Posts Tagged ‘you’re thinking too much’

Why the book reviews sort of suck right now

Friday, April 18th, 2014

I have once again taken on the Cannonball Read Challenge. Read and review 52 books in one year. I have never actually completed it. Reading books is easy and fun. Writing reviews is really, really hard. I do this to make myself write because I want to be a better writer. The more reviews I write, the better they get. I have written a couple of reviews that I am extremely proud of. I know I can write passionately and well when I am enthused about the subject matter. I can hate it or love it, as long as I have energy I can write a great review.

I’m flexing this muscle on books I don’t have a lot of energy around. I run slow to run faster later. I bike slowly up big hills to do it faster later.  This is just another way to get better by working at it.

-fh

P.S. The Cannonball Read is a fundraiser to fight cancer in honor of Alabama Pink, someone I never met but whom I miss dearly. Check it out.

Chat Box – Lessons in Joblessness

Monday, March 24th, 2014

FyreHaar: dude
FyreHaar: I’ve appreciated the rest
FyreHaar: but waking up on a Monday with nowhere to be fucking sucks
SonicRob: oh, for sure
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A Peek Into the Mind of Sonic Rob

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

Doop de doo, good morning, computer. Starting you up, dum de dum*. I’m going to go get some coffee while you do that.

Ah, that’s better. Hello, work chat client. Hello, personal chat client. Hello, Outlook; go away now. Hello, web browser. Hi there Google Reader.

Oh, Google Reader. Look at you. You look so healthy right now. Nobody would ever know.

Sonic Rob pours out some coffee for his RSS aggregator.

Penny Arcade, that’s nice. Questionable Content, you’re really more of a routine than something I “enjoy”. Oh Rude Pundit, you so rude. Rock, Paper, Shotgun, argh, I’m incredibly backed up with you. Let’s clear out some articles that I’m not going to get to.

Thing about Settlers: don’t need to read. Thing about graphics cards: don’t need to read. Thing about Battlefield 3 mods: don’t need to read. Thing about PC monitor tech plateauing: open in new tab. Indie game, AAA game, MMO Beta: mlehmpgh. Dead Island 2 review: hm. News that there may be news about another XCOM game: huzzah.

“Relic Foresees ‘Strong Possibility’ Of More Dawn Of War”

*Cough* I’m sorry, who what now?

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Dead Space: Luck is Dumb, But Stupid Kills

Monday, January 10th, 2011

Spoilers for Dead Space, right from the get-go. That’s how we roll.

I just finished Dead Space the other night (scaaaaary!) and I’ve been thinking a bit about the story. Specifically I was wondering, as one does, why it is that Dead Space protagonist Isaac Clarke manages to survive the events of the game when literally nobody else that we meet does.

You could argue that Isaac is tough and resourceful, and certainly I won’t argue the point. But who isn’t? Hammond is the Chief Security Officer of the USG Kellion, which you would think entails a lot more training in the arts of crisis management and combat. Kendra is a deep-cover secret agent, who would also presumably have plenty of training in fighting and survival, yet both she and Hammond are unceremoniously squished by enemies that Isaac deals with more or less handily. On top of that, the entire military crew and soldier complement of the USM Valor are wiped out – almost to the last man – by Necromorphs in the time it takes them to intercept an escape pod containing a single enemy and then to crash into the Ishimura. What has Isaac got that any of these others don’t, other than plenty of dumb luck to get him through things? (more…)

Cannonball Read – The New Math

Friday, May 28th, 2010

Period of challenge – 11/1/09 – 10/31/10

Number of books to read and review – 52

As of 5/28/10 number of weeks remaining – 22 (~154 days)

Books read – 21

Reviews completed- 13

Number of books remaining to be read- 31 – 1.41 books per week or one book per 4.97 days

Number of reviews remaining to be written and posted – 39 – 1.77 per week or one review per 3.95 days

Any bets? Will I finish? If I do, on what day?

-fh

And The Award for Honest Reflection Upon Your Business Model That You Probably Oughtn’t to Have Told a Reporter Goes To:

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

Crystal Dynamics’ global brand director Karl Stewart, for telling CVG in all earnestness:

“I think the model as we see it right now is a frail one. Having the used market is not beneficial to any of us.”

Which is a completely true and honest statement, for values of the word “us” that do not include the subset “customers”. Try to keep that in mind the next time you decide to sling flame online in the name of your favorite major game corporation.

This Project $10 thing from EA is starting to get a bit out of hand. I didn’t particularly care when it was just extra stuff like costumes and weapons that aren’t part of the core experience of a game; in fact, I thought it was a clever way to incentivize buying a new title. The new deal, where sports games will cost an extra $10 to play online if bought used, flips that all upside down. It’s taken what originally sounded like a reasonable proposal – here’s a nice present if you do things the way that’s good for us – and turns it into a muscle play. I can’t imagine nearly as many people are going to stick up for the “buy it new or it’s broken and you’ll pay to fix it” model as were willing to speak out in favor of new-game bonuses. We’re not far now from simply having console games that require a 1-time activation code – free with a new copy, $60 otherwise – to work at all. we’ve already taken the leap that gets us about halfway there.

