Bioware : Why have romance in games anyway

28 03 2011

My Dragon Age 2 playthrough is continuing, and as usual I can’t really find much fault with Bioware’s latest. It’s a bit formulaic, but I suppose after playing a slew of Bioware RPG’s you can’t help but notice the repeated formula. Still enjoyable, though how long before it all starts to wear a little thin, I can’t say.

One thing I completely fail to see the point of  : Romance in these games. It was a bit of a novelty back with Mass Effect 1. Controversial, I suppose. But after ME2 and DA:O, and now DA:2, I kind of… don’t get it really.

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Less Massive, more Story: MMORPG’s are Jersey Shore

28 02 2011

I find myself distanced from the MMORPG more every day, as I play less WoW and more other stuff. It started with Dead Space 2, and by the time I was finished i was so enthralled at having spent just under 2 weeks playing a game that had a plot, that had dialogue, that had actual character development… that when I was done, and looking at the WoW login screen, the only thought that occured to me was…

Why?

I’m not excited about Rift, as many of my mmorpg playing peers are. I’m still keen on The old Republic, but increasingly for the storyline aspects and less for the multiplayer. I think mmorpg’s are still great, of course, but every person goes through phases in their life, and mmorpg’s are one such phase. And here it is.

They’re the Jersey Shore of gaming.

Everybody trying to one up each other. To get with the in-crowd. To have the best ‘do’. That’s what it is. That’s what drives people who play mmorpgs. It’s about my gear/achievements/guild is better than yours. It’s about the accompanying drama and snarkiness. It’s about brandname purple handbags and dps-meter e-rep and hanging around in cliques badmouthing other cliques. That’s it. That’s everything about the entire genre in a nutshell.

I realised I wasn’t having much fun with it anymore. I enjoy some of the story aspects that mmorpg’s have, and WoW has come a long way in that regard.. but once you ding 85 and hit endgame, the story dries up, and is replaced with dailies and endless raiding tedium designed to keep us competing with all the other fabulously dressed online Snooki clones.

I miss what attracted me to MMORPG’s in the first place. Online worlds of wonder and exploration. Unfortunately, they’ve come to mirror the real-world and all it’s faults. What was once different, dangerous and filled with adventure has become the same, safe, and full of boredom.

They’ve become the online haven of e-guidos.

And it rarely matters which one you pick. They’re all the same, whether WoW or LotrO or Aion or Rift.

All you can do is try and play the games to experience content… and when that’s no longer enough, either embrace your inner guido, or move on. Sometimes a reroll staves off the content-boredom, but eventually you hit a point where even rolling a new character isn’t enough anymore. Where even an alternative mmo isn’t good enough anymore.

I find solace, now, in real life pursuits and singleplayer gaming. I’m enjoying my romps through games like Dead Space 2. I’m replaying Dragon Age:Origins – this time with the intent to actually finish it – in anticipation of Dragon Age 2. I’m looking forward to Duke Nukem Forever, and Max Payne 3… where once all I could look forward to was the next piece of epic lewtz. And i feel relieved. That this time, the need to fit in has finally passed, and I can just be me, and do what I like, enjoy what I enjoy.

And I enjoy nothing better than a good story.

 

 





Time to get mah New Year on

2 02 2011

So, 2011. One month already down, in fact. Where does the time go, eh?

My new year’s resolution was to get proper fit. Not ‘gym’ fit, but lean fit. Cardio fit. So Operation Avalanche (aka Skurm Cycles To Work) is in full swing. Bought a mountain bike and have been commuting to work. So far, so good. Traffic’s still a little bit intimidating (in darkest Africa, the taxi drivers don’t give a rat fuck about some random cyclist) but I mean, if you never take a risk in life because you’re too afraid, you’ll never accomplish anything meaningful.

It’s a blast though. Actually look forward to it. Cycling is far more fun than being stuck in traffic behind the wheel, that’s for sure. And if you don’t live too far from work like I do (a couple km’s only), the time taken to commute to and from work is roughly the same as driving. Sure, I get to the office a little sweaty, but the aircon in here is set to what feels like ten below zero so after a half hour of settling down to read the morning emails and whatnot, I’m cool and collected and definately invigorated. Early morning excercise makes all the difference. Highly reccomended – though it has to be something you enjoy. Forcing myself to cycle on a stationary bike upon waking just wasn’t working for me. It has to be something you look forward to. A hobby rather than an obligation.

WoW has taken a bit of a backseat, and I’m not certain I’ll be able to motivate myself into playing much of it ever again. Cataclysm is a beautiful game ‘n all, but the endgame barrier-to-entry is high, almost BC-level high, and while this is a good thing for the die-hard fans, the more casual players have been feeling a little left out. I’ll probably level an alt one day, but I think I’m finished with raiding and all that.  Level 85 is no longer the casual ‘log in and farm stuff on ez-mode’ game that Wrath of the Lich King was, and as much as people might have derided Wrath’s simplicity, it was also a great way to blow off some steam and just relax while farming a few instances for emblems or whatever. This is gone, now. Instances are long, and tough, and just don’t cater to the working plebs that make up the bulk of this game’s subscriber base. My guess is social/fun guilds will laregely die off. Maybe there will be levelling guilds again, but casual raiding will likely become a thing of the past.

