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On Relationships: Dragon Age's hardest and most human choice [Spoilers]

Dragon Age: Origins at first glance, is generic fantasy. I remember the one-and-only Mr. Ryan Davis doing his "The orcs are storming the castle!" impression in regards to the reveal trailer. But then upon finishing the game and looking back, it's the choices you have made and the consequences on the story that made DA:O shine. Games throw the line "Your choices matter! They really do!" around a lot, and DA:O is one of the few games that are justified in stating such.

As opposed to... your choices don't reeeally matter. Insert your lazy Mass Effect 3 joke here please.
As opposed to... your choices don't reeeally matter. Insert your lazy Mass Effect 3 joke here please.

So you are a badass solving all the world's problems, sealing the fates of entire peoples, and potentially, choose to unleash a greater evil unto the world or not. There are some very tough decisions to be made. But the hardest of all for me concerns how I would treat a virtual girlfriend.

Virtual girlfriend in question. She is a, in technical terms,
Virtual girlfriend in question. She is a, in technical terms, "romance option".

Leliana is a (not so) ordinary church girl. Loving and optimistic. Believing in a faint hope amidst a world of turmoil, she chose to walk the pilgrim's path to serve her faith. She also has a funny accent.

Religious people in popular media seemed to always been mocked for their blind beliefs, and the religious institution is always the conspiratorial evil order. For a game to portray a religious character who also has a strong sense of self was sort of refreshing. Religion showed her the beauty of the world, and she is grateful for it.

This deeply resonated with me. I am not really religious but I respect those who are, my approach to my friends was always "if being religious made you a better person, kudos to you." That also seems to be the theme surrounding this character. She simply tried to embrace a more positive, innocent and righteous way of living. Something I strive towards as I grew older.

So instead of falling in love with Morrigan's side bewb I went for Leliana. And then everything came crashing down when she reveals she used to be an assassin.

Here's the thing: I hate this trope. I hate the "innocent girl with a dark past" trope so much. I am absolutely tired of this supposed "character depth". Leliana, the same female character I felt a connection to for the reason that she is in fact a simple person, is the "innocent girl with a dark past". The reason why she put on the facade was to escape her past. I rolled my eyes at Dragon Age in disappointment.

Ms. Assassin Lady Trope.
Ms. Assassin Lady Trope.

At this point in her character quest you could make a choice: To "harden" her, encourage her to be the violent badass lady she once was; or to suppress her disturbed self and walk a righteous part.

I was torn.

My disappointment wasn't only in the developers for using a tired trope, but also in Lelianna, the person/character I chose to be with. Her personality was fundamental to why I was "attracted" to her in the first place. Knowing that's not who she really was kind of upset me. I'm not going into my personal dating history here but let's just say in the real-life game of courtship, the attraction fades the better you know someone. When you first meet someone, your first impressions always leave some room for imagination. The good kind of imagination. You think about all the beautiful qualities that that person may have. You fill in the blanks with your hopes and dreams for that person. And when reality kicks in, you realize it's not a bed of roses. You accept the good, you accept the bad. That's kind of how human relationships work.

Dragon Age: Origins is a video game. You make choices, and although the game world doesn't really revolve around you, it technically does. Here I have to make a choice regarding this relationship, and for as much as I know, this choice will stick. This will be a turning point for Lelianna the character.

Does it matter for an NPC what choice I make for her, that I choose to make her an assassin with better stats and harsher banter? No. But it matters for me, the player, and my gaming experience. Now, for once in my life, I get to make a life decision for someone, to change a person for good. I get to keep Lelianna as MY Lelianna: The nice church-going girl fascinated with life and all things in the world... the Lelianna I actually liked

This sounds awfully creepy typing this out but just imagine if we could do that in real life. Imagine being able to force a loved one into being the person you want them to be, the person you thought of them to be. You don't even have to think about how they feel, because they have no say in this. Your world revolves around you. It's a powerful thought. It's tempting. It's also immoral.


