Quotulatiousness

April 11, 2014

This week in Guild Wars 2

Filed under: Gaming — Tags: , , — Nicholas Russon @ 11:21

My weekly Guild Wars 2 community round-up at GuildMag is now online. There has been even more information about Feature Pack release coming on the 15th and there’s lots of reaction from the GW2 community. There’s also still a 50% off sale on digital copies of Guild Wars 2 running: get ‘em while they’re cheap! In addition, there’s the usual assortment of blog posts, videos, podcasts, and fan fiction from around the GW2 community.

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Dungeons and Dragons versus BADD

Filed under: Gaming, History, Media, USA — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas Russon @ 08:05

BBC News Magazine looks back at the moral panic about Dungeons & Dragons in the early 1980s:

Dungeons and Dragons rulebooks

In 1982, high school student Irving Lee Pulling died after shooting himself in the chest. Despite an article in the Washington Post at the time commenting “how [Pulling] had trouble ‘fitting in’”, mother Patricia Pulling believed her son’s suicide was caused by him playing D&D.

Again, it was clear that more complex psychological factors were at play. Victoria Rockecharlie, a classmate of Irving Pulling, commented that “he had a lot of problems anyway that weren’t associated with the game”.

At first, Patricia Pulling attempted to sue her son’s high school principal, claiming the curse placed upon her son’s character during a game run by the principal was real. She also sued TSR Inc, the publishers of D&D. Despite the court dismissing these cases, Pulling continued her campaign by forming Bothered About Dungeons and Dragons (BADD) in 1983.

Pulling described D&D as “a fantasy role-playing game which uses demonology, witchcraft, voodoo, murder, rape, blasphemy, suicide, assassination, insanity, sex perversion, homosexuality, prostitution, satanic type rituals, gambling, barbarism, cannibalism, sadism, desecration, demon summoning, necromantics, divination and other teachings”.

Pulling’s pamphlet on the dangers of D&D:

Dungeons and Dragons moral panic

In 1985, Jon Quigley, of the Lakeview Full Gospel Fellowship, spoke for many opponents when he claimed: “The game is an occult tool that opens up young people to influence or possession by demons.”

These fears also found their way into the UK. Fantasy author KT Davies recalls “showing a vicar a gaming figure – he likened D&D to demon worship because there were ‘gods’ in the game”.

Veteran roleplayer Andy Smith found himself in the unusual position of being both a roleplayer and a Christian. “While working for a Christian organisation I was told to remove my roleplaying books from the shared accommodation as they were offensive to some of the other workers and contained references to demon-worship.”

Looking back now, it’s possible to see the tendrils of a classic moral panic, and some elements of the slightly esoteric world of roleplaying did stir the imaginations of panicked outsiders.

April 4, 2014

This week in Guild Wars 2

Filed under: Gaming — Tags: , , — Nicholas Russon @ 11:03

My weekly Guild Wars 2 community round-up at GuildMag is now online. ArenaNet has provided lots of information about April’s Feature Pack release and there’s plenty of reaction from the GW2 community. ArenaNet also announced a 50% off sale on digital copies of Guild Wars 2 running for a week: get ‘em while they’re cheap! In addition, there’s the usual assortment of blog posts, videos, podcasts, and fan fiction from around the GW2 community.

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March 28, 2014

This week in Guild Wars 2

Filed under: Gaming — Tags: , , — Nicholas Russon @ 11:02

My weekly Guild Wars 2 community round-up at GuildMag is now online. ArenaNet is putting out lots of information about April’s Feature Pack release and it’s the start of WvW Season 2 tonight. In addition, there’s the usual assortment of blog posts, videos, podcasts, and fan fiction from around the GW2 community.

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March 27, 2014

Remembering “the war on Dungeons and Dragons

Filed under: Gaming, History, USA — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas Russon @ 08:31

First, the comment that @FakeTSR linked to:

It was never a fair fight between fundamentalist Christianity and D&D. One was a dangerous system full of dark mysticism and threats to warp a young mind beyond repair, and the other was a tabletop RPG.

And then, the article by Annalee Newitz:

Thirty years ago, a war raged between the dorks who played Dungeons & Dragons, and the conservative parent groups who believed that gaming was debauched at best and Satanic at worst. Lives were ruined. People died. And now that war is over. I still can’t believe we won.

[...]

