Thursday, February 3, 2011

Just one?

How is it that a single person can so easily ruin something which would otherwise be enjoyable? A sheer clashing between personalities that makes something seem nigh impossible, and extremely uncomfortable. Maybe I'm just looking to blame someone other than myself; looking to hide my own shortcomings. I'm not really sure, but in the end, perhaps it's more than just one person ruining.

I really, sincerely hope that I can get myself through this and not lose the things that are most important to me along the way. I need my head on a pillow, bad...

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Humor is not scholarly.

Today felt like a pretty accomplishing day, even though I really didn't get all that much done.

I'm going to first talk about a pretty hilarious incident from my communication class this morning. In this class, we had to set six goals for ourselves to attempt to accomplish during the quarter. Two would be goals related to our relationships with others, two would be things about ourselves, and another two would be goals that require other people to accomplish. We also had to write a two to three page paper about them, the techniques we would use to accomplish them, and how it relates to our course, et cetera. So, for this paper, one of my broseidon classmates wrote the following:

"Relating to short term I am concerned that I nearly always focus on de-escalating these relationships. As is the case with my classmate Kasey who is a dear friend that I feel I could never live without. He may even be the same height is me, which is just that much cooler. Yet since he is a self-righteous jerk, I know his influence in my life must end. So, my goal is to ensure that he and I have no contact after the quarter ends. I may have to take measures to get him out of the class early if his annoying face gets me too angry."
And, of course, the teacher took it entirely seriously. As a matter of fact, so seriously, that she wanted to talk to this guy after class about it, and wants to talk to him again later this week to discuss that he is either having a mental breakdown or that humor does not belong in scholarly articles. Scholarly articles, in a low level communications class. This woman carries herself far too highly, for some strange reason. Her sense of humor is nearly non-existent, which is pretty depressing. I hope I can survive this quarter.

Later in the day, I ended up trying out both the Crysis 2 and Bulletstorm demos. I'm gonna talk about Crysis 2 first, which was both interesting and disappointing. The demo started off by freezing on me while loading into my first match, which was a pretty bad start! After reloading and getting back in, I managed to successfully get into a match. Quickly, I realized that it's pretty much like every other shooter out there. It's going for that same Call of Duty-style of game play that everyone loves so much. Except, it doesn't do it as well. The frame rate is worse, the controls aren't as smooth, and it just doesn't feel as right. It does have things that it could call its own, but those really aren't too well implemented. In it, you have a power suit with varying abilities, such letting you cloak, giving you armor, or super strength. To start out, you just have sprinting, armor, and cloaking in the multiplayer. You can rank up to unlock other classes, but I'm not sure if you eventually get other abilities to use. I'm pretty sure I saw some people making really big leaps and bounds, so I'd imagine you can customize them eventually. The armor feels mostly useless because it really blurs up the screen when you use it in addition to causing you to trod along at a snail's pace. Invisibility is a bit more useful because it actually does something, but is also pretty annoying when you get punched by a guy (who didn't actually punch you), and die in one hit. Also, the weapons are pretty generic.

You'll see this red dot sight in pretty much every modern shooter.
Maybe I'll spend some more time with it and see what I think. Bulletstorm was much more enjoyable, as the game played how I'd imagine Vanquish would be in first person. Only, it has a lot more cussing, Steven Bloom, and immature jokes. The game play is enjoyable, as it lets you toy with your enemies to perform stylish or flashy kills, such as yanking a guy from across the area to you, at which points he stays suspended in mid-air, where you can kick him into spikes, or people, or shoot him, or whatever. You get awarded points based on how flashy you kill people, and it seems like the replayability of the game would be good for people who love trying to go for high scores. I've got a hunch that the campaign itself is actually probably pretty short, so it might be something I end up waiting for on the cheap. Plus, how can I really co-operate with a game rude enough to tell me "Hey, dick-tits, this game ain't gonna preorder itself!"? How uncouth!

