Neat! I was in Chicago like a week or two ago but because of time constraints/rest of my family not caring about arboretums/it was cold out, we went to the Museum of Science and Industry instead (also the food court there actually had rather good food which is weird for museums I mean seriously Smithsonian's food is gross).
The local conservatory here does stuff like that sometimes though I'm never there at night 'cause it's kind of bordering a bad part of town. Also I know the zoo has lights at Christmas but there's nothing to see there after dark so we've learned to avoid those :T
@Going to the bank:
Bank was closed. Got quarters from Kroger instead. Got lunch at Target. Went to Gamestop but they didn't have anything interesting.
@Some thoughts on gaming:
1. I saw some cracked.com article talking about how the Game Industry's about to crash, and one of the points they made was about how, on Metacritic, the professional reviews for AAA games tend to be a lot higher than the user reviews. Their interpretation was that professional reviewers were corporate shills who give games good reviews so they can have their review featured on the box.
My interpretation is that the people writing Metacritic user reviews are easily-offended dumbasses that can't form a coherent opinion about anything. If you actually read the user reviews I'm pretty sure I'm right.
2. I also feel like the pricing for iPod/Android games is making gamers expect way lower prices for anything arcade/not super complex/not super long. Which on the flipside means that I think there are market pressures to put a lot of additional stuff in a game if you want to sell it for more than like two dollars.
Except I don't think adding more stuff to a game is necessarily a good thing because a lot of times it just results in bloat and, well, /stuff/ that's just THERE.
Fallout 2 was like that for me -- and I'm only bringing that up 'cause the GOG promotion -- but Fallout 1 was perfectly succinct and didn't waste any time, and yeah it was super short but I never got bored of it. Fallout 2 had a lot more stuff but it felt time wastey and pointless.
Alternatively, would Layer Section have been a better game if it was twice as long as it already is? God no -- 25-40 minute is about the ideal length for a shmup, and anything longer than that can get REALLY stressful. But I know a lot of modern gamer are going to see that it's just under 30 minutes long, only has like 6 levels, and wonder why they should shell out more than two bucks for it*.
3. Taking these two points together? Mass Effect 3 is one of the games that Cracked mentioned -- it got good professional reviews on Metacritic, but was panned by users because of the ending. AFAIK ME3 has a lot of content and is rather long, possibly because of market pressure to be really long and have a lot of content (idk reviewers like that at least). The ending sequence in ME3 is like, what, ten minutes long?
I have no idea if ME3 is good or not. I've never played it. But I've never heard anyone talk about the /rest/ of the game. Just the ending.
So, you know, you have market pressure to make really huge games, but the gaming community is just going to end up basing their opinion on whether the last ten minutes of the game presents an ending that matches their personal headcanon?
Does anyone else see a problem with this?