wOf Gods and Gaming
Lord, may my words be sweet and tender, for tomorrow I may have to eat them.





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wMonday, January 27, 2003

Okay, some stuff to go through, here:

The Super Bowl. Okay. Just, I--what the Hell happened? That has to be the single most pathetic display I've seen in my entire life. Number-one offense in the league, best quarterback in the NFL, and they set a record for interceptions? Just... god. Riots in the streets, folks. If they haven't happened in Oakland by now, I'd be very surprised. I wouldn't be suprised if Rich Gannon was slitting his wrists right now, though.

Icing on the cake: nobody cares. It makes front page news in time for the morning edition and then vanishes altogether from 90% of all news sources in favor of Colin Powell talking on and on about how we're going to Iraq, hidden weapons or no, unless he sacrifices a virgin to our blessed Sun God, or something. I don't care. If I weren't already completely jaded about the whole war, the sadistically-overdone political action SB ad featuring a girl in a field of flowers getting nuked certainly did it for me. 'Tis fear makes the world go round, children. Fear from the right about what happens if we don't go to war, fear from the left about what happens if we do. Fear, fear, fear. 1B. Enchant creature. Enchanted creature can only be blocked by black creatures and artifact creatures. That's a reference to Magic: The Gathering, by the way, the game all you kids should be playing instead of that infernal capitalist plot called Yu-Gi-Oh.

Triple segue. I am a god.

Kingdom Hearts. Beat it, it is good, it demands a sequel. Said sequel is unfortunately not guaranteed because Squaresoft doesn't even have the rights from Disney to make one. All I can say is if Deep Dive is any indication, KH2 will be the finest title in any medium ever. If you don't know what Deep Dive is, it's the extended secret ending available in KH ~Final Mix~, and if you haven't seen it you are a heathen and your soul is in mortal jeopardy. Go look for it on Kazaa or get somebody at the GameFAQs KH message board to IM it to you or something.

I'm supposed to be writing an essay for a very important scholarship that has to be postmarked by Friday, but I'm updating my blog instead. I am so retarded.

posted by Danin at 1/27/2003 09:35:00 PM

wMonday, January 20, 2003

Right, so like, Splinter Cell.

Holy crap.

Lest I lose my reputation as a true gamer, let me discuss the gameplay before anything else. Naturally, the game plays brilliantly. The controls are fluid and responsive, I counted at least four different rates of movement with the analog stick. The AI is extremely realistic, if just a little on the blind side (the game would be impossible if they weren't), and when the enemy is wary they will react to the slightest sound or shadow (yes, shadow, I'll get to that). Gun controls are a bit clunky, but I think they were designed that way to make you focus more on shooting lights and less on shooting gaurds.

The part that really blows my mind is how much light factors into the gameplay. Stealth is so critical to your survival that you're not just looking for obstacles to hide behind, you're hugging walls in wide-open courtyards, trusting the shadows to hide you better than the well-lit hedge five feet away. About three quarters of all the light sources in the game can be shot out to further cover your movements where you would normally be "lit up like a Dutch brothel," to quote the game. You even have a little guage that tells you exactly how much of a ninja you are.

Of course, the wishy-washy lighting methods of most games couldn't do such a stealth system justice, and that segues nicely into the game's graphics. As a fairly old school gamer, I like to say that graphics don't really matter if the gameplay's good. With this game, that rule goes right out the window. I don't care what you think pretty is, you have never seen a game look this good, ever. The lightsourcing in Splinter Cell is good enough to put the best FPS on the PC to shame, and boy, does it flaunt that fact. There are no indistinct light-sources in this game. (If you don't know what I'm talking about, play Kingdom Hearts. The game on the whole looks great, but it's the epitomy of omnipresent lighting. No dark corners anywhere, just slightly less light.) The game is full of dark areas pierced by blinding lightsources, complete with dead-accurate character shadows. The full effect is hard to get down in words, but suffice to say that not only does the light look good, it looks exactly like it would in any similar real-world situation.

