Diecast #360 Noscope

By Shamus Posted Monday Nov 1, 2021

Filed under: Diecast 107 comments

The good news is that I got my second dose of vaccine, so I’m a little less likely to die of the plague. The bad news is that I was feeling kind of run down, sleep-deprived, and cranky. I didn’t really realize how bad it was until I listened to the show and heard how often I tripped over my words.

Uh… Happy Halloween, I guess?



Hosts: Paul, Shamus. Episode edited by Issac.
Diecast360


Link (YouTube)

Show notes:

00:00 Happy Halloween

I suppose going door-to-door to meet the neighbors and beg for candy is not really a great idea during a pandemic. I guess the kids would rather show off their costumes on TikTok anyway.

I wonder if Trick-or-Treat is going to change / die off permanently because of this?

01:59 Audacity


Link (YouTube)

02:52 Windows 11

The only thing I remember from the previews is the way W11 centers the start bar, which strikes me as being a ridiculously frivolous change for the sake of change.

12:38 Dune

This movie is really sticking with me. I’m serious that I might take a swing at reading the books.

How do the book fans feel about it? Is it a good adaptation? A hack job?

19:42 Wildermyth


Link (YouTube)

Man, these AI-generated stories are getting really good!

23:54 Sable


Link (YouTube)

27:06 Mailbag: Analog Horror

Dear Diecast

Not sure how you feel about Youtube web series but a new genre known as “analog horror” had been popping up recently and this one really grabbed my attention, was wondering if you have any thoughts or feelings on it?

Love, YEKNOD

28:53 Mailbag: Game Scores

Dear Diecast,

In reading comments about your GTA IV analysis https://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/?p=43438 the topic of reviews is raised. As usual, there is no consensus about the topic. Some people accept an A through D system where everything grades out somewhere between 6-10 / 10. Some think it’s strange that a 65 is bad but a 75 is good. Some think scores are meaningless because experiences are subjective. I THINK it’s interesting that the topic hasn’t been resolved enough to have a reliable system. I need research to ascertain that one publication’s 50% score means “Average” while the other’s means “Worst game of 2021”.

So I got to thinking about your article about the Myers-Briggs test and I wondered if the confusion correlates with personality differences. Perhaps what people value differs and is as deeply ingrained as personality types. Some people want a mechanical analysis of the systems. Some want to know how a game made the reviewer feel. Some want to know about the writing. Some want to be lied to, to justify their preconception. Maybe personalities are too disparate to ever come up with a useful system for this.

In my music player I rank on a 1-5 scale but, like converting AM/PM to 24 hour military time, it actually means “6-10”. Anything worth a score should be, at a minimum, good. A 1/5 is a compliment. Scores are then a matter of how good something is. Isn’t that the point?! Why grade a crappy game or listen to bad music? Why do I care to what degree something is bad?

-Chris P.

39:02 Mailbag: Mallory Archer

Hello Shamus and Paul,

Earlier this year, Jessica Walter who is famous for her roles on Arrested Development and of course, voiced Mallory Archer on Archer, passed away.

Season 12 of Archer wrapped up last week and they paid tribute to her in a very touching scene:

(link if you haven’t already seen it. I love that she is reunited with her (IRL) husband)

Did you guys watch season 12 of Archer? How did you think they handled Ms. Archer leaving the show?

Also ,what is your favorite Mallory Archer quote?

Do you think the show can go on without her?

Sincerely,

Leendert

44:04 Mailbag: DnD Thought Experiment

Dear Diecast,

My brain works in mysterious ways. Sometimes a silly idea enters my mind, and no matter what I do, I invariably drift back to thinking about it. The latest such idea is this: what if a Lich had Twitter as his phylactery? One step further – what if the entire Internet was his phylactery?! I’ve thought an embarrassingly long time about this, so I’ve decided to try and loop you in as well! I’ve boiled it down to two pivotal points:

1. Given traditional fantasy rules, would that even work, especially with websites as massive as Twitter or Facebook? Or the entire Internet for that matter! Which part of a server would need to be his phylactery so that an entire social network/the Internet serves as a phylactery?
2. And if we manage to solve the issue above, how could we kill him without bombing humanity’s infrastructure back to the Stone Age? Barring that, could we maybe hide from him somehow?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this :D

Keep Being Awesome,
Lino

Here are the rules regarding a Phylactery. I really think we should try the “blowing up Twitter” thing, just to be sure.

 


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107 thoughts on “Diecast #360 Noscope

  1. BurnOnTheBuns says:

    How do the book fans feel about it? Is it a good adaptation? A hack job?

    I suffered story collapse from the diarrhea I had while watching the film on my telephone in the bathroom.

  2. Grimwear says:

    I haven’t read the books but I will say I really enjoyed Dune. Prior to this my only Dune experience was listening to the 2 Matt Colville videos where he discusses the story. Honestly depending on how the second movie turns out I’m willing to bet Dune may be this decade’s Lord of the Rings.

    A couple minor gripes:

    1. I do not like Zendaya. She’s a plank of wood. I’m not sure how her character is supposed to be in the books but here blegh. She has a baby face which works in Spiderman but in Dune with her grizzled veteran dialogue surrounded by men in their 50s…it’s just weird. And when she calls Paul “little boy” I just can’t take her seriously. She had way too much focus for being such a non-entity.

    2. This one isn’t the movie’s fault but there’s that one chanting score in the film and it gets re-used….tons. Not bad by any means except it sounds A LOT like the Amazon theme from Zack Snyder’s Justice League Cut and after seeing and hearing just how overused it was in that movie I can’t unhear it in Dune.

    1. Dreadjaws says:

      1. Same here. I don’t get her appeal. She doesn’t strike me as a good actress, so I don’t understand her popularity.

      2. I thought the same. Funnily enough, the subtitles also refer to that as “lamentation music” in Dune.

      1. Daimbert says:

        1. Same here. I don’t get her appeal. She doesn’t strike me as a good actress, so I don’t understand her popularity.

        I could see it if she was simply stunningly attractive — a lot of actors get popular less because of their acting and more because of their looks — but she doesn’t seem to be that attractive. It pretty much has to be that she’s seen as being interestingly different to the modern crowd.

    2. Thomas says:

      Zendaya gets a lot of focus in the second part of the book which is why there’s so much focus on her here (even though she’s not a particularly interesting character even then). She’s also canonically small and young, mirroring Paul.

      1. Grimwear says:

        Ya I figured she’d be important later which is why she’s so prevalent in the visions, acts as narrator at the start, and is shown being at his right hand side during his war. It’s just that she’s a terrible actress in Dune. Which is weird since Dune has an amazing A-list tier of actors (Jason Momoa and Dave Bautista not being included. They were fine but nothing amazing.) and then Zendaya is the only one actively out of place. Just having her beside Javier Bardem it’s a stark contrast and she’s the only one I’d say was truly miscast.

  3. Dreadjaws says:

    I haven’t read Dune yet, but the friend of mine who loaned me his copy of the book says it’s one of the most faithful book-to-movie adaptations out there. I’m glad it’s getting positive reception, because it’s really not the sort of movie that blockbuster audiences are used to.

    Also, you forgot about Apocalypse/Poe Dameron in the lineout. And David Dastmalchian survives Ant-Man 1 and 2, and I’m pretty sure he survives The Dark Knight too.

    1. Thomas says:

      It’s a ridiculously faithful adaptation – to the extent that I wasn’t sure if the film was watchable to people who hadn’t read the books. I’m really glad that’s not the case!

      They’ve taken parts of the book almost scene for scene, but instead of explaining the long paragraphs of detail that accompany each sign, they’ve taken the most portentous line of dialogue and just _implied_ all the context.

      For example, there’s a lot in the beginning of the book about how the Atreides know they’re walking into a trap and why they’re doing it and how they’re prepared. But instead of having long exchanges about that in the film, they have that line from Gurney yelling at Paul about how he doesn’t know what he’s going into, and that line from the Baron about when a gift isn’t a gift.

