New GiantBomb Animated MIni: Sharp Knives And Long Bats!

It's that time again, folks! A short follow-up to Knives Vs Bats, in which Rykert weigh in. Hope you all enjoy.

As always, I'd really appreciate it if folks watched this from that actual video page, to help me track views more easily. And of course, like/comments/favs/shares are always absolutely amazing!

Here's the previous entries in the series:

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Working on an Original Animated Miniseries

Hey there folks! Some of you may be aware I've started working on a brand new project after completing my GiantBomb Animated work. This project, called Marionette, tells the story of a series of colour-coded character lost in an abstract dreamworld, trying to work out their place in a new society. It focuses on Rainhart, an awkward Red-skinned mute, and Whitmore, a verbose, eccentric White-skinned landed-gentry-type. I'll be doing storyboarding work on it tonight, over in this livestream:

I hope to see a few of you there! And if anyone wants to spread this around, that'd be great, since it's incredibly hard to get exposure for content without a known fanbase.

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Hey, I'm doing a GiantBomb Animated Livestream!

Howdy, party-people. Just wanted to let y'all know I'm starting up a livestream event down at YouTube Dot Com to begin work on a Knives Vs Bats follow-up animation. It'll be starting in about ten minutes and probably run for about three hours. Hope I can see you guys there, and feel free to spread the work to fellow GB fans who might be interested!

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GiantBomb Animated: Knife Versus Bat!

It's that time again, duders! My Christmas gift to y'all; a brand new, 4-minute-long GiantBomb Animated. Been a long time coming, and I apologize for that, but university studies, driving tests, script-writing and general life stuff (and XCOM) have until-now been sapping away at my animation time. But hey, it's out! Enjoy!

As is the norm, I'll remind folks that it really helps me out if you watch the video from the actual YouTube page instead of this handy dandy embedded version, since I can more reliably track views, traffic sources, demographics, etc. And of course, any Likes, Favourites, Shares and whatnot are all INCREDIBLY helpful to me. You guys seriously don't understand how a few shared videos can help out my channel.

And of course, here's the other GB Animated Shorts, if anyone wants a Holiday Trip Down Memory Lane;

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New GiantBomb Animated Short! "Is A Pizza A Sandwich?"

Apologies that this one is so short, but in the middle of animating my longest GiantBomb Animation work yet, I was struck with inspiration after hearing a particularly wonderful segment from the podcast. Cracked this one out in a couple of days for the community's enjoyment. Hope you all like it!

As always, actually watching the video from the YouTube page is a lot more helpful to me, because I can reliably track views. And of course, giving me a like, a favourite, a share and so on all help me out massively!

Have a great night, duders!

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So, that Karma System, huh? (and a new animation from the GiantBomb Animated duder)

Been playing the hell out of Fallout 4 (60 hours in just over a week...) and, out of the blue, I suddenly felt inspired to make an animation set in that universe. Not about something IN the game, but actually about something that got removed; the Karma System. Though I missed it in some ways for the first few hours of the game (after all, it's a mainstay of the franchise), I realized that, in retrospect, there was some 'questionable' side to the morality of the mechanic...

So what do you guys think of the removal of the system?

Watching the embedded version is fine, but it's actually a lot easier for me to track views if you watch the video on the YouTube page itself! Remember to like or favourite the video if you enjoyed it, it really helps me get some exposure. And of course, subscribe if you like my content! I'll be making a lot soon!

In case anyone wants to relive those GB Animations...

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Videogames Suck: Everything Is Unoriginal

So i've been meaning to vent about this for a while, since lately i've been having this constant niggling doubt in my mind about this industry as a whole. I'm going to be talking a bit about what i've been up to that's lead me to my conclusions, then i'm going to be talking about certain aspects of gaming culture, if that's alright with you guys. Oh, and before you worry, no this blog post isn't me being really cynical about the games industry. I'm actually really positive about it! I'm actually being really cynical about cynicism in the games industry. The title is sort of irony on my part, or it's view-bating. Up to you to work out which! This might run a little long and go off-topic, it's been a long time since i've done a blog, so sorry about that.

