Phaedrus' Street Crew
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Everything posted by blackboxme

  1. Cool, thanks. I'll go play some more and we can have a debate about Gordon. I'll admit that I'm kind of a n00b with respect to this series, so all the crap that I'm saying isn't really that well-informed.
  2. Gordon doesn't have any back story that you did not play through in Half-Life. The concept of authorial voice has nothing to do with the idea that they are imprinting Gordon Freeman with a personality or a back-story. I think you think Gordon exists because it is conventional to play as a character who is separate from you as a player. I would argue that Half-Life is more subversive than that.
  3. How can you expect to know what this "Gordon Freeman" likes or doesn't like? The guy isn't Duke Nukem, spouting a running commentary. The game doesn't insert "Gordon Freeman" moments, ever, even in cut-scenes. In general, I would argue that Gordon Freeman really doesn't exist. If you enjoyed using the physics, that wasn't Gordon Freeman enjoying things, it was you.
  4. Episode 2: gotta catch'em all, 39 minutes in: Tears!
  5. Yeah, it's pretty interesting. When you think about what makes a good FPS, you think about the guns, or the battles, or the great graphics, or something very tangible. Half-Life 2 kind of says, forget all that stuff, here's a whole other thing. They probably improve on those three elements in the episodes, but in HL2 they were no good.
  6. About respecting intelligence: I mainly meant in terms of story elements, though it did pop up in gameplay from time to time as well. For instance, Tennenbaum telling me that Thanks Ken Levine. I don't think that the found-audio-diary technique was very effective either. People were talking all this time that it was a very clever and nice method to do it, but actually this is just a hackneyed version of a technique that was much more effectively in other games. It was so artificial, it was the Museum of art deco Rapture audio tour. If the thing you find makes perfect sense for the setting, it can be a fantastic way to tell a story. For instance, in Fallout 2, Bioshock did have the kernel of a good story telling technique: the flashes of memory. Between the flashes of the photographs, and the flashes of people in a location, these were intriguing (until ). Bioshock suffered from the thing that Jonathan Blow talked about: Everything in Bioshock was a puzzle piece that fit together perfectly with every other piece. Not only that, they gave you all the pieces. So, as you said, there's no enigma, so I can't put my own interpretation to it, so it's not interesting.
  7. What can I say? I'm really impressed. The first time I played, I thought the game was so-so. Now I'm noticing a lot of restraint and subtlety in the way the game is constructed. I know people call Half-Life 2 a roller coaster ride, but like I said in the OP, it's more like a window into a virtual world. That's really strange, and way more special than the concept of a roller coaster.
  8. Yea, there's an option in the advanced graphics menu for High Dynamic Range.
  9. Man, lots of console hate in this episode. Jake, you spoke pretty harshly toward Metal Gear's cut scenes, but I think it's wrong to say that Metal Gear Solid told its story in cut scenes. There are so many interesting things about Metal Gear Solid. There are really few games where you are so trapped, weak, and vulnerable; few games that are so tied to one specific, utterly depressing, time and location; few games that involve the player into the plot so effectively, because you are playing the game as key plot points unfold. I mean, how many games make it so you can barely kill the weakest enemy, and then for good measure gives you a head cold if you stay outside too long, because its 20 degrees below zero, which sucks because it alerts the enemy to your location when you sneeze, unless you manage to find some nyquil in a the office section of the DOD contractors' test facility. Shit, that sounds Far Cry 2-esque! For every example of something cool that happened during a cut scene, I'll give you three that happened during game play, and one more that was based on the sandbox-system based nature of the game. As to God of War, I think you guys hate on that for odd reasons. You seem to think that people like it because it contains ultraviolent animations that you get by tapping a button. I think you are misreading the appeal of the game, which makes some sense, because it doesn't appeal to you. I'm sure that you guys understand the idea of game designers giving players freedom to do things in the way that they would intuitively like to do them. God of War does that by making things that look like they should take physical effort, take a fair amount of physical effort on the part of the player. I broke the pressure sensitivity on my dualshock while playing God of War because I happened to be opening 3 ton stone doors in various tombs, and wrestling with 20 foot tall ogres. In terms of the visuals, the violent animations aren't the interesting part: it's the experience of walking around in the world, framed by a nice pre-scripted camera. There is an idea in film that you should be able to understand, and be moved by the story, purely on visual terms, even if you completely remove the dialog. God of War does an effective job telling a story in that style, when kratos is running through a burning city, or a desert, or People who are fans of the game got swept up in the story that was told by those images, not the x-y-z plot points that unfolded. I mean, it's the Steven Spielberg style of "enhanced reality" story telling where it's cartoonish but it can be powerful, exactly because the images are so enhanced. Jaffe's favorite movie ever is Indiana Jones, and I think that's a good way of framing the appeal of God of War. Over the top, iconic, visually rich pop culture. It makes sense that we'd have dudes making video games today who use Spielberg as their touchstone. I don't consider that to be troubling. I mean, if you try to ape God of War and you don't understand that it derives from Spielberg you end up with utter garbage that no one cares about. When you Ape QTEs without thinking about the idea of intention, you end up with garbage that people freakin' hate. God of War succeeds at these trashy game forms for a good reason.
  10. Forum admins, where are the blowjob pantomime smilies?
  11. I mean it's unfair to expect that you guys will always 1) be in a good mood or 2) have some totally exciting news to talk about every week, so don't take my bitchy post too seriously.
  12. Watchmen game + that running-internal-monologue idea would be great.
  13. Idle Thumbs 18: The one and a half hour rant about dumb crap It's generally a bad idea to do a long show exclusively about topics that you find boring and annoying. Disclaimer: I will never play Killzone 2, Fear 2, Wanted, Watchmen or Satan of War: Dante's Revenge.
  14. Million Dollar Traders

