Adam Beckett

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Everything posted by Adam Beckett

  1. I killed my Twitter & Facebook accounts for quick communication, but I still wanted to share this book talk I found in my daily C-Span newsletter somehow, with the Three Moves Ahead listeners (and maybe, maybe ... Troy, Bruce and Rob). Norman Friedman talked about how wargaming, or military strategy games and exercises, at the U.S. Naval War College contributed to Allied success in the Pacific at the end of World War II. “Visualizing a Future War: Wargaming at Newport and the Pacific War” was a portion of “Endgame: August 1945 in Asia and the Pacific,” a symposium hosted by the Institute for the Study of Strategy and Politics. Yes, military wargaming is about 'games' as game theory is about Super Mario, but with the discussions on the 3MA podcasts and all our general interest in history, I thought, this might be something some might like to hear/watch, too. I recently feel drawn towards the impenetrable "Command Modern Air/Naval Operations" - particularly every time after watching the latest episode of "The Last Ship" on Sundays. It is kind of the closest to this topic?
  2. Episode 315: Fixing Franchises

    Good, fun episode. Especially when the heretic opinions started flushing in. I still like TW Rome II a lot, but I will not defend it here. Makes no sense. "Fixing a franchise" is such a game publisher topic though? Very abstract. Very high level marketing/sales suits topic. I do not think, there could be an agreement (between whom, btw? Journalists? Gamers? Developers? Publishers? All together?!) WHAT about a franchise is seen as 'broken'. It is my firm believe that game developers - the worker drones of this industry - always try to make the best game they can. It is the economic circumstances, the (public IPO) company pressures and the company decision level floor meetings which decide what game we - customers - are getting? I don't think Relic really wanted to make a gazillion tank skins, or Codemasters where eager to strip features (yes, I too am one of those people who own 6 out of 6 Codemasters official FIA Formula 1 games. Each years edition felt like an expensive patch, rather than a new game). What interests me most about this topic, are companies like EGOSOFT (X-Series, space game), who make only ONE title, doing the same thing for decades, again and again, and land a complete flop (their latest X-Rebirth). Customers turn away, when the reputation is gone. How do you regain their trust? How do you continue, as a company, if you are a one-trick pony and the pony forgot that trick? Publishers/Devs like Blizzard or even Paradox can work on their games for years, thanks to their business structure and fanbase. And the kind of dramatic changes a company like Blizzard is willing to do (Diablo 3, pre-release AND post-release) is quite amazing to watch.
  3. Spent a full hour(!) writing something brilliant, balanced and clever in this comment section ... and then the text was flushed, probably because I am on Internet Explorer, or autosave function became self-aware and threw my words into the Void! Let's assume it was worthwhile reading... and I now saved you time, on top.
  4. Episode 308: Order of Battle: Pacific

    First of all - I love the 3MA podcasts. They are the "thinking man's" podcasts. And, I hate to be "that guy", but - I'm afraid - that is exactly what I am going to be. It is always a cheap shot to armchair generalize what was said on the podcast, and, I love different opinions, opposing opinions, polemic opinions. Having said that, I find myself always dozing off when Bruce Geryk starts to talk about his war (gaming) experiences and the inaccuracy of this game and that game, compared to his war stories. It feels like he is criticizing these modern day computer games for not being the games he is imagining in his head? To him, these games sound almost insulting? As for the "realism" part in war game design and video game design especially, the great American Philosopher, Shane Bettenhausen once said: "It is nice to want things [Garnett]". I play the games in front of me, not the games I am imagining. Yet, I understand, the games they are imagining make for a good discussion. Funny enough, I fire these exact kind of argument artillery at Sid Meier's Civilization games and their failed attempt at 'history'. For some reason, I don't care about it in the game mechanics of Vietnam 65 or Panzer Generals, or this game. Of course, I never see the flaws in my own arguments, but always in others. As for more realism, I recommend "DCS World" or "Rise of Flight" - try to lift off and stay in the air. Get shot immediately = there is your 'realism' experience? Or play Tripwire's "Rising Storm" FPS ... attack with your "Banzai" cry ... and die immediately too. Video games are abstractions. They cut exactly that part out, you think is more important. Most of all: death.
  5. Episode 296: Sunless Sea

