Objectivity in Opinions

Zippcast link: http://www.zippcast.com/video/114d63756a5763f7221

I’m sure we’ve all heard this old chestnut before..

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Immersion – Right Idea, Wrong Means? (Video)

In which I discuss the buzzword “immersion” in video games and how what game designers THINK is immersive often ends up being counter-productive.

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Also, unrelated to the video, lately I’ve been trying out new things. Among them, I’ve been watching PewDiePie.

Now, of course I’ve been a fan of Markiplier for awhile now, and the consensus is that if you like Markiplier, you won’t like the Pewds. Not to mention being surrounded by people who pretty much considered the Bearer of the Brofist the worst thing ever. But I was bored, and frankly I was kind of curious as to whether the Pewds was really as bad as people said.

Short answer, no he isn’t. There are some irritating aspects to his videos, but there’s also fun to be had, and for a fan of modern horror LPs he’s also a nice change of pace. Markiplier is an awesome guy, but even the best thing ever can get boring if you over-expose yourself to it. It’s nice to have a new guy (new to me) with a different set of jokes and sense of humor. Then eventually he’ll get old, and Mark will be fresh again. It’s perfect!

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On that note I’m trying (again) to record a Let’s Play of my very own, but I’m not sure when that’s gonna happen or with what game. I’m not sure I want to become a Youtube giant though… I kinda half-fear the prospect of my hobby becoming a job.

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Random, but I’m starting to wish I could get a Dungeons & Dragons group together on Skype, particularly people who wouldn’t mind playing older editions from the eighties.

The Worst Happened, but Then the Best Did Too

So, some of my forum and skype friends may be wondering where the hell I’ve been for nearly a week or so. The answer is simple.

My laptop–my one connection to the internet–died.

Okay, it technically isn’t dead. What happened is the port where you plug the power supply in got flaky, and sometimes wouldn’t see the plug even when it was in. So I had a short period where I had to keep jiggling, looking for “sweet spots” and in many cases, holding it there by hand until the battery charged.

Then, finally, there were no sweet spots, and no way to charge the battery, and the device was simply unusable. So, no way to get online.

Not being a man to rest on his laurels, I immediately looked for a replacement, using a friend’s computer to price-check local stores. Since the now-deceased laptop had been a Toshiba, I wanted the replacement to be a Toshiba as well, because of something I predicted (correctly, it turned out).

I found one, a budget model but still ever so slightly better than my old laptop. The only headache was the exact one I anticipated:

Windows 8.1 FRACKING SUCKS

And I didn’t go in wanting to hate it. Truth is that after being reluctant to try XP, Vista, and 7, only to in each case realize they weren’t so bad, I kinda had high hopes for 8.1. Unfortunately the only good thing I can say about it is that it booted up fast. Right out the gate I was asking myself “where is everything?” and “how do I do basic thing X I always do?”

The final straw was when I found out something nobody ever mentions:

By default, you have to use Windows 8 to get into the BIOS.

Let me repeat that:

By default, you have to use the OPERATING SYSTEM to get into the BIOS.

Anyone who works with computers and even those who don’t should immediately realize how fracktarded and wrong that is. The OS should have nothing to do with the bios! But nope… on Windows 8.1, you need to go to that android-looking screen and click on the gear. From there I kept following a line of options that were like, “update and recover” and “recover” and similar-sounding options, usually at the bottom of the menu, and eventually I found one that allowed access into… not quite the bios, but a stripped-down version with lesser options. But from there, there’s an option to restart the PC and go into the really-real BIOS, and you just disable Secure Boot and change UEFI to CSM and… and now Windows 8 won’t boot, but since I had made up my mind already, that didn’t bother me.

Made up my mind about what? Well, by now you can guess: I was downgrading to Windows 7.

Long story short, it succeeded. The only headache was drivers, and I’m in the process of solving that right now. Once I do I’m gonna create an image of this install so I never have to go through all this again.

