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November 26, 2015

So Who is Cloud Strife, Really?

Full disclosure: I didn’t see the recent Nintendo Direct live, so I heard about the biggest headline indirectly thanks to my brother and his phone.  He had me guess who the new Smash Bros. character was, and my first (and only) guess was Shantae thanks to some rumblings I’d heard.  He didn’t even know who that was, so he did me a solid and said it was Cloud.  My delayed response?  “That’s impossible.”  And for minutes after, “But why?” repeated with an increasingly desperate and confused tone.

In all honesty, though?  I’m not all that hung up on Cloud coming to Smash Bros.  Sure, I can think of other characters who deserve a spot first, but that’s what the big Smash Ballot was for (wherein I voted for Wonder Red, because of course I did).  I don’t intend to play as Cloud, since I already have a stable of characters that’s bursting at the seams; still, his inclusion has made plenty of people happy.  That’s something worth celebrating -- and indeed, plenty of people have already started celebrating.  Seeing Maximillian goberserk over the reveal was an experience more emotional than all of the David Cage games put together.  Not that that's very difficult.

November 23, 2015

Let’s “discuss” Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 (Part 2).

Jesus wept.

…I know I said that I’d find another long Bible verse for this intro, but there’s something that’s been on my mind.  I have a question that needs answering.

Is Call of Duty terrible?  I know that question’s as loaded as a Gatling gun the size of Montana, but let’s work through it, shall we?

November 19, 2015

In Search of Majestic Games

I’ve been thinking about Until Dawn recently, even though -- as of this post -- it’s been more than a month since I finished it.  Part of the blame is on the recently announced VR installment, Rush of Blood.  I don’t know what to make of that, because I haven’t followed VR developments too closely; still, the fact that Until Dawn is seeing more play than a one-off release inspires confidence.  It’s new, it’s different, and even if there are some serious flaws, overall it’s still a good game.  I’m glad it came out, and I hope it gives Supermassive Games the freedom to branch out.

People are going to have different reasons as to why they like Until Dawn (thanks to that pesky thing we call “free will”).  Some wanted horror movie tropes, and got them.  Some wanted an adventure in the vein of a Quantic Dream title -- minus the Quantic Dream -- and got that.  But even if people give different reasons, I have one of my own.  I don’t think anyone’s going to fight me on it, but it might be the reason why the game succeeds overall, on some basic level.  And beyond that, Until Dawn is a good reminder of what a game can be, because its makers remembered what a game could be.

The word of the day -- or close enough to it -- is spirit.

November 16, 2015

Let’s “discuss” Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 (Part 1).

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”
--Romans 3:23-26



November 12, 2015

It’s Super Dynamic Controversy Time!

Oh wait, what am I saying?  It’s always Super Dynamic Controversy Time.  I’m just taking time out to highlight it because -- well, why not?

Obviously, I’m prone to thinking about video games, and thinking hard about them.  I want the medium to evolve and reach its full potential, even if the journey to that ideal form is rough and sluggish.  Certain mindsets and practices aren’t helping, though; big businesses aren’t always the most eager to explore the art forms, but it’s not as if we can blame the suits for all of gaming’s ills.  Problems exist on, and are exacerbated by, people on every rung of the ladder.  The sooner everyone understands that, the better off we’ll all be.  Self-reflection, open-mindedness, et cetera, et cetera.

I’ll come back to that later on.  But for now, let’s talk about Metal Gear and gigantic asses.  Given sneaking suits of games past, those two are far from mutually exclusive.

November 9, 2015

Let’s discuss Until Dawn (Part 2).

Previously on Let’s discuss Until Dawn…        

Oh man, I am so qualified to talk about this game, because I think horror movies are dumb.

Now it’s up to the gang to solve the mystery…and it’s up to you, the player, to keep them alive.

My theory is that Supermassive Games didn’t want to make a horror game.

*ominous sound*

I think the biggest thing about them is that I like what they represent instead of liking them because of who they are.

But let’s give Supermassive Games the benefit of the doubt.

*jump scare*

You should judge a game by what it is, not what it isn’t.

