kfwyre's recent activity

  1. Are there any viable alternatives for Facebook?

    A lot of people are currently switching over from WhatsApp to Signal right now, and the two are comparable enough that Signal can pretty much act as a drop-in replacement for WhatsApp. They have...

    A lot of people are currently switching over from WhatsApp to Signal right now, and the two are comparable enough that Signal can pretty much act as a drop-in replacement for WhatsApp. They have very comparable features, and Signal is easy enough to use that it's adoptable by non-techy people.

    Does something similar exist for Facebook? I'm fully aware of the network effects that keep people on Facebook, but let's pretend a lot of people wanted to leave that platform and migrate elsewhere. Is there anything that has a similar featureset and that is usable by the general population?

    8 votes
  2. Comment on Weekly coronavirus-related chat, questions, and minor updates - week of January 11 in ~health.coronavirus

    kfwyre
    Link Parent
    I'm not interested in identifying my location -- even a general one. Sorry.

    I'm not interested in identifying my location -- even a general one. Sorry.

    4 votes
  3. Comment on What did you do this week? in ~talk

  4. Comment on Daily thread - United States 2021 transition of power - January 14 in ~news

    kfwyre
    Link Parent
    That’s definitely a valid point, and I have the exact same complaint about “defund the police”. The difference to me between “fuck” and “defund” is that there is a much bigger cultural precedent...

    That’s definitely a valid point, and I have the exact same complaint about “defund the police”. The difference to me between “fuck” and “defund” is that there is a much bigger cultural precedent to the former that there isn’t for the latter. I’ve heard many iterations of “fuck the police” over the years — almost always as a response to egregious injustices — but “defund” was new to me this year and was almost immediately dizzying for my inability to pin down its actual meaning. Presumably it does take time for things like that to gain their cultural foothold and settle into shared meaning, but much of the “defund” discussion I saw felt almost like it was in bad faith. “Fuck” has a much more clear and consistent meaning to me.

    That said, I’m really only mentioning this to shine a contextual light rather than as a full-throated defense. Not only do I not subscribe to “fuck the police” as a philosophy, but the original NWA song also has a homophobic line about whether or not police are “fags”, so this isn’t exactly something I’d be thrilled to throw my weight behind even if I did agree with its message. For me it’s mostly about not standing in its way rather than giving it an endorsement. It’s usually used by people of color as a way of expressing anger at the unfair treatment they receive and the disproportionate harms levied on them by the police. Even if I don’t endorse the specific form of messaging, I still think it’s important that their message be heard.

    6 votes
  5. Comment on Awesome Games Done Quick 2021 roundup - What were your favorite runs, and why? in ~games

    kfwyre
    Link Parent
    I finally got around to watching that Celeste run and WOW, what a treat! I was amazed at how fluid and precise his movement was, given that he was doing it with his feet. Plus, I’ve always loved...

    I finally got around to watching that Celeste run and WOW, what a treat! I was amazed at how fluid and precise his movement was, given that he was doing it with his feet.

    Plus, I’ve always loved how inclusive GDQ is, and seeing his save file titled “Trans Rights” was a special bonus, especially given that this was the first time the game has been run at a GDQ with Madeline as a confirmed trans character.

    1 vote
  6. Comment on Awesome Games Done Quick 2021 roundup - What were your favorite runs, and why? in ~games

    kfwyre
    Link Parent
    My husband and I watched the Mr. Bones run over dinner tonight. It was not only the highest quality camp gaming has to offer, but I was legitimately enthralled by what the game would offer up...

    My husband and I watched the Mr. Bones run over dinner tonight. It was not only the highest quality camp gaming has to offer, but I was legitimately enthralled by what the game would offer up next. Every cutscene was a bizarre treat, and every new gameplay segment was something different from the last. Plus the runner had a great energy, and the anxiety of worrying her Sega Saturn might crap out on stream with tens of thousands of viewers watching was real.

    Thanks for the recommendation!

    3 votes
  7. Comment on Awesome Games Done Quick 2021 roundup - What were your favorite runs, and why? in ~games

    kfwyre
    Link Parent
    I had the exact same thought about MIPS in the Super Mario 64 run! There were parts that were so fluid and precise I legitimately forgot he was blindfolded for a moment — it looked like the type...

