More Venetian Blinds fanfic: The Venetian Blinds

After reading Donniey's amazing and imaganitive Blinds Leading the Blinds, I was inspired to write up some Venetian Blinds fanfic of my own. Now my story is nowhere near as funny as the aforementioned work, but I admittedly decided to take the rich Venetian Blinds universe and do a full reboot. I'm taking it in a much darker direction, and much more rooted in reality ( Tomb Raider style). Anyways, here it is and I hope you enjoy it (also, anyone picking up the reference at the end?):

The Venetian Blinds

                “This is exactly why mom left you!” Jeff yelled at his dad, Vincent. “This is why you have a pathetic life! And this is why I’m leaving right now!”

Vincent had always been a family man, at least up until he delved into the abyss. He always put family before everything. He preferred a mundane night on the cough with his beautiful wife and kids to almost anything in the world. He loved helping his kids with their homework. Doing chores and little home improvement projects, together with his family, were the highlights of his week. But there was more to him. Vincent could have been anything he wanted to be. He was one of those guys who have a charisma about them; guys who shake your hands strongly and look straight in your eyes, who can convince anyone that an eggplant is a delicious hand-fruit. He would have made a great businessman. He could’ve gone places. But Vincent had always been a family man.

He had amazing ideas too. When opportunity came knocking on his door to head up a new team of the best designers and artists at the central Home Depot workshops to work on Super Secret Project VB, a classified project with the primary goal of making blinds mainstream, Vincent simply turned it down because he could not imagine moving away from his family. When his brilliant ideas about a brilliantly innovative set of blinds made some noise at a few business conventions and competitors came begging at his doorsteps with promises of money and beautiful woman, Vincent simply scuffed at them. He had all he wanted in life and no one could give him anything more. Nothing could possibly make Vincent a happier man.

Until the idea of perfecting the blinds allured him, like sirens do to the pirates at sea. He had all he wanted, but he thought he wanted more. The half an hour he spent thinking of new ideas for blinds every week slowly turned into hours, and then days. The warm and cozy couch in the living room wasn’t his favourite seat in the house anymore; it had given its place to the cold and hard wooden chair in his workshop in the basement. Talking about the events of the day wish his family had become meaningless to him. Why would he waste his time doing that when he could be chatting with the mastermind engineers of blinds? He had become obsessed. Schematic after schematic. Prototype after prototype. But he was never able to perfect it. Whenever he thought he had crafted the perfect set of blinds, he found something to improve upon.

His kindness and pleasant smile had vanished. Vincent would spend days in his workshop without even eating, and upon his wife entering the workshop to ask about his wellbeing, he would spontaneously burst in to flames and yell at her. That went on for about two years, until his wife had had enough. She left him, taking their younger daughter with her.

His son, Jeff, stayed with him. Jeff always had a glimmer of hope left that one day the father he once had would return and hug him with all his affection.

That day never came. Vincent had been pulled deeper and deeper into the chasm he had created for himself. There was no such thing as a perfect set of blinds, was there? Vincent was unidentifiable as a human being anymore. Wearing the same clothes for months at a time, with hair that reached his waist, he spent all his time in the basement, only coming into the house to test his prototypes on the window with the most beautiful view in the house: the living room window.  

That day, Jeff had talked to Vincent for hours about his girlfriend and how he intended to propose to her and had simply asked Vincent for some fatherly advice. Vincent, instead, had completely ignored Jeff and had continued working on his latest prototype, which he simply called The Venetian Blinds. Fed up with his father’s apparent lack of any human emotions, Jeff finally packed up and left the house, leaving Vincent all alone.

Hours later, the sun had almost set when Vincent finished putting the final touches on The Venetian Blinds. He took them to the living room and installed them on the window with the view. He couldn’t help but notice how empty the house had become and started reminiscing about the good old days when his family was still with him...

He finished installing The Venetian Blinds and pulled up a chair. From the perfectly straight string to the side, which never moved or scrolled, to the blinds themselves moving at the perfect speed with no sound or friction or the need to pull the string, the blinds were perfect. He had done it. He had achieved the impossible. Against the laws of physics, Vincent had made the perfect set of blinds!

