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Title: Terrible Game Endings (obvious spoilers)
Posted: August 02, 2010 (11:49 PM)
I'd like to start this out with Metal Gear Solid 4. If you haven't played it, don't read on. Unless you don't care. And you probably shouldn't care because...
God. Fucking. Dammit.
SEE! Big Boss talk to Solid Snake for the first time since Snake KILLED HIS ASS. What do they talk about? They reiterate the entire plot! In case you somehow missed it while you WERE PLAYING THE GODDAMN GAME. SEE! Twenty minutes of two old men in the park talking about things you already know!
SEE! Revolver Ocelot make the big reveal that he was never possessed by Liquid at all! He was just PRETENDING. SEE! The revelation that one of the most stupid plot devices in video game history is, in fact, a stupid plot device! But it's all part of the Patriots plot! Ooooo....
SEE! Meryl, one of the strongest female personas in the game, admit that all she's ever wanted out of life is marriage! SEE! Her amazingly intelligent choice to marry a man who has spent the game LITERALLY SHITTING HIMSELF. SEE! Johnny awkwardly propose in between killing endlessly spawning guys!
SEE! A black man talk to his monkey!
SEE! Sunny finally makes eggs!
That ending sucks.
Title: Funny film story (connected to video games)
Posted: August 02, 2010 (06:35 PM)
So I meet one of the big names in film who happens to live in Portland. Her name is Mercedes Rose. We're chatting it up and it comes to me that I've heard that name before.
I didn't realize until after, when I was talking with some other film buddies, that she is THIS Mercedes Rose:
Now that's awesome.
Title: Beautiful picture of our actress
Posted: July 25, 2010 (12:25 AM)
Title: And now MY thoughts on Alpha Protocol
Posted: July 24, 2010 (12:59 PM)
First of all, I love the whole concept. Not enough games do the espionage setting well enough to bother with it. Alpha P., with its emphasis on setting up for a mission and planning out the style of approach, really does feel like a spy game and I like it.
I also really like the conversation approach. Well executed overall, even if most of the time I have no idea what the hell everyone is talking about.
There is a definite sense, during the missions, of "why did I just die?" and even more of "why did that guard spot me?"
I often feel like I'm suggesting things the character might like to do in order to not die and then he takes that under advisement (and usually dies).
Still, it's a shame this won't be happening again.
Title: Agarest War
Posted: July 23, 2010 (01:54 AM)
I noticed it hasn't been reviewed yet. Did everyone have the same experience as me AKA played the game for three hours and then got bored?
Title: Dear Hissarlikway
Posted: July 22, 2010 (03:20 PM)
Thank you for sending my copy of Alpha Protocol via jogger mail. I'm very much enjoying listening to how much fun everyone else is having with the game. I can't wait to play it when it arrives sometime next year.
Title: More thoughts on the retro aspect of Honest Gamers
Posted: July 18, 2010 (08:27 PM)
Today I was talking around the internet and mentioned that I write reviews for Honest Gamers. The other people in the conversation unexpectedly piped up to say that they knew the site well and went there "for all the old school games."
This brought up in my mind once again the fact that Honest Gamers really does have its retro reviews as a badge of uniqueness amidst a sea of online-mundanity and unoriginality. That is to say, we have something marketable in the fact that we do more retro and oddball title reviews than any other site on the internet.
That last statement may not be entirely true, but it's true enough that we could use that as a strong selling point in trying to grow the site.
Just a thought to continue from my last one a month ago and from Jason's more recent musing ont he subject.
Title: Review of Dark Spire
Posted: July 17, 2010 (10:53 PM)
Three hours went by and I barely noticed. This game is dangerous.
Title: Two games coming this week
Posted: July 15, 2010 (11:59 AM)
Two very different games arriving in the mail this week. Alpha Protocol is coming, based on Suskie's recommendation (I think, if you read between the lines in his review, it's a definite recommendation). The other one is, of all things, Death Spire, which I couldn't resist getting after reading Zigfried's review of it. Goddamn that was a convincing review.
Added to what I'm currently playing, that puts me at four games I'm slogging through right now. Dragon Age I'm determined to put in at least an hour a night, cause it's the kind of game that can get away from you if you don't play it for a while.
Metroid Trilogy I'm less concerned about as you can pick that game up ten years later and still remember how to play. That said, I'm almost done with Echoes and eager to get to the third game, which I haven't played since selling my Wii ages ago.
I also go on the occasional Brood Wars and Deus Ex kick. Deus Ex I don't really care whether I beat or not, as I've gone through the original game many many times and mostly I was playing it this round through to review it.
Brood Wars I'd like to finish, since I never legitimately beat the single player mode and it really does set up the entire plot for Starcraft 2. I'm debating reviewing it.