      From that context you can feel that Atreides know it’s a trap and from all their bustle it seems clear they’re prepared, but you don’t have the explicit explanation that was in the book.

      The biggest breaks are the details they’ve left out – but there’s nothing in the film to suggest those details haven’t happened.

      I didnt know if audiences would be confused about that one line saying Lady Jessica was a concubine not a wife etc. I don’t think it’s an important detail but the author seems to think it is, and I thought they’d decided to cut that from the adaptation – but no they find somewhere to squeeze it in, if only for a line.

      1. Vladius says:

        Leto explicitly tells Paul that there’s “political danger” and that the Emperor is specifically trying to start a war between the Atreides and the Harkonnens.

        1. Thomas says:

          Yes, and in the book that one line is a 7 page lecture by the Duke explaining the exact details of everything that is implied by ‘political danger’.

          The start of the book is essentially every character explaining in minute detail the plots within the plots – the emperor taking a cut of the spice the Harkonnens are smuggling, what the Harkonnens will think the Atreides will do in response to the Atreides knowing the Harkonnen trap etc. The film doesn’t explain the plots within plots but you can kind of figure out they most be going on just from context

          1. Vladius says:

            Right, I know. I’m just saying that the part where they’re walking into a trap is explicit and not just implied.

      2. Dreadjaws says:

        Indeed, the subtle storytelling is one of the things I enjoyed most about the film. It doesn’t have the low opinion on the audience that blockbusters tend to have. This isn’t a movie, but the Loki TV show is showered with praise for being “smart” and all that, yet they keep bluntly explaining the same concepts like five or six times each episode, as if they didn’t think the audience was capable of retaining information for more than a minute. And it’s not like they’re hard things to understand either.

        Speaking of Marvel, I’m also glad that unlike them this movie doesn’t feel the need to hold the audience’s attention by filling the screentime with jokes.

        I also have to mention, unrelated to the storytelling, this movie looks absolutely gorgeous.

      3. Chris says:

        I think Jessica is a concubine and not a wife is important. It was written in the 60s, so not marrying Jessica is something that would be more noticeable to a reader back then.
        As for in the story itself, it shows how the political damages other things people hold dear. Jessica and Leto are in love, but Leto cannot marry her. Jessica loves him enough to understand that his refusal to marry her isn’t personal, but throughout the books she sometimes does show a bit of sadness that she was second to politics. (for those who don’t know, the idea was that Leto being unmarried left him open to a political marriage, which he wanted to use to consolidate power in the landsmeet). The same concept also repeats in the end of the first book. Paul marries the emperor’s daughter to legitimise himself as the next emperor, but keeps chani as his concubine, and he loved her only.
        This idea of power damaging other aspects is also seen in other instances. Like Fremen adopting poison testers once they move out of their seitches .

        1. Thomas says:

          This is honestly very useful to me. The very last line of Dune being about how concubines are the real wives has always confused me. I just didn’t recognise that as a major theme of the story. To me it was like if the last line of The Lord of the Rings was Rosie talking about the importance of marriage.

          This makes a lot more sense and ties it together. It also gives me the hope that the next book isn’t full of weird gender politics! It’s very silly, but I found that ending line so confusing that I’ve been a bit cautious about starting the second book.

          1. bobbert says:

            Dune II is really more of an act III for the first book than its own work. If you liked the first one, you will like it.

        2. bobbert says:

          Another point about the concumbinicage, that I just thought of is that, if Leto should marry, the children by the wife would displace Paul in the succession.

          1. Thomas says:

            It’s not that I don’t understand how it fits into her character and the politics. I just didn’t understand why it’s such an important detail that you end the book with it. It’d be the same if the end of the book was devoted to the navigators guild monopoly or something.

    2. Shamus says:

      I seriously thought Apocalypse was played by Lee Pace. Like, I was 98% sure. (Maybe I was blurring Apocalypse and Ronan the Accuser together in my mind?) I went and looked it up so I could correct you.

      But nope! Oscar Isaac. Huh.

      1. Dreadjaws says:

        HAHA! I win this round!

        But yeah, you were probably merging the two characters. They’re both blue villains with scenery-chewing dialogue and not much in the way of characterization.

  4. Joshua says:

    I thought about reading the books too, but Half-Price Books is sold out, and Amazon appeared to be too when we looked a few days ago.

    We had about 160 kids last night, and I had pre-bagged most of the candy. Not looking to die out around here.

    Also, got my booster shot a couple of weeks ago. Advantage of packing (more than) a few extra pounds as it put me in the high-risk category.

    1. Lino says:

      160 kids?!?!? Is this normal? How can you possibly have enough candy for all of them?!? Do you just give them literally one piece of candy each, or do you spend 100 dollars just for candy?!

      1. bobbert says:

        Yeah, about 5-10lbs of candy sounds right.
        The trick is to mix in ~50% cheep stuff, like tootsie-rolls or smarties, to stretch the expensive candy.

      2. Joshua says:

        I bought five bags of candy, mostly from Sam’s Club. Probably cost about $60-70. We were giving out about two small candy bars and 3-4 small pieces (gumballs, Lemonheads, tootsie rolls) per kid.

      3. John says:

        It really depends on where you live. Halloween is a big deal in some neighborhoods and barely observed in others depending on demographics and local traditions. There’s not much trick-or-treating in my immediate neighborhood. Some people put up decorations, but relatively few people give out candy. There are plenty of kids where I live, but the demographics just don’t support trick-or-treating for various reasons. There’s a neighborhood just to the east of me, however, where the demographics are more favorable and which has also has a very active neighborhood association. Trick-or-treating is a major event there. I don’t know what they did last year, but I took a walk through the neighborhood yesterday afternoon and from what I saw things were very close to business as usual. I can easily believe that some of the families there spend a hundred dollars or more on candy each year and you would too if you could only see it.

        1. Chris P says:

          To tie this back to Joshua’s post, those neighborhoods most favorable to trick or treating get the reputation and, thus, 160 trick or treaters. I’ve seen parents drive their kids to those neighborhoods and then pick them up two hours later which seems kind of strange.

          I was recently speaking with a woman who lamented that she only gets a couple of visits per Halloween. She said that she buys king sized bars hoping that it will improve her chances of having more trick or treaters next year but, in a decade, no movement on that front. Her neighbors don’t bother trying, their neighbors have given up, and thus she is but an oasis in a desert. This cascade o ftrick or treaters optimizing their lb.-per-hour strikes me as real life min-maxing, with the usual lack of cosmic balance.

          1. Daimbert says:

            Yeah, that happened to me, although it’s less demographic and more perhaps geographic. I live in the older part of town, with houses with big lots, whereas new townhome developments were being built in the newer part of town. Most of the kids wanted to go there because they can hit more houses in less time and with less walking and especially with younger kids the areas are far enough apart that you aren’t likely to do both of them. When I started there was a good number of kids, but that dwindled and dwindled until there wasn’t much point in my doing it so I stopped, along with most of the neighbours, which obviously discourages kids from coming, and so on and so forth. The neighbours across the road — one of whom just moved in — tried this year but didn’t seem to get many and shut off all the lights and decorations by seven.

            1. Chris P says:

              We’ve lost the spirit of the tradition. The roots of the holiday have to do with Celtic communities working together to shore up dimensional barriers to stave off evil spirits and, as it evolved, the holiday retained that communal bonding. As a child it was one of the few times in a year that I’d see neighbors 3 houses away but, because I interacted with them, I recognized them and they me. When I drove through a neighbor’s fence making my requisite 16 y/o blunder, they remembered me as a little Dracula and were forgiving.

              Seeing and hearing about local interactions dwindling in the name of optimization is a worrying sign of what our society prioritizes. I find it sad. Last night we went for a walk after trick or treating had ended. I wanted to see peoples’ decorations but only 20% of houses had put any effort in at all and, of those, only a few did anything elaborate. Perhaps people don’t bother when they don’t expect many kids to see their efforts?

