gaming

Repetetitive music for repetitititive tasks

This is an expansion on this tweet (chain – click to see the rest):

I wanted to provide a little background to what I meant.

You might have heard about the benefits of giving both left and right brain hemisphere something to do when performing tasks. Well, there’s that, and there’s also association. Mix something you don’t like with something you do and your brain will make a connection. And the factor I wanted to focus on is about the repetition:

I attended a psychedelic spiritual ritual (Santo Daime, ayahuasca) a couple of times where there would be singing of very similar melodies, over and over, for hours. (Some breaks from that for spoken parts, but relatively few.) Now what this does is that if there’s a part of your brain that simply resists the repetitive nature of the experience, e.g. finds it boring or dumb or annoying, that part, which prevents you from accomplishing the task, will eventually have to succumb and admit defeat. You are literally getting your mind out of the way. Not necessarily completely, but the part that resists.

So one of the best example for such situations that I can think of from my own experience is computer games and “farming”. I’m sure you know that. You want something rare or something in great quantity in an MMO, but it involves mind-numbing ( 😉 ) grind for hours, and the longer you do it, the more resistance your mind builds up.
Now if you can find a music that puts you in the right mood, that conveys a kind of vibe of being diligent, productive, to keep going; music that has flow and groove (D&B is usually good with flow), and you find yourself able to listen to that on repeat, over and over, then you can combine that with the repetitive task and you will have fused the best of both worlds. The core issue you took with the grind, the seemingly endless repetitiveness, has been connected to two things: Your wish to accomplish the task and your enjoyment of the music.

You know this really worked well when you eventually realize you’ve overshot the mark and kept going. ^^
You know the music is REALLY good when you KNOW you’ve overshot your mark but keep going anyway. 😀

The following are just some of my personal favorites, but they might give you an idea what I’m talking about. The music needs to speak to a deeper part than your rational mind. Some music can be awesome fun, but only for a while, because it adresses the mind too much. Other is less obtrusive. Generally, what works well is music that makes you want to move your body. As an added effect then, your manual actions towards accomplishing the task will be treated like dancing by your emotional mind.

Awkward Marina – Fairy Tail 2014 Theme (EXCEED The Limit Remix)

PsychGoth – The Derpinator (Fighting theme of Derpy Hooves)

RawGreen – Donut Steel 2: The Soundtrack

 
 
A bit less effective for me, but still in the category:

Whitetail – Rarity Theme (CommandSpry Remix)

DerpyCrash & Leafrunner – Mezza Luna (Hay Tea Remix)

And then there is a set of somewhat different tunes that used to help me a lot in World of Warcraft, in part during daily quests that are quite action-oriented. It might be a change of taste, or the fact that it’s a different game. You’ll have to figure out what fits you and the situation, but this essay might help you understand what to look for and how to find fitting music more easily.
(I also did my own cuts from the following tracks in order to make them ‘cut to the chase’ and work better when looped.)

EVE Online – Retribution

EVE Online – Seven Clans

EVE Online – Fight Like You Live

I am usually not into industrial or acid punk or whatever this is, but it’s about the context and I’m quite open to various music genres.
Even if, for example, you are not at all someone who enjoys listening to orchestral music, when it skillfully complements a movie scene, it’s literally a different story. Should I say…

Klendathu Drop from Starship Troopers

Being a musician is one thing, but being able to find just the right music for a specific occasion is a skillset in itself.

Of course, apart from repetitive music, any music that really gets you going can work, because no matter what you do of whether you do anything at all while listening, you’re already having a good time and thus perceive the world differently. And what I mean by that is beautifully depicted by this:

If you are into chiptunes, the following might do the trick (Not gonna link them, it slows down the article display):
Artist: Yerzmyey
Titles: Break Space, Fifteen Colours, Arcane Zone (Part 2), New Line, XL Dance

As a sidenote: I use to go to a TCM massage parlor and they were playing the same set of tunes every time, all the time. And the choice was perfect, because for reasons I cannot put into words, that music was another example (even if not repetitive and motivating, but calming and unobtrusive) of not getting bothersome even if you hear it again and again. And it was like that throughout the whole CD. A skillful choice … and for the therapist understandably a necessary choice.

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Competitive gaming, campers and the unfairness of life

Many years ago I was playing a Star Wars themed multiplayer arena game. Two players would duel and others were waiting in the queue and spectating. Only once a player had been defeated, another one would take their place.

You had three lightsaber attacks: quick and weak, slow and strong and an average one.

There was one player who used nothing but the slow and strong attack that would kill a player in a single strike. And this looked kind of dumb/boring/uncreative and the mood was darkening and people were complaining because that player kept felling his opponents with that tactic, since he only had to hit them once to defeat them.

But since this was according to the game’s rules, so there was nothing we could do but leave, at some point I realized what to do:
I had to get that part of my mind out of the way that complained about a supposed unfairness or the bad style of that player.

So I did and became inventive. Once I got past said point, it was easy to figure out a suitable counter-strategy: Not getting hit had highest priority, and since his attack was slow, that was actually not that difficult. To nicely balance things out and become his nemesis, I used nothing but the weak and quick attack, and I combined it with many feints. He couldn’t adapt to that strategy, and that made me consider that he probably played the way he did because he wasn’t very bright.

Thus, while it took me many hits to defeat him, I did so, step by step, controlling him, fooling him, wearing him down.

And when he finally collapsed to the ground, there was loud and triumphant cheering in the voice chat!
You would never have gotten that kind of reaction from just some ordinary online multiplay, but this included a component of meta-gaming. This had turned out to be an almost epic struggle against an enraging villain (who incidentally was also using a red light saber – I used a golden-yellow one).

Man! What a triumph and a life lesson learned!

I felt like writing this down for all the gamers who are complaining about “campers” and “snipers” in FPS games. Not only does that complaining happen a lot in shooters that are about modern warfare and its battlefields where anything like that is realistic and thus actually skillful, but regardless of this, don’t fall into a habit of complaining about every bit of unfairness in games, because that habit is often born out of convenience, and if it escalates, then a game design can become boring, because everything is totally equal in every way, taking away some of that sweet metagaming magic. 😉

It can be quite alright to have an ideal of fairness in mind, but if you expect it to already exist everywhere, you will inhibit yourself.

Overcoming a challenge with the odds against you is VERY rewarding and empowering. If you are confident that you can overcome ‘unfair’ obstacles, life itself will start to feel more easy to master, and that moves you into a better position for bringing your ideals of fairness into the world. … That is… If you don’t allow yourself to become corrupted by the unfairness you overcome. 😉 Remember: We’re talking about strength of character here, not weakness. Don’t try to struggle with your opponents, don’t try to face them using their mindset, or you will become the problem. Instead, just leave them in the dust. 🙂

About the exactly equal pricing of Xbone and PS4

A peculiar thing about the current gaming consoles: Why is the kinect-less Xbox One now $399 – EXACTLY the same price as the PS4? Considering that ‘everybody’ uses the psychological trickery of the nines – trying to make a price look siginifcantly lower when it isn’t, why didn’t Microsoft, knowing that their console is somewhat less powerful than the PS4, set the price to $389? Even this is somewhat of a common marketing tactic: impairing comparability with the competition. Yet they didn’t do it.

The only explanation for that that I can think of right now if I consider them not to be fools is if they are already at the absolute minimum price they can afford to make and fear that if they slightly lowered the price of the Xbone, Sony would just nonchalantly follow suit and lower the PS4 price equally, thus hitting Microsoft much harder than Sony.