Posts filed under ‘media’
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Call of Pripyat:
I didn’t get the game at first, Call of PRipyat assumes a previous playthrough of another Stalker game, however when you begin to learn the game, it becomes brilliant. Stalker is open world as open world should be. There is no prison of cinematic story telling wisking you down a relatively linear corridor. Some missions are so impossible you’re best bet is to run. Stalker is an open world game that allows for approximation, although putting a helicopter up a dirt hill is still a cheesy plot point.
Might and Delight’s platformer I’ve covered before, but the game becomes a delightful puzzle platformer later on. It continues to develop, and to introduce new mechanics almost every room. The grandmother is a hard boss though.
Super Mario 3D Land
Slider is all the way up, the 3D perspective shows only 1 minor flaw in 3D game making: when we’re able to perceive depth, we notice the plainness of the environments more. Mario 3D Land is full of strip mall like colored pavements, parking lots with only brick blocks in their monotony, in other words depth reveals how much a scorched wasteland level design can be, aside from that a wonderful Mario and exactly how it should be.
The Next Big Thing
I loved this game at first, but by the end of it I had lost all interest and was jamming on the clue button all the time. Pendulolo studios starts with a bang, but ends with gender stereotypes so high they eliminate most of the fun and the villian isn’t much a villian. I found myself rather more interested in his politics than the player’s.
Much like 30 Flights of Loving Bioshock Infinite explores the line between cinema and game play, Ken Levine has adapted to the practices of the FPS to provide near perfect precision plot bursts in the midst of invariant game play. World building here is immense, and Bioshock (like a good anime) is a place you might want to live were it not do to that whole racism thing and the prohpet, etc.
Finished Torchlight 2
Playing: Steins;Gate, Forest, Long Live The Queen, S.T.A.L.K.E.R.
Reading: The Orphanmaster’s Son
You see the ads and referal programs for play-asia on almost any anime related site, anyways just a word of warning: what is listed on their site is not actually what they have in stock. If you order from them do not pay for next day or expedited shipping. What you are paying for is a service where in they locate a system or game for you, order it, and then ship it to you from their Hong Kong base. I ordered a 3DS from them only to be a tad shocked to have wait a week only to find they were still “preparing my order”. They did refund my money, and were quite nice, but their website is a little deceptive and be forewarned: you might be waiting weeks for items you can get other players or from an eshop day of.
PID is a newish indie platformer from a company with the amazing name Might and Delight. Two things I usually like together, however PID suffers a bit from the unity syndrome. The unity syndrome is when an indie game bears such similarity to another unity game that one simply feels one is playing the same game. In the case of PID it bears a resemblance to the equally excellent Rochard. Both are 2d platformers done in Unity only with remarkably different storylines, aesthetics, and play mechanics. PID involves a boy who over sleeps in an intergalactic school bus and finds himself immersed in the politics of an alien world. The game features co-op with both players using the same pc which is cool, but unlikely for someone like me.
PID is the story of various distractions, as the game begins our protagonist is looking for a bus back to his planet, only to be promised one in the first few minutes and then to discover that the old man in question is merely delusional, and a bus can only be caught from in town. From there PID grows into a gravity based platformer. Kurt, the plucky Pixar like protagonist of this surrealist epic, quickly acquires the ability to shoot two little gravity beams that will either send him up or to the side. These abilities aren’t terribly exciting, Rochard for features a gravity mechanic as well, but so far the game has made rather good use of them. You will flip plates, have to time throw to levitate boxes, and occasionally lob one into a tube to deal with an enemy.
And that might be where the game’s problems begin. PID has great surrealist design. It reminds of Windowsill:
But where Windowsill’s joy was the discovery of its surrealist mechanics PID is sadly more mundane in its play style. Kurt will be avoiding a surprisingly mundane group of machines in the castle level (confession I have not made it out of the castle yet). However the later parts of the castle introduce some creepy automatons that stalk Kurt through levels and have to be dealt with bombs, lasers, or other methods. These newer enemies suggest the game gets much more involved later. Truth be told I enjoyed the dining room levels quite a bit, because they reminded me of Mickey mouse in castle of illusion which was a major game for me when I was younger and the sitting room where I now reside is turning out to be wonderful as well. But PID initially in sound track and over all vibe is a bit of downer, propelled by jazz / surf rock bass lines the game’s opening levels seem almost sedate and the world around PID is often standing still.
