July 2016 News

2016-06-232021-01-11 finished certainty: log importance: 0

This is the July 2016 edi­tion of the Gw­ern.net newslet­ter; pre­vi­ous, . This is a sum­mary of the re­vi­sion-his­tory RSS feed, over­lap­ping with & ; brought to you by my donors on Pa­treon.








  • (video game with pos­i­tive re­view on LW and ANN I in­stead watched a YouTube 100% walk­through of, skip­ping the . I watched the first few such puz­zles but found them rather te­dious-look­ing, so that’s defi­nitely a rea­son to pre­fer watch­ing Zero Time Dilemma to play­ing it. This way, ZTD can be con­sid­ered an ul­tra­-low-bud­get anime done us­ing 3D CGI last­ing per­haps 10 hours. The CGI it­self is… not great, by any means, but one un­der­stands what’s go­ing on, and it’s not quite as te­dious as read­ing a vi­sual novel like Umineko even if Umineko had much bet­ter 2D art­work. That leaves the story it­self, which is am­bi­tious SF, try­ing to work to­gether time trav­el, par­al­lel uni­verses & shift­ing, the an­thropic prin­ci­ple, the Pris­on­er’s Dilem­ma, the Sleep­ing Beauty prob­lem, and am­ne­sia drugs, in the frame­work of peo­ple trapped in a bomb shel­ter by a psy­cho­pathic mas­ter­mind. The ‘de­ci­sions’ made in each game pro­vide a gar­den of fork­ing paths the player nav­i­gates be­tween to ex­plore the con­se­quences of par­tic­u­lar choic­es, try­ing to nav­i­gate to a good end, where good is rel­a­tive to the con­se­quences of other pos­si­ble uni­vers­es. Even­tu­ally the char­ac­ters them­selves start un­der­stand­ing the sit­u­a­tion and start shift­ing as well. Most choices end in death, so the ex­po­nen­tial in­crease does­n’t get out of hand. Some of the plot twists are dra­matic and sur­prised me—­for ex­am­ple, the ar­chi­tec­ture twist sur­prised me be­cause while I had won­dered how they could all have ac­cess to the same exit el­e­va­tor if they were sealed off, I never put the re­main­ing pieces to­geth­er. Prob­a­bly I would’ve en­joyed it more if I had watched the pre­vi­ous games to get the back­sto­ry, but it was still a fun SF se­ries. That said, I felt some of the story was half-baked and it did not work as well as Stein­s;­gate: the char­ac­ters do dis­ap­point­ingly lit­tle to work around the am­ne­sia de­spite am­ple op­por­tu­ni­ty; I was sur­prised by the end­ing be­cause al­though I had guessed Ze­ro’s mo­tive long be­fore, at the an­thropic principle/dice game, some of the events in­volv­ing x-codes had seemed to specifi­cally dis­con­firm it and the ul­ti­mate prod­uct seems kind of triv­ial com­pared to Ze­ro’s efforts to ob­tain it; the avail­abil­ity of both slid­ing and a space-time tele­porter felt in­el­e­gant and the pos­si­bil­i­ties un­der­used; the rev­e­la­tion of who Zero is was a com­plete as­spull which—shades of Umineko—re­lies on a ‘treach­ery of im­ages’ trick which sim­ply does­n’t work for both nar­ra­tive & an­i­ma­tion rea­sons, and worse, was un­nec­es­sary; and the nar­ra­tive pac­ing is weak as the first part of the game spends what feels like an eter­nity on the repet­i­tive start­ing Pris­on­er’s dilemma game and then rushes through the rest.)
  • (a sim­ple con­cept, sim­i­lar to the later mem­ory se­quence in Pixar’s , but like Up, effec­tive)
  • (re­view)