    For those who are interested, there is a nice, long post-mortem about this game on Gamasutra by Alexis Kennedy, creative director and lead-writer of "Sunless Sea".
  6. Submitting Questions for the Q&A Show

    Q1) The best video game AI moment, you can remember, as in "No - you didn't just do that?!" Q2) The video game and/or board game, you spent the most time with, by far.
  7. Episode 273: The Guns of August

    ... speaking of Hastings; at the end of this episode, Rob Zacny quoted him from memory. Here is the exact quote and the source? "The Schlieffen Plan, in my view, was always a fantasy, unless the French and British had suffered absolute collapse on the battlefield. But the soaring advance of German manufacturing and trading was a force in world affairs far stronger than any fleet of dreadnoughts." Every plan is a 'fantasy' at first? The question is not how realistic this plan was (which was no real plan at first, as we all know, but became one, when it was refined by von Moltke and should really have HIS name instead?), the question is rather, are there people who believe in it, and are they strong enough to turn this 'fantasy' into reality. We all know the answer to that. Trivial sidenote: this is the common ground, where 'wargaming' is both - a hobby, we here share - and a 'fantasy' of real Generals, thinking about the 'what if'-scenarios? In that sense, we all are touching history and it certainly is part of what makes (good) war games so interesting. With every turn, we are asking a historical question, in that sense, and we cannot await the answer of our (Game AI or human) opponent.
  8. Episode 272: Knights of the Sky

    Jolly good podcast, this week! When it flies - and, oh boy, did it this week - the conversation hits my own nostalgia from the early years, adding unknown, interesting elements, I have not heard before. It is fueled by a mix of decades of experiences and moments of humor. I chose to share the 'enthusiasm' for this "Summer of WWI/The Great War of video gaming", making me dig, buy and play all WWI games I can find (at least for a short time), read old history books again and watch documentaries and old movies. 3MA triggers and enhances the desire to do so. Thank you, for that. _________ PS: I would defend 'Digital Combat Simulator' and especially the A-10c Warthog module. Yes, we all don't have time, as much as we want to, yet we all find time to sink in various games or other leisurely activities. I appreciate the existence of (highly accurate) complexity in flight simulations. The start up procedure tutorial of the A-10c is extensive and highly informative. It makes me look up the manual and revisit things I learned in physics class. It makes me dive into subjects like avionics: flight electronics, radio communications, engines, weapon systems, etc. I learn a lot about modern aircrafts. The complexity of some of the most advanced machinery (and how 'patched together' it all really is). Bringing this kind of commitment to detail into the 'video game' world, deserves to be applauded. I try to handle the on board computer displays during combat and fail. I try to handle the aircraft under emergency conditions (engine failure, APU fire, etc) and fail ... and it's 'fun', because I don't have to die in real life while trying things, I will never be able to do (with my age). Yes, it takes time. But is it not that kind of gameplay we used to cry for, in our youth? Simulations, video games, games - doing things, without the 'real' punishment. Learning. Discovery... And don't get me started on the DCS KA-50 or UH-1H Huey helicopters! Magnificent gameplay! (Needs far less 'button switching' in flight. You can enjoy it more; just the challenge of maneuvering the helicopter with your hopefully advanced flight controllers.)
  9. Idle Thumbs 168: I Like the Hair

