S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Call of Pripyat Mod Thought: Misery

How does one survive in this misery?

There is something to be said about taking a difficult game and taking the challenge as far as it can without becoming cheap, unfair or hard enough to just be a bully. The Misery mod for S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Call of Pripyat comes close, and even crosses the line on some aspects. But barring a few minor tweaks, it can become one of the most immersive and daunting mods for any game that I have ever played.

My journey into the Zone started differently from the start. I first had to choose between three different classes when I installed the mod, choices being Sniper, Recon or Assaulter. I decided to go with the sniper class, as I was accustomed to sniper style tactics of taking enemies out from long range. When it loaded I was met with a completely different game than I was ready for. Unlike normal Call of Pripyat fare, where I spawn into the Zone on a clear, bright day, this time I was faced with a dark, impenetrable wall of misty fog. In my backpack, I had only a rifle, which included no scope and a mere five bullets, a pistol with only fifteen bullets, and tawdry amount of supplies. I was painfully unequipped for the Zone ahead of me, so my first objective was to find the land-locked ship where many Stalkers had called home.


Immediately apparent is that Misery incorporates the stunning AtmosFear mod, which makes significant changes to Call of Pripyat’s weather and skies. Rainstorms can range from mild showers that give the world an almost calm and serene feeling, to violent thunderstorms and pitch-black nights, upping the intense dread already in the game. On clear mornings, the sun shines light through thick mist and casts a warm glow on the new high resolution buildings. New ambient noises have been introduced as well and the sounds of far off gunshots or creatures can be heard in the distance, wrapping a player with an auditory blanket of immersion. Call of Pripyat is suddenly a beautiful game, if only in a dreary sort of way. Travelling across the landscape is no longer a chore, but a journey.

Still, it is an extremely dangerous journey. Misery tweaks gameplay heavily, including much more meticulous inventory and resource management to force a player to make some pretty tricky decisions. You can really only carry the barebone essentials, lest your energy drain at a nauseating speed. Generally it’s best to carry only one or two guns along with food rations, ammo, and medical supplies. Any extraneous equipment is best left in your personal locker. However, your energy is bound to drain no matter how hard you fight it, sooner or later. I had to sleep regularly, keep my hunger down, and heal any wounds that I had been afflicted with, or it made the game quickly go from difficult to impossible.

The mod is called Misery for a good reason. There are times playing where the game just beats you down with some incredibly misguided balance issues that all sort of feed into each other. Firstly, the fatigue happens too quickly, too unexpectedly and affects far too much. There are three movement speeds in Call of Pripyat; normal speed, sprinting and walking. At normal speed, if you’ve had enough sleep, food and you’re inventory is not too heavy, energy drains very minimally. While sprinting it drains a little faster, obviously. If you are hungry or tired, energy drain so rapidly that a few steps could force you to stop and wait for the gauge to refill. Take another few steps and wait again. This happens a lot.

The immediate response would be to just eat more food. Sounds easy enough if food was not so scarce, or if eating it actually took hunger away. Forget paying rubles for food because the economy is a farce. One loaf of bread costs 300 rubles, which is not much especially in the beginning of the game, and barely satiates hunger. If you wanted to get enough to fill you up, you wouldn’t have any money left. I’m all for realism, and I believe there are some great ideas here, but they seem so disproportional to any sort of common sense. The beginning of the game states that you play as a military agent, and I find it hard to believe that someone trained in the military succumbs so easily to these trivial mechanics.

With the unfortunate items accounted for, Misery still takes a step in the right direction. The above complaints are easily fixable with a couple number changes in a game file, which I happily tweaked. This is a mod after all, so fixing minor issues like these seems par for the course. After that was settled, I was able to enjoy a breath of fresh, radiated air and lose myself into the Zone once again. There are enough positive changes here, that it is worth the effort to fix the negative ones.

