Diecast #277: Halloween, Starbound, Manifold Garden

By Shamus Posted Monday Nov 4, 2019

Filed under: Diecast 44 comments

This weekend was our twice-yearly ceremony of pointlessly messing with the clocks. I just realized I didn’t rant about it this year. Sorry about that. I’m not giving up, I’ve just got other things on my mind lately. Feel free to revisit my rant from exactly one year ago if you’re missing my usual tirade against this petty annoyance.

Also: The mailbag is now empty, so if you have a question you’ve been sitting on then now is your chance. The email is in the header image.

Hosts: Paul, Shamus. Episode edited by Issac.

Show notes:

00:00 Halloween

This section also covers death, funerals, burial customs, and a bunch of other stuff.

16:50 Starbound

Link (YouTube)

20:46 Manifold Garden

21:45 Outer Worlds & The Chicken Factory

31:33 Music Class

I’ll talk more about this tomorrow.

36:30 Mailbag: Gameplay in games with mature subject matter.

Dear Diecast,

You mentioned recently that you received too much letters and because of that don’t have enough time to talk about anything else on your show. So I decided to write you a letter.

My question concerns the possibilities of telling stories in a videogames primarily through the use of that games’ mechanics. I noticed that many games that are considered to have “mature”* story either:

a) have very minimalist, or almost non-existential gameplay (which isn’t a bad thing, there is no need to create robust mechanic if the game doesn’t need one). Something like Limbo or TellTale’s games;

b) have more robust mechanics, but they are completely separate from the story (like The Last of Us or Bioshock Infinite**, though you tastes may vary; I’m thinking about games in which the story is consider to be good despite the gameplay, not because of it);

However, it’s difficult to find games that are being praised for their “maturity” specifically because of their gameplay. At best, game’s mechanics are not an obstacle.

But I think that gameplay is the “primary language” of games (so to speak) when it comes to communication with players. Expensive cutscenes, sublime soundtrack and so on are great and all, but the core of a game lies in it’s structure of it’s mechanics. Therefore, that should be the main focus when it comes to making a “mature” game – gameplay. Gameplay should enhance the idea of game’s story by creating appropriate impressions through the use of right tools. For example, if the story of a particular game is about the danger of possessing an excessive amount of freedom, then the gameplay itself should allow players to experience that. When the game takes more linear approach, it’s all fall flat, because I don’t feel the story.

So, gameplay should enhance the story. But that’s not what I want to ask you about. I wonder, if it is possible to create a “mature” game that tell it’s story mainly through it’s mechanics (obviously, it would still have some sort of graphic and sonic presentation, but they would enhance the mechanics, not the other way around). Can story be told through gameplay? Could that game achieved world-wide popularity? Or maybe it would be like trying to make a movie by beating yourself in the head with a film projector? Would such thing be a masterpiece or a glorified Excel sheet?

Basically, dose the strength of a videogames’ stories lies in their capability of containing multiple sources of different media or do they have something unique?



* By “mature games” I mean those that are considered to deal with difficult and (usually) socially important subjects by providing intricate solutions – or by providing the lack of such solutions. You know, something that people describe as… deep.

** I actually consider the stories of this games to be rather mediocre, but that’s beside the point

53:45 Mailbag: AI Generated stories

Dear Diecast,
I don’t know if you guys have ever heard of procedural generation /joking.

Considering there have been a lot of advances made in the fields of NLP (Natural Language Processing) and ML (machine learning), do you think it would be possible to train an AI to generate interesting plots in video games?

I imagine if something like that were possible it would probably be rather generic plot beats overall, i.e.

You’re playing a Knight who is trying to defeat an Evil Wizard to save the Heir to the Throne, and if you happen to lose the AI generates an event to handle your loss. For example Rangerman McArcher, an NPC you met elsewhere, shoots an arrow at EW, who takes off with HttT.
Or do you think it would be too hard to have such a system generate content that’s interesting enough to keep players engaged?


From The Archives:

44 thoughts on “Diecast #277: Halloween, Starbound, Manifold Garden

  1. Scampi says:

    I don’t know if you guys have ever heard of procedural generation /joking.

    At first I misread it as “I don’t know if you guys have ever heard of procedural generation joking.”
    I wonder if it would work, but I love the idea of procedurally generated jokes. I think they would be horrible, though.

    1. Ninety-Three says:

      That’s basically just Cards Against Humanity.

