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Messages - Demolition_Squid

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31
Apple Talk / Re: I Will Not Leave This Place Alive.
« on: March 27, 2012, 06:50:06 pm »
I have also noticed the quantity of lights in this room. It is not a large room. There is one over the mirror (reasonable), one main one (reasonable), a reading light built into the wall in the corner by the bed (there is also a chair... I guess I could want to read there, okay?) and then a fourth, fitted so that when laying down in bed, you can choose to have a fluorescent bar illuminate your face?

Very well.

I will take heed, LMNO. The lights will stay on, all of them. The curtains will be drawn. I may even turn the heating back to its original position. I am a visitor in this city; perhaps it is my lack of deference to their customs which has turned them so firmly against me.

In the morning I shall purchase clogs.

I just called 0207777777 by the way; that number does not exist. Seven sevens becomes even more peculiar.

And outside my window, at this very moment, they gather.


32
Apple Talk / Re: There's really not much point to this, anymore.
« on: March 27, 2012, 06:12:55 pm »
That latter scenario seem smuch more likely, now that you mention it.

But how do we correct for that behavior?  A "rule" about it would be laughable; and since people are often assholes (even Discordians), then the disheartening conclusion is that such things are inevitable... which means that the current condition of PD.com is terminal.

I think discordians are especially assholes.

But I think we also tend to have a strong respect for people's creative works. The only person who has ever knowingly violated that respect, that I can think of, is Yatto.

Maybe not a concrete rule, but just acknowledging that it is Not Okay to try and appoint leadership positions carte blanch would be helpful? It hadn't occurred to me that it might be happening, but I hate to think of PD.com as some sort of... commodity

33
Apple Talk / Re: I Will Not Leave This Place Alive.
« on: March 27, 2012, 05:45:12 pm »
Look, get some fucking rope, and tie it to the room's radiator.  At night, when you hear scratching noises at the doorknob, drop the fucking rope out the window and climb out.  It's your only chance.

Look, Amsterdam SHOULD be one of the world's most visited places, because people can get high there legally...But it isn't.  Because even the fucking hippies know what goes on there.  What would possess you to go to that Godforsaken place?

Tucson, as you say, is an honest place.  It sings to you every day about the awful things in store for you.  Amsterdam is quiet.  It silently waits.  When you get fucked up, that's when they will strike.

There is a very sturdy radiator in here. The taxi driver on the way over mentioned that the place has been in a bit of a heatwave lately, incidentally. Much like the UK - lots of nice summer weather out of nowhere.

The heating was turned ON when I got here, and the windows were shut.

Rope may be difficult to come by, but as a good Englishman I have packed not one but two towels. The room came with two provided, but I don't trust them. They have uncannily shaped creases of strange angles.

34
Apple Talk / I Will Not Leave This Place Alive.
« on: March 27, 2012, 05:34:47 pm »
Okay I have to get this down because I am not convinced that Amsterdam is going to be the end of me.

As some background, I am not unfamiliar with large cities. I have never gotten on well with them, but I have always maintained a healthy respect and fear of them.

London and I could be said to be on speaking terms. One of my earliest memories is as a child on the tube, where some bastard put a cigarette out on my hat. My parents didn't notice until three stops later, when I asked if... that was an alright thing to do, because it sort of, had ruined my hat.

That casual malevolence is something that I've maintained with London ever since. London is simply too large to care about you. It oozes contempt, and its inhabitants tend to move with a kind of listless violence. In other words, if you are aware of yourself and your surroundings, you'll largely be okay. London is also very loud, I feel this is important in the context.

I have also lived in Birmingham. Birmingham, despite London's reputation, has always struck me as a far more harmoniously multicultural landscape. In London, communities tend to be... very well demarcated. In Birmingham, things are a hodge podge which I loved - I lived in a small house located between a Methodist church, a Mosque, and within walking distance of a Synagogue. The accent I heard the least in my time in Birmingham was, in fact, the Birmingham accent. Birmingham too was largely happy to let you get on with what you were doing, with little interference.

I have even spent time in other European cities - not for more than a couple of weeks at a time, you understand. Paris and Brussels were pleasant enough, though. They obeyed the same rules. They were boisterous, but had their own characters. Brussels felt very cramped, Paris very aloof. 

Not so Amsterdam.

