grahamiam's recent activity

  1. Comment on What are you reading these days? in ~books

    grahamiam
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    Book club book is The Stolen Bicycle by Wu Ming-Yi. I'm rereading it and three years later it remains my favorite piece of Taiwanese literature. It's about collecting, obsession, tracing the...

    Book club book is The Stolen Bicycle by Wu Ming-Yi. I'm rereading it and three years later it remains my favorite piece of Taiwanese literature. It's about collecting, obsession, tracing the history of ordinary people through objects (or, more accurately, tracing the history of objects through ordinary people). It's slow and contemplative and tangential. I love it.

    Fair warning, it has quite a bit of animal deaths in it.

    4 votes
  2. Comment on What games have you been playing, and what's your opinion on them? in ~games

    grahamiam
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    I go through phases of loving Adult Swim's original content, so I picked up JAZZPUNK when it was on sale recently. It's silly and gave some laughs, but very simple. Basically Adult Swim Bounces:...

    I go through phases of loving Adult Swim's original content, so I picked up JAZZPUNK when it was on sale recently. It's silly and gave some laughs, but very simple. Basically Adult Swim Bounces: The Game. If you want 2 hrs of AS-style silliness, check it out.

    Did a little co-op with Orcs Must Die 3. A few hours in and it seems like a solid polishing of 1-2 with a few nice additions. Great 2 player game. If you haven't played OMD but liked Sanctum or Dungeon Defenders, check it out. Wish it had a 4 player mode, though.

    I think I'm not going to finish Jedi: Fallen Order after playing for 2 hrs? The writing is so so so bad, and the combat is just okay, and there's a lot of bugs.

    1 vote
  3. Comment on What's a video game that you really want to exist? in ~games

    grahamiam
    Link Parent
    I would love this, and the closest thing I've seen are the Middle-Earth mods for Mount and Blade: Warband. It's such a shame that Bannerlord seems to be going at a snail's pace and it's unclear if...

    I would love this, and the closest thing I've seen are the Middle-Earth mods for Mount and Blade: Warband. It's such a shame that Bannerlord seems to be going at a snail's pace and it's unclear if it will ever be that much of an upgrade from Warband.

    Shadow of Mordor and its sequel do this on a kind of small scale too, though.

    3 votes
  4. Comment on What's a video game that you really want to exist? in ~games

    grahamiam
    Link Parent
    How about Disco Elysium? That's what comes to mind. I don't think there's a legit playthrough without violence, but I do think there's a legit playthrough where your character doesn't partake in...

    How about Disco Elysium? That's what comes to mind. I don't think there's a legit playthrough without violence, but I do think there's a legit playthrough where your character doesn't partake in the violence.

    7 votes
  5. Comment on Why you are lonely and how to make friends in ~life

    grahamiam
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    Thanks for linking this. I don't sub to Kurzgesagt videos because I find them very hit-or-miss, but this is a good one, and pairs well with this one from last year: "What Are You Doing With Your...

    Thanks for linking this. I don't sub to Kurzgesagt videos because I find them very hit-or-miss, but this is a good one, and pairs well with this one from last year: "What Are You Doing With Your Life?" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JXeJANDKwDc

    2 votes
  6. Comment on What games have you been playing, and what's your opinion on them? in ~games

    grahamiam
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    Someone recommended Quern in a thread about Myst-like games, and even though I'm not usually big on heavy puzzle games (I love Outer Wilds but nothing more complex than that usually - I gave up on...

    Someone recommended Quern in a thread about Myst-like games, and even though I'm not usually big on heavy puzzle games (I love Outer Wilds but nothing more complex than that usually - I gave up on The Witness early in), I think it's definitely worth a playthrough. The first half is paced amazingly well and the puzzles all just work in a way I don't think is usually true. There's also two built in hint systems that give you enough without holding your hand when you get stuck and want to use them.

    The second half the puzzles get a little overly tedious and the story is very back-loaded, but, yeah.

    3 votes
  7. Comment on What games have you been playing, and what's your opinion on them? in ~games

    grahamiam
    Link Parent
    Risk of Rain 2! 4 player PVE rogue-like, tons of difficulty sliders, tons of things to try to accomplish. Really, really good for this.

    Risk of Rain 2! 4 player PVE rogue-like, tons of difficulty sliders, tons of things to try to accomplish. Really, really good for this.

    3 votes
  8. Comment on The Biden-Harris administration's student debt relief plan in ~finance

  9. Comment on The Biden-Harris administration's student debt relief plan in ~finance

    grahamiam
    (edited )
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    Wanted to share the ProPublica database of all PPP recipients. If you are having a conversation with someone upset about this student loan bailout, you might use the PPP database as a comparison....