              1. John says:

                Children do not care about saying “hi” to the neighbors. Children care about free candy. Seeing the neighbors is commonplace. Free candy is a rare and wonderful thing.

              2. Balesirion says:

                That is absolutely not where Halloween comes from, in any way, shape, or form.

          2. John says:

            I’ve seen parents drive their kids to those neighborhoods and then pick them up two hours later which seems kind of strange.

            That does seem strange. I can see driving my child to another neighborhood for trick-or-treating. I’ve even done it. But I cannot see leaving my child alone there for hours at a time. I think any child old enough to be left alone without any kind of supervision in a strange neighborhood for hours after dark is almost certainly too old to be trick-or-treating. Save the candy for the little kids.

          3. Joshua says:

            Yes, most of the people who trick or treat in my neighborhood are not from the area and are driven in. Most of the people on my street are older and don’t have children of the appropriate age.

            However, most parents stay with their kids.

  5. eaglewingz says:

    I wonder if Trick-or-Treat is going to change / die off permanently because of this?

    Even in my small town trick-or-treating beyond neighbors you know has been dead for years. It’s been replaced by organizations doing things like trunk-or-treats or trusted gatherings.

  6. Daimbert says:

    I wonder if Trick-or-Treat is going to change / die off permanently because of this?

    Here in the Great White North due to stabilizing rates in many provinces Trick-or-Treat seems to have roared back, with my neighbours going out to do it, a lot of houses decorated, and the media talking about how everyone planned to do it and had an incredible time doing it. That being said, it might be the case that older kids are dropping it in favour of the things they did last year that they really liked.

    In my music player I rank on a 1-5 scale but, like converting AM/PM to 24 hour military time, it actually means “6-10”. Anything worth a score should be, at a minimum, good. A 1/5 is a compliment. Scores are then a matter of how good something is. Isn’t that the point?! Why grade a crappy game or listen to bad music? Why do I care to what degree something is bad?

    For personal use you are almost certainly never going to have anything bad in your collection, but if you’re doing things for a general audience you do need to point out some things that are bad to contrast them with things that are good. I don’t use scores, but when I talk about horror movies and TV shows and the like on my blog my overall criteria is the personal “Would I watch it again?” (now divided into “The closet shelves for the things I plan to rewatch regularly”, “The box in my closet for the things I might rewatch at some point” and “The box in my closet of the things I might sell/give away if I get a chance”) as part of my posts I do talk about whether I think the work is good or bad and whether it succeeds at what it was trying to do or not. I think these things are important because if someone simply never talks about or examines a bad work then someone who comes across it might have no idea what it’s like and so might get it to try it out and then have to discover that it’s actually bad.

    On top of that, people have different personal tastes and so might find some things that someone thinks aren’t worth bothering with worthwhile. While one can argue that scores in and of themselves don’t really mean much, it is useful for someone to review and score what they think of as bad works and indicate that they think it bad so that someone who thinks that the premise is interesting can judge what the work does and see if they will enjoy it despite the fact that it’s a bad work. So the key is that if someone is rating and scoring things to help people decide if they should consume those things they really do need to review bad things and make it obvious that they think it bad, and indeed how bad they think it is (so whether it’s a little below average or really, really bad, for example).

  7. Vladius says:

    The movie is mostly faithful to the book and most of the things left out are the exposition about the political situation and some of the scenes when they’re just getting started on Arrakis. For a lot of book fans the exposition is their favorite part because it’s so interesting, but it’s just not something you can put into a mass market movie. A comparable example would be in Peter Jackson Return of the King, having the army of the dead go directly to the Pelennor Fields instead of Aragorn coming with the Gray Company, having the dead swear on the stone of Erech, using them to take the ships, and then reinforcing the battle himself by bringing reinforcements from Gondor’s southern provinces.

    As a result some of the events happen a lot faster than they do in the book. The Atreides seemingly get attacked on Arrakis almost right away. Also when Paul and Jessica get to the Fremen the guy challenges them immediately and in the book they live there a little while first.

    Jessica’s character is weaker than in the book and in the movie she cries a lot. The thing that bothered me the most is the way the “fear is the mind-killer” recitation is used. Paul never says it like he does in the trailer, only Jessica says it, she whispers it, and they make it seem like it’s something weak to do instead of something that gives you strength and resolve. Gurney Halek is less jolly and never sings songs like a bard (I’m guessing the bagpipes are supposed to be a reference to this aspect somehow.) Liet Kynes’s character is gender swapped and a little less complex as well. There is nothing setting up the advanced doctor training of Doctor Yui that is supposed to make him difficult to break, hence the surprise that he’s the traitor. The Mentats are present (Thufir Hawat and Pieter DeFries both have little markings on their bottom lips to indicate them and their eyes roll back in their heads when they make calculations, which is neat) but they’re not detailed. Paul and Jessica use a form of sign language instead of built-in telepathy and understanding, but this works well on screen.

  8. Steve C says:

    The Dune books are a bit like Lord of the Rings. In that both are excellent books and very well written. However there is a ponderousness to the prose that you have to either enjoy or get past. Only much more-so in the case of Dune. I personally enjoyed it in LotR but only tolerated it Dune. Dune frequently throws out proper nouns and only gives minor context clues what they mean. It’s a lot to keep track of.

    1. Thomas says:

      My friends version had a glossary, and they ended up referring to it a lot. I borrowed their version but decided I was happier not always knowing exactly what words meant than going back and forth.

      1. Lino says:

        My book also had a glossary, and for certain things I was a bit annoyed that I looked them up, because a couple of paragraphs down the characters would explain them naturally in the flow of the conversation. Overall, though, I was glad that it did have a glossary, because it came in useful more than a couple of times. Also, I’m the sort of person who doesn’t have that much time to read. And if I’ve spent 3 or 4 days away from the book, once I get back to it there’s a good chance I’ve forgotten a lot of the specific terms. So it’s useful to be able to refer to them in a glossary.

    2. Vladius says:

      I don’t think that the exposition was too much to understand by itself, but I agree that the proper nouns and weird new words thing was a huge problem. This is mainly because the sound mixing was bad, it was Christopher Nolan Tenet-level bad in places and the dialogue was almost drowned out by the music or sound effects, and people whisper or mumble too much. If there were subtitles it would make a huge difference and the viewer would be able to figure out what they’re talking about from context clues. I knew what they were talking about mainly because I knew the book, but I realized that someone going in blind would have a hard time.

  9. Shufflecat says:

    I was a huge fan of the Dune books back in my 20s, but I haven’t seen the new movie yet. Going by the trailers, I like the tone and the cinematography, and most of the cast looks like fantastic choices. What I like less is the industrial minimalist art direction, the bafflingly bad stillsuits (the design is OK, but I hate the loose and kitbashy physical execution), and one or two casting choices (I like Josh Brolin as an actor, but he really doesn’t fit Gurney Halleck).

    I have a friend who’s seen it, and from what he described it sounds like they streamlined the visible narrative down to just the Atreides’ POV. Seems a sensible thing to do for a movie adaptation of a large book in a general sense, but in the case of Dune specifically I wonder how the “whys” of the plot are being communicated without a roaming POV, as so much of it is secret plots and strategems.

    In regards to Halloween, trick-or-treaters were out in full force in my neighborhood, so it’s far from going extinct. I got the impression it’s actually one of those occasions that’s straining to snap back to “normal” the moment people think things have cooled down enough, and thus people are prone to jumping the gun.

    1. Also Tom says:

      They didn’t quite strip it down to just the Atreides’ POV, they also included the Harkonnens.

  10. Lino says:

    I just watched Dune yesterday, and as a reader of the book, I think it’s an incredibly well done adaptation. There were a couple of plot threads that were cut, but the most important ones were present, and brought to life incredibly well. I’m considering watching it again, and I just can’t wait for Part 2!

