The Death of a Man

For those of you who don’t know, Fred Phelps, the man who founded the Westboro Baptist Church, is near death. He had been excommunicated from his own church for awhile now, but his legacy is still tied to his life, regardless of whether he wants it to be so.

Even as I write this post, I find myself overwhelmed with thoughts that run the gamut of topics. I’m not sure exactly where to start, or even what to say, but, hey, this blog has never been about being the most eloquent. If anything, all I can do is fulfill the point of this blog, and post my thoughts.

Let’s give it a go.

  • As an American citizen, I find myself wondering the impact this will have on the landscape of American politics. Very rarely does the death of a man or woman drastically impact the lives in a culture. However, the Westboro Baptist church has certainly been in the headlines enough that the death of it’s founder should cause people to think. Which direction these thoughts will take, though, is a mystery. Will the American people begin to mellow in their positions on the Gay Rights argument? Or will passions be ignited to a new level?
  • As a Christian, I’m conflicted. The Westboro Baptist Church has been a source of embarrassment for many Christians for years, and I can only hope that this will begin a fading out of an institution that has only been known for cruelty and hatred. On the other hand, I sincerely hope Mr. Phelps truly does know Jesus, for I can’t wish damnation on anyone. It’s hard to believe that a man who has been central to a very real form of oppression could have a real relationship with the only being who was perfect in love and grace, but I have no place to judge: after all, I’m plenty judgemental when I have no right to be. Besides, that’s the power of grace. Jesus died for us so that our sins and failures wouldn’t count against us.

Short, I know. I may go back and add more later in an edit. Still, to voice the thoughts I have is more gratifying, even if they aren’t pages. I hope we all get a chance to think about this, for better or worse.

The Difference between a Nerd and a Geek (to me)

Sorry I’ve been gone for so long, life has been hectic, and I’ve been lazy. Here’s a quick thought I had today, hope you enjoy.

Geek and nerd culture have both gained immense popularity in the last few years. Hundreds of thousands of millions of people identify as at least one of these, if not both. I myself often call myself a geek, and consider myself a nerd in many respects. However, there doesn’t seem to be a general agreement on what either term means (which I find funny, considering how vehemently some people react to being misnomered). While they’ve both been around for awhile, the meanings behind these words have changed over the years, and seem to have abstracted a bit within the last decade. So, here is my individual and narcissistic attempt to pin down the meanings of both words.

  • • Geek: someone who interacts with or finds enjoyment in media or activities within a specific category.
  • I’ve found that “geek” is the more popular term for self-identification, and it makes sense. Entertainment is far more personalized than it used to be, and individual preferences are more the focus than ever before. As such, the level of investment one can have in a category, be it genre, author, universe, or media, is deeper than ever before.

    People seem to use the term for themselves and others when referring to media they like. TV shows like Doctor Who, comic books, video games and well known authors all pop up in the same sentence at some point. Therefore, the focus of being a geek seems to be one of parameter. “I like this, so I want to partake of it.” Granted, this means that people just starting to dive into something can be called geeks, but I feel this is still apt. After all, aren’t you still a geek if you only have one Batman comic, provided YOU went out on your own desire and bought it out of interest?

  • •Nerd: a person who invests in an area of information or education out of interest or a desire for expertise.
  • We all know the classic nerd image: slicked hair, thick frames, braces, bow tie, and pocket protector. It’s almost cliché at this point. Still, I think there’s another aspect of nerddom that’s often overlooked. The nerd in school is the one who does well in class. It could be just one class, or all of them. The important thing is that we associate nerds with educational motivation, even a thirst for knowledge. Thus, in today’s age of the Internet and easily accessible information, this thirst shows up a lot more, and in a much larger spectrum of areas.

    Let me use myself as an example. I consider myself to be a “comics nerd” and a “theology nerd”. This is because both of these topics are areas that I’ve poured time and energy into to learn both the theory behind them and the vocabulary and techniques. I’ve bought and collected textbooks on comics and sequential art and learned how to use panel sizes effectively and pacing and speech bubbles. I have entire collections of theological writings, some of which I’ve actually read. This stuff interests me, and not at a recreational level. I thirst to know more about them, and, to me, this is the defining characteristic of a nerd. This obviously applies to subjects like math and english, but it can also apply to a range of things, like movie-making, automotive repair, and trivia about your favorite TV series. To be a nerd is to dig deeper into something than just what’s on the surface for sake of learning about it and understanding it.

    What are your definitions of the terms? Leave a comment!

    Why You Shouldn’t Wear Toms to a Moving Party

    Friction is a funny thing. defines friction as “surface resistance to motion, as of a body sliding or rolling.” It sounds a bit aggressive, at least to me, but it’s amazing how pervasive it is in our everyday life. Believe it or not, we have the ability to walk because of the friction the ground provides. If you doubt me on this, try walking on smooth ice. It’s not easy.

