Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Doctor Johnny Headshot

If your game has a radio station, I think that's a probably a bad sign.

And its not just because I hate all those little wannabe DJ Elfrock kids they got in WoW.

Let's be honest, we all wanted to be cool DJ guys at some point before we hit puberty and realized what the old guys meant when they said "you got a face made for radio."

It just sucks having to play games with kids going through that difficult period of adjustment, y'know, 'cause it reminds of us how awkward we were at that tender age.

We really lucked out when you think about it, y'know, that there wasn't an internet we could use to broadcast all our most embarassing kid stuff across the whole planet so it could be recorded and played back to us twenty years later.

Just another reason to be glad you lived in the Stone Age, I guess.

"Oh look honey, here you are doing the Roger Rabbit! Oh look! You're doing the Fashion Shovel! Look how serious you were! You thought you were such a little toughguy! What music is that? Vanilla Ice?"


If you're new, and you've never felt the pulse-pounding excitement of Vaporware before, well, I'm about to break your cherry, baby.

Don't worry, I'll be gentle.

First, this is what a Vaporware Forum looks like.

And here is a Vaporware Developer explaining how a recently released video of a fantastic new MMO is not just the simple Unreal Tourny Map it appears to be.

Its got cool horse combat though, huh? Heh.

Hmm, sorry it was over so quick, baby, that's never happened to me before.

Enter the Matrix

I think we should all play the Matrix Online.

C'mon! Look at these awesome screenshots.

I bet you never played it.

I know I never played it.

Okay, you might have played it if you were one of the guys who made it, or if your son worked on it, but then they probably won't let you guys play it anymore if you don't work there anymore heh.

C'mon let's do it!

We'll have the whole place to ourselves!

How bad could it possibly be?

Plan 9 From Outer Space bad?


As bad as Vanguard?

No way it could be that bad, it has kungfu, right?

And no elves or cat people, I don't think!

Well I think the tiny little Ed Wood guy who is still working on the game really needs our support!

He's just too proud to ask for it!

He has Live Events every day and nobody shows up!

There is no one there to dry his tears!

He's just a little kid!

How can you be so uncaring!

Think of the child!

You were his age once!

Don't let that happen to somebody else!

Plus he'll have to give us whatever we want 'cause he'll be afraid we'll quit if he doesn't!

Make us fly like Neo, son!

Where's my Super Jump?

This isn't very Matrixy!


We can start a Grassroots Matrix Revival!

We can turn it around and make the Matrix Sony's Flagship MMO!

It'd be so easy to beat Brad McQuaid and his precious Vanguard!

Let's do it!

Troll Heaven

Man I love the Vault Network Boards.

I only wish I could link directly to the funny shit, like the Terminal Ward posts on the Horizons (which is now using the new optionally-free-to-play model, but not on purpose!) and Asheron's Call 2 boards, and anything that anybody says on the Atriarch and Shadowbane boards, or the guy from NWN2 who wants to know the command for kicking "slow-loading retards" off his server, its not /punt or /boot, he tried that already AHAHA.

Actually nothing beats the Horizons boards right now, not even the little weird ones like Archlord and Knight Online and Phantasy Star University Online, although those are pretty funny too with their "Dear Korean Game Designer" and "OMG HAX" posts, I mean, when there's only six people playing, you might as well all hack away baby ahaha.

"So Japanese Schoolgirl is a character class?"

"On a positive note, this game uninstalled pretty nicely."

Well, yah, the "Myst Online: Uru Live" board is an instant classic too ahaha.

I don't actually post there, y'know, ever since I got banned in 1982 for trying to explain Zen to a moderator with a Hello Kitty Thumb Sucking Pillow Icon, but its never failed to provide me with entertainment value in these Dark Ages of Woe where everybody is talking about their level 60 character in WoW.

A Cathartic Word From Our Future Sponsors

Christmas is here again!

How much of your shopping have you got done?

Better not put it off too much longer!

You don't want to be a procrastinator!

Avoid the crowds!

Bah its frickin' blizzarding here AGAIN grrr!

He-Man Guild Hater

In Shadowbane, player guilds were actually tethered to in-game cities.

So we weren't actually Out-Of-Game guilds like you have in WoW and EQ and stuff, where your guild actually serves as a mechanism to seclude and isolate yourself, both socially and economically, from the rest of the players on your server, like some kinda player-controlled instancing or sharding effect.

Don't even try to tell me that's not how it is, I'm not new, shit, some of you dudes were even in guilds that I started ahaha.

So anyways, in Shadowbane, you could tell where I was from in-the-game just by looking at me, and if you wanted to join our suicidal army, you could walk out to our city and knock on the door.

And regardless of how we reacted to that, good or bad, you knew we wouldn't just ignore you.

And if you wanted to, you could even try to burn our city to the ground, it wasn't just some laggy piece of shit that you had to steer your bike around and ignore on your way to somewhere else, it was something you had to think about.

And more importantly, you didn't have to go on some guild forums somewhere out-of-game and chit-chat with folks about real life drama and politics and Chuck Norris and shit to get to know us, you didn't have to pass any out-of-game invisibility shield to see what we were like.

I think its strange that nobody usually seems to be thinking about the negative effect of player guilds that are completely untethered to anything in-game.

Actually I think its frickin' tiresome 'cause it makes me feel like I always have to be the one to say something about it, and I ain't no goddam expert, but whatever heh.

And I ain't saying Shadowbane was perfect or even good or anything, but it makes a good example to start off with, 'cause hardly any of you played EQ back in the days before there were any guilds around except for the in-game Necromancer Guild and those three guys in Ruby Armor, back in the days when everybody huddled together and helped each other 'cause there was safety in numbers.

When I played AO, I was kinda bummed that you couldn't join NPC corporations full of other players.

And when I played EVE Online, I was even more bummed that you couldn't join NPC corporations, 'cause they really had some cool ones, like TV channels and pirates and shit ahaha.

And I knew right away that that would have been better, 'cause that would've dropped Joe Shmoe Off the Street right into a social mix of like-minded people, flavored to his particular entertainment interests, where he would actually become a part of the game, or invest himself in a part of the game that'd foster a sense of belonging and ownership, and at the same time provided a handy mechanism for the guys who run the game to balance shit from the top side, as long as everything that happened to the corporation was never completely under the control of the players.

There's a problem if you imagine just having two or three corporations, instead of five hundred (that are all basically identical except for the players inside them), or five hundred subdivisions and departments within a corporation, 'cause then people still need to be able to sub-divide into more manageable groups (like we did in DAoC), but there's easy ways to allow folks to move around until they find a nice equilibrium on their own, just by providing the empty containers, and then we can use the machines to keep track of us and manage all the boring shit, like the ever changing in-game relationships between us as we each move around through different organizations, and that's what the goddam machines are for.

And then you'd have the means to do cool inter-twisted quest stuff like the thing where you get an email from your boss telling you to kill the guy sitting next to you on the airplane 'cause he's a corporate mole from another company, or more important stuff that everybody else in your guild actually cares about, like stopping somebody from trying to kidnap the princess and poison the king, if you were really high-up in your in-game guild.

Of course, on the negative side, you might end up in a corporation with some attention-whore college boy drama queen that never shuts the hell up and drives everyone absolutely batshit.

But how is that any different from the shit we're doing now?

At least you can ask for a transfer to another department or something.

"Yah, sign me up for the CIA, I changed my mind, I'm totally cool with taking a bullet for the senator or whatever, just get me the HELL outta here, that frickin' kid is driving me apeshit!"

I dunno, I just think games should generally try to remove more of the bits where yer stuck tabbing out of the game and looking shit up on the internet and chatting with doinks to get past something, and this player guild shit is just frickin' lazy, making us do all the work, I mean, wtf.

And its not just infernally lazy and charismatic guys like me that would be better off with something with more in-game structure and less baby-kissing and hand-shaking maintenance, its roleplayers, too.

Do it for the roleplayers! AHAHA.

Aw shut up, most of you are roleplayers, you've just been stuck with sucky roles.

Oh, okay, you're actually a cool internet-jock toughguy that just happens to play purple mushroom games about pixies and elves as a term of your parole or something ahaha.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Fat Guy Solves Mystery

So I think Jeff Freeman is working on another spaceship game.

Yah, 'cause this guy says that Jeff is one of his employees.

And that guy is working on a space game for NCSoft, the guys who brought you Super Jump and that Mad Max one, which is where Lum works, I think.

This super smart chick from Shadowbane and Lum's is involved, but I don't think she's the community chick from Atriarch (oh man how many E3s have they been at AHAHA their archives go back to 1999!) although I think both of their names start with S and I keep getting them confused.

And Richard Garriott, who I always confuse with Raph Koster, and the Creepy King, even though I'm pretty sure that only one of them dresses in leather with the chaps and everything so you'd think they'd be sorta easy to tell apart, said something about it, too.

You Guys Suck

Man, I spent the whole day reading forums and blogs about MMOs and games, hoping I'd get inspired to play something, and although I laughed myself into a headache, I'm right back where I was before I started, 'cept now I got a headache.

There ain't nothing I wanna play on its own merit, so that leaves me looking for games that my real life buddies are playing, 'cause they can make a shitty game fun to play, but none of my real life buddies are playing anything.

So that leaves me looking for games that my non-real-life buddies are playing, but they don't seem to be playing anything either.

So let's play something, I don't care what it is.

Okay, wait, I do care what it is.

