Posts filed under ‘media’

On the concept of gender weakness

In the binary our society maintains (at least until “sex” is questioned enough to reveal new orientations) there is a weaker and a stronger sex, but this weakness is not the result of fortitude, rather it results from pleasure and the ability to give it. In other words the ability to be pleased in turn a sign of coercion, a weakness in a gender. If weakness comes first and hence allows pleasure is another question, but what can be ascertained from porno is quite simple: the giver of pleasure is often stronger than the receiver in terms of gender, yet when we consider the binaries strong and weak I do not see them as connected causally, rather the two are connected by correlation. Strength alone can not give pleasure, rather sadism, infatuation, obsession, neurosis, and other factors like say the texture of one’s hands or the stiffness of sexual organs comes into play. Strength is only necessary to carry through with pleasing and it can be the case the pleaser in actually is quite weak and is only able to satisfy by means of a contrivance. Weakness then is never adjacent to strength, it forms no yin yang with in gender, rather it propagates and is buoyed on a series currents that only confer the illusion of strength, as much as say a prostitute might pretend to be pleased to further a customer’s services, pleasure in fact does not need strength and can quite easily inflate itself on chimeras of weaknesses. In other words the strong might pride themselves on the pleasure given when in fact they have grown weaker, and the receiver has just merely increased their “weakness” so as to feel more. The later I think is central to sexuality, its not that “male” is strong, rather it is that “female” is weaker. And that weakness has very little to do with the strength we hear about in male fiction, rather it is something wholly other and makes the origins of the social orientation “strong” weaker.

September 7, 2014 at 6:39 pm Leave a comment

Killzone Mercenary

I was trying to avoid writing about this one because I would much rather investigate game design than possibly recommend a game, but I spent a couple days with Killzone Mercenary and a few things impressed me:

1. The levels are nice and compact, the interface is intuitive, and the mechanics work surprisingly well.

2. Regarding those mechanics:
A. Interrogations are optional stealth based side missions that work like this: you have to sneak up on a commander and then input some touch screen slashes to threaten and eventually coerce information out an enemy. The touch screen game is good, but whats more impressive is that it comes in the middle of combat hence if you’re spotted while interrogating well its probably lights out for you. This means each commander (I believe 6 a level) constitutes an optional stealth puzzle that will take a good amount of observation and a little luck to solve. There is a dart gun that can be purchased to make it easier.
B. The hacking mini-game is actually robust and interesting. It works a lot better than the one found in Deus Ex. It works like combinations of triangles appear in hexagons, you have a set of keys on the sides used to solve them. Hence it becomes a bit of a mirage, do you use do triangles opposite of each other or two clumped together to decipher the locks in such a way that you can continue picking at them. It took me a few tries to get some of these puzzles and they were particularly good in design. They feel like a good ios puzzle game in the midst of an FPS.
C. Stealth is definitely the harder route in this game. Making it through the game undetected would take a phenomenal amount of observation and work or a good dart gun or silenced weapon. The game makes you invest your money in weapons along that route that then in turn augment your skills. Hence play styles are complimented by your arsenal.
D. The money. Killzone Mercenary is about just that: money. Every kill, every piece of ammo collected, increases your cash reserves and dying takes away 50 credits for “life insurance”. However, the number of weapons and options available means I found myself consistently trying to increase my score. Violent take down reward double what a silent does, but often then alert guards meaning the rest of your potential kill combo has been reduced to 70-90 credits of value. The system works and fits rather well with the game.

3. Killzone feels like a good designer (Piers Jackson of Little Big Planet fame) combining some minimal elements that add up to an enjoyable time. Its the way the mechanics never break the magic circle, but rather enrich it that makes it worth while that said I do have a few complaints:

4. Ok sure the game has deep weapons to assist sneakers, snipers, and smg / shotgun wielding psychopaths like myself, buy at moments in the game it appears to offer you a choice, those choices would have made the game deeper as the player taking a moral side in the conflict would have been refreshing. I should have been given the chance of defecting to Helghan, executing children, etc. instead these moments come pre-planned and scripted. When the third twist occurs I was expecting some player made decisions in terms of the narrative instead I was just given a pre-planned storyline, yet I feel the game originally intended to make choice part of the story and not to so deterministically declare the “bad guys”.

5. The story line is ok. Nothing overtly memorable, choice would have made it more interesting, but again it didn’t shock me the way other games have.