Beyond starting cycling and ‘quitting’ WoW, I haven’t got much else going on. 2011’s started with a bit of a whimper as far as my personal life goes. Lots of stuff going on with the weather and crazy shit going down in the Middle East though. “Interesting times”, indeed. Plan this year is simple. I have no great aspirations. I’m sorta happy with where I am. Sooner or later you realise that while you may not be living the dream… ‘this’ isn’t so bad. We’ve all got stuff we need to work on, whether advancing your career or studying more or losing weight or quitting smoking. Which is good – everyone needs a goal. Mine are simply becoming…simpler. Easier. Actually attainable. And it’s great to see efforts bearing some fruit, rather than setting yourself impossible goals resulting in failure after failure.

Baby steps, y’all.





Scott Pilgrim = FLCL

1 12 2010

I saw Scott Pilgrim a few days ago. Was not terribly impressed. I thought it was okay. Maybe the comics are better. I dunno.

Today while thinking back on good anime series, probably one of my favourites popped opped. FLCL. It’s about a guy who develops superpowers, meets a mysterious girl, falls in love with her and has to do impossible battle with insane enemies.  It’s filled with guitars and cartoon violence and pokes at pop and video game culture. Along the way he discovers the meaning of life, love, the universe and everything.

Sounds familiar, right?Blatant  Scott Pilgrim ripoff, right?

Except it was done ten years ago.


FLCL is an amazing anime. The animation quality itself is superb, and it’s short enough (6 episodes) to watch over a weekend without being overwhelmed as per the usual anime marathons. It’s got it all, comedy, action, a great story and the best part, it weaves in a truly poignant, thought provoking and ultimately heart rending story that leaves you breathless. It’s a classic, and an example of the greatness that anime sometimes bestows upon the world (in between the usual bishi drivel)

Hipster kids, do yourselves a favour. Get this. Watch it. Learn to appreciate subtitles. Forget about Scott Pilgrim. This is the comic/movie/whatever that Scott Pilgrim wishes it was.  Who knows, perhaps it was O’Malley’s inspiration… although looking at it now, it seems a hell of a lot more like plagiarism.





Celebs = Prostitutes

23 11 2010

Just an idle thought while discussing things I don’t care about. One such thing that popped up was the personal lives of celebrities. See, a celebrity is like a prostitute.  You’re paying someone some of your cash to show you a good time for an hour and a half. The only difference is, a prostitute sells her body. A celeb sells his/her soul. Both give you a form of escape from your mundane day-to-day, only difference being one is sex. Well, actually, sometimes celebs sell sex too. The other difference is the scale of the sell-out. A prostitute may screw a couple hundred, maybe thousand people out of their cash over her ‘career’, a celeb is screwing over millions if not more.

Nobody gives a crap about the prostitute after you’ve had your fun and booted the ho out your hotel room though.  Even if she was spectacular – you know you can’t get attached or obsessive because, well, she’s a hooker.

People really need to stop caring about what all these celluloid prostitutes are getting up to.





Happy Eid, PETA

18 11 2010

This year Eid fell on 16 Nov.
Again, PETA had nothing to say. Not in 2010, not in 2009, not in 2008, not ever.
Of course, they always have something to say about, for example, Thanksgiving.
More proof PETA doesn’t really give a shit about animals. Or rather, only when they serve their liberal, Islam-friendly overlords’ agendas.





When in Rome, watch out for the fucking Romans

16 11 2010

Headline of the day : hot tourist chick gets murdered in Gugulethu, world goes apeshit. Weather at 9.

The bit that gets me is,

On honeymoon in Cape Town, Anni Dewani and husband Shrien Dewani were returning to Cape Town from a trip to the Winelands when, on impulse, they asked the driver of their taxi to make a detour to Gugulethu. According to police, they had wanted to experience the famed township nightlife.

I mean Jesus Christ. I think I’ll go to South Korea and experience the atmosphere of the DMZ. Sounds like a good idea, right?

Dear Tourists coming to South Africa: It is a dangerous fucking place. You might have read about statistics like these.

Would you go to New York and walk around in the Bronx at midnight for kicks? Sorry, maybe this is a little unsympathetic but it isn’t so much an indictment against South Africa’s crime as it is an indictment against tourists’ complete lack of common sense sometimes. It’s like they get on a plane and suddenly think the world outside of their usual bubble is filled with benevolent smiling brown people who just want to show them a good time.

Get a fucking guide. Ask questions. Be a little bit paranoid. This is Africa for shit sakes. If you’re white – regardless where you come from, resident or foreigner – and walking around in Africa, you have a target painted on your ass a mile wide. That’s just a fact. Deal with it.