But there might be mitigating circumstances, y'know, like playing a game with elves and crafting would only be fun with a bunch of guys who hate elves and crafting if we all prance around in curly toed shoes and torture each other, winking and blowing kisses at people, c'mon, it'd be awesome, it'd be like that time we played Horizons as the naked body-builder giant guys, glistening with oil in the snow, or that time I tricked Ex-bouncer into playing a french guy in EVE.

"Oodle-dee-doo! I crafted this magical acorn hat for you! Weedle-lee-dee! We're footloose and fancy free!"

"Hold me elf-friend! I'm shaking like a leaf!"

AHAHA OW shit my headache.

Man, is there a game like Voltron, where we can all be robots that combine to make one big super robot?

'Cause then I could force you to be the foot, and I could kick you into the nuts of another super robot over and over again, and give you that Extreme Robot Crotch Close Up.

You love it.

Bah, whatever, you guys suck, I'm going home.


"You write well."

"Well... what?"

"Just, uh... well."

"Oh, you mean I write good."

"No, you write well."

"A well is a hole with water in it."

"No, it means, uh, good."

"Ah, so you are saying that I write good."

"No, you write well."

"If I didn't write well, would I be writing sick?"

"No, you'd be writing uh... badly."

"Okay, and what's the opposite of bad?"

"Uh... good."

"Mmm-hmm. Maybe you just meant to say that I write good stuff with a silent stuff. You can't write well stuff."

"Well, uh, no."

"Man, there you go again, you really like using well a little too much. Maybe you should be using flawlessly or perfectly or proficiently or skillfully, instead of well, if that's what you are really trying to say."


"Anyways, who cares if I write it well, if it isn't any good? I just wanna write something good."


"Man, you sure don't know how to talk too good."


"Hmm, are you feeling okay? You don't look so good."

Air Wolf 2

Starring that kid from Napolean Dynamite or somebody cheaper that looks sorta like him, Air Wolf 2 is the story of a lonely futuristic helicopter from the 80s who follows a kid around on his bike and tries to make friends with people by shooting its missiles at stuff.

"Go away Air Wolf! You're messing up my hair and scaring off all the chicks!"

"Nod once for yes, and twice for no, Air Wolf! Did Timmy fall down a well at the old Parson's Farm?"

"Stupid helicopter! It doesn't know anything!"

"Don't say that, Officer McScrooge! You'll hurt Air Wolf's feelings!"

"Its just a stupid machine full of knobs and levers! It doesn't have feelings!"

"He wants us to follow him!"

"Well kid, I think this log cabin full of skeletons that Air Wolf brought us to is the folks that used to take care of Air Wolf!"

"Air Wolf doesn't understand! He wasn't programmed with a knowledge of death! He thinks they need help!"

"Can't you get him to land for a sec? I'm getting dizzy from yelling over the sound of his engines! We really need him to help us find Timmy!"

"Air Wolf needs to fly to communicate with us!"

"Stupid Helicopter! He probably killed all these skeletons in the cabin! And now he's going to get Timmy killed by wasting all our time!"

"Don't say that, Office McScrooge! Those were his friends! We need to explain death to him!"

"I'm not talking to no stupid helicopter! It's just a stupid machine!"

"Look, there's the well at the old Parson's Farm!"

"Air Wolf, you saved Timmy!"

"I guess that stupid helicopter isn't so bad, after all!"

"I'm glad you had a change of heart, Officer McScrooge!"

"Goddam stupid helicopter, there goes my hat! Get out of here, you're messing up my hair!"

"HA HA HA I think Air Wolf likes you, Officer McScrooge!"

Hmm, only thing its missing is the obligatory strip club scene, kinda hard to do with a helicopter, but we could make Timmy's distraught mother a stripper with a heart of gold.

Feral Eyebrow Action

Man, y'know how yer ear and nose hair starts growing like crazy when ya start gettin' older?

Well I got this one eyebrow that's growing all wild and crazy, like a mad scientist eyebrow.

But its just one of my eyebrows, 'cause the other one is normal, which makes it even crazier-looking.

I know, I know, its 'cause I'm a mutt, just like every other hair on my body is a different color and texture, now I got two different people's eyebrows, it's frickin' horrible ahaha.

"Hey, the left side of his face kinda looks like your family!"

Shit man, I'm like Spock with just one pointy ear or something, I'll screw myself into the ground in a strong wind, people are gonna be like, "Uh oh, he's raising his crazy eyebrow at me! What's that mean?"

Oh wait, I just checked and now my other eyebrow is starting to grow all wild and crazy too.

Whew, thank god.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Psychic Showdown

It must really suck to be one of those psychic guys that can read other people's minds, huh?

It must drive you crazy that people can't read what's going on in your mind and just download images and stuff from your head when you talk to them, conversations and stuff must seem so slow and frustrating and one-sided to you.

'Cause you're still forced to communicate your side of the conversation by converting all the stuff you think into little monkey screeches and squawks and stuff with your mouth.

Yah, that must really suck.

But you hear the words and see all the pictures I'm thinking right?

The stuff that's bouncing around in my short-term memory, the junk that's loaded in consciousness, whatever I got running in my RAM?

So when my pants crawl up my crotch and take a bite out of my nutsack, its like its happening to you, right?

Or even if I just sit here and think about stuff like how my back hurts and my ass cheeks flap in the wind after an especially gruesome fart...

Okay, okay, take it easy, I'm thinking about polar bears now, polar bears frolicking in the beautiful snow, no two snowflakes are exactly alike.

And you can't read my long-term memory, right?

'Cause that's like cold storage, shit man, even I can't read my own cold storage half the time heh.

You'd have to be able to take control of my brain to access that stuff, right?

Or wait until I think of it, without any fast forward button.

Or at least be able to push thoughts into my head to make me do it.

And that'd be a different super power.

So mind-reading really sucks, I think, you got ripped off, man.

Well, how you supposed to fight somebody with that shit?

Ah, you can be kinda invisible, 'cause you know where everybody is looking, and where they ain't looking, yah, that's pretty cool I guess.

And its pretty easy for you to get the combination to locks.

Oh, and you can go around and continually improve your own mental processes by stealing programming from anybody who thinks about stuff better than you can, so you're probably super smart, huh?

And you can go around collecting beautiful memories from folks, and not just the bad ones, so you'd know all sorts of secret junk like the best way to see the color blue, and how sweet it is when a momma sings to her baby, and you'd be able to see the heroic side of people, too, I guess that kinda makes up for all the hate and insanity you'd have to see and the flapping ass cheek fart and nutsack stuff...

Alright, alright, damn man, you think you would've upgraded your sense of humor by now, polar bears, polars bears frollicking in the beautiful snow, no two snowflakes are exactly alike...

Oh, and if you did meet another mind-reader, you'd have all sorts of awesome pyschic warfare shit you could do to them.

Yah, like two minder readers reading each other's minds, that'd be like some kinda Hall of Mirrors effect, a psychic feedback loop, reading a guy's mind who is actually reading your mind, he'd be reading your mind reading his mind reading your mind...

And eventually somebody would get knocked unconscious from short-term memory buffer overflow.

Or you'd at least make each other really sleepy, right?

'Cause your brain needs to sleep to convert that short-term memory junk into long term memory?

Yah, junk like photographic memory would give you tons of ammo and help you fill up their short-term memory buffer faster, and some kinda neural data compression trick would help yours not fill up that fast.

Well, that's pretty cool, I guess, but it only works on other mind-readers, y'know, and nobody else can even tell anything is happening, so it ain't like its gonna be easy to get a job as a Psychic Bodyguard or Gladiator or something, can't sell that on pay-per-view, 'cause there ain't nothing to view ahaha.

Yah, I still think you got ripped off man, that's a sucky power, how are you supposed to fight a guy with an atomic punch or something?

Ah, you know when he's gonna do everything.

Still, that's not gonna help you against a machine gun guy.

Ah, you know what to say and do to make people stop and do what you want, you can see everybody's buttons so you know what to push.

But you still have to push them the old fashioned way, see, that sucks, man.

Yah, you need to get that power where you can just take control of somebody else's mind.

Or see into the future or something so you can stop things from happening.

Well, mebbe if you hunt down those kinda guys, you can just read their mind and see how they do it and steal their powers.

Ah, but then you might be getting into a psychic showdown with 'em, and that's dangerous, 'cause they could do freaky stuff like turn off the safety constraints that separate your short-term and long-term memory in the fight, and overwrite your longterm memory with a bunch of crap when you overflow, turn your brain into a smooth sheet of glass and then reprogram it however they want.

Well, actually, you might be able to recover from that, at least a little, if you went around visiting people that knew you before you got your brain wiped, you could sorta reconstruct yourself from their memories and impressions and expectations of you, but it wouldn't be perfect, y'know.

Yah, that's some spooky shit, you need to get better at this psychic stuff A.S.A.P. man, before you bump into one of those guys and they make you think you're a chicken or something.

Are you sure there ain't none of them around right now?

Ah, when another mind reader is around, you hear their thoughts echoing the original thoughts of the mind they're reading a second later, psychic echoes, hey, that's a pretty cool detection system heh.

Plus they probably have all the mental upgrades, from going around and stealing stuff from other people all the time, so their minds probably seem a little too clean and bright and shiny and perfect and polished when you scan them, compared to regular shmucks.

But what if they're running silent, y'know, like a submarine, psychic stealth mode, mebbe they're smart enough to keep their psychic radar turned off until they can get in close and hit you with a psychic ambush or some shit?

