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Everything posted by Bjorn

  1. Philosophy & Economics

    Slightly off topic, but I have a family member who designs and lays out high end restaurants and bars. He's explained some of his design documents to me and the logic/philosophy behind why he sets up a restaurant in a particular manner. It's kind of nuts the amount of thought that goes into some places. And now that he's pointed out a bunch of little things to me, I can always tell walking into a restaurant if someone thought about what they were doing, or if they just put up a bunch of crap where it felt right. Also, mostly posting here to thank the OP for that link to "Thou Shall Not Commit Logical Fallacies". That's the most useful thing on the Internet I've seen all week.
  2. Webcomics

    I used to read a bunch, but have really fallen behind over the last few months. Order of the Stick is the only one that I'm routinely keeping up with now. I did devour the entirety of Oglaf over the course of a couple of nights a few months ago. Oglaf is...well, NSFW is an understatement. It's kind of like hardcore porn meets an old-school D&D campaign, but with more humor and less arguing about the rules.
  3. Building a home theater...

    How did the screen mounting end up going? My living room is almost done. We repainted it this weekend, went from white to a reddish/purplish/brown color. It's a lot more attractive in person than that sounds. I don't know if it made a difference in blacks/contrast the way some guys insist. I was too tired after everything else to make a real judgement. The projector is ceiling mounted, power run to ceiling, hdmi cables run through the ceiling/wall, so it's all nice and clean looking. The retractable screen is supposed to be in on Tuesday, will probably get it installed on Wednesday after work. Feels like I need a vacation from my hobby though, all we did this weekend was work on that room. My wife is a badass though. She did all the work in the attic running wires, as it's a bit of a nightmare up there moving around and she's a lot lighter and more nimble than I am. It would have taken me twice as long to do it, as I'm always terrified of plummeting through the ceiling, and so move super slow and careful when I do have to go up there.
  4. Starbound

    I couldn't stop myself from looking through the Steam reviews on this. You would think that at this point, the proliferation of Early Access, Beta and Alpha releases would have given people some concept of how this process works. This gem is in the negative reviews: "● Even though Starbound is labeled as a 'Beta' there are still many missing features such as: ○ Total and complete lack of a tutorial. It is possible to figure things out as you go but searching forums and YouTube for answers does not make for a very good first impression of the game. ○ You are unable to delete your character unless you manually delete a few files in Windows Explorer or Finder. ○ There is no in-game help leaving many questions that force you to visit a forum. Even then you may not be guarenteed an answer."
  5. But doesn't it make sense in a thread about Far Cry 2 that something else should naturally emerge from the conversation, leading you to somewhere you didn't expect? In this case, an enforced native boarding school is our grenade rolling down a hill.
  6. Twitter

    Samath Aran has to fight the Mathroids by identifying prime numbers using her powered Varia suit and its morph ball ability, which one might call a powered Varia-ball... You know what, I'm sorry...I'll let my self out.
  7. Essential PS3 exclusives

    So I finally replaced my dead PS3 (an original BC 60GB model ) thanks to the awesome Black Friday sale on them, plus subscribed to PS+ for the first time. I have to say that's a hell of a deal, and much better than I remembered PS+ being back when it launched. Getting Uncharted 3, Ico, and SotC immediately was well worth the sale price for subscribing. Makes it affordable and easy to jump back into some of the PS3 exclusives.
  8. Starbound

    That sounds like some core balancing that needs to be addressed, but that's not too difficult. This does raise one of my concerns about the flow of Starbound. Given the infinite size of the universe, I've wondered if it will have a dramatically different or overwhelming feel to it, compared to the very fixed confines of Terraria. Or what the difficulty/grind curve will be like. Or whether it will be hard to become particularly invested in one world when there is always more to explore.
  9. Video Game Baby - Idle Parents

    Agreed! @juffowup, Parenting: You're doing it right when you make your own board games with kids. I love how kids of a certain age just treat games like toys. They have either no concept, or no interest, in the goals of the game, and instead just want to play with it. It's a charming reminder of the joy of games that you can lose track of as goal oriented adult. As far as creative stuff goes, we love excuses to dress up in costume as a family. We do zombie walks, RenFests, conventions and Halloween. A few of them have been gaming themed. It's another creative way to be geeky together as a family without having the screen as a part of it. It also teaches useful life skills, like basic sewing and how to properly apply a prosthetic neck wound.
  10. 2013

