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Dammit, Just Play This! – Halo 4

January 21, 2013

There are very few times when I get to renege on a long held belief; something deeply rooted that for some reason I eventually came to see as completely inane. It took a full night of research, about five hours of YouTube videos, and sixteen hours (and counting) of audiobooks. What revelation did I come to?

I like Halo.

Furthermore, I respect Halo.

YO BRO, THE WEIGHT OF THE WORLD IS TOTES ON HIS SHOULDERS!!!11!

A new world and a new Chief

This May Get a Little Weird

Dammit, Just Play This – McPixel

January 14, 2013

What made me obsessively play this seemingly stupid game?

This question doesn’t come from a place of wanting understand something grand about the human condition; it is more of an exploration of how interactive media can hook a player through repetition or seemingly nothing at all.

In the medium of games, this is actually a common occurrence. We commit to the same types of actions; shooting, stabbing, pulling/pushing/breaking objects, but for what reason? Take the perennial whipping boy of first person shooters, Call of Duty. Since its inception, the main (and to some singular) action is to pull the left then the right trigger until all the bad men are dead. Whether those enemies are Nazis, Russians, Middle Eastern, or American the conclusion remains the same; kill them all. What makes this constant repetition work seems to be something as simple as a change of venue. Creating diverse and interesting set pieces makes the shooting and following bearable for the usual six hours. This same flow, which some would call a “crutch,” explains why I love McPixel.

And sometimes peeing on the explosives is the answer!

Peeing and explosives are common themes

Tell me more!

The Friend Zone

September 27, 2012

Hiya! Long time no see. Remember how I said how this blog thing would not have a schedule? Yeah, I wasn’t lying. I am not too good at the whole “keeping to a schedule” thing. But, being disgustingly late with articles is better than no articles; or at least that is how I see it.

But you know what? I think the wait will be somewhat worth it. What I want to ramble about today does not deal with video games, music, movies, technology, or any of the stuff that I am usually known to discuss. I tend to leave philosophical or emotional aspects of my psyche cooped up in my mind until I meet someone who is comfortable with trying to help me decipher these problems. Basically, I try not to think about the big stuff too much; the world already throws so much shit at us, why ruminate on complex ideas for the sole function of a “mental exercise”? But this write up is different. I have tangentially spoken to some people about this, but nothing too in depth (except for the people who proofed this thing for me, Lucas AKA Transylvanilla, and a wonderful lady by the name of Lucia). My reasoning is simple: I wanted to write something “emotional.”

People who know or have even crossed paths with me will (hopefully) come away thinking that I am on the bearable side of quirky. I try not to be overly annoying, and         generally have a smile on my face. Happy people tend to attract happiness around them, or multiple death glares from those more cynically-adjusted folks. My jovial nature comes from the desire to see other people happy; that said, I am not a saint and I have, and will in the future, hurt people. However, I try to limit those actions and try to lift someone’s day, however briefly. So I am content with myself, right? I understand my humanity and that the many {many[many(many)]} mistakes of my past and dealt with them, right? Rhetorical questions are stupid, right?

Time for some heavy stuff

Dammit, Just Play This! – Rocksmith

November 25, 2011

Here we are! Another installment of DJPT! Acronyms are cool and catchy, which I why I use them. Today’s focus is out of the ordinary. When coming up with this games to talk about in this series, I am leaning heavily into singleplayer experiences with a focus on storytelling. I love a good story, and an interesting way to tell it; however, analyzing a game purely for its mechanics also tickles my fancy. Rocksmith fits into this latter category.

I love music games, it comes with being a musician. Singing and playing guitar are daily activities in my household, much to the chagrin of siblings and the parental unit. In my youth, the music game genre never entered my mind, even though I had encountered examples like Parappa the Rapper and Rez. However, my first experience with what has become the modern music game was, like many others, Guitar Hero. The then semi-unknown developer Harmonix released a truly insane idea, to approximate the feel and experience of playing lead guitar on some of Rocks greatest tracks. It was not the most original idea, as Konami executed the exact same formula in Japan with the long running Guitar Freaks series. But, the genre was designed for the arcade market, and rarely ended up on consoles. Harmonix was breaching a new market, and one that had huge business consequences. Bundling every copy of the game with a plastic instrument can be quite pricey, and trying to convince a Wal-Mart or Best Buy to give up  three feet of precious shelf space to an unproven product can be quite difficult. Sometimes risks pay off, and this time it absolutely did.

Rock on

Dammit, Just Play This! – The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim

November 19, 2011

It has been a while! I have had this blog for a month and a bit and only put up one article. Maybe I should have a set schedule… Nah!

So, this article is going to be the first of many in the “Dammit, Just Play This!” series. My goal for these ramblings focuses more on a semi-traditional review structure, but does not attach a score. As shown by the article’s title, I think these games are pretty rad; hopefully I can explain the extent of their radness and illuminate some interesting/wacky aspects that cropped up in my jumbled head. That being said, off to Skyrim we go!

Full transparency: my experience with the Elder Scrolls series does not span the gargantuan depths of time like other players. To experience all of the content for these games would realistically take  around six-hundred hours. Even just starting at Morrowind, the mainstream breakthrough for the series, a player could spend up to three or four-hundred sword-swinging, magic hurling, backstabbing hours in their incredibly detailed worlds. Stepping into this narrative, this lore, and this style of design daunts the senses. I briefly forayed into Morrowind and played about a tenth of Oblivion in fits and starts; so I have not given myself over to the Medieval Western RPG in some time. Needless to say, I was excited but with a sense of temperance. I know that Bethesda, makers of The Elder Scrolls and the recent Fallout games, make quality experiences but ones that I seem to fizzle out. Then I started playing, and I kept playing. If I did not have school work/blog posts to be working on, I would still be playing it. The hooks are in, and the main question, to myself, is “why?”

Must…keep…writing…

The Meaning of “Heavy”

October 30, 2011

Last night, I got to see one of my musical heroes:
Mr. Devin Townsend.

Speaking about his many talents (guitarist, songwriter, vocalist, comedian etc.) would be unnecessary. All one needs to do is listen to this.

“Heaven Send” comes from Townsend’s 2009 album Ki, which severely departs from Addicted (also released in 2009).  Devin tends to take hard swings in tone and genre with his music, which comes partly from his musical abilities, but also from his prolific release schedule. He breaches the edges of the progressive and the ambient, however he never strays from something the the indiscernible quality of “heaviness.” After the show, my cohorts and discussed and gawked over Townsend’s abilities, and the attribute that kept arising was how goddamn heavy he sounded. His riffs tend to hit you square in the chest with a power that is not necessarily fueled by anger; it is more attuned to just pure strength. Describing the feeling is extremely difficult, but immediately apparent. Personally, to discern/get the heart of an emotion or feeling (especially when invoked by media), I tend to compartmentalize it. I use opposite or conflicting examples of already understood feelings to create a working definition of the unknown. There is probably a really smart, polysyllabic term for what I do, but who needs those.

Continue for more heavy

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