The past six months (or more) have been a whirlwind of shit news, terrible events, and moments of pure absurdity and horror. It’s been bad, is what I’m saying. Because of this, I often get lost doomscrolling on Twitter or reading another horrible news story about something dreadful. Meanwhile, my patient Roku TV quietly clicks over to something more pleasant and wholesome. A nice screensaver that has accidentally become an oddly calming piece of background entertainment.
I don’t remember the first time I noticed the screensaver, but over the last six months its appeared more and more often as my girlfriend and I get lost on our phones reading the latest about the most recent shitstorm. Or it appears while we spend hours talking about all the things we used to do, back when you could go out and not feel like you were risking your life.
We always plan on watching something, but because we don’t open an app like Netflix or YouTube, the Roku TV eventually flips on the default screensaver, which features a scrolling cartoon cityscape filled with Easter eggs.
There are other screensavers, sure, but I have no interest in changing and leaving behind the purple and orange city I’ve come to love. It’s relaxing now. It’s also become a part of our living room. After we eat dinner or finish a movie, we often relax and chat. Or cuddle and unwind. Or, if we are feeling productive, we might even do some light cleaning. Regardless, in the background is the silent sight of a city under attack by giant robots, monsters, aliens, and other classic movie creatures.
My new office TV, while nicer than our older Roku set, has a dumb screensaver. It’s just various old paintings that flip by. It’s boring. There’s no charm. No hidden secrets. No monsters. No ads breaking through the billboards because of a rendering glitch. (I always love when ads break in the Roku screensaver. Feels naughty. Like I’m seeing something I shouldn’t.)
I’d play a game set in this world. Not sure what kind of game it would be, but if it retained this same art style and feel, I’d be down to try it out. Maybe a point-and-click adventure game about various classic film characters and creatures? Do you hear that Roku? Go get somebody to turn this screensaver into a game.
Until then, I’ll just be over here, reading a book, eating some food, napping or whatever else while the Roku city screensaver goes on and on forever in the background. Or until my TV’s energy-saving settings kick in and turn it off.
Alter Dark is a new project that lets you create your own screensavers out of NES ROMs.Read more
2020 hasn’t been a good year to check the internet. So, a nice bonus of playing on new, faster consoles is that I no longer have time to doomscroll through Twitter anymore.Read more