Big fat wide open thread

[Pokes head in door] Oh, hi all. Sorry it’s been quiet here the last few days. Weather’s been sucky, Matt’s sick with something, no clue where everyone else is but I imagine it involves having jobs and lives, and I am at present umbilically attached to Bioshock 2. So you folks can have this one all to yourselves to chat about whatever you’d like, and I’ll be in and out to pass the moderation queue. Have fun and try not to get too much blood on the carpet. [Waves]

Addendum: Oh, here’s a little something, and trust me to remember late in the day. Evidently, this is the ACA’s lucky 13th anniversary! Yes, the group was founded on this day in 1997. So, go us!


  1. says

    Ohhh, me too!!I'm only a little ways into Bioshock 2, but so far so good. I'm not sure it is as good as the first game, but it is definitely a solid game. I just wonder if there will be the same sort of moral dilemmas and weird twists to make it more than just an average game. We'll see.

  2. says

    I just started Bioshock 2, but it lives up to teh creepiness factor of the first game.I still want to finish Mass Effect 2 a second time before really getting into Bioshock 2.

  3. says

    Well.. hmm, I guess I better head off to get my copy then./me pats mass effect 2. It's ok mass effect.. I still love you, I'm just sharing that love now.

  4. says

    I'm currently consumed with jealousy over everyone else's ownership of Bioshock 2. I just recently got a new gaming PC at home, just in time for me to return to the ol' college dorm where all I have is a MacBook and a Nintendo DS for gaming.So I guess this summer I'm going to have to buy both Bioshock games on the PC. And Company of Heroes. Any further suggestions for PC games?

  5. says

    You're not playing Bayonetta or Mass Effect 2?Son, I am disappoint.Both are great, although ME2 is a slight letdown in the sense that they 'streamlined' the rpg side of things a tad more than I would have liked them to. It's still really good overall, espeially in terms of narrative, dialogue, atmosphere, and visuals. Bayonetta is an amazing hack n slash title. I highly, highly recommend playing it if you even remotely enjoy games in the genre. I reviewed the game, if anyone is interested, but I will not provide a link unless asked, because I'm not here to spam links.I do plan on getting to Bioshock2 eventually, but it's going to be a rental for me. It's after Dragon Age: Origins, which is next on my list. But still, as I said…I am disappoint.

  6. says

    I've been playing a bunch of Demon's Souls lately and it has rendered me unable to enjoy anything else with RPG elements that's not Demon's Souls, I hope it wears off.Darren: It's System Shock 2 under the sea.

  7. says

    Ahem, well here's my attempt to hijack the thread and get you nerds to stop talking about video games for two seconds. 😉 I came across this article tonight by a former Jehovah's Witness who talks about what it was like growing up with the indoctrination, dealing with her children, and how she eventually escaped the cult.Indoctrinated Jehovah's Witness Bears AllI don't have much to add off-hand. But I do want to publicly question at what point does a "religion" become a "cult"? It seems like such a distinction is more of a subjective one than a definitive answer and I'm not quite clear myself on where I would make the distinction.Here's the definition of a cult from one online dictionary. I also recalled a Christian website I frequented about a year ago when I was having trouble understanding a friend who was a biblical literalist. labels both Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons as cults. They say "A Christian cult is a group that denies one or more of the fundamental truths of Christianity, while still claiming to be Christian". I was pretty surprised when I read that a year ago that they thought of Mormonism as belonging to a cult, but by their personal definition of a cult I can see why they would assign that religion such a label.Discuss!

  8. Martin says

    magx01: I actually haven't finished the first Mass Effect yet. I've only had my 360 for a few months, so I'm doing a lot of catch-up. I tend to be a late-to-the-party guy with games, and the fact that Bioshock 2 was a day-one purchase for me (when I almost always wait for games to drop to under $20) is sufficiently unusual that it should tell you something about what I thought of the first one. I'm totally loving M.E., so I'm sure I'll be on the sequel to that one sooner rather than later.Bayonetta is not my thing.Tyler: Your Daily Mail link didn't work.

  9. says

    Sorry about that, I accidentally appended a " mark at the end of that link. If you click the link and then just hit backspace on the URL to remove the quote, the page will show up correctly. I'd fix the original link in my post if I could.

  10. says

    @TylerA past Non-prophets episode discussed this very point and came up with a good description of a cult (and I paraphrase): A religious group that mandates/strongly encourages non-interaction with non-members. I go with that one.

  11. says

    Martin, just remove the " affixed on the end of the link and it works fine.As to the distinction between religion and cult, it can be as subjective as "I follow a religion, the rest of them are cults" to a more widespread outlook that refers to a relatively small insular group, not acknowledged as a 'religion' by the local State or other 'official' religions. Scientology for example was deemed a cult in Greece and therefore illegal. In my opinion there is less of a distinction of substance than of acceptance, power and status.

