In the last few days, I've spent a lot of time with two games, System Shock 2 and Dead Space 3. The former recently came out on Good Old Games, and I highly recommend it- the hype is well deserved-but what caught me by surprise is how well it holds up. So much so that playing Dead Space is... well, disappointing.
I'm a big fan of Visceral's Survival Horror/ Action franchise. One of the many noted flaws this time around was that the game isn't very scary. Not that you could call the first game terrifying, but you could cut the tension with a knife. The second has it's moments as well, but the third is rather calm in comparison. It mostly me dodge rolling away from hits and sitting in a corner with an overpowered weapon, just chewing away at limbs. Maybe it was the overall design philosophy, or trying to reach new markets? Either way, I don't know what happened along the way to making DS3, but I wish it didn't happen.
It's when I opened up System Shock for the very first time did I realize how far Dead Space had fallen.
Waking up a few minutes in, you're alone with nothing but a strange transmission telling you to move it, before you get sucked into the voids of space. You search around for something to break the scrap blocking your way, finding a bloody wrench next to a corpse...
System Shock 2 came out in 1999, and my spine is still tingly from a few hours ago.
So how can a game with terrible textures, a sweet trance soundtrack, and odd controls still freak me out? And how can Dead Space, in it's piles delicious eviscerated Nechromorphs lull me to sleep? Dead Space is a product now.
We should just turn around.
So I know that video games are products usually meant to be sold. They're products of entertainment. But that doesn't mean they don't have heart. That's certainly an abstract idea: a group of people putting their life's blood into developing a game not many people played, possibly under the notion that it wouldn't sell too well in the first place.
I think it's why we have Bioshock. Irrational created it with the same ideas as SS2, the same soul. Even the plot is nearly identical. And for whatever reason, Bioshock is just as tense as it's predecessor...because it was made with love.
I know Visceral wanted Dead Space to work. No developer wants their game to fail, but I think it was doomed from the start if they didn't put everything they had into it. You're coming into the third game, nearing the end of Isaac's harrowing journey, jumping off into unknown waters. Where do you go from there? I'm sure it was intimidating. Maybe so much that they didn't even jump. They instead, backed away.
I don't know how games are made, but I like to think I'm savvy enough to "feel" games when I play them. To connect to those many people who created the thing on my monitor. Atmosphere builds when I know I'm falling right into the hands of those people, and it's an amazing feeling.
I never feel that when playing Dead Space 3. It's cold, just like the space Isaac flies in, collecting 3 ship parts to elongate the game. I wonder if a new project slammed itself down on Visceral's desk? One that took away the attention of their latest game. Maybe it was EA with a bullwhip. I don't know. But for now, I think I'll keep searching for a way out on the Van Braun.
I'm a man of integrity. If I am given a mission, job, or quest, I do what I can to complete the objective.
My mission as of PAX East 2011 was to adopt Krow's delicious avatar. Here's how it all went down:
Krow, and the brothers Bacon left for the airport around 2:30 in the AM. We were tired, but pumped full of giddy excitement- we were headed to PAX. We traveled land, sea, and air to get to Boston from Louisiana, but we made it. Along the way we met interesting folk such as...
A group of sexy female Snorlax, and their boyfriends.
A Poke-Gym leader who kicked all of our asses.
...And Roco Botte from Mega64. Everyone was confused as to why I wanted them to hold Krow, but they complied.
We met a lot of other folks who signed him, such as the entirety of bands that visited PAX. Also...
Because Kool Kids Love Krow and Kurtz.
So much happened, our journey with Destructoid, the Omegathon, drunken stupor's in my hotel room and walking around in our boxers in the lobby. I wouldn't have been half the man I was without Krow though. I lived through him, and it gave me confidence ten fold.
I want to thank all the Dtoiders there who showed me a good time, and showed me that this Community is, hands down, the greatest I've ever known.
This is my first, and possibly last, attempt at Cosplay. This is Deadly Premonition’s Francis York Morgan. I did a lot of research on other cosplayers, what they wore, and how prominent their scar was. What I figured out is most sported FYM’s first suit-recognizable, and pretty easy to do…so I wanted to do something else.
FYM has a wardrobe full of various suits. Some appropriate, others…not so much. I went with his “Crimson” suit (pictured here), and ‘Workaholic” (pictures coming later). The hardest part of Crimson came to three things: The Coat, the Tie, and the Haircut. Goodwill was a good source for coats, but finding the red one took me a couple tries. The tie took me a few weeks until I was satisfied with the color and design, and the cut was done by an old barber confused as to why I’d want a scar of a “Movie Star” in my head.
