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About Dragonfliet

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    Advanced Member

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  • Location
    Salt Lake City
  • Interests
    Games, books, Rock Climbing
  1. Infinite Jest

    Honestly, I really liked Infinite Jest, but it's a book that I don't really recommend to people. It doesn't break new ground, and it doesn't really do anything masterfully (it does things very well, but it's also a bloated, saggy mess in a lot of ways). It follows along the lines of Ulysses, and Gravity's Rainbow, but without the stronger unifying themes, and groundbreaking aspect of them. And yet it's somehow longer. It's weird saying this, as I really, truly like the book a lot, but it's not for everyone. You're not wrong about the endnotes, twmac, there are a LOT of boring, uninteresting, and useless ones. After a bit, they start to become more and more important, but that's after a bit. The advice I literally give to everyone about the book is what I said above: read the first 50 pages. If you're having a fun time, then keep reading. It is a delightful book in so many ways (his whole scenario on videocalls is amazing, for instance). If, however, you're not having a great time, but are willing to slog through this to see where it goes: STOP. The book never goes anywhere. That's actually kind of the point. It's a thoughtful meditation on modern life, but it's also a giant prank on the reader. You will never figure out why things are happening, and you will never get plots resolved, and you won't feel like you spent your time well. Again, if in those first 50 pages you're having a lot of fun: it'll still be a lot of fun. But yeah. You might just want to bail. I had this book on my comprehensive exams for my PhD, and though I re-read a lot of very long books (Anna Karenina, Moby Dick, House of Leaves, Ulysses, Gravity's Rainbow, Don Quixote), I skipped re-reading Infinite Jest, even though it has been a decade since I read it. I started reading it, and quickly realized it would be a waste of my time that could be better spent thinking about Anna Karenina (or gushing about it to poor folks who haven't had the delight of reading it), or decoding Ulysses. It just isn't worth it. I went over notes I had taken, and read a few essays about it, but it didn't have the depth or the power of these other books. It's long because it values length, not because it spends its time productively.
  2. I am Iron mAnthem

    I too, am playing. Dragonfliet on Origin. It's a broken game, in many ways, but the kind of broken I can quite enjoy. We'll see if they fix the loading screen bonanza, and add more variety of gameplay, but for now, I'm satisfied enough to fly around like ironman, and to run around with my giant Colossus shield, whacking scars.

    The internet: where people play games that are really good, and unique and thoughtful, but if you have some metahumor a poster doesn't like, they somehow lose almost all respect for you. The VR version of Superhot was so much more fun for me. Mostly because it felt much more like a puzzle. The original game was a pretty even combination between shooter and puzzler, but the VR implementation is so much more brainy, and less about your reaction times. Great stuff.
  4. I enjoy hearing stories about how video game writers get jobs in games, because they're all completely insane. It's almost never that someone submitted great work, or wrote a great story, or IF piece, or short film, or whatever, and always that they happened to be doing web design, and chatted with someone about comics, etc. It's amazing that games have as good of stories as they do, with the inane-seeming nature of recruitment. This was a great episode, and I loved hearing Webb's humble, hard working origin-story, and his thoughts on this process.
  5. The Big VR Thread

    A few helpful notes on this: You should really treat the Rift as $60 more expensive than it is. While it doesn't NEED a third sensor: it does actually need a third sensor. I don't have a huge space for my main play area, only about two steps forward and back (more to the sides), but "roomscale" makes everything better. You don't have to rely on snap turning to navigate, you don't have to remember where forward is, etc. Perhaps as a result of that, I have also never had any issues with the floor, etc. It also makes it so there are never any jitters, or sketchy tracking. It sucks that they will sell you a mediocre experience, but a great experience is really a small upgrade from that. Raw Data will benefit a thousand times over from a third tracker. LA Noire, unfortunately, runs like garbage on the Rift, as Rockstar has made no effort to make it compatible with the Rift. People have got it working, but it's still a bit of a mess. I would also recommend launching games from the desktop, rather than the headset launcher, for this very reason you mentioned. Oculus needs to work on their storefront (they are, and have a beta of a new "home" experience, but it's not quite ready yet). I would also recommend games like Lone Echo (which is, hands down, the best VR game out there, and one of the better games of 2017), Arizona Sunshine (which has a surprisingly good story), I Expect You to Die (an escape room game that's loads of fun, and works with front facing cameras only), Chronos, Edge of Nowhere, Superhot (which is actually a completely different game than the non-vr version, though with reused assets), The Invisible Hours (more of an interactive play than a 'game,' but really excellent--think of it of a game version of sleep no more), Wilson's Heart, Rec Room, Thumper, and Onward. Avoid the simulator type games (they're cute, but worthless).
  6. Destiny

