About Time !

25 08 2009

Nearly two months ! I would be lying if  I said I was thinking about posting something here. As a matter of fact, I bumped into my own blog by chance. I was doing an ego search when I caught a glimpse of that rusty jalopy. Imagine my surprise ! Opening the webpage revealed a poignant scene – A post named Random something, with a timestamp pointing to the distant past. That had me scurrying me over to the Dashboard.

Well, here’s something to live up to the good name of the blog : Make love and be merry, for tomorrow you may catch some disgusting skin disease. Let’s see if someone catches that reference.

In other news, I’m still jobless and in need of a social life that delivers the following : Rampant sex ( with free contraceptive supplies ),  … hmm,  that’s about it, I guess.

Let’s see if I can get Calvin to sign off for me … ah !

For some reason, ths strip reminds me of the Renaissance

For some reason, ths strip reminds me of the Renaissance

Well, here’s to me having an epiphany that concerns life, death and 42.

… more like a truck than a jalopy, on second thought.



17 07 2009

TortelliniI love this …

Watchmen – Behind the Mask

7 07 2009

The announcement of Watchmen’s production, when it was made, made quite a few heads turn, though it mustn’t have been much of a surprise given Hollywood’s compulsion to film adaptations of successful novels, graphic or otherwise. The offer was put forth to Michael Bay initially, who refused it ( and thankfully so considering his latest debacle – the appalling ‘Transformers : Revenge of the Fallen’ ). Zack Snyder ( of ‘300’ fame ) picked it up then and three years later, he delivers. The film was touted to be a ‘faithful’ adaptation of the ( award winning ? sales figures go here) graphic novel authored by Alan Moore ( author of V for Vendetta ). Alan Moore, however, had a different say on the matter – He refused to be a part of the production team and unequivocal expressed his views on Hollywood’s ‘unhealthy’ affair with comics. I wonder if things would have turned out better if he’d joined the team.

‘Watchmen’ follows the time line of an alternate 1985 when the Americans and the Soviets are at the brink of nuclear war and costumed superheroes are common place. It is during such a perilous time when a retired superhero is murdered for no apparent reason. A vigilante investigates into the incident and uncovers a deep rooted conspiracy that changes the world and the course of its future.

The Watchmen

The Watchmen

The screenplay is kept in sync with the novel for most part, though there are places where the plot suffers from discontinuity and drastic change. But given the limited time frame, Snyder has done a commendable job. This is a strong point of the movie as it definitely wouldn’t have been able to survive without it – The novel’s complex and detailed plot requires every bit of screen time it can get. Nevertheless, the theatrical cut’s run time of 160 odd minutes does seem a bit short – There are places that fans familiar with the original plot might find cramped. Thankfully, such occurrences are kept minimal. Attention’s been paid to detail and the dark, gritty atmosphere of the book is replicated laudably. The film deserves every bit of its R rating for it spits language generously and keeps the violence well above visceral level (not to mention the nudity and sexual content).

Visual effects impress, as it is to be expected. Artistic license and CGI have been exploited to the maximum – Some of the movie’s best moments have those to thank for. The actual acting is passable but the overall depiction of the characters falls short of the book’s expressive ones. Once again, the limitation of time plays the spoiler. Many of the sub plots have been shortened but not an extent that it looses coherence. The film’s paced surprisingly well and the action kept tight (unlike the book where combat sequences were short and didn’t carry much weight. The obtrusive soundtrack ( not the original score, that was much better ) is a clear misfit though, for it ruins the atmosphere – The original score could have been put to better use, especially during the first half of the film.

By the time the movie had ended, I wasn’t as disappointed as I thought I’d be. ‘Watchmen’ is as good a book adaptation as it gets. While it may not be as compelling as the novel, it remains loyal to it ( within reasonable limits ) and brings out most of it’s goodness (badness, actually). I won’t go as far as giving the movie a rating but would recommend watching it before reading the book. But either way, you’ll still end up figuring out the differences and picking sides. And if you do watch it, go for the uncut version.