The first thing that I noticed in Amsterdam was how quiet the place is. There's some traffic noise - I can here it now, attempting to calm me down in my hotel room, audible over the sound of the blood drumming in my ears - but it is not the deafening roar of activity I am accustomed to in large cities.

The second thing I noticed is how clean the place is. I understand this now; if you stay still long enough to leave a mark, you will be destroyed.

My taxi ride to my hotel was uneventful, though I noticed at the time that the driver seemed to be in a rush. I could swear that he came within six inches of ploughing into a tram, but, taxi drivers often seem to inhabit their own special areas of the road. I thought nothing of it.

The hotel should have been my first warning.

I had read reviews of course; I am not totally inept. They had mentioned the stairs being the main downside, but the place is cheap, and I am young - what are some stairs? I can deal with that, I thought. After seven hours of travel, however, to be greated by this was... foreshadowing.



My room - I have had to pay up front, I presume because the hoteliers know as well as I that I shall not be leaving this place alive - was on the top floor. That is the view which you are granted with when you open the door of the 'hotel'. Three more flights of stairs and I was able at last to reach my room, where I laid out my luggage and prepared myself.

I have one day to myself on this trip, in which to see the sights. I intended to make the most of it. I particularly wanted to see the Van Gogh Museum, so I charted out my journey using my map - apparently it was very close to the hotel!

I walked outside, and was almost immediately nearly hit by a motorbike.

You see, in Amsterdam, they use many bikes. You have probably heard this. What I was unprepared for was the way that the cycle paths seem to blend seamlessly into the pavement. Well, I thought, I am not a fool. I will be more careful. Just a matter of keeping my wits about me, but damn if that motorbike didn't seem... quiet.

I found somewhere to eat, and noted that London is not the only place which will gouge you for food and drink. (Incidentally, I have yet to find something like a supermarket - the heat has necessitated that I spend almost £20 on drink alone thus far.)

Theoretically the museum was within 4 minutes walk of my hotel. It actually took me a half hour navigating the strange, blending pavement/road/cyclepaths to get to the place. I enjoyed taking in the exhibit, though. Van Gogh, it is said, found the cities nerve wracking and thus could not abide living in them. I begin to sympathise.

After that, I decide to try and find my way to the university theatre - it is where I will be spending the next three days. I chose this hotel because it was recommended by the organizers of the workshop. It is the closest hotel that was not booked up, and it is 20 minutes away. I begin to walk.

My memory of this time is hazy. It is quiet and nowhere seems to go where it should. I walk down one street to find it failing to connect with the next according to my map. I find myself twice in the path of oncoming bikes. I take two hours in total before I am exhausted completely and can go no further. By some twist of horrible fate I recognize the street I am on at this point as being close to my hotel. I come home. I beg the receptionist to tell me if there is a taxi service he recommends.

"Not." He says, "That I would recommend. But I may call you a taxi. Where do you want to go?"

I tell him I need one in the morning, to go to the university.

"Mostly you should go to the road, stick your thumb out." He gives the gesture, in case I have never seen it before, "And hope. If you wish to call, though, there is a phone, there." He points. Behind a potted plant, there is indeed, a phone. "Seven sevens."

That cryptic advice given he seems to lose interest in me. I return to my room, nearly killing myself on the stairs, and drink some water. I post on PD.com. I feel a little better. This is not too bizarre, I tell myself, I am making a fuss over nothing.

So I go out to get something sweeter than water to drink, so I can review my papers for tomorrow and maybe get an early night's rest. I am so very tired.

I fail utterly to find somewhere like a supermarket, as I mentioned. I am barged into by three flamboyantly gay men who laugh and say something I cannot understand. Nearby I spot a pink I sign. Tourist information, I think, but when I get closer I notice that it is specifically gay tourist information. That confuses me. Will they sense my heterosexuality and deny me service? Is making use of this service some betrayal of trust? Which way is it back to my hotel? I'll make do with water.

But I do spot a kiosk selling large bottles of drink. Two of them and some waffles set me back almost ten euro. I am so pathetically grateful to find something I might want to drink that I don't question it. I turn, I notice the green walking sign.

And then I am almost hit by the tram.

A tram is not a small method of locomotion. It is not inconspicuous. It should not be that quiet. But Amsterdam works in these ways. It is quiet, and it confuses you, and when you think you have gotten a handle on something - for instance, being told it is safe to cross - then it will strike.

