I am a 27 (almost 28) year old, white, North American (Canadian, specifically) male. I have loving parents, dear brothers, friends, my beautiful wife, and a whole load of awesome experiences under my belt. I have a job, a roof over my head, loads of electronic gadgets that enrich my life and keep me thoroughly distracted. Hell I work on them for a living, making things on the internet do things. It’s almost magical.
I am a very lucky man. I’d say blessed, if I had a faith to fall back upon. That’s not to say I’m not spiritual, but if there is a higher being, I’m pretty sure they’ve got better things to do than pay attention to my specific existence.
With all this in mind, it would be insane for a man with so much to claim that at one point he considered throwing himself off the roof of his family home, and ending his life rather abruptly – and lets’ be honest here, dramatically – right? Of course it would! So how did I get that close to the edge, figuratively and literally?
With my moving back to Canada soon at hand, I was forced with the unfortunate reality that the time I had with my XBox 360 was quickly drawing to a close. As such, I wanted to make sure I got through a couple of my unfinished games before getting rid of the lovely thing. I’m taking the harddrive back home with me, so it’s only a temporary hiatus. That said, one of the titles I opted to complete was Telltale’s The Walking Dead.
I really should have thought about that before diving in. Everyone said it was amazing and moving and sucked you in and sliced bread could learn a thing or two from it and who knows what else. It’s been given great reviews up and down the line, and for good reason: it’s amazing.
I’m not even saying that glibly, and I’m saying that despite some of the whacky glitched stuffed I ran into. This game is amazing, and if you like
playing games engaging stories, you absolutely need to experience this game. If you want to read 2500 or so more words why I think you should, read on.
Risk is fun.
Risk is hard; it is an unforgiving mistress.
Risk should only be played with people you already hate, or with people whom you will learn to forgive, and they you. Risk is the destroyer of people, friendships, and nations alike. Risk sorts out the winners from the losers; the strong from the weak.
I love Risk, but there’s a problem: Risk takes a long time, and usually devolves into kamakazi moves and utter recklessness. As this is usually the end result, why not expedite the whole thing? And why not add alcohol into the mix?
I recently got into a bit of an argument with a man on twitter.
That actually does sound as stupid as I thought I would, having written it down. Regardless, I got into an argument with him over the topic of feminism. He described himself as ‘anti-feminist’ and this was the only thing in his twitter profile, so I really should have known better.
In our longer than I’m proud to admit … well, let’s call it a discussion, I learned a couple things. This post is part rant, part debate primer, and part personal declaration. Before you read on though, I’m going to give a quick warning: this is probably way heavier than anything else you’ll read on my site. It’s rare I post stuff like this. Ye be warned, etc. etc.
I’ve played a lot of videogames in my time. Not as many as some, but I’ve been playing console games since I was 3 (at least that’s as far back as I can remember). I’ve played Sega Master System games, I’ve played old 386 PC games, I’ve played my share of SNES, Playstation, Gamecube, etc. etc. I’ve played a whole lot of ‘em. But one thing I’ve never really done is played a collection of games all the way through their storyline. I was never good enough at Ultima Underworld, my computer couldn’t handle Warcraft 3, Starcraft 2, or the recently released Diablo III. Hell, even IPs that exist for the Xbox don’t generally entice me to finish them.
I look at my shelf of games, and I see a whole collection of games that just couldn’t keep me engaged: Gears of War, Lego Batman, Bioshock 2, Blue Dragon; the list goes on and on. Most of these fall down on the part that will keep me playing through the worst gaming experiences: Storyline.
I’m a sucker for a well-constructed, properly delivered storyline. You can give me some pretty terrible game controls, some god-awful camera work, and some of the worst textures, and I will endure if your story is compelling and gets me to give a crap. This may sound like something simple to do, as I’m generally pretty open to some far-out storylines, but you would be wrong. I’m probably the most criticle of shoe-horned, akward, or generally stupid plot points that serve only to play on a persons emotions. I cannot generally abide by such tools, and it’s the reason many of the unfinished games on my shelf are there; mediocrity in tale-spinning.
