@Hulk@Oni@MattBodega@Foil1212@Virago@Rowr@crunchUK@Brad@Jensonb@Hamz@MB@Thordain@MaSuTa @CyanageN@JackiJinx@RandomHero@BoG@Ravey@SuperMooseman@Black_Rose@Carlos@Karmum@Lies even that dickhead@Vaxadrin - and of course a huge thankyou to @Disgaeamad for all these magical screenshots. There are so many people I can't even remember. Fuck... I'm sorry.
I love you guys. I miss you guys. We should go find Godhand and hang out some time.
Somebody wrote this about the GB mods, specifically me I guess, and stuck it on the forums. I'm kind of impressed that I managed to piss someone off that they went to all this effort! If this is the sort of person we are banning then I guess this is vindication that I'm doing something right.
After the success of Journey to Modship: MB Edition, I promise a lot of you a Sweep Edition of how he became a cunt like MB. Well here's the thing, I only have a few tid bits on Sweep, all I know that he kissed ass for modship despite trolling and spamming up the forums during his pre-mod days, but after speaking with Kush, I got everything I need to know.
Sweep was a happy-go-lucky boy who's inspired to be a homosexual lumberjack. One day when learning how to get double penetrated with dildos made out of sandpaper by a accomplished homosexual lumberjack (rumor has it that it's The Beast), he tells him that he got to where he's at due to a modship know as GiantBomb modship.
The next day Sweep went to the next best place to achieve the modship - a gay sex club. There he meets a former GiantBomb mod name Kush. Kush tells him about what he had to do to get it, and that's by kissing the mods/GiantBomb's ass. But Kush also warns Sweep about the aftermath of kissing ass for the modship. "It will descend you into madness!" says Kush. But the eager Sweep desperately replies: "It's my dream to be a homosexual lumberjack!"
After he learns the art of ass kissing from Kush. Sweep creates his account, and like any asshole user on GiantBomb, he trolls, spams, and ass kisses in the GiantBomb forums. The ass kissing he provided wasn't enough. Sweep grew weary, and sad the his dream wasn't going to come true, but he remained determined. Sweep knew that he has to have the right opportunity to prove his ass kissing-ness. So when GiantBomb unveiled the point system - a system that exploits every users as cattle to be milked off of for points - it angered a lot of the good users of GiantBomb. So Sweep's opportunity arrived, and posted a shameful blog about how amazing the points system is.
Meanwhile at his bathroom tub,nude, covering himself with feces and taking photos of himself for his Facebook page, MB takes notice at Sweep's ass kissing:and says: "Wow! This guy is the biggest kiss ass since MattyFTM!" So MB looks through his past post, and like the other users that became a mod, MB ignores all the trolling and spamming that Sweeps has done and only focuses on the ass kissing. MB knew he was a perfect candidate so he gave him the mod status. It made Sweep very proud.
So Sweep is now a proud homosexual lumberjack getting fucked by many fellow lumberjacks before him. But what Kush warn him about was starting to get to Sweep. . . . . .
Sooooooo, I just got back from the Mr Brainwash exhibition in London. I wasn't planning on going because I knew it would just piss me off, but a bunch of people from work wanted to go so I sort of just tagged along. I left after about 20 minutes. I'm not going to lie, I was pretty angry.
For those who don't know, Mr Brainwash [Real name: Thierry Guetta] was a cameraman who tricked a lot of graffiti artists, including Banksy, into letting him follow them around and film them working for a supposed "Documentary" that he was making. In actual fact he was working on no such project. He wasn't even keeping track of what he was filming. Banksy once said:
"Uhmmm... You know... it was at that point that I realized that maybe Thierry (Mr Brainwash) wasn't actually a film maker, and he was maybe just someone with mental problems who happened to have a camera."
If you haven't seen the film then I strongly recommend you seek out a copy, it's very funny, though probably not intentionally.
After Banksy found out that he wasn't actually making a film, he sent him away to make some of his own graffiti. The result was.... well.... bad.
"Yeah, I was faced with that terrible thing, when somebody shows you their work and everything about it is shit... so... you don't really know where to start." - Banksy
So yeah, I popped along to this exhibition of... well, shit.
It's a guy who rented out a warehouse, sprayed paint on a load of random junk and then announced it was art. And, while it made me really angry, I also kind of enjoy how fucked up that is.