    I can't believe I read through all your comments. This Dota discussion is so equally esoteric and non-productive? Unless you are all future TV executives. My old boss said: "If you can't change it, don't worry about it". I don't want this years TI to be any different then it was. If you love the game you respect the game - you don't change it, unless you are the developer. People watch 12 hours of golf, for Christ's sake... every day. Questions of balance and 'the right way' - ask 5 people, get 10 answers? Watching Newbee on Monday 14th going from 9 AM, beating everyone on their way, was a treat. There were so many great (and close) games this year. The Super Bowl game usually never is the best game of the season. Why should Dota2 be different? Do continue, by all means ...
  10. Episode 270: Gaul Stones then, it must be me. I failed to build a 'supply line', in the very first moments of the game. As Troy, said, do not deviate from the tutorial ... or the tutorial script ends. Even when I follow the tutorial by the letter, the game mechanics are at full throttle. Sending my non-Caesar army to the west, they were attacked by Helvetic raiders. Surprise, I guess. The tutorial tells me to create a 'supply line', but does not tell me 'how'*, after minutes ago telling me to click this and hold that, explicitely. Before I achieved the very first missions, my armies starved to death. If this tutorial is excellent, then I am far too dumb to play this game. If Troy meant the written tutorial, instead the interactive one, then that might be another thing. I don't mind learning a game. This podcasts makes me invest more time to this than I usually would. The camera controls are not a problem for anyone, but me, neither? *edit: The supply line tutorial was on the Lugdunum (West) side of the map. It triggered only after it was mentioned before, while Caesar went to the East, back to Eporedia. This is a minor thingy. Now, I feel even more stupid for having mentioned it. Also, the tutorial seems to by 'dynamic' - certain events trigger certain tutorial elements. Paying attentiion seems to be the key. Mea culpa!.
  11. Idle Thumbs 168: I Like the Hair

    ... as for Bioshock Infinite: it would be a great 5-page Science Fiction short story (if Robert A. Heinlein did not have already written 'All You Zombies' ca 1960, that is), but the market (or 2K? or Levine?) demanded "pew pew" again. Wolfenstein: The New Order does world building, fiction, storytelling, coherent enemies, AND shooting far better in a technical, mechanical, artistic and design sense. And it beats the oh so ambitious Spec Ops: The Line too. This game also made me WANT TO SHOOT (Nazis) again. It gave you an incentive. It is still limited to mostly 'shooting', in its repetitive sense, but you get through it with a motivation.
  12. Idle Thumbs 168: I Like the Hair

    ViCi's Press Conference had the charm of China's 1970's Communist Party National Congress Meetings. I am that old, to know about them.
  13. Episode 267: Revising History

    About Bioshock Infinite - I recommend Wolfenstein: The New Order to everyone instead, who can endure a First Person Shooter gameplay. This game was really surprising in the 'world-building' sense. It does revisionist history - 'What if Germany won the World War II?' - in a frightening and very convincing way! You find notes throughout the game, giving you hints on what happened after 1945, which gives you shivers. The Nazis finished building the atomic bomb, etc. The game architecture also reflects Albert Speer's visions of a Nazi Utopia. I guess Robert Hariss' novel 'Fatherland' does the same trick. I still have not read it.
  14. Episode 268: Pickett's Charge

    I hate you guys. Making me break my principle to not buy 'Early Access' games; but do I really have a choice, after this (highly entertaining) episode? And on top, an unfinished game, that is getting so much praise, made with help by a loudmouthed DarthMod, whom I only know, but despise, from his mean, bloated Total War mod notes: ("Total War ... as the game should have been ... from the beginning" - "the arcade feeling of the official game is removed" - "the mod's main scope is to destroy the 'weak' arcade factors and replace them with realistic features" - "really real..." - etc, etc, etc...) And yet, here you are, claiming this game is great and you obviously all have great fun with it. So, I will join your fight. PS: You all seem to enjoy the "UI-less" screen. Dare I say, I often play Total War campaign real-time battles by clicking "K" and all UI is gone. Positioning and routing and morale does play also a role in TW games, as you all know. Play Total War without UI and in slow motion speed and the influence is there to be seen, beyond General DarthMod's claim to have re-invented TW? PPS: Btw, Sid Meier's Gettysburg still runs on modern Windows OS systems. There is a XP/Windows2000 patch update, which lets me play it on Windows 8.1 64-bit. Appendix: Small German/Preussian Dictionary for Generals: "LINKS!" = left "RECHTS!" = right "VORWÄRTS!" = forward "ATTACKE!" = attack "RÜCKZUG!" = retreat "Ich kapituliere!" = I surrender ... if ever a wargame is going to apply voice commands.
  15. Episode 264: Building vs Battle

