Ripple Part Cinque is up and running!

Well, it’s more mythology-building this time around but I hope you like it. I had this written a couple weeks back but I just didn’t have the tone quite correct so I left it. Now I go back today and read it and find that it sounds good enough to post with a few minor tweaks. I guess my creative equation so far is:

PASSION + TIME = PROGRESS

Wow, now that I spell it out that seems bloody obvious *facepalm*.

PS: I nested the parts so now it isn’t so confusing on the webpage. Let me know if that works okay.

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Yeah I’m gonna weigh in – Sexism in Video Games

OK, enough with the reams of stupid out there! Ms. Sarkeesian seems to have stirred up quite a hornets nest of vile and disgusting misogyny. But to those who think that it’s fine to defend the status quo let me give you a simple thought experiment to try:

Imagine that the best game ever in your genre has just been released. It had insane buzz during production and now it has been released to accolades from all corners of the gaming world. 5 stars this and 10 outta 10 that, its just crazy. But here is your dilemma, the main character featured prominently on the front cover is 6′ tall, buff, with long blond hair wearing a bright red thong and sandals and is oily from head to toe (using specially designed OIL-TECH technology specifically for this game). Oh and he wields a whip and is very gay (in fact it drives much of the “plot” of the game). Would you buy that game despite this character because its so damn fantastic otherwise?

Your answer really doesn’t matter because here’s the thing: Every woman gamer has to make that choice with 90% of games that actually exist! Unless she wants to play games like Tetris and Civilization all her life she is stuck with that same choice over and over again. To appeal to a specific demographic the game companies are alienating 50% of the population, in the end greed will win out over sexism. It won’t be rants and raves from feminists, it will be simple greed. The larger you make your audience the greater your profits. Bioware has already figured this out and it looks like Blizzard had with Diablo III somewhat. And no, this won’t make games suck it will make them more varied and complex. It’s not like there are technological limitations on character identities, after all.

Prometheus – First Impressions

Well, just came back from seeing Prometheus with my son. And it was OK, not great, just OK. The ideas were good, the visuals were stunning (no surprise there with Ridley Scott at the helm). The annoying thing was that it asked more questions than it answered, but not in a way that left me intrigued, just frustrated. Michael Fassbender was fantastic as usual. I could watch a whole film of just David discovering his self-awareness.

SPOILER: The one glaring flaw for me in this movie was the scene with the biologist and the snake-oid. HE. IS. A. BIOLOGIST. How does he not know what a threat display is? ARGH

Lost, The Thing Prequel and Expectations vs Objectivity

This is something I have been meaning to get off my chest for a long time now (as you can tell by the shows I reference). I still see comments on message boards and forums about the betrayal and/or epic failure of both to this day so I am not too out-dated. The expectations of the fans of these franchises were for something different than the end results that they were given. THAT DOESN’T MEAN THEY ARE BAD! It simply means you didn’t get what you wanted.

I have never understood this way of thinking, its as if the fans should be the final arbiters of quality and that’s not the way the world works. Let me just say I am not an art critic or even took those courses in University but it should be bloody obvious that there is nothing wrong with either of them from a purely artistic perspective, they are what they are, nothing more and nothing less. Expectations can be a terrible thing to build up because when they aren’t fulfilled that can lead to hatred, sort of like a spurned lover. To make a rather dark connection, most murder victims know their killers… intimately. Love can so easily turn to hatred because we humans are horrible at taking rejection.

In the case of Lost it is especially ironic because they did indeed get what they asked for … sort of. One of the wild theories about the show during the first couple seasons was the castaways were actually dead and in purgatory. As it turned out that was true for the flash-sideways in the final season. They were also told by the show runners for the last 3 seasons that the show wasn’t about the island or its mysteries but about the characters and how their experiences affected them. And yet when it did turn out to be true about both points there was a huge fan backlash. To truly enjoy a work of art one must open up to letting the experience carry you along. Just like a roller-coaster ride you let it take you through all its twists and turns and you don’t get to steer, that is how good entertainment should always work. If you, as a fan, get to dictate the story then all the excitement of discovery goes away. If you read the end of a book you have undermined the experience completely, so why would fans of Lost want the expected to happen? The writing was solid, the acting was solid, the cinematography (does that work for TV shows?) was beautiful, there is nothing objectively wrong with this series. So what if all the mysteries weren’t answered? (But to be honest if you go back and watch the show carefully roughly 90% of those mysteries were answered.)

Now THE THING 2011 had a different problem related to expectations and this actually has made me angry because I hear this cry of betrayal from people that I highly respect and they should know better (I am looking at you Spoony One). Many genre nerds were ticked off that this one wasn’t exactly the same as the first and thus pointless. I ask why? Why would you want exactly the same movie? That would indeed make it pointless. I thought the director and writers were brilliant because they made exactly the right sort of prequel. Allow me to explain; the first movie was at its core about paranoia, you didn’t know who to trust because the Thing was stealthy and smart enough to hide until it could thingify you alone (yes I made that word up). In this it was very similar to Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Everyone assumed that the prequel would be exactly the same but the creators asked the right question that no one else seemed to notice: how did it learn to be so damn sneaky? The prequel gave us that answer, it learned from its mistakes. At the Norwegian station the Thing’s arrogance led to its downfall. It presumed that humans would be easy prey and so it was a balls-out monster attack! The mistake the creators seem to have made was assuming the audience would be receptive and perceptive enough to understand this without it being spelled out to them. That is what shocked me about Spoony’s reaction, he is damn smart and should have known better. I also like to think of it as the reverse Alien dualogy, in that series the monster was subtle and stealthy in the first movie and then went for the throat with massive numbers after that in Aliens. I have yet to see Prometheus and I have tried to keep myself fairly spoiler-free but I get the sense from word-of-mouth that the same thing (heh-heh) may be happening. I hope I am wrong and it is just mediocre and not a case of over-hyped expectations.

In conclusion, tone down your expectations and instead of getting what you want you may just get what you need (yeah I know I just ripped off the Stones).

PS: You can lead a man to reason, but you cannot make him think!

Waiting, not knowing, is half the battle

For those of you wondering what’s taking me so long to get the next part of Ripple posted, I give you these 3 excuses:

1) This next part is proving to be more difficult to write than I expected. I know what I want to say and it adds what I think is a cool piece to the puzzle/mythology of the story but… finding the right tone is proving to be difficult. I am trying to tone down my attempts at humor since its a serious topic and thus I had to scrap about half of it and I am in the process of rewriting it now.

2) Diablo 3

3) Diablo 3

Seriously, I have a love/hate relationship with Blizzard. They make the greatest games (well except for WoW) but damn they are a sucking void for my free time and my creativity. This Diablo 3 infection should die down soon enough with proper bed-rest and plenty of fluids though.

PS: I find it rather goofy that the spellchecker keeps red-lining Diablo. Its a freaking proper name dammit!