The casino business had changed. Not as much as anyone thought it was going to, but it had changed. With the advent of the chip that changed the world, sleep no longer existed in a meaningful way for most. The night stretched on and on, with anxiety and fatigue weighing you down. The sun takes away the light, and reminds you that you are cold and alone without it. A perfect opportunity for a company to bring in optimism, hope, kind faces, good food, and a gorgeous environment free from the petty differences of day and night. You could come in and play until you lost interest or your money ran dry, and coincidentally those were the top two reasons the House would prefer you not stick around.

But that was how the people changed, not the casino. The casino, on its own motivations, updated to meet the times. No more expensive upkeep of the room, or interior decorating to match what you could only hope the richest of your potential customers found appealing. Instead, an Alternate Reality display, letting all the decoration take place in your special casino glasses, guaranteed to make you look and feel and gamble like a cool person worth a lot of money. And those glasses made small changes here and there, to test you, to see what you liked, to see how your betting habits and spending increased through the connected casino interfaces. And those data could be sold to other casinos, to researchers, to advertisers, to build up the efficiency of the economic system that made society run. Everyone wins, in their own way. But mostly the House.

After all.

It’s Only Business.

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There are few who would disagree that the meaning of life is more than the collection of good experiences to a degree that they maximally outweigh bad experiences. But how MUCH more? In their centuries of debating hedonism, utilitarianism, stoicism, and a hundred other worldviews, philosophers have considered the thought experiment of shaving down one’s brain to the minimum required to maintain consciousness and experience sensation, and placing it in a jar that continuously stimulates its pleasure centers until it dies a happy death. Under philosophies that maximize pleasure, they say, doing that to someone would not only be a good thing, but it might actually be a moral obligation. If pleasure is the only measure of a life well-lived, then such an absurd, destructive setup would perfect one’s life by definition. The very idea seems ridiculous.

On the other hand. Pleasure sells.

After all.

It’s Only Business.Continue Reading

Sometimes, when you work on your own for long enough, your plans become inseparable from you, attached irreparably to the way you think. This is all well and good until the plan leaves your grasp, and others start to grapple with it, only to find that what has been created wasn’t made for them, despite that being the original point of the project. Once past the rose-colored glasses, the plan becomes riddled with failure points, uninteresting, and frustrating, not because there’s anything wrong with the perspective of the recipient, but because that perspective wasn’t fully considered. When this occurs, there’s little to do but ask your friend to cut out a LARGE amount of frustrated side talk, question your self-worth as a GM, dread the premiere of the episode, and write a pretentious introduction paragraph in the style of your other pretentious introduction paragraphs to warn the listener.

After all.

It’s Only GMing.

My Bad.

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The cogs continued to turn, squealing under the friction of the grit placed within them, but turning nonetheless. Tired, twitching fingers fretted at the keyboard, eyes bouncing between shorthand sections of past plans. The links were there, even if a good number of the boxes were marked with a small, passive aggressive “x”. At least when part of the plan failed, it didn’t require attention. It was like tossing a ball aside while juggling; the overall effect is diminished, but what remains is more reliable, more likely to work. With Project Lachesis standing at the forefront of his workflow, mental energy was always a resource to carefully ration for a rainy day.

Thunder was starting to echo on the horizon, but he continued to type, to work, to plan, to scheme.

After all,

It’s Only Business,

But maybe one day soon, that would finally change.

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