Sunday, May 13, 2012

You Sunk My Battleship!

I was walking along and all of a sudden I saw a poster for Battleship. I had heard about it and seen the posters before, of course, but this was the first time it really hit me: there is a movie coming out based on the game Battleship. I’ll admit, this complete revelation came out of nowhere, walloped me a good one, knocked me on my ass, and, just to make sure it really sunk in, hit me with a lead pipe. As I lifted my bruised self from the pavement under the watchful eye of the Battleship-Revelation, it finally sunk in that this was really happening. On May 18, Battleship will be in theatres and my only question is: Why?
Near the Wilshire/Vermont station

So what I got from watching this trailer is that aliens hid in the ocean because they could. And then they attack, because why not? Then we fight back… with boats. Yeah, that was pretty much what I got from it.

Who knows? Maybe it will be a great movie with a great plotline and not just some thin shadow with a bunch of special effects that is desperately trying to capture the audiences’ sense of nostalgia by forcing it into the ill-fitting frame of a board game.

I will admit now – I’m not a huge movie person. The last two movies I saw in theatres were Hunger Games a few weeks ago and The Muppets back in November. Both were movies I knew I would enjoy. Hunger Games because of the books and Muppets because of all the memories that tied to them. I also admit that I’m not super-snobby about movies. I’m not lamenting how everything is a sequel, a remake, or filled with FX instead of plot. What I am saying is that maybe not everything needs to be made into a movie.

Time to switch gears to the videogame industry and the crash in 1983 Follow me, trust me, I’m getting to a point. Anyone play ET on the Atari and think this is what caused the videogame crash? It wasn’t the cause, merely a symptom. ET was like the achy shoulder in a much, much larger flu. Basically anything was being made into a game. It wasn’t just Atari making games, they had little control over their systems and pretty much anyone could make a game for their system and did. Also a lot of games were being rushed into completion.

With the videogame market being inundated with so many low-quality games that were just made to be made, the game industry in the U.S. sank for a while. Now lets get back to the movies and my point. My thought is that, in some ways, I can see the movie industry paralleling the gaming industry of the 1983. It’s expensive to go to the movies but most of us are a fairly forgiving audience…up to a point. Battleship feels like a movie being made simply to be made and it almost feels that this may be the beginning of the inundation of movies made to be made.

Please let this one be made before the crash  Source

Friday, May 4, 2012

Infinite Undiscovery...Will Remain Undiscovered

Not too long ago, I attempted to play Infinite Undiscovery and I really didn’t give it a fair chance. I have no idea if it was a good game or not because after 20 minutes I stopped playing, put it in its envelope, and mailed it back to Gamefly. In those 20 minutes I got to press buttons (and not to get more text to appear on the screen but for actual gameplay) for maybe 3 minutes. And I’m being generous on calling it 3 minutes. There were so many cutscenes and things to read that I just got annoyed and called it a day. For an actual critique from someone who clearly had more patience than I did, here you go.

I had chosen this game after reading about it (I think in GameInformer, but I’m not exactly sure) because of its unusual name and decided to give it a try simply because of its unusual name with no knowing of pretty much anything else about it. This could be the greatest game ever…but I will never know because I got annoyed with all the cutscenes and textboxes.

A friend of mine once told me that part of dating is figuring out what you will and will not put up with. I’ve found, as I’ve gotten older that this advice applies to pretty much every aspect of life. When I was younger I put up with a lot but as I got older, my propensity to grow annoyed has gotten stronger. In my youth (see early 20s), I would put up with long cutscenes, but now I won’t. They simply have started annoying me and I have outgrown them. Realized that an overly long cutscene is not something I will put up with in my videogame relationship anymore.

A game should be more than just a string of cutscenes where the player gets to intermittently mash a button in between. I’m fine with cutscenes if they’re brief and don’t interfere with the flow of the game. A cutscene should not be so long that I can fix a bowl of Froot Loops (and some have been so long I can even eat said Froot Loops.) The story should be integrated into gameplay with cutscenes being minor and not tedious. 
Was able to eat the whole bowl
 Infinite Undiscovery could be the most fantastically awesome game ever, but I will never know. I don’t know, give it a try – maybe you’ll have more patience than I did.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

On the Boulevard of Broken Dreams

I live in Los Angeles. The land of broken dreams. The place where it is so easy to become lost. My heart goes out to them and I want to take them home. I am, of course, speaking of the abandoned stuffed animals and toys. It is hard to pass by and not try to rescue them. They call to me and I feel guilt as I walk on by. 
Huggably, snuggaly lost

I don’t feel that guilt when I walk past a pair of discarded sunglasses, but I do when I see a lost toy. Perhaps I have seen the Toy Story trilogy too often, but I have a feeling I would feel this way even if Pixar had never brought it to my attention. 

Yes, I cried. A lot.

A lost-asaurus
As a child, I had a lot of stuffed animals and toys that were animal-shaped and these became my steadfast friends. My brother was 5 years older than me and the kids who lived around us were my brother’s age and male. They’d occasionally allow me to hang out with them, but mostly didn’t want me around and I was left on my own a lot. I was young and short for my grade and, on top of all that, I was quiet and socially awkward. This did not make for a great combination when trying to make friends. The few friends I did have, I only saw at school. My parents didn’t have a lot of friends outside of work, so there were never any children that I became friends with even out of simple, mutual convenience.

Looking back, it seems like it would’ve been a lonely childhood, but I don’t remember feeling very alone. I had my stuffed animals and, to me, they were alive and they were my friends. So when I see these abandoned anthropomorphic toys, my heart feels a twang. They are lying there and they have no friends and they been unceremoniously ostracized from society without any thought or care. And on some level, I see them as my old childhood friends and see my younger self in them.