Random Friday: Statik, shitholes & marital memory failures.

From Telltale’s Game of Thrones.

Statik Institute of Retention.

Or, “That really messed-up place I woke up in.”

Statik is a PSVR puzzle game that’s been out there a while. I’m still trying to cherry-pick my VR experiences, and this one came up at the top of a lot of lists.

Statik explains nothing to you at the beginning, and not much as you go along. You wake up in a chair with a box attached to your hands. There’s a mysterious doctor who makes the occasional unhelpful comment or observation; the rest of the time, he just watches you. Or makes notes. Or slurps his coffee until you want to punch him in the face and scream, “Stop slurping your coffee, asshole! Do you know how annoying that is?!” When you finish a puzzle, he give you the mildest of compliments… sometimes… and then immediately backhands you. Verbally, that is. His face is blurred out, which makes the whole damn thing feel menacing.

The game is played with a regular old controller; sitting is recommended, if for no other reason than that’s what you’re doing in the game, too. Sitting. With a box on your hands.

Each box is a puzzle, and every button/trigger/etc. on the controller does something different. Every puzzle is completely different, too, so you don’t really learn things that you can carry along to later puzzles. Every time you wake up, you’re starting all over again with a new challenge. Sometimes the solution is entirely contained within the box; sometimes you have to use the environment in order to solve it.

After solving several puzzles, I found myself stuck on one, utterly unable to figure out what the hell I was supposed to do. I’d managed to do something by accident, and then I couldn’t figure out how to replicate it. I finally realized that I was mired in quicksand because I’d tried to apply lessons that I’d learned in previous puzzles, and got stuck thinking in the wrong direction as a result. Why? Because the damn game planted a false clue, and I followed it. Once I realized that I’d been played for a sucker, figuring it out was easy. That, my friends, is fiendish.

Statik uses VR well. You can turn the box, bring it closer to your face, and try (unsuccessfully) to use it to brain that eerie robot who keeps wanting to look at your results. You can, and should, look around each room to see what’s there. (There are some other bits to the game, too, and you learn some things as you go along, but I won’t spoil it.) The VR headset emphasizes the strange, confined (or maybe trapped) feeling of being a hapless lab rat.  Portal at least gave you the illusion of freedom within each test chamber, but with Statik, you’re pretty much helpless to do anything except keep doggedly solving puzzles.

The only downside is that the game is very short (something you say a lot when talking about VR), but there’s a good couple of hours of content here, so it’s not, say, Accounting+ short.

More of that, please. When I’m not zooming, more of that would be nice.

At some point, I started wondering if I even HAD hands.

Because I can’t not.

Ok, here’s the thing. Things. Several things.

When you hire people who don’t have a clue, you’re not doing yourself any favors. Usually, you’re just creating confusion, making things harder, and throwing money away. Here’s my point: Unless she has qualifications that I’m unaware of, Oprah Winfrey is, at least on paper, unqualified to be POTUS. By traditional measures, that is. Except that, in comparison with some people, she actually starts to look qualified. Or at least more qualified. Or maybe just less likely to make us all worry about being annihilated. I mean, at the very least, I doubt that Oprah would ever tweet out nuclear threats. Then again, few rational people would. Career politicians aren’t always the honest, ethical people that we want them to be. Sticking thoroughly unqualified people in the highest office in the land isn’t the solution. But I have to admit… Trump vs. Winfrey would be a hell of a thing to watch.

Then Kellyanne Conway tried to say that nobody in the WH talks about Hillary. That has to be the funniest thing she’s said, ever. Quickly followed by, “Well, we only do it because you make us!” Ok, so now we’ve gone from outright denial to backtracking and blaming in, like, 2.3 nanoseconds. Hint: Don’t deny something, then admit it, and then try to blame other people. No matter what the truth is, contradicting yourself is not a winning strategy, m’kay? It’s kind of like… claiming that someone is lying, telling everyone that you have tapes that prove he’s lying, and then having to admit that you were lying about the tapes. Hmm…

Supposedly, the POTUS said a bunch of really rude shit, including calling other countries shitholes. (Ah, diplomacy. Wherefore art thou, diplomacy?) He says he didn’t; others insist he did. I’m a little baffled about the whole thing. Does anyone really think that the guy who said all Mexicans were rapists wouldn’t use the word “shitholes” to describe other countries? The guy who called the White House a dump? The guy who said Nazis were very fine people? For this guy, suddenly it’s unbelievable that he used the word “shitholes”? Come on, people. Trump gets ruder shit than that free with his breakfast cereal. Or, uh… with his Mickey D’s hotcakes and sausage. Whatevs.

What we’re seeing now is the reactions and meltdowns that occur in the wake of revelations/occurrences of any kind whatsoever. There’s a pattern here. When things look really bad, there’s a brief effort to stabilize the POTUS, make him look like a guy who can actually do the job… and then he immediately smashes that effort to shit with a quick devolution into more jaw-droppingly unpresidential behavior. Which, in turn, sends the media into a frenzy and cranks up the volume on the public outrage, which sets Trump off again, which results in more bad behavior… and every so often, someone has to be scapegoated and sacrificed. That behavior only makes it less and less likely that intelligent, competent professionals will be willing to take jobs in the WH. Which means things will only get worse. It’s… it’s fucking surreal, is what it is.

From The Order: 1886. Still makes me laugh.

Conversations in the real world.

Him: “I can’t believe you don’t remember that.”

Me: “Remember what? What are we talking about?”

Him: “These. I’ve totally gotten these before. I can’t believe you don’t remember.”

Me: “Are we seriously talking about hot dogs? Again?”

Him: “It’s a huge bag of giant hot dogs! How can you forget seeing a huge bag of giant hot dogs?”

Me: “Apparently, I did. I did forget. I do not remember ever seeing this huge bag of giant hot dogs before. And telling me that you can’t believe that I can’t remember a million times is not…”

Him: “I know, I know…”

Me: “Is NOT going to change the fact that I don’t remember. It’s not like you’ll say it for the millionth time, and suddenly, holy crap, I’ll remember!  ‘Honey, you totally just had to say it enough times for my memories to magically reappear! Oh, my god! I REMEMBER now! How could I have ever forgotten the huge bag of giant hot dogs?! You were right. You’re always right, sweetie. Stupid, stupid, stupid! HOW could I not remember?!’
Do you actually think that’s going to happen?”

Him: “… … … I can hope.”

Me: “CAN you REALLY?!”

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