Wonder Woman mini review (spoiler free)

Wonder Woman was an awesome movie.

If you want to talk super hero movies, I’d say it was as good as any Marvel movie.

It has a perfect balance of incredible action (perfect dose of over-used slomo) and an exquisite amount of humour (not too littel, not too much). Just like Marvel did in their movies, it makes a somewhat silly character like Wonder Woman work in ways you wouldn’t have suspected. I mean, hell, I want to go read Wonder Woman comics now!

And if we want to talk about the first female super hero movie, it was even better. Everything is done with such grace and balance; they touch on every topic you’d think necessary (men, sex, the status of women, Diana’s beauty, all of it), but it is written in such a way that everything felt natural and appropriate top me.

But far more important than all this: how empowering it must feel for women to finally see on screen what men have been getting for over a decade in super hero movies (and a tiny bit longer in society)? A heroic figure that is so badass and powerful that she pumps you up and makes you feel you can take on the world… I felt downright gleeful when in the beginning, when child-Diana was kicking and punching into the air! Finally!

On a side note: shame, SHAME on Marvel for not doing it first. They’ve been making blockbuster super hero movies for ten years now, and not once did they think… I know Captain Marvel coming, but they should have been first. And they’d better not mess it up because Wonder Woman is a tough act to follow.

Oh, and about the female only screenings, what a travesty that men would feel it’s their right to deny this kind of empowerement to women. A decade of super hero movies (not to mention the rest of History); they want to have a moment, let them! Support them! Don’t get in the way with baby tears of pretend-discrimination in the face or real discrimination. The principle of discrimination is that the discriminated party and the discriminating party can’t be considered in the same way. I mean, I understand the questions these screenings raise. But really, these questions don’t rise to the level of serious concern in any way other than a pretty ugly one. Even if you don’t think it’s cool, be a grown up and let it go. They can have this, we’ll survive. I just hope this movie isn’t a single blip and we’ll get more (many more) like this.

Finally, to get back to movie consideration, I hope DC has finally found its voice. I really want to love their movies, and I hope they follow this one with more like it, and that we finally get truly engaging tales of their heroes, and not those pointless “look how edgy we are” charades. I want the Justice League to become something I can look forward to, and not dread. This one is proably the most Marvel-ish of their movies, but in a good way. It works. It’s epic and fun and coherent and has so much energy… If DC keeps making them like this, we’re in for a really great ride.

June 9th, 2017 | No Comments

Détails sur la réflexion (élections 2017)

Hier, j’ai publié un article sur mon choix pour ces élections, et les raisons qui m’ont poussé à le faire. J’ai reçu de nombreux commentaires ici et sur Twitter. Ils ont été dans l’ensemble très bienveillants (avec quelques exception un peu énervées, mais moins que je ne l’aurais imaginé), et certaines de nos discussions m’ont poussé à développer une présentation plus neutre de la manière dont je vois les causes et les enjeux de nos divisions. J’espère que vous apprécierez le texte, et je vous invite à continuer les conversations, ici et ailleurs !

Posons d’abord les bases du constat, pour parler ensuite des solutions qu’envisagent chacun.

D’abord donc, le constat.

On parle beaucoup de l’état catastrophique de notre pays ou du monde aujourd’hui, mais il me semble que, si les problèmes que nous avons sont bien réels (et parfois urgents), nous avons une visons souvent trop restreinte de la situation dans laquelle nous sommes.

En effet, en regardant les choses avec un peu de recul, disons sur 50 ans, il me parait assez clair que la globalisation et l’économie de marché ont eu des effets très positifs sur le monde (amis socialistes, ne partez pas, je vous jure qu’on va se retrouver au bout de l’article !). La pauvreté recule, l’alphabetisation progresse, la criminalité est en chute libre, les infrastructures se développent, nous avons un accès illimité à l’information (au sens large)… Bref, à l’échelle du monde, il est difficile de nier que les choses vont, en moyenne, beaucoup mieux. Et que ces avancées sont en grande parties dues aux avancées technologiques, et à la globalisation qui en résulte. Encore une fois, on trouvera ici et là des contre exemples, mais si on compare les situations d’aujourd’hui et de l’après-guerre, il sera difficile de considerer la seconde comme plus enviable.