I should note that I haven't beaten Splinter Cell yet, and I probably won't. I didn't buy it, good a game as it is, I rented it. I can justify this only by stating that I'm saving up for an iPod, and ignoring the fact that I spent fifty bucks on the new System of a Down CD and Excel Saga vol. 1 just a week and a half ago.

posted by Danin at 1/20/2003 02:12:00 PM

wTuesday, January 07, 2003

My spiritual convictions are back to square one thanks to the delicious writings of Douglas Adams.

You see, last night I was reading (well, skimming) through The Salmon of Doubt, a collection of notes, articles, columns, and a half-finished book (of the same title) written by Douglas Adams (author of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, most famously) throughout his literary career, compiled from his four-some-odd old Mac hard drives shortly after his untimely death in 2001. One of the many items contained therein is an interview of Adams conducted by American Atheists (it turns out Adams was an athiest--I had no idea), in which he expresses his disgust that religious tenants are never placed under the same logical scrutiny as most other arguments, especially when most of them wouldn't stand up to such scrutiny in the least.

Of course I agreed with this, but it occured to me that I had only exposed my own hypothesis on the necessary existence of a God to relatively low levels of logical study. The hypothesis, in case you were wondering is this: since the probability of anything being created from nothing is precisely zero, something has always existed. That which existed first must, logically, have been responsible for the subsequent creation of everything that came after, and would have to be totally independent of anything else for its existence. This, by most definitions, would be called God. Therefore, God must necessarily exist.

However, after pondering the fact for a while, I realized that my hypothesis was extremely conditional. It appears to make sense at first--something besides the universe had to exist first. We cannot say that the universe has always existed, because in such a case the universe would have to be static. The universe, however, is not static; we know it to be expanding. We cannot say that all the matter and energy contained in the sigularity that exploded in the Big Bang stayed in such a state for an infinite term until twelve billion (or is it trillion? I forget) years ago, since such a compressed state is inherently unstable and could only have existed for a very short period of time. Naturally, we could believe quite easily that the compressed state immediately before the Big Bang could be the result of another universe collapsed in on itself, but that universe had to come from somewhere. At some point, there would have to be a first universe, and that universe would have to be created by God.

But, again, the hypothesis is conditional. The condition may not appear obvious at first, because we are used to thinking in terms of linear time. But it is possible that time is not linear. At this point, a whole new hypothesis dawned on me: time may be circular. For those of you who can remember your trigonometry, think of a wrapping function. Theoretically, you can calculate the position of the function out to infinity in either direction, but you will always, at regular intervals, return to the exact same point at which you started, and will begin the exact same path over again. Likewise, time may exist not as a linear dimension, but as a "wrapping" dimension--as you move through time, at regular intervals you will return to the same point at which you began, and begin the same cycle over again. In this situation, unlike in linear time, we can say that the universe has always existed. When the universe collapses into a single point at the end of its lifespan, the resulting explosion will create not a new universe, but the same universe. In circular time, the universe has always existed because it creates itself. There is no first universe to be created by God, and therefore--here's the part I don't like--God no longer need exist out of logical necessity.

I feel like one of those rennaisance scientists that set out to prove the theories of the Church correct, only to find overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Now I'm just waiting for the inquisition to come and put me under house arrest.

posted by Danin at 1/07/2003 03:09:00 PM

wFriday, January 03, 2003

For those of you who don't have an Xbox, let me tell you something: it's just as big as you think it is, and it weighs a metric ass-ton. I pulled that thing out of the box yesterday and I thought I was going to drop it on my damn foot.

Microsoft damn well knows how heavy it is, too. They put a special connector in the middle of the controller cable that unhooks under stress, so if you pull the controller the system doesn't fall off the shelf. You might think it's there to protect the system from damage, but the istruction manual itself says that if the Xbox falls on someone it can cause serious injury. See, it's there so that when you yank of the cable, the console doesn't fall on someone's head and kill them. Because, unlike the other consoles, which may cause a moderate head injury if you drop it on someone, the Xbox will cause serious damage.

posted by Danin at 1/03/2003 10:23:00 AM