4 years, 7 months, and 23 days ago, I was fired from Walmart. In 12 days, I graduate as a Mechanical Engineer.

I was a little depressed those first couple months after getting fired, but in the end, it was a good thing. That event gave me the push I needed to do something more with my life. I'd already served ten years in the US Marine Corps and felt I had already made my impact on the world. Now I feel like that is still ahead of me, I've already got a job with an organization that focuses on environment restoration and feel good about what I am doing because it is in an effort to make the world a better place. Giant Bomb has gotten me through a lot of the stress of getting a four year degree, granted it has also added to that stress sometimes by being a distraction from what I should have been doing.

Even though I am happy that I am graduating, it is tinged with a little sadness. I will miss seeing my classmates and friends every day. We will try to keep in touch I am sure, but it won't be the same. One of my friends is going into the Navy as an officer to work on nuclear submarines, another has a job in Iowa already lined up. I am trying to get transferred to New Orleans. We are all going our separate ways and I will cherish the times we had and lament the increase in the duration between the new memories to be created.

I never know how to end these things, so I will just say that I am thankful for Giant Bomb and the community, I am thankful to my friends and classmates who helped when I needed it and vice versa. I am also somewhat thankful for getting fired those almost 5 years ago. Here's to the future, slightly brighter than it was.

13 Comments

Something "dumb" that arose from a question about the Death Star.

Someone on another site asked why it took the Empire 18 years to build the Death Star in A New Hope. They seemed to think that was longer than it should take instead of insanely fast (as is my stance.)

Fermi Problem time!

Assumptions I am making and why:

  1. The Death Star is a solid sphere. I am doing this to simplify the calculations since I do not know the ratio of empty space to total volume of the Death Star.
  2. The Prudential Tower is a solid object with a total volume of approximately 481,000 cubic meters. Same reasons as for the Death Star with the volume being estimated from the height of the building times (the total floorspace divided by 52 floors). Again this just makes computing the values easier.

More Background:

The Death Star in A New Hope had a diameter of 167 km. That means it had a radius of 83,500 meters. 4/3*pi*r^3 means that the total volume of the Death Star in ANH is approximately 2.44x10^15 cubic meters.

The Prudential Tower took four years to construct, we can assume that the Empire would construct it much faster, but the question is how fast.

The Values and Computations:

  • At 1 Prudential Tower per year: (2.44x10^15)/481,000 = 5.07x10^9 years. It would take 5.1 billion years to construct the Death Star at this speed. Obviously too slow.
  • At 1 Prudential Tower per week: (2.44x10^15)/(52*481,000)=9.75x10^7. It would take 97 million years. Still too slow.
  • At 1 tower per day: (2.44x10^15)/(365*481,000)=1.34x10^7. It would take 1.3 million years. We're getting there.
  • At 1 tower per hour: (2.44x10^15)/(481,000*365*24)=5.79x10^5. 579 thousand years. So close.

Conclusion:

So how many Prudential Towers would the Empire have to build in one year to complete the Death Star in 18 years?

(2.44x10^15)/(18*481,000)=281,663,423 Prudential Towers per year. That is 8.93 Prudential Towers per second or one Prudential Tower every 0.112 seconds. Insanely. Fast.

Limitations of this estimate:

  1. All values are approximate and likely has an uncertainty in the thousands if not greater.
  2. Construction is not actually conducted per unit volume.
  3. The percentage of volume that is free space in the Death Star is probably on the order of 75% and that of the Prudential Tower is probably about 85%+.
  4. The Death Star is not a perfect sphere.
  5. I am sure that there is some technology in the Star Wars universe that makes comparing Earth construction to the Death Star pointless. I mean besides the obvious "it's fiction" reason.

Anyway, that was my stupid argument, just thought I'd share.

10 Comments

The problem with MOBA

Please bear in mind that this is entirely my opinion and I am in no way an authority on this subject. Also, I am almost certain that I am not the first person to hold this opinion or come to this conclusion. One final aside, I am mainly concentrating on the way it seems that most people only refer to the DotA-likes when using the term MOBA.

Anyway, I went to answer @Mike's poll about MOBAs and a thought occurred to me. First, I was going to answer that I have never played a MOBA before. I have the same problem that @jeff does with these DotA-likes; they take my least favorite part of an RTS and make it the entire game. That is where I stood initially, but as I said before, a thought occurred to me. Let's breakdown the acronym/initialization/whatever.

