Frustrations of Modern Video Game Tech and other Wandering Thoughts

The world was a very different place in 1990. 

The Australia from whence I came — circa 1991 — No longer exists,

The two seemingly unconnected observations sadden me so profoundly and in so many different ways that I hardly know where to begin. 

It’s not simply a matter of fond and sentimental reflection upon better times — simpler times — or even just a lost national innocence, but then all of those apply…

This may appear to be a rather funny (funny as in “odd” not funny as in “haha”) way to begin a post about the Frustrations of Modern Video Game Tech, but then there you are… 

If you bear with me I promise that this will make a certain sort of sense; though I make not a single promise in the direction or the area of rational thought since this is more a combination of emotions that ebb and flow on a river of lost opportunities.  I am just saying.

Image

Sometimes the things we carry are ideas or emotions, and sometimes the things we carry are physical things; oddly I find that the intangible often weighs far more and is more pressing upon the soul than the tangible.

An oxymoron is a figure of speech that juxtaposes apparently contradictory elements, with its most common form involving a two-word combination of  adjective–noun; classic examples include barbed and often plunging notions such as Jumbo Shrimp, Living Dead, Mad Wisdom, or my personal favorite, Deafening Silence.

Queen Victoria chose as her Poet Laureate Alfred, Lord Tennyson, who later due to his services to Crown and Country as Poet Laureate later became 1st Baron Tennyson with the agreement and recommendation of Prime Minister John Russell and the word (and Sword) of the Queen…  

While his tenure was one of the longest in the history of the position,it was marked by a string of passable but unexceptional works.  Every so often though (mostly when Tennyson felt events warranted the effort), a truly exceptional work would emerge.

Examples of the latter includes Break, Break, Break, Charge of the Light Brigade, Crossing the Bar, and Tears, Idle Tears.  

In addition to putting some very good words together in a fashion and with a pattern that was catchy, easy to remember, and nicely  expressed the emotions inherent to the story or events –Lord Tennyson enjoyed something like the fame of a modern-day rockstar — in fact it is fair to say that he was the Roger Waters of his day.   I do not flirt with hyperbole when I say that.

When the need was present, the Queen’s Poet Laureate happened to like the oxymoron as a tool of clarity — or not depending on how you look at it and what he wasn’t saying — a fact that can be no better illustrated than by the following line from his piece titled Idylls of the King:

And faith unfaithful kept him falsely true…

Yep, he not only made use of oxymoron, but he used TWO in that single short line!

I feel compelled to reveal something personal before I go on to reveal some things personal: I think in pictures, not in words.

When I think of you, I don’t see your name spelled out in letters inside my head, though I am told that a majority of homo sapiens have just that experience when they “think.” In place of that word instead I see your face, and what is more, I often smell you too.

While thinking in a mixture of pictures and words is very common – it’s estimated that around 65% of the humans presently alive on good old Terra do so – thinking exclusively in pictures (what is officially known as Visual/Spatial Thinking) is not common at all. 

That very uncommon — statistically speaking the estimate is around 4% of the world’s population — thinking process is what you might call a mixed blessing…   The Dutch call the phenomenon beelddenken and you probably will not be surprised to learn that elsewhere the phenomenon is known as Eidetic Memory (AKA photographic memory).

I said it is a mixed blessing because while some of the people who think in pictures like me are pretty much normal, a statistically larger percentage suffer from conditions like Autism and Dyslexia… Happily I don’t but I should probably be thanking God daily for that.

The rarer still phenomenon of eople who think in pictures and also experience (and define) olfactory symbolism as a familiar form of identification is very rare indeed. Of course it could also be the early signs of a brain tumor…  Sigh.

Corrupt Game Saves

Thinking for me is often something like an adventure due to the path that naturally forms to make the process happen – or perhaps to facilitate the thought path would be a more accurate way to express it.

For example this morning I discovered that my Xbox 360 would not load and play the game Splinter Cell: Blacklist.

After a fair bit of diagnostics the culprit turned out to be a corrupt save file — which meant I had to delete my existing save file in order to play the game.  Which meant I lost all of the progress that i had made up to that point.  And it was a lot of progress, believe me!

Confronting that situation caused me to think about previous similar events, which took me back in the movie projector of memory to Oz, then somehow that path branched to oxymoron, then from there to Tennyson, Queen Victoria, and a paper that I read not to recently about beelddenken and the thought that it would be nice if computers — and when I say computers I mean computers as well as video game consoles which, if you think about it, are really just computers you hook to your TV just saying…

Now I wish that my Xbox 360 could be my Huckleberry Friend — but I am afraid that she knows about the relationship that I am having with a new interloper — called Xbox One.  God forbid she learn about another new face in the crowd called PlayStation 4 – but they are kept segregated in different parts of the entertainment center so the chances are slim that they will meet let alone start comparing notes.

Was it Tony Soprano who gave a toast to wives and girlfriends, with the desire that they never meet each other?

The question that bothers me still is this: how can these game companies make such intense and immersive pieces of interactive entertainment, making use of the bleeding edge of the console platforms upon which they are coding for, and still somehow end up creating entropy in the form of games that randomly self-destruct in the form of corrupting their own code?

On the one hand the complexity of these games means that there is certainly potential room for that sort of problem, but on the other well, this IS what they do to create their revenue stream, so wouldn’t you think that this sort of thing would be quickly stomped on and corrected?  Well, if you thought so, then no, sorry, not so much.

Something to think about as I wander through the comics of my thoughts…

Cheers!

C

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