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Everything posted by TychoCelchuuu

  1. Yager's Spec Ops: The Line

    "Very short" is uh, relative. Thirty Flights of Loving is the only legitimately short one in there. Most games are longer than the shortest movies, including even the ones that narratively experiment in various ways. And of course Planescape: Torment, New Vegas, and Alpha Protocol are all MUCH longer than any movie. Alpha Protocol is short for a game because you are meant to replay it a few times, but even that lasts a few hours. Spec Ops took me like 5 hours or 8 hours or something. That's Sátántangó length!
  2. 2013

    Tons of shit. Gone Home, Quadrilateral Cowboy, Routine, the Dishonored DLC, possibly Company of Heroes 2, Zeno Clash II, GTA V, Gunpoint, The Stanley Parable HD, Sir, You Are Being Hunted, Bioshock Infinite, potentially Wasteland 2 and Shadowrun Returns, Xenonauts, Clockwork Empires, and probably lots of other stuff I'm forgetting.
  3. Is having children immoral?

    Well then you can stop posting about it! Nobody is under any obligation to find anything interesting. This whole forum exists because a bunch of people like to talk about video games, a topic 95% of the world couldn't give less of a shit about. The Idle Thumbs, and most of us here on the forums, have spent more time thinking about any given game than most people would find valuable spending on all video games ever, but that doesn't mean anything about us except that we find certain things interesting. You don't need to go into a bunch of gaming forums where people are discussing Spec Ops or Hotline Miami and say "well I don't think you need to bother with this, even the best game narratives are pretty worthless compared to books," because that's not really adding much to the conversation and there's no point in wandering into a thread about morality and choosing one small issue in that thread and deeming it unimportant because you don't find it interesting. Plenty of people do, and there's nothing gained by telling them to not bother thinking about it.
  4. Idle Thumbs 88: Lacks Restraint

    I didn't really get the impression that any of the Idle Thumbs guys were looking for some kind of deep emotional experience either, though. They just wanted a fun game where they could shoot people and they were frustrated that Far Cry 3, which could have been that, instead covered up that fun game in layers of shit that for whatever reason, they didn't feel like fighting through. I think the latest patch lets you turn off some of the stuff. If you think it's really important to look closely at really divisive works, I don't know why it would feel jarring for you to hear Idle Thumbs spend 20 minutes doing precisely that. "Look closely" doesn't mean "praise effusively" and if they didn't like the game then they can either talk about why or they can just shut up about it. I'd much prefer to hear their reasons, because I don't give a shit whether anyone likes or dislikes any given game, I only care why they like or dislike it. This is a point I brought up earlier in the thread and it's why I feel like a lot of the time posts like yours, which seem to spend so much time talking about whether you liked Far Cry 3 or didn't like Far Cry 3 rather than focusing on the specific criticisms, aren't really helpful. It's not a fruitful discussion to say stuff like "well I didn't go into Far Cry 3 looking for an interesting narrative experience" because that has nothing to do with any of the criticisms Idle Thumbs leveled at the game, as far as I can remember based on what they said. You seem to be defending the game in general by saying "well, games don't need to be X to be fun" instead of having an honest discussion about the specific mechanics. At the end of the day does it matter whether Far Cry 3 is good or bad? Or is what we're really talking about the mechanics of the game, and which succeed and which don't for various people, for whatever reason? As I said, I've made this point before in this thread but I think it bears repeating since it doesn't seem to have sunk in. Your only real talk about the UI is to say "well maybe now that they mention it, it's going to bug me too" which, far from addressing their criticism, just validates it and in effect says "me too," which is a little interesting but not really what you seem to be going for. The fact that games aren't just piles of systems is precisely why they seemed to dislike Far Cry 3; it "gameified" a ton of systems (by making you skin various animals to build various wallets, by poking its UI into your face all the time, etc.) instead of just letting the game be a game. They thought everything had to be a mechanic when they could have left most of the stuff (like the wild animal encounters) as systems. This was the whole "mechanics vs systems" discussion that they had in relation to Spacebase and Far Cry 3 in the podcast and that I talked about back on page 2 of this thread. And as for the critical reaction, well, as even Idle Thumbs pointed out, they're way in left field, aren't they? Most critics LOVED Far Cry 3. It got amazing reviews. Probably because Guerilla is a game about breaking shit and pretty much just gives you a bunch of points for breaking shit, whereas Far Cry 3 is a game about shooting stuff and exploring and island but you get a game over screen when you leave the mission area, you get a UI popup directing you to the next mission whenever you try to just chill out and explore, and you get a thousand cascading inventory popups warning you about your excess of leather and plants and your lack of wallet space when really you should just be shooting people. Far Cry 2 did this well - pretty much nothing got in the way of shooting people. You barely even had a UI, and most of the UI faded out when it wasn't needed. Far Cry 2 is all about just shooting people.
  5. Yager's Spec Ops: The Line