MOBA

Multiplayer

This descriptor is accurate though it does not hint that the player is controlling what is essentially an RTS unit.

Online

Again, an accurate descriptor, but again it doesn't hint at the play style involved with the genre.

Battle Arena

This is where I have the biggest issue. This descriptor is too vague. When you think about it, any online competitive shooter (CoD, Quake, Unreal) takes place in a Battle Arena. The maps that matches take place on fit the descriptor just as well as map(s) in Dota 2, LoL, HOTS, and other so called MOBAs. Sure, only Unreal and Quake are considered Arena Shooters, but the fact remains that even though the maps in other shooters aren't called arenas, that is essentially what they are. Merriam-Webster gives a definition of Arena as "an area of activity, interest, or competition." That describes maps in CoD pretty well. It cannot be argued that what take place on maps in CoD is not a battle, therefore those maps are Battle Arenas.

A Battle Arena
A Battle Arena

This fact is further demonstrated by fact that there are third-person shooter MOBAs. The only difference I see is that generally in MOBAs AI controlled entities are present and the player isn't necessarily just going for the most kills but none of this nuance is addressed by the acronym.

To be honest, I don't really have a problem with the acronym. It is in wide enough usage that most people understand what you are referring to, but I do feel it is far too vague considering none of the words the letters stand for address the specifics of the genre. Just my two cents.

20 Comments

What a weird freshman year in college.

I am currently in my second semester of my freshman year. I would have been working on my "junior" year if I had actually finished my AA back in 2005, but I didn't and so had to start essentially from scratch. Anyway, last semester I had to mostly take Gen Ed courses since I got accepted late. Because I was taking those classes, which were super fucking easy, I managed to get a 3.85 GPA last semester. Go me. That is where it starts to get weird for me. Weird in the sense that I am not used to the things that came from my GPA. In January, I received a letter from my college, UNF, informing me that I was on the Dean's List. Ok, cool, that's never happened to me before.

Tonight I received a piece of correspondence from the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. I'd never heard of them before tonight, but apparently they are a non-profit honors society. I guess that being a member would be a nice thing to have on my resume, and would give me the chance at some scholarships. But here I am hesitating at joining a supposedly elite society. Elite in the sense that a limited number of students are invited to join.

I don't know why I am hesitating.

10 Comments

Critical Analysis of City of Lost Children

I wrote this paper for a class last semester. I don't really know where else to put this and a friend asked to see my paper, so I am putting it here.

City of Lost Children: A Critical Analysis

In today’s cynical world of consumerism, childhood is an unrealistic nostalgia target. Children grow up too quickly and adults pine for the freedom from responsibility of youth. Innocence has given way to cynicism and everything is greed and self-interest. Is it any wonder that Jeunet and Caro’s City of Lost Children reflects this and takes it to the extreme? In the titular city, children are exploited by adults and thrust out of childhood at an early age; their youth seen as nothing more than a means to an end. A cult acts with impunity in abducting small children in exchange for technology that they believe lets them see the real world. A mad scientist named Krank buys the abducted children from the cult and only wants the children’s dreams. A pair of Faganesque conjoined twins run an orphanage as a thieves’ guild and care nothing for the children in their care beyond the money they bring in. The police force is absent or ineffectual at protecting the children of the city. In City of Lost Children, Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro succeeded in making a world that is both fully realized and surreal.

Viewers are thrust into this world with an immediate sense of unease. The eponymous city lies firmly entrenched in the uncanny valley; it is realized enough to feel real but with enough off that the viewer knows something is wrong. The city is wonderfully realized as a nightmare reflection of the real world taken to the extreme. The feeling of unease is conveyed through the use of set design, camera angles, the soundtrack, and post-production effects. There are only a few times where the perception of foreboding and maliciousness abate giving the viewer a respite.

The world of City of Lost Children is limited to an oilrig and an unnamed port town, but in these two settings Juenet and Caro have managed to create a fully realized and consistent world; the port town was built entirely on a single, huge, indoor set. Although this is the case, the viewer is never quite certain of the layout of the city; how it all ties together with the many different catwalks and alleyways is never made clear. Adding to the unease, the city has a very claustrophobic and imposing feel to it; the alleyways, streets, and catwalks are all narrow and cramped, the high walls of the town and the ships in the harbor loom ominously, giving a sense that you aren’t safe even in your own home; indeed this is shown to be the case early on. While the protagonist, One, played by Ron Perlman is mourning the death of his employer, he is attacked and his adopted little brother, his “petit frere,” Denree, is abducted. Shortly after, One breaks into the orphanage and, due to his strength, gets roped into assisting the orphans with a heist. During the entire film, only one police officer is shown, and he is shown in a slapstick manner that the children have no respect for nor fear of. This is not a safe city in which to live.