Still, unlike my fantasy of being a hot half-elf, the Christians actually had some control over our lives. My best friend got kicked out of Catholic school for playing D&D, which we counted as a win because it meant she could come to our shitty public school and play D&D with us. Outside our southern California town, however, D&D players weren’t getting off so easily. They were ostracized by their peers, kicked out of public schools, and sent to glorified reeducation camps by parents who feared their children were about to start sacrificing babies to Lolth the spider demon.

Dungeons and Dragons moral panic

Update, 28 March: Techdirt‘s Timothy Geigner sorrowfully points out that even though this particular moral panic eventually came to a happy end, the lessons of each significant outbreak of hysteria are not carried forward and the next professional pants-wetting politician or “concerned parent group” does not get the scrutiny they deserve.

As the article says, looking back from the vantage point of a world where entertainment is strewn with the fantasy genre, it’s stunning to see the propaganda that had been unleashed. Unsurprisingly, said propaganda has since been eviscerated, with all the common tales of kids killing themselves being shown to be completely unrelated to anything having to do with children’s games. Still, this kind of thing propagated like hell-fire. For all the normal, non-Satan-worshipping kids out there that were just trying to have a little fun, it must have seemed like insanity would rule the day. Fortunately, it didn’t.

[...]

Winners who are now all grown up and who have moved on to their next moral panic, be it violent video games, drill gangster rap, or any number of the next thing the younger generations will come up with. The cycle repeats. Every generation was young, became old, and feared the new young again. That’s too bad, but for those of us still reveling in our youth, real or imagined, it’s nice to know that the moral panic over video games, like all those before it, will eventually subside.

March 21, 2014

This week in Guild Wars 2

Filed under: Gaming — Tags: , , — Nicholas Russon @ 12:26

My weekly Guild Wars 2 community round-up at GuildMag is now online. The Battle for Lion’s Arch has come to a close and we’re now getting information about some significant changes coming in April’s Feature Pack release. In addition, there’s the usual assortment of blog posts, videos, podcasts, and fan fiction from around the GW2 community.

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March 19, 2014

Dark Dungeons Teaser Trailer

Filed under: Gaming, Humour, Media, Religion — Tags: , , — Nicholas Russon @ 00:01

Published on 18 Mar 2014

Dark Dungeons brings Jack Chick’s 1984 masterpiece to the silver screen. Visit http://darkdungeonsthemovie.com/ for exclusive updates!

Debbie and Marcie arrive at college unaware of the dangers of RPGing. They are soon indoctrinated into this dangerous lifestyle where they face the threat of learning real life magical powers, being invited to join a witches’ coven, and resisting the lure of Ms. Frost, a vile temptress of a GM. But what peril must the two friends face when they stumble across the Necronomicon and their fantasy game becomes a reality game? Find out in Dark Dungeons!

March 18, 2014

The Hitchhiker’s Guide goes online

Filed under: Gaming, History, Humour — Tags: — Nicholas Russon @ 09:39

BBC Radio 4 has an online edition of the old Microprose Infocom game The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy:

Hitchhiker's Guide 30th anniversary edition

I played this game on my very first PC (a Corona PC clone with a massive 256K memory and two floppy drives). It was incredibly frustrating. I seem to remember dying a lot. I think that was the designer’s intent.

Update: Don’t know why I said it was a Microprose product, when the UI clearly states it was Infocom … senility setting in early, I guess.

March 14, 2014

This week in Guild Wars 2

Filed under: Gaming — Tags: , , — Nicholas Russon @ 11:20

My weekly Guild Wars 2 community round-up at GuildMag is now online. The Battle for Lion’s Arch is coming to a close and we’re looking forward to next week’s “wrap-up” installment in the Scarlet Briar story arc. ArenaNet also rolled out the Chinese version of Guild Wars 2 this week. In addition, there’s the usual assortment of blog posts, videos, podcasts, and fan fiction from around the GW2 community.

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March 11, 2014

Surveillance game – Nothing to Hide

Filed under: Gaming, Government, USA — Tags: , , , — Nicholas Russon @ 10:50

If you’re not worried about the government (or other governments) watching your every move — because you’ve “got nothing to hide” — you might be interested in this game:

The tongue-in-cheek game Nothing to Hide was born out of creator Nicky Case’s dedication to privacy rights. Using the game, he intends to chip away at confidence in National Security Agency (NSA) procedures and give advocates something to think about.

The “anti-stealth” framework is an “inversion” of more familiar stealth-based video games. In the Panopticon-inspired environment, players must control behavior to please monitoring powers. Rather than avoid surveillance equipment, players actively work to remain in sight of yellow, triangle cyclops-eyed cameras. If a player walks outside the view of the camera, he or she risks death by summary, trial-free execution — because clearly he or she is a criminal with something to hide.