    Planescape: Torment, The Walking Dead, Fallout: New Vegas, Alpha Protocol, The Stanley Parable, etc. are all choose your own adventure games, but there are of course other ways of doing narrative, like in Thirty Flights of Loving, Gravity Bone, Dear Esther, etc.
  6. Is having children immoral?

    Nobody disagrees that you're leaving a better world for whoever ends up in that world than you would if you didn't improve the world. That's not the puzzle. The puzzle is that if you chose to leave a worse world, it's unclear why anyone should be mad at you, because a worse world where they still exist is better for them than a better world where they don't exist.
  7. Idle Thumbs 88: Lacks Restraint

    None of the Idle Thumbs criticisms of Far Cry 3 were for its failure to live up to any idea of games as literature, though. They were all about the extraneous shit piled on top that covered the genuinely good shooting and movement mechanics or about the ridiculous gun vending machines and UI popups that ruined the beautiful island aesthetic. Nobody complained about the story or the characterization much at all, aside from the first impressions stuff about not being able to stab a dude, and there was disagreement about that even. The "Space Asshole" song about Red Faction is pretty much all I can remember of the Idle Thumbs discussion, but that's a pretty good summary of what I remember them having said - being a space asshole is a ton of fun, blowing up buildings and stuff. Presumably what made that more fun than Far Cry 3 for them was that the aesthetic wasn't ruined by an intrusive UI and a bunch of "build a better space wallet" mechanics.
  8. Plug your shit

    Or maybe people just need to stop making games you're interested in! That would solve things too.
  9. Plug your shit

    I haven't plugged shit in a while, and since Natural Selection 2 is such an amazing game and because I can plug it indirectly by plugging my shit, enjoy a horrendous torrent of unending shit:
  10. Unnecessary Comical Picture Thread

    I've always felt like anyone who knows what a browser history is would know that Firefox, Opera, Chrome, and Internet Explorer all have anonymous/no browser history modes for whenever you're doing embarrassing stuff.
  11. Is having children immoral?

    It's not justification for stuff that has happened in the past, it's a reason for not being able to claim that things in the past harmed you. Because if they hadn't happened, you would not have existed, which would be worse for you than existing (or at least not better). But yes, there's a sense in which it's ridiculous, which is why we have a paradox rather than an easy answer (the easy answer being "well yes of course that makes sense").
  12. Is having children immoral?

    Eh, sure, but that's a separate issue unless you want to just accept that the pollution isn't bad for humans, it's only bad for nature. That would solve the nonidentity problem but at the cost of saying that pollution is never bad for future generations of humans.
  13. Is having children immoral?

    The idea that things can just be good without being good for any specific person would help solve the issue, yes. But do we think that things like lack of pollution are just good on their own? Or are they good because pollution is bad for people? What is "pollution" other than a description of an atmosphere containing things that are created by and bad for humans?
  14. Is having children immoral?

    I think everyone would agree that it's at least OKAY that potential people don't exist so that we exist - you and I exist because our parents didn't have a different child at a different time, and even if those children would have been better off than you and I, we don't think our parents did anything wrong, right? So when you generalize that point, doesn't it seem like there's a sense in which we don't harm future people by bringing it about that they exist in a future that isn't the best that it could be, simply because their existence DEPENDS on that future? Which definitions am I mixing?
  15. GOTY

    Giant Bomb has ZODIAC MOTHERFUCKER'S top 10 games.
  16. Yager's Spec Ops: The Line

