Coronavirus and me and you

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Smuel, Apr 4, 2020.

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  1. Smuel

    Smuel Well-Known Member

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    How is COVID-19 affecting everyone? The UK is on lockdown, so everyone who can is working from home, e.g. me, and you're only allowed out for essential trips such as buying groceries or visiting Jojobobo's mom. London is eerily quiet - not completely deserted, but about as active as you'd expect it to be at 3am on a Sunday morning. All restaurants, most non-grocery shops, and some London Underground stations are closed too. Once a week we all lean out of our windows at 8pm and applaud NHS workers, though I don't know how many actual NHS workers ever hear that.

    One of my colleagues is keeping track of the stats. According to him, 173,000 people in the UK have been tested for coronavirus, 20% of them turned out to have it, and 10% of those have died. So if you're in the UK you currently have roughly a 0.3% chance of getting it, and a 0.03% chance of dying from it. That sounds like small odds, but that's only because we're limiting the spread. If it has a 10% mortality rate in the best case, then 6 million people in the UK could die from it.

    So yeah, I'm staying indoors for the time being. Given that I don't go out much generally, it hasn't made a great deal of difference in that sense, so I'm not finding it particularly difficult.

    How about choo?
     
  2. Jungle Japes

    Jungle Japes Well-Known Member

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    As I mentioned previously, my wife and I were supposed to move to Korea. Standing at the gate, ready to board the plane. Stop-movement order came down and suddenly we go from "Got a plan, making it happen" to "homeless and living out of suitcases". Had to live with friends for a couple weeks while I muddled through a bureaucracy that wasn't prepared to handle this situation. Eventually got my assignment pushed to the right one year, so we were able to sign a lease on a rental house. Still working on getting our household goods and car back that we had already shipped. Meanwhile I'm back at my old job, sort of. Not actually going to work, and probably won't be until June, but on paper, I'm back.

    Normally I would be thrilled to have a couple months off to pursue my outdoor hobbies, but most of the state and federal lands are closed or still buried in snow, and the ski resorts are closed. Which pretty much leaves running or riding the bicycle. Anyway, it's not all bad. I'm still getting paid, which is more than some people have going for them. And I've got time to catch up on my video games, and I can do it guilt free since I'm supposed to be staying in.
     
  3. Jojobobo

    Jojobobo Well-Known Member

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    That sucks that it's so thoroughly derailed you Japes. I know you mentioned it in the Good Morning thread but I didn't realise that you would be practically homeless for a time (despite it being the logical extension of being primed to move house and having it fall through). I'm glad you've still got your job and are now at least settled, even if it must be frustrating to be burning through money on a lease.

    As far as things go I'm fine - having a uni professional services job means that working from home doesn't really make much of a difference (apart from I'm not walking an hour each way onto campus anymore, and they're happy for me now to work my own hours so I'm doing 8-4 and having even more usable time in the evenings). Most of my hobbies are home-based anyway (playing video games - the Resident Evil 3 remake currently, watching movies/TV series, etc.) and I have an exercise bike and decent set of dumbbells to be keeping fit with. I don't have any immediate family who are vulnerable apart from my dad who lives fairly remotely in NZ (and has been more or less contingency planning for a pandemic since the 2000s' Bird Flu, given he's a little mental). They've been treating lockdown incredibly seriously over there from a far earlier starting point than most western countries, so on balance of probability it seems likely he'll be fine.

    In terms of extended family, while some of them are more vulnerable, I had a bad death in the family last year so in some ways it's put me in a better space emotionally to deal with tragedy. A couple of days before his birthday my uncle had a car accident without anyone else being involved, and when he got out the car he fell in a lake and drowned (likely due to disorientation from head injuries). It's since been ruled as a suicide by an inquest, despite fairly scant evidence to say that with certainty (e.g. he was still wearing his seat belt when he crashed, which seems like something you wouldn't do if you wanted to die from a crash). I guess the point is, while extended family dying would be awful, dying from disease is a different kind of awful and it's always going to feel more natural and rational than that ever did. As such I don't have quite the same cloud of worry hanging over me as some people do, which is certainly a good thing from a well-being perspective.

    I'm also touched you find visiting my mum essential, Smuel.
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2020
  4. Jungle Japes

    Jungle Japes Well-Known Member

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    If you're looking for a good quarantine time killer, check out Hades. Just picked it up, great game, highly recommend. Similar to Dead Cells in a lot of ways. If you haven't played Dead Cells, you should. Great game, highly recommend. It's similar to Enter the Gungeon, another great game, highly recommend.

    If you enjoy puzzle games, anything by Zachtronics is great. Spacechem is my favorite.
     
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  5. Jojobobo

    Jojobobo Well-Known Member

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    They sound intriguing, I might give them a try. Between the Resident Evil 3 remake and Animal Crossing my gaming schedule will be filled out for a bit of time however!