6. Sometimes I thought there was a mechanic to a boss when there wasn’t a mechanic. For instance with the last boss it made sense to get into a hatch and hide inside the vechile in order to satisfy a condition to beat him, instead it turns out my damage output just wasn’t enough.

What I learned: games don’t have to be terribly original provided everything works and Killzone Mercenary is a game that primarily works. The gunplay is passable (I played on the hardest difficultly), the hacking game is great, the optional stealth interrogations are great and make you think, it is a game with in a game. And in that it shows how digital environments can and should contain a plethora of play options and not just one base assumption about what players should do. It really shows how much strength there is in finding the right fit for certain mechanics to make a game enjoyable. As an English Teacher I design new games weekly. New experiences that will allow my students to use language in a proper environment. Most of them fail. Killzone is remarkable for consistently hitting the mark with good mechanics and finally finding a hacking game worth playing, that said purchase with caution. It is intended for teen audiences looking for gunplay and action sequences. Regardless good job Guerilla Games Cambridge.

September 5, 2014 at 1:17 pm Leave a comment

Precedes Popculture

There is a dust bowl, and some brown suited Americans hollering on guitars. There are fields and a lane of swimming pools and chrome encrusted cars. There are long hairs and a pop culture so violent, each smile leaves blood trails in your bong’s wake. There is a low period where we dance and Africans rise, there is a depression, but there are computers, there is a game all black and white dots, there is a phone as serene as the fields. There is a moment in which meaning lifts up off the violent demonstrations, the abolitionist!s bombs, and lands in a screen and becomes commodified. Banderas.gif

September 1, 2014 at 3:50 pm Leave a comment

Design Journals BB:CP, Spin copters, Ridge Racer, etc.

**BlazBlue: Chronophantasma**
Once right after lunch, but just before class I stuck a small Amane combo video up on a projector screen. The results were so ludicrously gravity defying, the dexterity involved seemingly inhuman, that is was like watching the Harlem Globetrotters do trick shots or a particularly good skate trick video. In my own play throughs of BlazBlue my Amane rarely achieved a combo greater than 8 hits. I was assured it was due to the way I was thinking, that a skilled strategizer could take the game apart and design combos in mere seconds. As my Amane nears the 3 week mark and new internet provides easy access at home I am thinking about my moves and discovering that j.c can pop into 6C and then 2c and then into a 2,3,6 C for a power dive. I am out combo’n players in ranked, beating Noel Vermillions with cloth and dance. It is terribly rewarding to be told you can’t do something and then to find that in fact you can. The only problem though is that once you become wired to cancels, you begin to notice how each character punishes and the combo becomes little more than a move. In fact the draw to large combos is so vast you will find yourself blocking opponents so they don’t get an opening and routines become so hardwired that on occasion lag will cause a whiff and you or your opponent will keep kicking even when the input ended a second ago. This is not to say BlazBlue is to formulaic, in fact the options out there are vast, but rather that by dealing with combos as a system, they become codified and therefore predictable even if they’re more impressive than SF IV. The later is something Xrd is working on. But two points here that are minor complaints, I managed to convince myself that BB:CP was a game only conquerable by though, in fact just like LoL or Dota 2 high level play is more like a sport, practice takes presence over critic, its just that quantifying the game into strategable segments help increase practice. The routes cancel write out qualify as the game’s real special moves, but really combos should be more open ended. Regardless, I am a level ELF now.

**Spin Copters** ios
The spiritual sequel to Flappy Bird is possibly better than the original. You see, Mario’s jump is like cocaine, you just want to do more. A similar mechanism governs Spin Copters out of control whirly birds. The game requires microsecond judgement taps as you effectively steer a physics beast so entangled in calculations its output can compound into velocities denser than clouds. Its not a terribly frustrating game, unless you’re really invested in it, but its also not a fun game, its real pleasure comes from mastery of a physics model no one can ignore. Unfortunately enjoying Spin Copters physics takes work, determination, and a pay off of only a high score. Recommended.

**Ridge Racer slipstream iOS**
I saw the ridge racer ps vita game via /r/vita and immediately needed to own it ethical questions be damned. Unfortunately the ultimate edition with all the dlc doesn’t seem to be on US Psn and I’ll be damned if I spend 30 usd for what like 3 tracks and 5 cars? Remember R4? It came with a freaking joystick that was awesome. So I searched the app store to see if I could get something to tide me over, sadly slipstream lasted about 45 seconds on my ipad, it didn’t feel like Ridge Racer, it didn’t have the physics, the feedback, the unbelievable turns. It was just a racing game.

