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NateJB's blog

2:37 PM on 02.17.2010

My Expertise: Knifey Knifey

Fear not, I am not about to make any outrageous claims about my ‘mad skillz’. When I address my repertoire of FPS ability, I remember the needed conditions for my victories. I am not about to describe to you, in glorified detail, my valiant kills and desirable skills. There are requirements for my success. I cannot, by my sheer presence, make all the players on the other team cry into their controllers in an attempt to console themselves in their own ludicrous incredulity. Neither am I one of those players who make your killcam fill with heavenly light, cause a disruption in time, a divine intervention, to make the impossible plausible. I am not a pace-changing virtuoso in any terms.

I take advantage. In a hideous and cruel way, I take advantage.

There is a certain environment in which I can shine. When those rare incidents occur that two teams try to better each other competitively, I perform well. In truth, I am the last to support my team in any shape or form; I abhor the idea of gallantly taking part in the common goals and objectives. Instead, I swiftly pace the map in hunt of my own prey. In such a situation, I excel. I prove diligent in picking off the stragglers, the ones who aren’t expecting an adversary in such a close and cramped corner of, Favela, for instance. In contrast, when I find myself in a match where my team is flailing in the face of the enemy skill, the environment is not so sweet, and I don’t shine so bright. When the other team have the upper-hand, I fail, and I fail hard.

The perk and class system allow such variation and customization in styles, and also gives way for an outfit that is hated by many, but loved by a select few. I play in a way much like blitzkrieg. I do not tally, or hide in wait, or set claymores and snipe. I run and don’t stop running. Hence, when the other team is playing inordinately well, they are alert and defensive, and my stratagem can fail. There is, unquestionably, a specific structure which helps to add to this strategy, a certain format in which I make this expertise work.

Penny Arcade highlighted it once:

Yeh, I’m that guy. It’s how I do.

I have faced much verbal abuse for my choices, and in a corner of grim realisation, I know this ‘expertise’ lies in being an absolute jerk to my team. I never join in the ‘push’, and I abandon all ambition of setting up formidable team ploys in my desire for personal gain. I play for the havoc, and my resolve is excellent when exploiting everyone else who attempt to play co-operatively. In instances of purile and acquainted bliss, when a group of people come together against a common enemy - the kind that rarely occurs - I am hiding in the rafters, planning my personal flight of fancy after my chosen ‘bitch’.

I would like to, on a final note, clear some possible misconceptions up. I am not a big fan of the FPS genre, and do not claim to be. I normally stick to those that get a 90+ review rating on the majority of credible sites. I don’t dabble with said genre very often, and my time is spent burrowed in the majority of other game types out there. I would also, normally, consider myself quite average at shooters, yet in this endeavour, in this specified undertaking, I manage to hold my own, and do well at something I am otherwise pretty mediocre at. I have a reasonable competence in this one particular game of a great many, and the cries of outrage when a match winning kill shows a guy getting knifed in the face works to provide such a superb level of satisfaction, I cannot put it into words.   read

8:58 PM on 12.11.2009

Love/Hate: The Legend of Dragoon

The Legend of Dragoon was Sony’s big Playstation One RPG. It was their answer to the likes of Final Fantasy 7 and Vagrant Story, yet it never garnered anywhere near the appreciation or respect as those other games. It was released as a last bastion of role-playing for the first PS, a last RPG in the closing years before the PS2, and a final stab of the knife before the oncoming next generation. The game's reception had it seen as highly generic, and one that did not have the required experimentation to hook players in, yet that is not where my love/hate for this game lies. My love lies in all that it accomplished as an underrated game, combined with the fact it's story showed some generic, yet intriquing potential. My hate? Its failure in such key areas of importance that it lost it’s capacity to be a reasonably revolutionary RPG.

One of the Legend of Dragoon’s greatest triumphs lay in its creative battle system. There is an accepted complaint about generic stories, generic gameplay, and generic ideas being re-used and recycled in the RPG genre, yet everyone seems to miss the steps this game took to move away from that. Don’t be mistaken, it kept the format of battle that was traditional then and still is today in numerous games, yet it added flair to it in such a way that it was fresh and constantly exciting. Battles moved away from being one-click exploits, and instead, required some accuracy and practised precision from the player. Every battle demanded attention and effort in applying and completing the actions of the precisely timed movements you had to perform, while also needing you to be prepared for the inevitable changes to that system that the enemy provided in their simple, but effective counterattacks. It was an innovative, yet simple system, in a game that was released nearly a decade ago, yet it received no praise, instead being called out as too difficult to master and frustrating. There is some merit, and some truth to that idea, as it was most definitely difficult to grasp some of the games manoeuvres, but for me that simply added to what made it great, the fact that you needed to work at developing some of the operations if you wanted to improve your effectiveness in battle.

The game was, however, held back by a number of its failings. It was, without a doubt, pretty badly translated, but regardless, I personally didn’t care much about the ins and out’s of the transcription, perhaps something that allowed me to enjoy it better. The clichéd story contained some moments of genuine interest, but the points supposed to make you feel emotionally pained by the story events were turned into laughable mistranslations.

"You’d make good wife"...

...I mean, really?

The game’s plot was also rather weak and it proved to be a pretty prominent aspect in restraining it's potential, yet the moments of inspiration, those sparks of light amidst an otherwise bleak setting, are what drove me to keep playing. The characters were colour-coded, pretty bluntly colour-coded, but it was still enjoyable to experience their stories, as they did differ slightly from the general character sterotypes, and had some points of captivating personality trait. Some characters showed promise in their back stories, and that, along with some relevant points that were left to the imagination in place of being outright explained, is part of what kept me interested in some of the story’s twists and turns.

I enjoyed the Legend of Dragoon, not because of its sometimes comical failings and quirks, but because it genuinely showed some fresh innovation that was sadly never fully developed. It was brave enough to go against the tide, testing new ideas and gameplay systems in a sea of dreary repetition, but that system was not enough to rescue it from the pit of petulant peeves that it had spawned around its stereotypical story, characters, and horrible translation, at points when it needed the player to be experiencing emotional turmoil the most.

The Legend of Dragoon is more of a guilty pleasure than a love/hate game. Perhaps it was the simple, yet enjoyable characters that made me appreciate it. Maybe it was the facile, yet intriguing story that made me invest over 80 hours of my time. It may have just been the big, shiny things (I was pretty young back then). Whatever it was, it definitely left an impression, and a good one at that, despite all its quirks and kinks.   read

1:24 PM on 11.26.2009


I havn't posted anything here in ages, so here's some art. The following are two pieces I did of Ironman and Batman when I was experimenting with Photoshop way back. I havn't learned much more about it since, so hints and tips would be very much appreciated.

Yeh, Gradients is all I got ;D. Also, this was based off one of the poster's for the film.

Original design influenced by some of the comics.

I decided to draw Ironman on the spur of the moment to try some new things out, so superheroes seemed like the way to go. Hope you enjoy the pictures.   read

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