    I had the exact same thought about MIPS in the Super Mario 64 run! There were parts that were so fluid and precise I legitimately forgot he was blindfolded for a moment — it looked like the type of play you get from your standard, skilled speedrunner. It was genuinely incredible to watch.

    1 vote
  8. Comment on Daily thread - United States 2021 transition of power - January 14 in ~news

    kfwyre
    (edited )
    Link Parent
    I agree with you that we need police and that it’s important that we highlight and support those who choose to uphold their duties and the law, particularly when they do so in the face of death or...

    I agree with you that we need police and that it’s important that we highlight and support those who choose to uphold their duties and the law, particularly when they do so in the face of death or potential harm. That is not something I take lightly at all. I’ve also spoken out against inflammatory language here on Tildes on multiple occasions, so it feels a little weird for me to be okay with this, but I think it’s important to note that “fuck the police” has a long-standing history as its own specific protest phrase against racism and brutality in law enforcement. It’s not what I would choose to say here, but I do think it’s different from other examples of inflammatory discourse because it has a well-established cultural context. I take it less at face value and more as shorthand for placing the events at the Capitol within a history of racist abuses enacted by law enforcement (though this event was noteworthy not for continuing the pattern but for confirming the inverse).

    6 votes
  9. Comment on Daily thread - United States 2021 transition of power - January 14 in ~news

    kfwyre
    (edited )
    Link Parent
    You're not being pessimistic. I actually cut out some heavily editorialized comments I had originally made in favor of posting the link on its own. The fact that 70% of Republicans believe that...

    You're not being pessimistic. I actually cut out some heavily editorialized comments I had originally made in favor of posting the link on its own.

    The fact that 70% of Republicans believe that antifa were involved with the Capitol attack means that misinformation is working, and it's working well. I don't know what to do with this. I don't know how you counteract it. People I know -- in real life -- believe this. People I know -- in real life -- won't hear me if I try to talk to them about it because any attempt at countering just further reinforces their belief. It's like trying to pull out a splinter but you end up just driving it further in.

    I had an extensive conversation with my conservative Christian mother about the events of the past week. She is not a Trump supporter, but nearly all of her friends are. For the good of their relationships she has stopped discussing politics with them for the most part, but she said this week she asked many of them, individually, if they believe the election results were fraudulent. All of them said yes.

    She described to me how isolated she feels from them, and how difficult it is for her not to judge them. Her exact words were "it is very hard for me to love them right now", and hearing that about broke my heart. Misinformation is cannibalizing her closest personal relationships with people she has known and cared about deeply for decades of her life.

    When I saw the numbers in this poll, my heart sank, because it feels like at this point we're fighting the tide. Misinformation is mainstream. It is not a fringe belief. In certain populations, it is a majority belief. And it's self-innoculating against opposition. My mom's friends won't even listen to her -- a fellow Republican -- when she counters falsehoods. They're definitely not listening to me -- her gay leftist son. We wouldn't even be able to start to have the conversation in the first place.

    10 votes
  10. Comment on Weekly coronavirus-related chat, questions, and minor updates - week of January 11 in ~health.coronavirus

    kfwyre
    Link Parent
    Something I haven't talked about: my students are badasses! They have met the restrictions and frustrations this year with incredible maturity. I am genuinely proud of how seriously they take...

    Something I haven't talked about: my students are badasses! They have met the restrictions and frustrations this year with incredible maturity. I am genuinely proud of how seriously they take things and how well they've dealt with the myriad unfairnesses thrust upon them.

    5 votes
  11. Comment on Weekly coronavirus-related chat, questions, and minor updates - week of January 11 in ~health.coronavirus

    kfwyre
    Link Parent
    Thanks for the kind words. I appreciate that you have faith in them. I feel I would be remiss if I don't point out that I don't believe they would be received well with a wider audience, nor...

    Thanks for the kind words. I appreciate that you have faith in them. I feel I would be remiss if I don't point out that I don't believe they would be received well with a wider audience, nor should they. I bring a specific gravity to my posts here because I want people to understand my experiences, but what's missing are the gravities of people far more deserving of public empathy right now.

    My situation pales in comparison to retail workers, who are risking infection and dealing with difficult customers daily. Restaurants and other social businesses have been put in impossible situations. Waitstaff who live off of tips have seen their incomes slow to a trickle or stop altogether. Healthcare workers are by far the most egregiously wronged here, seeing the worst of this deadly disease on their job and then continued widespread denial of it when they check their social media feeds.

