Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo: the 2013 Horizon.

From a financial standpoint, I’m pretty poor, So I have to plan out purchases like a new computer or console many months in advance, and then be Damned sure that’s what I want. I budget myself to buying a few things a month, and then some savings if things don’t come up. That being said, I’m more than likely going to miss out on the launch for the new systems.

While I’m definitely going to get a Wii U (Loves me my Zelda, and Monolith Soft games) It’ll be a year out from now, at least, the big problem I’ll have with that is that Nintendo games, new or used, usually retain their value pretty well, Hell I still have gaps in my Wii collection where certain games should be. To make sure That doesn’t happen this time around, I’m probably going to buy the Wii U games I want when they launch, whether or not I have the console at the time. Crazy, I Know. but damnit, I’d rather have it new and shiny when I do get my Wii U than wait a year and get the second or third printing  that costs just as much USED as it did New at launch. Don’t you judge me!

Anyway, I’ve completely skipped on the PS3 thus far, not because of fanboyism (That’s what Nintendo was for.) or because there weren’t any games I wanted for it, but because that entry point to getting it always made me think, “Well I could save up for 3 months, if I’m lucky, get the PS3 and maybe one or two games. OR, I could buy five to ten games for the consoles I have, or books, or smaller purchases over the next few months without the worry of saying.”

As for why I didn’t get one initially, at the time that I was at the cusp of the decision, Halo 3 and the upcoming Fable II, as well as a couple of other exclusives sold me on it, simple as that. Nothing Sony was marketing was really catching my eyes, especially considering the larger price on it at the time.  For as much as I spent to get my 360, an extra wireless controller, two battery packs and three used games, as well as play most of the games I already owned for my Xbox, I would have been only been able to get a ps3 and maybe two used games, and not be able to play the large collection of PS2 games I had (this was 2008, when they had already discontinued the backwards compatible PS3s).

I bring this up, because all of these factors are going to affect the next console releases. Of course they’re competing with not only the mobile markets, they have to compete the digital market on PC’s, as those are becoming more common to plug right into a TV and use like a console/set top box. So, services like Xbox Live and PlayStation Plus are neat to have, but I don’t think they’ll be enough to Sell the three to four hundred dollar price tag hardware. They’re going to need to cater to, at least a bit, to the already large install base with their current systems, by letting them play the games they already own, as well as transfer over digital content they might have, on top of showing, continually, new things coming for the new piece of hardware they’re trying so hard to sell us.


The Wii U and the PS Vita really dropped the ball on that last bit, with large gaps in their game release schedule right after launches. They relied far too hard on just selling the hardware’s shiny new features, as opposed to anything that might use those features. Nintendo had the same problem selling the 3ds at start, but then remedied this by getting some big releases for the console, and then kept the games coming, Sony hasn’t yet.

As for backwards compatibility, I’ve already been reading about the complications of the Cell processor being a reason why the Orbis/PS4 probably wont be able to play PS3 games, Which, I would say is true, because frankly it’s the only system I haven’t seen people able to emulate… yet. Microsoft has a great chance to leap ahead of Sony during transitional years, Nintendo did great on that with not only being able to play Wii games on the new console, but even that the Wii mote is used for quite a few games for it, So you already have equipment for it, and the support of the Virtual Console in the eShop (though I’d be hard pressed to say I didn’t wish for continued GCN support, Here’s to wishing for it on the Virtual Console!), but from what I’ve seen, they still haven’t grasped the idea of having an account, so people are mad that they only get one chance to transfer content from their Wii to Wii U through a somewhat convoluted process.

With all the new toys coming on the horizon, They’ve all got an uphill battle and have to tread carefully with what they offer. They all have the chance to turn around any failings they might have had the last generation, or screw it up completely. Nintendo stated a strong release lineup of first and second party titles, Sony has it’s upcoming Press conference, where they have the chance to announce more Giant Enemy Crabs, as well as an ungodly price point,  or really sell it with some hard core software and services and something developers wont have a problem programming for, and Microsoft has to continue what they’re doing, but with more exclusive AAA titles (and possibly a Banjo Threeie), or risk being seen as the Generic console with nothing to offer exclusively over the other one.

