Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Idiocracy Watch

A few months ago during the sequester debate (or whatever that was), I was accidentally watching CBS evening news and they had a story on about how people were going to be furloughed, etc. The whole story had an odd tone though as they couldn't bad mouth Obama (heavens no!) since the sequester was his idea and they couldn't bad mouth the Republicans because it's not like we have the money (we don't). It was just a story about people caught up in this otherworldly experience caused by forces beyond the control of man. It reminded me, greatly, of the scene in Idiocracy where a manager of some sort was complaining about how the computer that actually ran the factory was firing people.  The causes and reasons behind what was going on seemed beyond the comprehension of those involved, in both cases, even though the actual reasons were quite simple.

The Plain Dealer has been repeatedly outdoing itself in regards to Obamacare/PPACA with doozies like this about Baldwin Wallace dropping it's health care plan for students:
The Affordable Care Act increases benefits of student health plans, but at a cost.
DUH!
The fact that something so stupid could be written without someone drooling on their keyboard is a sign of how far we’ve regressed. “Man buys more pizzas, amazed that he is charged more”.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Never Gets Old

I still hold that the best multiplayer game ever was the multiplayer mode in 2001's Return to Castle Wolfenstein.  Various add-ons and patches made for massive 64 person (32 vs 32) matches of non-stop (sometimes literally) carnage.  The flamethrower was fun with the screaming and cooking of the guys getting flambĂ©ed, but the 'panzer'/rocket launcher never got old.  Someone even immortalized it in the clip below (skip to the final 30 seconds or so for those not reminiscing):


What was unfortunate about the old RTCW is that the single player was...well 'awful' would be strong, but it was certainly 'not-very-good' (the two pieces were actually developed by two different developers).

It's actually rare in my mind for video games to pull that off: the one thing that you can hold onto even if the game goes sour on you.  Superpowers that are acquired late in many games can be pretty fun, but the balance is often off.  Part of the fun of the 'panzer' in RTCW is that although you could wipe a squad of guys in one shot, you were equally likely to blow yourself to bits by hitting a wall that was too close (which was still funny).

Just Cause 2 comes close with it's bevy of non-stop explosions in a fictional southeast Asian country that seems to be built of paper mache and natural gas:


It even had an interesting story in a mild anti-colonial sort of way before it went of the rails with a fake W. Bush CIA character, a 'big-oil' conspiracy (that, as usual, didn't make a lick of sense), and gnashing of teeth about plots by 'neocons' (yes the word was actually used, and yes, as usual, the person using it doesn't know what it's supposed to mean).  Unfortunately all the explosions in its large game world weren't enough to make me want to recommend that anyone sit through the tiresome story.

With Far Cry 3 it's interesting in that the setting reminds me of Just Cause 2, but just about everything is way better, apart from the story which probably shouldn't exist.  The story isn't bad per se, it just seems like it was written by a sixth grader who'd sat through one too many Criminal Minds episodes.  Beyond that though the voice acting is great, the graphics may be the best to be had on the PS3 outside of games without the word 'Uncharted' in the title, and the gameplay is solid.  But like RTCW, it also has something that keeps me coming back: the knife stabbing NEVER gets old.  It often requires patience, but, well, this short clip explains it all: