Fishin' in the stream of consciousness (all-purpose, no topic chat thread)

Discussion in 'General Chatter' started by Wiwaxia, Oct 28, 2015.

  1. LadyNighteyes

    LadyNighteyes Wicked Witch of the Radiant Historia Fandom

    It was a lot. I got "Thank you for debunking this, I felt like I was losing my mind" messages for weeks afterward.
    • Witnessed x 3
  2. Acey

    Acey that's my fun and i like fun

    That was a wild ride and your snark was delightful. <3
    • Agree x 1
  3. TheOwlet

    TheOwlet A feathered pillow filled with salt and science

    • Agree x 2
    • Witnessed x 2
  4. ChelG

    ChelG Well-Known Member

    Question, is Zim (as in Invader) supposed to be an adult of his species or do Irkens start in the military early?
  5. Yes.

    I think it’s intentionally ambiguous, both options are funny.
    • Agree x 3
    • Informative x 1
  6. Verily

    Verily a very ineffective hitman

    I generally really like his video essays. I hadn’t watched that one because it sounded like a bit of a reach. I have watched it now. I thought he raised some interesting points and found the video overall thoughtful and inoffensive, but definitely a reach.

    To me the villager transportation options look far less like the game uses mechanics that accidentally encourage players to practice kidnapping, than that it tries extremely hard to encourage players to take villages and their inhabitants as they are even when it’s not the most ideal situation for the player, but isn’t going to actually force you not to do it if you really must. Yes, players can employ certain game mechanics that happen to apply to villagers but aren’t unique to them, and forcibly relocate them. I don’t see how that constitutes encouragement on the part of the game, rather than a widely known tip or trick in the online community. Especially since it requires you to have some sort of transportation infrastructure in place to make it happen, which is then already a different option you have right there, already built, sitting around being an alternative to forcing villagers to move to the most convenient location for you.

    There are many options for improving your transportation methods to out of the way places such as distant villages, opening up new opportunities for exploration and even access to resources via your new trade route. To me that seems way more in line with what the game itself seems to encourage than building an entire mock village and populating it by pushing villagers into boats or carts. Just because the game isn’t stopping you from creating something that matches your own preferred play style doesn’t mean it’s demonstrating approval. There’s a theory in game design that games shouldn’t punish players for making a decision the designers think is less moral, because it’s far more effective to convey that kind of message in a game by nonjudgmentally presenting natural consequences. If moving the villagers is difficult and feels uncomfortable, maybe the game is actually succeeding well in that regard.

    Also how many cats could you possibly need to be worth all that work?! Could you not just get a few and breed them instead of relocating a whole village?

    I do think there is a vast oversimplification and overlapping of thoughts in the video that ironically plays directly into the idea that native peoples are pure and wholesome and one with nature. I personally think it’s going a bit far to call it racist. Not because I’m under the impression that the best intentions and genuine effort mean you can’t do or say something racist, which is very much not true. But because I feel like there’s enough muddling of some key ideas that I sincerely cannot tell if it is unintentionally racist, or if it’s a communication issue wherein he’s thinking about something much more specific than he said.

    While I did honestly appreciate hearing his thoughts, I do find it difficult to be too concerned about the treatment of NPCs that are so clearly not people. And I don’t mean whether they’re presented as other, I mean they literally aren’t human beings, or sapient in any way, and it’s overwhelmingly obvious because they act exactly like manifestations of the Minecraft AI. They are quite undeniably game artifacts. It’s a little weird to come directly from a game with overt depictions of racism where I sometimes murder people for money, and try to muster any passion about the way players treat Minecraft villagers.
    • Like x 1
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  7. IvyLB

    IvyLB Hardcore Vigilante Gay Chicken Facilitator

    Personally I read the tone of the video essay as more of a 'Here's a thing we should maybe reflect upon rather than just kind of leaving it entirely unthought about as a gameplay convention with literally no consideration for 'is the base assumption here kind of an outgrowth of colonialist culture' and maybe also think about if there's alternatives'. I think people kneejerk react to discourse analysis a lot on this forum, but like. Most actual academics (and Folding Ideas certainly tends to employ a more academic register for the video essays) do not in fact mean 'problematic' or other terms to mean 'bad 5ever, kill it with fire' but rather the actual academic definition of the word under discourse analysis which is 'maybe we should actually critically engage where this line of thinking comes from'.
    Stardew Valley is not itself condoning colonialism, but it could not exist this way without the history of capitalist-colonialist exploitation to inform the Joja Mart plot. It's a clumsy example he didn't nearly elaborate on enough, but the undercurrent of the 'maintaining a property/wrestling it back from the reclamation by nature rather than just letting it fall into disrepair' is inherently a tension between a western-dominated idea of what cultivated land constitutes and the more naturalist permaculture ideas of traditional agriculture that exist in harmony with the local ecosystem. There's also the whole issue with the intended narrative trying to encourage a sedate '''''natural''''' farming lifestyle, the ludonarrative dissonance of the game subtly encouraging profit maximizing due to unreflected genre conventions, and the vibrant modding community that has a vocal camp deadset on turning stardew valley into factorio-but-without-an-end-condition-so-you-just-stay-an-industrial-farm-baron-forever.
    • Agree x 7
  8. LadyNighteyes

