Thursday, January 27

People fear change

Apropos of absolutely nothing:

People fear change. Myself included. Even if it's demonstrably for the better -- there's an inertia to people's daily routine that means that something has to be a *lot* better than their current way of doing things in order for them to be willing to expend the effort to change how they act (let alone think).

That's why it's so hard to get anything done.

Ole Bald Angus The Monk

Angus is a hardcore gamer. he's into MMOs, and he used to be into Half Life, and he blogs. Oh dear lord does he blog.

I can't say enough good things about him -- he has a very stream-of-consciousness style that means he can say a huge number of things in a relatively small space, or say a VERY huge number of things in a not so small space. Even if some of them are stupid, some of them are really not -- I'd need more fingers than I have (including the ones in the jar on my desk) to count the number of times I've thought to myself "Damn, I wish I'd said that.".

Go read his stuff.

Thursday, January 13

another screed on broken toys

Ole Bald Angus the Monk is an MMO-playing dude that I got linked to by Jeff Freeman, who's In The Industry and all awesome and stuff. Angus writes a lot, and he writes really well. (of course, you have to be willing to interpret him a little; call it personal style.)

I only check him really every once in a while, but he wrote something this january that hit me right in the gut. It's about games as surrogates for human attention. As is usual with my blog, what I'm about to say won't make a lot of sense until you go read his thing, so go do that. And yeah, we use the same default blog theme.

Back yet? no really, go read it.

OK. This reminded me a lot of Broken Toys, an essay that Scott Jennings (aka Lum The Mad) wrote for way back in the day. It's a seminal work about the value that people place on games -- especially virtual worlds -- and the expectations they have of them. Well, that's not true. It's about what happens when the games, and their operators, don't meet the expectations of the players. I tried searching the archives on Scott's blog for it, but I can't find it right now because I can't think of a better search term than "broken toys" for it, and since that's the name of the blog IT'S ON EVERY PAGE DURR.


Angus hits it on the head, or more appropriately suckerpunches it in the gut, on this one. Can I change the way I think about my current addiction so as to make it less of a totally unhealthy thing? o_O

Tuesday, January 11

Impromptu Dactlyic Quadrameter

Fraxas had me enter a contest yesterday. You can look here to find out about it, but the gist is this: write an amusing e-mail, win a copy of the game City of Heroes. Here's my entry.

I present:

A body of text that is built to amuse
Sufficiently so, so that it you will choose.
If this is a contest that Pharaoh does lose
He'll go deeply insane and devour his shoes.

He'll make the world weep to the sound of his blues
He'll punch his own face in, and then punch the bruise
He'll cry like a baby that's scared when it poos
He'll chop up his corpse and then bury the clues.

If the judge of this contest won't pay him his dues
He'll eat his own barf til his own stomach sues
And if you still think that these threats are a ruse?
A dynamite enema! He'll light the fuse.

Pharaoh Magnetic

This is a contest I think I should win.
It's a world I could really immerse myself in.
A comic book hero, I am in my dreams
But in my real life? Not a chance, so it seems.
All that could change though, if I win the prize:
A chance to scourge evil with some of you guys.

Monday, January 10

New Games Journalism and the dialectic

Three conversations I've had today have come to the same place, and I figure if that's not a reason to blog about something nothing is.

Always Black, a dude who runs a pretty neat website, has a piece on New Games Journalism. Go read it, I'll wait.

That's the first piece.

I had a conversation this morning with a co-worker that meandered past culture jamming as an attempt to revive the dialectic (i.e. provide an opposing argument to a cultural norm). This in the context of a billboard I saw this morning with Paris Hilton vamping Guess glasses and her bare chest, on which someone had written "Do you judge your worth by the price of your clothes?".

That's the second piece.

I also had a conversation just now with a longtime friend who bemoaned the state of public discouse in two specific ways: (1) centrist opinions are not widely made public, like far-right ones are and (2) in the same way that stopped clocks are right twice a day, sometimes the AM demagogues say things that ring as true to centrists as they do to the far right. Since it's an AM demagogue saying it, though, the opinion gets painted with that far-right wash. And it becomes impolite in what little centrist discussion there is.

That's the third piece.

So that brings us to the actual point I had to make: let's talk about politics, everyone! Let's make our opinions known. Let's write, and speak, from the heart and not be afraid to be wrong. Dive right in!

...but you first, OK? I hear the water's cold. And I don't like to be mocked.