In Response to “A World of New Darkness” from The Escapist Forum: I enjoyed your article and found myself nodding along as you followed the White-Wolf WOD setting. You did fail to mention Jyhad/Vampire the Eternal Struggle, which is an amazingly deep collectible card game.
I lament that after reading through numerous, mostly well-written novels in the Vampire setting, that all I am left with are the Requiem novels. From a novel standpoint, the WOD setting was an ideal setting and I felt, especially with the clan novel series, that it was a great medium for telling a story. Then again, a crappy ending and some inconsistent writing performances did mar it a bit, although not nearly as bad the the vague Dark Ages Clan novels.
I only played the table top WOD games for a brief while, kind of a week away from AD and D back in high school. We also tried some forays into the LARP version of Vampire, but I felt really silly actually dressing and trying to act like my character, Cosplay is not my thing.
I also think mention of both White Wolf Vampire PC games, Redemption and Bloodlines would have been more appropriate.
In Response to “No Humor in Heaven” from The Escapist Forum: I think the reason why Plato and Aristotle didn’t like laughter is because they were Puritans. They were “serious” scholars and laughter was the tool of the child, the idiot and the drunk (essentially the poor), not “serious” scholars who were so much superior to everyone else (the rich).
Two words – class conflict. Marxists claim class conflict began with the industrial revolution, but I would argue it began even before the birth of Christ, and was carried through the puritanical Christian religion which found it’s ultimate expression in the industrial revolution.
Look at all our depictions of Western (Greek and Roman and even Norse) Gods and later, as Christianity took over, Saints and Jesus. Nearly every single one represented before the renaissance is grimacing.
Don’t take God’s name in vain, means essentially don’t laugh at God.
Compare that to the Asian gods, the Gods of the Pacific Islanders, of the Mayans, the Africans – all these contain happy, smiling, laughing Gods.
Yet when the Puritans encountered these people they saw these laughing gods and declared them demons, and the people who worshiped them as savages. This made it easier for the puritans to classify and condemn these people and kill them or force them into slavery, in other words, made it easy for the puritans to wage class warfare.
Look at how the Puritans react to fun today – Drinking, drugs, comics, movies, games, music all come under fire. They actively move to eliminate fun and that which is funny out of our lives.
And it all started with Plato.
Actually, most modern sociological research that I’ve read indicates that play, regardless of species, serves two main purposes; introducing the individual to a socialized group by encouraging ad-hoc cooperation and/or coordination (which prepares the young for other activities such as hunting in the case of predators and defense of the group in the case of prey) and also forming a social structure or hierarchy.
As for the rest, humor also has another origin other than aggression, contempt and schadensfreude; defense. Humor can be used to defuse tensions that might arise in a shifting group dynamic by deflecting a situation that has a potential to become more aggressive.
In Response to “Three Unappreciated Demon Slayers” from The Escapist Forum: Thanks for the article. Gamers have no business hating Jack Tramiel — he may have been at the root of trying to halt the release of the Amiga, but it was under his leadership that the VIC-20 and best selling Commodore 64 were created. Name me any popular game studio or publisher today. Their existence can be mapped somehow right to the C64.
Just one thing: Your account of Jack’s departure makes it seem like he ended his rein by ruining the company then high-tailing it out. Jack turned Commodore into a billion dollar company. The price war was not only a personal vendetta against TI, but an attempt to establish the C64 as a de-facto standard. Speculation is a dirty business, but I’ll be bold enough to say, had Irving Gould (aka Goa’uld) not forced Jack out, the computer industry would have a different face today.