Busy hands games. More about Glass Cannon shows than you probably care about. Dune and Planet of the Apes. Broken Slack.

Broken Slack - May 2024 Part 2

2,188 words.

Broken Slack - May 2024 Part 2

Amazingly, I created this post document on the 17th! Not the day before publication date, like I’ve been doing the last couple of times. Sadly I still don’t have anything particularly noteworthy to report. And I forgot to finish it. And I also forgot to post it on the right day.


Some games I’ve played recently on PC and PS5 while listening to shows: Wreckfest, Flatout4, Trail Out, BeamNG.drive, Manor Lords, Timberborn, and Crusader Kings 3. These games are what I like to describe as “busy hands” games (with the possible exception of Crusader Kings 3). They require very little mental effort, so you can concentrate on the show you’re listening to instead of the game you’re playing. (And yes, I should probably be doing something more useful like cleaning the house instead of sitting around playing a busy hands game.)

None of those games are interesting enough to write about. That’s the thing about “busy hands” games: They’re passive. There isn’t much of a two-way interaction with the game. You just kind of sit there for the most part, like a kid watching 80s Saturday morning cartoons, rotting your brain (actually those were way more entertaining than most games). The interactions with the games are so rote and familiar that they don’t even enter your consciousness, and leave your memory ten seconds after you stop playing them. It’s like knitting. Actually it’s worse than knitting, because with knitting, at least you have something useful to keep at the end of your time.

I suppose I could insert a rant here about how the entire games industry has shifted to either “busy hands” games or “ongoing competitive” games, because those are the ones that are easy to factory produce and the ones players throw endless money at, which leaves almost nothing left for people like me to play. But what would be the point? Nobody listens to the rantings of a veteran gamer. Nobody’s making games for the original gamers anymore.

That might be why I see so many long-time video gamers jumping to TTRPGs. It’s not hard to see that video games today “aren’t like they used to be.” Which is a phrase that automatically invites dismissive “ok boomer” reactions, but there’s not any other way to describe it. Every new game plays exactly the same as the last one. How many team hero shooter clone games can one human being possibly endure? I surpassed my limit back in the Team Fortress days.

That also might be why so many younger generation gamers are turning to TTRPGs. That rush of using your imagination just doesn’t exist in video games any more.

Ahem. Anyway.

Speaking of games that aren’t like all the rest, I think the Elden Ring DLC is going to drop soon. I haven’t looked into it much. I had a petty desire to wait on buying it, in order to register my complaint about how absurd the bosses toward the end of the base game were. No longer will From Software be getting automatic pre-orders from me, if they’re going to continue down the game design route of “just make everything faster, we’re giving up on making things more creative.”

Hellblade II: Senua’s Saga just released, which I bought immediately and installed, but have yet to actually launch. I’m very suspicious that it won’t be as good as the first game, because the genius of the first game was in the slow reveal of the character’s personal story through unreliable narration, and it’s difficult to imagine how the continuation of that story could contain any more surprises. The best way I can think to continue it is by introducing a new character relationship into the story.

Anyway, I want to play it, but I want to record it so I remember it five years from now and so I don’t have to play it more than once, but that means I have to feel like talking while playing, which I currently don’t. But then it’s not a very good game for a video series, if it’s anything like the first game. It’s hard to add anything interesting to a story-heavy game. It’s just a lot of, “That cut scene was cool wasn’t it?” Ho hum.

Media Production

Zilch. But weirdly I bought a green screen for the first time in over eight years of making game videos. It’s cheap, but it works, as long as it’s lit sufficiently (I have a bunch of cheap USB-powered LED lights too) and there isn’t any mild breeze from the ceiling fan to blow over the super flimsy rigging.

I don’t know what to do with it. Probably nothing. But hey, you really can’t be part of modern Internet culture anymore without a green screen, so now my indoctrination is complete.


Current weekly shows regularly watching: Glass Cannon Podcast Campaign 2 (on YouTube), Glass Cannon Time for Chaos (on YouTube, just finished season 2), Dimension 20 Fantasy High Junior Year (on Dropout, just finished), The Rest is Entertainment Podcast (on YouTube), Jon Stewart’s new bits on The Daily Show (on YouTube), Taskmaster Series 17 (on YouTube, just finished).

Sadly, Time for Chaos season 2 just ended. One of the best actual plays out there, and by far the best Call of Cthulu I’ve seen. Everybody else thinks “playing Call of Cthulu” means “dressing up in period costumes and acting extremely dour and boring.” (This has also carried over to Critical Roll’s attempted-Cthulu-replacement Candela Obscura.)

Binging old shows regularly: Glass Cannon Androids & Aliens (on YouTube starting at episode 96), and Glass Cannon Get in the Trunk.

I keep saying this about Glass Cannon, but Androids & Aliens is one of the best actual play shows I’ve seen. They have a cast with amazing chemistry. Also wow, Paizo’s Starfinder sounds like a garbage heap of a rule system. It sounds like the upcoming second edition needs to be a complete top-to-bottom overhaul.

You are correct, I’m not watching whatever television shows or movies everybody else is watching, because literally nothing looks like it’s worth watching. I thought about watching 3 Body Problem but then I thought, “I read the book and the book was amazing so I need not bother wasting my time with the show.”