    2. DeadlyDark says:

      VICE Headline Generator – The Game

    3. tmtvl says:

      Computer-generated jokes exist: https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn1719-computer-crack-funnier-than-many-human-jokes/

      Of course the scoring is off since they can only get a 0, a 1, or a 10 out of 10.

    4. It’s not really procedurally generated, but Outward has an interesting system where you don’t actually die, what happens when your health is knocked down is that you get a quasi-random message and “wake up” somewhere else in the game world (sometimes all the way back in town). Given that it takes resources to make forays into the world and the dungeons reset, this is a serious inconvenience, but it’s also interesting because it’s not so punishing–you can decide that the thing you were doing was too tough and go do something else, for instance.

      So, yeah, given a game structure like Outward’s, where the goals are fairly open-ended, I think that a procedurally generated story could work. I was thinking about something like this for an open-world MMO style game some time ago. My idea was that instead of being based around gear, you would get bonuses for your character by acquiring unique “story points” for your character, things like:

      Times Attacked by X creature
      Times Captured by Slavers
      Times Escaped from Slavers
      Times Evaded Capture

      Almost like achievements. You’d want it to predominately focus on the gameplay and have the “story” stuff be minimalist and functional so the procedural generation system wouldn’t be a drag.

      Daggerfall had procedurally generated quests and dungeons, btw. There were some problems with the system they used, but overall it could work. The trick is making it interesting enough, varied enough, and rewarding enough that people want to keep playing after they’ve seen enough iterations that the bones of the system become apparent. The idiot-simple quest structure you get in a lot of games (kill ten things, get ten pelts, kill the bigger monster and get the quest item, take this to X location) would not work. That’s terrible in games with big dramatic set pieces. I’d only have that in my hypothetical game as a quick and guaranteed way to rustle up some cash if you get robbed or lose all your stuff (one way to keep the economy from decaying is to have an “easy come, easy go” approach to gear and cash).

      1. djw says:

        Outward also lets you “fail forward”. If you want to reach the main town in a new zone and can’t get past the creatures in the area you can die several times and eventually the city guard will find you and drag you to the gate.

        Some quests are timed, and you lose time every time you “die”, so this failing forward isn’t as “cheaty” as it may sound at first.

  2. Joe says:

    I had to attend a couple of funerals a few years back. I noticed that people told fun little anecdotes about the deceased. Since then, I’ve been trying to come up with some for other relatives who are, sadly, getting up there in years. However, some people just haven’t been that exciting or memorable in my presence. Still, I wrack my brain. I suggest that other people do the same. Be prepared.

    Halloween wasn’t a thing in Australia when I was younger. These days I’ve come to resent the increasing Americanisation of what little culture we have. It’s not that every American idea is bad, certainly not. But there’s a flood without a filter. If large amounts of dopey Aussie ideas made inroads to America, you’d probably be annoyed too.

    Oh, and you were around 35 minutes in when you wondered how long you’d been going for.

    1. Lino says:

      I don’t know how relevant any of my opinion is for Australia, but I still kinda want to vent about this topic, and this seems like the best thread to do it in :D
      Although I’m not Australian, I agree that it’s kind of sad when you see some of your nation’s traditions and holidays get overshadowed by foreign holidays whose origin is completely devoid from your nation and people’s cultural identity.
      In my country, celebrating Halloween is relatively recent – when I was a kid my friend and I were one of the very few that dressed up for it. But in recent years, more and more people have taken to celebrating it which has led to mounting opinions of disapproval against it.
      And even though I agree with the disapproving opinions in principle, I still look down upon people who rail against it on social media and go to anti-Halloween rallies, because at the end of the day, “losing our cultural identity” isn’t America’s fault – it’s our own fault. It’s up to us to uphold what we value in our culture and pass it on to our children.
      In the case of Halloween, although I’ve only celebrated a couple of times, I’m really happy that people can have fun putting together costumes, wearing them, and generally having a good time. But at the same time, I also take care to celebrate my country’s own Halloween equivalent (whose date, thankfully, doesn’t clash with Halloween – something I can’t say for a holiday we have on 14th February which isn’t as popular anymore due to Valentine’s Day).
      Halloween is a free-for-all party of a holiday, and it’s natural for people to want to celebrate it. Instead of trying to suppress it (which FYI, would only lead to people wanting to celebrate it even more), I think we should let people celebrate what they like while still not forgetting our roots and upholding our old customs and traditions.