So why Mass Effect? What made me give not one, not two, but three (or more if you count DLC) shits about such a franchise?
Regardless, in my long-standing tradition of playing games well past their popularity spike (I haven’t even reviewed Mass Effect or Bioshock 2, both recently played) I recently picked up Torchlight on the XBox Arcade. From my vague recollections, Torchlight was something like Diablo, but streamlined and graphically updated.
Believe it or not, that’s pretty much it. Well, except the compelling storyline.
I’m not an Apple fanboy. Truly I’m not. Now that said, I have a macbook, an iPad, and an iPhone that I have through my current workplace. By all accounts, one would think that I am a total fanboy. I mean, I own pretty much one of their everything. I’ll even go on to say that I really, really enjoy their products; I like the iPhone/iPad interactions, I enjoy the iterations of their OS, and I appreciate the aesthetic of their products.
I have never been a total fan though. At the end of the day, they are tools that I use to get things done throughout my day. I don’t hold them in any higher regard than the PCs that I use at my workplace (or grew up with). I’ve had my issues with their products as well and I’ll be the first to point them out. I will also be the first in line to point out that Apple has ‘screwing their clientele’ down to a high art. I mean, they have a release schedule and setup that makes sure that everyone that purchases their wares will be jealous of those who purchase the next iteration. They can really be dicks like that. They engineer demand so well that there should be a degree in it available to higher education locales.
But as of Thursday, July 7th, 2011, I can say that I am now a loyal customer of Apple. Still not a fanboy, but they’ve secured my loyalty. And all it took was an email.
I am not a fan of Rockstar Games, generally. Not to say that they don’t do good work, but their usual fare just isn’t something that I can enjoy for more than about 10 minutes. Grand Theft Auto 3 and onwards always felt tedious (regardless of how much you can personally achieve in it), and Red Dead Redemption just seemed like the same thing, but with cowboys.
The whole ‘open world, do what you want, oh by the way there’s some actual story here if you wanna play it’ model never really did much for me. It’s neat and all, I get the appeal, but I never really got into it.
So then they start talking about L.A. Noire, and my first thought was “oh good, GTA in the 1940′s but this time you’re a cop and will get shot at by bad guys instead of the other way around. Yawwwwn” and promptly ignored it. But then they started releasing the trailers for L.A. Noire, and I watched them. And then I watched some more. And then I started reading about what L.A. Noire was really going to be. A detective game, but with chases, shakedowns, shooting, and moral implications.
Then I got excited.
I’ve been waiting a long time for this.
Pretty much everyone who played the first Portal has been chomping at the bit for a sequel of sorts to come around. That being said, Portal was a bit of a sleeper hit (and meme generator). It took a while for it to become popular. It took even longer for for it to become popular to release on its own. It did, of course, and I’ve been the proud owner of Portal: Still Alive (the XBox 360 release) for a good while now.
So when I heard about a Portal 2 coming out, I became very excited (along with a good portion of the Internet). What’s interesting is Portal came out in 2007. There is a 4 year gap between the two games, which is a long time in the game industry. With that kind of gap, people are going to be expecting a lot from this release.
So the question is: does it stand up?
I try and avoid political issues for the most part. That is to say, I try and avoid writing about them. I try to do so because there are better venues to have these discussions,which thanks to the Internet, generally degrade into tinfoil hat-wearing crap-slingers raging at each other. It’s hard to have an intelligent conversation about it 90% of the time, so it’s best to avoid it on small blogs.
That said, I’m going to break my rule a bit here and make a point to say that Canada, as a ‘great example’ of a democracy has some of the worst voting numbers I have ever seen. I’ll admit that I’m not that old, but there is imperial data to back me up, and the percentages have been slipping like my grades did throughout highschool.
To be honest, it’s a fucking disgrace, and we as a country should be utterly fucking ashamed.