Granted, I’m not a business analyst, but I can still see where these companies made their mistakes, and only hope that they did too, and learned from them, instead of just assuming people will just take in whatever they shovel out. It’s a different age of technology, where things are becoming more and more universal, what with fully functional laptops blurring the lines with tablets, desktop towers and streaming devices becoming the norm for set top boxes, Smart phones having a set base for operational systems, and being far more open to customization for everyday use, all of these  trends are becoming the norm, and there needs to be a bigger push for the “Why should I give you my money, over the other guy?”


Pew pewing my enemies with lemons,

Mega

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Dead Space 3 and Other Horror Games (And why I miss Survival Horror).

Played the demo today. Name should be changed to Gears of War: Hoth edition.
While a demo of course doesn’t quite paint all of what a game has to offer, It feels like it took the same direction started in Dead Space 2, and put more on a direction towards action and combat over fear and atmosphere. Sure for new players there’s going to be the initial shock factor of the grotesque enemies, but that wears off rather quick, and then when they add in things like religious zealots who shoot at you with guns, it definitely takes away from the “horror” experience.
That isn’t to say it’s bad, it handled really well, finding parts for to customize weapons (I made a carbine with a line gun attached) was pretty neat, blasting away at enemies is still satisfying, cutting limbs off with the cutter, the areas looked wonderfully detailed,so kudos to the programmers and art directors.
The problem I have is that they seem to have failed to set any sort of atmosphere that says either Survival, or Horror, instead devolving into a slower paced third person shooter, with an emphasis on “Boo” scares where things pop out and then you shoot them.
I know it’s the same gripe that comes up whenever a sequel to an established horror game comes up, but they come up for a reason. Mainly, it seems the things that made these games like Resident Evil and Dead Space (I’m not quite sure went wrong with Silent Hill, it just went on until each game seemed like a parody of the earlier ones), Which start out with settings and pacing and atmosphere that was all about the built up until you were tense enough to attack anything you even thought moved (sometimes even things that were in the room with you), shout a few obscenities, and possibly drop your controller.

Something I’ve noticed in the last few years is that horror games diverged into two categories: Horror Adventures (Read: Point and Click, Text adventures), where you interact with the environment, but slowly, like with Amnesia: the Dark Descent, or more flailingly laughable Rise of Nightmares for the Kinect. The other, of course is the more widely accepted Horror Action (Read: Survival Horror, FPS horror)  genre, where now there’s a emphasis on action, and more Surprise and Shock scares.

Now, for me, both types of these have their pro’s and cons. With the Horror Adventure styled games, on top of greater depth, there’s a lot of build up and tension, and you’re never quite sure when or where, or what might happen, and the real sense of helplessness because you have no way of fighting off anything that might come, of very limited ways of doing so while you run away. The con to this, for me anyway, is the pacing is usually very slow, While it does help build up any paranoia and fear, you can end up spending hours and essentially accomplish nothing beyond finding a note or a statue with a key attached before the pig monster that somehow the game designers ripped from your nightmares gently brushes his fingertips out of the shadow in the corner of your screen. Did you see that? Or was the suspense just .making you paranoid? The counter to this, of course is the Horror Action games. These rely heavily on shocking imagery like elaborate nasty monsters, or surprises like things just popping out of nowhere right in your face.Walking down the hallway and then HOLY FREAKING CRAP, there’s a frogmonster with an axe jumping towards as you fumble to hit aim, then fire, and then 20 zombies! These keep you going because the pacing is a lot quicker, and you’re usually just shooting with no less than a couple of minutes between combat, or they just throw hundreds of hundreds of certain types of monsters at you *cough*ZOMBIES*cough* but any scare is just, “Oh look at that thing, kinda looks like someone took a dog, turned it inside out, and microwaved it,” and then just becomes “Oh another one?… and another… 4 more you say…” So any feeling of helplessness is removed as a factor as you figure out the best way to kill and/or avoid them, even boss fights lose their edge in that department because they stuck to a formula that you HAVE to fight one at the end of each stage.Don’t get me wrong, I still find these fun as shooting galleries, but they irk me because they always try to sell me the game as something scary, when its a yawnsome popcorn scare at best.

