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About lukert33

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  1. Idle thumbs sponsor deals

    Hi all, Is there a convenient place where I can go to see a history of the sponsors of idle thumbs and the promo codes they've offered? At the moment I'd like to buy a domain on hover and assume there's an idle thumbs promo code that is still live. In the short term, I'd appreciate that code, but I do think a listing of the sponsors and promo codes would be darn helpful. Best, Luke
  2. I do agree that the safety, the fact that the threat of harm is simulated, is the key separation/fictional aspect. What I've been fixated on is the fact that that separation seems not just to alleviate but to in fact reverse our natural inclination not to be frustrated or limited. Play fighting is a good comparison to bring up, but I'd suggest that it also fulfills the competitive urge that most people have to greater and lesser extents regardless of context. There are even plentiful accounts of people enjoying combat even when it is not for play; e.g. Scandinavian berserkers, let alone thrill seekers in the contemporary armed forces. Less common, however, are people who enjoy being generally persecuted by the environment (a la Miasmata) or genuinely tortured (a la S&M). The above suggestion of Survivorman is certainly apt, too. To that the best I can say that--on a way more minor scale than Les, the Survivorman--I've by now found myself in both situations. I've gone on weeks-long backpacking trips wherein I'm prepared to go from point A to a distant point B and hit some hikeable mountains on the way, and I've been caught completely unprepared and been amazed by how numbing it feels to have such little control of my wellbeing. I personally find that overcoming challenges along the lines of the Survivorman idea--I reiterate, to a way, way less intensive degree in my case--is thrilling and brings lasting satisfaction. Being lost with no safety valve and very little assurance that what I was doing was a good or bad call was only crappy, and only brought relief when I got out rather than a sense of satisfaction. BUT I'm thinking now that maybe I'm drawing a false distinction between games prominently employing frustration and simply good challenges, like a puzzle or FTL. I'll have to think on it for a bit.
  3. Hi Thumbs, Your discussion of Miasmata, and your various discussions of the Far Cries, have got me rethinking an experience I recently had IRL, and about stress and frustration in games and fiction, and environments. I was in Thailand this past November, on a vacation with two friends. We were on an island in the south Thai sea, taking a day hike. The hike started off well. The thin, steep, but gorgeous trail took us up a jungle-encrusted mountain and, in theory, down to a beach shortly after hitting a vista near the top of the mountain. I say in theory because after hitting the "peak" we lost the trail and, being in thick jungle under heavy canopy on the east side of a mountainous island, night fell on us almost without warning. We only had my iphone for light, a compass, and an emergency communication device. We began to proceed in a chain of three effectively blind men and, after trying unsuccessfully to make a final push toward the ocean (which we could hear), and retrace our steps back to the path (which was hopelessly invisible in the darkness), we split the single granola bar I'd brought between the three of us and attempted to find high ground to use my meager emergency reception to call the Thai authorities to report ourselves as missing and describe the vicinity. After being bounced between the police, tourist police, emergency services, and the tourism company on the crummy and sweat-soaked guidebook we had, we remained unreported and had only been given the advice to "try walking." Here I'll add that as the only member of the trio, I was advocating the opposite of walking in the dark in vertical terrain where the ground often gave way to sinkholes under our feet, because I know that in the wilderness you never risk injuring yourself even in ways that would seem minor in civilization (e.g. an ankle sprain). I said we should bed down somewhere relatively dry and wait for dawn while we were still generally near the trail we'd lost. My companions outvoted me, and we pressed on through thorns and vines, taking perhaps a full hour each to wind and pull our way across straight distances of maybe 60 meters. This period of the trek was marked by warped senses of distance and shape provoked by the dense, dark foliage, and repeated disappointments that, whenever we were able to peer through the jungle at the ocean we were trying to reach, we were inevitably dozens of meters above water breaking on cliffs. In the end we huddled together for five hours under a stone