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Everything posted by I_smell

  1. Halfway through watching Toy Story 4, when I leaned over to my girlfriend and said "the toys are the kids' parents!", she groaned, rolled her eyes and pleaded with me to shut up as if I were claiming that aliens secretly built the pyramids. I think Toy Story is a perfect example of a movie you can watch again as you grow up, because you'll see different things the 2nd or 3rd time. I can't find it any more, but I read somewhere that some elements of Toy Story 1 were inspired by drafted soldiers finally coming back home to small towns, where they'd be these buff, capable heroes and handymen in the community, but were suffering from a creeping loss of identity behind closed doors. When I first saw Toy Story 2, there was something really scary about Jessie's fear of abandonment. A long time later, I imagined the story was about an adult who was abandoned by someone they were in love with and could never move on. It was only a couple weeks ago that I thought "Maybe Jessie is a parent who's abandoned by their children." and right now I think that clicks with the scenes in Jessie's song the most. I had never thought about that until just now. It's probably because I'm 27, I moved far away from my family about 6 years ago and a less-than-weekly phone-call with my Dad is the only connection I'm really giving to my parents. I think it's fair to say that my own personal situation, and my guilt of abandoning my parents, has inspired this reading. I actually want to watch the film again to see what's in Woody's story if you view him as an old parent afraid to be left alone. I'm personally really interested in sub-text these days. I think it brings these roller-coaster blockbusters down to something very honest, heartfelt, human and written from real-life experience. I love the text, and the sub-text, and I appreciate the way they're stitched together. Toy Story 4 is very loudly packed with sub-text and themes, but it's also really fun and has some good laughs. So I recommend it to basically anyone who's watched the other movies. I saw Toy Story 3 once and it didn't really stick with me. Maybe I should watch it again.
  2. I Had a Random Thought (About Video Games)

    I think I'm at the 3rd act of Final Fantasy XV now. The writing is still very cringeworthy, but the game around it has really impressed me. They twist their open world and twist their characters in some heavy ways. I really feel like no game mechanic, place or character is safe, and I'm proud of the team for acheiving that atmosphere, especially with how games are made these days. By comparison, it makes GTA 5 feel like Lego pieces bobbing up and down in a static toy box. Final Fantasy has always been a series where the protagonists will have their hopes dashed and spiral down into madness before the end, and I'm glad that they haven't lost that touch in all these years. Even though I wish other parts of the storytelling would evolve, this team does really care, and still pushes themselves. Semi-related, I read this article on "designing for coziness" recently and it really inspired me: https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/TanyaXShort/20180305/315179/Designing_for_Coziness.php&ved=2ahUKEwibkOeytr7kAhXDUlAKHR5sBlcQFjAAegQIAxAB&usg=AOvVaw3ZXCFvklqtoaqS9i0NZeUZ I can retroactively see games that were thinking about this now, and FFXV is definitely one of them. I also saw a recent trailer for Pokemon Sword and Shield which showed setting up a tent, camping with ur boys, cooking curry together and discovering recipes... lots of mechanics lifted DIRECTLY from FFXV. For some reason I can't feel 100% happy about that. It'll never be the same as me and my J-pop boy band!!
  3. I Had a Random Thought (About Video Games)

    I picked up Final Fantasy XV over the weekend. I was sold on that sick move where he teleports by throwing a sword. I love the personality and character of the first few minutes! I love my crew of camping j-pop hunks, I like them cooking and taking photos together, but the core plot and all the FF lore is absolutely forgettable as hell! It's such a bummer when the plot gets moving and some lordship is lecturing me about the crystal of galamaore's whim or WHAT-EVER. Please just delete the critical path of this game!! Roaming around on a nice road trip, casting fire spells and equipping a Bronze Bangle would be lovely. I don't want a B-tier anime with a bunch of nothing-people droning out exposition about kingdoms and legacies. I swear Final Fantasy stories used to open with a thief and a wizard sneaking onto a cruise ship to escape the cops. Where did it all go wrong? I feel like Breath of the Wild is the medicine to this game's sickness. I hope the developers of Final Fantasy some day realize what they have. ...or just get better at writing, for the love of god. (I've played Final Fantasy 7, 9 and 12)
  4. Clickbait Games Journalism: Polygon vs Kotaku

    A few posts up I listed a bunch of stuff that I'd like to be reading about. I noticed today that one of those articles actually did get written! An article on the ESA acting in slow-motion, watching E3 crumble as they get distracted by in-fighting and sloppy management: https://variety.com/2019/gaming/features/entertainment-software-association-mike-gallagher-e3-1203211280/
  5. Marvel movies