By some miracle I am not hit. I have to jump, and then I keep walking. It is the walk I use in London. The walk which says, I know where I am going fuck you get out of my way, you do not exist to me. As though I can ward myself from this place by pretending I understand where I am and what I am doing. As though I do not expect several tons of silent death to barrel down on me at a moment's notice.

I have made it back to my hotel room now. I am shaking as I type this, and I feel certain that I will not be returning home. Amsterdam has apparently marked me in some way. I find myself thinking of Tucson, and how Sister Fracture says that the city sings to you.

But Amsterdam does not sing. It is silent, as calm and reasonable as its people.

And then it hits you with a tram.

send help

35
Apple Talk / Re: There's really not much point to this, anymore.
« on: March 27, 2012, 04:21:13 pm »
It feels like PD.com is going through an identity crisis.

I've been trying to think how to respond to this for a little while now so I'm just going to stop second guessing myself and throw some stuff out there.

Basically, PD.com has always been most successful when it has felt like a community. That's my basic premise. When I came here many years ago, it felt like I was introducing myself to a group of friends. A large part of that was the casual air.

Which comes down to 'facebook for weirdos'.

The thing is, Facebook is fundamentally poisonous. It is an echo chamber in which you (like Nigel said) basically become your own TV channel. It is not a format which encourages long conversations, or communal projects, or anything like that. It is used 'in the now' to blurt out the details of what is in your head right this second or what is going on in your life right now, and that's it. Bang done move on.

Forums scratch a different itch, and I think part of what set even Open Bar apart from facebook and personal blogs was that you'd have people come in and tie together streams of thoughts and engage in discussions over several days.

The other thing is that it is 'for weirdos', which is to say, anyone who posts here. Facebook is (for the most part) a far more controlled environment in which people will control their audience far more carefully. You also don't need to worry about your boss, prospective employer, or ... well, anyone IRL, knowing about who you are here if you don't want them to (for the most part). It is a different communal space, and I think that is very helpful.


Basically, I think it was good to experiment with trying to cut down on the 'facebook for weirdos' thing. I think we can all agree that the atmosphere of the board has changed since it happened. Now I think there's a few ways we can proceed:

1) Try to encourage people to post moar content through this kind of thread. Which doesn't seem to be working, and, for my part, just makes me feel a little irritable.
2) Try to establish some communal projects to give the board a new focus. Luna's project was a great idea and I'm sorry I haven't been able to contribute. Now that I've lost my job and am in Amsterdam collecting photos I will probably try to get in on it when I am back home. But again, just one project doesn't seem to have electrified the board and cured the 'nobody is talking' problem. Maybe more would help? I'm not sure.
3) Bring back open bar and see what happens - don't know if it would encourage more posting in other threads but I think Dok may have a point in that it gets people typing, and I genuinely think that 'facebook for weirdos' can be attributed with some of the success in establishing PD.com as a creative environment.

The last thing I'd like to say is that 'we' collectively need to decide what the point of PD.com actually is. I mean, if it is pointless now, that implies that it had a point to begin with, right? This is where the identity crisis thing hits. I think we've talked Discordianism as a subject to death (or at least feel like we have), and we may even have reached that point with BIP.

There's a few subjects I'd like to talk about spurred on by recent discussions here...

I want to talk about what it means to be a walking glitch (The Laughing Man was shot one at that. Didn't quite work. Must Try Harder)
I want to talk about what it means to be a citizen.
I want to talk about where we're going and what that's going to look like. Because conjecture is fun.
I want to repeatedly slam my face against the wall -- I mean, continue to track and be surprised by political developments, and talk to you folks about them.

And I want to listen too, because I feel like you guys put me to shame when it comes to pretty much every subject under the sun.

So, yeah. Part of the reason I haven't already started talking about the above is lack of time. Part of it is paralysing stage fright. I'm starting to understand that the worst thing that can happen is that I'm not interesting and I watch my stuff slide off the screen. Well, that's not too bad. Alternatively, I could put my foot in my mouth and wind up being torn a new one. If that happens, at least I'll learn something in the process.

So consider this a mission statement and some thoughts on the subject. I don't know how swiftly I'll be able to get to work on this stuff, but I owe a lot to PD.com even if I've spent the majority of my time lurking, and I'm going to start trying to give something back.