I’ll have to test the water, as I’m headed to PAX East in a few days. If I get recognized, my job was a success, and maybe I'll do cosplay again.
This morning, I received a knock at the door, and this appeared:
I asked it what it was doing here, when it cracked open and revealed it's chewy caramel center:
It's been a while, but when Destructoid was doing their amazing live stream for charity, I decided it was definitely worth helping out. I didn't think I was going to get paid back in return, but hey, I'm not complaining!
Here's a closer look at what was in the box:
Combat Dragons, AKA tiny dragon figure that will now guard my shit while I'm away.
Fantasy Petz: For all your three years and above sex-capades? I'm not entirely sure what I can do with this one, but I'm sper thankful nonetheless.
Jake Gyllenhaal would be proud.
Now, I don't own a Wii, but that's ok. You see, for every one of myself that doesn't own one, about three trillion people down the block do. Friends and family could use something that isn't Wii Sports.
Now this hulking beauty is the Apex of the swag pack. Why? Not because I love tanks or boardgames (hard to tell from the cover, but indeed, it is a very large and somewhat complex board game), but because this is the perfect excuse for me to visit my pops, who happens to have actually driven tanks at some point in his life. I appreciate this one a lot.
Not only did I get swag, but also clothes on my back, which is cool, since I don't own any.
Thank you Dtoid for letting me have a little extra cheer this New Years. As I'm getting shit-faced on my first post 21 Holidays, I'll be thinking about all the editors and friends I've had the chance to talk to, and hopefully will see come PAX East 2011. Be good my little babies! Happy New Year.
I've been having nightmares lately. Terrible dreams, unforgettable dreams. Dreams where I've had to plant berry trees in order to use the berries to dye my lovely Capri's, and matching sweater. Flying horses offer me freedom, but only in exchange for the brushing of their golden, sparkly manes. I'm beaten nightly by my mistress. Beaten to a bloody pulp, in the hopes that she might give me horseshoes. So, you know, I can buy that cute fairy bookshelf for my cottage!
This is hell, and it's name is Bella Sara. Will you come and suffer with me?
The history of Bella goes back to the year of our Fairy Lord, 2006. In the darkest corners of some Bazaar in Scandinavia, some dark wizard summoned the beasts, knowing their potential to be the girly equivalent of Pokemon and Magic: The Gathering.To his delight, they succeeded in hypnotizing young gypsy girls into collecting cards, emblazoned with pictures of horses. The dark engine grew larger, spreading it's curse overseas, into our very shores. It had grown from simple games, to a virus on the internet, festering like maggots in this old batch of dog food I had to clean up one time. Yucky. It's here that the dreams began. It's here that I had to face my fears, and enter "The Magical World of Horses". Also, talking otters.
When I arrived, there seemed to be nothing but tutorials covering every aspect of ones browser based life: How to eat, how to sleep, how to dress the way they wanted you to, how to care for your God damned horses. I could feel my soul being sucked out of my being, but I had to pull through. There could possibly be cool mini-games to play!
Sweet Mother of Mary, the mini-games. In one, I had to be a Pegasus, catching the Rainbow Daisies off of clouds in the sky. In another, I wield a magical bubble wand and capture the lesser wild life to entertain the Devils. In Sara's world, lady bugs are maggots. Butterfly's are the dirt in which the bugs crawl.
Just then, when I thought I wouldn't get out, stuck in my delusions of star gems and the cold sidearm deep in my mouth, something happened. The game was incomplete. The stores were all closed, and I could not buy that sexy ass skirt I wanted to match my Barret they had given me at the start (maybe a custom similar to Hawaii? I'm not so sure it's that easy. I think they may be tracking devices). The game slowed to a crawl, and finally, it imploded. I was unable to continue.
It's been 20 years, and sometimes when I let my guard down, I can hear it calling me.
In honor of Lv99Ron, I've decided to write a blog about my own near death experience. It wasn't nearly as painful or tragic, and not nearly as happy, but I figure why not share, and empathize?
My Hand Was Numb by SoBS
My hand was numb again last night. I was looking through the tinted windows of my friend’s car, while all the blurry lights were coming around like stars. I was thinking about the time I was hospitalized after passing out in one of my high school classes.
It all started with my right hand. I was writing equations, which is always a challenge, but that day was something different. My actions felt delayed, as if my hand was receiving signals far too late for its own good. The hand was turning into white noise, so I had to stop. I began to wonder- wonder if any one was looking at me, or if my teacher was eying my now lazy hand.