I liked survival horror games, because they seemed to be the best of two worlds, in the way that they kept you engaged to tell you a story, while engrossing you in that world, and why you should be afraid. Half the scares were in the presenation, a good chunk of it was the story telling, and then the rest came out of visuals and things the game would throw at you.

Silent Hill 2 always seems to be the best example for this argument, I mean you’re in Silent Hill, trying to find your wife, whom you thought was dead, but this fog, this all encompassing fog keeps you from seeing what’s really there, or not there. Then you meet these characters that seem entirely off, but you can’t tell why, just yet. then at certain points, everything is turned inside out into meat walls and Pyramid heads, you don’t know why and there’s a rapist with a butcher knife bigger than you chasing you for some yet, unknown reason, all the while fighting off little things and big things, with breakable weapons and trying to find your way to the next location until you find your wife who, as it turns out, you freaking killed and the entire scenario was all in your head as a way of dealing with your guilt and building your own personal hell.
It had everything: Scenery, characters, action gameplay that still left you feeling weak and defenseless half of the time, a story that lead you deeper and deeper into a scary, but real feeling scenario of psychosis and guilt, or a surreal fantasy that brought you straight into a fleshy pit that punished someone for their acts in life similar to part’s of Dante’s Inferno.

Resident Evils first few games didn’t have so much scariness in it as it did suspense. Yeah sure, zombies and genetic freaks, but it was more about being thrown into a completely unknown situation. Sure you were sent in as a S.T.A.R.S. Alpha teams Chris “Captain Kickass” Redfield or Jill “Sandwich” Valentine, who were both highly trained and decorated ex military, who go to check on what was reportedly a bunch of scientists in the boonies, after rumors were spreading, they still managed to put you in that Helpless state by trapping you in a house with not only mutations and killer freaks, but pitfalls, puzzles, and little to no ammo, with things turning sour at each and every turn, and a greater mystery being unraveled with all the betrayal and intrigue leading up to player finding out that they were sent there by Wesker intentionally as a test of the BOWs.

Both of these series managed to do these things well enough to still be praised even by today’s standards, but along the line I guess they tried to eke out a formula in order to print  survival horror money. Capcom ended up with a homogenized third person action game, and Silent Hill, well I haven’t really played them since 4, but from what I’ve read, and playthroughs I watched,  they all just lost any sort of… personal nature to the scenarios. They just weren’t   sucking people in, or seemingly trying to be scarier on a deeper level.

Now Let me briefly talk about Co-Op in horror. There’s a frame of mind that says Co Op diminishes any horror elements in a game. I disagree on the grounds that They just keep screwing up how to do it. in the games that do it, they drop both you, and your partner into a setting, with guns, together. No real threats arise, because Bimbette and Commander badass are gonna kill all the zombies together and go skipping through the supposed wasteland on their way looking for a hexagonal crank.
Instead, I would propose a cooperative game, that makes you as isolated as you are cooperative.You’d be dependent on them for survival and progress, but at the same time you’d go through bits where you’d talk to them via in game chat, and all of a sudden it would cut out, and you’d still have to depend on them, You just wouldn’t know how. In a vast labyrinth where you have to fight off monsters on your own, figure out traps and pitfalls, and solve puzzles that would unlock their path while you have to travel forward not knowing what’ll be around the corner while you wait for them to find your next door opener. It’s all about building tension. For all you know, this random labyrinth could be built so your partner could go off and send you into a trap for no reason, or when the comm cuts out, they could be dead and you’d have no idea until the last second, with no way of knowing you can or should help them. I’m not making a damn game, I’m just saying things that build tension until that big scare comes up as you explore it. Don’t criticize lol.