Despite this, or maybe due to a love of platformers, I plundered through the first levels in a two hour binge arriving this morning at a really cool boss fight which involved smashing plates. I can only tentatively recommend PID, it’s design is fabulous, but the play mechanics are only now building to something truly exemplary. Might and Delight might have produced a gem, but nearing the end of the first section I am only now starting to get intrigued. The story, which in the trailer sounds awesome, is another problem, while an interesting idea it lacks execution and often falters in places, PID is a great could have been with story. The sound track only gets darker as one plays which is strange because PID is so much a game of surprise, it’s world is fairly original and it’s story book premise have great potential, but hey I haven’t even reached this guy yet: so who knows what is has in store. So to recap: it looks like a unity game, that same ethereal glow resounds around the game’s graphics. The world is greatly realized, but the enemies only become interesting towards the end of the first section. The game’s hook is gravity manipulation which works like lobbing a soft ball, it doesn’t quite have a fast pace to it, but it does lend to some ok puzzles.
Available from their website or Steam.
When I was growing up companies were large wise beasts, not necessarily moral, but rather consensus builders that based their products off mass taste. What I realize later on is that companies are in fact replicators of a single person’s taste. The ipad is simply a device built for a Californian buddhist, it is that said Buddhist simply controlled the means of production that ensure it ends up in our hands. Communism worried about the means of production, capitalism simply accumulates it in hegemonic clumps. Some of these clumps spread out over time, video game production has become a reality for even us digital gleaners. When we begin to see a product as what it is, a single group’s answer to a question, corporate products begin to take on a new light. Vogue is Anna Wintour’s popularity sheet, etc. That said things design for an amazingly small group of people can satiate millions. Nintendo’ Wii u idea is simply to link your tablet isolated family together into one TV while providing some basic options already available in Steam. If it will all work out as it does Iwata’s imagination is another problem. Games as a shared social space is a nice idea though and using your tv to share what you’re browsing is cool too.
Text games have been growing on me and Varytales is a new collection of them. Text is crack and the act of reading is quite fun, Emily Short’s tale of home schooling is cool and I enjoyed it. A Hate Story by Christine Love is another text based game I like. What I find myself thinking about is interaction in these stories. Ms.Short’s game is simply a choice based narrative, Ms. Love’s game is rather a search engine that queried requires you to present evidence to an A.I. Ms. Love’s game is great and would make an awesome addition to any library. I continue to find myself thinking in this direction, it’s funny to find literary theory coming down into games, but the question of the reader is an important one, and these games differ from big budget ones only in that the (usually more than) binaries in Ms. Short’s story are navigated (in theory) in big budget games by space, bullets, and dialog trees. How stories will morph to meet the not necessary, but tempting option of nonlinear narratives is another idea, especially if we’re all so similar that Steve Job’s device can make us happy, why would what Goethe wrote need to branch into cosmopolitanism if everyone enjoys Goethe? The act of choice in narrative is simply there to enrich and not necessary for difference.
There are a lot of games I’ve been thinking about recently.
Megarun is a free to play ipad game that faithfully recreates
the jumps and smashes of Yoshi’s Island or other Super Mario brothers games.
I am not that familiar with Endless Runners, I have never played Canabalt and only know the Hunger Games e.r. and a rather bad one starring a knight, but Megarun does the formula right, while also doing that super cute animal thing that makes anything shine. The game’s possibilities when it comes to paths are rather enticing, the enemies are fun to smash, and the variability of the jumps makes it shine.
Anyway, I am downloading Crysis 2 now that it’s on steam, am still unable to play Battlefield 3 despite having the entire game on my pc and having paid for it (I believe E.A. will be fixing origin’s drm problems around 2030) and other wise finishing up with my programming classes on udacity.com
Also still can not watch the new Flaming Lip’s video on vimeo due to shitty south east asian support on the part of vimeo. Was thinking about something else, but anyways another year goes by and the desktop at work stand unused as we fiddle around on our phones and the digital addictions grow larger, what ethnicities will we pass down to the next kids to deal with all of this? How will we distribute the ever expanding profits pie so at to enable us grow? Questions we’re all asking.