36

1 - Re: Emotional engagement and the smaller number of emotionally gripping games. I fail to be emotionally moved by the vast majority of media I consume. If you look at the sheer quantity of shite books, movies and TV shows that are pumped out, the games market is comparatively smaller. There might be 12-18 'smash hit' games released in a year. Compare/contrast with the number of 'must see' TV shows you'll have rubbed in your face. I don't think the proportion is much different. There's just MORE of other types of media so proportionately there's more things worth seeing. People ARE interested in the emotional impact of games.

 2- Heck, I'd say that is what MMOs are all based on. You point out they are addictive; they are addictive because there is a genuine sense of accomplishment which flows with them. It isn't a highbrow emotional response, but it is still a very emotional response. And it relies on something unique to video games; the input of the user. No other form of media has that input and can evoke those emotions.

3 - Games CAN still be hard. But I reject the notion that being hard is in itself necessary or even desirable. No other form of media shuts you off because you can't pass an arbitrary skill level (as Dara O'Brian says in his routine). There are older games in my collection I have never finished and will never go back to. Modern games can provide an enjoyable and fun experience without necessarily being a difficult experience. Difficulty for its own sake is just infuriating and rarely adds anything to the experience of the game, IMO.


Right, with any luck this should be a little more coherent and less rambling bullshit. I'm going to refer to this post a lot to try and direct my thinking.

1- Games are now outselling pretty much ever other media. There's been a few articles about this recently, google around.
A lot of the "AAA" "hyperbole here" titles cost considerable amounts to produce, comparable to films in many cases. Now film is a media more associated with engendering emotion, but how many "Generic FPS" titles that make up a substantial amount of these blockbuster releases manage to create any emotion? The last I can recall was some sort of deep space horror shooter (name eludes me. There was a sequel) that actually got a kind of "Event Horizon" kind of vibe from the offset. It was pretty good, like the first time running round in the dark in doom.

A lot of people probably do want more emotional or atmospheric games, May have been a bit harsh. It just looks like the industry is not looking at that. I'm being rather broad with "emotion", what I'm trying to get at is you really should either be immersed or thinking something other than "this is fun/dull/meh/" more "this is claustrophobic/oppressive/expansive" I don't think I'm describing this very well.

2 - My issue with most MMO's is more that the main investment you make is time. While there is a degree of skill, it's usually fairly low and spending more time allows you to plough through the content eventually, even if you're totally useless. While it can be pleasurable, you really gain nothing apart from progression in a stateful environment. With wiki's about everything, your imagination really needs to suck if you can't google all the top equipment, imagine how that looks on an avatar and just not bother playing at all.
This may be more personal resentment than sense. I just think we should be looking more at how to raise a skill, whatever it is, rather than just present people with a grinding mechanic and a skinner box. The "accomplishment" should be more than just proof you've spent another X hours on a game.

3 - The difficulty question. The best way I can think to demonstrate this is "Tetris" Pretty much the best example difficulty in a video game ever really. Simple to grasp, against an increasing clock that is based on your performance.
Alright it breaks down after a while, but it makes more sense to me for say, an action a game to build to progressively difficult bosses, the final being the hardest? Countless games have you in a state that when you reach the end, you're usually totally overpowered compared to enemies you face. While rewarding to smash everything to a pulp, we're straight back to the grind/smash mechanic that results in no skill being practised really.

The rest I can't really comment on too well. I'm not familiar with a lot of it, so I'll get my hands on some and see what's what.

My issue is that there is an implicit assumption that games must (or at least should) be about sharpening a skill. I don't see that in any other form of media, I don't see why it needs to be the case in gaming.

Full disclosure: I'm terrible at most games, yet I enjoy them and spend far too many hours playing them. I don't consider myself to be very skilled, and if I can't run through the content eventually, it winds up feeling like I've completely wasted my time/money.

What I actually spend most of my time doing in gaming is playing online MU*s. These are text based platforms (rather niche I admit) which is something like an online version of a tabletop game, albeit one without a GM for the majority of the time.

MU*s have been directly effected by the rise of MMOs, which offer more immediate rewards for less time input. But to me, they scratch very different itches. There is practically zero hack and slash in a MU*; whilst there may be combat, it is exceedingly rare that it is 'deadly' combat (you've usually spent hours or even days just going through the application process to get your character, losing them is something which is clearly signposted, usually agreed to on a player to player basis, and rare. Not in all games, but certainly in the ones I play) and the focus is entirely on communal storytelling and writing.

