Farming Grows New Meaning
Zynga broadens the spectrum of gaming: Ouch, this is a nasty, elitist article ["FarmVillains," Peter Jamison, Feature, 9/8]. Your points about business practices may be true, but continued references to "inane" or "simplistic" entertainment betray your snobbish, arrogant approach to gaming. You may prefer the Ayn Rand–inspired Bioshock. Frankly, the market doesn't.
I was in a sandwich shop the other day, hearing three middle-aged women discussing their crop strategy like they might talk about a soap opera plot or a celebrity scandal. Zynga (and its competitors) have stripped out the arrogant "gamer" attitude so prevalent among console gamers and offered compelling, engaging, profitable content to hundreds of millions of people who have never played games before. Your sneering at that success is pretty horrid.
Typical industry pickle: So Zynga nicked ideas and exploited common knowledge of triggers in human motivation, and now it's starting to fall due to saturation. How was this worthy of five pages? Or at all? Sure, it stole ideas, like all companies. Yes, it tried to maintain a status quo due to an amazing success, and now it's in a bit of a pickle because the world is moving on, just like the music and movie industry, and most other big industries. Business. As. Usual.
Forget white-box takeout and try this: He [Danny Bowien] might not be trying to make authentic Chinese food, but I have to say the 15-item menu [at Mission Street Food] contains some of the most authentic Chinese food I've ever had in the States ["The Matrix of Food," Jonathan Kauffman, Eat, 9/8]. The "homestyle tofu" is a spot-on replication of a dish found in countless Beijing and Hunan restaurants. I was delighted to find the same in the other dishes I tried.
Woe to us Americans, used to paper boxes filled from the reheated tubs of takeout Amero-Chinese slop. I've yet to sample the majority of the menu, but damn — this is that excellent dry-hot spiciness of northeast China.
Feeling the reggae music: Beres [Hammond] gave a fantastic birthday performance at the Independent and helped the crowd to celebrate with him ["Beres Hammond: Show Preview," Tomas Palermo, Hear This, 8/25]. He has maximum energy, jumping around to the music like a 20-year-old. His beautiful songs were filled with warm and spiritual reggae vibes.
If you are a reggae fan, catch Beres wherever you can. So many great artists have passed, it is our good fortune that we can still enjoy his talent and artistry.
Not Taking the Bait
Quit waiting around for criminals to show up: You want to really help stop crime ["Crime Starters," Chris Roberts, Sucka Free City, 9/8], how about doing something about the number of vehicles in the city that are broken into at night? The premise of Bait Car not only sounds idiotic, it sounds like entrapment. There's no chance that anyone with a lawyer would ever get convicted.
Blog Comment of the Week
In response to a blog post about more cops at Burning Man: Speaking of law enforcement, ["Burning Man 2010: A Freakishly Cold Fish Barrel for Cops?" Ron Gamon, All Shook Down, 9/7] did anyone else notice that in addition to the usual Washoe and Pershing County sheriff's deputies, Storey County also had a sizable presence? The big surprise for me, however, was seeing a cruiser from Humboldt County!
I was under the impression that there was a lot more law enforcement this year, and the author seems to have gotten the same impression. I even saw two sheriff's deputies hollering at some people, making fun of them. Not sure if it was light-hearted ribbing or just cops behaving like yahoos, which they usually don't do at Burning Man. In my years of attending, law enforcement officers at BM have been pretty mellow unless on a particular mission to find illegal activity or if their hand is forced by someone doing something right near them.