Anyway, here’s to more internet fun!

The Problem With Shopping (also, what I got for Christmas)

So, first, here’s what I got for Chrimmus. My birthday is also really close, so I’m including those as well:

* an Android tablet, seven inch. Still not sure what to do with it.

* An electric blanket for those cold nights. It’s actually been pretty awesome so far. Even Yoyo likes it!

Past that I’ve mostly just gotten christmas money from friends and relatives, which I’ve so far used to get a movie, From Beyond (DVD/BluRay combo pack version) and a Doctor Who serial, The Dalek Invasion of Earth.

One slight bummer is that I used to love shopping in the real world, but over time its kinda… eroded, to the point where I always am looking for specific things that the stores basically never have. When they do have them, it seems like the price is always too high.

There is an exception though: Sometimes you see a used DVD or video game that the store doesn’t realize the (assumed) value of, and then you can get it for a not-insane price.

I wish I could say that this was one example, but unfortunately at the moment I can’t. The reason I’m mentioning that show is as an example of how ridiculous the online “everything is rare!” mentality is–that show wasn’t considered particularly good even back in its day and was only remembered because of a slightly more popular animated spinoff which itself was disliked because it was competing with The Real Ghostbusters. At the same time I’m a fan of said animated spinoff so I’m looking forward to owning this set (which for various reasons I couldn’t grab back when it was new). So basically, if anyone sees that box set for a not-retarded price (I’m willing to go up to fifty bucks, but no higher) lemme know.

Another thing I’ve been seeing as an obstacle is that lately, I tend to have specific tastes. Like, “there’s one very particular thing I’m looking for.” Like recently I’ve been into H.P. Lovecraft. Not “horror fiction,” not “any good horror author,” but Lovecraft specifically. And then I really just want the Arkham House volumes and they have specifically to have the Raymond Bayless cover art… yeah. This has extended to looking for movies based on his works… which itself has narrowed down to “basically just the ones by Stuart Gordon” (From Beyond, Re-Animator, etc). Right now, the only way to get me to even look at other horror authors is if their writings are related to the Cthulhu Mythos. Similarly, when I was into racing games awhile back, they had to be certain styles–Mario Kart-type racers wouldn’t do it but I didn’t care for heavy management aspects either. Before that there was a period where I was into… umm… something. Yeah I can’t remember something that specific (funny how that seems to form a contrast here).

But yeah, this makes me a hard person to shop for, which is why my friends and family either just give me money, or else some general necessity thing like the electric blanket. Which kind of makes the android a weird decision since I never expressed interest or need for one, but apparently they thought the webcam functions would be useful for making videos… or at least recording kitties. Which is a good point, though the camera (and this may just be a software issue) seems to take some excessively dark, rather pixellated images.

I haven’t used it yet.

But just to give you all a slice of d’aawww, here’s a video I did make, with my logitech webcam, featuring my cute widdle Flufflepuff:

… Incidentally I found out afterward that there’s a fan-made pony named Flufflepuff. Forget her, my kitty is far more adorable!

See ya in January!

Overcoming the Lag

Note to WordPress: Please don’t change things that aren’t broken. The minute it popped me into its new editor, I immediately clicked the “switch to Classic Editor” function. It’s not “classic,” its the one that works just fine. I don’t get why all these web services feel like they need to change things that aren’t broken. I used to use Hotmail. but then they changed so much that they became a pain in the ass. That’s why I use Yahoo mail now. Yahoo has the decency to let you decide for yourself whether you like the new way things work or not. Good thing WordPress does too or I’d be jumping ship!

Anyway.

So yeah, I mentioned a few days ago that I’m lagging, but just now I feel like I’m getting better. Of course, that may be a case of “spoke too soon” because I thought I was overcoming it when I got that Lovecraft book, but now I’m bored of reading altogether. Yeah, bored of an entire storytelling medium. Sucks, donnit?

