Beware The Idle Games of March
March 14, 2022 7:37 AM   Subscribe

Free Thread? More like free games. As in I am currently playing at least three different free idle games between my PC and my phone. None of them are great! But they're free, and they each have small charms, and it's a pleasant distraction from everything. Which, hey, free thread! Come on in and chatter about whatever and make the comment number go up.

I realize this is one off from being March 15th and so the title is a bit of a stretch, but then this is also the 11th Free Thread which is one off from being 10, which is a nice round number to celebrate belatedly, so it all works out.

No *you're* obviously reeling from the time change.
posted by cortex (115 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
 
And you're not even going to tell us what they are?
posted by jacquilynne at 7:41 AM on March 14 [2 favorites]


Happy Pi Day! ... I think?
posted by The Lurkers Support Me in Email at 7:43 AM on March 14 [4 favorites]


So after two years of getting through the pandemic, I tested positive last week. And today, despite all my symptoms being gone, I'm still testing positive, so I have to keep working from home. Which is both blessing and curse.
posted by nubs at 7:43 AM on March 14 [8 favorites]


And you're not even going to tell us what they are?

Heh. I had to go make a sidebar post and tweet and leave a forwarding comment in the previous thread. Lots of work, these effortless threads.

The current slate:

- Oraxum Trials, on Steam. Hex-grid based idle resource generation game; I'm a sucker for a hex grid under even the worst circumstances, and I like anything that requires a bit of experimentation to balance shifting input/output levels for maximized efficiency. It looks nice and has some promise but right now tops out on complexity after not too long and needs some systems balance or additional mechanics to really pop. But shockingly nice polish. Feels aesthetically inspired by the (otherwise entirely different, and fantastic, and not free), logic puzzle game Opus Magnum by Zachtronics, which is one of my favorite puzzle games of all time.

- Tap Wizard 2, also on Steam. Little auto-battling wizard who you let wander around a battlefield killing monsters and leveling themself up. Properly hands-off except when you want to go in and tweak things or trigger an upgrade, which I appreciate; the actual auto-battling itself is a nice if limited fishbowl to watch, which I also appreciate. Not a game that needs or merits much micromanaging, which is an ideal quality in an idle game even if I tend to try to micromanage them anyway sometimes.

- Blade Crafter, on iOS. The most disposable of the current slate; there's a lot of free cruft on iOS that marries a little bit of systems with too much IAP and interstitial ad nonsense to really avoid my shitlist, and this one isn't an exception, but the ad stuff is at least really minimal and it's new enough to me that I'm enjoying squeezing a little bit of systems optimization blood from the cookie cutter stone.
posted by cortex at 7:51 AM on March 14 [5 favorites]


tsum tsum 2U2
posted by wmo at 7:53 AM on March 14


I look forward to spring because it gets light out early when I wake up (hello, my fellow 4am-5am wakeup people), and then this shit happens and I feel like I am being tormented. IT'S THE WORST.
posted by curious nu at 7:55 AM on March 14 [6 favorites]


May I recommend Orb of Creation? I came across this one on Wanderbots' youtube. While this game has many elements of idle gameplay, it seems much more about using combinations of abilities and resources to make progress. Develop, understand, and exploit your abilities to unlock new gameplay mechanics and systems.

The game is still in development, v0.4.5 can be played for free on itch.io, v0.5 is a major overhaul of the progression, balance, and mechanics, and is available to Patreon supporters, and is also slated to be released on Steam at the end of the month.
posted by rustcrumb at 7:56 AM on March 14


What’s the word on safe freeware sites? Is that Steam now? The other day I just wanted to play a plain old Space Invaders clone and didn’t know where to find one. People used to make them for fun —
posted by Countess Elena at 7:59 AM on March 14


My wife's out of town, which is kind of a rarity. So, I had my traditional Sad Day which is where I get spicy food and beer and consume too much of both (thereby making my self - mostly my guts, really - sad the next day). Then I thought I'd switch it up this weekend, so I put on some fine tailored clothing, my best (well, only) silk robe, fancy loafers, and a silk scarf. Then I made myself a martini and blasted showtunes.

So in that spirit, please tell me your favorite individual song from a musical. Right now, I would pick "Anthem" from Chess (original London recording, please).
posted by backseatpilot at 8:02 AM on March 14 [12 favorites]


(edit: re: Countess Elena's question): itch.io probably has what you want, or looking at PICO-8 offerings.
posted by curious nu at 8:03 AM on March 14 [5 favorites]


(If I ever made an idle game specifically as a criticism of and commentary on the idle genre, "Blood from a Stone" would be as good a name for it as any; my relationship with these things is complicated, and I come and go on playing them, and there are a whole many-dimensional vector array of qualities different entries in the canon vary that a different version of me might have created a whole spreadsheet full of data on while chewing through them. The primary throughline across the entire body of games for me is the satisfaction I get from taking a set of systems and figuring out how to make them work; in very rough terms the two things I care about the most are the quality and the durability of the design. The quality of an idle design to me is in how much thought and novelty it provides when working out the nature of and possibilities within its systems, and the durability of an idle design is in how well it manages to make that systems exploration an ongoing process. Most idle games fall down fairly quickly on one or both.)
posted by cortex at 8:03 AM on March 14 [1 favorite]


I hit my head nearly three weeks ago, and I'm still kinda dizzy, headachy, nauseous, and so fucking tired and trying to get anyone to take me seriously or see me is a nightmare. I'm sleeping about 16+ hours a day. I spent 7 hours in A&E the other night, just to be sent home without being seen. At least my supervisors at work are understanding about my not being there, but I'm a touch worried about higher management. Fun!

And this is all very small beer compared to the issues many of my friends with connections to Ukraine are having.
posted by Dysk at 8:04 AM on March 14 [12 favorites]


"So in that spirit, please tell me your favorite individual song from a musical. Right now, I would pick "Anthem" from Chess (original London recording, please)."
posted by backseatpilot

Not an answer, sorry, but... just yesterday we started watching Schmigadoon!, which might be up your alley.
posted by Grither at 8:06 AM on March 14


I've just been doing my dailies in STO and Warframe. I'm about 3 pages into the megabundle for Ukrane (less than 10%) just trying to see what's there. I'm afraid that by the time I get to the end, I'll have forgotten what looked interesting at the beginning.
posted by Spike Glee at 8:08 AM on March 14


Spouse and I spent the balance of our weekend on a Community re-watch. I've had worse weekends!
Still dabbling with slay the spire, I'd recommend it if anyone likes roguelike deck builders. I'm normally not a roguelike guy, but it's been working for me.
posted by LegallyBread at 8:08 AM on March 14


What’s the word on safe freeware sites? Is that Steam now?