    Walker is not "walking away from duty" by leaving Dubai. His mission is explicitly to go into the city and find out what's up - if he encounters any survivors, he is to leave, radio in the backup, and let the US Army take over. 20 minutes into the game you already go off-mission and everything that happens after that is a direct result of Walker's continual choice to keep pushing forward even as it becomes more and more obvious that he should follow orders and leave Dubai. He's going to get court martialed for doing anything other than leaving the city almost as soon as the game starts. I'm not sure why it seems like a cheap and lazy option - it's the honest option, because it acknowledges that there is no good ending to a lot of military campaigns, just a choice between "stop" or "bad ending." The point isn't to walk away from difficult decisions - the point is to walk away from the wrong ones. And everything Walker does after deciding to go find Konrad is the wrong decision. One of the morals of the game, as I take it, is that war is not a game, and video games that present war as a series of tough choices where you can always do the right thing are lying. You don't get PTSD from a video game because a video game is a bullshit power fantasy that tells you that if you shoot enough people, you can solve the problem. In real life, if you shoot enough people, you get PTSD and kill yourself a decade later. As for whether the game explicitly acknowledges the outcomes of your various choices at the end, well no, it didn't do that. What makes you think the only way for a game to acknowledge your choice is in an ending montage? Seriously? That's a very odd criticism to make of the game. Especially of this game, given the nature of the ending. The game acknowledges your choices when you make them, typically, and I don't see what's wrong with that.
  17. Yager's Spec Ops: The Line

    I've written a lot about this game elsewhere so I think I'll just summarize that stuff rather than bothering to rewrite everything. The TL;DR version is that I think it's not really interesting to read the game as saying "everything you do is wrong and you are a monster" or anything like that. Instead, I think it makes more sense to see the game as commenting on the narratives that most war video games give you and the efficacy of the choices or lack thereof in those video games. In almost every video game, the answer is "more violence" because shooting people or bombing them is what is necessary to get the happy ending. Sometimes you need to choose the right person to shoot or save or even though both choices are right the game makes it seem like it matters what you choose. Spec Ops is a rejection of that idea in favor of the notion that sometimes the only proper response to war and to violence is to walk away - sometimes you can't save the world just by shooting the right people or saving the right person. If you read the game as saying "you are a monster fuck you for buying and playing this game" then it just seems kind of self-defeating. If you're a monster for playing the game, they shouldn't have made the game in the first place! And yes: I think you're right to say that a lot of your choices don't matter. A lot of your choices don't matter, because they're the wrong choices. The right choice is to leave Dubai 10 minutes into the game when he's accomplished his recon mission, but Walker doesn't make that choice. The idea that every choice you have should have a "correct" outcome that makes things better or at least is effective is a bullshit idea that comes from video games stroking the player's ego and telling them they can always do the right thing. Sometimes every choice is wrong because you got yourself into an awful situation. Sometimes in war you can't do the right thing. But this doesn't mean you should be ashamed for enjoying the game - it means you should be ashamed for getting mad at the game for not giving you effective choices to make everything turn out happy. If you've been trained by video games to think "well here's a moral choice, I'll just do my best to choose the correct option" then you've bought into the wish fulfillment ego stroking that modern military shooters thrive on, the sort of narrative that says "you can be the hero, you can make the right choice." The right choice is to leave Dubai, not to come down on one side or the other of the various choices in the game. edit: this is pretty much just the first point the Errant Signal guy makes in his video back on page 2. Also, Chris Remo definitely reads the game as saying "you are a monster for playing me" and his dislike for that message (and thus this game) is a reason I think that's a bad way to read it - it's just dumb for a game to be all "fuck you for playing me" because that's self-defeating. If I had Chris' reading I'd also dislike the game.
  18. Is having children immoral?

