The Outer Journey of Inward

Deep, deep, deep into the shallows of the tide
Did Vera sift through the scum and microbes, searching
For a path. But who is to say he’ll ever find
It? A melody ever so sweet, it tasted of salt
As he licked his tongue. The clouds crooned as he longed
For the warmth of a berg. Oia melted into
A clotted, grey mess, but no one noticed their skin
And bones slipping into the sky. No one notices
Anymore how Allison danced on the table
Coffee and staples spilling onto sand.
She’ll be forgotten soon, like the shaved dust of
Plastic flying through a river of bile, and we will
Remember the name of Space and Fortune,
But she won’t be around to hear a glimpse of it.
The tines vibrate with immensity. Tine, time, tie
Clinching your throat with velvet hooks
As the waves bear against the rocks.


Inspired by Charles Bernstein’s “Gertrude and Ludwig’s Bogus Adventure”

 

Lee and Andrew Play…Various Games

In addition to my review show, I’ve started a Let’s Play series with my co-host Andrew Cornell. Watch us as we play video games, give our own commentary, and discuss life, the universe, and how bad the controls for the Wii are.

This is a different sort of project than I am used to working on. As a writer, I attempt to plan out what I am going to create, and execute it accordingly. With the off-the-wall, improvisational environment of a Let’s Play, there isn’t as much room for planning as there is to just spew whatever nonsense fills my head. Sitting down with the footage afterward allows me to make edits and enhance the humor, but my quick wit and responses to my co-host are what I challenge myself to showcase during our playthroughs.

Please enjoy the first two episodes of our series, as we play Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze and Until Dawn.

In Defense of The Order: 1886

Preferences are an extremely interesting concept to me. Evolutionarily, there is no reason for humans to really develop a desire for one thing over another, yet nonetheless, each and every person has unique tastes in regards to food, music, clothing, and especially video games. I’ve lost track of the number of discussions I’ve had explaining why I don’t like games like Fallout 3 or Portal. One game I will defend, however, is The Order: 1886. I’ve gotten quite some flak from my friends for enjoying this game, but I feel that many of the criticisms towards it are overly harsh and a product of sensationalism.

Hype is the great game killer. Overhype is what ruined games like Destiny and Watch Dogs. Constant advertising and build-up of an unreleased game creates expectations, and often times developers make promises in announcements that they cannot live up to upon release. The Order’s fall was primarily due to the former. Developer Ready at Dawn claimed that their new IP would be a showcase of what is possible on the then-new Playstation 4. Showing off stunning visuals and the potential for a new universe of stories, it was the fans who began to expect too much from the game. Many people I spoke to said they were expecting a long-form third-person shooter, a la Gears of War. It was never fully stated what the game would be, but players wanted to fill in the gaps with what they wanted out of the game and, when released, their individual visions fell short of the final product.

hype

One of the main complaints I’ve heard about The Order was its $60 price tag on release, which is too much to ask for a game that is as short as The Order. That’s completely fair and valid; asking people to spend $60 on a game is a lot, and players want the most value for their dollar. If a game doesn’t reach a certain length of playtime, one can feel ripped-off. I can understand people’s complaints in that regard. What I cannot understand is why people claim it is not a good game because of its short length.

Games are no longer about racking up points; they involve immersive stories and experiences that get the player to think about what they just played. Bioshock Infinite and The Last of Us did not have groundbreaking new types of gameplay, but they’re so well received because of the emotional journeys they bring us on. Journey can be completed in just over an hour, but people play it because of the pilgrimage of discovery and wonderment they embark on. A game does not need to be innovative or long-form to be successful, so long as the experience itself is enjoyable. And The Order is an enjoyable experience. The alternate-history story is engaging and imaginative, the graphics are incredible and push the limit of the types of visuals we can create today, and the gameplay is fun and fast-paced. What The Order does, it does extremely well.

The Order did what any launch title should do: establish the power of the system’s hardware, set up and deliver a new game experience, and leave open the possibilities of what can be done by developers in the future. Galahad’s quest to rid Victorian London of werewolves did exactly that. Lack of replayability and inclusion of quicktime events do not make a bad game in and of themselves. A bad game fails what it sets out to do, delivering to the player an unfinished, incomplete, and broken experience. By that definition, The Order is not a bad game. It did everything it sought to do, and did it well, and I’m looking forward to what Ready at Dawn brings us next.


Originally published at Top Shelf Gaming

Super Han Solo

So I heard you like Star Wars

Well, what a coincidence, because I do, too! In fact, Star Wars is probably the biggest influential piece of media on my personality. A New Hope is one of the first movies I have the memory of watching, so obviously it was hugely fundamental in forming me into the beautiful ball of nerd that I am today. Between that and my excitement towards the then-newly released The Force Awakens, I felt obligated to create an homage to it.

Which leads to Super Han Solo. Beginning as a project for a Level Design class, I created a short platforming level, where you can control Han Solo as he races across the Tatooine desert to reach the Mos Eisley cantina. Along the way, there are Millennium Falcon tokens to collect, falling pitfalls to avoid, and Chewbaccas to placate.

Download Super Han Solo

Special thanks to Derek Prate, for writing the base code.