The Loyalty Program Rant


“Ooh! You only need one more point to become a Medallion Gold Plus Club member!”

You’re in the checkout with your cartload of dry cake mix, eggs, vegetable oil, and Cheez Wiz (your wife’s birthday is coming up and you’re making her a Cheezcake as a special treat.)  The cashier scans all your stuff while you’re sifting through your filthy tupperware container full of pennies and nickels to see if there’s any quarters in there.  Once she’s finished scanning, she nervously asks, “Would you like to sign up for our Super Saver Rewards Club?”

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The Kokiri Forest: A Literary Analysis Fever Dream



You begin Ocarina of Time in the World of Children.  All of the recognizable faces belong to children: they’re the only “real” people.  Hovering around each child is an omnipotent, immortal entity that provides guidance, helps you focus on what you’re trying to do, and constantly nags at you about what you need to do next.  The only other being is a wheezing, decrepit mountain of a thing that has some vaguely recognizable features, but has a strange manner of speaking and is always going on and on about old stories and the state of the world.

All of the children have a fairy except for you.  You are a weird outcast that is different than everyone else despite appearing exactly the same.  And then, lucky you, you get adopted.  However, having a parent doesn’t just mean companionship and guidance, it also means expectations: get up, lazybones, the world needs you.  If you’re going to do good in the world some day, you need to do some chores.

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The Last Jedi Rant [Full Spoilers]

Spoiler Warning: Full spoilers for both The Last Jedi and The Force Awakens.

I went to see The Last Jedi last night with my wife. I had modestly high hopes going into it; I was in the camp that really enjoyed The Force Awakens, so I was excited to see where they would go from here.

Unfortunately, I left the film feeling disappointed and conflicted. I didn’t hate the movie, but I definitely expected it to be better. I’m not much of a Star Wars fan, so the quibbles with the series lore didn’t bother me so much; but the film has some major structural issues. There is some promising stuff early on that unfortunately fizzles out by the end.

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Game Recommendations: Modern Classics

Welcome to the start of a short series, wherein I gush in a classy, informative way about games I love.  This is less of a commercial review and more of a thinly-veiled excuse to write short analyses, without trying to inflate them into ten thousand word leviathans I never finish.  (Official Unfinished Drafts Watch: 6)

I’ll be grouping these into categories, one per article.  Today’s entry will be about games from the last few years that renewed my optimism for the medium.

Final caveat: these are in no particular order and aren’t meant to be compared against one another.  I’m basically just going off the top of my head and then scanning my Steam library/the stack of games under my entertainment system to make sure I don’t miss anything important.  I probably will anyway.

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Do Video Games Suck Now?

Because nobody’s sick of this question.  But, do what you’ve always done and you’ll get what you’ve always got.  If we want answers any deeper than the standards, we need to go deeper ourselves.

Everything comes from somewhere.  Every generation of video games was shaped by its place in time.  Each created the environment that precipitated the next, compounding issues that started at the very beginning.  If we want to answer this thing definitively, we need to go back to the very start.

(And to head off the angry emails, I’m not going to be discussing PC games quite as much as some of you might like.  We’re talking about grand market-shaping forces, and as far as the average consumer – that is, most of the market – is concerned, PC gaming has been an inaccessible footnote for most of the medium’s history.  Complexity has costs.)

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