Monthly Archives: November 2008

Sluts and Whores.

This is actually a response to a post by AirForceVirgin. It was a bit of a novel (and, besides, my content is suffering,) so I decided to blog in my own damned blog for once.

To put you in mind of my perspective on the subject, I’m going to start with your header statements.

I love sex. — False. I like sex, but I don’t love it. It’s satisfying, but sometimes I’d rather play video games or watch TV. It’s not really my thing. It’s not a need or something to be desired in itself.

I was a virgin when.. — a very badly worded series of questions. The best way to answer it is to say that the first time I had sex involving vaginal penetration was when I went away to college. Then I don’t have to answer the same question three times and quibble over whether the word “virgin” even applies to men.

At twenty-seven, I’ve had exactly one sexual partner of note. I don’t intend to increase this number.

I should also probably mention that I am a skeptic and an antitheist (this means that I am doubtful of the supernatural and consider all forms of theism [that is, a specific belief in a god or gods] to be wrong and harmful.) Religion always comes into discussions of this nature.

Whore — someone who engages in sex for money. If you do, you are. If you don’t, you aren’t. The word is misapplied to sluts, or even to women who merely suffer from poor sense or loose morals, to the considerable detriment of our language. The word “prostitute” is more politic in this day and age and means the same thing (including the misapplication.)

Slut — A woman or girl who engages in sexual activity without restraint or discrimination. This word is misapplied to women who merely suffer from poor sense or loose morals, to the considerable detriment of our language.

This describes an extreme case. Almost noone actually qualifies. Chances are pretty good that someone who’s only had five partners is not a slut.

Unfortunately, I’m not aware of any commonly-used term for a man who engages in sexual activity without restraint or discrimination. Don’t say “man,” because that’s sexist, and it ain’t true.

As far as morality and sex are concerned, I think you’re probably good (regardless of gender) if you meet at least one (1) of the following parameters:

1) You have never had sex outside of your current comitted relationship.

2) Your past failures to meet #1 are behind you, and you regret them.

You can learn from things you regret. I regret a lot of things, and I learned from nearly all of them. But it’s important to regret mistakes.

Moreover, as long as you have a reasonably healthy (note: “reasonably healthy” is a looser standard than “morally correct”) attitude toward sex, I’m not going to take you to task for it.

Finally, I don’t think the words “healthy” and “sexually active” can be used together to describe a teenager of either gender. Girls shouldn’t let themselves be pressured into sex (or pressure boys into sex.) Boys shouldn’t pressure girls into sex (or let girls pressure them into it.) Fifteen-year-olds probably shouldn’t be dating*. Mate-shopping should be a few years off, really.

*yikes, our language is imprecise about this sort of thing. You know what I mean, but I am something of a pedant and can and will clarify if necessary. Please don’t make me.


Fallout 3: Not Buying It.

For the moment, at least.

Bethesda made a series of choices that led us to this pass. First, when developing Fallout 3, they decided to try to adapt Fallout into a first-person game. That makes Bob very, very sad, but it’s reasonable. First-person “roleplaying games” are apparently very popular in this day and age, even if I find the popularity of the Elder Scrolls titles frankly baffling.

I have never seen a “first-person roleplaying game” done well. I don’t believe it’s possible, actually. VATS or no VATS, I have the feeling that most of the time my ability to succeed in a combat situation is going to have less to do with my ability to devise tactics and my character’s ability to execute them than with my own ability to play an FPS game. This egregious break from character is a hallmark of every attempt at first-person roleplaying I have so far seen, and Fallout 3 promises to be no different.

3D was a good move. That’s just updating your graphics. I’m not going to miss turns or hexes either. I understand why they were used at the time, but they were always kind of a problem, and it’s good to see them go. RPGs over the last few years have shown us that you can do (pausing) realtime, granular coordinates, and 3D graphics, and retain much the same tactical character-based combat you’d expect from a Fallout. Just with less stupid.

First-person, however, is by no means necessitated by going 3D or realtime, and practically demands that where the player points his gun is more or less where the bullet goes, thus making the game more of a shooter than an RPG. Sure, it will have non-combat interactions. Likely plenty of them, but those gain nothing and (in my opinion) lose quite a bit from the first-person perspective. There’s really no benefit. Which is why, though first-person views are available in most third-person RPGs, people generally don’t use them. Similarly, though third-person views are often available in first-person “RPGs,” they don’t get much use, especially in combat. Why? Because it’s hard to aim in third-person. But that isn’t supposed to be my job anyway. That’s why my character has a “Small Guns” skill.

And make no mistake, from everything I’ve heard, Fallout 3 is trying and succeeding in being the successor to both title lines. It’s the next Fallout. It’s the next Oblivion. A lot of Oblivion’s more unfortunate features are supposed to have made an appearance, and I don’t know if I like that much Elder Scrolls (or Oblivion specifically) in my Fallout.

And the big problem is that there’s no immediate way to find out. Sources say there’s no demo planned. For a game of such dubious pedigree, this is a title-killer for me. If I can’t try before I buy, I’m not going to buy. I have better things to do with my time and money.

Of course, there are other ways to try something before you buy it. And I’m not talking about renting (being forced to rent a title just to see how it plays strikes me as egregious.)