Thursday, 30 August 2012

Nintendo: settle for disappointment

I recently bought a new Nintendo 3DSXL, and the accompanying deal was that I receive the new Mario game for something like 20 bucks. Considering that this is a fairly new title which coincided with the release date of the console, I felt as though this was a pretty good deal. I mean, how wrong can you go with the plump plumber?
Now when most people think of a Nintendo title these days, they think of casual games, multiplayer fun and family friendly. And this is probably as far as the banner will stretch. With 10 Mario Party games and countless different types of Mario extensions, gone are the days of gaming supremacy in the minds of gamers, and the market itself. Sure there is a sense of nostalgia in seeing the Fat-Boy grow up into today's age of graphics-over-gameplay, but there are some real serious issues at hand.

The end goal may be different, but the way you get there is exactly the same.

It is so depressing when thinking logically about this game. Lets break down the elements of the newest title, starting from:

The title itself - New Super Mario Bros 2.

Slapping 2 on the end does not allow it to still be "New". How is did this even get past the marketing department? I assume it is the new generation of Mario games, or something, which is why the label sticks through. But it just makes zero sense.

The story - Princess Peach needs to hire better security

If you've played Mario games before, the story is the same. Peach (the dumbdumb) somehow gets captured again. Mario is even in the bloody castle when it happens.
Pull up the drawbridge next time, and stop using Toads as bodyguards.

The first sight - Mushroom Kingdom 1 rehash

You can guess what the first level looks like. 1 solitary question mark block, one followed by two more Goombas, a layout of question mark blocks and bricks, and finally followed by one pipe. It could not get any more predictable than that. Some might argue that that is just a classic element of Mario games.
Now, coming from a game design perspective, it makes sense. The simple controls and the layout of the initial screen allow the player to figure out a list of things:
1. Running and jumping moves you through and over obstacles
2. Hitting question mark blocks give coins
3. Making contact with goombas will kill you
This is good game design; it helps the player understand what to do. But the scenery is the same, the layout is the same, and people will not play a Mario game without any prior knowledge of the gameplay elements. So, even if giving it a different backdrop works, do that. Just... do it.
Look familiar?

The following levels - Tiles upon monotony

Nothing is new. The levels consist of pipes, enemies and powerups: the formula for every Mario game thus far. And sure; its a tried and tested formula, and if its anything to go by, it sells. But its nothing new. The feeling is so stagnant. It's essentially just a massive rip off of all the Mario titles which preceded this. The sense of nostalgia is ruined by the laziness and reverse innovation that are bred into these 'new' titles.
"Why break what isn't broken?" I hear you ask. Well, imagine having dial up internet in 2012. It'll get you connected to the internet, but is it really up to the standard of what everyone else has? The best analogy I heard is that the Mario games are like McDonalds. Sure, it's good when you're really hungry. But it's never going to be at the top of dining restaurants, nor will you ever say, "man, remember that McDonalds and how amazing the food tasted?"

190 lives. Seems legit.

The gameplay - Forgive, but never forget.

The game is TOO SIMPLE. The game added in the idea that you have to now collect one million coins, and that is the end goal, which is neat in a way. Gives coins a whole new meaning to the game, rather than just collectively adding to the high score. But the reason they added this was a classic case of misdirection. See, the reason that you needed coins in the original Mario Bros was because lives were hard to come by. You would have to seek out the hundred coins or a 1up and if you missed it, you were pretty disappointed. Those were the days rewarded you for being a good player, and none of this reward for failure. You can almost predict where the power ups are being placed nowadays, and the fact that you can store one makes it that much easier. Even the dumbest player recognises that using a stored fire flower before bumping the blocks with the powerup would net you another fire flower. AND if you die too much you get a golden tanooki suit. AND if you die more you get the option to skip the level!
The bosses, my god, the bosses. The rhinos are back from previous games, and are the easiest enemy in game to defeat. The bowser babies have the same attack patterns as each other. It is so sad.

Mario is confused about what to do in this scenario.

This game serious has issues. Not in terms of gameplay, but in the variety of gameplay. This has been done before. In a couple years time, no one will look back at this game and say, "remember the fifth bowser baby and you have to do this and that to beat him?" It will be forever forgotten under the pile of many other games which are exactly like it, but not really, because there's a new number or phrase attached to the title.
Nintendo need to come out with a new Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island. That game is the pinnacle of entertainment.
I will not be collecting a million coins.

Friday, 6 April 2012

Rewind

"Are you serious? What is this."

Today, I said a bad word. And I say bad words frequently, it's a problem I've had for a little while now. The thing is this time, I said it on the Facebooks, where nothing is sacred.

For what it's worth, if anyone was personally offended by what I said, I apologise. Any of my close friends will back me up when I say I'm super judgemental, but I will never actively take prejudice on a person or a group of people. I never go out looking to start trouble; I'm a problem solver, not a problem starter. I'll take it upon myself to be more aware of the things that spew out of my mouth. I know when I'm wrong. So, I'm truly sorry.

But what I'm not sorry for is getting mad. Mad at that guy who slung racial slurs this morning, mad at the mere existence of a derogatory term for other sexual preferences, mad at the world for being so far up its own ass. I was mad at the internet warrior who tried to correct me on my vocabulary, but I don't start fights on the Internet. In fact, I partly agree with the heckler. I eat my humble pie.

