"Nihil" is the pseudonym I use for writing / gaming on the internet. I came across Destructoid by searching for information on Way of the Samurai 3. Tubatic had the most comprehensive coverage on it I'd seen anywhere.
For that, and for leading me to this awesome community, I thank him.
I started gaming in kindergarten, when the most advanced piece of hardware I could get my hands on was a black plastic handle and an orange button attached to a brick. I used it to blow up little squares on a black and white television screen. A couple years later, I was molested by the girl next door after beating her copy of The Legend of Zelda. I have mixed feelings about the experience.
Unfortunately, over the years, my ability to maintain a passion for games has waned (as in being able to play through them start-to-finish). This is due to various reasons and issues that would be too emo to get into at this juncture. But even though my passion has waned, my interest in them has not, thanks in great deal to the extraordinary friends I've made during my stay here.
Gather 'round, chitlins. It's Uncle Nihil's Story Time, brought to you by Alabama Finger Blast.
"Alabama Finger Blast - For When You Want To Feel Like You've Been Touched, Deep South Style"
It's been since pretty much last year that I've gone at length about my gaming exploits and mindfarts. And I know that because I have not blogged about the HDTV I bought a little while before I got laid off last September.
Yes, I had lived in standard definition up until a year ago, and it sucked pretty hard sometimes. It's just another one of those things where being a stubborn old soul doesn't pay off. Trudging along with the shit you've had for years and years because it's been "good enough". Seeing all the new toys everyone's playing with, all the techno-junk that would make your life more convenient and fun, if what you were already doing warranted convenience at $59.99/mo. Shit that normally doesn't concern me in the least since I'm a grumpy shut-in.
I mean, sure, if I lived in an alternate reality where I made a lucrative wage, I'd likely still care about keeping up with the latest iFuckery, 'cause everyone and their grandma has one, and I'd have the cash to burn. But it's just the story of my life that I'm never wholly content with the range of entertainment media that I'm able to get my hands on. Always settling for "good enough".
Although Playstation 2 was certainly good enough a couple of gens ago - and Xbox 360 was good enough at the beginning of the cycle after that - I've constantly had a feeling of missing out on more that's out there. There are other experiences to discover and appreciate, many of them feeling new and invigorating in their own unique right. Other worlds that I may never have the chance to get lost in and incorporate into my own worldview, for whatever reason, be it low income or that I just missed the train... But whatevs. I think I can manage without ever playing Monkey Island or Shenmue. RapeLay is still an absolute must, though.
However, it wasn't until a few years ago that a significant amount of video games were making it glaringly clear: "good enough" wasn't cutting it anymore, even by console standards. PC is one thing - that's always been a platform in constant flux. Every year, the next big game needing something stronger than what you have, so you get left behind in that way if you don't have the ability to keep up. But the solace in consoles was such that you didn't need to replace anything in order to play a new game effectively. So when I began to notice that I was having a hard time reading text in even XBLA games, I knew I was in for some pain down the road.
In this first hand way, of experiencing the world around me moving forward, I felt Hi-Definition gradually overtaking Standard Definition, making itself the new standard; the same way that DVD replaced VHS. It feels more profound now than when I was a kid, when DVDs became standard. I guess mainly because I wasn't the one that had to buy the DVD player.
So yeah. After being fed up with adding even more to an already impressive backlog, thanks in large part to being unable to fucking READ my fucking games, I went to window shop at Best Buy, and bought an Insignia 28" 720p LED TV, on impulse. I did a little bit of research and comparing, but I mostly didn't care what it was, so long as I could read text on the goddamn screen again.
In hindsight, I should've put a bit more thought into it, because there's little quirks with this model that irritate me to no end. I can't customize the screen color the way I want to. If there's no sound, it takes a second and a half to actually work when sound starts. So that's a second and a half of music or sound effect that I'm missing or totally unaware happened because I didn't get to hear it at all. I don't know if that's a thing with all LED TVs or just this model. Honestly don't really care to go round trying to find out now, 'cause what's done is done, I can't take it back.