In the end I chose to let her be who she wants to be. Or rather what she was coded to be if I choose that option. It doesn't matter. For a short moment I realized the real choice was not in game. It was if I chose to accept who the person was/is or not.

I can live forever in an illusion that Lelianna was the sweetest girl on the planet. The game won't punish me for it, or at least the game wasn't coded to punish me for it. But I can't live it down that it was I who forced her into my world view. Maybe, it was I who needed to change my world view.

I guess this says a lot about my arrogance, my nonacceptance, and my selfishness deep inside of me. I wish to change the people around me and in real life you can't. Having that power in a video game, I could have lived my own fantasy, but I chose to learn something from it instead.

To learn to accept the people I love.

But fuuuuck do I hate this trope.
But fuuuuck do I hate this trope.

Thanks for reading guys! I just managed to get my opinions in before Origins no longer matters and all the talk in town would go to Inquisition, coming out next week! Honestly I cannot wait, and that game looks amazing. Before I say goodbye, dear reader, might I interest you in my personal fan comic for Dragon Age: Origins to remind you of how great DA:O is! Alright, thank you and goodnight.


I finally understand why people think Far Cry 3's story is crap.


With all the end of the year discussion going on (sadly the decisions were made and minds were made up by the crew), I feel it is only appropriate to revisit the most common critique of Far Cry 3: The story, specifically, Brad/Jeff's disappointment in how good the start was and how lackluster the second half of the story (after Vaas' death) became.

Vaas is revealed to be the avatar of Rahul'ka:tik!ok, the God of Insanity on Rook Island. #spoilers #racistjoke
Vaas is revealed to be the avatar of Rahul'ka:tik!ok, the God of Insanity on Rook Island. #spoilers #racistjoke

After listening to Jeff and Brad's impressions on the bombasts earlier this month, I went to play the game to see for myself. I didn't feel anything by the end of the game (other than thinking it was hours upon hours of quality entertainment), yet it was as if the game was urging me to feel something. I tried reading on the internet reactions to the ending, interviews, possible theories...I read about how the lead story writer defended the game to his death, stating that he told the story he wanted to tell exactly. I read about how some professional game reviewers thought the game's story would be "fixed" by making Jason actually Vaas (which i thought was super stupid btw). After all this internet truth seeking I suddenly came to realize:

Far Cry 3 was NEVER about insanity.

In the interview with the lead story writer Jeffrey Yohalem, the name Rook Island was an obvious wink to the player that this is a game about manipulation. That definitely made me rethink every major plot point in the game. I couldn't have summarized it better than fellow bomber Oldirtybearon in a thread about racism in the game:

@Oldirtybearon said:

Those "good brown people" you mention are not all that good, home boy. There is more than subtle evidence to suggest that Dennis, Citra, and the Rakyat tribe are using Jason Brody to further their own agenda. They don't want peace on the island, they want control back from Hoyt and Vaas. That's the power struggle. The Rakyat were used to controlling the population due to their brutality and their, well, batshit crazy philosophy. Hoyt Valker came to town with his mercenary army and brushed them aside with little effort. Jason stumbles into them and is plied with hallucinogenic narcotics (both ingested and tattooed onto his skin) to make him feel invincible. People who don't believe they can die become fearless. Jason's abilities stem from natural athleticism and a drug-induced DGAF attitude.

The "good brown people" are hardly defenseless. They just don't see the point in attacking Hoyt directly when they have a stoned college grad willing to kill for them. You could argue that Far Cry 3 uses the "white saviour" trope, but it in actuality turns that trope on its head with the narrative they actually present. Why do you think Citra kills you if you choose to kill your friends? They're done with you. Their enemies have been vanquished and they are now free to oppress and control the population once again.