    Also, thank you for answering my question! But I don’t know if I should be glad or disappointed that you can’t use the Internet as a phylactery :/
    On the one hand, I don’t have to worry about a scary Lich taking over the world. But on the other, it means we can’t have a cool badass Lich who can shapeshift into a big social network CEO so that he can hide his phylactery, and feed off of the Internet’s ever-growing outrage.

    Just imagine how cool it would be to have a present-day fantasy universe where one day our college student protagonist notices that his girlfriend is acting strange, as she breaks up with him for some mundane reason. Soon after that she creates some hot new Facebook/Twitter stand-in that takes the world by storm. And while he’s trying to figure out what’s going on, he learns that fantasy creatures co-exist with us, and his “girlfriend” is actually a powerful Lich who has taken on her form, and now he has to use his new friends’ help and find a way to kill the Lich and set things right!

    Maybe we could have a bittersweet ending, where throughout the story we learn that while social media has many advantages, humanity’s overreliance on it can also have detrimental effects on our real-life interactions, but those interactions have become so inseparable from the way we live our lives and perceive ourselves now that we can never truly be rid of those detrimental effects.

    Or maybe in the end the good guy just does a backflip, snaps the bad guy’s neck, and saves the day. I’m still torn on which ending is better…

    1. Syal says:

      Not quite the same, but I wonder if you’ve heard of the .Hack series, about an MMO with wandering demons that can put the actual players into comas.

      The “Internet as phylactery” thing seems too wide to work properly; if you could use the Internet, what stops you from using the Earth? But of course the way to kill an Internet phylactery is to invent a replacement technology. HiveNet, or something.

  11. RamblePak64 says:

    My simple response regarding Dune is that I wish this is the faithfulness Lord of the Rings got as an adaptation. I’ve seen odd nit-picks here and there regarding the film, but I feel like every change and adjustment made was a necessity due to the very different mediums of film and book, while at the same time taking thematic concepts of the novels and implementing them in creative ways only a film could. In fact, this was the first time I went back to the theater since before Covid, and it confirmed for me that the only reason to ever step foot in a theater again is a film like this: something that just gets the language of film and how to execute on it.

    I really enjoyed it, and it sounds like it is getting surprisingly positive reception from more mainstream movie-goers. I look forward to part two.

    The nice thing is, despite the adaptation being pretty faithful, the book will still no doubt be filled with surprises even during the familiar moments.

  12. BlueHorus says:

    Holy shit, they made more Archer?! But they’d flogged that horse’s corpse raw by at least season 6-7! I stuck it out ’till season 10 (to my shame, kind of)…and it had a very fitting ending for the whole show. Why is there more?

    Still, sad news about Jessica Walther.

    Also, the Dune movie is out? Interesting…

    1. Chad+Miller says:

      Honestly, it improved a bit after they came back from the coma dreams, although I wish that they’d gone with the plan of having Archer wake up during the space season and ending it there (barring ending it sooner before it got so stale)

      I liked seasons 5-6 well enough but 7 felt like they’d jumped the shark, Dreamland was pretty meh and and the Adventure Island season fell into the pit of “so boring I literally can’t remember it”* along with the likes of The Matrix: Revolutions and Star Wars Episode IX.

      * Actually I still snicker at “chinchilladas”, as well as Palpatine raising spaceships from the dead or whatever that was.

  13. Chad Miller says:

    re: Internet commenters –

    I have Game Pass, since I have an Xbone even though I split my gaming between that and PC. I prefer to launch my games from the Windows desktop. Do you have any idea what it takes to make a desktop shortcut to a PC Game Pass game? Well, that makes one of us. It’s sufficiently complicated that I have to google it every single time. Which makes it funny because researching this question once led me to the antithesis of That Guy; the best explanation I found was in a reddit comment that started with something like “Let me open by saying that Microsoft should be embarrassed that this is a question, but here’s the answer…” followed by crystal clear instructions.

    re: MBTI, I wonder if the people getting mad are a side-effect of the corporate world. It’s one thing when people are using it for fun or insight porn, but quite another when your place in a job hierarchy is on the line. There are probably some people convinced, with varying degrees of justification, that they were passed over for a promotion at some point because of some classification they trust hardly more than astrological star signs, and those same people are likely to reach for the torches anytime the subject comes up.

    1. Gautsu says:

      All it takes is right clicking the game in the gamepass app and choosing to make a desktop shortcut

      1. Chad+Miller says:

        That must have been added since the last time I tried it. It definitely wasn’t there in the beginning, as I ran into a lot of other people mystified at how difficult it was to do this basic thing to set up my preferred way to launch games coming from Microsoft in Microsoft’s own OS.

        1. Gautsu says:

          You can’t/couldn’t make a short cut at install which is ass backwards, but can do it after it’s complete. GJ Microsoft

  14. tmtvl says:

    Why grade bad media and the degree to which it is bad is a good question. In theory it would give the creator of the media a clear picture of what their worst failures are and what they should work on improving first. Practically though I doubt it would make much of a difference.

    1. ShasUi says:

      Where it can become very useful is when the reason for dislike is well communicated, and subjective. There exists many pieces of media where I know I won’t enjoy it, but I know that someone else might, often for the exact things that I dislike. I have some review sources that I follow, where as they give an unfavorable, “Do Not Recommend” review to something, sell me on it, because the things that annoyed them about it are things that appeal to me.
      Obviously, there’s some stuff that’s universally bad, and plenty of things where I’ll agree more closely, but by providing context rather than Good/Bad, the niche stuff can be found by its limited audiences rather than just disappearing for not appealing to the masses.
      I’m not sure that a pure 1~5 star system can give this level of data, but it could at least be used to distinguish “Fails to run” from “Playable, but why would you”, assuming consistency from the reviewer

  15. Gwydden says:

    I tried reading Dune a couple months ago on account of the movie coming out, since I quite liked Denis Villeneuve’s Arrival and Blade Runner 2049. Frankly, it is the worst book I’ve read in a long time, and I am baffled that it is hailed as a classic. The writing is so tacky and amateurish that absent context I’d have thought a teenager wrote it.

    I still want to watch the movie. The story might work better in a different medium. But I will say the book’s done a good job of moderating my expectations. At least there’s also Villeneuve’s upcoming Cleopatra movie—I miss historical epics. The last one I remember from Hollywood is The King, and that one was so full of Dung Ages clichés that I felt no great impetus to continue past the first ten minutes.

    1. Thomas says:

      See Dune for the brilliant visuals if nothing else. Its one of the few films that truly felt worth seeing in a cinema.

      Also the film really doesn’t feel subject to the writing style of Dune. You could watch the film and never realise it was an adaptation they use the language of film so well.

  16. Steve C says:

    I was enjoying Wildermyth but the end of chapter upgrades and upkeep made my eyes glaze over. It was ok while it was just busy work. Then it progressed to the point it got complex. It was important enough I could not ignore it. But too annoying to actually do. So I quit.

  17. bobbert says:

    If you read Dune, please don’t read the 5th book or beyond. Unless you like weird sex-ninjas.

    1. kincajou says:

      Personally i never went past the first book, everyone at the time told me the books get…. weird beyond book 1

      1. bobbert says:

        II & III are basically cut from the same bolt of cloth as I. If you liked the first, you will like them.

        IV is definitely different. It is a lot more contemplative, but you really do feel like you are dealing with an immortal philosopher-king making plans on an inhuman time-scale. It is my favorite, but I understand why a lot of readers don’t care for it.

        V & VI are a lot faster paced, but with the weird turned way up. You get the feeling the Herbert was big enough at this time to tell his editors to “get bent”. I doesn’t help that they spend most of their length setting up plot-points for the big fancy seventh book, that never got made.

        Someone else can link the penny-arcade review of the son’s books.
        There is like 3/4 of book worth of good material scattered in the Butler trilogy, but you have to sift through a lot of bad writing to get to it.

