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[PATV] Extra Credits s.3 ep.20 - Technobabble

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edited December 2011 in The Penny Arcade Hub
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  • Hexmage-PAHexmage-PA Registered User regular
    I disagree with the position that technobabble is always bad. It might not be necessary, but it's good for two things:

    1) Providing at least some excuse for things that are almost certainly impossible in reality.
    2) Allowing characters to ramble to themselves about how they need to "reverse the polarity".

    What would shows like Doctor Who and Futurama do without technobabble?

    I also think Extra Credits is using a flawed description of science fiction. The way I understand it, "hard sci-fi" tries to make everything as realistic as possible, whereas "soft sci-fi" uses technobabble to justify the (seemingly) impossible. I might be nitpicking now, but I also don't think that a story has to be set in the future for it to be science fiction.

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  • Dark Raven XDark Raven X Laugh hard, run fast, be kindRegistered User regular
    I have absolutely no problem with technobabble in principle, but it's all context.

    It's the reason a classic campy zombie horror can get away with voodoo or 'just cuz' as the reason for the zombies, but a more modern 'realistic' thing like 28 Days Later needs a 'real' explanation.

    Oh brilliant
  • jackaljackal Registered User regular
    Procedurals have the worst technobabble. "They are hacking our IPs with a VB6 GUI!" They don't even have the excuse that it is taking place in the future.

  • HenroidHenroid Radio Demon Internet HellRegistered User regular
    Hexmage-PA wrote:
    I disagree with the position that technobabble is always bad. It might not be necessary, but it's good for two things:

    1) Providing at least some excuse for things that are almost certainly impossible in reality.
    2) Allowing characters to ramble to themselves about how they need to "reverse the polarity".

    What would shows like Doctor Who and Futurama do without technobabble?

    I also think Extra Credits is using a flawed description of science fiction. The way I understand it, "hard sci-fi" tries to make everything as realistic as possible, whereas "soft sci-fi" uses technobabble to justify the (seemingly) impossible. I might be nitpicking now, but I also don't think that a story has to be set in the future for it to be science fiction.

    I think you missed part of the point. It's not necessarily that technobabble is bad, it's that creators need to understand when they're working in the realm of sci-fi or future fantasy (and I'd never considered segmenting things via those two terms, but it's a good idea and the explanation behind each I feel is fitting; you call it hard sci-fi vs. soft, but eh, you're just getting into semantics). Technobabble works in something like Futurama because it's a comedy show that doesn't take itself seriously. But when it shows up in something like Hackers, where they say random shit about networking connections, it's wrong and misinformation.

    Here's the deal. People are dumb. When they are presented something in a serious manner, they believe that things were investigated and they are being educated. On the contrary though, when something is comical and doesn't take itself seriously, people don't give credibility to technobabble, and it actually serves the comedy sometimes.

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  • zepherinzepherin Registered User regular
    jackal wrote:
    Procedurals have the worst technobabble. "They are hacking our IPs with a VB6 GUI!" They don't even have the excuse that it is taking place in the future.
    Computer security in shows and movies are some of the worst offenders. They throw around encryption and cracking an encrypted hard drives like having a super computer or beowulf cluster is going to break down an AES-Twofish-Serpent combination in a couple of minutes or even a couple of days.

  • RaikouRaikou Registered User
    zepherin wrote:
    jackal wrote:
    Procedurals have the worst technobabble. "They are hacking our IPs with a VB6 GUI!" They don't even have the excuse that it is taking place in the future.
    Computer security in shows and movies are some of the worst offenders. They throw around encryption and cracking an encrypted hard drives like having a super computer or beowulf cluster is going to break down an AES-Twofish-Serpent combination in a couple of minutes or even a couple of days.

    Gentlemen, behold...the horror.

  • AurichAurich Registered User regular
    Hexmage-PA wrote:
    What would shows like Doctor Who and Futurama do without technobabble?

    Those are actually two excellent examples of how technobabble can be funny just because it is so often stupid. Doctor Who has some real gems like "Imagine time as a bubble..." "So it's like a bubble?" "No. But imagine it that way if you like."

  • THESPOOKYTHESPOOKY im alucard Registered User regular
    jackal wrote:
    Procedurals have the worst technobabble. "They are hacking our IPs with a VB6 GUI!" They don't even have the excuse that it is taking place in the future.

    NCIS has always had the best hilarious tech segments, but season 6 of Dexter is currently stealing that title.

    "Yep, that's my IP address."

    3715dce84e531295d5cf9e9c7b7c0b5c.png
  • zepherinzepherin Registered User regular
    Raikou wrote:
    zepherin wrote:
    jackal wrote:
    Procedurals have the worst technobabble. "They are hacking our IPs with a VB6 GUI!" They don't even have the excuse that it is taking place in the future.
    Computer security in shows and movies are some of the worst offenders. They throw around encryption and cracking an encrypted hard drives like having a super computer or beowulf cluster is going to break down an AES-Twofish-Serpent combination in a couple of minutes or even a couple of days.

    Gentlemen, behold...the horror.
    I just vomited. bravo. To be fair to Numb3rs, There are a lot of unscrupulous activity that goes down on IRC, mostly 40 year old men soliciting minors for sex who also are 40 year old men, possibly police officers or Chris Hansen.

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