      1. Ninety-Three says:

        It seems really weird to make not practicing Halloween part of your cultural identity. Like, there are an infinite number of things Australians don’t do, and I assume people don’t oppose every new practice on the grounds that not doing it is part of their culture.

        Really, making this complaint over Halloween sounds like a way of smuggling in “I demand other people stop liking things I hate.” I’m sure the people objecting really don’t like Halloween (fair enough, if you didn’t grow up with it it must seem really dopey), but the ones practicing it do, so uh, tough luck? Like I hate Marvel movies, and I’m vaguely distressed that they seem to be eating up more of the market and crowding out my preferred sort of movie. But taste is subjective and as much as I wish everyone would change their minds about Marvel, I don’t have any high ground from which to make that demand, and it would be really weird to argue “We didn’t always watch Marvel movies! We’re losing our cinematic identity!”

        1. Lino says:

          I should have made my initial comment more clear. I’m not against people celebrating Halloween, and I think it definitely has a place in my country. What I wanted to say was:
          1. I’m against Bulgarians complaining about Halloween on the grounds of it being a Western holiday.
          2. I don’t like it when my fellow countrymen want to blame someone else, because they feel like we’re neglecting our traditional customs and holidays
          About 20 minutes after I posted my comment, I realized that 90% of it was arguing against some of the arguments used by people who hold the position of “The US and EU are evil and they’re taking away our culture!” Bashing Halloween is something these people really like doing. Unfortunately, I didn’t bother to provide that sort of context in my original comment (partly because it would involve delving into why some people hold that position which would involve going into a lot of politics which most people reading this blog wouldn’t even care about). I was debating whether to request deletion, but some work popped up (because I am supposed to be working right now), and the 10-minute window closed.
          TL;DR My initial comment was way out of place, because it didn’t provide the necessary context, and would have been better suited for a completely different conversation

          1. Ninety-Three says:

            No, I had picked up on your stance and was basically agreeing with you: people complaining about Halloween seems weird. But I’m happy to drop it if things have gotten off topic.

        2. Duoae says:

          IMO, this is one of those weird instances of a cultural identity being a bit like smoking. (Read through the rest before you respond because it sounds inflammatory but it’s not and I think it’s a relevant analogy).

          Most religious and personal beliefs and festivals can be celebrated/maintained without impacting other people. However, Halloween in it’s traditional children trick-or-treating manner (like smoking) cannot be enjoyed around other people without impacting them because it involves other people to join in. It’s like making a public party without any bounds and expecting everyone to take part.

          Halloween is one of those weird celebrations where you expect other people to take part and actively talk about them negatively if they don’t. (See the grouchy neighbour trope where there’s one household that doesn’t celebrate the holiday when everyone else is…) I think that this is why there is a required critical mass for Halloween to take ahold in any given culture. In the UK, there was no strongly competing tradition (for example – sure, there’s pagan stuff but it’s not widely practiced) and given the similar cultural ideals between the USA and UK it was assimilated pretty easily (though from what I’ve experienced it’s WAY more muted in tone than in the USA).

          Switch over to a mediterranean country and not only do you have competing traditions in some areas but you have completely different cultures that do not work in the same manner. Hence, this year some of my friends got pre-Halloween letters through their doors from their neighbours asking them to take part in their own children’s delight. If you’re happy to do that (I actually always stock sweets for Halloween but haven’t had any callers for a few years now) then that’s great but I feel it’s a bit of an imposition to ask people to take part and in some places to expect people to take part.

          Let’s put that all in context – it’s like having an Easter celebration where everyone is required to hide eggs around their properties so other people’s children can search for and find them. It doesn’t happen – even in America…

          So that’s why I, personally, find it weird and invasive.

          On the other hand, the adult version of Halloween is in full swing everywhere I’ve been – people dressing up and getting drunk at parties is very well adapted. :)

  3. Lino says:

    Great show. By the way, I think there’s been a little hiccup in the editing – at the end, after Paul says “Goodbye”, there’s quite a long pause, and the music continues playing over your post-credits conversation.
    With regards to mature gameplay themes, I think This War of Mine did a pretty god job, even though I personally didn’t care much for the mechanics. Another one I can think of is Pathologic, although I’m only going on MandaloreGaming’s reviews of it, since I’m not all that into more systemic games.
    I also really liked Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, even though it’s very minimalist on the mechanics side…

  4. Ninety-Three says:

    Re: Psychonauts, the last level is indeed a big difficulty spike. I maintain that it’s a shift from “cakewalk easy” to “engaging” rather than from “normal” to “ultradeath”, but if you hated the gameplay already I can’t imagine you’d like the ending.

