Let's discuss Avengers: Infinity War -- a movie BOUND to make you feel so good!

January 30, 2013

Spirit Showdown #10: The Biker

>tier-two summoning completed

>transporting data packets

>analyzing boundary

>analyzing tri-existence quotient






January 28, 2013

Let’s discuss DmC: Devil May Cry (Part 2).

Before we go any further, let me give you a little rundown of the plot -- and with it, the “plan” of our “heroes”.  In this game, Dante is a self-serving slacker who’s no stranger to beer and strippers on a nightly basis.  However, his life gets flip-turned upside down when Kat appears at the doorstep of his trailer -- and after a close encounter with some demons in Limbo, Dante agrees to go with her and join The Order, an Anonymous-style rebel group spearheaded by the white-haired Vergil.

Vergil explains the truth to Dante: that the two of them are brothers -- nephilim, born to a demon father and an angel mother -- and the only ones who can defeat Mundus, the demon king that killed said mother and banished said father.  But that’s not all; Mundus -- while posing as Lex Luthor a human banker -- is leading a secret operation against the human race, using Virility to placate them (probably), the media to scare them, and the power of debt to strangle the president and the world alike.  So -- as is the standard -- it’s up to the rebels to take down the establishment and give the people freedom.

The plan, as such, is a simple one.  Mundus is effectively immortal and invincible as long as he’s in his ridiculously-ornate HQ, because it ALSO contains a Hell Gate that feeds him power -- more specifically, it’s in his office.  So going for a direct attack will do Dante and Vergil no good; they have to lure him out of his HQ so they can deal the finishing blow.  So like good little rebels, they opt for subterfuge; they’ll target the Virility factory, Raptor News (a Fox News pastiche spearheaded by fellow demon Bob Barbas), and hope that it’ll get Mundus riled up enough to make an appearance.

Now, if you’re anything like me you’re probably wondering “So what, does Mundus never leave his office?  How does he meet people?  What happens if he has a meeting abroad, or just wants to go out and eat dinner?”  But trust me, that’s the least of this story’s problems. 

You might want to grab a snack, guys.  (I recommend a nice honey bun.)

WARNING: There are going to be a LOT of spoilers in this post, likely enough to ruin the entire game for you.  If you have any intention of experiencing this game’s story for yourself with a clear mind and no influence, you should NOT read this post.  You have been warned. 

On a related note, I still miss Old Dante.

January 26, 2013

Let’s discuss DmC: Devil May Cry (Part 1).

Before we begin, I want to make one thing clear: DmC is not a game you should get angry about.

Yeah, that’s right.  I’ll say it again, just to make sure I’m getting my point across.  In spite of everything I’m about to say, and in spite of all the discussion and dissent, DmC is not a game you should get angry about.  Ignoring the fact that it’s just a game (and there are plenty of other things worth raging about in this big blue world of ours), it’s a game that’s already been released.  It’s finished.  The damage has been done, and lines have been drawn.  Eventually, we’re all going to have to get over this thing and move onto something else; it’ll leave scars, no doubt, but even then it’s destined to become something remembered with groans and eye rolls instead of death threats and Metacritic bombings. 

But even with that in mind -- even if the game is justifiably deserving of its hatred (because it’s a ramshackle mess, IMO) -- it’s still not something you can stay mad at for long.  If at all.  Why’s that?  Well, I’ll explain in full before this post is done.  But that’s a ways away.

We have a lot of things to discuss.  A whole lot.

WARNING: Spoilers to follow.  And because this is the internet, I’m required by law to awkwardly cram in a reference to “filling your dark soul with light” somewhere into this post.  So let’s put it here and be done with it.  Also, let’s keep the comparisons to the Devil May Cry games to a minimum.  In fact, let’s just not mention them at all unless absolutely necessary.

…I miss Old Dante.

January 23, 2013

Spirit Showdown α: The Prince

“Look, I don’t see what you’re so mad about.  Coyote-boy gave us an out, and we got it.  So how about you give the raging a rest?  You’re gonna give yourself wrinkles -- and I don’t think you can afford to look any worse than you already do.”