    Earlier today, I was commissioned to help a family friend move his Earthly possessions out of the house for the sake of remodeling. I wasn’t fully aware of what the process entailed, and so, before I knew it, I found myself at a storage facility, unloading boxes from the back of a U-Haul. As you may have guessed from the title, I was very inadequately dressed for the job, which included my fancy black Oxford Toms. If you’ve ever worn Toms in your life, you’ll know that they’re more of slippers than shoes. Mind you, this isn’t inherently a bad thing, but it certainly does limit the contexts in which you can wear them effectively. Moving is not one of those times.

    As I gripped the bulky red dolly in both hands and pushed boxes down the truck’s ramp, I found that my minimally stylish shoes gave my feet no grip, even with the grooves that had been cut into the metal. As such, instead of guiding the dolly down to ground, I found it guiding me by weight alone. I was slipping pretty severely, and it was a tad obvious that I could very easily lose control.

    The last three years of my life have been spent in somewhat of a rut. While I don’t feel like I can blame anyone but myself, I felt emotionally and socially cut off from everyone around me for most of my time in college. On top of that, I’ve constantly dealt with fluctuating grades due to both poor study habits from coasting through high school and battling ADD from a completely unprepared standpoint: I had convinced myself out of high school that I had outgrown the disorder, and removed myself from all medication and combatants, which came back to bite me in the butt later. After awhile, daily life began to feel like a chore, and I dreamed of getting out of there, a place that felt very realistically like a prison. So, around two weeks ago, I, with the input and support of my parents, withdrew from all my classes and moved back home. It wasn’t an off-the-cuff decision, as the thought process had been developing over months. It was, however, a very quick turning point, as the culmination of the decision lasted a mere four days.

    I now find myself at home, living with my parents. Instead of lounging around, though, I have quickly redeveloped the same amount of activity as before, or close to it. These last two weeks have been spent reorganizing myself and my life by dealing with my ADD head on, both medically and psychologically, as well as jumping back into work and preparing to take summer classes. I’ll be honest: it’s not where I wish I were at, but it’s better than where I was before. And, in all fairness, I feel much better about life than I did a month ago.

    Going back to the not-so-cliffhanger, I found that, instead of fighting the dolly with no grip under my shoes, I could use myself as a ballast. By locking my knees and leaning back, I made myself into a counterweight, slowing the dolly down enough to control it, but letting its inherent momentum move us both down the ramp. While I don’t recommend this as a technique while moving, it was a strong enough solution to accomodate me completing the task at hand.

    I wish I could tell you what the take-away of this story is. I know it’s not in good taste as a writer to be ignorant of the point you’re trying to make, and I’ve never been a fan of the idea that reader interpretation is equal to creator intent, but I honestly can’t tell you what you should learn from this. Maybe your lesson is to wear better shoes, and be more prepared for life. Maybe it’s to remember that, with enough determination on your goals and enough knee-locking, you can overcome anything.

    I can, however, tell you what I’ve learned from all of this. My personal life lesson is two-fold: first, there are points in life where there’s just no friction. Cheesy, I know, but otherwise the first two paragraphs are pointless. There are those points in life where, for whatever reason, you just find yourself unable to walk forward properly, and you slip and fall. Sometimes, this is because of too much pressure and difficulty; sometimes, it’s because of too little. Either way, just moving forward is a challenge. Second, sometimes the best step is just adaptation. This may seem straightforward, but real adaptation is hard, simply because you have to show your weaknesses to do it. I wasn’t strong enough to hold the dolly back on my own, and my choice of footwear was obviously not intelligent. These were facts I had to accept to fix the problem, similar to my handicap of ADD and my lack of social outlets in college. Acknowledging them were at different degrees of difficulty for me, but they had to be acknowledged nonetheless. And it was hard, because, for a long time, I really thought I could just make it through if I put my head down. Admitting the fact that I had obstacles that couldn’t be overcome by just charging them head on was a step itself towards fixing them, but it took real effort because it involved admitting that said inability was because I wasn’t capable.

    In the end, everything has worked out. I’m in a new phase of my life that feels very progressive, and the move went off without any real hitches. Because of that, once again, I can’t tell you what to take out of this. Interpret it however you please, because I certainly can’t tell you. However, I do recommend that if you get asked to help move, make sure you wear a literal pair of sneakers.

    Video Games vs. Interactive Stories

    This was a discussion I had with a friend on video games. I thought it was good enough to repost here.