        1. Also Tom says:

          I don’t know about IV. Frank Herbert’s wife was his alpha reader, and she died while he was writing it. You can tell, because IV includes some of the uncomfortable sex weirdness that really comes out in books V and VI. I think it was more the loss of her influence than protection from editors that caused V and VI to be so…mediocre.

          1. bobbert says:

            I did not know that. Thank you for sharing.

            I guess I have been unfair to Mr. Herbert all these years.

  18. John says:

    I don’t like the idea that only genre experts should review games. There should be all kinds of reviewers. I want experts reviewing games in genres I know well and non-experts reviewing games in genres I don’t. I don’t play a lot of JRPGs, so an expert’s review of the latest JRPG, a review pitched at life-long JRPG fans, isn’t actually useful to me. Among other issues, I simply won’t understand a lot of the comparisons and allusions the reviewer makes. By contrast, I have been playing Civilization games for over twenty years, so an expert’s review is likely to be much more useful to me than a non-expert’s. No one is born a genre expert. Anyone who wants to become one has to start somewhere. Thus, a review written for and by a novice JRPG player or a novice 4X player, is, to the right person, a very valuable thing.

    The other issue I have with the idea that only genre experts should review games is that the people who say it are usually complaining about low review scores. (To be clear, I am not talking about Shamus here. He was obviously not doing that.) Unhappy commenters like to accuse reviewers of being novices in order to discredit their opinions. “This review failed to adequately reflect my own judgement! The reviewer clearly doesn’t know anything about the genre and is just as clearly biased against it. The publication should have assigned the review to someone who liked the game.” All too often, it turns out that the reviewer has in fact been playing games in the genre since the genre’s inception and just doesn’t like the game in question. It’s depressing.

    1. Thomas says:

      I find experts in a genre often latch on to ideas and qualities that newcomers might not find important too. Non-expert reviewers can show a different way of thinking about a game.

    2. Geebs says:

      I think the best thing to do is to just ignore the sort of people who are determined to review reviews (I particularly despise people who like to declare a particular review an “outlier” when it doesn’t agree with their opinion).

      However! I do think people who review anything professionally should have some understanding of the form, whether that’s cars or movies or whatever, and sufficient skill to explain to an interested reader what they might hope to get out of a particular, say, tumble-drier. The “all reviews are inherently subjective” bunch are just as lame-brained as the outraged fanboys.

      1. John says:

        I particularly despise people who like to declare a particular review an “outlier” when it doesn’t agree with their opinion.

        Now that you mention it, those people are a lot more common lately than the “you assigned the wrong reviewer” bunch.

    3. Daimbert says:

      I think a lot of this reflects the expertise of the reviewer as a reviewer and not necessarily whether they are a genre expert or not. A good reviewer should at least be able to make it clear what audience they are aiming for, and a really good reviewer should be able to target their review at audiences that aren’t them, at least in part. Given that, if we have two reviewers that are both good, the one who understands the genre better should give the better review, because they can appeal to more audiences and won’t get caught up in not understanding how the genre works or some of its basic conventions and so dinging a work for doing things that the people who like the genre like to see in it.

      1. John says:

        That’s a thoughtful and nuanced position. (It thus has no place in video games discourse.) I disagree only on one small point. I think that dinging a game for adhering to genre conventions is sometimes a perfectly reasonable thing to do. Sometimes conventions, even conventions beloved by genre zealots, are bad and if they are then reviewers should have the courage to say so. Furthermore, not all reviews should be aimed at genre zealots. Novices or people otherwise unacquainted with the genre deserve fair warning any weird genre conventions that they might dislike.

        1. Addie says:

          I think video game reviewers also suffer from the same impediment that music reviewers do; because they are exposed to so very much media, they tend to rate novelty much higher than their target audience. (Also, it’s much easier to write about the next big thing than it is to write eg. a novel-length retrospective on Mass Effect, but that’s another matter.) A game which adheres completely to genre conventions but which executes them perfectly might be a lot more fun to play than something different-but-rough; a professional reviewer might appreciate the change and then be bewildered when word-of-mouth doesn’t make for big sales.

          1. Thomas says:

            I find the Far Cry 6 reviews interesting, because most of them were along the lines of

            “If you’ve never played Far Cry, this is an excellent game. If you played the early games and just want more of that, then 6 does that. And if you’re bored of Far Cry games by now, there is absolutely no reason to ever play this”

    4. Syal says:

      I remember Electronic Gaming Monthly used to have three people review the game, so they’d give three different scores and an aggregate score. Don’t remember whether they broke them up by expertise, but it seems like an easy fix to the “expert/novice” idea; do both!

      1. John says:

        It’s a nice idea, but I can’t see it ever happening because it would triple the amount that outlets would have to pay for reviews. I think that would break most outlets.

  19. Geebs says:

    The first Dune book (i.e. the one that the film adapts) is a fairly quick read, and the plot and characters are compelling. It’s also interesting to read the source material and boggle at how people seem to get so hung up on the po-faced genre elements and miss the rather blatant subtext. A bit like what happened Paul Verhoeven’s Starship Troopers.

    I honestly don’t recommend reading any of the others. The second book is half decent and then after that they become incomprehensibly dull. I only read them all because a) the Game of Thrones thing where you keep hoping against hope that it’ll get good again and b) I was going through a bad patch of insomnia and they helped no end.

    So, my advice is to definitely read the first two books; try the third and, if you like it, carry on. If not, just stop right there because the subsequent books are just more of the same.

    1. bobbert says:

      I am curious as to what you feel the subtext is.

      1. Addie says:

        I personally don’t see how a story about foreign powers fighting over a sandy, inhospitable place that happens to have a tremendously valuable natural resource could possibly be considered anything other than pure fantasy, and all the Arabic and Hebrew words in the text must surely be a coincidence.

        Although that’s probably a better subtext than the one where nearly all the named female characters are part of a shadowy organisation devoted to (a) scheming and (b) shagging. Hopefully society has moved on a bit from the 1960s.

        1. bobbert says:

          So, you didn’t like the part where he became space-Mohamed, enslaved the galaxy, and spilled oceans of blood?

    2. John says:

      I have only ever read the first book. It’s been decades, but from what I can remember it was both good and also a reasonably complete story. I’ve never had any inclination to read any of the subsequent books by the original author let alone any of the later prequels and sequels written by his son and that guy who writes Star Wars books. That’s a little odd, considering that I was a voracious reader when I was young and that my father owned all the books by the original author and I could easily have picked them up at any time.

      So, while I can’t offer recommendations about the series as a whole, I can at least recommend the first book. It’s a satisfying experience all on its own. You can read it without implicitly committing yourself to reading the entire series.

      1. Syal says:

        I enjoyed the first book, but it didn’t wow me. The second book wowed me. Definitely a taste thing, but I really like the rebels and the Emperor both managing to be the underdog at the same time. “How do you kill a man who sees the future”, vs. “how do you change the horrible future”.

        Third is alright, got some interesting character dynamics in there. Weird ending though.
        Fourth is very weird, continuing the third.

        The fifth book starts getting pretty bad; dead characters are revived, presumably for rule of cool, and plots are getting rehashed. There’s some of that in the first four but it feels a lot more natural in them, while five feels like the ideas have run dry.

    3. Grimwear says:

      Luckily I never got into GoT. Didn’t like all the character jumping and when I discovered I didn’t get another Jon Snow chapter (the only story I was enjoying at the time) for another 200 pages I put the first book down and washed my hands of it. I did unfortunately fall prey to The Malazan Book of the Fallen which has a voracious fanbase and man that seies is overrated in the extreme and may be one of my most hated series of all time. Nearly everything about it pissed me off but if you say anything about that the fans go rabid.

  20. King Marth says:

    I saw “review scores are hard to interpret”, got to “Myers-Briggs”, and auto-completed the sentence with “Much like Myers-Briggs, review scores are presented as objective labels which people rally around despite drawing very different interpretations of what the labels mean, leading to precisely the same sort of arguments where people quibble over the choice of label despite sharing the same underlying opinion of what was labeled.”

