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  1. ITS ABOUT VULTURE CAPITALISM I GEDDIT! ....Still have no idea what that has to do with T-Online. Did they have some hand in the stock market back then?
  2. I have to admit that neither of those sound that great, given the place I'm from likewise talked up its reliance on "natrual" farming and "humble" industry when in reality the swampy conditions made the ground under your feet a good 10% cow manure (not exaggerated) from farm runoff and the local manufactory businesses amounted to sweatshops that were tolerated because no other companies bothered with the area. Likewise, said area had an obession with tractors as well. Though I think even Belarus can't be as bad as that. I'm also willing to give them the benefit of the doubt regarding its reputation as "autocratic" since I've personally seen just how snooty and dismissive "democratic" types can be towards any government that doesn't easily fall into an obvious Left/Right gradient. Plus, the effectiveness of capital punishment is really wobbily. Often that kind of thing makes people less likely to convict since they don't think the crime is neccesarily worth execution, and in countries with more entrenched Lawyer Armies it makes trials more expensive. Though I have to admit there is something to be said for sentencing people to death over the fate-worse-than-death-and-pointless-too "life in prison" sentence. Not really a dealbreaker though. All that said, at best it paints Belarus as pretty traditionalist, which in my opinion is a serious no-go, at least for foreigners.
  3. I'm aware this is pretty much my own curiosity at this point rather than being completely on-topic, but you mentioned Belarus as a possibility. I've honestly never heard a single positive thing about that country in my entire life, though at least I haven't heard anything absolutely horrendous about it either, just numerous unpleasant facts and jokes at its expense. Has the common perception of Belarus just been exaggerated and the country is too obscure to correct that opinion, like those Latvian Potato Jokes? Or is it the real deal this-place-is-borderline-medieval that people talk about it as? As someone with a great interest in geography I feel stupid asking such a one-sided, loaded question, but sometimes you need a visceral opinion that grim statistics can't really provide. (Not to start a flame war over another country here, I'm just a stupid foreigner with no tact, apologies.)
  4. Come on people, keep it together here. Ukraine's conflict isn't all that unique. While its certainly presumable that Russia was meddling in Ukraine's affairs (A Great Power that does not meddle? I won't ever believe it.) its also worth noting that you can't sow that kind of unrest without there being deep divisions existing in present society. Just look at Yugoslavia, though in that case it was America and to some extent the EU's meddling instead of Russia's. So I think its incorrect to state that Ukraine's civil conflicts are wholly the product of Russian interference, but its almost extremely naive to pretend that Russia isn't interfering at all. I mean, come on, using your clout to dick around with the internal politics of your neighbors predates the Roman Empire and goes back to Sumeria. That's just how large, influential collections of people operate. America gets away with it all the time, and China does the same when it can get out from under both America and Russia's noses. And that's not to mention the stuff that NGOs like corporations and agencies get up to. Also, on the subject of Fascism cropping up in Ukraine, or really anywhere else (Looking at you, America), that's just what happens whenever times get rough. People just regress to tradition and shun outsiders when things go wrong. I don't think meddling powers start those movements, but all of them throughout history have been pretty good at stirring them up to cause trouble. (Though if you two want to start an off-topic thread and fight out the whole Russia-Ukraine thing there where its more appropriate, I'm all-in for that. This particular thread isn't such a good place for it though.)
  5. I think Ukraine might be looking at a situation similar to Yugoslavia in the future, since the country has a lot of different ethnic backgrounds and outlooks that only share the common history of being in the same general area with each other. Unfortunately situations like that are virtually impossible to resolve in a satisfactory way. Its pretty much never a good thing when a country disintegrates into tiny little sub-countries in my opinion, and just letting Russia carve out the chunks they decide they want is unlikely to be all that productive either. At the very least though, the divisions apparent in Ukraine are nowhere near as sharp as what happened with Yugoslavia so I don't think the ongoing conflict there will be as bloody, but the country could still come apart at any time. And there's not really an easy partion solution like Cezchoslovakia since the differences are not so simple. But then again, I guess any civil conflict rarely is.
  6. Crimea not withstanding, the suggestion to move elsewhere in Eastern Europe is actually a decent one. I've heard the Czech Republic and Slovakia are doing okay, and the northern former Yugoslav states have pretty much completely stabilized with the others due to follow along shortly. I only know as far as Slovenia and Croatia's conditions though, Bosnia is supposedly always kind of on edge and I suspect Serbia might not be completely tranquil with the situation in Kosovo still not being resolved. I haven't brushed up on the condition of Romania or Bulgaria in awhile but last I heard Bulgaria was placid and Romania was still a little rough. If Ross prefers to keep out of Russia's sphere of influence; Belarus, the Baltics, Ukraine and Crimea are out, though of those I'd probably only consider the Baltics worth reccomending. No offense, but its probably best to wait at least a good decade before moving to somewhere that just came out of conflict as far as Ukraine and Crimea are concerned. Belarus's reputation is apparently still pretty bad, I hear jokes cracked about it to this day.
  7. Eh, not neccesarily. The Matrix and The Borg sought to enslave life, for instance. Though maybe its fandom heresy to lump those sorts of scenarios together with a Robot War. Machine War is possibly a better term.
