Welcome to the Twilighter Zone

Useless since Feb. '07



So I've seen some of the movies that have been coming out in the last several months. Some, but not all the ones I'd like to see. I still haven't seen the third Hobbit film, which is possibly the one I wanted to see the most, but oh well.

I did see Interstellar. That was amazing. The soundtrack was really well done, different from what Hans Zimmer had done before, but fit the film excellently. If you are a fan of science-fiction, or Christopher Nolan, please go see this movie. Nolan is my favorite director, and SF is probably my favorite genre, so to see the two finally united was wonderful.

I also saw Fury. Initially when I first heard about it coming out, I thought "we don't need another WW2 movie, besides, it's probably just Brad Pitt doing the thing from Inglorious Basterds." I was wrong. Pitt's character was quite different, and he did a great job. In fact, all of the acting was great, including what was probably Shia LaBeouf's best work on screen to date. Don't let the fact that he's in it turn you off from this film. I'm no WW2 history expert, but I've heard they paid a lot of attention to historical accuracy in this film. It certainly felt real, and I would agree with the quote on the box that it was "the best war film since Saving Private Ryan." But I don't want to over-hype it, either. It's kind of a smaller scale than that film, taking place after D-Day in the final days of the war. I won't say anything else, as I like to know as little about a movie as possible going into it. I usually try to avoid seeing trailers these days for that reason, but it also means that seeing movies is more of a gamble, so I see fewer films than I used to.

Gone Girl lived up to the hype, in my opinion. I didn't read the book, but the film was excellent. I didn't see a trailer, I just knew that it was directed by David Fincher and that was enough for me. You could definitely feel the Zodiac vibe at times, since it involved police investigation. Again, I won't say any more as especially this film is one you want to be surprised by. Try to avoid any spoilers! Don't even read the back of the box! Features great performances by two actors far out of their genre: Neil Patrick Harris, and surprisingly, Tyler Perry.

In February, I saw Kingsman. I wasn't really interested in this one at all based on the trailer I had happened to see, as it sort of felt like a college-aged Spy Kids. However, my roommates were going out to see it, and I figured, "why not." It ended up being a lot different than I expected. It was definitely rated R, which from the trailer I had guessed it was maybe PG-13. It was somewhat gratuitous, in fact, and reminded me of both of the Kick-Ass films. It turns out, Kingsman was directed by Matthew Vaughn, the director of the first Kick-Ass. Anyway, it ended up being a mostly pleasant surprise. The film took some unexpected turns, and had some pretty crazy fight scenes. It was fun to see Samuel L. Jackson in a different sort of role (comedic villain), and Mark Hamill on screen for the first time in who knows how long in a minor role.

Last night, I saw Nightcrawler, which I had been wanting to watch for a while. I ended up not liking it quite as much as I thought I would, but I believe that is down to two factors: I expected a lot going in, and the protagonist wasn't that likeable. That aside, it was still a very well-made film, and covered a niche subject that isn't often done (the life of an independent news cameraman, bending the rules to increase profitability). It's definitely a good film with some good performances, and I give it bonus points for its uniquness. Features an avant-garde-retroish soundtrack by James Newton Howard that complements and clashes with the subject matter in interesting ways.

That's about it for now.



Dare I? Dare I compose another post? I somehow missed the entire years of 2013 and 2014. I kind of wish I slipped one right in at the end there, right before January. But alas, I had forgotten about this blog yet again. Well, this won't be long, but I thought I'd say something.

Farcry 3 turned out great, as we all know. I enjoyed it, but still haven't beaten the story yet. Mass Effect 3's ending was a trainwreck, apparently. I still loved the game, the ending less so, but I think it was better than 2. The first ME game is probably still my favorite.

Destiny has also received a lot of mixed press. I like it a lot, but I agree that the story makes no sense, the missions are repetitive, and the end-game loot grind is literally punishing, especially with The Dark Below. Why that doesn't bother me is I haven't even finished the story, I prefer the Crucible, Destiny's version of Halo Matchmaking. That is a barrel of monkeys, fun monkeys. And I'm only level 25 because I play so casually that I may never get into that final grind for exotics. Though of course I do want some. It did take me this long just to finally get a rare sniper rifle, even though all the rest of my weapons and armor have been rare for a few levels, just because the loot algorithms or whatchamacallits (that's actually a word?!) are so bad that early on in the game you could decode an engram and actually just get two items of a lower rarity than the engram you turned in, or so I heard. I wasn't paying that much attention. I've been busy with work and boring adult things. Like writing my book (which isn't boring or adult). All that said, with the level advantages supposedly nullified in the Crucible, any advantage given by loot is probably surmountable by having an edge in skill, teamwork, and a little luck. Unfortunately, I am almost always severely lacking in all three categories. Regardless, it remains fun.

