My Six Favorite Posts On The Internet
Aug 30th, 2010 by Ice Cream Jonsey

The Interpreter by John Colapinto

“To Everett, the Pirahã’s unswerving dedication to empirical reality—he called it the ‘immediacy-of-experience principle’ —explained their resistance to Christianity, since the Pirahã had always reacted to stories about Christ by asking, ‘Have you met this man?'”

The Big Scam by Nightfreeze.

It doesn’t matter if this did happen – it could have happened, which makes Eve Online one of the few games that matter.

Another Essjay Essay by Jason Scott

If a picture of the future is really a boot stomping on a throat forever, this is the first post detailing how the way we’re controlling and dispensing information is going to allow it to happen.

Somewhere Nearby is Colossal Cave: Examining Will Crowther’s Original “Adventure” in Code and in Kentucky by Professor Dennis G. Jerz

The most important document in the history of Interactive Fiction.

Extra Cheese by Ben Parrish

I think this period piece pretty much sums up being a single guy in the late 90s, actually. Good Christ!

Poppy Game Insult to Our War Dead by Stuart Campbell and Jonathan Nash

At one point there was such a thing as video game journalism you could be proud of. The rest of the press did everything they could to fuck it all up, natch.

Half-Life Mod Preview Two: Jay Schilling Edition by Fussbett, Toutsuite, conflictNo, The Cable Brothers and Erik

Everyone made fun of in this article is probably writing video game reviews for Gamespot now, actually.

Starcraft 2: From Worse to Bad
Aug 28th, 2010 by Pinback

SC2!Welcome to SC2FWTB, the thread in which I will TEACH YOU, the horrible SC2 player, how to rise to the ranks of the merely bad! I feel qualified to dispense this advice, because I am a bad player. However, I used to be terrible, and have made tremendous strides by following the advice I will now begin to give you!

I will do this in installments!

Today’s installment is called:


Make no mistake! Without using hotkeys, you will always be horrible. Your first and only job, as a horrible player, is to learn to use hotkeys.

Not only that, but you need to learn to use hotkeys exclusively. A good training exercise for this (which will eventually become the way you actually play) is to play games against the computer, without ever touching the little selection menu in the lower-right. NEVER!

This takes work, as in the beginning, it will be much quicker for you to use the mouse to click on an icon than to recall the hotkey. But this is necessary.


If you already know the standard hotkeys backwards and forwards, skip to “CONCLUSION”.

If you still haven’t learned any kind of hotkeys well enough for them to be second nature:

I want you to immediately click on “Options” in the SC2 menu. Then I want you to click on “Hotkeys”. At the top of this screen is a dropdown, called “Profile”. I want you to click on the dropdown, and select “Grid”.

What does this mean?

This replaces all of the default hotkeys with the “Grid” hotkeys, which are so much easier to use that you would have to be an insane person not to learn them.

Essentially, it makes the fifteen leftmost (or rightmost, if you’re left-handed) alphabetic keys on the keyboard correspond to the fifteen little icon boxes in the lower right of the screen.

This has three tremendous benefits:

1. If you don’t remember a hotkey, you can just look at the icon, see where it is in the selection menu, and PRESS DAT KEY.

2. The hotkeys for all three races are now PRETTY MUCH THE SAME! No more “e” for probe, “s” for SCV, and… whatever the hell drones were. Now any time you need a worker for any race, “q” is where it’s at.

3. More importantly, you never have to move your hand. You always wondered how the pros could do fifty million things at once and it never looks like they’re flailing all over the keyboard hunting for hotkeys? This is why.

If you’ve ever dreamed of not being horrible at SC2, AND of being able to sit there calmly, your hand comfortably resting in the “home” position, being merely bad, then the Grid hotkeys are a must. There are two complaints you might have about Grid as a horrible player, which are are:

1. “The hotkeys don’t make any sense!” REBUTTAL: Like they made sense before? Now you have to press “q” for a marine, instead of… “a”. ?????

2. “‘a’ was always the attack-move command! The most important command in the game! Now it’s ‘t’!! Arg!” REBUTTAL: Look. If you are right handed, and you’ve got your hands in the right position, “a” is located so you have to curl your ring-finger back to get at it. “t” is right where your index finger is. Now all you gotta do is MASH THAT T. “But ‘a’ stands for ‘attack!!'” REBUTTAL!! Trust me, after the first ten thousand times you hit ‘t’ for attack-move (2 games), you will thank me.


In conclusion… hotkeys!

Flack’s Top 15 Games of All-Time
Aug 17th, 2010 by Ice Cream Jonsey

Flack had been counting down his 15 favorite video games in the JC BBS for a month now, and he recently completed the list. Down to #1, at least. Confused? Don’t be! Look, just click on this goddamn list.