Juenet and Caro use several camera techniques to convey the sense of maliciousness of the city and unease of the characters. Many shots throughout the film are done with canted angles giving a sense that all is not right with the world; combined with shadows reminiscent of German Expressionism, the feeling is spot on. While One is at first chasing after and then fleeing from the cultists who have abducted Denree, the shots are from static, canted angles, sometimes low, and sometimes form overhead. These canted angles convey the sense of nervousness and fear that One is experiencing during the scene.

POV shots are used extensively throughout the film to convey the attitude or intent of the subject; at different times the camera represents the view of a flea, cultists, One and his compatriot, Miette, and a brain in a fish tank named Irvin, whose view is represented with a fish eye lens. According to Jeunet in the director’s commentary on the DVD, the POV shot representing the flea hopping was done with “a steady-cam on a board.” The cultists, called Cyclops, are blind yet they have a mechanical eye that allows them to see, and a microphone that gives them enhanced hearing. When the shot changes to the subjective view of a cultist, the frame is given a technological filter reminiscent of Terminator. Along with this, the soundtrack becomes subjective; the non-diegetic music drops out, a mechanical hum is introduced, and the sound effects are heightened, increasing the tinniness. All these effects give the cultists a robot, unfeeling sense. By contrast, the POV shots representing the subjective view of Irvin is done with a fisheye lens giving him a softer, less threatening feel.

The soundtrack, provided by Angelo Baldamenti, has a whimsical feel to it that, at times, almost feels at odds with the on screen images. When directing Baldamenti, Jeunet told him that “[t]he film is somber, the idea is not to darken it but rather to elevate it, to make it lyrical" (qtd. in Schlokoff and Karani). This whimsy is often broken by a deep bass line lending darkness to the music. The fairy-tale-like soundtrack is important to help ease the tension during those brief respites from the action; there is a particularly sweet scene in which One and Miette are traveling through the town. The budding relationship is explored several times through conversations underscored by Baldamenti’s score. The cynical and rather adult-like Miette has obviously fallen in love with the adult though childlike and innocent One, who views Miette as his little sister; his “petit souer” in comparison to his “petit frere,” Denree. They are an unconventional family, though one of love and respect, in a world that lacks conventional families. Through the way One speaks, in third person, it is implied that he is developmentally challenged, the childlike strongman. It should be noted that Perlman did not speak any French at the time of filming; all of his lines were fed to him by Caro, and he recited them phonetically with an unspecified Baltic accent. These choices give the character of One a sense that he is a fish out of water. The relationship between One and Miette is one that would not be tolerated in the real world, many read a sexual connotation into it, though there is none present due to One’s ignorance “of the sexual nuances in various interchanges with Miette” (Webb and Schirato). The relationship, on the part of One, is purely familial, not even in his dreams does it touch on perversion.

Dreams, which are a huge element of the film, are dealt with in the literal sense, and therefore Jeunet and Caro had to differentiate them from the reality of the film world. The film opens with a Christmas scene and at first the viewer believes this be a part of the reality of the film. As multiple Santa Clauses start entering the scene, the frame and the soundtrack begin to warp, turning the dream into a literal nightmare. These effects were accomplished in post-production and convey the feeling of a nightmare clearly. When in the dream world, the viewer does not have a definite sense of what is possible and this unknown quality causes tension. Krank’s downfall comes in the dream world; Miette tricks him and in a bit of repetitive cutting, a child version of Krank is picked up and placed into the dream machine. Over and over again. The rhythm of the cutting progressively speeds up to the point where the two actions seem to become one. At this point the inherent unease present in nightmares becomes too much; Krank’s mind breaks and he dies.

Aside from the visual warping, temporal warping is used to differentiate a flashback in a dream from reality. The flashback is used to convey some background of Krank and his creator; it is differentiated through the uses of slow-motion and fast-motion photography. According to Jeunet in the director’s commentary, this was done while shooting by using a “Prestonbox”; actually called a FI+Z Remote Lens Control System from Preston Cinema Systems that, among other things, allows the filmmaker to adjust the frame rate during shooting.

