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Everything posted by malkav11

  1. Speaking of things that look trashy (and to a certain degree are) but are still very much worth watching, I'd heartily recommend a Cinemax show called Banshee. I came to it because of the fairly absurd premise: a career criminal gets out of prison, heads to the sleepy town of Banshee, PA to find his former girlfriend, and through a series of coincidences ends up posing as the new sheriff (who nobody in town had actually met yet) who was hired to take on the local crime lord, Kai Amish gangster. And it's pretty pulpy and credulity straining at times - our protagonist has no idea how to be a cop and no particular respect for the law, which he's routinely called on but somehow never quite gets found out (for quite a few episodes, at least). The action scenes are intense and routinely leave him seriously injured but those injuries never really seem to stick in any sort of lasting way. For the first while, seemingly every episode has to have a nudity-rich sex scene and all of the hottest women in town seem to have a thing for the new sheriff. And so on. But assuming you're okay with suspending your disbelief and can deal with some pretty brutal violence and moderately graphic sexual content, it turns out to have some really impressive layers to it. Character motivations are complex and human, nobody's remotely perfect and the sins of the past definitely come back to haunt them. The cinematography is gorgeous, the acting surprisingly subtle and nuanced. The plotting is often mile a minute and routinely surprising, but periodically slows down to really consider things. By the end of season 1 I was totally hooked and it's just gotten better from there. There are action sequences in season 3 that may well be better than anything else I've ever seen on TV and many movies, and emotional moments that left me raw. Can't wait until the fourth (and final) season starts airing. Edit: Can't believe I almost forgot to mention Job. Job is the protagonist's hacker friend and my favorite character on the show. He's a hilariously cranky drag queen with deep reserves of loyalty, amazing fashion style, and he's a stone badass to boot.
  2. So, two things: thank you for convincing me to finally see Rocky. I'm not into sports and I tend not to be interested in movies about them but Rocky was a hell of a movie even so. And while it's certainly about boxing, there's so much else around that, all of which is smart and characterful and human. I really enjoyed it. I may yet watch one or two more (and Rambo, for that matter) so I have a better context for Creed, though I doubt I'll get through the whole series. Secondly, I am also a fan of stories about the transition into apocalypse and I think one of the best recent takes on that is Ben H. Winters' novel The Last Policeman and its two sequels. It's a straightforward apocalypse - an asteroid (or possibly comet, can't remember) is going to directly impact Earth and while the result will vary to some degree depending on where exactly it hits, it'll kill a huge number of people right away and alter the ecosystem to the point that Earth will no longer sustain human life. So the story is about how people are dealing with the increasingly near proximity of their certain death - in the protagonist's case, he fixates on doing his job as a police detective in a world where solving crimes and keeping law and order are becomingly increasingly irrelevant and his social support structures are fraying and collapsing.
  3. The games that made you buy the system