    [22:56] <Cyber6x> Anyway, I was a little curious about an opinion you expressed recently
    [22:57] <Cyber6x> ‘Games like The Walking Dead and Phoenix Wright shouldn’t be considered video games, just interactive movies’ or something similar
    [22:58] <Cyber6x> I can both see merit with that and condemn it at the same time
    [23:06] <Teh_Brawler> I have a particular reason for believing that, and it’s a bit more indirect than it appears
    [23:08] <Cyber6x> Yes?
    [23:09] <Teh_Brawler> To me, the focus of video games should be gameplay first, and story second, and inverting that focus harms both the quality of the game and the medium as a whole
    [23:09] <Teh_Brawler> that’s not to say that all games like Ace Attorney focus on story first, but encouraging that kind of a focus through games like that does the medium no favors
    [23:10] <Cyber6x> So, games shouldn’t have compelling stories with less substantial gameplay?
    [23:12] <Teh_Brawler> Not in a classification sense. It’s not that I don’t want forms of them with compelling stories and less substantive gameplay; I’m a writer by trade, and Ace Attorney is one of my favorite franchises. But I want the focus of video games to be the game
    [23:12] <Teh_Brawler> I.E., interactive media with more story than interactivity should be called interactive film/movie
    [23:13] <Cyber6x> but not interactive game?
    [23:13] <Teh_Brawler> No, because I feel that term is redundant, and also because the game isn’t the focus, the story is
    [23:13] <Cyber6x> Actually, all games are interactive, so that’d be redundant
    [23:14] <Cyber6x> I’m still a little confused on how it hurts games by focusing on story
    [23:15] <Teh_Brawler> Because it’s not taking advantage of the capabilities of the medium. This is a tired analogy of mine, but it’s like making a movie where you watch a man read a book to you. It could work fine, but it’s limiting the medium
    [23:15] <Cyber6x> I do see merit in that whole ‘If you want just a good story, go read a book’ arguement
    [23:16] <Teh_Brawler> Besides, there have been plenty of major companies that have focused on story in their games rather than gameplay, and have suffered for it
    [23:16] <Teh_Brawler> DmC, for one
    [23:16] <Cyber6x> but in the case of the The Walking Dead specifally, and Phoenix Wright to some extent they take great advantage of videogames as a medium
    [23:16] <Teh_Brawler> That’s not really my argument
    [23:17] <Cyber6x> I was was watching the Walking Dead as a movie, it wouldn’t be nearly as affecting correct?
    [23:17] <Teh_Brawler> It’s not that I don’t want games to have good stories, but you can tell when the gameplay was created to fit the story, which is a step backward
    [23:17] <Cyber6x> *If I
    [23:17] <Cyber6x> How did DmC suffer for that?
    [23:17] <Teh_Brawler> I have yet to hear a good thing about the earlier DmCs gameplay wise
    [23:18] <Teh_Brawler> And I’d argue that if the movie were quality, it could be just as impactful
    [23:18] <Cyber6x> That’s funny, the one consistent positive thing about DmC, was that the gameplay is a lot more fast and fluid
    [23:18] <Teh_Brawler> it might be more passive, but I don’t think the investment or emotion would be less present
    [23:18] <Teh_Brawler> The newest one, or all of them?
    [23:18] <Cyber6x> the newest
    [23:18] <Teh_Brawler> I’m talking about the earlier ones
    [23:18] <Cyber6x> Oh, okay
    [23:19] <Teh_Brawler> There’s a reason I posted this in the unpopular opinions thread :P
    [23:19] <Cyber6x> The way you stylized it references the first
    [23:19] <Cyber6x> *latest
    [23:19] <Teh_Brawler> Oh, sorry, that was a mistake
    [23:20] <Cyber6x> Don’t people love DMC for its gameplay? For being really hard and giving you good satisfaction afterwards
    [23:20] <Teh_Brawler> Final Fantasy then
    [23:20] <Teh_Brawler> Or, even better, Metal Gear Solid
    [23:21] <Cyber6x> Anyway, I know that if in TWD game, if I hadn’t of had a hand in the choices of Lee and been forced to react quickly to the situations, I wouldn’t of felt as attached
    [23:21] <Cyber6x> which makes loss/gain that much more meaningful
    [23:21] <Teh_Brawler> Then that may be an exception in the case, but I still don’t think that justifies limiting the gaming experience for the sake of focusing on plot
    [23:21] <Cyber6x> Same with Phoenix Wright, after spending ages trying to figure out what evidence to use, having the ‘eureka!’ moment for myself really makes it shine
    [23:22] <Cyber6x> How does it limit the gaming exprience?
    [23:22] <Cyber6x> I know the gameplay isn’t stellar, focusing on adventure-style movement and QTEs
    [23:24] <Teh_Brawler> Because you’re not gaming, you’re watching a story unfold. I get that it’s an enjoyable experience, but it’s a heavily passive one due to minimal gameplay. The interactivity is serving the story, which, even if there are good examples of games that do it well, still can have a negative impact on the variety and quality of games that can come out
    [23:24] <Teh_Brawler> It’s a connotative issue, but I think it’s a profound one
    [23:25] <Cyber6x> I don’t think the gameplay is as linked to story as heavily as you’re implying
    [23:26] <Teh_Brawler> I don’t get what you mean?
