Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Grow up...sheesh

Salad bowl brain blast incoming! I am a pretty negative person, and that may not always come through in my posts, here. That's the benefit of writing over saying something: you have time to control your ideas. Any jackass who tweets jackass things probably doesn't realize that tweeting is writing, and those people have the boon of time to...maybe not say racist things and lose a bunch of work for a bunch of people *cough Roseanne cough*. So, without further ado, it is TIME TO RANT.

Gaming trends

Fallout 4. Ark. Daylight. Fortnite. PUBG. Terraria. Breath of the Wild. State of Decay 2.
What do all of these have in common? Crafting and survival. Trends have the potential for creators to take familiar routes and hopefully break left when everyone else broke right and make something new. Developers usually rest that divergence on narrative, characters and/or aesthetics. However, if you're like me and really don't value the resources-and-survival genre, it's easy to feel like there's no new content. I personally feel like the developer stopped making the game and left me purchasing their full-priced dev kit. Minecraft looks like LEGO and gets credit for being a big deal early on (though I'm not sure if it was the first.) But the fact that so much of modern releases are now these glorified physics engines is getting obnoxious. Oddly enough, I highly favor RTS games, which have a lot in common with this list of games I started with. Maybe the player perspective is what I don't like about these?

Solution: give me a narrative!

Playstation Network

Speaking of gaming trends: smaller developers have been my lifeblood, especially in the last year. It's incredibly frustrating how rudimentary marketing tactics prevent games that aren't trendy from seeing more money. I'm going to pick on SONY for having a poorly-executed Playstation marketplace for more than a decade. A better system helps everyone! If you're a AAA title, you get your own page: the 5000 people who weren't already going to buy Destiny 2 were treated to a menu option in the store with a huge banner and a neat little video. However, maybe you want to play a game that isn't a shooter or maybe you've grown sick of Bethesda games and want to try one of the thousands of games that don't fit these two overdone categories of games.

I usually go to the sale pages, and filter GAMES out of the ADD-ON, BUNDLE, (dashboard) THEMES or DEMOS. There's a GENRE filter as well, but not on the main storefront page. You have to know what you're looking for: the browsing is so limited, and there's no way to know just how many games are available on the PSN. Also, searching is atrocious. You search, one letter at a time, from a shrinking choice of options. You can't just search by keyword. The ratings should be more robust than a star system. Perhaps with more detailed feedback options, gamers might be willing to spend more money. They could stick with the 5-star system and break it down into categories: Gameplay, Difficulty, Controls, Visuals/Audio and Pace. I'm sure someone who works for the company and gets paid for ideas could come up with something better than me, but the store they've had since even the PS3 days has been garbage. A better system helps everyone. Also, on a technical note, the store crashes all the time from not being able to keep up with loading preview media of games. Also, the video still plays despite skipping over it and trying to go to pictures. This has gone on since the PS4's launch. The volume of movie clips is so much louder than whatever you're playing that it's quite jarring, and I just don't watch their stupid previews unless the remote is within reach. A better system helps everyone: fix your shit, SONY.

Movies

When Avengers: Infinity Wars came out, I was still winding down from Black Panther being the big deal it was, with it's showcasing Black Excellence, compelling villain and strong women. Then, Avengers kicked my ass all over the place with Thanos being THE ultimate badass. And now, some idiot or collection of idiots decided to release a Star Wars movie barely after Avengers, and half a year after The Last Jedi. I really liked Solo. It had my favorite musical score of the movies, other than a few choice tracks from the saga, of course. The movie was really enjoyable and the dude who played Han was as much of a rascal as he should have been. I did my best to ignore the secondhand warnings I got from people who read and value professional critics' declarations of disapproval and saw the movie in a reserved-seating theater with reclining chairs. That is my first gripe with this movie: the critics got to see the movie first and ruined it with their crappy opinions. I realize the irony of this, considering that I primarily review games on this blog. But seriously, between unimpressed critics who only revere old movies and "fans" who were still burned from The Last Jedi not perpetuating some outdated elitist belief that every advantage is hereditary, this movie didn't get a fair chance to shoot first...Also, the idiot studio not waiting until December to release it lost that movie millions of dollars of revenue. These things are external as hell, but they still did affect the experience of seeing Solo. My only gripe with the movie is the trope of absolutely needing to unmask characters that wear masks. Screw that, keep the mask: retain the mystery.

Math

Yeah! I'm on a roll, here. So far I've talked about entertainment stuff, which is easy to argue that I should let it go because we're lucky enough to have access to it in the first place. Grab your Maslov Pyramid for a moment, cause I'm gonna rant on something that has REAL WORLD FUNCTION!
At some point in my early education, I was two years ahead in math. This means that I took algebra and geometry in middle school, and I can see the value of basic formulas and measuring space as life skills. However, high school further explored Algebra and then I studied Calculus, which was completely useless to me, who became an ESL teacher. Calculus is useful in the world, and probably to scientists who don't have calculators or internet connections.

Solution:
However, finances, debt management and credit should be priorities in (middle and) high school. Every. Single. Person. Uses. Money. My point here is that the Math Directive needs to teach students about money and credit before rates and advanced formulas.

Republican Party economics

There isn't one person who is both competent and not evil in that group. How can you possibly believe that Republicans "create jobs" when they slash funding for social programs that...help people work? Planned Parenthood helps people decide whether or not to have kids and...work! Slashing that funding means a bunch of social workers lose their jobs, as well as the parents who were on the fence about working now have to either balance baby life and work life. Whether working more or less, the result is a family that suffers quality of time and life. Same thing for healthcare, except now you've got sick and dead people's debts. Who do they expect to pay for this?

Then there's this nonsense about economic trickle down. Squash. That. Noise. I live outside of Seattle but work downtown. I don't work at Amazon; their AI decided my resume didn't have enough keywords and boom, no job. That's fine, but the only evidence of trickle down with Amazon that I see is that it's now okay for salads to cost $14, and a 400 sq ft studio is $1600 per month. The surrounding neighborhoods are super gentrified and homelessness has skyrocketed. Go trickle-down!

If you're not from here, the recent politics are that the City of Seattle wanted to charge a special tax to large corporations and use it to address homelessness. Obviously they pushed back and said the City should get better at financial planning (true) and the spineless council caved. I personally think that if Amazon left, smaller businesses would have more of a fighting chance, rent would go down, and so would the ridiculous cost of eating. Also, smaller businesses will likely pay taxes instead of keeping their money in Ireland. Amazon is both online and global, so it's not like I can't use their business if they move away from here. I really don't feel like there's any trickle down besides those gorgeous globes they built in the middle of the city.

Solution: Never, ever believe in trickle down. It forces you to pay taxes that corporations should be paying.


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