    PS: The show notes say “21:45 Outer Worlds & The Chicken Factory” but there doesn’t seem to be any Outer Worlds discussion other than opening on “So I put The Outer Worlds aside.”

    1. galacticplumber says:

      I’d rate more as, early minds and the overworld is easy peasy lemon squeasy, then getting to the asylum is the jump where the game demands you start thinking about how to use abilities without being directed most of the time. Finally the meat circus demands not just everything before, but on harsh time limits with lethal environments, and the hectic stress inducer of no one shutting up while you’re trying to do the hard things.

      Basically that place is at least two orders of magnitude harder than anything that came before.

  5. Geebs says:

    Speaking of the Outer Wilds, it’s actually pretty fantastic. The “pocket sized” solar system is beautifully intricate, it does an amazing job of leading the player so that, despite the open world, you’re in the right place to see the various set-pieces, and it’s an exploration game that actually has stuff to find.

    Puzzles based on waiting should probably be a capital offence but, apart from a couple of those, I loved the heck out of it.

    1. BlueHorus says:

      Puzzles based on waiting should probably be a capital offence

      Well, that or by offenders recieving a death sentence and then being left on Death Row indefinitely.

  6. Joshua says:

    That’s a really long letter about gameplay and story.

    As far as telling a story through gameplay with minimal exposition/cutscenes, I would still nominate Super Metroid, a 25-year old game (just recently beat it again on the Switch). There’s not a whole ton of story, but what is there is displayed through lots of background details and action.

    Or is the letter specifically meaning addressing mature storyline through gameplay mechanics? For example, the way Survival Horror games tend to deliberately have awkward mechanics to avoid empowerment?

    1. galacticplumber says:

      Or Darkest Dungeon deliberately making it an objectively good idea to send a bunch of crippled, or undesirable party members into a dungeon with no torchlight to die just because their lives have negative value, and they may fumble into a few goodies?

      No seriously. That’s the optimal way to clear roster space when you find a good hire…. or when your optimized parties are all in maintenance…. or when you just a LITTLE bit away from affording that upgrade you wanted.

      1. Echo Tango says:

        The optimal way to play Darkest Dungeon, is to stop playing Darkest Dungeon…

        Seriously, that game had way too much grind. :S

        1. Duoae says:

          I’d vote this comment with a +1 something but I guess it’s not normally that kind of forum ;)

          Honestly though, I really like Darkest Dungeon but I’ve never gotten anywhere with it. It’s one of the game permanently installed on my PS Vita that’s great for killing a few hours/minutes with when travelling or on holiday but after 3-4 years of playing infrequently, I’ve never managed to complete a quest over level 1-2/.

        2. galacticplumber says:

          You do know you’re allowed to upgrade the stage coach to bring in people who aren’t level one right? They included that feature specifically to make character death less punishing in the grand scheme while still being emotionally punishing.

          1. Echo Tango says:

            Even with that mechanic (and others), the game is still grindy like crazy. Grind for gold, grind for artifacts, grind for trinkets, grind for gems (in the expansion). Grind for top-level characters after the final dungeon insta-kills someone

            1. Ninety-Three says:

              Grind for top-level characters after

              Or after two enemies chain crit + critbleed + bleed trigger on your next turn to kill a character from 70% HP before you can do anything about it.

              That was the incident that made me stop playing, because it made me realize that no amount of skill could mitigate the extreme ends of the random distribution, and the penalty for hitting those extremes was that I had to spend hours grinding up a replacement Vestal after I’d lost the core of what was ready to be an endgame dungeon team.

              1. galacticplumber says:

                Not hours. Not when you can skip the early stages with coach upgrades.

                1. Ninety-Three says:

                  Yes hours. The top upgrade has a six percent chance of producing level 3s. If you’re looking for a particular class, going on enough missions to reset the coach enough to roll your level 3 Vestal takes almost as long as simply picking a newbie and training her to 3 from scratch. Your odds of pulling a 1 are less terrible, but that doesn’t save much time from the climb to 6.