I played The Last of Us! Anyone else play it? It's a smaller independant project, you've probably never heard of it. Man, that difficulty curving, huh? I get that the first major clicker encounter is supposed to shock your system to get you prepared for what a threat they are, but god lord did that frustrate and bore the heck out of me. It's a sad thing too, because it was a rare mis-step on what I thought was by far the most well-paced gameplay experience i've had this year. There was this real constant push-and-pull between fast-paced action (ya know, the kind that game critics call out as generic filler) and slow-paced character development (ya know, the kind that game critics call out as "trying to be a movie"), with a control scheme that really reflected what I was doing and the character I was controlling. Joel skidded about, was knocked around, smashed things frantically with a hammer; between the inputs and the way the game carried them out, you really got this sense that Joel is a real human being who gets winded and has rushes of adrenaline and so on. It's a stark contrast to Bioshock Infinite which, though I really enjoyed, was absolutely horrible as far as putting you in the shoes of Booker DeWitt. War vet be damned, that man holds insane steampunk guns like a master marksman, and despite being a 1920s dude in his fourties he has an easy time acrobatically diving around and leaping on technofantasy rail lines. You could very much argue that "it's a videogame, it's not trying to be realistic" and to an extent I agree, but at the same time you're partially going against your own point by saying that; it IS a videogame, so why does this game with a heavy focus on character development and narrative make no attempt to link the character of Booker to the way that he plays? Being the protagonist and the playable character, doesn't it seem like an ample opportunity to put you in the man's shoes? Anyway, i'm gettting way off-topic, my point is that The Last of Us uses and subverts its gameplay philosophies to really give you a sense of place and character. It keeps you constantly feeling like a grizzled old dude in a post-apocalyptic world, between the way inventory management works, to gunplay, and even just basic traversal. Summation: it uses its medium to add something significant to the experience.

It also has basic controls like a third-person shooter, and has very traditional stealth mechanics. And oh, the gaming community did cry. Do you remember when I made a weird 'hipster' joke at the start of the last paragraph? I was actually alluding to the thing that's been bugging me a lot lately, specifically in reference to games like The Last of Us. To put it simply, gameplay that "follows a lead" is slowly becoming the new naughty step for games (there's three links in there for the record; one an article, one a comment thread, one a video). Did you notice a trend in all of those things I linked? They all jump to complaining about The Last of Us using a style that other games have done before. It seems like nowadays, in odd conjuction with the stigma of the hipster subculture, many game critics and gamers in general seem to be confusing "traits recognisable as inspired by other media" and "traits that are boring and generic and uninteresting". I'm not going to sit here and tell you you're wrong if you dislike The Last of Us. There's plenty of games I dislike that a lot of people loves (Look I just couldn't get into Braid, okay?). But then you have statements like this;

"So instead of a game like Catherine, that uses a seemingly arbitrary puzzle game mechanic to metaphorically represent the character’s relationships, growth, and change, we have another game like Bioshock Infinite that wants to be about Serious Themes but fails because the designers can’t think of something better for you to do other than to rifle through drawers and shoot motherfuckers in the face."

This is a fundamentally facetious argument. You know what The Thing is? One more gruesome horror movie among many. You know what The Godfather is? One more gangster movie to chuck on the pile. You know what 1984 is? Political commentary, because that was so rare at the time of its writing. I'm pointing out these examples because they use generic tropes; styles that support the kind of point they're trying to make, inspiration gained from prior material. Does The Last of Us have cover-based shooting? Yes. Does The Last of Us do cover-based shooting in exactly the same way as most third-person shooters? No. As I already noted, Joel does not control like some spry young man, he feels like somebody desperate and worn-down. So too do the various raiders that you encounter; they investigate the area when you disappear from view for too long. They flank when they know exactly where you are. Some will retreat in fear while others will run headfirst into danger. This gameplay is used to build the world; it's a violent place, populated by real people who are constantly struggling. Boil it down to "shooting motherfuckers in the face" all you want, a great meal is simply different ingredients properly put together and cooked. And, though it's obviously not a totally fair comparison, a great meal is not criticised for using the same seasoning as another great meal. But that's the equivalent of what a lot of people want to talk like, nowadays; remember the complaints prior to the release of Fez? The ones in which, despite nobody playing the game proper, it was called out by many as being a "bland retro 2D platformer". Many people will now call that game one of the best of the year, while if you venture down to 4chan's /v/ you're find a resounding phrase of "pretentious, generic garbage". Why? Probably because it's easy to look at it in on face value and see aspects of games you've seen many times before. And with the growing popularity of "controversial" reviewers like TotalBiscuit, Errant Signal and.. ugh... Jim Sterling, it seems like more and more the value is being put on being outrageously cynical about your first impressions of a product. Here's TotalBiscuit ranting about what he thinks of Journey while running in the opposite direction and having not played past the first area. Here i'll pause and reflect on the fact that i'm now bitching about cynical game industry critics, while writing a long-winded blog in which I am super cynical about the game industry. I think I already pointed that out earlier, but I need to keep reminding myself so I don't hate the core of my being.

