Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur (2023)

Tonight on GeekNights we review the 2023 animated series Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur. The animation and style are fantastic, and if you have or know kids this is a show for them! In the news, Rym bought a new wallet, don't watch any more Made in Abyss, the NHL did a cool telemetry-driven hockey broadcast, and Ghibli Fest 2023 is on!

E-Waste and Worthless Tech

Tonight on GeekNights, we consider what to do about E-Waste and worthless old technology. Old cables, old smartphones, 500MB hard drives, and the like. It's OK to get rid of it (and you probably should), but don't just throw it in the garbage unless you're a bad person. In the news, new open gangway subway cars debut on the A train in New York, and Silicon Valley Bank collapsed.

GPT-3 and Autoregressive Language Models

Tonight on GeekNights, we consider the technology and ramifications of Generative Pre-trained Transformer 3 (GPT-3) and autoregressive language models in general. We further explore other similar machine learning tools and their short and long-term ramifications for humans. In the news, Discord Stages have low bitrate limits, the US Department of Energy concludes with low confidence that COVID-19 emerged from a lab leak in China, the UK wasn't content with ruining its economy with Brexit and is also considering ruining its technology with the Online Safety Bill, and a terrifying toxic new Dust Bowl is descending on Utah.

Gaming Furniture

Tonight on GeekNights, we discuss gamer furniture of the non-chair variety. In the news, Nintendo adds Game Boy and Game Boy Advance games to Switch Online, Microsoft adds Call of Duty to Nintendo, and Magic: The Gathering adds Lord of the Rings. We also streamed this show live on the Discord Stage in the official GeekNights Discord!

Live at PAX East 2023!

We will be live at PAX East 2023 with at least one panel on Thursday!

Can Competitive and Casual Coexist?
Thursday Mar 23 @ 2:30pm ET
Bumblebee Theatre

Fortnite rolled out changes to make the game more competitive, and then promptly had to roll them back. Overwatch struggles to balance how characters are used competitively versus casually. With Root we even see balance patches in TABLETOP games. Game balance in a vacuum is one thing, but how do you balance a game across all possible levels of player skill? Across normal and professional/esport play? And most to the point, across a varied player base where people often have diametrically-opposed reasons for playing? The simple truth is that the more "skill input" a game has for the players, the broader the gulf will be between "casual" and "serious" play. Bronze-tier Overwatch is in some ways a completely different game from Platinum-tier, in the same way that high school football is miles away from the NFL. Are they really the same game? Join us for a rousing discussion of what player skill, game balance, and even player motivations mean in games of all kinds!

Remember that PAX East is still a mask-required event. We'll even be masked on stage! Hope to see you there!

Posted: Friday February 3, 2023

PAX West 2022

Winning is good, and losing is bad. We strive to win, and this is the basis for most of the games we play. Challenges are binary: we either overcome them, advancing the story, or fail, and must try again. But, what if we were to toss this conventional wisdom aside? Do we really only have fun when we win? Have you ever had that moment in a game where epic and total failure was the most memorable part? What kinds of games would arise if we strove to make losing, instead of winning, the point?

Book Club - The Satanic Verses

For this choice, I wanted to present Scott with two books that are famous, important, by extremely well-regarded authors, and which I had never read in full. Either way, I would fill a serious gap in my literary exploration. Umberto Eco's Foucault's Pendulum and Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses not only both fill such a gap, but were both published in the same year: 1988.

Inspired by the life of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, The Satanic Verses' title is in reference to the "satanic verses" and the work is steeped in magical realism. It achieved wide critical acclaim. Muhammad Mashuq ibn Ally wrote that "The Satanic Verses is about identity, alienation, rootlessness, brutality, compromise, and conformity. These concepts confront all migrants, disillusioned with both cultures: the one they are in and the one they join. Yet knowing they cannot live a life of anonymity, they mediate between them both. The Satanic Verses is a reflection of the author’s dilemmas."

Extremists, egged on by Ayatollah Khomeini's declaration that Rushdie must be assassinated, have repeatedly attempted to murder the author. He was violently stabbed just this last summer in August 2022, losing an eye and the use of his hand and barely surviving. He remains to this day, 35 years later, under constant thread of murder.

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