‘Watchmen’ on : IMDB | RT

Random, et Al

29 06 2009

I’m still wound up in Prototype ( which should explain the brain damaged post that is this ) and the TES Construction Set while trying to watch State of Play. It just isn’t working ( easily compared to this pitiable attempt to keep myself eschewing this blog as well ). In any case, here’s some of the notable events that has happened since my last post :

  • Unlocked a lot of new combat moves and powers in Prototype
  • Started working on a new mod, stopped short of a release with a cameo of an annoying bug
  • Found out that a very small amount of Japanese Oblivion players use one of my mods
  • Michael Jackson died of a cardiac arrest
  • Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen grossed $200 million in the box office in it’s first week, paying no regard to the reviews it received
  • Public Enemies was induced into the IMDB Top 250 list before it’s official release
  • I managed to update my collection of music by The Corrs
  • Updated AudioSurf and was made Pro Champion of a few obscure ( according to AS ) songs
  • Improved my standing in the field of Quantum Mechanics
  • Watched The Insider

That about sums it up, give or take. I’ll let Calvin have his say before the last three minutes.

An Opportunity

An Opportunity

Smart kid, eh ?

Prototype – Initial Impressions

18 06 2009

I managed to get my hands on Activision’s latest publication, inconspicuously named Prototype. While the name does sound a bit ominous, it certainly doesn’t precursor all the violence, blood and squeaky voices that follow. For the more “sane” people, Prototype is a third person sandbox styled game that epitomizes the visceral tendencies of the young people of this age; and I’m not talking about the “Obtained through intuition rather than from reasoning or observation” definition. A few straight hours of playing this game can bring down a fully grown man’s brains to it’s not-so apparent counterpart that lies a few feet below.

But let’s not bash anything without a preamble. All games need a plot – Prototype’s revolves around one amnesic, super-powered Alex Mercer and a virus-infected New York City. The story goes about with Alex trying to find about his past, while uncovering the delicate intricacies that connect him with a secret experiment conducted by the government.

The game starts off by throwing the poor fellow into a full fledged blood bath involving mutant creatures, mad citizens and a n-number of soldiers, tanks and choppers. You get to slice, dice, blast, punch and consume your way through the ugly mess that is NYC now. Mercer’s powers place him at a vantage point over everything else in the game and provides options aplenty when it comes to killing people. You can either :

  • Smash their faces/Slice them in half/Bear-Hug and consume them
  • Cut through them
  • Grab and throw them at a chopper/tank/another person
  • Impale them with tendrils
  • Send them flying with a sonic punch
  • Crush their heads
  • Hijack a chopper and mow through groups of innocent citizens
  • Run them over in a tank
  • Drop them from a 100 feet in the air
  • Shoot them, of course
God Lord ! If only I didnt eat my skin therapist

God Lord ! If only I hadn't eaten my skin therapist ...

It should be noted that I’ve only been through half of the available powers, each of which can be used in combos. Being a sandbox game, Prototype offers side missions which let you collect Evolution Points (EP) which can be later used to purchase upgrades and new powers. Side missions range from infiltrating a military base and blowing it up, to consuming targets to progress in the story. As with most games of the same type, these missions get repetitive after a couple of tries each. The plot is pretty generic and is mostly a pipeline that’s used to offer you a lot of cannon-fodder.

Visually, the game’s sub-par. Soupy textures, low polygon count on most characters and limited draw distances bring down the graphics department. The only saving grace would be the fluid animations that Alex Mercer proudly shows off with his moves. The game has it’s share of technical issues as well. Being incapable of delivering proper sound at high sample rates, the game made me switch to 44100 Hz just to listen to the game’s voice acting which would otherwise whiz past at 150 BPM. Game play-wise, the game mostly delivers what was promised, though the action can get very chaotic. There where times when the scene got so chaotic that I had to pause the game just to stop myself from scarring my conscience permanently with all that blind slicing and skull-smashing.

Prototype might just fit your bill if you happen to be a mindless sadomasochist or a overzealous gamer; but is a huge overkill if you are just looking to relieve your end-of-the-day stress. There haven’t been any reports of play-induced brain damage yet, but it’s only a matter of time before we start hearing such stuff. Here’s some advise to prevent it : Take 20-minute breaks during which you can do the following :

  • Read a book that hasn’t the faintest suggestion of violence
  • Vacuum the house
  • Grab something to eat that’s preferably not human flesh
  • Take the dog for a walk and bring him back in one piece
  • Remove those imitation-claws from your hands

That being said, I’m off to finish the damned game.

Prototype on : Wikipedia | GameSpot

Well past Day 2, huh ?