The plot of manipulation is actually quite ingenious. I do agree that that specific story wasn't told really well, but what really killed it was that we all expected the game to be about insanity, and our expectations entirely buried whatever the game was trying to convey to us, or made it fit into the story we thought the game was telling. How did that happen?

I blame the oh-so-memorable E3 trailer introduced Vaas as the villain with a well written monologue and impressive acting. Praise was universal. What Ubisoft did was not only hype up the game, but also to their disadvantage, subconsciously planted the idea that the theme of the next installment of Far Cry, would be insanity. Vaas became the embodyment of it.

This is my favourite part where you shoot it with fire-arrows.
This is my favourite part where you shoot it with fire-arrows.

In one interview with Michael Mando on how he got the acting job as Vaas, he straight up said he was auditioning for a cold boss character, and gave a performance for the exact opposite. But the dev team liked his performance so much they decided to write a new character just for him, which would be Vaas. So take that as some evidence that the whole insanity thing was not even planned in the first place.

Now see, when you're going to write a story about an island of crazy people, you would probably write characters with a variety of psychological illnesses: Schizophrenia, depression, multi-personality disorder (as done to death as it is), and so on. Any writer wouldn't just pass on the chance to easily write a colourful array of "crazy" characters. When you think about it, Vaas is pretty sane, and so are most other characters in the story. Maniacal and violent? Yes, but so goes most action movie villains. Vaas only played the part of a disposable villain in the story, who also happened to get most screentime and attention.

Precisely 1 more giant humanoid monster to shoot at than I expected playing Far Cry 3.
Precisely 1 more giant humanoid monster to shoot at than I expected playing Far Cry 3.

It is extremely easy to mix up the theme of insanity which never was the point with the actual themes, because the plot devices used could easily apply to both. Hallucinations: you are going crazy, or that you are given drugs. Mystical powers from the tattoo: you are going crazy, or that you are fed the idea that you could actually perform superhuman feits. Brutal vengeance: you are going crazy, or that you are puppeteered to kill. The Alice metaphor could be seen as Jason's descent into madness, or to the game's theme, Jason's descent into madness to believe he is in control of everything, which he isn't.

So when I played the game I thought it was a poorly told story about insanity. The ending obviously lacked the oomph because I was so engraved in that false belief of what the story was supposed to be. It was all a sad mistake that we were led to believe the way we did pre-release, otherwise I would say FC3 was a more than "okay" story.


Those are some fine folks at Bioware (aka fanboys are d*cks)

Photo taken in the Bioware offices
Photo taken in the Bioware offices

The Mass Effect 3 shitstorm never really stopped since the first showing of the game. Yes, people spent at least 60 hours in the last two installments so expectations are high. The chance of disappointment is high. Being an observer in the argument, I can no longer stand the stupid fanboys at this point. It's okay to be angry over something you are passionate about, but this is getting a little bit too far. Not many developers ever spent additional resources and more months of hardwork from vacation just to please the the consumer. Don't even mention the sad, sad pandas who put their hearts into the game and only got whippped in the butt by assholes.

Just to throw it out there first: I have not played Mass Effect 3 yet. University exams are coming up and I do not wish to rush through yet another great sci-fi experience. But I can tell you I have faith in Bioware's ability to do shit. Before the Dragon Age fanboys set in I'm just gonna say, I've seen worse endgames/endings. And I don't think anything about Mass Effect 3 can change my opinion. It's not like there could be a different way to write the final chapter in a story. So let me share with you some bad experiences I've had with disappointing endings (BIG FAT SPOILERS PEOPLE):

Sorry, wrong game.
Sorry, wrong game.

