books may be buoys but we’re on the titanic

From the New York Times here:

Other novels served as a kind of foil — something to argue with. V. S. Naipaul’s novel “A Bend in the River,” Mr. Obama recalls, “starts with the line ‘The world is what it is; men who are nothing, who allow themselves to become nothing, have no place in it.’ And I always think about that line and I think about his novels when I’m thinking about the hardness of the world sometimes, particularly in foreign policy, and I resist and fight against sometimes that very cynical, more realistic view of the world. And yet, there are times where it feels as if that may be true.”

I know that in the sum total of the things we are losing, or have already lost, the sensibility to pounce on these sorts of statements and wrestle with them is comparatively small. But I do find it frightening that there was someone doing all the thinking I’ve come to feel is necessary in life, and it still wasn’t enough, and all this happened. Is happening. You can have all the power in the world, and still be a thoughtful person, really the kind of person everyone feels I feel I need to become, and you still can’t stop what has happened here.

It isn’t a good feeling.

Edit: This too. We legitimately had good people running us.

your pretty game is heartless

I tried to play Witcher 3 back when it came out. I tried, and I made it about 20 hours in, but I quit. It’s too gloomy. Geralt’s a dick. All the women look the same — Barbie faces and big tits.

Plenty of people don’t seem particularly bothered by this, though.

There’s a whole group of fellow players I don’t even bother tuning in to when they start in on my favorite franchise, because all they have to say is “yes but it’s not as good as Witcher 3.” Some of these people truly wouldn’t give a shit if, say, rape were required of gameplay (“hurr, but the mechanics are so gudddd!”), but others should know better. By a lot.

They don’t, though. They don’t care. I can understand not minding the miserably dour, life-is-shit-and-so-is-everyone-in-it tone of the game, because some people are into that sort of thing. (No doubt they’re real fun to be around, too, but that’s beside the point.) But they keep returning again and again to Geralt and how great he is. “But he’s a DAD, don’t you get it? Dads are GREAT.”

Indeed, actual dads are great (mostly). Grizzled-ass grumpfaces who have exactly one note to their voices and who can’t go the length of two sentences without sighing in that world-weary, put-upon fashion are not great! They suck. Geralt sucks. With all the women he sleeps with in these games, you’d think he’d maybe enjoy himself. Just a little? Well, you’d be wrong. Because despite all that he’s still a grouch. Permanently. The appeal of assholes has been explained to me time and time again, but I still don’t get it. Who would sleep with this chump? Even for a one-night stand. He has zero fun. Ever. You’d have a better time keeping the other half of the bottle of wine to yourself, no contest.

And Geralt aside? There’s just no heart to the place. There are spectacular sunsets and cantering horses but everyone is selfish, surly and scintillatingly hard-hearted. Maybe this is “an accurate portrayal of medieval Europe,” uh huh. Sure. What with the monsters and everything, no doubt. But whatever it’s an accurate portrayal of, it’s not a place I want to hang around. Ever. Even with its gorgeous scenery.

It’s not that people shouldn’t be terrible. There should definitely be terrible people. In art as it is in life. But if you believe everyone is that terrible, you should maybe be meeting new people or having new experiences that convince you otherwise. Or, if that’s too hard, at least escape to a game universe where kindness fucking exists. If you think life is shit and you log into a game that confirms your every belief on that topic, why exactly are you playing? Does it even count as “playing” at that point? There’s no fun being had. Do you just nod your grizzled head every time some new horrible plot confirms your worst suspicions about humanity, and think, “grrr, yeah, fuck these guys, they’re just like everyone I’ve ever known?”

How about the sunsets? The shimmering sunstars, the glorious pink-tinged clouds? Surely you must hate them for interrupting your bitter scowlfest. Perhaps you build a mod to make it rain. All the time. Forever.

Mod on, Grinch. Mod on. But I’m still not gonna ride your gloom train. I’ve got better shit to do.

all ark all the time

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Usually when I play games with people I know they have different agendas than me. They want to win, or raid, or reach endgame content, or follow to the letter some walkthrough they found online. No one ever wants to just explore, build stuff, and wield armies of pets. I have one friend whose interests coincide with mine on that front, and thanks to our private server we are able to have the whole island to ourselves. Which means you can randomly find stuff like this: the perfect fishing hole, complete with chair.

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Oh, buddy. We’ve all been there.

for the dinotopia lover in all of us

ARK: Survival Evolved prompts very visceral responses when I mention it (both for and against), but I think maybe those come from people marooned in the hellscape of public servers, where trolls lie in wait to shank you the minute you come into the world, over and over and over again.

Rent your own server, though, and invite only your friends, and it’s much more fun. And gorgeous. Did I mention gorgeous?

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Dawn light is the best light, in art as in life

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Forest gleaming post-downpour

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Don’t know what those towers are, don’t care. LOOK AT THE SUNSET.

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Honestly every lighting effect. EVERY ONE. I know Oblivion had more involved lighting effects than Skyrim. This is that, but modern-day. The fire’s flickering, and its change up in the canyons of the tree branches or the tight confined space of my shack…so so well done.

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Beachcombing

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Shack 2.0

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The Impeccable Alfonso

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Misleadingly small glimpse of what I am told is the largest dinosaur in the game

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Fighting evil by moonlight. Blasted dilophosaurii…