Stupid Defenses for the 2017 version of Ducktales

Okay, confession… for as much as I bash TV Tropes, the actual wiki is still a fun read and every once in awhile has some interesting trivia or observations that hold water. Call it a case of a broken clock being right twice a day if you want, but there is some good stuff there.

But there is also still a lot of stupidity, especially in the “YMMV” sections. I just recently beat Super Mario RPG again, and then read their page… and they describe it as if the game is insanely hard (I played without benefit of a walkthrough and it is honestly piss-easy).

Just now I somehow got to reading their YMMV page for the Ducktales reboot which began in 2017, and immediately the facepalming began.

For what it’s worth… I’m not a fan of Ducktales 2017. It started out with promise, but I had two major problems:

First of all, too much of it was reminding me of the style of writing used in shows such as Codename Kids Next Door and My Little Pony, where basically it wants you to take it seriously and yet will sacrifice everything for a joke. It’s funny how this is such a problem now when, if you watch the special features of movies like Back to the Future, they knew that being a comedy didn’t justify jokes at the expense of everything else.

This quote from TV Tropes sums up my problem nicely:

Angst? What Angst?: A criticism of the show that has popped up. It’s been noticed that the show tends to put overt focus on comedy at critical moments, that characters often react blithely to danger, and that emotional traumas are either glossed over or truncated.

Again, exactly the kind of crap I hate about most modern cartoons, and one reason I advocate that the 1980s and 90s were better (though admittedly, the much-beloved 1987 version of Ninja Turtles is where this particular cancer began).

My second problem with Ducktales 2017 is…. Webby.

At first, I joined with the rest of the internet in proclaiming her awesome. Thing is, immediately afterwards I saw this episode involving the boys taking her to a Chuck E. Cheese-style restaurant, and… well, without going into it, it became clear that the writers mistook “being quirky” for being a complete dodo. The breaking point for me was a scene where Dewey explains a white lie to her (a cheap way to get cups and straws) and even though she sees what he did and it isn’t hard, she keeps screwing up. In a situation where all she had to do was let a waiter think she wanted the cup for water and then wind up actually getting fruit juice.

That’s just one part… the entire episode is basically “look at how exceptional Webby is!” And I mean “exceptional” in a bad way. And apparently, this is all justified by her being a bit of a shut-in.

If I may be controversial for a moment… it kind of amuses me that people hate Teen Titans Go. I’ll admit I did at first, but after awhile I got into it. And see, part of what makes TTG work is that it never pretends to be serious or acting like it gives any sort of a shit. It’s stupid and it knows it. Shows like Ducktales 2017, on the other hand, are convinced they’re masterpieces even while having writing that wouldn’t be out of place in TTG, and its that little level of pretension that makes it just so much worse.

….

But I was mentioning stupid defenses.

For that, I go to the Broken Base page.

Early on, that page presents the reader with this:

Should the show even have violent conflicts between the heroes and the villains? Fans of the comics say it goes against everything the Duck comics stand for, while television viewers point out the fact that TV shows need to have faster-paced narratives with personal conflicts between the heroes and the villains. Adding onto this is the fact that the majority of the show’s villains are more bloodthirsty than they are in the comics, which several fans believe necessitates the use of violence by the heroes to vanquish the villains and restore justice and peace.

Sorry, this isn’t even opinion… the fans of the comics are unequivocably correct here.

Let’s start with “television viewers point out the fact that TV shows need to have faster-paced narratives with personal conflicts between the heroes and the villains.” Note they said “fact,” so apparently all television needs “faster-paced narratives” with “personal conflicts between heroes and villains.”

Because, you know, absolutely nobody watched Nickelodeon’s/Disney’s Doug back in the day… or Garfield and Friends… or Life With Louie… or Pepper Ann… or the Flintstones… or this long-running franchise starring a boy named Charlie Brown… OH WAIT those are all really well-known and considered classic.

Also, this shit about how comics are somehow allowed to be slower? The Carl Barks stories (which is what Ducktales is based on) were written from the 1940s to the 1960s, the era of compressed stories and three-stories-per-issue.

The second half, “the show’s villains are more bloodthirsty than before” runs right up against the Thermian Argument. That is, put simply, it ignores the fact that the only reason they’re “more bloodthirsty” is because the writers made them that way. So its a problem they brought on themselves.

There is one more problem, but we’ll get to it in a bit.

Scrolling down a bit we get this gem:

Should the show have an overarching Big Bad? One side points out that while the original comics have recurring antagonists, they didn’t have a be-all overarching villain despite a serialized narrative. The other side points out that what works in comics doesn’t always make it way into television (which usually does not run as long as comics and thus needs a tighter narrative), and how serialized television always has an overarching villain.

To repeat, the “what works in comics…” argument doesn’t even fly here because its not taking into account the period the original comics came from, where the model was very different. As for “serialized television always has an overarching villain” this is patentedly untrue, as plenty of cartoons even today don’t have an overarching villain, or even a villain at all.

But there is another reason this and the other defense in Ducktales 2017’s favor don’t work… and it’s invoked by the mere fact that I have to always say “2017” so you don’t think I’m talking about the first Ducktales cartoon from the 1980s.

Yeah, consider that: this is a reboot. So if all these things were inevitable or somehow mandatory, the original cartoon would’ve suffered from the same problems.

Funny, then, that it doesn’t!

This is exactly what makes these defenses so braindead: That they ignore the blatant fact that Ducktales has been done before and done very differently. It’s kind of hard to take claims of “it must be this way” seriously when you can point to the same thing being done elsewhere and say “what about this, then?”

It’s just like people who defend the flaws of the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy but then can’t answer why those same flaws weren’t present in the Ralph Bakshi version (which isn’t denying that said version has its own flaws. The point is that if you claim a certain flaw is something somehow necessitated by the medium, then it has to logically happen every single time an adaptation is made into that medium. If there’s even one instance where it doesn’t, then its not necessitated and thus, you are full of shit).

But I know this is likely to fall on deaf ears. Humans are not logical creatures and are more about justification than fact.

One of the dumbest conversations I ever had, in fact…. someone in a Youtube comment claimed that 2nd Edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons was Gary Gygax’s proudest achievement… and I linked him to an interview where Gary himself outright stated he’d had nothing to do with 2nd Edition and did not approve of it. This person immediately went on to call me names and accuse me of having all sorts of blindnesses in the face of the fact of the man himself saying he had nothing to do with 2nd Edition. This, friends, is humanity in a microcosm.

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Reviewing a Review for “A Primer for Old-Skool Roleplaying”

Well, it happened. I got triggered.