    [23:26] <Cyber6x> Alot of it are just in the moment kind of stuff
    [23:26] <Cyber6x> What you’re doing in TWD is because of the zombie apocylapse, yes
    [23:27] <Cyber6x> but as for most of it being a story unfolding, isn’t a bad thing
    [23:27] <Teh_Brawler> I’m not saying it is inherently
    [23:28] <Cyber6x> We have cutscenes, and in-game cutscenes which emphasis that more highly
    [23:28] <Teh_Brawler> But if we’re saying that TWD and Super Meat Boy are basically the same thing because they’re in the same medium, we’re making assumptions that harm the medium as a whole
    [23:29] <Teh_Brawler> It would be like saying that a game of chess and a documentary about chess that used button pressing to move to the next chapter are both games, which isn’t true
    [23:31] <Cyber6x> That’s part of my point, games can be vastly different things from one other
    [23:31] <Cyber6x> You can have a Walking Dead or Phoenix Wright that focuses on story with minalist gameplay
    [23:31] <Teh_Brawler> And that’s something that I don’t think should be encouraged
    [23:32] <Cyber6x> or a Super Meat Boy or something that has next to no story, but is near pure gameplay
    [23:32] <Cyber6x> If a game wants to take either direction, as long as its entertaining, I have no objection
    [23:32] <Teh_Brawler> I think games should be further classified by focus of production for the sake of encouraging in depth game design
    [23:32] <Teh_Brawler> Well, I do
    [23:33] <Cyber6x> What makes both of those games unique is that there aren’t that many of them
    [23:33] <Cyber6x> most games do focus on gameplay
    [23:33] <Cyber6x> but all 3 you’ve listed are entertaining, no?
    [23:34] <Cyber6x> It’s fine to have games that make you think, make you do, make you cry and whatnot
    [23:34] <Teh_Brawler> I know plenty of people, myself included, who don’t enjoy MGS, FF, or AA
    [23:34] <Cyber6x> Ah, so you don’t enjoy it but you like the stories?
    [23:34] <Cyber6x> Is that your origin for this?
    [23:35] <Teh_Brawler> I do enjoy AA, but only for the story
    [23:35] <Teh_Brawler> The gameplay is frustrating and vague
    [23:35] <Cyber6x> True, often the puzzle logic is broken
    [23:35] <Teh_Brawler> And you’re assuming that I’m saying that a game can’t have emotion or impact
    [23:36] <Teh_Brawler> Which I’m not
    [23:36] <Teh_Brawler> All I’m saying is that the story should benefit the gameplay, not the other way around
    [23:36] <Teh_Brawler> and anything else should be called something besides video game
    [23:37] <Cyber6x> I still don’t agree, having gameplay which adds to a narrative punch is what some videogames pull of spectacularly
    [23:37] <Cyber6x> Bleh, horrible spelling without spellcheck
    [23:37] <Teh_Brawler> Which I think is a minority
    [23:38] <Cyber6x> So, story benefiting gameplay is providing motivation / ability to do things in the game right?
    [23:38] <Teh_Brawler> More or less, in a contextual sense
    [23:38] <Cyber6x> The other way around is what you’re doing contributing to the games story, which can make it a better one
    [23:39] <Cyber6x> which is why videogames can have great stories, non-corveryable through movies or books
    [23:39] <Teh_Brawler> And that’s where we disagree
    [23:39] <Teh_Brawler> You’re not making a game anymore, you’re making an interactive story
    [23:39] <Cyber6x> Right, and those aren’t alright?
    [23:40] <Teh_Brawler> Not as games
    [23:40] <Teh_Brawler> Which goes back to my whole point that they should be called interactive stories
    [23:40] <Cyber6x> But as interactive movies?
    [23:40] <Teh_Brawler> Right
    [23:40] <Cyber6x> We don’t have any sort of movie that you can interact with directly, do we?
    [23:41] <Teh_Brawler> Not in an official sense
    [23:41] <Cyber6x> Yeah, something that’s non-interactive can still can interactivity
    [23:41] <Cyber6x> as pretencious as that sounds
    [23:42] <Teh_Brawler> How?
    [23:42] <Cyber6x> How they affect you, what they make you feel, what they make you think
    [23:42] <Cyber6x> That’s how they’re interactive
    [23:42] <Teh_Brawler> That’s not interactivity, though, that’s impact
    [23:43] <Teh_Brawler> you have no impact on the movie; it continues the same way regardless of how you feel
    [23:43] <Cyber6x> Right, but you as an individual can have different, unique thoughts about a movie
    [23:44] <Cyber6x> and they in-turn, can make you think different things
    [23:44] <Teh_Brawler> But that has no affect on the movie itself
    [23:44] <Teh_Brawler> interactivity implies you can directly impact the content immediately
    [23:44] <Teh_Brawler> as an individual
    [23:44] <Cyber6x> It doesn’t, but I’m talking in the emotional sense
    [23:44] <Cyber6x> you don’t have to be able to actually change something directly for it to be interactive
    [23:44] <Cyber6x> that’s a little too literal
    [23:45] <Teh_Brawler> Then we’re obviously focusing on different things, because I think emotional impact is irrelevant
    [23:45] <Teh_Brawler> The question I’m asking is, is it a game if the focus isn’t on the gameplay?
    [23:45] <Teh_Brawler> And I say no
    [23:46] <Cyber6x> Yes, because it’s still physically interactive to a minmium extent
    [23:46] <Teh_Brawler> But it’s no longer a game, it’s just a story with interactivity