    That said, personality type does likely play a factor in what interpretation someone is likely to attach to terminology. Which raises the question – how is your understanding of your Myers-Briggs type influenced by your Myers-Briggs type?

  21. Moridin says:

    Re:review scores
    For me, on a scale of 1-5, 5 is terrific and 1 is terrible. If I give something a bad score, it’s because either I think I know what they’re doing wrong, and want them to improve, or I want to warn everyone else away from the game/song/whatever. If I give a song a bad score, it’s to signal that I don’t want to hear other songs of that kind (or that quality, if you prefer). Obviously none of this applies to the example of a music player, because I wouldn’t download and keep a song that I don’t like; but also because I wouldn’t grade songs I keep in my music player – they’re all good enough that I decided to keep them and for the purposes of my listening habits that’s really all I need to know. My reviews and the accompanying scores are for other people, not for myself.

    As for reading reviews, I usually find it useful to look at a few reviews that rate something highly, a few that give it a bad score, and a few that are somewhere in the middle.

    Re:phylacteries
    If we’re talking about traditional fantasy rules, a phylactery is an elaborate box, created from precious materials and containing sacred texts. So no, you can’t make the internet or the moon or a website into your phylactery. You would be hard-pressed to make your phylactery into a functional part of a server.

  22. Mye says:

    As Shamus commented on the guardian of the galaxy game? I feel like if this blog as a theme it’s “Good writing can elevate even mediocre game” and from the review I’ve read of the GotG game it seems like it’s the well written version of the marvel game (minus micro transaction).

    1. Thomas says:

      I’ve heard it’s Guardians Mass Effect, which has got me hooked. That game has suffered so much from being compared to the Avengers

  23. Dennis says:

    Going into open-source crank mode here, but I’ve dropped Audacity in favor of Reaper after Muse Group took over. There’s been a lot of non-transparent behavior, added telemetry, and license issues, all of which tie together.

    Telemetry -> requires license change -> children under 13 aren’t allowed to use the program because they can’t consent to the agreement.

    Reaper is closed source, but it has a two-month trial and only costs $60 for some really solid software.

    1. Dennis says:

      Oh, can’t believe I forgot Muse Group’s director of strategy sending threats to an open-source developer using their API.

      https://web.archive.org/web/20210719115639if_/https://github.com/Xmader/musescore-downloader/issues/5#issuecomment-882450335

      He threatens a Chinese expat with a DMCA lawsuit, suggesting that the developer will be deported, and likely imprisoned or tortured because of his past statements about the CCP.

    2. Moridin says:

      I’ve heard of the drama, and I was under the impression that most people are either sticking with the older version (with no telemetry) or have moved into one of the forks that sprang up.

  24. Chris P says:

    See Dune on the largest screen you can find. This week and perhaps next week are probably your last chances in life to see this film as intended. The director says as much. Find a babysitter for the dog, house the kids with a dogsitter, and have this grand experience. I can’t add much to what has already been said; it’s a really solid film.

    I will say one thing: it’s the first blockbuster that seems intended for adults since Bladerunner 2049 and, prior to that, I don’t even know. Both films slipped into our dark fork of the timeline from the bright fork and should be appreciated by anybody who treasures these rare dimensional accidents and/or laments how generally marginal theater films have been this last decade.

    1. Grimwear says:

      I personally found Bladerunner 2049 underwhelming, I’ve mostly forgotten it. Dune on the other hand is the first movie in a long time I’ve truly loved. To the degree that I want them to release an extended edition like LotR. I will buy a physical copy of this film.

      1. Chris P says:

        Bladerunner 2049 offered more of an experience than it offered a story. It was unfortunate that it wasn’t more of a complete experience. Though it lacked an emotional hook, I’ll remember the aesthetic awe I felt in front of that IMAX screen for the rest of life. The effort invested into the visuals and sounds was rare, especially in the way Villeneuve lets shots linger (usually the reason that special effects-heavy films have fast cameras and quick scene cuts is that it’s extraordinarily expensive to let the camera linger, as you have to do higher quality work and more of it and static shots preclude the use various methods to cheat). That’s why I hope anybody even mildly curious to see Dune is able to see it on a big screen. It’s an aesthetic feast, this time with a decent story and interesting characters.

        While typing I realized that the Van Gogh exhibit that is currently touring various cities sits alongside the BR2049 experience in my memories.

  25. Hal says:

    By all accounts, trick-or-treating is a very minimal risk activity, COVID wise. Outdoor activities are a very low risk for spreading respiratory disease, and contaminated surfaces are likewise an uncommon source of transmission.

    Plus, if you’re vaccinated, your risks are pretty low overall.

  26. Ninety-Three says:

    At the risk of starting exactly the kind of thing Shamus is frustrated by, the standard anti-Myers Briggs take goes “This is a horoscope, it provides no real information” and that is not contradicted by a bunch of people thinking it’s useful for them (see also: horoscopes).

    Without getting into the complicated statistical arguments about whether the personality types are natural categories, there are two basic lines of critique, both backed up by plenty of studies on the topic. First, if you retest a few months later you’ve got decent odds of getting a different result (exact number varies by study and retest window) and that’s bad news for the idea that this is measuring some kind of core personality. Second, if you just tell people about each of the types and ask them to classify themselves, they’re quite likely to predict their test results, which suggests that the hundred test questions aren’t doing much more work than simply asking people “Are you an introverted nerd, yes/no?”

    None of that means the MBTI can’t be fun, but if it’s horoscopes for nerds then some people will be bothered by certain empirical claims about personality types just like they’re bothered by certain empirical claims about the effect of Jupiter on human affairs.

    1. Shamus says:

      I don’t care about the test so much as the concepts it communicates. Introvert vs Extrovert, etc. And unlike horoscopes, those concepts ARE related to your personality / behavior. Telling me you were born when Jupiter was aligned with Mars tells me nothing. Two people born under the same signs will not have related personalities. But telling me you’re an introvert communicates a ton of useful information, and you’re going to have a lot of stuff in common with other introverts.

      So no, it’s NOTHING like horoscopes and yes, you’re doing Exactly That Annoying Thing.

      The fact that the test yields different results at different times means that personalities are messy, testing is hard, and people are bad at introspection. This will be true regardless of what system you use. This doesn’t mean that personalities don’t exist or that trying to discuss them is pointless.

      (Personally I’m more partial to the Big Five these days, but M-B was good as an “intro to personality modeling” for me.)

      1. Also Tom says:

        Also, said “different results at different times” usually translates to “there’s a five to ten percent difference (e.g. you got 55% extroverted/45% introverted last time but flipped it this time) and because you’re not particularly extreme this results in you being an ENTJ rather than an INTJ.

        Also, side note: one thing I find very frustrating is that, whenever I see examples given of Meyers-Briggs personality types, particularly when those examples are fictional characters, the examples given for the INTJ type are almost always villains.

      2. Ninety-Three says:

        The fact that the test yields different results at different times means that personalities are messy, testing is hard, and people are bad at introspection. This will be true regardless of what system you use.

        No it won’t, different tests have different test-retest reliability, there are constructs that do better and this is a problem that the MBTI has a bad case of!

        Anyway I wasn’t trying to start the argument so much as point out that there are specific problems with the MBTI and that’s why we assholes do Exactly That Annoying Thing: because if you care about the problems, lines like the quote above are our Annoying Thing.

        1. Philadelphus says:

          Is there a study somewhere on the variance between repeated tests for different systems? That would be interesting to see. (If not, it’d be an interesting experiment to try.)

  27. Bubble181 says:

    I’ll add in my support for “Go watch Dune in cinema’s if you can, it’s a movie that really needs the bigger screen”.

