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Everything posted by ariskany_evan

  1. Quitter's Club: Don't be ashamed to quit the game.

    Yes! There was a ton to like about that game! Though, to expound on my thought a bit more: I think it may also be that I didn't connect with a "childhood lost in imagination", as I had some weird block as a kid and struggled with "play". Maybe that's why I can't get into Marquez's books? I just feel wired in a way that it's lost on me. I should also note that I tend to be turned off by games who use puzzle roadblocks at every turn, and that was all that I saw of my time with the game.
  2. Hearthstone: Because what Magic really needed was F2P mechanics

    Free pack of cards for those that already have it installed on PC/Mac if anyone needed further enticement... I installed it a few days ago and found the initial hook to be great! Mostly just doing practice and gaining levels and tying out the different heroes. The initial game is fun, but I'm worried that the next step is about studying the meta game and constructing decks. I was always TERRIBLE at this sort of thing with Magic. Is this a game whose initial enjoyment fades until one has a sense of mastery? Or can I just play it casually for a few months and the meta game will just naturally creep into my play?
  3. Quitter's Club: Don't be ashamed to quit the game.

    This is more of a purge than it is a quit: Quantum Conundrum - Cute and jolly. Not what I'm looking for in a puzzler. Controls felt tight, but the narrative setup lacked any sense of urgency and was a bit thinly veiled ("we need to activate three generators!!"). Fallout 3 - Got out to Nuketown, and couldn't continue. Everything was so grey and brown and ugly. The scope of the world felt off. I had no desire to explore. Papo & Yo - Loved what this game was built on, and was especially excited when it just dumped me into the world to play almost immediately. The tone ended up feeling like so many 3D platformers with its silent protagonist and its cartoonish sidekicks. Not my jam!
  4. Maybe the title is a tip in the Nazi direction, but a big note that the article Jake just linked to made note that you very clearly kill Churchill in a game with WW2 aesthetics, so that's another pretty big step in the direction of making the player think they're playing as Nazis. "But no... the problem is with a small game company making a Sopwith style game using a Germanic Art style which was used a lot of propaganda in the WW2." I feel like your comparative argument in the second half of your post would threaten to derail the conversation about an interpretation of a video game in a video game forum. I'm pretty sure no one here thinks this is more important than real, actual problems in the world. It's fun and constructive for us to play out a thought that a lot of the rest of the internet is currently shouting about...
  5. I Had A Random Thought...

    You should hear the songs I sing to my cat in the morning while brushing her... Nothing embarrassing about a little jiggly jingle.
  6. InFAMOUS Vanaman

    Agreed! Sometimes I wish open world games would have a "continue story" prompt at the end of every "main story" mission when you just feel like chomping through the narrative. Something about finishing a mission, then having to move your character to the next main story node kills momentum for me.
  7. I like to break mystique-regarding-artistic-works into two camps: inherent and extrinsic. Inherent mystique is on display with games like Monument Valley, Ico, Limbo. It's a part of the work and as Sean mentioned, usually involves a purposeful obfuscation. When it works it's absolutely magical, but when it doesn't... it... it's like an uncanny valley effect. The game continues to hammer in the mysterious nature throughout your play and you can't escape it! When the physics puzzles appeared in Limbo! You're in a magical world and you don't know who you are or what you're doing there, but could you please arrange these blocks just so? To me those felt like perpendicular experiences, and it broke my belief in the mystique. Inherent-mystique-as-creative-crutch is a super common thing in song writing. You write something rather straightforward and maybe a bit dull, so to spice it up, you move the lyrics in a more and more vague but suggestive place. I think being a creator of artistic content makes you a bit more skeptical of inherent mystique once you see how lazily it can be applied to bandage up weak material. Then there's extrinsic mystique! I'm a music nerd, so here are some examples that I can think of for that medium: Sly and the Family Stone don't remember who played what instruments on There's a Riot Going On because they were all so coked out of their minds. Robert Wyatt's Rock Bottom was written mostly in the hospital after he fell out of a 3rd floor bathroom and was paralyzed from the waist down. Skip Spence recorded Oar after being being diagnosed with schizophrenia and living in a psychiatric hospital for 6 months. J Dilla finished Donuts on his deathbed. The obvious "issue" with extrinsic mystique is that you can hear those albums and not be the wiser. To think about it negatively: it's just a placebo. Positively, though: I think these stories make the albums more grounded in reality (as they point to the moments of creation), but also point to the ways in which extraordinary circumstances can be captured and hidden within a work. Which is cool! I'm intrigued if anyone can think of games that have an extrinsic mystique. I can't think of any...
  8. Transistor