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Ends of Stories

What is it about the ending of a story that makes me so emotional? Not even particularly a story -- it could be a series of videos rather than a show, movie, book, or game. In a way, it's an extremely satisfying feeling, but it's also a bit sad at the same time. Bittersweet would most likely be the appropriate way to describe these things. With something that does have a happy ending (where a story is involved), it's such a great feeling to see everything come together in the end -- maybe the hero saves the girl, or a family is brought together, an animal might be saved from danger, the world could be freed from a villainous figure, or one of so many other things. However, that's it. That's the end; that chapter in our life is now closing.

We won't sit at the edge of our seats with worry for the character(s), we won't cheer for them when they overcome their problems; we won't ever travel together again (well, unless the sequel comes out). If we do it again, it won't be for the first time. We already know what there is to know in the story, we don't have that room to "grow" alongside them. For me, this is one of the hardest-hitting realizations.

I want to write more about some other things, but I think this is enough to satisfy me for now.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Friday Composition, Games, and.. that's it mostly

I started a new game in my backlog today -- Infinite Undiscovery. Yes, spell check, undiscovery is not a word. How do you infinitely un-discover something? Is that like forgetting everything you know? What does it even mean? I'm not going to worry about it too much, because I'm sure it's not important.

The game starts out with the main character, Capell, trapped in a prison cell and asking the guard for tea and sweet food. He doesn't seem to take anything all that seriously, and quickly identifies himself as just a musician who plays the flute. He seems to be mistaken by the guard for a guy named Sigmund, some rebel leader guy. After a bit, a girl breaks into the prison to free him and has also mistook him for this Sigmund dude. Poor Capell just can't catch a break -- he doesn't even want to leave the cell because he hates fighting.

He just wants some tea and sweet food.
Anyway, he ends up going along to escape out of the prison with the girl, Aya. After running from guards and a giant ogre, they find themselves outside in the dead of night. It's pretty cool, because the game itself is an action RPG, and in this section you get to sneak attack guards if you're cautious enough. Shooting arrows at oblivious mans is kind of amusing. The forest section probably lasted just a little too long, but it's pretty intense as you get towards the end.

After you escape, you meet up with The Real Sigmund (TM) and his roaming band of gypsies or something. There's a bro blacksmith who laughs a lot, and then some wimpy nerdy dudes who aren't important. He attacks by rolling on the ground and belly flopping from the air. It doesn't get more manly than that.

Balbagan is a boss.
I would write more, but the gal got home so that means it's time to close this blog. Toodles!

P.S. this was my work today, there are so many things

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Wednesday off!

So, so very glad that I didn't go into work today and instead took it off to do my paper for class. After the stress of not being good enough yesterday, I really needed a breather to take my mind off of things. Today's been an interesting one, too -- I feel like I got stuff done. Another game was finished, a demo was enjoyed, a paper got written, food was ate, and so on!

I finished Phantasy Star Portable 2, which I've been playing for a few weeks tops. I wrote about it in one of my earlier posts, and so I guess I should wrap up my thoughts on it. The story mode was really quite enjoyable if you're not picky about having an extremely varied game play experience and like action RPGs. It follows a pretty basic pattern of "do a free, non-story mission", then possibly "okay now do two story missions", and rinse and repeat for about 10 or so chapters. The non-story missions are thrown in to give you some choice of what to do, and to also level you up and prepare you for the next group of missions. They could have just toned the story-related ones down in size to make that a non-requirement, but the game would have most likely been far too short if that were the case. During the story, there are times where you can say different things to influence conversations, but it was mostly "right answer" and "wrong answer" options, so you never really feel like you have much of a say in things.

The characters are generally pleasant and enjoyable, although at times they may make you just want to roll your eyes. You've got a moping, mercenary-leading drunkard with lots of hair, the over-cleavage robot chick (?!), a young-and-mostly-useless partner, a spunky-retarded-tribal boy, and some others as well. For me, having played all the previous PS Universe games, this definitely ended up being my favorite story-wise. It's got quite a few nods to the previous games in the series, and it's pretty interesting seeing how the universe turned out after the previous games' events. It's unfortunate that you can't explore the cities like you can on the 360/PS2/PC games, because I really enjoyed those places even if they wouldn't really serve much purpose.

