tablesaw: -- (Default)
Top Five Commands Every IF Game Should Implement (from [ profile] paulobrian)
  • >SING
  • >LAUGH
  • >BLOG
Top Five Non-Canonical Senses (i.e. Not Sight, Taste, etc.) (from [ profile] bookishfellow)
  • Balance
  • Wonder
  • Direction
  • Timing
  • Place

The poll is still open, and you should be able to fill it out using an Open ID (like your LiveJournal account).

Poll #964 Top Five! More Dead Than Alive!
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 10

Suggest a Top Five list for Tablesaw:

tablesaw: Gaff, from <cite>Blade Runner</cite> (Gaff)
When I left work yesterday, the Internet seemed rather calm. I was away for a few hours because [ profile] ojouchan and I went to hear Mozart at the Hollywood Bowl using my firm's box seats. And when I came back, there was crazy.

A whole bunch of racefail from various SF fandom cons popped up, as linkishly summarized by [personal profile] coffeeandink. I haven't even had a chance to look at the WriterCon issues, because I've been reconstruct my blown mind after the mindblowingly idiotic statements made by [ profile] arhyalon. I expect that [community profile] linkspam will be kicking into gear over it too.

Penny Arcade also took a dive into the "seduction community." Tycho offers some choice quotes like:
I'm fairly certain the purpose of this course is to make you a better predator of women. Check out their offers of "in-field training," as though you were going to hunt antelopes from a jeep in the Goddamned Savannah.
Gabe, on the other hand, apparently "decided to play devil's advocate" without doing a whole lot of research intot he topic, which was a bad idea. He finishes up saying
I'm a little worried that guys reading the site might take our discussion here as some sort of endorsement and I want to make sure that isn't the case. While some of their advice is probably fine I think the majority of it is really sleazy. Again, I can't blame guys for seeking out help. All joking aside though, I just want to make it clear that I don't think the seduction community is the place to go.
Emphasis mine, because although Tycho doesn't mention what started him down the rabbit hole, it may have been the recent massacre by George Sodini a deeply misogynistic man who regularly participated in "pick-up artist" seminars before taking two guns to a gym and then opening fire, killing three women and injuring nine before using the last bullet for himself.

Alas, a Blog has a collection of responses from "men's-rights activists, anti-feminists and other misogynists." (The original post includes a trigger warning for the quotes, and they are not for the faint of heart.) And these apologies for Soldini represent an extreme of Gabe's empathy. It's part of the reason, I try to divorce considering "intent" when it comes to things like this, because a person can ascribe a good intention or a seemingly reasonable justification to even the most heinous acts.

It's got me thinking about the nature of what "intention" is at all. Last year, [ profile] adamcadre wrote about a psychological study investigating how we determine waht is intentional. I wrote a comment thinking about how intention intersects interactive fiction. In response, Adam wrote The Nemean Lion (Z-machine file, requires an IF interpreter to play), and I've been thinking about the last scene in this respect.

Meanwhile, there's also conflict in the world of logic-puzzles, where puzzle plagiarism has reared its ugly head, with Conceptis Puzzles, purveyor of soulless, computer-generated, mass-produced logic puzzles, appropriated the concept and presentation of Strimko for their "new" feature Chain Sudoku. [ profile] motris and [ profile] onigame (constructors of the eagerly anticipated and soon-to-be-released Mutant Sudoku, a book of hand-crafted, soulful logic puzzles) have weighed in.

Yes, even Sudokuland is full of the fail. I'm going to bed.
tablesaw: -- (Default)
I've been reading what can probably be called The Best Article About Interactive Fiction Ever. Note the use of the normal "ever" instead of the ironic "EVAR". I really mean this. You should go read it now.

One year.

Sep. 29th, 2003 08:10 am
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One year ago, I moved into this house. I'm glad I did, it's been a great time. There've been parties and get-togethers and pizza and video games and media equipment and computers and lots of other fun stuff. And today there's me recuperating after a month of hard living.

I'll be doing some of that by judging games in the Interactive Fiction Competition, which started last night and which I spent a few hours downloading. Now it's all here, baby, thirty games to receive my adulation or disgust!

It's over.

Sep. 28th, 2003 07:10 am
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The week, that is. I just want to crawl into bed and stay there.

Things that may be able to lure me out of bed:SunNYTX: 27:30.
tablesaw: Sketch of an antique tablesaw (Antigua)
My days are not your days; my times are not your times. When I say late night, you say early afternoon. When you say prime time, I say breakfast. When you say weekend, I say Monday Morning.

I still am never quite sure when a day is supposed to begin. At work, for example, I will work 88% of my eight-hour shift on June 13, but the time will be logged for June 12. And even though the calendar says it's Friday and the company says it's Thursday, for me, since it's my third working day of the week, it's Wednesday.

It's complications like this that lead me into trouble with things like deadlines when I tell IF-Review that, yes, of course I'll have my Anchorhead review finished by Friday, since Friday is the end of the week and the end of the week is Sunday.

