2007: Gaming Ground Zero

Maybe you’ve heard of cultural ground zero: 1997. Now let’s talk games, because unlike other institutions of culture, the games industry kept on growing and innovating for another 10 years. Then 2007 happened, and as far as the bigger publishers are concerned, games reached their peak and no more change or risk was required or even advisable. Gameplay seemed to stop changing almost entirely after 2007, and the extent to which it did change is usually in the negative, involving the watering-down of mechanics and general reduction of difficulty. Of course, there were plenty of amazing games prior to 2007,…

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Attempted Programming

If you are seeing crap like this all the time, you aren’t the one: Nothing is organic when it comes to legacy media. If you remember the Gamergate days, it was proven through a leak/hack that all the games journos had a big chat going where they would decide to, in concert, talk about the same game, same issue, or dogpile a target across all separate publications. “Dad bod” is the latest, but certainly not the most ridiculous, attempt at “narrative saturation.” If you were paying attention you’d have seen it before with eating bugs, living in pods, “amazing” child…

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Profile of a Bugman

Yes, this is a stereotype and not every Bugman is going to hit every point, but most bugmen will represent some concentration of most of the following, including bugwomen: White Overweight Childless, even if married At least one bad physical consumption habit (drinking beer, starbucks, smoking, etc.) At least one purposefully unattractive physical choice, such as colored hair or messy beard Lives in a city No real religion Carries a large amount of debt Seemingly large amount of disposable income and budget for entertainment Somehow always has a new phone and other gadgets Low long-term planning and investment ability Moves…

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The Apostates of the Pop Cult

I’ve been talking about this since 2015, and I feel like a broken record, but here we go: A little context for the above: Zac Snyder, original director of Justice League went on a Geeks and Gamers stream dedicated to raising money for suicide awareness and more or less denounced them, saying he was not affiliated with them in any way and that there was “no room for hate,” with the charity, etc. This provoked some cognitive dissonance, as G&G had apparently been vocal for a long time regarding a “Snyder cut” of Justice League. Of course, lots of people…

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The Empire of Nothing

I came across a term thrown out by fellow writer Alexandru Constantin: The Empire of Nothing In the spirit of cultural exchange and expediency, I’m appropriating it. The United States is an Empire – we don’t have to get into the technical details of why this is so – but what exactly is it an empire of? Individuals. This has been, in one sense, its strength. Individuals unbound by borders, restrictions of status, obligations to lord and land, and unencumbered by tradition were the perfect group to spread across a mostly empty land and settle it, forming the semblance of…

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Games, “Narrative,” and Gameplay

I’m not going to link the article that spawned this essay, mostly because the headline, which provoked everyone, was slightly misleading compared to the content of the article. The gist was the article had a title like “Narrative-focused games should drop the hours of combat,” which most gamers understand to be part of the games-journo advocacy of games that don’t have gameplay. This has been going on for years, and I have been addressing it for years. The odd thing is, the games industry has been addressing this concern, despite the fact that the market already solved this problem and…

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Idols

Idols are a problem to western society. No, I’m not writing today about the Japanese phenomenon surrounding teenage girls. What I’m thinking of is the idolatrous obsession over certain concepts that, through constant attempts to appease as if they are deities, inhibit discourse, clear thinking, and can even cause stumbling on your path to heaven. One of these, which I’ve talked about already, is Democracy. The idea that democracy as some unmitigated good is not just accepted as fact in the body politic, attempts to even suggest that it might merely be a conditional good, that is one that is…

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Games Preservation going forward

I have a bigger predictions article in mind, but in the meantime, I just want to take the time to point out a big one: It’s going to get harder to game. Particularly, I am thinking of vintage, retro, classic games, etc. While I think lots of companies have made good efforts in bringing classic games over to new platforms, either in the form of simple ports (like the final fantasy games, particularly 7 and 9), or in the form of overhauls (the many “remastered” editions), there are many, many games that are not in such a place. This might…

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How to self-publish a book

Occasionally, I get messages from people trying to break into the “traditional” (as in 20th century) publishing industry, and they always seem to be under some distress. In fact, the messages often come off like the pleading of abuse victims, with authors talking publicly on twitter sounding like battered women excusing their abuser. Everybody is aware of how lame it is to “pay” an agent (in reality, they pay you, and you better hope they are honest, unlike Chuck Palahniuk’s agent, who left him broke) to have coffee with someone at the publishing imprint, who then takes years to make…

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Schools and COVID

As the new school year approaches, there are lots of concerns over Coronavirus spreading through schools. While the virus isn’t dangerous to children, it is potentially dangerous to those they might be in contact with, such as grandparents and other relatives with high-risk profiles. This has caused lots of scrambling. How can we continue the current school arrangement when schools are and always have been a giant pathological petri dish? If we abandon the current paradigm of grouping children by age in small boxes, how will they get “socialized”? How will our children learn without school? This pulls the mask…

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