    THAT IS MY BIRTHDAY. Oh, also, I thought Bastion was pretty good, so now I'm excited for that day for two reasons.
  9. Maybe it's just me, but for me1: referential cartoons did a lot more than make me go "Ohhhhh, I get it now." For example: those Looney Tunes episodes that brought in caricatures of famous Hollywood actors from the '40s and '50s or the ones that were entirely based on an opera. And then watching Tiny Toon Adventures concurrently, which were doing episodes that referenced the Looney Tunes episodes that referenced the Hollywood actors and operas. Also Tiny Toons doing Deliverance. Or Eek! the Cat doing Apocalypse Now, etc. When I finally got around to seeing the actual works in reference, I found myself naturally inured since I knew the story or the characters but I could also be equally repulsed. i.e. The way in which art house cinema is portrayed points to the "utterly ridiculous" nature of the medium, and bred something of an anti-intellectual stance in me. So when I first saw something like Last Year at Marienbad, I couldn't help but connect it to the dozens of cartoons that used the tired trope of European art cinema being ridiculous and pretentious and 4th-wall breaking.2 For a child there's not much difference between absurd humor and referential humor; both appear illogical. I learned to laugh at things that made no sense, which I think is valuable! But it also gave me a starting point for my perspective on a lot of culture that I'd later gain a greater understanding. Thankfully my life and my brain chemistry have been such that I can sometimes spot and acknowledge prejudices, but there will always be those lingering ghosts of cartoon characters whispering their world views into my ears (and dropping anvils on me)... 1 - Opinion segment from the show Comedy Bang Bang 2 - Super common one referencing weird love stuff, usually incest or cross species. Arrested Development more recently referencing the former with "Les Cousins Dangereux", Looney Tunes the latter with skunk-cat love. So I figured that when I finally saw a French film that dealt with that issue I'd think it stupid, but then Louis Malle's Murmer of the Heart came along and it's easily one of my favorite films.
  10. The Dancing Thumb (aka: music recommendations)

    OO. If you haven't already heard it, Avey Tare's previous solo record, Down There, is great, too!
  11. The Dancing Thumb (aka: music recommendations)

    Went to a minimalist concert last night at Disney Hall. Ended up being a bit of a disappointment! It was a bloated program - 3 sections of 3 pieces, with 2 pieces playing in the lobbies during the intermissions. 3 of those pieces were Reich pieces!! I appreciate what Steve Reich means to western musical history, but I think the majority of his music is half-baked. They played his recent Radio Rewrite, which is a piece loosely inspired by two Radiohead songs. It was bloated and meandering and the textural composition was like hot poop being slid into my ears. For some reason this was the only piece that the conductor came out for a second bow. The hall lights had already come up, so at least someone working there agreed with me. Yesterday was good for other music, though. Avey Tare's Slasher Flicks released their debut! Didn't have time to digest the whole thing, but I do love that first track:
  12. I Had A Random Thought...

    I just started doing something similar! Every month buying one new item of clothing. So instead of waiting until all of my clothes have shrunk from the dryer and/or are falling apart and am facing a large-scary expensive shopping trip, I can take my time each month and buy something that I need or something that seems fun. I'm currently covered for work clothes so I bought myself some shorts this month. Next month probably a casual shirt! (orrrr next month if I become rich I will instead get this: I recommend checking out for work pants. I just bought this pair here ( and they feel comfy/roomy but also somehow give my skinny ass something resembling a butt - my wife is thrilled.
  13. That's exactly how I felt about Guacamelee! I knew from the talk on the 'net that it was loaded with references and memes, but I only recognized maybe 2 or 3 in my whole playthrough. I thoroughly enjoyed the game and didn't feel like anything was missing in not recognizing the references. In fact it seems like a lot of the people who are aware of the memes found them obnoxious. I'm a continental philosophy dabbler, and I'm constantly confronted with the fact that each work feels like it DEMANDS that I read at least 20 other books to follow along. I find it next to impossible to gloss over stretches of references/arguments. My philosophy phd friend just tells me to let it wash over me, but it's hard when you feel like you lose your anchor of understanding every other paragraph/wall of text. (Maybe I should give analytical philosophy a shot, but there's something about the flowery/jumbled language of someone like Deleuze that I can't help but keep rolling that boulder up for). So yeah, I pine for that kind of philosophy where the references are transparent, but I think it's really hard to avoid...
  14. Silicon Valley

    Silicon Valley reminded me a ton of Amazon's Betas, but the writing is so much better. Also the cast! Kumail! TJ Miller! Martin Starr! Zach Woods! So many great LA comedians! It's a bummer that there's 7 main male roles and 1 main female role. Otherwise I give it a super hearty recommend.
  15. Quitter's Club: Don't be ashamed to quit the game.

    Yeah! I did a bit of peeking out of the bushes in other forums in the hopes that it would illuminate something richer about Starseed Pilgrim, but it looks like it turns into a more challenging version of what that first level outlines. Not to say that I was expecting Frog Fractions level of switcheroo-ness.... Word on the street is it's between 20-28 hours long. One of the times where knowing the length of the game helps me make my playing decision.
  16. Quitter's Club: Don't be ashamed to quit the game.