The 1984 Arcade
Aug 15th, 2010 by Ice Cream Jonsey

(For another look at the weekend trip to the 1984 Arcade, please visit Rob “Flack” O’Hara’s blog post on it here.)

It was a trip that wasn’t supposed to work.

One of the Bruces had wanted a bunch of us from Jolt Country to go the 1984 Arcade for a little while. This thread was started by Flack, and in that thread, we were talking about going to the 1984 Arcade, but at first I thought it was a different arcade (in Nashville) and then Flack also mentioned an arcade that burned to the ground in a wholly seperate thread. I had no idea where I was going. I was just leading my normal, everyday life and throwing quarters at anything made of wood, hoping I was “doing it right.” There are, what, fewer than six real arcades in the American mid-west, and I managed to confuse them all? It all came together for me when I bought my ticket for St. Louis, although it was disappointing that when I bought my airplane ticket, I then had a good idea of how the trip was going to go. An unknown was slain. I much, much prefer the policy of PAX to not fucking tell anyone who’s going to be speaking on what days three weeks before that venture.

So with a heavy heart I arrived in St. Louis.

Bruce has his beard back, so if you play the IntroComp version of Cryptozookeeper and get into the second room, you’ll see a pretty good likeness. Of the beard. I added 300 pounds to him in the game, so don’t take anything from that. I was also able to say hello to his dog Golem, who plays the part of “Puzzle” in Crypto – and of course, I took a downright uncomfortable number of photos of Golem, because he is the best boy ever, and possibly the most chill and laid-back doggie I have ever met in my life.

We loaded up the van with One of the Bruces, his wife Amy and then Tracy Jo, Martin and Rupert. Flack and Jeff were leaving that day from Oklahoma. On the way down, we played along to the text adventure Bruce is working on, Stiffy Makane in Mentula Macanus: Apocolocyntosi. I was given gummi bears by my girlfriend for the trip, and those lasted about five minutes during the ride to Springfield. It was a gummiocaust. There’s gonna be a candlelight vigil down at the park where people cry into each other’s shoulders, trying to make sense of what happened.

My party parked and walked a block over to the arcade. A goateed dude in a black truck rolled down his window and shouted something at us, which Martin took as a random guy identifying us as arcade players and basically shouting, “NERDS!!!” But it was Flack and Jeff – all of us were at the arcade within a minute of each other. Flack had, earlier, written the following in an e-mail:

“I will be parked as close as possible to the front door in a big black Chevy Avalanche[.]”

And this was true, he parked as close as humanly possible to the 1984 Arcade.

The arcade’s fantastic – I didn’t really run into any of the control panel issues that Flack and others had, although this is probably because I played a lot of games where I had no idea what was going on in the first place. I actually use an extremely light touch on my Gyruss at home, so I thought the fire button wasn’t too bad. (It’s completely indefensible that I play games I own at remote arcades, but – wait. Wait! Stay with me for a sec. Bear with me for a sec, then: if you only play the games you don’t own, then you inevitably suck at all of them. If you DO play the games you own, you get to be a big shot and set the daily high score on one, and… and – well, this defense sounded better in my head.)

The 1984 arcade had a nice Nintendo row with Donkey Kong, DK Jr. and Popeye. I can’t say enough about how fun the atmosphere is – there’s a TV played 80s music videos, with the music piped into the speaker system, a pinball row (the only things that took quarters – a $5 fee covers everything else) and a few hilarious touches, like framed and signed photos of some arcade characters. The entire place is air-conditioned nicely although one of the reasons the place was so cold was due to the sheer amount I was sucking at Mappy and Robotron. I should have been a little better at those two. I drew some conclusions on a few of the other games, although my note taking wasn’t much more than going into the “Notes” app on my 3G iPhone, waiting two minutes for it to load, and then giving up and shutting the thing down with the button, accidentally hitting it twice, and bringing up the godforsaken, motherfucking global search function. So a few of my notes may be “tained” by what an unusable piece of shit the 3.x iPhone operating system is.

Defender: I’ve got jrok’s circuit board. The Williams Multi-System board gives you most of the games from that publisher, and the only thing he’s really emulating is sound. The games on this board are arcade-perfect because he’s using the chips they used originally. However, there’s a problem for me, personally, because the board is on my JAMMA cab – it was a converted fighting game of some form, and there’s two joystick and six buttons per player.

This is not perfect for Defender.

I can figure it out… I can play it… it works just fine. But God, the control scheme on Defender itself was designed for Defender and Defender only, and trying to play Defender in any other configuration sucks. The design… the artistry… the cheese…. the sauce…

I knew that it makes it a completely different game, and I knew (having played it before) that the scheme is soooo perfect… but it was nice to play it again and refresh my memory.

