Friday, June 29, 2012

Roosterteeth + Trials Evolution Multiplayer = Mayhem + Comedy

Warning: Possible Not Safe for Work. 
Maybe with headphones, you could get away with it.
Trials Evolution is video game for the Xbox 360. It is a motocross racing game set in a variety of tracks. The game is played from a third person perspective and is really fun to watch. The variety of tracks is tremendous and the developers have released a track editor that is so flexible, players have made other games like a Missile Command and a third person shooter. Although they are several intros and trailers to the game, I like this from RoosterTeeth because it gets directly to the gameplay and the game itself. Most others are just loud for being loud's sake and have intros of their own that take up almost half the time of the video. 

It also has multi-player and the guys at RoosterTeeth take a crack at it. The result is possibly the funniest video by the guys at RoosterTeeth. Just a bunch of guys having fun. It's like you are a friend in the same room watching. Obscenities abound. 

A friend of mine laughed so hard, he had to leave and ask for the link to watch later. 

Monday, June 25, 2012

The Adjustment Bureau: Adjust What You Think This Movie is About

Starring: Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, Terence Stamp
Category: Romantic Thriller
A really simple question with a big answer. How far would you go for the one you love? We have loved many people in our life. Whatever you may say, the love ebbs and flows over time. But what if you were given a glimpse of what might be, taste what it would feel like but ultimately denied it by forces you have never known before? How far would you go to have it back, to have that love back?
The Adjustment Bureau tells the story of shadowy organization that enforces "the plan". The plan is a document that is designed to keep humanity intact. The Adjustment Bureau ensures that it is followed by intervening in people's lives, either nudging them towards choices or triggering events that force a decision to be made in a certain way. In extreme cases, the Bureau intervenes directly and changes people's memories or thoughts so that they would act or do things "according to plan". The bureau has been around for a very long time. They may have great powers but seem to be as fallible as anybody else.
David Norris, who is running for a seat on the US Senate, finds himself at odds with the Bureau when he tried to start a relationship with Elise. He first meets her just before giving his concession speech after losing the Senate seat election. She inspires him to write a speech that makes him a favorite to win in the next election. However, she leaves quickly  because she was being chased by the hotel security.
An Adjustment Bureau agent, Harry Mitchell, fails to spill coffee on David one morning. This causes him to make the bus and meet Elise again. They make a connection and she gives him her phone number. The Adjustment Bureau realizes that this has changed the course of future events and goes about forcefully re-aligning events and people so that it will follow the plan. David discovers them but is only stopped. Instead of having his memory changed like the people around him, he is told about the Bureau and warned not to contact or find Elise again. The phone number is confiscated and destroyed.
The rest of the movie is about an elaborate cat and mouse game between the David, and later Elise, with the Adjustment Bureau. It is explained why the bureau does what it does and give hints as to why David is special. David on the other hand refuses to give up on Elise and goes to great lengths to find her and be with her. At every turn, the Adjustment Bureau is waiting and thwarts their attempts, finally bringing in a specialist.
The movie is the story of one man's devotion and his unwillingness to accept what is given to him. He wants something that he sees as something better and make sacrifices to get it. In this case, the love of a woman whom he is attracted to. His attraction to her is more cerebral as she is from a different background than him and has a different outlook on life. He finds her refreshing because she is not impressed by what he does but rather who he is. David Norris realizes that Elise brings out the best in him and the best parts he never realized was there. For that, he was willing to risk every thing.

Friday, June 22, 2012

DayZ and Walking with the Dead

Category: Game

Why just watch a zombie movie when you can experience it yourself? The cool guys at RoosterTeeth reviewed DayZ, a mod for ArmA 2 for the PC. It creates a world in the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse with a high degree of realism. In this world, the player and other survivors have to .... survive. The other players are all other players on the same server. Non-player characters are zombies of several kinds. This is not a game where you shoot anything that moves. In fact, you should really think about how not to shoot because the noise attracts zombies. And you should worry about dying because there is no respawning. You come back as someone else and whatever you had is gone. So basicaly, re-living the world of The Walking Dead. In this clip, Burnie from RoosterTeeth provides a comprehensive introduction to the game/world.