I’m not trying to start a revolution, just trying to figure out where it all went wrong.

TTFN,
Mega

Hmm…

I’m going to do something a bit different today. I’m going to post something I don’t entirely feel comfortable with posting. Normally, I’d write something like this juts for my own sake, getting it out of my system, and just hoping I forget about it. HOWEVER, I am a bit curious to see what people think about this style. I’m not entirely sure what style it is (I keep thinking it’s a dry form of poetry, but I don’t do it often enough to really make that call). It’s a bit dark, in my opinion anyway.
Well here it is.

The Things I Tell Myself to get through the day.

Get up, be good.
Don’t listen to the bad things.
Remember her.
Remember them.

The pain can be ignored…
Ignore it anyway.
You’re supposed to be stronger than the pain.
BE Stronger than the pain.

Get past that thought.
Think about it later.
No, get past that one.
Let it ruin that hour before you go to sleep instead.

Be good, get that done.
You can do it.
Think about that instead of everything else.
You can get it done.

You’re not the thing you think you are.
They’re fine.
You’d never let anything happen to them.

Don’t let them know.
It’s not their problem.
They can’t know about it.

They care about you.
She cares about you.
They want you to be Happy…

Just a bit longer…
Tomorrow could be better.

Relax, don’t pay attention to the dark…
Especially in your mind.

Take the pill, it’s supposed to help.
Don’t think about why you don’t wanna take it.

Don’t worry, the dreams won’t last long.

Hope for blackness until morning.

Be brave, courage means getting up tomorrow.

As always, I’d like to know what you think! TTFN.

A little bit of bullshit…

I’m alive, Much to anyone reading this’ chagrin and/or disbelief. I used to think what I’d get with my small lapses of posts was writers block, but these last few months I’ve really been struggling to even come up with ideas to write about. The only thing that has changed at the moment is that I had an epiphany last night. I’m not going to go into that right now just because I just don’t feel like explaining it.
Regardless, I’ve gotten, at least, that spark to get me sitting down and writing about anything. This should at least get my brain going in a good direction to get back to work on something I used to love doing so very much. For now though, I’ve decided to dabble in a little philosophical rabble, what a lot of people might call just a little bit of bullshit:

 

Cogito Ergo Sum. By this statement we are defined as real simply by the act of questioning our very existence, whether we think we are formed in someone else’s dream or something conjured  up by some other-worldly apparition.
What I question is not that I am real, but what defines reality in itself. How do we know what we see, feel, and experience before us is really what we’re experiencing outside of our minds eye telling us so.
That being the case, how do I know I really appear as I think I do. I mean, i already know that, at least visually, I’m seen differently as exampled by when I look at myself in a mirror and I look at myself in a picture. Not a grand example, but simple. What I mean is, how would I, or anyone, really know they aren’t some energy blob projecting what my mind has told itself what it wants to be, or some strange mass of smaller life forms that come together as a collective hive-mind or that instead of the universe being the big ALL that encompasses everything, it’s merely a spec of an particle that makes up an atom, or any number of possibilities that could easily be conjured away just because all of our minds tell us so. If that’s the case, we can only accept our reality based on what a collective consensus tells us.
Now I’m sure to hear the argument about how The collective consensus cant bend reality to its own whims, but consider that for a few thousand years, people thought the world was flat. Now whether it was right or wrong, they believed it to be their reality, so strongly that if you said otherwise you were probably burned for heresy. Whether it was right or wrong, it became their reality,
Given that misunderstanding, how are we to definitively say that the reality we think we believe is the utmost absolute truth of reality as we’ve come to know it. Even the proof can be false in a sense that it all could not be real or different just because we see it so. I’m not speaking scientifically though, just philosophically so keep that in mind.