    Wanted to share the ProPublica database of all PPP recipients. If you are having a conversation with someone upset about this student loan bailout, you might use the PPP database as a comparison.

    https://projects.propublica.org/coronavirus/bailouts/

    The top says it's amounts over $150k but that's not accurate, even amounts as little as $5k show up. Very amused by the person in my hometown who got $15k for his cattle ranching business where he was the only employee.

    Anyways, could this money have targeted people in even more financially difficult situations? Sure. Is this going to do anything longterm without addressing the root causes of why tuition is so high? Probably not. But is it a better expenditure than a lot of handouts businesses get every year with much less hand-wringing? To me, undoubtedly.

    11 votes
  10. Comment on Guild Wars 2 Steam launch and tenth anniversary is tomorrow in ~games

    grahamiam
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    I currently play GW2 and am enjoying it in small doses. The story of Path of Fire and LW S4 was pretty good, though End of Dragons was pretty disappointing overall. I'm really confused by the hype...

    I currently play GW2 and am enjoying it in small doses. The story of Path of Fire and LW S4 was pretty good, though End of Dragons was pretty disappointing overall.

    I'm really confused by the hype over the Steam launch though. Players are acting like this is going to totally revitalize the game. I just don't think there's that many people who have been waiting for a Steam launch to play a 10-year-old game. Obviously I hope I'm wrong, but it's weird to me. Especially when every other MMO that integrates into Steam occasionally has Steam-only bugs or login issues, I don't know why not being on Steam would've held anyone back, besides being a boost in advertisement I guess. After all, we're talking about it here and now.

    4 votes
  11. Comment on What are you reading these days? in ~books

    grahamiam
    (edited )
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    After seeing it recommended for years, I'm 1.5 books into Robin Hobb's Farseer Trilogy. It's really, really good pacing, writing, plotting, etc. I love how the mind and "magic" are both incredible...

    After seeing it recommended for years, I'm 1.5 books into Robin Hobb's Farseer Trilogy. It's really, really good pacing, writing, plotting, etc. I love how the mind and "magic" are both incredible skills and weaknesses, and how the books have played with that idea in multiple ways. The world building and characterization do not stand out, so far, but if you want some quality fantasy, check it out.

    7 votes
  12. Comment on US House Speaker Pelosi arrives in Taiwan, defying Beijing in ~news

    grahamiam
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    If you want to hear a good roundtable of Taiwanese-American voices, Hyphen Magazine has one here:...

    If you want to hear a good roundtable of Taiwanese-American voices, Hyphen Magazine has one here: https://hyphenmagazine.com/blog/2022/08/more-escalating-tensions-roundtable-taiwans-recent-representation-western-media

    Two of the participants, Michelle Kuo and Albert Wu, have a wonderful newsletter called A Broad and Ample Road and tackled the topic there as well: https://ampleroad.substack.com/p/on-pelosis-would-be-visit-to-taiwan

    4 votes
  13. Comment on What games have you been playing, and what's your opinion on them? in ~games

    grahamiam
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    Based on HowLongToBeat I'm 2/3ish through Pyre, the only Supergiant game I hadn't played. So far I'd consider it the worst Supergiant game, but I don't mean that as a big insult - it's a high bar...

    Based on HowLongToBeat I'm 2/3ish through Pyre, the only Supergiant game I hadn't played. So far I'd consider it the worst Supergiant game, but I don't mean that as a big insult - it's a high bar to clear, and it's a very good game. The "combat" is the weak link, like all pre-Hades Supergiant games - maybe even worse than Transistor's. The story is on par with the others (really good). The music is not as good. The worldbuilding is really good, though there's a big chunk I'm hoping makes more sense by the end.

    I think my main takeaway so far is I want to read a fantasy novel set in this world.

    Still poking along at Guild Wars 2 and FFXIV. Not in love with either but enjoy them for nice bursts of meditative dopamine hits.

    6 votes
  14. Comment on The philosophical guide to software piracy in ~humanities

    grahamiam
    Link Parent
    Not trying to be accusatory, but genuinely curious - how is this different from Valve only selling their games on Steam?

    Not trying to be accusatory, but genuinely curious - how is this different from Valve only selling their games on Steam?

    4 votes
  15. Comment on What games have you been playing, and what's your opinion on them? in ~games

    grahamiam
    Link
    Across the Obelisk is a Slay the Spire clone - it has four characters you control instead of one, it has more carry over from run to run, and it has multiplayer (but the mp is just grouping your...

    Across the Obelisk is a Slay the Spire clone - it has four characters you control instead of one, it has more carry over from run to run, and it has multiplayer (but the mp is just grouping your chars with theirs in a same size party and controlling your chars). It's got some good ideas, and the right amount of complication (maybe a little bloated), but it is way too slow. Each monster casts 1-4 spells, each character casts 2-6 spells per round, and the fights last forever, making it really boring. There's also very little variation between runs. I don't have a lot of faith in them improving it, though, and maybe this is dumb on my part, but many of its spell names copied verbatim from WoW, which makes me think the devs are pretty lazy.