 "And there he sat, on his comfortable living room chair, gazing out at the beautiful view. A sad, false, shell of a man with the perfect set of blinds and all the time in the world."  

And there he sat, on his comfortable living room chair, gazing out at the beautiful view. A sad, false, shell of a man with the perfect set of blinds and all the time in the world.


Top 10 Games of the Decade

I don't believe in doing a Game of the Year list, because I think the best way to measure a game's quality is to look back at it after a few years. For example, if you asked me last year what was my Game of the Year for 2008, I would probably say Grand Theft Auto IV. But that was because I hadn't got around playing Prince of Persia, and had no idea about the awesomeness of Persona 4.  So yeah, I think I'm going to do my best of 2009 in 2011.   
Here are the most memorable games, and not necessarily the "best" games of the 'oughts, in my opinion: 

10. Medal of Honor: Allied Assault

You don't play, you fucking volunteer.

This game just blew me away. I still remember the Normandy level very vividly, even though I haven't played the game in a few years. It was so cinematic, and authentic. Back in the day, WWII games were not a dime a dozen. There was only Medal of Honor. It is a testament to the game's magnificent design that I still remember most of the levels. Too bad the main 2015 guys went on to start up Infinity Ward, and got all cocky and... remade Allied Assault with bigger explosions, eventually with a modern setting every two years



9. FIFA 2003
Is that real soccer?

After the 2002 World Cup, I had caught the soccer vibe (it still hasn't let go of me). I started watching soccer on a regular basis, and well, bought FIFA 2003 the first day it came out. The graphics just blew me away, and the animations were so realistic, at the time, that it actually felt like I was watching soccer. FIFA 2003 was a geat package, top to bottom. Marvellous graphics, a very well-designed user interface, and just the right mix of "arcady" gameplay. EA Canada still hasn't managed to make such a well-rounded and polished sports game. 


The graphics sucked.
8. Winning Eleven 8

I would go on to buy every single FIFA game released every year, but in 2006, I decided to give FIFA's main competitor a chance. Winning Eleven 8 was very underwhelming. Very few licensed teams, virtually no licensed stadiums, a very Japanese (read: hard to use) user-interface, and bland animations compared to FIFA. But it had something FIFA didn't have. YOU COULD MAKE YOUR OWN TEAM!!! As a newcomer, the Master League mode just blew me away. I lead my team, SA United, to glory in League B, got promoted to League A, bought some young players, sold the older players, did practices, made new tactics, redesigned the team's jersey, created a new logo, and etc. It actually felt like I had my own soccer team. Winning Eleven 8 failed as a sports game, but did amazing things as a role-playing sports sim.  

7. Star Wars-Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast
Back when Lucasarts and Activision were cool.

To all those saying Batman: Arkham Asylum is the first great licensed game to nail the feeling of a valued franchise-you are WRONG. Raven Software nailed the Star Wars license with Jedi Knight II back in '02. Not only the game had a deeper and more cinematic story than the prequel-trilogy movies, it also had one of the most innovative and fun gameplay mechanics of its time-or even all time. The way the force powers were implemented in the single-player was just awesome. You felt like a total bad-ass, throwing light-sabres, slicing Storm Troopers in half (thanks to the Soldier of Fortune 2 technology). You think The Force Unleashed was the first game to let you fuck around with Storm Troopers? No, Jedi Knight II did it years ago, and much better. Jedi Knight II is the best Star Wars game ever. I'm going to go ahead and actually say it is the perfect Star Wars game.

My name is Colton White.
6. GUN

Part of the Xbox 360 launch line-up, GUN was a sixth-generation game dressed up like a seventh-generation game. You looked at Kameo, and then you looked at GUN, and you thought "this game looks like shit". But the truth is GUN was a PS2 game. GUN was a great PS2 game. For a PS2 game, it had awesome graphics, amazing cutscenes, a large open-world, and top-notch production values. GUN didn't innovate. It took ideas from Grand Theft Auto, and presented them in a setting that had never been explored before. GUN had a great Western story, with a fuckload of twists. GUN was a pretty short game, but I still have fond memories of the game. There was no down time in GUN, it was all an awesome sixth-generation roller coaster ride. 

