Phaedrus' Street Crew
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Everything posted by Urthman

  1. It's a shame Walker used the term "pathological liar" because it sounds like an insult. But someone needed to ask Molyneux, "Hey, you have been saying a lot of stuff that isn't true, that it seems like you knew or should have known wasn't true. Are you purposefully misleading people or are you..." -- I can't think of an alternative here that doesn't sound like an insult -- "...a chronic exaggerator? ...not smart enough to realize you're lying?" This quote here from Molyneux is incredibly damning and damaging to the whole idea of Kickstarter, and he really needs to have his feet held to the fire for it: "There's this overwhelming urge to over-promise because it's such a harsh rule: if you're one penny short of your target then you don't get it. And of course in this instance, the behaviour is incredibly destructive, which is 'Christ, we've only got 10 days to go and we've got to make £100,000, for f**k's sake, lets just say anything'. So I'm not sure I would do that again." The idea that it's okay for developers to just promise anything to hit that funding goal (even if they make apologetic noises about never doing it again) would be the death of crowdfunding.
  2. Project Godus: Don't believe his lies

    Molyneux sold Curiosity as a chance to win a life-changing prize. If there is no such prize, everyone who paid for Curiosity was defrauded. It's like selling raffle tickets to win a car when you don't actually have a car to give away.
  3. Project Godus: Don't believe his lies

    Moleneux came right out and admitted: "There's this overwhelming urge to over-promise because it's such a harsh rule: if you're one penny short of your target then you don't get it. And of course in this instance, the behaviour is incredibly destructive, which is 'Christ, we've only got 10 days to go and we've got to make £100,000, for f**k's sake, lets just say anything'. So I'm not sure I would do that again." That's pretty damning. Asking whether he's a pathological liar is just about the most charitable response you could make to this. Because it sure sounds like he deliberately made false promises in order to get people to give him money.
  4. What Chris on the podcast and everyone else seems to be forgetting is that genuinely wealthy people often don't have incomes. I would hope that at least some of the people spending ridiculous amounts of money on Star Citizen are just people who have ridiculous amounts of money.
  5. I never would have believed that a Frogger re-make could be one of my favorite games of the year just by adding randomly-generated levels. Well, I guess the utterly charming graphics and the clever and humorous character collection are probably also big factors. But I definitely wouldn't be enjoying it (or still playing it) if I were just trying to navigate the same level layout over and over. Are there other classic game designs that are similarly transfigured by random level design (and maybe especially good graphic redesign)?
  6. Crossy Road and random level generation

