(no subject)

do you believe in save and reload?

i don't, because keith died and i don't get why i wouldn't reload after that. maybe there was nothing I could have done to stop it. maybe i tried everything but couldn't do enough because causality must be maintained. maybe i saved late at night and it was too late to change anything. maybe i never prayed for his safety. because maybe that's what prayer is, letting the player in charge know what you want to happen so they can steer you in the right direction.

fuck that, fuck save and reload. time is a line, and possibilities are points that change the vector. but it's just a line. 

you know you wouldn't know, though.

you wouldn't know how many times you've lived this day before. how many runs did it take to get it exactly this believable? how many failures did it take to get everything exactly right so you can just move on and live another day without chaos completely fucking you?

did you learn anything today? or is every day the same?


(no subject)

I think I will extrapolate on my recent facebook update. Seems like the place to do it.

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World the Game, available on xbox live arcade and ps3, is a really great game. As I'm playing through on supreme master difficulty it has stayed challenging and offered a great learning curve. It's simple, and formulaic, but the formula is one that is rarely tapped and so it doesn't seem old. And it plays really well.

The production is top-notch and old school. The music is seriously bumpin' 8-bit, but with bass. The characters are fun and the wit of the license shines through (after all the story plays out like a video game anyways). Progress is satisfying. Man. Just a great game.

I realize my tastes and criticisms have been leaning away from the story-heavy, interactive movie type games which are more prevalent. As soon as we get some VR/'ractive interface I imagine there'll be a schism between the holodeck and what actually constitutes video gaming. I'm not saying narrative games aren't games or that they're worse games than more basic ones. The best games are the best games because they have some emotional value, which is usually from a good story or narrative. But I've been playing a lot of castlevania HD (repetitive boss-grinding for rare items) and some scott pilgrim (simple 2D beat-em-up) which don't need friggin' 5-to-15-minute cut scenes to get me started. As a meandering example I downloaded the Costume Quest demo. Reads like I'd enjoy playing it but there's too much exposition. I'm much more a fan of the "you have amnesia." start that lets you figure out things as you go along.

My original notes for 2 1/2 hours, now nearly 15 years old, didn't really focus on the story-telling aspect besides the repetition. You make your own story by playing the game how you want, setting your own goals. I'm not a huge fan of pure sandboxes but it was an interesting concept; your first play-through, you meet a bunch of characters. now you know who they are, maybe where they'll go next, and you can confront them with that knowledge in a different way. It's very Groundhog Day. But I'm not sure the media is right for it anymore. Games are more fun when they're games.

Also been pondering the whole 'photon' thing. obviously photons are a thing, but are they actually particles? is anything actually a particle? i kind of see them as a measurement of where the energy transfer occurs. your photon detector gets hit by some light, the energy transfer happens, and ding. it can't happen somewhere else (there's only so much energy after all), so it looks like a photon hit "right there". particle trails in an accelerator, same thing. it transferred here, then here, then here, etc. obviously things have mass but maybe that's just the universe's expansion canceling out the expansion of the 'particle'. i dunno i'm not a scientist. but i'd be ok if the atoms in my body were really just energy locked together by the propagation of the universe through time. well, enough crazy talk.

Viola has been sleeping for quite a while now. It's good, she needed a nap, but it always weirds me out a bit when she goes down for so long. I worry about her (even though she's perfectly capable of surviving a nap) but if I go in to check on her she'll wake up (cranky?). Said it before and I'll say it again: Parenthood is strange.

There she goes.


(no subject)

Since my last post was about McRib, I figure I should follow it up with some commentary. I used to like McRibs, but it appears that whatever cost-cutting measure McDonald's discovered to re-release them for two bucks each also meant they are no longer delicious. Changing times.

My baby is now a year old. I'm something like forty. She is adorable. I am not.

(no subject)

I ate McDonalds for lunch today (McRib)... and it filled me with some sort of chemical despair. An hour afterward, I began feeling terribly sad for no reason. Really weird. I guess i'll stay away from those.


I bought a standard shitload of D&D miniatures lately. I don't know why. Oh man.