Quickly, what Proteus reveals is that the typical application of anxiety = game play is false. This is ambiance as game play, a way out of the consistent need to drop us into combat. Proteus isn’t just anti-combat, it opens up games to the idea of exploration as a goal. Gears of Wars or Pac-man are all based off the idea of challenge, Proteus is not so much a challenge, it invites you to relax. The game is pretty, but the thing is there’s a logic there, the game makes sense, and mystery is consistent. Proteus is a game of exploration, but it blew my mind wide open to the idea of games that evade the usual stress tests of gaming. This isn’t a hard game, its simply enjoyable, but there’s a lot there and so many mechanics evolving in the game that add wonder or narrative to the world. It gave me A LOT of ideas so to what to do in games, and it made me aware of how tired I am of the consistent stress test of gaming. Proteus strives to make every choice in exploration more enjoyable, to lay out a new mechanic that makes the games that much deeper and mysterious. It’s a case of narrative that in turn lets you contribute to the soundtrack that in turn alters gameplay. I haven’t nailed it, but the game is like ambient music, not so much about tempo or anger or aggression but unfolding, Proteus reveals the rock roots of the modern game, it makes so much of what passes as game play seem jammed into a punk 2 chord riff, in other words it’s kinda like Yanni in the middle of a hair rock convention and you can be sure most game designers don’t think of themselves as Van Halen. It invites games to let down their hair and find something else to do aside from killing. It’s a masterpiece, and in a canon of game design it’s a narrative well worth enshrining.
By now, if you’re familiar with games, you’ve probably heard of the Assassin’s Creed games.
Each game takes place in the present, and a subject, Miles Desmond, is hooked up to a machine
and forced to replay “genetic memories” of his ancestors. Miles belongs to a smallish order called Assassins.
the Assassin’s are in eternal peril from Templars, an order that usually represents reigning hegemons in a particular period.
In the third game, Brotherhood, the Templars were the Borgia.
The Borgia kinda worked as villians because they’re part of the Papacy and you know the church.
If you haven’t played the latest game Revelations, the video below contains a lot of spoiler and most of the ending
however it also contains the Assassin’s Creed:
Nothing is true, Everything is permitted
As Ezio explains, “To say nothing is true is to realize the foundations of society are fragile and that we must be the shepherds of our civilization. To say that everything is permitted is to understand that we are the architects of our actions we must live with the consequences of our actions.”
I know, what a great reading. Ezio has taken in essence the void Nietzsche found after religion and expanded it into a creed which has a surface of nihilism but a consequence of liberation.
And that’s what the game really is: consummate deconstructionists battling the hegemonic forces of stabilizing truth, the ethics of today moving back and rewriting the past. And that’s the greatest anachronism of the game who, in an era before even mass literacy or numeracy, would have had the imagination to form an entire order around an ethics that precludes religion? It’s like an Übermensch got a time machine and gets to go back and rewrite the past, battling all those institutions that wrote certainty into being in the first place. Assassin’s Creed is pop post-modernism at its most cringe inducing (you actually get to base jump with Niccolò Machiavelli in one of the games), but it shows how far the morals of Nietzsche have come, that we would want to rewrite the past and find in it anti-heroes worthy of today.
That said, Revelations as a game isn’t terribly exciting. AC2 introduced us to our beloved protagonist, Brotherhood brought of his greatest triumph, Revelations is merely a closing note and one not very satisfying. The game introduces us to a group of Turkish Assassins only to have them disappear a few minutes later. While the Sultanate storyline is interesting (and has a few good twists) it lacks the frantic twists and consequences of Brotherhood. Revelations also promised us that: Revelations. Instead it delivers a few optional side quests exploring Desmond’s memories and a so-so tale of Ezio’s exploits in Costantinople, it also provides us with Ezio’s greatest moment of infamy: he sets fire to a weapon’s cache in Cappadocia only to escape as the civilivians choke to death on their fumes. After this it becomes hard to believe in Ezio’s quest as much, the Sultan simply wants to use the templars to bring peace to a divided Turkey. Revelations takes an anti-hero and makes him a hero only to have him slaughter innocents. The story line suffers a little do to this scene.