Actually, what happened was I discussed Dungeons & Dragons and wound up bringing up the classic Primer on Old-School Roleplaying PDF by Michael Finch, which led the person I conversed with to mention a review of it on RPG.net by one Leonaru.

For what its worth, I think Leonaru actually has a bunch of solid points–namely that there’s not much reason the things the Primer describes needs be limited to just “old school” roleplaying, as the lessons could really be applied to any game.

At the same time, there seems to be a lot of “missing the forest for the trees” and over-focusing on tangential trivia which is irrelevant to the point the PDF tries to make. A lot of paragraphs devolve into nitpicking of “Oh technically rules such as this existed in the Greyhawk supplement and this somehow disproves the Primer’s point” when no, it doesn’t–precisely because the reviewer himself pointed out that the lessons could be applied to any system, old and new. I’ll admit I tend to ignore all the “old vs new” crap as so much puffery and see the original PDF as just a suggestion on how to make any gaming more fun.

The worst of it though, is when Leonaru turns a blind eye to real trends or tries to justify them with false equivolencies. These are the parts that bother me.

The second “Zen moment” is called Player Skill, not Character Abilities. The message is that old school player don’t rely on the hardcoded abilities their characters have but instead are (once more) creative and describe everything. Of course, the dichotomy here is false one – having a skill on your character sheet doesn’t prevent you from describing what your character does.

The problem is this is true only in an examination of the text, but the PDF wasn’t describing the text, it was describing trends he noticed in real-world play (and I’ve seen similar stories from other sources). As a thing, this does indeed happen–putting more and more things on a character sheet reinforces the idea in the player’s mind that all their possible actions are described by their character sheet or the rulebook. Surely Leonaru has had people be like “where is there a rule for that in the text?” at some point.

This understanding is a basic part of game design, and its used in video games all the time. Mario can’t break the block at first, but the block does indeed react, creating the expectation that if something changes, he will be able to break it. Mario catches the mushroom, suddenly gets bigger, and now the player decides to hit that block again and see what happens. This isn’t an arbitrary thing, its a known part of gamer psychology that designers rely on and design games around.

(And please don’t give me a “never shall the twain meet” argument that says video game lessons aren’t applicable to pen n’ paper, because neither exists in a vacuum and both clearly rely on each other, and game design regardless of medium doesn’t change so much as to totally alienate the two).

The third “Zen moment” is called Heroic, not Superhero. Here, the authors describes that old school games are gritty, with player character that don’t have “super-abilities”. I guess being able to fly, bringing back people from the dead or teleportation don’t count as superpowers. The example here is that players don’t become Superman, they become Batman. How Finch could overlooked that the abilities an OD&D character (especially the mage) can gain include flight, X-ray vision and being able to deal with a dozen mooks at once is beyond me. These aren’t just Batman-level abilities. This is literally Superman territory. The other examples aren’t any better: Apparently an OD&D character will never become “stronger than a dragon”. Considering that an OD&D white dragon has no more than five hit dice, this is (again) ridiculous and makes me question whether the author is familiar with the content of his own retroclone.

This is the part where Leonaru’s review really bothered me, because its sooo similar to arguments I used to hear from Tropers and Bronies and such ilk, false equivolencies used to defend the indefensible. Oh, This Cord or whatever new character in their colored horsey cartoon is okay because there was a similar character in Star Trek, even though Star Trek is a completely different type of show and the character there had a different mechanic and execution anyway!

By Leonaru’s logic here, if I went up to his game table, rolled up a fresh first-level character, and immediately said “I lift Mt. Everest above my head,” it would be completely okay because I could say “well the Mage is gonna get X-Ray vision at level whatever, how is that not just as ridiculous?”

But, calming down, I realize I’m getting ahead of myself. See, I realize there’s a bigger reason this is wrong. Here’s an actual passage from the section Leonaru is responding to:

Old school gaming …. is the fantasy of taking a guy without tremendous powers – a guy much like yourself but somewhat stronger, or with slight magic powers – and becoming a king or a feared sorcerer over time. It’s not about a guy who can, at the start of the game, take on ten club-wielding peasants at once.

So it isn’t just that Leonaru is logically faulty, its also that his argument is a strawman on top of everything. He would have you believe Finch thinks there are no “superpowers” in Old-School Roleplaying, when the actual argument is they should be earned, not given to first-level players.

And the trend of handing out powers is indeed something that happens, in imitation of modern computer RPGs (see what I mean about how the two fields aren’t so different?) where its common to have an at-will ability, which in the case of even non-magical fighters can be something like a “Smite” attack or other Naruto ninja technique…. completely ignoring that in context Naruto trained for years to learn his shit and your character did not. The original Primer was written in 2008, and the problem is only more pronounced with the advent of 5th Edition which gave you shit like “Cantrips.”

A BRIEF TANGENT

I wanna talk about said Cantrips real quick. They aren’t really related to Finch or Leonaru, but they’re another example of people saying “X makes Y okay.” Spoony described them in his episode on 5th Edition D&D (which you can still find on Youtube), but to put simply, they are at-will abilities freely handed out to starting mages (which one depends on which specialist class you are). At least one of them is a poison cloud with a wide radius which does 1d12 and no saving throw. And this can be done without cost. You can literally spam this attack each round.

Now if you’re sane, that’s fucking terrifying. I already envision every combat encounter becoming “the specialist mage spams his poison mist until all the kobolds are dead,” or else using it to block passages or deter pursuers… resource management and actual thought are a thing of the past.

Now, people tried to defend this by saying that a lot of the specialist abilities are no different than firing an arrow. Which might be true for some of the weaker ones… but you know players are gonna minmax like a mother fucker (the system is practically designed for it) and use the overpowered ones, and literally everything is gonna be “I throw my at-will fireball and catch the entire house on fire!” and other just absolutely devastating, campaign-destroying things Wizards has just now handed players.

But hey, in the old days people shot arrows from bows, so this is somehow okay! I guess in the old days, people used to shit in the forest, so now I’m gonna shit on your bed!

TANGENT END

So getting back to Leonaru’s editorial, the last part that really bothered me was this:

The last “Zen moment” is called Game Balance. He first message here is that old school games shouldn’t scale encounters according to the party’s power. They should be random and deadly. D&D has random encounter tables in all editions up to D&D 3e and nothing forces a DM to balance encounters, so once more, I fail to see what’s specific to OD&D about this

Oh, nothing “forces” you to scale encounters. There are absolutely no modules, “suggestions” or online articles which encourage it… well there are, but you can ignore them, right? After all, its not like you’ll be kicked out of the RPGa if you don’t balance conflicts so the players will always win (like what happened to Spoony–see his “leaping wizards” video). It’s not hard-coded, therefore its not a thing that happens!

