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Time and Regret

Time and Regret

WA Julian

Nick discovered it as a boy. A boy of about eight years old discovered that he had the ability to manipulate time. It started one afternoon when he was in the kitchen and he accidentally burned his hand on the stove. He shut his eyes real tight and then he felt the burns disappear as he moved backwards into the hall. Everything moved with him and things that normally fell down fell up. When he said, “Stop!” it stopped. Scared, he asked his mother if she knew anything about it and she told him that he was crazy and should stop watching so many cartoons. But he wasn’t crazy; he was the sanest of them all.

                It didn’t happen again until a year later when he was punched by the local bully. As he fell to the ground, he suddenly rose back up to his feet and then the punch was pulled back. When time resumed its normal course, Nick ducked and then struck a blow of his own; knocking the surprised bully to the ground. He became the hero for the day but his deeds were soon forgotten and the outcry soon became the normal and life went on. But not Nick’s; he could never forget.

                Within the month, he found his power again. On strange impulse, Nick told a pretty girl that he loved her. Before she could respond, he became afraid and then again everything went backwards. He felt his lips mutter those three nervous words in reverse, all the more painful this time. When he mentally told it all to stop and time resumed he instead asked what they had for homework. She smiled and delicately told him. Of course, he didn’t need it. He would ask for a lot of things he didn’t need.  And he could get them.

                As he reached the pubescent years, he started to focus and try to learn to control his strange anomalous power. In his dark room, he lit a candle and then blew it out. He knew that it wasn’t any form of focus that granted him his power; it must have been something else. It would have to have been something present each time that he did it. Perhaps it was emotion. He did his best to draw up various emotions and finally he found one: regret. It tied together every instance perfectly: he regretted touching the stove, antagonizing the bully, and then saying, “I love you.” He made himself feel regret and then the candle lit once more. He laughed one of the few laughs of his lifetime.

                Soon, he started to use his gift. In math class, he answered a question out loud incorrectly and drew scrutiny. But after the teacher gave the correct answer, he went back and gave that one instead. His life started to become easier. He got good grades in school and made few mistakes. But he was pained, afflicted. He had to live with every mistake he technically did not commit. Nick regretted what he did not do. He could forgive, but he could not forget, especially things that never happened. Sorrow and then depression took in for what others could only see as no reason. Not a man, woman, or child understood this boy.

                For a while he thought of never using his power again. Nick went a whole week where he failed. Repeatedly. They were such sweet, sweet failures. But then the reality hit him that these were public failures, not the private and secret ones he had before. They seemed so real to him. And what pained him was that they were.  Insensitively, he had told a girl that her dress looked ugly on her. Brashly, he had pushed his way through the lunch line and then faced social trials for it. And finally, Nick hit one of his best friends. Hard. He apologized but it wasn’t enough.  It wasn’t enough for him or for anyone else. When it was too much, he went back and did the whole week over again.

                Nobody ever told Nick that they were sorry because he covered up the mistakes of others as well. There wasn’t a way for him to fix everyone’s mistakes, but he could try. For a while he believed that he was a superhero; that destiny had called him to fight for justice. Images danced in his imagination for hours on end. He could fly, he could save the world, and he could save himself. But that was when he stopped: when he realized that he could either save himself or the world. Every time he went back, part of his soul would erode. He’d see a friend do something he never thought possible and he’d go back to stop it. But he knew what his friend was capable of and he could never fully trust that person again. With that, his social life began to vanish along with his humanity.

                But Hope would always come knocking. That was her name: Hope. She knocked on his door one day after he had started his own life. He promised himself from then that he would marry her. She was beautiful. Her cerulean eyes were timeless in his and something kept him from going back when he was around her. She was intoxicating in the best of ways. She was his cure. There was nothing for him to regret with her and it was regret that gave him his power. Hope took away his regret and his power. But with her, the boy was powered more than before. She put light where there was darkness, but she obscured other places. Nick would never fully know her. But the best part was that she shared his feelings. Not his problem, but his feelings. They shared things that only go to and fro with soul-mates; because they were indubitably soul-mates.

                But his life was turned upside down when he made a terrible mistake. And he would have to face this one because with Hope, he could not regret. He hurt her. His depression and agony took reign again and then he hurt his one salvation. Through the next days, he found no control because he found no regret. Without regret, he could only justify his actions no matter how bad they were. His salvation was his destruction. She left him and then he finally regretted. When he called upon the pain of regretful sorrow, it only turned her away because she fell in love with the boy because he regretted nothing. From her perspective, Nick faced life head on without looking back. But when he tried to at least fake regret with her, she found no attraction. Worst of all, she saw his lies.

