Archive for January, 2009

In Which Windows 7 Bug Reports Happen

I have begun to submit Windows 7 bug reports. I’m sure Microsoft loves me all the more for this gesture.


It is possible to drag a window beneath the taskbar. It is visible beneath the glistening surface of the taskbar, like a moose encased in ice.

Please to be seeing picture:


Exploration and Scene Based Gaming

Gamers can be classified into several categories. I happen to fall into the “Exploration gamer” stereotype, meaning that although I enjoy a challenge, I’d rather face an easy, interesting boss and stroll through lots of interesting locations than have to analyse the strategy of a ridiculously hard (yet dull) boss to proceed. There’s not necessarily anything wrong with this preference either; I just happen to really enjoy games like Seiklus and Knytt Stories more than others might. Even in World of WarCraft or the Elder Scrolls games, my default gameplay activity is to actively avoid combat and just wander around to see everything. (Why yes, I do enjoy playing as a rogue. Thank you for asking.)

The gaming habits of others may differ. (Yes, this post is in response to that one. Go read it.)

The problem with being an exploration gamer is that I’m quite likely to give up way too soon on a challenge and play something else or use cheat codes if I just can’t get past a certain point in the game. This tendency is exacerbated by my sudden decrease in time upon arriving at college. It doesn’t make me any less of a gamer, it just means I want something different out of a game than you do; “the scenery, the story, the poetry of movement”, if you will. I watch intro movies, for goodness sake. 😉

This being said, while the Nintendo patent for scene based gaming mentions the “experience”, I don’t really think it’s aimed at exploration gamers.  No, the patent seems to be aimed at casual gamers who would be unable to complete the game otherwise. At certain points, Zelda really is just a lot of fun to watch. The puzzles can be/are frustrating for the casual market they’re trying to cater to, though. This video walkthrough system sounds very similar to what was implanted in the puzzle game Professor Fizzwizzle, which was loved by both casual gamers and hardcore puzzle solvers. Hopefully this is a sign that Nintendo is going ahead with what aging Zelda fans have wanted for a while: much harder puzzles.

Think about it. Miyamoto has said the franchise “does need some big new unique ideas.” With new ideas will hopefully come an increase in difficulty; an important factor which seems to have been declining in recent releases. Whether the reduced difficulty is perceived or actual is up for discussion (repeated use of common metaphors and concepts may make new titles seem easier to players who have been through several installments in the series already), but people who like a series are likely to play multiple installments of it.

But I digress. If scene based gaming means that Nintendo can make games significantly new, different, and harder without loosing the casual audiance they currently cater to or the old school gamers they attracted in the first place, so much the better.

So what if casual gamers want to watch Zelda like an overpriced DVD? As long as the core gameplay is intact for everyone else, I don’t really see the fuss about scene-based gaming as anything more as elitism.

Reflections on “Reflections on Gaza”

Last year, Barack Obama made the comment that “no one has suffered more than the Palestinians.” Personally, I would have thought the Jews would also be likely candidates for the title, what with that whole Holocaust thing around World War II, and being constantly attacked by Palestinians, and all that.

So maybe Israel isn’t too popular in the civilized world right now. The uncivilized one either, actually. It seems like people are going a bit hard on them though. I mean, there was massive public outcry about “breaking international law” when they Israel invaded Gaza. Never mind that Hamas broke it months ago (and continues to break it) by repeatedly firing rockets from Gaza into highly populated non-military related Israeli areas. The word “terrorism” gets tossed around a lot, but Hamas activity does seem to fit the bill.

That’s why I’m slightly confused when I read things like this.

  • Dropping leaflets asking civilians to stay away from dangerous places is bad? I mean, it seems like an obvious thing, but Hamas keeps staking out in heavily populated areas. It’s not exactly propaganda either…
  • I’m not entirely sure why Israel is  denying journalists access to the strip. They might be concerned about Hamas getting too much information about their military activity. If you’ll remember, the US did something similar two days into the Iraq invasion. I’m not saying it’s right, I’m just saying it’s understandable.
    • Alternatively, they might just want to avoid inevitable headlines like, “Journalist Killed as Israel Continues Gaza Terrorism”
  • The Britain/France analogy doesn’t work, because Britain hasn’t been launching missiles into high-population civilian areas in France. They also haven’t been using civilians as human shields and setting up command centers in populated civilian apartment buildings.
  • Hey, if militants in a school are lobbing mortars at you, there are only so many options. It was tragic, and Israel should have a better plan for such situations, but at least some of the blame should go to Hamas here. What did they think was going to happen? It didn’t improve the world’s opinion of Israel when they tried it. It’s just messy all around.

So, right. I’m definitely not the best person to be making commentary on international affairs. We now return you to your regularly scheduled blog.

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