The story has some pretty awesome moments, and a fair share of pretty awful moments. You'll end up with your standard POWER OF FRIENDSHIP uniting, but there are also some really interesting parts as well. If they would have taken out some of the cliche and focused more on the darker side of the story, it would have been absolutely amazing. Unfortunately, Sega doesn't really seem to work that way, so I'll just imagine it as more thought out in my mind instead!
Emilia is visibly upset.
I would talk in detail about how much I love the whole game, the RPG elements, customization and other things the game has going on, but let's just say I have been known to enjoy this game! I was planning on taking some more photos of different CE versions of games I have, but then I realized: do I want to just post photos? Should I talk about them? Talk about why they may be good or bad? I'll have to ponder this later.

I was able to play some Team Fortress 2 with my lady earlier, and it is just so much fun when things go right. When we either get to help each other out by being battle buddies, or I heal her (or vice versa), or we help build each others' engineer buildings, et cetera, it's fantastic. Sometimes, we end up as enemies but then we duel each other instead and we're like FRENEMIES then! It also ends up for some amazingly hilarious times. For example, she was playing as a spy and stalking me, trying to find me and back stab me amongst my teammates. When she had finally gotten into a good position and was practically right behind me, she got hit by a stray arrow from my friendly sniper and promptly keeled over from it! Bloody wanker! Or there was a time when I was the spy, and had myself firmly parked outside of their respawn area. When she stepped out, I tried to stab her, didn't kill her, she hit me, and I was accidentally sent through their teleporter out to the front lines, where I instantly was blown up and she got a point against me. Not awesome. The arrow thing? Awesome. I traded an item to a guy for five (!) keys to open boxes that you find in the game, along with some scrap metal. Personally, I was pretty happy about that because a key is around 2.50$ for one, and the metal would help build a hat (metal becomes a hat?), so it worked out nicely!

Nothing more disgusting to an engineer than a spy. Or maybe a demoman.
After some musical messing around, talking to people online, and setting up a trade (daring!) online, I'm ready for sleep. I will attempt to listen to noise I made while I lay down, in hopes of passing out quickly. Night!


Finally finished an ending to Fallout: New Vegas, after owning it for about three months. In a way, I'm kind of glad it's over and that I can say I've beaten it, but I'm also left feeling sort of down because of that fact. I'd be lying if I didn't say that New Vegas and I didn't have a rough start together. She promised me a great time and lots of friends said she was a wild ride worth checking out at least once. Once we got started, though, she seemed pretty apathetic about the whole ordeal! She moved slow, didn't sound as nice as her older sister, Fallout 3, and just really didn't quite draw my eye like I was expecting. Even after we'd spent some time together, we still had a couple rough spots here and there. Random decisions she didn't want to play with me anymore, bizarre bugs that would make any normal man raise an eyebrow, and just an all around different feel than what I was looking for.

However, after our long trip together, I realized she had really started to grow on me. Underneath all that grit and dirt, all those problems was a perfectly fine experience that was brought down by her few problems. She has character, despite that whole taking forever to show it to me business. With so many quests, ways to tackle the quests, ways to avoid the quests, ways to talk to people, ways to not talk to people, ways to kill people, ways to walk this way oh wait no what is she doing stop why are you running that direction those are monsters over there and now she's dead. Really, though, I'm looking forward to possibly digging into that world some more down the road, and might even revisit it sooner than I planned -- a new, differently built character sounds like it could be a lot of fun, especially if I take the world on from a whole new perspective.

I did enjoy it after all!
Considering making a post talking about CE versions of games, what goes into making an LP, possibly some other stuff. Too tired for more. Later!

Sunday, January 16, 2011


Saturday: the day of video games, snacks, and video games!

I decided that today, I would go on a small adventure to the game store to trade in the Modnation Racers I received with my copy of Little Big Planet 2 from Subway. Since the game store is doing a 50% bonus for trades, it was a good time to bring stuff down there to unload that I wasn't interested in or could make some extra credit off of. For example, some games that I bought on sale online for around 10$ could be traded back in for 15-20$ using this promotion (also Gamestop still charges decent prices even on some titles, meaning they also give sort of decent trades). I was considering trading in my copy of Golden Sun: Dark Dawn that I purchased on the cheap, and while it was a good trade value, the selection at the local store was really pretty lacking. Disappointment! However, I did end up trading Modnation straight across for Resistance and Motorstorm, which I am pretty pleased with. Perhaps I'll see about going to a different store for a better selection to peruse.