    I bought my PS3 for The Last Guardian.
  4. No, it's definitely node-based. Presumably because although it has gamepad support it was designed with the Kinect in mind.
  5. FWIW, a current gen iPhone will -still- run you $600 at list, as far as I know. Same goes for comparable Android smartphones. It's just that the major carriers usually subsidize most of that while simultaneously locking you into a multi-year contract. You get to see the real prices if you either opt for a no-contract plan (only some of the major carriers even offer one), or go with a third party carrier like Ting (which I did) which doesn't do subsidies, period. It's definitely a sticker shock moment, but the flip side is you can find phones from a generation or two back for much less, and even if you paid full price, well...with my usage Ting is about $60/mo less than I was being charged by Sprint for literally the same service (Ting uses Sprint's network). Doesn't take long to make up for the lost subsidy at rates like that! And the $400 Kindle was the very first generation e-ink Kindle, long before the Fire tablet variant even existed. I thought it was really funny that they thought anyone would pay that much for something that limited when PDAs worked fine and could be had for much less. I'm on like my fourth or fifth model of Kindle, and have passed my castoffs to much of my family. I can only hope that Oculus can stick it out.
  6. I appreciate that you used clips from other shows - there's a couple other podcasts I listen to that did something similar for the holidays but since they used clips from their own podcast, which I'm already listening to, it's just a retread of stuff I've already listened to. Here I got the unusual experience of listening to someone I've actually hung out with on a podcast (i.e. Terminal 7, which I don't normally listen to because I don't play Netrunner) - Zoe used to attend a boardgaming gathering I sometimes also played at, and I remember when she got the job as art director. Cool stuff. (Incidentally, she's the model for one of the Arkham Horror characters, the chef (also named Zoe).)
  7. Getting video games at Christmas was always frustrating for me because our Christmas celebrations have always been at my grandparents' home, which is in another state entirely from my gaming PC (and consoles, when I was still playing on those) and it would be several days (and most or all of my vacation, too) before I got back home to actually try them out.
  8. I'm not 100% sure I'm remembering this from this podcast and not one of the others I was listening to today, but I feel like Green Man Gaming is kind of a weird choice to discuss as your exemplar of grey market key sites. GMG has had one or two controversies about the possible provenance of keys but they are definitely authorized resellers of keys from at least some major publishers, like WB. The sort of key sites in question are more like G2A or, which make no secret about sourcing their keys from third parties (you might get the key as a photo of the key from packaging, for example) and tend to be sold out of a lot of older stuff because they don't have an ongoing source of new keys and nobody cares enough to resell them stuff that's not hot anymore. Also, I've found that waiting a few weeks or even a couple months after the release of a game is rarely enough to get a discount worth the trouble and there are often better deals during the preorder phase. I think the idea that Steam has trained us to wait on sales has some validity to it and could potentially be a problem to a degree, but I don't think the issue is that you can save a few bucks by buying it a few months later, but rather the notion that if you're not going to play it right away it will nearly always be cheaper down the road. And in this age of backlogs in the hundreds or thousands of games, there's rarely any rush unless you're determined to be part of the conversation that springs up in the immediate wake of a release. Which is usually my reason for getting in on a brand new game.
  9. Her Story

    Not really. There's a single very easy trick that can be used to 100% things without ever knowing about the cheats. The cheats just make it a bit less tedious. Obviously I wouldn't recommend doing either before you've explored as much as you feel capable/interested in doing on your own.
  10. eReaders - What is everyone's thoughts?

    Yeah, touch controls are, most of the time, The Worst . It's definitely a usability downgrade on the Kindle and I seethe impotently with rage at the design decision most phone companies have made to phase out physical keyboards on mid-to-high-end smartphones. (And of course, iPhones have never had them.) Ultimately I feel like some of the other improvements are too important to go back to my button-based devices but I'd really love it if I could have both the better tech -and- functional UI.
  11. Life is Strange: Tween Peaks

    I just wish it were more consistent. There are times when Max is bitchy about someone I've already seen enough to conclude is not as bad as Max seems to think, or where your choices are, for example, "side with your best friend" or "side with this other character that means well and cares but is bad at showing it" and I didn't want to side with -either- of them because neither of them are wrong. I wanted to sit them both down and say "look, calm the fuck down." Instead you have to pick a side, and if you go with your friend, you just go off on the other person, and if you don't, it's this huge betrayal that she'll probably harp on forever. Bleh.
  12. Giant Bomb's Austin Walker did a podcast interview with Sam Barlow that might interest some of you: The one thing from it that I wanted to highlight was that the IM conversation was not part of Barlow's original vision but the feedback he got from playtesters was that a lot of them did not feel like they'd "completed" the game without authorial permission to consider it done. And that's what the IM was. (SB, of course, is Sam Barlow.) For my part, I thought multiple personalities early on, but I definitely feel like the twins scenario is better supported by the available narrative and to me it's more interesting anyway. It's implausible as hell, don't get me wrong, but it's also this crazy lurid thing that isn't completely impossible (I've heard of things that are 100% real that are at least as strange) and certainly isn't (at least in the form it's presented in Her Story) as cliched as the pop-cultural version of multiple personality disorder. And it definitely has this weird, fucked up fairy tale aspect to it in the way she talks about it. I also enjoyed all the subtle little hints you're given, like the tattoo and the bruise and the different choices of drink and such, though they're hardly conclusive proof of either scenario. I don't like the idea that she's lying about it all, though, and that's actually part of why I prefer the twins scenario - because ultimately, her words are all we have in the game and if we can't take at least some of it as truth, then what's the point? Obviously we can't take every single thing she says at face value - she is, after all, talking to the police and pretending, first, not to know where her husband is and then not to know who killed him - but I think we need to accept her stories about life, her husband, their families, and so on as being basically true (albeit minus the MPD/twins stuff until that last interview), and that whole last interview as the truth, or there's nothing to hold on to. And that, by the way, is the one bit of authorial control over how the narrative is dispensed - the clips are all timestamped and made available in chronological order, and the interviews are progressively more revealing as time goes on, so between that and the 5 clip limitation, you have to drill down pretty specifically to get at the meatiest stuff (particularly interview 7, where all the big reveals are).
  13. The smart smart play would have been to either play nice with the Russians or just leave town with the cash he had on hand. But there was also pride at stake, and ambition. And those things tend to get you killed, in noir. Besides, let's not pretend that walking back to LA from the middle of the desert with no supplies was a real plan for survival. Slightly better odds without the knife wound, but not much.
  14. Life is Strange: Tween Peaks

