David Lynch’s hair compared to famous artwork
via Jimmy Chen
Words don’t express how happy this makes me.
David Lynch’s hair compared to famous artwork
via Jimmy Chen
Words don’t express how happy this makes me.
“Also, since kinetic friction is generally weaker than static friction (it’s easier to keep an object sliding once it’s sliding than it is to start the object sliding in the first place), there are two coefficients of friction; one for static friction and one for kinetic friction.” AP Physics B Review Book. I don’t know how to feel about this.
“North slope of old vineyard about 1914, when the Flegals owned it.”
“What do I care about his reputation?” Brave New World …Oh my…
“Wasn’t that convenient?” ._.
“Even inside my head, the words sounded crazy.”
“Since object and array values can become quite large, it doesn’t make sense to manipulate these values by type, because this could involve the inefficient copying and comparing of large amounts of memory.” -This seems strangely accurate, although I’m not sure why.
"Come back here, you tangerine thief!"
I don’t even know how to begin to interpret this.
(Akutagawa Ryunosuke’s “Hell Screen”)
Idea completely stolen from Scott Strichart, so read his post for something better-written and more original.
Just like Scott’s, in order of awesomeness, sort of. I may have missed a few, but it’s been a busy year.
InFamous 2: I’ve always said that InFamous is the only open-world series that really does the open-world thing right. Mobility is pushed to the forefront, each mission has tangible and immediate rewards, and in the case of the sequel, the story is really well done. While the game has some issues (particularly with the new inhuman enemies), they improved the mobility, combat, and writing from the first InFamous. On top of that, I love the fact that Sucker Punch had the balls to end their series. No matter which ending is technically “canon,” it’s done. It doesn’t hurt that both endings are really good (and got me all choked up).
InFamous: Festival of Blood: Okay, while I said that the series was over, this “Halloween Special” of sorts is a fun non-canon addendum to InFamous 2 that adds even more movement options! Since Cole is now an electric vampire, he can now turn into a swarm of bats, fly into enemy vampires, and impale them with his stake made out of a coffin. The boss (hilariously named Bloody Mary) has some legitimately disturbing memoirs, too.
The Dishwasher: Vampire Smile: One of the finest 2D action games I’ve ever played. I fell in love with the action and art style of the first Dishwasher (Dead Samurai), but somehow never picked the game up when I got my 360. However, this blows the first out of the water. Just imagine the 3D Ninja Gaiden games in 2D but with the art style of The Crow and the ability to fly indefinitely by tapping the right analog stick. It’s quick, violent fun and sports a pretty awesome soundtrack. On top of it all, you can get a giant syringe for a weapon and fight a giant butterfly with a skull for a head that carries a knife. Its name? Murderfly.
Nier: Beat it for the third time, still got teary-eyed when SPOILERS and SPOILERS died. Still far and away my favorite RPG in years. (Even if Scott is kind of right in his post, you really should read it),
999: 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors: So, uh, I guess visual novels are kind of neat! I tore through this at the beginning of the year, only to find one of the most interesting stories I’ve ever experienced. Ben Bateman did a fantastic job with the localization, too, filling the hours of dialogue with tons of character (and a lot of puns). Definitely worth getting the true ending for, even if you must use a guide. I’d have beaten it again by now if I hadn’t lent it to a friend of mine with my Phoenix Wright games…
Batman: Arkham City: While the city and 700,000,000,000 Riddler Trophies were initially off-putting, Arkham City gradually got its hooks into me. A surprisingly terrifying universe coupled with some fun gadgets elevated it above its predecessor for me, even if it’s less focused and sort of rushes the development of its villains. At least female villains’ outfits are marginally less sexist this time around!
Aliens Infestation: I don’t think a lot of people picked up this short little gem, but it nails the Aliens vibe perfectly. Between the permadeath and the jump scares (in a 2D portable game!), it was my favorite DS game in a year full of great ones. I adore the first two Alien movies though, so I’m slightly biased towards it.
BlazBlue: Continuum Shift (II, with patch): Specifically, I beat the story mode, which (silly low-quality cutscenes aside) was pretty well presented! Aside from the fact that the ending unveiled yet ANOTHER character who will be made infinitely more annoying by Christina Vee’s voice acting (we’re up to four now I think), I thought the English voice acting was pretty good, too. While I’m still nowhere near tournament level, I feel like I’ve improved quite a bit this year. I also played weekly BlazBlue with one of my best friends for a while, so that was fun!
Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3: I beat arcade mode, so it’s fair to put on this list I guess! I’m still pretty awful at the game, and to be frank, I haven’t really put as much time into it as I’ve expected. Perhaps all of the Fate of Two Worlds I played tired me out on MvC. Still, when I play it with my friends, I have a blast (and generally curse frequently).
Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni: Tatarigoroshi-hen (Curse Killing Chapter): Essentially episode 3 of Higurashi and the only one I beat this year. One of the most disturbing “games” (It’s a visual novel without any options) I’ve ever played, dealing with child abuse (possibly incest, but it’s never explicitly stated), murder, and the bonds between brother and sister (which I thought was handled uncharacteristically well for a Japanese game). It stressed me out and kept me up late, good stuff!
Sonic Generations: What’s this? A good modern Sonic game? It is! I actually found myself enjoying the roller-coasters that were the modern levels more than I enjoyed the classic stages (although some of those were pretty awesome, too). I still have no idea what the hell I did to beat (and get an S rank on) the final boss though.
Virtual-On Force: Picked this up during Play-Asia’s Chinese New Year sale. I loved it! Except when I hated it! Combat is fun, but it’s sometimes cheap, but the game essentially lets you cheat. It’s slower than Oratorio Tangram, but the close combat is more intense. I was pretty conflicted about the whole thing but it was fun in the long run!
Bulletstorm: Some people thought this motherfucking game was too dick-shatteringly profane to finish. Well, those candy-ass little bastards missed out on some charming writing and fun shooting. I kind of regret trading it in, but such is life (and unemployment).
King of Fighters XIII: One of the most beautiful games I’ve ever played, but I got in when I was in the midst of a fighting game malaise. I have a feeling that if I was in a fighting mood (or owned it on a console I had an arcade stick for), I’d absolutely adore it.
Deathsmiles: I was shocked at how simply great this game was. Perhaps it’s because I’m a casual shmup fan, but I loved that each level’s difficulty could be selected (except for the final and bonus stages). It’s gorgeous, too, and has some pretty engaging endings (once again, well done Ben Bateman).
Castlevania: Harmony of Despair: While technically probably one of the worst 2D Castlevania titles, it became quite a bit of fun when I played it with my talented (and equally sarcastic) ally Scott Strichart. Julius Belmont’s dejected “damn” shall live forever in my memory! (That said, I’m still shocked at how anticlimactically we beat Dracula.)
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow: God DAMN, I’m shocked at how quickly the last few stages (final boss aside) ruined my love of the first three quarters of it. That said, the ending was pretty cool, and the game looked pretty.
Borderlands: This would probably be slightly higher if I hadn’t been playing the game for two years, but my friend and I both hit max level this year by playing LOCALLY (and only when we were together), and finally defeated Crawmerax the Invincible. Incredibly satisfying to have completed, but I’ll probably never touch the game again.
Sonic 4: Episode I: People complained about the physics, but I had fun with it anyway.
Assassin’s Creed II: IGNORE ALL SIDE MISSIONS FOREVER. Finally powered through the game when I realized I couldn’t improve my villa anymore. Running around and stabbing people with a hidden blade is fun, and beating this made the immediate jump to Brotherhood (which I owned for the multiplayer) very pretty. I guess the plot twist was kind of neat, but I wonder if I’d be happier if the game was just about Ezio rather than Desmond…
House of the Dead: Overkill: Offensive, violent, and fun with friends. While I wasn’t a fan of the new stages and the annoying new character, it’s still a good way to kill an hour or two with a buddy.
Arcana Heart 3: Bought it, beat it once, played it a couple times with a friend. I’d like to learn how to play it, but it doesn’t really do much for me. I’ve got a feeling it’s meant for people who look at frame data for their fighters, not people like me who play mostly for fun.
Otomedius: Probably the worst Gradius I’ve ever played. That said, even the worst Gradius has its moments, and the fact that this even received a US release is kind of a miracle. It seems as though a single person put a lot of love into the presentation, right down to the fansub-style karaoke for the opening song.
