Oh my, it seems like I completely missed last week! Hm. I suppose keeping all of my spring break homework up to the last minute was a terrible idea, since it didn't exactly allow me to write anything for the blog. Weak. There’s an entry this week, though, so let’s get to it.
Probably worth starting with stuff going on around me. For starters, I ended my last scheduled therapy session about two weeks ago, which felt pretty great. I will by no means say that I am “fixed”, because I am not. I still think about the past far too often than I should, and it has been stupidly controlling my decisions on occasions I wish it did not. The difference now is that my mood has significantly improved since. For the first time in what feels like a very long time, I do feel happy. I have felt happier, but time will come where I’ll be up to that again. I still get sad every so often when I over-think things, but it goes away a lot faster now. I can actually get up in the morning and feel motivated to go out and do things.
Things like going out to concerts with friends, such as the Feed Me show I went to on the 3rd. Fucking brilliant show. His setlist was perfect, and I don’t think I had ever seen a crowd so energetic. The bro-douchebaggery brought a lot of unmerited moshing to the show, but even still I was having so much god-damned fun that I couldn’t of cared less. It was amazing, and a really terrific mood brightener amidst a flurry of homework that has kept me grounded at home for weeks now.
The post-show was slightly unpleasant, though. For one, my friend lost the tee he bought from the merch table somehow. $25 down the drain. :( We had also spent three hours jumping up and down, so our legs were fucking exhausted. This was worstened by the fact that it was now 2AM, and there were no metros passing anymore. Montreal/Laval has the worst metro system, I swear. Whatever the case, we live an hour’s transit away from downtown, so we crashed at my sister’s place that night. Which we had to walk to. A five kilometer walk. At 2AM, tired and with busted legs. Argh. To make matters worse, I had to shit really bad for the last kilometer or so of that walk, which was really unpleasant. … Sorry. It just adds to the detail. I think.
But whatever. We woke up the next morning feeling fine, and then I went to school and was sore all-over for the next two days. Totally worth it.
In game-related news, I finished Mass Effect 1 and 2! Woo! I beat 2 to completion this time around, which I did not get to do the first time. Scanned all the planets, did all the side-quests and everyone turned out fine at the end, so that was fun. I also wrapped up the only DLC I had not played, which was Overlord. What a terrific piece of content. Great story, fun gameplay, some really awesome scenery, and a plot twist that really had me in awe. It was something else, in a way I don’t think I’ve ever seen touched upon in a game before. Cool stuff. I'm excited to get 3 this week and finish out the series, finally.
I’ve also been playing a bunch more of Modern Warfare 3, which continues to be aggravating. They released the new map for PS3 this week, Black Box, which has encouraged players around the world to be dicks and literally do nothing but camp. The map is just designed in a way where players can sit in one spot and have an open view of 30% of the map, then just pick off anyone they see running or sniping. Almost every match I have played on it was a lousy experience, and it’s making start to get a little annoyed with the game. The more I play it, the more I start to realize all these retarded things that Infinity Ward has overlooked that will never be fixed. They’ve proven with 3’s multiplayer that they’re too lazy to make a real effort to change things, so why would they fix things like your predator missile screen also getting flashed when you do? Or killstreaks being erased when you earn one on top of the other? Or PlayStation servers that are apparently rented out of a barn somewhere in Montana, because it usually takes half-to-all of a mag to kill a dude, when it should only take three bullets.
Or maybe it’s just me having shooter fatigue. Who knows. What didn’t give me any kind of fatigue, however, is Journey. I did a second playthrough during my break, which turned out to be an even better experience than my first. Why? Because of this:
I actually played the entire game with a single partner, where we actually developed a language to communicate with each other. We eventually knew how to say we were happy, worried, that one should get the other to come over here... it was something else. Especially later in the game, where we had actually lost each other and I began to worry. A lot. My friend was with my as I was playing, and saw me getting scared that I had actually lost the person I was with for the whole game.
But you know what’s the real kicker? It’s that I messaged that person afterwards. I thanked them for being the best partner I had ever had in the game, and they replied later. They replied in … pretty broken english. They thanked me, too. But then it dawned on me-- whoever I played with was definitely not from my neck of the woods. Not even close. There is probably a very steep language barrier between the two of us, and yet we understood each other perfectly in the game. We were completely in sync, but in real life we would probably be completely dumbfounded and unable to even say “Hello”. I’ve never felt like that with anything before, and that realization was something really special. That I was even able to have that kind of experience... man. Just, videogames, right?
