trenchant.org

by adam mathes

2015 in Gaming

I put together an overpowered gaming PC at the start of 2015 and got back into PC gaming (particularly FPS’s) big time. It was fun!

I missed doing this in 2014 (and barely played anything in 2014) and I’m a month late doing it for 2015 but whatever, here we go!

Highly Recommended

Dropsy

My game of the year 2015. Dropsy is a wordless point and click adventure game. It’s beautiful and heartbreaking and magical and everything that we used to wish adventure games would turn into.

Cradle

This first-person sci-fi transhumanist adventure is one of the most memorable gaming experiences I’ve had in years. The small world it creates is so haunting, interesting, and beautiful.

It’s flawed - clearly had some gameplay issues and design decisions that weren’t great, the skippable mini-game thing in particular is awful. But it’s so daring and different than anything else - wish it had gotten more attention. One of the best and most beautiful experiences I’ve had in gaming.

Grand Theft Auto V

I’m not a big GTA or Rockstar fan but loved this game. “Did Somebody Say Yoga” is one of favorite moments in gaming.

Her Story

Loved everything about this, from the attention to detail in the interface, to the acting, writing, unique gameplay. And don’t worry, even people who don’t have a weird predilection to loving mediocre or obscure retro-FMV games think it’s good.

Wolfenstein: The New Order

Basically great. It’s great. I mean it’s dumb and great. Tight gameplay, and given the expectation for writing for a Wolfenstein game, was actually not bad there either. The half assed stealth elements were garbage, need to play it by blowing shit up and it’s great.

Beast Boxing Turbo

Takes everything I nostalgically think I love about Mike Tyson’s Punch-out, makes them better, more charming, and has super great art and gameplay.

Axiom Verge

Surprising depth, innovation, and fun in this Metroidvania. Clearly is a love letter to Metroid but feels accessible, sharp, modern and stands on its own.

Ultra Street Fighter IV

I got back into Street Fighter this year, and man, it’s still so much fun.

Also I’m coming to accept that I am better on a keyboard than stick or pad due to years playing weird emulated fighting games over the past 20 years.

Divekick

Divekick is esports!

2 buttons is all you need.

Far Cry 4

Far Cry games never let me down, and actually seem to just keep getting better. Over the top crazy fun, tight gameplay, and killer graphics, the most fun I had when I initially set up my new gaming PC.

Semi-Recommended

FPS’s I played because I wanted to use my 21:9 monitor but were all mediocre / forgettable:

Weirdly I didn’t think any of the CODs I had missed over the past few years were good. I had high hopes for Black Ops 3 since I love Black Ops 1 and 2 but was pretty meh on this one.

Injustice: Gods Among us Ultimate Edition - turns out I like the comics better? I still just don’t get Mortal Kombat style gameplay. It’s kind of fun?

The Typing of the Dead: Overkill House of the Dead: Overkill on Wii is amazingly fun, this fell flat to me, but still basically any Typing of the Dead game is a good game.

Not Recommended / Abandoned

  • The Beginners Guide - high concept but didn’t connect with me emotionally at all
  • Batman Arkham Origins - the worst Arkham game?
  • Mind: Path to Thalamus: beautiful but didn’t enjoy the writing, gameplay, and felt the whole thing was incomprehensible.
  • Drunken Robot Pornography - difficulty spikes
  • Lichdom: Battlemage - not fun
  • TRI: Of Friendship and Madness - dizzying
  • Alien Isolation - way, way WAY too hard
  • In Verbis Virtus - cool voice mechanic to use spells but got annoying quickly

Episode 7

I saw The Force Awakens.

What I believe is canonical in Star Wars as of now:

  • Episode IV
  • The Star Wars Holiday Special
  • Episode V
  • First act of Episode VI
  • Kyle Katarn & Mara Jade
  • Episode VII

I enjoyed it. It was designed for me to enjoy it. I don’t know whether that makes it more less authentically enjoyable.

Everything is fan fiction now.

