Dungeon Encounters (early impressions)

Dungeon Encounters is a game, though the title doesn’t quite sound like a game as much as a category of play. The name is simple, but it’s got a lot of talent backing it up: directed by Hiroyuki Itou (of Final Fantasy 6, 9, and 12 fame) and produced by Hiroaki Kato (who has been involved with some of my favorite Final Fantasy games, including Tactics Advance 2), and with music overseen by Nobuo Uematsu. Despite, or perhaps because of, these particular personalities, the game comes across as decidedly stripped-down and old school. It’s a dungeon crawler and nothing more…

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Extending Play Time: How the goal of a game is to take more of your time.

his may sound a bit odd, but one of the unspoken goals of game design is to take as much of the player’s time as possible, or to put it another way, there is an in-built quest for efficiency with games regarding time. Sometimes, they advertise this by claiming the game has “a hundred hours of content,” or some such. As I’ve said before, not all time is well-spent. A boring 100-hour game is inferior to a game that is shorter but interesting all the way through. One hundred hours of really fun content sounds like a great deal, but…

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Dune 2021 – Review

I gave up on seeing a faithful adaptation of Frank Herbert’s immensely popular Dune years ago. The way Herbert constructs the book and strange worldbuilding and philosophy that underpins the entire series make it, I believe, unfilmable. That conclusion hasn’t stopped the many fans of the book and the universe from clamoring for another visual adaptation, and so in 2021, we finally got a big-budget film of Dune directed by Denis Villeneuve (who also directed Blade Runner 2049, which I still have no plans ever to watch). Sort of. What was released this week was part 1 of, I presume,…

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Rubbernecking the Avocado – The Meta-Mukbang

Ever slow down on the freeway to see a wreck? Ever call a Nascar event boring because nobody crashes? You’re not alone. We describe chaotic, attention-grabbing events as “train wrecks” for a good reason—like a train going off the rails, you can’t look away. It’s a human instinct to look upon the morbid. There is perhaps some survival enhancement buried there, a kind of imprinting of doom that pumps up caution and therefore decreases the odds of suffering the same fate. However, like all valid human desires and instincts, they can be artificially hijacked. Enter the internet age, where at…

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The Prequel Effect

“The Prequels Suck!” How many times have you heard this? How many times have you uttered this yourself? Which prequels am I talking about? Well, the most obvious answer for those of you who follow me is the Star Wars prequel trilogy, released between 1999 and 2003, all of which were directed by Star Wars mastermind George Lucas. These movies were contentious, to say the least, because they were ultimately something quite different than what the Gen X and Gen Y Star Wars fans that grew up with the original movies wanted. There have been hours-long commentaries and documentaries on…

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Wagey Slavie in his Gilded Cagey

Vaccine mandates are quickly becoming one of the most divisive and revealing political gambits in my lifetime. They are divisive because they occur entirely along the lines of political tribes on opposite sides of the friend/enemy distinction, with one side revering the jab in the same way a Christian reveres the sacraments with that same side desiring to impose it the way a Muslim might insist upon Halal food, while the other side simply wants to decide for themselves whether the risk is worth any supposed benefit. The mandates are revealing in that they show just what state most people…

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High School, Forever

Seems a little odd that brands (D&D and MTG) built on escapist fantasy would circle back around high school, doesn’t it? When I look up on Twitter the people who create such things, one of the thoughts that doesn’t pop into my mind is, “This looks like a person who was happy and socially successful in high school.” Besides the nerd brands, we have a vast swath of similar Harry Potter fans who are in their 30s, yet still write fan fiction about a wizard high school. What I’ve realized from interacting with these sections of millennial fandom is that…

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Boomer Hate

If there is one thing that has ascended over the last few years, it’s hatred of the Baby Boomer generation. I ought not have to link much to prove my point, but if you want a distilled sample, head over to Vox Day’s blog. Vox is a little older than me – he’s Gen X and I’m Gen Y – but the last three generational cohorts (X, Y, Millennial) all share similar attitudes towards their immediate predecessors. The thing is, this is not the standard intergenerational hostility and resentment that has been standard in the west for the entirety of…

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Service Guarantees Citizenship

There are only two things people seem to take away from Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein: Power Armor and “Service Guarantees Citizenship” (unless you are James Cameron, in which “bug hunt” is also a takeaway). For those who focus on the latter, Starship Troopers might as well be Heinlein’s only work, which is not so much an indictment of the readers as it is an acknowledgment of the power of that idea compared to Heinlein’s other ideas (which were often quite liberal, by the way). This has led many people (mostly older people to whom the prescription does not apply,…

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Why We Call it the Death Cult

Screw it. here we go: I’m not the only one who calls the vast pseudo-religious motivation and activism the “Death Cult.” I saw last year (or so) that fellow Christian author Brian Niemeier was using the same terminology to describe the same things, and every day I see more people either getting very close to the terminology or pegging it outright. By why do I specifically call it the “Death Cult”? Why not the “woke cult” or just “Social Justice Warriors”? The short answer is because they are obsessed with death. They want you dead. Every so often the mask…

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