TTFN
Mega.

A short return!

Hello, for those of you willing to stop your busy lives to read this, I have finally started to settle in at my new home in Ohio! All kinds of new exciting things have been happening, and I don’t think I’ve ever been happier.

I know what you’re all thinking:

“But, you’re a writer! You can’t write and have joy in your life! THE UNIVERSE WILL TEAR ITSELF APART!”

Normally, I would vehemently agree, but I’ve been finding that I can think more clearly here, and am not constantly waiting for the next shit storm to occur every hour, on the hour (don’t mark me wrong, I’m still expecting shit-storms, just far fewer and longer inbetween).

With that said, I’ve had quite a few ideas in the last few weeks, one of which is just taking a very old work of mine, and converting it from a novel, into a short play! Exciting, isn’t it?

That’s all i can muster for now, Folks.

Flipping you on the see-side,

Mega

Anxiety Break

News: Not much on the old CES front I’m afraid. Cruz is a phantom, or more likely, a Fart in the wind.  While I am entering a state of hopelessness when it comes to any past mentioned comics, I continue to trudge forth, writing some scripts and getting back to regular, novel style, writing.  Also I am getting closer and closer to moving, so wish me luck.

Well, here’s something new for you somewhat loyal readers. Not quite a short story, but something I’ve been working on, on and off. Now for those of you noticing errors and lines that just don’t fit, this is my first draft of the first part of something bigger. I am looking for critiques and feedback in terms of idea and paragraph structure.

Anxiety Break (Part 1, first draft)

I blinked.

Looking at the dark, shaded buildings around me, then down to the rain soaked street, realizing that I was definitely not where I fell asleep, I felt the middle of my chest tightening and my breathing started to quicken. The cigarette in my mouth fell, as I put my hand to my forehead, retracting suddenly and grabbing my chest instead, shocked from the feel of leather against my skin, realizing I was wearing gloves.

“Great Dom,” I thought. “You’re having a panic attack. It’s gonna be bad if you don’t calm the FUCK down.”

I calmed myself the best way I could. Inhaling deep, then exhaling slowly, doing anything I could to clear my mind until I could completely calm down. It wouldn’t do me any good to think about anything ‘til I can put an end to this panic attack.

Finally, the pain in my chest started to subside. I looked around, and then at myself to gather as much information as possible, before getting up.

“Where the hell am I?”

Searching for some semblance of where the hell I was, or what the hell was going on, I started to look around again.

“Buildings or street signs…” I muttered, thinking out loud to stay focused, “One diner, two warehouses, payphone and… THERE! Street sign!

Chamberlain Street. Looking further at the cross street. Ok 38th and Chamberlain. Well, that answered one question.

“What the hell am I wearing?”

Every single piece of clothing I was wearing was unrecognizable to me; a long dark trench, black shirt, leather gloves, slacks and hard-soled shoes. It was all foreign to me in both material and style, more upscale than I’m used to. What made me feel even more uncomfortable was that everything felt broken in.

With that thought in my head, I knew I needed to focus on something else before that uncomfortable feeling triggers another panic attack. My eyes targeted the cig I just dropped. I needed to find everything about that damned smoke. It was a Pall Mall..

“Why the hell would I smoke Pall Mall’s?” I asked myself aloud. “Wait, I don’t smoke anyway, so why’s it matter?”

While I don’t smoke (or at least I thought I didn’t), what bothered me most was the brand. If I were going to smoke anything, It would definitely be Marlboros. It was the same brand my parents smoked as I grew up, so I was familiar. Also I liked the smell of their tobacco. So yes, with the smell and family tradition, I definitely wouldn’t be smoking Pall Malls.

I know it’s not important, but these little thoughts are keeping me from going crazy about the bigger issues. Mainly, finding out what the fuck is going on!