I also bought F1 2011, and I’ve played a bit of the game’s career mode. I’ve also played some online with a few fellow Bombers which was a lot of fun. The game’s alright, though it has a few noticeable shortcomings. For one, the game doesn’t looks that great. Some of the texture work is rough, and a lot of the character models are pretty terrible. The cars themselves look alright, but the detail on them is also spotty at times. It also has the worst driving line in the history of racing games. It frequently lies, telling you to brake at distances that will make you irreversibly overshoot turns. Really stupid, so you end up having to practice spotting your breaking points off actual track markers and whatnot. If you’re a fan of F1, though, it’s pretty neat.
The last thing I played was Lumines: Electronic Symphony. I borrowed my friend’s Vita to play it, and yup, that game is Lumines and yup, that game is totally rad.
Know what isn’t rad, though? The fucking Vita, that’s what. A beautiful system, but Jesus Christ that device is the most poorly conceived thing I have ever used. The menus all have a different way to opening and closing (Some require the label peeling, others to hit an X button, others to hit a back button) and a bunch of features can’t be used without closing another. Worst of all, though? No drive mounting.
I wanted to put some episodes of Fresh Prince of Bel-Air onto it so I could have something to watch on the way back from school. A reasonable thing to want right? No? Well, get fucked. I tried to anyway. Here’s a step-by-step progression of me trying to do so:
I hook up the Vita up to my computer. It detects I’m connected to a PC, and says I need to do a firmware update before I can install drivers onto my PC. I do the firmware update. Takes half-an-hour to download through wi-fi and install. It installs, reboots, and I re-plug it to my PC. It installs drivers. It fails to install one out of the three. It tells me I need to download a Content Manager application for my PC to transfer files. I download the application. I install it. It starts, and asks me where my music, video and picture folders are. It indexes all of those folders, including all 90GBs of my music. This takes about 45 minutes to finish. Finally, the Vita is ready to connect to my PC. I plug the Vita into my PC, and it tells me to open the Content Manager app on the Vita. I do so. It shows that I cannot copy files onto the Vita from my PC. I need to do the copying from the Vita itself. It asks if I want to copy from the PC to the Vita, or vice versa. I tell it from the PC. It asks what I want to copy. I say Video. It opens the video folder that was assigned in the PC Content Manager. This folder does not have Fresh Prince episodes in it. I cannot browse my folders on PC. I unplug the Vita, restart Content Manager on the PC and tell it to go to the folder when my episodes are. It indexes that folder. I plug the Vita in and do the same thing again. It opens the folder, and does not list any video. The DivX-encoded .avi files aren’t compatible with the Vita. I shut the whole thing down and I do not touch it. I give the system back to my friend.
That shit right there? That’s unacceptable. I get the “we need to fight piracy” thing, but you’re actively encouraging me to find a workaround when you make copying fucking files so inconceivably difficult. It’s fucking 2012, and I need to use a god-damned application to transfer files onto my extremely advanced piece of hardware? Fuck, Sony. 2003 called and said that even in 2003, that shit is stupid. My three-year old phone can play any video or audio file in the known universe, and your $250 media system can’t play the most common codec in digital video? What. The. Fuck.
The games seem fun, and the system is powerful and beautiful to look at, but fuck that thing. Fuck it, and fuck its stupid design flaws, especially if they impede my ability to watch Fresh Prince on the go.
China! After a grueling two weeks of no racing, F1 returned this weekend in Shanghai with a really exciting race. Qualifying was a pretty fun watch, with Rosberg and Schumacher taking the top spots. I was excited to see Raikkonen place high up, and even more so to see Kobayashi place third. Sauber is really killing it this season. Biggest surprise of the session has got to be Vettel, though, who barely made it past Q1 and didn’t even get into Q3.
He also didn’t perform that well early-on in the race, dropping back to, like, 19th or something after the first few laps. The rest of the race was a ton of fun to watch, though. Shanghai is a great track, and it kept a lot of the racers close to each other. At least, when they weren't flying off the track to fly into outer space. There were constant battles for 4th and 8th place, which made the middle and latter parts of the race a ton of fun. Grosjean actually finished, which was awesome. I also really wanted Raikkonen to shine. He did for a very good portion of the race, but stayed on the same tyres for too long and lost so much grip. He was drifting into turns, practically. It was no surprise that he gave up his 4th place to drop down almost 10 places. I can’t imagine defending that position with tyres that worn being any kind of possible. I was really hoping he’d be near the top, but I was also kind of rooting for Rosberg to win. He gave an amazing performance, and really earned that win. Can’t complain about McLaren placing second and third, either.
And that’s it! See you next week. :]