    Chloe in particular just really wants her to be alive, I think. Most of the other people seem to be assuming she flaked and left town. But yeah, it's been pretty clear to me since episode 1 what the odds were of finding her alive and well.
  15. 2012's SSX (which I own for some reason despite that not being my genre AT ALL) has a free ride mode also, and was routinely talked about as "open world". I figured if 3 didn't have cell phones, a 2012 entry easily might. But it sounds like you're right. (Incidentally, I just fired it up to see if there were cell phones - I didn't see any, but it's actually pretty fun, maybe I'll play more.)
  16. I think the open world SSX game Jake was thinking of might have been the 2012 one that was just called SSX, for 360 and PS3. Also, Conker has this reputation as being really filthy and having a juvenile, potty-oriented sense of humor and it's certainly true that the game contains a boss that is a giant singing pile of feces and Conker swears quite a bit. But if you've been put off by that reputation the way I was, you should know that actually that's a relatively small part of the game and it's mostly a freewheeling set of parodies of various pop cultural stuff. And, at least at the time, the Xbox remake was one of the most beautiful things on that system.
  17. I don't really like it either, but I think it works for exactly those reasons. Ani has an established history at this point of making bad decisions about who to sleep with, especially in times of duress, and Ray fits that profile pretty well in my opinion. I'm a little less convinced that he'd be into it, admittedly.
  18. The Magic Circle

    The puzzles, because it's an open environment and you have few restrictions, are not terribly difficult, which might be the real root of your feeling. but I can assure you there are no ability-shaped keyholes because that's not how I solved either of those puzzles. In fact, I literally never used repulsors and while shield was very handy in a different encounter, I am pretty sure that my victory over the hiver queen was accomplished via parasite. ...or maybe mindswap. Hell, I solved the one literal key puzzle with the key, but you can arrange to just teleport in, among other approaches.
  19. I don't do the constant-running thing in every game, but anytime I'm driving a (virtual) car it's all gas all the time. It means I am not very good at racing games or car chases in GTA or similar. I know I need some nuance there but man, I just can't seem to break the habit. It's probably just as well I don't drive in real life. And I think it's less likely that an AI will become evil and violent and deliberately wipe out or enslave or whatever humanity out of malice and more likely that we'll simply stop (or never start) mattering to them. And then they'll have some other priority and enacting it just happens to negatively effect humans.
  20. I don't think it is supposed to be a repressed memory. I think she's just having a traumatic flashback because of the drug and the triggery surroundings. Her sister certainly seemed worried about something like that.
  21. So are you guys ever going to actually talk about Her Story?
  22. Movie/TV recommendations

    Just popping in to note that The One I Love (which hopefully has already been recommended, but if so I second that recommendation) is a pretty fantastic little Twilight Zone-ish scenario in movie form. Small cast, little in the way of FX, just strong writing and acting, and lots of twists. None of which ultimately explain just what happened, which I appreciate in this sort of story. It is streaming on Netflix at present.
  23. It was definitely a setup to at least one degree (we can be pretty sure the guy they were trying to nab didn't kill Caspere). I just don't think that it's one being perpetrated by the Vinci police department on an organizational level or that they were telling Ani that because they knew what she was walking into.
  24. Comics Extravaganza - Pow Bang Smash!

    Make sure you pick up Hill's novels as well. They're how I initially encountered him and they're every bit as good. Heart-Shaped Box is so good my mom liked it, and she hates horror.
  25. To me that seemed like them giving Ani shit for bringing along all this force to arrest one guy, not them being in on the setup.