    I'm willing to be convinced otherwise on this one, but at the moment I'm quitting Starseed Pilgrim. Floated around for a half hour and got bored. I'm all for open-ended gameplay, but there isn't much of a promise made. I never felt compelled to figure out things because there didn't seem to be a larger thing to work towards. As someone who is prone to depression, this hits too closely to the open-endedness/meaningless interpretation of existence that I fall into in my bad states. I think if I could come at the game from a clear, meditated, focused place I might enjoy it more. Has anyone else made it through the game? Is it more than the apparent abstract design? I just don't want to miss something amazing because I'm in a bad mood.
  17. Recently completed video games

    Guacamelee! is done! I wasn't super excited about it. I didn't think I was in the mood for a metroidvania (can we use that as a noun? like rougelike? Weird that Metroid gets its full name but Castlevania just gets half its name. And young whipper-snappers in the future might just think vania was just a crazy misspelling of "mania" much like "teh", etc. Metrovania is much easier to say...). I loved it! Played it on a keyboard of all places. I had thought I was playing it on easy, as the combat wasn't much of a challenge, but at the end it let me know I completed it on Normal. Cool! Took 5.5 hours. Felt really well paced. One thing that sold me on the game was the scope of the world. It just felt right. Not too big, not too little. The level design was... fine. If the art design wasn't so spot on, I think I'd have more to complain about the way the levels were laid out. I was happy they didn't do too much of the realm swapping for puzzle/platforming ala Outland, as I found that kind of micro-twitchy-ness to get old fast. Some of the platforming was tough, but the fact that there wasn't a penalty for failing and restarting was instantaneous meant I never got too frustrated. Plus something about being about to command-tab out of the game helped quell any annoying difficulty spikes. I was ready for the references to overwhelm me, as I remember a lot of the reviews and chatter around the game brought up an (annoying) overabundance of memes. They never bothered me, and I honestly didn't pick up on most of them. Guess I'm a dummy!
  18. FTL

    I completely and totally agree with your teleporter play style, though a good way to not blow up the ship/shoot at your teleporters is to use the ion blast thing, which only disables the systems and doesn't cause damage. I had the same tendency to use the teleporter immediately, and it does get dull after awhile. In general, I found there wasn't a ton of creativity in the battles, since the limited resources meant I was always min/maxing whatever build I ended up with.
  19. The thing about Fassbinder's movies is that they're purposefully breaking the rules of standard cinema. Incredibly static, long shots with awkward improvised dialog (Katzelmacher), minority main characters with no "mainstream" personality to act as a cipher (Ali, Fear Eats the Soul), etc. (I couldn't come up with anything else off the top of my dome, but there's a ton more). I think that most people who aren't film literate would be turned off by that sort of stuff and just not watch his movies in the first place. Like, we don't have to be worried about a kid who buys a Berlin Alexanderplatz lunchbox, then watches some of Fassbinder's more disturbing works and misunderstand the nature of the critique. The awkward conversations you mention are a byproduct of him showing something nasty is truthful or exaggerated way; his films are the definition of a bitter pill. (And they're the best!!)
  20. The Dancing Thumb (aka: music recommendations)

    If you need some momentum, this will get you moving:
  21. FTL

    Excellent! Humble Store version is updated, too. Downloading now!
  22. Super glad to have Jr. Mintz back!! Also happy she has a nickname so I don't have to remember where all the vowels go in her last name. I'm a big feminist (jokingly? misandrist), so I'm incredibly happy that this stuff is finally a part of the video game conversation. I had a similar reaction to Escape Goat 2's trailer as Mr. Remo. People were buzzing about it, but when I saw the trailer there was a slight deflation of expectations. 2D Puzzle games are just a hard sell, I think. They tried to make it dramatic: "It was once a sanctuary of knowledge, beauty, and comfort...", followed by a goat jumping around puzzle boards. "But things have changed and I'm afraid your friends are trapped here...", followed by a goat jumping around puzzle boards. None of the aforementioned "friends" make an appearance, which subconsciously made me believe that this game is JUST a series of puzzles, with little-to-no narrative or world-establishing/quest-establishing/raison d'être. Which then undermined the whole aesthetic and made the choice of "goat" feel rather arbitrary. So the launch trailer does the game no favors!
  23. The Dancing Thumb (aka: music recommendations)

    Reminded me of a more pastoral/less nihilistic version of Black Dice's recent stuff. Kemialliset Ystävät's latest is now in my queueueueueue. Thanks!!
  24. Recently completed video games

    They added a co-op horde mode after release, but no campaign co-op.
  25. Recently completed video games

    Two notes if people are inspired to go back and play Space Marine: - If you're rocking M/KB, do it on Hard. I never play hard, but on a whim tried it out, and found it perfectly challenging. Never felt completely overwhelmed/outnumbered/outgunned. When I did die I felt like I was learning. Such a rare thing! - You don't have to have any interest in the Warhammer universe. I don't/didn't and still have a great deal of love for the game. Re: why it got overlooked: the color palate was very brown. I remember not being super psyched about it in the press lead-up. It just didn't show well. Also, it got released 2 weeks before Gears of War 3, which everyone wanted to compare it to...