Tag Archives: rant

A Silent Protagonist Does NOT Guarantee Awesomeness

The theme of today’s entry is “correlation does not imply causation,” except I’m not talking about vaccines. I’m talking about the frequent notion that a silent protagonist in a video game makes for a more immersive experience. A recent Kotaku article got me thinking about this, but I intend to look at the matter in a more specific and less, uh, prickly point of view. Now, I’m going to slim the playing field a bit and talk specifically about silent heroes in first person shooters, in interest of time and clarity of point.

This blog post is Longsville, you have been warned.

A long train of thought…

MW2 Controversy: a rant to other game devs

So, the controversial Modern Warfare 2 footage leaked out, and now all the world’s in a hissy fit. Some are in a hissy fit because they are offended by the content, while some are having a hissy fit over the fact that anyone would be offended by the content. Most of these arguments I’ve read (from both ends of the spectrum) are from people who work in games. It’s a lot of the same bickering over and over, which mostly induces eye rolling in me.

BUT. I think it’s a shame, because people can’t put aside their bickering for two seconds to look at an interesting phenomenon, which could be extremely useful to us as game developers!

The two ends of the comment spectrum are equally frustrating. On one end is the “how could anyone defend this, it’s an abomination!” view. At the other end is the “how could you be offended by this when you play/make other shooters? You are a hypocrite!” The middle is peppered with milder, yet still annoying views, like the ever so common “IT’S A GAME.”

When I watched the video, my response was “wow, that’s pretty horrid! I hope there’s a way to skip it, because I don’t think I could play this and I wouldn’t be able to complete the game!”

Enter the people who don’t understand how I could feel that way when I play other shooters – the implied hypocrite stance. I don’t understand this reaction! One shooter evoked an emotional response in me, one did not. You can’t control the emotions that you feel, they just happen, you can only control your actions. The fact that one evoked an emotional response in me does not mean I’m a hypocrite, you guys.

ESPECIALLY since that seemed to be the whole intent behind the controversial sequence: to evoke a powerful emotional response. And they succeeded! They did their job, guys, it worked on me. They were TRYING to get me to have an intense emotional response where I may not when playing other shooters, that’s why they treated it so artfully.

It just happened that the emotions evoked in me exceeded some threshold, into the repulsion territory, as in “wow, I can’t endure that, abandon ship!” It’s the same reason I can never watch Boys Don’t Cry ever again.

Anyway, what’s the thing that everyone’s missing which I implied earlier? Well, if people could stop “how dare they”-ing Infinity Ward for including the sequence, and if people could stop saying “I wasn’t offended but you were, therefore there’s something wrong with you,” we could get a good learning opportunity out of this.

You can’t deny that this scenario is different than other shooters. People love to bark “how is this any different than x, y, z?” and I’m like, “well, HOW?” Explore the answer to your own question rather than using it as a way to say there’s something wrong with that person who felt something. There might be something useful in the answer!

It evoked a strong emotional response, others did not, and I’m not the only case here. Shouldn’t we, as game designers, be looking at WHY that happened? How mysterious! Why did this segment have such a different impact on this person? Was it the content? Was it the polish put into the ambiance? Was it the timeliness of the content? Was it some more complex arrangement of attributes that, standing alone, would not have been sufficient to evoke an emotional response? How are the people who had a response different than the ones who had none? Did it hit close to home for them on some level? Is there a correlation in demographic for the ones who did or didn’t?

Aren’t we always after tools and methods to create more emotional experiences in games?? We should be picking this thing apart and researching it, not arguing and accusing each other of being flawed because someone did or did not have an emotional response to it.

GEEZ, you guys. To hell with the lot of you! Hrmph.

Rant over!


I’m going to get in trouble for this, I just know it. I’m going to regret it! But


Now now now, before people get all in a defensive hissy or go on a Palin-bashing-fest. My conflicted amusement and deep sadness over this has not so much to do with the Republican party, but with people in general (for this certainly happens all over, not even just in politics, but ALL OVER. This is just what people DO. It is the natural way of humans).

Sometimes, I hate everyone. Then I remember to stop paying attention and it goes away after awhile.


Okay, I am confused. What the crap is everyone up in arms about over Facebook?

I seriously do not understand why so many people are throwing an ‘OMG Stalker!’ hissy fit. Is facebook not a profile based site? Is its purpose not to make your own personal information public to the interweb by posting it? Do people not realize this is what it is?

I for one thought it was handy, because if someone made a change, you didn’t have to go scouring the page trying to figure out what it was. How is everyone okay with having their email addresses publicly posted but getting angry that someone on their friends list can see if they changed their political view from liberal to moderate?

I am not trying to be all downcasting, I seriously want to know the reason people are angry. Tell me why!


Okay, what is up with the NAI (Name Administration)? Am I misunderstanding this? Is there reason for me not to be enraged by its existence?

Seriously, that was my initial emotional response, and there are few things that do that to me (snoring and miter saws are some others). Is there some greater meaning that I am not understanding in the function of this corporation?

I mean, it’s not like they own a domain that I want, and I understand that popular domain names can be abused, but still. It just seems like such a waste for some things, and I have a feeling that they review legitimate claims like they review spam.