Hey, let me make a few similar statements:

There’s no hard-coded rule that prevents you from making a video game with an Adults-Only ESRB rating. What? Popular retailers like Wal-Mart and entire countries like Australia might refuse to stock your game? Well that’s on them, its not encouraging you to do anything!

There’s no hard-coded rule that comics in the 1960s had to submit to the Comics Code Authority. Yeah, popular retailers won’t stock it and you’ll make no profit, but its not a hard-coded rule per say…

There’s no hard-coded rule that Hollywood movies have to feature a white American protagonist. Sure distributors might shaft your movie on the grounds of fearing lack of profitability if you don’t, and you might be technically veto’d by said distributor if they have significant say in the production, but there’s not actually a rule for it…

Hell, here’s a real one I once heard–someone on TV Tropes once argued there was still Free Speech in Nazi Germany because you could, technically, still just walk up to individual people and talk to them. Sure, you might get arrested if you said something about the regime, but you could still do it, so that’s free speech, right?

People often accuse me of treating people like they’re idiots. Maybe I would stop doing that if people would start thinking things through to their logical conclusion and realize how their rationalizations could be use to justify stupid or outright wrong things (or even how their rationalizations often just fly in the face of observed reality), and instead make honest, good-faith attempts to understand where opposing viewpoints are coming from. Just a suggestion, feel free to ignore it.

Sigh

When I was drafting my previous blog entry about my understanding of D&D, I originally had a much longer segment (ironically, bashing the “old school” players, which I’d had bad experiences with) which I cut out because, frankly, the post was running too long.

In that segment, I said one of my problems with any group or ideology is that the parts you like or agree with are always surrounded by stuff you wish would just go away. In my case, I was attracted to the “old-school” style of play by the playstyle described in the Primer… but then the communities I discovered had all-sorts of hang-ups I just didn’t jive with. For example, I like eighties cartoons, anime (though not most modern garbage) and video games, and honestly find a lot of old pulp fantasy boring, cliche’d, badly-written and at best often having a “good idea buried in a terrible story” syndrome, and finally, I don’t see a good reason a female PC can’t be a fighter (my feelings on gender are “the only reason a woman can’t hold a sword is if she has no hands. You think she’s gonna care about gender roles when her life is on the line?”)

All of this was stuff that just plain didn’t fly with them. If you played old-school, you had to hate anything not eurocentric, absolutely adore those old pulps, any video game more recent than Pac-Man was verboten (at least one guy admitted to liking Dragon’s Lair), and for fucks sake, women were chattel fit only to be fucked (one guy I ran into came off as positively obsessed with sex… and he claimed to be a teacher, which in retrospect is worrying). I remember suggesting stealing ideas from Journey to the West, but oh, that wasn’t allowed strictly because it was Chinese and therefore not full of white people.

The thing is the opposite side of the fence has never seemed much more appealing to me. Sure, a 5e player might accept my weird Super Sentai-loving ways and that I’m completely okay with the concept of Batman secretly being a woman, but then I’d have to play a version of the game I’m not sure I’d enjoy, run a way that would run counter to how I’d want to play it–I already predict (as I did in my previous blog entry) that I’d be that guy playing as Cyclops, fighting against an optic-beam-proof robot, and be saying “well, the floor below the robot isn’t protected, so I blow a hole in the floor and try to make the robot lose its footing,” only to have the DM gasp because oh shit, suddenly there’s complex rules he has to look up because he’s too whipped (or just uncreative) to make up a rule for that on the spot.

I’ve run into these people. They exist. Don’t fucking tell me they don’t.

Again, fuck games that require multiple players. No wonder more people just prefer computer games–computers may not be smart, but at least they’re logically consistent.

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My Understanding of Dungeons & Dragons

Note: If that Wayc guy still wants to contact me, I replied to his comment with how to contact me. I didn’t hear from him after that so I assumed he hadn’t seen it, and he left me no way to contact him.

We now begin the blog post proper

….

So, while I rarely got a chance to play the actual pen n’ paper Dungeons & Dragons, I do read a lot about it, and here’s what I’ve come to understand.

Keep in mind, I’m speaking as a guy who was introduced through computer games, which is normally a bad thing, but…

Well… apparently (especially if blogs like Grognardia and documents like “A Primer on Old-School Gaming” are any indication) if you want to get the experience of playing D&D in video game form, the place to look is NOT Pool of Radiance, Baldur’s Gate, or Wizardry…

… Rather, the place to look is games like Zork, King’s Quest, and Monkey Island.

The way a lot of sources describe the experience of D&D (before it became numbers-focused and computer-gamey) reminds me more of the problem-solving mentality of such games than anything else. For example, the Primer I mentioned brought up the issue of discovering traps. In the olden days apparently, instead of saying “I use my check for traps skill” and rolling a percentile, players were instead expected to ask intelligent questions about, and pay attention to, their environment. This was, for example, the reason the ten-foot pole existed: If you suspect a trap, you could poke the floor ahead and see if anything happens (and it didn’t necessarily have to be said pole you poked with–a cane, a piece of broken-off cobblestone you happened to find nearby, a stick off the ground, all would do the job).

The difference is that in D&D, any reasonable solution could work. Annoyed by that part in Phantasmagoria where the lead character will only pry open the trapdoor with a crowbar? In D&D you could try to do the same thing with a longsword if you wanted, the DM would allow it because its logical.

The genre of computer game that is actually called RPG (and which is usually recognized as the descendant of pen n’ paper RPGs) tends to instead play up the numbers aspects, which from what I’ve heard had a bad effect on the original product. Hell, one reason I hated Third Edition at first sight is because it looked way too number-crunchy to be played without the aid of a computer–a clear sign to me that the game was made with PC licenses in mind. To hear certain fans say it, the game never got any better.

To be honest… while I like electronic RPGs, I always felt that the adventure (whether text, parser or point n’ click) genres had a bunch of advantages, my only gripe being the common “only one solution in-game when in real life you’d have tons of options” issue. In that sense, pen n’ paper role-playing sounds like those but in an idealized version that lacks that problem… unless you have an unreasonable DM.

The problem, then, is… well, if I ever played D&D, that is how I’d want to play it. With players using water to find pit traps and then looking around for deactivation mechanisms, or opening chests from behind in case of poisoned darts, or saying “I feel along the edges of the painting for anything that might be a switch.”

The problems I anticipate, then, are:

A: Players who don’t understand what I’m getting at, give me constantly confused looks and wonder why I feel its wrong to just say “I use my disarm traps skill,” and are still confused even when I explain it to them in baby talk.

B: Players who get what I’m going for, but want to play their way anyway because its their preference, and who want to force it on me.

