I’ve had this exact same reaction as Tycho.
People occasionally compliment me on my writing: they will say something like, “I like your writing,” which is constructed in such a way that I cannot wriggle from it. I accept the compliment because my momma raised me right; refusal of a gift is the first sin. But this is respiration for me. This is the sound of me breathing out; I can’t not do it. Though I suppose I could stop, and die.
I know what shape a piece of language has to conform to, and once I have the mold, words just fall into it. [snip] I’m not telling you this to make you think that I am clever or interesting – I’m trying to explain why it is difficult to absorb compliments for what feel like autonomic responses. Most of the words I’m using are just English words, right off the shelf, with the occasional aftermarket mod. I’m not sure I’ve ever done anything that could not be accomplished as well or better with refrigerator magnets.
I wonder how many successful creative types wonder this. Although I think that Tycho is being overly humble:
I talked for awhile with Brawsome, the Jolly Rover/MacGuffin’s Curse people, about how making something great should be sufficient. There are people much, much better than me at writing comics, or writing in general, but for whatever reason they don’t have conventions. I think it’s weird, too.
I still scratch my head at how it was that RedState – well, I know why it succeeded; it still sometimes bemuses me that I was able to go along for the ride.
PS: This was not an invitation to tell me that I’m good at what I do. I already know that; it’s just that there are plenty of people out there who are equally good at what they do, only they don’t have guaranteed front-page privileges at one of the most influential political websites in the country. I think it’s weird, too.
The lack of a Start Button on my new computer. It’s not exactly heartening to hear that Windows 8.1 will just show me the Hawaiian Good-Luck Symbol…
PS: Incidentally, when I showed the above link to my wife she laughed and told me that we had become Those People. You know, people who want things to stay the way that they were originally, dammit, because you knew where everything was and it worked perfectly fine.
…Well, maybe it’s not THAT bad yet, but I can see it from here.
Robert had Lasik done awhile ago, so long ago now that he has to wear glasses again, which is apparently a thing that happens. He would occasionally wear glasses anyway, for their intimidating effect, which was powerful enough to work on me even though I knew they were props. He told us about the process, which he found beyond odd: the laser man talked to him the whole time his cornea was off, complimenting him on the brilliant color of his iris, now unencumbered by its protective scale.
He told me that story when I first met him, too long ago to even remember when that was exactly, and I’ve probably thought about it one or twice a week ever since: a man who is always in some way unsatisfied with the human eyes he sees, who knows that there is some undiscovered color beneath those shells, a shell he knows is easy, so easy, to pull away.
There’s a 30 minute television horror episode in this one, somewhere. Assuming that they still do those. On cable, maybe? Yeah, probably on cable.
OK, some background: There’s a game called What’s Inside the Cube? – and it app… you know, if you know about it you don’t need the explanation, and if you don’t know about it you can probably just click the link. The point is that apparently the people behind the game have released a feature where you can pay cash money to make it harder for everybody else to solve the puzzle. And that’s happening, because it’s the Internet. As Penny Arcade’s Checkpoint said it, succinctly:
“This really is [Peter] Molyneux’s magnum opus: the regimentation and monetization of griefing.”
You’d think I’d disapprove. Well, no: I’ve been trying to figure out how to monetize Lefty trolls for years. Stuff like this gives me hope.
Not sucking up, here (although if somebody’s got a good reason why I personally should suck up to Penny Arcade I’ll be happy to entertain it?): Gabe’s kid has got good instincts. No, seriously: he’s set up an interesting benefit-hindrance trade-off in his Ultimate Power scenario and given his players an open-ended campaign goal which has the virtue of being straightforward while still allowing for multiple styles of play. Do the characters approach their denial of the Throne to others as if it were a crushing burden? An endless, convenient duck shoot of would-be Evil Overlords? A marrow-freezing temptation? Depends on your players, really.
Heh. Something like this happened to me: to wit, like Tycho of Penny Arcade, in my house, growing up, AD&D was specifically banned.
… my mom gave me an incredible gift here that almost certainly informed my life. I think a lot of people go right to D&D, and that’s it. You can play Dungeons & Dragons your whole life, I’m not gonna tell you that would be bad. It is at least as good and probably better than a lot of the shit you get up to. But she didn’t let me start with it, and the reason doesn’t matter now. I was made to cast a wide net, and I hauled up treasure.
But, like Tycho… my mom just banned AD&D. MERP/Rolemaster? No problem. Car Wars? OK. GURPS? Sure, no worries. …Paranoia? Fine, although Orcbusters pushed my mom’s buttons. I suspect that a lot of gamers have that history; and the members of the gaming industry that aren’t working for Wizards of the Coast should be, frankly, properly grateful about it.
Penny Arcade has a definite point, here.
Nintendo’s online offerings prior to the Wii U have been… online offerings, I guess you might say. Literal interpretations. We can tell now that they were not full attempts, and it’s clear, because when they actually try to do it it looks like this.
The “Theme Park” metaphor leveraged in NintendoLand is purposeful – that’s what they think it should be like to interact with people online. It should be like Disneyland. Everyone is there to have fun, and fun is in ready supply. But it must be guarded jealously, like a jewel; it requires secret police and strong image recognition software and constant vigilance to strain the c[*]cks out of the public soup.
After that incredibly, tooth-jarringly aggrivating last post, I figure that I should mention that. CheckPoint delivers quick video bites of commentary of computer gaming news; it’s fun-snarky without being nasty about it. I reliably laugh, even though I know only about 1/3rd of the companies that they’re mentioning in any given episode. Check them out.
But think about this example: somebody sat down and wrote a book recently on his computer; he sent it into a major e-publishing company and offered it for sale. Meanwhile, I participated in an affiliate program with that same company which provided me with fully taxable revenue in exchange for link placement on my site; the resulting revenue stream allowed me to purchase that book mentioned in the previous sentence, and have it downloaded to one of my four e-book readers for later perusal. A perfectly normal bit of commerce… until you remember that you couldn’t actually do this six years ago. There was the Amazon affiliate program, but the Kindle didn’t launch until 2007 and the e-publishing thing didn’t start getting legs until about 2010 or so (which, not even close to coincidentally, is when you started seeing real alternatives to the Kindle*).
Welcome to the future. And remember: flying cars means flying drunk drivers.
*Amazing how efficiently and usefully that entire “market forces” thing seems to work, huh?