Silent Hill: Homecoming (Frustrations)

I cannot even tell you right now how long ago I got this game. I borrowed it first from a friend, then decided that I liked it too much to not own it, and that it was going to take me a fairly long time to play through it, so holding onto his copy wasn’t really nice.

I have this frequent problem. Or I did. I am trying to correct it. It’s a bad habit, and it’s how I ended up with a giant fucking stack of games that were only somewhat played through. I would be in the middle of a game and something would come out that I was more interested in. Now, instead of buying said game and waiting until I finished what I was working on, I would play the new game, leaving the other sad and alone. Crying. On my shelf.

While I did this with Silent Hill: Homecoming, I did manage to pick it up again fairly quickly after I finished whatever wondrous thing had floated my way. I was playing along quite happily, too. Enjoying myself. Yelling at the television when things wouldn’t die. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I have a potty mouth. It’s not just when I write.

Then the most horrible of horribles happened. The one thing that every gamer dreads and curses the sky for.

I got stuck.

I did it to myself. I can wholly admit that. It was all entirely my doing. No question. I went into an area with maybe two bullets, a quarter of my health, a crowbar, an axe, and a flashlight. No medical kits. No health drinks. Just wandered on in, didn’t even think about it. Didn’t consider that I’d just found something pretty significant and maybe, just motherfucking maybe, I should take a moment to gather myself so that I wouldn’t be walking into the massive clusterfuck of assrape that I did. No. Not me. I’ll just go right down this pretty creepy ladder here, and… oh. What’s that? Boss you say? Can’t go back, you say? Fucked myself, did I?

I did.

I literally spent weeks trying to find a way to defeat Scarlett with what I had on me. I can admit that I didn’t even come close. Not even mildly. It’s actually pretty laughable how not close I came to killing her and proceeding with the rest of the game. I would laugh, except it’s my problem. Laughing at yourself often gets you a white padded room and a special jacket. Or maybe that’s just how hard I would be laughing, and with the release of emotion might come some added screaming and…

Let’s move on, shall we?

I have previously talked about my quest to wrap up the above noted games, bringing my backlog into some realm of sanity. Coupled with the vow that once I have picked up a game, I will complete it before starting another. (This vow is hard to keep. Obviously I was not made for vows. Or with much willpower when it comes to video games.) The time for Silent Hill: Homecoming did roll around, and lo, I picked it up and with heavy heart did erase my previous game, thus confirming the restart that was fated to occur.

I’ve been enjoying it… I suppose I should say that I had been, had being a very key word here… I had been enjoying it during the replay. There had been enough time and enough other games in that time that I didn’t remember the story perfectly, I didn’t automatically know how to solve the puzzles. It was a little new despite how far I’d gotten. It was okay. It really was.

Until I started thinking about getting to that boss level with the goddamned giant fucking puppet of massive sphincter bleeding. Then I started to get upset. Not with the game, though, with myself. I kept thinking of all the things I could have done differently to prevent this replay from happening. Replaying because you want to is one thing. Doing it because you’ve shoved your own head up your ass is entirely different. It’s just aggravating.

I had to stop playing again. Now it and GTA 4 are the ones staring at me from my shelves, asking me why they aren’t yet finished. SH:H pleading with puppy dog eyes and little whimpering noises. “Just finish me, I’m a good game, I’ll show ya, you enjoyed me before, just pick me up, we’ll have a good time together, promise”. Bastard.

I’m just so annoyed with myself over things that I’m taking it out on the game. I have to get over it, that’s what it comes down to. I have to, and I will. Somehow. Because I cannot just let it linger. It will drive me crazy (obviously we’re significantly down that street, aren’t we?).

There will be another update on this when I finish the damn game.

Dante’s Inferno

Have you ever been really bad at a game you really loved? I haven’t. Well, not until Dante’s Inferno. And that sounds really arrogant, but it’s true. When I find a game that I adore, it’s like I already know what to do. My brain and my hands communicate perfectly, and everything comes extremely naturally.

Again, that was until Dante’s Inferno.

I picked this game up as soon as I could. The moment that it started to be talked about, I was interested. I am a huge fan of the Divine Comedy and have had multiple copies of it over my life. Currently I have an older set in a three book arrangement, and a giant copy complete with the woodcuttings. You can imagine that I was pretty excited to hear that they were going to make a game from this.

I knew, of course, that they wouldn’t be following the story exactly. How could they? And that things would be left out, other things would be added in that weren’t there originally. I made peace with these facts long before the game was released. The point was, it was going to be Dante’s Inferno. That’s all it needed to be, for me.