Là où le bât blesse, c’est principalement dans le monde occidental, où la globalisation a clairement créé une fracture sociale : il y a ceux qui en ont profité et s’en sont globalement bien sorti (dont je fais partie, comme sans doute la plupart de ceux qui liront ces lignes), et ceux qui ont été victimes des changements qu’elle a induit. Car si l’enrichissement (dans le sens de “la sortie de la pauvreté”) a été manifeste dans le monde, il y a tout de même des individus ou des catégories socio-professionnelles dont la situation s’est dégradée chez nous pendant qu’elle s’améliorait ailleurs. Concrètement, un ouvrier français ou américain va moins bien qu’avant, et un ouvrier chinois ou indien va mieux. Alors certes, les conditions de vie dans les pays en voie de développement restent moins bonnes que celles que nous connaissons ici, mais la situation reste préoccupante quand on est a plus de mal à subvenir aux besoins de sa famille. Là où une révolution économique ou technologique provoquait il y a quelques décennies un  transfert de richesses et de compétences à un niveau d’un pays (industrialisation, par exemple), il est aujourd’hui fuyant sur la planète entière. Et la pilule est d’autant plus difficile à avaler quand on constate, et je pense qu’il est là aussi difficile de ne pas le faire, que si certains profitent “normalement” des bienfaits de la globalisation (société de services, informatique, etc), d’autres en ont tiré, littéralement et métaphoriquement, des bénéfices bien plus importants. Il y a en occident un affinage de la classe moyenne, écartelée entre plus de pauvreté d’un coté et plus de richesse de l’autre, et cette situation est clairement un danger pour la paix sociale. Quel que soit le niveau de richesse statistique de l’ensemble, une classe moyenne importante est une composante essentielle d’une société apaisée, et il clair que nous allons dans la direction inverse. Le danger est donc bien réel.

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April 20th, 2017 | 16 Comments

Reflexions sur la campagne 2017

En me réveillant j’ai commencé un Tweet, et deux heures plus tard il s’était transformé en article de plusieurs pages. Je crois que j’aurais aimé parler avec vous de cette campagne depuis des mois, comme je l’ai fait en 2012, mais des circonstances familiales compliquées m’en ont empêché. Alors ça sort maintenant, à la veille du premier tour et sans doute un peu tard, mais au moins j’aurai vidé mon sac. 🙂

Ce qui m’irrite le plus dans cette élection c’est le manque de retenue de la moitié du pays: quelle que soit notre intention de vote, on est un traitre à la nation, limite un égorgeur d’enfants, pour la moitié de la population.

Alors moi je vais voter Macron, et je vous emmerde.

D’abord je vais voter Macron parce que je pense qu’on peut, et même qu’on doit en finir avec les dogmes ineptes qui disent que si une mesure vient du camp d’en face elle est forcément la pire chose qui ait été imaginée de l’Histoire. Il y a des bonnes idées partout, et j’en ai ras le bol de me faire insulter par mes amis “de droite” quand je parle de ce qui est intéressant à gauche et vice versa. Ces attitudes absolutistes sont aussi toxiques que les trolls qui viennent pourrir toutes les conversations sur le net.

