True Story, Swear to God

November 7, 2008 at 14:43 (News, politics, The Funs, Video Games)

I’ll have a couple more appropriate updates for you all later on today and through the weekend – or at least I damn well beter; I’m juggling three different drafts at the moment and my browser’s buckling under the strain – but for now, consider me helpless.  Despite assurances to the contrary, how can I not point you fair discerning few to this incredible portrait of America’s new Big Mac?

Spacecoyotes Obama
Spacecoyote’s Obama

Rendered, in case you haven’t wasted enough of your life on video games to recognise as much, in the style of Okami, the superlative PS2 RPG which saw a Wiimake on Nintendo’s little white waggle-box earlier this year.  Whether or not a trail of flowers will flourish from out of nowhere wherever the new President-elect walks remains to be seen.  Cynical bastard that I am, I tend to suspect not, although the impromptu flashmobs that sprung up in San Franciso and much of the rest of America after the networks started calling it for Obama give me reason to hope I’m mistaken.  I often am, and there’s a sweet sort of eagerness to believe amongst the people out there cheering on street corners for the future of the United States that I’d hate to see reality betray.

But consider this the last Obama post for the forseeable.  This isn’t a political blog, after all, and I haven’t forgotten as much – it’s hard, on the other hand, not to get caught up in zeitgeisty excitement that’s come of America finally kicking out the George junior jams.  It may only a matter of time until everything goes tits-up again – isn’t it always? – but for now, it feels like this could be the beginning a brave new world.  However much Europe might hate on the United States, the level-headed understand how pivotal it is in the global climate.  If Obama lives up to the promises he made on the campaign trail, just imagine how different our worldview could be by the end of the decade.

Maybe a new Kyoto treaty finally gets through and global warming doesn’t melt us all.

Maybe stem cells aren’t dead babies anymore.  Maybe they save lives and change medicine forever.

Maybe we aren’t going to war with Iran, after all.  Or North Korea.  Or China.  Or one another.

Maybe the economy picks up some and I can start importing stuff from Amazon.com again.

Or maybe things are so thoroughly awful at the moment that we’ll hightail it after any old dream.  I can’t wait to be wrong.

In any case, with this and the achievement unlocked picture from bonfire night, plainly, yes, I’ve outed myself as one of those strange creatures who see major world events through the lens of video games.  Who’s up for an NPD number-driven review of the economic downturn?  The state of the media according to its portrayal of first-person shooters?

I thought not.  Fear not, precious uncertainites, the political posts are done.

***

Soundtrack to this entry: God is an Astronaut – God is an Astronaut (2008)

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Gamerscore Whore

November 5, 2008 at 18:23 (News, politics, Video Games)

No, fear not, I’m not back for another round of politics, just to quietly offer the following as an addendum to this morning’s post.

My My, Mr President, What An Excellent Gamerscore You Have...

My My, Mr President, What An Excellent Gamerscore You Have...

And it’s the youth of America what did this.  They came out in force, two in every three of them voting for Obama, and changed the face of the world in a single night.  Well done, little people

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Some Things Obama

November 5, 2008 at 8:21 (News, politics, Rants)

Damn, can anyone say landslide?

I was this close to posting late last night to cleverly predict that Obama would win the day but that it’d be tighter than anyone expected.  General tardiness saves the day again!

Patriot, President, Black Guy

Patriot, President, Black Guy

But out with the old and in with the new, I’m all for that.  Bush isn’t gone just yet but he’s been so powerless lately that I’d almost forgotten he was still shuffling around the White House in his special President slippers.  There’s a new sheriff in town and I can honestly say I’m pleased about it.  A mite surprised that so much of America turned out to make a choice I feared they’d balk at – and more than a touch taken aback that a black Democrat beat out a gun-totin’ Vietnam vet with the heft of the South behind him – but pleased.  Here’s hoping he’s as excellent as the most powerful man in the world as he has been a public speaker.

I’d still rather have Martin Sheen, though.  MS and all.  I so wish that were the world…

Ah, Jed...

Ah, Jed...

