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Chris
Outsider philosopher, game designer and author
Recent Activity
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You never quite know what's going to pick up momentum on social media - ihobo founder Chris Bateman's tweet about the advice he gives to people wanting to improve their game writing and narrative design skills was just an offhand... Continue reading
Posted Feb 10, 2020 at ihobo
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Over at Only a Game, ihobo founder Chris Bateman continues his intermittent correspondence with US critic Jed Pressgrove, this time sparring over the 'walking simulator' in a two-part blog letter entitled A Tale of Two Walking Simulators. The two parts... Continue reading
Posted Feb 10, 2020 at ihobo
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Dear Jed, In the first part of this blog-letter, I discussed the rise of the walking simulator and the merits and flaws of perhaps the most expensive game of this kind yet made, Firewatch. In this concluding part, it is... Continue reading
Posted Jan 28, 2020 at Only a Game
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Completed the Traveller and need some help with the harder Destinies? Check out the new Advanced Advisor Guide, with tips, tricks - and potentially spoilers! - about getting the most out of your caravan of seven Advisors. Check out the Guide on Steam! Not completed the basic game yet? Don't... Continue reading
Posted Jan 24, 2020 at Silk: Wilderness Adventures
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Dear Jed, Ever since 2012, I’ve been an instant convert to the ‘walking simulator’, a reclaimed derogatory term (much like ‘queer’) that ill-advisedly reinforces two notions that we would be better off without: firstly, that ‘simulation‘ is the best descriptor... Continue reading
Posted Jan 21, 2020 at Only a Game
Hi Stuart, Pithy retorts are always challenging! I like your 'red lens' approach: it gets to the point rapidly, although whether it has impact on those who are locked into 'everything is political' is harder to say! I think for myself, I like Abraham Maslow's somewhat similar line: "I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail." Thanks for commenting! Chris.
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Hi Fabian, Ghost Master, as I've said many times, is the game I'm most proud of making. It's my sincere wish that I might get to make a spiritual successor before I retire, but at the moment it is proving difficult to secure the funding to make that happened. I have far from given up on this endeavour, but it is proving to be something of an epic quest right now! In the meantime, it means a great deal to me that there were players who found and enjoyed this game. It is something really quite unique, and I'm so proud to have been a part of the team that made it. Many thanks for stopping by, Chris.
Toggle Commented Jan 19, 2020 on Post Mortem: Ghost Master (Part One) at Only a Game
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Hi Matt, You raise some extremely key points here: there is a marked difference between corporations that are operating as part of our shared economy, and corporations that are ultimately siphoning off money into vast reserves of capital for the benefit of the very few. I think it darkly amusing that the Movement, and the faux cyberpunk genre that is all that survives of it (cf. Cyberpunk is Dead), always saw megacorporations as the new powers that would dominate city life as they were stronger than governments. But it turns out that this would be far too much hassle for them. Rather, the giant corporate organisations want nothing to do with human life as it is lived at all, but merely want to accumulate vast pools of capital, like Smaug upon his treasure pile. And as you say, they wish to do it in offshore holding accounts where they can avoid paying for the infrastructure they use. In this regard, this kind of corporation - which we might call the parasitic megacorporation - is entirely unethical, whether looked at form virtue, rights, or outcomes. Thanks for commenting here! And apologies for the abysmally slow turnaround time on replying. Chris.
Toggle Commented Jan 19, 2020 on Corporations at Only a Game
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What are the behavioural effects of technological networks? What happens if we stop thinking about technology as shiny machines and start looking at other, subtler tools? Can we design technology to have better effects upon humans? These and other questions... Continue reading
Posted Dec 23, 2019 at Only a Game
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It was with the advent of tape recording that the ability to pause became possible. Records had to keep spinning, but the reel to reel tape deck could be frozen instantly. This capacity was inherited by all tape cassette technology,... Continue reading
Posted Dec 19, 2019 at Only a Game
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Become the first player in the world to complete all the Destinies to win! You can win one of these exclusive, Limited Edition Silk USB drives, previously only available to high-tier Kickstarter backers, in a special competition for all Silk players! The Limited Edition USB drive will never be available... Continue reading
Posted Dec 18, 2019 at Silk: Wilderness Adventures
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Depending on your political stance, corporations are either the architects of a higher quality of life for everyone, or a pernicious monopolising power that has devastated our planet and widened the gap between the rich and the poor to an... Continue reading
Posted Dec 17, 2019 at Only a Game
Hi Mika, The environmental impact of meat farming is, for me, the strongest argument against it. Although it is, strictly speaking, an argument for eating less meat, not necessarily for ending meat production. There are indeed sanctuaries for farm animals at this time... although they would certainly not be able to accommodate all the farm animals if meat farming were to come to a crashing close 'overnight'. It's not implausible that some farm animals could survive in sanctuaries going forward, although how many could survive this way is an open question. Almost all sanctuaries operate as rescue centres; these are not facilities that could operate long-term to keep a species with us. Something fundamental would have to change. Honestly, I still think it more likely that farm animals' long-term survival as a species is intertwined with farming. It's not a popular viewpoint among non-meat eaters, but I find it hard to escape. Thanks for commenting! Chris.