When I got the game, I was more than pleased with what I was seeing. I had no complaints to make, and happily worked my way through levels, deciding (of course) to damn everything as much as possible on the way.

The only problem was – I kept dying.

There’s something to be said for getting used to a game and dying a couple of times in the very beginning, but that wasn’t what was happening here. This was an extraordinary amount of dying. This was me kicking the bucket every few minutes. This was the sort of dying that makes you feel really bad about yourself as a gamer. It was getting to the point that I was only able to get through one level each time I played before I found myself extremely frustrated and having to quit. This is not the kind of thing you want happening in a game you adore. And despite my inability to stay alive, I was still in love.

It got to the point that I decided I was going to have to go for the easiest difficultly level. I just couldn’t do it anymore. So I went to the options and lo…

I have it set on the hardest. The hardest is called “Hellish”. Yeah. No kidding. It appears that Dante’s Inferno doesn’t work the way that other games do, with an “easy” “medium” and “hard”, but rather “Normal” (medium) “hard” (Holy crap) and “What the fuck” (dear god, save me). When I saw it, I thought that “Classic” was what they were calling “Easy”, so I skipped to “Zealot” which I thought was “medium”, and accidentally went down too far on the list, putting myself on “Hellish”.

You see, I do all my games on Medium. I’m arrogant, I’m not cocky. I know my level of gaming, and I know what I’m comfortable with. I like a challenge, but I don’t like to be constantly frustrated. Rarely will I go above Medium, and really, those times, it has to do more with getting an achievement. Like if you beat a boss on Hard and don’t have to do the whole game on Hard in order to get it.

So I’m pretty proud of the fact that I got through so much of the game on Hellish, but I was really happy when I knocked myself back down to Classic and stopped dying all the time. The game became fun, and my love grew. I could actually get through entire sections without a single death.

I enjoyed the game enough to play it through twice back to back, and loved all the interactions with Virgil (there could have been more). I loved the way that they made the circles look, there was definitely a feel of what kind of people suffered within them. There was no sugarcoating of what was going on, and the damned echoed (alright, and amplified) the kind of brutality that Dante wrote about. In the Divine Comedy, he certainly doesn’t give mercy to the souls he speaks about, and it was nice that the game didn’t either.

Backlog

I have not only a backlog of posts to make here, they kind of got caught in the net of trying to move things over and not wanting to post anything either place due to how much trouble we were having getting it all figured out.

But I also have an fairly enormous backlog of games that I haven’t played. I have 20 games that I have not touched at all, and 7 games that have been diddled with a little bit. 2 of these games I actually can’t play right now, because my television set is not HD, and attempting to play said games on a normal tv is akin to pounding your head with a hammer while squeezing lemon juice into your eyes.

I’ll make an upcoming posts post, so you all can keep me on track, and then for the fun of it, I’ll make a list of the games I’ve got going on along with the ones that I’m anxiously waiting for and wanting.

Why not torture myself for your amusement? Isn’t that what this is all for?

Gabriel

Alright.

See, I went into this with the idea that it wasn’t going to be very good. I mean, I don’t recall it ever even being in theaters. I hadn’t even heard of it until I saw it in Netflix.

I’ve been putting it off for a really long time, though, because I have a thing for angels, and I knew it was going to be bad, and I didn’t want to be frustrated. But I finally watched tonight. The problem is, it’s not a bad movie, per se. Just the dialog is complete crap. I’m pretty convinced that whoever wrote the dialog is bordering on retarded. Like, actually mentally deficient.

Despite the epically bad writing, the actors still managed somehow to not come off as complete assholes. I’m not sure how they managed it, but they did. It doesn’t make anything better, really. It’s just nice to know that some actors CAN try to overcome the utter shit that some people spew. The only actor that didn’t really manage that was the guy who played Ahriman. He really felt forced.

So the movie itself, it’s about angels, I already said. Specifically, it’s about the archangel Gabriel. And Michael, and Uriel, and Raphael, etc. Seven of them vs seven fallen. In a battle of good and evil for the souls of this very strange city that I’m not sure about. In the start of the movie, it seems as if they want you to think it’s Purgatory, but everybody is still alive there, so it doesn’t quite work.