I got The Long Dark for Christmas from a wonderful friend. It's an indie survival game on Steam in Early Access (wow a lot has changed since I last posted). In it, you do not fight zombies or other people, but wolves, the cold, and hunger. So far, it is extremely enjoyable. I barely survived one wolf attack, with 14% health and decreasing as I was bleeding out. I limped back into the house I had just proudly stamped out of after having successfully cooked myself a warm breakfast, sat by the fire which was still burning, and bandaged myself and applied antiseptic. I also drank some water as I was thirsty. Unfortunately, I had my inventory categorized by weight, and clicked on "non-potable water" by accident, since the potable kind was usually on top. I contracted dysentery immediately. Luckily, I had picked up some antibiotics (this was day 4), and I had to drink a half gallon of clean water, and sleep for ten hours. After that debacle, I focused on regrouping, repairing clothing, etc. in a nearby gas station I had found. I also found a hatchet hiding under some barrels or something (finally). The next in-game morning, I stepped outside, flare equipped to scare off any wolves, and saw a car not 20 feet from a new house. I saw no wolves, got in the car, searched it, and got out. Between the car and the house, I got killed by a wolf. It was extremely frustrating and I can't wait until I play it again.

Since I last posted I probably also played Dark Souls. I didn't get very far at all, and they have a sequel now, but that was very good as well.

Well, it's 3 am, and I have work tomorrow. Who knows if it will be another 2 or 3 years before I post again? I shudder to think what may happen by then.

Farewell faithful spambots and accidental human visitors, and, what was it I used to say? Oh yeah. Beware the pink mist. Or something. Read Penny Arcade. Watch Interstellar. Play The Long Dark. Go on a hike. See old friends. Eat something delicious. Do something new and uncomfortable. If you're an artist, don't wait for inspiration. Just do it. If you're not an artist, ask yourself why. If it's a lack of talent, know that talent is largely a word used by people too lazy to put in the time to become talented. I know because I'm lazy. But it's worth the effort. Make time. You can. Birds.


Mass Effect 3, Love Letter

So, here's my biannual post, if anyone still reads this rotting wooden shack of a blog. Wow, the post composition window is clinically minimalist. A little unsettling. Not a joke, every time I post this interface is a little different. That's what I get.

Well, I went to the Hollywood launch party for Mass Effect 3, met Casey Hudson and the VO team, as well as Tobuscus and Harley Morenstein of EpicMealTime, who both happened to be there. It was pretty cool, I just happened to be in the right place at the right time. Probably around 200 people were there, maybe more. West Hollywood looked super sketch, and because of the smog you couldn't even see two blocks down the road.

I've been so busy I've only just recently gotten around to playing the game itself. I know, I know. But it's amazing. I'm about 22 hours in, and it just may be the best of all three. The story is grand and gives you a real sense of trying to defend an entire galaxy. The scale and stakes are large and high. The characters are written so well you really get attached to them. Your choices feel as though they really do have consequences, much more so than in previous games. Almost every single choice you make in the game has pros and cons for each side you take. I can't wait to finish it.

Well, something else that is really cool is this movie a friend of mine is writing, called "Love Letter". Here's the synopsis: "THE STORY: Garrett's got a case of writer’s block.  It turns out writing the perfect suicide note is not as easy as you might think.  And it’s even harder when you're writing it for an ex-girlfriend you’ve got tied up in your garage who, even though she totally deserves what she’s getting, unfairly refuses to sign the letter.  Things get more awkward when Garrett accidentally takes the pizza guy and the pizza guy’s sweaty girlfriend hostage after they stubbornly refuse to die from the poison he slips in their drinks. The situation goes from bad to….well...more bad as Barry, the landlord, gets put out that hostages are being held at his property.  It sucks, but Garrett may just have to kill everyone."

I would love it if anyone reading this would at least share their kickstarter page, and hopefully donate what you can to them: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1423478098/love-letter-feature-film

I have confidence that this movie will be worth it. Well, that's all I got guys! 


Farcry 3

Grrg. I want to start a new blog, but every time I do, I post one post and leave the blog to die. I can't even remember some of the blogs I've started, and so I have scattered them across the great ocean of the internet, each one a ship with only one passenger, and no captain. Lost forever. So I'm here again, with some more thoughts on what has always been the vague theme of this particular blog: video game opinion.

I saw an ad for Farcry 3. I did not search it out, but in fact it came to me, rather rudely, in front of a Mass Effect 3 trailer that I did intentionally look up. But I humored it and watched the whole two and a half some minutes, as I greatly enjoyed its direct predecessor in spite of its flaws, which were occasionally quite frustrating. Seeing another sidebar ad, now, I have assembled a vibe that Ubisoft is putting out with their marketing campaign for the game; a sort of more realistic and therefore darker Borderlands vibe. I think it was the weird colors and the crazed characters and blatant disregard for human life displayed in the trailer combined with the sarcastic slogan "relax and unwind with us" on the ad. However, it somehow feels worn out. I like how Farcry 2 played it straight. No humor. And the trailer dropped one too many f-bombs, as if they were trying to be edgy. Which they most certainly will. But excessive language and violence doesn't cut it anymore, you actually have to try. Borderlands nailed the Borderlands vibe in 2008 (I think), and as an aside, I absolutely loved the Borderlands 2 trailer. Way to go, Gearbox. And having personally spoken with Randy Pitchford and co. at a couple of PAXes, I can testify that they genuinely seem like good people who care about their games, and more importantly, their gamers; this I found out when I was one of the few hundred to receive a free copy of Borderlands 2 at PAX Prime 2011.