Enemies in Misery are of no laughing matter. They are tougher, smarter and don’t hold back. The world is still a living thing in S.T.A.L.K.E.R. The world has no immediate interest in your life, but will lash out if you mess with it. Hazards are everywhere and with Misery they can become much deadlier. Zombies can only be killed with a headshot or two, though, they are unfortunately crack shots as well, able to snipe you from across a field with only a few shots. Anomalies are not as obvious and will pick you up and kill without a moment’s hesitation, as you search deep for their valuable artifacts. Creatures roam the countryside and will attack if they feel threatened. Mutants hide out in strange radiated caverns and buildings waiting for unsuspecting Stalkers to waltz into their territory.

The most frightening powerful force in the game are the random blow-outs and emissions that occur. They can suddenly light up the night sky while sirens blow in the distance. A player has to find good cover quickly or be blasted away into oblivion by a twisted, apocalyptic thunderstorm of doom. Misery has given these events a face-lift as well, making them look as eerie and intimidating as ever.

There are plenty of more fantastic features that culminate into what makes Misery such an immersive mod, it would be foolish to list them here. Suffice it to say, Misery is one of those experiences that you remember if you allow yourself be taken in by S.T.A.L.K.E.R.’s Zone. While it is at once beautiful and frightening, while forcing a player to think about their actions, Misery holds a special place in my heart for bringing me even deeper into such a fascinating world. Turn down the lights. Turn up the sound. Get that bottle of vodka ready. It’s time to enter the Zone, stalker.

Here is a link to the mod, to read more about it, or download it if you have Call of Pripyat, which you should anyway.

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Sequelitis Can Be A Good Disease Sometimes…

2012 is looking to be a good year in video games. There are going to be some new games coming out, there are some reboots of great games from the past, and there are going to be a lot of sequels. Though, the idea of sequels may conjure up a respectable groan, this year could be different, says my optimistic gumption. Below is a list of upcoming sequels, tie-ins, and reboots that make this year look like a refreshing proverbial blow of dust off franchises of past.

Max Payne 3

Complain about the bald head, wife-beater shirt and seemingly random tropical location all you want, this still looks like a Max Payne game. A damn good looking one to boot. Rockstar is bringing some very interesting mechanics to the plate like the stunning movement and animations of Payne himself. The way he rolls around on the ground, or interacts with anything in the environment is just fluid as hell. Bullet time and dreary grit are making their return, and it’s just great to see operatic and stylistic gunplay coming to gaming again. Also, this game looks violent. Not in the amount of blood or gore, but just the presentation. Like in Red Dead Redemption, when you shot someone in the head, there was a plume of flesh and skull. Or how a body disturbingly reacts to a gunshot. Disgusting stuff like that.

Here is a trailer for your squinty eyes.

Hitman: Absolution

There has a bit of talk on the interwebs about if IO Interactive is making this game too linear, too easy or just not what Hitman is all about. I personally chalk it up to marketing. I still hold that Hitman Absolution will still be the game the fans want it to be. There might be a machanic that allows you to see where enemies are going. All of the voice actors may be different. The developers may have been showing an emphasis on shootouts. Though, I feel like there will be enough choice, and enough openness for people to experiment and play around in a killing toybox. We’ll have to find out.

This is some pretty cool gameplay.

Bioshock Infinite

This is the game I’ve been waiting for. Before it was even announced, I’ve been waiting for it. It hits on so many of my sensibilities. I love the world, the look, the style of action, the speed, the finesse, and the general, genuine absurdity of it all. Bioshock in a new, just-as-intriguing setting is all you need to say to get me on board.

The erection-inducing 15 minute gameplay trailer.

Prey 2

This looks like a huge departure from the first Prey, that much is obvious. But the fact that this looks like an open world, Blade Runner-esque alien bounty hunter simulator with a swath of unique weapons and gadgets is something that I was not expecting. Sometimes I love surprises. Just looking at the art design in this game has got me hooked, and the gameplay look like Deus Ex in space which is nothing to scoff at. Hopefully it will be open enough for a wide variety of approaches. I want to be a suave, stealthy bounty hunter who doesn’t take no guff from alien scum.