The name Nothing to Hide is, of course, taken from a common blasé reaction to state surveillance: “Well, I’ve got nothing to hide.” The game confronts this attitude by drawing attention to the unpleasantness of being constantly monitored. Players are thrust into a dystopian environment devoid of privacy. Digital posters with creepy comments like “Smile for the camera” and “Thank you for participating in your own surveillance” cover the walls.

March 8, 2014

MMO Female Armour Bingo card

Filed under: Gaming, Humour — Tags: , , , — Nicholas Russon @ 10:35

At Bikini Armour Battle Damage, a handy Bingo card for your MMO:

Click to download the PDF version

Click to download the PDF version

As a special present for Bikini Armor Battle Damage first anniversary, I present to you: Female Armor BINGO!

Feel free to use as a reference to quantify how ridiculous any female armor is.

edit: Updated the link into downloadable PDF!

Breakdown of all the squares under the cut.

For the record: the game refers to the context of wearing skimpy “armors” for battle (any other context, like cosplay, is excluded)

Update: There are a couple of follow-ups that deserve your attention, too: Let’s address the controversy, shall we? and Female Armor BINGO Rhetoric Edition.

March 7, 2014

This week in Guild Wars 2

Filed under: Gaming — Tags: , , — Nicholas Russon @ 11:36

We’ve been having technical issues at GuildMag over the last 24 hours, so I’m temporarily posting my weekly Guild Wars 2 community round-up here. The last chapter in the Living Story season one is underway, and players are fighting to regain control of the city of Lion’s Arch. In addition, there’s the usual assortment of blog posts, videos, podcasts, and fan fiction from around the GW2 community.

GuildMag logo

Update: GuildMag is back online, so I’ve cross-posted this round-up (with some updates) here.

(more…)

February 28, 2014

This week in Guild Wars 2

Filed under: Gaming — Tags: , , — Nicholas Russon @ 11:05

My weekly Guild Wars 2 community round-up at GuildMag is now online. The Escape from Lion’s Arch is coming to a close and we’re looking forward to next week’s final installment in the Scarlet Briar story arc. ArenaNet also announces their plans for rolling out the Chinese version of Guild Wars 2 beginning next month. In addition, there’s the usual assortment of blog posts, videos, podcasts, and fan fiction from around the GW2 community.

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Developer dispute in Civilization V – “What?! Are you crazy?! You never do that! You fool!”

Filed under: Gaming — Tags: , — Nicholas Russon @ 09:26

If you play Civilization V (I do, but nowhere near as much as I played the games in the Civilization II line), you’ll recognize this argument right away:

“What?! Are you crazy?! You never do that! You fool!”

People got a little crazy during a routine design meeting in the Firaxis Games offices, where the developers of Civilization V take strategy very seriously. A designer talking about his recent playthrough to a large group of his gathered colleagues casually mentioned he didn’t like the starting position of his settler so he moved it that turn to look for greener pastures. The reaction was immediate. Half the designers in the room erupted in anger and disbelief — while the other half vehemently defended the move. They ditched what the meeting was supposed to be about, and instead argued for or against a specific move in the first turn of a Civ game. Clearly, this issue was very important. Sid Meier once said that all good games were a series of interesting decisions, and it’s a testament to the power of Civilization that even the first decision could evoke such a strong reaction in the current Civ team at Firaxis.

But why? Why is moving your settler or not so important? It’s a question I’ve struggled with in my own time with the series. I spoke to Firaxis to figure that out, and maybe discover if there’s empirical evidence to support either decision beyond individual play style. The three developers I spoke to were Ed Beach, lead designer on the last two Civ V expansions, Peter Murray and Dennis Shirk, and they all had very different positions on the Settler Dilemma.

On that particular question, I’m agnostic. I usually build a city on my first turn, unless the starting location is so terrible that the game looks to be lost right from the start (and if it really was that bad — all desert or all tundra — restarting is probably the smarter move).

February 21, 2014

This week in Guild Wars 2

Filed under: Gaming — Tags: , , — Nicholas Russon @ 11:33

My weekly Guild Wars 2 community round-up at GuildMag is now online. The Escape from Lion’s Arch content update was released this week, and it’s a doozy. Lion’s Arch is … was … the central city in Guild Wars 2, but now after a devastating attack destroyed much of the city, players are tasked with extracting survivors from the ruins. In addition, there’s the usual assortment of blog posts, videos, podcasts, and fan fiction from around the GW2 community.

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