Heavy Nova

(Yeah, I’m in it)

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Raptr’s new… whatever.

I’m completely serious when I ask – what the hell is with the way that Raptr works now? I am completely befuddled. This makes absolutely no sense to me. There doesn’t seem to be logic there. If there is logic there, I would like to know about it.

Does Raptr get something out of making people download and run a desktop app to get all their achievements run through? Is there some kind of partnership with some company out there? Something hidden within the desktop app itself that counts how many times you use it, thus getting them revenue? Is there some secret benefit to having this desktop app that I’m just not seeing? I would think that having to connect through two different places would make the burden heavier on Raptr, not lighter. And you can’t tell me that people who are using the app immediately dislodged their machines from the web-based account, since I am pretty sure that you can’t do that, just have all the info on the app and not the website. And if it can be done, show me 10 people who have actually done it. That means that the Raptr website and the Raptr app are pulling the information through the aether to display to the world.

I signed up with Raptr to share with people the shit that I’m playing and so that I could see what my friends are playing. I like to compare achievements and some of the people on my Raptr list aren’t on my XBL list, so the only way I have of seeing what they’re up to is Raptr. This may seem a bit stalkery, since I don’t generally play multiplayer games. And maybe it is. I just like to watch, okay?

But now, like half my achievements don’t show up unless I run that stupid app. Or leave it running. Since I don’t do any kind of PC gaming, I see no reason for it to always be on. And I’ve just discovered that there’s not a version of this desktop app for Apple machines.

So if you’re going to force people to use this app in order to see all of their achievements, and so their friends can see all of them, why don’t you have something compatible with MacBooks or whatever? How does that make sense? These people literally cannot have their correct information displayed on their profiles because there is no way for them to do it unless they want to manually input all of the details themselves. And who the fuck wants to do that? Nobody.

Seriously.

Nobody.

I would like a very clear, very descriptive answer to these questions: Why? What is the point? Where is the benefit? (Not just the benefit to US, but also the benefit for RAPTR.)

An Open Letter To Netflix

Dearest Netflix,

What the fuck.

No, seriously. What the fuck is going on with you? Why is it that you don’t seem to fucking function anymore? Not even in the “I hate the way you tried to ‘streamline’ your shit” kind of way, either. But in the “I don’t think your employees are actually doing their jobs” kind of way.

I guess it started a while ago, maybe even before you decided to start charging more for shit. Splitting up the DVD and Instant services was just an asshole move. But things were rocky before then, weren’t they?

You started suggesting things that you thought I might like that were NOTHING like the movies and shows I had just watched or were in my history. Okay, I can see that I suppose. Maybe there’s something in this romance movie I might like even though 70% of what I watch is drama or horror, and 20% of it is comedy. Maybe somebody dies, I don’t know.

From there it went to what you were comparing with what. In your “More Like ___” sections, I started to find more and more things that were NOT alike at all. Not in any way. That got paired up with the fact that you started grouping things wrong. Care Bears in science fiction? That’s not how that works.

Then it was like a trainwreck happening, one that’s still happening. One that I just don’t even try to understand anymore.

– You say there are new episodes in a series when there aren’t any.

– You list things on the New Releases tab when they’ve been out for four or five years. If you just got it, and are just now able to let us see it on Instant, it should go under Just Added.

– There is no longer any way to search by actor if you’re not online doing it. It just tells you that shit doesn’t even exist. I’m sorry, but I’m pretty sure that Marilyn Monroe did a couple of movies and that you’ve got them all stashed somewhere. The fact that I have to search each one by title instead of being able to bring them up by her name? What the hell?

– Your copy is wrong. More often than I would like, I find myself watching something because of the description I read. And hating it. Or, on the flip side, not watching it because it sounds like something I would loathe, and then finding out later that I would have loved it.

– Your employees aren’t paying attention to what they’re doing. Did you know that for a really long time after you added Life to Instant that you had Charlie Crews’ name completely wrong? Hm? You did. Shouldn’t have happened.

– Episodes for shows are actually skipped over during regular play. When I watched Supernatural, it skipped over half of a season when I was hitting “play next episode”. When I watched Ugly Betty, the first few episodes of the first season had the wrong information tied to them, and weren’t in order. A couple might have even been missing, but since I don’t know the series, I couldn’t say. But it was all very confusing.

– Recently Watched randomly just doesn’t show up at all. Doesn’t seem to be any reason for it. I’ll just turn on my 360, fire up Netflix, wait to see my Recently Watched so I can easily pick up where I left off, and … it’s not there. The whole goddamned field is just gone.

Now let’s add into the things I’ve spoken of before, shall we? I’ll just copy and paste it to make things easier for both of us.

