Playpen

Welcome to the Playpen, our space for ferrety banter and whimsical snippets of things that aren't quite long enough for articles (although they might be) but that caught your eye anyway.

at 20:11 on 07-03-2012, Axiomatic
I'm not sure what the argument about Dany being 14 and not having a degree in Kingdom Management is meant to achieve. I mean, what are you arguing against?
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at 19:44 on 07-03-2012, Arthur B
hand down the hands

Either this is the best typo-mutated euphemism ever or you know some really disturbing secrets about GRRM.
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at 19:22 on 07-03-2012, Sister Magpie

It's not particularly deep, though; I see it as the fantasy
equivalent of a well-made Hollywood blockbuster. It pushes some boundaries just
enough to be interesting, but stays largely within established cliches so as to
still be quite comfortable for fans of mainstream fantasy.



That's basically how I feel about it too. There are some parts that are better than others, and when it is interesting it's fun, but it's not something I think about a lot when I'm not reading it. Though I do find a lot of discussions on whether it's a Deep Feminist Work vs. rape fantasy written with one hand down the hands interesting, because neither of those things seem right at all.

I admit, I'm just not bothered by all the threats of rape since it seems like just part of the greater status quo of the world being about power. If you don't have the power, you're screwed literally and metaphorically.
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at 19:21 on 07-03-2012, Arthur B
I think the Killingsworth one is much more reasonable, but the point could have been made much more simply: if you don't feel you're getting what you want out of Dark Souls, then to continue to play it for 100 hours is stupidity pure and simple.

But then again Thomsen's article gave me the impression that pretentiousness is the only language he understands so maybe Killingsworth was trying to meet him halfway.
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at 19:07 on 07-03-2012, Shimmin
To be fair, both the Dark Souls articles seem a bit daft, like. Thomsen complains about all the game in his game, where there should be Deep Meaningful Art and personal betterment, but despite the puzzling misunderstanding of the whole point of games, he makes some perfectly reasonable points. The Killingsworth one (cool name, BTW) points out how wrongheadedly Thomsen's approaching things, but it also handwaves the reasonable points and makes some really silly claims of its own, especially when it comes to the "other ways to spend 100 hours" business. Also both of them come across as somewhat pretentious, but maybe that's just me?
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at 18:45 on 07-03-2012, James D
spellbinding when it's right there in front of you, but once it's over your
estimation of the thing rapidly diminishes.

Yeah, that was pretty much how I felt about the first three books.

To be fair, it does seem that there are fans who are capable of acknowledging where Martin's fails are, and even fans who are happy to stand up and say it in the face of those who deny that it's even a problem.

Oh, I'm sure there are, I was mostly referencing my own personal experiences with fans. I enjoyed the books but I wouldn't consider myself a 'fan', per se.
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at 18:28 on 07-03-2012, Arthur B
It's not particularly deep, though; I see it as the fantasy equivalent of a well-made Hollywood blockbuster. It pushes some boundaries just enough to be interesting, but stays largely within established cliches so as to still be quite comfortable for fans of mainstream fantasy.

This is more or less where I stand on the thing.

To be fair, I found it really enthralling stuff for at least the first three books. But it was enthralling in the same way that a reasonable-quality Hollywood blockbuster is enthralling: spellbinding when it's right there in front of you, but once it's over your estimation of the thing rapidly diminishes.

For example, the whole Daenerys storyline is so riddled with racism and colonialism in general that you can just forget about it, and besides that it's just plain dumb. I'm sorry, she's like 14 in the book, and she had a crap education, she would know fuckall about running her own society, much less ones utterly foreign to her. Just try bringing that up to a fan, though.

To be fair, it does seem that there are fans who are capable of acknowledging where Martin's fails are, and even fans who are happy to stand up and say it in the face of those who deny that it's even a problem. Observe.
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at 18:24 on 07-03-2012, Axiomatic
Now, now, the rape isn't even that frequent, incest is much more prominent!
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at 18:00 on 07-03-2012, James D
though the last book severely tried my goodwill(and not just because every other
word seemed to be "rape").

D: I haven't read it yet because honestly, there are way better books that are more deserving of my attention, but ugh. Would fantasy authors please stop using rape as a cheap gross-out to score more grimdark points? Thank you.

