Phaedrus' Street Crew
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Posts posted by ThunderPeel2001

  1. I'm not sure what a "companion" is, to be honest. Is it an external story?


    Here's the full update, for people who haven't read it and who may be interested:


    First, he will be reviewing and providing feedback on all creative elements of the game, including the story, characters, and areas. His input will be invaluable as a resource to Colin in further detailing the creative vision for the game. Second, he’ll be designing and writing an eighth companion for the game, working with Colin and Monte to craft a companion ideal for both Torment and the Ninth World of Numenera.

  2. Hmm. I remain unconvinced. You say that The Master is especially rife with symbolism, but you haven't given any examples. To me PTA's process is clearly very organic and fluid, which is what helps his characters become so incredibly realised. I don't he's got a crystal clear idea of where he's going, I think he's brave enough to let two actors go at it and see where it takes them -- copying the structure of his script, but not to the letter. For that reason I don't think there's any real intellectual feats going on behind the scenes, and therefore no planned symbolism. He wants to capture these characters. He's not concerned with plot or arcs, or even a message, he just wants to capture characters being who they are.


    To me this is evident in all his best work: Boogie Nights, TWBB, The Master, and some parts of Magnolia. When he tries to be controlling, imbuing his films with a message or purpose, he seems to lose his way (the most of Magnolia, parts of Punch Drunk Love). TWBB definitely had a clear arc, but as you've quite rightly pointed out, there's still plenty of ambiguity over the inner-workings of Plainview.


    Again, this is no criticism of his work. I'm absolutely flabbergasted by his talent as a director, but I do think he builds a lot of his films in the editing room, rather than planning things with an eye for specific dialogue or controlling fine details. I think he's much more fluid and organic in his filmmaking than that.


    Actually, thinking about it, I'm not sure we're really at that much of an odds: I absolutely agree that his work as a director is masterful. It's surprising and hypnotic. I love it. I also agree that he's not overly concerned with answering everyone's questions. Happily letting characters be real: full of contradictions and complications.





  3. Great tips, guys! Thanks so much. I'd figured some of them out: The lack of satellites and engineers has already kicked my ass (I've got far too many scientists). A little annoying that the game is unforgiving if you make the wrong moves at the beginning, but I already want to play it again with my new knowledge.

    Also, no bugs since my initial one.

  4. Hmm. I'm not convinced PTA is attempting anything deeper than astonishing character studies, which is not something to be dismissed or looked down upon. Quite the contrary, I don't know of another modern filmmaker who's as good at as him!

    I'll watch it again, though.

    What symbology is it, and The Master, "rife" with?

  5. An interesting take! I should really watch it again. I think our views aren't completely incompatible, either. Although I saw him as a husk, I could be persuaded that there's some humanity in there -- even if it's just a drop. An interesting character, for sure!

  6. Another perfect film from the same year: The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. The best summarisation I read of it was this: 


    As his career draws to an end, Jesse James becomes aware of the impossibility of facing an increasingly vast army of sheriffs, federal agents and Pinkerton men. He senses that, inevitably, one of his gang will in any case sell him out for a fat reward. Unwilling to give the lawmen that satisfaction, James embraces his own death and subtly cultivates the mercurial attentions of the most obviously cringing and cowardly of his associates: 20-year-old Robert Ford. With the taunts and whims of a lover, he encourages Ford's envious, murderous fascination, and grooms him as his own killer, so that his own legend will be pristine after his death. He engineers a character-assassination of Ford, and the title, knowingly, gets it precisely the wrong way around.


    The film just blows me away.

  7. I mean that his characters drive the story, and not the other way around. The Master is only a character study, without much plot, and it works as that, for me.


    As for TWBB...


    I don't think there's much ambiguity in the film. I think David Lynch's movies are the epitome of "ambiguous", and PTA's are much more straightforward by comparison.


    It sounds like everyone agrees on the main point: Plainview is a soulless man. I would argue that the film shows him as always being this way (at least as we see him -- who knows what his childhood was like). I think a lot of people miss the point that, when he falls and breaks him leg(?) prospecting, the movie goes out of its way to show that he's more concerned with the value of his find, than his own health. His health is just an inconvenience in the way of his drive -- and his drive is to make money. (It's no coincidence that he's shown as a solitary figure, either, IMO -- he has no friends, because he sees no value in relationships.)