Beat drove a foot through the virtual platform, digging up a splash of pixels and numbers.  “Well, yeah, but -- wait, what was that about my looks?”

“What?  I didn’t say a word…”  Tony glanced aside, his usual scowl tightening even further.  “Lousy sasquatch wife,” he muttered.

“I’m just gonna pretend I didn’t hear anything, because that’s the only way your head won’t get smacked right off your neck.”  She folded her arms and groaned, standing her ground in a most-unladylike stance.  “It’s just that that guy -- FX or whatever -- he just pisses me off so much!”

“What doesn’t?”

“Unicorns and rainbows.  Obviously.”  Beat looked around a bit, taking note of the orange-rimmed platforms and tessellated cubes drifting through the air around them.  “So what’re we supposed to do now?”

“Hell if I know.  The way I see it, though, coyote-boy gave us an out so we could go do something.”

“So what, you’re saying that he’s on our side after all?”

“Maybe.  More on our side than blob-boy back there.”

“So he pretty much sacrificed himself to save us?  And with his dying breath, he wants us to put together the pieces to beat that sack of black pixelly gooey bits and save the world, right?”

“Probably…but I’m about ready to blow him off.”

“Wow!  You’re a terrible person!”

Tony looked back at her over his shoulder.  “Good.  You know how I work.”  He went back to his business, crouching low to the ground and running his hands about.  “Crap.  I bet I know how this works; we don’t get to leave until we do something…”  His beady eyes rolled around in his head.  “Heroic.  God, why me?  I just wanted my vacation…”

“Hey, Tony?”

“What?  Can’t you hear me lamenting my life?”

Beat scratched at her temple.  “Is it just me, or does something feel…different?”

“Yeah, it does.  Now gimme a hand here; if we have to dig our way out, it’d be good to have an extra set of hands.”

January 21, 2013

DmC: A Pre-Discussion

DmC: Devil May Cry is automatically inferior to the other Devil May Cry games, and here’s why: in 2005’s highly-acclaimed, highly-beloved Devil May Cry 3, after defeating a vampiric demoness Dante takes her power as his own, unlocking the Nevan for combat.  Said weapon is a demonic electric guitar that shoots vampire bats and lightning, creates explosive shockwaves with power chords, summons columns of sparks and bats with a fleet-fingered solo, and can shift into a scythe for rapid-swinging combos.  To say nothing of the fact that this is what happens when you first get it.

My brother swears up and down that the Nevan is the worst weapon in the game, but damn it if it’s not the most stylish and crazy -- and in a sense, captures the essence of both DMC3 and the series in general.  The 2013 reboot, DmC, does not.  It doesn’t have that stylish crazy action.  It doesn’t have the trappings of the series, both good and bad.  It doesn’t have the spirit, choosing to substitute its own.

Does that make it inherently bad?  No.  If the game can offer something substantial to latch on to, it doesn’t matter as much (if at all) if it’s something of a sideways evolution; that is, rather than continuing upwards from a certain path, it takes a step to the right and becomes something different.  Potentially, something better.  Something that can prove its merits as a reboot and that the end product has been in competent hands this whole time.  And given reviews, that seems to be the case.  High marks abound across the board; the lowest score I’ve seen is a three out of five. 

So if you’re here expecting me to say “This game is terrible!” then you’re out of luck.  I can’t say it.  I won’t say it.  Saying that means that DmC is objectively awful -- a broken mess of a game that has the risk of melting consoles with incompetence and general badness.  It means that every reviewer who likes the game is wrong.  So no, I won’t say that the game is terrible.

What I can say, however, is that I think the game is terrible.

January 18, 2013

Final Fantasy 13-2: Good Morning, Kupo! (Part 2)

Okay.  Now let’s talk about character design for a little while.

