trailer or anything of the sort, I feel compelled to provide something worth all that time and effort. For exerting yourself in such a grand fashion, enjoy this link to Crime Zone, which is possibly the most brilliantly absurdist game I’ve ever played.


  1. MOKKA says:

    I just learned that I have yet to install a program to extract files on this PC.

    • Bhazor says:

      I just learned that Unity still doesn’t lock your mouse cursor to the window. And that this is the dumbest design decision.

      • eks says:

        What do you mean?

        If you mean to the game/window area then yeah, that sucks and you would be pretty surprised by how many commercial games are like this. I never even noticed (or cared) until I got a second monitor. For the majority of game types this small decision to not capture the mouse completely can be game breaking.

        In an FPS it means your mouse can end up on the other monitor and gets out of “sync”. In an RTS it means you can’t use the mouse to scroll at the edge of the screen etc…

        Anyway, that’s my rant for the day over. Opinion Away!

        • Bhazor says:

          The best example was when I was playing an fps and ended up launching Batman Arkham Asylum by double clicking the icon.

          Things turned out better than expected.

          • allen says:

            Unity does have this option, but some developers don’t use it (or perhaps don’t know how to). seems like they use Screen.showCursor = false (which just hides it) instead of Screen.lockCursor = true (which hides it and locks it)

            if any Unity devs are reading this, please make your games use Screen.lockCursor = true; !!

      • ColOfNature says:

        You might find this useful.

  2. Xerophyte says:

    I learned that the opium dreams of 19th century poets have remarkably low polygon counts. I assume it’s a hardware limitation.

  3. Bhazor says:

    On the topic of Genghis Khan and his wacky family antics Dan Carlin is doing a pretty exhaustive biography on the man.—Wrath-of-the-Khans-I/Mongols-Genghis-Chingis

    • Arglebargle says:

      Thanks for this! The waves of nomad invasions off the steppes is actually a focus of mine, nice to see this sort of thing.

  4. N says:

    Crime Zone is cool, this is crap.

  5. JohnArr says:

    I have learned a profound appreciation of Tacticus.

    Also that History teachers don’t wear pants.

  6. HexagonalBolts says:

    Man I love Edward Said

    • lionheart says:

      He’s my favourite post-colonialist bullshit-artist charlatan western civilization hating extraordinaire too!

      (I really hope you were being sarcastic and/or are a 14 year old middle class Maoist)

  7. jorygriffis says:

    I played this the other day on (I expect it’ll be included in this weekend’s Live Free, Play Hard, too?) and just loved it. I had to play it twice–part because it was short and wonderful and part because it ends so abruptly I thought it may have been a bug or something. The second time through I was able to appreciate the abruptness.

  8. toastmodernist says:

    Remember Space Funeral?

    That was a game.

  9. PleasingFungus says:

    thecatamites for god-dictator of reality

  10. xaphoo says:

    I read this with a sense of foreboding, and know I have to play this, because I am a graduate student studying, in part, medieval Eurasian steppe societies… this could get ugly…

    • xaphoo says:

      Ok, actually I enjoyed it. It’s a good simulation of what it’s like to do history research: start out with enthusiasm, thinking you can accurately represent the past, and end up instead with masses of writhing bodies you don’t understand.

      • Arglebargle says:

        I got ahold of a bunch of class notes from one of the doyens of Inner Asian history, and they were pretty funny: ‘We don’t know much, and what we thought we knew was mostly wrong’. Hopefully it has gotten somewhat better in more recent times.

  11. Metonymy says:

    It’s possible to RUSH through, eh?

    I can’t think of a Coleridge joke.