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 02:34 on 01-07-2013, Ibmiller
So, just saw Much Ado About Nothing last night, and while it was fun and charming, I missed the Branagh version with pretty much every line. Anyone else catch it yet?
at 23:06 on 30-06-2013, Cheriola
Gals, a lot of you seem closer to the beat when it comes to feminist discourse than me, so I have a little question: Have the words "whore" and "hooker" been reclaimed recently while I wasn't looking? Lately I've been stumbling across those terms to describe prostitute characters in quite a number of reviews, done by people who call themselves feminists (both male and female). And I'm confused. I thought those were considered very obvious slurs? I mean, yeah, the same people also use the word "lame" in the same way people would have used "gay" to describe something as bad/boring, but I get the feeling that's just because most people don't think about the original meaning of the word until someone points it out to them. But I thought it was long agreed upon that you don't use terms originally intended to insult or morally judge prostitutes, ever, just like you don't use the n-word if you're white. I wince every time I read something like that, but maybe that's my language barrier at work?
at 22:19 on 26-06-2013, Alasdair Czyrnyj
Indie survival-horror games are a dime a dozen these days (seriously, I think there's a deal on them at Desura right now), but Routine, a charming little exercise in science-fiction nostalgia that's supposed to come out at some point, has piqued my interest with their new alpha gameplay trailer.

Gaze in awe at the futuristic marvels of the year 2002! Moon colonies! Personal robots! Desktop computers with 64 megabytes of RAM!
at 19:57 on 26-06-2013, Melanie
Pretty sure that arranging your apartment like this is how you summon Cthulhu.

(Need javascript enabled. If you click it, there's another shot of that scene from a slightly different angle, which makes sense of the... thing.)
at 17:03 on 26-06-2013, Arthur B
Oh, Our Valued Customers, sometimes you are so wise.
at 21:26 on 25-06-2013, Melanie

30-40 hours of wakefullness

*screaming internally* Yeah, that's horrifying. I think the only times I've been up that long have involved external factors--essay to write, too hot/noisy to sleep (#gross sobbing #simmering in misery and rage), etc., as opposed to just scumbag hypothalamus.

No idea about the music video, although it sounds interestingly like a softer take on "The Masque of the Red Death".
at 20:45 on 25-06-2013, Cheriola
Sorry. ;P

I just meant "from the time when MTV was still showing music videos", which seems a different pop cultural era.
at 20:31 on 25-06-2013, Arthur B
an old music video
Oh, cool, I love old music videos, let me put my thinking cap o-

mid to late 1990s, or maybe very early 2000s.
at 20:23 on 25-06-2013, Cheriola
Could someone help jog my memory, please? I have this image in my head of an old music video featuring a Noah's Arc scenario with giant metal ship in a harbor being borded by the rich and famous (including the Queen and her corgies), while the masses who will be left behind to drown look on with resentment as they are held back by the military, all in the pouring rain. Then, inside the ship, the privileged find that they'll not get the luxury treatment they packed for, but instead are handed a coal shovel. (Literally or figuratively, I can't remember.)
But I can't for the life of me remember which song or band that video belonged to, so I can't google it. It probably would have been on the air in the mid to late 1990s, or maybe very early 2000s.

Anyone got an idea?
at 19:36 on 25-06-2013, Cheriola
Yeah, I know exactly what you mean. I call it "sleepless high" - the state where after a certain point of tiredness, I can't fall asleep despite being physically exhausted to the point of not being able to think straight. This usually ends in a complete collapse after 30-40 hours of wakefullness, followed by up to 20 hours of sleeping like the dead. Sometimes I can induce it sooner with chemical help, so that I might time waking up somewhere close to morning. But most of the time, tranquilisers and sleeping pills only work if I take an overdose so high I get weird sensory effects. And that's too dangerous on the long run.
at 19:06 on 25-06-2013, Melanie
Ha, now if only I could actually count on that working regularly! The more usual pattern is that getting too little sleep does the opposite to me. I.e., it makes me tired all day... until evening, when I start waking up and starting to feel okay. At that point, I can either stay up late again, or I can go to bed and... stay up late while lying in the dark.

It gets to be sort of self-perpetrating, so it's pretty magical and noteworthy when I actually manage to (always temporarily) get into a more diurnal rhythm without feeling horrible all day.
at 18:16 on 25-06-2013, Cheriola
I'm really envious of Melanie right now. I'm suffering from chronic insomnia (sleeping pills don't work), and right now, my internal clock is completely messed up again. I didn't have to be anywhere today, so I fell into exhausted sleep at 9 A.M. I just woke up, so I'm not going to sleep tonight, either. *sigh*
at 17:59 on 25-06-2013, Melanie
It was great! I only managed three hours or so of sleep the night before last, so it caught up with me last night and I actually got to sleep before midnight(!) and then slept like the dead.

