thoughts on binge gamingvgames

February 19, 2014
Some of my thoughts of a super-productive staycation have been thwarted by the arrival of the video game "Earth Defense Force 2025", a solid sequel to my (previous) favorite B-movie game "EDF 2017". I am enjoying the heck out of it, honestly- it mashes together two of my favorite things in video games: gun battles with simple tactical decisions to be made (what the earlier game had in spades) and flying and gliding over a city's landscape. (thanks to the addition of a Valkyrie-like character with a jet pack.) Plus, Spoiler: flame throwing dragons. They're done quite beautifully, often set against a moody twilight time... pity you have to shoot them!

"Binge gaming" seems to be my preferred way of consuming games these days... but it makes me ponder why this type of gaming is so appealing in general- it certainly has its tedious moments! And it's a bit hard to defend as a cerebral exercise. I think it's a combination of two things: a viscerally appealing simulation of exciting things I can't do in the real world (flying, saving the earth from endless hoards of homicidal robots and giant insects) along with an environment were dogged persistence guarantees success, and where it doesn't, these days that's probably a "fault" of the game designer and not the player.

I think overall I'm more relaxed playing the game all Tuesday and Wednesday night than I was coding up my own game all day Monday; no angst eating, almost no ducking over to twitter or Facebook to get away.

I do wish I had a gaming buddy... it has an excellent splitscreen mode. I played the earlier title with my Jonathan and it was a great bonding time... alas he's a family guy now and I am on my own.

August 22, 2016vgames

One of my new favorite blogs is Supper Mario Broth. Besides the awesome name and header image of the famous brothers eating soup, it has a great range of Nintendo ephemera and lately details about glitches and "behind the scenes" various 3D Mario games use. (2D pixel games are generally too flat to have much behind the scenes, so to speak.)

Anyway, with Mario handing things off Olympic-wise (and my own month long "Best Of" Photos series done) what better time to start a week or so showing off the stuff I liked most when I did a deep backlog dive last month or so.

Today's topic: the many faces of Donkey Kong...

"Diamond rings are basically pet rocks."

August 23, 2016vgames

Dieting and Weight Talk Are Bad for All Adolescents, Says American Academy of Pediatrics Ugh. My usual approach in talking with young people is, you know, just talking with them, kind of as a adults, and trying to take their point of view, and admitting what sucks but then discussing what you can do about it. Sounds like that kind of straightforward talk might be counter-productive about weight, which is an issue near to my heart because I have worked out strategies that more or less work for me but it's still a grind. Gotta be careful with not advising kids I play an avuncular role with, probably especially the females.
More from Supper Mario Broth: I've always liked when the games play with the logos and iconography of their characters...

"Clouds are a glimpse into the mighty power of fluid dynamics, complicated equations made real and actual and gorgeous, painted across the sky."
--Phil Plait

August 24, 2016vgames

More from Supper Mario Broth - the many cross-platform faces of Donkey Kong...

It reminds me a bit of these 2600 animations I made way back when
"And there is another, subtler reason you might find yourself convinced that things are getting worse and worse, which is that our expectations outpace reality. That is, things do improve – but we raise our expectations for how much better they ought to be at a faster rate, creating the illusion that progress has gone into reverse."
--Oliver Burkeman
"The answer is that life is really, really good. I am a complex enough being that I can hold in my heart the understanding that we are really, really fucked, and at the same time that life is really, really good. I am full of rage, sorrow, joy, love, hate, despair, happiness, dissatisfaction, and a thousand other feelings. We are really fucked. Life is still really good."
--Derrick Jensen
(Both of those last quotes from The Guardian's How to stay happy when the sky is falling in.)

August 25, 2016vgames

More from Supper Mario Broth - animations.

from Mario Pinball

from the old "Saturday Supercade" cartoon I think. Confession: I dressed up like Donkey Kong Jr for halloween one year.

from Super Mario Kart

From DK: King of Swing

From DK: King of Swing

August 26, 2016vgames

Final selections from Supper Mario Broth...

They had a bunch of these 4-panel manga, I like the timing of them, and the wistful mood of this one. (And also one of the things I like less in video games, when they are set in a microworld clearly constructed just for this one play through.)

Pre 9/11 images of destruction of the WTC towers are always a bit jarring. (Actually, any reference to them. 2 towers were definitely better than 1, shadow-wise and in terms of being iconic.)

Thanks Wario!

I've always been intrigued by Samantha Mathis' dress in the Super Mario Brothers Movie, the way it shifts from plum to white.

BONUS: Kotaku had a cool page on Nintendo references including colors, relative sizes, and this rule on Mario:

Mario is Tolerant

He'll accept anyone or anything at face value. He treats anyone and anything with dignity and respect. He has seen too many things in his travels to be narrow-minded.

#lifegoals !
"The pencil is mightier than the pen."
--Robert Pirsig. I just finished his second book, "Lila: An Inquiry into Morals". While "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" made a path through through reconciling Western classical vs romantic analysis to a singular Tao-like sense of "Quality", this one describes a struggle of Static Patterns (roughly, what's known to work) vs Dynamic Patterns (the boundary pushing into new spaces). He also claims all static patterns of value can be divided into a hierarchy of inorganic, biologic, social, and intellectual - each level depends on the stability of the preceding one. I'm not sure if I have full buy-in but his exploration of the concepts speaks to arguments I have with some of my friends; I see them as rather reactionary, they see me as a bit hippy-dippy, but in some ways its their concern with the social patterns and preserving that base vs my interest in boundaries and finding out where we can go.
"Western New York combines the brains of the South, the culture of the Midwest, the hospitality of New England and the climate of Hoth."
--Nolan on Deadspin's Why Your Team Sucks 2016: Buffalo Bills.
What Reality are Trump People Living In? This is more nuanced and interesting than some earlier work on how Conservatives have a stronger "disgust" reaction, or even my view of everyone has a circle of empathy, and the liberal impulse is to expand it so you have more people on your side, and the conservative impulse is to retract it so as to keep potential cheaters out.
Liz and I are Going to see this guy Sunday in Worcester: