Wednesday, January 06, 2010
      ( 8:23 PM ) posted by Setsuled  
Is Ron Paul officially senile? I just watched him on The Rachel Maddow Show give the host a long, rambling, meaningless answer to something she asked. It wasn't typical politician bullshit, it was like someone fervently trying to impress their beliefs on another but having some kind of brain damage preventing the words coming from their mouths from actually matching what's in their head. I think the reason he seems so appealing to some people is that he just doesn't have the capacity to be part of someone else's programme--for better or for worse, he's a party of one, occasionally aligning himself with people he's too deluded to see are very different from him, like his grassroots support of people who wanted to wear Guy Fawkes masks for him.

Listening to The Howard Stern Show while inking and colouring yesterday, I was made to notice again how that show suffers when Artie Lange is absent. It's hard to describe what makes Artie so good on the show--it's not something you can really see in his stand-up. He seems to lack a certain psychological barrier everyone else has. He seems just a little more genuinely angry, sad, pleased, or excited than anyone else, who are always just a little bit guarded on the air. The sense is that Artie doesn't feel like he deserves the layers of psychological protection everyone else has. The guy really bears a cross, it's no wonder he seems to be dying. I do hope he gets out of the hospital soon.

Last night, continuing into to-day, I've had this strange lack of desire to listen to any music. I have to listen to something--silence isn't any more appealing. I finally ended up listening to Who Killed Amanda Palmer while drawing to-day. I tend to find myself assuming "Blake Says" is about Neil Gaiman, since it seems to be about a laid-back Velvet Underground fan. Though Gaiman seems like too nice a guy to ask to speak to an answering machine instead of a person. But the tone of the song seems to reflect how I often perceive their relationship, as being one where Palmer almost reflexively feels Gaiman needs more excitement in his life, or at least to do things that get him to feel stronger emotions. This might be the perennial struggle between the high-strung and the laid-back, though.

I did get TIE Fighter working a couple nights ago. I hadn't quite remembered how old it is--I had to run it with Windows 95 compatibility. The most striking thing is how evident the difference in gaming psychology is. In each mission, you are given a set of objectives, but there's nowhere near the level of hand-holding there is to-day. In the training mission I flew last night, primary objectives were to destroy 75% of incoming X-Wings and Y-Wings, while secondary objectives were to destroy heavy lifters that come in to steal some Imperial cargo. I found that if I stuck with my flight group and concentrated first on X-Wings, then on Y-Wings, there was no way to stop the heavy lifters. So, while you're in the middle of an intense criss-crossing of dogfights, managing your craft's energy distribution between lasers and engines, you also need to pay attention to who your flight group is attacking, figuring out what the best targets are to order them to attack, and take care to not slow down too much when destroying the heavy lifters as a regular TIE Fighter can be destroyed by just a couple hits. Collision's a real problem, too, as I found in my zealous attempts to destroy the better shielded Rebel craft I had a tendency to plough directly into their engines, something which they are more likely to survive than me.

There are a lot of controls in the game, all of them useful, and I was amazed by how much I remembered. The fundamental aspect of the gameplay distinguishing TIE Fighter from modern games is that everything you can do, all the forces you must negotiate or overcome, are all based on what a TIE Fighter pilot would have to deal with. There's nothing steering your craft for you while you fire, there's no unrealistic life meter or enemies whose entire purpose in life is to stand around until you show up so they can attack you. Everything's part of the game world, and everything has a role in the story, and the story's very involving as a consequence.



Last night's tweets;

What's a good movie without a spider?
The menu's otherwise just filled with meat.
Steady hands must pilot a TIE fighter.
Palpatine wants an Empress with small feet.
#





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