The thing is, the work has no substance. There's nothing there. There's no message. There's no pleasing aesthetic, or mental stimulation. There's no plan. There's transparently no plan. It's almost patronising, with Union Jacks made out of empty spray cans. BECAUSE WE'RE IN ENGLAND, RIGHT?! It's like a graffiti ad campaign by the fucking Halifax. Mr Brainwash is essentially the Paris Hilton of contemporary art.
"Warhol repeated iconic images until they became meaningless, but there was still something iconic about them. Thierry really makes them meaningless." - Banksy
The big debate is over how self-aware this guy is.
Does he actually know what he's doing? Is he deliberately attempting to undermine the foundations of artistic integrity by deliberately being completely shit? Or is he just completely shit? Either way, the warehouse was full of punters who were obviously enjoying it, so he seems to be winning. Right? I don't know.
I kinda like not knowing. Because if it turns out that he really is an absolute moron who has shamelessly conned all these people into thinking he is an artist... well.... I don't want to live on this planet anymore.
"I think the joke is on... I don't know who the joke's on - really. I don't even know if there is a joke." - SteveLazarides
One thing is for sure.
If Banksy was right and this guy actually might know what he's doing, then I just got trolled so fucking hard.
I'm fairly certain I have, but after writing 358 blogs on this site over the course of 4 years, I can never be sure. If so, apologies. Do not panic; You are not stuck in some infinite internet loop. Calm yourselves.
The whole Paragon vs Renegade thing is something that I have written about before, though not for a while. In summary: I do not like that process, at all. In my experience, to take advantage of these systems and the rewards that they bare, you must commit to a single path entirely. For example in Mass Effect, choosing the path of ethical ambiguity meant you were deprived of both the extreme Paragon and Renegade answers that would pop up occasionally and, arguably, would allow the conversation to escalate to it's most entertaining conclusion. They grey road is, in many cases, the least rewarding. Such game designs are also, to any experienced player, condescendingly transparent. One of these choices will give you a good ending, one will give you a bad ending - it is seldom difficult to figure out which is which. Bioshock, for example, made it fairly obvious throughout that saving the little sisters would pay off in the long run, but at what cost? By making the decisions so linear, the element of choice becomes redundant.
And then some games give you alternate endings which are neither good, nor bad, and the result is underwhelming for a whole different reason - because your moral decisions were apparently meaningless. I'm still looking at you, Mass Effect.
There are, of course, examples that contradict this. The Witcher (more specifically the sequel, which is the only Witcher I have spent any time with) managed to instil a wonderful sense of ethical uncertainty. Your decisions sent ripples flowering off into the fabric of the world, some of them trivial, others leaving deeper and more meaningful scars on the world around you.
So why bring this up Sweep, you bellend? We don't need to hear this shit from you again.
When I play games that facilitate any kind of moral spectrum, I tend to pick my ethical alignment at an early stage, for the reasons previously stated. Usually I pick being an Evil Dude, because kicking guys out of windows is much more entertaining than helping orphans and letting the rest of the game's inhabitants treat you like a little bitch. But then I started playing the Walking Dead and... fuck, I'm finding it hard. Telltale have managed to place me in a situation where I am forced to act with a genuine moral integrity instead of simply choosing the actions that I believe (And secretly hope) will cause the most chaos and destruction. The Walking Dead makes me feel... guilty.
That's a big deal for me. Guilt is not an emotion that I frequently entertain.
The choices that you make are not inherently good, nor evil, but they are tough. The one choice that still fucks me up was at the beginning of episode 2 when you are asked to share out 4 portions of food between 8 people. I didn't want to give any food to Duck (he's Kenny's son, and he's fucking irritating) but... I couldn't not give food to a starving child. That just seemed... wrong.
The best part about the Walking Dead is that it lacks any sense of predictable linearity. You make decisions and, as in the Witcher, you don't know what this means for you, nor your group. You are having to react to people and, despite their stereotypical character roles, they remain unpredictable. The cast remembers your decisions, even if you don't, and they come back to haunt you. Usually when you least expect it.
But the Walking Dead goes beyond that, even. The game forces you to act selflessly because you actually care about the other characters. There were moments in Episode 2 where I gave pause to reconsider my course of action. For a little girl who doesn't even exist.
