26 March, 2017

Catching Up and Belated Weekend Links for March 25th & 26

I've neglected this blog for far longer than I intended. I did write a couple posts about the election, but then just decided to go back offline again, not so much offline as being on Twitter for longer than necessary.  If you came here from there, then that means the IFTTT recipe I put into place works. From here on out, I won't be on Twitter as much in favor of posting here and elsewhere in which long-form content thrives or is a thing (Ello, Goodreads, etc.). I'll expand on that in a later post along with talking about my sudden hiatus and other changes which I thought about over for the past year.

Instead, here's some late links for the weekend of March 25th & 26th, 2017.

SKILL, STAMINA, and LUCK--A BBC Radio 4 Documentary on the history of interactive fiction from text-adventures and Dungeons & Dragons to today's video games.
What was it that set them apart? They were part of a much wider literary innovation known as interactive fiction. You don't merely read them, page by page, cover to cover. You were asked to make decisions all the way along about what would happen next, where you would go, who you would even fight, which page to turn to. And you often had to keep a notebook and pair of dice close to hand while doing so. You might fail along the way and have to start again (or more likely you'd keep your finger in the previous page until you were satisfied you'd made the right choice). Essentially, they were puzzle books.
The World Wide Web turned 28 earlier this month...

The Oxford Comma is important. Atlas Obscura reports on a court case which brings this point home.
The comma, Barron then wrote, was important, since ambiguities “must be construed liberally” under Maine law, meaning that the delivery drivers, who had sued for overtime pay, might in fact be entitled to such pay since “distribution” in the law is not unambiguously separate from “packing for shipment.”
Motherboard reports on the refugees who helped Edward Snowden and the ongoing issues they face today.
As it turns out, this fear was not unwarranted. In the past weeks, Motherboard spoke to the refugees and Snowden's lawyer Tibbo, to find out what's changed since they became known through an investigation of the German Handelsblatt and the National Post. They describe a situation that has deteriorated significantly.

And here's what I've been watching this month starting with Ariel Waldman's look into Earth's history as a giant snowball...

Waldman did an interview for Rebecca Watson and Ken Plume's podcast, Just Admit I'm Right, that also gets streamed live on YouTube for their $5+ patrons. I'll hyperlink the corresponding episode when it comes up on the iTunes feed. Until then, and if your are fans of Rebecca and/or Ken, you should pledge to their respective Patreon pages if you can. I have and I can tell you the streams are worth it.

The next video is actually an playlist for a Let's Play I finished watching yesterday. I've embedded it here, but I recommend that if you're interested for the long-haul, to watch it on YouTube in full. There's also the cut commentary version here.

I've followed Chip and Ironicus for years now, at least since 2010, and their Let's Plays are filled with funny riffs and roasting, while also analyzing the game itself. Programming, design, narrative, anything that makes the game great or interesting gets covered in some way. This latest entry also made it into a Waypoint article by Cameron Kunzelman that not only is a shout out to these LPers but is also about the experience of watching Let's Plays in general:
The magic is happening in the let's play moment. I'm not just enjoying the game, and I'm not just enjoying the two guys talking about it. I am enjoying this weird composite of a game filtered through the mind of two people I've never met. We're a decade into LP culture now, and if you're in it you probably think this is the most boring thing, but it never fails to amaze me that I can enjoy someone else enjoying something so much that I can't conceive of one without the other. I have zero interest in playing an Uncharted game, not because of some problem, but just because they're not for me. But Chip and Ironicus open up a door to an experience of a game, not just a game itself, in a very fulfilling way.
...and that's all from me this weekend. I'll post more soon. Bear with me as I return to the blogosphere and ultimately back to writing.