“To make it worse, Netflix also changed their dashboard to coincide with the Xbox change. And the Netflix dashboard is so goddamned useless sometimes that I want to throw things. They show you movies you might like to see during the last bits of movie you’re watching (some movies have stuff going on during or after the credits, so I’m not particularly happy that they reduce the screen) but they don’t give you a description of the movie, you have to seek it out after to see what it’s about. There’s no way to rate a movie without playing it. There’s no longer any way to mark that you’re not even interested in the movie anymore, so stuff you really don’t want to keep seeing pop up will, unless you go to the site. For tv shows, you can’t go in and pick an episode unless, again, you start playing the series. So if you haven’t watched in a while and want to see if the “new episodes” they’ve added are really and truly new, you have to start playing, then go to the episodes list. This is completely stupid.”

That’s just something I tacked onto a rant about the 360 dashboard. I think it’s good here, too. Since it’s about you. And the things you’re slacking on. Or forgetting. Or just don’t care about anymore.

The money I shell out to you for this service might not mean much to you. But it means a lot to me. I’m on a really strict budget. Netflix is one of the things that is completely unnecessary to life that I allow myself. A fun little thing that I enjoy having quite a bit.

It might not matter to you that all this shit is broken, but it matters to me, because of this money I hand to you every month. I know it matters to other people as well. Maybe they don’t use Instant as much as I do. Maybe that 10 bucks isn’t a really big deal to them. But it still matters. You know why?

BECAUSE WE PAY YOU FOR THIS SERVICE.

It’s not something that you give us for free. It’s not an add on to DVDs like it used to be. It’s a stand alone service that shouldn’t be as fucked up as it is. It should work. It should be functional. It should be valid. It should be fun, and not frustrating.

I’m not going to threaten to not use your service, because that’s unrealistic at this point. But I am going to ask you to fix your shit, because I’m tired of it, and there’s a good number of people I know who are also tired of it. It should be seen as a courtesy to us, your paying customers.

To sum up?
Get your shit together, Netflix.

-Mila.

Prince of Persia (Movie)

I waited a very, very long time to see this movie. I knew how I would feel about it pretty much right away. I love the Prince of Persia franchise. From the very first one that I used to play in elementary school on the school computers, right up until the Two Thrones. I am wildly, madly in love with these games. I remember being pretty excited when I heard that they were going to make a movie, trepedacious, but excited as well. I hoped beyond a hope that this would be the video game movie to break the bad streak of video game movies.

Then I saw the star.

Now, please, for the love of god, do not get me wrong here. I also very much adore Jake Gyllenhaal. I have seen pretty much everything that he has done in his career, and I have found very little to complain about. I think he’s an amazing actor, and has a great range. So it’s nothing at all personal to Jake.

It’s just that… well.

He’s not the Prince.

My excitement didn’t just waver, it sort of completely and utterly deflated and left me with absolutely no wanting to see this movie. That’s a pretty big drop, really. I see now that I should have expected it, given Jake’s appeal and stardom, who was producing the movie, and the fact that there are only a handful of video game movies out there worth their salt (and no, I cannot name them off the top of my head currently, so don’t ask. [but I can say none of them are by Uwe Boll.])

I waited for it to come up on Netflix Streaming until I would watch it. And I wasn’t even really waiting for it. I was just browsing one day, bored, and realized that it was there. I thought “hey, I have a few hours to kill and no desire to think about anything or put much effort into life, why not”.

While I will say that it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be, it was bad. It disappointed me that they had to fuck with the story, they had to give everyone names. There wasn’t enough of the Prince jumping around like a supermonkey. It all sort of fell flat. Especially the ending. Flat. Predictable. Boring. About what I had come to anticipate.

I am glad that I watched it. It’s behind me now. I’ve seen it. I have an informed opinion. I wish Netflix had an added star for “meh”. Between “didn’t like it” and “liked it”. I didn’t turn it off. I didn’t loathe it to the core of it’s being. It was disappointing. I won’t ever watch it again, but I sat through it once. There’s no way to reflect that feeling on the Netflix rating system, and there really should be. I have felt that way about more than one movie.

I know it was exciting for Jake to have a role like this, who wouldn’t say yes to being the Prince? But maybe, just maybe, he should have taken a moment and really just thought it out. Asked himself if he was really right for the part, or if he was a fanboy getting his ultimate dream.

My vote? The latter.

Good VS Evil

Today, kids, we talk about games with morality engines. Good VS Evil. The right thing VS being a complete dick. They’ve become quite popular in games, and since their early days, I’ve been very fond of them. Putting in my hands the option to be a good guy or a bad guy, a sinner or a saint, that’s my kind of thing. I get really excited about games that have this particular kind of structure. The more involved it is, the happier I am.

It’s just that, well, I tend to play instinctively. Which means, and here’s something that might just shock you, 99.9% of the time, my character is the bad guy the first go ’round. Even if it just ends up that the morality engine is so involved that I’ve managed to make choices that place me more along the lines of Chaotic Neutral (yeah, I’m that much of a prick), I’m certainly not the Knight In Shining Armor. I’m no Hero.

