Archive | Movie

..and then..

I had a plan, y’know. Figured I’d dust off a game I rather enjoy and put some hours on it. Distant Worlds is a personal favorite right behind Space Empires and I’m loathe to admit how much time I’ve given Space Empires.

But something happened in my week of vacation. I played a lot of Elder Scrolls Online. In fact I probably gave it 40 or so hours from Sunday to Wednesday. That being said it’s a good game that I’m nearing the endgame ideas, I’m not seeing compelling reasons to carry on but as I say this I’m also seeing blog posts from their dev team about future updates happening in May. I have one or two more videos planned out. Something now and something with the “Tada! You’re done” bits just to capstone the whole thing. Later, if I feel so inclined I might give you a 1-50 character run if only to give you a complete experience..

..right, something happened. I had stumbled on some ideas in my time alone, thinking, that I might like to spin up EVE Online again. A passing comment last night between myself and my old salvaging partner sparked that last step and I reactivated.

I’m not sure how deep I’ll go. I have this plethora of time now that I fill as whim finds me.

I happened through my living room as my roommate was firing up Odd Thomas (the movie). I stuck around and I was pleasantly entertained.

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Looper

I watched Looper over the most recent weekend.  I liked it.  I liked how it didn’t move at the speed I expected it to.  I liked how it was a movie about Time Travel even when they dance around the topic.

I can’t say much without spoiling the movie, of course.  I thought the acting was top notch.

We won’t put this in the same box as Primer as that movie is more of a thinking man’s movie and almost requires a chart to understand completely.  I certainly benefited from reviewing a timeline post-viewing.  Instead we’ll put this in with other movies that happen to be well-written dramas that happen to feature a weird thing that isn’t non-integral to the events in question.

When I find an example of another movie of this type, i’ll let you know.

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Unfairness

There’s been a trend of unfairly assessing movies recently based on their predecessor.  This isn’t just unfair, it’s downright unkind.

I recently watched Dredd, not willing to give in to the negative hype.  I will freely and openly admit I enjoyed the movie.

I’ve been and will continue to tell people that it’s very visual.  Video technology is one of those developments that mandates demonstration pieces.  If it weren’t for the violent nature of the movie, I would be recommending this to anyone with an HD television and blu-ray.  I half attempted to read a book I was studying for a later-that-night game I was running with some friends.  It was very apparent early on that this would take all my eyes and attention right from the intro credits where i’m made to watch a spray of water sparkling in the light.. slowly.  Wow.

I can’t objectively speak to the violence in the movie.  As a product of the 80’s, if it isn’t open-heart surgery on the Medical Channel, i’m not phased by it.  I don’t find the movie that horrible as I’ve seen many worse though there are some parts that might bother you if you find yourself bothered by blood, gore or the sickening splat sound of a falling body.

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How I Spent my Summer Vacation

I recently found myself with a bulk of vacation time and so escaped from work, turned off my email and stocked up on hot pockets. What follows is a rough accounting of my journeys through the gaming landscape and my occasional stops.

Kingdoms of Amalur: the Reckoning

I’m something in the order of 40 hours committed to KoA:R with an end in sight far down the road.  If I had to guess, I believe I’m another 10 or 20 hours shy of the end by the way I’m playing which is doing roughly 70% of the side quests that get offered to me before getting bored and moving the plot along.  So far, I’ve really enjoyed KoA:R and would definitely recommend it to my Fable-playing friends.  The combat mechanic gets a little frustrating at times, as I can’t dodge around enemy swings and often get ‘juggled’.

There’s a definite order to the quests and a progression they don’t illustrate very well.  I nearly skipped over an entire region of the game styled after some rocky badlands.  It was only by nature of my curiosity that I followed a side-quest through the mountains and into the arid countryside to discover this area.

It’s a large game, varied in colors and styles and easy to pickup and play.  I’ve enjoyed my time with it but by Wednesday evening I’d had just about enough for a bit.

EVE Online

I don’t play often, largely I keep my account active to maintain skill training so that when I do play I’ve cleared 33 day training humps.  I played a fair bit, 2 or 3 hours at a time through my break.  I made money, I lost money.  Tried my hand at marketing.

I found I’m only really good at PvE combat.  That is, I can fit a ship, shoot stuff and generally advise new players on skill progression and ship selection for what they’re looking for.

To date, I’ve lost every PvP encounter I’ve entered.

