I am a proud, ginger UKian. Not much more than that.
Random gaming facts:
Favourite Game: Vampire The Masquerade: Bloodlines.
Least Favourite Game: Star Ocean: Till The End Of Time.
Favourite Game Of This Generation: Katawa Shoujo/No More Heroes.
Least Favourite Game Of This Generation: Heavy Rain.
Most Recent Purchase: Sleeping Dogs.
Drowzee is a bipedal Pokémon that resembles a tapir. It's eyes are tired looking and it has a trunk above its mouth. It's arms are quite short in length and it's hands each have three fingers. The upper half of a Drowzee's body is yellow and the lower half is brown, the two of which are separated by a wavy line. It has a round belly and it's legs are quite stubby. It's feet are brown, except for its two toes, which are the same yellow color as the upper half of the body, and the bottom, which has a small, round, pink colored pad in the middle of it.
Drowzee may hypnotize its enemies to have it's way and eat their dreams, but it may also do so to persons that are naturally sleeping. When it twitches its nose, it can tell where someone is sleeping and what that person is dreaming about. If a person’s nose becomes itchy when they are sleeping, it is said to be a sure sign that a Drowzee is standing above their pillow and trying to do horrible things to them, such as eat their dream through the person’s nostrils (euphemism). Drowzee has certain preferences for the dreams it eats, and it is known to love fun dreams and rarely eat the dreams of adults, as the dreams, among other things, of children are seemingly tastier. Drowzee remembers every dream it has eaten, and may show dreams it has eaten in the past to a person that often sleeps by it.
Wild Drowzee live in very tall grass, by muddy rivers, in savannahs, and occasionally in ancient temples and tombs. Drowzee are most commonly found in Kanto and Johto, but have been sighted in Sinnoh on some occasions.
Incase I get any questions: The game is called Clonk Rage, it is a mostly free game and can be found at http://www.clonk.de/cr.php
Operation Atlantis. If the name itself didn’t curse it, divine powers did. It had been done before, sure, but there is still something very out of place when you hear the words “You will be building a mining colony on a slab of ice in the middle of the Arctic Ocean.”. I’m unable use the real names of anyone involved in any document detailing the events, so here are the ‘names’ of those involved: There was me, Captain Fang, I was in charge and gave only important orders, in reality we were to do whatever it took to survive, but I was on call to ensure no huge mistakes were made by the rest of the team. There was the Ensign, Arc Bled, a partially experienced worker who had been on one of these kinds of jobs before. Then there was Jack, the completely new recruit with no experience and little training.
On a slab of ice with barely enough equipment as it was, they gave us someone who’s first words when we arrived was complaining about the cold. Brilliant.
And so, we were placed on a cliff edge overlooking a pool of a few fish, with about half of our new home being on unstable snow with more snow coming. I decided to start digging a little cave to put our little igloo in for this little operation that was already a little annoying. Arc and Jack immediately began trying to get the igloo ready for movement – It was made of ice, so it would be fairly slippery, a blessing and a curse in this situation – into what would become our cave. I decided, jokingly, to name it ‘Cave Inutwits’, just to get that tiny laugh that raises morale out of them. And then, disaster.
Jack…Why oh why…Within minutes of me finishing the cave, Jack immediately managed to get the igloo stuck…underground slightly. A fish turned away in disgust. The wind slowly started going the opposite direction. Arc almost fell over due to a mixture of laughter and tears. Before we could even start building anything useful, our accommodation was fairly…ruined. We couldn’t call for help because we had no power source. And all the construction plans and materials were inside the igloo. Acting fast, we started trying to dig it out. After a few minutes of ‘nearly-there’ and ‘make sure you don’t flood the cave’, we managed to slide the block of ice into the cave. And then, disaster two struck.
The snow started violently falling. Avalanches of snow melted into the ocean, rising sea levels dramatically. We noticed this just before it become too late and, amongst swearing and shouting, built a few holes for the water to fill, buying us some time at the least. We tried to discover a way to safely get the Igloo out of the cave. No such like. We save it here or it goes under. We could take the materials out of it, but the amount of time it would take would make it a dangerous idea. We pushed on.
Morale was, expectedly, low. I took a brief minute, half frozen with an ocean on the verge of crashing through and drowning us, to say a small speech, the orange flag of our nation somehow waving in the breeze in our underground ice cavern. It would have been a very patriotic moment if it wasn’t for the three of us wearing clothes that were nearly filled with ice water and us all having developed fairly bad snotty noses. I told them to stay down here and think of ways to slow the water long enough for me to get a pipe system up so that I could try to pump some water out of the base. However, the snow disagreed with my plan.