Also, I fell into a rabbit hole of watching a lot of “some expert rates the realism in movies” videos on YouTube, mainly on the Insider channel. Normally I don’t really like the “reaction video” genre, but these seem like they’ve evolved into something that’s actually watchable. And it’s always nice to have experts confirming all the times I scoffed at World War I battle scenes and thought to myself, “That crazy nonsense isn’t what actually happened.” This is one of my favorites. “Where is your ditch!”


I re-watched Dune Part One. The first half was really good. The second half wasn’t as good.

Then I watched Dune Part Two. It was okay. The main reason to watch it is for the visual spectacle, not so much for the easy-to-follow, relatable human drama, of which there is very little. (Despite the music trying so hard to make you think every scene is just drowning with drama.) Even split into two really long movies, there wasn’t enough time for me to build much of a bond with any of the characters. I couldn’t see myself or anyone I knew in any of those characters, in the same way I can’t see myself or anyone I know in Biblical characters. (The story of Dune is very much like a Biblical story to me.)

Also, did anyone else find the messiah to be kind of, well, Gen-Z-ish? Maybe a bit harsh of me. But he seemed like a kid pretending to be someone with gravitas, more than someone with gravitas. I mean he was basically a stick figure in the first movie. (To be fair, he’s supposed to be 15 from the book, which makes him even more annoying as a character.) At least they put some bulky clothes on him for the second movie. Maybe I’m just too old to accept that any actor who looks like they’re 15 years old is going to defeat every enemy in single combat, see the future, and lead an entire world’s people to victory. The only thing I see kids today doing is making TikTok videos, which is cool, but not nearly as impressive as leading an entire planet to salvation.

Over Memorial Day weekend, I also watched an unprecedented three more movies: Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and War for the Planet of the Apes. The first one was comically bad except for Andy Serkis, the second one was really good, and the third one was pretty good except for some boring bits in the middle. I guess I can understand why people view them favorably.


Having just watched the new Dune movie, I started to re-listen to the Dune audiobook, which is one of those “read by an all-star cast” audiobooks that I generally dislike. They try to make it sound like an audio play, but in reality it just sounds like every sentence is read by someone with a different accent so the entire flow of the writing is completely ruined.

To make matters worse, some of the chapters are just the narrator Simon Vance reading, and those are really good. Then they go back to chapters where some American dude that sounds like Jon Hamm phoning it in reads Duke Leto, and I die a little inside. Don’t even get me started on the guy who sounds like he’s from Texas reading Gurney Halleck lines. Can we get a new version of this audiobook please? Surely the movies are popular enough to warrant a new one. They’re making a television show to get in on the Cinematic Universe action, so throw a little money into an audiobook. At the bare minimum, just remix this one and cut out everyone but Simon Vance, and it would be a lot better.

Day Job

Catastrophe struck and the Slack desktop app stopped working on my work laptop (a 2019 MacBook Pro). It just crashed every time I started it, and furthermore, Chrome crashed every time I tried to use the Slack web page instead of the desktop app. I tried a hundred things to try to fix it, but nothing worked. I had to go to the company tech support, which was like a death sentence, because I knew they weren’t going to be able to fix it, and they were going to tell me to reimage my laptop, because that’s what company tech support does: They have you try the same things you can Google yourself, and if that doesn’t work, they reimage. Which is what happened. So I had to reimage my laptop, and now I have to reinstall everything. Thanks Slack and/or Chrome.

Why do we still use Chrome? It’s about a thousand times worse than Internet Explorer ever was. I can answer that: For me, it’s exactly one reason, and it’s because all my bookmarks are in Chrome, and I don’t know where else to put them. I need a browser-agnostic bookmark solution. I’m told that something like Pocket is the solution, which seems like a fairly big overkill just for managing links.

Health and Wellness

I’ve been attempting to replace coffee with tea. I’m now at the point where I can drink one cup of black tea in the morning and I don’t have any caffeine-related headaches for the rest of the day.

I’ve been drinking one called Vanilla Chai which is less awful than the one called English Breakfast. I tried one called Perfectly Mint and I almost gagged it was so disgusting. It was like drinking hot toothpaste. So far I’m discovering that black teas tend to all taste the same, it’s just that they smell radically different.

Unfortunately I haven’t noticed much of any reduction in acid reflux so I guess coffee wasn’t contributing to that.

Anyway, the next step is to try switching to some other not-black teas and then eventually get down to just water and maybe some kind of fruit juice.

World Context

As yet I don’t know what to replace TweetDeck with for news.

  • U.K. called for a General Election because apparently they can just do that whenever they feel like it. Meanwhile here in the U.S. we’re in roughly year 27 of a more-or-less continuous 24/7 election campaign.
  • Trump was found guilty in the hush-money trial. He’ll appeal, he won’t go to jail, and it won’t have any effect on the election. (I did not see that on social media, and have not seen any reaction to it on any social media platform, which is nice. Not seeing everyone’s opinions on social media feels like what it must be like to leave a cult.)
  • Ongoing Trainwrecks of the Year: 2024 Presidential Election, War in Israel (since 10/2023), Nigerian Coup (since 7/2023), Sudanese Civil War (since 4/2023), War in Ukraine (since 2/2022).


Hey look, I added comments again, because it was easy and free. I don't recommend writing anything that you don't want to lose, because I don't know anything about the stability of this platform.