In this completely surprising situation, I tried being hopeful that I at least had my wallet and phone, things I never leave the house without.

Damn.

In my search, I found a pack of smokes, keys, a wallet and phone, none of which were mine.

“Shit,” I thought, out loud. “I can’t even call Julie. She’d never answer an unknown number this late at night.”

Wait, just what time is it anyway?

Checking the phone, I pressed on it.  It was a nice phone, actually, one of those touch-screen phones. If I had the money I would get one for my…

Wait a minute. I’m envying myself. Damn, this is insane.

The background was a cute looking woman, probably in her mid-twenties, smiling and posing for it. It was too candid to be a picture that came with the phone, so I assumed I would eventually have to talk to this person to find anything more about what the hell was going on.

Clearing my head, I finally focused on the time. . It was Three-thirty in the morning. Double damn it.  If any of this crap happened in the last 24 hours, that means I’ve been out of it for at least seven. I really need to start figuring this all out.

The wallet needed inspecting first. Black leather, kind of like mine, just newer, but it felt heftier. Of course there were the usual items, discount cards, business cards, identification, and what would be the heft, cash. Ignoring the money, for now anyway, I checked out the I.D, hoping for a clue where I should head next.

I don’t know why, but I wasn’t entirely surprised to see my face on the I.D., but the name, was definitely not mine. What was even more interesting was that this name was on the business cards I found too. Michael Syracuse, Private Detective.

Looking at Michael’s card, I say Michael because I want to separate myself from this person until I get a handle on what’s going on, an idea as to why I was in the street in the middle of the night came clear. He was a fully licensed private detective, with his own office too. For some reason I felt a little proud, don’t ask me why.

After thinking things over, I decided that I would have to go to this guy’s office for the night, since I had nowhere else to go. Without my keys, I couldn’t get into my apartment ‘til I could get a hold of Julie, who I can’t call ‘til at least Eight, even if she did believe me, and I’m not going to risk going to this guys place, only to find the girl in the picture there waiting, starting conversations that would just go bad. That said, I pulled out the phone and called a cab.

That’s all for now,

Mega

Alas… Poor CES, We don’t know what to do with ye.

Well, last time I told you that we had a new artist to work with, but I haven’t heard from them since posting that lol.  Cruz, while still somewhat active, is only heard from maybe once every two weeks, so it is hard to Collaborate with him.

I’m kind of at a loss. I really want to keep this up, but lately I’ve felt like I’ve had no good ideas, and when I do, I can’t seem to put them down into words. I’ve never had this problem to such an extent before. And to make it worse, the things I have written and worked on already, I have no way to get it out in the way I see it in terms of art and none of them seem to fit if I put them down into a story.

Ideas. That’s how I start. Just a silly or ambiguous idea about a character and how they relate to another person, or object in a certain context, and build from there. Then i usually look back and see if there’s a deeper meaning for how I want this character to be, or how they relate to the other character, or how they express something, and Usually i end up finding something out about myself. It’s a form of self-realization for me.

That isn’t to say it’s the only reason why I want to write and do things like Crooked Glasses or the other thousand ideas I’ve had rolling around in my head. I mean if it were, it would’ve been a lot less painful to just go through therapy. This is what I want to do with my life. I like the thought that maybe someone will get some joy from something I write. I may have trouble finishing things sometimes, or most of the time,  but when i do get something finished, I like to think at least some people like it. never know who, I tend to never get any feedback on it when I ask.

Foreboding, I know, right?

Anyway, I just needed to get that out, been frustrated thinking about moving (Moving in with my girlfriend) and other external factors, for months, and keep putting things off, like writing, for a good couple months now. To compensate, I’ve taken up constructive reading. I picked up Alan Moore’s Guide to Writing Comics and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Creating a Graphic Novel. Just to give myself an idea of what direction to go in. Hell,  I’m even open to advice if anyone who reads this would give it.

Slightly Forlorn,

Mega