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.

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.

Boba and the Sarlacc

It’s one thing to know that Boba Fett doesn’t actually get consumed by the Sarlacc even though he’s dumped into it during the great escape of Luke, Han and Chewie as Jabba and his minions look on.

But it’s an entirely different thing to read the story and actually know what happens while he’s in the creature’s stomach. To find out what he finds out.

I have anticipated reading this story for… I don’t really know how long. A part of me knew that it was in Tales from Jabba’s Palace, but I suppose that I had forgotten or blocked it out so it would be a bigger surprise. Because when I came upon it, I got really excited.

Here was this story that would fill in the blanks between what I know happens before, and what happens after. AKA – Boba goes on to be a badass, and does really cool things filled with badassery.

It was only made that much better by the fact that the writer was really good. REALLY good. I didn’t find one part of the story boring. And I think even if it hadn’t had anything to do with Boba Fett, that I would have felt the same way. It was just an all around well done job.

Am I going to give away any of the secrets? Oh hell no. If you want to find out what happens to Boba while he’s in the stomach of the Sarlacc, you’ll just have to read for yourself. Besides, anything I would tell you would only spoil the whole thing.

Not getting it

Tales From Jabba’s Palace has a lot of dealings with the B’omarr monks. They’re a relatively normal looking bunch, until they’ve reached enlightenment. Then they remove their brains from their bodies and put them into jars. Eventually the brains have gained enough power to summon giant spider-like walkers so they can move around their spaces with no problems.

This is not where my issue comes in.

My problem is the fact that the majority of the people who encounter these monks are freaked out about them. They don’t like the idea of disembodied brains. And to go a step further, there are those that the monks take into their order and make into bodiless brain jars. Now, it’s not the idea that they’re being forced into this religious order against their will that terrifies and disturbs these certain members. It’s the losing of the body.

Personally, I think being granted immortality without having to worry about one’s daily bodily restrictions while still holding onto full consciousness and mental capabilities would be freaking fantastic.

I say, sign me up.

It’s that forced part that I wouldn’t be too comfortable with. I don’t particularly like the idea of somebody wandering up to me with brain removing tools on some random day and telling me that it was time for me to become enlightened.

I think that I would rather undergo the process of getting there. Doing what they did. Or becoming enlightened in my own way first. Let me in on the idea that my brain is going to be put into a jar first. I don’t want a surprise brain jar party.

So why are none of the characters in Tales From Jabba’s Palace concerned about this? Maybe for some of them it’s because at that point they’ve got no more choice? But what about the others? What about the ones who have been courted – so to speak – by the B’omarr monks previously? It’s not like they don’t know what the monks want to do. They’re just freaked out about losing their body.

The body really isn’t so great. It breaks. It does disgusting things. It grows old, it dies.
Let it go.
Yeah. I said it.