robotslave

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  1. Regards Corn v. Maize: Guys, there's a new world crop. Didn't exist in Europe until after the conquest of north america. Called both "maize" and "corn." And then there's a collection of grains referred as "corn" in manuscripts going back to ancient Rome, none of them related to Amerindian maize. So, clear enough, right? If it's the yellow or white stuff that comes on cobs originating in the Americas, you can call it "maize" and be totally fine. If it has middle eastern origins and you want to insist on calling it "corn" instead of "barley" or "millet" or what have you, then you're being a dick. In short, this is yet another case of "you know what, no, it's not 'both sides do it'," and if you're getting sucked in and amused by the entirely artificial internet-bigots-originated debate, then you're part of the problem. Hope that helps?
  2. This episode cuts off abruptly at 1:16 and change; did you guys run out of tape again?
  3. Seriously, rename the cast to "Idle Monday", if that's when you're going to publish it. On Monday, working people are simply not in the mindset you're trying to speak to in this podcast. We've just been thrown into the the work week. We are not thinking about what we're going to do next weekend. We are not unwinding and relaxing. We are anxious or burdened or amped up or all three; we are not winding down and chilling out and contemplative. We don't have a lot of idle time on Monday night (or Tuesday, or Wednesday) if we have any at all. Just change the name of the cast to "Back to the Grind" and readjust the tone, if you simply don't have the schedule space to publish a Weekend cast on Friday anymore. I figure you'd quickly gain an audience for a "Stressful Mondays" podcast... surely you've got the experience to draw on for that, no? But I for one am done with listening to "Sleepy lazy Weekend pajama times" podcasts on fucking Monday nights after work.
  4. So if this was recorded before the election, is Monday the new publication day for Idle Weekend? Seems a little odd...
  5. Idle Thumbs 274: A Good One

    Listening to The Thumbs totally not know the term "board" just made me yell and throw things and yell some more. Yes, you hopeless idiots, it came from arcade games. Which, early on, didn't have much variation between the map of one "level" and the next. The game had a board. You repeatedly cleared it. When you cleared the board, you went on to the next board, which looked exactly the same but had slightly faster enemies and more of them. And maybe a different color palette. You idiots don't even know where to put your quarter to reserve the next game, do you. God damnit. This is your history, you little ingrates. Your culture. Now go to your rooms, all of you. No, I don't want to hear it. GO TO YOUR ROOM. Which doesn't have a television in it. And you're not allowed to play your video game, either.
  6. Hey guys, thanks for pointing me to the Idle Thumbs Blog, lots of great information there! Really looking forward to the new show on the network, "Esports Today"!
  7. Firewatch Spoiler Thread | Henry Two Hats

    This is what I'm getting at when I say the game doesn't close the circle. That moment should come when you discover Ned's bunker, and find his notes, and (cough cough) perhaps a bit of what drove him to perpetrate this insane, deeply sadistic hoax, and to then reveal himself to Henry... but it never arrives. I'm skeptical of taking Chris's interview answer as the intended theme of the game; it sounds like he was describing a comparison that was used at the studio to develop tone, rather than theme or meaning or intention. Regardless of the intention, though, I'd agree that it didn't entirely land. There were really well delivered emotional beats-- particularly the second-person prologue and the sequence culminating in discovering Brian's body. But it definitely feels like there should have been one more. Also I have thoughts about first-person vs. second-person games, but they're a bit academic and aren't quite entirely cooked yet.
  8. Firewatch Spoiler Thread | Henry Two Hats

    Bjorn: From what I understand a Forest Fire Lookout really does need to be in the tower at all times, or at least as much as feasible; a few hours can be the difference between a fire that can be handled easily and one that can't be handled at all. The game really misrepresents the job, but that's out of dramatic necessity I suppose. Twig: There's a spigot and a cistern at the base of the tower; Henry doesn't need to go to a creek or lake to wash up.
  9. Firewatch Spoiler Thread | Henry Two Hats

    And I wish it had worked better for me, too. As mentioned, I don't think the game quite closes the circle when taken on its own terms. I'm open to being persuaded otherwise, though. Oh, and I definitely don't think the game is about irresponsibility, or running away, or even about carrying your problems with you (Henry certainly does this, but I don't think that's what the game is about), so yeah, we've got totally different ideas about what this thing is trying to say. A wife with progressive dementia isn't a problem you can solve, is it?
  10. Firewatch Spoiler Thread | Henry Two Hats

    That makes sense. For what it's worth, I very much disagree with the idea that this game is trying to convey something that can't be conveyed unless I am allowed to assume the role of the main character, but then I think we have entirely different ideas of what this game tries to convey.
  11. Firewatch Spoiler Thread | Henry Two Hats