Fable III

Never really liked the franchise so even I was surprised I got to the end of the third installment at all. In the end you are introduced to a threat even greater than your main character's jerk-ish evil. Like, consume the universe type of evil. You are given days to prepare to save the world, as the evil army slowly marches towards your capital city. Spending the last half-year at the frontier of the nation you would expect an epic battle (and an epic defeat) at the gates to fend the bad guys off, and pull back every step as the war effort goes sour. NOoooooooo. Instead you jump to the FINAL BATTLE at the capital city being all invaded right after a peaceful mission of rebuilding orphanages and shit just one mission before. Not to mention just how un-epic and short the final stand really is. You're not witnessing a full-scale invasion with people dying by the thousands. All you see are buildings on fire. With all the tension building up to that final battle, a level like that is FUCKING DISAPPOINTING. Did I mention the ending? It's not really a spoiler, people gather around you and hail the great king of Albion. What else are you seriously expecting.

I would have put a
I would have put a "good guy riding off into the sunset" pic but I honestly felt this is more interesting.

Alpha Protocol

It really isn't as bad as people make it. There's technical jank here and there but what happens is genuinely interesting, and you really do get the whole spy thing going on. That's cool. I would almost say I like the game UNTIL i reached the ending. In a one minute or so cutscene, two things happened. Bad guy got punched in the face, good guys ride off into the sunset. No, seriously, that's it. What the fuck was I even expecting?

These are two endings I absolutely cannot tell you how much I was disappointed by. After these two games I learnt not to expect jackshit from the endings. Just walk away and say "fuck this shit", at least we were in for the ride. Do you even remember Bioware's very own KOTOR? It ended with everyone congratulating the heroes and that's it. Still hailed as one of the best RPGs of all-time.

If every developer had to cater to the fanboy's vision, games would never be released. Focus testing to make sure absolutely EVERY fan is satisfied. Thing is you can't satisfy everyone. No one can. And why does Bioware have to suffer through this? People hate George Lucas to death for the crimes against humanity, the prequel trilogy. It's not like he came out and said he was going to remake the prequels or anything. Oh wait he did. By making them 3-D.

"And then I said you could develop intimate relationships with the hairy balls... LOL"

I wonder how Peter Molyneux would have to shut his lousy mouth forever if he knew he would have to rework every single feature in the games he promised to deliver. Obsidian having to remake KOTOR 2. Bethesda having to rebuild Fallout 3 Van Buren. 3D Realms having to make DNF "good". Activision having to... fuck it.

Business is business. Creativity is creativity. If that's how the creators envisioned it, so be it. If deadlines and budgets are fucked up and the team has to rush out a product, too bad. If we the consumer/fans chose to support the developers who spent months of very very hard work in their "baby", suck up the shitty parts and move on. No company needs to bend over to the masses and let us ass rape them.

Jedi mind-tricking us into buying his games since 1991. Oh, he's also director of Coca-Cola. Fun fact of the day.
Jedi mind-tricking us into buying his games since 1991. Oh, he's also director of Coca-Cola. Fun fact of the day.

Just how irrational and passionate about the wrong things this generation is? The part where I totally lost faith in humanity is when EA was voted worst company in the U.S. Three letters: W.T.F. No. NO. How could an entertainment company upset us more than a company that led to financial crises and screwing people's lives over? What kind of generation do we live in? Yes, vote with the dollar, and yet we, the ones who are living comfortable lives, are valuing this "dollar" we spent more than the lives of those who are less fortunate. We spend more time complaining about the entertainment products we get than talking about the unequal socio-political world we live in. We stand together as consumers to force hard working people to work harder on non-necisities to meet our own expectations, and NOT instead standing together to say, abolish child labour, go support the Occupy Wallstreet movement, push for social change. Entertainment and consumerism, people, welcome to the motherfucking 21st century.

Maybe EA's only funding Bioware to put out free content just to save its reputation. Maybe I would rant on and on about ME3's ending as much as the fanboys did after I finished the game. But please, please don't take this for granted. We should not make this an example of positive social movement because there are more things that are much much more important than our amusement that we need to push forward, and yet we have not. EA isn't even an evil corporate bent on overworking its employees and taking over the world. It's a victory for the masses, it's great that we're getting a new ending. However, if only it were not just an entertainment thing we are changing. If only one day we would be able to put the same amount of passion we have now for a video game into forcing positive social change as well. If only one day, corporates and governments would do the same with what EA/Bioware had done with Mass Effect 3's ending. The world would fucking explode in awesome. In the meantime...

