The Dord of Darien

Musings from the Mayor of the Internet

MLB to CHS: Cheaters! Dirty, dirty cheaters!

But you don’t have to take my word for it. Seems like maybe Pierzynski wasn’t just being clever enough to use the rules as a cudgel; he was now officially just being cleverly obstreperous and, in a nutshell, completely fucking cheating. Just like everybody except Doug Eddings apparently knew all along.

And Barack Obama. But, seriously. Fuck that guy.

August 30th, 2008 Posted by | Baseball | no comments

See what happens?

You see that, Barack Obama? You see what happens when you piss me off? I put an internet hex on the White Sox — an interhex, if you will — and then what? They lose 11-3 to the goddamn Baltimore goddamn Orioles. Consider this your warning. Any more of this and I’ll have to put a mark on your permanent record.

And that goes double for you, A.J. Pierzynski.

August 27th, 2008 Posted by | Baseball | no comments

No! Not again!

So I’m sad to have to report that the Bigfoot discovery we talked about here recently has turned out to be a hoax. I’m sure none of us saw this coming, and even those of us who may have probably didn’t expect the hoax’s demise to be reported in such a stunningly fair and balanced fashion.

Well, on the bright side, even though we haven’t found Bigfoot, now we can go back to pretending he’s not dead!

August 27th, 2008 Posted by | Bullshit | no comments

Privacy, security, and TERROR!

Dan got a bit wordy today, and in the process managed to say a lot of good things on a subject that is of rather a bit of importance to me. In fact, it’s rather a bit more important to me lately than it normally is, since in a few months I’ll be boarding an airplane for the first time in sixteen years, and will be forced through the tender ministrations of the TSA, which is the only government agency I know of offhand that’s looney enough to tell you right there on the front page of its own web site what a bunch of assholes they are. Yes, not even the dreaded IRS tells you right up-front how many people they’ve sent to jail recently for tax fraud, but the TSA is all bragging about how many arrests they’ve made because people are "suspicious." Remind me again how many terrorist cells or serious threats against the American people we’ve uncovered in this last week, during which the TSA has arrested eleven people for being "suspicious."

And lest we think the TSA is actually protecting us from anything, note their other interesting statistic: zero "artfully concealed prohibited items" were discovered in the past week. Don’t let yourself think for one minute that this is because no prohibited items were there to be found; Oh, no. As is plain as day to anybody who isn’t being paid with taxpayer money to appropriate still more taxpayer money for this bullshit, the reason they found nothing is because the prohibited items were concealed too well for the TSA to locate.

Served and protected.

August 27th, 2008 Posted by | Bullshit | no comments

Fuck Barack Obama anyhow

"You go to Wrigley Field, you have a beer, beautiful people up there. People aren’t watching the game. It’s not serious. White Sox, that’s baseball. South Side." — Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.)

Okay, sure, a lot of dangerous and frightening pathetic leftist drivel has poured out of that dude’s vote-begging spout recently, but that’s expected and I can’t really hold it against him. He’s trying to convince crazies and lazies to award him a high-paying cushy government job — what are you going to do? But this, now. This is just going too far. There’s no need to hate just because the Cubs are actually a good team, and one that doesn’t need to resort to cheating to win games. Oh yeah, senator, I went there. And I’ll go here and here too if you want to force the issue.

Almost makes me wish I would ever consider voting for that doofus in the first place so I could angrily declare that I won’t anymore.

August 27th, 2008 Posted by | Baseball | no comments

Kenny Rogers: some kind of imbecile?

Kenny Rogers, following his team’s disastrous implosion against the fawful Cleveland Indians tonight, said this, regarding the upcoming adoption of instant replay for judging disputed home run calls:

"I don’t like it. I think that it overshot the mark by far just because, what, in a Yankee game someone didn’t get a homer? Please. It’s happened thousands of times. That’s part of the game."

Way to be a fag, Kenny. If you hate and fear change, what better way to express your angst and moodiness than by blaming it on some mythical Yankees conspiracy? The best part, of course, is that he blames it on the Yankees in one sentence and then, one sentence and one interjection later, declares that it’s happened "thousands of times." Apparently Mr. Gambler doesn’t have a problem with "thousands" of legitimate home runs being ruled fouls because the umps couldn’t see what was happening clearly. Maybe that’s just because his team is goddamn terrible and anything that takes runs away from other teams is a win in his book.

Or maybe he’s just a moron.

August 27th, 2008 Posted by | Baseball | no comments

Why the Cubs?

I’ve been seeing a lot of pithy commentary lately about the Cubs and their World Series hopes, mainly along the lines of "yeah, but last year’s Cubs were supposed to Win It All too, and they got swept out of the LDS by a team that got swept out of the LCS by a team that got swept out of the World Series, so they’re probably still bad."

That ain’t so, Charlie. This year’s Cubs are much better than last year’s. The 2007 Cubs were a one-trick team that counted on Soriano, Lee, and Ramirez hitting so many home runs that lack of pitching and defense would just be irrelevant. That didn’t work out so good. The 2008 Cubs have much better offensive production behind those three guys, much much muchmuchmuch improved defense, and two additional legitimate aces to shore up the rotation behind Carlos Zambrano: Rich Harden, who came from the 2008 Oakland Athletics Official Fire Sale, and Ryan Dempster, who came from space in a pod and replaced the old, lousy Ryan Dempster. The 2008 Cubs also aren’t relying on their starters to go nine innings, since there’s an actual bullpen now with actual relievers. Kerry Wood’s done a bangup job as closer and even stayed healthy for… much of the season. Carlos Marmol is unhittable about seven games out of eight. Jeff Samzasmfjahiaismsaihia is pretty good at football, so he must rule at pitching.