I was beginning to grow paranoid. My hand wouldn't feel anymore. It was gone. Not only had my hand died, but blood started to rush to my temples. The pain was hard to bear, and a loss of breath was starting to creep up. The only thing I could do was raise my left hand.
"Yes? Why are you interrupting the class?"
"I have t% ^% ^&*side"
Not only had my hand flopped down on the table like a dying fish, but the right side of my mouth went numb as well. "What the hell was going on?"
She somehow understood, and I pushed myself toward the outside door.
Students were having lunch at the time, so I must have looked pretty strange. I was gasping for air, and as I was, I knelt down on the ground. My vision was about to leave me too.
"Hey, what's up? Are you ok?"
I looked up and saw outlines of two small blonde girls. I don't really think they cared as to the status of my body, but I am one to please.
"I'm fine. I just wanted some fresh air...get out of *&^*&(& *&lass.." My mouth was still numb.
"Oh..OK! Hope you feel better."
"Thanks kid. I hope I do to"
I guess hoping doesn't do too much. I got worse. It wasn't until the bell rang did I wander back inside. I don't believe my teacher knew I was still back there...not her fault though, I could have sworn that I had faded out of existence for a moment.
"I think you need to call the office."
She didn't say much. Her mouth just kind of dropped, her eyes stared. I must have been a ghost. She called the office, and I was asked to sit on a stool. I don't believe sitting is a hard task, but when your body becomes transparent, you begin to worry about falling through chairs.
The next thing I knew, suits starting marching through the door. It was the principal and one of the assistant principals. The three figures, which now seemed like trees, started to ask me questions.
"What’s your name? Address? Number? Parents name!? What day is it? Can you hear us?"
I could hear them, but I couldn't respond. The lights were on, but no one was home. I recall one of them picked up a walkie talkie out of thin air.
"Would someone up there call the ambulance?"
They had their own ambulance? I guess when you’re the only high school around for miles, you have some superiority...or maybe I was just fading out. It all went down hill from there. The responders came and tried pricking me with needles. When your feeling as if you’re about to die, the last thing you wish to hear is this:
" We can't find his vessels. We're going to have to take him to the hospital. His blood pressure is low. You'll be alright, kid."
1-2-3. I was laying on the rolling table, and on my way to the big house. Or so I thought. They pricked me about four times before they got some sort of fluid out of me. I should have suggested the look around my ears. I was cracking jokes that were as weak as I was. The small talk on the way to the hospital is the best conversation in existence. They stuck air up my nose, and as soon as they did, my eyes got real heavy.
When I got to the hospital, my demon of a stepmother was there. She just so happened to be working there at the time. She directed the men to put me close to the ER waiting table. Honestly, I didn't know where I was, nor cared. Apathy for the ghost boy.
I'm not sure what went on for the last few hours of the day. I took some pills that were supposed to calm my ailment, but I only started to throw up. It seemed as if it were forcing itself out of me. There was no need for waste in my translucent body! I did something, however, that seemed nearly impossible- I grabbed my stepmothers hand. I didn't look in her eyes, for I had a blue scrub to look at. I would never look into her eyes. That would mean to lose a battle I was fighting with her. It was business.
After a while, some nurses rushed me to a room what was particularly small. Some huge mechanical monster was lying next to me. I was sure that my step mother had set me up to my death, but nothing happened. My father came, which was the sign of all of this coming to an end, but it didn't end for another hour. Or maybe days. Months. I was so out of time and place. It could have been years. Another nurse came to give me a shot. It was hot liquid that crawled through my entire body. I was human again.
When I came to, my father pointed me to a wheelchair. He's a smart man. He strolled me over to the bathroom, after I mumbled something about it. I went in. I stared down into the wet murkiness. I came back out. My father had to get our truck, so I was just sitting at the entrance in the wheelchair. I felt human again, but any attempt to prove it was in vain. I had to ride home that night on bumpy roads and apathetic clouds.
To all those who know me, you should know the rest. I was visited by three, though they reminded me of the spirits of Christmas more then anything at the time. I didn't get up for who knows how long. There was no liquid in me. I was a man, but a mummy. I thank the spirits for bringing me Popsicles.
I don't know what I suffered from. And I don't care to know. I made it through in one piece. But from time to time, my hand will go numb, and I'll remember every possible detail that I can of that day. That's when the numbness disappears and I'm left with a story like this.