    LadyNighteyes Wicked Witch of the Radiant Historia Fandom

    Yeah, I thought it was pretty clear from the video that he wasn't going "Minecraft is racist" or saying the game was actually intending villager-trafficking, more just going, "Huh, the mechanics of this game have put me in a situation where it would be beneficial to me to engage in villager-trafficking, and that's making me think about the assumptions that guide those mechanics and their genre antecedents."
    • Agree x 5
  9. Verily

    Verily a very ineffective hitman

    I’m not disputing that it’s a question worth asking and exploring. I just think that it’s a real stretch to claim that the game mechanics have created a situation where it’s advantageous to kidnap villagers in that fashion. I’ve played my share of Minecraft and that sounds like a ridiculous solution to that situation that very few people would think of on their own.
  10. IvyLB

    IvyLB Hardcore Vigilante Gay Chicken Facilitator

    ... actually, I'm p sure the dominant interaction with villagers in most 'public facing' play communities is in fact 'relocating them to prettier more convenient villages' 'villager trading halls' and 'iron golem farms', because like, the current biggest/most influential minecraft channels on youtube and twitch are people like the Hermitcraft crew, or big Redstone Tech innovators, and it's p much standard to basically treat villagers like most other (passive) mobs in minecraft - as farmable ressources. And that does have an influence over how the game is interacted with. You cannot seperate games from their surrounding culture, be it where they were made/where they are primarily consumed, or the fan-subculture around it. And the fact that villager trading halls and farms remain a staple of cooperative survival servers to this extend despite repeated attempts by mojang/microsoft to dissuade this behavior (by nerfing iron farms into the ground/deliberately breaking the old designs, making the trading system more complex in village&pillage/1.14 and introducing the reputation system, by making it more complicated to get villagers to breed which is also a tiny bit yikes as a whole uh, terminology thing) is certainly something to talk about. And that's a thing that isn't talked about in the video! That Mojang has repeatedly introduced patches that seem to aim at dissuading this exploitative playstyle and people still find a way around it.
    And before anyone says anything, most of the hermitcraft players are such big name influencers they actually fly out to host talks at minecon and stuff like that and are invited to beta test press release things for the Minecraft AR game and stuff like that, so clearly the developers are aware this playstyle exists and is hugely influential/often publicized on youtube.
    • Informative x 1
  11. Verily

    Verily a very ineffective hitman

    I am aware that it is a common idea in the community, and that the way the game is constructed gives you so little guidance about necessary things that in this case, internet communities are vital in how most people learn to play the game.

    I still take issue with the suggestion in the video that this is something Mojang and Microsoft may have accidentally encouraged people to do through game mechanics, and perhaps may not even be aware that they’re suggesting you should do. That is very much not where that idea is coming from or why people think it’s a remotely sensible thing to do.
  12. IvyLB

    IvyLB Hardcore Vigilante Gay Chicken Facilitator

    Fair enough! I think this is like. again an issue with the shortform youtube essay format? Like. what would have been useful here would have been a sidetrack about the interaction between the intended ludonarrative level, player cultures and emergent playstyles and such? But I mean he did at several points say he certainly *hopes* this wasn't intentional, just that as the features stand right now, and with the state of the player community this kind of thing is A Thing That Is Encouraged. The source of the encouragement is not sufficiently differentiated between the programmed level, the press release level and the community leader level? That is definitely too muddled together in the essay itself.
    • Agree x 1
  13. IvyLB

    IvyLB Hardcore Vigilante Gay Chicken Facilitator

    but also i feel like that is kind of a failure mode of people with an academic background primarily in film and literature studies migrating over to videogame studies and not sufficiently getting used to the interactivity aspect of things, bc like, in video game studies, the culture around games as expressed though fanwikis, mods, speedruns, and other 'nonsanctioned consumption' forms like that is hugely important and the interaction between producer and consumer, and the queering of this binary is in fact something quite unique to videogames in its relative immediacy. Like, yes you can write fanfiction of a book, but it's not gonna essentially appear inside the book so to say? That's a thing that's sort of different and that keeps throwing wrenches into more traditional analysis techniques when you look at games
    • Like x 2
  14. IvyLB

    IvyLB Hardcore Vigilante Gay Chicken Facilitator

    also also the video essay didn't include a reference to Homo Ludens, 0/10, garbage academia
    (I'm joking, I just really like play sociology as a theoretical basis to work from :P)
    • Like x 1
  15. Verily

    Verily a very ineffective hitman

    Yes! This! I don’t think it’s a bad essay, but I do feel like it could have used a little more work here specifically. I frankly love academic essays on colonialism in media. But the muddling here made it feel like an inauthentic discussion of the game to me.

