Phaedrus' Street Crew
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About Latrine

  • Rank
    Can you dig it?


  • Location
    New York
  • Favorite Games
    Starcraft, Team Fortress 2, Left4Dead, Grim Fandango, The Fool's Errand
  1. A collector's conundrum: Android/iOS games

    Yeah, I agree just having a list of played/unplayed games across services is useful. Steam kind of has this functionality for games on Steam but it feels a little janky, however the nice thing is that it's done automatically. If it's not on Steam, GOG, or Humble then I'm probably not gonna remember where to go to see if I own a game. Not surprised people just buy extra copies of games they already own on Steam for the convenience.
  2. Full Throttle Remastered

    I don't remember enough of the puzzle stuff but I agree with jenn on the story stuff and bikers just aren't my thing either. Although I'll say that from a historical perspective it's an interesting piece and my appreciation for the game has risen after hearing Jake talk about it and watching some of the documentary stuff from Double Fine. But out of Shafer's Lucasarts games I've always had fonder memories for Grim Fandango and Monkey Island 2. (Never played DotT).
  3. A collector's conundrum: Android/iOS games

    Don't you see the bigger problem? You haven't even mentioned Flash/web games yet! Time to start paging through the archives to see exactly which Escape the Room games you've played. (I admit I have done something like this to try to remember a Flash game I once played and failed miserably.) My advice is that while it's nice to have a searchable record, don't let your methodology for keeping what's basically a modern-day diary ruin your life. I'd say you should only add a game to your spreadsheet if you liked the game and remembered to add it after you played it.
  4. I was originally pessimistic about the new expansion because it felt like most of the quest cards have failed to create viable decks and the ones that are viable aren't that "fun and interactive" like Quest Rogue and Quest Taunt Warrior. But I'm starting to come around now that people have discovered more and more interesting interactions between the non-legendary cards that people originally thought would be bad. Also the meta still hasn't settled down ~1 month after launch and still feels a lot more diverse in terms of classes and archetypes within classes than most previous metas do by the 1 month mark. I will agree that Hearthstone feels far too expensive now for a casual free-to-play player. Especially since they're going to have two more Expansions this year instead of Adventures where you just get all the cards. In this expansion, in particular, it feels like you don't get what's promised in the lead up even if you buy the preorder for 50 packs. It's the fatiguing nature of the free-to-play business model setting in. At this point you either have to be a hardcore free-to-play player or willing to dump around $150 a year on cards. In terms of alternate card games I haven't really tried any but Shadowverse and Elder Scrolls: Legends both look interesting (these are the two games that Hearthstone Twitch streamers get most sponsored to play). Shadowverse's evolution system makes games feel more back and forth in the early turns, but the decks seem to have quite crazy power levels and high variance. For ES:L, the two lane system and the rune system, where your opponent gets to draw cards for being damaged, are interesting ways to balance these kinds of games. However this makes ES:L feel very slow and complicated by comparison and I find Hearthstone's simplicity more attractive. Btw, the reason these alternate games are more generous to low-budget players is because they're trying to compete with the big dog, Hearthstone. We'll see how it all shakes out but since Blizzard recently increased the cost of packs outside the US it looks like they're too successful for our own good.
  5. The Witness by Jonathan Blow

    Perhaps he was (see my edit above), but there's also a lot of puzzles that are just about the internal consistency of the puzzle rules or interpreting the symbolic language contained in the puzzles which are often given to you through tutorial-like sections. The game is still a game and you still have to be taught to do certain things and just solve esoteric puzzles which are not entirely in-line with the ideas of changing your perspective or coming about an epiphany through chance or self-study. Also I feel it's more clear how these things align in retrospect, more than a year after the game's release with all these interviews and analysis available. Within the initial player experience I don't think the supposed purpose of the puzzles are well communicated, and in fact it would be even more pretentious if there was a point in the game that explicitly told you all the puzzle panels were meant to do X to unlock your mind. (Although now that I think about it that point might exist with the audio logs in the cave under the mountain.)
  6. The Witness by Jonathan Blow

    I agree with what you say in your post but I think people often make the mistake of claiming that the Witness (and also Braid) have a single point. I don't think that's the case for either game. We're talking a lot about the philosophy of the Witness but you can't ignore all the puzzle panels which don't directly tie into that. The Witness isn't just a collection of line puzzles, but it is also a collection of line puzzles. No one theory perfectly explains all aspects of the game. Blow made this argument flippantly when defending Braid by saying no one understood the game but basically he was saying people spent more time analyzing the text and story of Braid and not the puzzles which are a larger proportion of the game design and are interesting in and of themselves. This video does a good analysis of that: Edit: Actually I just listened to more of that podcast with Austin and got to the point where he says Blow told him that we wanted the Witness to be "the first authentic game" (pretentious if true) which kind of contradicts my point here. I can actually kinda see how Austin's interpretation of Blow's point applies to the Witness, I think the Witness is closer to being singular in its purpose compared to Braid, but it is still quite an overreach to say that all elements of the game are in perfect harmony with a singular purpose in my opinion.
  7. The Witness by Jonathan Blow

    whoops, double post
  8. The Witness by Jonathan Blow

    I meant my own statement was unfair, not yours. I apologize for implying Danielle was thoughtless, that was too harsh. This is an interesting line of criticism, The Witness certainly does inherit a level of cultural appropriation that's questionable. However I think that in the modern cultural context that's devoid of these topics it's somewhat laudable that a game even presents eastern philosophy and its western derivatives to modern audiences, and I don't think that's an entirely apolitical choice either (possibly for good or ill). Also I don't think it's the job of every artistic endeavor to be everything to everyone, if you're going to criticize a work for all the things it omits the list would be endless. If The Witness were part of a pervasive tradition of the erasure of political analysis, particularly regarding the history of these philosophies, then the criticism makes more sense to me. But I don't know enough about how the western derivative philosophers have operated to know how valid this might be.
  9. The Witness by Jonathan Blow