Yeah, what curious nu said. itch.io is probably by far the best source of widely varying indie games at free-to-cheap prices; GOG.com is more on the "cheap, not free" side with a focus on older archival stuff. In the mold of Flash Friday (RIP), the webgame portal Kongregate is still around as well, though a lot of that stuff has moved to or is mirrored on Steam or free iOS games.

There's plenty of free stuff on Steam, too, both scrappy little indie games and major free-to-play games, but—speaking as someone who downloads a lot of scrappy little free games on Steam—there's a whole lot of shit out there, same as with the App Store on iOS. For sheer weird loving novelty cruising itch.io is going to be a much better source.
posted by cortex at 8:09 AM on March 14 [2 favorites]


I've recently been into old-school computer-based solitaire.

In other news - this morning was a heck of an adventure; I was issued an at-home colon-screening kit at my last doctors' visit (I hadn't been for a checkup in 4 years so she's giving me The Works), and this morning was the morning I decided to Process The Sample. Actually collecting the output was easy enough (the kit came with a wee bucket to put in the toilet bowl, and then you pack up the whole bucket itself once....utilized), and I just had to pack it in the pre-labeled UPS box for the return.

I found a UPS store that opened at 8:30, and there was a bus across the street that would get me from there to my office within 15 minutes, so I left home early to get there. I got there at like 8:25, and there was a short line of people waiting with their own packages. I joined that line. And....waited. And waited. And continued to wait. And....at 9 am, the store still hadn't opened and there was still a line.

Some dude said he thought that a Fedex place 2 blocks away might take it, so I followed him there. They would not. So we looked for another UPS store....and went another 3 blocks further. By this time I was well and truly officially "late" and called my boss as we were walking to apologize.

"Oh, that's fine, don't worry about it!" My boss said. "But I'm just curious - why didn't you just bring it in and send it out from here?"

I think I said something vague like how I "didn't feel right" with this particular item. But what I DID not say was: "this is a box full of my own shit, and I wouldn't have been able to look the mailroom guy in the face as I handed it to him."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:25 AM on March 14 [16 favorites]


I've been playing Oceanhorn on my iPhone. -- well, the second one. I played the first, and got all the way to the Final Boss, and then was like "meh, this is too much effort."

I loved Zelda and Zelda II when I was a kid, and I never got beyond those, though I've heard Breath of the Wild is amazing. Thing is, my wife absolutely hates video games with the white-hot fury of a thousand suns, so buying a Gaming Device and keeping it around the house would be marital suicide. But I can play Oceanhorn on the sly and it's very enjoyable in a very low-lift kind of way.

Any other good iPhone games that I should know about, in a similar vein?
posted by heyitsgogi at 8:29 AM on March 14


(hello, my fellow 4am-5am wakeup people)

Ughhh. *rolls over, pulls pillow over head

(I generally don't care if people are early risers, only the smug ones who consider it morally superior or something. My former spouse would wake up at like 7am on Saturday and noisily unload the dishwasher because she apparently resented my outlandish desire to maybe sleep in a bit on my day off. This despite the fact that during the week, when I woke up at like 5:30am to get to work on time (we lived out in the boonies), I'd considerately tiptoe around such that even the cats barely noticed me. Not the only reason she's my former spouse, but it factored in.)
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:32 AM on March 14 [6 favorites]


Speaking of March 15, I really like this appropriately-themed knife block. I'm sorely tempted, but I don't really have room for it on my kitchen counter (I keep my knives on a wall-mounted magnetic strip).
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:44 AM on March 14 [8 favorites]


Carrying over my ukulele learning experiences from the previous thread: I liked Yousician in general, but it apparently expects me to be familiar with pop songs from the last decade and doesn't readily let me scan ahead what notes to expect in an exercise. So I found a Hal Leonard Method book at my local used book store, and am happily bounding through it. The notes of the scale aren't yet burned into my muscle memory, but they're getting there. Once I get far enough, I may return to Yousician for more advanced training.

One difficulty I have is that this is the first instrument I've tried to learn where my hands are performing fundamentally different kinds of motions: piano, recorder, ocarina, and various flutes, all the fingers do the same sorts of things. Still getting used to this.

(Also, confirmed last night that the growing calluses on my finger-tips are not (yet) affecting my origami skills. Since that's basically my only other hobby to survive parenthood, this was Important To Me.)
posted by Quasirandom at 8:46 AM on March 14


NGU Idle is really good through about a year of normal gameplay.

Lots of systems to play with. Good sense of progress. Good walls to beat your head against, especially when you transition from normal mode to Evil Mode and again from Evil Mode to Sadistic.

You can see the point where the author 4G got bored with it and moved on to the next thing*, leaving late sadistic just a dull grind. I eventually abandoned the game in or just before The Aetherial Sea in late sadistic because it was clear that it was just a waiting-around grind at that point.

But the points in the game like when you're rebuilding yourself after moving to Evil are really, really good.

*NGU Industries, which didn't work out
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 8:47 AM on March 14 [1 favorite]


Had my mammogram this morning and it was clear. I'm now 5 years out from my cancer diagnosis! Yay. Now I can get the basic screening ones instead of the diagnostic ones. I feel like I can put this behind me, but I know my anxiety will be through the roof next year when I go.
posted by kathrynm at 8:48 AM on March 14 [41 favorites]


This happened to me recently.

I was alone in my car on a small car ferry making a 3-hour trip on rough water. Shoaling forced the ferry to do a lot of fancy footwork to keep in the channel, and it was cold with wind and rain. I shut off the engine, put my seat back, deployed a blanket and quickly slept. I had traveled far and was tired.