**Deep under the sky**
This is a game from the same developer as Incredipede, but unfortunately its more of an angry birds rip off in its infancy. Haven’t played enough to see how game the differentiates itself, but art style = points given.

**FF IX**
I am on disc 3 and still enthralled. Way to go linear narrative.

August 28, 2014 at 3:37 pm Leave a comment

A far to common story




August 10, 2014 at 5:52 am Leave a comment

Design Journal: FF IX, BB:CP, Soul Sacrifice, DonDonPachi

**Final Fantasy IX**
As a completionist all these story segments lacking in good grind-able areas annoys me. I need to farm abilities via AP from my items instead I am being shuttled from story point to point, but now on disc 2. Was just amazed I have to use a ps vita system menu to actually swatch discs, ps one classics feel more like linux apps and less like commercial products.

**DoDonPachi aka DDPRHD**
Cave is that beloved shmup dev. Everyone espouses about, but the thing is they stuck with the genre and the understood world building the same way Sakaguchi and Amano did. Cave games are sumptuous and rich with identification wether its some teenage witches with boobs or rather in DoDonPachi hD some pretty awesome robot jet planes. The transformations are intense and the game is beautiful on my ipad air. DDPR is not my favorite Cave shmup, but it does enough of what Cave is known for to make me miss Crimzon Clover and want a new laptop badly. Cave was a master in a genre known for subtly. Every tweak of algorithmic bullet fire could send a shmup straight over the cliffs and into abandon, but DDPR manages to make bullet canceling into an art form and introduces you to empowerment before its third level knocks you away. Its a thing of beauty.

**BlazBlue Chronophantasma**
In terms of the tier list Amane is rather low down and it really shows when a level 2 Ragna that you’ve been hosing around the stage, the type of noob that falls for a C and gets tangled in amane’s threads can still kill you even though they don’t even know a prolonged combo. Moment with this game I loved this week: figuring out the inputs for Tager’s Astral finish further convinced me Team BB knows their game. Wow, chain-able special moves into an astral is what I am looking for. I also practiced my combos and began working on a mid-air combo. The challenges are less interesting than what’s in the training mode. Love 6A (forward A? Sorry new to J-joystick conventions) into B with a little C throw at the end. Also catching someone with 6C’s forward lunge and watching them plummet into a great combo is great as is poking with jumping C which at least leaves you a little less open for reprisals.

**Soul Sacrifice**
The thing about is game is that when i play it I feel like its made for 15 year olds and most of the legacy players still around are. I am falling out of love with it as I thought even after a prolonged solicitation with my local game shops for it. Maybe at higher levels it becomes more enthralling, the fuse and upgrade system was nice at first, but fairly ineffective against bosses I am battling now.

**Kid Icarus 3D**
This old school legend has never really moved me. Of all nintendo’s old school classics Icarus was the one never discussed: possibly because its shockingly generic. It lacks the polish of Mario’s jump the feedback of hitting blocks instead its just vanilla. Perhaps its gets better later on.

**My Life**
Right now i am worried about my job because I am kinda sucking at my saturday classes. The teacher who hates me had me removed from her class even after 3-4 successful classes specifically tailored to appease her. Students in Vietnam are awful and the mail has swallowed my copy of Skyward Sword. Another teacher told me Vietnam is dangerous, it is. I am not so sure I want to be here, but like all of the disabled or retarded I am not wanted where supposively acceptance is at a high. Its a pet theory of mine that anywhere well known for being open minded is just a kind of smoke screen. Once people are convinced they aren’t bigots they proceed to disclude. For a period after my last job I felt like maybe one’s work was important, but while the quality of one’s work does matter its more if the social group at work wants you to be there. In other words life requires of me more pleasantries if that will actually make a difference is another matter.