But for the most part, it's doing what I bought it for. Finally using the HDMI, after years of blissful neglect, I can finally play all the games that I stopped playing because I couldn't read what the fuck was going on. And the difference between it and my old television is super evident. I had no idea XCOM EU looked as cool as it did until I played it on the new tv. Sooo many little awesome details. Other games just look way more crisp, if they were made for hi-def anyway.
All in all, I'm glad I made the technological jump, at least in one area. I'm guessing the next thing would be to get a cell phone with a touch screen and bigger keypad. It's not that I don't want to be caught up. I just don't want to get swept in the minutia of needing the latest thing nao or I'm gonna miss out "oh em gee r they updating their status hashtag crab legs!" I just want what's necessary for me to stay in touch. And if that means eventually getting twitter on my phone, then fuck it.
Are you of this world, or are you in it? Keep up or get left behind? Both have their merits and drawbacks.
It's been 2 years since the last one, and getting close to a year since my reintroduction post. So thanks to Jonny B, here you go, internet. See the exposed, rusting gears and shoddy wiring that is my fucking brain. Be amused. Be afraid. Be a dear and fetch me a hot glue gun to shove up my giant goddamn nose.
1/ Echoing the "I'm always right/gender roles" thing: There are a lot of things I hated about the values instilled by archaic gender/racial stereotypes. Granted, in days of yore I took pride in winning fights against bullies, getting girls numbers, and never blacking out while drinking. The kind of MAN shit that other males look up to you for, and give you a hell of a confidence/self-esteem boost.
But again, that was learnedbehavior. That's not the whole story of me. And the typical response I'd get from others when I revealed more of myself, was an affirming or lambasting "You're weird!" See, I didn't choose to become an outsider. And by most counts, I wasn't. But when you hear that "you weirdo" shit over and over again, you start to feel like one regardless. Like your opinion doesn't count or is the wrong one. Or you're right, and everyone else is wrong. The pressure to either become one of "them" or walk my own path was overwhelming at times...
Maybe I should like basketball. Everyone always seems so upset when I tell them I don't. Like it's so fucking unheard of for a black guy to not love basketball.
Maybe I should want to fuck all the conventionally attractive girls. Because I'm either a pussy or gay for not having an animalistic libido. Those are apparently the ONLY reasons I'd ever not wanna bang a hot chick. Totally. No, I get it.
Maybe I should watch reality television... Y'know what? FUCK YOU.
I'd apologize, but really, that would be disingenuous. If I'm to keep what little sanity I have left over from living in a half-broken home, I can't care about your fucking opinion if it's still at a high school level of non-acceptance. I just can't. Find a cool black friend that you can show off to people so they can see how fucking hip you are elsewhere. You goddamned sheep.
2/ I still get called out for using big words, while at jobs where most of my coworkers barely speak engish, much less have a penchant for verbosity. It's not like I'm fucking trying, it just comes out like that sometimes! On the flip-side, sometimes I fumble over my sentences (when my brain wants to move faster than my mouth) and can't carry a convo to save my damn life. But that's the nature of dealing with anxiety and a shitty memory. As I said last time, I can't keep all that jargon in my head at all times. Creating layman definitions helps a lot, e.g. ostensibly means "pretty much". Arbitrary means "random bullshit". Those aren't too assholey to say out loud, are they?
It also hurts that I'd still like to learn Latin. Like old school latin, fuckin Illuminati style.
3/ I hope on moving to Seattle by the end of the year. I say "hope" and not "plan" 'cause there is no real plan yet. The closest to that is my desire to ceremoniously leave southern california behind by getting rid of all my loans and debts I started here, then set aside a nice chunk of savings for the ordeal, and acquire a transferable and tolerable gen. labor job... and that's about it.