    Everything he does in the film, with one exception, can be seen as taking steps towards his goal.


    The ending fitted perfectly with his character, and his final line says it all: "I'm done." He has no more reason to live, he's accomplished everything he wanted to in life -- the only thing he had left was to prove himself the "winner" to his weak rival. (Not that he's about to commit suicide now, just that his drive is now completely sated. If he gets away with murder -- and I imagine that he might just -- I think he'll spend the rest of his life living in the empty cavernous mansion alone.)


    The only ambiguity, IMO, is how he felt towards his adopted son. I guess that's left up to the viewer to decide where the lines were drawn. I have no idea.


    So as a whole, we see the consequences of the actions of a man driven solely by a psychotic desire for wealth and status. The movie seems to ask the audience: Is this something really worth looking up to? But it also stays true to the characters, and never makes them do anything contrived to make this point. In that way, to me it's just about a perfect film.


    That's my take on it, anyway.


    Now, Mulholland Dr...! :)

  8. I'm playing on Normal, and don't get me wrong, I'm really enjoying playing it -- I just seem to have lost control of the situations.


    The missions are tough, but fair, so it's really the management that I've fallen down on. I've been researching things in probably the "wrong" order and building the wrong types of facilities. It seems the game is quite unforgiving in this way: I've already lost two council members!

  9. Hmm. I LOVE PTA, but I wouldn't agree that confusing the audience is one of his strong points. TWBB had a very specific meaning to me, and while I think PTA is always a slave to his characters (as he should be), that film had a pretty clear message in my opinion -- it just told it in a very non-judgemental way. But then again, I don't want someone to come along and tell me my interpretation is wrong! :)


    I think Magnolia was a beautiful and evocative mess. The film seemingly wanted you do see something deeper in it, but (imo) it failed miserably. A bold experiment, with some fantastic moments, but ultimately it was all over the place. Not so with Boogie Nights or There Will Be Blood (or even The Master), imo.

  10. There is, in the options menu. It's just not enabled by default, presumably to... fuck, I can't even imagine a reason why.


    Bah! Thanks for the heads up.


    At the moment it's feeling like Atom Zombie Smasher/FTL, in that you're expected to play it repeatedly in order to learn the best way to manage your resources. As such, is it quite  short game? Or am I just playing it really badly?

  11. I loved it and mostly agree with your assessment. I think the point, if indeed there was one (and outside of being a potent character study, I'm not sure there was one), was how someone could be easily sucked into a cult like Scientology. It was almost a side-point, though. It was definitely just about the characters -- and wow, what a portrayal. Both Hoffman's and Phoenix's characters stuck with me for days.


    I think TWBB was better for the same reasons you do, though.

  12. I don't have a doctor; I only moved here recently. And this is the only psych in the area that specializes in the specific types of personal problems I'm trying to deal with.


    I called the hospital today and they told me to contact my work and ask about employee assistance programs. Everyone just keeps referring me to someone else.


    Then why don't you register at your local doctors? It doesn't take long to register, and you could probably get an appointment for the next day.

  13. This is why I hope one day as much money and effort will be put into a first person game without any shootings in it. Could be fun!

    That's a very interesting idea. Hasn't it been done anywhere?

  14. BioShock was really well balanced in my opinion, in terms of being a shooter (which only highlighted what I see as unbalance in SS2). But the stories and atmosphere were also fantastic. Very much like SS2 -- although maybe not quite as gripping.

    I played it for writing, but I also enjoyed the gameplay.

  15. Forgive me for not reading 12 pages to see if anyone else has had this issue: I'm on the second mission, my guy is on the roof. It's his "turn" and I can't seem to do anything. I have four options: Fire, Overview, Rocket Launcher and Grenade. No matter which one I pick, I can't select "OK". I've tried pressing every key, and nothing is happening. The game is otherwise completely responsive: I can move the camera around. I can rotate the scene. I can select from the four option and click "More info", but I can't seem to do anything else. I can't even press Escape to get back to the main menu!


    The game has been so slick and professional so far. I can't believe I've managed to paint myself into some weird corner already!