    How does stopping the smog in LA create more pleasant living conditions? More pleasant than what, and for who? It's better than a smoggy LA, but that's not a relevant consideration for the people in clean LA, because they wouldn't exist in smoggy LA. And it's not better for the people in smoggy LA, because they won't exist in clean LA. So even though we want to say it's better, we can't find anyone who it's better for. And if something isn't better for anyone, how is it better? Another way of stating the problem is just to look at Nappi's answer to your question. Nappi says that it's moral to have children because the majority of people want to live - their lives are good. You're overly pessimistic if you think that there's a pretty good chance your child's life is going to be so bad that you ought not to have had the child, because if you ask basically any person alive today, they are happy they were born and they wouldn't give that up even though they've experienced hardships. Since this is true, it looks like people WANT to live, even if it's in smoggy LA. In fact, they'd prefer "living in smoggy LA" to "failing to exist in clean LA." If you gave them the choice, smoggy LA would be better for them. If you added up how happy the people in smoggy LA are and how happy the people in clean LA are, then it's better for the people in clean LA to exist in that timeline than it is for the people in smoggy LA to exist in their timeline, but it seems like no matter what you do, whether you make LA clean or not, the people who exist because of your actions should be grateful that they exist, not mad at you for failing to clean up LA, right? Because people are happy they exist. I'm not so thrilled about the Holocaust, but in a way I have to be grateful, because without it, I wouldn't exist, and certainly I prefer existence to nonexistence, right? I haven't committed suicide and I don't regard the possibility of dying as something I am indifferent to. As for the whole "what if my child is one of the small percentage of people who kills themselves," then even if it's true that having the child was immoral in one sense, which is "I ought not to have done it if I had known the child would kill themselves," it's unlikely to be immoral in the more normal sense of the word, which is "I did what I thought was best at the time." There's a small percentage chance whenever you drive a car that you will accidentally hit and kill someone. It's obviously immoral to kill someone with your car, but on the other hand, you can't know, when you get in the car, that you will hit and kill someone, so we don't say "driving cars is immoral" or even "driving cars is moral under the majority of circumstances but immoral if you're going to hit someone." Because we don't know if we're going to hit someone when we drive! Life is full of uncertainty and we have to make moral decisions based on what is likely to happen, not based on what could conceivably happen but which is super unlikely. On the other hand, when the chance of something bad happening gets high enough, or when we are responsible for raising the chance of something bad happening, or when there's no benefit but still a chance of something bad happening, we usually do call the act immoral. So if it's impossible to drive a car without hitting people, or if you get drunk, or if you're just firing a gun into the air for fun in a crowded city, we'll probably condemn those actions. Do any of these cases apply to having kids? Well, I don't think the chances of your kid committing suicide are so high that it would be immoral to have kids, but maybe if your family has a history of depression and pretty much everyone self-terminates before 40 then it would be immoral to have kids? I don't think you're planning to be responsible for your kid's suicide (in fact I don't think you're planning on your children committing suicide at all) so the second case doesn't apply. And certainly having kids is a huge benefit - they make peoples' lives worthwhile, give them meaning, etc. So it looks like the answer to your question should be it is moral to have children unless you're pretty sure they're going to commit suicide. If we were omniscient your answer would be better, but we aren't omniscient. We can only make moral decisions based on what we know. And from what we know, almost everyone is happy to be alive.
  19. New people: Read this, say hi.

    Giant Bomb I think.
  20. Clairvoyance

    I have no doubt I could get better at it over time and so on, but when the possibility space is a bit more limited by a discrete grid, a limited number of robot commands, and so on, it makes it that much more likely that my opponent is the kind of person who is going to play out the 50 most likely scenarios in their head and fine tune their turn until it's perfect, just because a lot of people who like these kinds of games are like that, because of their personality or because they've gotten good at the game and realize that this is the way to win. I'm more impatient and prefer to be more sloppy - this works better in something like Frozen Synapse, where I have more room for improvisation because my opponent can't narrow the possibility space down to my 20 most likely moves and work out a counter to them. Having continuous variables to fiddle infinitely with in Frozen Synapse introduces a lot of slack into the system, even into a system as airtight as Frozen Synapse's "one shot, one kill, no randomization" universe. Those fiddly gaps between the grid don't exist in Clairvoyance, and it's those fiddly gaps that allow me to be a halfway decent Frozen Synapse player without having to spend a lot of time or be smart. Also Frozen Synapse added timed turns in the last patch/expansion which fits my play style much more closely. I love those and I'm not sure Clairvoyance has them at all. I greatly prefer the time pressure because that removes the possibility entirely that my opponent will spend 20 minutes working out the various things I might do and devising the perfect response. You've only got a minute now! See if you can think as fast and as loose as me! And unlike chess, Frozen Synapse has randomized maps and unit combinations, so speed benefits not the people who have played a lot and memorized openings and so on, but solely those (like me) who prefer to think on the fly (not that speed chess doesn't reward thinking on the fly too).
  21. Is having children immoral?