Last years E3 trailer.

Far Cry 3

Far Cry 2 was a awkward left turn from its predecessor, but Far Cry 3 looks to be like more Far Cry 2, which is okay by me. Despite the flak the game gets, I’m a pretty big fan of Far Cry 2. I loved being able to post up on a cliff with a sniper rifle and pop dudes from across a field, then run in with an uzi and clear out the rest as a wall of fire blazes across the grass behind me. It was just fantastic immersion. If the third game can keep up the open world, interesting character relationships and sometimes unique gameplay gimmicks, but fix all of the other busted stuff, I will be more than happy. Just make Far Cry 3 a more focused game than 2 and you’re golden.

The found footage, wub-wub trailer.

Borderlands 2

I think I sank more hours than I would like to admit into Borderlands, but I will admit that I had a ton of fun doing it. Here’s hoping for a wider array of weapon possibilities, more outrageous settings, and cooler abilities, all things Borderlands 2 is shaping up to deliver. I just can’t wait to sink more hours into some solid first person RPG shootin’.

The 96.5% more wub-wub trailer.

Diablo 3

Diablo 3 looks good. That’s all I really say about the game at this point. While not remembering a whole lot about Diablo I & II, I can be certain that either way Diablo 3 looks like a solid dungeon crawler full of loots, magics, demons, monsters, swords, and maybe…just maybe a skeleton or two. But we can’t be greedy.

The “holy shit, is that fucking CGI?!” trailer.

Guild Wars 2

Another game I sank a lot of hours into was Guild Wars. I haven’t really gotten back into it in the last few years but I assume it still has a pretty thriving community. Guild Wars 2 is promising to destroy what people think MMOs are. They already proved that you can have a successful one that doesn’t require a monthly fee and for many people, that in itself is a huge selling point. Not only that, but they hope to do away with normal MMO holy trinity of damage dealers, healers, and tanks, allowing characters to be much more versatile. Well…I’m excited.

10 reasons to be excited for Guild Wars 2.

Metro: Last Light

Metro 2033 was an interesting game. It was gorgeous in a squalid, bleak way. It was an immersive and daunting game that did not hold your hand. It was a game that you could play in a multitude of ways without the player even realizing that the options were there. If Last Light can bring just as much atmosphere and unique content while fixing some of the issues from the first game (like “stealth” portions), they would have themselves something really special.

Tomb Raider

Triangle titties are things of the past. A more down-to-earth Lara Croft is making her way to the hearts and minds of young boys all over the world this year. Not only that, but the game doesn’t look half bad either. Most likely taking some cues from the Uncharted series, the game just titled ‘Tomb Raider’ (surprisingly not The Tomb Raider) is an interesting looking complete reboot of a game from a whole other era. It will be fascinating to see what Crystal Dynamics will bring with this newly updated gaming icon.

The E3 gameplay trailer full of tombs and such.

Silent Hill Downpour

Silent Hill is easily one of my favorite video game series. The atmosphere still gets to me. They’re like classic David Lynch films in video game form (except entertaining). Downpour looks like it will bring tighter 3D controls and more fluid combat, as well as crisper graphics to a series that definitely needed it. I can only hope they keep the abject horror aesthetics and intense atmosphere that Silent Hill is famous for.

The “prison must really really bad if he prefers Silent Hill” trailer.

SSX

I was a bit skeptical of this game at first, thinking that it might not be up to snuff with previous iterations like Tricky. I watched a few gameplay videos though, and I must say, SSX is still going to be crazy and fun as hell. It looks great and EA is bringing in the neat online components they tried out in Need For Speed Hot Pursuit. It should be pretty good.

GiantBomb’s awesome quick look of this game.

Torchlight 2

Alright, Torchlight is fantastic. So, take that, make four new player classes, new dungeons and loot, and add…be still my heart…online co-op. SOLD!

