I grew up playing games made by Sierra On-Line – the King’s Quest and Quest for Glory games. While Sierra was created by both Ken and Roberta Williams, Roberta was the one that really ran the company and drove its creative efforts. She wrote the King’s Quest games and these set the standard I would expect from games to this day. I still consider King’s Quest one of the greatest game series. Continue reading
This is why I’m unemployed.
For those who did not click the link, that’s the Penny Arcade “General IT” job posting that’s been making the rounds on the Twitters and Tumblrs and such. There are many problems with this, problems indicative of the entire IT field and especially the “system administrator” part of it, but the worst part is this: they’re going to fill that position. And someone will be glad to have it. Continue reading
It is no coincidence that communism and communal have the same root; they are basically the same idea. Communal resources are inherently communistic; each person uses the resource according to their need, while all bear a shared responsibility for the upkeep and maintenance of said resource. Taxes are communism at work; we pay our share into a pot – each according to his means – and then collectively decide (through our elected representatives in most nations) how best to allocate those funds for communal use.
Perhaps the thing in modern American life that is the most communistic is the laundromat. For a small fee, people are allowed use of communal washers and dryers, shared among all who utilise the facilities. But our capitalistic society often ruins the intent; instead of using just what they need, people typically use what they can afford, spreading their laundry out over as many machines as possible in order to speed along the process for their own benefit. This is especially true of the dryers; many people will place only a few items in each dryer, using many many times more dryers than they did washers, justifying using far more than their own share by virtue of having paid for it.
Those who run laundromats typically don’t care; having bought into the capitalist model, they don’t care if their pay comes from one person or many. But for those who need to utilise the communal resource of the washers – a resource they do, in fact, help pay for over the years they utilise the facilities – these so-called “customers” are nothing but greedy wastrels, tying up resources that could be used far more efficiently, allowing many times more people to finish the necessary task of washing their laundry.
A large part of what pushes our home-owner society is the idea that we should not have to share resources, and a large part of that comes from a society that has forgotten how to.
Rachel Maddow’s staff recently retweeted this story, with their takeaway being the line about contraceptives and the Right to Life organisation’s stance being both scientifically incorrect and a gross violation of privacy. However, something stood out far more to me upon reading the article; it was this line here:
What Medicaid expansion will do is place thousands of people on the rolls that are able-bodied, primarily men, and that opens up a whole another can of worms for disincentives for work and healthy lifestyles for these people,
I added the emphasis, just to make it clear what bothered me. Not only are these people deciding that poor people don’t deserve health care, but they’re making a special point to state that able-bodied men who aren’t working are especially unworthy of any sort of health care – as if the only value a man has is the work he can do.
Because fuck men, right? We’re only valuable if we’re doing something for you.
I was at my nephew’s five birthday party a couple weeks ago when this actually happened:
Mom: Aww, this toy’s just a bit too tall for my baby; I bet it’d be perfect for Other Mom’s baby.
Other Mom: Wait, don’t adjust it yet! Let’s see if my baby fits.
And they proceeded to swap babies to test the hypothesis. (Both mothers are employees at the local research lab.)
I could go on a whole screed about boss battles and how they are severely hampering video game development, but instead I’m opting to answer the question anaphysik asked in the last post: “what about the Moon?”
The World of Darkness never did a lot of outright stating of “this is what things are”, leaving a lot of details to be filled in by individual Storytellers, so there isn’t a lot of official canon on the Moon. There are a few things we do know for sure, however.
Firstly, the Moon exists. Everyone can see it, and has seen it since ancient times. It’s a definite thing that is there, though the exact nature of what it was and what it looked like has varied, based on the prevailing belief of the times. It’s likely that at some point in history, it was in fact made of cheese.
Secondly, the Moon has both a physical and a spiritual reality. The Moon is a powerful spirit, known by many names; modern Werewolves use the Roman name, Luna, but whatever name she is revered by gives her power. Luna is, in fact, one of the most powerful spiritual entities in existence.
Thirdly, the light side of the moon is a physical place, rocky, desolate and without atmosphere. Images brought back by the Apollo mission (and seen by telescope before then) have established the surface of the moon in the minds of the general populace, and no amount of faith or Magick has been able to unseat that; the Moon is the Moon, and people believe it is that way.
And finally, the dark side of the moon is an unknown, nebulous entity. Consensual reality has only a vague view of what it should be, and the laws of physics are less powerful there, though they still hold a great deal of sway, making Magick more difficult than in the rest of the spirit world, but easier than on Earth. The Technocracy is trying to change that, of course, and their deep space convention, the Void Engineers, have a base there staffed mostly by robots.
It’s important to note that Technocrats absolutely view the spirit world through their scientific lens, and see distant spirit realms as planets, stars, and fortresses in space, not as “spirit realms”. Traditional Mages, as well as Werewolves and other travellers of the spirit realms, see them differently, more as other planes of existence. So while Technocrats might see a realm as “Mars”, the red planet, to the other spirit travellers it’s a battlefield located in a distant spirit realm.
The Technocratic viewpoint being the dominant one on Earth, their lens is also how most humans view the spirit world. If the Technocrats win, the spirit world will become, in fact, space entirely.
I didn’t lie to Exetera! I said the box exploded – I didn’t say the explosion killed the guys.
So, an addendum to my statement on the “truth” of the World of Darkness: Mages are correct about how the world works, but there is a level of spiritual reality above (or below, or beyond, however you want to conceptualise it) the world that works somewhat differently. This world is largely the domain of werewolves and other skinchangers, but mages can explore it as well (and, in fact, one whole Sphere of Magick is dedicated to doing so). Vampires have virtually no interaction with the spirit world, though as I have previously mentioned some Kuei-jin can travel through it.
The Technocracy views everything through the lens of science, and their understanding of the spirit world is no different. While traditional Mages have the sphere of Spirit, Technocrats instead have the sphere of Dimensional Science, and view the spirit world through the lens of deep space, rather than spiritual travel. This does lead to the fun juxtaposition of Technocrat explorers outfitted in deep space protective gear walking the surface of “Mars” and encountering Gandalf walking around with no protection. Things like this is why Technocrats call Mages “reality deviants”.
It takes effort to pierce the wall between the material and the spirit world; werewolves have it easiest, able to “step sideways” through any reflective surface – werewolves are creatures of equal parts flesh and spirit, which is why it comes so easily to them. Mages require fairly deep knowledge of Spirit Magick and, often, also expenditure of magical “Quintessence”. Technocrats use science – rocketry, usually – which comes with its own great cost in effort, maintenance, and fuel (Technocrats do frequently use fuels that are essentially the same thing as magical Quintessence).
The sphere of “consensual reality” wherein the world obeys the laws of physics and holds off the spirit world has steadily grown over the centuries; in the modern day setting of the game, it extends out to slightly beyond geosynchronous orbit. Beyond that, space isn’t “space”, per se, but in fact is part of the spirit world. Our deep space probes are essentially all magical artefacts.