Category Archives: Wobble Bla

Bientôt L’Eté is the bee’s knees.

Are computer games tombstones for civilisation’s moral codes? Or is there a middle-ground between art and entertainment? Yup, there is, and Tale of Tales just proved it once again.

Computer games are about killing things or collecting things, sometimes both at the same time. They also are a threat to adolescent minds, at least if you read too many press releases by politicians that studied too many Jack Chick cartoons. But then, there’s people that enjoy pushing the envelope without rocket launchers, Zombie hordes, or brainless Farmville grinding.

Bientôt l’été is the latest offering by Belgium-based studio Tale of Tales which I’ve mentioned quite often in this blog. Yes, The Path left a lasting impression. Sue me. But as much as I enjoy brainless hack-n-slays I love something that makes me go WTF? Something that makes me question whether we computer geeks truly understand what mighty tools information technology and the Wobble are, apart from ordering crap online, or tweeting about one’s lunch. Or killing Zombie hordes, but I digress.

Online, yes. Where Bientôt… really shines is in the encounters with random human beings who happen to play the “game” at the same time. It’s like a chat-room with predetermined phrases (and cigarettes). And as your counterpart is as much in the dark as you are, and has only collected a couple of phrases during the “game”, this makes for a both surrealist and suggestive conversation. And the outcome will determine whether and how you “progress”, and I’m not necessarily talking about a flock of dead seagulls.

Is there interactive art aside from weird installations in museums? Yup, there is, and as The Path suggested, Tale of Tales know what they’re doing. So if you like your gaming’s bees’ knees tickle your brains – and emotions – Bientôt l’été is where it’s at. And who knows? Perhaps there are Zombies in it somewhere, too. And if yes, you can be sure you won’t just stumble over them. You’ll experience it. I don’t think there will be any Zombies, but if there were you’d sure as hell think about what sad creatures they are and how to deal with zombification in your too humane life, or whether you’re supposed to be the Zombie, and what the fuck relationships have to do with it. Or something.

NEED MORE HATRED: The evil that farmers do.

So you bought Diablo III at launch. You spent about 10h/day on the game, while it still was pretty raw and you were able to gain a couple of million “gold” with weirdo game mechanics, while, at the same time, you have alienated either your spouse, your boss, or both.

And now you defend your new-ish way of life with teeth, claws and the odd airborne pro-gamer mouse because Blizzard is fixing the game, making sure it plays the way they intended, without too many loopholes and bugs. Because, well, you don’t want to play a hack-n-slash, or Diablo, no, you want to play Farmville.

You bitch about the game developer removing bugs such as “you shall not walk over this weaponry” because, well, that’s what you play the game for. Reached level 60, beat Diablo @ Inferno difficulty? I.e. beat the game? No matter, you want to farm more and better gear so you can sell it for real money in the Auction House. Or because you enjoy running through the same “runs” again and again and again, hoping for the odd “Rare” or even “Legendary” drop from the same mob you already have farmed 42 times.

Blizzard says: “We don’t want people to farm bosses, we want them to play the bloody game” (paraphrased), and you moan about too few high-level items popping up after you’ve killed the same enemies again and again and again. You’re at level 60, killed Diablo in Inferno difficulty, The End™, but you still feel cheated because them monsters don’t deliver the goods, i.e. gear you didn’t need to finish the fucking game to begin with. Rather than replaying the game, you complain Act 3 isn’t “worth it anymore after the latest patch/nerf” as the items found in Acts 1 and 2 are on-par. Or whatever.

How about playing Act 3 because you enjoy playing Act 3?

But yeah, I understand. For you, Diablo III is like a job next to your day job. Farm lots online after getting home, sell the gear online, profit either monetarily or with a push to your self-esteem because you feel l33t. Blizzard nerfs your very existence, because you need to run through the same mobs again and again and again. You paid 30 Quid for the game, it simply needs to cater to your every whim, even though you’ve already spent 100 hours on it and, well, finished the bloody game.