The site was laid, but in the time it took me to go down and get the materials, snow covered it. Then, if it wasn’t bad enough, the snow picked up significantly more. The water rose and got into the cave, forcing poor old Jack to dig further into the ice, water already up to his knees. It was more hopeless than I could have imagined. It was a miracle we had made it this long. But then, things started to take a turn from pessimism to absolute hopelessness and from struggling to maintain a stable home to struggling to maintain life.
While trying to lower the water as much as possible, the snow picked up and changed direction. Within seconds, Arc was trapped up to his waist in snow with water rising dangerously around him. Jack rushed to try and help him, but soon noticed; If he helped him get out of the snow and water, what was left of the cave would fill with water even quicker. He did what he could, getting as close as possible without causing the water to break into the cave. But, he messed up. Accidentally, Jack moved a clump of snow which caused the water to violently thrash its way into the cavern. Looking down, it was too late. Arc had already died.
R.I.P Ensign Arc Bled.
I jumped down into the snow and started digging to try and give Jack a way to get out of the water, digging into the ice furiously. Despite the freezing cold, my body was on fire. That fire was quickly snuffed out of life as I slipped into the water itself. We had nothing left. No hope, no help and no warmth. We were going to die. I decided, if it was the last thing I would do, I would do something to make finding my body god knows when important.. I swam through the brutal water, feeling ice slap against my body where it was beginning to freeze. I swam under, and I got that god damned flag.
A few minutes later, the cold set in, and Jack, already weak from the water that hit him while trying to save Arc, stopped.
R.I.P Recruit Jack, his corpse will remain as fresh as he was before he died.
And then, there was me. Corpses, water, snow and a negative outlook on what I thought were to be my last few minutes alive. And that was when I noticed. As the water rose, I was getting closer and closer to the edge of a small ledge. I quickly swam to it, weighed down heavily by what felt like bricks. I clawed by way up and found my way to a point. I looked back over the cave, the ‘lake’ and then felt the flag drop out of my back and slide into a pool of fish. It was as over as it was going to get. Two men, a ton of supplies and my complete sanity were the losses. The gain was that I didn’t have to spend years here digging for gold and oil.
After playing two games, one recent, one from a few years back, I noticed some things with the story, or more specifically, how the story works in them. Allow me to explain, in a very pretentious way. Involving MGS mostly, as that is what triggered the writing of all of these walls of text.
Recently, I had the pleasure of playing Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, after I fixed my PS2 back into barely-working shape and found out a friend had it. I looked at the MGS series as if it were a beacon of how movie-class games could be done. It had brilliant acting in what I had seen of it, had a great plot when I found bits of it and it had multiple moments that, as many would argue is important in many games, seemed to make you feel like you were controlling a leading actor in a big budget movie. When I played it, it pulled it off…
But, then, I noticed something. It was something I had noticed in clips and online cut scenes, but perhaps playing the game itself just made me notice that I may have been right about it all along. In short, Metal Gear Solid’s plot is bad. In detail, however, it becomes an entirely different matter. Let us focus on what it actually is beforehand, so I may as well say that there is a good chance of SPOILERS throughout this rant. About MGS, Prototype and eventually Fahrenheit/Indigo Prophecy.
First off, I would like to crush any thought in any form that I don’t like it. I love it. It is now one of my favourite games, likely in my mentally-held ‘Top 5 Gaming Experiences I Enjoyed A Ton’. I am even, at this moment, listening to Snake Eater and in a few minutes will likely click the Main Theme itself. With that out of the way, down to the garden of analysis, as I call it.
MGS Spoilers around here:
When you inspect it down to its very roots, MGS is a bad story. That’s what I was saying, yeah. It is a story about a soldier who is so amazing he survives multiple encounters with nuclear bombs, helped invent a form of hand-to-hand combat and can kill/defeat people who shoot bees as if they were bullets, are able to carry 10-Million volts in their body and a man with a very large and intimidating flamethrower. Not just can he beat them, he can potentially beat them using only a tranquilizer gun, his fists and the occasional STUN grenade. After the defeating of his mentor, who he refers to as his mother at one point because they are just that gosh darn close sometimes, he gets a name that sounds similar to a name a gangster would use as his ‘tough’ street name, Big Boss. People then decide he is so awesome and worth admiring, they clone him. One of these clones eventually ‘kills’ him, then more nuclear weapons and more ways of firing these nuclear weapons become involved, some more enemies that have even stranger abilities and behaviour (Ranging from the ability to break down the 4th Wall to showing all the enemies you have killed and how you killed them) and even more insane things to be involved in something that bills itself as seriously as MGS does.