    Yeah it's a funny point. It's more important if you imagine someone watching these movies in 2030, outside of our zeitgeist. Going from Spider-Man Homecoming to Spider-Man Far From Home is the MOST WEIRD things get with missing plot. Even theoretical Thor-only fans could presume that The Hulk in Thor Ragnarok is an old friend from other muscley adventures. I could imagine someone watching Spider-Man Far From Home in 2030 though and just waiting for all that "blip" exposition to pay off, but it doesn't!!! It's a funny symmetry that Spider-Man famously did this in the comics when he suddenly appeared with the black suit, and a tiny box said "Go and buy 'Secret Wars #1' you jerks!" I think Marvel are assuming that these movies will ALWAYS be considered as part of a package, even years from now, and I think they're basically right. I appreciate the gamble just because it's a unique play. Another example that we can look back on is the VIEW-ASKEWNIVERSE, where Clerks, Chasing Amy, Mall Rats, Dogma and others share a history. I think any maniac who's watching Mall Rats in 2019 (also featuring Stan Lee) probably knows this, so you could say that this proves the idea works in the long run. It does detract from watching Mall Rats, because I don't know what the hell happened in Clerks 2, so you could also say that this proves it's a bad idea in the long run. I dunno, it's weird.
  6. Movie/TV recommendations

    I finally got around to watching Eighth Grade. It's something I've had on my list for a while because it's written and directed by Bo Burnham, a stand-up comedian writing a movie for the first time. I remember seeing this guy making Youtube videos when I was 15 (and he was 15) where he would make funny, rude songs. They were silly Weird Al stuff, but they were often heartfelt and visibly desperate as well. A few years later he had a couple stand-up specials that lauded vulnerability. It looks a little melodramatic now, but I was in that headspace at the same time, so it really worked on me. Anyway the movie is good. I've watched a couple teen-drama movies on Netflix recently (Sarah Burgess Is A Loser, Dumplin') and they're very plastic, corny and predictable. I also don't like Black Mirror because it's so loud and ham-fisted with how it skewers modern technology. Eighth Grade feels more authentic in what it's like to be lonely and unsure today. The big villain in this kid's life is just a spread out cloud of little failures (often just PERCEIVED failures) that she's not equipped to process, and the small victories are very endearing. The kid is nervous about going to this pool party, but it's presented as just a bunch of wet kids and a cheap stereo in somebody's garden. I like coming to this genre with such a down-to-earth, lived-in perspective. It's not truly mind-blowing, but it felt honest and vulnerable. That was compelling to me, and I appreciate that somebody's out there making stories in this style.
  7. Clickbait Games Journalism: Polygon vs Kotaku

    Yeah it's true, even if you have a staff of 4 writers, maybe one of them can spend 10 days making something in-depth... but that never gets as much traffic as 5 posts about what's free on Xbox Game Pass this week. So if a website operates in that way, they will run out of money. It's not like the government is giving them subsidies to keep the lights on. I guess the other option is people who are funded by subscription and Patreon backers, like Noclip and Cloth Map... which are actually doing their best to make interesting things! So I am glad that they're using that avenue to cover topics that nobody would click on. That seems like they're delivering on the promise of a medium that isn't based on ads.
  8. Clickbait Games Journalism: Polygon vs Kotaku

    I don't know about you guys, but I've found myself wanting more talk on big topics than anyone is doing. For example unionization was not invented yesterday. It's happened lots of times, with many ups and downs! Where's the unbiased pros and cons? Maybe there's no E3 next year, but what does that mean? How could the ESA watch this happen in such slow motion? What could a game actually do with a game-streaming service that it can't do on a local machine? What does a subscription-driven market do to small indie games versus big $60 blockbusters? Who stands to lose out? Has recent massive broadband penetration changed the way people approach games in India? If China had banned consoles for 14 years, are people playing couch co-op games for the first time there now? When Sekiro came out, there were a bunch of articles about whether or not games "should have easy modes" and it just felt like every editor rolled out of bed, scratched their butt and said "I dunno, this could be news".
  9. Marvel movies

    I watched Spider-Man Far From Home (the new one). I can agree that it's way fun! It's a fun movie to sit in, it has a similar vibe to the previous one. Some fun jokes! I loved seeing Jake Gyllenhaal onscreen in this movie as well. Similar to casting Michael Keaton as The Vulture, he's an actor that's been around for 20 years. We've seen him get his ass kicked and be a weird killer in so many movies that it brings a well-traveled man-of-experience vibe to the performance when you put him next to Tom Holland as Spider-Man. That really added to it, and this move where all the adults in the Spider-Man universe are super contemporary actors, but the kids are total unknowns, works really well I think.
  10. Clickbait Games Journalism: Polygon vs Kotaku