I wasn’t disappointed my much this year, but a few things come to mind…
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword: I’m shocked that I’m writing this, but despite the fact that I’m a huge Zelda fanboy, Skyward Sword has disappointed the hell out of me so far. I’m only a few hours in, but this is the first time I’ve had no desire to keep playing a Zelda game. I’ve just reached the first temple after about five excruciating hours and… I don’t care. Despite Nintendo’s best attempts to make me like Zelda, she’s got nothing on Wind Waker's Tetra, Twilight Princess's Midna, or even Spirit Tracks' Zelda. Perhaps it's because a game trying to force me to care about characters that I don't is a turn-off for me (I stopped playing Okami for the same reason), or perhaps it’s because Fi is one of the worst Zelda characters ever (yep, worse than Navi), or perhaps that it’s because the game simply doesn’t seem to respect my time. Just… don’t make me do what is essentially a fetch quest (after the almost three-hour introduction) before I can even get to your first temple. Maybe I’ll try it again sometime, but for now I have games that don’t bore me to death before they get to the fun parts.
Tekken 6: I bought it, but I don’t know why. Still haven’t played through arcade mode…
Ys Seven: Ghggg… Falcom apologists will tell you that Ys is great. Ys Seven seriously made me question if I ever wanted to play JRPGs again. The writing is awful, the combat is boring, and the towns made me appreciate Final Fantasy XIII’s lack thereof. The music was underwhelming, too.
Just so I don’t end on a negative note…
Fate/Extra: Do I sound like an Aksys shill yet? I don’t know much about the Fate series (although I liked the fighter Unlimited Codes), but F/E is one of my favorite RPGs in a while. While the combat’s pretty much Rock-Paper-Scissors with some special abilities, I really like the idea that combat is a war of information and the idea that Servants (essentially the people who do the fighting) are reincarnated versions of historical or mythological figures.
Gurumin: Another Falcom game, this is pretty much Ys Seven with a shifted camera, less useless dialogue, better combat, and a jump button. I love it so far! Gurumin is odd in that it’s got some of the best mobility options I’ve ever experienced in an action RPG, but it doesn’t use them very effectively. Parin can launch enemies into the air, run on walls, and air dash from one enemy to the next. The game is simple, but unlike Ys it’s actually fun and doesn’t take itself overly seriously. It’s also a lot cuter than Ys, so that’s a plus.
Final Fantasy XIII: Yes, it’s ironic that I put this here in light of the last sentence in my Zelda rant, but I’m so damn close to the end! The game’s still fun despite itself, and as I bring the final chapter to a close, maybe the story will actually make sense.
Solatorobo: Charming and gorgeous, but I haven’t been compelled to finish it yet…
An editorial on Kotaku yesterday posited that the difficulty in the Assassin’s Creed series leaves something to be desired. Bolding his thesis, (in case we missed it?) author Kirk Hamilton writes, “But I’ve never felt satisfied by Assassin’s Creed’s combat. It’s too forgiving, too prone to exploitation.”
I really need to get around to playing the non-Multiplayer component of Brotherhood… First I need to finish Assassin’s Creed II though…
About a week back, I picked up the highly acclaimed and much-loved Deus Ex: Human Revolution. While I initially loved the hell out of it, my poor choices of augmentations and my absolute ineptitude when it comes to stealth made each skirmish (which I quite enjoyed in the first mission) a trial-and-error process that resulted in me playing my PSP during load screens every 35 seconds or so.
While I enjoyed the stealth in the first mission (perhaps because of my silenced stun gun, which I eventually abandoned for weapons that I could actually find ammo for), later on, it seemed as though enemies could see me wherever I was and that trying to kill or knock out an enemy would pretty much lead to instant, bloody death.
It’s a damn shame, too, because when I was properly using my augs, the game was an absolute blast. For instance, to get over a fence to get into an apartment I needed to get to, I used my enhanced strength to stack dumpsters into an impromptu staircase. While that sounds silly, I was actually quite proud of myself for doing this… Even though, once again, I died in the process, because throwing dumpsters apparently counts as an act violent enough for people to want to shoot you on the streets of Detroit.
The second combat-heavy mission, despite containing a moment where I was really proud of my aug use (I jumped about 50 feet from the rafters of a warehouse to land perfectly in front of the elevator, all thanks to my high-fall augmentation), was where the trial-and-error gameplay began driving me nuts. Somehow though, I soldiered through, killing practically everyone I saw in the process. Then… I got to the boss.
I’m not going to waste a lot of time beating up Deus Ex for its apparently outsourced boss battles, as the rest of the internet has already done that for me. I will just say that when I throw an explosive barrel at an enemy’s head and he doesn’t even flinch, I get a bit grumpy. Needless to say, I’ve since put Deus Ex on hold.
