I wrote about a fairly interesting debate between Alexander Bruce (who I have some history of mild and friendly antagonism with) and John Edwards of ThatGameCompany, and the piece is up on Gamasutra. I didn’t even find out who cleaned up in Super Tuesday!
I bought my MacBook Air today and it really is a great little machine. This is my third Apple purchase (phone, pad, air), though I’ve received three iPods as gifts from my parents over the years. For someone who has read a bit and pays attention to the technology he uses, buying into an Apple product means buying into all the criticism of production processes, Foxconn abuses, leaderly bullying and abuse by the late Jobs, etc, etc. Yes, there aren’t a lot of options for ethical electronics purchases, and the competition might be as bay or worse than Apple and it’s suppliers, but that’s a pretty lame excuse.
I got started thinking about the morality of these purchases from the perspective of someone in the future. What are our great-grandchildren going to think about our present habits, about what’s presently permissible? It’s not hard to imagine there will be things that seem barbaric and downright mad to them (Slavery was once acceptable). I heard a story about an actress in Hollywood in the 20s whose name escapes me – she was an early feminist, expected equality in pay, treatment, etc, and never received it from the studios or from the rest of society. In the end, she went mad, but the truth was (to us) everyone else was mad. She was just ahead of her time.
While it’s pretty clear one source of condemnation for our generation will be the treatment of animals. But my great new apple things got me thinking about whether we will be condemned for our purchases and habits of consumption.
In 100 years time school children will likely learn all about how the early 21st Century burned fossil fuels, mined the earth barren, all the while knowing that one day it would all run out… And kept on using them anyway. We even used fossil fuels for transport, they will be told and they may well be incredulous. “You mean they wasted precious oil just going places? What a luxury!” Perhaps they won’t all even be in the same room, but commuting via high speed Internet.
They will also be incredulous that anyone could be so ignorant and uncaring as to buy gadgets knowing full well they were causing wars in other parts of the world… but they kept doing it anyway. Perhaps out present condition will be given a catchy name – distributed denial of responsibility, where everyone knows but no one believes they can do anything about it…
And it’s hard to argue they won’t be right. It is bizarre that we do many of the things we do. It is also horribly unfair that we are delivering a for our children’s children that has the potential to be horrid.
I’m about 3/4 of the way there with the chapter, and the last quarter should come reasonably smoothly tomorrow. It has benefited most, so far, from what is the most extensive culling I have ever done to a paper. I forgot to word count the bits I’ve now excised, but I suspect it’s around four thousand words.
It’s taken on quite the life of its own in a rather scary fashion, and it feels like an snidely different paper from the one I presented in Oxford. Most sadly of all, however, I ended up removing the better part of all my discussion of Latour, but it definitely had to go. There just wasn’t the space – conceptual or numerical – for a thoroughly integrated discussion of ANT or even a cut-rate version of Latour’s basic ideas (the trouble being he doesn’t really have basic ideas, but rather an entire system). I’ve feel like I’ve kept the spirit of Latour in there by talking a lot about specific objects and even though I don’t mention flat-ontology or actor-network theory specifically I think readers familiar with those ideas will notice the influence.
Two last chunks of writing remain for Friday – something concluding and summarising the big middle section and leading into the somewhat more bizarre third section, and a bit more discussion in the third and final section. It’s probably the closest to what I originally had in mind for the paper – emergent ‘mind-community’ which knows stuff, deals with controversies, has some kind of total-community-emergent-authority: some kind of aggregate result of all the best minds thinking about video game criticism all scuffling with each other and having arguments. I’m not sure how convinced I am by my own idea here anymore, but I can at least position it speculatively.
T help motivate myself, I’m going to promise that I can go buy a replacement for my now dead laptop once I finish. I’m probably going to get a MacBook Air. It’s about $600 cheaper than I was expecting, and as it’ll be primarily a portable writing machine I’ll make do with the entry level model. That’s been a great decision with my iPad that I haven’t regretted.
Like Graham Harman wrote about a few months back (which I linked to), if a significant portion of my life and career is reliant on a piece of hardware it’s not a bad idea to treat it as a bit more essential than usual. His point was about having two of them, but I’ll be content with one that just works efficiently and that won’t start falling apart after a few years of hard work. My last Toshiba (a gift from my parents) only lasted a disappointing two years. I did work it pretty hard though, to be fair and the slightly more compact one that my brother got (essentially the same model but smaller) is still going strong like the day he turned it on. It’s certainly running a lot more smoothly than mine has for a long time.
I got my GDC schedule appointments today, and I imagine I won’t be able to cover panels and sessions for Gamasutra on my iPhone or iPad. I did write this post entirely on my iPhone, but as quick as I am (above average quickness I’d say) it’s nothing compared to what I can do with a full ten fingers and a proper keyboard.
…there will be an upside and a downside just as with every choice in life. The upside is that you’re likely to take a longer historical perspective and not become bewitched by the transient, chiselling fashions of Leiter-ranked university departments, nor will you be so chipper and facile about hunting for “bad arguments” in authors such as Plato and Leibniz. The downside is that you’ll tend to view great works of philosophy as existing on a plane far above that of normal human Ph.D.’s, and as a result you may become depressed about your own ability to make a real contribution to the field, and thus you may begin to do purely historical work (which certainly has its place, but continental philosophy has often lost all sight of the distinction between historical and systematic work).
Welp, that’s certainly the case for myself. I wish to be as original and ground-breaking as any Plato, etc. but what are the actual chances I am? Pretty slim. Certainly the chances that I hit that target on the first shot, as it were, are almost impossible. I’m just not that good.
- Ziplines, but the larger point is there seemed to be plenty of freedom of movement in the arenas where firefights occur. Some of the other sections looked more scripted/tunneled.
- I liked that the hands and arms were quite prominent and active, though perhaps not to the degree seen in FC2.
- Some of the stealth looked okay, that was always a very hit-n-miss aspect of FC2.
- The jungles are looking pretty.
- Super glad to see that the crouch-slide maneuver is back! This is like one of the coollest things about movement in FC2.
- Press ‘A’ to mantle. More games really should be doing this type of thing.
- The guns (well, we saw three of them: an AK, a pistol and a shotgun, plus a grenade if that counts) seem nice and meaty.
- FUCK YEAH, SHARKS!
Things that I disliked:
- The generic voice over. I said it on twitter, but FC2 never needed protagonist voice because your hands and arms were expressive enough. Everything that needed to be “said” int he game was said through your hands (shoot, grab, splint, heal, etc)
- Return of the pseudo-mystical elements from Far Cry 1 & the earlier games. The horror-realism of FC2 would have been diminished if there was any supernatural element. You can’t have both Lovecraft and God/Magic.
- Was there any fire propagation? Granted, it’s a jungle not a crackling African savannah but it’d be a real shame if they pulled out that tech just for some reason like “the jungle is too wet” or whatever. Napalm burns wet things, I’m sure. Oh well.
- The existence of a minimap.
- I didn’t notice how this was working till Brendan pointed it out – but arrows that point to every enemy? What is the point of that?! This run-through is obviously on an easy difficulty setting (he spends much too long out of cover to live if it were anything else) so hopefully these things are only guides for the easier settings (or perhaps they can be turned off, the are very distracting).
- I’m going to miss the authentic accents, and I don’t care what anyone says about rushed dialogue. It was never that bad (except for in a few places) but I’ll take rushed authentic accents over the best amero-generic ones six our of seven days of the week.