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Comment Re:Poor business (Score 1) 349

The problem is that any given reviewer wont "mesh" with what *YOU* like. Or what *I* like.

True.

OTOH, I find that the aggregate consensus of several hundred reviewers actually gives me a really good idea of how good a movie is. That's not the same as saying it's a good indicator of what I'll like; there are some crappy movies that I like quite a lot. But if a film gets an 80% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and it has a significant number of reviews (obscure films sometimes don't), I can be pretty much guaranteed that it will not be a waste of my time. Perhaps it won't become a favorite, but it will be reasonably well-written, well-acted, etc. In other words, it won't suck.

I do occasionally see movies with low ratings, but only when there's some other factor motivating me -- and I often walk out disappointed. I also occasionally see movies that I have no real interest in, but have high ratings (and which my wife wants to see) -- and I nearly always enjoy them anyway. There are exceptions both ways, but the RT rating is generally an excellent guide.

Comment Re:Already solved! (Score 1) 72

Isn't this what free apps like HiYa and TrueCaller do?

With apps like that, you're still getting the robocalls, you just don't see them. The carrier still has to carry them. They take up bandwidth on the trunks and frequency allocation on the cell towers. The ones that originate as VOIP sessions from some boiler room in Bangalore clog up valuable spectrum on transatlantic cables. The earlier in the process they can be blocked, the better.

Comment Re:If self driving cars take off (Score 1) 191

I actually believe if self-driving cars take off, drive times will go down. The programmers of the cars can do a lot to alleviate the bad behaviors people have gotten in to that just makes heavy traffic worse.

If you then ban human-operated vehicles from (some) roads, or maybe just some lanes (which should be separated from lanes usable by human-operated vehicles), it can get even better. Vehicles in constant radio communication with each other and with sub-millisecond reaction times should be able to significantly increase highway speeds and reduce inter-vehicle distance to inches, while simultaneously increasing safety.

If you can remove human-operated vehicles from all roads, you can also get rid of stop lights and stop signs. Vehicles can negotiate appropriate gaps as they approach an intersection.

Comment Laumerlicious stuff (Score 1) 349

Chris, know what else would make a superb movie from Laumer? The Long Twilight. That book is awesome fun.

It has superhumans, aliens and alien artifacts, AI constructs, alien empires, broadcast power, several quite different levels of plotting, alternate history, near-future tech, military aspects of various ages, a love story, revenge, reconciliation... and it's all reasonably doable, movie-wise.

Any Laumer fan who hasn't read it... I highly recommend it.

Comment Reminds me of where I work (Score 5, Funny) 73

Every other month it seems, we get an urgent notice from IT reminding us to either uninstall or update Flash.

Unfortunately, I have to have Flash installed on my work computers because the corporate-required "training" courses that they keep on making us take require Flash - such as the one on "information security" about how important it is to keep our software up to date.

So, basically, I have to have Flash installed so I can tick off a little checkbox that says I know not to install software like Flash.

Comment Re:Poor business (Score 1) 349

Probably not. He's likely better at saying things with big words; and he's also human, and likely looks at people playing real instruments and people doing exactly the same thing with a thing shaped like a real instrument as ... well, performance art. His brain would immediately recognize the visible, physical aspect of playing the game as something he's accepted as performance art, and would build his entire appreciation of the game based on the presumption that it's leading people to engage in a non-video-game artform.

From there, attacking the game is attacking performance art. He might have actually had the impulse to attack the game based on his existing bias against video games, with the uncomfortable sensation of attacking performance art pushing back--simultaneously.

Whatever he then came up with from there is, in all likelihood, compensation for said irreconcilable conflict.

Seriously, what's the difference between Guitar Hero 4 and The Beatles: Rock Band? GH4 has a 5-button, plastic guitar; The Beatles: Rock Band has a two-octave keyboard that you can play in the same physical manner as a real instrument. Why wasn't Guitar Hero art?

Comment Re:Poor business (Score 2) 349

Uh, April 2010, "Back Then". Roger Ebert says "video games can never be art." Can never.

Let's make a new Plinkett/Bechtel type test right here. Describe artistic game expression without relying on irrelevant (to the medium) things like pretty backgrounds, models, or movie cut scenes.

Video games are mechanics affecting these things. Even Atari games move a few pixels. Those things have to be identifiable.

Xenosaga does this with cutscenes, voice acting, complex 3D graphics, orchestral music, and the like; Golden Sun did it with two-dimensional sprites and some transformations, along with text-based dialogue and some sound-effects, and music; and Adventure: Colossal Caves did it with only text. The first two have immensely complex stories and deeply-developed characters, like a Brandon Sanderson novel or a TV series such as Babylon 5; the last is largely an exploration of a descriptive and somewhat-fantastic world inside a mountain cave, with much less depth of plot and character.

The Metroid games does the same kind of thing, notably with Fusion, Other-M, and Prime; Super Metroid is said to have a strong story backing it, but doesn't express it directly via any kind of dialogue or cut-scenes, which draws some argument from people like me who say a game that doesn't demarcate plot and purpose isn't exactly conveying a story from the writer's mind to the player's. Nevertheless, even the original 8-bit game had complex level design and creative ideas of how a game is played, combining the "platformer" and "action-adventure" genres.

Video games are often a medium to tell a story (any genre), evoke an emotion (e.g. horror), or describe a place (the world in which the game occurs). Movies and books have to tell a story; static art (images) can only describe a situation at a moment (although, as with my argument about Super Metroid not demarcating plot elements, many people argue that a picture implies a timeline events leading into and out of the situation, and thus can tell a long and complex story on its own). A video game can just world-build, giving you a place to explore without explanation or purpose other than to see it; or it can create that place and then render it in a particular art style to show off the visual medium; or it can deliver a deep and immersive cinematic experience with the player in control, or at least the illusion of control. It has options.

Ebert's main argument was that video games aren't art because art is a thing you do and show others. Video games allow players to control the outcome--you can go left or right at this point--thus they have not expressed what the player will see and hear, and so aren't art. He essentially claims anything that doesn't play out exactly the same for everyone who observes it is not an artistic expression.

Comment Re:Poor business (Score 1) 349

The idea that he considered for even a moment trying to make an argument that music is not art is preposterous.

I said he probably didn't think he could get away with the argument; I didn't specify how long it took him to conclude that, or by what route. The game he conceded on is essentially performance of music.

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