DOTA 2

MOBAs (Massively Online Battle Arenas) are huge right now. From Heroes of Newerth, to League of Legends to even the DOTA 2 beta, people are playing, watching and ingesting MOBA games like it’s all candy. You can’t really blame them either. They’re deep with strategy, action and teamwork. Each have their respective fan base, and I doubt many will stray away from what they know. However, with Valve making DOTA 2, I feel like they are going to make it the easiest barrier of entry for any of them. To survive though, I think they have to make the game free-to-play, like all of the others. Who knows what they will do though?

Grand Theft Auto 5

What is there to say about this other than I’m excited as hell for a new Grand Theft Auto. I don’t know if it will in fact come out this year, but either way I can’t wait.

Here’s hoping:

Mass Effect 3

Bioware and/or EA is doing something wrong, because the more I learn about this game, the more turned off by it I am. The inclusion of even more random characters who I already dislike immensely, and the heavy push for more and more Gears of War style action just flat-out worries me. I don’t hate Gears of War or anything, but I feel like Mass Effect is drifting further from what made the previous games so good. However, the online mode looks entertaining and somewhat deep, and they have brought back some more customizable skill trees, so it is all not lost yet.

Thi4f

There isn’t much information about the regrettably named Thi4f, but what is known is that Eidos-Montreal, the developers of Deus Ex: Human Revolution, is creating the game. So there is some good news. Other than that, maybe we will find out something at E3.

Counter Strike: Global Offensive

It’s like a prettied up Counter Strike that is going to cater to console players. It adds a few more weapons and equipment, but I can’t help but think this is just going to be another Condition Zero.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2

Please! Please happen! Don’t die on me! Please!

Sequels don’t have to be all bad, really. There is nothing wrong with taking something that has worked, that has proven to be of worth and to freshen it up a little bit. Most of the games on this list haven’t seen a real sequel for years, even a decade. Technology and game design have improved and it’s great to see beloved franchises seemingly take a step into the right direction, and embrace change, because it could ultimately lead to improvement. So let us not despair for lack of originality, or lack of change in the industry. While some games toil in their own success and change little, others see the future and incorporate what needs to be done to move on. So go out there and play some damn games.

The Elder Scrolls: What is CHIM?

So after playing an absurd amount of Skyrim and getting pretty deep into the lore of the Elder Scrolls, I came across an interesting theory of a sort of meta-narrative throughout the games. I started reading more and more about the metaphysical concept of CHIM, which is detailed through some of the in-game books and expanded upon by fans on forums. From what I gathered through the dense language of the discussions taking place on the subject, CHIM is basically a character realizing that he is in fictional world but somehow still keeps his identity, and therefore becomes able to control the world around him…I think. In terms of the Elder Scrolls lore, it is like gaining complete enlightenment, and having the world become much like a lucid dream, where you can change what you see in whatever way.

The cool part comes in where it seems like the fans, though it could be inferred that the designers wanted the idea out there, have come up with idea that CHIM sort of breaks the fourth wall of the game, where characters that have achieved CHIM, reference the Elder Scrolls modding tools and other crazy notions. Even main characters, the ones you play as in the games, reach CHIM, allowing you to do all the stuff you do. Yeah, it gets a little crazy. Who knows, everything I just said could be incorrect. It is all a pretty neat idea though, and I would not be the best person to convey the meaning of it because I don’t really understand it all myself, but if you want to know more about the cool meta-narrative that might be happening you can read more about it here:

http://fallingawkwardly.wordpress.com/2010/10/25/the-metaphysics-of-morrowind-part-3/

Top 5 (or 6) Games of 2010

Yes, I know I’m late to the whole “Game of the Year” deal, but I’m going to go ahead and do it anyway. Admittedly, I have not played every game release in 2010 on my very modest budget and lack of every gaming platform on the market, but I did play plenty of games that I really enjoyed the hell out of. 2010 came with some surprising classics that have innovated on the tired market that games have been subjected to in recent years. The following games are put into no particular order. I love them all more or less, equally…