Toggle Commented Dec 16, 2019 on Abattoirs at Only a Game
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Just managed to find the time to hack the Backer Tracker spreadsheet to produce the Keymailer for everyone who asked for extra Steam keys. Sorry this took so long - that spreadsheet has become terribly complex, and every time it's updated we have to be extra careful we haven't broken... Continue reading
Posted Dec 16, 2019 at Silk: Wilderness Adventures
Hi GriddleOctopus, You seem to be using Consequentialist/Utilitarian ethics here, attempting to perform a 'hedonic calculus'. But this approach to assessing extinction is surely fallacious... as Parfit explored in Reasons and Persons, it cannot be the case that the best way of maximising human happiness is to bring about the extinction of all humans, no matter what the mathematics suggest. The same argument extends comfortably to other animals. While it is true that an extinct species cannot suffer, that does not provide a compelling argument for extinction. If it did, this would provide an ultimate solution for human suffering... but I hope that you shall not be arguing for this! :) Thanks for engaging in the debate on this one! Chris.
Toggle Commented Dec 16, 2019 on Abattoirs at Only a Game
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You are a water cyborg - you cannot hope to live without the vast hydrological network that purifies drinking water, delivers it to every tap in your house, then takes the waste water away to repeat the cycle again and... Continue reading
Posted Dec 12, 2019 at Only a Game
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The slaughterhouse is perhaps the ultimate symbol of contemporary farming, a factory that turns animals into meat, while insulating meat-eaters from the brutal world of mechanised killing inside - a black box for carving flesh. The vegan asserts the moral... Continue reading
Posted Dec 10, 2019 at Only a Game
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Your media libraries are alive through your engagement with them. Your media libraries link you to myriad unseen other people, about whom you have no awareness at all. Music libraries, streaming video libraries, photo libraries, ebook libraries, libraries of social... Continue reading
Posted Dec 5, 2019 at Only a Game
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My social media break is officially over, but as usual I'm reluctant to rush back into the chaos of the hive mind, and taking my sweet time at reconnecting to it all. I've caught up on comments (a whole one... Continue reading
Posted Nov 30, 2019 at Only a Game
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The Kickstarter update says it all, really! Now that the physical rewards have been delivered, we'll be rolling down the frequency of updates here from weekly to intermittently, as there simply isn't going to be enough news to make a weekly update worthwhile. If anyone seems to be missing one... Continue reading
Posted Nov 30, 2019 at Silk: Wilderness Adventures
Hey Andy, It's always interesting to tamper with the starting mechanics for a card game. Personally I love the quirkiness of 'whoever has the 3 Diamonds' opening for Cho Dai Dee, and it's one of the joys of card games that it's so easy to put 'house rules' together! Thanks for dropping by again! Chris.
Toggle Commented Nov 29, 2019 on Big Two: Rules at Only a Game
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Coding up the mailing labels now...
Toggle Commented Nov 28, 2019 on Retro USBs Imminent! at Silk: Wilderness Adventures
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Last week, we got the proofs for the Retro USB Cassette and Limited Edition USB Cassette, and we're at the point of pulling the trigger on the order for these. Everyone in line for one or more of these rewards should have now received notification that you have 48 hours... Continue reading
Posted Nov 19, 2019 at Silk: Wilderness Adventures
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As usual, I shall be taking a break from blogging and social media in November. I'll be away for at least two weeks... I hope to write some blog letters in December, but as usual it's dependent upon how much... Continue reading
Posted Nov 11, 2019 at Only a Game
The Steam update went live last week, and the proofs for the Retro USB cassettes have been ordered... more on this soon. Nearly 90% of backers have answered their surveys... not sure what the hold up is with the remaining 10%! Continue reading
Posted Nov 7, 2019 at Silk: Wilderness Adventures