    I don't often use game websites any more, but I definitely did read long articles on Anthem, Read Dead Redemption 2, Riot Games and others on Kotaku. I also really liked the Kotaku video series that Tim Rogers did on localizing Final Fantasy 7. I'd recommend it, it's very pedantic. I do remember them being the web's #1 place for Mario shaped birthday cakes and cosplay compilations, but how long ago was that? How old are we on this forum? I'm thinking about 2010, right? I remember Polygon really patting themselves on the back for being SERIOUS JOURNALISM when they first appeared, but the next thing I remember is a guy putting amiibos in his mouth. I think some of Brian David Gilbert's videos are funny in how their concept is so stupid, but I don't feel compelled to be a consistent fan of such a website. I've been checking in on Gamasutra recently. A lot of it is developers writing "How I achieved great success by working hard" to boost their personal brand, but it is about as insider as you can get. So I'm trying it out for now. The thing I'm most enjoying right now is Waypoint drilling way into political subtext in game design choices. I just want a deep, deep dive on every game.
  11. Marvel movies

    I haven't seen that movie yet, but here's my guess, which MIGHT be a spoiler?
  12. Game Pass

    Should I play Wolfenstein: The New Order (2014) before I play Wolfenstein 2? I loved DOOM 2016, I played Titanfall 2's campaign recently, and I heard Wolfenstein was funny and fun. Is it an FPS campaign worth playing through? Would it be more fun to jump directly to Wolfenstein 2?
  13. Toy Story 4 (and other toy stories)

    Well with Toy Story 3, I felt like the plot was being pushed along by movie-corp Pixar. When I was watching the scene where they're all very sad, I only felt that the Pixar company wants me to feel sad now, and they were using the resources they had to hit that target. With Toy Story 4, it felt like the plot was written by some old parent, possibly a grandparent by now, who's lived a life and had a lot of things to tell me in a broad topic. Not just for one quick conflict in the third act, but for most of the film. I'm glad that Toy Story 4 does that, because it shows what Toy Story's role is among other animated kids' movies: to have themes and ideas. I would expand that to Pixar's role in the industry, but I didn't have much to chew on from The Incredibles 2, Coco or Finding Dory (even though they're all fun and nice movies!) I think the arc of this particular thing maturing over time is really interesting.
  14. Movie/TV recommendations

    Everyone's talking about Chernobyl, but I just feel like... it must be really, very sad, right? I don't wanna watch a whole show about something so terribly sad! I've had a blu-ray of Get Out on my table for weeks and I finally watched it. I purposely avoided spoilers for this. It was a good concept, it's very contemporary, I respect it and I bet it really clicked with a lot of people. It's big on sub-text, and really invites you to look into it. It's a very cliche thriller though! I didn't expect how straight-forward the film was, it's a new idea applied to the very familiar frame of a movie where a spooky killer is getting everyone. That's fun, but I guess I expected it to be something more surprising. Oh well! I still liked watching it. It's not pretentious, the film speaks its' message loudly, and couches it in a nice popcorn flick deliberately. I can see why people were excited to check out Us next.
  15. If you're talking about Mad World (the song in the Gears of War trailer) then just remember that they used the original song in that trailer. Not a downer cover.
  16. Something that really interested me about trailers recently was the Avengers Endgame trailer (the main one???) They've edited things out of the trailer footage for these Marvel movies before, but in Endgame they edited out like 3 main characters and promoted a completely different tone for the movie. The movie is a silly romp and a big fight scene! It's only 20% dire remorse! I would almost consider it a fake-out. Of course you can only get away with that when you've already got a guaranteed audience. Game trailers are interesting because you need to code in-game tools to make your camera fly around. You need to record and play back player input for a good performance, and code a UI-free version of the game specifically for trailers. I can't show an Xbox A button in a trailer I'm going to upload to the PlayStation store, that's against the rules! Just take a look at this Astroneer trailer and consider all the unique shit they coded as trailer performance tools: You have to communicate what the gameplay experience is step-by-step a lot of the time, and that can be a tricky task too.
  17. Wow that's a surprise. I think Super Mario Galaxy might be my favourite one. I can see that it's a different format than 64 in some ways, so I can understand maybe. It's definitely going for a different vibe. I recently bought Stardew Valley and I just don't get it. The tone feels like it skews toward an even younger audience than I expected. I don't like the artwork, I walked around talking to characters and I don't like any of them, I don't like walking around the map so much, I don't mind farming but it's not that exciting... I saw myself reaching 4pm and saying "welp, I might as well go to bed now!" a couple times and it felt heavily depressing. I can imagine a different execution of this concept that I do like, I loved hearing it described to me, but playing this is sapping the life outta me.
  18. Marvel movies