    I’m not about to unsubscribe from his channel or think less of him as an essayist because of it. I love his videos, and feeling this one was overly simplified in a way that undermined (no pun intended) the point just honestly makes him relatable. Sometimes it be like that with academic essays. Ain’t no sin, just the limitations of sometimes having to call it good enough when you could potentially overhaul the entire thing, because that’s always a possibility and endless perfectionism means you get nothing done.
    • Like x 1
  16. jacktrash

    jacktrash spherical sockbox

    something that muddles the issue further is the fact that, despite being humanoid in shape and making sounds that resemble a human mumbling, the testificates behave mostly like the other passive mobs. they have a trade interface but it's rather senseless. they don't build things. they plant and harvest crops, but not in any intelligent way; they'll plant on any plowed ground, and then just leave the crop there forever unharvested if they have some in their inventory. their villages are glitchy and nonsensical; half the time they're built on a terrain hazard and the entire population can drown or fall in a ravine before you can build enough safety features. the villager AI is really, really, really stupid.

    and that, imo, is why there are so many villager-moving options in mods. not because people want to make golem farms. the mods that have these options usually also have much better ways to automate iron production. it's because villagers are dumb animals, and will kill themselves by accident, and that's just depressing.
    • Agree x 2
  17. jacktrash

    jacktrash spherical sockbox

    • Winner x 2
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  18. IvyLB

    IvyLB Hardcore Vigilante Gay Chicken Facilitator

    o btw i feel i should point out: iron golem farms are a non-modded thing, most of the big community ~influencers~ on youtube play on vanilla survival servers with at most minor datapacks that do not significantly alter gameplay and/or AI. people like xisumavoid, iskall85, mumbojumbo, and the other redstone builders on the hermitcraft server for the somewhat restrained versions of these things that are still focused on community and aesthetic builds and the intra-server economy and such, and on the other people like ilmango and rest of the scicraft server project with hyper optimized farm designs to circumvent limitations put on ressources have a lot of influence how new/returning players interact with the existing gameplay features. because these are the people who cover snapshots of upcoming releases, and who tend to head the search for minecraft related topics. Because like, getting enough of x ressource without a farm can be very tedious, but if you want to make a farm, well, maybe you should start with a witch farm to generate redstone without needing to stripmine entire chunks, and if you're already doing that, well, you will need a regular mob farm too, and then hey, you may as well look for a slime chunk, and oops maybe you feel like with all this stuff you're doing you could use a way to repair tools, so better raid an ocean temple and make a guardian farm, and then well, a lot of redstone ressources and item transportation systems will need iron so why not get an iron farm and then while you're at it you can make a villager trading slum because nether quartz is really tedious to get the normal way and you run out eventually unless you trim off and regenerate chunks and-- and-- and--
    like yeah none of this is the intended way to play, but it's extremely common for the game to end up this way, especially on multiplayer servers, because the way minecraft works, you either every so often abandon your world and start over, or you systematically strip and terraform the entire world chunk by chunk until there's nothing left and then you start farming.
    I feel this is partially a status/mechanic-literacy signaling ('look at me, I'm not a scrub having to dig for minerals, I know how redstone farms work!') and on the other hand just and outgrowth of the fact that most internet personalities devoting their entire channel to minecraft have to make their living from it, so in ongoing vanilla survival servers, they simply do not have the time to devote to getting resources the normal way. So instead they set up farms they can afk at while doing their busywork irl.
    eta: also idk on which version of minecraft you currently play on, but since 1.14 (the current patch) villagers actually have jobs and ranks and a pretty sophisticated trading system associated which really makes it more uncomfortable to treat them like chattel, given they have like. schedules and somewhat social behaviors now. I mean yeha, it's no Elder Scrolls Skyrim level AI, but let's be real, Skyrim npcs have attrocius AI too sometimes and yet no one would argue they're not, yknow, representative of humanoids.
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2019
    • Like x 2
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    • Informative x 1
  19. jacktrash

    jacktrash spherical sockbox

    i love mods, so i’m stuck at 1.12 for a while yet. nobody’s had time to mod for 1.14, it’s too new.
    • Informative x 1
  20. Deresto

    Deresto What's your favorite Pokemon?

    Would a baby gate work on a vampire who has to follow the "can't enter without permission" rule? Or is it more considered an easy obstacle instead of a proper entrance blocker?
    • Like x 4
    • Winner x 1
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