    Wow, holy crap. I don't honestly have anything intelligent to say about this, but wanted to acknowledge it. As for the topic at hand...this is a tough year. I've played a lot of good games, but not very many of them left me with that GOTY feeling. My nominees would have to be Spelunky HD and Gone Home, for which I give the nod to.......Spelunky! Not because it's holistically better than GH, but it is a better game. And it is Game of the Year.
  11. Starbound

    Yeah, the character creation part was actually available on their site for awhile just to play around with, and I had noticed the M/F options for the robots. Pretty awesome. I've elected to not play for now. I'll probably try it before release, but I'm going to let them get a few patches rolling before I try.
  12. Just wanted to highlight that part and add that the same system (with the same problems) took place in the US. In my town, there is one of those old boarding schools, which has been transformed into a full university now. But it operated as a boarding school all the way into the '50s or '60s.
  13. Gone Home from The Fullbright Company

    My point wasn't about the number of people moved to tears, it was that there is an overlap between people who had an emotional connection to GH and people who are well read and educated in literature. He dismissed an entire group of people as nonexistent. That's insulting, and only exists in his head bolstered by his own prejudice. GH did not make me cry, but I felt a strong emotional connection to it, more so than most other games I've ever played. To be honest, I tend not to be dramatically emotionally moved by novels, even though I am someone with a love affair with written language. I find that music, movies and plays are far more likely to draw out powerful emotion in me. Until the last year, games didn't really have that affect on me either. But both The Walking Dead and GH moved me greatly. TWD did it because I empathized so much with the being in the role of an adoptive father figure (as that's how I came into my daughter's life) and because of a scene in the first episode that was heart wrenching for me due to my own past. That doesn't mean that I think that TWD is the equivalent of great cinema, but I'm willing to acknowledge that games are getting better and better about drawing out more complex emotions from people, and that is a new experience for games.
  14. Gone Home from The Fullbright Company

    No, the insulting part is that he makes it clear that he does not believe there is a Venn Diagram overlap of people who were emotionally moved by GH and people who appreciate and are knowledgeable about fine literature and "serious television." He sets up the supporters of GH to be ignorant others, the uneducated, who simply are not knowledgeable enough about the history of literature to have a true appreciation of where GH fits in. He belittles that emotional connection with his dismissal. This thread and plenty of other blog posts and essays prove him wrong on that point.
  15. Gone Home from The Fullbright Company

    Thanks for the link to that essay, it does a better job of discussing GH as a game, and highlighting more specifics about it. That was another thing that bugged me about the Bogost piece, he's very general in his criticism and praise. I'd expect more specificity given the claims he's making. Okay, after a night's sleep, I feel a little more coherent. Here's the point that set me off last night: "It’s impossible and undesirable to question these reactions, to undermine them with haughty disregard." This is just the backhanded concession that he's made, as he is about to not just undermine, but completely dismiss people's emotional reactions with haughty disregard. "But it’s also not unreasonable to ask how these players could have been so easily satisfied. For readers of contemporary fiction or even viewers of serious television, it’s hard for me to imagine that Gone Home would elicit much of any reaction, let alone the reports of full-bore weeping and breathless panegyrics this game has enjoyed." This is a classic straight-white-male telling other people how they should be reacting to something. (As near as I can tell, he is a middle aged, married white man). That their emotional reactions to this game are immature, obviously, because people who appreciate literature and "serious television" wouldn't have that reaction. It's arrogant and has echoes of prejudice laced through it. The emotional power of something is not intrinsically tied to the academic quality of it. Someone as smart as Bogost ought to know that. This insulting dismissal undermines the rest of his arguments about GH. There is an interesting discussion to be had about whether the praise of GH is in primarily because of how unique it is in theme for a video game contrasted with it's actual quality as a story. But for me, Bogost excused himself from that discussion with the latter half of his essay.
  16. So I saw that Idle Thumbs is now hosting a Netrunner specific podcast, and they have DOTA Today. Which got me thinking about hyperniche podcasts, focusing on just a single game or limited topic. Anyone have any specialized 'casts they listen to? For me it was Twin Humanities, a podcast that talked solely about Dark Souls, hosted by a couple of British gents. It's an absolute treat to listen to if you're a fan of the game.
  17. Gone Home from The Fullbright Company

    I just read through Bogost's piece on GH. It left me...disquieted. On one hand, much of what he has to has some truth to it, both about GH and video games in general. But then he swings into what feels like a condescending lecture that is so far removed from reality as to have no meaning, as it has no relationship with the game, literature or fans of either. Actually, the more I've sat here and thought about some of his later conclusions, the more that essay pisses me off, mostly because of how terribly insulting it is to people who were emotionally moved by GH. Ugh, I think it's too late to coherently explain my thoughts on this tonight, perhaps tomorrow.
  18. Video Game Baby - Idle Parents