    If you want to see how the sausage is made, I recommend Michael Lewis's book Liar's Poker. It's a memoir about becoming a promising young bond salesman inside Solomon Brothers, the firm that pioneered mortgage backed securities during the late 1980s.
  15. The Wire

    Maybe I'll have to netflix the g. kill dvds...
  16. Movie/TV recommendations

    As a piece of drama, or a great work of art, people seem disappointed. They're all like, "This is cliched and not very dramatic. It's the same as every war movie, but less awesome." Even the TV critic from the New Yorker said something like that. But my friend who served over there, and had read and enjoyed the book already, said it was pretty accurate to his experience, and he liked it. I think it's worthwhile if you want to see what it was/is like for people on the ground. If you want to be "blown away" (, well, you won't be.
  17. Movie/TV recommendations

    Yeah, a non-CG animated film will be up for the Academy Award
  18. The Wire

    There are a few passages from that book that stick with me to this day. The Corner is also excellent.
  19. Also, my posts were mainly in response to the old argument against MMO stories: that the illusion of the story is broken by having everyone do the same quests. I don't really buy that argument because I enjoyed FFXI's story quite a bit. That could be because of one of two reasons: 1) MMO stories can be structured so that there is no notion that you are some kind of singular hero character, but instead the main protagonists of the world are NPCs, and you reveal their story over time (as in FFXI and possibly KOTOR) or 2) I am some kind of wapanese kid who will say he likes anything to do with Japan (as in FFXI)
  20. Sorry to derail the conversation, and I don't mean to say that you're an elitist or anything like that. It's just something that I've noticed in Bioware games starting with KOTOR.
  21. The last game you played

    My $5 copy of Bioshock from steam holiday sale.
  22. That's Bioware for you: they're always disappointing somebody by aiming toward the mainstream.
  23. There are also a bunch of different traditions involved here: different forms of storytelling from different RPGs. There's the KOTOR/Mass Effect tradition, the Final Fantasy tradition, the Fallout tradition and so on. Whether a story would work in an MMO depends a lot on what you like and what tradition it comes out of. For instance, in Final Fantasy, the story is often about characters that aren't in your party and are off doing big things in the world, and that works in an MMO, because you aren't the main dude, you're just a dude chasing the main dude. As for KOTOR style, who knows? Bioware is pretty unique, so maybe they're doing something interesting.
  24. Flower

    You guys are disturbing me with this discussion. PS, here's the case of my aunt and uncle who are in their 40's. They used to play NES in the 80's. Eventually they got a ps2 and I gave them Ico for Christmas. They thought it was amazing because it was fun and interesting, but not super hard or requiring amazing hand eye coordination. The only game besides Ico that they have discovered and really enjoyed so far was PixelJunk Eden, and they enjoyed that for exactly the same reason. In other words, I'm happy flOwer is coming out.