    Yes, I believe teachers have been dealt a shit hand, but I also believe nearly everyone has been dealt a shit hand, and I am no more deserving of empathy than others. I would far rather people focus their energies and goodwill towards those who are fighting this pandemic, caring for the sick, and maintaining/distributing food and other essentials than I would for someone like me, who has maintained employment and has relative control over my environment. There are many more than me who are hurting right now, and many of them don't have the energy like I do to sit down and articulate their situations. In some ways sharing what I've shared here pulls focus from their plights, and in that way I believe my words should be met with a critical eye rather than an affirming one. I believe there are people who would read what I have written here and respond very negatively, and I ultimately believe that many of them have every right to feel that way.

    7 votes
  12. Comment on Weekly coronavirus-related chat, questions, and minor updates - week of January 11 in ~health.coronavirus

    kfwyre
    (edited )
    Link Parent
    Thank you, Atvelonis. Post-comment edit: Whoa, this turned into a lot! Sorry for unloading on you like this! I promise I'm trying to be helpful and explanatory rather than combative or...
    • Exemplary

    Thank you, Atvelonis.


    Post-comment edit: Whoa, this turned into a lot! Sorry for unloading on you like this! I promise I'm trying to be helpful and explanatory rather than combative or overbearing. Any failure of my comment to come across that way is entirely my own. I mean you no ill-will! Quite the opposite, really: I cherish your kind words and thoughtful questions.


    A lot

    The whole situation is very complicated, and while I have immediate ire for my superintendent and board right now (which could be undeserving — I don’t know their actual motivations, and they did make a right call in going remote post-break), they are not acting in a vacuum. They themselves are openly pressured and not supported to go remote by my state, which has been attempting to push schools to reopen unsafely the entire time. Meanwhile, at the federal level, the FFCRA leave benefits program expired at the end of 2020 and was not renewed, which puts pressure on families through districts and employers -- to say nothing of the failure of financial support people have seen throughout this entire process.

    Likewise, the ongoing COVID-related culture war has numbed our country to reality and unfortunately we give credence to the loudest, most deliberately uninformed voices because they also tend to be the most aggressive and difficult to deal with. Certainly not all who are pushing for school reopening are coming from that place — many are parents who are deeply concerned and informed but exist in a state of severe economic uncertainty due to job loss or potential job loss due to lack of childcare. You would also think that the community would see schools open right now as a threat to their individual safety, as kids could potentially bring the virus back to their households, but this seems to be a largely absent view. Schools open is widely seen as nearly unconditionally good.

    No one says it's about childcare, but we all know it is. Government offices in my area are closed right now. Our district leadership is working remotely from home and will continue to do so. If it's not safe for people who have their own offices to occupy them then it's definitely not safe for classrooms to be open, but it's either us or parents looking after the kids, and parents are hurting and teachers don't have any community capital to cash in on.

    There is a ton of discourse out there about educational fidelity and social emotional health, both of which I'm rather sick of as talking points. That is not directed at you at all (I believe you are unfailingly thoughtful and genuine, both in your response to me and in many of the other comments I’ve seen from you on Tildes) but because I’ve seen so much bad faith argument using them that it makes me angry. I watch my own school board and superintendent grandstand about it during meetings and seethe from my Zoom rectangle because they’re either ignorant of or deliberately lying about the reality of what is happening inside classrooms in their own districts.

    The reality is that the protocols that are put into place to prevent COVID spread are so limiting that even during in-person instruction we are still doing remote learning — the only thing that changes is that we’re in the same room. I cannot go near the students — they cannot go near one another. All of their assignments are digital because we are discouraged from sharing physical items. Even if we could pass things out, it wouldn’t help, as we have to make assignments digital anyway because on any given day 20-50% of a given class will be out due to a regular absence, a precautionary absence due to them displaying some sort of illness, an absence with COVID-19 symptoms, or an absence due to a quarantine. In order to provide safe air to breathe, our windows remain open during the day.