The whole thing had a very Crow-esque feel to it. Like The Crow with angels instead of avenging spirits and criminals. Very dark, very gloomy, very gothy. I can see what they were trying to go for. I mean, it’s obvious that somebody was a big fan of The Crow franchise, I would say this is a clear homage. Right down to the big battle scene at the end on a rooftop in the rain. (oops, spoiler. Like you were going to watch it anyway)

The fight scenes were actually pretty well done, and there were some special effects that I’m fairly impressed with. But I still can’t call it a good movie. I certainly wouldn’t tell anyone to watch it, or put it on if I had people over. But let me be completely honest, if I found this movie on the cheap – I’d buy it. And I’d watch it while locked in my room so nobody could see what I was doing.

A question of requests

I have a few requests still left over from the last time I asked if anyone had any, and I want those people to know that they’re still going to be watched and written about. The delay came when my cable and internet got cut off about a month before I moved, and I still don’t have my 360 connected. I can watch netflix on my laptop, but I get really squirmy, so I haven’t been doing much of that.

When everything is settled again in Nerd Land, those reviews will happen. I promise.

Viva Pinata: Pocket Paradise OR Holy Hell, Where Did My Life Go?

I am now officially the owner of every version of the Viva Pinata games that exist at this time. I’m actually quite surprised that being in possession of these games, I still find time to breathe and blink.

When I saw the DS version sitting in the bargain bin for 14 dollars, I really couldn’t pass it up. Not since I adore the other games and have actually been wanting this one since it came out.

I did get it thinking that it would be a scaled down version of the 360 games. That it wouldn’t be such a time suck. That I would be able to run through it for a couple minutes and then put it down and read the book I’m currently in the middle of.

WRONG.

It is a miniature version of the game. But not so much. It might be miniature only in the sense that it is physically smaller than the other versions. From all I can tell the tools and menus have been simplified, but it’s just as much an Obsessive-Compulsive’s dream. You micromanage everything, just as you do in the bigger games. You have to do everything just like those other games. EVERYTHING.

I’m so amazed that so much information can go onto such a little tiny thing.

When I opened the manual, which I do more out of looking at pictures than figuring out gameplay (cause it’s just so much easier to do that WHILE playing, in my opinion), I got the impression that there were only a couple of pinata in this game, period. That these were the ones that you were going to work with, these – the most popular for kids.

WRONG.

The ones they talk about in the manual, that I just looked at the pictures of and didn’t read any of the text? Yeah, they’re just the ones that teach you how to do shit. You still have to start from the worms and go up.

It’s absolutely insane. Completely unfathomable.

It’s not right, I tell you.

I have previously stated that I believed the Viva Pinata creators were masking their plot for world domination, and now I have to further emphasize my point. These games are meant to distract us while they just waltz in and sit down in the Seat Of Power and control everything. Cause we’ll just be sitting there, playing our various Pinata games, cursing at the goddamned hippo to just eat the fucking plant and be a resident already to even notice that somebody is hijacking our lives. Not that we’ll care, of course. Because they will continue to supply us with Pinata games to sate our needs.

I for one welcome our new Pinata overlords.

But, it’s a dead technology…

In 1992 there was this neato little thing that came out called the Minidisc. Special little players. Special little recordable disks. Everything a technophile might want in a new toy to play with.

Well, I never got one. I can’t say for sure why. Either it was too expensive back then, or something else caught my attention and I needed to have that more. Note that this is during a time when I have to rely on my parents to get me the gadgets I want because I’ve got no income except from babysitting (not even an allowance!) and five bucks an hour doesn’t really add up very quickly.

Let’s cut here to recently. It’s been well over ten years since this magical device was on the shelves of our electronics stores. I am an adult now. I have my own money source. And I no longer need the permission of anybody else to buy the things that I want. Even if they are completely rediculous. An acquaintance of mine informs a group of people on a forum that he’s going to sell or just plain give away a bunch of his old stuff. I note on the list that there’s a minidisc player in there, along with blank discs and a charger.

So I wait like two weeks, stalking the thread, mildly curious as to why nobody’s snatched up that player. It’s only 20 bucks for all of it, I feel I should make that quite clear. It’s not expensive. Oh, yes. It’s a dead technology. Now we’ve got CDs and MP3 players that will hold thousands of hours of music on them, plus videos and whatever the hell else we want to put on them.

The minidisc is – quite bluntly – the retarded cousin of the cd player.

Every once in a while, two things come out. In this case, minidisc and cd. They battle over the populace, each denouncing the other for it’s various faults, and touting it’s own prowess in the music world. But there can only be one. We saw BetaMax go down, we saw LaserDisc flounder and die. It’s not only the truth of history, but also Darwin’s theory of evolution. The fittest one wins. For minidisc? It was the CD. A simple, easy thing that people flocked to, leaving the poor little minidisc in the wakes of it’s glory.