This, I think, is what makes a great videogame. And this is why you should go play The Walking Dead.
They say that times they are a changin'. Seems like some times can't change fast enough. Others won't change at all. Don't worry about those. Just... keep it simple...
The Dark Knight Rises successfully managed to purvey a truly impressive sense of scale, which gave the film a fantastically epic quality. I walked out of the cinema exhausted. Wonderfully intense, if a little predictable at times.
The Walking Dead
The first series of games in a long while that have manipulated me into acting with emotional integrity instead of simply picking the actions that I hope will cause the most mayhem. The Walking Dead gives you tough choices that come back to fuck you, repeatedly, but without any sense of predictable linearity. Makes for brutally tense gameplay.
Loving the new season of Breaking Bad. Mike especially is a character that has grown on me significantly over the past few seasons and it's great to see him taking a more central role. Looking forward to the inevitable cluster-fuck.
I decided to stop buying comicbooks this month after I financially crippled myself in June. It took a couple of weeks to slow down, especially during the Avengers Vs Xmen event that's taking place at the moment, but the cost:entertainment ratio simply isn't high enough to justify the mindless purchase of these books every week. I will continue to read Uncanny X-Force, however, as that remains the one series that has managed to maintain both it's high quality narrative and artwork.
You know how you tell people "I can quit smoking any time I want" and nobody believes you? Well I quit smoking exactly when I wanted, so fuck those guys. I was at the stage where I was smoking maybe 4 or 5 a day, but that would increase to maybe 15 or 16 per day at the weekend. When I ran out of money it seemed like an obvious expenditure to cut from the budget, and I haven't felt any sense of temptation since.
Don't get me wrong, I love a good steam sale, but this summer I spent a trivial £3.99 on discounted games. I bought a copy of Alice, Madness Returns, which I enjoyed for about 30 minutes and then promptly ignored. While the style of the game is fantastic, I don't know if I can be bothered to trudge my way through it's repetitive gameplay to uncover it. As for the steam sales themselves, I imagine many of you are in a similar situation to me; If there's a game I want then I will buy it, regardless of price - which makes the entire process of discounting fairly obselete. Don't worry, we still love you, Gabe.
Post E3 depression aside, I have enjoyed the last week.
It was great to see videogames being made and talked about, and that's enough, for the moment. It was especially refreshing to see hype surrounding the games that made an effort to be experimental: While Halo and Call Of Duty were pushed out as respective show starters and stoppers at the Microsoft conference, it was games like The Last Of Us and Beyond that left people buzzing with excitement.
I'm not going to sit here and lament, again, the palpable shift towards non-videogame entertainment that was so transparently present at the show. This transition has been glacial, and anyone who is surprised or dismayed by Microsoft or Sony using known brands to sell hardware has clearly been hallucinating for the past several years. It's worth wading through the marketing PR nonsense and terrible Usher puns however, for just 5 minutes of Miyamoto goofing around. If that man endorsed heroin I would be a smack fiend within a week.
The Wii U looks to be doing all the things that Nintendo probably should have done a while ago, though it may be too little too late. Anyone who wants to play the 3rd party titles that had been previously excluded from the Wii library probably already owns an alternate means of doing so. Plainly put: Being able to play games like Batman: Arkham City on a Wii U in not incentive enough to go and buy one. What it does do, however, is spark the potential for 1st Party Nintendo games of a similar scope. It will be interesting to see how this alters the design of these classic franchises, each generation of which has been limited by it's respective hardware.
The game that most prominently caught my eye was The Last Of Us. It's a strange mish-mash of genres, survival thriller meets action adventure. The bright colour palette and amicable protagonists are at a surreal juxtaposition with the way you brutally murder anyone you meet. I watched the gameplay demo at work and by the end of the video my co-workers had crowded around my desk and were actively cheering at each fatality. (I agree with Jeff that cheering murder is kind of fucked up, but it was more of a "Oh no he didn't?!" kind of cheering than a "Yeah, show me his brain!" kind of cheering. Subtle difference?)
What interests me the most is the versatility of that engine.