    I live in a northern state, where temperatures regularly drop below freezing. My students wear winter coats, hats, and gloves in my classroom. One day it was cold enough in my room that my whiteboard marker wouldn’t erase. It just stuck on the board, as if frozen. The background noise of fans and air purifiers create a noise floor over which it’s hard to hear, exacerbated by masks that muffle sound and hide mouth movements, and large distances over which soft-spoken voices simply fall away. Shouting and yelling increase expulsion of the virus significantly, so merely communicating in person is both frustrating and less safe. I have no problems projecting my voice as a teacher, but my timid students face a special kind of hell should they want to share out. I actually do a lot of typing via our chat program to students even when they're in person because it's easier than shouting over fans through masks to a student who's 30 feet away.

    The quality of the education my students get doesn’t change drastically between remote and in-person right now, and in fact, being in-person inhibits some of the interventions I can use. During remote learning, I do a lot of one-to-one video calls with students as a way of checking on them individually and helping them through things. I simply mute my classroom mic and then initiate the call, making my feedback individual, immediate, and private. I can’t do this in-person, as a one-to-one call would be audible to the whole class. The chat app is an alright substitute, but it doesn't make up for the clarity and personality of verbal communication.

    I will say that I’m speaking as someone who teaches kids who are at an age where they are able to be functional, independent learners. The conversation definitely changes when you go younger, and one of my frustrations with schools has been a near-complete failure to consider solutions beyond one-size-fits-all methods. I think that a more strategic approach could be much more successful, but as we have seen, a lack of planning, foresight, and understanding have inhibited even basic responses to the virus (e.g. mask wearing). I (sadly) think it’s a tall order that we have a robust and well-reasoned response institutionally.

    With regards to social emotional health, there has been an absolute avalanche of advocacy for in-person learning, a very small amount of which I actually consider genuine. Most of what I hear articulates a huge swell in mental health issues for kids (which I believe to be true), and that immediately gets linked to the need to have schools open. It seems much more likely to me that this swell we’re seeing is less about schools themselves and more about the national and global environment these kids are in. Adults will joke to the ends of the earth about how terrible 2020 is and how shit their mental health is as a result of the past year of events, but as soon as kids come into the conversation that gets ignored and we act as if schools being closed are the only reason kids might be feeling anxious or depressed.

    This kind of rhetoric also ignores the disclosure of kids themselves, which is what really grinds my gears. I’ve had conversations with my students about what they prefer, and many of my students would genuinely prefer to stay home. They’re not saying that to dodge learning or accountability so they can just play Xbox all day — they’re saying that because they live with the same anxiety I do when they’re here: a fear they might get sick, and a fear that they might transmit it to their families. My students are old enough to get what is going on and understand their own role and vulnerability in it. I do not think that is a fair position to put kids in.

    I’m certain many people roll their eyes when I get angry about my job and see me as a navel-gazing, self-serving narcissist, but part of my frustration with how this is being handled comes from how it affects kids that I deeply care about. I’ve been mad for years that I have to annually train my students on what to do if an active shooter comes into our classroom. Rather than our country handling this issue as adults and protecting kids from such darkness, we have instead normalized it for them and involved them in the “solution”. What does it say about the sincerity of concern for kids’ social emotional health when we also teach 8-year-olds that the likelihood they might be shot at school is high enough that they need to be ready for it?

    I see our response to COVID in a similar way. Everyone talks about the supposed benefits for mental health of in-person learning for kids, but seemingly no one talks about the damage to mental health of putting kids in a known harm’s way. Part of why I consider much of the advocacy on this topic to be in bad faith is because it doesn’t start nor end with students’ genuine feelings. It simply presumes that students feel bad when schools aren’t open and feel good when they are, but I can speak definitively, on behalf of my students, that many of them feel worse when they have to attend in person. Even if a child isn't worried about COVID, the at-home learning experience is better in almost every way. They can wear what they want, eat snacks, take movement breaks, pet their dog, etc. In person they stay in the same desk all day, wearing an uncomfortable mask in a freezing room, where they're not even allowed to get up and move around without permission.

    With regards to your question about whether schools can be safe, I actually think they can. Distancing, masks, ventilation, and filtration are all effective measures that mitigate virus spread. We know that if these are in place, with fidelity, it severely reduces the risk of transmission.