                Nick used his regret and tried going back but it all stopped at the last time he saw her and he had to feel her leaving him once again. He tried more than once because his former bride was worth all of the pain. But finally, he learned. He learned that he would have to win her back the way he had stopped a long time ago: the hard way.  Nick would fight long and hard, journeying however he must to win back his dear Hope.  Without her, he had none.

                After a month had passed, he had prayed that she would be open to listening; to at least hear him out. When she did, he tried to explain his problem. He explained how he had become addicted to reversing time and that it was fueled by the pain of regret. Nick tried to explain to her that she cut off his feeling of regret and that she loved what she had caused. She completed him; healed him. But the boy couldn’t prove it. She had lost faith in him. This was beyond belief to her because she no longer saw a soul-mate: she saw a crazy person in the sanest of them all. Hope had not faith and so he had not either.

                They say that hope is the last to die. But for the boy, it was first. Instead, all he had was his fuel: regret. All of his life he regretted and the more he tried to stop it, the more he regretted. What he thought was his cure was his affliction. So that’s when he decided that his life was where it had all started. He decided to end it. A noose was tied to the ceiling and the boy kicked the stool away, dropping him to the end. His life flashed before his eyes. There was a certain beauty that he could not waste. Nick knew he would regret his death. He took in the regret and decided to reverse time and save himself. The stool came back under his feet and then he descended. He took down the noose and then realized that life was still miserable but not worth ending. Perhaps he could find a way to start over. His sanest decision was his biggest mistake.

                Hope came by his home and looked in the window. She found him sitting on his couch with a weary smile. He didn’t notice her. Something on his face told her that it would be alright. This reassured her and then she left, never to see him again. Eventually, the boy attempted suicide again, this time he was dead with no turning back. There were no more regrets but there was also no more Hope. Regret overtook her and she joined him in death.

                But had he not reversed time to save himself, Hope would have found him dangling and dying. She would have broken in and then saved his life where she would heal him again. With that healing, their relationship would mend. They’d marry again and have many children. The boy and his beloved Hope would live together until they were old and finally dead. Their life would have been nearly perfect to the outside observer, but to the boy: flawless. The ideal that he had tried so hard to regret himself to he simply couldn’t have.

                Through chamber and barrel, death pierced his brain. Days later, lead and powder destroyed Hope. Regret, the single strongest of all feelings, for once, gave something. The boy received the gift of erasing anything that had come to pass. It had even come to allowing itself to be removed by way of truest and purest love. But even its gifts were too strong for man to bear. Regret destroys even when it seems to build. Its wrath not only caused the destruction of its experiment but also its love. Regret made a man worth less than his own life because it had directly ended another. Had he never existed, Hope would live on. But it was this logic that had killed her in the first place. This sane logic kills.


This story was inspired in part by Braid. 



1 Comments

My Latest Video

I recently taught a one-day film seminar at my school. It wasn't just me, there was also a friend of mine co-teaching. Anyway, we only had one day to teach what we knew about film. One day is not a lot of time! So, instead of boring them for a day, we decided to give our students practical, hands-on experience and actually make a video.

It's chock-full of gamer humor as it is a romantic comedy set in Comic-Con 2009. The audio didn't work out very well so I put in subtitles, sorry about that. Please leave a comment and rate the video as well!

Oh and if you're wondering, I play Homer in the video. The other instructor, Josh, plays the guy who says Qapla at the end.

  

--D. Zew

2 Comments

Editorial: So Many Guns!

I was just playing Mass Effect when I noticed that every single item I find is either a gun, an item to upgrade a gun, armor to protect from guns, health kits to repair yourself from guns, or money to buy guns. And before that I was thinking of doing a blog about how the world of Mass Effect could be considered a pseudo-utopia! Screw that, Mass Effect is Texas in space!

But then I realized that Mass Effect isn't the only one guilty of this. Knights of the Old Republic came to mind pretty quickly. Pretty much any game that requires item collection is guitly of this to some degree or another. But some cases are just ridiculous, especially in games where guns shouldn't be there much.

I'm looking at you Bioshock! Supposedly we're supposed to have a world where war went on on the underground utopia, but guns were supposed to be illegal and that war was fought with scrounged-up weapons and plasmids. Yes, quite a few of the available guns are actually these makeshift weapons, but the majority of those found aren't. This isn't a gameplay concern, but a styIistic and consistency concern.

As games become more and more advanced and, dare I say it, story-centered, developers need to be more minded of things like this. Yeah, a useless item might be annoying at times but wouldn't just finding it be enough to make the world seem a bit more believable? Or maybe a solution would be to list what was found in a box but only make useful items able to be carried.

I'm not saying that this is a gaping, gamebreaking flaw that must be corrected for gaming to go on, I'm just saying that it's a flaw and that it's there. This problem may never be fully corrected, but in the future I'd like developers to be a bit more mindful.

2 Comments

NXE, Halo 3, Gears 2, Fable 2, and Hi!

It's been quite a while since I've been online. My internet has been either really slow or just plain off. It sucked. But I'm back and glad to be back.

So anyway, just like pretty much everyone else I got the NXE update. It's pretty neat and I have no complaints.  I actually like it better, though I'm not used to it yet. I bought a "premium theme" to go with it but that's been a little disappointing. I hope some free themes come out for it though, I mean it's not bad but not really that much better than a cheaper theme (or the ones I already have). 

I recently acquired Gears 2 and Fable 2. Both are excellent games and I'll review them soon. Fable 2 could have been much better, but falls short. That's not to say I didn't love it. But Gears 2? It's easily the best game I've played in a while. I'm not sure yet where it stands on my "top ten games" list. 

Well, I've been really wanting to play Halo 3 all the way through on Legendary and it's not much by yourself. So, I'm wondering if there's anybody here who would want to get together and play through it. I would really only wanna do this if we had 3 people to do it with. So, if you're interested just say so in the comments and we'll hook up somehow.

I'm hoping to have a fun blog up soon, maybe another life achievements list. I'm also considering starting a gaming blog elsewhere but I'd need a bit more motivation for that. Add to that, I'd be reviewing games massively late. 

 Oh yeah, and some friends of mine got Gears of War 2 in Slovanian. You see, John Doe's brother Steve Doe lives in the states, so he brought it in for John. Well, John gets the game and it's in Slovanian. He can't take it back because he's in Brazil. Oh and John Doe is not his real name.  

Anyway, just thought I'd let the world know that I exist.

Darth 


2 Comments

Gears of War 2

Out of all of the big releases, the only five-star so far is Gears 2. Fallout 3 might get it, but I'd rather chainsaw and fly reavers than anything else. 

1 Comments

Halo Side by Side

Quite a few things come to mind when someone says Halo. Whether it be the Halo theme song going through your head, Master Chief bashing a grunt with the end of his assault rifle, you and your friend sharing a Warthog and riding to the enemy base, or the phrase “worst game ever” you’ve heard of Halo. Even nongamers, people who have never touched a proper game controller, know the name “Halo”. It’s been on Doritos and it even had its own Mountain Dew flavor. No game ever got bigger than Halo, not even Mario.

The Halo series is a trilogy of games known best for its multiplayer and for being the first FPS with a truly cinematic single-player. The games have a linear storyline and end with Master Chief saving the world. But is there one title in the series that is truly better than the others? In this editorial, I’m going to critically go through all three of them, using the high standards set by the games themselves. We’ll start with the first one:

Halo: Combat Evolved.

This is the game that started it all. The four main props to Halo: Combat Evolved is the easily accessed melee, a specific grenade button, a cinematic campaign, and excellent multiplayer that includes cooperative play. It’s an almost perfect game as it has very few flaws and I imagine that if it were done under Gamespot’s new review system, it’d have a 10. Without Halo, the Xbox would have taken the Gamecube’s place.

To compare it with the other titles, Combat Evolved has the most unbalanced weapons of any of the games and probably the most low-key of the plotlines but easily the best one. By unbalanced weapons I mean the pistol is the only gun you really need except on a few levels. It’s powerful and accurate. But I think what really made the pistol so loved is that it was well-made. It sounded nice, looked nice, and who doesn’t love pistols? Even so, it is a powerhouse in the multiplayer.

If you were take all three Halo games I were to recommend a “playlist” levels of levels for you to play, I would take “Pillar of Autumn”, “Assault on the Control Room”, and “The Maw”. Those are the best in HCE.

Halo 2

Halo 2 disappointed a lot of people and took a lot of flak from people for no good reason. The addition of new guns, the ability to dual-wield, and an even better multiplayer suite made Halo 2 awesome. No, it isn’t perfect as the single-player campaign didn’t deliver on a few promises and ended in a terrible cliffhanger.