In my own writing adventures, I’ve found that I prefer to describe characters as thoroughly as I can instead of leaving it up to interpretation.  The downside is that I run the risk of grinding the pace to a halt -- and indeed, I’ll have to learn how to strike a balance -- but the upside is that it gives the reader just the image they need.  As someone who’s deeply entrenched in visual mediums -- and someone who has good old common sense, like many others -- I know how important it is to have good character design.  A lot of information, implicit and explicit, is conveyed by visuals.  Think carefully about a book or movie or comic or game or show you’ve seen, and what a character’s appearance said about them.  What does Barney Stinson’s love of suits say about him?  How about Ryu wearing the same general outfit since his inception more than twenty years ago?  What can you say about Superman’s suit in comparison to Batman’s suit?

Even if I’m removing the audience’s ability to use their imaginations, character design is something that I hold in high esteem -- and as the mastermind of more than a few stories, it’s my job to deliver thoroughly and fiercely on all accounts.  A good character design can draw in an audience -- or if they’re already in deep with a story, they’ll be justly rewarded each time they come across a well-crafted character.  Maybe they’ll be affected by visuals alone.  Maybe I can have their expectations defied.  Maybe they’ll just be eager to make their own characters.  Whatever the case, the idea is to create a positive reaction through visuals; much as we all hate to admit it, appearances count for a lot.

Which brings us to Squeenix and Final Fantasy.

*sigh* Hold on to your butts.

January 16, 2013

Spirit Showdown μ: The Nobody

>breaching boundary

>accessing terminal

>uploading post number 266

>preparing tier-two summoning procedure

>link established

>beginning upload

>executing reality preservation protocol

>calculating tri-existence quotient

January 14, 2013

How to Make a Good 50-Foot Woman Movie

…Wait, what?

Is this gonna be a thing?  Really?  Eh, all right.  I’ll allow it.

Okay, let’s back up a little bit.  If you’ve been following my blog for a little while -- or just stuck around on the net long enough for me to leave comments here and there -- you’ll know that it’s my aim to put forth a story starring “a Godzilla-sized wrestling mama.”  That’s still a drive I have to this day, and a recent prototype has proven that it’s a concept that I can pull off with a bit of work.  Even so, I’d feel a lot better if I had something to fall back on.  Inspiration, or resources, or what have you.  The problem, as I suspect, is that there are very few good resources -- least of all the infamous Attack of the 50-Foot Woman.

To be fair, I’m willing to assume that H.G. Wells’ The Food of the Gods may give me something closer to what I’m looking for: a story that investigates the physical, mental, and emotional effects of being really friggin’ huge.  And I’d assume some fantasy stories have done it as well -- though I’d prefer to examine the transformation from human to giant, rather than just starting out as an earth-shaking colossus.   Even so, I can’t help but think back to that movie…or those movies, I should say.

Why, I can’t imagine -- because they’re all kind of crap.

January 12, 2013

The 1-Year Anniversary Post: Let’s discuss Cross-Up.

Well.  Isn’t this interesting?

One year of blogging, huh?  I’ve gotta say, I didn’t think I’d make it this far.  I’ve made some crazy attempts at projects before -- there was this one time when I tried to make my own toys with Play-Doh, paperclips, and drawn-on sheets of paper.  It didn’t pan out, and it was just another reminder that I’m really, really bad at arts and crafts.  (Though I did make an almost-acceptable dreamcatcher in art class this one time.)

But at the very least, I know where my competency lies.  I’m a writer.  I write stuff.  I like to write.  And as far as I know, people seem to enjoy what I write.  So I figure, “Hey, why not keep writing?”  And “Hey, why not put my stuff out there?”  So here I am, writing.  Hopefully improving my skills, and hopefully reaching out to people.  If nothing else, I’m really friggin’ good at typing now.  So in a nutshell, I’m glad I started this blog, and I hope I can keep it going.  I know I can do better, and I intend to -- because as a writer, it’s my duty to put smiles on people’s faces with the stuff I produce.  It’s the only way I’ll ever become truly worthy of being a writing hero.

And that’s about all there is to it…assuming that you want the short version.  Because now I think it’s time to go all in and do what needs to be done: blow two thousand words nitpicking my own blog!