One tantalising plot thread remains unresolved, however!  Where will Sarah Palin go next?  Whatever will become of the scene-stealing guest star that took the United States by storm?  Will it be Saturday Night Live, or Hustler’s centre pages?  It’s up to you, America.

That’s it.  The politics are over.  I’m out.

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All Quiet on the Uncertain Front

October 21, 2008 at 4:17 (Rants, Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , )

I’ve just unhinged enough that I could well have staged the last few weeks of silence to engineer a situation in which I could finally use that title for a post.

In other, incalculably less significant news, I’m back to let you all know what to expect over the next few weeks, point vainly at a few things in the meantime and hope to the heavens someone out there makes an indistinct enough noise that I can justify miscontruing it as approval.

Last order of business first, then.  This was an absolute bastard to write.  I can’t honestly say I’m much of a Wario fan (is anyone?), but the week tricked me into thinking it might be quiet, so I took on a review of something I don’t feel entirely confident about even and ended up in the strangest of positions, which is to say having a kind of an out-of-body experience during which I played through the entirety of The Shake Dimension.  Maybe that’s not so strange, really; I’ve auto-piloted through some outright awful games, movies, experiences even.  What is, is that I had nothing to say about it thereafter.  Absolutely fuck all.  For want of inspiration or any more constructive kind of criticism, I decided to accuse Wario’s latest developers of selling their souls to Satan.  Sadly, my admittedly rather wise editor stole a rape joke from my review.  The presumption!

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Eye is for Indie – 1 – Red (2008)

October 6, 2008 at 10:23 (Eye is for Indie, Movies, Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

If you’re going to make a movie about a man and his dog and kill off the dog a few minutes in, you’d better hope the other half of the equation can carry the remainder of the narrative.  Luckily for Red, Emmy award-winning actor Brian Cox – whose nuanced take on that darling cannibal Hannibal in 1986’s Manhunter remains unsung in the face of Anthony Hopkins successive melodrama – is up to the task.  One of the few remaining British thespians unsullied by the gaudy promises of Hollywood, Cox is well equipped as Avery Ludlow, the half-demented driving force of this troubled production, and although the behind-the-scenes difficulties sully some of the film’s most potent moments, Red, in the end, is a quiet triumph that speaks to the talents of almost everyone involved.

Avery is a decorated veteran of the Korean war whiling away a quiet life in rural America with that most constant of companions: his dog, the eponymous Red.  One morning, the old friends drive down to an idyllic spot where the woods meet a beautiful lake for a little fishing.  Avery sets his rig down and casts his bait into the calm waters; Red settles in contentedly beside him.  It’s just another easy-going day for the pair until three teenagers looking for trouble happen upon them.  With the cold barrel of a hunting rifle to his temple, Avery bites his tongue, acquiesces with their demands; he offers up his beat-up old truck and hands over what little money he has, but it’s not enough to satisfy their sneering arrogance.  Danny McCormack, leader of the pack and elder brother to the hesitant Harold, turns the gun on Red and gut-shots the poor dog before stalking off to spend his hard day’s earnings on a sit-down dinner, leaving a stricken Avery to pick up the bloody pieces.

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A Spoonful of Sugar

September 30, 2008 at 8:08 (News, Reviews, Video Games) (, , , , , , )

Can’t stop for long, but between articles for Blogcritics and a column on indie films I’m working on, I wanted to take a moment to pimp another of my reviews over at AceGamez.  This time I’m gently poking fun at Opoona, ArtePiazza’s junior RPG for the Wii.  Here’s the intro text:

“Former Square Enix assistants ArtePiazza finally break out of the Dragon Quest grind with a new, original series. Sadly, despite an excellent soundtrack and an ambitious Skate-inspired battle system controlled entirely using the Nunchuck, the eponymous Opoona’s adventure is an experience measured at all times by a desire to achieve crossover success with the casual Wii crowd.

This isn’t My First RPG by any stretch of the imagination, but poor level design and a dodgy camera will test the patience of core gamers. If you can swallow that, you could well love Opoona…”

Click through here to read the rest, if you please.  First person to spot the sneaky porn lingo I snuck past my editor wins an official All Things Uncertain no-prize!