EVE is a Sandbox MMO, what you do is more a matter of imagination than anything else.  If you’re tired of the Theme Park MMO (of which World of Warcraft and many others are part) then you might give EVE a spin.  Drop me an email and I’ll send you an invite and can give you some rudimentary advice on where to start or what to look at.  There’s a lot of resources and frankly, much of it is rampant with biased opinion.  malformedfork (at) gmail

League of Legends

A friend of mine talked me into trying it out.  Free to Play, you’re offered a selection of Champions from various worlds each week and given the chance to throw down with other humans or against a limited AI.  By Limited, I mean you’ll wind up fighting Trundle Bot more often than you care to count.

A neat game with a built-in progression in the form of talent-like ‘Masteries’ and Runes.  Fights earn you points, points you spend on runes or permanently unlocking Champions.

The only downside to the game in general I found is that if you like say Lulu (this adorably random fae sorceress with her faerie companion) and want to play her all the time you can buy her either with points purchased from real money or with earned points.  But if you enter a match with another person who has Lulu and wants to use her, it’s first-come first serve and you’re likely out of luck.

The upside is that you can usually find a range of Champions that meet your play style or interests.  It does require some research both in-game and out.

I like the game and I’d recommend it to a few of my friends, but I’m hard-pressed to begin comparing it.  That’s the problem with cornerstone games.  You use them to describe other games, but how do you sum up quickly the game that forms the corner?  Try it, it’s free.  Also one of these premises where if you note me as your referrer then I get bonus points.  I never turn down bonus points.  EgoProvince is my handle in-game.

Portal 2

Went from “Haven’t played at all” to “Fully beat the multiplayer portion” inside of six or so hours.  Not terribly long, the puzzles tricky but not impossible in complexity.  A fun romp and fortunately if you want more there are some quality user-generated maps out there.  Not a game I’d recommend to everyone, as this game has the power to induce motion sickness.  It did to me the first time I watched.

Crimson Alliance

I picked this up last summer during XBox’s Summer of Arcade or there abouts.  A cheap little arcade excursion you buy access to the game through purchasing one of the class packs.  For 10 bucks I got the three classes available.  After that it’s a skill-based button smasher with 4 or 5 hours of content.  I’ve given it more than that, as I pursue higher scores and try to perfect my technique.  It really shines when you have more people and are able to employ strategies beyond dodge, slashslashslash, dodge.

City of Heroes

I’m eagerly awaiting Guild Wars 2 and at present CoH is the only game I have access to that really scratches a particular adventurous itch I have.  But I haven’t played since around January this year and though the game is Free to Play I haven’t felt the interest.  I was reminded at the end of my vacation as I tried to login several times and was turned away by the low-grade textures and the stiff animations.  It’s showing it’s age.  If I weren’t looking at prettier, smoother, more refined games in my near future I might look past the failings.

I do eke out some measure of reward from CoH, it’s not without it’s merits.  It’s one of the few places you can build a team of -anyone- and get stuff done.  Full team of Blasters, check.  Totally doable.  Full team of Tankers? Yeah, slow but manageable.  Full team of Controllers? Yeah, I hear of those regularly.  It’s been descibed to me as MMO on training wheels.  And I rather agree to a point.  There’s room for deep technical builds in the mechanic they use, but right out of the box it’s the easiest MMO I’ve ever played.  Yes, even easier than WoW.  Not to say faster, but certainly easy to pick up a character and ride all the way to 50 without knowing what you’re doing.

Unfortunately, for all my time with City of Heroes I’m afraid I may be soon for retirement and never going back.  Only time will really tell.

EPIC SPELL WARS OF THE BATTLE WIZARDS: DUEL AT MT. SKULLZFYRE

Ridiculous and quick to play, this is a card game I picked up a month or two ago and it took me this long to find someone to play with.  It’s great.  I’m just going to say that.  It’s easy to play, the mechanics are simple and it goes fairly fast once you have the basics under your feet.  Much like Robo Rally, you can lose your footing pretty fast as I had to give up a precious artifact to my opponent what cost me the game.  Sad times, but such is the way of things when you bargain with dark powers and throw hastily constructed spells back and forth.

Totally a beer and pretzels game and easily increased fun as you add additional players.

Hunter Prey

A movie in the style of Enemy Mine about some aliens tracking an escaped prisoner after their ship crashes.  The audio is tricky at the start as they were helmets and are semi hard to understand.  Don’t fret, you aren’t missing much as I was able to keep up with the plot through to the end.

Conan: the Barbarian (2011)

I like it, but I’ve been a fan of Conan since the original movie with the Governator.  My only complaint against the movie is that the evil witch-daughter really needed to use more of that magic she was huffing earlier in the film.

Sneakers

A relaxing film about some computer nerds and espionage.  It’s relatively quiet and I spent Monday night curled up on the couch nursing a headache while I watched this for my third or fourth time.