    HOWEVER, as a book fan (and yes, one of those weirdos who likes all 6 of the original books…Not a fan of the sequels from the son though as they make mincemeat of anything like continuity, and the entire philosophical-treatise-hidden-in-a-novel is ditched for pure entertainment action schlock), while this movie does a lot of things really well, there are still some major issues if you’re so inclined. Mostly to do with the shields/lasguns/maula pistols/artillery technology systems, so nobody really cares I guess.

  28. GoStu says:

    I think my ideal game review system would look something like the Michelin Star system does for restaurants. The games industry resembles the restaurant industry in some ways, namely that there’s a million entries out there, but most don’t merit any particular mention.

    The Michelin Star system is something like:
    1 Star = A very good restaurant of its type
    2 Star = Excellent, worth a detour
    3 Star = Exceptional, plan an entire trip around going here.

    And now, they have a few additional awards like the Green Star for particularly sustainable restaurants, and such.

    My proposed Game Review Star System would be something like:
    1 Star = An excellent game in its genre.
    2 Star = A standout example, worth picking up even if this genre isn’t usually your favorite.
    3 Star = Absolutely innovative, everyone should play this. Worth even picking up the hobby.

    Additional awards:
    – Flaming Dumpster Fire = This game sucks to a truly impressive degree, with hilarious technical flaws that one has to witness first-hand to believe.
    – Goldun Riter: I love this award too much, it should be a thing. If your story requires that no character have an IQ above room temperature to work, you get this Mr. Trofy.

    The thing I love about the Michelin Star system is that even One Star is considered a prestigious award, and there’s no pressure for EVERY establishment to try and claim 3. For gaming, that’d mean that your franchise tentpoles like Halo and so on can be given a deserved 1 star: this is a good shooter, play it if you like shooters (Or if that year’s incarnation sucks, withhold the star and state what felt stale or bland). Something especially good and innovative might rate 2; something along the lines of “if you’re going to buy one shooter in the next five years, this one’s it”.

    Something like this would obviously have to be restrained in its use of the 3-Star rating. I can’t think of any game that really rates that.

    The dumpster fire award can get handed out to something unreservedly terrible, like Ride to Hell: Retribution or Sonic 2006 and serve as both a warning and weird flag to the sort of YouTuber or other creator that will Lets Play something that awful on purpose. This doesn’t go to your Skyrims or Far Crys for merely being buggy, this has to be a spectacle.

    I think the key features of this system are that it isn’t a simple scoring metric that AAA games expect to consistently score 90%+ on through sheer power of burning money, and that it doesn’t waste time trying to get granular with lower scores. Nobody gives one leaky bag of dog crap about the difference between a 65% on Metacritic and a 59% – they’re both distressingly low scores that steer a buyer away. Why split hairs and try to think if that’s worth a 4/10 or 6/10 or whatever, it’s failing to be good – no score, move on.

  29. The Rocketeer says:

    There is only one numerical scale for rating games worth the paper it’s written on: RROMMGI, the Revised Rocketeer Old Man Mini-Game Index. RROMMGI is not a measure of a game’s overall quality. However, it is the only objective measure of game quality that actually matters.

    RROMMGI determines the quality of a game by grading the quality of fishing, golf, and cooking minigames within a videogame. It does not score games primarily about fishing, golf, or cooking unless they include applicable minigames and are then only scored on those minigames irrespective of the primary game mode or quality thereof.

    For including one, two, or all three of the minigame types listed above, a game receives 1, 3, or 6 points, respectively. A game with none of these minigames is not scored; it does not receive a 0 score. Each minigame is individually graded from Terrible, Poor, Fair, Good, or Outstanding, and receives -1, 0, 1, 2, or 3 points, respectively. Quality grades are intended to be fairly lenient and follow a lopsided bell curve; minigames are not held to the standards of a full game, and ratings of Poor or Terrible should not be given unless the minigame substantially detracts from player enjoyment, but enjoyable minigames should be recognized with additional points and any minigame you tend to return to for its own sake should generally be considered Outstanding.

    The best theoretical score is a 15, for a game that included Outstanding fishing, golf, and cooking minigames. However, the highest current score recognized by RROMMGI is a 13 held by Dark Cloud 2/Dark Chronicle, for its Outstanding (truly gold-standard!) fishing and golf minigames, and technically featuring a Fair cooking mechanic via the Invention system. The lowest theoretical score is a 0, for including a single minigame type of Terrible quality, a dubious distinction currently held by, for instance, Final Fantasy VI with its awful and ill-timed fishing minigame. A contemporary example is Red Dead Redemption 2, which I’m currently playing and which currently sits at a healthy 6 for a Good fishing minigame and a Fair cooking minigame.

  30. Damiac says:

    Well since you’ve broken your own no politics rule I’ll join in.

    The “pandemic” so far has killed under 100 kids, almost all of whom were already dying of cancer. So no, trick or treating wasn’t a bad idea. Studies have consistently shown kids aren’t a likely infection vector.

    However, researchers are finally beginning to notice kids forming mask dependency, as in, they are so used to being able to hide their faces it causes them anxiety to not have a mask. Suicides are way up, overdoses way up, and kids have more anxiety issues than ever before.

    So, by uncritically repeating untrue things you’re helping to contribute to the problems! But you can stop being wrong today, so please consider not using your platform to spread misinformation which is utterly unrelated to your content and areas of expertise. Additionally, it’s rewarding to expand your own knowledge for its own sake.

    Your opinions on video games are well thought out and interesting to read. I can get 100 idiots repeating nonsense they don’t understand about disease and health any time I want, you don’t need to supply that.

    1. Grimwear says:

      I don’t like you using the term misinformation as it gets thrown around a lot now. I think a lot of people hold very different beliefs in terms of acceptable risk which makes having these conversations difficult. Being condescending doesn’t help foster discussion.

      That being said there are a few things I find interesting. Indeed there is a rash of overdoses happening. I remember seeing that British Columbia nearly doubled the amount of overdoses during the previous year (all my stats may be 2019-2020, I’m really bad at following years during this pandemic). Additionally I remember seeing some CDC deaths for the US and it showed that while the 70+ age group had the most deaths (obviously) the largest increase compared to previous years was actually in the 24-39 age group. Now that age group SHOULD be low risk of Covid which makes me wonder if they’re the ones most hardest hit by drugs and alcohol. They’re generally the age group just getting out of university, massively in debt, or just buying their first family homes. The ones hit hardest by job losses. Which then brings up an interesting conversation about how do we evaluate said risk of re-opening? Is a 78 year old potentially dying from covid worth the life of a 26 year old who became unemployed and homeless? Hard questions, no good answers.

      Finally, I did hear some studies about how the window for children with extreme antisocial (sociopathic) behaviour to be alleviated is incredibly small. I think it was until the age of 4? Just how much damage have we done to our youngest generation? I don’t know but I personally feel that it will be significant.

    2. Shamus says:

      “Oh you brought up something that annoys me, therefore it’s political and I can post whatever I want.” You can do this in response to anything. Oh Shamus, you complained about the weather, which means I’m now free to share my fascinating views on climate change on your blog! You talked about a skimpy superhero outfit, so now I’m free to drop a 1,000 word essay on the effects of heteronormative costuming and the Male Gaze. You complained about a rich guy so I get to unload this bit on income equality I’ve had cooking for the last few days!

      My bit about the pandemic wasn’t proscriptive, so no I wasn’t advocating for any policy. In fact, it wasn’t even descriptive! It was speculative. That’s what the word “suppose” was for. You’re literally mad at me for using my own blog to humorously speculate on something where you disagree with the premise.

      Did you know that on Reddit there is literally a never-ending supply of dingbats who will gladly play this game of ping-pong with you?

      “Many studies show that masks are a sham by Big Cotton!”

      “Countless studies studies show that masks are magical force fields that trick pathogens into killing themselves!”

      “There’s a documentary that shows that the pandemic is just the common cold with good PR!”

      “I read an article that proves that the pandemic is just stage 1 of a global zombie megavirus superflu omni germcrisis!”

