Atlas Shrugged Part 2 Review, Post-Production

Well, King of Ferrets, Inquisitive Raven, and I watched it and we can’t un-watch it. We paused at various spots to comment while I recorded the audio. I’ll eventually get around to editing, including taking out our silences, whether awkward or thoughtful.

One point I raised in the conversation was the stealing of cars, since there were many in the movie with “don’t take” written on them. Given that gas went up to $40 per gallon in the movie, it left me wondering: Who would benefit from auto theft? Where would the black market demand come from? On the other hand, I could understand selling them for scrap metal. Then my brother, who is a fan of the Grand Theft Auto series, enlightened me to another theft motive and the flaw in my thinking.

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It seems Pat Robertson recently brought up the silly “D&D is Satanic” meme, again. It’s accompanied with the usual fainting over players allegedly learning black magic.

For the people who are actually worried about witches going around hexing people, I have one point to make: People like you probably carry the bulk of the blame for witchcraft gaining any sort of popularity. I think it’s ironic. Dungeons & Dragons, Harry Potter, and all the fantasy franchises out there treat magic as fictional. It’s just entertaining escapism. Just like any other hobby, there are people who turn it into an unhealthy obsession, but they’re not the norm. I don’t play fantasy games out of some delusion that it’s a road to magical powers, I play because they’re fun.

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Random Inspiration

I’m not into the augmented reality genre, but I ended up having a dream last night that gave me an idea. I imagine it’s already been done in some fashion, but I might as well share. In the dream, I was with a group exploring some spooky parks and graveyards at night, and carved into the features were various “pick your path” instructions like in the old books.

Since you can’t go around doing that in real life, it seems to me you could do it with an augmented reality game using a mobile GPS and camera. It could be a simple pick-your-path done with locations instead of pages, but I had another thought using the camera. Some instructions could be “investigate this area” where you use the camera to look for clues. You might scan a wall and find a hidden message written in blood, for example.

Some ideas to inspire jump scares:

1. Uncovering certain hidden things triggers monsters that can only be seen through the camera or a countdown, and the players have to escape the area before they’re caught.

2. There’s an opposing team who acts to troll the main team. They pose as regular players and join up with such groups if they spot them. When the group uncovers a “Look behind you!” message, they snarl at the investigators or something.

X-COM: Enemy Unknown… The New New One

I got my PS3 copy on Monday, and so far I’m pretty satisfied.

For the younger readers, the original X-COM was one of the best nostalgic PC games on the market. I never played as a kid, but I got to see its awesomeness through watching various Let’s Plays on YouTube. Even with its flaws, I think it aged well (and it’s available on Steam). The premise: Aliens have started attacking Earth, and you’re in charge of the international organization, X-COM, tasked with countering the alien threat. You get to build your base, manufacture weapons, reverse engineer alien technology, monitor the globe for UFOs and shoot them down.

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Game Concept: “Tutorial”

I had an amusing thought for a joke game. I think we can all say we hate forced tutorials, and I find it particularly annoying when you’re forced to go through the steps just demonstrated. The idea is to make a parody of such tutorials as well as overwrought and unnecessary game mechanics. It starts insultingly simple, telling you how to pick up an item. As it goes on, doing something “simple” involves following complex interacting rules that aren’t mentioned until you inadvertently violate them. Over time, the error messages get impatient with you: “You can’t alchemitize a silver weapon with a Pargon rune while your Lunar Orrery is in a waning phase! What’s wrong with you?!”

For naming conventions on game mechanics, I’d draw inspiration from MS Paint Adventures, including some shout-outs to it. I’d also probably poke fun at real games that overdo it.


I originally planned to post this yesterday, and PZ inadvertently reminded me. Speaking in favor of social justice, equity and all that on the atheist/skeptical blogosphere is good, but since I include gaming as one of my topics, I think it’s appropriate to make an explicit vow that I’ll speak up in my gaming sphere. Sexism, homophobia, and racism are everywhere, and that includes gamer culture. I’m sure people who play more multiplayer and/or mainstream games experience it more often than I do. For what it’s worth, I’ll add my voice to counter bigotry when I’m playing with others.

Of course, the title isn’t a terribly serious attempt to replicate the impact atheism+ is having in its early phase, but who knows? Maybe the plus thing will expand to other communities. I doubt I’ll have cause to claim a big contribution, but I’ll do what I can with my tiny voice.

Dungeons of Dredmor

It’s been a while since I’ve done a gaming-related post, so I thought I’d mention that I’ve been playing Dungeon of Dredmor recently, with all the expansions, including the recent Conquest of the Wizardlands. DoD is a graphical indie roguelike with a sense of humor, often at the expense of other games, from Elder Scrolls to Dwarf Fortress. Much to my amusement, Rearden Metal has made an appearance in Wizardlands. Metal ingots have alchemical symbols engraved on their sides. The symbol for Rearden Metal is a dollar sign. It’s even green.

They also recently patched the core game to allow all players access to a pocket dimension, so that means I don’t have to keep returning to my giant stockpiles on earlier floors. I feel like a nomad. Weapons have also been changed so that daggers are separated from swords as a weapon class, and polearms from staffs. The new categories get their own matching skill trees.

A new game mechanic from Wizardlands is “encrusting” where you add bonus stats (sometimes mixed with penalties) onto equipment. One of them is “Razor Chain” which adds a little chainsaw-like razor to the edge of your weapon. So, here’s a question: What would happen if I added that to my Clockwork Chainsword?

Trouble in Team Silence

My brother got into a bit of a rant this morning about Armored Core V, and I honestly can’t blame him. I still love Armored Core, but I acknowledge there are numerous flaws. The past couple of weeks he’s been researching how the persistent online war is fought, since the English instruction manual’s about six pages. He was enthusiastic at first, but his discoveries have really worn that down to nothing. The game’s status quo is discouraging, and the lack of support for American players doesn’t help.

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