Author Archives: Doc Derwin

The Ben and Doc Show #11 – Army Stories

This week, Ben’s good friend John joins the group to talk about his experience in the army. Hear about the intense situations he gets into as he protects our country, stops the creation of dangerous weapons, and fights natures most nightmarish creature.

A Sellout – You Don’t Know What They Are and You Might Be One

By Doc Von Derwin

I remember the first time I heard the word ’sellout’. I was in middle school and my older brother and I were having a discussion of the classic American Film Employee of the Month starting Dane Cook. My brother regarded Dane Cook as a sellout because he wasn’t the funniest character in the movie. I thought it was strange at the time but didn’t really understand why. Some years later, he and I were taking a deep perspective look into Saving Woodstock with America’s sweetheart Dimitri Martin. After I told him that the film was not a comedy, he eloquently replied with: “So he sold out like Dane Cook?”. Again, I was totally lost on what he meant but didn’t understand what was causing me discomfort. Since he was the older brother, he had to be right after all. So I started trying to identify sellouts as they started to appear. A Queens of the Stone Age song on a T-Mobile commercial? Sellouts! Ben Affleck in a romantic comedy? Sellout. Anything that Nickelback performed? Sellouts! Now that years have past and I’ve started reading books that weren’t written by R.L. Stine or Limoney Snicket, I figured out that I have been wrong the whole time.

You have to start by identifying what a sellout really is. A sellout is someone who compromise their current beliefs for opposing or conflicting beliefs for payment or benefit. Essentially, someone who will say or endorse anything for the right price. Some of you might be thinking that certain bands are sellouts because they started as indie coffee shop heroes and turned into global commercial success, with their new stuff not being pure as their old stuff. They sold their musical integrity to become famous, right? But bad music isn’t a sign of selling out. It’s a sign that artist has evolved into something else, often because their original music was fueled by being an artist who has a lot of stress and fears about where their next meal is going to come from but but when they’re rich and famous, that sort of fuel is gone and they need something else to drive them. Nickelback didn’t sellout for money, they’ve always been a terrible band appealing to the lowest common denominator.

Demetri Martin and Dane Cook weren’t sellouts for doing those movies I mentioned earlier. They were making business transactions in the pursuit of being actors. The more they act, the more work they get and with big movie productions it’s not like they have creative control in the movies they’re on. Its is similar to the Queens of the Stone Age where the music production company are probably the ones who greenlighted T-Mobile using their song in a commercial.

The people who are sellouts are largely people who want to make the most money they can get. A person who can hate what their business does but still do it for the sake of the paycheck. We don’t know artists or actors personally so we can’t call them sellouts. The only sellouts we can really label are ourselves. So ask yourself, are you a sellout?

The Ben and Doc Show #7 – A Cultural History of Batman

 

Batman. We talk about him. If you know who he is and what he does than this is the perfect episode for you. Get ready for a batarang to the face you Joker, because our two faces are gonna deliver a Killer Croc of an episode that will be the Bane of your existence and make you green with Ivy.

Podcast Lost in Games 10 with Grant Oney and Paul Cochran

This weeks episode I have Grant Oney and Paul Cochran join me for a conversation about video games. Also, I get tired of writing descriptive paragraphs about my show. I mean, you have already decided, one way or another, whether you are going to listen to the show or not so why would you let a paragraph talking about the show affect whether or not you are going to spend an hour with some really cool and funny guys talk about video games. Show biz is just so tough.

Podcast Lost in Games Episode 9

This week Alex Pann and I discuss pre-release content. We dive into topics such as pre-orders, betas, and early access and how they are being done right and wrong. Due to some laziness issues, there will be no intro or transition music. Deal with it. It’s a fun show and I hope you enjoy it.

The American Dream: Comfortable Expectations

By Doc Von Derwin

What is the American Dream? The founders of our great country dreamed of building a new nation, occupying and working the fruitful land that became so freely available after committing a mass genocide of the original owners. For the past couple hundred years, life has been about working hard to build a better country. The American people have fought bloody wars both abroad and at home, instituted a democratic system of government, and made massive leaps in industrialization and technology, all with the goal of making life easier and more comfortable for their descendants.

Now, we are so comfortable that we are looking for ways to be less comfortable. The release of every new product reminds us that our current device is a piece of shit, and we need pills to solve our restless leg syndrome. The American Dream has shifted from progress towards fulfilling the petty desires of its citizens, and these days we don’t know what we want or how to get it. Or the problem is that we want everything. I don’t know.

You put in your time in, you pay your taxes, and you retire. That’s what the American Dream was for my parents. There were fewer expectations for them: they were supposed to be college graduates, home owners, and breeders of tiny fresh humans. Maybe “fewer expectations” isn’t quite right, because the men were also expected to fight in a war at the drop of a hat and the women were expected to stay home and take care of the family and sleep with the milkman. Remember when milkmen were a thing?

Anyway, our society has progressed to the point that we’re now leaving the terrifying and sexist traditions of the past behind. There are so many people enlisted in the army that a draft is extremely unlikely, and women (lingering sexism aside) are free to be what they want – including, but not limited to, professional hacky-sack athletes. We have evolved the American culture in a way that grants its citizens maximum comfort and opportunity. When our parents complain how “Well back in my day, bak a brak booka brap,” it’s because we have it so much easier than they ever did. They can’t help but be upset about this very comfortable life that THEY made for us. Imagine how comfortable our own children will be, born with record deals already signed, and with Lexus’ instead of Hot Wheels.