I awoke an hour later in the driver’s seat of an out-of-control moving car and for a few seconds was the most terrified that I have ever been in my life.
posted by kinnakeet at 8:57 AM on March 14 [28 favorites]


Been replaying Baldur’s Gate (in the Enhanced Edition format), and starting to mess around with modding and other experimentation, including using NPCs I normally avoided, but changing their classes to make them not suck (which is why they were on the B List in the first place). I made Xan a Dirgesinger (a bard kit from the Song and Silence mod, which may let him get a little more mileage from his Moonblade), and I made Rasaad a Kensai/Cleric, which reasonably matches the feel of a monk (except for the unarmed thing), and is far from optimal, but is a hell of a lot more optimal than a low level Monk under BG rule set.
posted by notoriety public at 9:01 AM on March 14 [2 favorites]


It's Pi Day and yesterday I happened to make two (2) pies! This never happens.

I had some pie for second breakfast.
posted by Lawn Beaver at 9:01 AM on March 14 [1 favorite]


backseatpilot I love that you played dressed up for yourself! I have a standing art date on sundays, which has been virtual the last 2 years, of course. I have taken to dressing up for it, silk pjs, jewelry, even some makeup. just for the fun of it.

I am not a musicals person but I think this counts: Pierre from Really Rosie. its such a great singalong.
posted by supermedusa at 9:10 AM on March 14 [1 favorite]


So in that spirit, please tell me your favorite individual song from a musical.

Down and Out from Bugsy Malone.

I thought it was a revolutionary anthem when I was little. It's not but I still like it.
posted by Zumbador at 9:12 AM on March 14 [2 favorites]


Today's theater update: I have officially bowed out of Dubious Covid Protocol Theater consideration and started rehearsals at my usual theater. I did get into the ten minute play festival for my friend's show, we shall see how juggling them all goes.

Favorite individual song? Hahahahah, I dunno on one favorite. I'll give a few from my top four musicals: Satisfied from Hamilton, There's A Fine, Fine Line from Avenue Q, Hasa Diga Eebowai from The Book Of Mormon, Me and the Sky from Come From Away.

(I generally don't care if people are early risers, only the smug ones who consider it morally superior or something.

In my experience, that's literally every early riser I know :/ I saw a guy on Saturday wearing a night owl sort of shirt (I forget exactly what it said) and he said he wouldn't mind so much being a night owl except for the whole superiority complex the early risers had. I said, "Of course they have one, the world revolves around THEIR schedule and we're always in the wrong."

A coworker just posted a link of Pi Day deals, if you like.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:16 AM on March 14 [1 favorite]


I finished watching Dark on the old Netty Flix, and have had “Inside” by Chris Avantgarde playing in my head since some time yesterday.
That show is a wicker basket of bootstrap and grandfather paradoxes and why did I wait so long to watch it?
I may have to do a rewatch in a year or two.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 9:21 AM on March 14 [4 favorites]


Favorite song from a musical wanders one to another from a few tracks on Hedwig; it's hard to beat Origin of Love as a thematic epic, and Wig in a Box is by far the best singalong, and Midnight Radio is a great cathartic closer anthem.

But Wicked Little Town is the one that always feels like the biggest knife to the heart, the one song (or two, the play of Hedwig's tiny gig confessional vs. Tommy's reprise is part of it, though the first time through is the one that sticks with me most) that just seems to capture so much of the internal core of the character and the larger idea of feeling displaced and lost-along-the-way that informs so much of the louder angry/defiant/self-reliant energy of the rest of the songs. I recorded a lofi iphone four-track cover of it a distressingly long while back that didn't accomplish what I wanted but I still like somewhat anyway. I really should give it another go at some point.
posted by cortex at 9:29 AM on March 14 [4 favorites]


Here's a FPP I didn't post, for some reason: Horse kicks tree, farts on dogs then runs away.
posted by swift at 9:43 AM on March 14 [8 favorites]


I’ve never participated in a free thread before- hi!
I’ve been alternating between playing Triangle Strategy, reading Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead, and doing a beginner embroidery kit! Just picked up embroidery, it’s really relaxing and a nice way to keep the auxiliary brain occupied while the primary brain is watching TV.
posted by BuddhaInABucket at 9:43 AM on March 14 [1 favorite]


Does this count as a song from a musical?
Recently reinstalled Pathfinder Kingmaker after my 8 year old expressed an interest in something where he could play a "wizard or a dwarf" and of course, I got sucked into it as well.
Unrelatedly, found out that it's considered completely normal here (Argentina), that painting a renovated 4 bedroom house, that would take about a week in the USA or UK, should take at least 2 months. Three different estimates plus chats with general contractors and architects confirm it. Mind=boggled.
posted by conifer at 9:52 AM on March 14 [1 favorite]


It's Pi Day and yesterday I happened to make two (2) pies! This never happens.

So it's really Tau Day. Nice work!
posted by JoeZydeco at 9:54 AM on March 14


Hi! Lurker more than poster here but here I go.

I'm totally addicted the the NYT Spelling Bee and some days spend way too much time getting to "genius" status and am totally bummed if I have to give up before getting there. I play Wordle, Dordle and Spelling Bee every day and while telling myself "it's good for my brain" I'm pretty sure there are studies that don't actually support that as truth and so therefor it's really just a time and attention sucker. But it's fun and soothing so I'm allowing it.

In other news that no one may be interested in, I'm doing a 6 month long thing called "Death's Door, Living Into Dying and Dying Into Living" and it's amazing. Lot's of writing, poetry, movement, small and large group sharing, and incredible support to turn towards death, the little daily deaths and the big final one that's coming for us all. It's the first time that I've been totally free of the constant terror of illness and death that started when my sister died of a brain tumor a few years ago and was ramped up like nobody's business when the pandemic hit.

And I saw a meme today that said: "April Fools Day is canceled this year because no made up prank could match the unbelievable shit going on in the world right now." Amen to that.
posted by Plafield at 10:03 AM on March 14 [3 favorites]


I like most songs from musicals/operas that have become jazz standards, but here's a couple good ones:
Some Cats Know (from Smokey Joe's Cafe)
I Loves You Porgy (from Porgy and Bess)
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:07 AM on March 14 [2 favorites]


I'm bummed about Pi Day because I love to make and eat pies, but I'm also doing a bit of a Lenten cleanse, so no added sugar for me. I could probably make a quiche, I suppose?
posted by suelac at 10:15 AM on March 14


This Blue Apron recipe for truffle quiche is pretty rad.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:17 AM on March 14 [1 favorite]


cortex - the last time I heard Wicked Little Town was when I was driving home through rural central Iowa and I just wept and wept.