    Proper implementation of these does not eliminate risk entirely, but I think they can create an environment in which there is an acceptable risk. Unfortunately, one of the other variables that has to be considered is the number of cases in the community. A school might be properly mitigating spread when there is a low incidence rate, because few cases will make it into the building in the first place, and then the likelihood of one of those cases transmitting is quite low. In the event that there is a very high incidence rate in the community, however, the likelihood that all of the mitigating strategies will hold is far lower. My community used to be at a level where our mitigation strategies created a theoretically acceptable risk, but we are no longer there. It used to be a question of whether, in a given week, I might have had one positive case in one of my classes. We are now at a point where, statistically speaking, it's not whether or not I've encountered a positive case in my day, but how many.

    Higher education has seen successes in part because of robust testing regimens. The higher ed teachers and staff I know get tested regularly; most of them 2-3 times each week. The colleges in my area also hired contact tracing teams so that they could track and handle potential outbreaks immediately. They are also able to impose severe consequences should students engage in risky behavior. These methods aren't available to K-12 schools -- at least not in widespread ways. We have no testing regimen (we can't even compel families to test their own kids); contact tracing is a joke (it literally doesn't happen because our desks are spread out); and we cannot impose consequences for irresponsible behavior (the child whose extended family and friends met up for Thanksgiving is back in my classroom on Monday, sitting in a desk six feet away).

    There are ultimately no good answers, and there isn't a single solution that will satisfy everyone. When schools close, teachers cheer and parents fear. When we reopen, the emotions trade places. I'm now in the queue for fear -- a line that many parents stood in for the past two weeks when they again had to scramble to figure out what to do with their kids in the absence of school-based childcare. I don't begrudge them for feeling what they do, and I get where it comes from. Just as I feel I've been left out in the cold in this (quite literally, given our open windows), so too have they. Cascading failures of leadership and planning have created a morass of foreseen outcomes that are sadly unchangeable due to our ability to only act in the most ineffectual and reactive of manners. We're seeing the frictions of a shared helplessness that make us believe different segments of our community are at odds, when in reality we should be aligned against a common enemy of humanity -- an uncompromising virus that has stolen from us not just the lives and health of many, but the safety, security, and trust we are supposed to have in our own society.

    10 votes
  13. Comment on Game soundtracks: Listening to them outside the game and how they impact the game itself in ~games

    kfwyre
    Link Parent
    What are the odds?! I love that you were able to add on to my tiny trivia tidbit with even more! Plus, that actually helped me turn up this page which shows the sample's origin, as well as other...

    What are the odds?! I love that you were able to add on to my tiny trivia tidbit with even more!

    Plus, that actually helped me turn up this page which shows the sample's origin, as well as other songs it's appeared in. Neat to see, but also kinda kills the fun of "finding it in the wild".

    2 votes
  14. Comment on Awesome Games Done Quick 2021 roundup - What were your favorite runs, and why? in ~games

    kfwyre
    Link Parent
    Definitely agree, but I also feel like there's a half-life to GDQ runs that decays pretty quickly once the event is over. Gotta get my recommendations in while they're fresh out of the oven!...

    Definitely agree, but I also feel like there's a half-life to GDQ runs that decays pretty quickly once the event is over. Gotta get my recommendations in while they're fresh out of the oven!

    Really though I just wanted you to know I wasn't ignoring your ping. :)

    1 vote
  15. Comment on Daily thread - United States 2021 transition of power - January 14 in ~news

  16. Comment on Game soundtracks: Listening to them outside the game and how they impact the game itself in ~games

    kfwyre
    Link
    In the 90s, back when it might take a day or two to download one whole song off of Napster via dial-up and terms like “burning” and “ripping” were new and noteworthy, I learned that I could put...

    In the 90s, back when it might take a day or two to download one whole song off of Napster via dial-up and terms like “burning” and “ripping” were new and noteworthy, I learned that I could put some game CDs in my PC disc drive and they actually had the soundtrack right on them, as CDDA files, ready for the taking. This was how I got the soundtracks for games like Moto Racer (Raphael Gesqua) and Intelligent Qube (Takayuki Hattori). These weren’t necessarily great soundtracks, but they were great to me because they were accessible in a way other game music hadn’t been up to that point. I controlled the files themselves!

    Meanwhile, System Shock 2 (Eric Brosius) and The Last Express (Elia Cmiral) were showing me that game music could be substantial and meaningful — atmospheric and communicative — in a way that the blips and blops and more perfunctory compositions of games past hadn’t been.