                  1. galacticplumber says:

                    As previously noted, you don’t even go on missions. You load up the schmoes you don’t want into a team, throw them at a dungeon with no torchlight or supplies, go a room or two in, and come back with a progressed week, and some gold. Doesn’t matter they get hurt/stressed/dead, because you didn’t actually want them and will cut them loose when they get back.

                2. Echo Tango says:

                  As Ninety-Three points out, you still need to grind your dudes from level 3 to level 6. The amount of time from level 1 to 3 is a lot less than from 3 to 6, so the upgrade doesn’t really save you much.

    2. Echo Tango says:

      It is specifically talking about games that address mature themes through gameplay mechanics.

      +1 to survival horror games disempowering you with clunky mechanics. For a non-horror game, I really liked playing Dysphoria. At least that’s what I thought it was called – I can’t find the page on Itch.io, but it was a game where you played as someone going through a gender transition, and the mechanics let you feel all the crap they were going through at that point in their life. It was randomly mentioned by Campster on an Errant Signal episode…somewhere. :)

  7. John says:

    I can understand not wanting to give out candy on Halloween. I know people, including at least one kid, with severe nut allergies. Handing out candy is also not a lot of fun. It snowed this Halloween, and the temperature was right around freezing as we took our daughter trick-or-treating. Few of the candy-passer-outers seemed to be enjoying themselves and a couple of them actually gave our daughter all the candy they had left just so they could go back inside for the evening.

    Still, whenever I hear about Halloween non-candy, it reminds me of this Homestarrunner video and I think to myself “those crudely drawn stick figures have a point.”

    1. Echo Tango says:

      Up here in Canada, we just stay indoors until the kids ring the doorbell. It helps a lot with the cold Halloweens when it’s snowing, eh?

  8. RE: telling a mature story via gameplay. I actually came up with an idea for a game I’d like to see that I think would do this pretty well that would use a Skyrim-style gameplay. Not the combat, which is actually NOT the primary gameplay mechanic of Skyrim. The FINDING AND COLLECTING UNIQUE CRAP FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD gameplay aspect (which IS the primary gameplay mechanic of Skyrim.)

    My premise was that you are basically an eternally-reincarnated immortal whose purpose is to collect and preserve knowledge. A sort of cosmic librarian keeping chaos at bay by acquiring as many records as you can. The way you acquire this knowledge is, well, by adventuring. ALL of the gameplay mechanics serve this purpose, and everything is tracked in this infinite book that you carry around as a sort of journal/stats sheet.

    Part of the premise was that your character actually couldn’t speak, and the way you’d communicate with people is by writing in your journal and showing it to them. People would have different languages that you would learn and use your book to translate what they said, etc. (This was to enable as much procedural generation as possible and so it wouldn’t feel weird that stuff wasn’t voice-acted.)

    But, everything you do becomes knowledge that you’ve acquired. Level up a skill? That’s a knowledge. Kill a new animal type? That’s a knowledge. Find a new item? That’s a knowledge. Learn a new language? That’s a knowledge.

    But what’s the point of having all this knowledge? You use it to hold the forces of chaos at bay. All over the world there are bits of chaos eating away at the fabric of reality, dissolving it into nothingness, and they can only be banished by applying the right bit(s) of knowledge. And then you can build stuff, using your other knowledge. The “mature” purpose of the game, communicated through gameplay, is the primary struggle of human life, of wresting knowledge from the world and using it to create value and preserve life. It doesn’t take any cut scenes where A-list actors chew the scenery to explain this to you, every moment of everything you do in the basic gameplay system reinforces it, because it’s what you’re doing every time you level, build, explore, loot, learn.

    1. Duoae says:

      I really like this idea. On a micro-scale (i.e. human scale) it meshes with our personal experiences of “the universe tends towards entropy”. I’m a bit unclear as to what the “end game” would entail but the early game sounds really interesting.

      I also agree with you on Skyrim: For me, the reason I enjoyed playing was finding stuff – not necessarily collecting stuff – though that was an element of finding things. Skyrim (as was Oblivion and Morrowind before it) was about discovering all the cool stuff in the world – places, people, things, items, events….These are games about discovery and remembering those discoveries.

      1. My stupidly-ambitious and probably impossible to actually implement idea was that the world would be almost completely procedural, and what you’d do is that you would be like the phoenix, you could have a “baby” and raise it and then you’d die and start play over again as the baby (but all the knowledge you’d accumulated and stored would still be there). So you could functionally start over as a completely new build, and a bunch of time would have passed in the outside world so it’d be all new to explore.