I'm fortunate enough to have seen Hedwig and the Angry Inch live twice. The second time was the broadway revival with Neil Patrick Harris. It was great.

The first time was a tiny low-budget production in Raleigh, NC, and the lead was played by the brother of a guy I knew slightly in high school. My mom volunteered with his mom, so she wanted to come along, and for some reason her friend wanted to come along too, and I think both of them were bemused, at best. I loved it. Everybody lifting up their hands for "Midnight Radio." Thinking about what it was like to be a teenager in Raleigh at a time when it was still a really conservative city - this is when Charlotte cut all county funding for the arts over Angels in America. It's the kind of incredibly intimate theatrical experience that you can perhaps only have when your budget is tiny.

Driving up to Minnesota tomorrow so maybe I'll put on the whole broadway cast recording and see if I can do it with less weeping this time.
posted by Jeanne at 10:36 AM on March 14 [3 favorites]


It's not free, it's TTRPG, but this weekend some friends and I played Something Is Wrong with This House by Anna Landon, and it was a gem. A very simple storytelling ttrpg with minimal dice rolling. Most of the players take on the roles of various spooks in an old house, while one moderates and plays the family that has moved in. The ghosts win if they can drive the family out by dawn. You can set the spooky/bloody/funny tone wherever you are most comfortable, and it plays well in person or over zoom. Most games should take 2 hours or less. Honestly, we had a lot of fun just coming up with the house and the ghosts and riffing off of each others' ideas.
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:37 AM on March 14 [5 favorites]


Songs from musicals, eh?....

Keys/It's Alright from Passing Strange. Really, just the "It's alright" portion; it's a call-and-response earwormy celebration they launch into when the lead is realizing that he's found what might be The Place Where He Belongs, and the cast hollering out "It's alright!" over and over is 100% as much of an "I need to sing along with this" trigger as is the "na na na" stuff in "Hey Jude".

Another fun song from Passing Strange is We Just Had Sex, which...requires no explanation. (There's even a visual gag from Stew, the narrator for the show, who at a certain point strokes the neck of his guitar in a...specific way.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:47 AM on March 14


So in that spirit, please tell me your favorite individual song from a musical.
It's cheesy as hell, and probably driven by nostalgia, but "One Day More" from Les Misérables wins for me. (Followed by the entire Munchkin Land introduction sequence from The Wizard of Oz.

Since my spouse is currently in another state, I've lately been playing a stupid 3D shoot-em-up video game for an hour when I wake up in the middle of the night. I've now finished everything in the game in the usual way, using my non-dominant hand, without any upgrades or extras, and without any upgrades or extras using my non-dominant hand. I'd be proud of it, except that I'm ashamed to admit that I like this stupid, macho gun game. I tried to finish the game without firing a shot, just by ducking and running, and also just by using grenades and knives, but it's literally impossible to progress unless you shoot (wooden cutouts of) people. It's probably time to find a new game. I'd prefer it if real people didn't own real guns, except maybe rifles for well-regulated hunting. But, shooting at made-up things in video games is stupid fun. Especially when many of them are explicitly designed to look like nazis.
posted by eotvos at 11:14 AM on March 14


On musicals - looking at other answers, I forgot about Porgy and Bess. But, I don't think of those songs as part of a musical, even though I've seen it more than once. I was also a bit disappointed after the fact to discover that the wedding first-dance song we chose, "it's almost like being in love," was actually from Brigadoon. We both just thought of it as a standard and had no idea it was in a musical neither of us cares for.
posted by eotvos at 11:21 AM on March 14


I like Pirate Jenny, and Whiskey bar from Kurt Weill's, and Bertolt Brecht's Threepenny Opera, Porgy and Bess in total.
posted by Oyéah at 11:32 AM on March 14 [3 favorites]


Oh Dysk, so sorry, get a CT, go to an ER if you have to. Take an advocate with you.
posted by Oyéah at 11:36 AM on March 14 [3 favorites]


Spoke to a doctor at my GP this afternoon and she has requested an urgent CT for me. Should hear from the hospital in the next day or two. Don't know what I would have done if I'd just been fobbed off again, but this doc was actually lovely.
posted by Dysk at 11:47 AM on March 14 [15 favorites]


A good GP is like gold; a bad GP is like the devil, only even less fun.
posted by GenjiandProust at 12:07 PM on March 14 [3 favorites]


in re idle games: seconding NGU idle, mostly because I love the way it abandons all pretense of a thematic wrapper and just tells you that the point is to make the Number Go Up. Also seconding cortex's rejection of the followon game from the same maker. I also like to play Realm Grinder in the background pretty regularly.

In re showtunes: I get "Master of the House" from Les Miz in my head about weekly, and if not that, "Day by Day" from Godspell. I am a product of my time and environment!

in re health: as part of a checkup the other week the dr took my bp like they do, and it was weirdly high. I don't remember the number but they were VERY CONCERNED. Last week I bought a fairly high end home unit and have been testing myself daily...borderline "prehypertensive" at worst. Not to say there aren't things to be improved but hopefully I am not one robust monopoly argument from death? White Coat Panic is a thing, apparently.
posted by hearthpig at 12:22 PM on March 14


If you have a 3DS-family game, you might want to consider getting Pocket Card Jockey off of the eShop if you can. It isn't idle, I mostly bring it up because the eShop will stop taking funds soon, but it a great little game, one of the best downloadable games on the shop, and it'd be a shame to miss out on it. I recently got back onto playing it, and it's a wonderful and whimsical game that combines horse racing and the solitaire card game called Golf.
posted by JHarris at 12:27 PM on March 14


Wrong Note Rag from Bernstein's Wonderful Town is a cool forgotten song.

In non-musical-music news, I just discovered Electric Six, and boy am I taken with many of their songs and (often interesting) covers. For instance, Easy Lover by Phil Collins and Phillip Bailey.
posted by wittgenstein at 12:30 PM on March 14


I Love you Porgy by Nina Simone. Since I first heard it one night at the Mars Bar (this was on a different, not better or worse, just different, planet.)
For that matter Ms. Simone does a remarkable rendition of Suzanne, the Leonard Cohen song.