And they might even keep their conscious mind all messy on purpose to avoid detection.

And mebbe they're tricking you by setting up some kinda psychic honeypot or something, keeping you distracted.

Something like polar bears, polar bears frollicking in the beautiful snow, no two snowflakes are exactly alike?

Hey, take it easy, everything's cool, man, just relax.

Yah, hey, if I really was a bad guy, I could've just taken away your free will and forced you to think I wasn't, instead of letting you decide to get all freaked out and shit like this on your own.

You think its fun for me, trying to talk to a guy who can't push his thoughts into my head?

Its so frickin' slow and messy man, yer like half-duplex.

Well, yah, mebbe I do like seeing you get freaked out a little, but only as much as buddies like ribbing on each other.

Would you feel better if I started thinking about my ass cheeks flapping during an especially tasty fart?

Alright, alright, I can't take this anymore, here, before we go any further, read the sense of humor part of my brain already.

You frickin' newb.

Ah, now that's better ahaha.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

The Weed

When our band first started out, we were smoking the weed and writing songs about how awesome it was to smoke the weed.

And everybody who smoked the weed frickin' loved it, and we got famous.

But then the cops started following us around everywhere and arresting us all the time and it was a huge headache and a horrible hassle and we were all totally miserable because we never got to smoke the weed anymore.

And so we started hating the people who smoked the weed, 'cause we were so frickin' jealous.

And being famous for smoking weed and singing songs about how awesome it was to smoke the weed while we were actually cold sober and getting hassled by cops and peeing in cups for scientists all the time was just making it even worse.

And there was no way to get away from it, y'know, I mean, it seemed like every single thing on TV had some dude smoking weed in it, doesn't matter if they're trapped in an antarctic research base or a frickin' submarine!

So we started writing songs about how much we hated the people who smoke the weed, about how awesome it must be to arrest those stupid weed-smoking bastards and steal their weed and make them pee in cups.

And all the cops and pee cup scientists and all the other people who hated the people who smoke the weed started loving our music and we got famous all over again.

And some of them even started sharing some of the weed they stole from the people who smoke the weed.

And so we got to smoke the weed again.

And so we "went back to our roots" and started writing songs about how awesome it was to smoke the weed again.

And we made a comeback.

But then we got in trouble all over again, and we had to do another one of those crappy cop-n-pee-cup-scientist tours to get out of it.

Yah, believe you me, by that point the existential horror of the whole weed thing was becoming readily apparent to us!

So we sat down and started writing music about how horrible it was to be trapped like a ping-pong ball between the people who love to smoke the weed and the cops and pee cup scientists, and how we wished we weren't so afraid of naked clowns riding around on bicycles and honking their horns and yelling at us in Amsterdamlish, so we could move to Amsterdam.

Naw, nobody bought that record 'cept for one of the two dudes from They Might Be Giants, it was a huge frickin' flop, our tour consisted of one stop in Ohio and only one guy bought a ticket.

But at least he brought some weed.

Ugh, now that I think about, I'm sorry for doing another one of those things where I remind you about how everybody, even people on submarines, is having fun smoking the weed 'cept for us.

Good thing we can just get drunk and forget all about it.

Hey, in the old days, booze was illegal and weed wasn't, and all their movies had dudes in submarines doing shots 'cause nobody wanted to do wimpy legal drugs that make you giggle and give you the munchies, they wanted to get smashed.

Yah, they even sung songs about awesome it was to drink it.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Punkass Kids

There's a couple things my mom can make for dinner that will automagically summon every other family member to her house.

Last night it was Egg Roll Night at Mom's house, so we all had to go, even though everybody had to drive for an hour through an Ice Storm.

My stepdad, the Engineering Mogul Turned Computer Guy College Professor with five degrees, is only months away from retiring, and after being a no-nonsense hardcore workaholic scientist his whole life, he's finally starting to relax all his adult muscles and experience childhood.

Yah, its weird, he's actually coming up to me with all these twilight zone science fiction ideas and asking me to help him write screenplays and stuff.

Well, it'd seem weirder if you knew what the guy was like up 'till now.

Meanwhile my little brother's kids think I'm the coolest guy in the universe because I've flown all the spaceships from star wars and I can answer all their tactical questions about them in detail.

They frickin' love star wars, even though I'm pretty damn sick of it ahaha.

They watch all those movies over and over again, I guess, and even though they're only five and six years old, they can name all the scenes from 'em better than I can.

And they got some cool console Lego Star Wars game that they play that really has them hooked.

But what they really want to do is play the kind of games that I play.

They imagine us adult computer guys have ALL these impossibly awesome games we play.

And that's mostly because they can only imagine it, since my brother and his wife are computer illiterate and I've never shown them the games on my computer.

But it works to my advantage, y'know, I fill their minds with stuff like how awesome it is to walk around inside the Millenium Falcon and how we could all fly it together and take turns on the guns or fly X-wings in formation where we'd each have our own droids...

...and then I tell them they need to learn how to read and do math really well before they can play any of my games, 'cause they'd be way too hard for 'em to play otherwise, spaceships have lots of engineering components to monitor and complex control systems and you need to know which types of missiles to use to take out shields and armor plating and navigation droids are complicated and require a knowledge of programming and in order to repair and modify and upgrade your ship like a hotrod you need to understands physics and starship mechanics...

Haha I know, I know, I'm such a dick.

But they're always in a rush to show me how well they can spell and do math and stuff when I show up heh.

Smart as they are, they're still a good three or four years off from being able to play an ordinary MMO, I think.

And that's probably more important info than it seems, 'cause they're part of the next baby boom that's coming along down the pipe, the kids of the kids that they had to expand schools to double capacity last time for.

I know its gonna be a huge pain in the ass to hook my brother's family up with their own individual computers, though, that doesn't seem realisitic to me, especially if folks keep making bleeding-edge technology games like Vanguard where you need two gig of RAM.

Yah, stuff like that makes me wonder if all the game designers are orphans with no real life non-computer-nerd buddies or something ahaha.

At least WoW was smart enough to make their game run on an Applemack, so liberal arts shmucks like the guys who did South Park and all of Hollywood and Journalists could play it.

Man, seems like every time you say "WoW has X Million People Playing It!" you have to add another million to X.

But that makes sense, y'know, 'cause you know how it works, you bump into somebody in Real Life that likes MMOs, and you ask them what MMO they play, even though you don't actually have to ask because you already know the answer, don't you?

Well it ain't gonna be Horizons, is it? AHAHA.

So back to WoW you go.

Oh, I feel for ya buddy, I'm so damn sick of WoW, but the alternative is playing games without any Real Life friends and that is infinitely worse ahaha.

You know, WoW is turning into the Microsoft of MMOGs, there's like no getting away from it ahaha.

Still, the MMO industry should be thanking their lucky stars that WoW didn't have player decorated dollhouses and player crafted furniture and human models that didn't look like hillbillies that run with their elbows attached to their hips, 'cause there wouldn't be any goddam crumbs left to eat.

Well, okay, that ain't totally true, WoW doesn't have cool smash-em-up Mad Max stuff like Autoassault and no spaceships you can build to your own specifications and fly, and they don't have Superjump, but once the guys who made WoW make a couple of those kinda games, then it really is over.

Hopefully they'll do it in the next few years so I'll have something better than some damn fruitloop purple elf and sword game to play with my brother's kids heh.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Twist Endings

"Hey, this ain't one of them things with a twist ending where it turns out that I was a ghost the whole time, is it?"


"Sweet, I hate those ones. They have no replay value, y'know?"


"Hey, you ain't a ghost, are you? This isn't a twist on that twist ending thing where I'm a ghost, is it? Where I think I might be a ghost the whole time, but then it turns out that everybody else was a ghost?"


"Sweet, that woulda totally freaked me out. Ghosts are some spooky shit."


"Hey, this ain't gonna turn out to be a dream, is it?"


"Good, I had an english teacher who woulda pulled out one of my eyeballs if I was ever in one of those ones where the dude wakes up at the end and goes oh thank god it was just a dream."

"Yah, me too."

"So this isn't gonna have any kind of twist ending, then? Not sensory deprivation tanks or mirages or flashbacks or memory loss or one of those ones where I turn out at the end to be an unreliable narrator because I'm insane or I'm in a coma or I'm on an operating table or under the control of psychics or anything? No twist ending at all?"


"How can I be sure you ain't lying? Maybe the twist ending is that you're the unreliable one or something! Maybe the twist ending is that there actually isn't a twist ending!"

"That would be pretty goddam cheesy, even for me."

"What the hell is that supposed to mean, even for you? Oh man, I knew it! You just couldn't resist that twist ending shit. So what's it this time? Oh man, its not one of those alien anal probe ones, is it? I'm pretty sure you already did one of those!"

"Naw, no anal probes, that's totally Last Friday, man."

"Hey, I don't think you should make fun of alien abduction people, y'know, that's not nice."


"Plus they're obviously all fucking crazy and dangerous and shit ahaha."

"Ahaha yah."

"Ah, see, look, I made you laugh, so could you please not kill me or do anything horrible and embarassing to me in this one?"

"Yah, sure, I guess. But it's just gonna be that much worse for you next time, y'know, I can't have people thinking I'm going all soft and shit. Gotta maintain my unpredictability and stuff, you know how it is."

"Yah, that sucks, but thanks for giving me a break for once. Hey, can I kill you and embarass the shit out of you in one these stupid things someday?"

"Naw, it can't work like that."

"Why not? Seems like that'd be a fucking great twist ending!"