I don't hate game criticism, I think it's totally necessary if we want this industry to mature. What i've spelled out here, that has been bothering me so much for so long, is the need to complain about and boil down gameplay mechanics and systems, with arguments like "This is like this, that makes it bad". The Last of Us is a game about survival in a post-apocalyptic world. Do you think you'd need to sneak around and occasionally confront people in a post-apocalyptic world? Most likely. Would it have been neat if The Last of Us used its gameplay to approach those actions in a wholly unique way? Oh, for sure! But why does that matter so much? Why do games now have to catch flack for NOT doing something totally crazy mechanically? Why can they not just refine and subvert aspects of the medium that haven't been explored in that way? Watchmen is praised as one of the greatest comic-books of all time for doing just that. Some of the greatest music ever composed was a riff on previous work. The old adage "Everything is a remix" comes to mind, and it's something I wish the gaming community could start to understand. If we really want to start looking at the medium in a critical way, maybe we should be asking Why a game chooses to go in a certain direction; does it fit the narrative or how you're supposed to feel as a player, or is it intentionally going against that? The How is important, after all the main conceit of a game is that it is played, but maybe we should stop trying to damn games on the grounds of face-value traditional values. Or we can do whatever, i'm not trying to force anyone to do anything, I just hope i've added something to the discussion.

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The past month of my life, and a special treat for this site! (This thread isn't about me dying)

Jesus christ, I must have been really into cola when I was 15.
Jesus christ, I must have been really into cola when I was 15.

Hey there folks, i'm Jack Saint. You might remember me as the upside-down picture of Matthew Perry you sometimes scroll past when you're browsing the forums. A picture, i'll clarify, I only chose because it happened to be one of the only pictures i've ever uploaded to this site... it was relevant to a blog post I wrote like three years ago about getting some cola or something? I was a 15-year-old chubby nerd, as if that wouldn't be the thing i'd want to talk about. Also I needed a change since my profile picture before this was Alyx Vance's cleavage, which was I think an ironic statement. My memory of myself is hazy, but I guess that means i'm not self-obsessed (or at least, no more self-obsessed than anyone who would write a blog-post about themselves).

Anyway, enough with that regrettable start; the point. GiantBomb has for years now been a weirdly important part of my life; the GOTY Podcast is one of the things I most look forward to during Christmas-time, my thursday and friday nights always end with a GB Stream, and pretty much every one of my bus-rides has the soundtrack of the Bombcast. I know that sounds super-sappy, but all those little details in my life that are taken up by GiantBomb really do start to add up when I think about it. The site might not matter a ton to my life, but it definitely matters. My earlier allusion to the fact that I was writing blog posts on the site at age 15 (3 years ago) should punctuate that i'm fairly attached.

So to put a bullet in a long story, I want to pay the guys back somewhat, and not just the guys but the community that supported the guys. For all the arguments i've had over the years with members of the GB community, on the whole you all seem very cool. So for that reason, the titular "last month of my life" becomes relevant, because a large part of it was spent making a present for you guys:

BOMBCAST ANIMATED, MOTHERFUCKERS.
BOMBCAST ANIMATED, MOTHERFUCKERS.
No Caption Provided

My hope is to make not one but several of these bad boys, not only as practice for my own animating skills but also to show my support for the site and the community that has really affected the minutae of my life. I've just finished my last frame of Animated #1 last night, and rendering begins today. If all goes as planned, in the next couple of days you'll have a fresh serving of Bombination goodness.

And don't worry, i'll have good company while I wait to render.
And don't worry, i'll have good company while I wait to render.

I'm by no means a perfect animator, and by no means a perfect guy, but i'm hoping nowadays I can provide more for you all than talking mess about soft drinks on my blog.

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