January 11, 2013

Final Fantasy 13-2: Good Morning, Kupo! (Part 1)

All right.  Let’s talk about anime for a minute.

I’ve made it no secret that I have some deep respect for anime and manga.  I won’t say that either medium is perfect (especially from story to story), and my passion for it has cooled off since I first got into it, but I think that just like any other medium, the stories therein aren’t to be ignored; they have just as much -- and maybe more -- affecting power and merit as anything else out there, provided the story is handled competently.

Competently -- or adroitly, if you prefer.  That’s the key element.  And I’m sure you know where I’m going to go next with this, but let’s play this game for now; I promise this’ll all make sense before the post is over.

January 10, 2013

A Very Hraet-y Non-Canon Holiday Special (4)

Beat 1-4: Yep, Nothing Canon Here

Trixie could only stare blankly at the two Hoigleheimers.  JP, with hands crammed in his front pockets, rapped a toe against the sidewalk; he locked eyes with her a few times, but more often than not looked up at his dad with a nasty scowl.  Not that Patton noticed; he just stood in front of the rec center’s door with arms folded, as if acting as its bouncer (though incidentally, those that tried to exit the Z couldn’t, and just scurried away at the sight of him).

And all the while, Mrs. Overdose stared at the lot of them, gnawing on her reed.  “What the hell are we supposed to be doin’?”

“Well, I was hopin’ for some answers, but…”  Trixie rubbed the back of her neck.  “The way things’re lookin’, I’m startin’ to think maybe I shouldn’t have asked.”

JP looked up at the sky.  “Makes no difference to me.  If you want to know, then I’ll --”

“No.  Not yet, son.”  Patton held a forearm that could stop a tiger in front of JP.  “It’s not time yet.  We have to wait till the time is right.”

“Fine.”  He tapped his heel against the concrete, and rustled his hands through his jacket’s pockets.  “So Lloyd --”

“Not yet.”

“But --”

“Not yet.”

JP groaned and glared at a few shrubs.  Trixie hummed a bit, as if she wanted to start talking -- but instead she just sniffled a bit and coughed.  Mrs. Overdose looked about ready to deck the next person that walked by.

“…Okay, that’s enough dramatic tension.  Now you can talk.”

January 9, 2013

Spirit Showdown -- Round 3 Recap

So here we are again, with another set of heroes revealed.  How fitting is it that the New Year would start off with a pair of characters who are just barely qualified to be heroes?  Oh well; in their universe, they’re the best the world has got.  Though you could pretty much apply that to every character introduced so far, but that’s neither here nor there.

In any case, I’ll hold off on posting a summarizing video, mostly because the “full set” hasn’t been revealed yet.  It’ll come next time, but for now you can either read the posts for Alice, Raze, and Tony/Beat -- or you could do the more natural thing and wait for the highly-condensed version in about a month.

The reason, obviously, is that I promised ten characters -- and that’s precisely what you’ll get.  So I’d rather not make a video now (which with my limited tool set takes much longer than I’d prefer), only to make another video for one character.  It seems wasteful, is all I’m saying.  But in addition, there’s also the story arc that I’ve been developing for quite a while -- the one in which I (or at least my virtual stand-in) actually die.  So for the sake of providing a refresher, I'll give you a quick summary.

January 8, 2013

January 7, 2013

A Very Hraet-y Non-Canon Holiday Special (3)

Beat 1-3: Nothing but Successes Here, to be Sure

Lloyd pulled back a few inches, suddenly treating Trixie like a swarm of bees.  “Eh wha?!  Y-you’re going to try and teach me how to swim?”

“Not try.  Teach.”

“Ah.  Er…well, I wish you the best of luck, because I’m certain you’ll need it.”  He pressed a hand to his chin.  “I seem to recall that the last time I came across a large body of water, I tried to moonwalk my way through it.  The end result was not exactly something worthy of acclaim or footage for a music video.”