    I could see this subject being revisited again and again with a different panel of game developers. It is so rich and 'existential' in many ways, that would justify (and probably enrich each time) a new iteration.
  16. Episode 267: Revising History

    The conception, perception, deception of history in itself, is a fascinating topic? The fragility of sources, the search for methodology, of how we try to understand, preserve, (re-)imagine, betray 'history' ... and what is says about us (most often, even more than about the topic?). If nothing else, this podcast was a window into some general believes of the podcast's hosts, which helps to understand their thinking better, next time, when the subject is more narrow, focused on a specific game. It also underlines some common ground. Sometimes, basic things have to be said out loud (the history we know, written by the winners, based on lies, based on biases and chauvinism, etc, etc.). And on top, thinking about these subjects, which are so complicated enough in themselves, in the context of video games - made it even more interesting.
  17. Episode 256: The Days of Yor

    I feel bad for game developers. It takes a lot of mind power for a consumer to understand that a "100"-bucks price point is meant as a wall to keep them outside ... unless they are willing to a) support the project in general and invest time to the game development part. On the other hand, there is something intrinsically - let me say - 'obscene', about asking people for a lot of money to become a glorified Q&A tester? What crushes this second point, is the freedom of commerce. Who ever wants to agree to a contract of this sort has every right to do it ... and people from outside, like myself, have no right to complain about it. What I like about "Early Access" in general, is the ability to 'join' such an early project and see it develop over time. It makes players understand the process of how the sausage is made better. It is also interesting how game developers are willing to share the process with their customers? Certainly, experienced, dedicated players always had a chance to give feedback to a game, but this 'daily-build' sharing, makes everything more immediate and dynamic? It also makes it difficult to explain to non-developers how these builds are 'early', 'fragile', 'broken' ... in progress. Players tend to judge what they see (often harshly). It takes time to understand and 'see' the game, behind the build? Early 'bad comments' can suddenly hurt such a project, as much as it can help the work process to make it a more 'polished' product? I wonder, how much player feedback is part of the daily sorrows of a producer or project lead and at which point they have to shut down that noise.
  18. Assassins Creed Unity

    "sweet historical moment" ... SWEET HISTORICAL MOMENT??! Duder, I don't know you - don't take it the wrong way - I guess, somebody needs to read up on his/her history, preferably a bit deeper than the average Wikipedia page or "History Channel" MTV video? Those wars were real and one of them almost wiped out all of Europe. Words matter? As for Assassin's Creed: 1. Assassin's Creed Unity is an awful name? Makes me think, AC is running now on the Unity engine. 2. Using history as a pure scenery and backdrop for the same game mechanics and (hence meaningless) gameplay is like a costume movie? I enjoy the technical achievement with each AC iteration. Architecture, (indeed) costumes, rendering improvements, animations, sound design ... neither story, nor sci-fi nonsense plot. Once again - we had these discussions in the past - history is 'taken' out of context, to serve like a candy store and provide the tons of chocolate drops and fillings for the ahistorical attempts of video games. 'Using' history to diminish historical events, by making them a stage painting for jumping and running around. The worst part is, that uneducated youngsters start to think "this must have been, how it was" through these types of games, because reading more than one book and going to museums or libaries out of curiousity is completely lost on the Internet & mobile phone generations? And so the "sweet historical moment" is born?
  19. Episode 251: We Built This City

