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Close reading / Re: The Hacking of the American Mind
August 16, 2022, 08:47:12 AM
Basically, I'm pondering this:
What if easy rewards aren't inherently worse -- hard-earned rewards aren't inherently more rewarding -- but easy rewards are too easy to binge on and that dynamic creates negative emotions (for some) towards easy games and easy rewards?
Close reading / Re: The Hacking of the American Mind
August 16, 2022, 08:40:30 AM
Quote from: p84-86Substance abused used to be scarce--a luxury for most of us--and dopamine was at a low ebb. [..] Alcoholism became a major societal problem throughout Europe in the 1700s once it became available and cheap. [..] But despite our affinity for alcohol, the dopamine rush still remained a luxury, out of the reach of most people, either due to religion, morality, reputation, or expense. [~] Slowly but surely, advance in technology, commodity crop farming, and globalization have made various rewarding substances readily available, and the ability to engage in rewarding behaviours not just possible but almost constant.

An interesting thought -- what if the virtue of the 'difficulty' of difficult games is that they allow us to hold dopamine addiction at arm's length? The ineffable value of difficulty, of rare reward, is that I am drawn to it because it is an organic way to avoid the decline of psychic reward due to dopamine tolerance? On an earlier page the author describes the phenomenon:

Quote from: p72-73As an illustration, let's choose a peanut butter cup, the cheapest of all thrills (but it just as easily could be a shot of espresso or vodka [or a win in a videogame]). In terms of the reward neuron[..]: Get a desire (dopamine). Get a fix. Get a temporary rush (EOPs). Yum. But, man, that peanut butter cup was so delicious. [..] Go ahead, eat the second one--they come two to a package, after all. Get another rush; this one won't last as long as the first one because there are fewer receptors. Tomorrow, you go get another package [..] but you just can't recapitulate that gustatory nirvana again. More should be able to do it: the next day, you buy the six-pack. And now that extra fix means your receptors are down-regulated even more. So you decide to put the pedal to the metal: the economy-size bag how now become your standard, and it's just giving you way less response than you ever had.

I can feel this sharp decline keenly when I play a game that bombards me with excess reward.

I wonder if it was never about the difficulty, but about the enforced pacing -- a game's scarcity of reward prevents those rewards from coming too close and quick for me to feel how reduced they are as a result of my satisfied dopamine receptors.

That's what's nice about walls around a reward; they're a substitute for self-control, and so without thinking, the experience is richer and less fragile. Until I've mastered the ability to break down the walls! Hahaha. So you need harder games.
Recipes, food / Re: Macarons (the eternal struggle)
August 15, 2022, 09:45:28 PM
Probably only bake for 12 min / 16 min if it's a dry day
Close reading / Re: The Hacking of the American Mind
August 15, 2022, 09:11:55 AM
Quote from: p69-70There's a price to pay for reward. It used to be measured in dollars, pounds, or yen, but now it's measured in neurons. As the monetary price of reward fell, the physiological price of reward skyrocketed. [..] overstimulation with multiple rapid firings can cause those receptor-containing neurons to go into overdrive, leading to cell damage or death, termed excitotoxicity.
Close reading / Re: The Hacking of the American Mind
August 12, 2022, 01:33:49 PM
Quote from: p32.. this is very likely why there are so many different definitions of happiness--many different on-ramps, many different roads, many different speed limits--but only one destination for contentment.
Close reading / Re: The Hacking of the American Mind
August 12, 2022, 12:58:18 PM
Quote from: p7[..] the toxic environment in which we currently find ourselves [..and] how we remain there. ([..] the punch line is that it's not about personal responsibility, but only you can help itself, because no one else will.)

It's not true that no one else will, but I like the dichotomy presented here. It may not your personal responsibility... but it may still be your personal problem.
Close reading / Re: The Hacking of the American Mind
August 12, 2022, 12:53:03 PM
Starseed Pilgrim presented a broken hedonic loop.
Close reading / Re: The Hacking of the American Mind
August 12, 2022, 12:49:32 PM
Quote from: p6entire industries and governments have pushed hedonic (reward-generating) substances and behaviours on their unsuspecting populations for profit, which has only caused further unhappiness.

I thoroughly expect Lustig to get more into the explicitly stated link here later in the book: reward-generating X unhappiness.
Close reading / Re: The Hacking of the American Mind
August 12, 2022, 12:38:46 PM
Quote from: p1, John Butler YeatsHappiness is neither virtue nor pleasure nor this thing nor that, but simply growth. We are happy when we are growing.

My kinda quote! Damn!
Close reading / The Hacking of the American Mind
August 12, 2022, 12:37:04 PM
re: Robert H. Lustig's
"The Hacking of the American Mind"
Close reading / The Best Interface Is No Interface
August 12, 2022, 12:35:51 PM
re golden krishna's
"the best interface is no interface "

*i took one picture which i don't have the time to transcribe right now. read while sick and not taking notes.
It's not particularly funny. I regret it. But hey, live and learn. I'm glad I can refer back to that error because if I didn't have this regret I would find it harder to understand this particular problem in the moment, now; ... ... I wanted to write some kind of summary of my regret and the LEssons Learned but I don't think I can.
Given this context, I'll translate, para-rephrase, Pol's position for myself:

Don't shoehorn politics into games that are about something else.

It's funny... I think in Cruel World I ended up shoehorning non-politics into a game that was about politics. ("politics".) I learned the lesson the hard way and in reverse. I genuinely regret it. Everyone talked about how the platforming was fun and cool! So I wanted to do it justice. But Cruel World was always about something very specific, and I feel like treating it as my capitalist job wound up undercutting its message.

Quote(in practice, if making games is your capitalist job there is a hard limit to the genuine political material you can communicate through it - and if you do, it'll likely be coopted.)
I agree with most things and disagree with a few. The harshest thought I have is about the ending, and I suppose also the title?

Quotei think it is important to ask the question of whether making a given game or art piece with a political message is the most impactful way one can participate to the struggle, and whether it will effect meaningful change or simply act as a pacifying agent for a privileged class with a guilt complex.
Organize, educate yourself, wage struggle outside of games! Don't shoehorn politics into your marios!! They're marios!!!!

To keep myself from focusing on a strawman I need to include this quote from earlier about pol's position:

QuoteThis isn't to say noone should set out to deliver political teachings through the medium of games - like all media games can be a fertile tool to educate, articulate, mobilize etc. But such political games should generally be political from the get go, with a clear articulation of how the form and the political content respond to each other; and they should also be cognizant of the production and distribution systems they fit into (more on that below). If your motive and expertise lie in 2D platformers with a mechanical gimmick, i think it's good to remain cold-headed about your motivations for that and the scope of your work.

Alright, so in the context of this second (chronologically first) quote I can understand where pol is coming from, specifically marios is referring to 2D platformers with a mechanical gimmick; taken more broadly, marios is referring to the sort of games which I have been internally chafing and railing against lately,  games whose primary focus is... I don't want to say "their gameplay" but for lack of a better term I will say games whose primary focus is their gameplay.
Goddamn it I wasn't going to write a post about this but I actually have some thoughts I wanna record so here I go