  • Red Dead Redemption

It’s really a shame that there aren’t more Western themed games. One could always find a copy of Mad Dog McCree and start memorizing exactly which windows the bad guy will pop out of, or even play the original Red Dead Revolver. But the fantastic thing about Red Dead Redemption is the complexity and tone the game chooses to deal with for a Western, presenting its content with class, style, and integrity. It starts with a seemingly simple story about a man on a mission to bring back his wife and son. The specifics are little muddy and so is the background of the main character, John Marston. We find that he used to be a bandit of sorts, but quit all of that to start a family. The fact that he chooses not to reveal his situation with the characters, but willingly becomes an  errand boy for various shady folks at first seems like a fault of the storytelling, but it becomes apparent through much of the dialog and the various situations what the central theme of the game seems to become and what drives the motivation for Marston to the brink. The wild West is dying and is stubborn to change. Who would trust a man is seemingly working for a government bent on industrializing and modernizing the West? John understands this and thus skirts the issue on why he is seeking help. The game has a methodical pace that flows extremely well, and when it reaches the truly final end, it just feels so right.

Having a gameplay system that works solidly, with intriguing side missions, and a multitude of other business to take of all set in a beautifully rendered landscape backed with an incredibly soundtrack really makes this game a complete package, and easily one of the best games of the year.

  • Mass Effect 2

I’m pretty sure that the world of Mass Effect, if it isn’t already, will become a staple in the science-fiction world. It breathes so much life into its characters and its universe, it is hard not to be captivated by all of it. The game is brimming with completely entertaining and interesting back-stories, people, and aliens. The side-missions and loyalty missions, which no doubt take up the bulk of the game anyway, are the story’s greatest assets. It also doesn’t hurt that the game look gorgeous.

The third-person shooting and combat is incredibly tight. Cooperating with your squad-mates to unleash a barrage of biotic, tech and soldier powers at once never got old. Having differing classes with unique abilities added to my number of play-throughs, as did the various choices in conversation and actions.

Every step of the way, Mass Effect 2 presented an awesomely solid, mature science fiction game that felt like a huge breath of fresh air from the soul-suckingly generic science-fiction forays of previous games.

  • Alan Wake

I really don’t know what it is about Alan Wake that I love so much. I do know that playing it allowed me to enjoy some of my favorite moments playing a game this year. Alan Wake is dark, frightening, exciting, fascinating, and baffling. The story within a story (sort of) led to questions throughout the entire experience. It was like a finger constantly curling back and beckoning me forward, that I could not resist. What helps are the characters in the game. Admittedly, almost all of them are more interesting than Wake himself, but of course that would be the case, as Wake is played as a sort of everyman. His agent Barry, being one of my favorite characters of the year, tags along for a little bit, but never becomes an annoyance, but rather a welcome presence.  The Twin Peaks inspired atmosphere comes complete with a great cast of screwy characters. There are two insane brothers who are “rock gods”, a super shady psychiatrist, a creepy old woman, a douchey cop, an oddball radio host, a ghostly writer, and a woman is utterly obsessed with lights (and for good reason).

The main enemy in the game is darkness itself. It covers the town making things insane, including machinery and cars. So naturally your best weapon is light. This concept is used to full effect. Flashlights, lamp posts, fireworks, car lights, flares and flashbangs all help to fend off the inky blackness. I never got tired of bursting light at an enemy then immediately popping a few bullets into him, as he disintegrated before me. And it was terrifying every time a car flew down the street looking to take off your head. The movement helps the game become wonderfully fluid. The dodge move is cool as hell, bringing back memories of Remedy’s Max Payne, and the shooting feels like it has impact. The game looks incredibly and the lighting effects are the best I’ve seen. The world is chock full of interesting tidbits and little treasures, like the TVs and radios that play awesome side jokes and story elements. Alan Wake is truly a unique experience that I thoroughly enjoyed every bit of.