    [23:46] <Cyber6x> Your example of a chess game chapter movement isn’t for obvious reasons, but you’re still controling the characters and whatnot
    [23:46] <Teh_Brawler> We’re obviously not going to agree on this
    [23:46] <Cyber6x> Even if its linear
    [23:46] <Cyber6x> Heh, that’s alright
    [23:47] <Cyber6x> It’s fine to have different opinions
    [23:47] <Cyber6x> Yours are good thoughts and I’m glad you stand by them
    [23:47] <Teh_Brawler> I feel like we’re beating a dead horse on this, so I say it’d be better to just agree to disagree
    [23:47] <Teh_Brawler> You, too
    [23:47] <Cyber6x> Mmhmm
    [23:47] <Cyber6x> Were you going to write-up a piece on your blog about it?
    [23:48] <Teh_Brawler> ..
    [23:48] <Teh_Brawler> .
    [23:48] <Teh_Brawler> Not until you suggested it :P
    [23:48] <Cyber6x> Heh
    [23:49] <Teh_Brawler> It’s kind of funny, because for awhile, I was of the exact opposite opinion
    [23:49] <Cyber6x> Lineararity doesn’t negate something being a videogame, that’s my final thought
    [23:49] <Cyber6x> Oh? What made you change?
    [23:49] <Teh_Brawler> but once I began to think of a game as a system of rules with a set goal, I began to have issues with the idea
    [23:49] <Teh_Brawler> a game has to be able to exist without context, in my mind
    [23:50] <Teh_Brawler> and if the story is necessary for the interactivity to exist, it’s no longer a viable game
    [23:51] <Cyber6x> Aren’t you still doing things in-game, regardless of plot or not?
    [23:53] <Teh_Brawler> Yes, but could you do those things if the plot weren’t there?
    [23:53] <Cyber6x> Isn’t that true for nearly every game ever?
    [23:53] <Cyber6x> Plot provides content
    [23:53] <Cyber6x> Aside from games with no plots
    [23:53] <Teh_Brawler> Nope
    [23:54] <Cyber6x> *Plot provides settings and whatnot
    [23:54] <Teh_Brawler> You could still play Super Meat Boy or New Super Mario Bros. without a plot
    [23:54] <Teh_Brawler> you couldn’t play AA without the plot
    [23:55] <Cyber6x> In SMB you’re a cube of meat to needs to rescue his girlfriend of tofu, hence why she’s at the end of every level
    [23:55] <Cyber6x> In Mario, you’re trying to rescue Peach from Bowser
    [23:55] <Cyber6x> So, no. You wouldn’t be doing those things without the plot
    [23:55] <Teh_Brawler> So you’re telling me that if you didn’t know any of that, it’d be impossible to play either of those games
    [23:56] <Teh_Brawler> If super meat boy just dropped you in without any context, you couldn’t play it
    [23:56] <Cyber6x> Nope, but could could still ‘play’ in the literal sense TWD or AA without the plot
    [23:56] <Cyber6x> wether it be just QTEs or talking to people
    [23:56] <Teh_Brawler> Wait, what?
    [23:56] <Teh_Brawler> Now you’ve lost me
    [23:57] <Cyber6x> You said, if you didn’t know that could you still play it? Yes, but it’d be vastly watered down
    [23:57] <Teh_Brawler> How?
    [23:57] <Teh_Brawler> The gameplay mechanics are still present, and the motivation is still there
    [23:57] <Teh_Brawler> There’s just no story to back it up
    [23:57] <Cyber6x> Imagine starting mid-episode of the walking dead, if the mechanics are still there, you’re still playing
    [23:57] <Cyber6x> still a game
    [23:58] <Cyber6x> AA is a bit different, since it’s actually impossible to progress without the plot
    [23:58] <Teh_Brawler> That’s not the point. The mechanics exist to serve story.
    [23:58] <Cyber6x> But you’d still be able to play, just not well
    [23:58] <Teh_Brawler> Even if you jump in halfway, it’d still be for the point of the story
    [23:58] <Teh_Brawler> otherwise it’d just be a black screen that said A or B
    [23:59] <Teh_Brawler> and you’d pick A or B, with no understanding of consequence
    [23:59] <Cyber6x> Hence why I said it’d be watered down
    [23:59] <Teh_Brawler> That’s not a game. That’s a single choice with no real motivation
    [00:00] <Cyber6x> But there are so many choices in both
    [00:00] <Teh_Brawler> That doesn’t fit the definition of game
    [00:00] <Cyber6x> not binary
    [00:00] <Cyber6x> Gameplay, plot, graphics, music and more all fit together to make a game
    [00:00] <Cyber6x> Taking one away and saying ‘this doesnt function as a game’ isn’t a great arguement
    [00:01] <Teh_Brawler> But that’s the whole point
    [00:01] <Cyber6x> Because if a particular game is centered around one, it’s obviously going to be more detremental
    [00:01] <Cyber6x> Hence why the plot always does exist for those games, so it doesn’t matter.
    [00:01] <Cyber6x> And they still get to be called games
    [00:02] <Teh_Brawler> And as I have said, I disagree
    [00:04] <Teh_Brawler> But, anyways, if you look at Pac-Man, Space Wars, and Pong, none of those games have context (or at least well-known context in Pac-Man’s case), and were still successful playable games
    [00:06] <Cyber6x> But back then, games weren’t able to have games which gameplay was so centered around plot, because of technical limitations right?
    [00:07] <Teh_Brawler> Right, but they were playable nonetheless. You just said that games had to have context to be playable, and those games had none and were still playable
    [00:08] <Cyber6x> I think when I said that, I meant if the plot didn’t exist, you wouldn’t be doing the same things