Idk how I'd adjust out of my current hermit lifestyle, and give a shit about exploring a new city again. I've kind of dug myself in over this past winter, again, and suffice to say it's been quite a fight trying to get out. But the hope is that since I'd be physically closer to friends, leaving the house (and life in general) will feel less and less like voluntarily ripping duct tape off my scrotum.
4/ I don't like going to the movies alone anymore. I used to be a hardcore film buff; up to date with an opinion on everything current and working my way through the all the classics. Theater-hopped like there was no tomorrow, staying for the credits to absorb cast/crew names like a sponge. Watched every dvd extra and listened to every commentary track. Bought I don't know how many original soundtracks. I used to pride myself on having all that knowledge and trivia in my head, and being able to whip it out on a moment's notice.
But thanks to certain events that put my dysthymia into overdrive, that passion dried out over the years, not unlike my attitude towards gaming. I don't get the same level of enjoyment out of it as I did before, so it does not feel like there's a point to it anymore. Not unless I can share the experience - the memory - with a friend, and that prospect is way more fulfilling than anything a movie by itself can make me feel these days. That's the only way I think it'll feel special to me again. Apart from that, anything new I watch is simply an entertaining distraction, waiting to be mostly discarded. So I usually don't bother. Although... There is still one specific thing I care about from those days...
5/ I fucking love epic action scores. Whether its orchestral or electronic, if the composer understands when and how to hit those notes using the right sounds, and put a big emotional sweep somewhere in there, it literally gives me shivers, every goddamn time. I covered my love of this kind of music in gaming, and nothing has changed there either. Youtube has been a constant blessing for finding this stuff, and it's my go-to for shit playing on loop when I websurf. I appreciate great music in all of its forms (except country), but nothing does it for me quite like shit by Two Steps From Hell, Future World Music, Audiomachine, or the myriad of award-winning composers you've heard of if you're remotely a fan of movie scores.
Akin to film, video games, and like the few books I've finished, when done right it transports me to a fantastical place that I never want to leave...
6/ I've made a bet with myself to get the Aperature Science logo tattooed around my right shoulder after beating the Portal games; an outline after beating the first, and filled in when I finish the second.
This is another thing that stems back from when I really cared and was somewhat idealistic. I played Portal on The Orange Box, before it became a big deal to every nerd and their keffiyeh-wearing dog. I knew it was something special, despite it feeling like half a game, but I never thought it would take off in popularity like it did. Then again, I wasn't terribly familiar with Valve because I never played Half Life or anything else by them at the time, so in hindsight I realize that had a lot to do with it feeling so unexpected.
But here's the rub: I'm not great at puzzles. Not bad, just not great, since it takes me a bit longer to figure out shit that isn't glaringly easy to solve. So by the time I'd ran into the first test that really had me burning brain cells, I was already distracted by another game - most likely Mass Effect. Since then, I've tried restarting it maybe a dozen times and I never get any further. It's been a perpetual sore spot, more than any other game that I left unfinished, that I've never been able to just sit down and fuck that game in the ass, but I'm going to fucking do it. Sometime, somehow, I'm gonna shove my harpoon in that white whale's blow-hole.
When the boom hit, it was virtually impossible to avoid plot spoilers and memes. Even though I hadn't beaten it, I understood even from what chunk I'd played why it was lauded and I believed, still believe, it deserved every once of it. It's an epitome of artistic accomplishment, using minimalistic narratives and innovative gameplay. And it may be stupid, but I take pride in the fact that I understood that before it rightfully became a (sub)cultural phenomenon and spawned a more-than-worthy sequel.
7/ Going back to movies, my ten favorite are: Bringing Out The Dead, Dark City, Brick, Hellraiser, The Way of the Gun, SLC Punk, The Dark Knight, Cube, Crank, and Ninja Scroll.
In that order.
8/ I hope to play a decent, or even good game of Arkham Horror with other Dtoiders. I've played a tabletop game of this kind a maximum of once in my entire life (D&D 3.5), and it was an enjoyable experience. But from what I've read of the rules for Arkham Horror, that shit sounds way up my alley.