    I honestly don't see how this is logically distinguishable from "According to my definition of Game, Games are not allowed to convey idea/story Y; thus the thing trying to do this is not a game." You clearly do see a distinction there, though, and that's fine.
  12. Firewatch Spoiler Thread | Henry Two Hats

    As I said, "uncharitably," no? I'm not sure how you draw the lines between "X is not a game," "X tries to be a game but isn't," "X should not have tried to be a game," etc. I mean, the "not a game" complaint isn't often leveled at things that aren't video games, is it?
  13. Firewatch Spoiler Thread | Henry Two Hats

    Tom Chick's review can rather uncharitably be boiled down to "It's not a game." It's a much smarter argument than usual, but it is far too prescriptive about what sort of experience a game must be, or what sort of story a game is allowed to tell. That's not to say that there isn't something missing from Firewatch. It does not, as Chick points out, give the player agency in a way that video game players are accustomed to. It does not have multiple endings. It does not allow the player to influence outcomes. The problem with Chick's complaint is that this is quite clearly deliberate. The player can only observe and interpret the story, but the story is about observation. I mean, go maybe go read the title of the game again, you know? Maybe it's more than just a literal description of the setting? Now, there's an definitely an argument to be made that the game fails to execute. If it had been more explicit or convincing (I don't have quite the right word here) then the complaints would be more along the lines of "the symbolism of wildfire doesn't quite work; the conflagration in Henry's life is in in the past and growing more distant, not spreading to engulf things that previously seemed safe." Perhaps what the game lacks is self-confidence, but then this is a first game from a new company, and there is a theme of uncertainty in the story itself that might be undermined by more deft, direct presentation. Or maybe it's just the UI. The first thing I do when I start a game is open up the options menu just to see what's in there (usually it's merely a wad of video-card gibberish, alas). In this one I saw the options to turn off waypoints and map markers and carrots dangling from strings, and promptly did so-- if the game gives you the option to turn them off, then you don't need them. That might have made the game just that much less gamey, just enough to make me want to think about it in other terms. The story itself is about the limits of communication, about misinterpretation, about there sometimes being no joy at all in learning the truth. It's about not knowing what to say, or what another person is trying to say-- a short story or a movie or a comic book could have conveyed that sense of being at a loss for words, but the the game's radio and sparse dialog options... aren't they at least an attempt to do that more effectively, more immediately? Again, there's an argument to be made that it doesn't work; I personally tend to loathe dialog trees in games, and they're so pervasive that anyone who plays games regularly is completely inured to them, and unlikely to notice any effect that the technique (or mechanic, if you must) might have on the experience of the story, or the themes. And this is story with themes. Tom Chick seems to understand that; what he seems to miss is the effort, effective or not, to use the medium of a video game to amplify those themes. OK, that's my problem with Tom Chick's review. I do have criticisms of the game, e.g. "Ned Did Everything" is a bit Deus Ex Machina when the bulk of character development was on Brian, Brian's death was telegraphed but not in the good way, Delilah's voice acting (or perhaps her script) didn't work for a character who reflexively lies to the police, and yeah, I'm still thinking about the symbolism of the wildfire, which is at the heart of the thing, and I'm just not convinced it works yet. But dear god, I'm not going to push the thing away and say "Bring it back to me as a novella, and then maybe I'll think about it in literary terms."
  14. Firewatch Spoiler Thread | Henry Two Hats

    Like most everyone else, I played through it relatively straight. Unlike some, I haven't got much interest in playing through it again to see what it's like when you make Henry be an asshole. My first complaint is that this is an absolutely terrible game to play through when you've got a really bad cough. Which I suppose is a compliment to whoever did the lighting and smoke effects, but I feel it really did exacerbate the coughing fits. And my second is that I tried to clean up every piece of litter I could out there in the wilderness, so it just killed me when I found two beer cans that were glitched into some rocks and couldn't be picked up. I'm not sure how I feel about Delilah. But then it seems that's how I'm meant to feel about her, so that's fine. The radio is of course a nice metaphor for the relationship, and relationships generally, and fits the story perfectly. But I'm curious: which came first, the conceit of the radio (presumably driven by a budget decision to do the game without character modeling/animation/etc) or the story that it would be used to tell?
  15. The Witness by Jonathan Blow

    OK, thanks. I assume that when you refer to... Edit: Had to look at a walkthrough to figure out how to turn on the panel that unlocks the thing. I'd say I felt foolish if it weren't so distant and arbitrary; the game until this ending stuff has been so very fair about it all.