On the very back burner is Tomb Raider Legends, which I play for several days at a time before getting disgusted and putting it away for five months. Remembering the controls always ends with me accidentally downing several med kits and wasting some of my better ammo.
Title: More Population 2 "behind the scenes" footage
Posted: July 15, 2010 (02:04 AM)
I'm writing with more footage of the Population 2 cast and crew at work:
Population 2 in 2 Minutes: Part 2
This video presents a wide range of footage taken by our amazing documentarian, Matt Mastrantuono. The clips highlight the locations, makeup, and costumes that permeate the world of Population 2.
To elaborate on the locations a little bit, we shot at six locations during the making of the film, five of which you'll see here. The three main locations were... the Frank Lloyd Wright House in Silverton, Oregon, the Shanghai Tunnels underneath Portland's Chinatown, and The Fairview Training Center (originally called The Center for the Feeble Minded) which is located in Salem and is being torn down bit by bit (you can see this in one clip in the video). We also shot at the abandoned bar Pinochio's, the Ziba design firm, and Studio 3 (all in Portland).
A little bit more on the locations... the FLW House is easily recognizable in these clips for its warm colours and interesting layout. One shot of the house that is particularly pleasing is that of actor Shelly Lipkin standing by the door while the rain is coming down. It was a cold night, that night, but the rain was especially beautiful. A special thanks goes out to Molly, who is the caretaker of the house, and who was extremely supportive of the film, staying late with us every night of shooting. The Shanghai Tunnels you can spot by all the crazy dust and plastic that was set up in the area, as well as the nutty lighting (an effect caused by latticed wooden boards, which give us a "sewer grate" effect). Fairview was a particularly interesting location to shoot at, as it is an old mental institution and has a somewhat dark history to it. The buildings were incredible... and very dilapidated. Being there truly felt like walking through the apocalypse. I've had the pleasure of talking with some of the original tenants since then and they've been able to elaborate on the history of the place. We're hoping to take their stories and include them on the final DVD. It's an ongoing project that's been greatly supported by the Special Education Services at Portland State University, with whom I work.
The music for this piece was done specially for us by the extremely talented Nicole Adams, a young artist currently based in South Lake Tahoe, California, moving to Reno, Nevada, at the end of August. More of her work can be heard at the following link:
Digiskai (undergoing some site changes right now)
For those of you who missed the first video, which featured some of the humorous moments on set, here's the link:
Pop 2 in 2: Part 1
Also, here's the link again to the photos of the shoot, as taken by Levy Moroshan, whose photography is only matched by his extremely warm and positive personality:
Population 2 pictures
Finally, as always, a huge thank you to everyone who has helped us with financial or emotional support. I'm happy to be able to show you what your support has helped create. Keep watching the facebook site for Population 2, or join up if you aren't already a member. This is a good time to be keeping an eye on things, because we are expecting to release the official trailer, complete with colorization and original music, in a couple of weeks.
Title: Restarted Dragon Age today
Posted: July 15, 2010 (01:20 AM)
I never got very far in my first play through before putting it down for months.
In that time, I did a bit of soul searching and realized that the characters I play in these kind of games are not the characters I actually LIKE to play.
I don't know why I do this, but I have this thing for playing elven women mages. I think, aesthetically, these characters interest me. However, I hate keeping track of spells, I can't sympathize with the elven race, and I'm not a woman.
When I started up Dragon Age again today, I couldn't remember half of the controls or how I had been developing my character. Also, she was still elven and a mage.
So I started over. Completely. And went the totally opposite direction. I'm playing a dwarven warrior male.
And I'm fucking loving it.
I still don't go in for the millions of possible conversations and, frankly, I get a little wierded out when complete strangers tell me their life's history. But now I can enjoy Dragon Age. And I intend to.
Title: Request to the kind (and handsome) staff members
Posted: July 14, 2010 (04:09 PM)
There's an error in my AVP review that's bugging me to no end:
Predators should have to think through every move they move.
Should be every move they make.
Title: Request for Aschultz
Posted: July 13, 2010 (09:42 PM)
Will you please review Willow for me? I've been curious since I was a child as to how that game functioned but I lack decent emulation software.
Anyways, you do a good job of those retro games.
Title: True reviewed!
Posted: July 12, 2010 (11:43 AM)
This morning, the site informed me that Probester had reviewed this:
And for several seconds I thought he was reviewing True.
Title: My latest review
Posted: July 07, 2010 (09:08 AM)
Everyone else does it, so I might as well advertise, too.
Some of you are no doubt looking askance at the fact that this is my second Myst review. However, it couldn't be more of a departure from my original stance.
My first review was one based in nostalgia and memory, capturing a moment in time and awarding it its due.
This review is full of ire and hatred.