    Out of curiosity, why are you still playing the first one? Destiny was a frustrating game that had some really great gunplay. Destiny 2 keeps the gunplay, and fixes the game.
  7. Crota 2Day: A Destiny 2 Forum Thread

    Sooo, how are people liking it? I have only done a little bit of end-game stuff, but I'm very, very happy so far. The story missions don't suck like before, and the world missions are well written, and way more varied. Public events are more fun, the heroic modifier is a great way to go about it, etc. I've only played a few strikes, and no pvp (I suck so bad at it), but I'm a happy dude right now. We'll see how this goes over the next month, however.
  8. Crota 2Day: A Destiny 2 Forum Thread

    So it looks like most everyone is sticking with the PS4 version rather than moving to PC? I'm still a bit torn, honestly, about which version to pick up.
  9. Books, books, books...

    Miéville is incredible, and not only would I recommend Embassytown as a great start for most people, I would argue it's his best book. What he does with language is absolutely marvelous.
  10. Infinite Jest

    Except that then the book complicates things, piles on tons of plot points, and specifically refuses to give any sort of conclusion or payoff. I mean, it's literally the point, and a kind of re-creation that the father (can't remember his name right now) is doing with his movies. Honestly? I would say that the book never really progresses from the first 50 pages. It just gives you more stuff. More characters, more details about most of them, more plot points, more observations about the world, but never in a way in which things actually add up. They are stacked on top of each other, and then the pile is given a little shove, and then the book ends abruptly. I think this is also its point, and part of how it works overall, but I would argue very fiercely about this being payoff or telling me everything I need to know.
  11. Infinite Jest

    Uh. What? Where the hell does it eventually pay off and tell you everything you need to know? During my MFA one of my advisers talked about how they stopped reading DFW entirely after finishing Infinite Jest. But you're right about the other parts. It's not a difficult book at all. It's also very fun and funny. My recommendation is always for people to read the first 50 pages, and if they're really enjoying it, then they should finish it. If they aren't loving it though, and just want to find out what is happening and why, that they should put it down and walk away very fast.
  12. RE: Destiny, Overwatch, and transmedia storytelling. I actually want to begin this by talking about the problem that this question actually gets at, which is most evident in Destiny. Destiny is a game with a singleplayer story, told over multiple hours, with the story playing into the other modes, and the story is garbage/nonsense. As pointed out in the email, a lot of it begins to make sense, but ONLY if you dig through the lore that isn't even available in the game itself (which is a bizarre choice). This is a huge problem, and the reason it is a problem is that the story drives the game, and yet it is incomprehensible, leading to a game that feels disconnected and incoherent. The lore is simply a bandaid that attempts to patch that problem. This is completely and utterly different from Overwatch (caveat: I played the crap out of Destiny, and own it, but only played a half-dozen hours of Overwatch, and I don't even own it). Overwatch is nearly completely disconnected from the tranmedia storytelling. In the outside-the-game story, good guys like the Winston and Tracer, fight against bad guys like Widowmaker and Tracer. In the game, any group of heroes fight against any other group of heroes. They can be all Tracers vs all Tracers. It's a competitive shooter. That's it. There is TONS of personality in the game, shown entirely through in-game barks, animations, and playstyle, and it makes the game fun. This personality is likewise represented in the animated shorts/comics outside of the game, but with, you know, actual narratives. Again, they are separate from the game. The game isn't made more sensible through the transmedia information, but rather, there are other, different things out there that are related to the game. Knowing that Tracer is gay neither adds to nor takes away from how she plays. Knowing her history with Widowmanker doesn't change how they play against each other, etc. There are good parts of transmedia storytelling, and bad ones. Overwatch is a multiplayer shooter. It has oodles of personality, but it's all limited to making for a fun and balanced game. Overwatch media is about telling linear narratives that have the same kind of personality as the game. This is great. Destiny the game is a singleplayer shooter (with multiplayer aspects I'm ignoring for the purposes of this) that leans heavily on its story, but is the worse for that. Destiny the transmedia experience is merely about patching the holes in Destiny the game. This is a problem. In the end, a game should have everything it needs to have as a self-contained unit. Overwatch has that, Destiny doesn't. If there is additional content outside of that game, it should be along the lines of: Oh, this is nice too! Overwatch has that, Destiny doesn't. Transmedia content should be like a Starwars toy. It should be a neat thing that is related to the movie, something that has connections to it, but you can enjoy on its own (ie: more like Overwatch). It shouldn't be something where you have to go find the toy to understand what even happened in Starwars.
  13. Plug your shit

