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Review of Baba is You

Game is FUN. Thinking is HARD. Brain is FRIED.

Baba is You is a 2D grid-based puzzle game. You play as some character-icon (most often the titular Baba, some kind of four-legged animal) and push other icons and tiles around to solve level-based puzzles. What makes the game unique is that the rules of the levels are the puzzle, and the rules are part of the level—are tiles in the level.

For example, if a level has the rules Baba is YOU and Flag is WIN, you must navigate the YOU (a Baba icon) to the WIN (a Flag icon). But you usually have to build the rules to make it possible to beat the level. And therein lies the fun!

The artstyle is basic. As with most puzzle games, that’s probably for the best. It keeps you from being distracted while looking acceptable enough. It has the feel of being a classic computer game that could’ve come from the early days, could’ve been made in the 80s.

It takes a bit for the logic to sink in. Part of that is learning the different types of blocks. There are non-logic blocks (like the Baba icon and Flag icon), which only have properties by virtue of what the logic blocks say.

As for logic blocks, there are names (Baba, Flag, etc.), which represent one or more icons on the board, there are operators and connectors (in white letters) like is and and, which connect those names to properties, and there are the properties, which are labeled in inverted blocks (here in all-caps). A few are WIN, YOU, PUSH. The other thing to know is that names can also be properties. What that means is if you have a sequence like Man is Dog, it will transform all man icons into dog icons.

One of the early tricks you have to learn is that any of the blocks can be reused by having them cross vertically and horizontally. This is similar to how tiles in crossword puzzles (or a game of Scrabble) can serve double duty.

The teaching of new properties is decent. Each area starts with some easier ones that demonstrate the new concepts you’ll see used in that set of levels. Sometimes it felt like I didn’t fully understand them when I was expected to use them (EMPTY from the “Rocket Trip” levels is a good example of that). That’s part of the challenge, though, the difference between knowing a little and mastery of the concepts.

Some the level solutions are kind of complicated to get set up right. Others are messy, requiring a lot of stuff to be moved around on the board that didn’t matter in the moment, next to things that did. And in general, order of operations and the specific properties of specific board pieces matter a lot. It’s a game probably best received by programmers and other technically-minded types. But most of the levels are likely accessible enough to anyone who likes puzzling their way through.

Another messiness issue arises when multiple items are stacked in the same spot. It could be confusing to figure out which items you have stacked. That’s true both for items of the same type (multiple copies) and for mixes of different items and words. The good news is that there is an undo feature (the z key) that you will use often to fix mistakes or remind yourself the correct first part of a solution after the second part falls apart. (You’ll also use the r key to reset the level as needed.)

Most areas have bonus levels, which are numbered by dots instead of numerals. The bonus levels are copies of their neighbors with tweaked rules to puzzle out an alternate way to solve. So if something doesn’t work on a level, keep it in mind! On a number of bonuses, I had to implement a solution that didn’t work for the main level, that I had to abandon.

Most levels’ difficulty arises from figuring what to do. For the harder levels, and some of the others, the challenge comes more from figuring out how to do what you know you have to do. And then for a few levels, most of them not particularly hard, the hurdle is doing the solution that’s obvious enough. But you might get stuck here and there. It’s easy to overthink some of the puzzles.

A good help in dealing with those cases was Key of W (Michael Matlock): “Baba is Hint: A Spoiler-Free Guide”. It let me think about my approach without telling me the answer (and it helped me make sure I didn’t miss any levels). Steam Community: rjdimo: “Guide Has Hint Is Not Solution (WIP)” was also good for some hints, though it’s less complete. Fandom: Baba is Wiki is a full wiki with lots of information about the game, including levels. Unfortunately, the level pages have full solutions in plain view.

“Baba is Hint” is well put-together, with each map area having its own page (use the pictures near the top of each section to navigate to the right one). It’s got several hints per level from nudges to bigger hints, and it rates level difficulty and offers some commentary. Toward the end-game, it does tend to reference prior levels (but you may not remember what or when or how), so clicking around is necessary for those hints. I tended to use the Fandom wiki for looking up solutions to levels I’d already completed to refresh my memory, rather than going back to them in-game or looking at their hints again.

The nature of puzzles always makes it difficult to give useful hints that are not outright solutions. About half the time I looked for a hint, I was overthinking the solution, believing I had to do things I didn’t need to do (some of which I would later have to do for a bonus level). The other half of the time, it was usually a matter of confirming I had to do what I thought I did, and then I figured out how to do it.

The endgame levels of “Baba is You” are many. This is a deep and involved endgame. After you complete the regular levels, things get crazy. I would not have beaten everything without at least some hints and nudges to keep me sane.

A well-done puzzle game, it took me about 53 hours to complete with all achievements, though I spent a little time after messing with the level editor and user-made levels. Unless you’re adverse to puzzles you should give this one a try.

The Right to Reproductive Autonomy

If the court makes this mess, America will have to clean it up.

If the circulating draft is anything like the decision by the Supreme Court, there is but one remedy: amending the Constitution.

To that end, here is a draft article of amendment:

Section 1. The right to reproductive autonomy must not be denied or abridged by the United States nor by any State.
Section 2. No pregnancy may be terminated upon viability, except when it particularly threatens the mother’s life.
Section 3. The Congress has the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

What does that mean?

