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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Low Trust America

People talk about America becoming a “low trust society,” but what does that mean, exactly? The normal take is that in a low trust society, there are low interpersonal moral standards beyond the tribe. So is the future of low trust America a Balkan-like tribal warfare state, or is it something else? I actually think what we will see is an appeal to paternalism to a much greater degree: This is much, MUCH worse. In America (and other western countries), bloodlines don’t hold loyalty. The tribe is not the tribe; rather, it is an artificial construct of ideology, dogma, and…

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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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It Goes Both Ways

We’ve spent the last 4 years on the butt-end of Trump Derangement syndrome, a very real psychological phenomenon affecting millions of people worldwide, not just Americans. They’ve been conditioned to vacillate and quiver by a constant stream of emotionally-charged “information” (using that term loosely, because as I have pointed out, most news is false even when the journalists aren’t lying, which they often are). What I think we forget is that these things can go the other way as well, not so much in “Democrat derangement syndrome” but in viewing Trump as something more than he is. To most of…

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Auto-Allegory, or how Starfire is a Terrible Mother

I don’t like to give publicity to garbage like this, but it’s such an instructive moment for writing and understanding people I can’t help myself: Basically, this is about DC superhero Starfire’s daughter (Raven, I think), who is an angsty 90s-2000s goth girl who is also obese and a lesbian, and of course resents her beautiful mother. The surface level complain is obvious – this is bad fan fiction and denigrates established characters, pushes a gratuitous woke agenda at the expense of a good story, and is generally low-quality writing and art. Add to that the fact that it will…

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Appeals to Processes

For anyone reading this in the future, the US is in the midst of a highly contested election. I don’t have the space to go over all the details, but the short version is that Donald Trump appears to be the victim of election fraud, as hundreds of thousands of mail-in ballots, all for his opponent Joe Biden, were “discovered” overnight, only in key battleground states and districts controlled by the Democrat party. This, however, provides a great time to talk about systems, processes, and the appeal to processes as a stand-in for the good. “Democracy” is something the American…

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Trump will win

Like anything, I could be wrong, but as of All Saints Day, I see Trump winning. This is based on two things: Energy Alignment I’ve noticed an immediate and insane uptick in energy the last few days, and all of it is coming from people clustered in several political alignments, namely rural and suburban dwellers who are opposed to the various measures intended by the government to stop the spread of the Wu-flu, aka Covid19. I live in California, specifically, rural California, though I’m not too far from a mid-size city (Modesto), and not far enough from a large city…

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Adaptations

It’s not hard, or at least, it shouldn’t be when you have 100 million + dollars to fling around. So why so much failure? Because “Hollywood,” as the collection of producers etc. that run the business, doesn’t care a lick about the stories that they adapt. They adapt things like books and movies for two reasons: There is already a built-in fanbase (in other words, some guarantee on a return on investment). The key elements of the story have already been filtered in the free market to have wide appeal. In other words, the book was already successful, so a…

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Gen Y Stares at the Mirror

I realize with my latest story, another one focusing on the experiences and in some ways plight of members of “Generation Y,” those of us born between 1975 and 1985 (give or take), that I have spent a good part of the last year reflecting on my age cohort. I don’t think this is uncommon or it is coincidental with me turning 37 this year. Indeed, there is a lot of reflecting that could not be done prior to reaching the second half of my thirties, simply because I didn’t have enough context to understand my past experiences and what…

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