So there.

August 18th, 2008 Posted by | Baseball | one comment

This just in: More Bigfoot!

No, he’s not in Florida or Pennsylvania. He’s actually in Georgia, but he’s dead. One might think that perhaps this is the old Florida Bigfoot just crossing state lines, but no; the Florida Bigfoot was a little thing that ate your doughnuts, and this is a giant, seven-and-one-half-foot-tall, quarter-ton rampaging man-ape. Except that it’s dead. And bears a striking resemblance to a Bigfoot costume in a box.

What could go wrong? Sure, the guy promoting this has promoted a Bigfoot hoax before, but that doesn’t prove anything. Maybe this time he’s not lying! I’m sure it’s the real Bigfoot, because they’ve branded the photograph "Bigfoot Global LLC." I’m pretty sure that means they’re serious Bigfoot hunters.

August 15th, 2008 Posted by | Bullshit | 3 comments

Darien’s quick guide to storytelling

you idiots.

Storytelling is a big thing in video games these days. Last year’s big triumverate of storytelling games — Portal, Bioshock, and Mass Effect — ensured that it’s on everybody’s mind, and this year brought us the veritable Big Daddy of story-cutscene games: Metal Gear Solid 4. Everybody’s trying to tell a bigger, better story.

Well, knock it the fuck off. Storytelling is not something you want in your video game, because we’re not playing your video game to be told a goddamn thing. There are lots of books and movies and TV shows in the world if we want to lounge around and be told a story — and now that YouTube’s arrived and they’re all free and easily-accessible, hey, so much the simpler. What makes video games different from other media in the story sweepstakes isn’t that we have to jump through hoops to get to the next cutscene (well, except in some games I could name), but that they can involve us in their stories in ways that purely static media cannot. Stop telling the player your story and start involving the player in it.

Whenever I see a game where all the "story" bits happen in prerendered cutscenes with voiceovers, I’m automatically turned off of it, because I know the story’s going to be happening at me rather than around me. For the most part, the story will be happening in its predefined arc, and I’ll be walking around from cutscene to cutscene and not really participating at all — my decisions won’t actually have any weight. Getting the player’s decisions to matter while at the same time keeping the game in a sensible scope isn’t easy, to be sure, but that’s no excuse — lots of games have done this with some degree of success. Bioware got into that sort of thing through the Neverwinter Nights and Knights of the Old Republic games; I’m told Mass Effect is actually very good about reacting to the player’s choices rather than forcing the player to follow along.

When reviewers praised Xenosaga for its incredible storytelling, they were just being lazy. It’s pretty easy to review a game that’s all movies; you can pretty much write the review while the cutscenes are running, and as long as you use the words "edgy" and "anime" and make sure you provide plenty of warnings that "this game is not for everybody," you’re off the hook. And when reviewers praised Portal for its storytelling, they were just being incoherent — hey guys, I don’t mean to be a wet blanket here, but Portal didn’t have any storytelling on account of Portal didn’t have a story. I’m serious. What’s the story in Portal? "Run?"

No. What Portal had was an interesting character who reveals herself to you over the course of the game and — importantly — while you play the game. You meet GLaDOS through her responses to your actions. Valve used the same idea to good effect previously, in Half-life 2: Episode One, where the player is introduced to Alyx in the same way. But this isn’t storytelling — in neither case are you being told a story. It is, in fact, better than storytelling; it’s a way of involving the player in the world of the game. It’s not the only way, and those are certainly not the only two games that do it successfully, but it’s an important illustration nonetheless; what all you guys got so moist and breathy over in Portal wasn’t storytelling. Please stop saying it is before another fucking Xenosaga game comes out.

August 15th, 2008 Posted by | Games | no comments

Liberal angst is for muppets

I’ve said this lots of times before, and Marvin just sent me an e-mail to tell me I’ll say it again, but fuck the Penny Arcade dudes. I don’t even mean the bizarre and largely incomprehensible rant he goes into toward the end about how we can be the "curators" of "distributed culture." I’m mostly complaining about that part where he declares that nobody should charge for Puzzle Pirates because it’s a "java based puzzle game." Do you see that part?

I dunno. I guess puzzle games are easier to make than other games (I have found this to be true to a certain extent), and I guess there’s something about Java that makes it easier to use than other programming languages (I have found this to be true to what could be charitably described as "no fucking extent whatsoever"). I suppose what we’re supposed to believe is that puzzle games are so easy to make — even MMO puzzle games — and Java is so easy to use that it’s basically no work at all and so it’s immoral to ask for compensation in return. See, I’m old-fashioned and kind of a shithead, so I’m of the opinion that, if you make a game, it’s worth whatever people will pay you for it. Apparently the enlightened view is that games should be free to a certain point; since Tycho doesn’t bother to tell us how to determine which games should be free and which games are justified in charging money, I guess we’re supposed to ask him.

Has anybody else noticed this attitude coming off of a lot of modern leftists? Don’t bother answering that, I know you have. I guess the idea is that everything has a "correct price" that people just should charge, and that this price is known to leftists through some magical a priori means whether or not they have any idea what was involved in the creation of the product or provision of the service.

Incidentally, Penny Arcade’s own vanity game is only $20 from Steam. In case you’d like to wash down your liberal angst with a bit of hypocrisy.

August 13th, 2008 Posted by | Bullshit, Games | 3 comments