These elements require several things you just can't have in a commercial, broadly available product, though. It requires a strong community working towards the same ends, a level of maturity and cooperation, and that you are willing to place others above yourself sometimes in the growth of the narrative. There's also about a billion small little issues which creep in through the usual interpersonal drama, and the fact that stories by necessity become focused on characters and character interaction most of the time. The world is a persistent 24/7 place and whilst there are often overarching metaplots, it is exceedingly rare that things actually change for the world as a whole; simply because by doing so, you risk alienating large chunks of people.

To be a major commercial success MMOs have to appeal to a huge number of people, they have to provide near-immediate access (something which you can't have if you are trying to maintain a certain level of thematic consistency or narrative focus). You also can't ban disruptive elements as easily because they've paid for the game.

MU*s are a lot more like Cain's NWN worlds but without the graphical component to it. MU*s have less issues with OOC chatter though; indeed MOST of the interaction on a MU* is OOC by proportion of time spent, I would wager. You are setting up stories and shooting the shit with people, community interaction is key. The abuse of OOC knowledge for IC gain is massively frowned on though.

At its hayday, I believe the largest MU* had approximately 1000 members. According to http://mushcode.com/MushList.aspx (which only covers about half the games available, admittedly), the largest now has an average of 538 (... and is the sort of place that would appeal to BH), with 161 and 78 being the runners up for what I would actually call fairly typical MU*s.

Most games have approximately 12-24 people and run fairly successfully with those numbers. When you start getting up to the levels of The Reach, you start getting huge problems with just juggling that many people and having staff to administrate for them. Shangrila, the biggest game there with 500+ all furiously text-sexing each other in bizarre and vaguely horrifying ways, doesn't really have much in the way of a communal world at all. It mostly exists as a hook-up joint (though theoretically there IS a unifying theme, world, and people play characters which have importance in it and maintain on-grid consistency etcetera).

37
WHAT THE FUCK DOES GERALDO HAVE AGAINST HOODIES???

Does he even know what the word means? It's a fucking SWEATSHIRT with a HOOD. Everybody wears them. Since when are hoodies "gangster"??

Don't you understand Nigel? He was wearing a hoodie, he was asking for it.

ohgodIfeelsickjusttypingthat

38
Apple Talk / Re: The Laughing Man
« on: March 23, 2012, 08:49:09 pm »
What happened to my response?   :?

I don't know, the board went down for me for over an hour.  :?

39
Apple Talk / The Laughing Man
« on: March 23, 2012, 12:06:17 pm »


Why does the laughing man laugh?

You wouldn’t know that he is doing it, if you saw him on the street. He looks just like you, just like everyone else. That’s the ingenious thing. We live in a world which idolizes appearances. To this end we are encouraged to subsume our individual identities into those of others. We are encouraged to dress the same as those of our subset of humanity. We are encouraged to use the same language. We are encouraged to think the same thoughts. There is no hard enforcement here; the penalty for not doing so is nothing more than the suspicion of your fellows. This can be more than enough. We have so much information to catalogue and consume on a daily basis, trying to remember which opinions, desires, wants, needs drive your friends is simply one more irritating detail. It is far easier if you can ascribe to them a preconceived set of conditions.

The Laughing Man understands this innately. Subsumed into the popular culture through people who mimic his actions, he then sheds the mask and becomes invisible. The Laughing Man is Anonymous. The Laughing Man is also smart enough to realize that being Anonymous in public is simply one more set of preconceived conditions. The system has become resistant enough to change that to set oneself up as a symbol of it is to be co-opted. The Laughing Man realizes that it is more effective to manipulate the mechanisms of power through action rather than rhetoric; to engage in rhetoric is to be undermined by the need for legitimacy that the system makes a precondition of dialogue.

The narratives constructed by this dialogue are innately constraining, manipulating the viewpoints presented in order to set things up in a way which requires little conscious thought to absorb. The Laughing Man has realized that this dialogue is just one more tool in the machinery of power; to disrupt it requires moving beyond the easy definitions of mainstream media. It requires the escalation of the inherent contradictions within the flawed façade that society reproduces for its citizens. It requires that people are made to become self-aware of their own desires, aware of their wants, needs, and thoughts, rather than allowing themselves to believe that they are defined by some arbitrary label. It requires that the members of the tribe realize that they have more power than the tribal council. To disrupt this system will necessitate the destruction of rhetoric and discourse; the revelation of people’s true selves, rather than the face they are forced to wear.

