Totally Legit Movies 2: Lovely Molly & Warm Bodies

Sorry to interrupt gaming talk with non-gaming things, but there’s a new episode of Totally Legit Movies! Wheeee!

This week we’re talking about the intense demonic possession film Lovely Molly, and the endearing zom rom com Warm Bodies. Also there’s a brief clip from the movie Panman of a woman making out with a saucepan. Yeah, that just happened.

As I mentioned before a big part of my motivation to start this project was having an excuse to learn things about making and editing videos, so here are a few things I learned this week:

* If you need to convert video to another format the open source software Handbrake is free and very good.

* If you ever want background music for a video (also known as “bed music” apparently), I strongly recommend just about anything off the free soundtrack for “Nameless: the hackers” by Box Cat Games. It’s all open license for non-commercial projects and sounds great in the background.

* Actually looking at the UI and figuring out what buttons do is helpful, LIORE. Learning how to use the Trimmer Window in Sony Vegas saved me a lot of time this week.

Goal for next episode: figure out how to more easily sync a video track and an audio track.

Anyway, below is Episode 2 of Totally Legit Movies. Thanks for watching and for the great feedback from Episode 1. <3

Crowd Sourcing from a Crowd of Idiots (Steam Tags)

Crowd Sourcing from a Crowd of Idiots (Steam Tags)

This week Steam introduced tagging for games in their store. Steam users can add “tags”, or short descriptive terms, to any game on the site for use in searches. The idea is to create a more organic, user-friendly system for cataloguing games, making it easier for people to find something they want to play (and buy).

In typical Valve style they’ve taken a very hands-off approach to the whole system. Certain words are blocked, such as common swear words, but in general the company seems to be working off the assumption that given the potentially huge participation numbers for Steam tags the majority will rule sensibly.

Yep, a sensible majority. You know where this is going, right? Let’s look at a few lovely examples.

We have the downright offensive:

rometotalwar Crowd Sourcing from a Crowd of Idiots (Steam Tags)

prisonarchetect Crowd Sourcing from a Crowd of Idiots (Steam Tags)

We have editorializing from “real gamers”:

negative Crowd Sourcing from a Crowd of Idiots (Steam Tags)

hipstergarbage Crowd Sourcing from a Crowd of Idiots (Steam Tags)

gonehome Crowd Sourcing from a Crowd of Idiots (Steam Tags)

(That last one is from Gone Home, of course.)

And we have the just plain bizarre, which while not offensive are also not very helpful for searching:

mumble Crowd Sourcing from a Crowd of Idiots (Steam Tags)

Small games are getting the worst of it, as it only takes a few people to totally troll their tags. In fact, users are able to tag games that aren’t even out yet which makes no sense whatsoever.

So what of those developers who find their game has been spammed with offensive or insulting tags? Here’s Steam’s answer for that:

steam1 Crowd Sourcing from a Crowd of Idiots (Steam Tags)

So if you find your tags are overtaken by racist trolls…. well, maybe you just haven’t considered that your game is racist! Makes ya think, huh?

I actually believe that Steam’s goals here are good ones. More fluid search terms are helpful for the user, and I understand that it is likely unfeasible for Valve to somehow tag every game in their store through in-house efforts.

But the implementation of this system is terrible. I mean granted, the true problem here is that gamers as a collective are terrible, but adding the ability for any wanker with a keyboard to write horrible things was just destined to be trouble.

I hope Valve re-evaluates their hands-off approach to Steam tags and at the very least provides developers with the powers to remove tags. Otherwise, this system will not only be a delivery method for trolling, but also totally useless to anyone trying to browse the store.

(Thanks to the Actual Steam Tags Tumblr for collecting a lot of these images!)

What a Long Strange Trip It Could Be. Again.

What a Long Strange Trip It Could Be. Again.

“Love is in the Air” in World of Warcraft this week with the Valentine’s Day holiday events. I logged in on Monday excited to see some new stuff, but then I opened up my achievement panel (on an alt no less) and saw this:

2014 02 10 21 19 17 World of Warcraft What a Long Strange Trip It Could Be. Again.

Oh. Well okay then!

I can still kill the special boss every day for a chance at a Big Love Rocket (hurr hurr), but this is about the fourth time in a row that I’ve been excited for a holiday event and then realized that I already did everything years ago.