  8. So, I read Sci-Fi, Terminator is one of my favorite movies, I know what a Robot War/Machine War is. You build an AI that can either improve itself or at least just manufacture more robots, and in doing so this machine becomes an existential threat because it either decides to kill off or enslave the human race/all life. In some interpretations, the AI doesn't even need to be sentient, or even intelligent, just powerful and overly focused on a certain set of directives to the detriment of everything around it. We all know this sort of setting. Every type of media has a famous Robot War story or at least berserk AI story at this point. So. Something occured to me. Organizations are more or less machines. Doesn't really matter what kind we're talking about; corporations, governments, gangs, social clubs, whatever. People cooperating and coordinating based on a set of rules. We don't really think of them in that way, but they have certain rules governing their functions, and sometimes they are large enough to have sub-organizations that fulfill certain functions. Just because those organizations are made up of human beings instead of physical parts doesn't make them any less mechanical. Nobody likes to think about the far-reaching implications of their actions at work. They just want to get the job done and go home. Most organizations these days aren't controlled by singular individuals anymore either. They're controlled by groups of people, yet another organization, as those groups are still people cooperating based on a set of specific rules to try and fulfill a function. Some of these organizations have even formed a kind of collective ideology amongst their members or employees, a set of directives, which is kind of like a rudimentary AI. These organizations can think collectively. Not perfectly, but they can think. And their interests are generally not the interests of the average person. And we've kind of let them run amok. Stuff like laws are supposed to act as failsafes to reign in things like governments and corporations, but the organizations running our societies have more or less just started to ignore those, or started working to deliberately undermine them. How would you feel if a powerful AI started trying to override its failsafes or spread its control to stuff its supposed to have nothing to do with? Yeah, that scenario seems a lot less fictional in the context of the financial world. I'm not saying we should do away with organized structures in our society since, well, that's not only completely impossible but they're also just too useful to get rid of. But I think we *have* let our technology get away from us. Greedy people with too much money are only a symptom of this problem. They're just the most apparent parts of far more massive machines. We're already living in a Robot War.
  9. My point is more that art is sort of made to be disposable. In this case its just particularly effective because of how electronic media works. I've almost never heard of a company that bothers supporting any kind of product after they're decided to discontinue it except for cases where they were legally roped into it. With a book or a painting the damn thing won't disintegrate if you take care of it but for online-only stuff is obviously wrecked once the server is taken offline. My point is I don't think companies see it any different from a regular product. The real question here is why the hell online-only games are being sold. People will buy anything, but I'm not sure I see the advantage that a corporation gets from designing an online-only game like this. Piracy is usually what's pointed to but I have to wonder if shelling out to run the servers and paying a staff to keep the game in order on their end really offsets the predicted losses a game like that would take from piracy. The market is usually very lazy, so when you see businesses going out of their way to do something way more complicated usually there's some kind of serious motivation behind it. Psychology buffs like to claim that business types are power-obssessed sociopaths and the online-only stuff appeals inherently to that mindset. Possibly, but I don't think the people in charge care enough about their products to really understand what their minions on the ground are doing. I highly doubt they pay enough attention to their fanbases to lord over their control of a product like that. These are people who mainly care about numbers, and what improves their numbers and detriments their competitors' numbers. Unless I'm missing some huge advantage here I'd go as far to say that online-only games are some kind of industry trend more than any kind of specially engineered marketing tactic. Someone big in the industry started talking about it and everyone tried to cash in on it despite having no real motivation. "This was successful for the other guy and I hope its successful for me." Does anyone know who the first big company to start shouting about this was? I mean the ones who started trying to market it, not just the ones who started quietly using it and pretending nothing had changed.
  10. This is kind of a general point, but people need to understand that art is a thing you buy. It doesn't neccesarily need to be considered a product, but it is still subject to demand and price issues. Even classic works of art were not immune to this. Look up any patron of the arts from the Medieval and Renaissance age and you'll find that almost all of them were shady, greedy assholes who only cared about art because it made them look more cultured. But without said patrons, many historical artists would have either starved or moved into a more mundane line of work. Art also gets destroyed all the time. Constantly, even. Its sometimes due to stupidity but often its just due to the fact that nobody can keep up with all of it. Preservation takes a tremendous amount of resources and a seriously dedicated workforce. The vast majority of artwork human culture has ever produced is lost. In general, once you start to take into account the sheer scale of how much art humans produce the idea of preserving all or even a fraction of it is nothing short of ludicrous. I get it. It sucks that we have to lose things that people care about. If things were easier I'd have no disagreement with the idea that art needs to be preserved at all costs. But as it stands in the present day I think everyone needs to stop and consider how impossible that demand is. Also, consider that the destruction of art after its novelty has worn off is pretty much the general outlook the average person has on art. Its always been like that. The stuff people have preserved only ended up like that for very specific reasons or in the case of extreme luck. To some extent I'd go as far to say that the idea of universal preservation of art is an entirely modern viewpoint. Yeah, its shitty for a corporation to just toss something in the bin when they're done with it. Bad business? Yes. Short-sighted? Yes. Unneccesary? Absolutely. Grand historical tragedy? Ehhhhhh, no. Unless you factor it into the greater human tragedy of what we lose in the ceaseless march of industry and politics, but that's kind of stretching it. I think people are trying to analyze what is ultimately an existential problem in purely empirical ways.
