Max Payne 3: 193 Hours Of Shooting Men In The Face

Here’s a fun fact about me: in the approximately 100 days since the release of Max Payne 3, I have spent 193 hours and change playing it. That’s about a third as much time as I’ve spent at my job over the same period. Even I’m a little shocked by that number – I think it might be the most time I’ve spent on one leisure activity ever.

I’m pretty sure I own that shirt.

Sure, there’re some extenuating circumstances (I’ve tried to quit smoking two or three times over the past 3 months and nothing helps with that first day on the patch like sitting slack-jawed in your dark room), but at the end of the day I have to face that number. 193 hours, which is about 2 hours a day. Not the healthiest amount of time. Still, I’ve read a bunch of books in the past 100 days, gone out with friends, had some dates, and in general led a pretty fulfilling life.

I’m not trying to explain myself to you, reader. What I’m much more interested in (and I hope you are too, because that’s the trip we’re taking together) is why I’ve stuck with this one repetitive, bloody, grim bullet ballet for so damn long.

Read more of this post

Advertisements

Men Who Dislike Men Who Hate Women

Recently, one of my friends wrote a piece about how to stop hating men for another friend’s blog. I read this and digested it, and then the idea that came back up was what you see below.

Why do men hate women?

Well, let me slow it down a little before I run this bus off the side of the essayist’s most feared mountain, Mt. Generalization.

Why do some men hate women? There’s no one answer to this question. At most, I can sit in my armchair and wax psychological about some of the hangups that modern culture has imparted to its male acolytes. Some of these hangups I share, some of them I’ve gotten over, and some of them are pure speculation and based on no deeper research than internet forums (which generally self-select for creepy misogynists).

But, hey, I’m an American man of the modern era, well-steeped in the casual sort of “women r cunty bitches” talk that can get thrown around in our culture. So strap on a pith helmet (in beautiful gender-neutral khaki!) and get ready to delve into the jungle.
Read more of this post

Dragon Age: “Oi, mate, a darkspawn nicked me mobile!”

Dragon Age: Origins is a game about people with accents living through an invasion of hellspawn and

Dragon Age: Origins is a game about making “difficult” decisions and defending a swamp kingdom while

Dragon Age: Origins is a game where you play psychotherapist to a rag-tag group of

Dragon Age: Origins (DA:O) is a game. It’s well crafted, weaves an engaging story and is based on a strong gameplay system. It also suffers from a completely overpowering atmosphere of grimness, imbalance, and some pretty goofy sex scenes.

The logo, with its bloody dragon, screams "These ain't your daddys dragons!" about as much as a picture of a dragon doing a kick-flip over a dead knight would.

Read more of this post

Results Of A Flickr Search For “Anime Club”

All photos link back to their respective page on Flickr.

Four Days Later Film Review: Gamer

Recently, I watched Gamer. Three days later, I tried to summarize it to my roommate. Now, one day after that, and four days after the original viewing, I’m going to try to repeat the summary. I’m not consulting Wikipedia to make up for any blind spots in my memory.

Okay, so, Gerard Butler is running through a warehouse, right? And he’s just shooting hella people. Blood’s flying everywhere – Gamer is from the guys who made Crank so you just KNOW that the blood effects are on point – and… well, that goes on for like ten minutes. At least, it feels like ten minutes. Butler ends up crouching by some railing and he whispers “Turn. Me. Around.” It feels like a GPS’ voice if you turned the switch all the way to “gravely”.

Okay, then credits happen, and we get some real cool exposition. Butler is actually a competitor in some hyper-real reality game called SLAYERS. Kable (Butler) just needs to win a few more games and he can get his freedom. Did I not mention that he’s a convicted death row inmate? And he’s controlled by some asshole kid whose name escapes me.

Read more of this post

When There’s No More Room In Hell, The Dead Will Totally Get Killed By Electric Rakes

When Dead Rising was released in 2006, I went with my friend to buy a copy at Best Buy. When we asked an employee to get the game for us, he chuckled and said, “Oh, so y’all gonna roll up a blunt and kill zombies all night, huh?”

That’s not my strongest memory of Dead Rising. That would probably be the first time I got a baseball bat and played homerun derby. Or when I threw a bunch of plates at zombies until I finally killed one. Or the excavator. Or throwing a pie in a zombie’s face, and then taking a photo of it.

What I remember most about Dead Rising, though, was that it was fun. Even parts that sounded tedious, like escorting a bunch of scared little civilians, ended up being fun and tense and cool. The psychopathic humans were honestly creepy, especially the huge lady cop. And, okay, the overarching story about Americans needing more meat so they come up with bees that can clone cows or something was dumb. Who cares? You could dress up in a cool suit and drive a sportscar over tens of thousands of zombies.

Frank West, hero of Dead Rising. This guy is so cool, I named a sandwich after him at my local sandwich shop. It's turkey with American cheese. I didn't say I had good taste.

Read more of this post

John Marston and Son

NB: This article contains big, fat, juicy Red Dead Redemption spoilers. If you absolutely, positively cannot enjoy a game when you know how it’s going to end, don’t even think about reading this, pardner.
Just so we’re all up to date here, here’s the recap of RDR‘s story: John Marston, ex-outlaw, is enlisted by government agents to head out to the territory of New Austin in order to kill the remaining members of his old gang. To ensure cooperation, the feds have “borrowed” Marston’s wife and son. Gunplay ensues.

I’d like to use this article and this other article as today’s jumping off point. Both of them make the case that the character of John Marston is one dimensional and the game suffers as a result. One claims that he talks too much and says nothing, the other says that without the drive to reclaim his family and ranch, there’s nothing to Marston but a cool hat.

They’re both right, but, in my opinion, they’re wrong to say that it hurts the game.

"Good, bad, I'm the guy with the played out quotes."

For the claim that Marston is one dimensional, I urge these men to look at the genre we’re invested here. We’re in the land of the Spaghetti Western, that of the Man With No Name. What was his motivation in any of Leone’s films? Sure, maybe he looked at a crying child once in a while or tried to find gold, but at the end of the day, it was all about that fistful of dollars. Have gun, will shoot banditos.

Marston may be single-minded, but it’s that single-mindedness that keeps our game on track. I think the current focus on grand sweeping stories can be harmful to video games, especially ones like RDR. At its core, every mission boils down to “Ride here, shoot him, hide from that, ride there, shoot that”. Sometimes in a wagon, sometimes with a shotgun, sometimes on a boat, sometimes with throwing knives. You want a tight story with a laser focus if that’s the extent of your gameplay. Expand it too much, and the cracks start to show, and I lose interest.

Of course, Mexico fucks it all up. When Marston hits Mexico, all of a sudden you have no idea what you’re doing other than a vague “Go find these guys you’re supposed to kill by talking to these two people”. There’s a brewing civil war, people are scared, and Marston finds himself working for both sides. The only problem is that neither side or the game acknowledges this. You can help rescue the leader of the rebeldes, and then immediately go help the Mexican commander transport valuable ammunition. The other problem is that the only way that Rockstar could find to keep Marston motivated is, quite frankly, dumb as heck. Walk up to one side’s leader, and he says, “Yes, senor Marston, we will help you find the man you seek!” Then you go and kill a bunch of rebeldes/soldiers, and come back to “Senor Marston! Mexico has won a great victory today! We must celebrate! oh by the way i haven’t done anything about the guy you’re looking for try doing the next mission” and Marston makes an empty threat and walks off.

Read more of this post