    It's fun reading about all of these huge logic holes after the movie! You guys are all totally right, I didn't think about any of that when I was sitting in the cinema. I had a great time, and even though I don't consider myself to be a typical internet nerd geek, I don't own funko pops, I don't have a Loot Crate subscription, but I did cheer and laugh at those fan-service moments and all the call-backs! It worked on me, I had fun. Like you guys said though, I can't recommend it as a "great film", because it's not very emotionally impactful.
  19. I definitely had the same feeling with Horizon Zero Dawn. At it's best moments, it almost feels like I'm playing Vanquish, but the robots are a bit more like dinosaurs! I'd love more of that, but what were the characters names again?? ...what was I doing on this quest? I find all of the plot and personality just dull as a rock, sorry Guerrilla Games. It actually reminds me of when I played Assassin's Creed 1. I know they'll make a sequel, and I hope they just get wild with the movement, sliding, climbing, swinging, fluid dinosaur combat, ripping guns off stuff and slam-dunking mind-control grenades in their heads. The combat was nice, and had room to get better, but I don't need another save-the-world Video game plot and a village full of robotic NPC dialogue to skip through.
  20. Recently completed video games

    I got a sense that Spider-Man was a lot like those Batman games, and I haven't even played those Batman games. Recently I bought and devoured Devil May Cry V. DMC 4 is one of my favorite games, so I'll just mention how it's different from that: I liked Dante in DMC 4, but he was never my favorite choice. I thought his 1 million moves and weapons had a lot of novel trinkets included, and it felt un-focused to me. In this new game though, I've turned into a Dante player. His massive library of moves feel more useful and more straight-forward, which might be a turn-off for some people, but not me. There's a new character, V, who is a completely different kind of beat-them-up, and the new idea doesn't really come together for me. His detached, 2nd-person combat style achieves what it's going for, but that only serves to add a layer of doubt between my inputs and what they're doing in the game world. It feels like he has less combat options than the other characters too. I think playing with this character holds up for the duration of the game's campaign, it's novel and interesting, but I played DMC 4 for years and I can't imagine playing with this character for years at all. My main feeling after playing 20-something hours of this combat is that Dante and Nero's combat mechanics are a polished sequel of where they were in DMC 4. It's great, I love using them and I applaud the design team for it. I can't say the same for the ENEMIES though. I am in love with the DMC 4 enemy roster, they feel alive, they're playful, they're loud, they each leave a strong, multi-faceted impression in the composition of the experience. With the enemies in this new game, I often have a hard time identifying their role and behaviors; whether they look similar to other enemies, or just fail to flaunt their stuff. I often feel like a new enemy has maybe one trick up their sleeve, and if that trick doesn't contribute a fun challenge, then all they are is another gray punching bag. The enemies' manures could've used another pass. The art direction on most of these guys seems to be more sanded down and contemporary than in DMC 4 too, and I just find it more boring to look at and less memorable. On boss fights: There are some good ones, and a couple great ones. They don't top the highs of DMC 3 or 4, but they deliver the goods. I wish I could take these playable characters into the combat zones of DMC 4, or that the developers would work on DLC that juices up the enemy roster. I'd really love that, but I don't expect it to happen. I'd more expect them to release returning fan-favorite playable characters, which I'm not as hungry for.
  21. I liked the point that RDR2 could win for Most Disappointing. Maybe the discussion was a little too busy, but I really appreciate someone making a big deal out of it. I haven't even played any RDR games, but I'm glad that Dan pointed to the biggest, loudest, most expensive blockbuster of the year and said it felt like wasting time. I've definitely been fed up with Rockstar games since about 2010, and I was thinking people who work at games websites might be immune to that fatigue, so it's nice that they're not. I do agree that I like Dan's snidely Wario persona, but it actually hindered his good discussion points in this cast and seemed to annoy Brad a bit, unfortunately. I think Brad's point that "The game didn't get worse, what you want has changed!" is a great point and I'd guess he's probably right. RDR2 gave Dan a chance to put the controller down and re-calibrate what he ACTUALLY WANTS out of anticipated games. I would've appreciated the conversation staying there for a bit, because I definitely want very different things than the GTAs, Far Crys and Assassin's Creeds of yesteryear. I wish the whole staff would've had the same revelation, but hey some people do wanna be cowboys and I can't fault em for that.
  22. Half-Life 3