The game additionally suffers from a dearth of new mechanics. The hook blade is introduced and as zip lines, two useful additions to Ezio’s arsenal, but hardly game changing. Bombs are useful, but rarely necessary. The game in other hands plays remarkably similar to the last 3 games… which in turn played a little to similar to each other to begin with. Rome was a pleasure to clamber around, Istanbul is exotic, but feels small in juxtaposition and is broken into districts to boot. What the game really fails at though is delivering on the cliffhanger of the last game. We don’t learn why the apple made Desmond do what he did, we don’t learn much about subject 16 ( although you can pay for dlc to do so), and all the energy in the last game’s finale is dissipated so Ezio can finally find a wife basically. That’s what the game really is: Ezio gets a wife and a very charming one at that. It lets us know that the beloved Assassin made it out ok.
The game contains small optional Desmond sequences in which you play in future person. These sequences didn’t get very good reviews, but I actually really enjoyed them. They might be the only really original thing about the game. Desmond is given two blocks which he can spawn to navigated various data scapes. As you progress this becomes harder because the computer has flow, currents push and pull you, and security programs zap your blocks away, in order words you have to think to get through it. It’s not quite portal, but honestly I enjoyed these sequences more than Portal 2 or many of the games that have cloned or copied its fps puzzler elements. While I still wish the Desmond sequences had provided some fractured visuals or navigating the emotional landscape of his adolescence in more than abstract visuals it was an enjoyable experience all the same. The same can’t be said for Ezio’s last days which bored me, but thankfully I beat the game in a couple of days.
A couple notes on Rage. One I picked it back up and really enjoyed it. The melee segments are immaculate, ID really knows how to produce a variety of enemies with good abilities. The mutants are also scary and ammo is scarce enough and your mortality real enough that I actually worry about each bend. the stort hasn’t picked up and could have been dispensed with, but the game over all is actually quite fun once you get used to it. Each clan is a different challenge, each weapon needs ammo, and the weapons are quite good too. I usually run out of pistol ammo before I beat a level and die at least once. That’s more than I can say for a lot of FPSs out there.
The Next Big Thing:
Pendulu is a Spanish developer that has been doing point and click games in the vein of Grim Fandango for awhile now. The Next Big Thing is a great game, but one that really drives home the bigotry of its characters. Our intrepid male reporter is a misogynist, despairs hanging out with minorities, and the female lead is at times… “disquieting”. Over all though, these fine folks know how to tell a story, even if it’s heavily invested in the gender wars.
To the Moon:
I did not expect this one to draw me in, but unlike almost every other game on the market, this one actually got me to play it for 59 minutes before the demo expired. To the Moon is a story, less a game and much more a story, told in retro snes style graphics that borrows from square. It’s a story about a magical device not unlike that found in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. I’ll leave it at that, it’s to memorynauts that must travel back in memories and raise an astronaut one little trinket at a time. The demo is here. I recommend you check it out.
Forgive me my few faithful readers… (apparently I do actually have readers now! Wow… an improvement), but my life as of late has been a battle with the old colonial master nicotine and the PC. Two addictions equally compelling, these mass hallucinogens are administered via Steam an equally virtual market place that occasionally dips into the absurdity of the marketplace by pricing good by popularity and less by production costs. Rage, a once mighty 59.99 USD game could be had over the holidays for a meager 6.99 as could L.A. Noire. I am having trouble writing because I haven’t smoked in two weeks and a sudden rush of nicotine today has taken my breath and attention away. It’s funny to realize how much the nicotine cloud takes away from your daily self. The other day I read about a tribe in India previously uncontacted, now they’re being sold tobacco for dances.