Here’s something to ponder in the meantime: do I want to uproot my life and move to London to take a job with Gamespot UK?

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Solid Feline

September 16, 2008 at 19:59 (The Funs) (, , , , , , , )

I’ll be honest: for all the time I spend window-shopping on the internet, I only pick up the memes that really cross over.  As far as the rest of the Youtube allstars go, consider me clueless – that is, unless South Park fills me in.  All of which is a roundabout way of saying, if this is embarassingly old, if this has done the rounds while I’ve been sleeping, my apologies.  All the same…

Behold Splinter Cat

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Signs of the End Times

September 10, 2008 at 9:06 (News, Rants, Tech) (, , )

This is why I’m going to be alright when Google eventually takes over the world.  Not best pleased, you know, but alright with it.

Large google Collider

Large Google Collider

On the other hand, we’re still alive – yay?

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The End is Nigher

September 9, 2008 at 8:53 (News, Rants, Tech) (, , , , , )

Here it comes.

Do you see it?  Can you feel it approaching?

Starsuckers Inc.

Starsuckers Inc.

On Wednesday, CERN are finally booting up the Large Hadron Collider, the high-energy particle accelerator that’s been whipping up the blogosphere of late.  The wiki is a little pompous, so let’s say that it’s designed to test the current model on which particle physics is based; to push the boundaries of what even quantum theory (as we don’t know it) can explain.

Physically, the LHC is a concrete-lined underground corridor with massive arrays on either end that snakes some 27 kilometres beneath the border of France and Sweden.  In less than 24 hours, an admittedly well-organised mob of mad scientists mean to pump highly charged protons at incredible speeds down the length of the tunnel.  They’ll be slingshot around the bends of the tunnel, getting faster and faster and more and more powerful until at last, they collide – and when that happens, well.  Who knows.

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Halo Killer

September 6, 2008 at 13:30 (News, Rants, Video Games) (, , , , , , )

I’m late to the party, obviously, but still light years ahead of the mainstream media, who you just know are going to cotton on to the Halo half of this tragic news.

The Watertown Daily Times is reporting that an eleven-year old by the name of Joshua Nimm took the day off school to play video games.  When his Dad got back from work that afternoon, he found Joshua dead, a single, .22 calibre gunshot wound to the head.  Local PD have since concluded their investigation, asserting that Joshua was trying to recreate something he’d seen in Halo.

It’s horrible news, of course; I mean, it’s awful, it really does suck for the poor kid, and I’m only covering this because I’m wont to suspect that the minute an American newspaper or a British tabloid gets their filthy hands on the story they’ll blow it out of all proportion.

First off: I’ve played all three of the Halo games to date, and nowhere does anyone – neither Spartan nor Elite – shoot themselves in the head.  A gun to your head, though; it’s a pretty familiar image – and I’m saying that as someone who’s never seen a real gun.  I’ve seen it plenty in the movies.  On television, too; and in books and comics and other video games.  But not in Halo.  In the end, whatever my problems with the franchise, Halo and its sequels are the LIVE generation’s Star Wars, and they’ve always known their place.  There are moments of maturity, even of sacrifice (I feel like I’m giving these games to much credit already) but Master Chief is a moral machine, and the notion of suicide is much too real, much too terrifying, to ever intrude on the cartoon mechanics of his narrative.

Not that the vast majority of the media will care enough about the truth to fact-check the inevitable flood of stories that stem from this incident.  It’s just too delicious an opportunity to have a go at one of the few video games the general public knows exist; Halo 3 was in the news last year when it beat Spider-Man 3 to become the most profitable entertainment launch ever.  And we all know, if there’s a video game involved somehow, it’s probably to blame.  Unless they find Marilyn Manson mp3s on the kid’s computer, that is.

You can be sure, though, that having a gun in every home, a pistol under every pillow and a loaded rifle in every closet in America – that’s not to blame.  I mean, how else could these wonderful peace-loving people defend themselves against the ills of modern society otherwise?

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