By blog on May. 13, 2009.
I know I have done a few of these lately, but I am still re-watching the complete series as I bought the box set not too long back. When you have the chance to look over the entire series in a matter of weeks, a few aspects of the show really pop out at you. I have noticed, over the years of the show, that the characters have slowly become written in a different way, and in most cases, they are less likable than in the early days.
Jerry hasn’t really changed that much. He might be a little more callous than he was originally, but by and large, his character remains the same. The straight man for the rest to play off in different ways. Jerry is still an okay guy, if neurotic in his ability to find flaws with the women he dates.
Kramer has some dramatic changes from his original self. In the first few episodes it had been commented on that Kramer hadn’t left the building in the past five years, and yet in no time at all, Kramer is out and about and is known by everyone in the neighbourhood.
Elaine goes from being quite a nice person to being a very mean and stingy person. She is hostile, aggressive, and far less likable than the Elaine of the first few series. There is also a level of inconstancy in the writing of Elaine’s intelligence and ability. In one episode she gets an IQ of 151, in another, she says ’stuperstition’…
George undergoes major changed throughout the show. In the beginning, George is a confident real estate agent, sure he doesn’t feel lucky with women, but he is so very unlike the neurotic, nigh-on sociopathic George of the later seasons. He becomes such a jerk, his antics move from the humorously ridiculous do the discomfortingly wrong.
The show as a whole changes too. After Larry David left at the end of Season 7, Season 8 started up and no more did we see Jerry doing a stand-up routine at the beginning of the show. I miss that, it was a good way to get into the episode. The characters undergo their most unlikable changes in this season too. Also, for the first time, there are story arcs in Seinfeld, with the exception being George’s engagement to Susan, the same story line pops up in Season 8 and in many cases the show suffers for it.
Whilst I do still enjoy the show, it is not as good as it was in earlier seasons. But I will watch right through to the end anyway.
By blog on Apr. 23, 2009.
As I mentioned earlier, I bought Far Cry 2. I was really in the mood for an FPS (First Person Shooter)and I knew my system was up to this game. Whilst the game installed I flipped through the game manual and looked at the map. I love games with maps, I got the collector’s edition of Mines of Moria in part because of the cloth map, which still lives in my desk drawer.
So. Game is installed! I eagerly clicked on the desktop short cut… blackscreen! Desktop! Flicker, flicker, flicker… |-| I rebooted and tried again, and every time I get a different issue, but so far I have never been able to get into the game to a point where I can actually play… :## I can watch two of the first three load screens, and then occasionally a little bit of the intro, and that’s it. I can’t effing believe it. >:XX
So after trying for a few days to fix it, I was so angry I didn’t care about it. I remembered another game that I had wanted to play, but when it was released it was so buggy I couldn’t play it. Well I downloaded it from Steam again, and now I have been playing S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl for the past few days.
It has satisfied my desire for a good shooter, and something a little free-range in game play. Heh, I think I just coined a new gaming term. )I have been wandering the wasteland of this game for the past few days and I have to say, it plays well. It rewards good skill in the player, and has a pretty eerie feel overall.
I have one issue. Visual effects… At first, the head-bobbing was so bad I felt nauseous after barely a minute. So I promptly downloaded the Oblivion Lost mod and viola! No head-bobbing! But, there is still certain visual issues. If your character requires sleep, the visuals get very fuzzy and sickening, but the main issue I have is with a certain type of foe. It uses a psionic attack which grabs the visuals from a distance, draws the screen very quickly down to focus on the monster, and then flings it back as if your character has just been grabbed by the collar, moved to be an inch away from the monster’s face, and then flung back one hundred meters to invariably hit a wall. Can you imagine what this looks like on my screen? And when this isn’t happening, the mere presence of this creature in the area makes the visuals so hazy as to somewhat like you’ve just downed ten pints in ten minutes.
Apart from all that, I am having fun with the game. )
By blog on Apr. 22, 2009.
I have been trying, and failing, to play Far Cry 2 which I bought the other day, but that is another post, today’s is about a couple of great games that I stumbled upon rather accidentally.
After looking at the beautiful screenshots and great review, I decided to get Braid. There is something so magical about a beautiful game with haunting music, and the water-coloured backgrounds of Braid are certainly beautiful. So refreshing when there are so many games with jarring backing tracks and visuals that, whilst realistic, are overly harsh.
First impressions of the game… It is very, very fun. In the early stages especially. The gameplay is refreshing because it combines both classic 2-D platforming, but with game mechanics that are new and invigorating. The fact that you have no lives, per say, but instead a function to reverse time… it is really very fun and unique.
With each new world that you unlock, there are six in all, you are introduced to a new game mechanic. In world two, you find objects that are green and sparkly, which means they are resistant to you reversing time. There are objects in later worlds that can be affected by your doppelganger, which appears as you reverse time.
I thoroughly enjoy the puzzle solving nature of this game, they are difficult without being too difficult… in most cases. And as for the game being so short, I am finding it worth the money I spent on it. I am also really enjoying the story line, it is intriguing, original, and refreshingly adult!
