Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Hold My Beer This Is Going To Be A Long One

Monday, 27 February 2017

Sharks And Such

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

A Little Gamier

Over at a site called Twenty-Sided they've spent a while, and 50 articles, looking at Mass Effect.

Apparently the last one was in June of last year so I'm a little late to the party. 

Mass Effect is interesting as a game as it straddles a couple of types of Bioware Role-Playing Games (more numbers based to more shooter-y based) and also has a controversial ending -- the games were all about the choices you made and how they had an effect in the game-world. The ending had you choose between three different-coloured buttons no matter what had happened before.

Twenty Sided is arguing that the problem with the ending has roots in the changing culture at Bioware and these problems are ingrained in the game much earlier than the last 2 hours or so (a full play-through of all three games is probably a minimum of 100 hours).

But then again, the ending of a lot of RPGs is to wade through a long tunnel of super hard enemies to make an arbitrary choice before the credits roll. I think people were upset by the implied promise of more, but Mass Effect was not an overly egregious offender in this respect.


Another party I'm late to is an Oral History of Day of the Tentacle. Tim Schaffer may have frittered away a huge amount of goodwill over his last few projects (DF-9, Broken Age, that hacking thing) and DotT is a touch over-rated but this is well worth a read.


Gaming Nostaglia is something Ron Gilbert seems to be an expert in. And if Thimbleweed Park turns out to be any good we'll forgive him for it (chances are it'll look nice).

Friday, 3 February 2017

Hanlon's Razor

Politico has a good article about how there probably is no genius about to emerge from the chaos and all is, more or less, as it looks.

But the pathology that’s animating these viral conspiracy theories is different. It’s a determinism of a far more granular sort: It assumes, quite improbably, that the Trump team knew exactly what sort of thing would happen after their every move, that they were only testing out the details. As if Jared Kushner could see through time, as if Stephen Miller could read our thoughts.

How Was I To Know?

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

What's Wrong With "The Left"

Another day another million or so articles trying to pinpoint exactly where "The Left" got it all wrong. The Guardian has one here and probably a dozen more from today and will continue publishing them in a unending display of self-flagelation.

Often there's a pointing out that people see "The Left" as telling them what to do, what with all the political correctness and climate change business and letting refuges in to the country. Just look, the article linked to above is about "the intolerance of the left".

And, of course, that is the prevailing media narrative: Brexit, Trump, the FPÖ, etc. are all the result of the left losing touch with their working class base and the working class looking for someone or some party or some issue that they can make their own. From a distance this is true enough, in and of itself, except for a very small point. "The Left" may very well have deserted the working class, Tony Blair and his ilk sold their principles for power and, at the time, the hope was, I feel, that getting rid of the Tories was worth this bargain. It's not the left, the actual left and not the media boogie-man "The Left", that has deserted it's base. The mainstream parties that should represent the left have moved rightwards.

The left is now represented by the odd old school politician and various small parties scurrying to pick up votes that might go to more populist alternatives.

The problem with "The Left" is that it isn't the left. The left hasn't forgotten its roots. The left is its roots. It's there and there are problems with it but it hasn't lost elections because people are fed up with it. People are fed up with "The Left" offering paltry-to-no opposition.

Future Inspiration

From here.

I'm going to get this in a song one day...

Monday, 30 January 2017

Information Exchange Strategy Model

It turns out that words can be plastic.
[Plastic words] are incredibly malleable yet empty when it comes to their actual meaning. Plastic words have surreptitiously seeped into our everyday language and dictate how we think. They have been imported from the languages of science, technology and mathematics, and thus appear to be imbued with their authority.
I think this goes someway towards explaining my fury at words like "curate" and "artisanal". It's not that in a proper context they don't have meaning, it's more that that original meaning is sapped when used to mean something much lesser.

And, as the article says, when it happens to words like "safety" and "security" and "welfare" then it facilitates all sorts unconscionable behaviour.

As an aside: I used to say this, and will still say it occasionally, about "evil". There are many things that are unpleasant, nasty or just plain horrible but calling these things evil means we have no word for when something truly evil happens. Of course, when something truly evil does happen we will probably need no words.

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Sometimes When I Drink Too Much The Next Day I Can't Think

Over at Edible Arts, Wine Trends and Food Pairings,  they take a look at what people are drinking with dinner, find out it's beer and goes:
Mmmm. Perhaps they will grow out of it.

Elsewhere on the Internet some people are intent on helping the obviously confused: Beer with Dinner: The Basics of Pairing Beer and Food. In its own way this is almost as bad.

One the one hand it's true that wine often pairs better with much food than most beers. And the people in the survey probably aren't really that interested in finding harmonious combinations and synergies (I do find that synergy is often, but not infallibly, a bellend indicator). And that might be a pity. On the other hand fuck that noise. Drink what you want and enjoy it. If you want to find out more then Edible Arts and Kitchn will be there to give a helping hand.

He Will Surely Take Them Out On You