"Wouldn't be anybody to type it up afterwards."

"Oh, I think I could do the job."

"You'd have to fix all the typos and mispellings and shit too..."



"Okay, fuck that. Just go ahead and punch me in the nuts to death or whatever."

How To Do Your Job

Suspense is good.

H.P. Lovecraft, Robert E. Howard, Stephen King, Hitchcock, c'mon man, they can't all be wrong.

And the trick with suspense is that you gotta start out with a discomforting and almost threatening title, y'know, like "How to Do Your Job," but then immediately move into a more comfortable setting.

And then you gotta start moving things along really slow.

Yah, really slow.

Heck, if you can figure out how to do it, you probably wanna start out from a complete stop.


Yah, suspense is all about holding your shit back, taking your sweet time, kickin' it, not doing stuff for a while, listening to the birds sing, stopping to smell a rose, keeping folks distracted, establishing a motionless context.

And then a direction is provided, oh look there, what was that.

Not any actual action, just a vector, a hint of mystery, a bit of foreshadowing, a warning, oh shit, here it comes.

And then you crest that first hill on the rollercoaster, and you start to build some steam as you slowly begin to investigate the slippery slope, and your heart starts beating faster, and your blood starts pumping faster.

You're going downhill, accelerating with gravity, faster, and faster.

And suddenly you are crashing along at full steam through the dark woods like a speeding locomotive, without any explanation, your mind is in a panic.

And then its the big shocker, a flash of something graphic.

And smash, the ending.

And then there's the cathartic reaction pay-off.

So, applying this to your game designing shit, since all you have is a handful of these stupid fucking spiders and these cheap ass looking bats and snakes to play with, don't sprinkle them all over like honey and sunshine on the lawn out in front of the gates to the city like its some kinda goddam happy pumpkin patch.

Pick your spiders up off the lawn (goddam lawn looks like shit with those stupid spiders crawling all over it anyways) and put them in a dark cave.

Yah, a dark cave, 'cause then people can't get a good look at yer crappy rubber monsters, all they'll see are some fast moving shadows and glistening eyeballs and mandibles snapping at them and stuff, hopefully the fucking eyeballs on these stupid things glisten a little.

And don't just sprinkle them all over the dark cave, put them in the bottom half of the cave, you don't want to start ambushing the players until they get at least halfway down to the bottom.

Well I'd start at 80% to 90% of the way to the bottom, but of course, I am a veritable Master of Suspense, so you might be better off with a much smaller number.

Now plop down some mildly creepy atmospheric fore-shadowing mystery crap in the top half of the cave, not too much of that cobweb shit, that's too obvious, and no fucking cocoons neither, man, what the hell's wrong with you?

Make it look regular, give 'em a mining foreman's logbook to read, and maybe one little baby spider running around that doesn't even want to fight, but not too much, y'know, 'cause you want a sharp line to cross where you are gonna start ramping things up.

Now as soon they get halfway down to the bottom, make the cobwebs suddenly get super thick, and a few steps later, BLAM, start springing groups of three really huge spiders on them.

Do that a couple times, and then start throwing the bats into the mix, down there in the bottom half of the caves somewhere.

No really, see, bats are especially scary if you have bad clipping in your game and they seem to pop out and run away through the walls and shit, especially when you're already busy fighting spiders in the dark.

Now all we got left is snakes, so fill the bottom of the cave with water and toss at least ten or twenty of them damn snakes in there so you can't even see 'em beneath the surface and they ain't easy to select between.

Yah snake target boxes are totally fucked up half the time in games anyways so who the hell cares.

Just make sure they don't attack until the whole group is out in the water, y'know, you probably have to have a light or something at the very end of the cave, to lure the players past the snakes, and make sure the snakes are all linked so nobody can pull them without bringing the whole thing down on his head.

Yah, that's good.

And then hit 'em with some more shitty rubber bats when they're halfway done with the snakes, we're bleeding all our momentum here like crazy man.

Okay, looking good.

No don't give 'em poison man, there's a whole 'nother joke about that shit.

Okay go ahead and fill that shit up with cocoons now.

Yah, I know snakes don't make cocoons, but who cares, cocoons are spooky.

Yah, okay, now we're at the end of the cave, and everybody knows that Stealing the Gem is gonna trigger some trap or a momma spider ambush or something, so unless you can think of something totally over-the-top like in Descent where you blow up the Reactor Core and it triggers a nuclear explosion that gives everybody sixty seconds to evacuate, and there ain't no way to cheat and just recall out or something, its gonna be a pooper, and you probably shouldn't have bothered trying to make a cave in the first place.

Yah, I'm serious.

Yah, just go back to that newbie yard smack-a-mole lawn fulla crap that you had, that was fine.

Hey, don't get all snippy with me about your fucking deadlines, I was trying to teach you something important!

Well you're the one who couldn't think of anything!

I don't know why those stupid graphics guys keep making all these damn spiders and bat models and shit either!

Oh shit, your boss is coming!

Uh, okay, relax, take a deep breath.

Just tell him you designed the spider fighting game area to appeal to people who hate fighting and spiders.

Yah like women.

Wait, don't say that.

And don't try to tell him about me.

Oh man.

Oh shit.

Oh shit, man.



You okay?


Okay, that was really bad.

That was like, really, really bad.

Yah, he thinks you're fucking nuts, man.

Hope he ain't gonna call the cops.

I told you not to try to tell him about me.

Okay, relax, man, just put yer shit in the box like the guy said and let's get out of here.

Yah, we don't need this fucking place, with all their fucking stupid ass spiders and snakes and shit.

Yah, fuck them!

We're better off without them, trust me.

Here, take your box, let's go, and try to act normal when we go through security.

Yah I stole some office supplies and shit from these snake fuckers.

Its cool, don't worry about it, I put 'em in your box, they won't even look.

Just act normal, here they come.

Act normal.

Everything's cool.

Be cool, man.

Shit man, don't whistle!

What the fuck is wrong with you!

Oh shit, they're looking at you!

Here they come!

Be cool!

Act normal!

Oh shit!

Play Fae Yay

I played Everquest 2 for the first time when that Fae Expansion came out.

I tried not to Play the Fae, but the Old World of Everquest 2 was all flat and sucky compared to the Super Jumping stuff in the new expansion, y'know, gimme a city that doesn't take thirty minutes of loading screens to cross, and doesn't have a million miles of bland terrain around it like the Commonlands and whatever the hell the good guys had.

Oh boy! Spiders to fight!

The Old World of Everquest 2 just seemed so 70s or something.

Plus some of the quests were broke and you knew they'd never be fixed 'cause you were playing in the Red Headed Stepchild part of the game.

I never really got anywhere in the game, but holy shit I was super rich in no time from crafting and selling crap on the auction house, all that kinda stuff in the game was really pretty clever and cool, the crafting mini-game and the way they did those sales containers as furniture and everything.

I just couldn't get into their PvE, I dunno why, it didn't exactly suck but it certainly didn't turn me on, it wasn't anywhere near as fun as the PvE crap in WoW, that's for sure.

So I'd get up to about level 20 and then I'd get bored and make a new guy, until I tried it all and it all started seeming exactly the same to me and then I just quit.

Oh, I did do that quest series to betray a paladin to Freeport and make him a shadowknight, and that was pretty cool, but as soon as I got to Freeport I realized how much I really hated Freeport and the Commonlands and I just quit playing that guy ahaha.

I guess there just didn't seem to be a point to keep playing it, I was already rich and had the best houses and equipment and all that shit, I could make better stuff than I could use, and I could buy stuff that would make 60th level dudes cream their shorts, but even so, what the hell is the point of having all that if their ain't nothing interesting to do with it, y'know?

Not to knock anybody that's still playing it or anything, I think Everquest 2 is about twice as good as Vanguard was, Vanguard is like Everquest 1.5, I dunno what the hell happened there, I mean, you remember when that Fire of Heaven guy was talking about getting a sneak peak at it a million years ago, and he was all wetting himself over it and hinting at all this cool crap?

What the hell happened to that game?

Did somebody's hard drive crap out or something?

Well by the time I got in beta it looked like they musta started all over again or something about five minutes before I showed up ahaha.

Okay, whatever, man.

Oh, and I meant to make this a positive thing, 'cause I feel kinda bad about the way I picked on that Evil Dave guy a long time ago and told him I would never play a game he made 'cause he was such a game dev newb and it would be totally beneath me, y'know, but when I got right down to it, seems like I couldn't think of anything good to say about the Old World in EQ2, so that kinda sucks.

'Cause even that crafting system was revamped and kinda new.

And those SOGA models that help you not look like a total fruitcake, those are new too, right?


Yah see, I totally fucked that up ahaha.

Well, sorry Evil Dave, uh, Everquest 2 was uh, very interesting, and oh, it was probably better when it first came out and stuff, right, yah, see, I'm remembering all those kids who accidentally got it for christmas thought it was pretty good, but y'know, I was like, uh, playing WoW, and they had all these different places you started in, see, and er...nevermind.

Well, WoW sure didn't have any good furniture in it, that's for sure, they can't hold a candle to you there, at least!

And oh, I can even imagine somebody doing something fun with it in an emulator, uh, mebbe, so at least you got that going for you!

Oh quit yer frickin' crying already, at least I didn't say anything about how laggy it was.

My DDO Review

Here's my review of Dungeons and Dragons Online, at the time I played it.

Fist off, let's start with Dark Elves.

