Archive for month: April, 2015

Sarkeesian in TIME’s 100 Most Influential People

17 Apr
April 17, 2015

The Puppies need to learn the core lesson of GamerGate. That shit backfires SO hard.

On Goats

15 Apr
April 15, 2015

(Disclaimer: atheist stuff)

This is fascinating. Totally nuts, but fascinating.

Note the chicken thing.

The term scapegoat derives from ancient practices where a tribe would symbolically cast its sins into a goat, then drive that goat into the wilderness to perish. The goat takes the punishment in place of the tribes people, and their God forgives them for their misdeeds.

This idea was practiced by ancient Israelites as a regular religious observance. And it was from those people and their beliefs that Christianity sprung. The core principle of which is, of course, that the sins of Christians were symbolically taken on by Jesus, who was then tortured and murdered in our place, so that God could forgive the rest of us (Jesus himself being pure and innocent of any crime, of course).

The ultimate scapegoat.

Funny how, when you grow up with the story, carefully sanitized and presented in the best possible light as an act of love and forgiveness, you don’t stop to think “whoa, that’s crazy and immoral”. Any human justice system that would accept the brutal murder of an innocent in place of punishing the guilty party would be considered grotesque and perverse, not celebrated. That system would itself be a crime, even if the victim was willing to do it, out of love.

But we do celebrate it. With little symbols around our necks and bumper stickers on our cars. We sing songs about our sins being washed away with the blood of the Lamb. Washed clean. With blood.

We sing these songs, unthinkingly, even bored as we say the words. Across the world, in the centers of modern civilization, people raise their voice in celebration of blood sacrifice.

The idea of chucking a virgin into a volcano to prevent it from erupting is, these days, a cartoonish caricature we laugh at. Ho ho, how primitive. But it’s the same thing, isn’t it? The sacrifice of the pure to buy mercy for the rest of us.

There’s a lot like that in the Bible, stuff that is horrifying when you really give it some thought, but which you are taught is great and deserving of celebration. Like God killing all those babies in Egypt in order to convince the Pharoah to let the Israelites go. Including, as specified in the book, the babies of Egyptian slaves, whose parents couldn’t have chosen to let the Israelites go if they’d wanted to, being slaves and all.

Why not just kill the adults making the decision, God? Just the Pharoah himself? Or maybe just teleport him to the top of a mountain somewhere to ruminate on the consequences of being a douchebag? That would be more direct, and killing the innocent to pressure the guilty is an abhorrent, immoral act.

It’s all so surreal, once you’re outside the thing, looking in. There’s a lot of aggressive atheism and atheists out on the internet these days, and that aggressiveness is problematic in many ways. But it stems from the urge to grab your fellow humans and shake them, try to snap them out of it, break the spell.

“Look,” we want to say. “Look at it! See it for what it really is! Stop swinging that fucking chicken!”

The Frailty Of The Flesh

14 Apr
April 14, 2015

Man, I wish I was a robot.

Or at least a cyborg of some sort. Come on science, what’s the delay?

The last few days, I’ve developed a persistent aching in my mouse arm, along the forearm and near the elbow. Not the first time this has happened, but it’s always scary when it does. I need that arm, long term repetitive strain would be a huge problem in my life.

My only choice, in order to avoid a lasting injury, is to take a break for a few days. I still need to work at the day job, of course, but it’s the after hours PC activity that, I believe, pushes my muscles and tendons to breaking point.

It needs to be done, but I resent the loss of productivity.

Bah.

http://www.polygon.com/2015/4/14/8409879/mortal-kombat-x-lets-you-buy-easier-fatalities

14 Apr
April 14, 2015

Why put this option in the menu when you could charge people more money, on top of the $60 they’ve already spent? Right!?!

Capitalism ho!

Doodle

14 Apr
April 14, 2015

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Symphony

12 Apr
April 12, 2015

It’s so easy, as a player, to pick apart the flaws of a big game, to think “why didn’t someone pick up this thing, that issue?”

But even just glancing through these slides, you get a sense of how many moving parts are involved in creating a Skyrim, a Fallout 3. How many people you need to synchronize to create even a single dungeon, what a process it must be to synchronize all those artists and designers and engineers.

It’s much more akin to co-ordinating a symphony than the workings of an lone auteur. Remarkable that what emerges is anything less than complete chaos.

That fire I had when I was younger, that righteous condemnation so often expressed on forums, it’s melted into sympathy.

This shit be hard, yo.

Tabletop Day and Icon By The Sea

12 Apr
April 12, 2015

It was International Tabletop Day yesterday, so what better way to spend it than at the inaugural Icon By The Sea?

To be honest, I was pleasantly surprised at the turnout. Of South Africa’s three big cities, Durban(where I live) is known as the sleepy coastal town, and not without reason. Big events often skip Durban, they struggle to fill seats.

But this weekend, Durban’s geeks gave a good showing!

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It was day two of the event, but the the hall was packed and the board game tables buzzing. Kudos to Shelley Kirby, Francois and all the other staff and volunteers from The Unseen Shoppe and affiliates for organizing the event and spending all day running newbies through the games. Personally, I had a blast!

The first game we played was King of Tokyo, a new favourite of mine. Simple to understand and setup, quick to play, but varied enough and involving enough strategy to keep veterans and newcomers alike entertained. This one will find itself a home in my games cupboard very soon, methinks.

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Here I am, teaching my tiny protégé how to play.

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I taught him a bit too well, it seems, as he went on to crush the rest of us under his slimy crustacean heel! Hubris!!!

The steely gaze of a master tactician.

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Next up was Lords of Waterdeep, an intriguing worker placement game.

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Stratemagizing.

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Unfortunately, I was too slow to hone in on one strategy and ended up losing to a girl who cornered the arcane faction. Ah well, good fun regardless! Next time, I shall seize Waterdeep for my own, or my name isn’t Khelben Blackstaff*! *shakes fist determinedly*

There was a stock of board games I didn’t manage to get to, many of which I’ve been wanting to try out for ages. Next time! I will get to you all, my lovelies!

Board games weren’t the only geeky fun to be had. There was cosplay…

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…wargaming (man, the details on the models! Those dioramas! I avoid wargaming for good reason. In it, I see my doom)…

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Rally Da Boyz!
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Our victory is Inevitable
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Chaos Rises
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For the Glory of the God-Emperor! Cleanse the Filth!
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For the Craftworld!

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Raiders Incoming.
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Nagash Rising
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My favourite thing was this Warhammer themed tape measure. Too cool. 😀
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…and, of course, merch. So much merch. I had to roll MANY saving throws vs consumerism.

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I spend so much time working down in the creative mines that I can forget to take time off, to enjoy the sunlight and restore my spirits. It was great to put aside work for an afternoon and enjoy just being a fan and a gamer. Here’s hoping that this is just the beginning of great things this convention!

*My name isn’t Khelben Blackstaff.

11 Apr
April 11, 2015

Well, we’re all totally fucked. Spider-bot Apocalypse any day now.

You said it, Eder.

11 Apr
April 11, 2015

10 Apr
April 10, 2015

Feagus Urquart on Pillars of Eternity’s controversial joke.