Episode 497: Look on my Works, Ye Mighty, and Have a Good Time!

On the Overthinking It Podcast, it’s Vegas, baby! We discuss Las Vegas, gambling, and the decoupling of incentive structures from narrative structures.

Vegas, Baby! Peter Fenzel, Mark Lee, and Matthew Wrather discuss Las Vegas, gambling, the lottery, loot boxes, identity, and the decoupling of incentive structures from narrative structures.

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2 Comments on “Episode 497: Look on my Works, Ye Mighty, and Have a Good Time!”

  1. Lemur #

    The inescapable cultural and symbolic resonance that places like Las Vegas have developed through rigorous association with a particular concept or emotion both in real life and in numerous fictional depictions is fascinating. Movies in particular have always been somewhat obsessed with particular places – stories aren’t just happening in a given city, but doing so in a way that directly involves as many as possible of that city’s most famous landmarks.

    On the Vegasness of Vegas, I also found it interesting that Canto Bight is “Space Macau” rather than “Space Vegas” (carrying over from the Star Wars podcast). I feel like Macau does in fact supersede Vegas in a lot of salient aspects – the sheer scale of the splendid grandeur (including the tackiness thereof), the artifice and scientific psychological manipulativeness of the design, the “transformative” aspects. It’s also interesting how often Macau is starting to play a starring role in entertainment properties functionally equivalent to the role Vegas has played. Fun activity: compare https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_films_set_in_Las_Vegas and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_films_set_in_Macau. On the other hand, there is a significantly different relationship with general permissiveness and Carnival atmosphere, I think, because China.


  2. TeamEponine #

    Hearing about the random reward structure reminded my of an article I read where it has a few simulations on pokie machines (slot machines I think you called them) and why they work.


    Keeping that in mind I went bowling the other day and completely understand Matt’s (fake) shock that children are being manipulated the same way. The setup of the machines that provided the tickets that could get you prizes now are essentially the same as poker machines. I would tell you specific stories about my experience but what happens in the Arcade at the Bowling Alley, stays in the Arcade at the Bowling Alley.

    With respect to the conversation about video games and reward structures I think a good reference to explaining all of that is the South Park episode, ‘Freemium isn’t Free.’ In the episode Stan gets thousands of dollars in debt playing the Terrance and Phillip mobile app. While this is happening the Canadian Minister for Mobile Gaming explains how the app was made and why they are making so much money.
    I have a friend who worked with a successful mobile app company and he said it’s pretty spot on.


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