    [00:08] <Cyber6x> or anything
    [00:08] <Teh_Brawler> Which is my point
    [00:09] <Teh_Brawler> if gameplay is effected at all by the removal of the story, I can’t call it a game anymore
    [00:09] <Cyber6x> That that arguement works on any game?
    [00:09] <Teh_Brawler> Not in my mind
    [00:09] <Cyber6x> I still don’t get that, why does it matter if the plot are there when you play them?
    [00:10] <Teh_Brawler> As I said before, remove the fact that you have to rescue your girlfriend in SMB, and you can still play the game in the same way
    [00:10] <Teh_Brawler> context may be gone, but gameplay can still stay the same
    [00:10] <Cyber6x> That’s rather hypothetical
    [00:10] <Teh_Brawler> take away the context in TWD, and the motivations for your choices either change dramatically, or are removed entirely
    [00:11] <Teh_Brawler> it is, but that’s the fun of game theory
    [00:11] <Cyber6x> That if you were to take away a vital point, the story, from TWD it wouldn’t be as powerful and hence not a game?
    [00:12] <Teh_Brawler> depends on what you mean by powerful
    [00:13] <Teh_Brawler> If you mean that it would have less impact on the player, no
    [00:13] <Teh_Brawler> but if you mean that gameplay would be less involving, yes
    [00:13] <Cyber6x> Alright, another hypothetical thing then:
    [00:14] <Cyber6x> You take away the music from a rhythm game, which hence makes the game unplayable
    [00:14] <Cyber6x> Is that much different?
    [00:15] <Teh_Brawler> Ooh, that’s a great point
    [00:15] <Teh_Brawler> Let me think about that
    [00:15] <Teh_Brawler> Yes, because the music still serves the gameplay
    [00:16] <Teh_Brawler> it’d still be possible to play the game exactly the same way with a metronome
    [00:16] <Teh_Brawler> but the music makes the gameplay more contextual and investing
    [00:17] <Cyber6x> That sounds very similar to story
    [00:17] <Cyber6x> Making the gameplay more contextual and investing
    [00:18] <Teh_Brawler> And there are cases where story does serve game
    [00:18] <Teh_Brawler> and makes it more contextual and investing
    [00:19] <Teh_Brawler> but there’s a difference between that and serving as the reason for the gameplay’s existence
    [00:19] <Teh_Brawler> as I said, it’d be possible to play a rhythm game without music; even without the music, the motivations and goals would stay the same
    [00:21] <Cyber6x> How is it still possible again?
    [00:21] <Teh_Brawler> a metronome rhythm in the background
    [00:21] <Cyber6x> What kinda of rhytmn game are you thinking of?
    [00:22] <Teh_Brawler> DDR, Rhythm Heaven?
    [00:22] <Teh_Brawler> Or are you talking about something like Guitar Hero?
    [00:23] <Cyber6x> I’d say DDR and Gutair Hero are possible
    [00:23] <Cyber6x> But Rhythm Heaven wouldn’t
    [00:23] <Cyber6x> Because you physically can’t detect in time the events you need with just visual aids, right?
    [00:23] <Teh_Brawler> that’s what the metronome would be for
    [00:24] <Cyber6x> Can a metronome re-create the kind of tune that Rhythm Heaven plays?
    [00:25] <Teh_Brawler> In regards to what? If the focus is making an environment where a player can act on cue to make a pattern, a tune is irrelevant
    [00:27] <Cyber6x> In RH, you listen to the music and depending on what you hear decides how fast to expect and how many times to press a button, correct?
    [00:28] <Teh_Brawler> Oh, does it?
    [00:28] <Teh_Brawler> The only games I’ve played on it focus on percussion pattern
    [00:28] <Cyber6x> Yeah, there are visual prompts but as I said, they’re near-impossible to work with on their own
    [00:28] <Cyber6x> Music speeds up, changes beats and whatnot
    [00:29] <Teh_Brawler> Even so, the music affects your understanding of the game, not the other way around
    [00:29] <Teh_Brawler> Wait that’s a really vague way of saying it
    [00:29] <Teh_Brawler> let me put it this way; would the game be changed if a different song were used?
    [00:30] <Cyber6x> Over the same gameplay?
    [00:30] <Cyber6x> Definitely
    [00:30] <Cyber6x> That’d be even worse than no music
    [00:30] <Teh_Brawler> How so?
    [00:30] <Teh_Brawler> Assuming the same tempos were kept
    [00:31] <Cyber6x> Because the music trains you when to press
    [00:31] <Teh_Brawler> But you could do that with a metronome
    [00:31] <Cyber6x> if the signals given by the music were false, it’d be impossible
    [00:32] <Cyber6x> Don’t metronomes only do a single beat with no change up?
    [00:32] <Teh_Brawler> if the focus is tempo of the song, that’s just a rhythm pattern
    [00:32] <Teh_Brawler> yes, but you can speed a metronome up
    [00:33] <Cyber6x> Ah, alright then
    [00:34] <Cyber6x> So it’s different because you can artifically recreate the music without it affecting gameplay?
    [00:34] <Cyber6x> Whereas with plot, it’d be impossible without it?
    [00:34] <Teh_Brawler> In cases like TWD, yes
    [00:34] <Teh_Brawler> like I said, not all games with good stories are bad
    [00:35] <Cyber6x> Just when gameplay relies on it?
    [00:35] <Teh_Brawler> The Mass Effect series, to me at least, is a great example of a game where gameplay is the primary focus, but the story is still good
    [00:35] <Teh_Brawler> exactly