There are so many cool feature is this game which takes it to the next level. Health management effects gameplay and game experience directly. If you are shot and bleeding, your character is shaking. And when you are shaking, you can't shoot straight. You have to bandage yourself and take something to calm your nerves down. Worse is that resource management is critical as provisions are few. You may not have that injection, only bandages.
One of the unique aspects of this game is taking action (or not) living with the consequences. Since players cannot re-spawn and dying means starting fresh, the approach to gameplay changes significantly. The game world is huge, slightly over 100 square miles and the main transportation is your own two feet. What strikes me is how just walking in the game resembles the posters for the Walking Dead TV series. It is not uncommon to walk around and find the remains of other players. Remember to loot. 
There are problems. Mostly communications. Communications is limited at the moment because players are not individually recognizable. There are no identifiers on the players nor and there is a limited way you change how you look. Communication within a game server covers all the players so you can basically see other people talking to each other even though you cannot see them. Nor can you be sure the person you are chatting with is actually the person in front of you.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Prometheus Review: Prometheus Delivers Something Else

Starring: Michael Fassbender, Noomi Rapace
Category: Sci-fi Action Adventure Horror

If you are a sci-fi movie fan, this movie is for you. If you like monster movies, you will like the second half of the movie. If horror movies are your thing, there are plenty of moments in this movie that will make you happy. If you are an Alien franchise fan, this movie is not meant for you. You can enjoy it as one of the others kind of movies but if expect this adds to the Aliens lore and the world that it lives in, you may not like what you see.
Prometheus generated a lot of interest because of it's links to director Ridley Scott , who directed Alien and the fact that it is a movie about aliens. It wouldn't be impossible to draw links to it and the Aliens franchise. The genesis of this movie is in fact from a pivotal scene in first movie, Alien. This is when the crew of the Nostromo walks into a cavernous chamber and find it filled with Alien pods on the floor. At the center of the chamber is a giant creature sitting in throne of something that looks like a telescope pointing skyward. The brief image and the question of who is the Space Jockey has been a source of popular fascination in the Aliens popular lore.
The Space Jockey in Alien
There have been no clues in the other movies so the identity of the Space Jockey is a mystery to most people. The novel Aliens: Original Sin doesn't count.
So it this movie a prequel? Yes and No. You will have to read the spoilers section at the bottom for an explanation.
The movie starts with a mysterious figure who looks like he committed suicide. That's a great way to start a movie, a mystery that will make the audience talk about after the movie. The problem is that it encourages the audience to think and look for clues that may answer that mystery. Unfortunately, this movie is enjoyed best without doing that.
Another view of the Space Jockey in Alien
The movie then jumps to two archaeologists who make a startling discovery in a cave: a pre-historic cave drawing of people pointing to a group of planets. They take this as proof (to them at least), that we were visited by aliens at different times in our history. And that they wanted us to go to them on their planet. (Really? Is that the first thing that comes to mind?)
The Weyland corporation then sponsors them to go to this planet. The group consists of a company representative played by Charlize Theron, the ship's crew, the two scientists, some other scientists, some security personnel and an android. The android has a disturbing fascination with Lawrence of Arabia and spends time on the ship, while the human crew are in stasis, watching the movie and dying his hair blonde. Lawrence of Arabia is not a great choice for an android to be taking lessons from. The main character is manipulative and rather unstable. Two traits you don't really want in a robot.
They reach the planet and find a hill with a landing strip that they think holds the key to the identity of these aliens. Then the movie gets out of hand. The scientists, in the spirit of Christmas, go headlong into the hill, exploring it's caves. They are giddy as children with a new gift and as reckless.
They make more discoveries that lead to more questions. Things start to go wrong and they discover that they are not alone. Not alone on the ship and not alone on the planet. Some of the crew get infected and all hell breaks loose. The movie then moves from science fiction to more action and horror elements.  