Ensuite je ne vais pas voter aux extrêmes parce que, avant tout, je suis convaincu que l’union de notre Europe est un trésor à chérir (je là fais une pause parce que j’en vois qui se sont mis à saigner du nez dans le fond…), et même une chance unique que nous serions fous de rejeter. On nous parle sans cesse de ses problèmes, et il serait vain de les nier, mais on oublie autant ses réussites. Au delà de l’ouverture culturelle et économique qui sont pour moi des forces incroyables et indispensables (un détail), et au delà de notre interdépendance qui nous met à l’abris des conflits de grande ampleur qui étaient jusque là toute notre Histoire (encore un détail), je pense que notre génération est une génération de l’Europe, de l’auberge espagnole, ouverte, mélangée, pleine d’enthousiasme et d’opportunités, qui donne à ce continent sa force. Nous sommes ensemble comme jamais dans notre Histoire, nous voyageons, nous rencontrons, nous connaissons, et le danger d’un repli sur soi est, dans le contexte local et global, le plus grand danger auquel nous ayons à faire face aujourd’hui. Le replis nous couperait des opportunités dont nous ne pouvons pas nous passer. Est-ce que tout va bien ? Non bien sûr, c’est une évidence. Je sais que nous vivons un conflit entre bénéficiaires et laissés pour compte de la globalisation. Mais je ne pense pas que tout aille mal non plus, comme voudraient nous le faire croire certains. Et quand il y a des problèmes, on les corrige, on ne jette pas le tout comme un bébé capricieux qui n’aime plus son jouet.

Et enfin, je ne vais pas voter pour les partis traditionnels parce que, au delà de l’évidence de la médiocrité de leurs campagnes, je crois que le message envoyé par un vote Macron est fort, mais qu’il va aussi dans le bon sens. On dit qu’on veut de la raison, pas de la panique. On veut de la mesure, pas du catastrophisme. Car c’est de mal que nous souffrons le plus : on ne sait plus aborder les choses calmement, et, poussés par l’urgence et la peur, on prend des décisions impulsives. Cette tendance me paraît dangereuse, et je préfère pousser dans le se sens de la raison et de la mesure. Contrairement aux anglais et aux américains, j’ai envie de réparer le système, pas d’envoyer la table valser dans un accès de rage, pour nous retrouver ensuite avec un bordel effroyable et une spirale incontrôlable.

Voila, l’essentiel est dit, mais si vous en voulez plus, vous pouvez continuer à lire…

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April 19th, 2017 | 41 Comments

Arcade games from Soviet Russia

We’re in St Petersburg, and yesterday we played soviet era arcade games, with kopeks & everything!

Unsurprisingly, the 1983~1990 games looked like our 1975~1983 games. There were a LOT of electro-mechanical games. Even in 1985-1990, few were actually electronic “video” games. And there was a surprising number of military games (sniper, torpedo, tank buster). A few fairy tale or sports ones, but mostly military.

They also had basically no game design either. Most were “point, press button” kind of games. One of those electro-mechanical games, for example, was a sniper setup that had you shoot 20 targets with 20 bullets… but there was no timer. So if you managed to get all (very easy to do after a few tries), that was it. No ranking possible, even among friends keeping score (unless you had someone with a stop watch keeping track, I suppose). Understandable of course; the way these came to be was likely people (don’t ask me who) getting super rare imported western games years after their release. They would try to copy them with very little context or understanding of how things had evolved in the field…

Anyway, it was a really interesting dive into this unlikely “industry”. If you ever go to St Petersburg, go check it out!

 

 

 

February 22nd, 2017 | No Comments

PewDiePie vs Anti Semitism, my 2 cents (updated)

This post was reformatted from a series of Tweets which start here.
If you’re not aware of what this is about, you can get info here or here.
[Update: PewDiePie posted a response to the controversy here. Thoughts below.]

Update 2: The Short Version (as of Feb 17)
He agrees he messed up and went too far. Everyone agrees he went too far. That’s not in question.
The remaining question is: was he treated unfairly by the media?
To answer this question, we need to ask another one:
Do you think he’s being accused of being an anti Semite, or of trivializing antisemitism?
If you think he’s accused of being an anti Semite (that’s not what’s happening), you think people and media are piling on, and some variation of “but don’t you get that he was just joking/denouncing/doing it on purpose?”. My suspicion is that you’re under 30(ish).
If you think he’s accused of trivializing antisemitism (that’s what’s happening), you think people and media are deeply concerned at the consequences of these seemingly inconsequential jokes, especially considering he is the biggest personality on the Internet. My suspicion is that you’re over 30(ish).
In my humble opinion, most people agree on most of the situation here. For the rest it’s a matter of perspective, and a matter of generation. Older people have grown up with a strong understanding of the horrors of World War 2; it was part of their (our) culture and education. To them (us), talking about this is a delicate matter always. Similar to someone calling black people “niggers” or homosexuals “faggots” today. For younger people, this was a bad joke, sure, but it’s not *that* big a deal, and the media is piling on.