    But I’m a pophead through and through, and the defining soundtrack for the late 90s for me — another one I ripped right from the game CD — was the soundtrack from Sonic R. Composed by Richard Jacques and featuring singing from Theresa Jane Davis, it was an incredible set of vocal europop tracks that ran circles around the not-so-great racing game they accompanied. “Can You Feel the Sunshine?” has gotten some much deserved love (and laughs) in recent years, but the real standout is the closing credits cheesy 90s bop and deep cut “You’re My Number One”. This song is peak Sonic, and nothing will ever convince me otherwise.

    At some point I was walking through a local mall, and I heard the siren song of the single catchiest track I’d ever heard in my life. It had a monster hook and an incredible beat, and I rounded the corner to see something that would forever change the way I approached music and gaming: a Dance Dance Revolution 3rd Mix machine. I didn’t know anything about it, but I was mesmerized by the people jumping around on it and the song itself blasting from its speakers. Far too shy to approach them, I instead memorized a song lyric so that I could Google it when I got home. “Dam da dee dam da de dam da dee da dee da de dam” didn’t turn up anything of substance, if you can imagine that, but I also held onto “now I am walking around on this side of the town” which turned up Joga’s “Dam Dariram” and immediately ignited an unironic love of eurobeat which has persisted to this day. You’d think I’d grow out of it, but cheesy catchiness is timeless.

    I spent the next several years immersing myself in DDR, listening to every song on every soundtrack, driving to the mall as soon as it opened on Saturdays so I could play on the machine uninterrupted (and without the pressure of crowds), and practicing so that I could nail every syllable of the last verse in “Super Star” with ease1. I downloaded Dance With Intensity and later Stepmania and official song packs and bumper packs and Tournamixes, and then I even made my own step files. DDR represented a subset of music that was fun, loud, brash, catchy, and got to the point in 90 seconds or less (songs were short to keep quarters flowing into the arcade machines).

    Alongside DDR came the Dreamcast. Jet Set Radio brought Hideki Naganuma into my life who helped me understand, understand the concept of love for video game soundtracks yes, I know that’s from Future, purists — just let me have this!. His funky fresh take on music felt like what DDR was doing, only with the artistry and originality turned up to 11. He is a musical visionary, and I wish more people emulated what he does.

    I also lucked out by snagging a copy of Rez off of eBay that amazingly wasn’t a counterfeit. The songs in the game were good, but it was the way that they came alive in the gameplay that made them stand out. Luckily for me, I found someone who had recorded a soundtrack for the game using the in-game audio from their play through, so that fear could be the mind-killer it deserved to be. It says something that my choice Rez soundtrack was a recording of someone else playing the game. That’s how much I liked it! It was like a let’s play for music.

    In the 2000s, back when Shoutcast was a household name for nerds and there were myriad arguments about whether streamripping was ethical, I found an online radio site called GamingFM that played nothing but video game soundtracks. It introduced me to so much, and in some ways I actually regret not ripping it, as I no longer have a record of what I listened to from there. One thing that has stuck with me through the years though was Silent Hill 4: The Room’s vocal tracks. Composed by Akira Yamaoka and sung by Mary Elizabeth McGlynn, they spanned between the rocky, yearning “Waiting for You” and the somber, haunting “Room of Angel”.

    Katamari Damacy entered the scene at this time too and stole my heart with its uncompromisingly quirky and loveable nonsense music. I considered that soundtrack one of the greatest game OSTs of all time. Looking back, over a decade letter, I think that accolade still holds.

    The late 2000s and early 2010s saw the debut of indie games with production value, with Braid as a game knocking everyone’s socks off and its soundtrack, by Jami Sieber, helping to elevate that. Danny Baranowsky’s work on Super Meat Boy and The Binding of Isaac helped those games reach heights they wouldn’t have on their own, while Darren Korb’s work for Bastion rounded out a truly stunning audiovisual package. Jessica Curry’s Dear Esther joined the fray as well, carrying the game’s emotional weight on its emotive string work.

    Even smaller games were getting great treatment. Terry Cavanagh put out VVVVVV and Super Hexagon, which Souleye and Chipzel each brought to life respectively through their incredible chiptunes. Lifeformed’s Dustforce soundtrack smoothed over difficult frustrating gameplay with calm, relaxing tranquility. 140 is an outright playable (and amazing) music EP by schmid.

