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finishing our netflix dvd queue

We’ve finally finished our Netflix DVD queue. Which probably sounds strange to most of you reading this, because Netflix’s DVD service has felt like a historical artifact for years now; but we were actually subscribed to it until a month ago. And, for most of that time, subscribing was the right thing, I think? When […]

genre insecurities

If you were to ask me for, say, a list of my top five favorite movies, I don’t know exactly what the full list would look like, but most of the time both Spirited Away and Pom Poko would be on there. Which, it turns out, I have somewhat mixed feelings about: even admitting that […]

guys and dolls

(This was originally going to be a followup comment in a Facebook discussion with Roger Travis and Joan Pepin, but it started getting long and I don’t blog nearly enough these days, so I figured make it still longer and stick it here instead.) A few weeks ago, I was rolling my eyes at Luck […]

poe and leia

Before watching The Force Awakens, I’d heard that it had a lot of parallels with the original Star Wars; so I was looking out for parallels when the movie started. And, sure enough, they were right there: there’s this person who is being chased by the Empire (well, they’re not called the Empire, but they’re […]

the wind rises

The Wind Rises is, I suspect, a very good movie; I won’t end up loving it in the same way as Spirited Away, but I probably will end up loving it more than Miyazaki’s films since that one, and the fact that it takes a less fantastical approach to its subject matter of course comes […]


Mushishi struck me right off the bat as an unusual manga series from a formal point of view; looking back, though, I’m not sure why I got that feeling quite as strongly as I did. Comparing it to the rest of my bookshelf, it is the case that most of the manga that I read […]

the voice

I have not been playing a lot of games recently. Part of this is that my weekend video game time is almost entirely taken up with Rock Band 3 and Rocksmith; part of it is that we’re watching more movies than we used to and we’re going through Deep Space 9 as well; part is […]

taking away bending

In the media I interact with, there’s a lot of killing. In games, it’s especially prominent, because killing is frequently used as a core mechanic for non-narrative reasons. (That’s not the only reason for the prominence of killing in games, of course: the desire of many games to appeal to an extremely skewed view of […]

games and my soul

I’ve always been an unconventional video games blogger, because of the low volume of games that I find time to play, but that’s become much more the case over the last year. I was surprised to look at my recently played games list and realize that I didn’t finish any games for five months solid […]

zero patience

We first saw Zero Patience when it came out; I guess that means in 1994? I’d had generalized fond memories of it since then: what’s not to like about a musical about AIDS where the main characters are Richard Burton (the explorer, not the actor: he drank from the fountain of youth and is working […]

ghibli music for piano

If any of you love the music in Studio Ghibli movies and would like to play said music on the piano, allow me to recommend スタジオジブリ作品集 to you. It’s got music from all of their movies, including ones that haven’t been released in the United States (incidentally, I recommend おもひでぽろぽろ, and the English subtitles on […]

random links: april 11, 2010

What core gamers should know about social games. Ian Bogost’s GDC 2010 microtalk. Roger Travis’s latest teaching experiment. This is not a spiral. A cool platformer twist. (Via @SimonParkin.) Jane McGonigal’s 2010 TED talk. A useful counterpoint to the discussion that Jesse Schell’s talk led to. The FarmVille diaries. (Via @SimonParkin.) Functional programming, OO programming, […]

random links: december 29, 2009

A cross-game comparison of play incentives. (Really via @smgrimes, though Twitter wants me to credit @john_carter.) Journalistic objectivity. Time for me to reread Manufacturing Consent? Massively collaborative mathematics. Game design as government. We The Giants. Kant’s Critique of Aesthetic Judgment and comics. (Via 37 Signals.) Going West. (Via Dubious Quality.) Omohide is going through all […]

random links: november 24, 2009

Gerald Weinberg is, sadly, in poor health. Never tried doing Rock Band vocals this way… (Takes 15 seconds or so to actually start.) (Via @dan_schmidt.) R.I.P., Brother Blue. (Via @scottros.) The difference between motion and action. (Via @harlan_knight.) An unforeseen design problem. (Via @shawnr.) Nice perspective on slow programming languages. Glad to see non-Miyazaki Ghibli […]

gdc 2009: friday

My notes from the talks that I went to on Friday at GDC: 9:00am: Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap: Design Lessons Learned from Rock Band. Which began with the question: what do you do about the fact that everybody wants to have input into the design of your game? If a designer has tight control, […]

random links: june 4, 2008

Untangle, a flash game about representing graphs as planar with straight edges. (Hmm, are there planar graphs that can’t be drawn with straight edges? Not clear to me.) I linked to another game like this before, but this one’s better. TypeRacer, if you’re curious how fast you type. (I’m usually in the 95-100 wpm range, […]

stupid cliffhangers

I was happy when volume 11 of the DVD of Hikaru No Go included 5 episodes instead of 4 – more stuff, and we’ll make it through the qualifying tournament, right? Well, no: more stuff, but they leave us half way through Hikaru’s match versus Ochi. (Instead of stopping before the match, as would have […]

more studio ghibli movies

I was in Japantown in SF today, and picked up copies of Tales of Earthsea and Ocean Waves. (Both in Japanese, with English subtitles available.) The former of which I’m wondering about: no booklet, bad printing, claims to be region 1, and now that I’m poking around, I’m not convinced that there is a legitimate […]

steve yegge is two for two

Following Steve Yegge’s recommendation, we just finished watching Last Exile; it, like Haibane Renmei, is excellent. It took a little longer to get into the story this time, but somehow we slipped from “hmm, pretty interesting, nice mix of computerized and hand-drawn graphics” to “just how many days to we have to wait until the […]

throw everything at the language and see what sticks

I think I’ve mentioned this before, but learning Japanese continues to increase my sympathy towards kids who are learning to read and misread words in ways which seem inconceivable to me. My brain is pretty much incapable of looking at a word in English and not reading it immediately; the same is far from true […]