Speaking of putting things on hold, I’m wondering if I’m getting less patient and forgiving in my old age (21 is old, right?). Mass Effect, a similarly critically acclaimed Shooter-RPG had a similar effect on me. This is another game that I enjoyed quite a bit, but there were little elements of combat that just pushed me away. I’m about 99% certain that nobody at Bioware who designed the MAKO driving sequences had ever been in a car. The fact that the enemy Geth that I was fighting against pretty much demanded the MAKO’s missile capabilities to defeat meant that I had another game to put in my “on hold” pile.
Where is the mercy and forgiveness that the young me had for titles like MegaMan X6? Why can’t I enjoy these otherwise great games? Why is it that I’m willing to enjoy Final Fantasy XIII despite its story and can’t bring myself to play further in Mass Effect? Nier, which I love, might even be a better comparison for Mass Effect, because it’s simply broken in places.
At first I thought it was my deep-seated love of Japanese games, but just the other day I picked up The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena by Starbreeze. While The Darkness assured Starbreeze a special place in my heart, I somehow missed Escape From Butcher Bay when it came out in 2004. The night I started the Butcher Bay remake included in Dark Athena, I was disappointed. It was more of the I’m-trying-to-be-stealthy-oh-no-I’ve-been-spotted-now-I’m-dead that I disliked in Deus Ex. I only gave the game about 20 minutes (it was late), but I was just about ready to trade it back in for something else (thanks Gamestop’s 7-day grace period!).
However, the next day, I brought my 360 over to my friend Michael’s house. Michael is one of the few people I know who is actually fond of the Riddick series. He played the original Butcher Bay on PC, and when I saw him play Dark Athena, everything suddenly clicked with me. He lived in the shadows, sneaking up on enemies and using their weapons against them. It was almost elegant how well he understood the game’s mechanics. With a new excitement and some altered strategies I restarted Escape From Butcher Bay the next night.
All of a sudden, the stealth elements started making sense to me. When Riddick was crouched and the screen was blue, he couldn’t be seen. My style alternated between giving amateur lobotomies in the dark (with the shivs I picked up from various inmates in the game’s titular space prison) and darting in and out of the shadows with a shotgun or assault rifle, leaning out of my hiding spots when the time was right.
Strangely enough, it felt lot like Deus Ex's stealthy cover system, especially because Riddick and Jensen are both highly susceptible to bullets. Riddick also shares Deus Ex's tendency to make stealth unfair at times, primarily through camera-mounted turrets that are incredibly hard to see (that will kill you if you’ve drawn a weapon while not in the shadows) and occasional fights against guards in mech suits.
However, despite these frustrations (that led to a lot of deaths), there’s something about Riddick that makes me want to keep playing. It’s certainly not Vin Diesel’s power-fantasy that is Richard B. Riddick. I think it’s due to the fact that the game’s mechanics never limit me and story is always driving me forward.
Deus Ex's augmentation system and the weapons I brought to the fight seem to have made progression nigh on impossible. What are my abilities? Oh, I can jump over the guy, fall from a high place, or even pick up a barrel and throw it at him. None of the points I put into hacking, conversation, or my radar help me here. Besides, when I pick up an explosive barrel, there's a good chance he'll just shoot it when it's in my hands, killing me instantly. I should have invested in enhanced health…
Mass Effect just has me bored and displeased. While I could go through the MAKO segment, I’m not really interested enough in meeting Liara T’soni to be drawn back to the game. Besides, now that I have Wrex and Tali in my party, I don’t feel like I need anyone else. I’m just not compelled to get through the already overlong vehicle segment.
Somehow, Riddick has avoided both of those pitfalls. The desire for escape kept me playing, despite the aggravating turrets and mechs. The things I had done in the game and the way that the characters reacted to Riddick kept me thinking that no matter how impossible the situation seemed, regardless of whether I had one unit of health left or six, I could get through it.
So far, that’s always been the case.
I really want to go back to Mass Effect and Deus Ex, but at the moment, the thought of going back to the abysmal driving and overwhelming boss fight just doesn’t appeal to me. Perhaps I just need somebody to show me the ropes in those games like Michael did with Riddick…
> Sit down to write.
> Need name for city.
> Realize name needs to reflect people who founded city.
> Realize people can’t exist in a...
…In order of how awesome they are, for the sheer troll value of it.
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