The Tao of Gaming

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But I’m sure you knew that.


Written by taogaming

August 11, 2018 at 9:07 pm

Summerly Linkity

  • I fondly remember Cyberpunk and Deus Ex, so a Cyberpunk 2077 video game is radar-worthy…. but 2020 is rapidly approaching and yet another date in Sci Fi (literature and movies) that I’ve now come up and through….. we were promised Dragons at the end of the Mayan Cycle …. (Here’s the trailer).
  • JL8 finally updated after what feels like a year (new comic), here’s hoping for more.
  • After decades of using this quote, I finally discovered its originator. (“Man can do what he wills, but he cannot will what he wills.” — Schopenhauer). Whew, that’s a load off.
  • A quote from a debate (on Space Policy) — “It is very easy to say that there are more important things to spend money on, and I do not dispute this. No one is claiming that this is the only item on our expense list. But that is beside the point. As subsidizing space exploration would clearly benefit society, I maintain that this is something the government should pursue.” But the debater was Watson …. and the topic was not announced ahead of time. The debate was verbal, not typed, so speech recognition also played a part.
  •  In the realm of “How did I not know that?” Advanced Civ was designed by Jennifer Schlickbernd. (I discovered this in a thread on Ancient Civilizations of the Inner Sea, which I’ve P500ed).
  • TANK — A short animated film reminiscent of Battle Zone, Tron, etc. Also see the making of TANK video. which demonstrated that this was made in arguably the most difficult way possible (short of hand drawing it).
  • On the Factorio Blog they admitted they were proud and a little scared that they have inspired others to enter the genre. And I  admit, the Satisfactory video looks great. Not sure if the gameplay will be any good. I’ve been working on another Megabase. No, you don’t care. May blog about it later, anyway.
  • I have never kickstarted a game, but I must admit, QMG: The Cold War is tempting. Not tempting enough.
  • I never finished reading UNSONG, so I’m going to do that. (I’m also trying to finish Paradise Lost. I read a fair amount of it while in Rome last year, which is inviting kabbalistic disaster).
  • I may have to buy some comics as well….if only game stores sometimes sold comics…


Recent gameplay — Broke 100 games in Jump Drive (the TaoLing and I changed our meta after realizing that Military Convoy is not a one shot). Played a few more games of High Frontier (including a Grand Tour, albeit without Events, Colonists or Bernals, which considerably shortened the game). Played Concordia again, very popular at the local game night and it’s growing on me. Also got in a game of Galaxy Trucker and QMG …

Update — Burglar breaks into escape room, can’t get out, calls 911.

Written by taogaming

July 10, 2018 at 7:17 pm

Posted in Linky Love


  • Obviously I’m going to post a link to an article that discusses Fortnite and The Three Body Problem together. I I tried Fortnite for a few games and its OK but I dislike any game where constant hopping is critical to success, and being told to kill myself IRL is a mild dampener.  (This is why I don’t normally play multiplayer computer games). Switching off audio is recommended. After about ten matches I did finally get a kill … probably someone even older than myself …
  • As in many things, its a different game if you play it well.
  • The Long Way Round” — Gripping story of a plane forced to circumnavigate the world due to the outbreak of WWII.
  • I’m not a Super Mario guy, but this dissection of a world record speedrun discussed many technical details of the game acts like catnip.
  • The Opinionated Gamers have a “fifty modern classics” article. As with Snoop’s 100 (remember that) I have some issues with methodology — although this is better — but it’s a reasonable list. (Here it is in Geeklist form). I have played 45/50 of the list, although IMO a classic should be a game I play fairly routinely, and even though I’m not a huge Cult of the New I haven’t played many of those recently. Still, there were worse lists….  (My modern classic list would include Mage Knight, Eclipse, Sentinels, Cash n Guns, perhaps…some others, but I suspect 10 of the games would be the same as the OG list.
  • I wish someone with authority at my job would read Against Metrics.
  • Why ask Neil deGrasse Tyson a question when you can ask a Markov-chain bot based on his prior interviews and writings? Sample: “Q: What’s the difference between an asteroid and a meteorite?” “A: The universe is full of Jupiter’s eggs. Asteroids are eggs that were present for the birth of Seattle. Meteorites are eggs with British friends. I thought that was obvious.”
  • There’s a Combat Robot Hall of Fame. Of course there is. Warning — Link looks like a web page from 20 years ago.
  • It was a very close match to pick the US Bridge team for the next Bermuda Bowl. And the match was decided on the last board, a touchy slam.

Written by taogaming

May 22, 2018 at 9:26 pm

Posted in Linky Love

Follow up, links

Re: Alpha Zero — Thoughts from Ken Regan, including how this affects his thoughts that a perfect chess player would be rated ~3600 ELO, and how to generalize the algorithm to hard (non-game) problems by making the problem an opponent.

Re: Universal Paperclips — Ted Chiang (author of the story that became Arrival) on how the “Paperclip AI” that destroys the world by trying to maximize a single parameter already exists …. and is called ‘the corporation.’

As a Factorio player I’m not in much of a position to laugh at Minecraft …. (and the SouthPark episode “Informative Murder Porn” had some great Minecraft gags), but at least I can say that my game didn’t inspire a truly massive botnet that disrupted much of the US Internet last year.

And I’m taking a small bite-of-cake-sized break from Factorio to spend some time on a new game with an old friend. For Science. You Monster.

Written by taogaming

December 20, 2017 at 7:09 pm

Posted in Linky Love

This moment of “I’m old” is brought to you by Ars Technica

Ever since its first edition was released almost 20 years ago, Twilight Imperium has been one of the most massive propositions in tabletop gaming.

Ars Technica Review of TI4

(I have nothing to say about TI4, but a simple linear regression says I probably rate it a 5 or 6).

Written by taogaming

October 16, 2017 at 6:27 pm

Posted in Linky Love

A surprising shout out to my (Graduate) Alma Mater

from Gregg Easterbrook’s Tuesday Morning Quarterback

Obscure College Score. Carnegie Mellon 37, Thomas More 17. The Tartans of Carnegie Mellon—arguably America’s most interesting college, as its strengths are engineering and theater, quite the combo…

I honestly did not know they had a football team. I did know about the theater school ….

Written by taogaming

September 28, 2017 at 9:32 pm

Posted in Linky Love

Two reviews of ‘Seeing Like a State’

I haven’t read the book (by James C. Scott). But I am a fan of Scott Alexander, so I naturally saw his review a few months ago. Nice, but no real reason for me to mention it. (The fact that the book nicely confirms what I already believed means that I should be somewhat cautious.)

(Seeing like a State points out how well-meaning scientific technocrats — of all economic beliefs — often do horrible damage to systems they are trying to improve, and provides examples of how governments do things to increase their visibility into systems — usually for purposes of taxation. Like I said, “nicely confirms what I already believed”. I believe Nassim Talib’s Antifragile covers the same ground.)

Anyway, I come back to the country I see that Scott has pointed to a review by Samzdat and that is quite useful for people on both sides of the political discussion, as it tries to explain the phenomenom of increased political divisiveness even in an improving society. (It does this by introducing the concept of legibility to the conversation, and goes in a surprising direction that seems correct, at least on first glance).

Anyway, this may be of interest. I’m definitely going to be reading through Samzdat. The article on Polyani’s Great Transformation extends this further (and contains some very interesting thoughts on economics that, strangely enough, I just encountered in Paradise Lost). And the next book to be discussed is Hoffer’s The True Believer, which I did read (30 years ago, vhoj’ha moi!).


Written by taogaming

June 20, 2017 at 8:04 pm