A lot of the most exciting moments was the spontaneous way the characters react to each situation. If you run out of ammo the hunter hears the click of your gun and ventures forth, only to experience a budget Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster to the face. But what if you don't run out of ammo? How much wriggle room is there? That entire sequence looks so perfectly choreographed that it's hard to imagine it being resolved in any other way. So it is with mixed apprehension and excitement that I await The Last Of Us, a game that will either dazzle with it's versatility, or underwhelm when it's linearity is revealed.
I shall end this blog with a comic strip that is disarmingly relevant to my current situation. Replace the words League of Legends with Dota 2 and you have something pretty similar to what's going on with me right now.
I have actually managed to load up some hero models in maya so maybe I will write a blog explaining how to do that, as the process is fucking arduous and there are no actual guides on how to do so for Dota 2. I had to mash mine together using old TF2 guides, which was an utter ballache.
Is a statistic thrown around with such wild recklessness that it's significance as a credible argument in any given situation has dwindled. I last remember the number hovering somewhere about the 33 mark, though that was a while back and I expect these days the average videogamer is going through their mid-life crisis.
It's easy to shuffle out that number as a knee-jerk reaction to any accusation of videogame related immaturity, pointing out with a smug smile that "Actually, I think you'll find" the average age of people playing videogames is 94. Or 328. Or, let's face it, any number higher than your current age. If needed you can probably find an article on IGN or Kotaku to validate your claims. Isn't that what those websites are for?
And, for the most part, we were all getting along fine and dandy
In relative denial that the majority of games we play are actually immature male-oriented power fantasies with a severe lack of innovation, writing ability and variation. But you play them because, hell, it's fun shooting zombies in the face. Who doesn't like shooting zombies in the face? Nobody I want to know about.
Until some inconsiderate bastard speaks up and points out that, regardless of whatever statistic you can dig up online, no matter how articulately you can defend your favourite addiction, videogames are childish. Someone with a transparently thoughtful and reflective approach to videogame design points out that videogames aren't mature enough for adults. We react accordingly; people have been saying this shit for years, it's easy to dismiss it. Your parents have been saying this for your entire life, what's difference will one more hater make?
But then there's those of us who actually agree. I don't know if that's a common opinion or not. I assumed it wasn't, as the article was originally sold as sensationalist flame-bait (Though to be fair it was free-range flame-bait from a legitimate source). To hear that and to think "This guy not only has a point, but has repeatedly demonstrated that this medium has the potential for creative growth" is very refreshing and something that I want to support as much as possible. That's why I finally got the fuck off my lazy arse and wrote this blog. Let's do this, videogame people. Let's grow the fuck up.
It seems strange that relative to the utter hysteria of the past week my first blog upon my return from PAX East should regard a game that was not even present at the show. However, I can only play the cards I am dealt. Arriving home after a gruelling 7 hour flight, collapsing, then waking up only to begin drinking the copious amounts of duty free Vodka that I has purchased (with unprecedented foresight), I found myself with the first empty stretch of time I have had for several weeks. Disoriented, I stumbled my way through several games of Dota 2, but that didn't itch my scratch, nor vice versa. I needed something fresh. Journey is... well... it's something else.
I'm going to begin with a bold and stark statement; Journey is the most beautiful game I have ever played. I don't mean that purely from an aesthetic sense, though would be an easy case to argue. Journey balances precariously between playful exploration and sinister existentialism. Though you may spend parts of your adventure in the company of another, this is a pilgrimage of singularity, of scale, and of reflection. This is about you.
It's hard to capture exactly what makes Journey so shatteringly insightful. The echoing chimes that haunt your footsteps across the desert, offset by the playful chirps of the ribbons that guide you, creates a wonderfully reverential tone, reinforcing the weight imposed by the sheer magnitude of the desert and the magisterial history of the ruins you negotiate. The length of your scarf, a source of pride, is stripped with such brutality that you cannot help but feel pity for those who are subjected. Companionship exists through shared hardships, nothing more. The tentative chirping of the players acts not as a form of communication, more as a despondent cry for reassurance. To receive no reply, to spin around suddenly concious of your isolation is... overwhelming.
Journey manages to subtly and eloquently communicate meaningful resilience and determination in a way that is hauntingly rewarding to it's players. I walked from start to finish in one sitting and, having completed my Journey, sat staring at the screen for a long time. Now it's over, I don't particularly want to play anything else.