Anyone around here read any Alan Campbell? I'm reading Scar Night right now and it's good so far. A neat concept (city suspended over a chasm by giant chains) that reminds me of one of Italo Calvino's from Invisible Cities. The setting feels pretty fresh and the characters aren't bad either. The writing is good, even if neither Mr. Campbell nor his editor understand how to use farther/further.
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at 17:32 on 07-03-2012, Andy G
ASoIaF is yet another thing I have a higher opinion of then most of Ferretbrain, though the last book severely tried my goodwill(and not just because every other word seemed to be "rape"). I'm rather enjoying the TV series now that I'm finally getting round to watching it - I don't know if it's good, but it's very pleasurable to sink into after a long day's work.
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at 17:17 on 07-03-2012, James D
I'd say it was a plane made out of concrete cinderblocks. Including the guidance
computer hardware. :-) But then, I'd classify most current major fantasy epics
similarly (Song of Something Hot and Something Cold, yes).

Though it might wreck my rebel cred, I did enjoy ASoSHaSC, but that's a qualified enjoyment. For example, the whole Daenerys storyline is so riddled with racism and colonialism in general that you can just forget about it, and besides that it's just plain dumb. I'm sorry, she's like 14 in the book, and she had a crap education, she would know fuckall about running her own society, much less ones utterly foreign to her. Just try bringing that up to a fan, though. Still, I found the series as a whole exciting (even if GRRM seems to be steadily going off the rails lately), and there were quite a few scenes that really stuck with me.

It's not particularly deep, though; I see it as the fantasy equivalent of a well-made Hollywood blockbuster. It pushes some boundaries just enough to be interesting, but stays largely within established cliches so as to still be quite comfortable for fans of mainstream fantasy.
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at 15:37 on 07-03-2012, Jill Heather
Dark Souls takes so long to play because it refuses to tell you its basic ground rules, then kills you over and over again for failing to understand them. As a player, you proceed not by thinking through problems but by randomly trying anything and everything until something haphazard sticks.

It's just like an old Sierra adventure game!
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at 15:18 on 07-03-2012, Andy G
Doesn't focus in the Playpen tend to come in waves anyway? Gamers who don't care about Mieville are overdue some Playpen goodness I think!
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at 13:53 on 07-03-2012, Wardog
Hmmm...it's all a bit game focused around here but there's a couple of interesting articles knocking around, one dude whinging that he could have read War and Peace instead of playing Dark Souls, and a really nice rebuttal over at Edge.
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at 10:24 on 07-03-2012, Wardog
I am sadface :(
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at 07:32 on 07-03-2012, Arthur B
PC Gamer seems to have discovered that it's highly unlikely you'll be able to get a good ending in Mass Effect 3 unless you play multiplayer.

I'd already decided to hold off on getting ME3 until the face import bug gets fixed (my Shepard has an awesome face and there's no way I'm going to play 3 without it), but between this and all the other questionable-sounding design decisions I'm seriously questioning whether I want to get it at all. :/
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at 06:51 on 07-03-2012, Ibmiller
I'd say it was a plane made out of concrete cinderblocks. Including the guidance computer hardware. :-) But then, I'd classify most current major fantasy epics similarly (Song of Something Hot and Something Cold, yes).

Though I freely admit to not wasting time on either of those...so perhaps it's unfair. Won't stop me from making the characterization, though.
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at 19:26 on 06-03-2012, Arthur B
A mistake.
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at 19:11 on 06-03-2012, valse de la lune
What's The Wheel of Time then, a concrete house?
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at 18:33 on 06-03-2012, Arthur B
I have The City and the City on my to-read pile (and it's terrible of me to have had it waiting there so long since it was a present from someone), and I'm actually impressed with how thin it is - I'd say it's safely out of brick territory by most reasonable standards.
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at 18:29 on 06-03-2012, Andy G
Anything less is merely a pebble.
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at 18:29 on 06-03-2012, Andy G
In fantasy terms, a brick is anything longer than the entirety of The Lord of the Rings.
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at 18:27 on 06-03-2012, James D
Some bricks are pretty small, though! And I have plenty of books larger and thicker than bricks. What is that? A double-brick? Brick-and-a-half? This system is seriously flawed.
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at 18:00 on 06-03-2012, Robinson L
I'd classify anything over 600 pages as a brick, 500-600 is dangerously-close-to-brick, 400-500 is not quite a brick, but still a daunting commitment unless I already have a compelling reason to read the book in question.
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