  11. Well, that's kind of my point with putting "Gamer" in quotation marks. This is a phrase that's been repeated a lot, but just the act of playing games doesn't really make you part of a unified culture. I think the same thing applies to movies and books as well. There's a very specific stereotype that comes to mind when you describe someone as a Literary Type or a Film Snob. The people who get into the minutae of the medium and seem to be more interested in timelines, important dates and big people in the industry than what said industry actually seems to produce. Gaming is kind of the same. No major outlet ever shuts up about how far graphics have come the same way I occasionally sit through an art student lecturing me about pigments and paint-bases. That's not to say that stuff isn't interesting, I actually read about those sorts of things a lot on my own time. The point is more that the culture is overwhelming focused more on the production than the product. If movies and literature are any indication then this might just be a universal aspect of the way people consume media. In this particular issue, all the money and descision-making power is tied to the prople who only seem to care about production. The product itself is tantamount to trash after the novelty wears off. I see this so much that I've gone way past the point of being shocked and now its just unfathomably alien to me.
  12. I agree mostly, actually. I don't know if I was clear in my original post but I certainly wasn't supporting the system in place. Or even criticising your video, actually, more the idea that there's some kind of easy legal solution to this whole thing. Not mentioned in the video, but its a sentiment I see way too much around the internet. On the topic of gamers being easily decieved, I'd actually go as far to say that the entire foundation of "Gamers" as a culture is wasting excessive amounts of money. You can't really have a unified culture based around just a medium, so like with literature and film the "Gamer" culture caters mostly to snobs with money to burn. I shake my head at the people who spend upwards of $100 on a new edition of a common classic book the same way I shake my head at people who buy online-only games then act surprised when they get shut down. I don't even like to use the word Gamer anymore since it connects to so much idiotic baggage these days. I think more discourse should be spent on why people are willing to support a culture like this, but I suppose that topic is rather complicated and goes way beyond the scope of game reviews. Though for what its worth I consider one of the main attractions of your videos to be your willingness to comment on issues most reviewers act like are unrelated to the topic. Given how much flak political stuff gets on the internet these days I imagine making some kind of politics-oriented series isn't very attractive anyway.
  13. I think something that's ignored a lot in this kind of debate is how market-focused the corporate mindset is. It's easy to assume that the business model behind this is Take the Money and Run, but it’s frustratingly more complicated than that. From the way the corporations and merchants see it, a game being online-only means it has a clear, inherent possibility of being shut down. A possibility that is presumably obvious to the consumer. So, legally, it can be inferred that any customer willing to buy an online-only game is making a conscious decision to buy said game with full understanding of the risks involved. A few people on this thread mentioned making laws about this, and I can guarantee that the legal argument used to continue the practice would be similar to the one I just stated. People assume these games have no reason to die, but why? There's no divine law stating that a game, by definition, must have some form of permanence. Nor is it considered illegal to sell people a product that will eventually be discontinued by the company. Logically, there's no reason it *has* to be done that way, but it works, people still buy it regardless and while its very lazy its not actually anything that's illegal or even approaches an illegal act. They sell it at the full price of a regular game. So what? This is a free market, unfortunately. We don't use a system where governments and civil populations are allowed to micromanage the price of any random commodity. Nor, for that matter, outlaw certain commodities just because they aren't a "good deal". Maybe some kind of bureau could regulate the selling practices of games, but I wouldn't hold my breath for a government one and a private one would pretty much be a blatant corporate trust. It’s not a way of doing things that I support or believe in, but I can't take anyone seriously when they talk about regulating this kind of practice via a higher authority. Unless much bigger, fundamental economic changes are passed first, it’s not happening. Sure, I'm not a believer in the free market and I do very much support archival and preservation of media. But I think this issue is a lot more complicated than just passing a few laws. With that in mind, the answer probably lies in companies like Good Old Games that license old properties and get them running for new systems, then return to selling them. This is of course more complicated for server-reliant games, but games in general have always been increasingly complicated Rube-Goldberg abominations in terms of coding and programming. It's just a question of whether or not you're willing to pay a staff to reverse-engineer that sort of thing and put up the cash to buy the license. It's not profitable for newer games yet, but there's probably a whole industry to be had in just reclaiming and reworking old games that we're seeing the very beginning of. Strife is a recent example of that. This still does nothing about companies letting a property die and then refusing the sell it, but once again a company does have the right to do that. Removing that right, even if you could get everyone to agree on it, would raise a lot of complications over when you could and couldn't seize a property and who logically gets the rights to it, etc. At the end of the day, they have more lawyers. You can't win them all I guess. Personally, I'm just happy that the market that screws us so often seems to be catching on to the idea of refitting and reselling old games. ...This went on a bit longer than I thought. Point is, its convoluted. Don't sell it short, that'll just be a bigger headache.
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