“Well forget all that, ‘cause when I’m done with ya you’ll be a lean, mean, swimmin’ machine!”  She patted a hand against Lloyd’s shoulder.  “Just leave it all to me, and I’ll be sure to make a real man outta ya.  ‘Cause when ya get down to it, ya just ain’t all the way there if ya can’t swim.”  Almost as soon as the words came out of her mouth, Trixie got a bad feeling -- like a phantom pain, or gas from a poorly-cooked burrito.  And she could immediately guess why.

“So you’re saying that I’m not a man?” Patton asked.  “Because I can’t swim, either.”

January 6, 2013

Final Fantasy 13-2: Good Morning, Kupo! (Part 0)

*sigh* Well.  Here we go.

I’m reminded of the words of fellow blogger Chihuahua Zero (whose blog you should be reading) on a post I made a while back: “That’s a part of being a critic: loving something and then taking it down.”  And it’s true.  I love video games.  I love the worlds they make.  I love the skill and creativity that goes into them -- the writing, coding-wise or story-wise, that makes them amazing.

But my love only goes so far.  It stops very abruptly right here.  Right now.

January 3, 2013

A Very Hraet-y Non-Canon Holiday Special (2)

Beat 1-2: Merry Mrfhmfhmas!

“Heh HA!  And another round of ho ho hos for good measure!  The time has finally arrived!”

Lloyd made his way out of the kitchen with a smile -- or at least an attempt at one.  It looked like a fusion between a grin and a grimace, with his muscles and veins pulsing as he dragged himself forward.  But as promised, he didn’t venture out alone; he carried with him (or at least towed) a burlap sack almost as big as him, and twice as wide -- and inexplicably plastered with a pink and fuchsia heart.  “Ready your souls and your faces, my comrades!  For before the light of dawn tickles your chilled skins, I intend to bless you with smiles as heavenly as mine!”

Lloyd (ignoring Trixie’s clear revulsion) brought the sack to a stop at its destination: two inches away from where he’d first appeared.  “Now then.  Who’s ready for a present?”

January 2, 2013

Spirit Showdown #9: The Lovers

>breaching boundary

>accessing terminal

>uploading post number 256

>initiating summoning procedure

>summoning complete

>initiating spirit protocol

January 1, 2013

A Very Hraet-y Non-Canon Holiday Special

Beat 1-1: Waking Up is Hard to Do…Except Pancakes

Chet ran a comb through his curled ducktail one last time, making sure his blonde locks were in the proper order.  He could count on them to keep up their sheen without his tending touch -- the perfect complement to his glimmering teeth.  He’d seen some of the staff try to use his smile as a mirror; as they bustled around off-set past cameras and wires, he made sure to grace them with his famous smirk.  It had the same effect as always; a young intern caught a glimpse, and then scurried away with a shake of the head and a low noise.  She was so overwhelmed, she had to escape my rugged charms, he thought as he straightened his tie.  It’s a wonder they let a man as dangerous as me on TV.

“All right, Chet.  You’re on in five,” said the crewman, with the camera’s lights blinking and the machine moving into position.  “And try not to do that smirk of yours.  It makes you look insincere and…kinda like a jackass.”

Looks like duty calls again, Chet thought, ignoring everything after the word “Chet”.  He sat at attention in his desk, and just as he always had, he spoke in his heart-meltingly suave voice.  “Good evening, ladies and gents; this is Chet Levitin, welcoming you to KPGL News at Nine, and wishing all of you --” He pointed at the camera and winked, ignorant of the groans on the sidelines. “Happy holidays, indeed.  And let me be the first to welcome all of you to the new year.  Tonight’s top story: jingle bell, jingle bell, jingle bell doom.  The mishap at the community rec center earlier today has -- according to new reports -- left a family of three, an elderly woman, and some random southern girl nobody cares about missing and presumed dead.  But first, here’s our weather report.  And before that, here are my teeth.”  He flashed a (presumably) sultry grin.

I can’t believe this is the highest-rated news segment in Porbeagle, the cameraman thought.  What is this guy, some kind of hypnotist?