Prometheus has everything going for it. A great cast, a good premise, huge budget, a good director and a strong interests from an existing fan-base. So it's not hard to expect great things from it. The movie is good but unfortunately, not great. It'll keep you talking and thinking when the movies ends but not for the right reasons. The movie does not live to it's full potential and having everything going for it makes it harder to swallow.
The cast were underutilized. Not quite up to the level of Clash of the Titans but the movie does have Charlize Theron just standing and glaring for the most of it. Noomi Rapace and Michael Fassbender do the hard lifting in the acting department and scenes where they are the important ones in the movie. Like the what the Weyland Corp. did in the movie, the producers could have just hired a generic support crew.
The movie has an epic quality to it. Definitely, a huge chunk of the budget is on-screen. But it is more so when it comes to size. Everything is scaled to make the humans look small. Huge hill/mound in a valley surrounded by towering mountains. Enormous sandstorms. The fact is, the aliens are quite big. You can see that even in the original Alien movie. The Space Jockey was a giant. The message here I think is clear: Humans are not the biggest beings in the universe. Now behave like it.
I also made the epic mistake of watching the trailer despite having understood the hidden code of trailer makers. I enjoyed the movie less because I watched the trailer. If you want to enjoy this movie, don't watch the trailer or forget what you saw.
Having said all that, this movie is still quite good. Come to it with no expectations and you will not be disappointed. 

Monday, June 11, 2012

My Watch List now available on Google Currents.

Publication on your tablet and phone new. Powered by Google Currents.
I was looking for a way to do an e-zine that and came across Google Currents. I was blown away at how intuitive it was to set up. Best of all, it gives me an opportunity to give you another way to read my posts and provide news content from my other sources. This is great if you are reading this from a tablet or smartphone. It's customized automatically for each, giving the best experience possible. Dynamic views works for computer browsers but it didn't quite grasp the tablet experience. This goes a long way to address that.
The edition, which is the correct term for it, comes with additional content. Best of all, once installed and subscribed to, it will automatically keep up to date.
You can access it from the  My Watch List Google Currents link from a mobile browser. It should install the correct version of the app. But if is doesn't, the app can be downloaded from the iTunes store or from Google Play.
Tell me what you think in the comments.

Friday, June 01, 2012

Game of Thrones. This seasons MOST guilty pleasure

We have a guest contributor today, AR3

Starring: Sean Bean, Mark Addy, Lena Headly, Peter Dinklage
Spoiler Alerts for anyone who hasn't watched Season 2.

Last night I attended a dinner party. Almost everybody has a rich friend; and these were my richest friends, I'm talking Rolls Royce not Bently in the driveway. Anyway we were chatting and somehow I mentioned Mad Men and how obsessed I'd become by the series... and then it happened...

The dinner was a party of 8 plus a baby; as soon as I geeked out on Mad Men, that's when one of the boyfriends confessed that his girlfriend is obsessed by Game of Thrones (GOT). This admission was followed by another, then another, until pretty much the infant was the only one not raving about GOT.

I hitched a ride home and surprisingly the conversation continued. We talked about how the different plots were so solid, how Prince Joffrey, now King, was a jerk. How he was lucky to have Tyrion to kick Stannis Baratheons ass (we are on episode 9 (S2) at the time of writing this).

My friend said it's really funny because no one is really talking about this Show, yet so many people are addicted to it like it was crack. Girlfriends, boyfriends, affluent, normal, so many were junkies of this show. (probably because of the abundance of risque materials -Ed.)

Fantasy isn't really cool (how many Frodo jokes have you heard?). As a former D&D gamemaster, I embrace my geekiness, but for the uninitiated, this sensation of pleasure that comes with watching Dragons come to life is something new.

I say get over yourself! Enjoy the ride and tell as many people you can about the awesomeness of Game of Thrones.