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Messages - Yora

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I am now convinced that old games did not use to be harder. We were just complete rubbish back then.

Being unhappy with the tracks in Wipeout HD and Redout, I dug up and installed Star Wars Racer again, which is really pretty much a Wipeout clone. I had not played that game in probably well over 15 years, but the whole thing took me 3 hours and 15 minutes to complete. I got first place in almost every race on the first try.

I noticed the same thing when playing Settler II some weeks ago. I could never get past the first third as a kid, but 20 years later it was a pretty much effortless cake walk. And I never even played any game like that in the meatime.

Why is foootball a big deal? People simply enjoy a spectacle and feeling massive pride. It doesn't need a reason, just an excuse.

There's plenty of movies where the director handled the shoting of the footage and then the company edited a movie out of it without their input. That's always a possibility with movies whose director should know much better.

Last weekend I saw Fury Road. A good movie, but merely "good". It got a lot of hype for being the best movie in years. And on some consideration, I actually agree that it's the best movie I've seen from the past 10 years. And the third best movie I've seen from the past 20 years.
But it's still merely good.

All the really great movies I know are from the late 70s to late 80s. And late 80s happens to be just the time when the remakes, sequels, and adaptations really took off. It might be commercially successful, but artistically the last 30 years have been a drought.

General Discussion / Re: How many nationalities have we here
« on: May 15, 2018, 07:19:43 PM »
I am three quarters Holsteiner and one quarter Pommeranian.

I liked the very first frame from the opening credits: "Tom Hardy as Max Rockatansky" and "Charlize Theron as Imperator Furiosa" appear simultaneously. Hardy gets the place on the bottom left, but Theron the place at the top right, so they kind of both get the first place.

I finally watched Fury Road. What a great movie. It's probably because I've been thinking a lot about the finer details of storytelling the last few weeks, but I was really quite amazed by how this movie approaches it.

Conventional wisdom holds, even though it's completely banal, that every story has a beginning, a middle, and an end. Fury Road doesn't. It has no beginning and starts right at the point that would normally be considered the start of the middle. And now that I think of it, the entire end part consists of a single short scene.
There is no exposition or buildup. There is no introduction of Max wandering through the wasteland and showing what the world looks like and how life in it is. The first thing that happens is that he gets captured. There is no buildup of Furiosa making her plan. The very first thing she does on the screen is to start her truck and get on her way. Joe gets the most introduction by turning on the water and turning it off again to show us he's a dictator who has full control over the people who treat him like a god. The very next thing he does is realizing his precious vault is empty and the chase is on!
And there is such an amazing amount of worldbuilding. And at no point do we get any character talking for more than one sentence about the past history, about the culture, the different factions, the geography, and so on. Everything is communicated by what stuff is shown on screen and what characters do.

The only downside was that I felt the movie is puttering out towards the end. The last 15 minutes or so felt a bit like wraping things up without really introducing any more new innteresting ideas.

"The Joker's just a mad dog. I want whoever let him off the leash."

Though he might think of himself more like Doctor Frankenstein.

So, does this mean the US is resuming sanctions? Sanctions that I assume the Europeans are going to ignore?

I was thinking about my favorite adventure stories and what I would consider the fun parts. And somehow it comes pretty much down to scenes of spectacle and mayhem in which there are no real stakes for the heroes. And with a few rare exceptions, lots of faceless enemy minions are getting beaten up and killed.
I find this more than a bit troubling.

Apparently I have never shared this gem here:

The Auralnauts Star Wars Saga.

A complete retelling of the Star Wars movies that starts as a story about a gang of drug addicted hooligans who have a reputation for wrecking every bar or concert they are visiting, which puts them at odds with Mister Palpatine, the owner of the Space Hooters chain. Things get more complicated when Anakin falls in love with Obi-Wan's girlfriend, Obi-Wan's is struggling with his addiction, and Mister Palpatine reaches out to Anakin to help him straighten out his life by offering him a job in management.
And they are settling their conflicts by dance battles and showing off the stereo systems of their starfighters. And there's a genocidal robot that philosophizes about the meaning of suffering.

And for some reason, it makes for a really compelling story with characters you can get invested in.

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Can Fun be deep and meaningful?
« on: May 10, 2018, 03:40:05 PM »
When I look at all the stories I really like, almost all of them are at least somewhat grim and bleak, though often with a bit of hope at the end (that often feels somewhat out of place at that point). Yet I am not at all a grim or bleak person and see myself as unusually cheery and optimistic compared to other people. Something doesn't seem to fit together there. But probably, it actually does. Somehow.

Why is it that stories that seem relevant and meaningful tend to fall into a somewhat bleak category? Where is the space for fun in these works? Or is there actually space for both?

No really specific question here, but the relationship between fun and meaning strikes me as an odd one, that probably holds some very useful insight for writers.

Writers' Corner / Re: Length of debut novel?
« on: May 10, 2018, 09:32:32 AM »
J.R.R. Tolkien
    There are 187,000 words in The Fellowship of the Ring (The Lord of the Rings, #1)
    There are 156,000 words in The Two Towers (The Lord of the Rings, #2)
    There are 137,000 words in The Return of the King (The Lord of the Rings, #3)
That one needs to be counted as 480,000 words in The Lord of the Rings. Though it is notable that at the time of its release, it was unpublishable at this length and had to be released in three more compact volumes. Though I am pretty sure the contract was right from the start to publish all three volumes. The publisher didn't sign up for the first one to see how it does before offering to publish another one.

But then, Tolkien had already released a successful novel, even if it had beenonly a fifth of the length.

Seven. It's sufficient to make the world feel like a world, but also a nice small managable size. It's also small enough to make all of them distinct through their culture, as they don't significantly differ physiologically.

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: History in Fantasy Books
« on: May 09, 2018, 06:23:14 PM »
Another curious thing about the early middle ages, that I don't see much used in fantasy, is how mobile some people were. Conventional wisdom has it that most people never travelled more than a day from their home in their entire life, and that might even be true. But when you look at the biography of important Scandinavians, it seems to have been very common in the warrior aristocracy to have served some years as a mercenary in Russia and the Mediterranean before becoming lords in the British Islands and making a stop in Iceland. And then you have of course the Central Asian tribes like the Huns and later the Mongols who traveled halfway around the world, with occasional visits back home in Mongolia.
Protagonists going on a long journey to far away lands is not that uncommon, but I've rarely seen this as a common thing among men of the upper classes.

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: History in Fantasy Books
« on: May 08, 2018, 08:05:30 PM »
I'd say "probably". With Britain's position, sea trade would be unavoidable and to make sure ships can come and go, you need a strong war navy.
The only other country with a comparable geographic situation I can think of is Japan. Japan chose not to trade much and exist in isolation, and stayed in the middle ages until the mid 19th century. They could afford it because the whole region was dominated by China and China didn't care. In Europe you had the French and Germans right next door, who were both very happy to engage in all kinds of war all the time. They probably wouldn't have respected Britain's wish to remain isolated.
However, without William the Conqueror, there wouldn't be any English possessions in France, removing the entire 100 years war from the equation. Which as the name implies, was a really big deal. But in any case, continental Europe would never have been in any way comparable to the inward focused China. Whoever wanted to control Brittain would also have to control the North Sea and North Atlantic.

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