Fascinating

I had never heard of any of this shitte before, but apparently there are a large growing category of computer/phone/tablet games called “Free-to-Play” (or F2P) that use highly sophisticated psychological manipulation techniques to induce players to spend money to “upgrade” their experience of the game and progress faster and/or farther than otherwise. And some players spend thousands of dollars per year doing so!

Here is an interesting quote from the linked article:

“Hard” Boosts include things like the random rare creatures that are sold in PaD for $5 each. Having these in your stable effectively lowers the difficulty of the game enough to allow you to get a little bit further with each purchase. A technique that is very popular in Asian games with hard Boosts (PaD included) is to allow hard Boosts to be “merged” to allow for even bigger hard Boosts. This makes the math involved in figuring out exactly how expensive a very high quality hard Boost will be, daunting. It may even be completely invisible to the consumer due to the various drop %s being hidden. Thus the best hard Boosts in these games typically cost thousands of dollars, a fact that is hidden to the user until they are already invested for at least a few hundred dollars. This puts the consumer in the difficult position of giving up and losing the equity already purchased, or going “all the way” and spending some unknown large amount to get the top Boost. Some of these techniques, sometimes called “kompu gacha”, are already facing regulation in Asia due to their excessive layering and lack of transparency.

Grilled Salmon With Mango Relish

INGREDIENTS
salmon filets
olive oil
chile powder spice mix
salt
mango
red onion
cilantro
juice of one lime
black pepper
couscous
chicken broth
finely chopped carrot
finely chopped parsley

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Here’s the salmon filets. Our local fishmonger had wild-caught, so we got that, even though it was more expensive than the farmed salmon. Dunno why, but the orange color is paler than the farmed salmon.

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Mix plenty of chile powder and salt with olive oil to make a paste to coat the filets.

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Allow them to marinate in the fridge for at least a few hours.

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Grill the fuckers. Bring chicken stock with a little parsley and carrot to a boil and salt to taste.

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This is the mango relish I made a few hours ahead and refrigerated. It is chopped mango, onion, and cilantro, with the juice of one lime and salt/pepper to taste.

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To cook the couscous, add it to the boiling stock, stir well, remove from heat, cover, and allow to sit for at least five minutes. Then fluff with a fork.

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This shitte was fucken tasty, especially the crispy brown skin!

Rigatoni Amatriciana-ish

INGREDIENTS
half pound rigatoni
3/4 cup diced pancetta
3/4 cup diced onion
large can san marzanos
half cup dry white wine
chopped sage
olive oil
crushed red pepper flakes
salt
parmigiano reggiano

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Really nice pancetta. I asked for the leanest piece possible.

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Sautee the pancetta in just a little bit of olive oil until it is nicely golden brown.

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Add onions and sage and continue to sautee until the onions are getting translucent.

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Deglaze with the white wine and turn up the heat.

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Reduce until the white wine is all gone.

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Add the tomatoes and red pepper flakes. I usually add the red pepper flakes during the sauteeing part, but I forgot this time. Simmer on medium/low with the lid off for about a half hour, salting to taste.

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Sauce is done!

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Boil the pasta in salted water. When it is very molto al dente, add about 3/4 cup of pasta water to the sauce, turn the heat up, throw in the drained pasta, and finish for a minute or so.

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YUMMY!