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Character Flaw: Prototype’s Alex Mercer

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

I was unable to resist the lure of GameStop’s big sale two weeks ago, and picked up a number of games that I hadn’t been interested in buying at full price. One of these was Prototype, which never really looked to be worth $60 or even $30, but became a bit more sexy at $20. I played the game for a while during the voting period for MMPVG2, and a gap week review may be forthcoming at some point, but there’s an aspect of the game I’d like to take a moment to discuss right now.

Alex Mercer, the protagonist of Prototype, sucks. So, a problem for the game.

Before I get too deep into this, let’s be clear that I don’t want to bag on Prototype as a whole. It’s a fun game, a fine budget title. As a playable character Alex controls well, and while I reckon I’m only about halfway through it, the story is engaging if a bit familiar. It’s just too bad that every time Alex says or does anything in his role as the main character of the story, I check the extensive movelist for a command to make him smack himself in the face.

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Surprise, Surprise

Friday, March 26th, 2010

Gamasutra has put up the Brütal Legend postmortem originally published in the December issue of GameInformer. In it, executive producer Caroline Esmurdoc reveals why the demo and marketing for the game played down the clunky RTS aspect of Brütal Legend to the point of obfuscation:

“We learned early on in our relationship with Vivendi that RTS was a naughty word in the console space, so we stopped calling it by that name and, by extension, so did Electronic Arts — positioning the game largely as an action title in the marketplace.”

Yeah? How’d that work out for you?

“Unfortunately, things start to unravel when you get into the meat of the game, the RTS sections. We don’t care what Tim Schaefer says, they ARE RTS sections.”
Gamestyle

“Brütal Legend’s gameplay is hard to describe. The back of the box doesn’t even try. All it says, in a bullet point to that effect, is “Vanquish foes with axe and electrified guitar.”

“This is exactly what you do — in the game’s first seven minutes. After that, you’re thrown into your trusty hot rod, the Druid Plow, in which you’ll run over some evil druids and then fight a giant nasty boss monster by driving in circles around it and running over its tongue.

“After this opening segment, you’d think you were in for a goofy God of War–style action game — and you would be completely wrong. A few hours later, what you’re playing is almost entirely a real-time strategy game.”
Wired

“As for the story missions, while some of them are basic “kill the enemy” or escort missions, it’s only a few hours into the game that Brütal Legend reveals its hand and makes a surprise turn as a real-time strategy game.

“You read that right: a huge part of Brütal Legend — including most of the missions that will let you advance in the story, and those that serve as boss battles — is a real-time strategy element that mixes the basic concepts of standard RTS games with squad-based console control mechanics from titles like Rainbow Six. It’s unfortunate that this is such a significant portion of Brütal Legend’s core gameplay, because quite frankly, it’s the most tedious, least fun, and most broken part of the game.”
Destructoid

The scary part about this postmortem, a postmoretem being a list of things that went right and went wrong in development, is that Caroline doesn’t mention in her list of things that went wrong “we marketed the the game as belonging to an entirely different genre than it actually belongs to, and as a result some people were surprised and disappointed with it”.

-ssr

What’s my name?

Friday, March 5th, 2010

A new weekly feature on handles.  Name yourself carefully lest Sonic and I mock your handle mercilessly!

To start, observations on the nature of handles. A handle is about self definition, naming yourself for an entire segment of reality. Pretty heady stuff! People go for the unique, the funny, the intimidating. Here at fns.com we appreciate the multifaceted handle. The handle that can be read and interpreted in multitudinous ways.

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Not Quite a Review: Avatar

Thursday, January 7th, 2010

I’m a bit giddy with the prospect of using more than one sentence to talk about a film, so excuse me if things are slightly fragmented.

It took an hour or so for me to get into the right frame of mind to enjoy Avatar. Once I stopped worrying about the narrative in any way, things really clicked for me. The cliché-a-minute plot and ham-handed politics receded into the background and I just let the pictures and noise wash over me. The best analogy to the experience that I can think of on short notice is The Haunted Mansion at Disneyland. The story gets you from room to room, spectacle to spectacle and is otherwise disposable. There is no event in the plot that is not foreshadowed at least 30 minutes in advance; no matter how violent events may become they are never confusing and rarely even remotely surprising. I enjoyed Avatar much more as an amusement park ride than as a piece of cinema.

To that end, seeing it in 3D IMAX was certainly the way to go, as I imagine it upped the “constantly exploding in your face” factor a great deal. Like some folks, I had a bit of a headache after the show; maybe I’m not made for that brand of 3D, which had me seeing double every now and then. Maybe I’m not made to watch 3D for two and a half hours. Who knows?

Spoilery thoughts after the break.

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