Sigh. Back to writing, I guess.

FriNYTX: 20:21. Felt stupid for not getting 17A right away. ThuLATX: 11. FriLATX: 12.
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Savoir-Faire, by Emily Short claims to have been published under the aegis of Textfire, which arose five years ago as part of a middle-scale April Fools' Day hoax. The first public announcement of Savoir-Faire was also made on April First, and its inclusion of some rather suspect feelie packages (including a Babbage-esque non-virtual Z machine) led many (myself included) to believe that the game was a joke. Obviously, it was not, and a few weeks later, the game emerged, with a not-so-extravagant feelie package.

But Short draws on the Textfire name for something other than a cheap gag. Since the death of Infocom, there have been a few scattered groups on the rec.*.int-fiction newsgroups and similar venues who try to launch a glorious new fleet of commercial IF. They don't, really, and many become jokes in the process. Textfire, starting as a joke, made outlandish promises and gained a certain cachet among those following IF as the most respected nonexistent Interactive Fiction company around.

That ironic respect is critical to creating the atmosphere of the game. Infocom games are usually referred to as such, not as Meretzky games or Lebling games. As a "Textfire Classic" title, Savoir-Faire is distanced slightly from Short, known for simulationism and complex character interaction, and is situated more closely with what it wants to be: a text adventure (not so much a "work of Interactive Fiction"), generic in structure but engaging in execution, where the story, though interesting, is secondary to solving the puzzles that are present throughout. "Old-school," as Short says.

Old School Is in Session... )

Savoir-Faire doesn't miss a trick and stays enjoyable from beginning to end. Driven by creative puzzles with memorable puzzles. Just as memorable is the story arc, which has, at its centerpiece, two vivid reimaginings of common IF tropes, the acquisitive rogue and the absent inventor. Pierre's sense of entitlement blossoms effortlessly from troubled class issues of his background. Glimpses of Marie's meticulous creation of magical clockwork add a further patina of loneliness to the already abandoned building. And for me, perhaps, both characters live so delightfully because they seem to reflect so strongly the personality of their creatrix, Ms. Short, who roguishly wrote a game containing many of the aspects of IF that many commentators have declared as dead and who meticulously toils over each period-accurate, wax-sealed letter sent out as a feelie. (Also, she wears dashing hats, when available.)

Game Specifications, a la SPAG )
tablesaw: "Tablesaw Techniques" (Techniques)
Recently, I've found myself in the position of advocating Interactive Fiction (IF) to friends and coworkers not familiar with it. However, recently, my own IF-playing rate has dropped to near nil. This year's IF Competition is approaching, and I still haven't played a single game from last year's. So, I've decided to force myself to play some more, get back into the habit, by dedicating myself to writing a few reviews. (This commitment was much more spur-of-the-moment than it seems. See below.) I don't really have any goals except to play some games that I'd really like to play and that I can finish quickly enough to write five before the month is out. Along those lines, my selections will probably be rather (ahem) "unadventurous," as I suspect I'll be reviewing games I played and liked but never got around to finishing.

This is the case for Review #1: Savoir Faire. I played it furiously when it was released last year, but got stuck on a puzzle, set it down, and never picked it up again. I didn't get horribly stuck, if I recall; stopping the game had more to do with having to sleep than being particularly frustrated by the block. If you don't believe it, read my journal entries from that time. Subsequent journal entries seem to indicate that I was distracted from finishing by a date to see Enigma and some time to complete The Enigma. So, today, I played through the game. All of this is background that I wanted to vent before I wrote the review, which I will now write, and which will be posted in a bit.

Update: The review is now available for review.


Jun. 1st, 2003 07:11 am
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It's been a long week, and I'm tired now. I've still not gotten the hang of keeping the house cool on the days when the Valley gets hot. I think I'm going to need a fan, bceause one of the problems I've been having is with keeping the air circulating, even when it's cooled off outside.

I'm glad to get the Matrix write-up off of my chest. Tonight/Tomorrow, I'm going to finish Savoir Faire (something I ought to have done long ago, by all rights) and write a review of that, too. It will be shorter than the Matrix musings, though.

In other news, where's the June Enigma?

SatNYTX: 14. Freaky fast. SunNYTX: 20. This was a really fun puzzle. The theme had a lot of variety, and some of the clues were fantastically clever. Favorites include 84D & 127A.


May. 23rd, 2003 12:39 pm
tablesaw: A young Shawn Spencer learns proper saw technique from his dad. (Cartoon)
Between not sleeping and/or catching up on lost sleep, I've been writing down my thoughts on The Matrices, which is taking a lot longer than I would have expected.

My sleeping problems seem to be linked to the very hot weather we've been having in The Valley. I've never thought I needed my AC unit while I slept, but it turns out I do. I turn it down pretty low, and turn it off once I get up, but I still feel bad. Of course, then I remember the insomniac sweat into which I awoke on Wednesday, then I don't feel so bad.

I'm getting out of town on Monday, though, and hopefully I'll find some nice weather for the beginning of Commercial Summer.