    AYO – #2: Judgement

    Throughout the year, I’ll be writing blog posts in parallel with a video series called “A Year Of” by “Da Blond An Red”. The video series, and by connection these posts, are about introspection and analysis of life.

    I will admit right off the bat that I had a sneaking suspicion that judgement would come into play at some point in this series. In a world where judgement seems to be the catalyst behind every big movement or issue, dealing with my own judgements, as well as the judgements of others, is something that felt inevitable to me.

    I also must admit that I find it difficult to comment, not because I don’t have thoughts on the matter, but because I can sense that my opinions may not be popular. When it comes down to it, I am a white straight Protestant male, and in American culture, that is somewhat of a death sentence. I don’t say that to mean that my life is hard; if anything, I am as well off as people believe most white straight Protestant males are, and I don’t at any point intend to lessen the struggles of minorities, whether in this country, or any country. But I feel that the culture I live in has made decisions about what I’m allowed to say or think simply because my hardships aren’t bad enough, and I’m not willing to make that consession.

    As was said in the video, judgement, in its most objective sense, is something I believe to be genetic. We make judgements about people based on their appearance, personality, actions, words, and surroundings. And, to be honest, I don’t think that’s inherently a bad thing. It would be impossible to process reactions, make friends, or even exist socially without some form of assumption based on circumstantial evidence. Heck, every time you get a job, it’s because someone made a judgement call about you.