The Laughing Man knows all this, and in knowing, undermines the tools of the system in order to subvert it. He presents himself as he must be presented; he acts as he must act, in order to avoid drawing attention. When he does move, it does not appear to be he who is responsible at all. He does not seek credit or acclaim; he is not in it for the ‘lulz’ (though there are certainly many laughs to be had) nor does he act in order to achieve any glory or notoriety for himself.

So why does he laugh?

Because he has realized that he is living in a grand joke. It is not a pleasant comedy, this, but to think of how easily humanity has allowed itself to be divided upon arbitrary lines, how effortlessly it has been convinced to continue inflicting unnecessary hardship upon its greater mass, how swiftly it forgets lessons that it paid for with countless lives within the span of its own living memory…

What choice but he have but to laugh?

40
Richard Seymour, yesterday, had this to say concerning the rule of law in the UK:

Quote
What is the law? We are all obliged to know it; ignorance is no excuse. Yet, we are never taught anything about it at school. Only a professional minority, of solicitors, state administrators, judges, police and so on, actually know what is involved. Protesters, campaigners, occupiers and strikers are often obliged to undertake a crash course in specialized fields of the law in order to fight on its terms.

What we understand about law is overwhelmingly derived from popular culture, which is to say that our understanding of law is intensely ideological.

And that applies to how the law is enforced, too.

This is a very good point that I'd never considered. I wouldn't even know where to begin trying to research all the laws which apply to me. I guess there has to be some sort of internet reference for them, but the entire body of law is so obscenely huge that you'd have to dedicate years to learning it.

And yet we're all expected to know it.

In reality I suspect Prachett is closer to the truth than we'd like to believe. Everyone is guilty of something, so your best defence is to simply try not to come to the notice of the police in the first place.

Not to mention how easy it is to simply manufacture a crime if one isn't immediately apparent, especially as we've lost the right to know what we're being accused of if it is convenient a matter of national security.

41
Aneristic Illusions / Re: OFFICIAL POLITICAL CARTOONS/PIC FREAD.
« on: March 21, 2012, 06:03:40 pm »

42
I understand some of where you are coming from. You certainly have the 'pedigree' on me, but gaming has been a part of my life for literally as long as I can remember. One of my earliest memories is sitting on my father's knee and playing 'Doom'. I disagree with some of your points though.

Re: Emotional engagement and the smaller number of emotionally gripping games. I fail to be emotionally moved by the vast majority of media I consume. If you look at the sheer quantity of shite books, movies and TV shows that are pumped out, the games market is comparatively smaller. There might be 12-18 'smash hit' games released in a year. Compare/contrast with the number of 'must see' TV shows you'll have rubbed in your face. I don't think the proportion is much different. There's just MORE of other types of media so proportionately there's more things worth seeing. People ARE interested in the emotional impact of games.

Heck, I'd say that is what MMOs are all based on. You point out they are addictive; they are addictive because there is a genuine sense of accomplishment which flows with them. It isn't a highbrow emotional response, but it is still a very emotional response. And it relies on something unique to video games; the input of the user. No other form of media has that input and can evoke those emotions.

Re: Modern Games Spoonfeed People. When I was growing up I adored strategy games (particularly turn based) and RPGs. Both of these have vastly improved over recent years. I tried to play Fallout again recently, and it is just painful to go through compared to Fallout 3/New Vegas (which have collectively stolen hundreds of hours of my life).

Games CAN still be hard. But I reject the notion that being hard is in itself necessary or even desirable. No other form of media shuts you off because you can't pass an arbitrary skill level (as Dara O'Brian says in his routine). There are older games in my collection I have never finished and will never go back to. Modern games can provide an enjoyable and fun experience without necessarily being a difficult experience. Difficulty for its own sake is just infuriating and rarely adds anything to the experience of the game, IMO.

Anyway. Looking at my Favorites list in Steam as a quicky:

The Binding of Isaac (INSANELY difficult to beat, bullet hell/roguelike. 48 hours played, usually in 20 minute bursts when I've got time to kill).