And it making itself act this seriously about a fat guy called The Fatman who plants bombs while on rollerblades while drinking wine is part of its charm.
It blows my mind considering it. This critically acclaimed game, a good portion of this acclaim due to its story, manages to make a man shooting flesh-eating bees out of his mouth at you not just work, but work in a way that makes it maintain its air of seriousness around the life of this elite soldier in one of the hardest fights of his life in a dire, volatile situation between countries playing My-Nukes-Are-Cooler-Than-Yours. Maybe I’m missing the point? Maybe it isn’t treating itself seriously? Either way, it really shouldn’t be this amazing. It presents itself so perfectly that I’m fairly sure it could have a sub-plot about a robot ninja who... Oh, it does. It could have a story about a bisexual nearly immortal man who drinks blood…No; it pulled that off as well. If I were to look deep enough, I’m pretty sure I could find a story about a Nun that steals the brains of children to construct a zombie factory and only be a little surprised.
Prototype Spoilers here:
In the other corner, we have a more recent game I played you may have heard of. Prototype has a damn good plot at first glace, if built around a small cliché known as amnesia. It bills a man, who knows little about himself, trying to discover who he is, how he came to possess the power to change nearly every detail about himself at the bat of an eyelid and who deserves to be killed as a result. That last one is odd, since if I had the power to do all of that, I’d thank the person. Either way, he eventually discovers how he worked for the company that developed a virus and how he accidentally released it while running away from blah blah Bioterrorism blah blah Bribery…I never truly understood the sections around the end. This is because, while the games plot is amazing in its scope, it barely ever flaunts its ability to tell the story. While the Web of Intrigue gives small details, it intentionally attempts to make you try to piece the story together without much help. I own the (first?) comic about the back story, and actively searched for details from the game that relate to the comic. Now, while I have yet to fill in the entirety of the Web, I still have yet to find too much about what happened in Hope, Idaho. All the game seems to say (so far) is that “Shit went down there; it is now going down here, but much worse”. I think of this as a bit of untapped potential (GASP!) on Radical Entertainments behalf, as if it went into more detail about the characters and events of Hope, I would feel a lot more…concerned, might be the word. I also found it very underperforming of it to go into so little character story. Very little is revealed about some of the characters, with a lot left open near the end (Betrayal, what happened to his Sister, etc). This’ll more likely than not lead into a sequel, but it still keeps a blemish on the game until then. Maybe I’m just nitpicking.
While thinking about writing this, I thought about how close to movies games have become. When movie-game pops into my head, I instinctively go for Fahrenheit (Or Indigo Prophecy), as that game was cinematic up to its neck. However, it suffered as a result. I enjoyed it quite a bit, despite the plot going a little insane, but nearly all of the most cinematic gameplay sequences happened to be…the deadly quick-time-event. The game starts off as a near-point and click puzzle game, but at around the half way mark, it becomes a ‘Run here, prepare for a hell of a lot of QUICK TIME FURY’. Near the end, it became nothing but one huge ‘Press Left to keep watching’. Except you could never watch. Because you were busy watching out for what buttons to press. And it still, in my mind at least, represents cinematic gaming. Perhaps it’s a bad thing, perhaps not, but I still find it amazingly cinematic in the few cases you do manage to catch a glimpse of what is happening behind the button combinations towards the end.
To wrap it all up into a short statement (Hello, ‘Read the title and skim read all the way down to get the point’ers!), the way the game’s story presents itself is just as important as the story itself. Is the aim to make a cinematic game or a game cinematic? Both sides are arguably right, but I think that games can be one, the other, neither or both. On one side of the spectrum, you have Metal Gear Solid, a series that can make grown men cry about a character who once defeated a character that uses insects as bullets, can make people form a deep respect and caring over a character who wet himself in front of a robotic ninja, can be considered one of the greatest franchises and stories of all time. On the other side, you have games like Fahrenheit (Indigo Prophecy), that attempt as hard as they can to be movies that resemble games and pull off a good job. Which would you prefer? Games which are close to movies in terms of presentation and style, or maybe games which are movie-like in quality? It may just boil down to something as simple as ‘quality over quantity’ and I just wrote over one and a half thousand words of mindless babble, but if it means I get to force myself and possibly others to think about the story behind games more often, I think I got the reaction I’ve been aiming for.