Thank you Bioware, we appreciate your good will.


Gamers and fans


Call me crazy... but To The Moon is my "Game" of the Year 2011

I'm sure you heard of a little game called GEARS OF FUCKING WAR 3.
I'm sure you heard of a little game called GEARS OF FUCKING WAR 3.

Certainly I don't hate EVERYTHING, as you might think when you see me ranting on games in threads and blog posts. It's end of the year and it's the time we start making our own Top Ten lists, hoping someone actually reads how much you "had the most fun in years" with Saints Row the Third or awe at the "massive living world" that is Skyrim. Honestly, it's the same 15 or so AAA titles over and over again so unless you're Jeff Gerstman I suggest we all just stop making these GOTY threads/blog posts like 5 people would read. I'm no Jeff Gerstman, but I would love to tell you a little indie game few people played earned a special place in my heart, To the Moon. And you should totally play it.

By Gears of War 3 I really do mean To the Moon.
By Gears of War 3 I really do mean To the Moon.

I am very fond of Indie games. I remember a time I had a 6 year old computer that couldn't run an next-gen games (when it was still next-gen). I played plenty of indie games as they do not require high specs... and I was pleasantly surprised at the unique premises these small developers have in-store for us who are willing to take a break from the average AAA modern shooter. Shout outs to Aquaria and Knytt which are amazing games.

And hence I came across this piece. $12 for 3-4 hours of entertainment may sound a little bit too much to ask for, but so is going to watch a stupid ass movie in IMAX and totally forget about it the moment you step out of the cinema. Not only does it not sound like the best value in the world, it's a pretty terrible game, it has some anime style humour, and of all things, some cheesy romance. I know, I'm indifferent to low-budget romances in cinema as much as the other guy.

But I'd be lying if I said this game isn't magical. This thing is lingering inside me, pulling all my heart strings. I am a young man in the early 20s and I probably haven't shed a tear for anything for the last 10 years. And this little game totally got me. It's bittersweet, it's absolutely beautiful. It's probably on par if not even better than Pixar's Up.

This is the least spoilery image I can find on Giantbomb.
This is the least spoilery image I can find on Giantbomb.

Here's a little introduction. Two doctors in the near future are hired to make an old dying man's dream come true, by accessing his memories and altering them. It's a simple love story told backwards, as the doctors go back in time unlocking each little snippet of the poor man's life. Themes of regret, redemption, hope, love... Most importantly, it does right what many games in today's market fails at portraying: Human emotions that feel real. I wasn't joking when I said I shed a tear after seeing the twist. The colourful visuals and beautiful music definitely helped. So unless you have no soul or have been a lonely kid in the basement playing video games all day, it's impossible not to feel anything for the characters.

The problem is though, it can hardly qualify as a game. Its writing is pretty solid and keeps you intrigued all the way through, but you are guided along a very linear path of the narration. The "game" parts are lacking to say the least, one late-"game" part is downright frustrating. This is much more a visual novel than a traditional game. The game parts almost felt unnecessary. However, no matter how not interactive the whole thing actually is, it's because you are given the little freedom to walk around as the doctors which puts you into their shoes, who know just as much about the client's life as the player. The gameplay is not done good enough to warrant that games can be art (unlike the pretentious full-o-plotholes Jason-calling simulator), but I could hardly imagine this being something that's experienced via any other medium. It's the experience that counts, and the immersion is definitely there.

Jet bike and exploding helicopter. NOT.
Jet bike and exploding helicopter. NOT.

