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.
I'm not sure I'd say "makes some perfectly reasonable points". I think I'd go with "is completely wrong about everything."Disagreed, though on a general basis rather than having actually played Dark Souls. Trial-and-error gameplay that relies on losing and reloading (as opposed to thinking or non-lethal failure) is generally frustrating and just pads out play. Arbitrary elements like arbitrary resistances and vulnerabilities, or random spellcasting powers, or implausible monster placement, with no narrative basis in the game, are the kind of thing that annoy me as well, and shouting "Bruckheimer!" just excuses poor design. And you can indeed pick up vast amounts of in-game trivia or skill without them having any application in the real world (the Killingsworth response to that in particular was what irritated me).
They're rather disconnected complaints that do nothing to help his main argument, which is frankly rubbish on a fundamental level. They aren't exclusive to games either. There are reasonable rebuttals to at least some of them, which Killingsworth did not make. But the points themselves aren't nonsense, which was what I meant.
Though honestly, I think people bring up W&P as some sort of achievement mostly because of its legendary length.
Agreed - and it's pretty silly since I'm fairly sure at this point both Twilight and Song of Ice and Fire beat it in terms of page count.
Also, you know that person from XKCD who plays Half-Life 2 years after it first came out? That is me. And I've just met fast zombies for the first time. FML.
Pleasant dreams, Andy.
Do I get a cookie? I haven't played Dark Souls, so I can't claim the experience was significantly better.
Though honestly, I think people bring up W&P as some sort of achievement mostly because of its legendary length. I read it because I liked Tolstoy already, and it's pretty easy-going if you don't get hung up on the names. Of which there are many.
I have read W&P but the only advantage to reading that over reading ASOIAF is that sometimes you have the ability to say "I've read W&P" and have it sound like you mean something significant.
Were I feeling glib, I might suggest that "being able to say you've read War and Peace" is the only advantage Thomsen seems to be interested in. His chief objection to long RPGs is that they have a poor ration of bragging rights to time invested.
The moment you rephrase his question as "is doing something you enjoy a valid use of your leisure time" you realise how asinine the whole article is.
Are we reading the same books? Pretty much every Dany chapter in A Dance With Dragons is DAENERYS SUCKS AT RULING. THE CITY SHE LIBERATED IS FALLING APART AROUND HER AND NOBODY IS ANY BETTER OFF.
In fact, GRRM spends so much time belabouring this point that that's pretty much all that happens for the entire novel. I'll grant you that she's pretty awesome at Kingdom Acquisition, but if there's one running theme in the whole series, it's that it's much, much easier to seize power than it is to keep it.
Either this is the best typo-mutated euphemism ever or you know some really
disturbing secrets about GRRM.
Whoa! You're right. That does sound better than "hands down the pants" doesn't it? Maybe I know something without realizing it...
Also, I am always leery of an annoyed by people who namedrop great works of
literature in such a way that they carefully avoid claiming to have actually
Probably because when you have read them you realize they're just another book that you might like or might not, really. I have read W&P but the only advantage to reading that over reading ASOIAF is that sometimes you have the ability to say "I've read W&P" and have it sound like you mean something significant.
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.
I'm not sure I'd say "makes some perfectly reasonable points". I think I'd go with "is completely wrong about everything." His entire article is based on the assumption that the value of a particular activity can be assessed by looking at the other things you could have done if you took all of the time you spent on that activity *altogether* and then rearranged it in a manner in which it was convenient for you to pursue some other activity, which it was then further assumed that you would pursue wholeheartedly and with perfect motivation.
As evidence that this is *complete horseshit*, I cite the fact that Thomsen presumably does not use the 2920 hours a year in which he is neither working nor sleeping to - say become fluent in multiple languages, master complex skills, read the great works of literature (in English, and in all of the other languages he has learned in the time he has saved by not playing video games) and so on.
Also, I am always leery of an annoyed by people who namedrop great works of literature in such a way that they carefully avoid claiming to have actually read them.
That said, the rebuttal is *also* pretentious and annoying.
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?
The fact that she's wildly successful at not only Kingdom Management, but Kingdom Acquisition as well. Breaks my suspension of disbelief up into tiny pieces, especially since it's only through incredibly contrived-seeming circumstances that she does it. I mean seriously, when she buys that slave army and turns it on the slave cities - did they honestly never plan for something like that? They mass-produce highly-trained private armies of infantry that excel in siege warfare, and they never considered that such an army might one day be turned on them? You'd think they'd be well-prepared for lengthy sieges and have a policy of never selling an army larger than their own, at the very least.
hand down the hands
Either this is the best typo-mutated euphemism ever or you know some really disturbing secrets about GRRM.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.