Finally, the color palette of the film was conspicuously chosen to give different areas different feels. The laboratory of the mad scientist, Krank, has a green tint to it, giving it a sickly feel. The lair of the Cyclops is full of deep reds and oranges, with accents of fire, reflecting the cult’s menacing nature. The city has vivid browns and muted primary colors; in addition with the ever present fog and the film always seeming to take place at night, this gives the city a gloom and surreal nature that pervades the film. In keeping with the otherworldly feel of the color palette, according to Perlman in the commentary, the actors’ makeup was “almost . . . white clown face”. When the skin tone was corrected in post-production, all the other colors became more vivid and skewed. The color palette gives the reality of the film world an almost dreamlike nature.

Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro successfully created a film world that feels real but at the same time feels like fantasy. This careful balance lends itself to the surreal nature of the narrative. Through the use of different filming techniques, camera angles, set design, post-production effects, and sound design, Jeunet and Caro convey unease and surrealism into the film. It is an enjoyable film filled with diesel-punk, science-fiction tropes, fantasy tropes, and a sweet innocent romance between a childlike adult and an adult-like child. A film dealing with dreams cannot help but have the film world become dreamlike. Jeunet and Caro leaned into this tendency and fully realized the setting of the world. It is not a world one would enjoy living in, but it is a convincing world to visit in a film. I am always willing to revisit La cité des enfants perdus.

Segmentation

1. First scene. Dream/nightmare of child. Brief introduction of antagonists.

2. Fun fair. Introduces One, Denree, orphans, Cyclops, and knowledge of missing children. One’s employer is killed.

3. One’s home. One mourns employer, Denree is abducted. One chases Cyclops and meets Miette.

4. Birthday party for Irvin on oilrig. Krank interrupts and Irvin tells background of oilrig inhabitants.

5. Octopus’s orphanage. Octopus collects loot from orphans, explains new target for heist, one breaks in fleeing from guard dog, gets pulled into heist.

6. Heist. Mouse is used to retrieve key and One carries safe while running from police.

7. Docks emptying safe. One drops safe into water after hearing Cyclops, goes chasing after. Miette tells other orphans to return to Octopus and she follows One. We learn how One and Denree met.

8. Octopus’s kitchen. Octopus contemplates how to get rid of Miette.

9. Oilrig. A clone speaks with Irvin and is convinced to enter into dream machine while other clones tell Krank a story. Irvin is using the clone in order to send a message. A fuse containing the message breaks and is thrown into the sea.

10. Cyclops’ lair. One and Miette infiltrate, learn abducted children are being given to a clone and the little woman. One and Miette are captured, sentenced to execution.

11. Octopus’ orphanage. A Cyclops cultist sells jewelry taken from Miette and information regarding execution.

12. Oilrig. Krank has conversation with Irvin and then begins to dress as Santa Clause.

13. Marcello’s. Marcello, trained fleas, and mind control serum introduced.

14. Oilrig. Krank pretends to be Santa, makes children cry.

15. Docks. Miette and One are set to be executed; One is saved by Marcello while Miette falls into water and into the arms of a man in a diving suit.

16. Diver’s lair. Miette is brought to the diver’s lair and resuscitated when the diver steps on her hand. Map on minefield and tattooed man are mentioned.

17. Bar. Marcello and One are at bar. One laments Miette’s death, Marcello calls Octopus. One begins drinking with woman.

18. City/bar. Miette leaves diver’s lair, meets other orphans, and saves One from being taken to Octopus.

19. Cargo hold. One and Miette talk about One’s past, go to sleep for night.

20. Diver’s Lair/city. Fuse breaks open releasing message. Flash back of professor and oilrig. Message travels through town finally reaching Miette.

21. Oilrig. Children are delivered to oilrig, Denree and Krank meet, Krank speaks to Denree.

22. Marcello’s. Octopus attacks Marcello, takes fleas and music box.

23. City. One and Miette search for tattooed man, discuss future, and walk through town. One gets tattoo and tattooed man found.

24. Docks. One and Miette are caught by Octopus, ship crashes into docks.

25. City/Marcello’s home. Flea returns to Marcello.

26. Docks. Octopus’ demise, One and Miette are saved by Marcello.

27. Oilrig. Protagonists converge on oilrig, infiltrate, One falls.

28. Krank’s Dream. Miette enters Krank’s dream, takes Denree’s place. Krank dies.

29. Oilrig. One finds Miette, they escape oilrig with children before it is blown up by the professor.

Works Cited

“Jean-Pierre Juenet and Ron Perlman Commentary” (supplemental material on DVD release). City of Lost Children. Dir. Jean-Pierre Juenet and Marc Caro. Perfs. Ron Perlman, Dominique Pinon. 1995. DVD. Sony Pictures Classics. 2007.

Schlockoff, Alain, and Cathy Karani. “Excerpts from a conversation with Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro”. Sony Pictures Classics. Web. 1 Dec. 2014. < http://www.sonyclassics.com/city/misc/interview.html>

Webb, Jen, and Tony Schirato. "Disenchantment and the City of Lost Children." Canadian Journal of Film Studies 13.1 (2004): 55+. Questia. Web. 7 Dec. 2014.

Start the Conversation

Censorship, Art Analysis, and Games as Art

Please do not post any examples of the art or any similar art since the subject matter could be considered pornography; I will not be posting any. Also, I am sorry mods if this requires some special attention and understand if you must lock it.

Yesterday, my art class had a discussion concerning potential censorship of art at the Jacksonville Museum of Contemporary Art, which is part of UNF, the university I attend. Currently there is an exhibit in the atrium of the museum that consists of 14 photographs. A city councilman viewed one of the photographs, depicting a pregnant woman lying nude on a couch in front of a window, as pornographic and sought to cease the city's funding of the Jacksonville MOCA.

The discussion my class had mainly focused on the line when something goes from art to pornography. We concluded that there is no definite line and that the line is entirely subjective; you know it when you see it, though we all agreed that so called "hardcore" was definitely in the pornography camp. Shortly after class this article was published; I am glad to see the mayor agreed with my class, but does this mean that the councilman was wrong? No, but I made the point that saying something is pornographic says far more about the viewer making the claim than it does about the artwork itself. To an extent at least, and I think this also somewhat applies to games if you view them as art, as I do.

I don't view all games as art, though there is some "art" that goes into the making of games, the same way I can see art in science. Many games are a reflection of society at large and have something to say about that society, though not always overtly. Artworks are the same way, and most are representational in some way. Classical Greek sculpture is an idealistic depiction of the human form following the golden ratio. Religious art from the middle ages attempts to tell how a pious person lives. Many games follow this same principle, everything in them is there for a reason whether that be just to make the world more fleshed out or represent some aspect of society.

Viewing games as art means that we can evaluate them the same way and use the many of the same modes of analysis, though some must be modified slightly. The modes are:

  1. Iconographic
  2. Biographic (though this really only pertains to those games developed by a single person or small group)
  3. Contextual
  4. Psychological (again, mainly for games with single person or small group developers)
  5. Feminist

The sixth mode Formal Analysis and I am not sure if it is applicable since it deals with the use of the elements and principles of art. I feel that we must determine those elements and principles before formal analysis can be possible; a complete vocabulary I am not versed in. Also, I grant that not every game is trying to make a statement, some games are the equivalent of art for art's sake the same way that Jackson Pollock's paintings are trying to be paint on canvas and nothing more.

Iconographic analysis deals with what the different elements are metaphors for. In analyzing pieces of art this far easier since most times that bed is not simply a bed, but in games that bed is just there because you're in a bed room and that's where beds are.

Biographic and Psychological analysis are related in that they delve into the mind of the creator; this really only works for those games that have a definite single creator or a small group. Neverending Nightmares would be a prime game for psychological analysis, Papo Y Yo is a prime biographic analysis target.

Contextual deals with the context in which an artwork is made, in this case the culture of the time in which a game is released or developed. By analyzing this it can be inferred what the game may be trying to say about society.

Now for the mode that I am sure many will take issue with, feminist analysis. First, there is nothing wrong with applying feminist views when critiquing art. I will not go into my personal views and beliefs other than that I believe in equality for all. This mode of analysis is related to biographical analysis but considers the perspective toward gender of the viewer and the role of women at the time the art, in this case the game, was made. It also covers the depiction of women in art. I may not agree with certain feminist critics, but they are welcome to make their points.

You want to know the best part of art analysis? There is no objectively wrong critique; all views and interpretations are valid. However, along with that, there are no objectively correct critiques, just widely agreed on meanings and interpretations. So what does this last bit have to do with games as art? It means that there is no good reason to be upset when someone says something bad about a game you like, we can have discussions about aspects that people view as troubling.