I'm known in the forums' Werewolf threads for hosting games based on Lovecraftian mythos. I think it's safe to say that most of the stories I've completed reading in recent years are from HP Lovecraft - yet another thing you can go ahead and call me weird for. But dude had some fucking ingenious ideas, and exploring the philosophy of horror from his lens has been intriguing, to say the least. The nature of insanity is kind of a big deal to me, as you will read in a minute...
9/ I self-medicate using cannabis, and still on the fence how to feel about it. The concept used to sound ridiculous to me. All I knew or cared to know before my first nervous breakdown was that you used it to get faded at kickbacks, same as any other rec drug. But now I use it to keep from thinking about killing myself literally every other fucking minute. My sober brain naturally goes to that dark place when left undistracted, and it becomes a chore to interact with anybody face-to-face, because that's what's on my mind 24/7, along with all the other social anxieties that make waiting to die seem more viable than living.
It's just funny to me with the stigma around the whole stoner culture, which I could care less about (sorry Snoop fans), that it's being "recognized" as medicinal and relatively harmless on a mainstream level, even though it's still technically illegal. But whatever. I got tired of going from therapist to therapist, and pills are an even worse option, if you ask me. You're basically a guinea pig until they stumble upon the right pill and the right dosage of it. And even then, you'll likely still have to deal with side effects. Which you have to take another pill for. I didn't run the gauntlet long before figuring that one out.
Best way to say it is that weed makes things really simple: acquiring it, taking it, and reaping the benefits, so that I can do something productive with my time. Like writing this dumb blog, for instance.
Yes, instead of making me a lazy couch surfer like almost everyone thinks weed does, it actually helps me get off my ass and get shit done. Not necessarily while I'm high, since of course my motor skills go out the door before I do. But the clarity and focus I get afterward is unquestionable. I know that not everyone is comfortable with it, so I don't run around advocating legalization or whatever. It doesn't feel like my place to do that, to be honest. All I'll do is tell you how it works for me on a personal level.
Ultimately, the goal is to be healthy and stable without it when I finally get my life in a manageable spot, but I'm painfully aware that may not be possible. There is no cure for being fucked in the head this badly, unless you want to become an entirely different person than who you were. At this point though, after what I've been through, after the choices I've made... attempting to do that would be a disservice. A big part of why I am the way I am, is due to hostile reactions to my presence in this world. If I were to forget all of that, I wouldn't be as smart as I am now. And knowledge is a great weapon for self-defense and survival.
10/ You can go now. Seriously. I'm done. I can't think of anything else worth telling you about. I mean, I could but I've spent enough time on this, and I kind of need to find a new job before the end of the month, so that's what I'll be spending a lot of energy on if I'm not around in the coming days. Because as you know, shit's hard out here for a pimp... Or something.
<p>I smell like doody. Also known as my legit Xbox 360 Titanfall Review.
I'm really not a fanboy or hater at heart, just jaded as shit when it comes to the industry. So I'm not surprised at all, with this coming from EA, that there's literally nothing more to it than was advertised: online-only COD with jump-jet parkour and mechs, and upcoming DLC with likely nothing more than new maps. No way to aesthetically customize anything; just loadouts. The campaign mode is so laughably bare-boned, I don't know why they even bothered. There's no real immersion for what could've been a fucking GOTY-worthy universe. But, to the gameplay's credit, that's pretty much it's one big fault, except for the persistent and noticeable graphical glitches. I once watched a replay of myself getting kicked out of the tallest tower on the map, and landing flat on my face in mid-air only a few feet away. Mmmkay? Not perfect, but not game breaking stuff. Connectivity to matches has been very stable for the most part. Only occasional disconnects and the servers being down long enough to walk away and come back maybe an hour later.