        It’d be pretty much designed around the way that I play Skyrim and similar games . . . I play it really intensively for a while and then I get bored and quit playing, and come back to it and start over a significant amount of time later. This would make it really friendly to modding and expansions and add-ons, because the “start over” aspect would be incorporated into the central gameplay mechanic, only the world would be fresh–societies would rise and fall, new critters would be roaming the world, etc. With a complex and interesting build system, you could pretty much play it forever, but it would be something you’d play in spurts instead of being this constant life-sucking grindfest.

        1. Ideally you’d want to have it procedurally generate cool societal products like works of art that you could collect, and since they’d be procedural they really would be *unique*. There’d be a social aspect to it in that you could amass this really awesome gallery but you’d have to do a lot of exploring to get what you wanted.

          I mean, stuff like, hey, I want an awesome jade texture for the walls in my gallery, so I have to find somewhere that people are mining jade and building their city out of it to acquire that texture. Or, I want gold inlay, so I have to find a society that does that and learn it from them. The societies would have a set of procedurally generated cultural products that you could learn and use those to build your gallery (and build other stuff out in the world, maybe).

          There’d be quite a few elements to it. And societies could get destroyed by the chaos moving in, so maybe you get to the place that has art you just love but the place was smashed so you have to eliminate all the chaos and try to attract people back there in the hopes that they’ll start producing again so that you can learn that method.

  9. Liessa says:

    Mature gameplay mechanics: About the only example I can think of is ‘Papers, Please’. It’s impressive how well the gameplay evokes the basic premise (i.e. being a pen-pushing bureaucrat for an oppressive dictatorship) while still being genuinely engaging in its own right.

    1. shoeboxjeddy says:

      Papers Please and Frost Punk seem to fit the bill. In Frost Punk, you’re the leader of a dystopic society, making horrible choices like “maybe we should have children work in the factory so that we don’t all freeze to death because we fell under quota.” Because these decisions ARE so horrible, maybe the citizenry wants to punish you for ordering them though. It’s kind of an awkward question though. What is a “mature” gameplay element that does not deal with the story elements? It’s like you’re saying what is the first mature, grown up sport?

      1. DeadlyDark says:

        I’m actually thinking, wouldn’t CIvilization fit the same bill of storytelling integrated in gameplay? Like showing the abridged history of mankind

  10. Dev Null says:

    MIT media labs was doing some interesting things with procedural story generaion… 25 years ago, when last I paid any attention to the research. I did a quick google and found this project:


    … which is only a decade old? There might be more recent stuff if you actually dig.

  11. Gwydden says:

    Crusader Kings 2 is the only game I’ve seen pull off anything resembling procedural storytelling. It does so by having literally thousands of AI actors from whose interactions the story emerges. It helps that it is a grand strategy game played with a map and dozens of glorified spreadsheets and therefore highly abstracted.

  12. evilmrhenry says:

    RE: Horrible chicken murder machine, there’s a Super Sound Muffler mod that allows blacklisting certain sounds. There are other sound muffling blocks, but I think they mostly just drop the volume, which would still let it run out of sound channels.

  13. Grimwear says:

    The talk about inadequate family members sure strikes home. My uncle was a gardener at a woman’s prison but he has his huge plot of land and built his own house there from scratch, then built a giant storage shed, and every winter builds his own skating rink on the property. Heck he even makes his own maple syrup every year using the trees on his property. Really nice man, if a bit severe. Add to that he bought a schoolhouse out in the sticks where our family clan came from and which happens to be across from the cottage that my grandfather made from scratch and renovated the whole thing into his personal cottage. I just sit there and go…I have no idea how to do any of that.

  14. It made me a little sad to hear Shamus be dismissive towards his own experiences with triggering. His description of how he is made viscerally uncomfortable by the depictions of children being harmed, is by its very definition, a trigger.

    It is cruel, and even dehumanizing to mock, minimize or invalidate the experiences and feelings of others. Especially if they are people who are marginalized in other ways.

    How did expressing compassion and empathy towards others become a bad thing?

    1. Shamus says:

      I wasn’t trying to be dismissive towards people’s triggers. I just didn’t want to make it sound like I thought I was some special case or that I was gifted with empathy that others don’t have. I don’t want to be seen as comparing myself to someone with PTSD.

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