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Author Topic: EP557: Impossibility Crow  (Read 1497 times)
eytanz
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« on: January 06, 2017, 08:56:01 AM »

EP557: Impossibility Crow

AUTHOR: Remy Nakamura
NARRATOR: Roberto Suarez
HOST: Alasdair Stuart

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The Kingdom Coffee Missionary Handbook tells Paulo that he should always put his guns away during a door approach. He’s heard this hundreds of times before, but the Handbook speaks with a voice of authority, deep like a luchador’s, strong like a drill sergeant’s, calm like his abuelito’s. It slides in just under his ARgog’s selectively amplified environmental audio. 450 bonus points if the contact is completed without violence, calculates the Handbook, 900 if there are no deaths. Each death harms the public image of the Kingdom, the Handbook tells him. Paulo nods agreement. Way better to spread the faith on the no-kill difficulty setting.

Still, Paulo is not stupid, so he pauses to load Rambo, his ancient and lovingly modded M4A1 Carbine, before slinging it across his back. Looking bad-ass is his favorite violence prevention technique. The Handbook says nothing about tear gas, and he decides not to mention the CS smoke grenade in his left pocket. His last couple of leads had ended with tense stand-offs. Goddess, yo creo, he prays silently. Help my unbelief. He fingers his mala of Robusto beans, sniffing hard to catch its fading aroma.


Listen to this week’s Escape Pod!
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Tango Alpha Delta
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« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2017, 09:28:47 PM »

Trippy stuff!

I found the morning commute to be a little easier with a religion based around coffee. And what a way to probe the line between the freedom one feels when one is engaged and energized by their faith, and the strictures imposed by ritual. The contradictions abound. I really related to the metaphors of revolution & religion in the cyberpunk setting.

Your score will set you free...
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adrianh
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« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2017, 07:00:20 PM »

The gamification of religion was an interesting theme also.
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Thunderscreech
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« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2017, 08:41:12 PM »

The gamification of religion was an interesting theme also.
Aren't most modern religions already gamified?  Whether it's racking up a list of "good deeds" performed to tilt St. Peter's decision as Heaven's Bouncer to let you in or maintaining regular church attendance or fulfilling multiple daily prayers so your character doesn't 'time out', there really seems to be a lot of this score-tallying and jockeying for position.  Some religions even have specific numbers attached to how many can reach their afterlife, pitting the members of their faith against each other to be part of that "Lucky 144,000" for example.  Sins, confessions, prayers....   buzzers and dinging gold coin sound effects would almost be redundant.  Did religion get gamified here, or are modern games with scores and winners an offshoot of religion itself?
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Sir Postsalot
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« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2017, 02:32:05 PM »

Ooh, I really enjoyed this one.  From the gamification of religion (which Thunderscreech has a point in that it's not exactly new to gamify religion, but to couch it in specific video game terms gives it a different more explicit feel anyway), to the constant skeptic avatars helping to keep you questioning what you're being asked to do (when religion gets really scary is when someone does horrible things because the religion tells them to, and they do it without examining what they're being asked to do).

Well done.
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VranaCat
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« Reply #5 on: January 17, 2017, 01:32:26 PM »

I'm not gonna lie, I found the video game elements very unconvincing in this one.  It honestly reminded me of nothing more than an episode of CSI or something similar doing a plot involving "the vidjagames" which was written by people who had never played one.  Didn't turn it off, but over all not a fan.
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Sir Postsalot
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« Reply #6 on: January 19, 2017, 10:12:39 AM »

I'm not gonna lie, I found the video game elements very unconvincing in this one.  It honestly reminded me of nothing more than an episode of CSI or something similar doing a plot involving "the vidjagames" which was written by people who had never played one.  Didn't turn it off, but over all not a fan.

Lifelong gamer here, it worked for me.  Smiley  Felt like leveling in Skyrim or some D&D variant.
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VranaCat
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« Reply #7 on: January 21, 2017, 10:50:33 AM »

Well that's just it.  It did feel like leveling in skyrim or D&D or something (or I suppose, more to the point Borderlands or Destiny), but I guess that I felt the use of such overt gamification was a bit laughable. I dunno exactly how to explain it.  I guess I just am skeptical of a society getting to the point where it straight up tells people "YOU'VE LEVELED UP" in an unironic fashion.  I know gamification can be quite powerful, but this just didn't seem like an example of how real world gamification would work in a world like that.  I know it was supposed to be an absurdist piece in general, but I don't see a church phrasing things with quite that overtly "gamey" of terms outside of outreach for little kids.  I don't know, maybe that makes me to cynical, to optimistic, or both at the same time.
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raetsel
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« Reply #8 on: January 23, 2017, 02:42:24 PM »



I found the morning commute to be a little easier with a religion based around coffee.


I loved this aspect of it. I shall now saw the benediction whenever I am caffeinating: "In the name of the bean, of the brew and of the buzz."

Can I get an Amen?

Terrific narration. Roberto has such a beautiful voice and its matched so well to the story.
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Devoted135
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« Reply #9 on: January 26, 2017, 11:21:00 PM »

Interesting, somehow the AI and augmented reality aspects of the religion stuck out more to me than the gamification aspects. I'm not really sure why... I love that the hacker created virtual crows to literally peck at those who followed the religion, heckling them and sowing doubt. I wonder what the role of RL law enforcement is in this world.
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Fenrix
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« Reply #10 on: February 08, 2017, 06:40:44 PM »

I found the gamification to be nicely realistic. I used to spend a bunch of time playing MMOs, and the achievement systems there that reward incredible grinds with trivial widgets particularly effective. I've known folks who would camp spots for ages looking for that rare spawn, or run a dungeon over and over for some elusive drop, or hustle to have the highest achievement score in their social group.

I also liked the commentary of having the Starbucks mermaid as a deity.
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Fenrix
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« Reply #11 on: February 08, 2017, 06:45:00 PM »



also

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acpracht
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« Reply #12 on: February 09, 2017, 02:24:17 PM »



also



Holy crap, I love those.

Are these yours?
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Fenrix
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« Reply #13 on: February 09, 2017, 06:28:03 PM »


Holy crap, I love those.

Are these yours?


They are a blessing unto us from the internet.
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acpracht
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« Reply #14 on: February 15, 2017, 12:54:32 AM »


Holy crap, I love those.

Are these yours?


They are a blessing unto us from the internet.

I was super close to including this in last week's post.
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Ichneumon
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« Reply #15 on: February 17, 2017, 05:43:08 PM »

I missed the first line about coffee, so when I figured out they were talking about Starbucks, I realized this isn't the story I thought it was... So much pop culture
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Fenrix
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« Reply #16 on: February 20, 2017, 12:54:10 PM »

I missed the first line about coffee, so when I figured out they were talking about Starbucks, I realized this isn't the story I thought it was... So much pop culture

I didn't see so much pop culture (a la Ready Player One) but more extrapolation of a dark megacorporate future. I have also played way too much Shadowrun.
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