    Congrats Tanukitsune. Page 98 is all about book promotion, it seems.
  14. As was pointed out above by MarkHoog, I would LOVE for you two to discuss "A Small, Good Thing." This would be a perfect little bonus episode. It's literally the same story as "The Bath" but so dramatically longer that the mood is completely and utterly different. It's really wonderful to compare the two, and a worthy example of how what is cut dramatically affects the story. They are both great stories, but they come across so very different because of the cuts. You can find it in Carver's collection Cathedral (which is outstanding), or you can find it in pdf easily enough. As a writer, I hate the idea of Lish's changes, coming, as they did, as an oppressive dictation, but they're so damned good. I often still prefer the Carver versions, as they are kinder and more mellow, but the tenseness in the Lish versions is really powerful.
  15. The magical realism discussions have been pretty infuriating to listen to. Largely this is because both Rob and Danielle seem to have very little understanding of what the genre is, while they simultaneously are dismissive of it. For instance, calling the Grayson books magical realism is pretty eye-rolling. The books are great, but are as close to realism as a playdough car is to a ferrari. Granted, the difficulty with the genre is that it overlaps so many other things. For instance, when does a story stop being magical realism and become fabulism? Or surrealism, or urban fantasy or etc.? We can trace a path from Franz Kafka to Jorges Louis Borges (and Bruno Schultz), and from Borges to people like Carpentier and then onto Marquez, Allende, etc. Sometimes people will lump Calvino into the genre, but that feels like a stretch (cosmicomics perhaps being closest?), and then there are contemporary people like Karen Russell (who, like Kelly Link and Aimee Bender is more of a fabulist, most of the time--though there are instances in all that are clearly magical realism in all), or George Saunders, who get called magical realists, but don't seem to fit, exactly. Only sometimes. I would argue that Haruki Murakami comes close at times (A Wild Sheep Chase does this wonderfully, whereas some of his books are fabulist or even sci-fi, with a surreal twist), that Salmon Rushdie is a perennial favorite (Midnight's Children is the best example, as it tells the story of India--and Indira Ghandi's rise to power through a malevolent kind of magic), Chitra Divakaruni touches it from time to time (but is largely a writer of realist fiction), Angela Carter is a postmodernist writer who lives also in the magical real. Tim O'Brien isn't normally in this camp, but Going After Cacciato is a marvelous book that veers into the magical (or is it surreal?), and Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon certainly leans hard on the use of magic in a wonderful, interesting way. I do find it interesting to see the focus of this discussion resting on the "belief" that magical things happen in real life--which is certainly an aspect of certain books/stories, to the exclusion of the other piece of magical realism, in which the magical elements intrude as the only seeming way to make sense of what is happening. For instance, Salmon Rushdie doesn't think that Indira Ghandi is capturing people with large noses, but how else to explain the trajectory of his country's history? It is a way of approaching the insanity of the political process (as well as criticize Ghandi's awful tendencies) in a way that both seems more ridiculous (magic) and yet, somehow, more natural an explanation than reality. It is this sharp break that shows how ridiculous things can be, that claims that surely reality/realism fails to account for how we got to this place/decision/outcome/etc.