I can't tell you enough how much the main theme "For River" gets me every time. Reminds me of every second of the short 3 hours playing through this game. It is sentimental, tear-jerking not in an obvious way and should be consumed in one sitting. You will not regret playing it. Props to Kan Gao for making this wonderful game. GOTY 2011 you heard it right here.

SPOILERS: For those who finished the story and thought it was a cheesefest, here's the reason why I found it so touching:


Read me rant on: Burnout Paradise (Jeff's favourite game omggggg)

     Hey guys, thanks for clicking in. A bit about why I’m blogging: I rant on a lot of things. And weirdly, I usually don't understand why people would like games i find bad, and why they hate games i find amazing. Opinions. But rather than just trying to “win” every argument with "EVERYONE HAS THEIR OPINIONS RESPECT MINE AND FUCK YOU", I would like to look into the WHY of things. I want to understand why people think so, and I want people to also try to understand my perspective. So here I am, sitting in my room, blogging about video games.

Read me Rant on: Burnout Paradise

 Burnout Paradise has some of the best car handling I’ve played in a game. I’ll give you that. But the racing part, is what I thought was abysmal. I played up to 20 or so A-ranked matches until I came to the conclusion that I’ve had enough. You know what? Even GTA4 is a better racing game than this.


Wait wtf didja just say!!?? Ur opinion is invalid. I’m outta here.
Wait wtf didja just say!!?? Ur opinion is invalid. I’m outta here.

  Pretty ballsy statement but you know what’s another ballsy move? Not having a map GPS. And that is the sole reason why Burnout Paradise just isn’t that great. I’ll admit. I do suck at this game. I sigh at my own suckage. Most of the races I’ve won were probably out of luck. But not having a map GPS led to a foundational problem about it being a racing game.

 This is the HUD of the game. Pretty clean, nothing too crazy. OR IS IT!?
 This is the HUD of the game. Pretty clean, nothing too crazy. OR IS IT!?

Criterion made a decision not to have a map GPS. Those things when you drive around the mini-map kinda highlights for you the “shortest” route? Ya that one in GTA. And for those who don’t really know how the racing works in the game, you are given the same start and finish locations and you have to basically trek through the open-world city faster than the other racers.

I haven’t read/watched any design documents on the making, so I wouldn’t know for sure but I’ll just go head in and assume WHY Criterion made that decision: They want the players to learn the city, the streets, and be familiar with all the shortcuts you would f… fuck it. It’s a damn bad decision. No one, absolutely no one, can remember all the routes and streets. I can RECOGNIZE some landmarks but honestly we're not on some sight-seeing tour; it's a gawddamn race. It’s only natural I want to get to the finishline as fast as possible. And no, I’m not going to remember your video game streets, especially when they don’t look all that different. Often I go through shortcuts only to find I went off-track. So much for a “shortcut”. Throughout the 10 or so hours I’ve put in the game I find myself constantly having to pop up my map to see where my destination is, and what route I should take. You can see how this immediately breaks the speedy flow of a racing game.

Now here’s a random car pic so you won’t get bored
Now here’s a random car pic so you won’t get bored

Criterion made another weird decision by not including a GPS that works, and giving you a shitty GPS. It’s on the top of the screen, it shows the direction of the finishline, and the street names. Okay I can see Criterion is trying really hard to encourage players to drive their own way as long as they get there. Point is, I can’t without having to pause at every intersection. When you are at the intersection, street names pop out left and right of the street you are on, and flash to indicate you should turn left or right. So there is some form of a GPS in the game. (Aha suck on that hater.)

It’s not really a problem until you get faster cars at higher tier races – the “GPS” is useless. You see, when you’re at high speed and nitroing with all this motion blur on, your brain tends to focus on the road ahead of you. Not only cuz the ring of motion blur tricks your mind into doing that, but also because you know you the consequence if you crash into something. And you often do. I don’t think I’ve ever hated slow-motion in a game this much.