I recently took part in a play-by-forum which worked quite well and was a lot of fun. The DM took screen shots of the battle map and everyone posted their turns. I am thinking of doing something similar, and could use a few interested people. I tried, once, to do a sort-of-D&D thing on line but I hadn't really figured out how it would work. Using a forum handles it quite well, though if I knew a tiny bit of php and had my own web space i'm sure you could do one with a bit more interaction (since it'd be great for players to move their own figures and etc). A google wave might also work well, but there's not a "google drawing" widget which would be perfect. In fact using a plain ol' google doc could be even better, except that there's no way to get it to remind you when there's an update.


Got a webcam. Don't know what to do with it.(44)

Designed a game. Haven't uploaded the rules yet to BGG, so I feel conspicuous and pretentious with the "Game Designer" badge on my avatar.(137)

Drinkin' coffee.(16)

Civ Revolution is actually pretty great; it distills Civ into a raw spirit and chucks a lot of the painstaking parts.(117)

It would be very hard to break down mono Beefhoven tracks into their constituent parts in order to turn them into Rock Band tracks.(131)

What should my next game be called? Yes, I am asking.(53)

City of Heroes: Issue 18 and Going Rogue

I've had a chance to play a couple hours of City of Heroes lately, and the new issue (along with the new expansion, the second ever paid expansion for CoH) is really great. Tons of QoL (Quality of Life) issues have been taken care of and the game is really solid.

If you used to play and quit I'm not sure if you'd be into it, because it is still an MMO and it still feels the same. But it's better.

The expansion, Going Rogue, brings a couple things to the table that are cool. First there's a few new zones that encompass Praetoria, the capital city of an alternate (utopian) Earth ruled by a Lawful-Evil (or is he?!?) version of Statesman named Emperor Cole. Dissenters are rounded up by the PPD and disappeared. There's a resistance group, cleverly named the Resistance, which is devoted to thwarting Cole and exposing him for the tyrant that he is; and who, like the PPD and Cole's praetors, are also complete dickholes that usually believe the ends justify the means. So it's interesting, as the storylines play out far from the black-and-white, good-vs.-evil.

And play out they do. Throughout the storyline your character makes decisions that can alter their loyalties from Cole to the Resistance and possibly back again. Besides a couple pure shit find-the-outdoor-glowie missions (Pick Roses for Praetor White? /killself) the new arcs are all quite good, and enhanced by some of the new scripting tech like dialog trees for interacting with NPCs and choices that can affect what happens later in the mission. And there's enough content to keep you busy all the way up to level 20, when you'll choose whether to become a Hero or a Villain.

Cole *is* the bad guy, of course, and as any high level hero knows he has his sights on extending his grasp into Earth Prime. Praetorian characters who remain loyal to Emperor Cole become villains, Resistance fighters become heroes. So no longer are certain archetypes pinned to one side or the other: There can be hero Brutes and villainous Defenders.

It keeps getting better, because the other thing that Going Rogue did, by introducing the alignment system, is provide a way for characters that aren't Praetorian to switch sides, which creates some really good opportunities for getting a richer, more role-playing-ish experience, and adding a lot more mileage for your existing characters, on which I will elaborate.

The game now includes a "Tip" system. Upon defeating an enemy, occasionally you'll get a tip, which is a bit of story fluff that serves as an introduction to an Alignment mission. What is subtly fantastic about these tips is that they give you a choice, adding a bit of why your character is doing what they're doing. For example, you might beat a confession out of a 5th Column solider: Apparently they've got their hands on a dangerously powerful artifact. SO, do you go steal it and gain its power no matter how dangerous it is, or do you go destroy it to make sure no one (especially your enemies) can get it? The first is a more villainous choice (reaffirming your villainousness) and the second moves you towards possibly becoming a Rogue, which is a half-step towards becoming redeemed and being a hero. Once you become a Rogue, you can go into Paragon City and join heroic teams (and do hero task forces), but you're still a villain and can't get hero contacts until you give up villainy for good (well, at least until you switch back).

For heroes that slip toward darkness, the half-step is Vigilante, but the system works the same. The simplest thing, being able to choose the reasoning behind your motives, makes me feel a lot more invested in my character. Even though the system is just a shoe for a mechanical process that allows you to switch sides. It's really cool.

Also they made a lot of other subtle adjustments and additions to improve the game overall. I'm really impressed with Paragon Studios' commitment to making a better game that is not just a WoW clone. (because if that's what you want, just play WoW, right?)