    Cassandra and Troy mention another, upcoming city builder game, which led Troy to made a comment, about the high quality of their "game dev diaries" - does anyone remember, what game it was? I am browsing through the podcast, but I cannot find the timestamp, right now. Thanks. [Also, everytime these words are put together in that order: 1."We" 2."Build" 3."This" 4."City" - the Jefferson Airplane/Starship song of my rotten youth is playing in my head (just like right now!) for hours on end. Don't you laugh! It is a serious disease!] [edit] ... never mind. Found it: It was Clockwork Empires by Gaslamp Games (Sorry, for the notification noise, everyone. )
  20. Episode 231: Odi et... odi.

    Et tu, 3MA. While I know, you don't have to be a cook, to say a soup has too much salt, I encourage everyone talking about video games to learn programming and make better games. You are all welcome. Vale.
  21. Now, I feel ashamed, that such an excellent discussion started after quoting my poor ramblings at 3AM (I live in Europe). Also: apologies. English was the 5th, of a couple more languages, I failed to learn properly to this day. My wordsmithing lacks polish in each one. AND my brain is old, dazed & confused. This discussion here, in this thread, is going into different directions. All very interesting in themselves. What I myself was going after, others here articulated way more eloquently (TychoCelchuu, for example, on page 4). Also, what feelthedarkness (on page 2) called "decontextualization" [of history]. History is fragile. There is no "one" truth. I am of the school of thought that "we" are continuously re-inventing and re-telling history. Many of it is based on relics, physical evidence, scientific research, scientific conclusions, based on the current methodologies, state-of-art science, etc, etc ... but also based on prior narrative (academic papers, documents, scholary notebooks, lectures, speeches, religion and religious practices, oral history, mythology). I don't need to remind you, WHO is writing the history, that future generations are reading. They all lie. No source is trustworthy. All is in flux. How "we" see 1492, 1789, 1933, 2000 or today is different, than in past decades and centuries. Also, simultaneously different, depending on where you come from, your teachers, which university you went to, which country you live in, which culture you are raised in. Everything can and will be criticized by power players. People, individuals, institutions, have certain "interests" and are actively trying to establish "their" view as the "true", the dominant one. History - real world history - is fragile. And there, along comes Civ. If the Civ games would be called "Alpha Centauri 2, 3, 4...", and all units and names and countries would come out of the SciFi/Fantasy realms, I would not bother anyone with anything. I am not saying Sid Meier's Civilization is his (the man) or the studios attempt to accuartely mirror our world. It's a game. I get that. But they intentionally set this game in historical context! For whatever reasons. And even unintentionally, this game, the design, the mechanics, implicitly are making a statement about "history", about "the world" and the worlds "mechanics", etc, etc. Now, you can be a veteran video game player, well educated, well raised, well versed in the mechanics of the real world and your brain is of the kind that is analytical and sharp. You are also an adult. During the 8-bit era, many design decision of the artistic kind were based on stereotypes. I would argue, not because the game developers were more racist then others around them, but because, it was very difficult to make something recognizable with so little pixels. Certain stereotypes were used to evoke certain characteristics. African American, females ... you name it. You know the games I am talking about. These were not the proudest days of video game history. Using familiar tropes and themes makes it easier to connect the player to the game (mechanics) and the game world. But we are beyond those early days. How about a version of you, or rather not you, who is 12 years old, and plays CIV 5. The 12 year old does NOT "know" who "General Rommel" really was. Of course, the Rommel in the game is not the "real" General, nor is it trying to be. It is most likely a (not-so) randomly generated NPC name, which some game dev must have thought is funny. Context either makes it funny ... or not. Depending on who you are, where you grew up. I recall hearing some developer talking about the "real" Shoshone and some interaction with the native American tribe in context with a representation of them in the game. The developers DO see some responsibility of what they are doing, it seems. Or they are forced to not ignore it. So, this kid plays Civ, conquers all of Africa and a month later - depending on where you live, of course - might hear about Erwin Rommel in school. Your video game character has suddenly a second life. I cannot imagine how the fake history game world is informing the real history "knowledge" of children and what will "stick" and what not. To say the least, as trivial as this all may sound to some, it sounds at least "problematic", if not troubling to others? Maybe not a single name of a single character, but how about the underlying "philosophy" (the mechanics) of the game. The representation of cultures, technology, philosophies. While it still IS a game, "it" (rather the developers) cannot hide behind that argument of the reductionism that is at work here? idSofware, teaching me how to shoot in a FPS, doesn't make me a better soldier (at least, I don't think so). Telling me something about "Civilization" (even the bland Intro video of Civ 5 - it is offensively annoying to my ears, if not yours), is making statements in this (real) world. It's not making me a bad person, but it informs my real world views, one way or another (just listen to some remarks I think Troy Goodfellow was making jokingly(?!) in the podcast). Even if it is "just a video game"? At the same time, I can play CoH2, Rising Storm, Wargame European Escalation or Gary Grigsby's War in the East, not having to think about any of this. These are adult games for adults. They are not trying to make statements about workings of the world beyond their (limited) scenarios? Again, I seem to have failed, to express what I mean. You go on ...
  22. Episode 225: Brave New World