This started out just about the MOCA controversy and it kinda went stream of consciousness from there and kinda petered out at the end there. So, sorry if I rambled.

6 Comments

Art, Censorship, and Games as Art

Please do not post any examples of the art or any similar art since the subject matter could be considered pornography; I will not be posting any. Also, I am sorry mods if this requires some special attention and understand if you must lock it.

Yesterday, my art class had a discussion concerning potential censorship of art at the Jacksonville Museum of Contemporary Art, which is part of UNF, the university I attend. Currently there is an exhibit in the atrium of the museum that consists of 14 photographs. A city councilman viewed one of the photographs, depicting a pregnant woman lying nude on a couch in front of a window, as pornographic and sought to cease the city's funding of the Jacksonville MOCA.

The discussion my class had mainly focused on the line when something goes from art to pornography. We concluded that there is no definite line and that the line is entirely subjective; you know it when you see it, though we all agreed that so called "hardcore" was definitely in the pornography camp. Shortly after class this article was published; I am glad to see the mayor agreed with my class, but does this mean that the councilman was wrong? No, but I made the point that saying something is pornographic says far more about the viewer making the claim than it does about the artwork itself. To an extent at least, and I think this also somewhat applies to games if you view them as art, as I do.

I don't view all games as art, though there is some "art" that goes into the making of games, the same way I can see art in science. Many games are a reflection of society at large and have something to say about that society, though not always overtly. Artworks are the same way, and most are representational in some way. Classical Greek sculpture is an idealistic depiction of the human form following the golden ratio. Religious art from the middle ages attempts to tell how a pious person lives. Many games follow this same principle, everything in them is there for a reason whether that be just to make the world more fleshed out or represent some aspect of society.

Viewing games as art means that we can evaluate them the same way and use the many of the same modes of analysis, though some must be modified slightly. The modes are:

  1. Iconographic
  2. Biographic (though this really only pertains to those games developed by a single person or small group)
  3. Contextual
  4. Psychological (again, mainly for games with single person or small group developers)
  5. Feminist

The sixth mode Formal Analysis and I am not sure if it is applicable since it deals with the use of the elements and principles of art. I feel that we must determine those elements and principles before formal analysis can be possible; a complete vocabulary I am not versed in. Also, I grant that not every game is trying to make a statement, some games are the equivalent of art for art's sake the same way that Jackson Pollock's paintings are trying to be paint on canvas and nothing more.

Iconographic analysis deals with what the different elements are metaphors for. In analyzing pieces of art this far easier since most times that bed is not simply a bed, but in games that bed is just there because you're in a bed room and that's where beds are.

Biographic and Psychological analysis are related in that they delve into the mind of the creator; this really only works for those games that have a definite single creator or a small group. Neverending Nightmares would be a prime game for psychological analysis, Papo Y Yo is a prime biographic analysis target.

Contextual deals with the context in which an artwork is made, in this case the culture of the time in which a game is released or developed. By analyzing this it can be inferred what the game may be trying to say about society.

Now for the mode that I am sure many will take issue with, feminist analysis. First, there is nothing wrong with applying feminist views when critiquing art. I will not go into my personal views and beliefs other than that I believe in equality for all. This mode of analysis is related to biographical analysis but considers the perspective toward gender of the viewer and the role of women at the time the art, in this case the game, was made.

You want to know the best part of art analysis? There is no objectively wrong critique, all views and interpretations are valid, but along with that, there are no objectively correct critiques, just widely agreed on meanings and interpretations. So what does this last bit have to do with games as art? It means that there is no good reason to be upset when someone says something bad about a game you like.

This started out just about the MOCA controversy and it kinda went stream of consciousness from there, so sorry if I rambled.

Start the Conversation

My Lovecraftian Shocktober report.

After reading I think @patrickklepek's first (I think) week of Shocktober report, I figured I should watch a bunch of Lovecraft movies this month.

That didn't really happen since I was swamped with schoolwork and midterms, but Ia did watcghh a couple. I'm still waiting on a couple I ordered so I;m saying fuck it and extending my Shocktober a week or so so i can watch those. That being said, I haven't finished watching all the movies I currently have, but here are my thoughts on the few movies I seen this month.