Dark Elves not only get two more points to spend in character creation than everybody else, their minium scores for intelligence, charisma, and dexterity are boosted by 2, which means its cheaper for them to raise those attributes higher than everybody else, because of the way point-buy is weighted toward the top end, and since almost every class that's worth playing uses one or more of those attributes for something important, and since Dark Elves also get a bunch of other racial powers, Dark Elves are generally and sometimes specifically superior to all the other races.

Unless you want to play a Rogue who is supposed to just follow groups around and pick locks and get rid of traps, 'cause Rogue powers are skill-based, and Human Rogues get more skill points and an extra feat they can use for skill boosts, which makes Humans better in that department.

But you can't play one of those when you first start out, unless you're sure you'll have a group to hang out with all the time, 'cause Rogues can't fight or solo for shit.

And you can just forget about soloing with some kinda cool sorcery guy, 'cause their mana don't regenerate naturally and they ain't got enough spell points to get past the first two rooms in half the dungeons I smashed through heh.

So you're back to the Dark Elf stuff.

But you have to unlock the Dark Elf race to play it, by basically playing the game all the way through (and that means repeating the same "dungeons" over and over and over again) as a crappy paladin of some other race first, because nobody else could solo even half as well as they could, for a variety of reasons I'm not even gonna get into (like wand-whore capability) especially when the difficulty starts ramping up (which was around 3rd level when I played, and probably still is, because you ain't gonna get anywhere soloing things on "solo" difficulty heh).

Right before I left the game, they said they were gonna add a new thing to unlock, just like the Dark Elves, where a new character would have more points to spend in character creation, but I'm not sure how that all turned out, and if the Dark Elves get more points to spend, then they'll still be better than everybody else, and you'd still have to play the game as a crappy paladin for way longer than I could stand to play to unlock that shit anyways, so it really doesn't make what I'm saying any different.

Okay, now that that's out of the way, let's talk about how fun it was to actually play the game.

All the PvE stuff was instanced into "dungeons," behind doors in this big city, which means you'd never bump into other players unless you were hanging around in town, so you had the choice of meeting people, or getting more of your Dark Elf Unlocking grinding out of the way and advancing your character, but you couldn't do both at the same time, and neither could anyone else, so the chances of two people being outside an instance at the same time were kinda tiny, if you think about it a little.

The dungeons were actually pretty cool, they had secret doors (that a stupid paladin could never find) and tricks (that a paladin pretty much had to ignore) and named monsters (ah finally something I can kill!) and stuff, don't get me wrong.

And they were even pretty challenging, especially if you tried to solo them on hard, although it could get pretty annoying being insta-killed by death magic or something and you lost a chunk of your experience points every time you had to re-enter the dungeon.

The only thing that REALLY sucked about them was all the Crate Smashing.

You were awarded a 10% bonus (or something, I forget) to your experience points if you smashed all the crates in a dungeon.

This is what actually forced me to group, because I didn't want to have to do all that crate smashing shit over and over again, y'know, just get me a big gang of little kids to foller 'round that actually like all that stupid crate smashing shit and I'm all good.

And you gotta remember, I'm just playing this stupid ass paladin 'cause I wanna unlock a dark elf and play something else.

So as I approached the point where I was getting totally sick of the game, I started thinking about how I'd have to play the whole goddam crate-smashing extravaganza all over again from the beginning when I finally reached my goal.

And then what the hell was I gonna do with my Dark Elf guy anyways?

And I don't even like elves ahaha.

I did think their built-in voicecom thing was pretty cool, but something Big Ed said helped me mentally prepare myself for a bunch of whiny D&D nerd voices going "okay everybody let's make sure we all buy enough potions" so I had a foot up on that heh.

Oh man, and I thought the graphics were pretty good, and they were all totally smooth and responsive compared to most MMOs.

And the dungeon design (if you woulda got rid of the goddam crate-smashing thing) was actually pretty damn cool, uh, the first time you did 'em, 'cept the typical thing about the lack of variety with Sewer and Warehouse maps and stuff, but every game is like that, and I'm judging it on more what they did with what they had.

Anyways I wouldn't even begin to know how to fix that game up to make it fun to play in an emulator or something, aside from making it quicker to finish and yanking out crates, it seems sorta hopelessly crippled and pointless from the get-go when you think about it like that, don't it?

So there you have it, oh no, seriously, go ahead, you can keep it, I'm on to better things already, like remembering being in a gang of those Engineer Rock Men in Asheron's Call 2 who built those forts out of ice and rock with the Fred Flintstone machine guns, endlessly pulling those Armadillo-things into our death trap through the buggy terrain, and doing their dungeons, that was pretty damn cool, too, and look, it only took me a couple of sentence fragments to do an entire review of everything good-n-bad in that one ahaha.

Who Needs Enemies

I have a buddy that I'm gonna call Critter.

Yah even though that's what the Real Life Dwarf always called him and the Real Life Dwarf hated everybody so it wasn't exactly a term of affection heh.

Anyways, Critter is the guy who got me and the Real Life Dwarf to play Everquest when it first came out, he was a beta tester for it, and him and his Hilariously Evil Quake Clan had infiltrated the support staff of the game, which at the time was a bunch of part-time help-desk kids in college, so as soon as GMs and guides started getting assigned to servers, they were doing all this admin cheating stuff, not as bad as EVE or anything, y'know, 'cause they were too smart to get caught and they didn't really need a lot of help 'cause they were pretty hardcore.

Me and Critter and the Real Life Dwarf all lived across the street from each other in Chicago, while all that EQ shit was in San Diego, and I think his Quake Clan lived in Nebraska or some shit, so me and the Real Life Dwarf were sorta Critter's only real life buddies.

Anyways, as a regular player, Critter ended up romancing and marrying a cute GM chick from our server, but she never really gave a shit about Everquest, y'know, to her it was just a sucky job she did at college, and she quit and moved to Chicago before I could really take advantage of the situation to get any free goodies heh.

Him and the Real Life Dwarf got sent on a business trip to San Diego (I was their boss haha), and he infilitrated SOE and basically stole her from her boyfriend (who was the Head GM of our server!) and brought her (and pictures of all the other GMs in Real Life AHAHA) back with him.

Yah all three of us are kinda like Hannibal the Cannibal in real life, y'know.

Well, whatever, it occurs to me that his beautiful one-in-a-million love story would've never happened without the context of admin cheating going on in the background, so admin cheating can't be all bad ahaha.

Anyways, Critter is actually a really handsome dude, son of a half-famous rich guy who owned Jaguar Dealerships, although his old man never gave him anything and he usually goes around in shoes with holes in the bottom.

And in the years before he got married, women were always throwing themselves at his feet.

But he never did anything about it.

And after a while it really started driving me crazy, so I started bugging him about it, y'know, like "Uh, dude, that chick was all over you, are you gay or something? 'Cause its okay if you're gay, y'know, I need somebody to help me pick out new shoes anyway. Or is it like, sex is too gross and dirty for you? I know how you rich kids need somebody to cut the crusts off yer bread and shit 'cause yer teeth are too soft to chew through it, breadcrusts, y'know, you rich kids call 'em rinds, right?"

And he was always like "oh man gimme a break, I just don't want any of these skanky Dancing Spokes-model Chicks putting a Scare into me."

Now, I dunno how things are where you live, but around here, a "Scare" is the sort of long-term psychological damage a guy takes to his libido from waking up next to a strange and hairy pig in clownpaint that makes you wanna chew through your own arm to escape.

So of course I knew exactly what he was talking about, y'know.

And so I said, "Ah, something musta put a really heavy duty Scare into you in the past, that's why you're all fucked up and frigid and shit with women now! What happened?"

And he was all like, "Well, when I was younger, I had this girlfriend, and she was totally beautiful and everything, but then we started making out one day, and I started to go down on her, y'know, and her britches were so stanky and horrible, man, one whiff of that shit and I haven't been able to stand the idea of being with a women ever since."

And so I sat there for a minute, thinking about all the stankiest britches I ever smelt, and I figured I could see how an especially stanky one could put a five or six year Scare into a guy if you didn't handle it properly, but then I started doing the math.

"Dude, they don't all smell like that!" I said.


"Hell no, man, some of 'em even smell good!" I lied enthusiastically.

"Wow! I never would've realized! Thank you so much for help, Doctor Love! I'm gonna start hitting that shit right away!" he said as he fell for it.

And boy, that made me feel pretty good, y'know, helping him untangle his fucked up sex life, I mean, and not just the idea of him getting another Scare put into him by running directly into another pair of stinky britches.

I mean, what are the odds?

Well, okay, whatever.

So in a way, I feel sorta responsible for planting the seed that allowed Critter to be able to find love and happiness again, much in the same way that admin cheating sorta helped his love grow and flourish.

Which reminds me of another story, from when I was a little kid, my buddy Tiny Tim asked me which hole you were supposed to stick it into, the one where they pee from, or their butt?

Okay, after all the years of him denying it, I'm not really sure if that last one is true or not, anymore, but its was always so goddam funny when I told that story in front of chicks when me and Tiny Tim were in our twenties, when they asked us how long we'd been buddies, 'cause it sounds all cutesy and nice but you never saw a guy turn so red from a combination of embarassment and thoughts of murder in your whole life!

Yah that's one you gotta eventually let your buddy off the hook with, nobody is evil enough to keep that one going with a straight face for very long ahaha.

Aw, c'mon guys, I'm just kidding.

But you know its true!

And your stories might help all these other freaks and losers around here!