Closing Comments

And that concludes my Summer Vacation.  Seven days of games, pizza, soda and sleepless nights.  See you all next time!

-Mercator

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On Superheroes – DC Comics

I commented recently on my preference regarding Batman yet I find I failed to illustrate my higher ranked alternatives.  I claimed three of them and three I have.

Wonder Woman

Metaplot discussions of DC heroes can’t go far before you start comparing them to Grecian Heros and Gods of which WW is part and parcel.  A Wonder Woman movie would be an adventure of empowerment and general ass-kickery spared the glamorous sparkle of outrageous special effects.

Green Lantern

But none of this Hal Jordan trounces the Yellow Curse crap.  No sir.  I want the post-recruitment Hal Jordan, making a name for himself and saving the day.  Give us the showdown between Sinestro and GL, a knock-down, drag-out fight between two ring packing dudes with serious Alpha Dog attitudes.  Save the Yellow Curse for another movie.

Super Man

One of those characters you can’t help but have heard the background for about a dozen times.  I never read Superman comics, I thought he was boring.  What I did appreciate was the few comics where he’s battling other brilliantly evil badasses from other planets/dimensions.  Give us the Brainiac story, or perhaps Darkseid.  We -know- where Superman came from, we know his weakness.  We KNOW Lex Luthor is evil.  Give up, those stories are done.  We need to see one of the less discussed and showcased villains get some screen time.

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Here we are, one year later..

So.. it’s been a year.  I find myself in a strange level of contemplation.  My domain renewal comes up and while I fully intend to renew I have begun to wonder if perhaps I’m not advertising enough.  But do I post enough to advertise?  Do I care enough to post?

Aside from renewal several other events have appeared on my radar in just the last week or two.

July 3rd – Amazing Spider-Man.  An excellent looking reboot taking us to Peter’s science background and the Lizard.  I really appreciate them trying to reboot the series and give us a different spin.  Hopefully it works, Spider Man 3 was terrible.

July 20th – Batman: The Dark Knight Rises, fully on my radar but a solid ‘meh’.  I’ve never been the biggest fan of the Bane storyline and Batman falls a solid fourth on my list of DC heroes I’d love to see filmed or even serialized in television.

August 28th – Guild Wars 2 releases.  I’ll begin my character-driven writing project found elsewhere on this site.

September 18th – Borderlands 2, which I’ll be pre-ordering any day now.

My summer is a vast desert of time dotted with moments of Awesome before being swathed in emptiness while I wait for my precious games to release.  Meanwhile I’m watching companies crank out bad media left and right.

SimCity Social is like all the other Facebook Social games where you don’t actually play a game.  You just click along every x minutes to collect money/resources.  I play them as much as I play any of them, for a few weeks before I get frustrated at a walled progress behind a limit of actions per hour and social impetus.  Most my FB friends don’t play the games and what few games ‘they’ play, I mostly don’t.  C’est la vie.

EVE Online continues to catch my attention and receive my token subscription.  All I’ve done in the last few months is train skills, something I might change up here in a few weeks, if only to stretch my spacing legs and do a mission or two.

I’m still playing Dragon’s Dogma, having started for a third time and settled on Mystic Knight, i’m happily taking my time with quests and various monster hunting pursuits.  Soon as I finish it this time I’m going to settle in for Dead Rising 2: Off the Record.  I’m probably over a year behind on playing through but I find some things are better savored at the right time.  I need to put some time with Batman: Arkham City, I haven’t spent more than 4 hours with it since it came out.  I’ve been shamefully neglectful.

What little fanbase I have, I appreciate you.  All of you.  I don’t look at my metrics because I don’t believe knowing who or how many people visit would alter my perspective.  Until next time friends.

-Mercator

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Fiction vs Reality: Deadspace vs The Thing

Fiction: Necromorph

Animated dead tissue, various forms, requires specialized strategy to kill.

The story meant to placate you is that it requires an alien artifact, dead tissue and can be stopped by dismembering limbs. 

Reality: The Thing

Living creature, gains memories and abilities via absorption, regenerates from separated pieces, requires additional effort to ensure complete destruction.

The reality is a dire and terrifying vision where no amount of trauma can stop it from surviving and coming after you.

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Avengers – Spoiler Free

Avengers was a great movie.  As a superhero movie it did everything it could well and left me with few irks.  I sat in probably the worst spot in the theater in the second row of one of those big stadium style theaters.  Digital projection and at the far left seat of my row.  I spent the whole time looking up and right and it hasn’t tarnished my feelings on the movie at all.

If you liked the other recent Marvel movies, Iron Man/Thor/Captain America, go see Avengers.  You’re in for a treat.

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