    On the other end, though, it’s when those judgements become rigid that the problem occurs. If you met me and the first thing I told you was that I love Jesus, you’d probably get ideas of how that manifests in my daily lifestyle or actions. Nothing wrong with that. But if you allow those assumptions become the basis of my identity to you, and you don’t give me a chance to prove otherwise, that’s when prejudice is created. If you assume that I spend all my time holding a sign that says “God hates fags”, and base your reactions with me off of that, you’re missing who I am, and making me into something I’m not. (I’m not trying to turn this into a wounded Christian post, because it’s not. I can only write what I know)

    I suppose the conclusion I can come to is “don’t judge a book by it’s cover”. Of course, if it were that simple, we would have figured it out awhile ago. I don’t think this is a political thing, and I don’t think that it’s only done by a certain people. I think everyone makes judgements, whether they be good or bad, and I can’t in good conscience tell people to not ever judge, because it’s impossible. I can, however, say that judgement should be approached very carefully, and that an open mind should be taken about who they are, who they can be, and what they can do.

    AYO – #1: Appreciation

    Throughout the year, I’ll be writing blog posts in parallel with a video series called “A Year Of” by “Da Blond An Red”. The video series, and by connection these posts, are about introspection and analysis of life.

    If there’s one thing I’m immensely thankful for, it’s my sense of creativity. I know that sounds abstract and a bit silly, but if there’s one thing that gives my life a vibrance that I wouldn’t trade, it’s my imagination, my sense of humor, and my love of the visual.

    As long as I can remember, I’ve always loved drawing. When I was in elementary school, I remember that I wrote and illustrated an entire book (which was about eight pages long). I only remember the ending, but I can tell you that it made no sense, and was atrocious. But, to me, the merit isn’t in how much quality it had, but the fact that I was able to take a bit of my imagination, a mere flicker of the trains of thought in my mind, and put it down on paper for others. That, to me, is the joy of production: taking a bit of my mind for others to see, and possibly enjoy.

    I think as I’ve gotten older, I’ve begun to transition into the idea that my work must have quality and neatness. While I agree with the idea, it’s obvious that there can be too much emphasis on the idea as a driving force, and I think it’s what has kept me from getting farther than I have. I had written an entire graphic novel by sophomore year, but I scrapped it due to it “not being good enough”. Now, I find myself on the cusp of a brand new comic that could very well be the graphic novel I’ve always dreamed of publishing, and I find myself fearful that my desire for quality will be my ruin.

    I suppose that the mere expression of that fear could be its undoing. Either way, though, “Skratch” is mine. It is my brainchild, and regardless of what happens with it, I’m thankful for the capability to come up with it, and I’m thankful that I started it. I’m thankful that, in the end, I was able to take another little piece of my mind and put down in the world for others to see, and maybe enjoy it.

    My Thoughts on My 2012 (A.K.A. It’s been an odd one)

    It’s 9:45 pm CST in Fort Worth, Texas. I’m sitting on a couch in my parents’ home typing and editing a New Year’s Eve post on my 3-year-old Macbook Pro. And I’m really not sure what to say.

    I have to be honest that this year has taken its toll on me. I’ve had a lot more downs than ups this year, but the ups were there, and were definitely fun. I just suppose that, as a writer, I don’t want to go down the easy road of baring my soul for all to see when it’s really not necessary. Suffice it to say, it’s been a rough year.

    As I’m writing this, I’m 20 years old, single, and I haven’t been given an opportunity to dive into what I’m truly interested in. My desires to preach are nothing but abstract at the moment, and I have yet to finish or publish anything I’ve written that has gained me any real notoriety (I don’t mean that I want to be famous, but being in the media means success is based on audience size). I’ve also lost a lot of my hair in the last year (nitpicky, I know), I’m dealing with a lot of things in my life that have caused patterns of sinful behavior, and I’m facing the fact that I may have to spend another year in college after all of my friends have graduated.

    And yet, I’m still thankful for this past year.

    I thank the Lord that all the things I’ve gone through have been for my benefit, even if they’ve been tough. If this year hadn’t happened, I’d still be fighting my depression on my own, as well as my ADD. If this year hadn’t happened, I’d still be struggling with self esteem issues about my physical appearance, and my worth as a man. If this year hadn’t happened, I’d probably still be questioning myself in a lot of ways that I now have peace in. Overall, I’m just a much happier person now than I’ve been for years.

    That’s not to say that everything has been fixed. I have to reinsert myself into a life that I haven’t had a lot of success living for awhile. I still have to face obstacles that threaten to mess everything up, whether they be new ones or old ones. And I have to learn behavioral patterns that should have been a part of my life years ago. Still, I feel more prepared to live than I have in a long while.

    In 2013, I will begin “The Obscure and Quite Frankly Odd Adventures of Skratch and The Unreadable”, a brain child of mine that has been in preparation for 9 months. I will also continue to be the editorial cartoonist for the OU Daily, which is an immense fulfillment of my desire for publication. I will begin the year with a job, and with a clear view on who I want to become. And I pray that I travel through this year with love, humility, and compassion.

    I really feel that 2013 is the beginning of a new phase of life for me, and I can say with honesty that I am excited for every bit of it.

    Happy new year, everyone. I hope that it’s a good one.