Wait for the add-on, if you enjoyed Diablo III. If you didn’t find it too engaging, as you can’t farm enough, well – there’s always Farmville. I’m told there’s even a cow level.

Stopping down is for babies and communists.

You paid helluva lot for that wide-aperture lens, so you’re going to use it. What’s the point in shooting at an aperture that complements an image’s composition, its message, and your personal understanding of documented reality?

Oh, wait. You just paid helluva lot for that wide-aperture lens, hence you damn well see the world at f/1.4 or below, so that’s fine. Pinpointing what matters™, highlighting it in gloriously shallow depth-of-field. After all, there’s the Bokeh to consider, the creamier, the better. Unless you bought a cheapo lens and the out-of-focus areas are kinda hard, in that case that’s the statement you truly wanted to make. The harsh reality outside of what normal people perceive. The human condition, rendered in two inches of sharpness, the rest in uncomfortable blur. You even got an ND filter to make sure you won’t get tempted to stop it down in brighter conditions. Because the shallowness is what it’s all about.

For example, how could the following photo profit from a stopped-down lens? Juxtaposing the mercantile marketing world represented by the discarded Coke can to newspapers ready for disposal? As a somewhat ironic comment? Are you bloody kidding me?

Yeah, that’s what you need f/1.1 for. Exactly this.

Na, the message is: the “% sodium” label sits in the same focus plane as the twine on the right. Because that’s what you can do with this fucking lens, that’s what it’s there for and what you’ve paid for. It’s huge, it’s heavy, it’s expensive. It’s irritating the manufacturer still bothers with aperture blades! Such lenses are made to be shot wide open, so you’ll do your damnedest to only use it wide open. Always. No exception. The Bokeh will make it a good image by default. No?

Germany: Leistungsschutzrecht, or how to make sure you’ll never need to change anything about your business, ever.

You’re a newspaper publisher who’s been around for a century or two. Well, not you personally (hopefully), but your publishing house. You’ve been living a sheltered life, mostly; declining ad revenue was easily shouldered by downsizing your regular staff and crushing freelancers with outrageously low fees for their time, effort, and work.

The reason for said dwindling revenues is this new kid on the block, The Wobble. It has been around for a couple of decades, but you never took it seriously, ignored it as best as you could. But your audience (the readers) and your customers (the businesses paying for ad space) liked the new guy; The Wobble became more and more popular. Deep in your heart you knew, already back in the late 90s, that its capricious nature might prove more resilient than you’d like. But what the hells, let’s ignore it some more.

Ten years later you concede one of these new-fangled thingies, a Web Site, might be in order. Yeah. And let’s put these articles online! That’s the thing to do, nowadays. Apparently. So businesses continue buying your print ad space, as well as online ads! To make your brand more popular amongst them weirdo dudes who are on “Social Media”, you’ll also add some buttons and stuff and include loads of metainformation for them “Search Engines”. Whatever they are.

At the same time, refrain from investing in the people who actually write and research the content you distribute. These Reuters and DPA and SDA online feeds are handy; after all, The Wobble and its friends won’t want to read real articles. Rehashes of news should suffice to rekindle the urge to subscribe to your paper-version paper, and thus ensure more revenue from advertisements.

Also, ignore the opportunities your new potential friend The Wobble wants to share with you. Reduce your perception to two of its warts: Facebook and Google. Then first sue Google for sharing headlines you made freely accessible on your web site, pretty much asking for it through SEO marketing. Your bank account doesn’t explode yet? Well, step two is to lobby with your government. Ask your governmental warden to tell The Wobble’s wart to pay for re-sharing content’s headlines (not full articles) you originally shared yourself.

Instant success! Also make sure to publish it in your on- and offline papers as a grand success for all reporters, journalists, photographers, and editors. You know, the guys and gals you pay less and less, and kick out of secure jobs more and more often. The people who would provide you with premium content you could make a living from if you both let them, and started talking with The Wobble rather than seeing it as a parasite.

But hey, what’s to worry about? Why make friends with the guy who’s been living nextdoor for thirty years? There’s always the warden to fall back on. So you won’t have to adapt or develop. Ever.