But back to Farcry 3. Even though they are trying a bit too hard with their marketing, if the gameplay improves (that's the key word) upon FC2, then I will most likely get this game. FC2 certainly was a lot of fun, I dumped a little over 50 hours into it somehow (more than I put into Mass Effect 2 :O [which I liked better]), but there was something about the openness of the world that made me not care too much about the almost immediately respawning guard posts and the cars and guns that would break down after just a few hours' use. Do something better, Ubisoft! I don't know what, that's why I'm not a game designer.


Rimming the sky

I'm tired and can't sleep so I remembered about this place and thought I'd say that Skyrim is amazing. Buy it now.

Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.8


Would you like to play a game? (recommendations for new gamers)

If anyone is bored and is looking for a game to play (a.k.a. people who aren't playing Reach or Black Ops), here are some good ones, organized by platform. They are mostly old games.

Civilization, any of them (try II if you haven't)
Dawn Of War: Dark Crusade (Great RTS, especially for fans of 40k)
WarGames (doesn't have a whole lot to do with the movie, it's a pretty old game, but a good RTS)

Republic Commando (A solid Star Wars Squad based shooter with good in-game dialogue)
Knights of the Old Republic (If you've played it, play it again)
Crimson Skies (Probably a bit dated now, but it's got great airplane combat with upgrades)
Ultimate Alliance 1 (better than 2) is a little cheesy, a little buggy, but somehow captures the fun of putting all your favorite superheroes in a team and upgrading their many abilities far better than the second one. The in-game graphics are aging, but the cutscenes are pretty amazing for original Xbox. And you get more powers in this one, as well as items you can pick up and equip.

Metriod Prime (I actually haven't played these, but I will when I get a system that can)
Jedi Knight II

I can't really recommend any games here that haven't already been lathered in press. That said, Reach does live up to the hype. Haven't tried Black Ops yet. However, if you missed it, Mass Effect 1 is a must play. The graphics still hold up after 3 years. The gameplay is occasionally buggy, and the menus can get annoying, but it still earns a 9.5/10 in my book despite all that. The game is so good, you will completely forget its minor flaws. It's that great.
If you like Wolverine, and haven't played the "Origins" game yet, let me just say this: There are about 100 different ways to kill dudes, the combat is true-to-character, and it's about 12 hrs. long. It may not be for everyone, but I played through twice, once on medium, and once on hard after unlocking it for beating the game. Plus, the QTEs, for the most part (save a couple mini-bosses) are pretty cool, not too common to be annoying, and occasionally jaw-dropping.
Flaws: Story is meh, but I actually liked it better than the movie's story (both are still wrong). The occasional graphical glitch (largely forgivable, especially considering it's a movie game), as well as the rare glitch where you get stuck outside of a level. That only happened once, but it did cost me an achievement.
I think I already reviewed that game when it came out. Oh well, there it is again.

Haven't played anything on this yet.

Umm... anything first party, almost nothing third party. You should know that by now if you have one.

So, this is essentially a list of games you may have missed over the last 10-20 years that I didn't (mostly), and you should play.

Also, if you're new to gaming, here's a list of recommended titles to start with, depending on the genre that interests you.

Shooter: Halo 1 (combat evolved). Why: because it's not too complex, it has an easy setting, but it has controls and gameplay that will prep you for any modern shooter.

RTS: Age Of Empires (1 or 2). Why: It's got all the key components of an RTS, but not overwhelming on easy. Plus, it's great.

RPG: Um... I don't recommend jumping right into an RPG if you're new to gaming. Start with Halo, then move to Mass Effect, because the RPG element there is pretty light, but enough to prep someone for a deeper RPG after that. Or if you're eager, you could just skip straight into Mass Effect 2, but you'd miss some story from 1, and the RPG element is so light there, that you might not even get a taste of it. (traditional RPGs, of course. The story element is heavy like rain).
Alternative: play a text-based RPG, if you like reading.

That's about it for now.


It's a... whatever, it's a post.

Just wanted to post. I'm still playing Super Metroid, I think I'm close to getting the final suit upgrade. That game is harder than Reach on Heroic, which is hard by 2010 standards, but it was apparently not too hard by 1994 standards. Anyway.

Umm... Check this out? It's good. I promise.


Edit: the post before this one was post #123.

Samus Aran

Samus Aran
Bounty Hunter from the Metroid Prime series

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