When I got back (Sunchips, personal pan pizza, and Coke Zero in tow), I decided that I should make good use of whatever hours I had to spare and dove into just a bit of Neverwinter Nights 2. I've played it a little, and it's a really absorbing and enjoyable game, despite the fact that I don't completely understand much of the rules behind D&D and the system working behind the scenes. I've barely even scratched the campaign, I can tell, but just absolutely love what I've gotten to play so far. The amount of control that I have over my own character's development, nuances in the story, and my own character's interaction with the world is fantastic.

To give you a brief idea of what I could do, I'm going to spoil a bit of the tutorial and beginning of the game. During the tutorial, you're participating in your village's fair, competing to triumph over four different challenges. One of them involves a brawl against some punk brothers who seem to think they're hot stuff, and find it suitable to try and spew insults at you. Well, of course, I made very sure that I beat them in that tournament and took first place for this year's competition. Soon after the competition, your village is invaded and you need to fend off the attackers while looking for survivors to try and rescue. Naturally, these brothers are some of the survivors you can find and attempt to rescue... That is, if you're willing to forgive their insolent behavior from earlier in the day. Me? Not so much -- the first brother I found, he begged desperately for his life. Did I give him the herbs I got from the priest? No. I told him I would watch him bleed to death, and I did. After he collapsed to the soaked grass, I simply walked away with a smirk on my face and an extra herb in my pocket. When I came across his brother, I let him live, only that he may tell the tale that Mers Brows should not be crossed.

Mers Brows: Heartless killing machine or misunderstood, lovable gentleman?
After the NWN2, I decided to dig into a bit more Fallout: New Vegas. I've been wanting to get at least some sort of ending to the game, but for some reason I have a tough time really getting into the mood for playing it. With Fallout 3, I got sucked into it for hours and hours on end and it really just gripped me. This huge, destroyed world full of mysteries, people to talk to (or explode), places to explore, things to collect, and so on. The music for the game was absolutely fantastic; the soundtrack really fit the game and often really caught in my head like a hook in a fi-- okay, that's probably a bit too sharp. I'm not much of a fan of ridiculous metaphors coming from my own writing. A lot of the landscapes really impressed me, and it was good to just get completely lost in this strange world. With New Vegas, though, it doesn't seem to possess the same charm that 3 did. It's a bit more of a western setting, and while they tried to go for that feel with the world and radio, it really doesn't click with me. Maybe I've missed a quest to help create a better radio signal for the 'good' music, but so far I've heard about six or seven total songs, and roughly two are enjoyable to hear.

Another thing that I really dislike about it is that there is a lot of running. I never noticed this while playing Fallout 3, and it's honestly probably the same in both games, but you run a lot. Even using the fast travel option when available, you'll still find yourself just trotting along from point A to point B. The game really would benefit from some sort of auto-run feature, because I don't want to have to hold the stick in that direction for minutes at a time. To be honest, I could have completely missed this and it might even be in the game, which I secretly hope is true. I really want it to be there. One other thing that bothers me is that, while it's most likely my TV settings, the game is seriously dark sometimes. Mostly indoors, it's often bad enough that I can't even see what's in the room without turning up the in-game brightness setting completely.

It looks something like this on my TV. Yeah, it's dark.
A lot of the quests in the game are quite rewarding, however! Many of them have lots of freedom for how you want to complete them, if you even want to at all. I've been able to finish what would otherwise be long quest chains simply by being able to smooth talk people. There are so many opportunities for characters of differing skill sets to gab their way through situations, which is really nice. 

The evening was like a buffet of all sorts of games as well -- Phantasy Star Portable 2 with the broski Mogs, Team Fortress 2 and Little Big Planet with my lovely gal EmProv, and some Words with Friends tossed around in there somewhere. Today was a good day for gaming, that's for sure! Going to end this here -- I feel content with this post and I've spewed out a fair number of words now.

V for Victory! Em and I pose for the camera.