Also, I'm going to pimp some things:
FriNYTX: 18ish. Hooray for 65A!

The end.

Jan. 31st, 2003 10:18 am
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I've just worked an insane puzzle out of my system, and now I'm going to go to bed. I will not try to make any headway on The Mulldoon Legacy because that will keep me up past noon again. I may read through the new Enigma, but I will absolutely not research anything. I will not keep writing in this journal, either.

More News.

Sep. 2nd, 2002 11:12 am
tablesaw: -- (Default)
I'm jonesin' for the September issue of The Enigma.

My soon-to-be bedroom looks bigger than I thought it did.

My car hit 100,000 miles the other night.

The new Our Lady Queen of Angels Cathedral is being dedicated as I write, but the only live feed is in Spanish, featuring an annoying announcer translating absolutely everything and babbling for no good reason.

It's damn hot out.

[ profile] emshort sent me a message informing me that most of my order from is on its way. But not my spiffy Arrival poster, which will come later in its own nifty mailing tube. Sweet!
I really want to play card games with someone.

Cream soda is good.
tablesaw: -- (Default)
Dear anyone who gratuitously adds the "z" sound to any word:

Please say the following sentence:

His dizzy wizard is busy saying "Xyzzy."
tablesaw: -- (Default)
So like, I've actually got an email correspondence thing going on with T. Like, I write things, then she writes back. Woo!

I spent some time submitting to various search engines today. It's disturbing how many of the sites now require payment to be listed. If yahoo decides that we're a "business," we won't be allowed onto the directory unless we pay $300. No thanks. I am suddenly much more appreciative of Google.

I've also been playing Dragonriders on my Dreamcast. It's a very mediocre game, and the controls are awful, but I'm enough of a Pern fan that I really enjoy the story anyway. I should probably go back and reread some of the novels too.

Clerihews just keeps on coming:

When [ profile] heartichoke
Was broke,
Her song
Kept her moving along.

[ profile] playingpossum
Is awesome
Even when sitting
In the bathroom and knitting.

And a bonus for [ profile] swisscheesed

I would never make [ profile] swisscheesed
After taking the quiz which
Informed me I'm her bitch.
tablesaw: -- (Default)


For a while, I've been doing a little work helping to put up this site. More work has been done by others such as [ profile] emshort who gave the project goals and [ profile] fourcoffees who did a most (almost all?) of the web design.

This is a site designed to provide physical counterparts to interactive fiction games. Recently, these games have been produced and distributed electronically at no charge to the game player, so the budget associated with these games has been small (negative really). But in the old days, commercial games came with lots of really neat stuff like maps, booklets, glowing rocks, buttons, money, change of address forms, etc. So we've set up as a way for authors to create this kinds of feelies and players to buy them at low cost to both. We're not making any profit; we just think it's a cool thing to do.

So check it out, and pick something up. I recommend the Arrival poster. It's a one-of-a-kind item, and it's the first thing going onto the wall in my new place!
tablesaw: -- (Default)
Time continues to be eaten up by Savoir Faire. I now have 33 points. Unfortunately, I cannot play again until the weekend, since it eats up time like a hungry demon with a hunger daemon.

Besides I have to go to bed tonight for a family dinner, and tomorrow so I can go to 6 o'clock Mass and hope T. shows up.

SatNYTX: 35:30. Very nice, and very hard. SatLATX: 8. Not as hard, but it did feature Old School Nintendo. Yay!

No work here tonight, which is good, because I'm pretty tired. Getting to sleep won't be difficult.
tablesaw: -- (Default)
No walk. No pool. Distracted by a great new game. This is also the reason I am still awake at 12:30. Must sleep. Must stop linking...


Apr. 6th, 2002 07:47 am
tablesaw: -- (Default)
Attending the tonight's reading and talking with [ profile] veek got me thinking about this "e-literature" thang. On the whole, I don't like it. And I take exception for "interactive fiction." I thought that I should put these ideas down into a concrete form, so I'm doing it here, fully expecting, and anticipating, a response from veek, at least, pointing out flaws, raising questions, and directing me towards e-lit that is more my style.

Let me begin by saying that the term "e-literature" is amorphous and academic and since I don't really travel in those circles, I'm probably going to horrible misuse it. Further, "interactive fiction" is a vague term defined by tradition among a group of people who often can't come to a consensus about whether or not to come in from the rain. So my terms are undefined, and they will probably get worse as I go on. This is why I am writing in my journal, and not to some important place.
Click Here! It's all you can do! )


Apr. 6th, 2002 04:25 am
tablesaw: -- (Default)
I did, in fact, wake up in time to drive across town and get to Westwood for An Evening of Electronic Literature. [ profile] veek was pretty easy to find, and we talked for a bit before the show started.

It was interesting. Attending with veek made clear how foreign I was to this grouping, most of whom knew and recognized each other and had been talking and eating with each other for the past day and a half, not to mention keeping track of each other's work.

This here link constitutes the interactive portion of this here entry. )


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