Fallout: New Vegas 121 hours played. FPS/RPG.

Civilization 5 - relatively new purchase, TBS, 22 hours played.

Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale. Shop management RPG/simulation. 12 hours played (but in terms of experience, probably my favorite on the list. The story was hilarious, the characters great. Not too much replay value, but good fun whilst it lasted).

What do these say about me as a person?

I'm not sure they say anything at all. I consume a wide variety of media. I play all sorts of games (except racing; that's never done anything for me, weirdly) so somewhere in my collection I've got mechanics which range from Farmville-esque (Harvest Moon. Fuck Yeah, Potato Crop Simulation 2010) to mindless gun violence (Borderlands!) and everything in between.

Games offer us a wide variety of opportunities not available in other media. These largely come down to the fact that the consumer is an active participant in a way that they very rarely even approach in other forms; the closest being CYOA novels and reality television. What they also offer is the ability to share experiences.

For examples of these in three very different ways in modern games:

The Old Republic is an MMO which sells itself based almost entirely on its engaging story. It is damn good at it, too, and with friends is a unique and enjoyable experience.

Mass Effect 3 has provoked an outpouring of anger and vitriol due to its failure to deliver a perceived good ending. This is all over the internet right now. All these people wanted deep, emotional games. They felt they got them, largely, in 1 and 2, and whether or not they got one in 3 seems to be the point of the debate.

Finally, the fighting game community has many direct parallels with the world of professional sports. Larger than life celebrity figures (Daigo THE BEAST, Justin Wong) with their own fanbases, competing in games which are fine tuned down to the smallest detail in an attempt to make a level playing field in which skill and strategy are the deciding factors. Before I knew anything about this community, I would have said that professional sports don't have any real parallels as a form of entertainment with the intensely personal experience of video games. Now, I think video games have an alternative to every form of media in some way, and offer opportunities to engage and explore anything that earlier forms of media can do, in new ways.

I think the rest of the world is starting to wake up to this fact, too.

43
Apple Talk / Re: ATTN: FRIENDS OF EARTHA
« on: March 15, 2012, 04:41:42 pm »
Of course, this also means you want to have a consistent playthrough from ME1 all the way through to ME3. As I've lost my ME1 for 360, I'm actually going to have to pick up the whole lot. Hope it is a bundle!

The Penny Arcade guys have also said a lot of people are annoyed at the ending... but that they seem to miss the point that the entire last game is the ending. It is like one huge book. You'll miss a lot if you skip segments or 'read it out of order'. Unlike a lot of other video games.

I'm really excited that Mass Effect seems to have taken such a massive step forwards in terms of narrative and storytelling. I certainly feel it has done more for that than Skyrim has (although Skyrim is still a great game, no doubt)

44
Apple Talk / Re: ATTN: FRIENDS OF EARTHA
« on: March 15, 2012, 04:35:39 pm »
Three NPCs from previously play throughs will die, assuming they survived the suicide mission in the second game.  One in particular is so awesome, it will bring tears to your eyes.  Badass death does not even begin to cover it.

However, there is a fourth who will have a fake death.  Because said character is just too awesome to die.

It also occurs to me that, with the greater freedom of movement in this game, a Vanguard could really do some serious damage - above and beyond the serious damage they are normally capable of, that is.  Biotic Charge, then combat rolling away, only to throw out a Nova could really ruin a lot of people's day.  Especially with a grenade in the mix.

I will say I do miss the presence of heavy weapons, though. Especially when fighting mechs.  A heavy pistol is good and all, for taking down armour, but a missile launcher is just that much better.

I have it on good authority that precisely what happens to your characters changes depending on the decisions you've taken in previous games - not just who lived and who died last time, but more indepth, weird things. A buttefly flaps its wings, etc...

I have yet to get around to playing ME2. I'll probably pick them both up in this year's Steam Sale.

45
Apple Talk / Re: Nigel's Shiny New Life Thread
« on: March 13, 2012, 10:20:25 pm »
One of the girls, her only slides were graphs from the Portland Public Schools website.

I was like, wow, you REALLY went minimalist for this one.

Also her presentation was maybe 5 minutes long. We're supposed to be going for 30.

30 minutes?! Geez. I had to give a ten minute talk and do a ten minute discussion and that was more than enough for me.

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