August 6, 2014 at 2:20 pm Leave a comment

Journals BlazBlue, F1 Race Stars ios, & FF IX

**BlazBlue Chronophantasma**
There are two types of learning (I have identified in BB) the conscious and environmental learning. In League of Legends I kept playing for awhile after 30, but I never actually broke the game down and gave it serious consideration. I didn’t know why Annie is good against Shaco, it was simply instinctual. Similarly I didn’t know why Amane is good against Hakumen or why I squirm a little whenever Bullet comes on the screen, but then it began to occur to me that my long range gives me a distinct advantage against Hakumen’s slow, but powerful attacks while Bullet’s heavy barrage of up close combos can devastate me quickly. I searched around for combos to slightly improve my damage vs up closers, but this is the thing BlazBlue is a game that goes out of its way to make sure you understand you need to analyze and think about this game. The result is I am working on combos to repel Bullets, Noels, & other close range characters. Similarly Amane is much much weaker than other characters especially in terms of damage. I can be up 10 hits on a character and still have less life. The results are I know Amane needs combos, obviously I have to power up the drill and then end some 10 hit combo with it in order to really win. In other words I am consistently receiving feedback on my game, its just despite all of this I constantly lose. An early game day zero Hakumen or Hazama can over whelm a day zero Noel easily. The reason is their damage output is just higher. I don’t see Hazama in competitive play, but he’s all over the noob charts in ranked games. But getting back to the environmental learning, we don’t always learn in words, but BB is a game that gives us words in order to manifest the learning we acquire from experience. Its just that in my case this growing awareness of the strategies involved means I am over confident in my ability to grow, hence why I suck at this game so much 🙂 p.s. Sorry Bb community for all the lag, its Vietnam. Edit: had 3 wins in a row in ranked today.

Edit: and environmental learning is a kind of manipulation its perfectly possible to build a character whose weaknesses will make you dread playing her, but whose design inspires. In other words its possible Amane is a joke character like Dan intended to troll a demographic as much as the Archers in Chivalry are woefully underpowered. If the designer knows they are designing a low tier character does that make Amane trans-phobic? However, I think time will tell. (Have seen some awesome Amane players). The bigger question is if playing her will pay dividends in the future. However concerning environmental learning, what does this say about LoL? Does the environment of the game teach players to be more toxic? Would better consciousness of the game’s system make pro games more enjoyable? And when designing an environment how should it manipulate the player? Dark Souls is famously difficult, but rewarding meanwhile many FPS games are empowering, but simple. My point is digital environments offer people a future, a temporality & context that manipulate their daesin, the experience of being digitally can have influence on our daily lives.

**Final Fantasy IX**
I had a lot of free time this week which probably means I forgot something important. This game has been covered in depth or to death if you prefer as I write this a neogaf thread once again praises the merits of this game. I arrived in Lindblum, discovered Cid’s secret, and met Freya. The second I stepped outside Lindblum I just wanted to walk around and get out of the story, well ok actually I didn’t but you get the idea. The immense freedom of the over world (which is illusionary) pales compared to the story, the game lets you know a coliseum battle and a fetch quest for Cid are coming up with out check boxes or some type of to-do list simulator and that might be the thing about FF IX: it lets you explore. I know Cid needs me to find his wife and experimental airship, I know I will end up in the festival of the hunt, but unlike so many modern games that shuttle you from objective to objective FF IX stands up and says explore. You’re not given a way point marker that tells you where to go, instead the narrative is compelling enough that I know where to go already, its just I would rather level my character outside, get my mage masher up to snuff, and then synthesize a few weapons before getting into this festival that will no doubt lead under the city somehow. Objectives are well managed, I do wish it kept track of all the optional side quests you receive like the coffee beans guy etc.

**F1 Race Stars**
Mario Kart 8 just didn’t grab me so far… and F1 Race Stars on steam alienated me too, but this little codemasters cash grab is exactly what I need. The tilt controls actually work… I mean like really work as in I prefer them to a virtual joystick. Secondly, you know how in Mario kart those shells hurt and like for a second you really think your racer is in pain? F1 Race Stars uses bubbles, you gently float skyward for a few seconds. I can’t quite identify what about the game makes it great. It has every evil an ios games could have: ubiquitous pop ups asking for my cash, a fairly blatant pay to win model, yet its short tracks (races are cut down to commute digestible lengths) and surprisingly adept motion controls are really enchanting. The game makes you feel good for playing and the bubbles are much better than the shells, maybe the reduced course length also adds something? I also like that you take damage, your wheels corrode as you drift and get hit by bubbles resulting in pit stops. This mechanic works even though it is part of the micro-transaction fest the game exhumes like oxygen and dollars are somehow comparable. I only gave this a minute so my impressions lack analysis and nuance, but so far I am impressed. Oh btw drifts store boost which is released via a button. Like that too. Its like someone took an axe to mario kart and came away with a cherry. Edit: I was just forced to spend an ingame currency to buy a new driver there by losing my upgrades. Le sigh its like someone forcing you to masturbate. Don’t need a game that makes me practice desiring in-game purchases. Good game, solves many mario kart conundrums, but I think I will stick with MK8.