    Since this is such a highlight and everyone is so positive about it, let me bring you all down, if I can. Let's start by telling you, I always had trouble with video games using historical settings on a world scale. It is my fault. I cannot abstract the idea of playing a video game from the intention to 'use' history and historical facts (names, places, cultural landmarks, technology) I started the "Brave New World" and my Morrocan ruler (one ruler to rule them all, as always - never mind tribal culture - but that's fine) from the Saadi clan just discovered the Kilimanjaro, a few tiles away (never mind the biggest desert on Earth in between, I guess). My first "General" is called "Rommel"(!) - most certainly beloved by the Morrocans. Next, my neighbors - a native American tribe (Shoshone, on the soil of AFRICA!) said hello. Take a moment to let this sink in. Explain it to a four year old you know. I am not so dumb, to doubt, that the Civilization games - and especially this latest incarnation - have a lot of great 'systems', game mechanics and offer great gameplay. What you all seem to enjoy (and I envy you for it), is the complexity of how the systems are more refined and allow for more complex gameplay than ever before. If anything, the idea to turn reality into game mechanics is fascinating and thrilling to game designers and developers, for sure. My problem with this (and these kind of games) is: everything in the world is reduced to one unified ideology: follow the game rules (mechanics). This games' mechanics are propagating a unified view of the world and the people in it. Everyone and everything under "one" game mechanics (which means "one set of rules"). Diversity, complexity, heritage and history, are just different colors on the same set of units. "History" as lipstick. "Social policies" do not "naturally" progress into "Ideology" It is a field of controversy and world views, It is a topos for political and theoretical debate, based on highly complicated rules of who is saying what to whom. Neither Hegel's nor Sid Meier's "Weltgeist" is the "End of History" all-in-one ideology. But while Fukuyama tried to tell Hegel's story to a wider audience, at least, Sid Meier can say "Hey, it's just a game." Suddenly YOUR ideologies and YOUR believes discussing the 'real' world are colored (or limited) by thoughts, that are informed by game design decisions. Mixing 'real' world history debate with ideas based on 'compelling' game design, turns everything into ahistorical relativism? Relativism is the death of history. Again - all my fault. Because I cannot divide the real from this virtual terra nouva, when every "terra" is a "terra nullius". This game truly is a "Brave New World" as it turns real history and the origins of real culture into (meaningless) toys. History as a 'science', as a source, is always fragile, always under threat, always 'up for grabs', for debate. The fear of mixing my thoughts about toys with the real world, makes me not enjoy any of these games. And seeing "culture as a weapon" is certainly ONE way to see the world. Not mine.
  23. I vividly remember the DUB STEP mode reveal on the Giant Bomb / Double Fine KINECT PARTY stream. It was glorious! Mind blowing!! That mode alone was worthy of buying that game. But in general, it was Double Fine which understood to embrace the jankiness of that Kinect 1.0 version. "It is not precise? Fine! Let's make a bunch of mini-games where it does not matter!" - Brilliant! The only other game dev was Harmonix and their Dance Central. Who likes to move? Kids do! YouTube videos of them playing those games prove it. Your Ryan Davis surgical tribute was perfect, too. I wrote my own eulogy as many people did on Ryan Davis. I myself needed it. It was cathartic. But unlike you, I never met him. A guy on Twitter wrote: "somewhere else just got a lot funnier." GLHB, Ryan.
  24. Episode 224: Stopped at the Gates of Moscow