Anyway some thoughts on the blockbuster drugs on hard drive:
Skyrim is the latest open world game to conform to our expectations of a video game. It’s narrative is deep, I counted at least 4 fantasy novels contained with in and ones actions determine what’s leveled up in the game, hence if you punch a lot like Robbaz you end up an unarmed badass, If you go to the mage’s college like me you end up with high level destruction spells and invisibility. Skyrim’s major flaw, in my eyes, might be it’s realism. My husband for instance runs everyday from my home in Whiterun to his work south of Windhelm a distance several days in the making in game time, hence he is rarely home. The game is full of wholes that make the fiction less convincing, and writing that can be at times pathetic, but what it excels at around level 20 is a sense of genuine empowerment. Your dragonborn becomes a kinda god, able to take out dragons in a few bounds, cast spells in some cases infinitely and other acts of remarkable… questing. This is what Skyrim really is, an ego trip. The mechanics aren’t really that fun, Fable and the up coming Kingdoms of Amalur appear to be working towards a more satisfying sense of combat. The Assassin’s Creed games have made traversing a city into a virtual parkour.Yet, the game eventually takes you in, and you buy it. You obey allegiances to military fronts, make deals with devils and werewolves, and the variety of spells and means of taking people down are varied, in one city I have an eternal bounty on my head due to a glitch, so I simply leveled up frenzy and make the guards fight themselves instead of me and then I go about town. What the game excels at is the idea of shaping yourself, you becomes a fully centric being full of capability, but from most of the videos I’ve seen the the daedric armour and heavy weapons seem to be the norm. At one point I googled about domesticating animals and found a forum of women playing through the game, but my little khajit mage and her argonian husband appear to be abnormalities in the geography of Skyrim’s possibilities (the game does try to power down mages apparently). Anyway, it’s a full trip and I’m grinding a few more levels before I don a wedding dress and wreath, enchant them up to their full potential and ride the back of a dragon to the final battle. All of which sounds exciting, but by this point it seems inane.
Saint’s Row the Third is another open world game which I actually snagged here in Thailand and then registered on steam. The above video about gets the possibility of the game. Saint’s Row the third isn’t about becoming the way Skyrim is, rather it’s about lugging bullets in a comic world. I think it’s funny at times, but over all kinda bland in terms of gameplay. Again Robbaz proves his worth as a gamer Big Barbara rules.
Prom Week is a small little flash game made by folks at a university in California. It is a dating sim… kinda. You click on one character to make them the active conversationalist and then you click on another character to make them the recipient. Now, the above two games were made with multi-million dollar budgets, took years and huge staffs to make, but Prom Week nailed in one sitting what all those games lack: manipulation. In Prom Week you have a set goal, such as getting someone to go out with you. In the tutorial this is quite easy, but in the free form mode it’s quite hard. In the first game you simply click on the favoured boy and flirt with him, he flirts back and mission accomplished. You have a set amount of time to wonder through dialogue bubbles and find the right words of the job, it actually bears a similarity with Skyrim in this regard, in one mission in Skyrim for instance I had to convince a monk to come back to a cave with me so my guests could eat him. I failed to persuade him so in the end I had to bribe him. Prom Week takes this basic idea to a higher level. You see you can click on anyone and get them to talk to anyone else. Hence if you make friends with person A then person A might be able to help patch things up with person B. You could never have healed such a social wound on your own. But hey that’s not what makes Prom Week great, it’s this: it makes simple social interaction into a slightly tense and engaging war. Getting folks to do what you want is hard, but where Skyrim and Saint’s Row the Third rarely make an emotional impact, I really wanted to make peace with my estranged friend and save my boyfriend some drama on prom night. The game in other words realizes that simple decisions and petty rivalries are perfectly suitable plot devices. Not once in Skyrim did the orb threatening the mage’s college make me rush to do anything, in fact the absence of a timer for missions in Skyrim can lead to absurd situations such as completing a totally different quest line while another quest’s apocalypse looms. Prom Week (granted I’ve only played one story and a free form game) is a much more open game with situations you actually might care about. If it can be used a model for future open world games, we might see some progress.
This one actually kinda took me by surprise, the introduction to Rage is awful. The voice acting, even the graphics, seem sub par. John Goodman is quite nice as the local sheriff, but the story begins implausibly. Here’s the thing though, the game is actually ok after awhile. It hasn’t grown on me the way Skyrim has, but for a teenage apocalyptic fantasy full of beer and auto parts it has some charms.