Last week we sat out in our 'new' back yard with some friends and enjoyed the low, strong March sun and mild weather. The yard is a mess and the news, of course, is a nightmare (there's a training field for the Luftwaffe somewhere not that far away and there is no sound like the sound of a fighter jet) but the company was nice. We went for a walk and stumbled upon a bench set up behind a bush, off a path but with a beautiful view of the, small, near-by lake. It spoke of all the good times that had been spent there over the years and years and years. The back-yard is in the former DDR and that history is still reverberating - like at this quiet lake-side bench : and now history it feels like is reaching west towards us like some fucking Sauron-Eye-shit. We're getting a room ready to house refugee/s. I made two Tartes Tatin yesterday for a benefit (they raised 1300euro !) and had some other very tasty pies.

Our dog - a small, barky white thing - insists on sitting next to me on the chair. There isn't quite room but she squeezes in. Are there any poems about the light dog-stink of a lightly stinky dog? It's probably her most endearing trait.
posted by From Bklyn at 12:59 PM on March 14 [9 favorites]


Also seconding cortex's rejection of the followon game from the same maker.

Heh, that was actually GCU's rejection, but I second it; NGU Industries has a lot of ideas that I appreciate and would like to see executed successfully but the mismatch of playful ideas and the very tedious map maintenance really gets frustrating as you move through the game. NGU Idle is a much purer approach to those core ideas. Sometimes a bit puerile, often very aggressively and intentionally dumb, but a good little idle systems playground if you're looking at something to keep picking at and optimizing.
posted by cortex at 1:00 PM on March 14 [1 favorite]


Found another link with my Passing Strange favorite song - they used "It's Alright" as the Curtain Call song; Spike Lee did a filmed version of the closing night performance, and the performance he caught with the curtain call is still a dang joy. The only version I can find is a subtitled copy here of Act 2 from Spike's film, starting at like the 56 minute mark.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:09 PM on March 14


Although I can take or leave the rest of West Side Story, I can listen happily to the triple-tee, triple-tee, tah-tah-tah of “America” endlessly.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 1:11 PM on March 14 [1 favorite]


Favorite song from a musical is a tough one, but I'll have to go Sit Down You're Rocking the Boat from Guys and Dolls, at least today.

I am reluctantly skipping Pi Day pie this year because the boyfriend turns 40 on Wednesday and I've ordered a fancy, very rich cake from the French bakery near work for that. It's too much for the two of us, but I couldn't resist, so trying to clear out the fridge ahead of that.
posted by the primroses were over at 1:20 PM on March 14 [1 favorite]


well, this isn't from a musical, but i think this is a theme for a lot of people these days - reality used to be a friend of mine
posted by pyramid termite at 1:24 PM on March 14 [1 favorite]


I mean, I have so many different favorite musical numbers all for different reasons. I think one of my favorites is a backstory exposition song from Nunsense, A Difficult Transition.
posted by hippybear at 1:25 PM on March 14


If anyone ever gets the chance to see Party People, it's a killer play by a spoken word group called UNIVERSES, about the rise and fall of the Black Panthers and Young Lords, as viewed by two contemporary artists putting together an exhibit.

Near the end of the show is a killer song called something like Bread and Jobs and Houses, and it just brought the house down.

This site is blocked on my work computer, but it looks like the soundtrack might be here.
posted by suelac at 1:28 PM on March 14


$115 buys one tank of petrol now, I guess.
posted by maxwelton at 1:28 PM on March 14 [1 favorite]


My awful work setup is borked again! My monitors completely died during lunch and one of them won't turn on no matter how many times I unplug and replug and reboot everything (TEN TIMES TODAY). IT has no idea. At this point, the next time I go into the office I'm demanding a new docking station since it seems like all my problems stem from this POS and my boss said someone else's also acted up too. Also now the plugged-in webcam won't register that it's plugged in and I have no sound on Zoom without it.

WHAT IS THIS FRESH HELL THAT I AM A WALKING TECHBANE OF STUPID?!?!?
posted by jenfullmoon at 2:30 PM on March 14


$115 buys one tank of petrol now, I guess.

Technically, £88 buys a tank of petrol; $115 buys a tank of gas.
;)
posted by Greg_Ace at 2:43 PM on March 14 [1 favorite]


If you go to Taco Bell, you can get a lot of gas for about $3.
posted by hippybear at 2:58 PM on March 14 [6 favorites]


If you're looking for a followup to NGU Idle, Wizard and Minion Idle is inspired by it but goes off in its own direction. The biggest warning I have is to be willing to look up a guide online because the game is kind of bad at explaining itself- like NGU there's a help system that explains how things work (mostly), but it's hidden in the Info button rather than each page having a button that goes to the document about how that page works. It really gives me the impression of a game whose creator has everything straight in their head and everything makes perfect sense to them, but it doesn't always occur to them that everybody else can't read their mind. There's a bunch of stuff that if you're coming from NGU doesn't work like you'd expect (your Minion's inventory, for example) but you pick it up as you go.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:04 PM on March 14 [1 favorite]


Also this is maybe just a me thing but it drives me up the wall how many idle games there are for Android that want to be open and running at all times. You're an idle game on my phone. You should exist in brief spurts and present me with offline progress when I come back to you.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:08 PM on March 14 [3 favorites]


The company that made your computer might screw things up, so you use their docking station version. HP has consistently messed with me over ink, and I think it shut down my old Vista laptop over a non HP battery. Other companies are wretched also, I bought a USB-C cable to go between my Samsung phone and Samsung monitor, nope they like the smell of their own, (-----) money.
posted by Oyéah at 3:31 PM on March 14


Jen, wish them well and take an attitude that you're powereless against their machinery -- and be willing to buy a new dock that you waft burnt sage at so that it complies as it joins your ensemble.

"For Good" from Wicked hits my ongoing-processing-grief for the love displaced from ... many things across much of the last decade. "525,600 Minutes" ... for, I guess, the love of the previous decade that's passed as time passes.
posted by k3ninho at 3:55 PM on March 14


I hate people. I hate that because I help people for a living, that means I'm a horrible person that everyone hates.
posted by jenfullmoon at 3:58 PM on March 14 [1 favorite]


"525,600 Minutes" ... for, I guess, the love of the previous decade that's passed as time passes.