  12. says

    @ Tyler OlsenI know a lot of Christians don't like Jehova's witnesses or Mormons to be considered one of them. The cut off point for them is the trinity, but I think that's a bullshit distinction. They came form christian origins and have Jesus in them. Why not having a big old continuity error makes you not-a-christian sect is beyond me.

  13. says

    I have yet to pick up Bioshock 2, but am looking forward to playing that.I spent my money pre-ordering Final Fantasy XIII and God of War III. I'm also preoccupied with Brutal Legend, and Blaster Master Overdrive.

  14. says

    I will take advantage of this open thread to mention my new Daily Kos diary, . I dropped a short mention of it this Sunday but did not indicate how it could be found.This "blog," which I have dubbed "Politics in plate mail," is chock-full of liberal drivel about relating games — especially World of Warcraft — to politics. Feel free to pop in and leave your recommendations and comments, if you're into that sort of thing.

  15. says

    @Ben My grandmother wouldn't want to have the fan on during a thunderstorm. She thought lightning would come through the line or something.

  16. says

    @Kazim: Cool blog. I've always liked your WoW posts at the ol' Korner. I'll be following the DailyKos one too from now on.Maybe I'll start my own politics/game-related blog called "A Feral Liberal in Dire Bear Form." You wouldn't mind if I ripped you o… paid you homage, right?. 😀

  17. says

    Don't really like bioshock… first was kinda… weird… story.. nah, gamplay… nah… graphics, well those were awesome… at that time…rather Mass Effect 2.

  18. says

    Run idea Russel. I was toying with the idea of doing something similar with geeky media…maybe I should get started on that again.

  19. says

    Also, in terms of general skepticism, I want to point outa) The Holmes movie was awesome for that.b) Just FYI the "Palin named her kid after Downe Syndrom" thing is pure bullshit. There's enough about Palin to be face palming about without the HUffingtonpost making new shit up damn it!

  20. says

    As an adult atheist that was raised as a Jehovah's Witness I can recommend a great YT video about whether or not JWs should be considered a cult. Check out Tim Kilgore did a whole series of questions for JWs and the link is the first in a series where he talks about the cult properties that characterize them specifically. My brother and much older brother-in-law are obsessed with BioShock…interesting that a bunch of atheists love a game about the rapture. (No judgement, I honestly think that it is interesting) Anywho…check out my blog for more about JW and many other topics welllitattic.blogspot.comHappy Gaming!

  21. says

    @ Martin:Does the fact that Bioshock 2 is more linear and scripted detract from the experience at all? @ Tyler:I just read that story, and I'm so irritated I can't descrbe it. I know somebody who lost her daughter to Lupus a few decades ago, and at the time, she had to stand against her husband, family, and the male (of course) 'elders' and insist on allowing a blood transfusion. The transfusion was given, but unfortunately she still died some time later. In her time of grief, the mother went through hell, as she was hounded by her family and the 'elders' for disobeying them. She ended up leaving the JW's, but many years later, she resumed contact with them, and is now inexplicably back in. Well, cut to now, and she's facing a surgery in which a blood transfusion is likey, and she's having this innter turmoil as she debates on what to do. A few of us have been telling her to just go ahead and do it. I hope she does. As for when a relgion becomes a cult, what's that old joke? 50 is a cult, 5000 is a relgion? Something to that effect….

  22. Martin says

    Maddie Lynn: It sounds like you haven't had Bioshock explained to you very accurately. It isn't about the Christian rapture. Rather, it's a strange and eerie story set in a ruined undersea city named Rapture, built by an eccentric zillionaire with a dream of founding a kind of Randian Objectivist/Libertarian utopia free from laws and parasitical governments. Naturally, it didn't work out. The game's atmosphere and immersion levels are off the scale, with jaw-dropping visuals creating undersea settings in a 1920's/30's art deco style, with period music to match. There's really nothing else like it in gaming.So thematically, I can see how it would intrigue atheists. Ayn Rand is a very polarizing figure, to say the least. Some atheists are Objectivists, but the ones who aren't are emphatically not, with heaps of disdain for the way Rand's philosophy of reason didn't prevent her from crawling up the ass of her own hubris and building a cult of personality around herself.What's interesting about Bioshock 2 is that its villain is a woman who was the arch-nemesis of the city's founder, who has risen to power through that ultimate of anti-Randian tools, religion. And yet, rather like Rand, she's set herself up as the cult's central figure of reverence.