    I'm not arguing that one possibility space is more valuable because it exists in our timeline. I'm arguing that from the point of view of someone existing in the world, there is no way to say that their possibility space is worse than it could've been, because if the possibility space had been different (better?) it wouldn't be better for them. They wouldn't even exist! Surely that would be worse for them, and for everyone else in a similar position. Obviously a future with happy stuff is better than a future with bad stuff. But who is it better for? Is it better for the people in the happy future? Well, no, because they could never have existed in the bad future. Is it better for the people in the bad future? Well, no, because they don't exist. So who is it better for? If we pretend everyone is a reincarnation and that our individual existence is inevitable, then yes, that solves the problem. Do you believe that we are all reincarnations and that your existence is inevitable? If your existence IS inevitable, and if we ARE all reincarnations, then the question at the heart of this thread, "is having children immoral," is complete nonsense. All existence is inevitable. We cannot refuse to have children - they will inevitably exist. They are reincarnations of previous people, even! So you've solved my question, and also this thread's central question, but the cost is perhaps a little high. I don't know how many other people here believe that existence is inevitable and that we are all reincarnations. You ask whether I would strive for a smog-free future for my child or not. Let's imagine that I say "eh, that sounds like a lot of work" and I have a child in smoggy LA. My child gets asthma. One day my child comes to me and says "dad, you jerk, why didn't you work towards a smog free LA?" I replay "hey, buddy, I know your asthma sucks, but look at it this way: if I had spent time campaigning to clean up LA, I wouldn't have had a kid until years later. That kid wouldn't be you. It would be a different kid. You're happy you exist, asthma and all, right? You wouldn't trade your life for nonexistence, to be replaced by this other kid I'd have later, right?" What could my kid reply? I know it's obvious and intuitive that a better future is BETTER than a worse future, for everyone, and that we shouldn't just be fatalists and assume that we can do whatever we want. THAT IS WHY WE HAVE A PARADOX ON OUR HANDS. If it weren't obvious that a smog free LA were better, then we wouldn't have anything to wonder about, except some weird questions of identity that would be largely irrelevant. But we DO know that a smog free LA is better, and we need some way to explain that AND to explain the equally appealing idea that it is better to exist with asthma than not to exist at all. That, at least, is what I suspect Nappi would claim, and it seems to me like the most reasonable position to take in response to this thread's central question. But it gives us a puzzle which seems to require solving.
  22. GOTY

    Not quite a GOTY list, but Brendon "Thirty Flights of Loving" "Blendo Games" Chung posted his thoughts on games he played this year.
  23. Clairvoyance

    Wow, that looks really interesting. I haven't heard of it before and I love everything from how adorable it looks to the asynchronicity. I of course haven't played it so I shouldn't be judging but just from the look of it I think I might prefer Frozen Synapse. Paradoxically I think I would prefer Frozen Synapse because of its complexity, which makes the game simpler - by this I mean that you have so many options at any given moment in Frozen Synapse that it's almost impossible to overthink things - there are a zillion levels of mind games and complex strategies and so on, but there are so many unknowns that you can play like I do and not worry about perfection. I prefer to do my Frozen Synapse turns fairly quickly compared to some people - I don't plan out intricate turns for my enemy and simulate everything down to millisecond perfection based on what I think they'll do. I can be sloppy like this because the option space is so wide open that I'm not crippled by leaving some of the possibilities on the table, unconsidered. Meanwhile in something like Clairvoyance (or another game I suck at, chess) the possibility space for an upcoming move is greatly narrowed, and because of this I can't get away with sloppiness. If I don't do due diligence in Clairvoyance it looks like I can get burned by some sort of possibility I had overlooked. Obviously this can happen in Frozen Synapse too, but since things are so wide open it's not like your opponent can, via intelligence or trial and error or luck, end up with the perfect execution of some strategy that just creams you - this can happen, but only if things go terribly wrong, because you have so many options that chances are your plan doesn't get you magically creamed unless you're just bad at the game. When I see Clairvoyance's tight little grid and short list of possible commands, my brain starts to say "oh man, you really need to think about whether someone moves to THAT grid space or THAT grid space..." and so on. Overload! I'm bad at that sort of thing. Well, I'm not awful, but again I prefer the more open Frozen Synapse style which doesn't make me feel like I need to evaluate everything. And you need to think further ahead because robots ride other robots, have very regimented and discrete movement possibilities, etc. So, to make a long story short, I don't have much money and I don't think I'll spend $5 on Clairvoyance, but I'll definitely keep a very watchful eye on it. Thanks for posting about it!
  24. Is having children immoral?

    It can definitely be a change for the better, but it can't be better for YOU. Or for ME. Or... for anyone? Once enough time has gone past, there is nobody alive for whom a change in the past could be worse or better, because their existence depends on it, but that sounds paradoxical, because wouldn't, for instance, reducing pollution be obviously better? That's why we have a problem - it's egocentric if we only look at ourselves, but the thing is that EVERYONE can look at themselves, and the problem generalizes.