I know pandemic time has felt stretched out, but that's the number of minutes in a year, not a decade. Per the song.
posted by hippybear at 4:01 PM on March 14 [1 favorite]


Who even knows, hippybear?

(I met the song in 2004 on Broadway and it stuck with me in that decade for the love that contained as time and I changed*.)

*: who can say that I've been changed for the better?
posted by k3ninho at 4:29 PM on March 14


Jenfullmoon, each one of us is more alike than different, and yet different beyond rational comprehension. Hate and love are both too energy draining for a constant diet. Neutral is good, listening shouldn't be painful, just lead your clients to how you can best help them, and make sure to validate them, just a little, even a little is a whole lot for many isolated souls. You are not an awful person. People don't get to know everything which goes on in your head, so they don't know you unless you come all unglued on them, and then a lot of people would perceive you as stressed as opposed to awful. Anyway, you are a pleasantly knowable person. Don't talk smack about yourself, especially to yourself.
posted by Oyéah at 5:03 PM on March 14 [4 favorites]


My mum loved musicals. Every Sunday the one-channel TV would have musicals and we would watch them religiously. I learnt a bit of piano and a bit of guitar and a bit of the clarinet, but my mother's focus was on dancing and I learnt how to dance. Somehow, I always failed at dance classes, but also was good enough to be hired as a teacher. I can't explain that.
I also failed at singing, because I have asthma. But still I was the star of our high school musical. Sometimes grunting is fine.
Maybe I should have been a comedian, but I found a way to work where I didn't fail all the time.
posted by mumimor at 5:04 PM on March 14 [1 favorite]


I hate people. I hate that because I help people for a living, that means I'm a horrible person that everyone hates.

I also hate people. But I don't necessarily hate persons. And you are a specific person that I do not hate. Therefore, you are not a horrible person that everyone hates.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:52 PM on March 14 [9 favorites]


I really enjoy Squardle. I also still do Wordle most days, but squardle is much more satisfying.
posted by hydra77 at 6:29 PM on March 14 [2 favorites]


and it costs about 90 AU$ for a tanka gazzaleen
posted by glonous keming at 6:31 PM on March 14 [1 favorite]


Played some old-style Call of Duty today. I actually bought it *before* all the Activision-Blizzard fuckery became known to me and I only got around to it now. Whoops. By "old-style," of course, I mean back when you had an actual finite healthbar and couldn't duck somewhere to get the jam off your face every time you were shot (not that that makes it necessarily better or worse or anything, just different).

I'd forgotten how hard these games were back then. Luckily, this was back when these sorts of games just gave you a key to instantly save-state any time you wanted to. I don't even want to start to think about how much of a slog it would've been without that.
posted by KChasm at 6:35 PM on March 14


I saw a meme today that said: "April Fools Day is canceled this year because no made up prank could match the unbelievable shit going on in the world right now." Amen to that.
Maybe a certain russian president will pop up on 1 April and say 'April Fools!' and everyone can go home and live happily ever after? Wouldn't be any more surprising than most of the things that have happened the past couple of years.

Well, jenfullmoon, I hate people too. In the sense that I hate people as a generic group. Many that I know as actual persons are quite OK and part of the reason I come here is that the persons:people ratio is higher than average. It's perfectly OK to hate people while helping persons.
posted by dg at 6:44 PM on March 14 [1 favorite]


I love mankind...
posted by Greg_Ace at 7:33 PM on March 14 [2 favorites]


Platield posted above about their addiction to Spelling Bee.

My friends and I also became obsessed with the game the summer before the pandemic, and we had suggestions and ideas for improving it. Being in software, I of course took up the challenge to create the game. It's been out for a while now and is pretty solid.

The game is called Spellbound. For those who play Spelling Bee, you'll notice that the word lists are not the same. I removed words that I didn't think were well known, and there is now more food, fewer chemicals, and no words that would embarrass anyone playing with their children.

Free, no ads, no shared data, just for fun. And you don't need a subscription to the NYT to play it.
posted by AMyNameIs at 8:15 PM on March 14 [12 favorites]


Bklyn thanks for the link to the Nina Simone "Suzanne". Just beautiful. Perfect music for me right now, sitting in bed, still dark outside, getting ready for a long day in front of the computer marking student work.

In an effort to keep sane I've set up the room I work in as a rat-safe play zone (all electric cables out of reach!). It's the best feeling to have each of them in turn run up my leg and check in for a quick cuddle before they go exploring again.
Nicodemus spent several hours skulking behind the washing machine playing "I'm a Real Wild Rat" yesterday and he convinced himself so thoroughly that he became scared of me.
I had to drag the machine forward enough to reach down behind it. He instantly stopped hiding, stood up on his hind legs reaching up for me, grooming my hands with little rat kisses as I lifted him out.
He's an intense little guy.
posted by Zumbador at 8:37 PM on March 14 [6 favorites]


Play NORCO Learn where your gasoline comes from.
posted by eustatic at 9:49 PM on March 14


unsurprisingly, i did not get an interview for the job i applied for. i'm not too upset about it - i knew it was a long shot and i'm only lowkey looking for jobs anyway, but it would have been a step forward. oh well.
posted by emmling at 10:03 PM on March 14 [2 favorites]


I hope you get some answers and relief soon Dysk!
posted by ellieBOA at 2:34 AM on March 15


Sorry you didn't get the job, emmling but good on you for exercising your job application muscles. They get stronger that way!
posted by dutchrick at 6:11 AM on March 15 [1 favorite]


Song: Johanna, from Sweeney Todd.

I maybe have a chance to upgrade sporting equipment, and am waffling. It's a big step up in terms of storage and transport requirements, but it would drastically expand what I can do in the sport. I'm about at the limit of my current equipment's capabilities. (But there are things other than this sport that I can/should do with my time, so...waffling.)
posted by mersen at 7:38 AM on March 15


I hate people. I hate that because I help people for a living, that means I'm a horrible person that everyone hates.