Really, I mentioned last time that I hate people (basically). Yet that’s far from the whole story. Another thing that’s been eating me is just everything I do gives me a sense of “been there, done that” combined with a general pointlessness.

Just for example. RPGs. I barely play them anymore, and unlike most people it is not because of time issues–I never made the mistake of getting married or having kids. One of my friends did and I saw how he suffered for it, so I’m all like “screw that.” So for me, its work, then come home and play or whatever. No, the reason I don’t play RPGs much is because, well, they start out seeming novel or whatever, but then a few hours in I’m either starting to see retread elements, or else there’s aspects of the design that make me go “Oh for fucks sake.” It doesn’t have to be anything major, either. Just a minor irritation is usually enough.

And its not just RPGs, but lately its just about anything. Like when I play Salamander on my PSP (I own the Salamander Portable compilation) I only play until I run out of lives, not because I’m trying to get better but because I can’t get enthusiastic enough to play the game for longer than just a quick break.

I really wish I could get enthusiastic. I remember the days where I played Chrono Trigger, beat it, then played it some more to find all the endings. Even Final Fantasy VI, I played it multiple times just to see how things changed if I did something slightly different. First time I played, I got the Gold Hairpin instead of saving Mog, and it didn’t fully sink in until much later that Mog died for good if you did that… I went through the game anyway. Nowadays though, doing something like that would be either a “reset and load” or “turn the game off” moment. Apparently, my tolerance has sunk. And that bothers me.

I’ve tried to do “re-training,” to get back into the old mode, where I force myself to just go with it and keep playing (or reading) but… it has mixed results. Sometimes it irritates me, and sometimes it really does overcome the barrier. Of course that’s not always the right course of action–if I “keep playing” a 2D shooter for example then it amounts to basically continue-spamming through the game, which means I’m not really getting better, and in my mindset, once I’ve seen the ending, I’m done (except for Xexex, where I forced through the US version basically because I wanted to know what the storyline is and see the mystery of the Flint revealed, but then the Japanese version on Salamander Portable is the one I actually play for realzie).

I actually have a theory about why this is. Well, two theories. One is “the internet” theory where ya know, online culture made everyone into instant-gratification. Then again tho the guy who runs the 1cc blog still does it despite being online, and I still sometimes get massive inspiration, so I doubt it.

My own theory tho, is based on the fact that I collect so many games, and a lot of older games are easy and cheap to get now. I wonder if basically, when a person has 100 games in their library which they never played (or only gave a cursory glance at), it makes them feel “bad” for giving a lot of time to just one or two titles? I noticed something similar back when I used to collect a lot of sci-fi and fantasy novels, I always wanted to get through them fast in order to get through them all… and then when I started parting with them, I found the remaining ones became much easier to read because now I had less choices.

I’m not willing to start selling games, cartoons, or anime though, because I’ve noticed a problem… I invariably always want them back. And the games I know I won’t miss are always the games nobody wants (tends to be PC games especially). So thinning out my collection isn’t really an option unless I’m willing to suffer grief in the future. I’m STILL kicking myself for selling M.U.S.H.A back in the day. I so want that game back… and now its crazy ‘spensive (I got my complete copy for only $10 and sold it for $50, believe it or not).

Anyway, one thing I found interesting.

I was on GOG.com recently and I saw this, after having previously seen this in an LGR review about the 3D Realms Anthology. I was like, “Wait a minute. That looks like Epic Pinball, but there’s a Duke Nukem table… WHAT GAME IS THAT? I MUST KNOW!” And now I own it. And yes, it is pretty fun… although exiting the table always causes the program to crash for some reason. I don’t know what the deal is, but since I was trying to quit anyway, crashing at that moment doesn’t really matter.

I was also trying to put together a ramble-on-video about superhero comics, but a mix of being only half-interested and FUCKING CATS WON’T LEAVE ME ALONE has caused me to put that on hold, if not abandon it.