    Right. In my mind, Spelunky was so obvious that I forgot to write, "Besides Spelunky, of course." Diablo used randomly-generated dungeons, but I don't feel like that fundamentally changed the game the way it does for Spleunky (or even Crossy Road). Titan Quest feels like essentially the same kind of game even though the level structure is static. Minecraft is different from games that proceeded it in so many ways it's hard to say specifically how much of a role the randomness plays. An Elder-Scrolls-type game with all of Minecraft's other innovations (buildings, landscapes, and dungeons all completely solid and destructible; free-form mining, crafting, and building; the dark/light danger/safety mechanic with ability to light dungeons with torches; no plot constraints besides survival, exploration, and building; creepers; co-op multiplayer) would have been revolutionary even if the initial environment had been fixed and authored instead of randomly generated. I guess the random endless runner games like Canabalt or Robot Unicorn Attack are more like what Crossy Road does. Oh, and Super Hexagon is a really good example. Random generation is essential to Rogue and Roguelike games, but those kinds of dungeon crawlers were random from the beginning so I wouldn't think of Rogue as a transformatively random version of an existing type of video game.
  7. My favorite The Best part of this cast is when Chris realizes that his and Sean's elaborate criteria, definitions, and justifications are essentially just obfuscated versions of Jake's "This is the game I think is Best!" And then Friedrich Nietzsche raises a saucy eyebrow and nods in Mr. Remo's direction.
  8. I want to emphatically second this. Kairo is great for many of the same reasons that Chris praises The Talos Principle. It is a very quiet, elegant, and restrained first-person puzzle game. It has no HUD, no inventory, not even a "use" key. All interaction with the environment is effected by moving around in the environment. The design reminds me of Iikka Keränen's Blue IKSPQ maps for Quake 1, and the game lets you WASD around quickly and fluidly, more like playing Quake than a typical adventure/puzzle game. Kairo is striking in how well it is able to create distinct and memorable locations out of very simple, elegant building blocks. The atmosphere and design made me feel like I was in an Arthur C. Clarke novel exploring weird alien ruins. The puzzles are engaging, but not difficult. Which, for me, made the pacing feel just right. It's not at all like a Myst game where you frequently spend lots of time stuck in one place trying to figure out what to do. Most of the time I figured out what to do before a location wore out its welcome and was on to seeing something new.
  9. It's the last year of the 20th century. My favorite video-games-related media, simultaneously more insightful, more funny, and more in touch with how ridiculous games and games media are than anyone else, is Old Man Murray [Warning: OMM links are NSFW and use lots of ironic sexism and racism in their humor that is sometimes hard to distinguish from the real thing]. Every FPS is trying to be Half-Life & Call of Duty (buried in systems, terrible stories, interminable cut scenes) or Doom 3 (dark sewers, tiny rooms with one or two monsters rendered at the limits of current graphics card technology). OMM rates games on the Start-to-Crate scale to determine how many seconds until the developers ran out of ideas. Then OMM discovers an obscure little game developed in Croatia of all places called Serious Sam, and they love it. Instead of using modern hardware to make tiny levels 12% prettier and shinier, Serious Sam gives you huge, bright, colorful open levels, hundreds of monsters, , and Frantic Action Feeling. The developers literally don't know the meaning of the word "crate" and are goaded into talking hilarious smack about Doom 3. Serious Sam feels much more like an actual realization of Doom in a modern engine, simultaneously utterly crazy and free of all the tedious baggage weighing down every other FPS. Fast-forward to 2014. My favorite video-games-related media, simultaneously more insightful, more funny, and more in touch with how ridiculous games and games media are than anyone else, is Idle Thumbs. They discover an obscure little game developed in Croatia called The Talos Principle, and they love it. It's simultaneously full of crazy stuff and free of all the tedious baggage weighing down so many other games. The parallels listening to this week's cast made heart unreasonably happy. I only wish Idle Thumbs could somehow interview Roman Ribaric. The only thing you folks missed is that The Talos Principle is written by Tom Jubert (Penumbra, FTL, The Swapper, Driver: SF) and Jonas Kyratzes (The Sea Will Claim Everything, Traitor).
  10. Sure, it was just kind of a surprising misconception for someone to have, sort of like someone starting to describe Company of Heroes and get the response, "Oh, so the combat's like Far Cry?"
  11. What makes the Major's dream seem so powerful, both to Bobby and to us, is that it clearly would never even occur to the Major to make something like that up to manipulate his relationship with his son. He's far more invested in the dream itself, in his delight over the auspicious fate for Bobby that he thinks has been revealed to him. The Major hardly notices how floored Bobby is at that moment to find out his dad might not think he's a total loser, nor the possibility that simply telling Bobby about this dream might be the first step in Bobby's redemption.
  12. stars Sean Vanaman, Jake Rodkin, Chris Remo, Nick Breckon, and various other dudes (including Tim Shaefer). Thanks guys! This is a fantastic video. It is so powerful to hear Chris, for instance, look at the camera and say, You know, I never have to even consider hiding my gender when I make a gaming alias.
  13. Also known as Jonathan Mann and his Logical Fallacy Dance Choir:
  14. Spoiler-filled question regarding the identity of the person who shot Cooper:
  15. I like Jake's little "it's kind of awkward reading from a script in front of a camera" smile at the beginning of his segment, but it just makes me admire him for being willing to do something uncomfortable for a good cause. I have the urge to not give him the hug he doesn't want.
  16. But was it smart? That Sean guy is hot, but he seemed kind of shrill and hysterical. (Actual reaction to Sean suddenly being one of the dudes in this video: "OMG, that's Sean Vanaman! That is so great that they got him and that he did this. Idle Thumbs rules! Wait, there's Chris too! And Jake! And Nick!")
  17. I love how Nick's comes across as a defiant vow: "If I am verbally berated while online, it will not be because I am male." It will be because I am crushing my foe.
  18. I have an alternate possible interpretation of the spoiler question Jake raised about Agent Cooper:
  19. The way I imagined that scene going down is that Audrey shows up at One Eyed Jack's and Blackie is about to give the standard "OK, here's how this works" speech she gives to all the wide-eyed innocent perfume-counter newbies when Audrey, not knowing what's up, hands her that crazy resume. Which gets her hackles up (not least because of the condescending Hester Prynne bit) and so she gives Audrey the run-around. She's not really impressed by the silly cherry stem trick, that's just where she decides, OK, whatever, send her on back there with the other girls.
  20. Oh, that post about the music was from me. I thought I was logged in. I don't know if there's any way to fix it so it's attributed to my account.
  21. Oh man, Nick's The Sims 3 story is so great. It's extra entertaining for those of us who know and love Nick, and the Greek chorus of the other Thumbs repeatedly asking, "Why didn't you just babywall him/her?" is hilarious, but even without that context, it's a pretty fascinating story about playing video games. It's right up there with some of the better stories from Tom Francis or Rock Paper Shotgun. It's too bad Nick went into game development, because he could've been a great games journalist.
  22. I think hearing Danielle say "shitty Kongs" in her RI accent might be the best thing I've ever heard on a podcast.
  23. I thought it was pretty funny / ironic how the Thumbs were shaking their heads at the idea that Valve has apparently decided no one ever looks for games beyond the front page, and then a few minutes later lamenting the "loss" of the unfiltered list of new games when it is literally one click away from the front page.
  24. Even if it's true that violence & sexism in games don't encourage people to be more violent or sexist outside of games, you still have the question of what the game itself does. A violent video game doesn't actually shoot anyone, but a sexist video game can actually exclude people, actually send the message, "Go away, this game wasn't designed for you, it was designed for boys with a fetish for large breasts." That would be harmful even if those attitudes didn't carry over into any other part of society.
  25. I'm really glad you had Anita on the podcasts. I've admired her work and her fortitude in the face of all these ugly and ridiculous attacks, but after hearing her chat with you folks, I found out I also just like her. I hope she has more opportunities like this to talk more informally about games, because she's cool and interesting and fun to listen to. Thanks for having her on. I think there's a couple important points you folks missed when talking about the difference between violence in video games and sexism in video games: Lots of people play violent video games, but almost none of those people ever pick up a gun and shoot someone. It's silly to argue video games cause violence when the vast majority of gamers never do anything violent. On the other hand, a pretty sizable number of people who play sexist video games also say and do sexist things, including various kinds of sexual harassment (or worse). So it seems a lot less silly to suggest that sexist content in games might be a factor in encouraging or normalizing sexist behavior. And there's also the distinction that violence in video games is fake. No one is actually hurt or killed. But sexism in games is often real sexism. Occasionally, sexist content will be "fictional" in the sense that it is the expression of a fictional character who has sexist attitudes. But if, for instance, the characters in a game are all designed exclusively to appeal to male players, then that's actual sexism that is, for real, ignoring and excluding female players.