    Resident Evil 3 seems okay so far, but I'm enjoying Nemesis less so than Mr. X from Resident Evil 2. Some of the mechanistic choices also seem contrary to survival horror - e.g. dodging enemies, which lets you bypass a lot of monsters without using any ammo as you did in other games.
     
  6. Smuel

    Smuel Well-Known Member

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    I've added Spacechem to my Steam wishlist, but all the other games mentioned seem too fast paced for me. I can't really deal with anything that requires reflexes these days. I tried DOTA recently, and couldn't keep up. Half the time my character was already dead and I was still scrolling around the map clicking on things wondering why nothing was happening.

    Needless to say, I play Arcanum and its ilk in turn-based mode.
     
  7. Smuel

    Smuel Well-Known Member

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    I realised my last post wasn't particularly helpful, so a game I played recently that I enjoyed was Gemcraft: Chasing Shadows. It's a tower defense game. You can play it for free on Kongregate, but it's also available on Steam, along with its sequel.

    I also played Yet Another Zombie Defense recently, because I got it for free on Steam during a promotional period or something. It's fun for about 30 minutes, and then it becomes kind of frustrating. So my recommendation would be to play it for free, if you can, for about 30 minutes.
     
  8. Im finding now being essentially house bound, I am struggling with my usually managable addiction and depression problems. The biggest threat to me at the moment is me. What keeps me going is my beautiful little boy aged 1 and my wonderful wife. I keep my problems my own, however I do have a tendancy to let things build up over time. If there was anyone here I would likely take it out on them! However not even acts such as that can actually provide me any joy as the humours not there anymore.

    So I am giving myself a daily dose of star trek and seeing how things go..
     
  9. Smuel

    Smuel Well-Known Member

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    Which one? DS9 is my favourite, because I generally prefer stories about politicking rather than adventure. However I have a soft spot for Voyager, in that I don't hate it the way everyone else seems to. I haven't yet seen Discovery or Orville, but plan to.
     
  10. Am doing a full watch through of the only 3 series I really like. TOS, DS9 & Voyager. Currently going through voyager having done the 2 others. This started when I went to a star trek convention in birmingham a fee months back.
    But yes I have to agree, DS9 is what I enjoy watching most. Discovery for me is a great show but moves too far away from what Star Trek used to be. And Picard, is great but again very different. Too many F bombs for a start.
     
  11. Smuel

    Smuel Well-Known Member

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    Oh yeah, there's Picard too! They keep making new ones, I can barely keep up. One of these days I'm going to have to hunker down and watch all the series that have been piling up in my queue. I've hardly watched anything for the last three years.

    If only there was some kind of global event that would force everyone to stay indoors for a prolonged period of time, so that I had an excuse.
     
  12. Vorak

    Vorak Administrator Staff Member

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    There was Enterprise, the series that didn't have 'Star Trek' in its name for some reason

    And the glory that is the late 90's TNG movies
     
  13. Smuel

    Smuel Well-Known Member

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    It's been a lo-ong road, gettin' from there to he-uh
    It's been a lo-ong time, BUT MAH TIME IS FAANLY NEEEUH!

    Enterprise? I don't know what you're talking about.
     
  14. FlyingGuillotine

    FlyingGuillotine New Member

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    Enterprise is the only show I have not watched all the way through. I have read that it's poor but I'm still happy to roll with it. I must say, going through Voyager, I am startled by Janeways blatent disregard for the Prime Directive.

    She has managed to upset the entire Delta Quadrant and seems to have done more harm than good...
     
  15. Smuel

    Smuel Well-Known Member

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    I think there's a certain feel that the original Star Trek had, and then another certain feel that TNG/DS9/VOY had, and the more recent shows/films don't really capture it.

    Not that there's anything wrong with that. I'm not some old curmudgeon who doesn't want new shows to create their own identity, and I'm not sure that trying to recapture it would work well either - taste and conventions naturally evolve over time. So I think it's fine to try something slightly different, and sometimes it will work and sometimes not.

    I feel the same way about Star Wars as well. I think the prequels successfully created a compelling universe with a specific look and feel, distinct from the original trilogy. The more recent films didn't manage that so well - they seemed more generic to me, not really capturing either of their predecessors, but not creating something new and distinctive either.

    Maybe I am some old curmudgeon after all. Damn kids with their multi million dollar movie franchises.
     
  16. Smuel

    Smuel Well-Known Member

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    Really? Nobody's going to come along and tell me that Jar Jar sucks? The House is losing its edge.
     
  17. Vorak

    Vorak Administrator Staff Member

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    Media consumption has changed.

    Its not like it used to be, many films and practically all TV shows didn't get a home media release and those that did were expensive. So you wouldn't buy many and would often rewatch the ones that you did buy or had recorded from a TV broadcast.

    Instead practically everything is on streaming apps that push new content on people and at nearly 50 years old for the original trilogy and over 20 years old for the first prequel, Star Wars isn't as big a deal as it used to be. There are a bunch of articles about how in China there is no nostalgia for the older movies as they never got released there and as a result the newer Disney films have not done well at all since any SW film is basically using nostalgia as a crutch at this point. Add to that that which app a piece of IP can be seen on can change, someone may not even have access to Star Wars, its all been pulled from Netflix and is on Disney+ now and I don't have either of those services so I can't see them that way. I do have blu-rays of SW but these days that makes me a minority, blu-ray never caught on in the way that DVD did.