*cut to black*

…That would have worked a lot better if I had a cutscene to sync up with those words.  But forget it.  Have some more words and forget about it.  And also HAVE MORE SPOILERS.

November 5, 2015

Let’s discuss Until Dawn (Part 1).

Oh man, I am so qualified to talk about this game, because I think horror movies are dumb.

Well, maybe that’s too strong of a claim.  It’s not like I think every movie in the genre is dumb, or that the genre in its entirety is dumb.  But I’ve had some bad experiences in the past, and not because I got scared out of my gourd.  I actually WISH I’d been scared out of my gourd, because in theory that’s what horror movies are about -- making you forget that there’s a screen between you and the action, and making you feel just as vulnerable as the victims du jour.

I’d like to think that horror movies aren’t just vehicles for gore and murder, because that’s not what horror movies are about.  (Nor is it about busting out the baps, but that’s neither here nor there.)  Call me naïve, but I would have thought that a horror movie that can’t scare is a terrible horror movie, just like a comedy that can’t amuse is a terrible comedy.  But I got dragged to see The Thing remake, the Friday the 13th remake, Legion (ostensibly), and sat through no shortage of offerings on TV.  Too many of them have been a slog, and I’m ready for a change.  I’m ready for the good stuff.

That brings me to Until Dawn -- a game that I can’t decide is amazing or awful.

November 2, 2015

What’s the Key to a Good Combat System?

If we’re being completely honest here, I’ve never been in a fight.  I count myself lucky that the closest I’ve ever come to fisticuffs is some guy accidentally hitting me in the stomach while I zipped up my backpack.  Even if fighting is something that’s glorified -- in games, in movies, in media at large -- it’s not as glamorous as it sounds.  People can get hurt, and I seem to recall an episode of How I Met Your Mother where the consequence of a fight was a lawsuit for assault.  Moral of the story: don’t get into a fight.  Especially with Marshall.  That dude’s crazy.

Hopefully, the closest I’ll get to throwing down is a round of video games.  I’d like to think that a person can play them without fear of getting punched in the face (unless they’re having a Mario Party session), and seeing as how games thrive on virtual conflict, it’s no surprise that they’re pretty good at it.  Slashing up demons, kicking rival fighters, grappling foes into oblivion, it’s all there.  And despite the fact that I put on airs of wanting higher-class art for the medium, that’s not entirely true; I’m no stranger to a good Heavenly Potemkin Buster.

So you know what?  Let’s take time out to talk about combat in video games -- and what makes it good.

October 29, 2015

The World’s Spookiest Post?

I’d imagine that with Halloween right around the corner, people are flooding the internet with skeletons, ghosts, zombies, vampires, werewolves, jack-o-lanterns, and other nightmarish ephemera (even though it’s plainly obvious that there’s nothing scarier than the creatures lurking in the ocean).  This would be the part where I play into that -- or more appropriately, do a post about something super-spooky.  A scary game, for one.  But I just did a hefty post on Crimson Peak, and it kind of feels like I’d be double-dipping.

So I asked myself, “What would be the scariest thing I could offer up to anyone who stumbles upon this post?”  And the answer to that is simple: art by someone who has no business trying to do art.  Because there’s nothing scarier than someone without talent shoving his lack of talent in people’s faces!

Mediocrity, ooooooooOOOOOoooOOOOoooooooooo!  How chilling!

October 26, 2015

So How Good is Star Wars, Really?

So my brother came in one night and announced that he ordered us tickets to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens, because of course he did.

I mean, I guess I can’t blame him (too much) for it.  Pre-order culture has been a big part of the gaming world for ages -- for good or ill, and mostly ill at this stage -- but there are just some instances where it’s unavoidable.  Call it a hunch, but I suspect that The Force Awakens will qualify as a global event powerful enough to temporarily stop all the wars and debates in the world, not just some movie to see on a whim one weekend.  If you exist, you’re probably going to see it -- because even if you aren’t interested, friends and family probably are.  Or their friends and family are, or their friends and family are.  It’s an unavoidable chain, a sphere of influence half-built on peer pressure that demands you go see lightsabers and X-Wings and droids that can’t possibly have any practical use.

Well.  Aren’t I just laying all the cards on the table?