Thursday, April 9, 2015

Obama's World: Danes Hold the Line

[Wow, it has been a long, long time since I blogged!  Truth is, I finally hit the tipping point when it comes to gaming.  As I've detailed here, I've just become sick of the shenanigans that currently enfold gaming - both the hobby and the industry.  If it isn't disreputable game developers and publishers shoveling high priced garbage our way, it is an equally disreputable gaming press that is conspiring to help devs and pubs shovel garbage our way, but with their added touch of college-level Marxism and militant feminism.  I'm sorry, but things have become too toxic and juvenile for me to put up with that for long.  So, I've taken a big step back from gaming and have instead begun focusing on other hobbies, some new, some old.  

Now, that doesn't mean I will never touch a game again.  No, I always have an eye out for a glimmer of hope.  Gaming has been in tough straits before but has managed to recover.  I suspect history will repeat, but just not yet - the industry needs to burn a bit more to further reduce the rubbish to ash.  But perhaps one distant day.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Catholic Sensibilities of Shadowrun Returns

"Classic cyberpunk characters were marginalized, alienated loners who lived on the edge of society in generally dystopic futures where daily life was impacted by rapid technological change, an ubiquitous datasphere of computerized information, and invasive modification of the human body." – Lawrence Person

It has often been observed that Christ did not associate with the rich and powerful, but rather with the downtrodden, the rejected, the disreputable.  This is no small thing to consider, especially in a world where the glitterati continue to dominate popular culture.  Oh sure, the have-nots are often feted, sometimes even by the glittering class itself, but only ever so briefly.   Very quickly they are ushered off the stage, usually when the celebri tire of the spectacle, and are promptly forgotten until the next round of self-hating guilt bubbles to the surface of the rich and powerful's collective psyche.  Alas, such is the way of the world.

Be that as it may, it is clear that Christ saw something in the dispossessed that the rest of the world did not: a hardscrabble power that could and would transform the world.   I believe this was made abundantly clear when Christ told Peter ("Cephas" or "rock") that "upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." According to the great Catholic scholar Fr. Robert Barron, "rock" should be more properly translated as "crag" based on the original Greek.  In other words, Peter was not seen by Christ as merely a polished pebble, but as a rough-edged chunk of solidity that could withstand much because its failings in grace and beauty were what made it so internally strong.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Guardians of the Galaxy Could Learn from Neon Genesis Evangelion

If you are expecting a comprehensive overview of Neon Genesis Evangelion, I am sorry to say that you are not going to find that in this post.  Truth is, I have only watched the first five episodes of this piece of anime, and then only because Adult Swim was showing Neon Genesis Evangelion: Death and Rebirth a few days ago.  From what I could tell, this was a movie cobbled together from various episodes of the series.  Sadly, I had no idea what the heck was going on, but I was intrigued by the many religious themes that kept popping up during the movie, such as the logo for NERV, mankind's defense from the "angel" onslaught:

Anime with religious sensibilities and mechs?  Sign me up!  So I decided to start at the beginning of the series.  

Like I said above, I've only made it past the first five episodes, so I cannot reach any conclusions yet.  However, while the jury might still be out on this series, I can say that episode 4 has already captured my heart by doing something very simple: it paused for dramatic effect.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Board Game Glory: Ogre

By Al "Alface Killah" Brady

Yes, I am enjoying my time away from PC gaming!  It feels good to get involved with a fresh game genre again.  And I couldn't have picked a better time: board games and miniatures seem to be going through an veritable explosion of creativity, something that is, coincidentally, being fueled through Kickstarter and other crowd-sourced methods that are also popular with the PC gaming crowd (but I think with better results).

To be honest, I have begun to believe that not all of the problems that are plaguing PC gaming is due entirely to shoddy business practices.  Rather, I think video games have hit a brick wall of realistic possibility.  That is, while the technology to make a super-realistic, super-immersive games might now exist, the programming skills to take advantage of that possibility don't exist.  Or, perhaps more accurately, those skills do exist, but the task of programming such monstrously complex games requires more time and money than any game developer has available, hence why so many exciting games arrive incomplete with the promise of "fixing it" later.  Gamers are demanding the impossible, and in short order no less!  This is something that is just not humanly possible.  Sadly, game developers currently seem to prefer over-promising and under-delivering rather than have a frank conversation with their customers about just what is and isn't realistically possible in a given time frame when it comes to game development.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Distant Worlds: Transferred to Oblivion!

[Get ready for some bad fiction.  It's been some time since I wrote a bit of fanfic based on a game, but Distant Worlds, like Crusader Kings 2, is just great for such emergent storytelling.  This story is based on one such incident....]

"Come on, it's safe,"  whispered Junior Research Assistant Ile Freun.   "It's just around this corner," he added.  He determinedly pulled the dame behind him, his hand like a cuff around her wrist. Why don't people just listen to me?  I am smarter than them, after all. He indulged himself with one of his all too common sighs of exasperation that was usually triggered by the stupidity of others.

Freun peeked around the corner.  With no one in sight, he quickly trotted up to the door marked Research Lab 143b.  He swiped his free hand in front of the security lock, his sub-dermally implanted Ident-o-Chip acted as a key, and the lock released with a click, followed by a hiss as it retracted into the wall.  Freun gave the pretty blonde thing a self-satisfied smile, and again pulled her behind him.

"But I want to be up there!" she said as she gestured at the ceiling with the nearly empty Martini glass that was in her right hand, in the process splashing what was left of its contents on her arm. "With the rest of the party!" she whined.  "Not down here," she wrinkled her nose, "in some boring lab."

Freun rolled his eyes.  If this broad wasn't so attractive, he would have....