August 5, 2014 at 3:01 pm Leave a comment

Design Journals: Soul Sacrifice (omg this is awesome), BL2 redux, & Atelier Totori the mystery continues

**Soul Sacrifice** vita
You are not Conan, but this is the type of place Conan lives in.
You’re the type of peasant he knocks aside and as you emerge from that trough a wizard abducts you. Trapped in a grotesque prison you turn to your one nerdy pursuit reading. Soul Sacrifice uses the meta-narrative to further its gameplay, and much like Assassin’s Creed those novel skills carry over to the “real world” however unlike Assassin’s Creed the game with in a game really works. You see you’re reading the journal of the insane necrophile that trapped you in a cage of human bones. Desperation in the real world means the readings become surprisingly engaging especially as they involve a blood thirsty femme fatale who for reasons not yet revealed saves said future necrophiliac super crazy cannablistic wizard guy. The result is a monster hunter clone that is strangely anti-monster hunter. While the gory fantasy world is at odds with my taste, the set up works perfectly to make the gameplay more intriguing and the game has the balls to lets you decide which of 6 weapons you want to bring into battle. The result is blood spewing machine gun replicates (doesn’t work) to some beautiful and hefty ice swords to a pumpkin headed charge move. Loot is weapons in this game and weapons have about the shelf life as say a cauldron of healing potions or some twizzlers. Weapons wear out giving them a disposable feeling, but these little disposable tinker toys have surprising effects. The game lacks the Monster Hunter traps so far, but honestly this is quite different from monster hunter. Soul Sacrifice is an Inafune game to the core, weapon swaps are constant & the humor never ends. The game’s central mechanic revolves around the bleak surroundings and the sacrifice or save mechanic, which is nice I like choosing my exp and the moral decision to sacrifice or save is fun especially as this Conan like world values life about as highly as a Mars bar. The game encourages you to be a bad guy and Being a compulsive psychopath obsessed with collecting attack level ups is rewarding. Haven’t even gotten to the online play yet, but did i mention this is a romance novel too? Yes, that insane psychopath full of eyes and gore above was in love, how he ended up insane and if learning his old spells will really help you is for you to decide. Good work japan studio…. Just please the blood machine gun thing… No. Oh btw just played the demo am sold on full game pretty sure original and then maybe Delta. Also now super crazy hype for mighty no. 9

**Borderlands 2** ps3
Everyone I know has played this game to death, this week I finally played it to death. True vault hunter mode, co-op and I am tired. Just don’t see it anymore. Not as fun, even 86 gazillion guns gets old. But it still is the best co-op game of a generation of co-op games. Army of Two? Fuse? All,of these games think a co-operative mechanic makes a co-op game. What they didn’t get is that confining a player to working together makes the game less fun. They also failed to understand that progression is progression: you shouldn’t need a partner just to progress when last gen you could do it alone. What Borderlands understands is that each player makes the game expand. You go from being a shotgun wielding Berzerker to a support guy for a sniper who is all glass canon, the game opens up, cars fill with ready bodies waiting for the kill. The storyline is juvenile trash, funny at moments, but never rising above a teenager’s imagination. It did all of this by borrowing the elemental affinities from JRPGs and wrapping them in a fart joke of an FPS. Its all about retarded fun with friends, something overly serious co-op games just didn’t get. Glad to know Bungie was taking notes. Just around level 47 my Siren feels played, the game feels predictable, and the enemies start to come down with ease, still can’t remember the last time I replayed a game like this.