  • Tropico 3

It was probably the music that got me hooked into playing so much of Tropico 3. It was so cheery and relaxing that it got me to play a remarkably interesting city-sim, with a twist. Unlike  SimCity or CitiesXL where the city itself is usually the main focus at a macro level, Tropico 3 usually goes down to a mirco level, where the people on your tropical island can decide the ultimate fate. The player too has an El Presidente avatar that can go to construction sites to boost worker morale, or make speeches to the people from his mansion balcony. But it becomes very interesting and problematic how one citizen can turn a decent island into a violent warzone if the player isn’t careful.

The options on how to run your island are pretty diverse. A player could be a kind and giving presidente, or malevolent and rule with an iron fist. If a citizen is upset with conditions, they will probably start a peaceful protest. The player must make a decision, whether to fix the problems they are having, or silence the leader of the protests, potentially scaring the others into cooperation. If the player does nothing, the protesters could form a rouge  militia group who hides the forest and occasionally attacks farms and factories. The more damage they do, the more people are will to join their cause. Construction workers aren’t happy, nothing gets built. No good economy, people won’t migrate to the island. Fights always occuring? You can forget about any tourists boosting the finances. Does this sound like a crazy city simulation? That’s because it is, and it is awesome.

  • Super Meat Boy and/or VVVVVV

Fuck you, you magnificent bastard.

VVVVVV is fun on just about every level. The controls are tighter than a [Expletive Deleted; Editor’s Note: inappropriate] on a Sunday morning. The levels are challenging but never beyond the realm of unrealistically difficult. For the two hours it took to complete, it was a joy for every second of it. The music is great, and the Intellivision style if bright and clean. There is not much to say than that VVVVVV is just pure fun.

Minecraft: The Adventures of…

That's what it is!

I  appeared in a brand new world, completely conjured from blocks. I don’t know where I came from but I suppose my first natural instinct is to survive. I looked around this brave new world and see the normal aspects of nature. Hills, mountains, trees, water, and animals. I started where any naked human would start. I built myself a shelter. The question first in my mind was: out of what, and how? The trees could provide me with lumber for a nice house. Something that would sustain me for the coming days while I figured out my destiny. Fortunately I was much stronger that any normal human, and was able to break apart the tree trunks merely with a few strokes of my hand. After destroying a forest for my materials, I set to making my shelter.

The blocks seem to stick together quite nicely without the need of an adhesive or nails. This made the construction go much smoother than I anticipated. After only a few minutes, my quaint wooden hut is complete. Though it felt somewhat dark inside. I could punch out a hole for a window, which I did, but how much can a window do when the night has fallen. I needed torches. However, I had only wood. I needed to find a source of fuel and fire.

The world before you, is yours for the taking...

Before I set out, I fashioned myself a workbench for tool making. There I created a pickax made of the excess wood in my inventory. I then ventured forth into the wilderness to find precious coal. The world was strange, yet somewhat familiar. The landscape changed so rapidly sometimes, and I feel that I could walk forever. I passed endless trees and lakes before I approached a large cliff. I looked up the daunting face and there I saw a peculiar deformity in the rocks. Can it be? I had found a small pocket of coal right in front of my eyes. I knew I must reach it somehow. I looked around, yet all I saw was dirt. At the time, it would work. I broke apart the nearby hillside collecting mounds for my excavation project. I finally had enough and began piling the dirt under me, higher and higher, until I finally reached the coal. I pulled out my wooden pickax and smashed the bricks to reveal bits of coal everywhere. My search was complete.

I found my way back to my humble abode just as night began drawing near. The squarish sun was setting to give rise to a rectangle moon. The night was cold and unforgiving. The only light came from the torches in my hut. It was quiet that night, until…they, came. I never saw them at first. I could only here them. Their sounds were terrifying and cold. They were the sounds of pure evil. The sounds of creatures who wanted nothing more than to kill. I heard a hiss in the distance and peered through the hole I deemed a door, when I saw two red eyes in the distance, slowly drawing near. I hastily went to my workbench and made a makeshift wooden door. I bolted the door immediately to the frame before a disgusting and grotesque spider lunged for my throat. Had I not been as quick, I would have surely been destroyed. All night I saw them through the windows. Standing there, waiting for my flesh. There were some more spiders. Others were creatures who might have been human once, but are no more. All I could do was wait for the safety of day. I stood and I waited. I held my ground.