It kind of surprised me to learn that most of my friends are. Not even just friends, but people I encounter randomly and discuss games with. We that play our characters wickedly because it comes naturally – and it’s way more fun – we are a very small percentage of the world. Very. Fucking. Small.

Most players will go through their first plays of these games with golden hearts and halos that (somebody like me would shove up their asses given the chance) gleam with all the glory of the righteous. They do the noble things, the brave things, sacrificing themselves and/or their loved ones so that it might save an entire race of beings (barf). When the game is complete, then, and only then, will they traipse through the world again, this time choosing the dark side. The majority of players like this will not find these actions easy. You will see them struggle with themselves, even though they’ve made the decision to be bad. Oh, WHY is it that you people cannot see how glorious it is to walk on the other side of the tracks?

There are even some players, a fairly good fraction of those that are good at heart, who cannot – no matter what – bring themselves to play a bad guy. And some that, beyond that, can’t even be mildly morally questionable.

Okay, I will admit. I usually save the “white hat” run through for the very last. I don’t generally have as much fun being nice. I’m not into all that … self sacrifice and putting the good of the whole before the good of myself. I like being reprehensible. I like how the Dark Side alters the way one looks when one uses it too much (KOTOR). It makes me giddy to see that I’ve screwed somebody else over so that I can have an easier life.

But it’s not impossible for me to play through as a good guy. I do it. I do it to see different endings, to see how differently characters will react when you’re not threatening to burn down their village. I do it to see the changes and the subtleties. It’s still fun, just not as much fun. So why can’t those do-gooders see my side of it? Why can’t they just admit that for a little while, it’s kind of interesting and entertaining to be evil? Hm? I think it’s a little biased, really. I can play how you play, but you don’t even want to try it my way?

This is starting to sound a little … naughty, isn’t it.

Some people are surprised when they discover the nature of my gaming. Most, however, not so much. Once you get to know me, you really can’t ignore the fact that it bleeds over into real life. I am who I am. I make it no secret. I don’t lie about it. I laugh when people get hurt. I enjoy tasteless jokes. So my friends? Really not startled when they see my achievements always pop up with the “you won the game as a complete heartless bastard” first. Not surprised when I talk about the dark endings before I talk about the light ones. Not at all taken aback, but highly amused, when I rage quietly about accidentally getting the Light Side ending in Force Unleashed the first time I played it. ACCIDENTALLY GOT IT. SON.OF.A.BITCH. Yes, I’m still angry. I also harbor resentment and grudges, fyi.

All I want you people to do is try to see things my way. That’s all I ask. Is that so much?

Evil. Try it. You might like it.

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.

Bioshock (finished)

I am proud to say that shortly before I made my massive cross country move, I managed to finish BioShock. Not that it took a lot of effort. As it goes with games that you’ve fallen in love with, the time slips by unnoticed, you’re startled and confused when you see the sun coming around your curtains or peeking in through the little window in the kitchen door. Really, if I’d only had one day to go through this whole game, I would have done it. Even if it meant driving 26 hours with blurry eyes and the inability to think about anything but Little Sisters and if I should Harvest them.

Overall, a very enjoyable game. Very enjoyable. I will be playing this game again, there is no doubt about that.

Despite my small inability to save the Little Sisters, as I spoke about in a previous post, I did not regret the choices I made or the actions I took. I can play it again and try to save them this time, instead of saving one and then harvesting the next three on reflex. Or… I can try and fail. We’ll see.

I was very happy, very very happy, when I got to put on a Big Daddy costume and lumber about. There are certain sounds that I’m attracted to in games, and I can’t quite explain it or even really know when a particular sound is going to grab a hold of me and make me adore it. The sound of the Big Daddy is one of them. So the fact that I not only got to dress like one, but that I ended up sounding like one, well, it really tickled me. If I could have had more time with that, gone back to some old places and just kind of kicked around for a while, killing those fucking weird ass half dead junkie assholes wantonly, I think I would have been a happy girl for at least a few hours without further need of plot or direction.

I don’t know how I escaped knowing about that particular feature of the game. It’s not like (even though it may at times seem so) I have been living in a cave. People around me have been playing and talking about this game since it came out. SINCE IT CAME OUT. Yet, I had no clue. Somehow the spoilers of this joy flew by me like greased pigeons. I was well and truly surprised at the discovery. And joyful. I cannot go on without saying the word joyful some more. Joyful.

I’m excited to play the next game in the series, whenever I can get my hands on it. Which, given how long it took me for this one, might very well be right around the time they’re making the fourth. I would roll my eyes at myself, but then I’d have to get up and go look in a mirror, and I’m just not that into moving at the moment.

There is nothing more that I can really say. Truly. Love. Deep, penetrating love, filled to the brim love, a little glad I’m behind so I don’t have to wait for more love. Play this game. Play it a lot. Never sell it. Not even if you’re going to starve to death if you don’t.