5. New Super Mario Bros.
Welcome back Mario. I missed you in 2D.

This game occupied my DS for almost two years. I maxed out the points counter on the bottom screen, and it reads as all 9s in my game save. I never grew tired of its pixel-perfect platforming, and played through some of my favorite levels more than fifty, sixty times. New Super Mario Bros. is the pinnacle of its genre, and a strong representative for all that the DS stands for. 


4. Uncharted: Drake's Fortune

I gave some serious thought to putting Uncharted 2 in this spot, but I like Drake's Fortune better. Uncharted was the first ever game to actually live up to the "cinematic gameplay" that all those PR people had been talking about for years. The cutscenes

Sully is just awesome.

were very well-done. The voice acting was amazing. It was the greatest looking game to come out at its time. It had a very well-realized world and cast of characters. My mom never wants to watch me play games, but she actually sat down and watched most of the latter half of the game with me. Every level, every set-piece was really memorable in this game. And the supernatural twist-THAT WAS FUCKING AWESOME!!!  

3. Total Overdose: A Gunslinger's Tale in Mexico
Total Overdose was just so crazy. And fun.

As I'm writing this, I am still arguing with myself whether this game deserves to included on this list at all-yet alone be given the number 3 spot. But then I ask myself "what are games for?" Of course, games are for entertainment.  

Total Overdose: A Gunslinger's Tale in Mexico is the most fun six hours I've ever had playing a video-game in my life. Shooting masked luchadors with machines guns hidden in guitar cases, while doing an acrobatic-flip on a wall in slow-motion? OK, I've convinced myself.     

That's what I'm talking about.
2. Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne

I played through this game again a few months ago. It still holds up. The way the gameplay is handled, the way the story is told, the way the cutscenes are done, it is just really outstanding. It is even more outstanding when you consider the fact that this game came out in 2003. Yeah, the dialogue is cliched and the story is melodramatic, and I think the developers were aware of that. Just the small details, like Dick Justice on TV, talk volumes about the care and effort put into this game. If this game was released with better graphics today, it would rank 90%+. 

1. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
One of greatest games of all time. Definitely the best soundtrack of all time.

No open-world game has ever surpassed Vice City. Rockstar North had hit jackpot, in terms of gameplay, with Grand Theft Auto III, and just made the dressing a little prettier for its sequel, Vice City. Alongside the classic GTA hook of "I'm just gonna start shit", Vice City had a very well crafted storyline. Most important of all, Vice City nailed the feel of Miami in the 1980s. My only exposure to the 1980s Miami is Scarface and Miami Vice, but man, those Scottish dudes at Rockstar North fucking nailed it. Vice City added small cool stuff to the GTA III formula, like bikes and better weapons, moved the setting to a much more interesting place, crafted a very well-done and satirical storyline, and featured the best video-game soundtrack of all time. That's right, Vice City has the single greatest soundtrack of all time, as far of games are concerned. San Andreas didn't surpass Vice City, and IV definitely didn't surpass Vice City.  
If I wanted to do a "greatest games of all time" list, Vice City would definitely be there.


Uwe Boll is my hero

I am not being sarcastic. With all his movies getting such a high level of criticism from such a vocal population (video game fans-he has mantioned in an interview that he has gotten death threats), and with all his movies being completely commercial failures, he is still able to go out there and finance his projects and get a crew and a cast, make them, and then release them himself. It takes a pair of really really huge balls to do that, and I don't think I could. I don't respect Uwe Boll's body of work, but I do respect his perseverence and workmanship. Damn, he makes like at least three movies a year. And now, he is expanding himself beyond video-games and is making serious films.  
I really do respect Dr. Uwe Boll. Uwe Boll is my hero.     