    So yeah, its hard to push the Jar Jar sucks argument when the first film in the series came out when my parents were in primary school and I'm now in my 30's. People outside of the hardcore fan base don't care about SW at all, I encountered numerous people when that Darth Jar Jar theory was a big deal that had not seen any of the movies at all and didn't get the joke.

    That all being said, if you want to see Star Wars and Star Trek broken down to its essence, just watch the RedLetterMedia videos.
     
  18. Zanza

    Zanza Well-Known Member

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    Jar Jar sucks.
     
  19. Smuel

    Smuel Well-Known Member

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    That doesn't mean it has to be bad though. That was my point about the prequels - in many ways they were poorly written, but one area where they definitely succeeded was in creating an identifiable atmosphere and compelling look and feel, distinct from the original trilogy, that captured the imagination of viewers and inspired new fans who wanted to explore that universe.

    The latest crop of Star Wars films could have done a similar thing. The first half of The Force Awakens nearly did, I sat there thinking "Wow they've done it - a fresh take on a society trying to recover from a devastating conflict, the humanisation of a Storm Trooper, a hotshot pilot who fails and gets killed in the first act, I like the direction they're going with this." Then the hotshot pilot suddenly reappeared with no explanation, the desperate survivor became a hotshot pilot as well with no explanation, and the ex soldier traumatised by the reality of combat became an eager resistance fighter with no explanation. The rest of the film felt like a generic space action movie with occasional lightsabers.

    The Star Trek films have a similar issue. TOS is characterised by discovering weird aliens and then demonstrating why humans are better. TNG/DS9/VOY are about culture clashes or political stand offs between large space empires. The latest "rebooted" Star Trek films feel more like generic space action movies with transporters and phasers.

    I dunno, maybe these things are hard to see at the time, and in 20 years I'll be writing messages on this board that nobody reads about how at least 2010/2020 space movies had _heart_, like a certain _feel_ to them, which modern AI generated holovids just can't recapture, you know?

    Then 20 years after that <squeaky old man voice> "The holovids of 2030/40 made you feel _alive_ in a way that these modern immersive neural sims just can't replicate." etc.
     
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  20. Smuel

    Smuel Well-Known Member

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    So, by enormous coincidence, over the last six weeks I have played both Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force and Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic for the first time.

    KOTOR is obviously the better game. And I'm not just saying that because I prefer turn-based RPGs over twitch-based FPS. KOTOR has better characters, more complex gameplay, and more variety in environments. It's just clearly better, in the same way that Half-Life is better than Rage of Mages II: Necromancer.

    But we're not here to talk about that. The question is - which was more true to its source material? And there the answer is Elite Force. It really felt like you were walking around Voyager, or a Borg Cube, and shooting at things with phasers and photon torpedoes. Having the original voice cast certainly gave it a massive leg up, and it's pretty funny when they interact with you, e.g. Captain Janeway telling you to stop messing around and get the hell off the bridge. It also didn't feel contrived at all. Tuvok is your boss, because of course he is. Who else would be? Neelix doesn't show up much, and when he does he just stands around in the mess hall being useless because of course he does. What else would he do?

    On the other hand, KOTOR never quite felt like Star Wars, somehow. Sure, it had lightsabers and force powers, which are superior to blasters, but then it also had longswords. Which are also superior to blasters. Yep, in the early game, the fastest way to kill someone shooting at you with a blaster is to grab a sharp piece of metal and run right up to them and hit them with it. What's more, someone with a sword can fight back against someone with a lightsaber, which really devalues the supposed overwhelming dominance of lightsabers.

    Another thing that worked against KOTOR was the lack of a sense of scale. In Elite Force you are mostly running through cramped spacecraft corridors, which is fine, because we're used to a lot of Star Trek taking place in cramped corridors. It also suited the story. Whereas in KOTOR you would land on a planet and be tasked with finding a mysterious long forgotten relic, so you walk around a small town asking people where it is, and nobody knows, and then you walk out of the town and it's in a cave just to the left. Don't get me wrong, I was happy not to have to run around a massive open world trying to find things. Ain't nobody got time for that. But it did mean that the sweeping vistas and sense of wonder that you can get from Star Wars was missing.

    Also, at one point, the enemy du jour was zombies.

    Having said that, at one point in Elite Force the enemy du jour was floating shrieking fish-bat hybrids. So I guess they both lost points in that respect.

    Anyway, in conclusion, I'd recommend both of them, but for different reasons. Elite Force has the edge in atmosphere, is relatively short, and feels like a nice compact way to revisit an old friend. KOTOR is much longer, has proper RPG elements, and packs an emotional punch too.

    Live long, and may the force prosper with you.
     
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