overhang, awaiting dawn, then walked down a small river and its various waterfalls, harassed by deep woods mosquitoes for five hours, until we happened upon a decrepit access road that got us to the beach. My 19 hours in the jungle taught me the value a machete and the rapidity with which one can apparently get used to and desensitized to the notion that severe injury or death can easily occur if one makes a small, easy mistake. Now: back to games. You've discussed the difference between the empowerment of the protagonist over the elements of Far Cry 3, and the realistic lack of empowerment in Miasmata. The broad idea of lack of empowerment expresses itself, in small instances, as frustration--the inability to scale a hill, the necessity to wait in hiding while a predator passes you by instead of pwning it--frustrations that games intended for a broad profit like FC3 conspicuously avoid. Yet frustration and inability clearly provide a certain type of player with intense delight; expanding this concept of frustration to literature, I also think Cloud Atlas tickles this same pleasure center when Mitchell cuts off the reader's enjoyment of a climactic moment to introduce an entirely new story. My question is: Where does this joy in frustration arise from, given that in real life no one enjoy real, unfixable failures and frustrations? I found the real deep jungle to be--as contemporaries of the lost explorer Percy Fawcett described it to him--a green hell inimical to life. Obviously if the jungle was populated by a genuinely murderous conspiracy all the worse. Yet I'm itching to play Miasmata (can't though, have a mac). As a side consideration: is it true that mainstream games will always trend toward empowerment while frustration will always be the territory of enthusiasts like the Idle Thumbs community? Is there an analogy to be drawn between our kind and the relation of S&M enthusiasts to the general population? What is up with we who like simulations of situations we would despair of in real life? Why should mere fictionality reverse our experience of frustration from aversion to attraction? Keep casting, Luke PS: Alternative question: I tried to trim that submission up as best I could, but another shorter question occurs to me relative to your discussions of jungles; what other environment would you like to see produced in a high-fidelity, high-reality simulation? Consider keeping it limited to a feet-on-the-ground exploration. For instance, I love how Assassin's Creed 2 let me get all up on renaissance architecture, and I think the upcoming Jonathan Blow game will explore a different theory of architecture in a different way. I'd love a game that has you running a new settlement on a new planet, trying to build a subsistence settlement while also discovering the ruins of a long-gone culture. Also: why has no one made a game based on Lovecraft's At the Mountains of Madness? Great setting.
  4. A Voyage to Arcturus by David Lindsay. One tantalizing bit of info: Harold Bloom, who is the most eminent living literary critic, only wrote one novel. It was an attempt at a sequel to A Voyage to Arcturus. He has since disowned his sequel, The Flight to Lucifer, saying that if he could he would remove every copy of the book from every library if he could. When idle book club is ready to reach back in time for a book but doesn't want something obvious, A Voyage to Arcturus would be great.
  5. David Mitchell

    In Cloud Atlas, watch out for one Boerhaave, who appears at the end of de Zoet as a fresh faced young sailor.
  6. David Mitchell

    Hi Chris, I'm listening to the podcast now and want to add my two cents regarding your dilemma about whether Adam and Frobisher are implicated as fictional characters because Luisa Rey is. My theory is that they are not, and this is not an accident of the structure. I suspect the author of "Half-Lives: The First Luisa Rey Mystery" encountered the letters from Frobisher to Sixsmith at some point, and probably Robert's sextet. It would explain why Sixsmith's past leaks into the Rey novel, which is really a very pulpy and predicatable affair apart from Rufus' back story (though not pulpy in a bad way). I'd say this demonstrates an interplay of real events inspiring and informing fictions and, more importantly, the inverse of fictional creations (e.g. certain sextets) informing/touching/inspiring real people. For an echo, we can look at the real story of Timothy Cavendish and how it appears, fictionalized, as a film in Sonmi's world. I do share your guys' dismay at Mitchell's assertion that reincarnation is at work. Working in that framework, though, it is kind of cool to view the decidedly schlocky art that is the Luisa Rey novel as a means for Cavendish to have a view to his former life as the greater artist Frobisher. Two cents deposited. Thanks for starting the book podcast!