So I finally decide that I’m going to buy this thing. Why the hell not, right? 20 bucks, and it’s something that I used to want really badly. Maybe it’s hearkening back to my younger years. Wanting to remember easier times. Maybe it’s nostalgia. I’m also admittedly lying to myself and saying that I could use it in more “dangerous” or “risky” situations that I don’t want to bring my Zune into. The truth of that that’s held down in the dank depths of my mind is that I likely won’t take it any further than my front door. But shhh. That’s not what’s important.

Cue to two days later. A package comes in the mail. Ho! It is my recent purchase!
A lovely box of deleted disks with a few fresh ones mixed in. The player itself. A Gameboy Color charger that amusingly works for this contraption.

Of course the first thing I do is to search the disks for something on them. One of them does contain some music. It sounds pretty freaking good considering how old this thing is. I figure out how to delete not only individual songs, but also the whole disk. (This was on purpose) I’m pretty amused by the whole thing, and then it comes time to explore the machine more completely.

Ridiculous Point Number One: This thing actually runs on a single regular battery. Oh, I know. This is how it all used to work. You don’t have to tell me. I’m old enough to remember a time before Duracel figured out how to create rechargeable AAs. Back in the stone age where when our tape decks started to run out of juice, everything would start to sound as if it were coming to you from under water. It’s just surprising, that’s all. I don’t think I’ve seen any electronic device with a normal battery case in like five years.

Yes, console controllers do come with them, but there’s that option for the rechargeables, isn’t there? There is. And what do we all do? We go buy the rechargeable pack, because we know in our hearts that using regular batteries is borderline retarded.

Luckily, the thing works if you plug in the A/C adapter. I seriously thought I was plugging it in to recharge a dead cell, not because the thing wasn’t actually holding a BATTERY at all.

Ridiculous Point Number Two: A few minutes of prodding and exploring shows me that there’s no real way to connect this thing to my computer. Everything is on USB these days. And even if it’s not, it’s got some kind of link cable to connect it to your PC and do whatever it is you have to do. But this?

I think I’m missing a cable, maybe. So I send a PM to the seller asking just how on earth I’m supposed to get music onto these blank disks that I’ve got.

Do you know what he tells me? Do you? You have to record the audio onto the discs like you used to do with tapes. Are you all too young to remember that process? You had to play the tape you wanted to record, and hit the record button on the device that you’re recording to. Manually controlling the two items, and making sure that you’ve got it all synced up perfectly, lest there be dead air on your tape. All while, I might add, having to actually listen to the length of the song, because it had to be playing for the second device to record.

whut

So I’m laughing. I’m laughing my ass off. This is so fucking absurd that I can’t help it. I have lived through so many changes in this world, seen so much progress, that I can’t even fathom not just clicking on something and dragging it over to the destination device and have it just instantly be copied there.

Ridiculous Point Number Three: So this is where our determined heroine goes searching over the vast plains of the Interwebnetlands to obtain for herself the magical cord which will connect her computer to her new and slightly creationally deformed device.

Imagine her amazement to discover that she got her minidisc at an astounding price. That these things are still going on Amazon for 50 dollars or more used. USED. That is, out of the box, played with, taken around the world. USED.

Imagine her amazement at the fact that these silly little things are in incredibly high demand, even now! People are still buying and trading these devices like they’re brand new!

Imagine how her mouth hangs agape and her eyes widen to impossible dinner plates as she explores further and further, finding out that somehow, somehow, this product has survived the depths of obscurity and thrives!

No, they’re not making new ones. Nothing is new. Everything is old. And everything is very expensive.

I’m completely dumbfounded here. Before tonight I never would have imagined that this thing still had followers in the world. Actual followers. True believers, if you will. Loyalists. I thought that I wouldn’t find a cord that would work because it’s so dead and gone that it just wouldn’t exist. Now I realize my problem is not that, but finding a frigging cord that I can afford.

As it stands currently, without said cord, my player is rendered a mighty shiny brick, and I suppose I could use the blank disks as pointy Frisbees. But that’s all it’s doing. Not that I mind. The more I discover in this lake of absurdity, the funnier it gets. I have honestly been laughing for hours. Sitting all by myself, looking at this whatnot, laughing. The neighbors might think I’ve gone insane.

Will I ever find a way to make this thing viable for myself? I don’t know. Right now, I’m not worried about it.

I have dived into the pool of the minidisc, and find myself floundering, not because it’s a dead technology, but because it’s a dead technology that’s somehow still alive!

It’s a fucking ZOMBIE TECHNOLOGY.