    I listened to the podcast twice now. You have the sort of ivory tower discussion, which is pretty common in a profession that is still trying hard to justify its own existence, beyond being a "holiday issue" recommendation, or a technical review ("does it run on my machine?"). Twenty years ago, I used to translate contemporary French philosophers and was maybe one of not more than five people, at one time, who really understood the subject, the author was talking about in that country. Even academics, not to mention students, did not grasp how 'wrong' they were about their popular believes and misinterpretations of the most fundamental ideas of this persons work. They read his work, but did not read the work that author had read. The very reason why he wrote and why it was novel. What am I trying to say? Scholars - true scholars - are a lonely bunch. The conversation is limited. I would have agreed for several decades, that any 'video game critic' would have to study hard and know all the games, that came before. He (or she), would have to know, how to think at least "three moves ahead", know board games, war games, political theory, engineering, know mechanics, concepts, math(!), and history (the general kind, which ever so often drops into the conversations, I gladly listen to on 3MA). In short: context, context, context. But these days, this is a very solitary and tedious conversation to have? I can see how someone who loves and enjoys Strategy Games for a living(!), would feel a certain way. I also would understand, how strategy game fans of the earlier games, would not appreciate the latest incarnation of their beloved franchise, which seems to have been prey to ... economical decisions and circumstances of multi-million dollar developments, trying to reach costumers, in a ever tighter and more competetive market? Again, context? It is nice to have a fireplace kind of conversation, dissecting the subtleties of Flaubert's "Madame Bovary", understanding why that novel was different during its time period. The historical significance of it. The importance for later writers, etc, etc ... I myself enjoyed the conversation on the podcast, I have heard, completely aware of its 'special status', while "in the wild" out there, illiterate kids write reviews for free on websites, just to get their foot, into the "video game industry" (at least, they think they do) and more literate ones, write utter nonsense pretty much every hour of every day, writing with their "guts" instead their brains, because they are so limited in their intellectual range. "Video games" - it is still a playing field for 'young' people? Thus, the conversations around video games will remain boring, unless one knows where to look and what to read (or listen) to? And Company of Heroes 2? Depends? In ONE point, I would strongly disagree with Mr. Chick: "Expectations". You play (and review!) the game at hand, not the one you want it to be?* How is it helpful to me, when you judge a game by the level of your expectations and disappointment of it? It becomes a matter of your mind, in which I cannot see. That is the tipping point, I think, in which a personal conversation starts to ascend and becomes really interesting, while a "video game review" (or a conversation with strangers on the Internet) reaches its limit? I stop right here, before this turns into a real philosophical debate. Apologies. *) "It is nice to want things" - Shane Bettenhausen, ca. 2005.
  25. I don't know, if anyone else is interested in this. I stumbled over a document on Notes on Jungle Warfare from the U.S. Marines and U.S. Infantry on Guadalcanal Island"Close-up of Guadalcanal, October-November 1942: verbatim statements of participants" written February 1, 1943. Sections include leadership and use of staff, control, characteristics of this individual soldier, American tactics and methods, Japanese tactics and methods, recommendations for training, weapons, equipment and supply, sanitation and first aid, and communications." It is a fascinating read, IMHO.