Friday, February 10, 2012
Contraceptive use among American women who have had sex (2006-2008):
Note: Excludes "natural family planning"
From Mother Jones via Daily Kos.
Wednesday, February 8, 2012
Images via Daily Kos.
Tuesday, February 7, 2012
I feel bad saying it, because it's my former employer and I like them a lot, but Volition's Jameson Durall is dead wrong when he says that banning used game sales is a good thing.
Let me explain. At some point, I want to play a game that maybe isn't in print anymore. My options are (a) buy a used copy, or (b) download the ROM and try to emulate it. My choice is almost entirely dependent on what hardware the game requires. Yeah, I "steal" lots of old games that I don't have the system for and that you can't buy new anyway. I don't feel bad about it. I also buy used games when I can't get them new. I don't feel bad about that either. I never buy used games when I can get them new, though, so I'm not the person the publishers are worried about.
For computer games, I think Durall is 100% on. Because of services like Steam, you can now buy computer games from almost any era - stuff you can't find in stores - and download it directly to your machine. And that's great. The consumer gets an old game at a reasonable price (or a new indie title that you can't buy anywhere else) and the publisher makes a few bucks.
But for consoles... it's great that I can still go back and play the old Metroid and Mario games. They're part of our history as a gaming culture. But you know what? So is Assassin's Creed. So is Uncharted. Imagine if Super Mario Brothers would only play on the first console you plugged it into? Imagine if Metroid required an internet connection to a server that had been shut down ten years ago? We'd have completely lost that part of our heritage as computer gamers. And that would be a tragedy. And it will be a tragedy in another ten years when nobody can get the full Arkham City or Skyrim experience because they're locked out of some first-sale DLC (and for that matter, can't run anything by Ubisoft at all).
Except it really won't be, because pirates will do what pirates do, which is to crack the stuff and distribute it on back channels. And you know what? I'll download it and play it because, hey, what are you going to do about it?
Encourage it, evidently. Good job, Durall.
Monday, February 6, 2012
Evidently, some scientists figured out how to put mammalian nerves back together, so full or nearly full function is restored in a few weeks after serious damage. The article is light on details, and it's not clear if the severing of the nerve needs to be clean for it to work (or what the window for repairing it is), but this is pretty cool stuff nonetheless.
Giants are the rock to your scissors. Hope we play someone else next year.
Wednesday, February 1, 2012
Adding to my previous post, it seems Monte Cook isn't the only one at Wizards who is saying the right things.
So Monte Cook is talking about the design for the upcoming D&D 5th Edition. And so far, he's managed to do an analysis of the first four (really five) editions of the game using something like GNS theory. His take, as far as I can tell, is that the early editions were more narrativist, 3E was simulationist, and 4E was gamist.
That's not a bad breakdown. He also adds two additional axes: level of complexity and level of player payout. In other words, in addition to story, immersion, and challenge, do players and GMs want something that's easy to run? How often do they need to feel awesome?
Monday, January 30, 2012
Oh wait: I can just totally do that.
When I worked at Volition, one of the big selling points for our games - especially Saint's Row - was player character customization. You could literally make a character that looked like anyone, even you. The Elder Scrolls games since Oblivion have had a similar feature. I can guarantee you that this sold copies. I can't tell you how many (I don't know) but it was a huge part of the marketing, at least for SR1.
Then there are games that only play at having customization: pretty much all of the MMOs; Mass Effect and Dragon Age and their sequels; etc. These games give you a few superficial choices like hair and skin color, but not much more. And that means that certain physical character archetypes are right out. Want to be a jolly fat guy? An old, wizened crone? A lanky farm boy? Too bad.
Looks like Rmoney's gonna be the nominee, but don't just go and bet ten grand on him yet - Paul could take Maine and Gingrich (or Santorum) could take Minnesota. The best chance for a not-Romney would be for man-on-dog Ricky to get out of the race, but he's at least as persistent as he is delusional.
The best chance for a primary fight that goes all the way to the convention - and maybe even a brokered result - is to make this a three-way, ASAP. Barring that, maybe a Santorum exit and Newt endorsement just before Super Tuesday. The big question is: with Mitt having all the money and practicing a scorched-earth strategy, can Gingrich even survive until March?
And if he does, what about the prospect of a third-party candidate; a nutjob independent like Trump or even a Ron Paul third-party candidacy? My good libertarian friend insists Paul would never do it, but I'm not so sure.
I've got my popcorn. Let's relax and see how this all plays out.