Movies, games and other late night thoughts.

February 14th, 2010 by Chris

Thanks to R’s tendency to only sleep when supported vertically, I’ve been putting her in the Baby Bjorn and finding other things to do. These things need to be generally stationary and relatively quiet. This means that I’ve been catching up on my Discover magazines, quickly exhausting Turner Classic Movies On-Demand and finishing off some video games (with headphones on).

As a result of this I have several random observations:
A) Watching The Manchurian Candidate (1962) while heavily sleep deprived is especially surreal. It also gives you crazy violent dreams, so I wouldn’t recommend the overall experience. [1]
B) I’ve now completed Bioshock which I started back in December. There was about a three week hiatus, but I made a pretty hard push to finish it over the last few days/nights. I really have to applaud the writers and designers for writing a compelling storyline with reasonable psychological and ethical hurdles. The scenery is very dark and bloody and combined with adult dialog, the game is rather squarely rated “R”. However, despite this, it rarely seemed gratuitous like other shooters I have played (and generally stopped playing). There was suitable opportunity for a ‘thinking player’ rather than a ‘rapid reflex’ player to ambush/evade/out-think the enemies with sufficient moments of sheer combat chaos to keep the heart going. I have Mass Effect waiting in the wings, but I think I’m going to evade game-commitment and install NFS:Undercover next. [2]
C) Every time I read another article about the plasticity of the brain, and the growing field of neural-mechanical interfaces I really feel like I’m in the wrong line of work. I am continuously amazed at how remarkably flexible and adaptable the brain is at integrating with new inputs. This is reinforced by watching N learn to spell, associate numbers with objects and generally become more sophisticated physically and mentally every day. We’re starting this road again with R, and so quickly she develops reactions to certain stimuli.

  1. Great movie though. Angela Lansbury as the manipulative Mrs. Iselin is fantastically dark. []
  2. Yes, I purchase and play games well after their initial release dates. Both Bioshock and Mass Effect have recently released sequels. I do this to keep my PC costs in check and to get a true bargain for my entertainment budget. I think I picked up Bioshock for about $10, and got a ridiculous number of entertainment hours out of it. []

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