Grabbers

I loved the premise behind this movie the instant someone recommended it to me. Lovecraftian horrors attack a small fishing village and the only way to be safe is to be drunk? Sign me the fuck up; I'm already a six-pack down tonight. I feel Patrick was far more eloquent that I am capable of when he wrote about this film, the only thing I will say is that the romance portion didn't bother me at all. I found this film to a surprisingly legitimately good movie.

Whisperer in the Darkness

An independent film made by the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society. This film is in black and white and much better than their first adaptation, Call of Cthulhu. Not really scary, but I felt it captured the story very well. The only thing I can really hold against the film is that the CGI for the Mi-go looked a little too plastic. I understand why they went with CGI, I just wish the textures looked a little less shiny. Still a good adaptation even if the ending differs.

Call of Cthulhu

The HPLHS's first adaptation, done in a full silent film style complete with intertitles. This particular adaptation, while very faithful, is not at all scary, or even creepy to be honest. I can't really fault them given the budget they had to work with, but there was something off about the film that was really noticeable during conversations. I have watched quite a few silent films in the last two months and they all had a similar feel that this film lacked. I cannot name what it is that the film lacks, but it was enough to color my opinion of the film. Still an enjoyable watch all things considered though.

Dagon

What a strange movie. Isn't even really an adaptation of the short story Dagon, it's an adaptation of Shadow Over Innsmouth. I'm not gonna complain though, I like Shadow Over Innsmouth. I can't really formulate my opinion on this movie, it's just weird. Worth watching, but weird. I have to hand it to the filmmakers, they did a damn good job on the townspeople. The main character does suffer from terminal stupidity at times though.

That's all I have watched so far, I've got four more that I am going to watch tonight: The Burrowers, Absentia, the Corridor, and Banshee Chapter. I understand at least a one of those is legitimately scary.

8 Comments

Apathy towards my backlog

I can't muster up the willpower to play any video games, regardless of how bored I am. I have the final two episodes of Wolf Among Us to play, as well as the most recent episode for The Walking Dead. There are 144 games in my Steam library that I haven't played even once. About 1/3 of my PS3 library are games that I haven't finished and a few are still in their wrappers.

Instead, I waste time aimlessly browsing the internet or playing solitaire. My apathy is even bleeding into my writing of this blog, to the point that I am having trouble forming sentences to describe the situation I find myself in.

Hopefully this mood passes soon or I can will myself through it.

41 Comments

Old Consoles Brought Back to Life.

Back in I think 1991, my parents bought me a SNES for my birthday, if I am not mistaken it was a "launch" SNES. I played the shit out of that console, in the heyday of Square and Enix playing some of my favorite RPGs, FFII(IV), FFIII(VI), Secret of Mana, Secret of Evermore, Earthbound. I had many other games, but those five games were the games I kept. After that SNES served me for about 8 or 9 years, it one day decided it didn't want to display any images anymore. I think the normal thing to do would have been to throw it away, but I didn't. That console had some sentimental value to me. I kept it. Through 13 or 14 years and 4 moves, that console always ended up in a box in my closet.

I had forgotten I had it. But I found it today when I was trying to get an old PS2 to work. The (slim) PS2 apparently just didn't like the default AV connector that came with it, and using a universal Component cable I have for my Wii, it worked beautifully, unfortunately my launch PS2 with the HDD gets disk read errors on every disk I insert.

Anyway, back to the SNES, like I said, I found it when I was rummaging through my closet looking for my PS2 power cord, and I just figured I'd give it a shot and see if I could get it to work. Using the AV cable from my Gamecube, I turned on the SNES in hope of seeing and hearing the opening for Secret of Mana. The black screen, my old enemy, greeted me. I was about to throw in the towel, but then it occurred to me that I could search on the internet to see if I could fix the AV issue with my SNES. I knew it wasn't the cord, because my Gamecube worked perfectly fine with it. Turns out he easiest and quickest troubleshooting step was to clean the connector slot in the SNES. My games have stayed in pristine shape, so it never dawned on me that maybe the issue was the connector in my SNES. A little rubbing alcohol on a t-shirt wrapped around an ID, and the slot was clean.

I turned on the SNES, and I was greeted by this...

I cannot put into words the elation I felt at bringing back to life my old SNES after what seems a lifetime, and to be able to recover two old consoles, one of which I have an extensive library for, was one of the greatest feelings I have felt in a very long time.

Now if I could only get my NES working again, but alas, that won't happen until I tear it apart and rebuild it, possibly in a toaster.

10 Comments
  • 20 results
  • 1
  • 2