C: That one guy who wants to be a fucking powerhouse badass. I’m sure we’ve all had that player (and its invariably some little kid)–they just come in and say “well I have a magic wand that conveniently solves all my problems!” and trying to veto that just makes them mad.

D: People who want to play a more recent edition, or else an entirely different RPG that I’m not at all familiar with.

See, here’s an issue I have IRL… my area doesn’t have a lot of D&D players, and those that exist have always been of one of the above types. The thing is, its either live with it, or don’t play D&D at all. What can a person do?

This, incidentally, is why I don’t like multiplayer-focused computer games as well: They may be the best thing ever, but it means jack shit if nobody else is playing. They are very much collectivist in that if you like something that everyone else hates, the game will change to accomodate the majority. At least with single player, my subjective experience is maintained come rain or shine.

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Half-Life and Fanboy Stupidity

So for some reason I wound up finding this reddit topic where someone calls Half-Life an overrated franchise. I’ll get to my own opinions in a moment, but first I want to talk about one of the replies.

To give context to the reply I’m about to quote… a responder claims that nobody hated HL (the second especially) when it was new. In response the OP digs up two reviews from Mobygames and two from Gamefaqs which criticize the game and all four were from the days of its original release.

To which the responder says:

I have never heard of “Moby Games” in my life, so I’m going to go ahead and take a wild guess that you typed “Half-Life review overrated” in Google and cherry-picked the site that held the most negative reviews.

Okay, what the fuck kind of gamer on the internet has never heard of Mobygames? And how exceptionally stupid do you have to be to assume the site was “cherry-picked” just because you somehow never heard of it?

That would be like if I presented Sonic the Hedgehog as an example of the 90s mascot with ‘tude trend, and you said “I’ve never heard of Sonic the Hedgehog so he couldn’t have been that well-known or representative.”

…..

Now, to be honest, at one time I used to be a big Half-Life 1 fan. Half-Life 2 I never got to play due to my having shit internet and it requiring Steam, which effectively locked me out. That said, HL2 is one of those Undertale-like cases where I know a lot about it without having to play it just due to how much its discussed. I know about Ravenholm, City 17, the Combine etc.

Now, just from what I do know, I kinda think the OP in that reddit post made a cogent point about realism and behavior. To be honest one thing that struck me as I got older is that part of Half-Life’s appeal seems to be just the nerd fantasy aspect–Gordon Freeman is the ultimate dork, and here he is killing the military (all designed to act like your high school bully and stereotypical jocks, or else a leftist’s idea of what a conservative is like) by the dozens. I’m sure so many people were into it because they imagined themselves as a badass scientist killing Biff Tannen again and again.

That said, for me Half-Life is one of those things where its appeal was ruined by the sequel, because on my end my favorite aspect of Half-Life was the mystery of the events surrounding Black Mesa, what was really going on and what exactly you had done. It was enticing to go through the game again and again, and play the expansions, searching for more clues and information… sort of like the appeal Five Nights at Freddy’s had for some people.

It created what I call a “Thunderbolt Situation.”

Let me explain: There was this cartoon called 101 Dalmations: The Series (which was sometimes okay, though it featured Cadpig, the cutest animated dog ever), and one episode involved the pups watching Thunderbolt (basically a Rin-Tin-Tin-kinda character) but then the power goes out. To pass the time, they make up their own stories for how the episode ends. Then when the power comes back they catch the episode on a rerun, and find out what really happened and… it sucked compared to their imaginations. The moral is “sometimes your imagination is better.”

This episode stuck with me because its a truth I’ve seen play out again and again, especially with franchises of any sort–invariably the more official answers you get, the more they suck. FNAF started out interesting but became this absolutely idiotic nonsense. I’ve talked about this on reddit (and shockingly people agreed with me).

Half-Life is in the same boat. When the sequel came out, the mysteries were all ruined, because the answer was just so lame. Oh, so it was all leading up to an alien takeover of Earth. I recall The Spoony One talking about a similar problem with The X-Files: for all its buildup, you knew the ultimate reveal was gonna be “evil aliens trying to subjugate humanity” and once it came to that, it was just so stupid, another saturday morning cartoon.

It would’ve been nice if HL had gone in genuinely strange directions–like I dunno, maybe the Earth could’ve developed these zones of weird plasma that mess with people like in that old cartoon Spiral Zone, or some chaos from outside time was trying to get Freeman to do a very specific thing for ramifications only it could understand… but well, that kind of thing is probably too much for a mere FPS, where the audience just wants to point and shoot. It’s no wonder Call of Duty is so popular–the logic in those is always see a terrorist, shoot a terrorist. Hideo Kojima found out the hard way that gamers hate it when you play with expectations or try to make them think.

Well, I’m just ranting now. Bottom line, sometimes things would be better if they stopped after the first installment.

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My Beef With Atheism (At Least on the Internet)

I don’t consider myself particularly religious, but one group I don’t really like is Atheists… at least, the atheists I’ve been exposed to online.

Lemme tell you about one of the most terrible experiences I ever had on the internet. This was back when I used to go to fan-forums for certain cartoon shows. On one of them, a recent member (an 11 year old girl) was just chatting it up, when someone happened to click a link to her livejournal and saw in her profile that she was Catholic.

Suddenly, several members–including one (supposedly) 21-year-old man and a couple of older teenagers–suddenly started attacking this 11-year-old girl nonstop, going on and on about how she’s a horrible oppressor forcing her religion on everyone… even though she actually never brought up her faith at all, religion actually never entered the conversation until the attackers themselves brought it up. The girl’s own reaction was basically “What did I do?”

I rushed to her rescue, pointing out how it was the attackers being dicks–and also how they were doing the very things they accused the 11-year-old girl of (and yeah, I reminded them that they were adults antagonizing a child and how that made them all rather cowardly). To their credit… they decided to fight with me instead.

….

I’d like to say this was an aberration, but in all honesty, the above is all too typical of Atheism and Paranormal Skepticism on the internet. People who hold those beliefs tend to believe that merely having them makes them So Smart and Enlightened, because people on the internet like getting kudos and gratification without effort ya see, and on this high they like to go and lord their righteousness all over everyone else.

The irony is that this is what they accuse religious folks of doing. But if you point this out, they pull the same card that SocJus sometimes does and is like “Well its okay if WE do it because we were oppressed for centuries!”

Keep in mind, the “oppression” they speak of is stuff like having to play Dungeons & Dragons in secret because of a short-lived panic among certain conservative groups in the 1980s. I’ve seen at least a few people on Twitter use that as justification for a church shooting that happened a few years ago. Again, an example of these people being just as bad as they claim religion is.

