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On “Second Photo Surfaces of Justin Trudeau in Blackface

What if he wore blackface and sang The Banana Boat Song? What then?

On “Saturday Morning Gaming: The Debate over “Easy Mode”

There are a couple of solutions that seem to have appeared organically. I am an enthusiastic fan of the first, a reluctant participant in the second.

The first is: Achievements. Give the player a Trophy Case. Beat the game on Easy? Get a Bronze Trophy. Beat the game on Normal? Get a Silver Trophy. Beat the game on Hard? Get a Gold Trophy. Behold, the gatekeeper can say. Feast your eyes on my Platinum Trophy! Weep, Silver Trophy holders!

And everybody is happy.

The second is: "True Endings". Sure, you can beat the game on Easy... but you won't see the best cutscene... If you beat it on Normal, you can see a better cutscene... but if you want to see the *BEST* cutscene? You have to beat it on Hard.

Or go to YouTube.


Otherwise, in most cases, there should be an easy mode if the normal mode is too difficult.

The meat is in the difference between "in most cases" and "all".


Yes, it's absolutely a gatekeeping technique.

A game like Stardew Valley can provide huge amounts of zen. You have inherited a farm that has gone to seed. Go out into the field and dig out all of the rocky soil, pull all of the weeds, do some tilling, do some sowing, do some watering, and watch your crops grow. There's no real clock ticking, no real punishment for screwing up. There's tons of stuff to find and explore, of course. But if you don't do it today, you can do it tomorrow.

And after a while, you can turn chaos into pastoral order.


I kinda think it's like food or music. Would Slayer sell more albums if they decided to play something melodic instead of atonal?

Yes. Maybe? I don't know.

There are niche games for niche people and when someone who is used to mainstream kinda stuff encounters weird niche stuff, it can be off-putting.

(One thing that does seem to keep coming up is that there seems to be a clustering of these arguments in the group of Gaming Journalists causing some to speculate that this isn't about accessibility but about allowing people who really wanted to get a job at A Respected Journalism Outlet but could only land a position at the Video Game Desk to play a game and beat it without having to, as the saying goes, "Git Gud".)

On “The Vacant Lot

This was made when he visited a childhood haunt and saw a building there. "That used to be where we played stickball."

On “Saturday Morning Gaming: The Debate over “Easy Mode”

Eh, I think part of the problem isn't that there's a debate over whether it's okay for video games to have easy modes (because that'd be a short debate) but whether the makers of games like Dark Souls and Cuphead are obliged to provide one.

On “Musings on The Digital Underground, Juice, and Controversial Audiences

I'm deliberately using the passive voice.

Let's go back to Juice real quick. Here's a section from the UPI article:

Witnesses said the gunfire was sparked by a police search for a mugger who robbed a patron in the theater's restroom, not by the movie itself.

If something like this happened with Joker, to what extent would we say "see? Disaffected young males are drawn to this movie, like a moth to the flame!"? To what extent would we say "dude got mugged in the can, would have happened if the theater was showing a Shirley Temple flick"?

And so just as we are stuck here wondering whether we can meaningfully say that Juice resulted in violence, we're looking at the upcoming release of Joker holding our collective breath.

Here's another fun section from the UPI article:

Paramount's Harry Anderson described as 'isolated incidents' the violence reported around the country, adding, 'We're not sure it's related to the film.'
Overall, he said, 'we had a successful opening.'


Tell your friend that a guy you know that wouldn't have read the article has gone and went to read it and, indeed, is reading the Vanity Fair article now (or was, as of 9/20).

Okay, apparently, he watched the movie in Italy. "Perhaps it’s a bit easier to accept and digest all this horror in a country where such men seem rarer—or I’m being an over-worried pill, and it’s just a good, startling movie."

If Joker results in fewer deaths than the gang banger movies of the 90's... can we reach any conclusions about opinions about the movies? Or, seriously, do we live in a different society now? Like, if we find that the 2022 Dylann Roof happens to have this DVD in his collection (or Blu Ray, whatever), does that mean that we should have an opinion about the movie similar to the one that we all hold about New Jack City?

In the meantime, I’m left wondering just how serious this film is meant to be.

I'm guessing that this is Schrödinger's Flick.

If no one dies, then it's obviously commentary.
If someone gets shot, then it's obviously something that we should have done something about.

Watch it. Hold your breath. Hope the cat is alive.
Seriously, it looks like it's going to be pretty good.

On “The GM Strike is Going to Take a While

Safeway here in town (and, I presume, nationwide) had a strike in the 90's and everybody I knew, from my Mom to the folks I worked with at my IT job, told me to not shop at Safeway. Wait until the strike is over and *THEN* go back there, they told me. I shrugged and went to King Soopers.

In the early oughts, they struck again. Nobody told me to not shop there.

We felt solidarity with Safeway in the 90's.
We didn't in the oughts.

On “Musings on The Digital Underground, Juice, and Controversial Audiences

Is "Joker is a comic book movie" a reasonable counter-argument to the implication that "movies should show more accurate portrayals of imagined victims" argument or not?

To what extent is art obliged to reflect Truth-with-a-Capital-T?

(And that's without starting a conversation about the accuracy of the portrayal of the rough world in The Warriors, Colors, Angel Town, Godfather III, New Jack City, or Boyz N The Hood.)

On “Cuomo, Rudy, and Ukraine, Oh My

Because without Pelosi impeaching, McConnell can't acquit.

McConnell gets off the hook if Pelosi does nothing. He can say "hey, they never sent articles up".


We should also note the people who, while not *DEFENDING* it... will provide excuses as to why they should not have to pressure Pelosi.


Republicans don't control the House.


Anyway, here is the contact info for Nancy Pelosi (you need to verify that you're in her district) and I recommend that all people who are in her district contact her and DEMAND that she start impeachment proceedings.

If you live near Washington DC, I urge you to participate in sit-ins at her office. If you can only go for a couple hours, take some bottled water with you and share with the people who can be there longer! Hold their place for them while they go off to use the john.


But it owns the libs so people will defend it here.

Any minute now...

On “Second Photo Surfaces of Justin Trudeau in Blackface

Footage has surfaced of Justin Trudeau killing a man. This provides a teachable moment for you to change your opinion on taxation.


Justin Trudeau's blackface provides a teachable moment for all of us.

What can *YOU* do to demonstrate that you've learned from Justin Trudeau's blackface incidents?

For one thing, you can disarm.

On “Cuomo, Rudy, and Ukraine, Oh My

The Constitution has a lot of really good stuff in it.

On “Second Photo Surfaces of Justin Trudeau in Blackface

This is why it's important to not cancel politicians when blackface photos surface but support them:

On “Cuomo, Rudy, and Ukraine, Oh My

I don't know how to read this.

Is Trump taunting the press and saying "you won't throw me into the briar patch!" because he thinks they're genre savvy?

Or is he genre savvy and thinks they're not?

Or what?

I'm so confused.

On “Second Photo Surfaces of Justin Trudeau in Blackface

Okay, this was funny:

On “Cuomo, Rudy, and Ukraine, Oh My

I saw an interesting take on this that said that this one might have legs because it's Trump doing something behind closed doors.

If Trump calls for Russia to release Hillary's emails in a speech? No problem. Hey, it's funny.
If Trump calls for Russia to release Hillary's emails in a private phone call? EVERYBODY FREAK OUT.

So this one might have legs.