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.

Kameo

Let me tell you a little bit about my history with Kameo. It needs to be said, or I don’t think it’ll make much sense, my feelings about this game. My inability to truly feel much about what’s going on.

Once upon a time, I decided to try GameFly. I thought that it might be a good idea, renting games, getting to see what I might like and what I might hate without paying for a whole game. In theory, it’s brilliant. I suspect that for most people out there, it’s a wonderful tool. For me? Utter failure. Complete waste of time. Even though I didn’t pay anything at all for my two week trial with them, I feel like I wasted a lot of effort.

I tried games that I thought I might like, and when I did like them, I went out and bought them anyway. With my track record of games I like when I buy them VS games I hate, there’s not a lot of risk there. I could see where it would be risky for people who just pick up every game they see and give it a try. GameFly would be great for them. So you can see, effort wasted. Time wasted.

One of the games that I tried with GameFly was Kameo. I did like it pretty goddamned quickly, and it also happened to be at the very end of my trial. So I sent it back, went to the store with the intent to buy it and promptly saw something shinier. I can’t tell you now what it was, just that I had to have it more than I had to have Kameo.

Months later, I was back in the store, and lo – Kameo. Cheaply. So I picked it up. Why not? I’d had fun the first time, though I hadn’t gotten very far at all. I took it home and put it directly into my machine, happy as a clam.

And I shit you not, the next day something came out that would once again eclipse my playing of Kameo. And once again, I cannot tell you what that thing was, just that it was bigger and bolder, and called to me so deeply that I ignored the small cries of this newly bought game as I pried the disk out of the tray and shoved it back into it’s case, then onto the shelf. I should note here that I got exactly as far through the game as I had the first time.

A year later. Kameo again. Again it is usurped.

Forgotten in the stacks of games to play, I finally came upon it this year in my quest to finish every half touched game that I owned. I decided that now was the time to let this game shine. Now was the moment. I placed it where it needed to go and sat my ass down on the couch, ready. I restarted my game, because by this time, I had no memory of what I’d learned – however little – and what had happened in the story.

After about a half hour, I realized that I hadn’t gotten very far at all and caught up to where I recalled leaving off very quickly. Kind of sad, really, given all the efforts I’d gone to previously (*cough*). It also occurred to me that not once in my former tries had I ever gotten further than this into the game. Always, something more had come forward and taken my attentions away. For a few hours, I played with fear and trepidation. What if something fantastic were to fall into my lap as I held the controller in my hand? What if it demanded to be played instantly and once again Kameo was thrown to the wayside?

And then I got over it, because I realized I am my own downfall, and if I didn’t go seeking new shiny games, they would not appear.

It didn’t take me long to get through this game. And I did have fun with it. But I just have this kind of apathy going on about it. I don’t care that I played it, really. I guess I’m glad I did, it’s done with, it’s not on my shelf anymore. It’s not waiting for me and mocking me every time I walk by. But I have no sense of satisfaction. I have no feeling of accomplishment. I didn’t put down my controller and think to myself “Holy shit, that was a good game” and I didn’t by any means desire to play it again. It wasn’t a bad game, it really wasn’t. Plus, I am an avid, nearly insanely so, replayer, thus my lack of desire to go through again was and is surprising and confusing.

I don’t know where this feeling – or lack thereof – comes from. Is it because I just let it sit for too long? Is it that I tried too many times to get into this game and it never happened, thus leaving me with an empty hole where my enjoyment should be? I don’t know. I just don’t.

I have passed this game on, a thing I don’t really do, as I like to keep them around so I can play them again at a later date. But I know that I will not ever pick up Kameo again. I won’t ever give it another go round. PLEASE. SOMEBODY EXPLAIN THIS. My world is upside down (I’ll get over it).

Let The Right One In/Let Me In

I’m sure we all recall how I feel about the book and the movie Let The Right One In, yes? That I adore it to pieces and make everybody watch it.

When it was announced that there was going to be an American version made, I was curious. The Wiki for it said the director intended to include some of the things in the book that the Swedish version didn’t. I was expecting that they meant the really vampirey parts. The things where you go “oh shit!” and got kind of excited about it. I mean, it’s not that I wanted a replacement for my movie, it’s just that I wanted to see what could be done with it.

THEN it turns out that instead of adding things, the American director has removed some things. Some VERY IMPORTANT THINGS. I am a little ticked off that names were changed. Yes. Okay. But that’s minor.