The Medium Is Unfortunately The Message

“You can’t expect them to read books!

You have to communicate with them in a medium that plays to their shortened attention span and need for instant gratification at the expense of any real depth — like an animated gif, TED Talk, or strings of emoji.”

Experience Based Economy

And yet, despite the odd food-court fisticuffs, the US shopping day was relatively slow. Much of this, of course, can be attributed to shoppers taking their business online, but it seems a greater movement is afoot. Even—or perhaps especially—post-recession, a bargain is no longer enough. Our values have shifted. For more than a year now, Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, a guide to de-cluttering one’s life, has sat on the New York Times best—seller list. Even the clothes-horses among us have embraced systems to limit our consumption and work with what we have. Some even enlist the help of psychologists.

Jenni Avins, For many people this Black Friday, a bargain was no longer enough

Feels

The entire point is how these purchases make you feel, and it’s that feeling, whether it be an appreciation for craftsmanship, status, or simply being pampered, that provides the sort of differentiation that makes all of these products profitable.

Ben Thompson, Selling Feelings

Power Animal

You’re going deeper into your cave.

And you’re going to find your power animal…

dislike

Now the only authentic way to fav something on Twitter is to delete your account.

Other Waters

On those stepping into rivers staying the same other and other waters flow.

· · ·

No movie will ever be our childhood memories of Star Wars.

Intention vs. Attention

We experience the externalities of the attention economy in little drips, so we tend to describe them with words of mild bemusement like “annoying” or “distracting.” But this is a grave misreading of their nature. In the short term, distractions can keep us from doing the things we want to do. In the longer term, however, they can accumulate and keep us from living the lives we want to live, or, even worse, undermine our capacities for reflection and self-regulation, making it harder, in the words of Harry Frankfurt, to “want what we want to want.” Thus there are deep ethical implications lurking here for freedom, wellbeing, and even the integrity of the self.

· · ·

Your technologies, on the other hand, are trying to maximize goals like “Time on Site,” “Number of Video Views,” “Number of Pageviews,” and so on. Hence clickbait, hence auto-playing videos, hence avalanches of notifications. Your time is scarce, and your technologies know it. But these design goals are petty and perverse. They don’t recognize our humanity because they don’t bother to ask about it in the first place.

James Williams, Why It’s OK to Block Ads

SCI_GLITCH.EXE

Continuing with my previous work on glitching out old Sierra games, I’ve done some work to expand my virtual palette to include the SCI0 games (these include games like Space Quest III, Leisure Suit Larry 2, Colonel’s Bequest, and others.)

Here’s some of the output:

You can follow the work as its autogenerated by my bot army at quest_glitches

In case you missed it, there was some nice press about my work on this on Kill Screen and Offworld.

Social Media Trolling

impact of the democratic debate is seeing which people i follow are most easily trolled by incompetent social media interns of republicans

It was weird to come home on Tuesday and check Twitter. I should have avoided it because I didn’t want the Cubs game spoiled.

Instead the chatter about the Democratic debates (for an election that is 391 days away) was ever present. And mostly the soundbites and tweetable moments, not from the debaters but the insane idiotic bullshit from the other party.

social media trolling is the brand advertising of the now. it’s the unescapable visual and noise pollution that permeates our world.

· · ·

There’s something terrifying as I increasingly worry the structure of modern social media itself is leading us to an unending cycle of outrage and trolling.

This will be the first US presidential cycle where we see the impact at its fullest and its already scary.

“what’s happening?” trump is ultimate troll. trolls have won. trolling and marketing and advertising converge into this streaming cesspool.

There’s an impulse to look away and retreat. I’m weird in that I have a custom, bespoke self-coded media cocoon of my own design — my own custom coded CMS, quiet and removed from freedback, an RSS reader where every piece of code I understand and my filtering and blocking and experience is exactly how I choose it.

· · ·

The trials of adult life are impossible to prepare for.

Rested

A very relaxing time.

Paper Anniversary

Best year of my life.