Archive for October 2013

The Journey, Beyond Two Souls   Leave a comment

How you like that mash-up?

I recently completed Beyond: Two Souls. Last month, I also beat the game Journey. I wanted to do separate reviews, but the themes in these game couldn’t be more fitting.

Journey was developed by the same team that created flOw and Flower. The game starts out with what appears to be a shooting star (or a meteor) racing across the sky. The scene pans across the screen overlooking a desert landscape. It cuts to a red-overall, shrouded character, the unnamed protagonist you play, with a red scarf with gold-embroidered designs. There is no dialog in the game. All you have are subtle onscreen prompts on how to control your character.

You encounter these cloth-like materials all over the environment. They seem to be made from the same material as your character’s cloak. You can “call” these things with your character’s quipping noise that sounds like random staccato-ed cello notes. They gather around your character and allow it to move faster and hover about for a few seconds depending on how long your scarf has gotten.

Your objective is to go from point A to point B. Along the way, you collect shimmering flashes of light that increase the length of your scarf. Seems easy, enough, but there’s more to this game than that. The point of Journey is to get yourself out of the “it’s a game” mindset and immerse yourself into the experience. The lush visuals of the environment is like a moving painting. The music and sounds of your character interacting the game world are in-synced with what you are seeing on screen. At the end of an area, you are greeted by what I’ve surmised as an angelic presence or guide. It looks just like your character, except much taller and wearing white cloak instead of red. It then shows you a story using hieroglyphic-like drawings on a wall.

From the desert, sunken city, broken bridges, desert surfing and underground city, the visuals will take you away and give you feels. Even when you’re an active participant in the game, you can’t help but feel passive with it.

This is a hard game to review without spoiling it. People have different interpretations on what it is. For me, this game is about life. No, seriously. It becomes more apparent when you suddenly encounter another being like your character moving through the game. You can go through the game with this other person playing and help each other out without talking, using only your character’s movements and soft quipping noises. My take away from that was life is journey. Don’t travel alone.

Segueing into another game, we have Beyond: Two Souls. You play a girl named Jodie. For as long as she can remember, there’s always been this entity that is with her. She calls him Aiden. During her childhood, she was asked by a scientist on all the strange things happening around her. She demonstrated that Aiden could move objects. She also explained that she couldn’t really tell Aiden what to do and that no one can. To her, Aiden is like a lion trapped in the cage with her. He can’t go anywhere and that makes him mad and irritable.

Beyond: Two Souls is the story about Jodie. We go through 15 years of her life. The game doesn’t tell the story in chronological order. There’s a reason for this brilliance. It showcases points in time of Jodie’s life where she was happy, vulnerable, depressed and out of control. The one constant through all this is Aiden.

Aiden doesn’t really know what he is (or even if he is actually a “he”). Jodie seems to understand Aiden and argues with him, so it’s safe to say that Aiden identifies as a man. Aiden can be mischievous, yet chivalrous, if you want him to. You get to play as Aiden equally as Jodie.

Ellen Page plays Jodie. Her likeness and voice were used for the game. One thing I can compare this game with is it’s predecessor, Heavy Rain. Beyond gives us less of the quick time events and more subtle onscreen prompts to keep the story going. The controls were made to be intuitive and easier to digest than Heavy Rain. The voice acting is much better this time around. For a game that puts acting and emotions center-stage, you tend to notice it more. Heavy Rain had great voice acting compared to other games. Treated as a movie/drama, you’ll notice what’s bad and what doesn’t work. Beyond took care of that. They even have Willem Dafoe and Kadeem Hardison along with many other supporting actors that were motion captured for the game.

With less interactions and more focus on the story, we’re back to questioning whether interactive drama is a game or a movie. This time around, Beyond: Two Souls feels more like a movie than a game. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

I’m done.

Halloween Pumpkins   3 comments

This photo was floating around earlier this year (maybe last year, too). One of my friends posted it on Facebook. Halloween is just around the corner. So I said to myself, “why not?”

Finding the right pumpkin was daunting. It would have to be small and the perfect size. White pumpkins are slightly rarer than regular orange ones. I went looking for the orange pumpkins, first. Most grocery stores sell the bigger kind and have one set price for any size. It’s also harder to find the typical pumpkin look. Most of those were already taken. I found one small orange pumpkin (which had a face drawing at first I removed) and two mini white pumpkins. Read the rest of this entry »

LEGO Architecture 2013   Leave a comment

Something I put together last month. It’s the Seattle Space Needle and the Burj Khalifa from the LEGO Architecture series.

I’m done.

Of Supes and Spidey   Leave a comment

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Metallo: I ran Superman’s face through a facial recognition scan. I found out his identity. He’s Clark Kent! He works at the Daily Planet.