…..

Another aspect I’ve always hated about Atheism is that atheists tend to be ignorant of the thing they hate. Even though Atheists themselves say that “reading the Bible is the quickest way to become an Atheist” and they like to point out how most Christians only read the bible to look up choice quotes to take out-of-context… thing is, most Atheists do the exact same thing and have never read it cover-to-cover like they say you should.

Also, anyone from a non-Western country might already be spotting another issue: Atheism tends to have a default understanding that All Religion = Christianity. I’ve even seen this openly stated on Penn & Teller: Bullshit–according to them, all religion is about how someone claimed to be the son of God, got a lot of followers, performed some magic tricks that they tricked people into thinking were miracles, then died and left a prophecy of their eventual return.

Oh, so were all the pagan religions that pre-dated Christianity also all based on messiah figures? Or what about Taoism and Buddhism, which aren’t anything like Christianity and emphasize finding the truth for yourself? yes, Buddhism technically has the Buddha, but one of its core teachings is “if you meet the Buddha, kill the Buddha”–in other words, that blindly following directions isn’t the same as being a true buddhist.

….

Probably the biggest lie Atheists bring to the table is the idea that religion is somehow at odds with science. The actual truth is, science wouldn’t exist without religion, because the first scientists came from religious backgrounds–in fact, they began looking into the workings of the world because they thought it would help bring them closer to God!

Part n’ Parcel of this is that atheism likes to rewrite history. The Galileo story is famous, but what the classic telling leaves out is that Galileo actually had the approval of the church to publish his book, but decided to be a dick about the whole thing, and that was the real tipping point. The Crusades are another, and yet historically that had less to do with spreading faith and more to do with land-grabbing, resource allocation, and Sir Richard being a violence-loving dick. Basically, any time you see religion blamed for something, chances are the real truth is far more basic and material and religion is just being scapegoated.

You’ll notice that atheists like to downplay that one of the causes of the French Revolution was scientific rationalism going too far and people deciding it was okay to kill just because you accidentally said “oh god!” or something like that, because in their narrative, eliminating religion would bring world peace. My experience with atheists has led me to believe the exact opposite.

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How to Be Deep: State the Obvious

So I was just having a skype chat with a friend and we got to shooting the crap about recent trends in media (particularly indie gaming but both of us have a tendency to jump the rails), and we got to talking about Undertale and Five Nights at Freddy’s.

Thing we ended up talking about is how both wound up getting a perception from their fanbase that they were some sort of deep, complex or intellectual experiences, basically for putting a lot of complexities on top of what, played straight, would’ve been straightforward premises. Undertale in particular often gets said to be this really moving mind-opening experience for teaching people that violence is bad.

Like… wait, people don’t already know that violence is bad? This is seriously something none of Undertale’s fans had ever heard before or realized for themselves before going on a pacifist run?

I saw a similar reaction to the movie “The Dark Knight.” Okay, this is kinda spoilery I guess, but….

.
.
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Well, you had a chance to back out.

Anyway, at one point there’s this scene where Joker does a “social experiment” involving placing bombs on two boats, handing the switch to the bombs to the people on the opposite boat, and saying “if you want to live, blow up the other boat.” On one boat there’s this big scary black man with a convict suit on, and he’s made out to be a criminal who will blow up the boat so he’s intimidating everyone into handing the remote to him… then he throws the remote out the window.

I remember for years (hell, I still see it even today) people pointing at that and being like “Oh how enlightened this movie is for being about how you can’t judge people by looks!”

Again, if you’re over the age of ten, this is something that modern society should’ve already taught you.

It’s not like that scene is even original–the He-Man episode “Heart of a Giant” basically did the exact same thing (presenting a nominally-scary person and showing he’s actually not what you think) and that’s just off the top of my head. So something a children’s cartoon from 1983 did was suddenly being hailed as forward-thinking in the early 2000s.

But its not even just works of fiction. On Youtube, there are all these channels that are… well, “political commentators” is probably the umbrella that covers most of them, though even that not very well. They tend to divide into Left or “SJW” (Shaun and Jen, hbomberguy, etc) or “Rational Skeptic” (Sargon of Akkad, Armoured Skeptic, etc). Of these, the only one worth watching is TL;DR and even he’s not perfect.

Now, every last one of these channels has people who preach to the high heavens about how their chosen talking head is the one true messiah and so wise and enlightened, when really, all they do is parrot your own beliefs back at you, and thus what you’re really praising is having your biases confirmed. That’s right, depth is code for bias confirmation now.

It’s funny how these channels obstensibly dislike each other but they’re very similar. I mentioned my own fave is Teal Deer, who apparently fought with Shaun and Jen (a fight I feel he won, incidentally), but they’re both very similar in a few respects… both, for example, talk a lot about how you can’t trust news sources because they’re all biased and will word things in ways intended specifically to support a narrative. Despite this, both are bad about taking everything they read at face value when it supports their own predisposed beliefs… or, if you’d rather, when it confirms their narrative.

It’s all so stupid.

As long as we praise people for the intellectual equivalent of drawing a circle using a drawing compass, we’ll never produce anything of true merit. Or really advance our thought.

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Being a Creator is Daunting These Days

So I’ve long wanted to write a book or draw a webcomic or something, and I have plenty of ideas… but the internet has… not exactly killed my enthusiasm, but it has significantly hurt it.

One problem is that everything is political now.

Most of my fiction involves (and in at least one case consists almost entirely of) female characters, usually in heroic roles. During my troper days I did a Batman fanfic where Batman was actually a girl (but still called “Bat MAN” to throw people off). That kind of thing isn’t unusual for me… and is one reason I laughed when certain Tropers tried to claim I was sexist for not seeing the rampant misogyny they claimed Sailor Moon had.

But these days, female characters are a political point. Look at Rey in the new Star Wars movies, or the 2016 remake of Ghostbusters. In both cases there was a political incentive to make “strong female characters” and it led to a backlash where people hated the characters, but the creators just accused the critics of hating women.

It makes me a little afraid that if I publish damn near anything with a woman character, especially any that might be powerful enough to fight Batman and win, I’d have either the Social Justice side on my back because “she fell in love at one point, SEXISM!” or else the competition saying “this is pandering to feminists!”

Fuck politics.

The other problem is, of course, the internet has revealed how stupid a lot of people are. The Age of Internet Reviewers showed that most people (at least, most people who make reviews) are incapable of following a storyline if you don’t explain everything to them in clear, concise terms… and sometimes, even if you do. Remember when Film Brain and Bennett the Sage both didn’t understand the significance of Penguin having papers that would implicate Max Schreck in wrongdoing in Batman Returns? Or the time CinemaSins claimed there wasn’t a gate anywhere in the Warcraft movie and it was right there in the scene they were showing? Or how about the time (which I made a video about) when Dom went on and on about a racist term in the book Goldfinger which was actually never in the book at all?