    The explosion of games during this time means that it has become outright impossible to trace a path through the noteworthy soundtracks. In decades past you might have been able to parse the best of what was on offer, but now there is simply so much great stuff out there that one person can’t appreciate it all. You can name nearly any successful title and it will likely have an amazing soundtrack to accompany it. If anything defines our present moment, it’s that we are absolutely spoiled with aural riches. I can turn on Lena Raine’s Celeste or Ben Prunty’s FTL or Disasterpeace’s Fez or Danny Baranowsky’s Crypt of the Necrodancer and find wonder and joy in each — and so many more.

    Even outside of those, I feel like there is so much I haven’t talked about that I could. Jazz Jackrabbit; Nobuo Uematsu and the Final Fantasy games; Parappa the Rapper and UmJammer Lammy; the Metal Gear Solid series and its iconic themes; Halo; Guitar Hero and Rock Band and Beat Saber. And all of this says nothing of chiptunes and bitpop — videogames’s sister genres.

    Everything I’ve listed here is something I’ve chosen to listen to outside of the games themselves because the music is compelling enough to exist on its own, but it’s also enriched by my associations of play. I have decades of accumulated loves, and seeing them all spread out on the table in front of me as I have in this post is actually making me choke up a little bit. My heart is swelling with feeling. I know that sounds silly to say about video game music, something that is widely regarded as a trivial part of a frivolous pasttime, but even that kind of thing can have its own indelible charm, as Katamari Damacy showed the world. With modern games being so numerous, so richly made, and so diverse, there is now so much to love when it comes to video game music — literally too much at this point.

    What a great problem to have.

    —-
    1. Since we’re talking “Super Star” and Hideki Naganuma in the same post, here’s a fun bit of trivia. Hideki Naganuma’s “Rock It On” prominently features a sample of someone saying “viva la revolución”. This same exact sample can be heard at the end of “Super Star” (around the 1:14 mark, you hear the “la revolución” portion).

    9 votes
  17. Comment on Mozilla VPN desktop client now available on Linux in ~tech

    kfwyre
    Link Parent
    Thanks for the clarification. I didn't know if I had done something wrong. I'm assuming they'll add ones for Groovy at some point, and I'm fine with waiting for those.

    Thanks for the clarification. I didn't know if I had done something wrong.

    I'm assuming they'll add ones for Groovy at some point, and I'm fine with waiting for those.

    1 vote
  18. Comment on Weekly coronavirus-related chat, questions, and minor updates - week of January 11 in ~health.coronavirus

    kfwyre
    Link
    Usual personal update: My reprieve is over. It was nice while it lasted. Students return to in-person learning next week, and I go back to daily exposure and all the concomitant anxiety that...

    Usual personal update:

    My reprieve is over. It was nice while it lasted. Students return to in-person learning next week, and I go back to daily exposure and all the concomitant anxiety that brings. We currently have so many positive cases locally that I believe we will shut down within a week or two due to lack of staffing. Our test positivity rate has been alarmingly high for weeks now, and our numbers are only rising.

    The current read of the situation among teachers at my school is that our school board and superintendent don’t want to take the PR hit of choosing to keep schools remote any more than they already have, so they’re choosing to reopen and trigger de facto remote learning through staffing shortages. I actually had this thought and assumed it was just my cynicism talking, but two other teachers shared the same exact take with me, unsolicited, so clearly I’m not the only one thinking that’s a possibility. The decision to re-open certainly wasn’t data-based, as our local numbers are worse than they’ve ever been and are going nowhere but up.

    9 votes
  19. Comment on Steam - 2020 Year in Review in ~games

    kfwyre
    Link
    This is interesting to me: Steam shifted how they handle their downloads to make room for remote work and school at the request of both internet companies and governments.

    This is interesting to me: Steam shifted how they handle their downloads to make room for remote work and school at the request of both internet companies and governments.

    An interesting note: various countries' government bodies approached us and other large Internet companies to see how we could help mitigate the rise in global traffic that ISPs were seeing, because it was getting to a point where it was affecting people's ability to work from home and their children's remote schooling. In response, we made some changes to help manage the bandwidth during work and school hours, and to defer updates to the evenings.

    7 votes
  20. Comment on What’s something you have an unusually strong fondness for? in ~talk

    kfwyre
    Link Parent
    Those pictures are SO STINKIN' CUTE. I can't handle it!

    Those pictures are SO STINKIN' CUTE. I can't handle it!

    1 vote