      “Countless studies prove that you are lying about that article!”

      “My studies say your studies are bunk!”

      I’m telling you, man. You’re really missing out. You gotta tell those people about your studies.

      Off you go, then.

      1. Damiac says:

        Yeah I probably shouldn’t have even said politics, because it was just the subject of “kids are in danger by interacting with the world”, which doesn’t map to traditional left/right. It deeply annoys me to see so many people casually going along with an idea that is proving to actually be harmful, and that so much of it is not new information.

        People get scared and they make terrible stupid decisions. Fear is the mind killer, after all (Look I brushed up against an actual relevant topic!). We always knew it was a bad idea to have young children wear masks all the time while they are developing socially, but we let ourselves get scared and forget about it. We know that giving a person 100% perfect protection by locking them in a padded room would be torture, even though it would lead to less accidental deaths.

        But you’re right, obviously, I came on way too strong because I was annoyed. Your inherent “reasonableness” is why I keep coming back to read your thoughts on stuff.

  31. Liam says:

    What flavour of vaccination did you get? I got pfizer cominarty and the second dose knocked me around a fair bit (in the sense that I had fever, rigors etc for a couple of days). Anecdotally, many of my friends who had pfizer also found the second dose was the more impactful.

    In contrast, my wife had zero reaction to her second pfizer dose (apart from the sore arm, that we all got from both doses)

    Interestingly (again, anecdotally, from the experiences of my friends and colleagues), the other vaccination widely available here (Oxford, AstraZeneca) seems to induce a stronger reaction for the first dose, and not much of interest from the second.

    And a disclaimer, I’m not complaining about the side effects, from what I understand, a stronger immune reaction to the vaccine might indicate an improved level of protection. Our local community is around 95% double-vaccinated, and the state is around 90% now, so it’s contributing to life feeling a bit more ‘normal’

    1. Shamus says:

      My wife has suffered from arthritis since her teens, and was very worried about the vaccine triggering a flare. This is one of the reasons we waited so long. She wanted to wait until some studies came back, indicating risk factors for the different vaccines. When she learned that Moderna had the lowest risk of triggering an arthritic flare, that’s the one we went for.

      We (Me, my wife, my son Issac) got the first dose. Nothing happened except for the sore arm that felt like a bruise.

      Second dose:
      * My son got very sick for 24 hours: Vomiting, chills, the whole thing.
      * My wife got a little sick. Chills and general fatigue.
      * I was 100% fine for 4 days and then got sick. 4 days is really quite a bit longer than it should take. Like, I kind of suspect that maybe I was just feeling sick for unrelated reasons. I don’t know. It was weird.

      In any case, no flare for my wife, which is what I was really scared of.

      1. Liam says:

        That’s good to hear.

        I waited until I got a chance to meet with my cardiologist, and he strongly recommended the Pfizer to me (which actually has potential heart related side effects, but none of which corresponded with my heart risks) vs the AZ (which has potential blood-clotting side effects, which may have interacted poorly with my existing heart conditions)

        The AZ vaccine over here (Australia) has a really bad PR problem; it has a very very slightly higher chance of causing death (something like 4 in a million vs 3 in a million for Pfizer) but the messaging around it was really poorly managed, to the extent that many people actively refused it.

        An example of the questionable messaging was a large billboard near here that read ‘The A-Z of things more likely to kill you than the AZ’, and an example given of ‘overwork’, which to me came across as ‘Hey! remember, it might kill you’

        Apparently there’s a whole series of these ads. Here’s a news story discussing it.

      2. Kronopath says:

        Surprising that you heard the Moderna dose is better for arthritis. My vague understanding of it is that it’s roughly comparable to the Pfizer, using the same technology and all, but has a higher dose, being 100 mcg vs. Pfizer’s 30 mcg. (More than triple!) This matches up with what I’ve been hearing: the side-effects from Moderna are worse and the dosage may very well be the reason.

        It looks like the Powers That Be have started (partially, slowly) wisening up to this as well, which is why the third-dose booster shots for Moderna are now half-doses.

    2. Philadelphus says:

      I got Pfizer for both doses, and the first dose gave me a very sore arm (like, just moving it almost any direction was painful) and the weird feeling of either coming down with or just recovering from a cold for the rest of the evening, then a sort of feeling like I was operating at maybe 97–98% the day after, without being able to put my finger on any single thing that fell “off”. After that I felt fine (other than the arm soreness, which went away over a few days). The second dose for me had less of a reaction. My arm was only sore right around the injection site, and only to direct pressure, and I don’t even remember feeling under the weather at all. This was very fortunate, since I moved from Australia back to the US on the third day after my second dose and I was really dreading having to deal with the movers/get a negative COVID-19 test/pack/handle the airport/fly overseas while feeling awful.

      It was interesting, while I was feeling slightly sick after the first dose, to contemplate that this “feeling sick” was entirely due to my body’s reaction, and that I had no pathogens inside me at all (well, I can’t prove that 100%, but at least I probably had no more than a normal human picks up in the course of a day just from the ambient environment). Was weird to realize that “feeling sick” is from my immune system’s reaction, not an inherent property of any particular pathogen.

      (To note, I wasn’t one of those people holding out for Pfizer over AstraZeneca, I made my initial appointment with AZ as soon as I could as an under-40-year-old [mid-August] and in the week between then and getting it the Victorian government got in a shipment of Pfizer and announced that anyone who’d made an appointment for AZ could get Pfizer instead. So when the nurse administering the shot mentioned that I could get both shots before flying internationally due to the 3-week waiting period with Pfizer instead of the 6 weeks for AZ I figured I might as well not look this gift horse in the mouth.)

  32. PPX14 says:

    Dune seemed the other half of the film that David Lynch made in the 80s. It lacked any of the grotesque or camp or weird, or colour even, and was fairly sterile in some ways by comparison. And equally incomprehensible in some ways – this time in its murmured dialogue and word that I seemed to understand only through having re-read the first part of the book recently. I enjoyed its direction and cinematography and sense of scale but not its storytelling. Relatively important characters from the book seemed half-present, and I imagine must have seemed like nothing-characters to someone who didn’t know who they were.

    Dune contains a lot of internal monologue, and a lot of internal and external strategising. It is full of scheming, thinking, keeping up appearance, and subterfuge. And so it seemed to me that to deliver that there would either need to be narration or excellent acting, and neither was present. It is somewhat of a indicator that my favourite character in this film was Aquaman. So the internal fear for one’s family and the future of a very powerful highly trained individual ends up being shown as a lot of crying and feebleness. Brooding and struggle to understand things looks like lack of character. A regal loving father looks warm and wry. And plans driven by hopeless revenge and hate seem like random betrayals. Etc.

    Perhaps in the context of whatever the sequel is like, it will be different – perhaps it works better as a 5 hour film not two 2.5h parts. I could indeed see it being some people’s Star Wars, the grand scale of things was demonstrated well. Although some of the cgi scenes are pretty fuzzy, as if they lowered the resolution or added a blur to hide that it would look cartoonish otherwise.

    For me though, as a person who has read (the first) book, and re-read some of it recently, it was missing far too much. The Guild and Mentats aren’t even in it. That’s almost like making Dune into Star Wars. Sure I prefer Star Wars. But then why would I need Dune :D It was funny actually, seeing what looked like references to Star Wars in a film based on a book that must have influenced Star Wars.

  33. evilmrhenry says:

    For Windows 11, it requires a secure BIOS, which is something only very recent computers have. Microsoft claims this is to fight malware, and it probably does, but I bet it (coincidentally) helps with turning PCs into more of a walled garden.

  34. Asdasd says:

    Looked nice, but dour and deathly dull. Hard to make out what people were saying. Not a whit of charisma or charm or humour or anything to really make you care about the characters beyond a natural sympathy for anyone wandering into a trap. Poor action.

    In fairness, a lot of this criticism can be laid at the feet of the book it adapts.

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