Raven10's forum posts

#1 Posted by Raven10 (2056 posts) -

@extomar: I'm honestly a bit torn over whether to discuss the ending in my next blog. I agree entirely with what you are saying but considering how important the ending is to the overall experience of the film I really don't want to spoil it for anybody. I'll have to see if I can write around it in some way.

@tireyo: I'm sure I've written a blog somewhere at some point about that subject. I'll probably write another one after I see The Wind Rises speaking that it is Miyazaki's final film. That studio has an incredible history and Miyazaki himself is such an interesting person.

@cybexx: The problem is when a film doesn't work out and they have to shift schedules around. They aren't going to have any movie ready next summer, for example, after the delay of The Good Dinosaur. They are in a tough spot, which is what I'll be examining next time, where financially they need to release a couple movies a year, but creatively it's not always possible or realistic to expect quality stories to be written like clockwork. That's not how creativity works.


Thank you! I hope part two lives up to your expectations.


Whoops. That was a typo on my part. My apologies.

#2 Posted by Raven10 (2056 posts) -

@butano: Tangled was good but I wouldn't call it Beauty and the Beast or Sleeping Beauty good. The music was classic Menken but the lyrics weren't as great as Ashman or Rice's lyrics. And the story was good for what it was, but it felt like a retread of past ground. It was a solid Disney princess movie but that is all it was. Frozen managed to be that and so much more.

#3 Edited by Raven10 (2056 posts) -

@aetheldod: Yup. Disney rereleased their films in theaters every 7 years until the rise of VHS after which they rerelease their movies on home media every 7 years. That's how they stayed afloat. One of the most interesting things about Disney's history is how today we view almost all of their pre-70's films as classics today but upon their release quite a few were critically panned and commercial disasters. Probably the biggest shift has come from Alice in Wonderland. At the time it was savaged by critics and offered as proof that the story was unfilmable. Now people view the Disney version as the defacto version of the story. On the other hand, The Black Cauldron has always been considered the lowest point in Disney history and I highly doubt any film will ever overcome that travesty.

EDIT: I also thought I should mention that I think the greatest achievement of Pixar is that they are able to handle incredibly complex themes in a kid friendly format. Sure I would love some darker Pixar stuff, but one of John Lassetter's guiding principles is that Pixar's movies have to unearth some sort of emotional truth. Every Pixar film dissects some sort of person. Toy Story is about young children and their imagination. Monster's Inc. is about the working man and manages to say some very powerful things about corporations and corporate brainwashing. Finding Nemo is about new parents. The Incredibles is about middle aged men and mid-life crisises. You can go through each Pixar movie and see the type of person the film is trying to shed a light on. In a simple, kid friendly format, Pixar has managed to say more about life than most of the greatest adult filmmakers ever will.

#4 Posted by Raven10 (2056 posts) -

Now if I worked at Valve...

I would be better at designing games than anyone here including me and thus would hopefully have better ideas than anyone here. If I've learned anything over the years, the best games are the ones that surprise me by NOT being what I want or expect. If Half Life 2 had merely been an extension of Half Life 1 it would never have come even close to living up to the seemingly unreachable expectations people had for it. The only reason it met those expectations was because it did things that no other game had done before and that no one had even imagined could be contained in a single game.

If there is one thing I think I can say with certainty I would like improved on, it would be the excessive amount of loading seen in the Source Engine. Having to pause every ten minutes to load in a new area was a real pain, and it was something that hadn't been fixed by Portal 2 so I am going to assume it is just not possible in the Source engine. Therefore I would extend my request to an entirely new solely next gen engine. The Source Engine was arguably the first current gen engine and it pushed things to levels previously unimagined so better graphics in larger areas that don't require excessive loading.

Lastly, I would like it if they did NOT include iron sights and NOT make this some sort of single player/multiplayer hybrid.

#5 Edited by Raven10 (2056 posts) -

@milkman said:

Look at the best games of this year (or any year). Look at how almost all of them are about saving the world or some other giant conflict. Gone Home is a human story. It's completely inconsequential to everyone else in the world. But to the characters of the game, it's the most important conflict in the world. There are NEVER games like that. That's why it's special.

This. I would be pretty hard pressed to think of a single other story driven game that didn't involve some sort of massive conflict usually in some sort of fantastical environment. Even something like To The Moon still had a sci-fi bend. I think one of the key issues with gaming among the general populace is that the types of stories games tell are all very similar. They are summer blockbuster type stories, maybe not in scope, but in style. There has never been, to my knowledge, a game equivalent to something like American Beauty. Many of the best movies don't see the world in danger. Many don't see anyone in danger. Many just involve the lives of everyday people and the things they deal with. Now Gone Home is not the greatest story ever told, but it is the only story of this type ever told in a game. It paves the way for similar games to tell better stories.

As far as this specific story and the way it is told, I think the best part about it is how it plays with your expectations. At the beginning of the game you expect something terrible to have happened. You hear Lonnie's messages on the answering machine and expect that she is in danger, not in the throes of young love. You expect the red liquid in the bathtub to be blood not hair dye. You expect the basement to contain the ghost of year's past and the attic to contain the dead body of your sister. You expect the parents to divorce, the father to fail at getting another book published, the mother to have an affair. But in the end none of those things happen. By playing with tone and player expectations, Gone Home manages to keep things unexpected. You keep expecting things to go terribly wrong but they never do. And that is true of both gameplay and story. It's a merger of gameplay and narrative that defines the best interactive stories. Nothing bad happens in the gameplay of Gone Home. There are no monsters, no ghost, nothing. You expect the gameplay to go in a certain direction based on the setting and the tone, just like you expect the story to go in a similar direction. It is in fact the exact opposite of ludo-narrative dissonance. It is one of the few games to achieve true ludo-narrative harmony.