    Okay fine, that's an unfair statement. What I meant is that while she's considered the segment of her audience that is criticizing her position here, she's well aware of us, she's made the decision to produce another piece that reaffirms her opinion and the opinion of another segment of her audience that is not quite as vocal but is out there. And she's decided she can do that and then move on and do all the other things in her job while ignoring whatever additional blowback comes from this piece. And I guess Austin and whatever editorial process at Waypoint have backed her on all these decisions. To be frank I feel like this whole argument is a mini-cultural battle between so-called P. elitist techbro intelligentsia and the counter-culture reject marginalized outsiders who've drawn lines around capital `A` Art and what it means to them. My opinion now is that this culture battle is tiny and stupid and wrong and I'm stupid and wrong for spending as much time as I have fighting in it. (Although it has been kind of an endorphin rush.) Also it's not nice to quote just the first line of my post and drop the context. Have a good day.
  10. The Witness by Jonathan Blow

    Again to play devil's advocate, Danielle probably hasn't thought about it as deeply as we have. She does a lot of other shit besides shitting on the Witness. We're all busy with shit and most of the time we just gotta keep doing the shit we gotta do. Speaking of which, I've got a lot of shit to do. Peace.
  11. The Witness by Jonathan Blow

    I like it more when people love loving things, I'm fine with that. I'm not saying she's not entitled to her opinion but she's clearly paying a price for it in terms of reaction to her work and it might be more strategic for her to just write articles and make videos about other things. As mentioned this is not her first piece on the topic, it's more like 3rd or 4th, plus the countless podcast discussions. If I was in her shoes I think I would've already taken the criticism to heart and not chosen to produce this latest piece. I'm going to move on anyway but I think it'd be more reasonable if it was only just one Witness review. My point wasn't that it was the critical consensus, but that it would be the public consensus if you rounded people up and forced them to play a game that most of the population wouldn't do of their own free will. That's of course a crazy scenario but I think it's an educated guess. My other point is that the critical consensus among game reviewers is quite different in some respects from the consensus of the diehard fans. Most game reviewers enjoyed the puzzles but did not find much value in the philosophical content. But they didn't go so far as to bash it with the big P word or say that it has an "abhorrent worldview". I think that consensus is what most people who bought and played the game of their own free will agree with.
  12. The Witness by Jonathan Blow

    @Urthman @Archduke It's funny because Brian Moriarty's talk that's in the game, the Secret of Psalm 46, is exactly about this topic of how game design influences our perception of game meaning. It's almost as if the Notorious PJB predicted this argument would happen. Man, the longer this discussion goes the more I appreciate The Witness. Thanks to Danielle for making this all possible!
  13. The Witness by Jonathan Blow

    Sure but one reason I have a bigger issue with her opinion than yours is because she is in the game press. She influences the consensus and reinforces what I find to be an overly critical opinion. Just because you hate something doesn't mean it's okay to dogpile the hate, particularly in the face of a vocal rejection by a large segment of your core audience (look at the Youtube comments on her video, they're mostly not standard awful Youtube comments but they also mostly disagree with her thesis.) I would just let it go, accept that other people like a thing that I don't, and then forget about it. Btw one other odd thing is that even though I'm quite passionate about defending The Witness from claims of pretentiousness, a lot of the stuff in there doesn't align with my personal value systems. I'm not a spiritualist and I was quite surprised to learn that my man P.J.Blow is very into all that stuff. In his interview with Adam Conover he even said he was in the audience for the Rupert Spira video that's in the game. But still, even though I don't buy into this stuff I appreciate being exposed to all these things I previously dismissed outright.
  14. The Witness by Jonathan Blow

    What pretentious Jonathan Blowhard thinks is valuable for a player's time may not be what you think is valuable for a player's time. Also I'll admit what I'm about to say is a super pretentious statement but here goes. While those of us in the Witness protection party are vigorously defending the game, I honestly think if more of the general public took the time to sit down and play it then a larger fraction of people would side with you and Danielle than with us. Not because I think people are dumb or uncultured but because The Witness is a game that values things that are not broadly valued in society. Although I think the real majority opinion would be with the consensus of most of the game reviews which is nice puzzles and mixed reactions to everything else. And if you haven't watched them I strongly recommend watching the videos on the previous page if you want to understand what values The Witness actually has. There's a lot in those videos that I didn't know until watching them even after playing through The Witness in its entirety and they cleared up a lot of things I only half understood.