Karate Champ: This I’d never played before! Not even in MAME! Flack actually owns it, and he waved me over at one point to give it a shot. The Player One joystick didn’t go “up,” and the controls mirror, so on one hand Flack wanted to have the joystick he was familiar with, on the other, he was missing a good portion of his possible moves. I couldn’t have been beaten worse by Flack if he had a third arm and copper pipe. I got a few shots in when he was telling a story, or pointing out something about the game I didn’t know, or when my unyielding, white-hot anger towards the judge in Karate Champ (whom I do not care for) bubbled over and gave me a “20 seconds of the Force in The Empire Strikes Back on the 2600”-like skill to get some special moves down. But those are rare. I just really don’t like the face of the judge. Is that a Fu Manchu or a scowl? I don’t know that we ever determined what it was. Other than smug.

Donkey Kong: I will probably play it again without an authentic Nintendo joystick, but I won’t ENJOY it. What a joystick. What a perfect moment in time for that game.

That church filled with cretins was in Springfield that evening, but we didn’t encounter them. I did eat one of the worst chips in the world, however. Our two groups split up at 11:00 PM, with Flack and Jeff heading back to Oklahoma. With any luck I’ll be seeing Flack before too long because he has a nice Centipede cabinet I’ve wanted to purchase, and hell, I’ve never been to Oklahoma, so why not? We played more of Bruce’s text game on the drive back and I fell asleep twenty seconds after hitting the pillow.

On Sunday, I was able to geek it up on Bruce’s MAME cabinet, depicted above. It is really what you hope for when you get a MAME cab – four joysticks, pointed correctly (thus giving it the advantage over Gauntlet, where they are NOT aligned to benefit the player). A beautiful 25″ monitor, spinner and trackball are included, and shitty extraneous buttons are not. Bruce and I also played his Atari 2600 text game “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” via emulation on an Atari 7800. Bruce has a fantastic retro-computer setup in his basement – I am pretty sure I saw versions of Apple Computers down there that I had previously only ever seen in commercials spreading lies about the IBM PC. I held a 2600 Indy 500 controller in my hands for the first time ever, and Bruce drove me back to the airport in a bright yellow Smart Car. I had a great time with everyone, and can’t wait to see everyone again for the next adventure.

Bill Simmons Is The Worst Writer On Planet Earth, Volume 4,234
Aug 6th, 2010 by Ice Cream Jonsey

I’m quoting the entire thing from his column today about how fantasy football is broken. I’m quoting the entire thing so you can see that he literally went from telling people how “lame” it is to tell bad beat fantasy to doing exactly that.

Here’s the definition of a boring fantasy story that should conclude with the person being tasered for telling it: “I lost by three points last week. Craziest story — I went into Monday night knowing I needed 11 points from Gates. He has 65 yards with two minutes to go. San Diego is on the 4-yard line, they throw it to him over the middle … TACKLED ON THE 1! Can you believe that?”

Here’s when I zoned out: right after “I lost by three points last week.”

With our AL keeper team stuck in another rebuilding season, my buddy Hench and I restocked our roster with six mega-prospects: Carlos Santana, Justin Smoak, Martin Perez, Desmond Jennings, Eric Hosmer and Dustin Ackley. Santana was our favorite: a switch-hitting catcher who gets on base and hits for power. We have him for $5 next year, then $10 in 2012 and 2013. Santana and Daniel Bard (Boston’s future closer, and our property through 2012) were our only 2010 major league players that brought me any joy. We dumped everyone else. I even found myself flipping over to Cleveland games for Santana’s at-bats.

Fast-forward to Monday night: He’s playing in Boston, the Indians are winning by four in the seventh, there’s one out, somebody singles, and our atrocious third-base coach (Tim Bogar, in a dead heat with Wendell Kim and Dale Sveum as Boston’s worst third-base coach of my lifetime) sends Ryan Kalish, who’s about to get thrown out by 10 feet. Santana stupidly blocks the plate with his left leg at a 45-degree angle. In retrospect, he should have just drawn a bull’s-eye on it. Boom. It’s a Theismann/LT collision. Santana’s left leg does a 180 twist like the female vampire who had her head flipped around in “True Blood.”

I’m watching the game live and scream “Nooooooooooo!” so loudly my wife ran into the room because she thought one of our kids got hurt. (“No, honey — it’s just my favorite League of Dorks guy.”) Carlos rolls around in the dirt, sits up glumly, has his pant leg ripped off, has the doctors massage his mangled knee, then gets driven off on a golf cart as the fans applaud. A devastating 10 minutes. I felt bad for Santana, bad for Kalish, bad for Indians fans (and by the way, there’s really no doubt at this point that God hates Cleveland), bad for me, bad for Hench … and even bad for Tim Bogar, just because he’s worse at his job than anyone else is at anything else.

A three-paragraph “woe is me” fantasy baseball story, immediately after shitting on exactly that. Simmons is fucking beyond parody at this point.

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