But despite that, Halo 2 easily features the best levels of any others in the series. The first few levels where Master Chief defends earth are incredible! Especially when you take down that Scarab. You jump in from an overpass while an electric-guitar version of the Halo theme plays. It’s just awesome. The rest of the levels, especially the Arbiter missions, are a little more draggy but not bad at all. Like the other games, the Flood does bring it down a bit but in the end, Halo 2 is awesome.

The multiplayer is improved, especially with superior balancing. The assault rifle is now a dual-wieldable SMG and the pistol has been split two-fold. It lives on in spirit in the Battle Rifle, which is a three round burst rifle. When you divide three by the thirty-six in the magazine, it equals twelve: just like in Halo’s pistol. There is a new pistol called a Magnum, but it’s a whole hunk of useless.

If I were to recommend levels, I would just say pick the first ones on Earth. They’re awesome.

Halo 3

Halo 3 was setup to be disappointing. There’s no way you can live up to having your main character’s face being on Doritos. Even so, the singleplayer doesn’t hit the epic notes that the ads had it hitting.

The balancing act is completed here. Every gun has a strength or weakness and is useful in a certain situation. The multiplayer is just plain amazing. It’s perfect for having a party at your house because it’s easy to pick up and play. There are so many game types, which are all customizable, and so many maps, which can be edited! Halo 3 is literally the perfect multiplayer game. And if MLG were to finally set a standard FPS I would advocate Halo 3.

Back to the singleplayer, this one finally solidifies the balance between Far Cry open-world gaming and Call of Duty 4’s more linear play. It’s pretty unique but I can’t help but feeling that Halo should be more linear than open. Especially with the downright awesome missions of Halo 2. But having multiple ways to play every level really adds to the replay value. There is conclusion in Halo 3 and in the end, it’s a good story. It’s disappointing but still great. The best parts are fighting scarabs, which are now full-on monsters that can be destroyed rather than players simply clearing them out.

I’d recommend the first level, “The Covanent”, and the last level, “Halo” for the playlist.

Conclusion

None of these games are really better than the other. It’s the final solution to the equation that really counts. It’s awesome and I hope there’s more Halo to come, but I do hope they improve it. How would I improve it?

Video games need a good tragedy. The Halo series is technically tragic but it could have been better. I would have gone along with the ads and made Halo 3 about the earth ending. Master Chief should have died and the world should have been destroyed. I would have made big battles on Earth as the Covenant and the Flood laid waste to humanity. Hopefully, this new expansion will do some of this and let us see what happened on Earth as Master Chief was out stopping Truth from lighting the rings.

But Halo is really about its multiplayer. The singleplayer is nothing compared to just how versatile and fun the multiplayer is. It has pretty much everything in it you could ask for: vehicles, weapons, aliens, gametypes, excellent maps, and it keeps getting bigger with new maps being added all the time.

Halo is great I hope there is a Halo 4. But I do hope it doesn’t disappoint….

3 Comments

Halo Side by Side

Quite a few things come to mind when someone says Halo. Whether it be the Halo theme song going through your head, Master Chief bashing a grunt with the end of his assault rifle, you and your friend sharing a Warthog and riding to the enemy base, or the phrase “worst game ever” you’ve heard of Halo. Even nongamers, people who have never touched a proper game controller, know the name “Halo”. It’s been on Doritos and it even had its own Mountain Dew flavor. No game ever got bigger than Halo, not even Mario.

The Halo series is a trilogy of games known best for its multiplayer and for being the first FPS with a truly cinematic single-player. The games have a linear storyline and end with Master Chief saving the world. But is there one title in the series that is truly better than the others? In this editorial, I’m going to critically go through all three of them, using the high standards set by the games themselves. We’ll start with the first one:

Halo: Combat Evolved.

This is the game that started it all. The four main props to Halo: Combat Evolved is the easily accessed melee, a specific grenade button, a cinematic campaign, and excellent multiplayer that includes cooperative play. It’s an almost perfect game as it has very few flaws and I imagine that if it were done under Gamespot’s new review system, it’d have a 10. Without Halo, the Xbox would have taken the Gamecube’s place.

To compare it with the other titles, Combat Evolved has the most unbalanced weapons of any of the games and probably the most low-key of the plotlines but easily the best one. By unbalanced weapons I mean the pistol is the only gun you really need except on a few levels. It’s powerful and accurate. But I think what really made the pistol so loved is that it was well-made. It sounded nice, looked nice, and who doesn’t love pistols? Even so, it is a powerhouse in the multiplayer.