Uncharted 2 Multiplayer Impressions

I've been playing the demo for 2 days now and I thought I should share my impressions with the GB communtiy. I should note that I am NOT into multiplayer shooters whatsoever. I have no go-to online shooters. I have played lots and lots of shooters, but only for their single-player campaign. But now to the game: 
I have very mixed feeling about the Uncharted 2 multiplayer demo. I played through the first Uncharted just a few months ago for the first time, and I loved it. The gameplay was not its strongest assest, but it was functional and fun-enough to keep you going. Uncharted's main hook, at least for me, was how "cinematic" it was. From the music, to the voice acting, to the script, to the menus, to the extras, everything had amazingly high production values to it. The visuals were also very crisp and beatiful, not to mention the art-design which was just as amazing as the technology behind it.  
Now, take that gameplay out of Uncharted's narrative put in the form of an online shooter. What do you get? Uncharted 2 multiplayer!!!! The gameplay is the


same as the original game. The only difference (that I have noticed) is that instead of having to equip a grenade and then throwing it, you can use L2 to throw grenades (and UP on d-pad to look around). There is nothing wrong with it; the maps are very well designed, the weapons are well balanced, there are different upgrades and perks to give it some depth, and it looks fucking amazing. But it is missing Drake! Drake is one of the skins available of you happen to spawn in the "Heroes" team, but his charm, his jokes, his charisma and presence are not there. And what is Uncharted without its characters? Nothing (and by nothing I mean a perfectly funtional and orgasmic-looking shooter). 
Now the only real criticism I have of the gameplay the climbing mechanic, which is the exact same as the first game. I went into this game just having recently beaten Infamous. In Infamous, you can climb anything and everything. In Uncharted however (just like the original), only predetermined objects are climbable. Since the developers are really emphasizing "verticality" in the multiplayer, it would have been nice if it was more than just a couple of sniper-camping-spots (which only after a couple of days of a close beta, EVERYONE knows where they are on each map). 
 And that is what I think of Uncharted 2's multiplayer. Perfectly functional, great looking, but it is missing what made Uncharted special in the first place. I have pre-ordered Uncharted 2 (that's how I got the demo in the first place), and I will purchase it on the day of its release. But I think I will stick to the single-player campaign once the final game is out (which is not that far off by the way).     

Dude I'm so psyched... for the single-player

Chris Rock: Roll With The New-Impressions

I had watched every single TV special and listened to evey other comedy album Chris Rock has ever done before listening to "Roll With The New". What made me afraid of jumping in was the fact that it was labeled as a skit-album and I wasn't a huge fan of Chris Rock skits on "The Chris Rock Show". Anyways, this album was lying around the house and I got around and listened to it last night.  
It was funny. Not remotely as funny as "Born Suspect", Chris Rock's first comedy album, but much better than his latest special "Kill The Messanger". My favorite skit of the whole album would be "Champagne", which makes fun of R&B music and stupid music labels. Also, the "This Show Sucks" running gag got me every time. When the old guy said "Did you know I walked out of James Brown before he got to say the first 'heh'??" I lost it and was literaly rolling on the floor from laughter. The "Bad Phone Sex" skit was pretty hilarious as well; I'm sure we've all experienced it one way or another.  
There were also bits of Chris Rock's stand-up material in there. There was an extended version of his infamous "Niggas vs. Black People" accompanied by a hilarious afterword (in which members of the audience tell Chris how they hate niggers as well, and only when a white guy says it, a fight brakes out). Tossed Salad man makes an appearance as well. There was also a bit about the Million-Man March and the "crackhead mayor" Marion Barry (who was the centerpiece in one of Chris' jokes in "Born Suspect") which was very funny.  
All in all, there was not a lame moment in the whole album. There were no misses, no awkward moments, no cheap shots. After "Born Suspect" and "Bigger and Blacker", this is now my third favorite Chris Rock comedy album.  Now I leave you with the full text of the "This Show Sucks #3 (which is probably not as funny out of the context): 
Old Black Man: "That boy don't know nothing about pussy!!" 
His Younger Companions: "You don't know shit about pussy either!!!" 
Old Black Man: "I'm getting the hell out of here." 
His Younger Companions: "Sit down, man." 
Old Black Man: "I mean it. Did you know I walked out of James Brown before he got to say the first 'heh'??? You think I give a fuck about Chris Rock?"