This wouldn’t be so bad if people weren’t prone to automatically believing everything a reviewer says.

So that’s the situation any creator finds themselves in. Their work is either political or its misunderstood by dumbass reviewers… possibly even dumbass reviewers who happen to have a political bent.

Frankly I almost sympathize with the fact that Hollywood doesn’t even try anymore.

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One Rule Every Internet Forum Needs to Have

“If you make a serious accusation–for example, claiming another member is guilty of a crime, has sexual deviancies such as pedophilia, or is a member of a hate organization like the Neo-Nazis (essentially if you accuse another forum member of being a criminal, pedo or Nazi) you must immediately back it up with proof. Standard of proof = a file of their actual arrest record, or a news account (from a news site that is not affiliated with the forum this accusation is taking place on) which links to said arrest record.”

“If you make the accusation but fail to back it up with proof, especially if you say ‘its obvious!’ or you rely on inferences such as ‘they defended an anime game, and only pedos would do that!’ then you get banned IMMEDIATELY.”

“Such accusations are very serious, and by throwing them around frivolously you’ve made a statement about your own competence and ability to work within any sort of discussion society, and demonstrated what lows you are willing to sink to. We don’t want your kind here.”

Seriously, this one rule being added to every internet forum ever–not to mention Twitter, Reddit, etc.–would go a long way to fix a lot of the problems we encounter on the internet today.

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Three Stories of Internet Stupidity

So far, 2018 has been a year of misery and boredom for me. Almost from the beginning it was marked with personal issues that got in the way of my ability to do pretty much anything, as well as me finding that just about everything I used to like now has started to either bore or irritate me in varying degrees. It’s possible I just need something new… or to rediscover something long since vanished from my life.

It’s also been a time of retrospect. For some reason, this year I’ve been thinking about things I used to do and places I used to go a lot. I don’t mean places I went to as a kid, either–in fact, most of the time the “places” aren’t physical at all.

I mean stuff like forums I used to frequent and websites I used to visit, and people I used to talk to and, sometimes, get into fights with. All the colorful characters I’ve met online who, for better or worse, shaped my view of humanity.

And man… some of those people sure were pretty effing stupid.

Story 1 – The Incident of the Laurie R. King Sherlock Holmes Books

One thing I’m sometimes accused of is treating everyone like they’re an idiot, with how I have a tendency to explain or over-explain things as if I expect I’m the only person who knows or “gets it” with regards to certain subjects. To be honest, half the reason for that is that whenever I do the exact opposite–that is, whenever I respect a person’s intelligence and thus think simple statements will suffice–it always backfires and I wind up having to scramble to correct a misconception that I couldn’t even imagine happening.

Here’s an example: in one forum discussion about Sherlock Holmes, I had once made an off-hand remark about having read the Holmes pastiches of Laurie R. King, which I described in terms such as “read like a bad self-insert fanfic” and “stretching credibility” (the books starred a character named Mary Russell who had blatantly 1990s feminist beliefs, yet took place in the years where Holmes had retired to becoming a beekeeper) and “being, at best, a good way to induce sleep.”

Pretty sure some of those are exact quotes.

Now, would you read a passage containing those quotes and ever imagine that I was somehow praising these novels or declaring myself a fan? Because someone did! Suddenly I had this girl get on my case for “liking” the Laurie King books, and she ranted on at length about how blasphemous they were and how utterly shocking it was that a Holmes fan would like them and blah blah blah.

My exact response was “Umm, I didn’t like them. I hated them.”

Even after putting it so bluntly, she still followed up and asked, “So you’re not saying they’re good?”

Just… this woman claimed to be in college. She had to be lying about that.

That’s just one case though, where I said something I assumed would be obvious and yet somehow was taken as the complete opposite. And no, that wasn’t at TV Tropes, although it would fit in perfectly there.

Story 2 – The Eternal Recurrence of A Garfield Christmas

This particular case sticks out to me because it happened twice, with two completely different sets of people who had never met each other (as far as I know).

Anyone who has ever taken a writing class has heard that all stories are driven by conflict, and that you can’t have a story without conflict.

So some time ago, I was in a discussion about writing and someone pointed that out. But thing is, I always had a problem with that belief because, and this is exactly what I said: “I mean, just look at A Garfield Christmas. There’s no conflict in that story, and yet not only is it still a story, its considered a classic Christmas special.”

A Garfield Christmas is literally about nothing more than Jon, Garfield, and Odie going out to visit Jon’s parents for Christmas. There’s no major villain or anything, its just a family get together and what they do during their stay, with a lot of sweet moments and family bonding. It’s pretty much concentrated dawwws and feels.

The first time this discussion came up, a guy tried to prove me wrong, and kept prodding me about the nature of the story… and eventually it slipped out that he had somehow never seen A Garfield Christmas. Despite this, he was convinced I must be wrong and it must actually have some conflict. At least he agreed to watch it sometime.

The second time was on TV Tropes, and I swear the events played out almost exactly the same, with me stating my case and bringing up Garfield Christmas as evidence. In this case though, two Tropers tried to argue against me, again admitting they hadn’t actually seen the show… but they instead cited the Wikipedia article. Because, you know, Wikipedia is always accurate. And like Tropers tend to do, they acted like they were all-knowing authorities on the special and somehow knew more about it than I did, even though watching it is a yearly tradition for me and they had never seen it at all.

Seriously, the first guy I could forgive because that was in an age where DVD didn’t exist yet and you basically had to catch the special on TV to see it, but the two Tropers lived in a world that had Youtube, they could’ve looked it up and freaking watched it, instead they read a Wikipedia article.

Story 3 – Basically Why I Don’t Trust Beta-Readers Anymore

I actually had something similar to the Garfield Christmas play out again, but this time, it was far more personal, because it involved a work of my own authorship.

Awhile ago I was working on a series of stories (actually, still working on them) which prominently featured a character named Surprise, who is best described as “nice but a little off her rocker” and she happened to also be a martial artist. I had written three stories about her, meant to be read in sequence.

For the third chapter I tried an experiment: introducing a situation where Surprise was actually the antagonist, due to a misunderstanding and also the story being told from the perspective of a newcomer named Gilda.