Lol try being a person who hates musicals AND games! It's a wonder I haven't been jailed.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 8:53 AM on March 15 [4 favorites]


Hahahahahaah. I like musicals, obviously, but I can't really do computer gaming and I feel SO left out. My attention span runs screaming at the idea of being utterly focused on a game for hours/days/weeks/years, my friends are all gaming together (or in some cases, started their own gaming company) and I just have no idea what they are talking about. I've lost friends over gaming because I could not/would not game. Bleah. I also hate coffee and think it tastes burned and foul, but so many people love its taste and I just do. not. get. it. I get drinking it for the caffeine, but even the most milked-up-foamed coffee beverage still has that ashy taste to it to me.

Work gets to me because I always have to be the bad one, eating shit and being constantly wrong. Even if I'm all "look, I have DOCUMENTATION that you said you wanted your name changed to X," if they scream at me that they wanted their name as Y and I should have known that, I have to eat shit and apologize for it. That kind of thing.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:19 AM on March 15


but I can't really do computer gaming and I feel SO left out. My attention span runs screaming at the idea of being utterly focused on a game for hours/days/weeks/years

I really don't play computer games at all, not as people think of as "gamer games". But I do like games like Peggle or Bejeweled/Candy Crush and other lite fare that is more of a fidget toy than a long narrative.

Also, there are really short games out there. I saw a video recently, a hand-painted videogame that is a point-and-click game where you're a cat trying to get back home across 4 or 5 backyards. It apparently takes under an hour to play end to end.

Games come in a lot of forms, and I'm trying to find my own way to engage with what is a very dynamic medium that I find largely alienating. But there is some stuff out there I find worth exploring, and maybe you would too if you shifted your approach a bit.
posted by hippybear at 9:26 AM on March 15


Yeah, I do "fidget toy" games (love that) once in awhile, but not that often. I think of "gaming" as the thing where everyone's playing some long game (preferably together online) that goes on for ever and ever.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:30 AM on March 15


Oh, I found that game! Milo And The Magpies [trailer], apparently. On Steam, Google Play, and App Store. I'm glad I was reminded of this. I'm going to get it for my phone for my next boring waiting room sit.
posted by hippybear at 9:39 AM on March 15 [1 favorite]


I like fidget toy games like Solitaire and Bubble Shooter, and forgiving, non-time-sensitive puzzle games that are also gorgeous works of art like the Samorost series and Machinarium. Platformers and first person shooters leave me absolutely cold, multiplayer or not. Put me in front of anything that requires twitch reflexes to do well at and I just feel the same kind of distress as most people might expect from a Bennett Foddy hell game; can't see the point of putting myself through anything like that for "fun" and would much rather just watch people with actual skills doing speedruns. The last twitch game I can recall enjoying was the arcade machine edition of Qix.

But I am also flabdablet on Lichess, if anybody's up for a correspondence game.
posted by flabdablet at 9:52 AM on March 15


The last twitch game I can recall enjoying was the arcade machine edition of Qix.

I would like to own one of these how does one go about doing this
posted by hippybear at 10:04 AM on March 15


Beats me. The one I enjoyed, I was putting coins in at an actual arcade.
posted by flabdablet at 11:02 AM on March 15 [1 favorite]




Most of my actual video game enjoyment years involved putting in quarters at an arcade. As things progressed and moved into home units, the possibility for it to trigger catastrophic obsessive events for me completely teleported beyond my money supply and instead of it being a quarter suck, it become an obsessive attention suck, and I abandoned most gaming around the time of Sonic The Hedgehog I. Out of self-preservation.

I still put coins into arcade games, though
posted by hippybear at 11:15 AM on March 15 [1 favorite]


I have a weird relationship to games. I played World of Warcraft for years and years and actually ended up quitting after it took over too much of my life. I can get addicted to certain reward loops, in other words.

I still game a lot. I just started Elden Ring and it's my first hard game in a long time and my first Souls-like and ow. I've been told that it's better with a controller, so I'm trying to learn to play with a controller by playing Elden Ring, and maybe that's not the best idea?

When I'm home and doing chores and want to sit down and fidget, I actually prefer turn-based strategy games like Civilization. I'll open my last saved game, play for 10 minutes or 30, and save and quit. I play on easy modes and follow well-worn strategies that give me a certain win. There's a pleasant illusion of progress and the turn-based system is easy to step into and out of.

I just recently found a very old game that I used to play back when I had an Atari ST, Empire, that has been updated and is on Steam. I've set up a huge map and I'm playing it in little bits of time and it's going to take forever to finish. It's great.
posted by Wilbefort at 11:25 AM on March 15


Favorite song from a musical: The wistful little interlude that is Frank Mills in HAIR.
posted by jocelmeow at 11:28 AM on March 15 [1 favorite]


Favorite song from a musical: From Silence! The Musical: "Put the F-ing Lotion in the Basket"
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:45 AM on March 15


Favorite song from a musical: From the Blues Brothers, Shake a Tailfeather
posted by flabdablet at 11:50 AM on March 15 [1 favorite]


Meh, I had an Amiga. A motherboard that was originally designed to go into an arcade game cabinet, all other 'personal computers' of that time sucked. :)

I used to play a shareware clone of the BattleTech tabletop RPG game until I figured out the developer wasn't as smart as me. The mech files had *all* the info in them so it was trivial to build a mech that was invincible.... Then lot's of Bard's Tale.

The first twitch was DOOM, but actually pretty easy after a bit. Used to play 3-way multiplayer over a modem and another serial port with IPX drivers from packet radio land and made custom maps of the house on Linux with the Purple Frog editor.

Then years later when I was back working at university we started playing Quake III at every opportunity. I got good enough to be jumped into a gang, but I couldn't hang with the teamwork involved. Often got kicked off of servers for wallhacking (never did, I was playing on Linux and they don't make those things for Linux). Mostly I just played a lot on low-ping Internet-2 or research networks with low ping and played a lot of insta-gib and Rocket Arena. I had DSL from home directly to work, another guy had a T1, the other server I played a lot was UCSF based and very very gay. Eventually WORK got hectic and I stopped playing. Thus ends the saga of my FPS twitch gaming. OMG I was evil railgun sniper and predictive rocket/grenade lobber, a total griefer. Probably best I gave it up.

I gave up on Nethack after my pet cat got polymorphed into some sort of fire lizard down in the bottom of the gnome mines and proceeded to kill everything in sight including shopkeepers, guards, and priests (which I chaotically dutifully sacrificed on their own altars)... it just stopped being fun.