I hate to say this, but I don’t have anything deep to say about these games, and that might be the lesson about these games. The spectacle of gaming is our society’s sistine chapel. We are slowly building towards a realism in computer graphics that will startle the mind with its possibilities, but if I can draw anything from these games its that perspective isn’t important for these folks (prom week is an exception to this). These aren’t game of consideration, but rather of action. No Hamlets all Fortenbras. At that’s what makes this last game all the more disturbing.
Battlefield 3 is the winner of this year’s movement forward in graphics. The game constructs a body directly out of Cronenburg. Our protagonist has eyes full of lens flare and dirt clogs. His vision is news footage eyes, youtube queries, Iranian protest videos compacted into phones and tweeted, these are the eyes of warfare, at least how we depict it today: subvert and a delivered behind the backs of Government regulations. He has illicit camera eyes as if the video drome replaced his eyes with the cam corders of war correspondents. Horror films are made from such troupes, yet we never see this abonimation, instead his remarkably beautiful eyes are the windows into a game which keeps the enemy at sniper scope, you almost never come upon the enemy hand on hand, you never hear about the children in the Iranian school you storm neither does the game provide much information about their lives. These are Iraqis in Storm Trooper gear, we never even get to see their smiles. Field after field of middle eastern soldiers flood your vision and you gun them down in unrivaled fashion while the spectacle of having filmic vision seduces the eye. Imagine for a second if you had a machine that made arguments into flesh, now imagine the politics of Bush era America dipped in chrome and slightly photo shopped, that’s what Battlefield 3 is. The game makes a compelling case for war fare in the middle east through some clever optics and a means of making soldiers into storm troopers. Going to war is fucking cool in this game, and even though it tries to subvert the authorities behind this madness through some terrorist subplots and dick investigators it still compels in the idea of violence as a right of a man.
War was in the 1960s an old instrument with honorable intentions. We fought the Nazis, ya know a good old fashioned war. Battlefield 3 is the future of military progoganda, not because it justifies war, but because it justifies the culture of the military and dips the war machine in nanomites and other hardware. Conflict is a natural extension of technology in this game. It lingers on the peripheries, we realize that conflict is a deep seated fantasy, one that we actively seek, but the problem with this game is the way it links it to the contemporary. It is such a fine veil between Iraq and Iran in this game that the game ends up making a case for Iraq as war dream as a fantasy necessary and unavoidable.
One of the developers for Harmonix has recently commented on the absence of political messages in video games. Hollywood is full of agendas, gay marriage, racial inclusion, environmental concerns, but games are for the most part the last respite for politics that would not pass elsewhere. Would Collette, the flustered and aggravated mage of restoration make it in a hollywood film? No, her role is riveted with sexisms and bigotries. Would Bulletstorm’s excessive potty mouthed juvenilisms touch down on a global scale? No, the company knows its audience and that is primarily males ranging from 16 to 40. These games are in many ways gendered, and in that exclusion they allow for republican throw downs, misogynist readings, and other matters not suitable for prime time. Even the extremity of their violence is a hallmark of the lack of regulation on them.
Tobacco is one of the world’s most addictive drugs. It didn’t start out that way. Tobacco 200 years ago didn’t contain enough nicotine to make it dependent (over 4mg is required in a small number of doses). But the drug was never regulated, it has uses. It’s easy to store, easy to transport, and once introduced into a native population it acts as a kinda crowd control. We don’t experience nicotine as a drug, it’s not thought of in the same terms as cocaine or morphine, even though the later substances are less addictive. The major problem is that it is an outlet that (and I am a major addict) find it hard to imagine the world with out. Nicotine is a necessary manifestation of the death drive, it allows us to kill ourselves slowly and with self-loathing to boot. Video Games obviously contain moral messages that go beyond the norm of what is acceptable in any other medium even pornography. But when introduced to the public, they allow for a private expression of politics and emotions that are rarely let out. While some of this might be healthy (I do believe we need an outlet for rage… just not maybe the game rage…) this little sewer in which we’re allowed to piss all the unspeakables of politics is becoming a tad to wide, and video game publishers could do with a little liberalism in there games. After all Dubois is as close as we’ve gotten to a transgender character although Cicero in Skyrim is another example too:
but what I see in video games is a primarily an expression of either Japanese or American patriarchal conservative values. Contrary to what that developer from Harmonix might say, games have plenty of politics in them, it’s just that they preach the same biases that make up the everyday, it’s perhaps due to the immersion the form provides that we don’t demand of games the same cleverness and depth of investigation found in other art forms. Games are a sewer of the right wing, and like nicotine they provide certain authorities with power, the same ones that refuse to regulate them.