Problem: I hadn’t known at the time that the names “Surprise” and “Gilda” belonged to My Little Pony characters. So, a lot of the pre-readers I got went in assuming they were MLP fanfics. That was bad enough, but…

Well, the really “special” case was this one guy who, upon seeing the name and basic premise of the third chapter, not only read only that chapter (admitting he hadn’t read the previous two and had only just heard of the series) but then, again by his own admission, skipped to the ending because he wanted to see if the Gilda character really got killed.

Spoiler: She didn’t. The story ended with the two figuring out the misunderstanding and… not quite getting along but not holding any grudges either.

Somehow, that didn’t satisfy this particular Troper (and yes, this was on TV Tropes). He was still somehow offended that Gilda “almost died,” and went on to post that the series was about “Surprise being an axe-murderer who goes around brutally murdering the villains of MLP” (even though nobody died in the story he actually read).

Now, I objected to this, because he was making assumptions that were, of course, blatantly untrue, and I pointed out that by his own admission he didn’t even read the whole story, just the ending… and even that didn’t support his contentions.

Now here’s where this character gets really special: he had the ever-loving gall to turn around and say that his reaction was my fault for “not making the story more clear.” Well yeah, most stories are unclear if you don’t actually read them. Imagine someone skipping to a random chapter in The Wizard of Oz, reading only that chapter, and thinking the whole story is about Dorothy being a prisoner of a witch.

It says a lot about TV Tropes that its one of those forums where responding to criticism is always held against the author even if the criticism is unjust, and yet funnily enough I’ve told this story elsewhere (even to actual Bronies) and its always gotten a “wow, just wow” reaction. And when Bronies think you’re exceptional, you might as well apply for disability because that’s the only way you’ll ever make it through life.

In Conclusion

When I started out, I thought of making this focused on TV Tropes, because I experienced a lot of absolute stupidity in my time there… but then I remembered experiencing similar moments in times and places from before TV Tropes even existed, and anyway, a pure Trope-focused post wouldn’t have been able to include the Sherlock Holmes story.

It’s a sad endictment of the modern times that I’m probably going to be considered the bad guy for telling these stories. While the word “entitled” is thrown around a little too much, and has been for decades, there’s a layer of truth to it: So many people, especially online, think they have the right to never be contradicted or argued against, and they will take it as a personal attack even if you’re very polite about it. For that reason I don’t see much of a point being nice–what’s the point if they’re gonna start shit anyway?

I recently read an old topic on Vogons where… well, here’s the topic, but the thing is I honestly feel like the poster Scali is in the right here: this isn’t a matter of opinion, its a matter of facts, and he has them, and the people who keep saying he “needs to be nicer” and how people won’t listen because he’s being slightly insulting (and really, nobody over the age of six should be that offended by anything he’s said) don’t actually prove a point against Scali, they prove a point against the human race.

I mean, think about it: imagine if someone found the cure for cancer and was willing to give it out for free, but that person was also kind of an asshole. Would that make his discovery worthless? People from the 1960s or so would say “obviously not,” but the internet generation is a special kind of stupid and would indeed hold their personal feelings above a major medical breakthrough that will prevent millions of deaths.

That kind of attitude is wrong. It is an aberration, and should not be encouraged. Facts should never be conveniently ignored just because you don’t like the way they’re delivered. Imagine a soldier refusing to follow orders because he doesn’t like his commander: he’d be court-martialed and beaten, assuming he doesn’t die on the battlefield. And in a way, we’re all soldiers. We should start acting like it.

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My New PC, “Michel Delving”

Disclaimifyer:

So when I drafted this post, I had forgotten about my previous post. This is essentially a more detailed version of the last thing I posted. Hopefully there’s new information.

This summer has not been great for me, which is why I haven’t been blogging or vlogging as often–too much stuff going on, too many inconveniences, and less incentive to get online.

But here’s the real post

3… 2… 1…

So, there’s something special about this blog post:

It was typed on my latest retro PC.

But first, you might be asking, “What happened to Mazinkaiser?” Or at least, you should, because its actually related to why I have a new retro PC to begin with.

Part 1: Mazinkaiser Gets Sick

At the beginning of June, I somehow became addicted to a game I never thought I would: Unreal Tournament. Funny thing is I was playing it solo, on a PC with no internet capabilities. It was all botmatches. I didn’t care.

My copy was from the “Totally Unreal” collection, and for some reason Tournament had two discs… even though the entire game seemed installed from just Disc #1. So after awhile I wondered what was on Disc #2, and tried to install it.

Then I got a Blue Screen of Death. It was one of the most terrifying Blue Screen messages ever:

“Unable to write to Drive C:\
Files or Folders may be lost.”

Unable to.

Write to.

Drive C.

You couldn’t terrify me more if you tricked me into having a one-night stand with an octopus, and anyone who knows anything about PCs will understand why.

I tried everything, re-seating the cables, making sure everything was hooked up properly, I even formatted the drive and re-installed the operating system–only to wind up getting the same message now from the main Unreal Tournament disc!

Finally, I turned to the classic computing forum Vogons.

Amid various suggestions, someone said they looked up my particular motherboard (an Epox-8KTA model) and noticed that Epox used a brand of capacitors known for going bad, and that likely this was related to my problem, if not the cause outright.

After getting more information, I decided there was only one thing to do… I contacted a repair service (Badcaps.net) that focused on precisely this sort of thing, and arranged for Mazinkaiser’s motherboard to be sent off for repairs, a process that wound up taking over a month. I’m finally about to get Mazinkaiser back, and I can only hope that guy on Vogons diagnosed the problem correctly. Evidence seems to indicate he has.

Part 2: Michel Delving Fills the Void

Before sending off Mazinkaiser though, I had actually considered simply replacing the motherboard. This led to two purchases, one of which turned out to not be worth it, but the other one…

First, I bought an Epox-8KTA2, which was functionally identical to Mazinkaiser’s 8KTA+, but when I got it, its capacitors were in even worse shape than Mazin’s. I never even bothered hooking it up to see how it worked, and when I sent Mazin off for repairs, this motherboard was sent along with it.

So now I was obsessed with capacitor quality, and one night on Ebay I did a search for “recapped.” Just “recapped,” not limited to any specific field or anything. I wound up getting like 800 hits if I remember correctly, for all sorts of electronics and in one case, a Sega Genesis.

One that caught my eye immediately was the motherboard for a Dell GX260, which came with a 2ghz processor and 512mb of RAM. It was sixty dollars shipped.

Now, part of what inspired me was I had actually wanted to build a second PC to stand alongside Mazinkaiser anyway, because I kept finding games I wanted to play that Mazin couldn’t handle, like Doom 3, Warcraft III, or later games in the Myst series. I had made baby-steps towards this, securing a Geforce 4 ti4200 and two Soundblaster Audigy 2s (these were actually sold together in a listing for twenty bucks shipped), but it was only now that I was taking the next step and getting an actual motherboard.