Now I stick to Minesweeper or Mahjongg. Maybe I should go back to chess.
posted by zengargoyle at 1:03 PM on March 15 [1 favorite]


Not worth a FPP just to make my joke, so...

Asteroid The Size Of A Grand Piano Strikes Earth And We Knew Exactly Where And When Says NASA

I wonder if it made a 'BLONNNGGGG' noise when it hit.
...'Sea'-sharp?
posted by Greg_Ace at 2:20 PM on March 15 [3 favorites]


It's not that I don't like gaming, it's that I had to stop, cold turkey, back in the nineties. Some of you weren't even born then, others will remember that it wasn't what it is now. But I just couldn't let go of a game until I was the local champion. Maybe that would have made sense today, when people get rich from gaming. But back then it was a major distraction, that took far too much time from my work and social life.
I do play a little solitaire and do my wordle (and wørdle, the Danish version) every day. The solitaire is very good for my anxiety and I keep it offline so it can't get competitive. Wordle is good because of that once-a-day thing and I have only shared with people who also avoid competition.
posted by mumimor at 3:23 PM on March 15


Spelling Bee for me, Wordle an appetizer.
posted by Oyéah at 6:11 PM on March 15 [1 favorite]


Exclusive first THE A500 MINI Prototype Playtest! Full preview review - YouTube

I almost want one, but most of the games came a bit after my time. Still pretty cool.
posted by zengargoyle at 8:46 AM on March 16


AMyNameIs, thank you for feeding my addiction. Spellbound is awesome and I've shared it with a few friends who can't play SB because of no subscrition to NYT games.
posted by Plafield at 9:32 AM on March 16


Went to a CHVRCHES gig the other night — they're the Glaswegian synthpop outfit who've been mentioned in a couple of recent free threads. It was excellent, they're a great band to see live, Lauren is a ball of energy, worth seeing on their US tour if you like this sort of thing. I felt old af when she said "we've been doing this ten years".
posted by Klipspringer at 11:27 AM on March 16


Yesssssss Klipspringer, I'm happy for you and jealous.
posted by cortex at 12:02 PM on March 16 [1 favorite]




I think I am ready to see my first movie in a theater since February 2020. It's likely to be X, the new Ti West horror thing. I looked into what my last movie was using my AMC account and it was an anime thing my kid asked for that I slept through (sorry anime friends!) Not sure what the last one was I chose myself.

It may end up being one of several as I feel pretty positive I'll be going to see Everything Everywhere All at Once with the kiddo next week and maybe even RRR the new physics-defying Telugu operatic action yarn from SS Rajamouli (Bahubali).

I'm interested to see if I will be able to relax or if I will end up panicking. Wish me luck.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 1:16 PM on March 16 [1 favorite]


Plafield (apologies for spelling your user name incorrectly earlier), I am really pleased you enjoy Spellbound.

You (and anyone else), should feel free to share with as many people as you want. I wrote it for fun, and I get a real kick when other people play it.
posted by AMyNameIs at 2:03 PM on March 16 [1 favorite]


I felt old af when she said "we've been doing this ten years".

I've been following Indigo Girls since 1987. So.... As soon as this Geritol kicks in I'll give you some what for!
posted by hippybear at 2:44 PM on March 16 [2 favorites]


> Asteroid The Size Of A Grand Piano Strikes Earth And We Knew Exactly Where And When Says NASA

I wonder if it made a 'BLONNNGGGG' noise when it hit.


Paging wenestvedt...
posted by Monochrome at 5:59 PM on March 16 [1 favorite]


....Heh.

So, my first big project for my new role here is a big Overhaul Of The Storage Closets. We've been kind of moving things in all caterwampus, and used the "shit I don't know where to put this doohickey, throw it in the nearest closet" approach. So we have snack room food mixed in with leftover tile from when we grouted the bathrooms and so on. And just to make things more fun, most of the closets are sort of non-standards sizes and shapes (there's one that's six feet across, but it's one foot deep on one side and two feet deep on the other).

I would LOVE to just empty everything out and go over everything now and sort and THEN start putting things back in, but my boss is adamant that we need to order the storage shelves we'd need to use first and THEN clear stuff out and sort it. Okay, I can let that go and pick my battles. But the OTHER thing he's being stubborn about is moving the cleaning equipment out of the biggest closet, and turning it into a "mailroom". The cleaning equipment, he believes, should be exiled to a closet under the stairs.

I am one of four people trying to talk him out of it because

a) we already have a mailroom clear at the other end of the building which everyone is already using as such already, including the mail man and the UPS and Fedex guys, and

b) the cleaning equipment takes up a decent chunk of space in the supposed "mailroom" as it is, and the space under the stairs is half that size, and

c) the space under the stairs also houses some electrical fuseboxes we need to keep clear.

We've been trying to talk him out of it, pointing out the various problems, but he is very adamant about not wanting the cleaning equipment in that bigger closet. He just wants it to be a mailroom and that's that.

So finally, just now, I got some graph paper and a tape measure and got to work. I took detailed measurements of the space under the stairs, including the precise dimensions of the room, the precise locations and sizes of the fuse boxes relative to the door, the opposite wall, and each other. I noted the dimensions and locations of each and every weird dividing wall, floor feature, column, and suchlike. Then, I took measurements of the cleaning cart and the floor cleaner at their widest and longest points. I plotted out the exact floorplan of said closet under the stairs, and cut out two little rectangles that are the size of the two carts. And - finally and most crucially - I blocked off the exact dimensions of the space we need to keep clear in front of the fuse boxes.

And now it is VISUALLY APPARENT that the cleaning stuff ain't gonna fit in that room, period. The smaller cart maybe, but not the bigger machine, and DEFINITELY not both of them. You can't get the bigger machine in there in any configuration without running into a wall or a column or without bumping into that "keep this clear in front of the fuses" issue.

In short: I have pretty much just won an argument using sixth grade math.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:00 AM on March 18 [7 favorites]


I once had an argument with my Chair over ordering pizzas for a work function. She complained about the price, and I said we could order fewer because those pizzas were 18” and the other places were 16”. She refused to believe that was “much bigger” until I calculated the area of each in front of her. Sixth grade math is useful!
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:00 AM on March 19 [4 favorites]




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