May 19th, 2006


The more things change...

The "prison time for violent game developers" thing is a good example of where censorship is going these days, but it's not like this is a big change.

For example, here's Frank Zappa's appearance on Crossfire, discussing the censorship of music and music videos with a vicious, bitter little censorship guy. This is notable for being both twenty years old (originally broadcast in 1986), and upsettingly timely. And kinda funny to see Zappa defending a Prince video, of all things.

Near the end, Frank complains about the rise of a "Fascist Theocracy" in America, which the proto-neo-cons have a good old laugh at.

It's really painful to watch that now, living, as we do, in a world where Frank Zappa and Bill Hicks are dead, and our country continues to be ruled by a fundamentalist conservative asshat who strives to protect America from science, medicine, heathentry, terrorism, and porn, not necessarily in that order, because god told him to.
  • Current Music
    Frank Zappa - My Guitar Wants To Kill Your Mama

Don't Roleplay The Bugs

For something less depressing but still funny, consider this escapist article about the pitfalls of trying to make online games that play "just like" tabletop games.

This guy had some bad luck, and some slightly problematic players (really, when are any good roleplayers less than "slightly problematic"?) but it's a good lesson in why CRPGs are the way they often are.

I don't think this is an insurmountable problem, but it's a good illustration of the differences between computer and human GMs, and how the ability to go anywhere and do anything often has to be tempered with some kind of rules (or direction in the case of tabletop games) to be entertaining and functional as a game. And how you may not notice how often even a "strict" GM bends the rules in the course of an average gaming session, until you've played with a computer behind the GM screen.

I think the NWN Faction system is to blame for that. (and their systems for interacting with NPC companions.) What started as a side quest to escort the lord's daughter through a dangerous forest ended with her following us around for the rest of the module; She didn't feel like ending the quest for some reason. She was also running around in her underwear (refusing to wear the new robes we gave her, or anything else, for that matter) and attacking peasants, chickens, and other innocent bystanders on sight with her dagger. This was a problem when she would pick fights with entire families of townsfolk at random, but handy since cows (and chickens!) often carried "steak", a useful food item that was otherwise hard to come by. Not quite what the module creator had in mind, I think, but it was still a fun time.
  • Current Music
    My co-worker's weird MP3 collection