If you were take all three Halo games I were to recommend a “playlist” levels of levels for you to play, I would take “Pillar of Autumn”, “Assault on the Control Room”, and “The Maw”. Those are the best in HCE.

Halo 2

Halo 2 disappointed a lot of people and took a lot of flak from people for no good reason. The addition of new guns, the ability to dual-wield, and an even better multiplayer suite made Halo 2 awesome. No, it isn’t perfect as the single-player campaign didn’t deliver on a few promises and ended in a terrible cliffhanger.

But despite that, Halo 2 easily features the best levels of any others in the series. The first few levels where Master Chief defends earth are incredible! Especially when you take down that Scarab. You jump in from an overpass while an electric-guitar version of the Halo theme plays. It’s just awesome. The rest of the levels, especially the Arbiter missions, are a little more draggy but not bad at all. Like the other games, the Flood does bring it down a bit but in the end, Halo 2 is awesome.

The multiplayer is improved, especially with superior balancing. The assault rifle is now a dual-wieldable SMG and the pistol has been split two-fold. It lives on in spirit in the Battle Rifle, which is a three round burst rifle. When you divide three by the thirty-six in the magazine, it equals twelve: just like in Halo’s pistol. There is a new pistol called a Magnum, but it’s a whole hunk of useless.

If I were to recommend levels, I would just say pick the first ones on Earth. They’re awesome.

Halo 3

Halo 3 was setup to be disappointing. There’s no way you can live up to having your main character’s face being on Doritos. Even so, the singleplayer doesn’t hit the epic notes that the ads had it hitting.

The balancing act is completed here. Every gun has a strength or weakness and is useful in a certain situation. The multiplayer is just plain amazing. It’s perfect for having a party at your house because it’s easy to pick up and play. There are so many game types, which are all customizable, and so many maps, which can be edited! Halo 3 is literally the perfect multiplayer game. And if MLG were to finally set a standard FPS I would advocate Halo 3.

Back to the singleplayer, this one finally solidifies the balance between Far Cry open-world gaming and Call of Duty 4’s more linear play. It’s pretty unique but I can’t help but feeling that Halo should be more linear than open. Especially with the downright awesome missions of Halo 2. But having multiple ways to play every level really adds to the replay value. There is conclusion in Halo 3 and in the end, it’s a good story. It’s disappointing but still great. The best parts are fighting scarabs, which are now full-on monsters that can be destroyed rather than players simply clearing them out.

I’d recommend the first level, “The Covanent”, and the last level, “Halo” for the playlist.

Conclusion

None of these games are really better than the other. It’s the final solution to the equation that really counts. It’s awesome and I hope there’s more Halo to come, but I do hope they improve it. How would I improve it?

Video games need a good tragedy. The Halo series is technically tragic but it could have been better. I would have gone along with the ads and made Halo 3 about the earth ending. Master Chief should have died and the world should have been destroyed. I would have made big battles on Earth as the Covenant and the Flood laid waste to humanity. Hopefully, this new expansion will do some of this and let us see what happened on Earth as Master Chief was out stopping Truth from lighting the rings.

But Halo is really about its multiplayer. The singleplayer is nothing compared to just how versatile and fun the multiplayer is. It has pretty much everything in it you could ask for: vehicles, weapons, aliens, gametypes, excellent maps, and it keeps getting bigger with new maps being added all the time.

Halo is great I hope there is a Halo 4. But I do hope it doesn’t disappoint….

1 Comments

My New Alienware (Link FIXED!)

Well, I finally did it. I got around to getting my parents to order that Alienware laptop I've wanted for forever now. I won't see it till October but man I can't wait. It's an Alienware M15x 15-inch laptop and it's gotta be the coolest thing ever.

I couldn't suit it up with the ABSOLUTE best features but I got what counts. That means I probably won't be wasting my money with trying to run Crysis... but I will do my best to at least try! I mainly bought because I need a mobile solution for video editing (I can barely run Premiere on my desktop) that was powerful and Alienware is the best. This thing outdoes my desktop in pretty much every aspect and it looks nice too.

I bought a gaming mouse and World in Conflict to go with it. Here are the specs that I remember:

2.5 Ghz Pentium Core 2 Duo (I don't remember the other stuff)

Single 512MB 8700 GTX Video Card

4GB of RAM (the best part for me. I want to run Photoshop and Premiere at the same time!)

The rest is a bit of a blur to me but I got what counts for my needs. I guess PC nerds can comment on my laptop and try to kill my self-esteem if they want...

Here's a review with lots of pics of my Alienware!

http://www.notebookreview.com/default.asp?newsID=4328

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