Myst for the PSP
Title: Further musings on Firefly
Posted: July 02, 2010 (11:02 PM)
I've been watching more of the show, slowly, since it still really bothers me. I know some of it is connected to the sexism issue, but after thinking about everything everyone said I think there's something else about the show that is bugging me.
I've been racking my brain for the last three days to put words to it, but the best I can come up with is that the whole thing feels extremely cliche. That would explain my feelings on the sexism, too, because cliche character types are very good at carrying social messages without meaning to.
I'm really upset that I can't put words to the feeling I get when I watch the show. It's like I keep waiting for something to happen and am continually disappointed.
It could very well be a stylistic issue or it could have to do with the fact that it was cancelled before the characters could develop and the actors could fully get into their roles. I'm going to withhold final judgement until I see Serenity, because that's where Joss Wheedon had lots of money and freedom to present what his intention for the show was.
It does bring up an interesting point about science fiction characters, though. I believe they are extremely difficult to write and difficult to act as, because their experiences are so different from our own. I think that's why so many of them come off as stiff, stupid, or just plain unrelatable.
There's a weird transition in Firefly between the earlier and the later episodes. The later episodes seem more tongue-in-cheek, almost like Star Trek meets The Heist. I wonder if that was a bid by JW to keep ratings high. There is definitely more of a formula to the later episodes with a couple exceptions.
Anyway, like I said... more musings. I only bring it up because everyone went absolutely crazy over Firefly and I've yet to get that same sense of crazed fanboyism. It could be my aversion to the whole "you can survive anything as long as you have good friends" theme which subtly runs through the show. There's a word for that theme and it's called the JRPG. I've become less enamored with it in the past few years.
Title: Behind the Scenes footage from our film
Posted: July 01, 2010 (10:37 PM)
Some behind the scenes footage from the latest film by Gil Luna, Kenneth Luba, and myself: Population 2. Stay tuned for part 2 next week. This is all leading up to an official trailer release at the end of July.
Population 2 in 2 minutes: Behind the Scenes footage
This video captures the inane giddiness that often strikes people while working on a movie set. It's a lot like a summer camp... or maybe better, a war... you meet a lot of people, become friends very quickly, fight and laugh a lot, and then leave each other behind forever.
In my case, I've been fortunate that many of these people are still my friends and partners in the business. We've managed to build a community of talent with this project. The experience has been amazing.
Title: I know everyone loves Firefly but...
Posted: June 29, 2010 (09:40 PM)
... but I just can't get over how sexist it is. This is a show about the perfect male (the captain) and how, if you're perfect enough, women will put up with your abuse and acknowledge how right you are in any situation... even if they have the free will to be cutely spunky.
There's an instance in every episode, but this particular bout of ire was set off by a conversation between Mal and Inara, in which she takes offense at him calling her a whore but quickly lets it slide. Shortly after, she calls him a petty thief and everything gets real serious. Mal looks hurt and Inara gets very apologetic. Though she cracks a joke at the whole thing, she acts like a child caught doing something wrong.
This is immediately following Mal giving a speech about how women use their wiles to control men, a speech that is given no rebuff by Inari. In fact, if you watch her, she looks like she was caught "in the act" when he says this.
But that's just Mal's character, you might say. He's just a sexist guy. Maybe that's the case, but this sexism is rarely challenged (really challenged) by the other characters. Mal may get the occasional talking to about his sexism by the women of his ship, but ultimately they all come running to him to save them in the end.
It's a very modern way of looking at sexism, where the man is okay with his women being spunky, being good at mechanics, being smarter and wittier than he is (I'm describing characters from the show, if you didn't notice), as long as in the end he's the captain of the ship and everyone knows that he's the one who saves the day.
But then why include a character like Jayne, who is really obviously sexist? Jayne is a cover up. He's the extreme example of sexism that makes Mal's sexism seem okay by comparison. Also, you can't really dislike Jayne for his sexism. He's such an over-the-top character... I mean, it wouldn't be an exageration to call him a muderer and a rapist, not to mention a little on the slow side...
It reminds me of the general in Avatar. He wasn't a statement on the insanity of the military. He was a statement on the insanity of the insane. Not even right wing militants could possibly side with the general. He was a PSYCHOPATHIC BLOODTHIRSTY MURDERER and most of us already dislike those. The fact that he was military was such a tiny part of his personality that any message about the evils of war were lost amidst him jumping out of planes while on fire.
Jayne is an even stranger example. He exists to be reprimanded by Mal to make the white male lead look better than he really is. When Jayne talks about taking advantage of the women on the ship, Mal chastises him and we all think how good it is of Mal to put Jayne in his place. Of course, Mal is allowed to call them whores, be jealous when they won't sleep with him, and (in some episodes) punch women in the face because, in the circumstances that he does it in, it's the right thing to do.
