Phaedrus' Street Crew
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Posts posted by grumbeld

  1. Without the book club to keep me going, I probably wouldn't have read past the first part of this book. That would have been a shame for me, because the middle section of the book really knocked me out.

    The subject matter of this book reminded me of the Raymond Carver short story Cathedral, except that story is reaffirming, and I think The Sense of an Ending's outlook on humanity is much more cynical.

    I agree with the person earlier who said they felt sorry for brother Jack. Tony even says once or twice he feels sorry for making assumptions about Jack, but he still uses him like a jackass right up until the end. Tony seems unable to change his behavior. No matter how much he learns about Veronica's situation he keeps trying to use that information to press the reset button on their relationship. None of the characters in The Sense of an Ending seem capable of transcending their character flaws.

    Oh man, I love Cathedral! I can see where you're going with the similarity too. I see both narrators as being totally unreliable. They have their preconceived notions of what's going on, and they applaud themselves for how they handle each situation. However, they are so wrapped up in their own world that they scarcely take the time to have empathy for others.

  2. I just finished reading The Lies of Locke Lamora. I would recommend it to anyone who likes fantasy that is removed from elves and dwarves and what not. It's an urban setting where the main characters are con-men. There's tragedy and triumph, trials and tribulations, etc and etc. The best part of the writing, in my mind, was that the author would intersperse the main story line with interludes where we'd learn a piece of history about the town or about one of the characters. It worked really well in the book. Such a thing has the danger of making the pacing rough, but it worked well here. It's an interesting world that the author created, and I'd like to see another book with those characters.

  3. I finished the book a couple of weeks ago, and so my memory of it is already becoming disjointed, but I wanted to put in some thoughts here. I was rooting for Tony for most of the book, but as it progressed, he became more and more selfish. I finally figured that Tony is not someone to aspire too. Take how he treats Jack. He considers Jack to be worthless and so he treats him that way. We only see Jack through Tony's eyes and because Tony doesn't try to make any real connection with Jack, we don't get to understand him either.

    Tony is the perfect example of an untrustworthy narrator. He claims that he just wants to be peaceable with everyone, but he really has trouble having any meaningful relationship. Who does he have in the end? His ex-wife? His daughter? I wouldn't really call either of them close to him. There are his two friends from school that he lost contact with, and there's Veronica. Really, he has no one. What he does have are his memories. He has a certain fondness for the mother of his ex-girlfriend, but is the mother someone whom we should be fond of? The mom ultimately betrays her daughter. Maybe that's why the family seemed to be split. They knew that the mom was an adulterer, but Tony couldn't figure it out.

    Again, I can't think of more to say other than it was a great read, and it's length definitely leads to the possibility of rereading it again.

  4. I was definitely happy to have read this book (finished it last week). I had to continually put it down and ponder my own life. I definitely have relationships that didn't work out the way I thought they would, and now I occasionally find myself pondering over what happened. Should I contact the other person and find out if they remember such and such event and what it meant for them? Can I build that broken relationship back up? Did I say something wrong? Have I misremembered all that happened?

    This book really got me thinking about how I think, and I will always respect any form of media that makes me introspective.

  5. On the topic of Dark Souls:

    I think the most amazing thing about the game is the multiplayer. You spend so much time memorizing enemy locations and attack patters, so that you can mow through them with ease. The battles become rote and simple, but the game would still be amazing if that was all it had.

    However, if you're human and trucking around, you can be invaded by another PC. Somewhere, in your world, there is now a new, more deadly enemy who is bent on killing you. They aren't restrained by needing to be approached by you and getting triggered. They are cunning and malicious. They make all other enemies in the game benign because your heart rate will never soar as much as the instant you are invaded. It's amazing. At this point in the game, chances are that you'll be invaded by someone who really knows what they are doing and are equipped with a scary amount of equipment. That means that your chances of survival are zero, but you still have hope that you might fight them off. As we all know, that's the best way to teach despair: give the person some hope.

    I can't get over how amazing this game is.

  6. You... You don't need to pay the sub for access to the marketplace, you realize, right?

    If you don't play MP or use one of the apps they've gated behind gold, you're basically fine at the silver tier.

    I may need to look again at what games I'm playing then because that is a subscription I could easily remove.

  7. Yeah, I can't imagine this game would be longer than two hours or so for a play through. The photo stuff would only happen if it was also a Kinect game. You could do it by asking for a player to pose for their ID photo at the start of the game. Maybe the photo would change slightly as the game progressed and the player got updates from their commander, using your photo a la Metal Gear. The part that I really like about the idea is to hammer in the idea that the NPCs are in Hell and you're a demon tormenting them. If hints are dropped during the campaign, the player might buy into the ending twist.

  8. After reading this amazing article: a friend and I started to discuss how you could create an FPS where you feel bad about what you do. We had a great discussion, and he wrote up the key points. I'm interested what people think. Would it work?


