Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Oh online gaming

My first encounter with multiplayer games in general was, if I recall correctly, either the original Starcraft or the first (and truly glorious) Unreal Tournament. I wasn't much of a gamer back then (and, to be honest, neither am I now), but even so - playing with other people was a new and extremely interesting experience for me. I sort of sucked at Unreal, yet I always looked forward to when programming class (programming is a hobby I have, sadly, failed to get into... took a few classes in the later years of elementary school and that's about it) was over and the teacher let us play on the school computers for about half an hour. There's just something about playing with (or against) other humans that makes it just so much more fun (for me, at least) than playing a single-player campaign.
Sadly, there is (as I soon found out) a huge difference between being in the same room as the people you're playing with and not even being in the same country. There is a certain degree (it could also be called a threshold) of stupidity that people in your immediate vicinity are very unlikely to cross. On the internet, however, stupidity has no limits to speak of. You can be rude to people, you can play terribly and ignore advice, you can just flat-out refuse to cooperate or stop doing something someone - or even everyone - you're playing with considers stupid and unless you overdo it, it is unlikely that there will be repercussions.
Thus, the same thing that makes online gaming beautiful - a virtually unlimited number of allies and opponents to choose from - also makes it, at times, incredibly frustrating. When playing with a total stranger, there is a rather high probability that they'll be an idiot, a troll or some other variant of a person who's just on a royal quest to ruin your day and then some. This applies to MMORPGs, games with matchmaking systems (more on matchmaking and some of its less pleasant quirks later) or public servers. Some people are apparently fine with that, choosing to just roll with it and see what happens. Some enjoy being trolled and/or flamed, possibly as a release from their otherwise dull and uneventful lifes or a sort of masochistic guilty pleasure.
Most people, however, eventually figure out the real solution to this problem - choosing who you play with. Using the internet for finding gaming friends. Forming communities with (more or less) strict entry requirements. This not only gives you, in many cases, a deeper and more enjoyable gaming experience, but also produces an effect similar to the aforementioned after-class gaming session. You obviously still meet idiots - whether you're playing World of Warcraft, League of Legends (you should totally play that game, by the way) or Counter-Strike, as long as you don't limit yourself to playing with your friends exclusively (which is not even possible in many games, WoW being the prime example), there will be strangers - and when there are strangers, there are dumb people. But the big difference is that you can choose to play with certain people again you avoiding the idiots after finding out what they are. You can, in a way, filter out the assholes if you try. This vastly improves the all-important cool:dumb ratio.
In conclusion: if you play online games, get friends and work on keeping them. Become a member of a guild, clan or whatever other flavor of closed community your game has. Pick your allies and pick your enemies. When you do this, there's a fair chance of you finally getting to enjoy that game you so love. Or stop worrying and learn to love it. Or something completely different, but still mostly related to generally deriving more pleasure from online gaming.
Glad to help.

Opinions go in the comments section. And you should follow me on Twitter if you know what's good for you.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Johann Sebastian Bach - fugue in G minor, "Little" terribly mangled by me

I think I just did something quite horrible.

Maybe I didn't, though. I'm just not sure how I would label taking a MIDI rendition of this classical piece of organ music, replacing the instruments with mostly random synthetizer plugins, speeding the whole thing up a bit and slapping a drum'n'bass drumloop on top. Mindless, maybe. It is an uninteresting piece of crap that sounds a whole lot worse than most of the other renditions. Still, it is a concept. I think I should - someday - make a more serious effort and really turn a classical piece into a full-blown electronic track. It has been done, obviously. But it needs to be done more and hell, why should I not do stuff that needs to be done?
My sleep-deprived ramblings aside, here is the result of my (unbelievably little) effort:

Feel free to flame me for this. I think I deserve it. I think I just needed to make a video and the overwhelming desire made me forget about things like quality. It happens to the best of us.

Oh, and you should follow me on Twitter, obviously.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

This is mesmerizing

I don't think I actually have to explain this. It's mesmerizing and you are now mesmerized. That's right. Drown in those eyes. Damn.

A milestone!

While I was off wandering in my fond memories of a certain calm summer day (see previous article for more info on that), more visitors have been coming. This is incredibly good news - I now have over 50 followers. I hope you like what you see here, friends - there will be a lot more of it in both the near and far future.
Thank you for all the attention you've given me, it certainly does feel good.

Is there anything in particular that you would like to see me write about?
And before I forget - you should follow me on twitter if you wish to see the occasional snippet from my life both on- and offline.