    2 votes
  16. Comment on What are you reading these days? in ~books

    grahamiam
    (edited )
    Link
    Middlemarch is one of my all-time favorite classic English novels. It's complicated and full of unexpected insight or big questions. So I finally picked up Daniel Deronda, also by George Eliot...

    Middlemarch is one of my all-time favorite classic English novels. It's complicated and full of unexpected insight or big questions. So I finally picked up Daniel Deronda, also by George Eliot (and mentioned conspicuously in Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go), and am 3/4 done with the 800 pages and pretty disappointed. There are two main characters, Deronda and a woman named Gwendolen, and Gwendolen sections are just very one-note and would be okay in a 200 page novel but not an 800 one. The Deronda sections are better, but even those just don't hit the same levels as Middlemarch, to me.

    Crystal Boys is a Taiwanese classic about Taipei's gay scene in the 1970s. I'd heard about it but just now read it and expected something kind of shallow or moralistic since it was able to be popular for decades despite its subject, but it's actually incredibly rendered portraits of a small group of people on the edge of society. Highly, highly recommend this one.

    5 votes
  17. Comment on What games have you been playing, and what's your opinion on them? in ~games

    grahamiam
    Link Parent
    I really enjoyed it, but I will say I would strongly recommend not doing the collectibles that show up on the map. They make the experience significantly worse - no real point, the gear they...

    I really enjoyed it, but I will say I would strongly recommend not doing the collectibles that show up on the map. They make the experience significantly worse - no real point, the gear they reward isn't worth it, and they serve just to pad playtime with tedium.

    8 votes
  18. Comment on What games have you been playing, and what's your opinion on them? in ~games

    grahamiam
    (edited )
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    Outer Wilds was one of my top games of the past few years. I'm currently playing through the DLC Echoes of the Eye and obviously a DLC shouldn't have to have the same scope as the original, but I...

    Outer Wilds was one of my top games of the past few years. I'm currently playing through the DLC Echoes of the Eye and obviously a DLC shouldn't have to have the same scope as the original, but I think it loses so much by not having much scope in terms of world size, even though mechanically it's really good. I'm so amazed at how the developers continually make new areas fairly easily discoverable with clues, but very unlikely for you to chance upon unless you just combed every inch of the world. The main new song is really good too, though not 14.3 Billion Years good.

    Checking out the F2P FPS The Cycle: Frontier. I'm told this is like Escape from Tarkov but I never played that. Basically, you drop onto an island where you are trying to salvage materials from failed expedition, but other people salvaging try to kill you. It's advertised as PvPvE. I am very bad at the PvP part, so I treat other players like impossible to kill except under perfect circumstances NPCs and just run away/hide most of the time, and it's pretty fun, though I'm guessing it'll get old fast. Reddit complains about hacking but I haven't seen anything unusual when I play.

    Also still playing Guild Wars 2 some mostly because I like making bars fill up. I'm about to run out of content unless I want to do some serious grinds or get into raiding/higher end pvp/higher end fractals though, which I don't.

    6 votes
  19. Comment on What games have you been playing, and what's your opinion on them? in ~games

    grahamiam
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    I've been playing through Guild Wars 2's latest expansion, End of Dragons. I picked up GW2 when it first came out, played to max level then quit soon after, then last year I picked it back up on a...

    I've been playing through Guild Wars 2's latest expansion, End of Dragons. I picked up GW2 when it first came out, played to max level then quit soon after, then last year I picked it back up on a whim and played through the two expansions (Heart of Thorns and Path of Fire) and found myself really enjoying the story and the horizontal progression system. The story is not FFXIV level good, but it's better than WoW, and I really loved how you stuck with the same small group of characters through many different events. End of Dragons, though, seems like a pretty big step in quality down from the previous two expansions. It feels pretty trope-y and less filled in. Now, maybe it's because I experienced the previous at the end of their lifecycle, I'm not sure.

    The game is really frustrating outside the story too. The combat is extremely nonintuitive in terms of the myriad buff/debuff relative power and interaction, and basically just leads to me following guides, and outside of AEing down tons of enemies it isn't particularly fun combat either. It doesn't run very well and the netcode seems pretty crappy (part of the problem is I play from Taiwan on US servers, but I do the same for WoW and have no issues). My experience with PVP is a lot of positioning followed by flashes of combat that are over almost instantly. I haven't touched dungeons or raids so I can't speak to that. The community is as nice as FFXIV though!

    2 votes
  20. Comment on Should you roast coffee at home? in ~food