8 06 2009

E3’s come and gone. And here I am, lacking the inspiration to go on ! The post-day 1 scenario saw my euphoria wear off and my lethargy setting in. Missing that unholy fervor and eloquence the first day’s events had given me, I ended up spending the rest of the time debugging my current project. Needless to say, that took up the rest of the day and some more, putting in motion a series of events that had me giving up, flushing the script and starting over anew. It helped. Rest assured though, for I deliver what I don’t promise.

Match Point

Match Point

The second innings of the Calvin and Me series ( Yes, this is gonna go on for a while ). Frankly, I think he just said it – The “other” universal question. One would be lying if he/she/it claimed that such a question never came to his/her/it’s mind. But let’s not delve into the intricacies of reason and thereof – It inexorably hijacks one’s train of thought into a philosophical void where there’s nothing to do but cogitate over the necessity of , yes, reason in ( and for ) whatever you do.

More to come and it won’t necessarily revolve around the same subject …

E3 2009 Day 1 – The Story so Far

3 06 2009

E3’s finally here and I get to see the action ! Not on the spot though, but through GameSpot’s E3 Live Channel. It’s terribly exciting  and palpably so, even at a distance of seven thousand eight hundred nautical miles. Granted, this is my first insight into the events that happen during this time of the year at the LA Convention Center, but anyone who follows the gaming industry ( or plays games at the very least ) would and should be just as excited about this annual event. For the unborn, the Electronic Entertainment Expo is an annual event where game developers and other heavy weights in the entertainment arena  show-off their upcoming games and technologies. This year’s event, unlike the previous year’s, is open to the public. So pop your head in if you can. And while you are at it, take a good look at the exhibitions – There happen to be some really good items in this year’s show. Here are some of the items that were in the spotlight during the first day, it’s motif being “Motion”.

Sony unveiled the PSP GO’s official details ( which is an oxymoron considering it definitely wasn’t the best kept secret in this edition of E3 ). It just happens to be a smaller version of the original PSP with a few differences : No UMD drive ( it’s got 16GB of flash storage instead ) and a slightly bigger slide-up screen. Unfortunately, it doesn’t sport a touch screen like the rumors suggested. It’s expected to arrive in the North American market by October the 1st, with a price tag of $249. The PS3 got it’s own motion controller which would let the console employ the dynamics and freshness of the aspect of physical movement in video games, that the Wii had heavily banked ( and reaped ) on. The game line up for the PS3 and PSP was also improved upon with titles like Gran Turismo and Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker for the PSP, and Uncharted 2: Among Thieves,  God of War 3 and Modnation Racers for the PS3.

Microsoft’s press conference had a lot of things going for it. It started off with the company reveling the New Xbox Live Experience, which brought in a new dashboard, Netflix streaming and Live avatars. Next came news of Final Fantasy XIII coming to the XboX, and the PS3 release subsequently being put off until both[versions] could be released simultaneously. The rumors about Metal Gear Solid 4 being ported to the XboX 360 was confirmed by Hideo Kojima. The new game, titled Metal Gear Rising, will not be featuring Solid Snake. Microsoft also unveiled a motion-sensing camera and revealed news on quite a few upcoming titles such as Left 4 Dead 2, Halo Reach, Forza 3, Alan Wake, etc. Nintendo mostly kicked off with news on some of the new titles in it’s console’s game lineup; some of which being  C.O.P.: The Recruit, New Super Mario Bros and Wii Fit Plus. Ubisoft‘s President and CEO Yves Guillemot, talked about the company’s foray into the visual effects arena ( which was heralded by it’s purchase of Hybride, the French-Canadian digital arts studio behind the movies 300 and Watchmen ) and uPlay. James Cameron alos showed up and talked about his collaboration with Ubisoft and the game-adaptation of Avatar, which was being developed by the company.



News about many exciting titles were revealed as well. Crysis 2 got a teaser-trailer, Assassin’s Creed 2 had some gameplay mechanics revealed. Ubisoft also revealed demo gameplay footage from the latest installment in the Splinter Cell series, Splinter Cell Conviction. Remedy showed off some of Alan Wake’s gorgeous lighting effects with their demo footage. A gameplay demo of Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 showed an setting where the player actually gets to do some rock climbing. Left 4 Dead 2 was given a release date ( November the 17th ) and Bioware turned quite a few heads with their demos of Mass Effect 2, the sequl to the original game, and Dragon Age : Origins, an action RPG set in a fantasy world.

For a complete list of the events and news that happened/revealed during the first day, take a look at GameSpot’s E3 Day 1 Wrap-Up. Stay tune for Day 2.

Yves Guillemot