A+ would buy again.
at 08:00 on 25-06-2013, Robinson L
Good morning, all - how was your night? Personally, I'm operating off of ~2 hours sleep due to a last ditch effort to get my essay in under deadline. To paraphrase a classmate of mine, you'd think I would've learned by now. Apparently not.
at 17:34 on 24-06-2013, Arthur B
PS: Triple dare you. WOO i am ESCALATING the CONFLICT
at 17:33 on 24-06-2013, Arthur B
(I kind of love that Rein*Hagen is claiming the Indie RPG scene as his personal legacy - I suspect that it's truer than a lot of indie designers want to admit)

Given that Sorcerer (Ron Edwards' only significant hit) was basically a White Wolf modern-day horror RPG wearing different pants, I think it's unquestionable. Especially when it comes to making "spouting rhetoric" a central pillar of game design and promotion.

The whole page is full of hilarious sub-White-Wolf rhetoric about revolutionising the way RPGs are played by ... umm ... having game mechanics? Or not? Or both?

Ah, see, it's the next stage in the evolution. First White Wolf beat the idea that System Doesn't Matter into us and taught us to hate and suppress players who tried to actually use the system. Then the indie movement told us that System Does Matter and made us all cogs in the system. Now Mark's going to reveal the OT III-level truth to us (System Doesn't Matter Except When It Does Matter) and bring in a glorious new age where we'll never know whether our games were ruined by GM fiat or a gimmicky, prescriptive system.
at 17:13 on 24-06-2013, Dan H
Looking in more detail, it's a bit weird in a lot of ways. Apparently it builds on "the principles pioneered by the Storyteller system and many Indie RPGs" (I kind of love that Rein*Hagen is claiming the Indie RPG scene as his personal legacy - I suspect that it's truer than a lot of indie designers want to admit) but it seems to use actual physical cards for character creation which is ... odd.

The whole page is full of hilarious sub-White-Wolf rhetoric about revolutionising the way RPGs are played by ... umm ... having game mechanics? Or not? Or both?
at 17:02 on 24-06-2013, Arthur B
I double dare you to back it.

But don't go crazy because at the end of the day you might just get a copy of Vampire: the Masquerade 1st edition with the word "Vampire" crossed out and "Zombie" inserted in biro.
at 16:43 on 24-06-2013, Dan H
Wow that is ... hilariously identical to everything he has produced in the last twenty years.

I mean why not just go the whole hog and call it "Zombie: the Infected"?
at 11:14 on 24-06-2013, Arthur B
Today I am filled with a burning question: is Mark Rein•Hagen's return to RPG design enough to prompt Dan to pitch into a Kickstarter?

(Yes, this posting does constitute a dare.)
at 11:00 on 24-06-2013, Robinson L
@Kit: You're welcome.

@Arthur: You've also piqued my interest regarding Witch World. Sounds like a potentially great read, and at the very least, no worse than some other sci-fi/fantasy I've read before.
at 23:04 on 23-06-2013, Arthur B
I absolutely love Event Horizon but it kind of works best if you approach it as a Warhammer 40,000 prequel.

Seriously, warp travel works on precisely the same metaphysic and the actual warp drive is covered in spikes, which is the usual aesthetic clue in 40K that it's Chaos-aligned.

Agree that it's Paul Anderson's high-water mark.
at 23:02 on 23-06-2013, Alasdair Czyrnyj
One of the clichés of adult life is the discovery that something you liked as a kid was just a pale copy of something better. Case in point: I rewatched Event Horizon last night while weeding my DVD collection, and while it scared the hell out of me as a kid, now I feel I liked the movie a lot better when it was called Alien.

I also never realized before now how the movie is kinda goofy. I mean, the ship runs off a prop from Hellraiser and the service corridors are shaped like coffins. And everytime a char-broiled man-burger rises out of the coolant pond in a pillar of flame to yell at Larry Fishburne, I can't help but think the scene would be immeasurably improved by a Rammstein guitar riff.

That being said, it's probably the best movie Paul W. S. Anderson has ever made. It also has model work, which is cool.
at 23:00 on 23-06-2013, Kit
Thanks for the heads up, Arthur - if it's done in a balanced and respectful way, I *think* I won't have a problem with it (weirdly enough, I'm much more triggered by description of casual, everyday sexism than actual rape scenes).