I don’t have an answer here, I just think laying out the issue in more easily understandable terms might help some people form their opinions. Let me know if you think this doesn’t seem accurate to you. One last thing: I do think that screaming “the media is dishonest/biased/etc” is irresponsible given today’s landscape; whether he wants it or not, he has great influence, so responsibility comes with the territory.
More on that below if you’re interested.

For the full thing, read on…

It seems there’s a backlash against the backlash against PewDiePie’s “anti-Semitic” videos. Here are my 2 cents on the matter:

I don’t think he’s anti Semitic. But, that doesn’t mean he can do or say anything and it’s ok because “I’m just joking”. The line is thin between humor and trivialisation, and I’m not sure he was in the right side of it. The consequences aren’t unjustifiable; he’ll be fine, it’s a slap on the wrist. No need for more drama.

However, the idea that we should “stop getting offended for other people” is FUCKING INSANE. We should absolutely get offended for other people! What are you saying? We should only be offended when we ourselves are targeted? What kind of morality is that?…

And the fact that one Jew doesn’t feel offended doesn’t mean “see? Jews are fine with this!! SJW ruining it for us again!!” – sorry, but no. This issue is serious, and it should be addressed. Panic and eternal condemnation of PDP? Hell no, he probably just went a bit too far. But go to the other extreme and just say it’s all fine and we should all “leave PDP alone!!!”? No, doesn’t work either.

He went a bit too far, got the appropriate response for it, story over. Everything’s as it should be. The drama, on both sides, is overkill. (more…)

February 15th, 2017 | No Comments

Aerial is the Best Screensaver You’ve Ever Seen

A lot of blogs and sites have already talked about it, but here’s one more praise for the AppleTV screensaver. If you don’t know it, you’re really missing out. And there’s no reason why you should: it’s available on Mac and Windows (via unofficial devs).

If this is the first time you’re hearing about it, the idea might seem unoriginal: it’s a series of slow motion flyovers of cities and landscapes. That’s it. But don’t be fooled: they will take your breath away, in an almost meditative experience. The deliberate paths and precise slow motion do something to the images and our brains, where you yourself slow down as you see the tiny cars or the intricate patterns weave and change. The more you look at them, the more you get lost in the imagery. It’s hypnotic and delightful. Honestly, this feels like art more than technology. You might think I’m overselling it… Maybe I am, but that’s honestly the way I feel about this thing. 🙂

Saying that Apple is good at design is kind of trite (or annoying, depending who you are), but I never thought they’d find a way to make me fall in love with a screen saver. And yet they have.

Install it now, you won’t be sorry:

Mac: https://github.com/JohnCoates/Aerial

Windows: https://github.com/cDima/Aerial

And huge thanks to the devs, John Coates and Dmitry Sadakov!

December 28th, 2016 | No Comments

Thoughts on the Bethesda game reviews policy

Yesterday, Bethesda posted a short blog entry which basically said they won’t be sending advanced copies for media to review anymore. You can read it here, it’ll take you all of 30 seconds. Many people have been commenting, getting angry, getting passive aggressive. I’d like to do that too. 🙂

Oh, and before I start: this applies to tech as much as gaming. Companies in both fields (in all fields) have been on the same trajectory in the past few years, because of the new relationships they have with their customers, thanks to The Internets and “influencers”. God I hate that term… but it’s appropriate: there’s a reason the industry is not calling them “journalists”.
Anyway, Bethesday not giving advanced review copies, here we go.

gamereviews_header_1024x245

It is 100% their prerogative

They have the right to do it, and no one can tell them how to run their business.