Can you not slow-motion crash and respawn me as quick as possible, game? There’s rubberband AI that’s after me.
Can you not slow-motion crash and respawn me as quick as possible, game? There’s rubberband AI that’s after me.

Now comes the problem of the interface/HUD. It is not effective. Look:

No Caption Provided

There are FOUR areas of focus.

1. You look at the road ahead and the oncoming cars, if you crash, you’re screwed. Or you may find a shortcut if you are lucky to make it through.

2. You look at the “GPS” to see when you really need to turn

3. You look at your nitro bar and see if you are actually recharging it when going on an opposite lane. You can use your peripheral vision, but still.

4. You look at the mini-map because you know the “GPS” in 2 doesn’t really work.

Oh don’t forget you’re going 200miles per hour all the while doing that.

In most track racing games, you look to one. You look to the front. That’s it. The route is fixed and it’s the matter of how to make a good fruitful turn, not where to go.

In real-life driving, normally under safe situations you look to two. What is in front, what is in the back. We have voiced GPS’s to minimize having to look to even more places.

In other open-world racing games, you look to two. What is ahead, and what the route your GPS tells you to follow on the minimap is.

You never lose focus or panic too much. You really shouldn’t. This game is giving me sweaty hands. My eyeballs move like I’m in REM sleep or something. I look to the bottom right to get a sense of where I should turn. I look to the top to see if this is the right intersection to turn, if I were to trust the game. I look to the bottom left to see if my nitro meter is ACTUALLY charging cuz running against traffic is kinda risky, you know, like in real-life…

 Ya, I know.
 Ya, I know.

Then I fucking crash.

I stare at the slow-motion replay with the anger and frustration gushing out from my heart. I feel the flames burning. I wanna wreck something real bad. And I know it’s not my in-game car that I just did.

Am I too careless? Or is the human brain not supposed to take in all this clutter? I believe in the latter. The HUD isn’t effectively communicating stuff to the player. As I said before, GTA4 racing (albeit horrible handling), communicates the route clearly so you can focus on the road. Open-world racing? Criterion I don’t think you’re doing it right. A GPS with a fast re-route function is the best option. It won’t distract players from looking for shortcuts, as long as the GPS knows how to get to the point. It even gives players more time to focus on the road. No fancy ass street signs and compasses and shit that’s actually counter-intuitive.

Burnout Paradise has great handling and it’s amazing to drive the cars. It may be a good driving game, but it sure hell is not a good racing game. Now you see why I didn’t like this game.  

  And no it’s not just because of DJ Atomica
  And no it’s not just because of DJ Atomica

 How about you Giantbomb, or the Paradise lovers, justify your love.

P.S. Thanks Giantbomb for all the stock images i would never bother print screening.


You know what should be the new industry standard? 
To give you the options to toggle head bobbing and change FOV.
So I was playing Rage the last few days. I’ll leave my ranting for the actual game aside, but this game is seriously making me dizzy and uncomfortable. It hasn’t been so severe ever since the infamous pukefest that is Half-Life 2. I had to take 15 minute breaks for every gaming session. The game’s alright, but having to stop every time when I’d feel like I’m getting into playing the game, is a big bummer. You know what’s an even bigger bummer? My head hurts. It’s a video game! I should be having fun, not headaches, right? And I’m definitely not the only one experiencing this motion sickness.

  So what is motion sickness? According to Wikipedia, obviously the most reliable source on the internet:

The most common theory for the cause of simulation sickness is that the illusion of motion created by the virtual world, combined with the absence of motion detected by the inner ear, causes the area postrema in the human brain to infer that one is hallucinating and further conclude that the hallucination is due to poison ingestion. The brain responds by inducing nausea and mass vomiting, to clear the supposed toxin.

 My friends tell me to “man-up”. I have a regular workout routine and if me experiencing this is indicative of anything, it’s that I have higher chance of survival than them (Superior genes of course). The main culprit for it seems to have to do with a low field of view (FOV) and crazy head bobbing, not personal masculinity.