Our American Dream has shifted because of this rampant consumerism. We have constant access to free content, we can socialize with people from any country with internet access, and our phones can access porn. Did you know that? What a time to be alive. With so much entertainment at our fingertips, we begin to mirror the personalities to which we’re exposed, which is why you can’t hire a millennial to work at a coffee shop un-ironically. “Hey, look at me making coffee like on TV,” he says as he puts soy milk in your drink that you didn’t ask for. Any college student has at some point heard someone in their class comment that, “Our apartment is like a TV show.”

This means that the modern American Dream is centered on creating an actual dream world for ourselves. Many people seek fame and admiration by constructing social media presences with no purpose except to describe everything they think and wear and eat. Go to YouTube and look up unboxing videos, and try to deny that we are trying whatever we can to be among the elite content creators of our society. Where do I fit in to all this? Well, I just wrote this article to be posted online so people can read it. I’m not here to change your thoughts or give you a fresh perspective; I’m just creating free entertaining content. I am just another millennial. Please notice me.

How Video Games Make You a Quantum Physicist

By Doc Von Derwin

Video games are often regarded as a waste of time, despite being a billion dollar economy-boosting industry that provides escapism in the same manner as movies and music, and which I would argue qualify as an art form. But beneath the entertaining surface, behind every compelling zombie apocalypse narrative and bullet-time slow motion headshot, there is a hidden experiment that can be found in almost every video game that makes the player a quantum theorist.

Let’s point to one of my favorite games, Bioshock: Infinite (if you have not played this, go do that now and let me know what you think, I genuinely want to know). Bioshock: Infinite uses quantum theory to explain the plot, the setting (a floating city), and the existence of its gameplay mechanics. A pair of scientists discover the ability to create tears through time and space, which leads to the discovery of alternate timelines and – in a manner of speaking – time travel. As they groove through time and space like a 1912 version of Bill and Ted, they end up bestowing a main character, Elizabeth, with the ability to create tears at will, allowing her to bring weapons or machines to a location instantaneously. As we find out, those items already exist at that location in a different reality; she is not conjuring them up out of thin air but rather is opening up a tear to another reality and meshing it with their current one.

Here is a bit on Quantum Theory. The idea of Quantum Theory is that there are infinite timelines with infinite possibilities. These timelines diverge over any action, such that there is a timeline where I do not write this article and read a book instead. When I play the lottery with a one in a million chances of winning, I exist in a reality where I lose, but there is one reality where I win despite losing in 999,999 other realities. Bioshock uses this to explain how the main character, Booker, is able to die in combat then come back. We see one Booker die by making the wrong decision in combat which leads to his death, then are moved to another reality where Booker makes different decisions that lead to victory. The death of Booker ends the timeline entirely, so we continue the rest of the game in another timeline where Booker is still alive and able to move the plot forward. What the makers of the game probably did not intend is for this to be able to apply to all games.  Every time Master Chief dies in Halo, we jump to a different timeline and continue the plot but with different actions.

In addition to Bioshock’s accidental explanation of save points in video games, the theory can also connect games in an interesting way. All games can technically exist in the same universe, but the players see only a particular section of a particular timeline which has been generated by certain actions. With The Last of Us, we see a timeline where cordyceps cause a brain infection in humans thus creating the fall of civilization, while Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare demonstrates a reality where that didn’t happen and the characters from the Last of Us are living happy normal lives. As I run through the depiction of Seattle in Infamous: Second Son, I am seeing an alternate version of Seattle because the existence of superheroes changed ideas of architecture. This is why it looks nothing like downtown Seattle.

This further gives meaning to why we play games. Somewhere across all the infinite universes is a timeline where the video game we are playing is a reality, meaning you are experiencing a real world scenario. Games are preparing you for a potential reality and arming you with the extra knowledge you need to stop the Covenant from destroying planet Earth. Games that are set in the past are like timeline history lessons, where we get to learn from the errors of focusing more energy on nuclear technology like in the Fallout series, or the advantages of a new evolutionary track where Bandicoots are better than humans at out-running boulders and are allowed to be named Crash. So the next time anyone dismisses video games as a waste of time, you can tell them you’re actually a quantum theorist and you like to be prepared.

Podcast Lost In Games Episode 8 – Sexuality in Games

 

This week we talk about homosexuality in videogames. I am joined by Todd Morasch as we talk about the some of the admirable and not so admirable portrayals of homosexuality through video games. We go off on tangents about movies and various other irrelevant topics, but it’s all fun none the less.

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Podcast Lost in Games Episode 5!

On this weeks episode we discuss game franchises and how adding another number to your favorite game doesn’t always make it better. Our guest Terran Jendro joins us as we dive into some popular game franchises to identify which incarnation of the franchise is the best and what other franchise need to change to stay unique and not repeat themselves.

Podcast Lost in Games Episode 4!

What are the top 5 greatest games of all times? No one knows. We discuss our top 5 favorite games and why they are important to us to find out what it is that makes them so good. Joining on the show this week is the Bryan Whiting and Terran Jendro. It’s Podcast Lost in Games Episode 4!