OH FUUUUUCK!

The next morning I exited my home. The creatures were gone, but  I knew they would be back by night, so I had to work quickly. The day before I had seen what looked like a cave, not far from my hut. I decided to explore. I had my torches and my pickaxes. I had found some stone earlier and made new, stronger pickaxes. I approached the mouth of the cave, when out of nowhere, a musical queue of horror rang through my eardrums. I don’t know where it came from or what it meant, but it was not going to stop me from going in. I went as far as the light from the opening would go when I placed my first torch on the wall. The torches would be my light, and my ball of yarn to escape the labyrinth if need be. I ventured further and further, finding coal as I went. My hope was to find other materials as well, but after quite a bit of time in the cave, I heard the most gut-wrenching, heart-stopping sound. It was the sound of a zombie. So, this is where they hid when the light of day burns their rotting flesh. I had to be careful.

Well, hello cave. Ready for me to penetrate you?

I pushed a little further, the sound of the zombie echoing through the corridors. I placed yet another torch, and, as the light illuminated the walls, the zombie that had been haunting me suddenly appeared, dragging its decaying body along the floor. It crept towards me with surprising speed, lunging for my brains. I took out my only weapon, a stone pickax, and swung at the demon. It hit, but it did not kill. I swung again. And again. And again. Finally, with the blood of the creature dripping from my face and hands, the monster disappeared in a puff of dust. This was my first trial. I had defeated my greatest fear. There was nothing that could stop me now. Nothing, except, for my own madness.

After the battle, the cave showed me its true wonders. I began to find vast amounts of iron, and even gold and diamond. I found my way back to the entrance with my inventory stock full of precious materials. I went back to my hut as night fell, and began to plan what I was to do with everything I had found that day. I was going to change the world. I was to build myself the most glorious of courtyards. With a castle and a royal mine. I was going to build towers as high as the sun, in memorial of myself and my greatness. There was no limit to what I was going to do. I would conquer the land, the sky and the oceans with my power. I would start immediately.

After much timed had passed:

What...are...you?

What am I to do with this place. I am constantly building. Constantly adding. My city stretches far and my mine deep, and there will be no point at which I stop. This is where I believe I am to be mad, for only a madman would continue. Then I accept my madness. I shall be called the Duke of Madness and I rule over all that I see. I suppose I just long for another human. To witness that which I had created and to help with my building. To give input and ideas. We could rid the earth of monster and go on many adventures. We could sail into the sunset finding the wondrous of lands. Lands we have never seen before. That no man had ever seen. We could change the world together.  Someday soon, someone will be dropped into this maddening world as I have.

Fortunately the creator will add multiplayer any day now.

My kingdom. My land.

The End.

http://www.minecraft.net

Façade. People’s Problems Are Hilarious

Oh...you kidder, you!

I recently came across a Let’s Play from user YouTube kazztawdal. He was playing a “game” I had never heard of, but intrigued me quite a bit as he explained it in his first video. Apparently it is a “artificial-intelligence-based interactive story” where you are a friend who is visiting  your favorite dysfunctional couple, with some super duper clever dichotomous names, Trip and Grace. GET IT!? Kazz, tries his damnedest to get these two to work out their problems with valiant effort, and while I won’t spoil it, his adventure does result in some fantastic situations.

The characters seem to react in a range from appropriate to making no sense. They jump to conclusions and sometimes completely ignore the player. From the quality of the game itself, to the phrases he tries in conversation, it becomes a beautiful work of art. Kazz’s third attempt with prior knowledge of the couples hidden secrets is one for the hilarity-history-books.

There are nine short episodes.

Watch the first video here.