The beauty of walking

KrkonoŇ°e / Karkonosze
 Do you ever just walk? I don't mean walking as in transportation - a simple, cheap way to get from spot A to spot B - I mean walking as in walking for its own sake. Many people today don't even know - or pretend not to know - the feeling. The feeling of forgetting where you are going, the feeling when your mind gradually becomes clearer and calmer than it ever could be while sitting or lying down. As unlikely as that probably sounds, I think that the closest I've ever been to a state of trance was when I was walking alone over the ridges of the Czech-Polish border mountain range on a calm summer day, not caring about anything and with no one in sight to disturb my thoughts. Walking is, in a way, as automatic as breathing or blinking to us. This particular property is what separates it from all other physical activities. Biking, running, swimming, climbing... all of these force you to concentrate on the task at hand. They all do offer a similar sort of mind-clearing experience, but it is still very different from walking.
No matter what you do, there is always time for a walk every now and then. Whether it be alone or with friends, in a forest or in the city, a long walk or a short stroll, walking always feels good. Apart from being physically unable to, there is no excuse whatsoever for not doing it.

Share your thoughts and opinions in the comments!

Monday, January 31, 2011

How I define good music

Music is a controversial topic. If you've ever been to any discussion forum that has a music board, you probably already know this. Some people are ready and willing to argue about it for days, weeks or even months if given the opportunity.
I don't find discussions about which band is better all that annoying, though. Sure, it's all subjective, so good or bad music is just a matter of personal opinion, but what certainly isn't a matter of personal opinion and preference is the question of what is and isn't music. I've seen many people who claim to be neutral and who also claim to realize that taste is a subjective thing say that black metal or "techno" isn't music at all. This, frankly, scares me. I guess it could be sort of fun, actually... if it wasn't so damn stupid, that is. I've seen people say things like "if it doesn't have a melody, it's not music".
It's simple, people. Music is organized sound that someone - whether it be its creator or the people who listen to it - considers music. Really. As soon as you start to tighten, narrow your definition of music, there will always be someone disagreeing with you.
And good music? Good music, in my opinion at least, is organized sound that is either intended to be enjoyed by its creator or is enjoyed by the listeners despite not being intended to. Good music is music that someone derives pleasure from - because how else would you define "good" than "fulfills its purpose"? And what else would music's purpose be than to inspire feelings of joy, sadness or any other from the entire wide spectrum?
Nothing, that's what.
I wish people would stop being so close-minded about music. I could understand people having these views three centuries ago, but today? Music is simply evolving too fast for it to be possible to use narrow definitions on it.

There will be quite a lot of music-related posts in the future, so keep an eye out for them. I enjoy music of many kinds, even though I think I like my music a bit more bleepy-bloopy than most.
Also, you should definitely follow me on twitter! You can see my latest tweets in the column to the right. They're obviously a lot less wordy than my blog posts.

Obligatory introductory post

"Murray Rothbard" is a pseudonym that I have picked for a very concrete reason. Well, several reasons actually. The first one you can see for yourself to the right of this text. The man just looked like a person you could trust, a person you could form a friendship with but who would still remain firmly neutral in his judgment of you and could be brutally honest when need be.
The other reason is that I just sympathise with his economical views and teachings. He was a free-thinking anarchist who despised central planning and condemned the way the governments of today work. His work is the foundation of today's libertarian and anarcho-capitalist movements.

By now, my worldview should be awfully, almost painfully clear to you. I believe in freedom - freedom of speech, freedom of movement, freedom of trade. I believe that even though the western world owes today's relative peace and comfort wholly to capitalism and competition, the so-called "powers that be" still hold too much sway over what happens and what does not; capitalism and the freedom it represents is being pushed back in the name of safety and peace, both of which are, to put it simply, better provided by an ebbing variation of competing forces in the private sector than a single, all-powerful and despotic state. Companies and citizens alike are being oppressed and taxed, the state's (in my namesake's words) "compulsory monopoly of force" prohibits growth and efficiency.
Despite how it might seem, however, I don't devote much of my life to fighting the wrongs of the world. I listen to music, I make music, I read books, I watch films, I do sports; I live and love my life to the fullest. But I always remember that it is thanks to capitalism that I can do those things without having to worry about hunger, without having to work all day and most of the night for a pitiful pay. In a way it is as some people say - capitalism (and science) is the religion of today. Maybe.
In any case, you are going to be seeing a lot of posts from me in the following days, weeks and months. I have been quite internet-quiet so far, but that is about to change. Expects posts related to economy, music, literature, film and history. Expect a terribly bad grasp of the english language, for I am not a native speaker. Expect blogging.