Thursday, August 5

It's not a lake, it's an ocean...

What a bad way to end a game. But don't worry! Alan Wake will return in what will probably end up being a trilogy so the ending doesn't really matter anyway. What can you really expect from writers that wrote this self-indulgent game? I must admit I liked it enough to finish it. But if I had to say why I'd pass the repetitive and honestly crappy combat system and stephen king calibre story. Even the characters where utterly unlikeable, so what does that leave?

Manuscript pages like cookie crumbs in the dark, leading me home.

So I guess I'd call it a page turner? There's some cool mechanics and cool ideas here. I particularly enjoyed tuning in to Night Springs. Fortunately it is pretty short, so I'd recommend playing it although the combat might drive you to frustration. Sadly the best way to play is not to use skill but rather get enemies stuck or find choke points to control their pathing.

I also finished Starcraft 2 and I had to check an old email I sent Luke where I predicted the ending word for word. I'm very interested to see how they will do the Zerg campaign considering the events of wings of liberty. Tycho of Penny Arcade fame essentially said that it was faultless but was really a nostalgic throwback, and that if anyone should be innovating then it's Blizzard. Warcarft 3 was revolutionary. I've been playing it and there's a Tower Defence level, a DoTA level and even a bonus campaign that is essentially top-down WoW. After Starcraft 2's vintage nature, eyes turn to Diablo 3. If it is also a rework of Diablo 2 (much like 2 was of the original) as early footage would suggest, then there is definitely going to be some murmurs that we have seen the last of Blizzard's famed creative pioneering. I believe that they will unleash some groundbreaking new games in time, whether Diablo 3 or a future title, I just hope they maintain people's trust until then.

I also began playing Red Dead Redemption, which is just not as good as everyone says. It plays smoothly, features good well delivered dialogue and is ultimately a western GTA. However I sat down and played it as an experienced gamer and found it pretty darn stupid at times. I tried to save a hussy who was being shivved by a rough looking fellow, but I was slightly too late and he stabbed her before I him. Now this counted as an unprovoked murder and I had to run from the Sheriff that I just completed a job for. The prostitute apparently lived and resumed swaggering about giving curt remarks to passers by, drenched in her own blood. I accidentally drew my weapon in the general store and the clerk ran out of town and never came back. We killed some bandits that had butchered a farmstead family and the surviving girls where giving us grief. 15 seconds later I ride back there to find it fully populated, everyone fine and happy and the survivors unaccounted for. Despite ranting and raving about needing to get somewhere as fast as possible, one fat guy was content to sit in a stagecoach on a crossing until a train took him to the hereafter. The game becomes filled with little instances like this until all immersion is lost and you're just poking a stick at a dead animal (metaphorically although I'm sure this is possible in-game) to see what comes oozing out. I will say that the 'deadeye' mechanic, which works great, is exactly the quickdraw mechanic I myself came up with when designing a game at University. So, as my game is yet to be made, it's good to know that a) it plays well, b) can be coded and c) is an idea of professional quality.

Speaking of pro quality I've nearly finished a painting I've been working on under Luke's guidance. I'm pretty proud of it as, to quote Chris; it looks like a magic card. Wait just a little longer!

Still playing Castle Crashers with the boys, it is great fun to play a simple game that is enhanced by co-ordination and co-operation. I'm all about the co-. Great art style too. Bit buggy at times but for an independent game it kicks ass.

Travel-wise, I went to the Orange County Fair on Saturday. It's like the Melbourne Show but much much bigger and more expensive. And you can get deep fried everything. The best thing I ate was a whole turkey leg and a beef sunday. The worst thing was fried butter and a mountain of curly fries. The important thing is I experienced the true USA. Honestly any conversation I happen to over here is 9 times out of 10 about food. There was a huge steer which we saw for a dollar, it shat right at us. Chris laughed. The only thing un-umercan was the obscene prices. But that is a concern of the past as my Tax return has finally... returned! Now I can fully plan the rest of my trip including booking travel and arranging emergency accommodation. Which I may or may not actually do depending on laziness/proximity to magic cards.

Luke and I each had 'Nemesis' decks which are like magic decks on steroids. We are trying to beat them two against one but it's probably best designed to face off against three with two requiring a lot of luck to beat. Good fun though, reinforcing the rewards of maintaining a casual magic scene.

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