 Not that all games should have the players slide around like in Oblivion, but devs really should keep the penguin-walking at a minimum, and let us disable it. FOV should be tweakable too. The standard is 90, but then we always have games like Half-Life 2 (70) and Rage (80) who likes to be “different” by making us walk around like we have binoculars glued to our eyes.

 And my rant is over. Thank you and good night.


Duke, f*** the critics, your game is amazing.

I'm not being sarcastic, i just finished it and i have to say, I loved it. Personally, I think this game is fantastic.
I grew up playing Duke Nukem 3D. As crazy as that sounds, it captured every bit of a kid's imagination -- shooting scary monsters in everyday environments (Well, not that a kid had ever gone to the strip club). i do remember myself imaging shooting monsters in the supermarket when i went grocery shopping with my mom more than a dozen times.

I can tell you what Duke Nukem meant for me, but i can't really tell you how much i understood what Duke Nukem really is. I didn't get the sex jokes, the swearing, or the titties. What Duke Nukem was for me was the daily venues turned into creepy places where the monsters are. I couldn't play the game without god mode and unlimited ammo on. It was really just exploring the museums, cinemas, police stations, fast food stores, hotels... etc. All of which, was not part of the Duke Nukem character.
The running joke Duke Nukem Forever is finally out thanks to the guys at Gearbox, and playing it felt weird. It may be nostalgia, but at the same time, not nostalgia. The action hero i grew up with was not a sexist, self-centred douche to me. I've always imagined him as a bad ass who is just that. Maybe because there weren't anyone else in DN3D, it left Duke plenty of room for interpretation. And then the game was as linear as a game like Call of Duty. And then the health, weapons, special items systems were changed. It just felt so different from what i remembered of Duke. Other than the blond military hair, shades, red wife beater and blue jeans, EVERYTHING WAS DIFFERENT.
Playing DNF for me was like seeing an old friend after a decade and not remembering anything about him other than the fact that the two of us had some good times back in the day. It was going into an entirely different type of game while recognizing the vague nods to the days of old.
 I think most disappointed fans just don't know what the game they've been waiting for all these years is meant to be. From my perspective, someone who didn’t quite exactly know Duke yet still holding the same nostalgia for him, I see DNF as an attempt to bring Duke to the post-Half life post-Halo world.  The two weapon system, the recharging “shield”, the linear story, seemed to be the ways for Duke Nukem chose to follow to catch up to modern shooters. It is not meant to be a “remake” of 3D many were hoping for. I would say DNF is much more like Half Life 2 as to how it is paced and how it feels playing it.

Now the problem – are the guys at 3D Realms incorrectly pinpointed what the franchise, especially DN3D, is to the gamers and fans? 3D Realms put their bet on Duke… as in, the bad-ass one-liner spitter action hero. They put in lengthy sequences with Duke running around interacting with people. They tried to give more character to Duke by letting him interact with others. The thing is, they made him a dumbass vulgar jerk. They believed players would hold nostalgia so strong that they’d accept the “rehashed” Duke. But truth is, he’s just not very likeable, and definitely not relatable.

Despite that, I enjoyed my time with DNF. It’s probably the most fun I’ve had in playing a first-person shooter in years. The shooting is pretty decent, the story dumb but serviceable. The levels are linear but the environments are designed very well with tons of detail. The physics based puzzles are pretty smart I’d say, better than those in HL2. The humour isn’t “lol” humour but I chuckled to myself more often than I expected. And the random shit you can do in the game. Air hockey felt weirdly authentic. Yes, even that’s in the game.

I felt like the shallow nostalgia and vague memory of DN3D allowed me to enjoy the game much more than others. I never held much expectation going into the game, nor was i constantly comparing it to the o-so-great DN3D, and I got a lot out of it. So, fuck the critics. I advise you all to play this great game, and look at Duke as the same badass friend you knew from 12 years ago.