    PATHOS is an FPS designed to make the player feel sadness and remorse, rather than sadistic glee, at

    killing legions of unnamed and unknown enemies. In many ways, PATHOS will be similar to other games

    in the genre, featuring military missions and objectives, and enemies who stand in the way of those

    goals. These goals will increase in difficulty, requiring the player to gain new and improved weaponry,

    skills, and items in order to complete a mission.

    Where PATHOS is different comes in the death mechanic of every NPC within the game. For plot

    reasons, the player character is able to see the ghosts of the recently deceased. As every NPC is

    ruthlessly slaughtered by the player, their ghosts will slowly rise above their corpses, each speaking a

    unique bit of dialogue that deal with families and loved ones left behind, or goals left incomplete, or just

    a general sadness of a life cut short. Each of these ghosts will slowly float upward, but will be both seen

    and heard by the player before being removed from the scene. While the player has the ability to look

    away, the voices will follow them for the entirety of the dialogue.

    Some NPC’s will speak a different language, as will their ghosts, giving the player a brief respite from

    the onslaught of sadness. At the same time, at this point in the game, the player might be wondering

    what the hopes and dreams of that particular NPC may have been. They may wish they had been able

    to communicate with that NPC in some fashion, but their death makes these wishes completely moot.

    As the game reaches its frantic conclusion, more and more NPC’s will be killed at the same time. This

    will allow the player to see groups of ghosts engaged in conversations above their head. Some of these

    may become more philosophical, as the player is forced to face the consequences of total slaughter.

    At this stage, it is unclear what the ending of PATHOS will be, but a few suggestions have been put


    1. After the final, victorious stage, the scene blurs, and the player sees an endless field of tortured

    souls in Hell. It is made clear that the player is, in fact, a demon who has the job of inflicting unending

    torment on these poor souls. Satan comes forward and says “Who has two thumbs and is really good

    at destroying the hopes and dreams of others?” The player then turns to a nearby mirror and sees their

    face covered in blood. With a big smile, the player says “This guy!” Satan appears over the player’s

    shoulder, and both laugh as the scene fades to the credits. (( Possible hardware could allow the player

    to insert their own actual photo for the player character’s face in this scene. ))

    2. Rather than Hell, the player character fades into an Egyptian scene. Standing in front of him is Osiris

    with his scales. He balances the player’s heart against a feather. Based on the amount of killing the

    player has done, the scale tips further and further down. Behind Osiris stands a legion of heroic/divine

    figures, including Buddha, Jesus, King Arthur, Confucius, Paul Bunyan, Robin Hood, and others. Each

    looks disappointed and shake their heads as the scale shows that the heart is too heavy. Osiris sighs and

    says “Well, you’re fucked.” The game controller shakes as the screen flashes a bright white. The screen

    then reads “You only get once chance at this life.” Afterwards, the game auto-deletes.

    3. After the final victory, the player walks into the office of their commanding officer. On the desk are

    two forms. One is a form allowing the player to retire from service with honor. The other form is a re-

    enlistment. If the player chooses to retire, they watch the credits, which are laid over a montage of the

    player character building a family and a life. Interspersed are brief remembrances of killing previous

    enemies, and the player character bursting into tears. If the character chooses to re-enlist, they open

    New Game + mode. The game is more difficult, and the lines of ghost dialogue are even more tragic.

    However, the character also gains more acute hearing, and now they can also hear dialogue from the

    living enemies. Rather than typical military jargon, these focus on the lives and friendships between

    the enemy combatants. The player then gets to decide at which point in this conversation they wish to

    break down a door and begin killing the enemies. In this mode, the enemies are generally less aware

    and more likely to be taken by surprise.

  9. I haven't found this book mentioned in the forums, and I think it's worth sharing. For those of you don't know, Ready Player One is a book set in the future where the majority of people come together in an MMORPG. The creator of this world binding piece of software has passed, and his financial empire is left to whomever solves the riddle that he has put forth. Five years of passed, and no one has solved the first riddle yet. People have studied the designer's life for a clue to the riddle, and they become obsessed with 70's, 80's, and 90's culture. Video games, movies, and music are all hit upon in this novel.

    It's fairly campy, but it's great to read a book that references the childhood of those in their 30s.

    Also, if you get the book, you can work on solving a riddle that the author has announced. The winner get a Delorean.

  10. Holy Franklin! The Goodreads app is amazing and fun! I'm now able to quickly copy my entire collection to the list with the scanner. I love it. I'm also noticing that older books have no barcode, and for some reason, that makes me happy.

  11. Played through the whole of Act one as a Barbarian, with Miffy (Wizard) and Squid (Monk). Spent a lot of time trying to abuse the jumping strike, there are some really cool positions where you can by pass obstacles

    Spider's den over smaller holes, Leoric's mansion, Jail (between certain cells) and into the final act of the chapter

    Yeah, I had fun jumping through closed doors in the Beta. I have tried it in retail to see if it still works. Also, hit me up on Steam if you ever want to play.

  12. This is the most amazing game to come out this year. I hope to hear that there might be more games like it to come out. Solving puzzles based on vibration patterns, secret languages, and QR codes? Sign me up!