It seems that they’ve removed entirely the fact that Eli/Abby is not really a girl, and just made the character a girl. Hello, that’s sort of really important to the story, thanks. That irritates me. There are a couple of other things, too. I was just generally unhappy with the whole thing.

Then, of course, I read up some on it because I was curious again, and discovered that they’re not trying to remake the Swedish movie, but make another version of the movie. Okay. Fine. And then it turns out that the director holds the movie in high esteem, both the original and his own. And that the book is something he adores.

After that, I watched a couple of the trailers for it and now I’m back to being curious and wanting to see it. I want to see what this guy does. I want to see how it all comes out. He’s quoted as saying he thought that the book could make a really great scary story, and while Let The Right One In is psychologically scary, I think I’d like to see what this American director did. And if I’m honest, I did enjoy Cloverfield. I think maybe this guy can do it, do what he thinks he can do without fucking shit up too much. Despite what he did with Eli/Abby.

So I’ll give it, and him, a chance.

S, Darko

This movie is just as bad as I thought it was going to be when I first found out about it.

At least I got to watch Ed Westwick prance around dressed as a greaser. Sadly, this is the only redeeming part.

To clear up misunderstandings I had previously: Frank is not the same Frank. Yet for some reason, the image of Donnie’s Frank in his Halloween costume, the freaky rabbit, is Sam’s “Dream face”. This brings me right back to the idea that Frank was Donnie’s catalyst and shouldn’t make an appearance in this film at all. I still stand by that.

The guy actually named Frank in this movie is a mechanic and has nothing to do with anything.

Not that any part of this movie made any actual sense. It sort of felt like the writer and/or director of S. Darko didn’t actually understand Donnie Darko, and just took imagery that seemed cool and shoved it into this movie. The entire concept is off.

I hated it. I hated it the whole time. Don’t watch this movie. Run from it. Run screaming. If somebody says you should watch it, punch them in the face and then run. Or set their copy on fire. Either one is fine with me.

An American Haunting

Oh, how I tried to like you, movie. I tried so very hard. You had so many elements that I find enjoying. So very many of them. It started, but didn’t end, with Donald Sutherland. I know, not everything he’s been in is the best thing on the planet, but he’s done better at choosing his roles as he gets older. Knowing more what will have public appeal and what will just fail. So I had hopes for him, I did. You were also a movie about haunting, from everything that was written or said about you – EVER. I do like hauntings, movie. I like them quite a bit. It’s really not difficult to please me in this realm, movie. Even if I don’t think I’ll watch a movie again, I can usually derive something from some part of it and come away feeling as if I’ve not wasted two hours of my life.

But you, movie. You did not pass muster. You did not even attempt to meet up with Muster on the battlefield of cinema. I’m pretty sure, actually, that you couldn’t even see Muster from where you were standing – back there in the woods, over an embankment, hiding behind that tree.

What you turned out to be, movie, was a colossal waste of my time. I came away feeling cheated and sad. Used and put away wet. I feel like you didn’t even try to be a real movie after the first twenty minutes. If we’ve learned anything from Pinocchio, it’s that we must try when we want to be real, we must put effort into life, or it’s meaningless.

You, movie, are meaningless.

I was so disappointed as I watched you and you just kept getting worse. I didn’t think it was possible, but it kept happening. I should have known when my gut said “My, those slaps are awfully silly.” But I didn’t. I tried to reason that away with the excuse they tried to give in the script. I should have listened to my gut, really, I should have.

But that hope, it lingered. It lingered until the very end when I just had to finally give in and recommend that they take you out and shoot you, to put you out of your misery. Because you are a lame horse, movie, and you’ll do nobody any good. You’ll probably just suck on the fence and hurt yourself by trying to run when all of your legs are broken.

I do have a tip for you, movie. Hopefully if you ever get reincarnated, you can hold onto this – if you are putting entire scenes that are use IN THE MOVIE with your “alternate scenes” just to have more padding and content, you are failing. If most of your “alternate scenes” are just the same exact scene from a different camera angle, you are failing. And, should I watch your “alternate scenes” and not actually be able to tell the difference between what I just watched and what is supposed to be new, you have failed completely.

I have to give you an F, movie. In all subjects. Believe me, it makes me sad. But remember, I tried – oh so hard – to like you. I was rooting for you from the start. I was behind you, cheering you on, and you let me down.

I hope I never see you again, movie. Because I feel that if I do, I may have to find some matches.

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.