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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Danimal Cannon - Roots

I like chiptunes, but I love Danimal Cannon's Roots album. Square waves can do a lot more than imitate traditional instruments, and here's the proof.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Day Z

I've never played Day Z, but I've watched a ton of other people struggling through the game, and it's absolutely hypnotizing.

There are no rounds, no finish line, no objective except to survive. You're dropped into this ENORMOUS countryside that's been overrun by zombies (the crazy-fast kind), and if you want to last more than five minutes you're going to need water, food, and ammo; which leads to situations where you're sneaking into the ruins of a grocery store in some abandoned town hunting for a can of beans, praying you don't get the zeds' attention because if you're forced to fire off a shot, every zombie for a mile is going to come running.

But the most dangerous element of the game are the other players. They want to survive, too. They want your can of beans. They will fucking kill you.

Or maybe they'll help you out. It's your choice whether you want to step out from the treeline and flag them down or open fire before they even know what's happening.

The video above was recorded by Kilroy, who made a very impressive run through the game. Some things to keep in mind:

 - voice chat is in-game and affected by distance, which means you can communicate with anyone else in the game with your own voice, and you'll have to yell if they're far away or whisper if you don't want to attract attention. As a child of 90's dial-up PC gaming, I find this unbelievably cool.
 - This game is still hella alpha. Zombies have a bad habit of running through walls and stuttering.

More than anything, this game reminds me of the kind of tense, trust-no-one atmosphere that I'd get from playing Ultima Online. Except completely different.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

War of the Arrows

Regardless of gender, you will grow chest hair after watching this movie!

I love you, Korea! Your movies kick ass, and they're just sitting around on Netflix streaming, next to shit like Cherry 2000. What's up with that, huh?

Do you know what makes for good action? Tension. Bringing a character to their limits and going further. Even if that character is supposed to be an over-the-top badass (especially if they're a super-badass), there needs to be clear limits to what your character can and can't do, even if those limits have nothing to do with the natural world. If those rules aren't well defined and ultimately tested then you can't have the tension (and immersion) that good action possesses.

I can't tell if that last paragraph is bullshit, but it felt right when I wrote it.
Anyways, War of the Arrows nails it. Fucking nails it.

Except, maybe, that jump across the river. It was like watching the bus from Speed.

Next up, I'm finally going to watch Oldboy, another Korean flick I've been looking forward to for a long time. Right from the beginning, this movie has a great premise, and a lot of creativity is going on here, and... Hold on... Where is this movie going?...

Oh, dear god... Fuck me, this isn't happening... This is not happening...

Thursday, May 10, 2012

"Man, That Thing's Gonna End Up Eating Us!"

"Well then. We'll just have to eat him."

Dragons in video games are pretty awesome, but dragons that provide a physical presence instead of a pile of stats hidden under an art asset? That's even better.

Dragon's Dogma is all kinds of neat stuff. I played the demo and the crunchy physical interaction with your enemies makes for some fun combat, but around ten minutes in I found something about the game I really didn't like: I was not playing the role of a hero.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Mega Mash

Mega Mash belongs to the seven-genres-in-one-at-the-same-time genre. It's like if, in a level of Mario Bros, you also had to play Breakout and Bomberman in order to beat the level.

And it's not like you're just going from one game to the next in a linear fashion (which is probably what the image above looks like). Mega Mash demands a constant juggling act of genres where the physics and properties of everything around you is constantly changing, and you have to use these dynamic properties to your advantage.

For instance, I needed to get a block across a pit, so I threw the block into the sidescrolling shooter spaceship game, and because everything in sidescrolling shooters moves left and ignores gravity, the block just floated left over the pit. Neat!

Somehow, even Tetris is in here.

Go ahead. Runs in your browser.
But make sure to find a few solid hours, because you'll want to play through the whole thing. There's a lot of clever design behind the clever gimmick. Every level throws something completely new and challenging at you.

And I dare you not to immediately think of this when listening to the music.