  23. Martin says

    magx01: I didn't find the scripting to be especially different in its linearity than the first one. Perhaps you could say that it has the problem all sequels have, in that what was "OMG!" fresh the first time is less so now. But the gameplay is a little smoother and playing as a Big Daddy means that your stake in the outcome is probably a bit stronger than the first time. The climactic levels threw a few curveballs into the story and gameplay I wasn't expecting, so I was glad it still had the power to surprise me.I'd really like to see the third game be more of a prequel, relating the story of Rapture's downfall. We've now had two games exploring the city as a waterlogged ruin. I'd like to see it in its heyday, just before the shit hit the fan.

  24. says

    @ MartinAh, now that description seems more in depth and intriguing. I guess a highly uneducated 13 year old and a religiously misinterpret 29 year old can confund meanings a bit. I figured there was more to it but missed the Rand references as I have only ever watched bits of gameplay. My mother seems hell bent on forcing Revelations references onto the game. Any truth in that? I'm thinking maybe no. Yes? No?

  25. says

    No, there's definitely nothing related to christianity with the Bioshock lore.Martin, sounds good. I like the idea of a prequel taking place during Rapture's heyday. I can recall playing the first game, walking around the ruins and wondering "Oh, man, what would thisplace have been like?"I think it would be a really intriguing setting.As for your perspective on playing as a Big Daddy, that's interesting. The fact that you play as a Big Daddy was part of the reason for my skepticism towards the sequel (the rest is derived from the fact that it's made by a new team, and the fact that they shoehorned multiplayer into it) but the way you describe it makes me wonder if it's perhaps unwarranted.Huh. We'll see I guess.

  26. Martin says

    Basically what's going on this time is that you're like a first-generation Big Daddy (Alpha series) and your particular character was pair-bonded to a specific little sister many years before, so now your overriding goal is to find her. Of course, you have to rescue lots of other little sisters along the way.Some of the most intense fight sequences involve you having to protect your little sisters from rampaging splicers while they're harvesting ADAM from corpses, which they take their sweet time doing. Adds a whole level of intensity to the way you had to acquire ADAM in the first game. (Though the little sisters do seem to be a fickle bunch. Sometimes you have to kill a Big Daddy in order to adopt a little sister for your own, and once you've offed him they immediately attach themselves to you!) Setting lots of traps and making sure all nearby cameras and bots are hacked make these bits especially fun.Of course, every time you rescue a little sister you attract the attention of a Big Sister, and then you're pretty much fucked.

  27. says

    Is it wrong that I find Bioshock hilarious? Mainly the opening of the first one where they do the jump from "GRAND RANDIAN DREAM" right to showing the city in utter despair and chaos? It's so offensive to Objectivists but so hilarious.

  28. says

    @ MaddieGood lord, I was at a JW funeral once for a family friend's mother. It was the most flipping abusive thing I'd ever seen here they took pot shots at her apostate children. Considering she died due to denying blood transfer (otherwise she'd have probably pulled through) that caused my mind to explode. Apparently the domain ability for JW clerics is "Huge throbbing balls". It was sort of that experience that has made me, if i have to be honest, prejudiced against the JW…and wound up with my friends and I writing 100 some ways to deal with them when they come to the door. If anyone wants the list let me know.

  29. says

    Everybody check out the new post at Ray Comfort's blog. Bukkake and two girls one cup references all through the comments.What we do 4 lulz at timez.

  30. says

    I'm refraining from playing Bioshock 2 for the same reason I refrained from playing Bioshock 1. That game scares the SHIT out of me. Mass Effect 2 looks several different kinds of awesome, though.On the topic of JWs: Makes you wonder what their OTHER domain ability is. Probably talking out of their asses.

  31. says

    Also was I the only one who noticed that Holme's nemesis in the movie was a stand in for Alaster Crowly? (down to looking damn similar). I found that fairly awesome

  32. says

    I did a good deed yesterday: in the middle of the night, the old man downstairs (in his 90s) was shouting for help. I called the police, even though I was wondering if he was not simply having a nightmare. It seemed that he had been stuck in his bath since the end of the afternoon.

  33. says

    @ Maddie. Upon reviewing the list needs some updating due to good taste and humor (a lot of it is good but there are some wow what were we thinking moments).

  34. says

    "I did a good deed yesterday: in the middle of the night, the old man downstairs (in his 90s) was shouting for help. I called the police, even though I was wondering if he was not simply having a nightmare. It seemed that he had been stuck in his bath since the end of the afternoon."Your neighbor is Taft?con

  35. says

    Just got back from my b-day weekend. My lady took me to a trip to the museum of sex. I'll be doing a blog on that soon if anyone is interested on some of the educational/hilarious moments.