Of course, this is all by Joss Wheedon, who has made it clear several times in his career that he's a man's man. Which is fine. I like spunky but ultimately acquiescent pussy, too. Most guys do. I mean, you only have to look at the majority of female roles in Hollywood to see that this is a common desire among the dominant culture.
But you know, it would be nice to start seeing women portrayed as three dimensional characters once in a while. The most frightening thing is when it comes in the form of shows like Firefly, where the women are given backstories and falsely deep motivations, but ultimately stick to their men as a rule or need some extreme reason to not be interested in men... for instance River who has no mind left, and is still dependent on her brother. Brother as in man.
Don't get me wrong. I enjoy Firefly. But I don't think the writing is genius and I think the message portrayed is questionable. I just wish people would stop and think about what they are watching.
Title: What is Art? The argument defined.
Posted: June 25, 2010 (08:58 PM)
I meant to post this quite a while ago but lost my reference and just tonight refound it. Ever since the discussion we had about video games and art I've been searching for a working definition of "art."
In that conversation we had, I took the philosophical approach to art, rhetorically claiming that anything could be art in the hopes that someone would be able to concisely prove me wrong.
Because I really don't believe that anything is art. But I don't believe I can something isn't art, not until I can define what art is.
I then read TimeQuake by Kurt Vonnegut. It was one of those books which ended up having a bizarre relevance to everything that was going on in my life. I don't know if that's a Vonnegut thing and a sign of how relevant he is in general or if it is fate/coincidence. Regardless, I found what I was looking for in a letter Vonnegut wrote to his brother the scientist, who had sent him some of his art and then snidely said that he didn't admit, publicly, to having created them. He challenged Vonnegut with the question, "Is this Art?"
Here's Kurt's reply.
"Dear Brother: this is almost like telling you about the birds and the bees. There are many good people who are beneficially stimulated by some, but not all, manmade arrangements of colors and shapes on flat surfaces, essentially nonsense.
You yourself are gratified by some music, arrangements of noises, and again essentially nonsense. If I were to kick a bucket down the cellar stairs, and then say to you that the racket I had made was philosophically on a par with The Magic Flute, this would not be the beginning of a long and upsetting debate. An utterly satisfactory and complete response on your part would be, "I like what Mozart did, and I hate what the bucket did."
Contemplating a purported work of art is a social activity. Either you have a rewarding time, or you don't. You don't have to say why afterward. You don't have to say anything.
You are a justly revered experimentalist, dear Brother. If you really want to know whether your pictures are, as you say, "Art or not," you must display them in a public place somewhere, and see if strangers like to look at them.
That is the way the game is played. Let me know what happens.
People capable of liking some paintings or prints or whatever can rarely do so without knowing something about the artist. Again, the situation is social rather than scientific. Any work of art is half of a conversation between two human beings, and it helps a lot to know who is talking at you. Does he or she have a reputation for seriousness, for religiosity, for suffering, for concupiscence, for rebellion, for sincerity, for jokes?
There are virtually no respected paintings made by persons about whom we know zilch. We can even surmise quite a bit about the lives of whoever did the painting in the caverns underneath Lascaux, France.
I dare to suggest that no picture can attract serious attention without a particular sort of human being being attached to it in the viewer's mind. If you are unwilling to claim credit for your pictures, and to say why you hoped others might find them worth examining, there goes the ball game.
Pictures are famous for the humanness, and not for their pictureness.
There is also the matter of craftsmanship. Real picture-lovers like to play along, so to speak, to look closely at the surfaces, to see how the illusion was created. If you are unwilling to say how you made your pictures, there goes the ball game a second time.
Good luck, and love as always.
Take that, Roger Ebert.
Title: New game may not bring me back into the RPG market...
Posted: June 24, 2010 (06:34 PM)
... but damn I do have to give credit for fantastic art direction. I'd play it even through any griping I may have, simply because it's beautifully nostalgic.
Game in question...
Title: This keeps happening to me...
Posted: June 21, 2010 (12:44 PM)
My reviewing schedule seems to match up with my ROTW schedule. Once again, I'm set to release a couple reviews this week and yet it happens to be my ROTW week.
That does it. I'm waiting a week to release.
Title: New review coming tomorrow
Posted: June 19, 2010 (02:28 AM)
I'm apparently using this summer to play older games. My line up of reviews looks to be for the likes of Deus Ex, Metroid Prime, and Starcraft.
Starcraft coming tomorrow.
Title: Er... sexy...?
Posted: June 17, 2010 (12:45 PM)
Title: A Hoax? A good idea? A bad idea?
Posted: June 15, 2010 (12:25 AM)
Title: Honest titles
Posted: June 10, 2010 (01:08 PM)
I was browsing some honest titles today. These were my three favorite (despite being a fanboy myself):