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Journal of No. 118

January 21st, 2009

So *that's* what it's all about! @ 02:01 pm

The Hokey Pokey ... has become the focus of a bizarre controversy in Britain that has drawn in politicians, the Catholic Church in Scotland and soccer fans accused of exploiting the song's alleged anti-Catholic roots to taunt opposing teams.


A Catholic Church spokesman warned that The Hokey Cokey had centuries-old origins as a Protestant song meant to mock the words and actions of Catholic clergy presiding over the Latin mass.


Now, the son of the famed Irish songwriter Jimmy Kennedy ... has weighed in to the furor by revealing what he calls the true inspiration for his father's hit: a traditional Canadian folk tune sung by miners in the early 20th century as a drug anthem celebrating the therapeutic powers of cocaine."

Well, that settles that. The allusion to mockery of the Mass may be a little obscure, but has to do with the uncertain etymology of "hocus pocus" as a debased form of "hoc est corpus" (or more properly "Hoc est enim corpus meum" -- i.e. this is my body) from the Latin Mass.

My timewasting on facebook is divided between Hammerfall and D&D Tiny Adventures. Both serve up a fantasy 'role-playing' experience. Let's compare and contrast, shall we?

Pro: Despite the game's limitations, it still manages to tell a slightly interesting story that unfolds as you progress, driving you to see a little more.
Con: High thwart/reward ratio.
EVIL: Forces you to prostitute your friends to progress in the game.

D&D Tiny Adventures
Pro: has remarkably good writing
Con: After you figure out how the game works, you ignore all those stupid word things and just look for the bottom line - how much treasure and experience did I get?
EVIL: Promotes the all too prevalent idea that the purpose of a role-playing game is to amass treasure & experience points, hence contributing not only to confusion about what a RPG is, but also to Mike beginning sentences, "Kids today..."
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[User Picture Icon]
Date:January 21st, 2009 11:29 pm (UTC)
To be fair, Hammerfall also offers two alternate methods for progressing: paying them money, or adding perfect strangers as Facebook friends for the specific purpose of qualifying for in-game benefits. Doesn't really lower the EVIL ratio, though...

W/r/t D&DTA, I agree that the writing is pretty good, but some of the "adventures" they conjure up are plain ridiculous...even once you grant that a randomly generated campaign is bound to be a bit schizophrenic. There really just aren't very many plausible challenges in the middle of a swamp to test one's Charisma, and nothing makes that clearer than their attempts to do so.

The other thing that bothers me is how every race now has to have their own Super Ultra Cool names for basic professions. Goblin darkblades, hobgoblin warcasters, drow farvergnügens...I know a warrior when I see one! Quit showing off! I'm sure that's more of a general complaint with D&D 4.0, though.

--- Ajax.
[User Picture Icon]
Date:January 22nd, 2009 12:06 am (UTC)
I have similar thoughts on TA (and am far more critical of Hammerfall than even you are, having given up on it as soon as I discovered the forced-prostitution to which you refer.)

I suspect that the term "RPG" is at this point irreversibly corrupted to refer to any game in which you collect money and defeat enemies in order to gain levels and increase your stats, rather than a game in which you pretend to inhabit the role of your character and make choices accordingly. Nonetheless, I offer you the assignment (should you choose to accept it) of coming up with a short nickname for the former, so that "role-playing game" may be reclaimed exclusively for the latter. Bonus points if said nickname doesn't carry negative connotations (e.g., "level grinder" probably won't fly.)
[User Picture Icon]
Date:January 22nd, 2009 12:26 am (UTC)
Maybe we can pronounce RPG differently.

role-playing game = Arr Pee Gee
level-gaining game = Arrrrrr! PIG!
rocket-propelled grenade = SHIT! Incoming!

But for a neologism:

MKG = Munchkin Game
AEI = Acquire, Equip, Improve
FFF = Fighting/Fleeing/Feeding
XRPG = EXTREEEEM!!!-ly limited RPG

Also, I like this pedantic (natch) and sad paragraph from Wikipedia:

A genre of video game is also referred to as role-playing games. Although these games do not involve the playing of roles, they take their name from the settings and game mechanics which they inherit from early role-playing games. Due to the popularity of video games, the terms "role-playing game" and "RPG" have both to some degree been co-opted by the video gaming industry; as a result, games in which players play the roles of characters are sometimes referred to as "pen and paper" or "tabletop" role-playing games, though neither pen and paper nor a table are strictly necessary.

Journal of No. 118