**Atelier Totori** Vita
The problem the game faces is that finding the right components for your crafting are the quests, but then the game wants you to go on its quests. You should just be able to click on a missing component for an item add it to a list and then go on finding missing components and there by producing quests and then maybe a time limit and reward for early completion with some points for extra daredevil battles. Throw in a midboss and final boss for the quest for components to craft silver ingots for a new armor plat for your tank. In other news I can now craft armor, but doing this will require numerous time consuming side trips that will not net me favor with the adventurer’s guild who prefer quests to be of the go there and get 3 of this variety. Time in Atelier is a factor, in fact you might want to fore go sleeping for a simple healing potion, but really the storyline is so meandering that I am not sure if I should waste time so as to advance the narrative or spend it all the more preciously because the game becomes a serious spreadsheet chomper towards the end I am told. Still the time based story events make the game feel fresh, as if the narrative is reacting to you which it is, the game features numerous endings, its just the ending to what that the story fails to remind you. Totori misses her teacher Rorona, but strangely fails to have the usual jrpg resolve to solve the mystery of her mother. For someone who vowed to become an adventurer to find a loved one, she is dizzy and inconsistent. But the game made me laugh and its like nothing else out there. So many ideas in this one, its just not quite made for me.

July 28, 2014 at 1:57 pm Leave a comment

Design journals stuff posted to reddit

**BlazBlue Chronophantasma**
Viewing the high level challenges in this game just blows me away. Its just the imagination the game allows in combos is so vast. Then add to this some truly spectacular special moves and it all comes together. Today I learned A+B is a guard break and A+B+C means rapid cancel. Still haven’t used over drive properly. I loved figuring out how to do Kokonoe’s Astral finish. Haven’t quite got the triple Tager down and learning Amane’s combos requires some serious input. I am not so sure I like the tutorial heavy aspects of the game. I got good at Vampire Savor via passion not pre-set how tos, but I like that the game has systemized skill. A 180 hit combo will geeee…. How do I do that? Oh yeah Kokonoe was a pleasant surprise. She is surprisingly meek as a noob it takes knowledge of the when and where of gravity spheres to make her formidable and the lag in some of her moves is tremendous. Now I am just wondering if I can use the auto-cancel to cancel some of Amane’s more long winded attacks and when to use guard break much less how. Seeing Amane’s long range grabs and seeing what can done with them drives home how different she is from dhalism as much as Kokonoe’s gravity + fireball redefines many of my expectations of what a fireball should be. BlazBlue isn’t gimmicky, rather its creative in ways games should be. Its a shame to see it passed up as an anime fighter.

The game is epitome of 2000s game. Tight linear corridors that make you crawl through a storyline that’s so cliched action trope only a lover of the genre could enjoy it. Some Assassin’s Creed rambling about, that Metroid moment where you evacuate though is nice, but we’re finding the multiplayer the greater draw. The enemy variety isn’t stellar, but is nice and there is nothing like going invisible and then point blank shot gunning some poor slobs. Highlight of this week, spending my 11k fuse on a team perk only to end up double teaming a robot from front and behind with heavy weapon drops then with a record time kill collecting an additional 9k fuse and getting another team perk just minutes behind the first. Insomniac did a great job on the multiplayer, its just the game doesn’t understand the insanity required to be truly great, instead its a well polished review of the PS3’s greatest genres with some gears thrown in. No one really wants co-op to mean handicap, but rally points & necessitated co-op revives make the game feel weaker for being co-op even when the powers and abilities make the shooting more fun with friends.

**Call of Duty: Ghosts PS4**
We got a few minutes on a ps4 this week and given the choice between Fifa, Infamous, & CoD we tried CoD. The split-screen option is nice, but I was surprised by how easy it is to die. A few hits and bam you’re down. This is not Crysis, but the shooty game on display was passable even if not terribly compelling offline.

**Dual shock 4**
This surprised me. When I saw the touch pad

Years ago a friend made an indie game and it exploded, so I decided I could take my noob programming chOps to the indie basket. Years later my love of gaming is nearing exhaustion. As a friend told me 2 years ago you make it sound like a job, but in many ways my exploration of games has become a job. Design journals, blog posts on game design, I have learned a lot about the medium, but I deeply wish to be engrossed in art or literature again to make an installation for a gallery or write a story for fantasy mag. Yet, my to buy list just keeps going. Ratchet and Clank trilogy next week? Fuck yeah. Need 3D World (which might be the only game I am truly passionate about at the moment). Still haven’t caught up with Crimzon Clover and my knowledge of Atelier Totri grows, the later is a game I want to love, but just can’t. Gaming is not for me an intended full time past time. Its more of a passing side substance I imbue as novels, music, and movies pass me by. I remember playing Vampire Savoir on my Saturn constantly, working on new kills and then checking out new music or doing homework. I wish I could get enough distance for games to feel fresh again. I would love to treat Undernight in rebirth with the same attention as I did say Street Fighter Alpha, but with such huge knowledge of what’s available it becomes harder to focus on a single game. I want to chill on games, but then I need Final Fantasy X on my vita even when I am enthralled by IX and have 3-4 sitting unfinished on my ipad. Life hasn’t given me enough time to do what I want even that little game I poke away at sits by the way sides as strife, exhaustion, frustration, rear their ugly head.