Bah, I dunno what yer getting so pissed off about, I didn't even tell the one about that guy who is still a virgin.

Well, naw, was mostly because it ain't funny, its just kinda creepy, y'know?

I figger the stanky britches story might help him, though.

Well yah, unless he's been gay all along, but then he should Do the Right Thing and help us pick out shoes and stuff, y'know.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Thousand Monkey Style

I try to do everything Thousand Monkey Style, pretty much.

Y'know that thing about how a thousand monkeys at a thousand type-writers for a thousand years will eventually write the entire works of Shakespeare?

Well, if that holds true, seems like its better odds than the lotto that one monkey at one type-writer for one-year will write one page of Shakespeare.

And that's good enough fer me, man, 'cause I don't even need anything even half as good as a page of Shakespeare anyways.

And I'm probably a little better than a monkey.

Well okay, maybe not better than a monkey, but I definitely don't need anything even half as good as a page of Shakespeare.

Anyways its pure Chaos Theory, throw enough monkeyshit at the wall and eventually something sticks.

But you gotta keep throwing that monkeyshit, man, and keep throwing it, and keep throwing it.

Yep, you can't stop, that's the whole trick.

Allow me to illustrate.

My brother has two sons that I call Pinky and the Brain 'cause of the way they looked when they were tiny.

But the Brain actually is certifiably super smart and a little creepy nowadays, giving me advice on physics and stuff.

Anyways, like a lot of little kids, the Brain never stops guessing and trying things like a machine gun until he solves everything.

Which is very different from how older people tend to solve problems, slowly drawing on their past experience to come up with a best guess and then getting totally hung up and even a little pissed off if something doesn't behave the way they expect it to.

And then half the time they get so frustrated or they feel so insulted or whatever that they don't even try another guess.

This is not how Computer People tend to be, 'cause none of us would get very far in Computer Life if we acted like that, but you know what I'm saying, a lot of our bosses and the useless scrubs are like that, right?


Anyways, back in the days when the Brain couldn't walk or talk, he kept destroying my brother's computer by turning it on and off over and over again.

Yah the kid couldn't even see the monitor, he just liked turning the thing on and off for the noise of the fans and the little lights on the front or something.

And you know how there's always a chance to totally frag the OS files on the hard drive when you do that, mebbe it aint so bad nowadays with slow loading bios's and stuff, but it was like that six years ago or so, and I think my brother's computer is a helluva lot older than that, anyways.

So whatever, after my stepdad had reformatted and reinstalled everything on their computer for the nine hundredth time ('cause my brother and his wife are basically Computer Illiterate), my brother and his wife asked me if I could do anything to help them.

So I went in the bios and I turned on that thing where you gotta hold in the button for five seconds to get it to turn on and off.

Yah all you Computer Guys out there know what I'm talking about, that trick usually works on impatient executives who keep turning off their computer with the button instead of shutting down properly, I mean, that's why they had to put that damn thing in the bios in the first place heh.

Anyways, as fate would have it, immediately after I finished changing the setting, while my brother and his wife are still standing there looking at me with that "I think I get it" look that only the Computer Illiterate can produce, the kid crawled over in his diaper and started trying to turn the computer on and off.

It took him three tries to figure it out, two quick tries the old way, a pause when it didn't work the way he was used to, and then he holds the button down for five seconds, the whole thing took less than ten seconds total, and then, not even taking his finger off the button, he looked up at me and smiled while turning the computer on and off over and over again the new way, like he was saying, "haha! how you feel now, bitch? nobody! *push* fucks! *push* with! *push* me!"

And of course we all smiled and laughed, which is always the absolute worst thing you can possibly do (and sometimes the goddam hardest thing not to do, which just makes you laugh even harder) around a kid that just did something that you don't want him to do anymore.

So then I had to do my Bill Paxton and tell my brother and his wife, "welp, that's it, we're in some pretty shit, now, man, we're dogmeat, we're catfood, man, there's no way yer gonna stop this kid from doing anything until he gets old enough that we can try to reason with him."

And eventually we all lucked out, 'cause the Brain turned out to be very reasonable, for an evil super genius at least, and he probably won't destroy the Earth more than once or twice unless I ask him to.

I was always a Thousand Monkey Style guy, it was actually an old-old-old boss of mine that coined that phrase while describing the way I was always saving his ass, that I could walk inside an alien spacecraft and figure out how to get the thing off the ground in ten seconds.

But its the way the Brain looked at me after figuring out my crappy bios trick that's burned into my mind and makes me remember.

Keep doing it, keep guessing, keep guessing faster!

Don't sit there and love every little piece of monkey shit you make, monkey shit isn't for loving, monkey shit is for throwing, and throwing and throwing and throwing!

If it don't hurt a little you prolly ain't gettin' any sharper!

Now that I'm getting older and my pattern recognizer is gettin' all rusted-out and crusty and brittle from hardly ever meeting any resistance, I need to remind myself of things like this.

Its frickin' sad, really.

Oh, you'll have to do it too one day, you punkass piece of shit ahaha.
































Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Oh the Humanity

People talking about UO lately got me thinking in a different direction than everybody else seems to be heading.

Ole Bald Angus the Monk was a character I played in UO.

Back in those days I was playing games sitting side by side with an ex-girlfriend that I lived with, and we'd just come from Everquest, and it was around the time of UO's Renaissance thingie.

In UO, we hardly hung out with each other at all, 'cause I liked wandering around in the "wilderness," meeting weird people and getting in trouble, and she preferred to stay in town and make money and not get ass-raped and murdered.

I was also big on roleplaying, at the time, and although I only did it for the comedy of it, I really appreciated the entertainment provided by the guys who did it well.

And I pretty much always stayed in-character, especially when I was hanging out with dudes named MaStAPiMp, who weren't half as inhuman as their UO ass-rape victims tend to make 'em out to be, I mean, those guys like shootin-the-shit and laughing at least as much as all the really "serious" players, there's an element of drama queen-ness that sorta bugs me about a lot of the representations.

I had a long list of personalities, complete with their own individual speech patterns and everything, although I tended to play characters that weren't serious, and weren't very smart, 'cause first off, anything else would probably be too much of a stretch fer me, and secondly, its pretty hard to keep a good comedy rhythm when yer acting smart, its usually a lot of talking on and on to prove how smart you are, and then a joke, a lot of talking on and on, and then a joke, kinda like what I'm doing right now, instead of the stupid guy's joke-joke-joke-joke rhythm, y'know, like a comedy machinegun, like a comedy jackhammer in a comedy goldmine, aw hell yah.

My ex-girlfriend, on the other hand, didn't roleplay at all, heck, she could hardly type or spell or anything.

And all the people I usually forced her to hang out with were all these charismatic and eloquent super-intelligent folks, totally intimidating to her and stuff, which made it even more funny to stay in-character around her heh.

Still, people liked her, not because she was smart and knew all about internet etiquette or anything, but because she wasn't any of those things, it made her seem cute and innocent and genuine or something, I guess.

"How ye doin' lass?"

"o i dont roleplay only he does hehe"

Yah even though she was just a swimsuit model chick who couldn't type well because she had long fingernails and a brain the size of a walnut.

Oh don't get all pissed at me for talking bad about woman, every other female player I know is like a walking encyclopedia of Celtic Mythology and Grammar or something that makes me look almost as stupid as my ex-girlfriend.

Anyways she'd get really jealous of any female characters that paid too much attention to me.

And it was so bad that I got in the habit of making roleplaying characters that I thought would be completely repulsive to females long before I ever played UO, so by the time I played UO, I was making stuff like the Old Bald Bible Thumping Illiterate Monk, the scandalously elected Fire Marshal of Skara Brae, who went around getting his horses killed and attempting to collect bribes from player homes that didn't meet fire safety regulations because their doors opened the wrong way.

Thing was, even though hanging out with amazing roleplayers and murderers named MaStApImP was really fun and everything, I actually spent almost all of my time being rescued in one way or another and escorted around by multiple powerful female players in UO.

And I assume they were actually female, 'cause a lot of them were supposedly married in real life, and played the game with their husbands (and even if they were a gay couple I was hanging out with the one that loved interior decorating and pretty dresses) and there definitely wasn't anything sexual about it (which is the wise man's give-away), and I was the one getting all the gifts and free stuff, and all of the guys I knew definitely never did anything like that for me.

Yah seriously, with these characters that were supposed to be all ugly and repulsive to women on purpose, I couldn't even do that right haha.

Well, actually, I don't think it was because they all enjoyed my absolutely fabulous and universally-renowned sense of humor or my fantastical god's-gift for roleplaying or anything.

I think it was just that I was a weak shoeless-joe male character with no money and no prospects and holes in my pockets, and they liked having somebody to take care of, I mean, they had all this money and power and stuff in the game but nothing to spend it on and nobody to appreciate it, and aside from what y'all might think, I make a pretty good pet.

Of course, my ex-girlfriend totally hated this turn of events, it was funny how almost every single popular and respected female player in EQ and UO (that I felt lucky to be buddies with) was somebody she abso-frickin-lutely hated, heck, she hated a lot of the popular male players I got to meet, too, she even refused to believe one of them was a guy heh.

"I saw that, she just /poked you!"

"Uh, he's a guy."

But nobody ever really caught on to how she felt about 'em, 'cause she hardly ever said anything, especially if she hated you, y'know, so she just seemed "cute" haha.

