Monthly Archives: February 2015

It doesn’t matter

Can you smell what he’s cooking?

It doesn’t matter if you write a page or a paragraph, just write.

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2014 Really Sucked for Games

I’m a gamer. I love the ability to get lost in a video game where I shape the story as I play. I find no other experience to match it; even reading books isn’t comparable and I REALLY love to read. Video games make you an active participant in the story instead of a passive spectator (I think that’s why I really loved those “Choose Your Own Adventure” books when I was a kid). To me, there’s nothing like relaxing after a full day of work or writing while playing my favorite video games. So you can imagine my dismay over many lackluster and subpar games released last year. The game play sucked for many of the titles, but beyond graphics, mechanics and other technical aspects of 2014’s games, many had really bad stories. I play video games for the stories and if you haven’t got that, you’ve got nothing.

Overhyped and underwhelming

The first offender is Destiny. Gameplay, the title is solid.  Graphics wise, the game is stellar. Storyline wise, the game is wearing a dunce cap with the words, “dumb ass” stitched in it. This is to say, there is no storyline–at least not a coherent one.  Wikipedia describes the game’s plot as thus:

Bungie described the setting of Destiny as a “mythic science-fiction” world.[8] The setting follows a prosperous period of exploration, peace, and technological advancement known as the Golden Age.[9] In a universe where humans have spread out and colonized planets in the Solar System, an event known as “the Collapse” saw the mysterious dissolution of these colonies, the end of the Golden Age, and mankind teetering on the brink of extinction. The only known survivors of the Collapse are those living on Earth, who were saved by “the Traveler,” a white, spherical celestial body whose appearance centuries before had enabled humans to reach the stars.[10] The Traveler now hovers above the last safe city on Earth, and its presence allows the Guardians—the defenders of the City—the ability to wield an unknown power, only referred to as “The Light.”

So, it’s basically Star Wars. The “Light” is the Force, the Guardians are the Jedi and the Darkness is the Sith. Actually, it sounds a lot more like Mass Effect, which also borrowed HEAVILY from Star Wars (to be fair, Star Wars borrowed heavily from myth). This story is so bare-boned and sparse, I lose complete interest in my desire to keep playing. I haven’t the slightest idea what the antagonist’s, the Darkness, motivations are. Why did they wipe out humanity’s colonies? Who or what is the Darkness and why do they have a stick up their ass against humanity? What was the Collapse? Bungie is responsible for bringing us the Halo series. One of the reasons why that series works so well is its awesome story. I know the motivations of the protagonists, the antagonists, etc. I know the rules of the game/story world. The story is so fleshed out, the Halo franchise has extended stories in novels and television. For Bungie (the game’s developer) to drop the ball so hard in the story department is a real surprise and disappointment.

The next turd on the list is Assassin’s Creed Unity. It’s a great game in and of itself, and the storyline, while unnecessarily convoluted (ancient aliens?), still holds up. The glitches gave this game its black eye. If I pay $60.00 of my hard-earned money on your game, I expect it to work correctly when I use it. I shouldn’t have to see floating eyeballs and teeth where the character’s face should be!

What the actual fuck?!

You see the freakin’ picture! Seriously?! OK, in Ubisoft’s (the game’s developer) defense, they acknowledged their screw-up and offered free downloadable content and a free game as an apology. This type of responsibility-taking I can get behind. Besides, I never actually experience the pictured glitch. The glitches I had issue with were the servers being down–a lot. That got old real fast and I’m glad they fixed that.

Finally, 2014 was shit for games because developers decided to remaster everything they’ve already made. Remasters appeal to die-hard fanboys and fangirls, but they do nothing for the rest of us who’ve already experienced the story. Grand Theft Auto V, Halo Master Chief Collection, The Last of Us, Sleeping Dogs, DmC, Diablo Ultimate Edition, Saints Row Re-Elected (in SR’s defense, they discounted the price considerably–and it was released THIS year). Way to cash grab, guys. We’ve already played these games. This would be great for newbies, but it’s a foot up the ass for the rest of us. So, let me get this straight. You release a game in 2013 that’s awesome, you remake it adding newer stuff and charge the SAME price you did for the first release. If one who has played the game already wants to experience it with all the new additions (which NEVER equal the asking price), they have to pay full price for the SAME GAME they already bought.

I suppose this is sour grapes. No one is forcing any game veterans to play remastered versions of games they’ve already played and beaten. The added content isn’t enough to justify purchase, so it’s not a terrible deal to pass on them. The problem is they weren’t new. Instead of developing new titles, developers just rehashed shit they already made. No new stories. So, 2014 kinda sucked dick for games.

Hopefully 2015 will be BETTER for games. Hopefully this will be a year of new intellectual properties and not remade old shit. Finally, let’s hope that newer games are as bug free as possible (there will be bugs, deal with it).

RONIN STAND UP!!

 

Rise of the Nerd

This is NOT me, I swear!

When I was younger, it wasn’t cool to be a nerd. I was bullied mercilessly. I had few friends growing up. It always seemed like the entire world was stacked against me. The tragic irony of it all is that during my youth, I didn’t feel smart. I got bad grades in school all the way until college. After a few decades of growth and reflection, I’ve come to find that in the new millennium, nerds are cool and even respected. 

It also seems the word’s definition has undergone a bit of a metamorphosis. When I was younger, the term mean someone smart, but socially inept and usually awkward and ugly. Now, a nerd looks like a skateboarder, a hip hop mogul, a CEO of a fortune 500 company. Now, it’s en vogue to be a nerd and it leaves me with one bitter thought . . .

WHERE THE HELL WAS ALL THIS GOOD SHIT WHEN I WAS A KID!!

It’s cool (and unfortunately not so cool–click the link, you know you want to) to be smart, to learn, grow and be curious. Being a nerd is respected and almost expected of you. Everyone has smartphones, tablets, smart watches (they’re coming). We’ve almost become cyborgs in a sense. Think about it. Do you know all the phone numbers in your phone by heart? Of course not (and if you do, then damn). Why remember it when you can tap a screen? Human ingenuity and a stubborn thirst for knowledge led us here and I can say with great certainty that I am glad to be living in the information age.

And I can finally admit to myself that it’s OK to be myself. It’s OK to be a nerd. I tried so hard to rebel against the title, a title I never wished bestowed. But now, I embrace it with love. I am a nerd and I’m damn proud of it.

So, go ahead and leave a vote on the new poll. Fellow nerds, stand up!

Oh and RONIN STAND UP!!