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Internet vs. debates
TrashMan posted a topic in Way Off-TopicMy thoughts? Internet versus debates are like train wrecks. Nothing (good or otherwise) never comes out of them except that they can be entertainign to watch. That said, when it comes to „who would win“ debates, there are multiple arguments that keep popping up, that frankly go on my nerves: INCOMPATIBLE MATCHUPS Some matchups just don't make sense, and aren't really compatible. And I'm talking in broad terms. Who the target audience is, the media, the setting, the genre – all of these form a specific atmosphere which may be totally unmashable with another. It's difficult to explain it, so examples: Griffith from Berserk (a dark fantasy where evil wins and the power of love and freindship is impotent) vs. MLP poni (a world where freindship is power). Superman vs. Bugs Bunny? Or a character from a comedic show that doesn't care about realism or physics vs. a character from a serious, relistic show? How about kid-frineldy shows with almost no blood, and where all wounds are merely „bruises“ and a sword trough a gut or a bomb is something you walk off, vs. a gritty show with gallons of blood and wounds that leave a character scarred for life? This little details are part of a character and how the character functions. The greater atmosphere and „essence“ of a show goes beyond just the specific of the setting. It influences everything about the story and characters. How do you reconcile these differences? Where is the neutral ground when there can't be neutral ground? The answer? You can't. DERIVED NUMBERS Derived numbers – or numbers someone calculated from a show sequence or an image – are useless. They really have little validity, as the basic assumptions they are based off are almost always false. First, the idea that real physics can be applied to a work of fiction. In theory it should work – especially if the work claims or suggests that indeed it does follow some specific laws of physics. However, since most shows are terribly inconsistent and give conflicting info, the accuracy of any calculation is in question. Real world inforces physics constantly. In a fictional universe, each specific law has to be inforced by the creater/animator in every scene/pannel. And it never is. Second, the idea that in-universe established ideas can be used as a base to calculate something. Would again be usefull if there was consistency. It's not uncommon for superheroes shows to specificly claim something, and then introduce a totally conflicting element. For example, a mutation-based hero defeats a bio-engineered villan by using konwledge of how DNA/cells and human body work. Sounds good except if the same knowledge is applied to the hero in question, it makes his existance impossible. Lastly, the idea that scenes/shots from a movie/comic are actually representative of the reality of the setting. After all,does anyone really belive that a director or whatever guy is in charge comes to the artist/animator and tells him „I want superman to fly in the next scene. Here's a book on physics, make sure he flies at *exactly* 5000kmh and pay attention at how his cape flatters and his descent angle“? Something like that practicly never happens. The directive usually amounts to „make him fly fast“. When asked at what speed a ship moves, one SF-author replied „at the speed of plot“. Many comic book authors made similar replies to questions on characters strength/speed and other attributes – as strong/fast as the current story requires. If you tried to calc someones speed/strength or some other attribute that way, using various scenes, you would be getting different values for each scene. Because there is no consistency, there is no grand plan or anyone who presides over it to make sure everything fits. It doesn't. In other words, if you are cherry-picking which laws of physics and what formulas to use on what sceens, then you have no leg to stand on. And you my friend are doing just that. Because, as perviously established, there is no true consistency nor an effort to enforce it. For an example, we know that Superman gets his powers from the sun, right? That is a canonical fact. Therefore, Superman cannot have more power than the Sun can produce. And we know the suns output. And given the size of the sun and inverse square law, the power of the radiation falls off with distance. And only a tiny, tiny power of that radiation will at any point be hitting Superman, since it's spread in all directions. Compounded by the fact that superman absorbs it trough his skin, his surface area is truly miniscule. Combine all that together and Superman would barely get enough power to lift a car. Even if he were able to absorb all of the suns power, that still cannot compare even to the smallest supernova – and allegeldy supes taken attacks as strong as 15. Hence we have physical formulas applied to known, long-estalished facts that give us invalid numbers. Superheroes defy multiple physical laws every second. From closing black holes with just his strength or static electricity to punching reality - the most basic laws like thermodynamics or perservation of energy are constnatly ignored and broken. So how then, does it make sense to use physical laws to calculate things? I doesn't. But people jump onto it when their caclulation bring up numbers that reainforces their already established beliefs. ORIGINAL SOURCE Such derived numbers get even worse when game characters are involved, as direct gameplay is used as „evidence“. Hero can survive 4 rockets or 6 critical hammerblows to the head – therefore he's that strong or resilient. The fact that games are constricted an thus twist the presentation of the setting to fit the genre and/or balance escapes them. Which is even more redicolus when one takes into account that the cutscenes and the gameplay are often compeltely different. And when there are a game and movie and book based on it, the „original source“ argument creeps in. What is sez is that only the first or original source maters and is truly cannon. So game trumps everything else in this case. Which is of course, also wrong since it fails to take into account 2 important things: 1) Before any setting is made into a game, movie or a book , it is first thought of. The original concept is in the creators head is the original source. 2) Media formats come with different limitations when going from idea in your head to actual product. Of the 3, the books have the least limitations and can be the closest to the original concepts. Movies come second. Games are last, as they have the most limitations and restrictions – from balance to pacing, to content to difficulty to budget – and all of those force the makers to re-shape the original idea to fit in. Often times, entire parts or levels are cut. Gameplay mechanics dropped. For a good example, Dragon Age origins books provide a compeltely different balance and feel of power compared to games..and both are written by the same people. And the books are the „real deal“. Or take Warhammer 40K. In most games Space Marines aren't nearly as powerfull as they are in the fluff, simply because balance. POSITIVE PIS ONLY PIS or Plot Induced Stupidity (also known as Writer Induced Stupdity) is when a character is weakened or rendered ineffective for the purposes of plot. Also refers to characters holding back or not using a sensible approach to fighting. Debaters are quick to brush off their characters worst performances as these, while constantly using the best performances as proof of their favored characters awesomness. It usually boils down to „Well, if character X did Y or used power Z he would have won handly!“ What they forget that PIS goes both ways. Not only making a character weaker or less inteligent, but also making him stronger or more intelligent. All for the sake of plot. So for fairness sake, if one end of the spectrum is to be taken out of consideration, then so should the other. CONCLUSION At the end of the day, people always want their favorite to win and often will bend logic to get that victory. But being strong doesn't make a character great. I personally prefer weaker cahracters (or weaker editions/version of a strong character), because they are simply more interesting. Or .... I could go "LOL God-Man pwns all!"