She did like some of the folks that everybody else was scared of, though, which makes sense, I guess, 'cause she was the Opposite of Everybody Else, its funny that the more charming and popular somebody seemed to be with the general public (and me), the less popular they seemed to be with her, who I always thought of as good representative of the general public heh.

She had a lot of girlfriends in EQ that were like tomboy amazon women that loved killing people and hated talking to 'em and stuff, those are the kind of women that ain't catty with each other, y'know, where the popular female players are kinda catty with each other, you hardly ever saw more than one of 'em in the same place.

The amazons did like cool dollhouse clothes and stuff, though, don't get me wrong.

Anyways, most of those girls don't seem to be playing games anymore, they just sorta dropped out for all sorts of reasons, and there really hasn't been another game like that since, with strong female characters who could own land and not be reduced to demeaning shit like juggling their boobs for money in a cantina fulla aliens and robots.

Yah man I seriously can't imagine any female player I ever knew doing that kinda demeaning shit, dude, I wouldn't even want to be the poor shmuck who accidentally suggested the idea of it to them ahaha.

And that was supposed to be a socializing area! HAHAHAHA!

Oh pooh, I'm out of comedy ammo.

Well, whatever, when I think of UO, I tend to think of all those strong female personalities and all the dollhouse decorating and stuff, and not the ass-raping so much, but then again, I came from EQ, where the PvE and PvP was in 3D and not so rinky-dink and crappy, I mean, c'mon, seriously, UO was like three screens wide haha.

"And then my little Super Mario guy got ass-raped by this Killer Thimble and a Tophat and I cried all night long! Woe is me! Oh the humanity!"


There are two kinds of successful business men.

One works hard, and likes to be judged on the merit of his work.

He is usually honest, because deception tends to be unnecessary when you actually have the power to do the things you want to do.

His work is usually a straight-forward thing, with a long term plan, and milestones along the way, he runs like a locomotive, slow but relentless, always gaining ground.

The other kind of successful businessman works hard on the appearance of working hard.

He is hardly ever honest, because he's a master of the powers of illusion, and honesty is inefficient when you have the magical power to make things seem the way you want them to, without actually having to do anything.

That's not to say that it takes less energy to be an illionsionist than it does to be an honest working man, sometimes I think it actually takes more energy to maintain your spells, when you consider all the background work that goes into things like remembering everyone's name and personality and perspective.

The illusionist's work is a temporary sort of magic that requires continuous attention, he knows that his enchantment will eventually wear thin when he isn't around to freshen them up with a personal appearance, and at some point he'll be exposed as a villain.

Even though his "plans" may seem to be long term on the surface, because that's what his greedy audience always wants to hear, because that allows them to attempt to out-plan him, the professional illusionist actually always has a more serious and extremely short-term plan and exit strategy that usually involves some sort of tropical island.

Most people tend to say they prefer to be around the hard working type of fellow, but that isn't the way it works, he really isn't as fun to be around as the illusionist, because the hard working type doesn't usually have any skill in catering himself to your presence and doesn't feel the need to keep you entertained, since he only cares about his work and your work and the work should speak for itself.

Some folks try to be a mix of hard work and illusionist, combining the best and the worst of both types, but the more they lean one way or the other, the more they are pulled toward appreciating values that are in opposition, so no one tends to remain in the middle for long, and although they may swing back and forth a lot, they're actually working against themselves when they do that, and nothing they do is as effective as it would be if they would just stick to one method or another.

Usually people seem to start out as one type or another, and then they become hybrids when they're forced to move out of the way for a more specialized and powerful archtype, which allows them to feel like they still have something to offer.

And sometimes they try to switch sides when they meet with a particular gruesome failure at the hands of their polar opposites.

Sometimes illusionists and hard working types will work together for mutual benefit, like a friendship between a salesman and a financial officer, although that's a volatile situation, since neither of them actually has much appreciation and understanding for each other beneath the surface, it seems that illusionists tend to band together with other illusionists and share their love of illusions with each other, and hard working folks tend to seek the comfort and companionship of their own kind, if there is any such thing.

And of course, there are also the successful types of unbusinessmen, those who work hard on not working hard and use their vast powers of illusion to avoid wasting their energy on maintaining expensive illusions, but we already have too many of those hogging the playstation, so you need to pick one of the first two kinds of guys and stick to it, and hey, next time why don't you get some beer on your way back from your hard day at the factory?

What, you think my personal attention and all this awesome business advice grows on trees?

Dude, its my turn to play, you talk to these goddam ungrateful plebes for a while.

And hey, can you get me a beer while yer up?

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

A Love Story

So I wake up from my nightly blackout with a mouth full of cedar chips and mustard in my hair, and Chow is looking all sad on us.

And Smiling Mike is afraid to talk to Chow, especially when Chow is looking weirder than usual, 'cause of that one time Chow picked Mike up by his precious cranium with one hand and carried him around like a ventriloquist dummy, just as a joke, y'know, man, that was some funny shit.

So I said, "Hey Chow, what's with the sad face?"

And Chow was all like, "Dude, I feel bad 'cause I stole the time machine from you guys last night."

And I was all like, "But you brought it back, right? Shit man, I steal the time machine from us all the time, I mean, how you think we ended up with a half million Evil Twins and a quarter billion Continuity Violations? Why you think the Time Travelling Killer Robots had to kill my parents before I was born like five hundred times already? Its no big deal, c'mon man, cheer up, yer scaring the shit outta Mike, lookit 'im, Mike's even paler and more sickly looking than usual."

And Chow was all like, "Yah, okay, but I did something really bad."

So I asked Chow to spill the beans.

And Chow told us this story, about how he had fallen in love at first sight with this tiny little pancake waitress last night, even though me and Mike almost screwed it up for him by playing with our nipples and licking our lips and rolling our eyes and pretending to have orgasms whenever she came around.

Apparently Chow and her really hit it off, but Chow knew it would never work out between 'em, 'cause we were still on the run from the Time Patrol in this Time Stream, we hadn't been found innocent yet, they hadn't followed the fault cascade back far enough to sentence that crackhead Continuity Accounting guy to life in a Cyndi Lauper Time Loop and the other guy to being born in Ohio for recklessly endangering us by allowing us to operate a Time Machine without a license.

He knew we had to keep moving, and hide out in timespace in places we knew nobody, not even our evil selves, would think to look for us, sucky places, y'know, like badminton championships and poetry readings.

But we did get to hang out with those russian cosmonauts that starved to death in that one spacestation that exploded, holy shit man, those guys really knew how to party!

That was a close one though, they almost caught us that time.

And sometimes we did get caught, heck, sometimes Smiling Mike even got killed, and Chow didn't want that happening to his sweet little Pancake Girl, even though we'd always been able to go back and mostly undo whatever happened to Smiling Mike so far.

Anyways it was one of those star-crossed lover thingies.

Chow knew he couldn't be with her, but he still wanted to do something good for this Pancake Waitress, so he decided to steal our Time Machine in order to fix her whole life up and make it better.

He went back in time and spent days and days in timespace, stopping every bad thing that ever happened to her before it could happen to her, if she fell off her tricycle and skinned her knee, he'd catch her before she fell, if she got picked on at school, he'd scare the hell outta whoever picked on her.

He even loved her so much that he helped her out with her love life with other guys, making sure her date for the prom didn't fuck it up, stopping another dude from cheating on her.

Shit man, I wouldn't have done that, that's hardcore.

Anyways, by the time Chow was done, this chick never had a single bad thing happen to her in her entire life, up to the point where she met Chow.

And see, that was the problem.

That was the one thing Chow couldn't fix.

He couldn't be with her.

And she was so sad when Chow told her that he couldn't be with her, she was so torn up when something bad finally happened to her, she was so unprepared and incapable of handling the pain and loss of Chow's love all by herself, that she just sorta wasted away and died.

How fucked up is that?

But that's not the end of the story.

Chow decides to fix things by going back in time and stopping himself before he ever met her.

So he remembers her and all this stuff he did to help her, but she never even met him.

Too weird right?

But he's not still not done!

He goes through her entire future and makes sure that nothing ever goes wrong for her, she has six beautiful kids with some super nice guy that Chow picks out and personally keeps from forgetting anniversaries and shit, they win the lotto, have a beautiful house in some woods by a lake, fourteen beautiful grandkids, thirty-seven great-grandkids, all of them artists and musicians and architects and not lawyers and crackheads, and eventually she dies gracefully in her sleep at the ripe old age of two hundred and thirty eight.

He gives her the whole nine yards, man, he's her guardian angel.

Me and Smiling Mike just sat there for a while when he was done telling us his story, letting it soak in.

To be honest, it took me a while to imagine this woman not turning into a spoiled old bitch from all that pampering, but I could see how maybe being a happy lovechild your whole life and surrounded by good folks might make it hard for you to even know how to be an asshole.

"Dude," said Smiling Mike, "that is the most beautiful and yet totally fucked up thing I ever heard. If you would've stolen the Time Machine and fixed our lives up like that last night, we wouldn't be in this mess, and you coulda been with her."

"Well, see, that's what I'm really sorry about, I did sorta go back in time and mess with your lives, 'cause I was kinda pissed at you guys fer that nipple rubbing shit you pulled."

"Oh you fucker."

"Hey, where the fuck did you put my nipples!"

Play to Crush

Lum's thing made me remember the reason I quit Shadowbane.

I thought the game had a good premise, y'know?


But that's not how it was, there was actually a LOT of bread baking that needed to be done to FUND all these automated systems and sandcastle building and sieges and stuff, it just came in the form of "gold farming."