  1. Abortion will be legal and not subject to the whims of madmen. Any pregnancy may be terminated, whether for rape or incest or any other reason, up to viability.
  2. Pregnancy cannot be terminated once a fetus can live outside the womb. The only exception to that is when continuing the pregnancy or inducing labor or caesarean birth would result in death or major health complications for the mother.

I am not sure this would be the best language for a Constitutional amendment, but it’s what I think would work. Lawyers and experts will surely propose their own language and whatever is eventually ratified will differ somewhat.


It will take time and work to achieve such an amendment, but it is the only reasonable guarantee of a natural right to reproductive autonomy. The people of the United States will support the passage of such an amendment, though it will take a decade to get there.

First, what is required to amend the Constitution? Either you go through a convention (called by two-thirds of the states; has never happened before) or you get two-thirds of both Houses of Congress to propose it to the states. Three-fourths of the states (that’s 38 total) must ratify it.

Efforts will be made on both methods of proposal. Liberal states will quickly pass resolutions calling for a constitutional convention, and there will be proposals in states with mixed government, some of which may pass. There will be proposals floated in Congress. But without a reshaped politics, it will come down to grinding out better elected representatives to make it happen.

For the court to strip away women’s rights would reshape politics. There will either be moderate pro-choice Republicans elected, or that party will be throttled in their ambitions to allow for a mixture of independents, third-parties, and Democrats to do the work needed to enshrine this natural right in our written Constitution. Some of that will require new political alliances and forms. Some of it will result naturally from the media publication of the harms of denying women bodily autonomy.

That last part means citizens will suffer very real oppression from a pseudo-Christian cult’s misinterpretation of scripture and law. Some will die from bleeding and sepsis. Some will be imprisoned for working to secure healthcare for the vulnerable. But we live in a media age where hiding or dismissing the real harms will be impossible. Politicians, likely including Republicans, will have no choice but to affirm women’s rights.

That’s not to say it will be an easy struggle, but it will be necessary and it will happen. All of it will take a lot of work and voting. Please register to vote. Go on Ballotpedia and other resources to look into who’s and what’s on your ballot and when you vote on it.

There are other things that will likely happen along the way. The Supreme Court will be reformed. The filibuster rule may go away. But none of that changes the fundamental goal and outcome: Constitution or bust.

Alabama Politics in 2022

Alabama Republicans mock the institutions of man so heartily and with such fervor.

The Democrats are rebuilding in Alabama. Maybe? Ballotpedia says that they are running candidates in only 47 of 105 state house races, 14 of 35 state senate races, governor, attorney general, and secretary of state. Nobody running for lieutenant governor or auditor or treasurer. Simple math tells us that no Democrats are standing in 58 state house districts or for 21 state senate seats. There are candidates seeking the nomination for US Senate, while for the US House, Democrats will contest only five of the seven seats.

Republicans are running in all statewide races, all national races, in 83 of the 105 state house seats, and in 29 of the 35 state senate races.

Not great. The best case for state Democrats for the next four years is as a minority party that can sometimes influence legislation if the Republicans are fractured or perhaps fixing defects the Republicans overlooked in generally acceptable legislation. None of the statewide candidates are well-known or in a strong position.

Most of the Republican candidates run on made-up bullshit issues that have no relationship with reality (the FOX News ticket), much less with the offices they seek. They talk about CRT or disliking Spanish, none of which has anything to do with running the government or drafting meaningful legislation.

The big-ticket item from the governor, which she’s not even running on, was funding and plans to build new prisons using COVID funds so that the state can keep locking people up rather than educating them and building a better tomorrow. But like Biden’s infrastructure work, the prisons won’t be built for some time. So she’s making up some crap and yelling about it. She’s another George Wallace type, vying to be seen as loudest dipshit in the pack. Taking pleasure in pissing on and pissing off the libs. And most of her opponents are doing the same.

That’s also what the Republicans running to replace Senator Richard Shelby are doing. They bring up state issues that a federal legislator has no influence on, or they make up some grievances against the president or against the politicians from other states.

There’s a fairly weak offering of media in the state, and while what exists makes some efforts to push for a better way, it’s mostly ineffective. They have the power to break a scandal, but not to turn the ship.

Alabama Republican politics are works of fiction, any resemblances to reality are accidental, unintentional.


Doug Jones helped the Democrats adopt new charter rules which may help structurally at some point, but the state party is still not very animated. National politics and national political brands are too dominant to give much room for them to break out, apparently, and they don’t have the funds, manpower, or candidates to do it.

Maybe they’ll get there some day, but in 2022 it looks like a pretty weak party, in a weak state that doesn’t have many short-term prospects for reform or improvement.

There are Republicans in the state who would be Democrats in other states, but they can’t afford the association down here. That stifles the growth opportunities for the party, which keeps us on a trajectory of Republican primaries deciding statewide races on phantom issues and hate and bile. And the same Republicans block reform efforts, gerrymander the districts, and don’t set the state on a real growth trajectory.

That means a lack of state leaders tethered to truth and compassion. It means deprioritizing human welfare, education, and environment, all of which mean less liberty.

It’s so dumb and why it looks to stay that way, at least for four more years. I’ve voted in every government election I’ve ever been eligible to, and I want everyone to vote, believe it would make things better, but it’s always bothered me that my vote never really counts at any level of government, living in a backwards state with broken politics.