p.s. loved Deep Far back in the day, especially the mutant cow… and Dubois. BTW Dubois is actually a better effeminate “male” than Cicero is.
League of Legends
LoL is essentially Dota made easy. If you don’t know what Dota it is, it’s an overhead “action” rts in which you control a single character with increasingly dizzying skills.
The premise is quite simple 5 players face off against another 5 players to do battle and destroy the opponent’s buildings. What’s remarkable about the game is the way the basic stats of an RTS
say physical vs magic damage, casting radiuses, things like that all stack to a remarkable level of creativity and strategy in the character you control. Characters, in a very broad sense, range from mages that deal damage over distance to melee fighters that have to get up close to score. You level up your characters choosing the right spells for you and figuring out when to gank the other characters. Now I mentioned LoL is a simplified Dota, it is. The entire game takes place on a single simplified map. 3 lanes with little of the trees and other adornments that make Heroes of New Earth and other Dota clones so complicated. The equipment is easy to use and understand, while also vast. The game’s real quirks come in it’s strategy, Annie for instance is a small ranged mage who is a “nuker”. Nuker pile up ability power and then kill opponents when they least expect it. Annie has a stun that occurs every fifth spell using this in combination with her other powers means she can stun and possibly take down another opponent in 2 seconds or less, of course Annie is squishy, you can easily kill her in combat which makes her a prime target for other champions. Other champions very drastically, there is a grave digger who summons spirits to fight for him and gains attack damage with each one, there’s two champions that turn invisible for shorts times, there are tanks huge hulking damage sinks that lumber into late ships on your demise, the game in other words contains so many different styles while maintaining a cohesive universe. It all makes sense somehow. I also like the design in LoL, the cartoonish characters are far better than the more realistic designs of the DOTA 2 force. I also like Evelyn’s comments on heels or when Mordekaiser barks at you, you only have to click once.
Left 4 Dead 2
When the first left 4 dead came out i played i believe one level in it and was stunned, left 4 dead 2 I like the characters more, but the game itself is annoying. I don’t see any reason to play this game and I’m glad I only paid 6.99 for it.
Rock of Ages
I loved Zeno Clash, but Ace Team’s second game is a little less addictive than the last. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still awesome, it’s just not as great as Zeno Clash was.
Assassin’s Creed 2
I finished Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood before any of the other games, so playing through Assassin’s Creed 2 is a little surprising, from the introduction of Ezio to the linkage between the templar’s futuristic modern day hide out to the van the third game begins in, but what surprises is more the disconnect between satisfying mechanic, say free running and the story, or the way the game seems to make the correct sacrifice valuing fun over narrative sensibility, after all sitting down at a bench shouldn’t keep guards from finding you if they know what you look like or the way the Assassin’s all end up in identical uniforms walking through town as announcing, “Hey I’m an Assassin.” The animus doesn’t quite work, genetic memorys? It seems like quantum effects would be a better sci-fi premise, alternative timelines? entanglement? But the games do entice me to finish missions wether climbing the highest towers or killing the simplest merchants.
On another note the pc, long the bed of easily copyable games, has become a bastion of the indie game scene. Steam games apparently make up a larger part of many companies’ income than xbox live and other games. The freedom of the pc is being copied by the console, but the habits of the pc gamer are more align with the desires of the indie dev than the marketplaces put up by Sony and Nintendo. The PC still fosters the dream of the next self made million dollar game. Dota, Portal, Team Fortress, these are all examples of the pc’s mobility, the way a couple of kids in a cyber cafe can be big time designers in a moment. What the Ps3 lacks is the ability to empower its users to mod the games already on it. The crytek3 engine has been taking up my time, I love making islands in it and stuff like that. I’m a tad sleep deprived.
