Lord, give me star power
The first of, perhaps, many thoughts on Jesus 5 starring the song through you.

I was recently introduced to Nyhm of Alleria while stoking my game boner for Wrath of the Lich King, and abruptly fell out of love with his clever lyrics and decent sense of mimicry, when, at the end of the video he credited Jesus Christ with being able to make wow machinima.

Now, it doesn't particularly matter, in the abstract, why he did it, whether it was a joke, or what exactly was going on, there. I filter my information this way for my own good, to avoid polluting my mind with concepts I'm actively engaged in rejecting. If it's a joke, then it reminds me of people who are serious, and if it's not a joke, then it's assinine. For some reason free will only seems to be in the picture when the world is filled with pain and suffering, and when people are doing something constructive, it's suddenly a kill-marker stenciled on the fuselage of god. So, this has nothing to do with him and everything to do the fact that I am trying to keep my headspace neat and tidy.

Drugs are a useful tool for self discovery when used in extreme moderation. Trying something less than a handful of times is instructive, more than that is recreational, and my recreation is focused on other people, which substances complicate and obstruct. That said, what you do with your brain is your business as long as I don't have to look at a pro-life protest in front of my highschool involving graphic pictures of mutilated fetuses.

One disappointing experience, for me, was with LSD. I wanted to try this substance to experience visions and my imagination running wild, in accordance with the tails of Hunter Thompson, or Lewis Black, or nearly anyone else. The most I got was a screensaver when I closed my eyes that reminded me of the 70s. Aside from corona in my vision, and a heightened appreciation for profoundly unfunny jokes, there were no great surprises or terrors lurking in my subconscious. This does not invalidate other experiences, but it gave me occasion to think on what, specifically, about me, made it such a disappointing exercise.

The conclusion I reached was that, while it is incontrovertably true that some people 'hear voices'--in that they literally hear inputs generated by a portion of their brain remote from their consciousness which they attribute to an external source, conversely, there must be people who do not hear voices.

By this I mean that there are people who have no tap into their subconscious whatsoever. They do not hear or acknowledge the myriad of inappropriate thoughts, occasionally violent, dark, or even bizzare and upsetting that impinge on the mind normally: inappropriate thoughts about relatives or friends which are so immediately repugnant and repressed that it seems odd that they ever arose in the first place. There are people who are not aware of their own internal misfires. If, for example, it is upsetting and wrong to thing of touching human waste, then they simply do not think about doing it, whereas many people, including myself, will be so focused on how much the thought of touching human waste upsets us, that our brain imagines a scenario in which we do exactly that--further revolting us. You occasionally hear from the LSD initiated that they will have 'every crazy genius thought for an entire year all at once' or some such nonsense. My internal monologue is by no means so bare, and I know for a fact that I'm not alone. Inspiration, both dross and useful is a constant byproduct of a functioning mind. But for people who cannot perceive these thoughts, the sudden cross-firing of their synapses which puts them in touch with normally inaccessible data must be traumatic and produce an abrupt and surprising set of experiences.

There is a sports version of this metaphor at work too with which many many more of us are familiar, particularly through video games. The idea of initially awkward, possibly spastic attempts to produce the correct reactive input to the demands of a game, which gradually become learned and automatic, to a degree that, eventually, in some cases, a reaction occurs, and only afterwards do you realize why you reacted in the way that you did. Particularly when dealing with something like guitar hero, or bionic commando. There are also times when, fatigued, or bored, you see clearly that you must do some thing, know the inputs that must happen, and yet do not want to--letting the opportunity pass.

The idea that 'jesus acted through me' is an experience that seems to be common enough, in the sense of unconscious action. Though, oddly, the true goal of any training is not to become a system of instantaneous reactions to set patterns, but to develop a suite of behavioral tools which can be employed by your conscious desire to achieve some end. For instance, in a fighting game, where series of movements which are known to be effective when the first hit lands and are generally called combos, but are sometimes multiple combos or simply setups followed by a variety of finishers, dealing with an opponent can be boiled down to taking 3 or 4 strategies cycled until you catch them off guard. When you face the opponent repeatedly, you may alter your cycle by adding, removing, or reshuffling your approaches. But over hours, especially dealing with the same person, you rarely see your instinctive reactions bear fruit. Relatively speaking, you can only react purely in the moment maybe once in a 100 times to something unexpected.

But the learned reaction isn't the most satisfying aspect of gameplay. The most satisfying is to produce an action in response to an unexpected threat that is the *right* action. We don't want to do what we've traiend to do, we want the moment of inspiration to strike.

In alot of cases, it's impossible for this kind of inspiration to occur since many games force an equalizing timeline. For example, in something like diablo II, WoW, or even many fighting games (in my opinion Soul Calibur 3 normalized attack times to make vulnerable frames the focus of gameplay, rather than the original game's more open interruptible structure--but I also like Dead or Alive, Marvel Nemesis, and Smash Brothers, so what do I know), the ability to extemporize in the gameplay is virtually nonexistent. Games like Gish, on the other hand, offer the possibility of the righteous lord guiding my hand, and driving his plasma sword through the devil's recon armor.

There is a tension between preplanning emphasis and improvisational play, since, in a game like Unreal Tournament, the abililty for a single person to experience a large amount of success based on reaction time is tempered by the degree to which someone who's experienced the map knows paths and what, generally to expect.

The antidote, I feel is to take the randomized element out of structurally straightforward games, like Puzzle fighter, and put it *into* real fighters. Smash brothers, obviously, does this to an extent with items, though, there are cases where the items don't achieve a well regulated unpredictability, but, instead, a berserker quality of unpredictability. Marvel Nemesis did a better job with the potentially powerful nature of thrown items and explosions which were nevertheless, not guaranteed an outcome.

But the real holy grail, in terms of shooters and fighters, to me, is the randomized map.

Rather than uphold the predictable arena with carefully balanced weapon placements, a stalker or fallout3 like wasteland with unpredictable contents, dangers, and boons would make for a more exciting extemporaneous experience, and, more than that, make the new player experience in an online community composed of well-known maps (often involving the veto of 'unpopular' maps--reinforcing the preparation of experience) populated with complete bastards who know their possiblities like their own bodies, and focus that aggression into tumor causing agents for your softest tissues, less demoralizing.

Tournament players are addicted to regulation, but they don't like it. What they like is the ken full-parry video, when someone throws their expectations out the window. Ironically, they hate dead or alive because just 'anyone' can counter. Though, admittedly, it's not so much an inspired mechanic as an unpredictable one, so we're not far apart on this issue.

For once, I want a top tier tournament player to turn a corner and not be sure about what's in the room beyond--the way *I* feel every time I when I go into the maps they know well.

Visual anchors to hint at an overall structure would need to be in place. I'm not advocating dropping into a warren of confusing dead-ends and redundant hallways with a sprinkling of powerfups. Modular may wor, or perhaps the proper algorithms to build paths between points mapped by a genuine designer.

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