It is also 100% about controlling their message

That’s it. Control, and absolutely nothing else. It doesn’t benefit the media, it doesn’t benefit the players, and it it isn’t healthy for the industry. It’s good for Bethesda, because it allows them to sell more copies to people who might otherwise not have purchased their games. Period. That’s it. (more…)

October 26th, 2016 | No Comments

A few thoughts on the Nintendo Switch

So the introduction video for the Nintendo Switch (formerly known as “NX”) has been released, and for the past 24 hours everyone has been pondering, analyzing and overthinking it all. I figured I’d give it a try too. 🙂

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Most of you probably already know the main bits of information we have, so I’ll go over them super quickly:

  • It’s a tablet-like machine with two “half controllers” that attach on the sides
  • The two half controllers can be used as one set, or as two controllers by two players
  • It can be docked to a base station, which immediately switches the display to the TV
  • It is supported by many third party developers, but we don’t know with which titles
  • It sports an Nvidia all in one “Tegra” chip, but we don’t know how powerful it is

That’s about it for the “solid” information we have. The rest is speculation for now. But that’s the fun part, right? Here are the questions that I believe are important (and some attempt at guessing answers):

The big one: what’s the price?

Of course this is highly speculative, but I believe it’ll be USD 299 (or the equivalent in your country).

My reasoning is very simple: higher is suicidal, lower is leaving money on the table.

Higher makes it more expensive than a PlayStation 4 or XBox One system, and these have impressive software libraries available already. The Switch can’t afford to be more expensive, or it’ll tank on that alone. Memories of the disastrous launch of the 3DS system, which was too expensive and received a very fast price cut, must still be fresh at Nintendo. I don’t believe they’ll do the same mistake here.

On the other hand, lower than $299 leaves money on the table, because I believe many people would be willing to pay that price… And as always in these conversations, I stand by my point that you can lower the price later, but you can’t raise it. If it’s a bit too expensive, they can do promotions and such. Pricing it too low is a permanent issue. (more…)

October 21st, 2016 | No Comments

HOLY CRAP, I just had my first VR “wow” moment!

As I’ve mentioned on Twitter, I bought a PSVR today. I mean, I talk about games for a living, I had to own at least one of the big ones, even if I wasn’t sure VR would ever amount to anything. Potential? Sure. Certain success? No, not certain. But I had to try it for myself, obviously.

NB: If you just want the good stuff, go to the “Batman: Arkham VR.” section directly. 🙂

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First things first: the device itself.

“Very competent” is the best way I can describe it. From a build standpoint it’s lighter than you’d think (important when you wear it on your head), and it does let a bit of light through from the sides. It also feels a tiny bit like a toy, but in a really bad way.
The screen does have a little bit of screen door effect at times, and the resolution definitely isn’t the best. The field of view is also more limited than what I imagine to be ideal; it doesn’t strictly cover your entire field of vision.
All of this is true. But the reality is: none of it really matter all that much, because the moment you start focusing on the game or the experience, these things fade away completely and you don’t notice them all that much anymore. The light from the room doesn’t matter, the quality of the screen doesn’t matter. You’re just not paying attention to them. Will this thing look insanely silly in 5 or 10 years when the VR headsets are smaller and better built? Sure. But for now, it does its job, and it is, as I said, “very competent”. That’s what matters, for now.

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October 14th, 2016 | No Comments

WoW: Tips for Leveling From 90 to 100

 

Legion is coming! I only have one character at max level! That won't do at all!!!

Legion is coming! I only have one character at max level! That won’t do at all!!!

As some of you may know, the upcoming Legion expansion has gotten me hyped, and I’ve started playing regularly again. I won’t bore you with the details of how I’ve done all the things I didn’t do in my garrison, the flying achievement I’ve accomplished, or the quest for the legendary ring I’m hoping to complete before it disappears…

What I will tell you though, is a few simple tips on how to level your characters through the current Draenor expansion quickly. This is probably not advisable for people who have never played through it the “normal way” (although it is certainly is possible), but I suspect it might help those who are coming back to level their alts to be ready when it’s time to venture in the Broken Isles.

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July 18th, 2016 | No Comments