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Lex Luthor: Yeah Metallo, we all know. Keep it to yourself.

Metallo: What? If everyone knows why isn’t it public?

Lex Luthor: Because if we make him keep his job it’s 8 hours less in the day he’s trying to stop us.

Metallo: But we could attack him when he least suspects it!

Lex Luthor: Why, you think he’s less bulletproof when he’s at home in his pajamas?

—————————————–
Spider-Man

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Eddie Brock: JAMESON! YOU HAVE TO BELIEVE ME! PETER PARKER IS SPIDER-MAN

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J. Jonah Jameson: Yeah, I know…

… What, you thought I didn’t know? Kid walks in, baggy clothes and a bunch of posing shots he couldn’t have possibly taken of anyone but himself? Of course it’s him, But I’m not gonna tell him.

Men this day and age don’t have the initiative and drive they used to. Girls break their heart, and what do they do? Post about it on their facespaces or mytwits, or whatever. And in walks a kid trying to make a difference, and some change, and you think I’m just going to pat the kid on the back? Hell no. Men crave competition, and and adversarial force to chase them on. I give the kid the works so he gives the city results. You tell a kid he’s doing well, and he gets bored. A Spider-Man can’t get BORED.

You, on the other hand, are what happens when everyone tells you you’re gonna be great, and then it doesn’t pan out. You had nowhere to go but down. And down you did. Is that thing even sanitary? You gave up after one case and got freaky with space goo? What sort of fabrege ego did you have?

I don’t have to tell Parker I believe in him to get him to be a hero. You needed approval to keep yourself from going insane. Who’s the real man of integrity and valor?

Now get the hell out of my office. I have tomorrow’s headline to pick, and you were fired eight years ago.

I’m done.

TL;DR Movie Reviews for Winter, Spring, Summer, Some of Fall 2013   2 comments

  1. Hansel & Gretel – A good start for a potentially-new franchise when you cross a Grimms’ fairy tale with Steampunk and dark comedy.
  2. Warm Bodies – Definitely a better love story than Twilight.
  3. Identity Theft – Jason Bateman in another supporting role with NOT Will Smith (ahem *Hancock*) as the lead role.
  4. A Good Day to Die Hard (Die Hard 5) – It’s like the “Ernie Goes To” series, except it’s Bruce Willis as John McClane and he goes to Russia. Instead of hilarity ensuing, it’s killing and blowing stuff up.
  5. Oz: The Great and Powerful – A prequel to the Wizard of Oz with James Franco and a talking monkey.
  6. The Croods – The Flinstones 3D.
  7. Oblivion – Tom Cruise Promoting Scientology Part 4? 5?
  8. Iron Man 3 – Marvel milk’s franchise… news at 11.
  9. The Great Gatsby – Leonardo DiCaprio continues being the most underrated actor ever.
  10. Star Trek: Into Darkness – Benedict Cumberbatch, Klingons, Time-travelling old Spock and more lens flares.
  11. Fast & Furious 6 – It’s no longer about living life a quarter mile at a time. Heck, they got a tank.
  12. The Hangover III – It stopped being a comedy and turned into a real kidnapping/hostage movie.
  13. Now You See Me – It’s like The Avengers, except with magicians… and Morgan Freeman.
  14. The Internship – A great movie about Google back in 2005. A tamer version of Wedding Crashers… also in 2005.
  15. Man of Steel – If Superman was done the right way with Dragonball Z fighting and the Chris Nolan/David Snyder moral-dilemma treatment.
  16. This Is the End – Actually a very funny well-written comedy movie.
  17. World War Z – jump-starting the shuffling/dragging vs running zombies once again.
  18. Despicable Me 2 – More cuteness overload with the Minions.
  19. Pacific Rim – A giant mech/robot/monster movie done well. Looks like a new franchise is born.
  20. The Conjuring – You will shit your pants and have the hair on your arms standing up.
  21. The Wolverine – If Wolverine was given the Christopher Nolan down-to-earth treatment and lost his powers. That’s how boring this movie was. The only saving grace is the teaser for next year’s X-Men movie, uniting the cast of First Class and who would come back from The Last Stand.
  22. Elysium – from the director that brought you District 9. Stars MAAAAATT DAAAAAMON!!! And Jodie Foster.
  23. Jobs – Ashton Kutcher has portrayed Steve Jobs pretty well. Could have used slightly better writing, though.
  24. Instructions not INCLUDED – Tear jerker of a comedy drama.
  25. Insidious 2 – Bigger budget and scarier than the first.
  26. Gravity – Who would have thought that two people floating in space would be so intense and thought provoking?

I’m done.

Posted October 6, 2013 by StupidSystemus in Movies

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