EDIT: Also, @roadshell, I noticed you used the term cognitive dissonance to describe this game, but cognitive dissonance is a mental issue where a person believes one thing but does the exact opposite. I think you meant ludo-narrative dissonance, which describes when the gameplay of a game is incongruent with the story it is trying to tell. Maybe the best example of ludo-narrative dissonance is the Uncharted series where Nathan Drake is presented as this nice, likeable guy in the cutscenes but in the gameplay he ruthlessly murders hundreds of people without a shred of remorse. Nothing in Gone Home in any way presents ludo-narrative dissonance. Contrivance? Yes. But contrivance occurs in everything from books to movies, and this game was at least a bit more believable than your standard audio logs.

#6 Edited by Raven10 (2056 posts) -

I'm going to second In-N-Out Burger as a must. And Disneyland is great if you don't have to stay downtown. Honestly, if you have never been to a Disney amusement park I would find some way to get there. It's an awesome experience. Try to go this week, though, as once kids get out of school the place is going to be mobbed until New Years. Not that it isn't mobbed every day, but you might get on a full three or four rides this week, while you'll spend 3 or 4 hours waiting for a single ride starting next week. Other than that I don't have any suggestions beyond those mentioned. I would also say to eat some traditional Mexican food if you are the type of person who believes a taco involves putting hamburger, cheese, and lettuce inside a giant tortilla chip.

#7 Posted by Raven10 (2056 posts) -

You referred to the degree as your "dream" and you seem to have an amazing deal as far as the money is concerned. You are 24. Unless you are married and with children in school already then don't hesitate. I'll also speak a little to moving from IL to Boston. If you lived in rural IL in a relatively conservative community then Boston will be a huge shift for you in quite a few social ways. For one, Boston is much colder from a weather standpoint, and also on the coast, meaning you risk things like Hurricanes. The upside of living on the coast is that Boston seafood is arguably the best in the world and definitely the best in the country. The city itself is a really awesome mix of old and new. Boston is probably the oldest still major city in the US. There are businesses there that have been around since before the formation of the country. And these very old buildings stand at odds with a very modern and liberal way of thinking. The politics in Boston and the entire North East are very different than what you are used to in the midwest. While Chicago can be quite liberal it is nothing compared to New York City or Boston. The main religion in Boston is Catholicism. But from my experiences there even the most religious members of that community pale in comparison to the nut jobs you get in in the South and much of the Midwest. The republican party in the North East is basically the democratic party just with stronger beliefs in small government and big business.

As far as BU itself is concerned, my parents both went there as well as my sister-in-law and they all had incredibly nice things to say about the school. Boston has a great public transportation system. It's subways from my experience are not as nice as, say, those in Toronto, but are equivalent to the ones in New York City with Chicago coming up in the rear. I'll admit, though, that I've had less experience with the Boston public transport system than the other 3.

To sum it up Boston has terrible weather, going from scorching hot in the summer to freezing cold in the winter. It has the best fish and seafood in the country, and is only 4 or 5 hours from New York City if you want to travel to an even bigger city. The actual city itself is one-of-a-kind, with many of the buildings and businesses dating back several hundred years. The Union Oyster House, just to use one of my favorite examples, is the oldest business in the country. It's been around for something like 250 years and remains in the same building it was in back when it started. But right down the street you get one of those modern organic burger joints and that is a block away from a street market with actual individual vendors selling things along the street. And then surrounding that area you have a strip mall. It's this weird mix of modern and old that you usually don't find in this country. Finally, BU is from my understanding a great school and I think it would be interesting to study theology in a traditionally Irish Catholic city that has an interesting influence from having Harvard and BU located within the city.

#8 Edited by Raven10 (2056 posts) -

Well for me I have to say Bioshock Infinite as well. I actually don't think it is bad. In fact I loved it and would say outside of The Last of Us it was the best game of the year. But it wasn't as good as the first game and after waiting five years for it I just felt like the end result was great, masterful even, but maybe not as masterful as I hoped. All that says is that my expectations were pretty unrealistic but it's the honest answer.

#9 Posted by Raven10 (2056 posts) -

I'll comment on this arbitrary list with my opinions because why not, huh? I agree with the best action game and best licensed game. For third person shooter I guess I preferred Gears 2 to the first but I would agree on a Gears game of some sort. For best RPG I would have to say The Witcher 2, unless we are exclusively counting console games. Then I would probably go with Mass Effect 2. For MP game I would probably want to split it between Co-Op and competitive. For co-op I would say either Left 4 Dead or Journey and for competitive I would probably say Halo 3. For best first person shooter I would choose Bioshock and for best overall game I would be torn between Braid, Bioshock, Journey, The Last of Us, and Portal 2.

#10 Edited by Raven10 (2056 posts) -

@aegon said:

I always felt like there was an abnormally high amount of amazing grades in these kinds of threads.

Either this is a smart community or the American education system has low standards. Depends on your mood.

My Dad was talking to a professor at State University of New York Albany who teaches chemistry over there. My Dad has worked in chemistry for over 30 years and he constantly complains about how little the new recruits know. And mind you he currently works for GE's power research division so they only take the best of the best.

Anyways, this chemistry professor was saying how he found a copy of a final he gave to his students 30 years ago around the time my Dad was in school. And he told my Dad that he didn't think his current students could have answered a single question on that exam. He wasn't even sure anyone who graduated from the school could answer a single question. He said that the students they got these days came in with so little knowledge that the university ends up spending their entire time teaching students things that 30 years ago they wouldn't have graduated middle school without knowing.