Another game that I recently stumbled upon and have thoroughly enjoyed is a independent game by the name of Crayon Physics Deluxe. This is a very fun, if a little short lived, game where you use a crayon to draw ways to get a little red ball to a little yellow star, using physics. The music is very nice and soothing, like with Braid, and I sometimes play just to hear the nice backing tracks.
It is a nice thing, in the gaming world, to stumble onto games that are fun, unique, don’t glitch constantly, and don’t cost an arm and a leg!
By blog on Apr. 18, 2009.
As a follow on from my previous article, where I state that games are now a medium of entertainment for adults as well as children, I would like to look into the evolutionary steps gaming can take in the future.
Gaming has grown up. No longer are we faced with the same Good versus Evil dichotomy that Super Mario Bros brought us in the ’80s, no, games have grown from there. Today’s games give us gritty characters with morally ambiguous choices. We can play as the paladin like bastion of goodness, the everyday person who is by and large neutral, or the dark self-serving villain, we now have the choice. Games are accommodating more and more complex characters and narratives, and gamers are thrilled with this new era of realism.
There are those, such as Roger Ebert, who believe gaming will never be an art form, that it’s very nature precludes it from gaining the title of art, but many other respected authors, artists, game developers, and game players, disagree with great vehemence. Gaming is becoming widely accepted as an art form, with exhibitions of concept art now taking place, and serious academic work being put into defining why some video games should be considered art.
Whilst the stigma of games being for children lives on, gaming as an art form can’t really get into the air and soar. If game developers are held back from certain content, that is already acceptable in literature and film, then how can this medium compete on a level playing ground? We have read about the darker side of the human nature for the past few centuries, look at Matthew Gregory Lewis’s The Monk as but one such example. And yet, could you imagine the outcry should anyone try to include Lewis’s often grotesque actions of Ambrosio in a game? Well a game in this day and age, Custer’s Revenge will always baffle me as to how that got through.
I find the denouncement of adult content in games often reminds me of that Simpsons episode where the statue of David comes to Springfield museum and the censor group that Marge started because of cartoon violence goes mad with trying to ban the statue for being ‘indecent’.
Film, comics, and animation are among the most recent additions to the world of fine art, and it occurs to me that all of these mediums had to fight for their place in the fine art pantheon, gaming is the newest, but we can be sure it won’t be the last.
By blog on Apr. 18, 2009.
As a gamer, it is entirely frustrating to be told that ‘games are for kids’ or that you are somehow immature if you enjoy playing video games. Researchers here are a bit slow on the uptake in regards to this particular topic, the BBFC Video Games Report has a line in its findings that states ‘Professionals believe that the number of adult gamers is growing.’
The average age of gamers in the UK is now over 23, in the US it is now 33, and in Australia it is 28 with 8% being over 60! How the heck does that suggest that games are for kids? Kids games are for kids, adult games are for adults, it is really that simple.
And yet, there are still issues about what may or may not be depicted in a game. There are horrid, tasteless, highly violent films like Saw and Hostel which get classification and are deemed okay for a specific audience, but people go nuts over games like GTA Liberty City that offer people a free world to roam around in, but also have violent game missions.
Why is it that people still hold onto archaic notions that violence in games causes children to act out violently? Studies have been conducted into this issue, and found it to be completely false. Is society in general just that slow? I actually heard a doctor on the radio saying that new studies show that gaming is good for children because it increases their eye-contrast sensitivity and builds up neural pathways that haven’t previously been strengthened!
So come on people, lets stop blaming terrible acts on games, stop treating games as if they are a silly waste of time, stop treating gamers like they are immature, and start to recognise that most of us are gamers now, and we needn’t be ashamed of that fact! Video games have been around since the early ’70s, they aren’t going away, and the medium is just becoming more and more advanced and open to amazing and wonderful games.
By blog on Apr. 17, 2009.
It doesn’t seem like too much to ask to be able to purchase a DVD or game disc that has no scratches on it. Especially when store security is getting stronger and stronger. I mean, what is that darn ‘theft prevention officer’ doing if not making sure people don’t steal games or movies off the shelf?
So why, oh why, is it that so many stores feel the need to remove the discs from their original packaging, in favor of putting them into silly little plastic slips which invariably scratch the disc. All it takes is for a little bit of dust or dirt to get in there and the disc is now being rubbed back and fourth over that little bit of dust any time someone takes it out or puts it back. Which scratches the disc. Its not rocket science people!
After my run in with that moron store manager I went over to another gaming store near by and recounted to them what had happened as an explanation to me asking about how they store their discs. They said that some are in unopened packages out back, whilst others are in game slips. Now, at least with theirs, they were those little synthetic fabric ones, which are better, but the discs they showed me still had scratches, I just felt bad for them so didn’t say anything. And they mentioned that the moron store manager had come and yelled at them for talking badly of his store in the past… what a total schmuck!
So off I went to another store, now this store, ahhhh all the DVDs are in original packaging! Shelves and shelves of DVDs I feel comfortable buying because I know they won’t be scratched! I hadn’t bought many games from them, and just happened to find the game I wanted there… but it wasn’t in the box… So I went and asked the nice lady if there were unopened boxes, and she said that they put the empty ones on the shelf, and the sealed ones are behind the counter! Oh thank you!
It was so wonderful to hear of a system that worked for both the store and the buyer, why can’t other stores implement this sort of security measure?