Playing as a pilot feels like the meat of the game, but titans also play a major role, depending on how coordinated or experienced your team is. The balance certainly shifts when one team has more titans on the field than the other, or you're working with noobs that don't know how to out-maneuver one. I haven't used the titans enough to nail down how to play them effectively in certain maps and against other titans, besides using the quad-launcher and getting in close enough to eject-nuke. The titans are fun to use, but I guess my style of play is more suited to running and jumping around like a crazy fucker. Depending on how much cover I have, I'm much more effective at taking down titans as a pilot than using my own mech. It's also more satisfying. Not seeing a lot of people make use of wallhanging, which is fun and also satisfying to get kills from; puts a neat spin on camping, instead of using rooftops or windows. At this point I'm pretty sure, based on the variety of maps, your playstyle is meant to change accordingly, which would take a bit to get used to, but I ultimately think it's for the best that it's random and players can't pick the same shit over and over, unless they just play the campaign.
Others mentioned it before, but the option to get rid of grunts and specters would be great. They're fine for making the matches seem bigger than they are, and would be great for an epic MOBA mode. But it's annoying as shit confusing them for other players, when the real player is elsewhere and caps me because I was distracted, despite checking the radar. Combat between players on it's own has the potential to get pretty deep, with the way you can customize your loadout slots when you've unlocked all the stuff at level 50. You can change your super stealth or run-n-gun loadouts after dying, if one or the other isn't quite working out. After fucking around with the burn cards for a bit, I think they're a very cool feature to have. They aren't op since you can only use one and it's gone for good upon death, even if you didn't get to really use it while it was active. I like that the cards you're awarded after each match, when you complete challenges, are meant to supplement your playstyle, instead of it being completely random (*cough*fuck Payday 2*cough*). So if you get a few kills with a certain weapon, you get the card that boosts its damage and cards for other weapons of that class type. If you're like me and like fucking up titans on foot, you get cards that amp up your anti-titan weapons, and cards that give you more XP and lower your titan's build time when you do what you do. Using abilities (cloak, stim, radar pulse) often will net you cards that either prolong its effect or make it permanent until death. Wallrunning/hanging/jumping gives you faster movement and stim cards.
I'd like to see more cards for titans besides lower build time, though, especially since you can call down your titan whenever you want, when it's ready, and after dying you can use it in tandem with burn cards you brought into the match. Though those would likely have to be the most rare cards, requiring completion of harder challenges to get, since they'd likely be op as fuck, but fun as hell to use. Stuff like causing a big explosion when it falls or a one-and-done EMP card that stuns or temporarily shuts down another titan. I have a feeling those will come with later installments, though. Along those lines, more suggestions would include (which should've been included in the first place) a single player or campaign mode that, get this, IS NOT HALF-ASSED. Why do I feel like that's asking for too much already? But like I mentioned before, a fully functional and balanced DOTA mode would take this to a higher level, and make that pretty irrelevant. I'm really hoping that's in the pipeline somewhere. That's pretty much it at this point. It's not the hypest shit for next gen gaming, but it's a small step in the right direction. Barring the graphical glitches here and there, I don't blame them for holding back the 360 port if it meant the game playing as smooth as it does 95% of the time, and if it meant enough sales for the Xbone for them to justify putting any more money into this property, which will hopefully produce something more substantial than what this is. And to be totally frank, this is nothing more than a downloadable shooter, over-glorified by the money machine that is EA and MS, and lazy fucking reviewers that will give a ten to anything from a big publisher. Basically, if Titanfall lived up to the supposed 75-award-winning hype, then playing it should've felt like this from the get-go. Instead, you get a game that simply does what it says on the box well, minus anything particularly epic aside from it being very pretty to look at. It's fine. Still not worth 60 fucking dollars, imo.
A whole lot of people ask "Why?" when they should be asking "Why not?". Others ask "Why not?" when the answer is right in front of them or choose to ignore it. As with most things in daily life, I think a balance in asking both is key. The challenge therein may lie in figuring out when to ask which. The answer to that is simple: Ask both at the same time, every time.