Wednesday, September 2, 2015

God Bless The 80's

I heard Taylor Swift's "Bad Blood" while waiting for a haircut. You want to know something?  I miss the 80's. I mean, if Swift's tame, schoolyard taunt is what passes for "angry white rock 'n roll girrl" these days then we're all better off hopping into the TARDIS and going back to the Golden Age of kick-ass rock chicks. Heck, let's stop off in the 90's and grab L7 while we're on the way back.

Because I remember when Rock 'n Roll grrls kicked major fucking ass.  And we need that, now more than ever.  It's actually kind of sad that Pat Benatar's sappiest ballad totally crunches Swifts baddest badness.  And then there's Wendy O. Williams.  Not the sassy talk-show host (although, she too would be able to break Swift in two using only her eyelashes) but the late, legendary Plasmatics front-Goddess.  Let's see how Swift's little chant stacks up to jumping off an exploding fucking bus.  For fuck's sake, WoW's make-up and outfit alone would blast Swift off the stage.

The moral of the story is, kids, when your elders tell you your music sucks, sometimes they're right.

The Banality of Evil

I have mixed feelings about this. I want to say: "Give out the fucking licenses or rot in jail, ya crusty bint!" But then, I think of "The Banality of Evil" - about all those clerks in all those dark places in history who "just followed orders" regardless of their own values. What if the government official in question refused to act in a situation which would lead to a punishment that was unjust? I don't think any libertarians would be complaining. The Progressive left wouldn't complain if this lady was holding up a fracking project or suchlike, I'm sure of that.

I believe I can't be too hard on someone who stands up for their values, even if I don't agree - even if I'm utterly opposed to them -  rather than just mindlessly follow orders.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Sniper Elite III Is Boring

Sniper Elite III for The XBONE...

For the single-player, the best word I can use to describe it is "oversold".  It's a nice, well-rendered commando-raid-type game, but there's very little of actual sniping going on.  There are a couple of sharpshooting challenges but mostly it's just submachine guns and skulking about with silenced pistols.  My usual tactic was to be really stealthy, at first, get seen by one guard and then get cut down as every Nazi in the Reich came after me until either I'd run out of ammo, the clumsy controls would screw me over or if they all got bored after which the remaining troops would forget all about the massive firefight that just happened.  Not helping matters is the fact that the maps are poorly designed so that when you've got a perfect shot lined up and fire you end up hitting the object you're hiding behind and alerting your target.

To play it properly requires way too much time - and only the manual save function is between you and having to do it all over again if you painstakingly do something one-in-a-million-chance tricky only to have to do the the whole fucking thing over again because of one Nazi seeing you from a 1000 yards away (For more on Save Scumming, keep an eye out for my thoughts on that in an upcoming post). If it were called "Allied Commando" or something I could actually say it's a really good game.  But as it calls itself "Sniper Elite" I can't give it a pass.

As for the multiplayer, the title of the blog pretty much sums it up.  Although the player mechanics really aren't suited for quick action, there are the standard "deathmatch" and "capture the flag" modes - with the CTF mode being especially difficult with the finicky contextual controls.  But the one mode which actually involves sniping, "No Cross" is the most excruciatingly boring experience I've ever had while not listening to Kurt Loder.  For 20 minutes, your team and the opposition lie prone hiding behind rocks.  There was, to be fair, a kind of sweet spot where the players on both teams were not so leet as to hide, showing one pixel from cover but not so bad as to remove the challenge, but that doesn't happen often.  I wonder if a game with 10 leettards would have anyone scoring points at all.

So, in short, if you want to stare at a blurry rock texture for 20 minutes at a time then I heartily recommend Sniper Elite III. 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Roll The Bones

Think of the odds against you. The average ejaculation contains about 280 million sperms.  So, that's a one in 280 million chance that you, both of your parents. all of your grandparents and their parents and grandparents - all the way down the line for every generation going back for 100 thousand years or more - had to overcome merely to exist.  The potential DNA combinations from that one sperm that made it to that one egg offers a one in 70 trillion chance that you - yes, you - would be the way you are.  After that, there's 70 years (if you're really lucky) where you're conscious of the grandeur of the universe - and that's not even a blip in the scale of a cosmos that has existed for billions of years and will exist for billions more.  And then - nothing.  We imagine Heaven and Hell because our minds cannot grasp the concept of our mind existing no more.  In some half-assed way, even atheists claim not to believe in an afterlife but they're deluding themselves but in truth we couldn't grasp the idea of ourselves not existing.  It's like reminding yourself to not think of a white horse.

So, why are people such assholes to each other?  We've achieved consciousness by insanely remote chances, let's do something not painful with it, okay?