    This may be treading into "grumpy old man" territory, but kids today really do have a radically different experience. I remember having to write my own custom DOS boot discs in order to get some games to play. The amount of reading in old games versus new just isn't even something that's comparable. My daughter tends to find games without full VOs to be quaint and almost unplayable. Of course the flip side for kids today is that if someone is the kind of kid who would have reprogrammed a computer back in the day to play a game, that kid is now likely one who will make mods and dig into the crazy side of PC gaming. Or make amazing fan art, or something. The work and enthusiasm are still there, the end result is just different.
  19. Essential PS3 exclusives

    I had completely forgot about that game. I need to try it out.
  20. Essential 360 exclusives

    Oh, speaking of Kinect (Dance Central above), if you have a Kinect The Gunstringer is a must play. It's one of the most charming and well built Kinect games there is. Simple gameplay that captures the spirit of the old light gun games in an arcade. Co-op is fun too, but we had some problems consistently keeping both players registered.
  21. Essential 360 exclusives

    That Kameo didn't catch on was a real shame. It was a good game, with a lot of potential to improve in a sequel. I've often wondered it if would have done better if it hadn't have been a launch title, but came out a year or so later.
  22. Video Game Baby - Idle Parents

    My kiddo is now off at college, so we've been through the whole gamut of age development and whatnot. Our philosophy was to encourage well rounded interests and to try and avoid falling back on fixed rules like X hours of gaming a day/week. So she participated in sports, had music lessons, read a fair amount, etc. About the only thing I ever felt the need to restrict was watching crappy reality television. Most important though is that we gamed as a family. We always had at least one or two co-op games around. Even if one of us was playing a SP game, usually someone else in the family was hanging out with them. Gaming is rarely a solitary experience around here. As far as violence goes, she wasn't allowed to watch anything violent in elementary school. But once she was midway through junior high, we relaxed and only worried about her seeing really obscene or disturbing levels of graphic violence (things like tortore or rape). Both her mother and I grew up in rural Kansas in families where killing animals and cleaning them were things you were expected to be able to do by junior high. I highly doubt that the cartoon violence in most games can be more damaging than the actual crap I saw/did growing up. And she loved watching me play games when she was younger, particularly ones that were too hard or scary for her to play herself (Res Evils, Silent Hills, etc). She is actually a bigger ResEvil fan than I am now, and she's only ever played RE5 and RE6. But she's seen every single one played through by me. Those hours of tank walking through zombies ended up being some real bonding moments for us, as odd as that sounds. If I could go back and change one thing about gaming and my daughter, it would be that I would have tried to make a game with her, even if it was just something small and simple. It's something that she's interested in. I thought about it a few times, even downloaded some of the easier engines you can use. But it just wasn't something I prioritized.
  23. Essential 360 exclusives

    Viva Pinata is a game that I was oddly fascinated with for awhile. But I think it eventually did get a PC release as well.
  24. Building a home theater...

    I'm moving fast because I have a deadline My inlaws are coming up for an early Christmas around the 19th, and my wife is very, very insistent that this project be done before they arrive. My current screen is just suspended from the ceiling at the end of the room, with the screen sandwiched between a couple of boards to keep it tight, another board screwed to the bottom for weight and some hooks and metal wire suspending it all. It works, but isn't particularly attractive with the lights on. I could have saved some money on the retractable screen if I was patient and went bargain hunting, but I really didn't have that kind of time. I'm very hesitant to pay for a professional calibration. They tend to cost a fair amount, and I have so much doubt that it will be worth it. Yet everyone who is really into home theater raves about how much it's worth it. I did buy a calibration Blu-Ray, the Disney World of Wonder. I got it off eBay a few bucks cheaper than that Amazon link, don't know how easy it would be to find for you. There are also some homebrew calibration discs you can burn yourself at the AVS forums. I tried them, but it was kind of intimidating. I don't know much about calibrating a projector or display, and from what I read, the Disney one does a really good job of explaining what each test does and what you should be looking for, so it doubles as an education in basic calibration. If you're a little colorblind, you could still find a calibration disc, and then just ask a friend to come over and help. The little bit of messing around with both video and audio calibration I've done, I had my wife making the decisions about what looked and sounded good, as I trust her eyes and ears more than mine.