Part 3: Bumps on the Road

This was a classic case, however, of leaping without looking.

Right now, I’m thankful for my impetuousness, as it all worked out and I’ve got a second fine desktop computer by my side. However, there were things I hadn’t known about the Dell GX260 motherboard that, if I had known beforehand, might’ve steered me away from it.

See, I went in thinking it was just gonna be like any other PC motherboard: you put it in a case, you hook it up to hard drives, disk drives, you plug in your video and sound cards, you do the hokey pokey and you turn yourself around and that’s what its all about, right?

Turns out, no, not all PC motherboards are the same. Especially not ones from Dell.

Dell, it turns out, likes (or at least, used to like) proprietary configurations. Their motherboards were not generic or made to fit in any old case, rather they were purpose-built to be used in specific configurations provided by Dell. The most obvious sign of this right off the bat for me was that the GX260 motherboard didn’t have the standard places to plug front panel connectors into, instead it had one big rectangular area simply labeled “frontpanel.” The motherboard itself also came attached to a metal mounting tray, which was designed specifically to fit a particular Dell-model tower case.

The “frontpanel” thing was a hiccup from the get-go as it meant there was no way to turn the computer on without the right connector.

Fortunately, someone in my family knew more about this stuff than I did: My dad used to work with computers and in fact used to own this exact model of Dell (one that had been scrapped by a place he used to work at, which he simply brought home since the business was throwing it out anyway), and had somehow come across various parts and pieces for it. One of these was the PCB that plugged into the “frontpanel” plug, which included a power switch!

A week later, it turned out Dad also had an actual GX260 complete with case that he hadn’t been using and which he had been about to junk, just like that business he got it from years ago. However, he instead gave me the case and the majority of the internals (including the original power supply and some IDE cables), allowing me to slide my motherboard in, perfectly snug, just the way I like it!

Part 4: As It Stands Right Now

So, after a week of running the comp as a motherboard sitting naked on a wooden shelf, it finally has a proper case and is a real PC.

I had, early on, given it the name “Michel Delving,” though I debated this internally as during the days of Mazinkaiser I had believed all my PCs henceforth would have a mecha-themed name (I very nearly named this comp “Megazord”). The name “Michel Delving” occured to me primarily because of the motherboard being a Dell, and the previously-mentioned issue of everything being designed around Dell-proprietary parts, so I just felt “Dell” or a variation thereof needed to be part of its name.

And yes, “Michel Delving” is a Middle-earth reference. You know I loves me some Tolkien!

Earlier today, I got in contact with the person repairing Mazinkaiser. The repairs are complete. I had to do some selling on Ebay to make payment, but now that is done. There are a few more things I’d like to have to make everything perfect, but, well… I’ve got a good “new” PC, I’m about to have my favorite old PC back, life is good.

Michel Delving’s Specs

So here’s the part I’m sure most people just skipped to.

Okay, first, the processor: Michel Delving was sold to me as being 2ghz, but in actual fact its 2.80ghz! It’s a Pentium 4 though, so single-core, though this was actually another thing I was specifically looking for because of the operating systems I intended to use.

The RAM is currently at 512mb, and I’ve read that it takes a special sort of ram specific to this motherboard (said special ram is easy enough to find, however). I’ve also read that this motherboard maxes out at 2gb (two 1gb sticks), and while I’m honestly tempted to do that (an investment of less than ten bucks), I’m still weighing the pros and cons.

The graphics card is an AGP Geforce 4 ti4200, with (I think) 128mb of video ram.

The sound card is a Soundblaster Audigy 2 (not a 2 ZS), in the PCI slot. This motherboard has no ISA slots, but for as fast as this comp is, I’m not worried about true DOS-mode compatibility–I’m sure its possible, but on a comp this fast I might as well just use Dosbox. True DOS is what Mazinkaiser is for.

The hard drive I’ve got in there is 120gb, which I divided into three partitions and have it set to dual-boot Windows XP and Windows 98SE.

Funny thing… when I was researching dual-boots, I got all sorts of mixed information. Some people said its impossible, others said it is possible but only if you do it on a harvest moon while offering blood to the Easter Bunny (pretty sure those are completely different times of the year, but hey, Microsoft products). Others said it could only be done with old, outdated commercial software.

Once again, Vogons to the rescue, except this time I didn’t have to post a question–I simply searched their previous discussions and someone brought up a thing called Plop Boot Manager. I went to that thing’s home page, and it turned out to have example instructions for how to do an XP/Vista dual-boot. I simply followed these instructions, but installed 98SE instead of Vista (really the part about Vista amounted to “install Vista at this point”–there were no OS-specific instructions, so the substitution was easy to perform).

The way I’ve got it set up is this: There’s three partitions. Two for the Operating Systems which are deliberately set up (using Plop) so they can’t see each other–this is just good practice so both think they’re on the C: drive and thus you avoid headaches later down the line. The third partition is a “Storage” partition that both operating systems can see, and thus contains things beneficial to both, or for if I want to be able to access a file (like, say, this here blog entry) in both operating systems.

It’s been suggested to me that I should image the two install partitions, but at the moment I don’t really know how, nor am I sure of the potential benefits. Michel Delving, like Mazinkaiser before it, was never intended to get online and doesn’t even have a modem or any sort of internet drivers or capability, so its not like I’m ever gonna have to worry about viruses or things like that. The worst that could happen is my needing to reinstall an OS (which I actually had to do to the 98SE partition once already) but that’s honestly not such a bad deal, all things considered.

Digital Rights

The one thing I am concerned about is… well, now that I can play games from late-Win98SE or early-to-mid Windows XP, I’m also aware this is the period where DRM methods started getting obtrusive. Some games, including some of the afformentioned Myst sequels, have DRM such as SafeDisc or SecuROM. On Mazinkaiser I never had to worry about this, but on Michel Delving I now might.

Right now, I’m simply not installing any game that has SafeDisc, SecuROM, or StarForce on it (at least, not from the original disc… the Myst games all have DRM-less GOG releases thankfully), while I consider my options. I currently see two: one is to create a “Quarantine” boot partition (a second XP install, which would be unable to see either of the two existing operating systems) just for DRM-laced games… the other is to get a swappable hard drive bay (if those even came in IDE) and a second, small IDE hard drive, again for a quarantined environment.

I’ve started a topic on Vogons asking what they think. The consensus seems to be that I should have some kind of backup/means of protection, but that I shouldn’t live in fear of SafeDisc or SecuROM (StarForce, on the other hand, is the freaking devil).

In Conclusion

So…

… The hardest question, every time, is “what games should I play now?”

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