    I played Firewatch recently and it did feel like James Benson's animation, so thanks for reminding me. Wow they really did form a super-team. For the question of whether or not Half-Life 3 could be something very similar to Firewatch: Honestly yeah I think people would accept it. It would be a bit controversial but I wouldn't expect shooting enemies to be all that revolutionary anyway. The audience for Half-Life 3 is like 35 at this point, it's gonna take a lot to bowl them over with very good shooting, and they're mainly there to see G-Man be weird and Dr Kleiner wig out. I would almost expect that some kind of Orange Box is on the horizon. They're hiring all this slick talent, their card game was kind of a flop, it might be time for Valve's in-house team to test the waters and find their feet by working on a few small projects.
  23. Recently completed video games

    Game I completed recently: Firewatch. Yes it's true. I listened to every episode of Thumbs cowering, a fake gamer hidden in plaine sight. Stone me to death: I truly deserve it. Here's a weird take though: I work at a publisher and I look at in-development indie games every day. I think a lot about the relationship between a budget (money and time) and a design doc. Harmonizing these two antithetical projects is CRUCIALLY important to starting a game development studio, but about 90% of teams fail to do it. Firewatch is music to my ears in this regard, from the rendering style to the level design to the plot points, they raise this powerful, unique experience from very minimalist parts. I can really admire the work ethic that shines through this game. They certainly gave Delilah a big personality without animating her, they said a lot more with words than with pictures in that intro, and I often felt like I wasn't alone when I actually was. Many more examples than that, too. Anyway as for how I liked the game: I'd maybe more call it a story than a game. They used the medium of games to help add some empathy and context to the novel that they wrote. I liked it. I liked spending time with Henry and Delilah. I can see the common thread between the A-plot and the B-plot and I appreciate it. Not blown away, but maybe I'll see more in it over time? I got lost in the forest a lot, just like everyone else. I'll happily play the game with audio commentaries ASAP. There's one line of dialogue where Henry is reading a clipboard and says "Hey who's Javier?" and Delilah says "What the fuck? I never told you about that!" I thought it was a funny, ambiguous piece of backstory, but then I saw a clip of footage where someone else was enjoying this huge expository conversation about Javier earlier in the game. The flowchart of dialogue and recorded choices in this game is very smooth and feels more like natural social behavior than a game feature. It worked well to put me in Henry's position, but I also enjoyed cheating and hearing that extra dialogue too. Sorry!
  24. Kickstarters

    I have to say I backed the Broken Age kickstarter and got much more out of the documentary they made than the actual game. I didn't even get around to playing the game! Over the course of the documentary I became a huge Double-Fine fan and enjoyed hearing from their whole team.
  25. Idle Thumbs Hiatus

    I have to echo this; nothing is like Idle Thumbs. Podcasts weren't talking about Far Cry 2 in a funny anecdotal way OR for the unsung merits of it's design perspective. They were just talking about features and review scores. Even now, where we DO have people digging deep into design decisions, everyone else just seems too self-serious, not experienced enough or less inquisitive. When Bioshock Infinite came out, I was refreshing the page waiting for the Idle Thumbs episode. It felt like a perfect storm for picking apart ambitious endeavors that were often very well achieved, sometimes not, and always lead to bizarre cool-dude antics that don't hold up to scrutiny. I agree, I like listening to Waypoint Radio when they have an episode about what a "game developers union" would actually look like, or when Quantic Dream is arguing with journalists, or somebody says the N-word, but I don't tune in to listen to them talk about games. Forum-wise, I've checked into this forum very sparingly over the passed 10 years. Similar to the podcast, it's my outlet for going way too obsessively in-depth about something when nobody else is. Because I trust that this community is on that wavelength, I take my recommendations from here and deposit my own thoughts, even though I don't track who's reading them. I generally don't use fora any more. When I was 13 I joined an internet forum called "Stick-Suicide.com" so I could learn to make Flash cartoons. That site closed down in 2007, and sprang up again as "Explosm.net", the web-comic. I stayed there being a snarky teenage asshole until I was about 19. Now I'm 27, and I've long since quit fora. I guess I still check in here, like I said. If there were anything I wanted to say to members who might be leaving, I'm sorry I failed to attend a community meet-up in real life. I almost did, one time when I moved through town on a work trip, but I didn't have the space to break away. I was a real junior at my own company, and was paddling a lot to just keep my head above water, but from another perspective I probably looked like a jerk. Now I've missed out on that memory of meeting a bunch of real-life nerds who know what baboo is, and it probably won't come around again. Oh well, remember 555-Wizard-No?