I haven't blogged since January! Fucking January! No longer can you bathe in the abundant warmth of my melodic prose; these prolix acorns must be seeked out and gathered, harvested and stored for the inevitable mute months that follow. Fuck it, though; In my days here I have written enough to keep you going for a while. You shall not go hungry, little squirrels.
Shit's been happening: Too much, too fast. Instead of devoting large quantities of time to tedious and probably predictable convictions, I'm going to skim the scum off the surface; There was The Ending Of Mass Effect 3 (Disappointedly convoluted and/or pretentious), The Buying Of Whiskey by CBS (Cynical, apprehensive), and That Time I Made A Huge Pot Of Chilli As Instructed By One David Snider. Truth be told, it got messy.
[The blog is free range and spoiler free. Also, it's filmed in front of a live studio audience.]
I liked Mass Effect 3, though you probably wouldn't think that if you listened to me talk about it for any length of time. It seems that all the content that Mass Effect 2 so memorable and charming was removed for - what, exactly? Why was I only limited to 4/5 squadmates for the entire game? Seeing as Kaiden is a prick, Tali was dead and James is Human, that leaves me with Garrus and Liara. So, I ended up playing the entire game with Garrus and Liara following me everywhere. Which was terrible because fuck Liara. And not in the Mass Effect, everybody get nekkid, sense of the word. I mean in the "Is there an individual mute button for this character?" sense. The bad sense.
Mass Effect 3 seems content to dangle the characters that I actually wanted at arms length, only to brutally and pointlessly remove them from me and order me to go on without them. I have seen the argument offered that a smaller pool of characters allowed the writers to plot out some better banter - which the game ultimately fails to deliver. When the game really wants a specific character on a specific mission it removes the element of choice entirely, so why even pretend that I'm involved in this process at all? Mass Effect 3 was lacking in moments. After displaying such flexibility and imagination with the level design in the previous game, it was a pretty brutal and unpleasant experience to be told, yet again, that my only objective is to "Survive". The entire game felt stale.
Things improved dramatically when the DLC Prothean dude joined my squad, as he basically becomes your virtual tour guide. This also meant I could bench Liara for the rest of the game, which was a relief as I quickly grew tired of her bleating. While fantastic that I wouldn't have to spend hours mining the shit out of asteroids - the substitute, scanning planets for lost junk, was tedious, and watching the Reapers chase you around the Galaxy Map was the most ridiculous shit I have ever seen in my life. Every time they popped up I felt like Benny Hill should automatically start playing. This game was supposed to be stylish, and sexy. Why the fuck do I feel like I'm playing a shitty Pacman rip-off in the year 2159?
Enough with them negative waves!
Despite my numerous beefs with the game I found it satisfying at a base level. I felt I had received my moneys worth of entertainment. Is that enough? Mass Effect is a franchise in which I felt heavily invested, both emotionally and monetarily. Bioware had a wealth of resources, characters, actors, assets, history and lore from which to pick, and a fanbase who would have followed them blindly into whatever innovative matrix they could envision. Squandered. I love Mass Effect. It deserves better.
There's something about the brutality of Dark Souls which I find masochistically endearing. Perhaps it's the disdain in which you are held by it's inhabitants, or the relentless unfairness of it's many enemies. Dark Souls fucks you up, and pointedly fails to apologise. Half the time I don't know what I'm doing. Just like in real life!
The most underwhelming thing about a videogame can easily be the disconnect one feels with the protagonist. It's one of the reasons I never really enjoyed the elaborate QTE's of the God Of War franchise. "Press square to backflip onto this guy's back and stab him in the eyes!" is about as far removed from the patient, methodical delicacy of Dark Soul's combat as it's possible to be. There's an important difference between XP and Experience - actual experience, not numbers that fill up a bar the more you mash the X button. I'm talking about knowing how a game works, in understanding the timing of an attack or the geography of a virtual environment. That's a raw concept that can't be quantified, and Dark Souls makes little attempt to. There's a level system thrown in there, sure, and item upgrades - let's not get bananas here, at the end of the day it's still a videogame - but if you don't have the experience to carve your way across the map then no amount of XP will save you. There's something hugely satisfying about that, something that you can't hack, or cheat, or simulate; and as a result Dark Souls is, despite it's chilling flippancy towards the health of it's players, a wonderfully rewarding game.
It's also a complete cunt. Just putting that out there.