And that's why I quit.

I was SO sick of sitting there, doing nothing, feeling guilty, and watching my buddies endlessly farm those HORRIBLE boring PvE camps so that I could take my split of the money and use their city to repair the armor and weapons they had provided for me and they could use the money to pay for all their city improvements and siege equipment and stuff.

Oh sure, I was a social player, y'know, I tried earn my keep by keeping them from getting depressed, running around in my underpants and helmet, sticking my crotch in their face whenever they sat down to rest, punching them in back while they endlessly slew the same tired ass giants over and over again, y'know, but even awesome stuff like that gets boring after an hour or so.

Yah, I didn't care about any of that city building stuff, I just liked fighting players and wrecking and defending other people's sandcastles, chasing folks around in the snow and getting chased around in the desert, that's all I wanted to do.

If the guys who made Shadowbane had replaced all those horrible boring "gold-farming" pve camps with a bunch of automated npc farms and farmers that a city could tax to pay for all its other automated stuff, it could've have been a much better (and actually less complicated) game.

We woulda fought over control of the farms, just like we skirmished with other cities for control over those hideously crummy pve camps, and maybe we would've had to patrol them in our underpants and helmets, or something, if yer a stickler for potential income and all that, but we wouldn't have had to actually farm them.

If you wanted more levels of gameplay, aside from just making the adrenaline junkies happy, the farms could've produced different sorts of raw materials depending on the region they existed in, instead of generic "gold."

And then you'd have the foundation for inter-city trade agreements (our city will feed yours so many units of granite per day, if you guys will agree to provide us with iron and paper, for example) and city service specialization, maybe even a nice little "attack and defend the supply lines" game with npc caravans and player bandits and stuff, but players still wouldn't have to do anything that was boring.

And its not like a farm has to be more complicated and laggy than spawning pve "gold farming" camps, heck, a farm doesn't really have to do anything except sorta look like a farm on the outside, y'know?

Or you could go all Raph Koster Sandbox and it could be its own instanced separated-from-pvp farming and gardening (or mining, or whatever) simulation on the inside, to attract folks who like that creative dollhouse sorta stuff.

Just have an automated farm be the least productive default, and make sure the "peasants" are on a separate layer from all the pvp stuff so they don't have to care which city is getting their taxes and "protecting" them, they can relocate to other cities without erasing all their work or go around like Red Riding Hood and visit and trade "peasant stuff" between each other and show off their homes and stuff.

Or maybe the cities would want to attract those folks, through its services, or regional resources, or lower tax rates, or whatever, to be surrounded by more productive farms or something.

Yah, so we'd have better Ponies to ride!

Oh, but how would I afford to buy anything, then? If there wasn't any PvE camps, I'd have had no source of income!

Dude, first off, I never bought anything in the original Shadowbane, my guildleader guys just gave me everything to pay for my comedic services as a pet monkey and nutpuncher, only thing I ever needed money for was repairs when I got killed, and they even gave me that.

And secondly, if you really wanted to keep that pay-for-repairs death penalty thing, even in a game without gold, the city coulda paid us a tiny percentage of the raw materials produced (used to repair our shit, or maybe even to pay for consignment work) for patrolling its farms.

Bah, whatever, its not like any of this junk is new, and it doesn't make the game "fun" automatically either.

But it woulda kept me playing Shadowbane a lot longer heh.

One of Us

Well, okay, we had this big beach blanket bingo bash, right?

Yah, to celebrate being accepted into Time School.

Yah, it was pretty sweet, man, that first time, there was hundreds of socially repressed Time Nerds running around in their underpants and feeling the love.

Y'know how they are, man, dancing like that boogie was a patch of some serious business, talkin' all deep and existential and poemy and bleary-eyed 'bout partying and shit, hilarious.

And everything was going fine until we started running low on party supplies, y'know, like firewood and beer and Snacky Cakes.

Me and Chow were pretty wasted, and Smiling Mike was frickin' ruined, but it occurred to us that we could just go back in time and steal party supplies from the party before anybody used 'em, and bring 'em back to the future with us, and keep the party going indefinitely that way.

So we did that, but when we got back to the future, everybody was pissed off at us, 'cause apparently they were the guys we'd stolen the party supplies from in the past and they hadn't been having any fun while we were gone.

Yah, I dunno, it was weird, there didn't seem to be a way to get back to the people we'd partied with the first time.

So we gave those folks the junk we stole from their past, and that made them happier, y'know, but not as happy as it would've made 'em if time travel wasn't so stupid, y'know, they were still a little pissed at us.

And so, whatever, we started partying again, and we got even more wasted, and everything was going fine, but then we started running low on party supplies again.

Now, at this point, even though we were about twice as wasted as we were the first time we started running low on party supplies, and Smiling Mike, our Mastermind, couldn't stand up without Chow hanging on to his collar, we realized that if we went back in time again and stole the party supplies before we had a chance to steal the party supplies the first time, we'd just return to a future where everybody was all pissed off that they got robbed by us again.

And that kinda sucked, even though us guys who had gone back in time and done all the stealing were remembering everything right and we were getting to burn the same firewood and drink the same bottles of cheap scotch over and over again, nobody else was.

But then it occured to us, if we brought everybody back in time with us to just before we stole all the party supplies the first time, and we stole everything before our past selves had a chance to steal everything, we'd be able to bring everybody back to the future and continue our party, and they'd remember everything like we did, and we'd have made everything right.

Problem was, we could only fit about ten people in the time machine.

So, y'know, we had to leave a lot of skanks and lesbians and doinks behind.

But we figured we could just make multiple trips and make everybody happy, eventually.

So whatever, we crammed a bunch of 'em into the time machine, and went back in time and snagged the party supplies before we had a chance to steal 'em the first time.

But then we realized there wasn't enough room in the time machine for all ten people AND the supplies.

So me and Chow made everybody get out of the time machine while we packed the thing with party supplies (and Smiling Mike's unconscious body), to see how much room there was left over, y'know, and it was easy to make them do whatever we wanted, 'cause we were bigger than them and twice as drunk and scary, heck man, only reason me and Chow even got into Time School in the first place was 'cause Smiling Mike owed us one.

Anyways it turned out there was only room for about four more people, so we had to leave some of 'em behind when we went back to the future, but realized we could make two trips, so we told them we'd be right back and we'd just get them in a second load, y'know, no problem.

So we get back to the future, and the skanks we had just left behind in the past are still standing right outside the door to the time machine, giving us evil looks, 'cause they waited the whole time right where we left them in the past, 'cause they were afraid of meeting another version of themselves at the party or something.

And everybody at the party is all pissed at us for stealing all the party supplies, again, but to them, we'd only stolen all the party supplies once, so they weren't twice as pissed at us, or anything, even though we were getting twice as tired of hearing them bitch about it.

Anyways, that made us realize that making multiple trips from the future to the past, y'know, to make everybody happy, wasn't gonna work, 'cause the future kept changing back to the Pissed Off At Us Future every time we went back in time and stole stuff.

But there didn't seem to be any reason why we couldn't go back and make things right with the folks that we'd left behind in the past when we ran out of room in the Time Machine.

So we headed back to the past, and picked up the folks we'd left behind, and brought them back to the future, and when we got back that time, there wasn't another copy of them standing outside the door of the time machine, giving us evil looks, so at least that worked.

Anyways, me and Chow were really starting to get tired of all this Time Crap by this point, 'cause thinking about it makes us dizzy, and Smiling Mike was unconscious, so he couldn't do all the thinking for us, but we started partying again, and everything was fine, until I went to get a refill and I realized that somebody had stolen all the party supplies.

Yah, so that's when I realized stuff was really starting to get out of control.

I probably would've started reading my Time Manual at that point, to try to figure out what the hell was going on, and what we needed to do to put things right, but somebody had stolen that too.

And that's when another version of me walked up, with a Time Manual in his hand, and tried to get me to read it for him, 'cause he said he was too drunk to figure all this shit out and his version of Smiling Mike was still unconscious.

I got really pissed, y'know, 'cause I knew right away that these were the jokers that had stolen all our shit, and the last thing I was gonna do was read some frickin' book fer this guy and straighten out all his mistakes, so I was just about to start beating the hell out of him (which would've been easy, 'cause he really was more wasted than I was) when another version of me with a Time Manual in his hand and a broken nose and a fat lip limped up and started gurgling fer me to stop.

This third me said him and Chow had waited for Smiling Mike to regain consciousness, somewhere in the future, and Smiling Mike had figured everything out.

Yah, apparently, when we went back in the time the very first time, we created another set of ourselves, complete with a Smiling Mike that never had a chance to get drunk.

And those guys were really pissed off, see, and to make matters worse, they were really pissed off and cold sober and fully operational and they had the least-wasted Smiling Mike to mastermind all their evil plans.

So this busted up version of me says that his version of Smiling Mike thinks that all of us wasted versions of ourselves needed to put our heads together and organize and work together pronto to get rid of our evil sober twins, before they had a chance to multiply in time and do the same thing to us.

Yah, freaky, huh?

We're in some pretty shit now, eh?

Hey, what was that noise?

Oh shit, man, look there, there's another version of me... er.. us, spying on us!

Get him!

Don't let that asswipe use the Time Machine!

Ah, whew, thank god, one of the Chows got him.

We gotta be more careful, man, I mean, look at you guys, yer pathetic, you guys can't run fer shit.

Hey, what's that guy's story?

I don't remember seeing that version of me around before.

You sure he's one of us?