In the midst of graduating college and seeking out a new job to sustain myself, my old blog, Nerdwatchshow.com, gradually fell by the wayside. Or more accurately, it was violently thrown by the wayside as I tried to desperately lighten the load I was carrying in the station wagon of life. And if that tortured metaphor wasn’t enough to convince you that I’m back to writing, then I don’t know what will.
In a break from my usual habits, I’ll try to keep this brief: I’m at a place now where I feel like I can start paying attention to writing again, and while I probably can’t nail down any kind of regular update schedule, I am apparently confident enough to port this blog over to a new host, re-brand all the old content, and try to start churning out new stuff when I can. As before, I’ll be doing a bit of everything, from written game and movie reviews to completely unstructured ramblings on whatever I feel like talking about at the time. I may also try to get a few more Let’s Play style videos in the works and a few more episodes of Talking Points, as the Bioshock Infinite piece seemed to be fairly well received and was fun to make.
And that’s about all I’ve got to say about that. I’ll post here whenever the mood strikes me, and about whatever it strikes me with. So with that being said, thanks for taking the time to check this place out. Hopefully I’ll be able to entertain all of us as I go forward.
As always, I’m Guildenstern. And welcome to Stark Raving Sane.
So things have been a little sparse around here for the last couple of months. Apart from the regular ins and outs of life, I’ve also missed a few game releases and news items, which has kept me out of the loop on just what exactly to talk about. The only high-profile happening I’ve been involved with recently has been Bioshock Infinite. But I liked it. A lot. I liked it so much I made a video.
Allow me to present the first episode of Talking Points.
I’ve been watching the likes of Plinkett, Smudboy, and Mr. Btongue for years now and while I can’t claim the same experience or depth of critical analysis that they can, I do tend to experiment with a lot of different formats around here and this was my most recent venture, inspired by some of the above named. I don’t know if I’ll try to keep making these, as while it was a lot of fun and I’m moderately happy with it, it also took a long damn time to put together.
If you enjoyed this little experiment then then let me know and I’ll see if I can dredge up something else to talk about in the future, hopefully something that won’t eat up 30 minutes of your time and 30 hours of mine. If you didn’t enjoy it and find the sound of my voice and the content of my words obnoxious and grating then perhaps we’ll just stick to the written word in the future.
Alright, I just finished Mass Effect 3‘s Citadel DLC last night and I’m still a little bit baffled so forgive me if I’m not altogether cogent while writing this. I’ve gone back and edited this thing about a dozen times, adding in further elaboration on plot points, plot holes, and general contrivances. I’m just posting as is now because at this point I’m not sure if I want to keep examining this thing very closely. It’s just going to continue to frustrate me, though whether that frustration will be greater or lesser than that I’ll feel when I realize I forgot to include a particularly biting criticism later remains to be seen.
What with the recent announcement of the PS4 there’s been a lot of talk stirring up again about “next generation” games and hardware. Between EA claiming that it will be narrowing its scope of development to fewer games this generation, Activision predicting that development costs will double (those two seem connected to me) and a dozen other theories, guesses, and rumors there’s a lot to talk about right now. But what I really want to focus on is a very old debate that’s seen a bit more attention ever since the Sony press event and the reveal of the PS4 a little while ago.
As part of the media blitz to let people know that the PS4 will have games and it’ll be able to do cool stuff with them, David Cage gave a short tech demo, showing us what the PS4 can do graphically. All fine and good, that’ll give people something to talk about over the water cooler for a bit, but I’m not interested in what was shown so much as I am the ideology that Cage demonstrated during the demo. In it, Cage posits that technology is the main avenue game creators use to reach players on an emotional level. He claims that with every advance in technology and visuals we get closer and closer to replicating real human emotion which can resonate with players much, much more than a graphically-inferior game could. To make this point, he talks about the early days of cinema and how actors had to over-emphasize every movement and action in order to convey the correct tone. He notes how with improved camera technology, advanced understanding of lighting and sound, and all around better production quality movies were able to convey much more subtle emotion with smaller, less grandiose gestures. Scenes from The Great Train Robbery play on the screen behind him to demonstrate his point, and he then displays the tech demo itslef, showing how with the technology available through the PS4 characters are able to make much more subtle movements, conveying a wider range of emotions. This, he says, is the foundation of all emotional storytelling within games.
So after 20 posts and a word count in the tens of thousands we’ve finally finished the Halo trilogy. And through all the questions, all the frustrations, all the mumbled curses, all the shouted curses and all the outright whining, if nothing else I’m glad to be able to say that I’ve finally finished this franchise. While you can debate the literary or intellectual value of a game like Halo it’s still a staple of the genre and it’s useful to have experienced just for frame of reference. And now with that experience under my belt I feel like I can finally give my own educated verdict on the franchise.
It’s somewhat anticlimactic then that that verdict is more or less the same one I had going in. Ultimately I still think Halo is an over-hyped, over-rated, bland and boring linear journey through the halls of mediocrity.