July 26, 2014 at 10:56 pm Leave a comment

My first day with F.U.S.E.

The other day I had to teach a class of 12 year old Vietnamese children the present perfect tense using a smart board. Not content to simply dawdle about I found flash games and movie clips and the. A blogpost suggested the U2 song Still haven’t found what I am looking for. Now I liked U2 back in the day. They did something in that post-alternative emo space that seemed epic in juxtaposition to many other bands, but the problem is things have moved on. The epic sad melodies on the 90s have moved on if you want impoverished problems today you head straight to M.I.A.. I also had problems with other classes with songs before Bob Dylan = No in the classroom Flo-rida = yes. So i was apprehensive, but squished for time so I penciled U2 in & hoped I could avoid it. Low and behold my grammar game blew up and a bored class demanded youtube so I quickly scrawled have and then a box for verbs on the board and let the Edge & Bono teach them conjugation. To my extreme delight the class burst into laughter. Every signifier, every over the top Bono moment, his exaggerated facial expressions, the needlessly repetitive minimalism they all thought it was hilarious. Melancholy had moved on to such heights that this 90s drenched alternative rock may as well have been parody. The kids loved it and we made ironic Bono faces & conjugated our tenses. Then I went home and the ps3 place down the street pulled me over told me they had gotten Fuse in today.

You see me and my landlord’s son have been playing Borderlands together for almost 2 months now. We’re now on true vault hunter mode & almost at the warrior. So I began to ask about other co-op games and decided to give FUSE a shot. FUSE may as well be called generic last-gen shooter. Its limited linear mechanics, its cover based shooting, its cliched storyline, even the way the guys curse seems like everything I experienced in every 2000s shooter except somehow less exceptional. It doesn’t have the wow factor Gears of War did or the awesome setting. Yet, unlike other relics which we have moved swiftly over, Fuse is not subtly hilarious, but instead a tad tedious. The absence of Borderlands style rogue like weapons sucks, the level designs are ripped straight from a single player adventure, sometimes you progress from cover to cover to get to some baddies and then have to turn around and “hack” a door about 100 meters back. It requires players to “rally” around certain points when sometimes you just want to explore. The sex interest is Asian / Chinese to characters are frequently interrupted by storyline and just when the shooting starts to get fun: a cinema scene intervenes. When we’re playing Borderlands sometimes I just stop and find ammo boxes or do objectives while my co-op mate runs around gunning for exp. sometimes he doesn’t even want to do missions and we just kill things and trade weapons by dropping them. In F.U.S.E. Everything is tightly scripted so as to bring you to another cinematic scene. It has some high points, my warp rifle? Is that it? Shoots black holes which cleverly explode flushing baddies out of cover and there is something satisfying about cloaking, running into a tighter corridor and shotgunning a group of bad guys down, but honestly its not that much so far. The game lacks the replayability of Borderlands even today. Even the downed mechanic fails to realize what made the shoot and live mode of BL2 great. On the other hand the characters do compliment each other well and the ability to switch into any other class at a moment’s notice is great. The boss fights were interesting and actually required decoys ala MMOs which was nice. But there’s this one point where you have to melee a box open and then crawl vents that wasn’t introduced very well and the climbing mechanics seem ultimately unnecessary. Its like someone had a good idea for a co-op shooter in terms of abilities & weapons, but a bad idea in terms of level design. My co-op mate often gets lost in corridors chocked full of the minor get in the vent things these games usually require. Fuse at times lets it hand down and we realize a hacking mechanic in reality is just a way of loading another room or even worse that the game doesn’t care how creative or stupid you and your friends want to be: it just needs X put in Y. Part of what makes co-op great is playing with your friends and Fuse is to stepped in the patterns of single player to quite get it right. Its a good try, but I think Sunset Overdrive looks more promising.

P.s. i know how the devs feel when I bounce from intense businessman english class to kindergarten its just such different skills required.

July 21, 2014 at 8:23 am Leave a comment

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