And I do mean years ago. Blizzard originally introduced the What a Long Strange Trip It’s Been meta achievement for completing holiday events in 2008. Even considering the achievement takes a year to complete, that’s still a loooooong time.

2014 02 10 21 19 38 World of Warcraft What a Long Strange Trip It Could Be. Again.

I would love to see Blizzard completely redo this meta achievement and all the holidays. I have very fond memories of logging on for the first day of a holiday event and seeing everyone, raiders and altaholics alike, running around completing the quests. Plus, a year-long achievement was a really cool idea and I know lots of people who resubscribed just to knock off a holiday for the meta.

I certainly don’t want anyone to get left out of their violet protodrake right now, but six years is a long time, particularly in a game that doesn’t get a huge influx of totally brand new players. Making achievements account-wide was cool for a number of reasons, but really only exacerbated the holiday problem.

So look, Blizzard: Maybe the strange alternate time stream in Warlords of Draenor also changed all of the holidays? Think about it!

“Democratic Money” and Early Access

The launch of Everquest Next Landmark’s alpha last week has gotten a lot of people talking about games with paid early access.

I’ve already stated that I’m opposed to the practice. I will spare you all the details of why I’m not a fan of early access / pay-to-alpha, but suffice to say that I don’t think we should be encouraging the industry to sell us unfinished games. (I also don’t kickstart things for similar reasons.)

I understand why people buy early or alpha access and I’m glad folks are enjoying the heck out of Landmark, but I just think setting this expectation of buying half-finished content will bite us consumers in the butt in the long run.

Today on Tales of the Aggronaut, Belghast expands on one of the reasons he likes paid early access: it’s a more “democratic” system of letting people into alpha/beta.

“I will admit I have talked to a friend of a friend who got me on that desired friends and family list more than a few times for a game I was extremely interested in. To be honest, the system that existed just is not fair to the gamer, and involved a whole lot of cronyism… did I abuse this fact to get access to what I wanted? Hell yes I did.

For the the concept of buying into a program just seems more just. If you care enough to plunk down your money in support of a game, then by all means you should have access to alpha and beta testing.”

(from the post Democratizing Access)

Like I said, I understand that people want access to a game they’re looking forward to now rather than later, but calling a financial barrier “just” and “democratic” made my head spin!

There are so many people who love video games who do not have a lot of extra income. Maybe they’re a student, maybe they work a minimum wage job, maybe they’re a single-income household so someone can stay home with the kids. Maybe they lost their job in today’s craptacular economy. Maybe they prioritize their budget on things that aren’t video games.

Honestly, I am fortunate enough to have solid employment and I still don’t have the wiggle room in my budget to spend $60 on a free-to-play game that isn’t finished yet and I know nothing about thanks to the NDA (which was lifted shortly after the alpha launch). That’s a week of groceries!

Buy a pay-to-alpha game because you cannot wait another second to play it, buy it because you want to be part of the zeitgeist, buy it because you want to claim your virtual land plot or you like the developers or for whatever reason. Do it! Own it! Enjoy it!

But man, let’s not pretend that a monetary barrier is somehow more fair than random selection, or that having the ability to drop $60 on an unseen, untested game indicates a greater level of fandom or commitment or anything other than having that money to spend.

Totally Legit Movies

Totally Legit Movies

One of the things I’ve been interested in lately is video editing. I’m pretty used to audio editing at this point thanks to almost two years of doing the podcast, but video editing is an entirely different beast. It’s fussier in some ways, and has many more moving parts, but also lots opportunities for fun editorial tricks.

videoediting Totally Legit Movies

A segment-in-process

Back in December I decided to start doing a short video show about movies, along with a few friends. The idea behind Totally Legit Movies is to talk about underappreciated gems — movies that weren’t appreciated in their day but deserve more love. My personal taste in movies tends to run towards horror and cult films, and those will definitely have ample representation in each episode. But really there are movies that undeservedly slipped under the radar in every genre, and fortunately I have friends like Ellyndrial (and a few other familiar faces from Cat Context) who love comedies and animated movies and blockbusters and more to help drag them back into the spotlight.

(In a future episode we are going to make other hosts watch a “classic” that they haven’t seen yet, and you guys, Elly has never seen The Shining. I cannot wait to share the joy of REDRUM! REDRUUUM!)

So anyway, behold! A video! This first episode talks about slasher movie You’re Next (2013) and amazing cult classic Tank Girl (1995). What’s your favorite underappreciated movie?

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