See yall later.
and Hey Darren!!! I hope you’re doing ok.
Ok so Koh Phi Phi, I’m there. This woman pulls me aside and asks if I want to go scuba diving. Now when I was growing up my Dad bought me diving lessons. I remember nervously going to a pool in Houston and fiddling with what seemed like terribly complicated gear. The experience was some what terrifying, but ya know kinda cool all the same. I had a diving license under my belt. I only went diving once, we went off to a lake in Texas with a group of other divers and the instructor explained some things not to do. I smiled and a woman behind me told me I had the most guilty smile, the instructor actually complimented me. So in we went in maybe ten meters of dirty lake water and down to an old school bus. A sharp stabbing sensation came into my sinuses, my dad pinched his nose and so I tried that and blew my ears out. I had to resurface. We never went diving again. I never quite understood what I did wrong. The incident became part of a larger migraine headache scandal that ended with me taking some type of steroidal nose spray for my sinuses. I still do pick my nose.
Anyway, returning to phi phi I explain that I am registered, but haven’t dived in 18 years. I remember that my junior open water license had expired, there was some test I was supposed to take, but the instructor says that it just turns over into a regular license. She looks in the database and then comes up to me and asks my middle name. She puts in the middle name and searches, it was in 1991 she says. I make vague promises and the next day go snorkeling. Snorkeling leads to the story of the magical travel agent and a Chinese woman studying in Singapore who has never wore a bikini before. She has a trucker hat and we spend most of the day together. At the end of the day the boat stops to watch the sunset on the water. I jump out and lay in the waves, the sun is like one great funnel coming towards me, and is better in the waves than in the boat. A British man on the boat assures me diving is the best part of koh phi phi, when we get back I plunk the money down on diving after getting an ok from my doctor my dad. I had already looked up equalization and practiced it snorkeling. The resources on the web mean a simple term can become a world of advice. I can’t figure out how to use the back of the rdp. I fill in my scuba review test and then have second thoughts and call the dive shop to cancel. the shop is closed. In the morning, with a good amount of conviction, I decide to walk up and cancel my scuba review. I eat breakfast and mill around and then at 7 make my way to the dive shop, everyone is nice and friendly. I am taken over to my dive master who is gregarious and gracious. My dive mates are all women who seem to be further ahead in the game of life, but not necessarily in age. We go out to the boat off to the reef and after some review into the water. Diving is exhilarating, the wild life functions as it’s own cosmopolitan metropolis, our entrance into which is thankfully ignored, fish don’t fear humans yet. I drink tons of water and don’t smoke to clear my sinuses. I have no problem equalizing, in fact after a day practicing, I appear to be mastering it. I do bump the other divers, grind off of coral, and other wise make an ass of myself, but over all it is a really good time. I also use a lot of air.
It is strange what heals childhood trauma. How much a little mistake can add up to something bigger. I faced scorn at making a simple mistake in my teens, I was convinced as of 48 hours ago that diving was something I was physically incapable of, rather it was simply that in my instruction in a pool equalization simply never came up. Hence a simple talent became a physical disability in the mythology of childhood, a scar only I could see. Diving became like snorkeling, a simple absurd past time we primates shouldn’t crave, but do.
I think writers are part myth. Its not so much a product of the genome though as it is a cloud. Kerouac once noted that all beats shared a deep sickness when growing up, as did I. I remember fever dreams, a salamander ranch on the outskirts of Texas, lying in bed for days. The chill of seeing the weird spiral out growths of skin on my lips, picking them till I bled. Is it possible to retain a past? Why do I increasingly feel a touch of the past? I was a lot older then I’m younger than that now.
Jennifer at work seems cool, jane has befriended her. Jane I remain slightly warry of, she has the cold unaffecting remains of a goth, she hates herself in some.very unpleasant ways. The children shout: teacher andrew, they’re in love with me now. Day.