(Just a note, this was all brought up because Will was futzing around and googling for Jaster, and found that they have jaster.com)

Edit: A relevant tale of woe

I hate everything

2014 Lisa Commentary – so this is an interesting post for me to stumble across. This incident was the start of the horrible half year of doctor hand-offs that eventually wound up with me getting diagnosed with fibromyalgia. It ended up not being costochondritis at all, of course, which is why the anti-inflammatories didn’t work. It just ended up being a super severe flare-up, exacerbated by the fear and stress of not knowing what was happening to me. I’ve had a couple of flare-ups this bad since then, but they are tempered by the knowledge that it’s just my body being stupid.

It’s funny, looking back on posts like this, and posts before this from undergrad and the theater where I was in pain all the time, and thought maybe it was carpal tunnel or just being overly worked or stressed out. In hindsight the clues are all there, but at the time I really did just assume that being in some amount of pain all the time was just normal, just existing. I was always quick to pass it off as no big deal and berate myself for complaining.

So, I’m sick, right? Costochondritis–inflammation of the cartilage that connects the ribs to the sternum. Viral infection. Whatever, it’s been a week and I’m no better and the anti-inflammatories don’t work anymore.

Before anyone wags their finger at me, yes, I am going back to the doctor. I have an appointment today at 1:30 like a good little girl.

So I knew last night that laying down hurts worse than standing or sitting, so I was kind of putting off going to bed. I was tired, though, so when I did lay down I was able to fall asleep without too much fuss.

3:38 a.m. — Some people were outside arguing and it woke me up. Or maybe the pain woke me up. Possibly both. Either way, it was clear that this whole “laying down” business just wasn’t going to work anymore. I couldn’t breathe and it hurt. So I jammed all my pillows in the wall corner next to my bed and gave the sleep-sitting-up a try.

4:30 a.m. — Clearly, Lisa was not meant to sleep sitting up. Oh well, I’ll lay back down, maybe it wasn’t that bad, and I should get more sleep before work…

4:31 a.m. — No, that won’t work either. Back to sitting up.

5:00 a.m. — Okay, I’m obviously not sleeping any more tonight, may as well get up. Maybe I can watch the sunrise! *checks and see that the sun rises today at 7:01 a.m.* Goddammit.

5:05 a.m. — Well, since I’m up, may as well clean.

5:54 a.m. — Don’t have to be at work until 7:30..hmm….I haven’t updated my journal in awhile…

So anyway, no, there wasn’t much point to this except to complain. But I am in a lot of pain, and I feel it is sufficient reason to pull out my complaining card. I am just very very grumpy. I haven’t gone to Kempo for a week, and the lack of physical energy outlet is driving me up the wall. I’m like, well, I can’t go to Kempo, but I can’t go outside and run and play, because it hurts. I can’t stretch, because it hurts to move. I can’t do breathing exercises to try and relax, because it hurts to breathe. Grumble grumble complain complain wah wah wah.

Rest assured, though, other than this, life is good. Mostly good.

Yearbook Rage

So I got my yearbook from Centre yesterday. Holy crap, what a pile of total, utter, crap. I’m thinking about sending it back. Seriously, I would have much rather just never received a yearbook than to have that show up in my mailbox.

Now, this isn’t anything mean towards the people who worked on yearbook (well, perhaps one mean thing for whoever put a picture of a doorframe instead of the photo I submitted, what the hell??), because I know how much work is involved from when my brother and sister-in-law worked on it. It’s just that Centre won’t get their ass in gear and make it a for-real thing, and instead they leave it up to flailing students who die under the amount of stress it produces.

My brother has been begging me to write a nasty alumnus letter about the craptacular state of yearbookness from the moment I graduated. Maybe I’ll get around to that.

Art Rant

I am taking an art history class. The course is entitled “Northern Mannerist and Baroque Art.” Now, the casual observer might make the mistake of assuming that in this class one would learn about Northern Mannerist and Baroque art. Perhaps you would talk about Mannerism until the middle of the term, then talk about the Baroque the second half of the term. That seems like a logical assumption, right? Ha! Fools!

We started off the class talking about the Northern Renaissance in the lowlands, because, of course, it is important to know about the Renaissance before talking about Mannerism, so you know where it came from. A few weeks worth of classes, actually, just to be sure. Around midterms, we were finally getting into Mannerism in the lowlands, and as we neared its end, with the Baroque and Peter Paul Rubens right on the horizon, what do we do? We go back to Germany. We go back to *before* the Renaissance in Germany.

Then we get into the Renaissance in Germany, and talk about Albrecht Durer. Now, I’m as big a Durer fan as the next girl, and I know it’s important to talk about him to see where later German mannerism comes from, but we spend class after class after class on Durer. Then we touch on German mannerism. Then student presentations.

Now, in the last week of class, we FINALLY get to Peter Paul Rubens. We have two days to talk about the Baroque. TWO FRICKIN DAYS!!!!!!! AGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!

Be aware this is no new phenomenon. When I took the second art history survey class, which was to cover Medieval to Modern art, we got stuck in the Renaissance again, and barely scraped Baroque at the end. Look, I like the Renaissance and all, I know it’s important, and I know it’s Dr. Levin’s “thing,” but as a senior art major, I feel *severely* under-educated in the realm of art history. Ask me anything about the Renaissance, Italian or Northern, and I can probably answer, but Romanticism? Impressionism? Modernism? I am utterly clueless.

And it pisses me off.

But, alas, such is one of the disadvantages to going to a teeny tiny liberal arts college. I wish Sheldon could have taught an art history class. Art history with Sheldon would have been an awesome adventure, if museum trips with him is any indication of his presentation of the material.


*end rant*