If someone has a problem with me, don't fight me over Facebook. Tell me personally; I would have gladly admitted fault and changed my post if those who were offended went about it in such a way. And I was tame: if I have the potential to call that jerk-off some unmentionables, imagine what I could've said in retaliation to my post? But you'll notice that I didn't. But you didn't hold back. You talk about irony, and the high road. I'd say that's just about right.
The annoying part about it was the circumstance. You don't know anything about the situation. You don't know who the slur was at, where we were, who was around, what happened. Hell, you don't even know me. You know nothing about my history. You don't get to say anything.

For the record, if anyone says anything ever racial or otherwise negative comments about my FAMILY, I will retaliate. The slur wasn't directed at me. In fact, if it was at me, I wouldn't have said anything at all, because I know what I believe. I back myself. I don't believe we, as a family, deserved to be yelled at today. We were completely in the right, and the impatient dickwad from this morning can piss right the hell off. For God's sakes man, it's Good Friday.

I wish I could tell you about the last couple months. I wish I could let you know the rollercoaster that's been 2012 thus far. I wish telling you all this justified what I said. But it doesn't. And no one knows. Especially not you.

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Congratulations: you're annoying.

"Can't you see that I'm easily bothered by persistence? One step from lashing out at you... Be yourself, by yourself."

I was in the middle of posting a deep and meaningful entry about where my life was headed, and then I stopped. It probably wouldn't be an interesting read, and I couldn't think of a mad title for it, so I'm leaving it in drafts, unless someone comments that they want me to finish it off. Then I'll probably finish it. No pictures this time, it's late and I ceebed.

You know what's more interesting? You and I universally agreeing with things and people that are annoying. So here we go!

Slow walking people
You know when you're in a rush, and you have someone on a narrow pathway in front of you and just won't move, stops to chat to their friends, or is just dicking around? How annoying is that.

Having something to tell me and then saving it for later, and then forgetting when I ask about it.
Self explanatory. Tell me now, or don't mention it.

Having something to tell me, but then refusing to tell me when asked about it.
See above. But, also die.

Being tight with money.
I know people come from different circumstances, and money can or can't come cheaply. But when people are splitting a bill for dinner and ask for exact change or feel short-changed if they don't get every dollar back, it irks me. If you don't have money at the time, that is fine. Just say so, and people will be much more sympathetic to your case and you can pay them back later without looking like a tight-ass. Also, learn yourself a bit of generosity.

Having no motivation to get oneself employed.
Believe it or not, money is crucial to survive in this material world. And I know some might disagree that it isn't everything, and you don't need money to be happy, and I'll agree with you there. But I'm telling you, having zero money would make me depressed. But employment is not just about the money. I strongly believe that employment gives you the opportunity to interact and communicate with people of different ideals, natures and cultures. To make friends and broaden your knowledge and passions. I love working whilst being able to talk to people. I suggest you get out there.
Also, note: being unemployed and being unmotivated to be employed are two different things.

Being a major nerd.
I'll be the first to admit I'm a nerd. Hopefully more a closet nerd though, I don't like to show it as much as some others. The problem I have is not against nerds, but people with too much smarts for their own good, and they know it. A major nerd will tell everyone how much they know about a particular topic because they have to feel superior to everyone else in the room. Generally, this will be a mature aged student imparting wisdom with a life story, a gamer who relates every life situation to Halo, or people hearing things from a secondary source and believing it to be true without any shred of evidence e.g. thinking Apple own Adobe.

Being late.
If you list a time, be there before or at the specified time. I'm usually early because I hate making people late.

Lying.
This is a real pet hate of mine, and I know it's pretty general for everyone. Fair enough, everyone lies. I'm sure I've spun a few long stories with the intention of either saving my ass, or avoiding a tough call. And after working in retail, I got pretty darn good at it. But when someone lies to your face and you can easily pick the signs, it's where things can get a little aggressive on my part. You're not being sneaky, trust me.

There's more, but I'll make a part 2 when I can be bothered.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Wahhh wahhh Valentine's Day wahhh.

"No, Mama. You can bet your sweet ass and half a titty whoever put that hit on you already got the cops in their back pocket. You be cool, Mama. Bee here will keep you tight and out of sight. I'm gonna shake the tree from the roots and rake up the fruits, rip it up out of the ground, find out what's going down. Don't worry about tomorrow, Mama, because tonight...

I don't understand Valentine's Day. It is quite possibly the world's most sorry excuse for a day to pamper your partner. Why do we have to romanticise everything? It's a day like every other, but when it's given a festive name, it means you have to do something special to impress your other. Not me, though.



What's the point in asking someone to be your valentine if you're not dating? What's the significance in being a valentine? Do you go out on a date with some dinner, or hang out, or exchange a gift? Is it exclusive, or can you be a valentine of multiple persons? If you ask someone to be your valentine, is that enough assume that you like them? Or can you be friends and be valentines as well?

What's the requirements of the gift as well? I'm assuming both parties would, by social norm, give each other a gift or some sort, unless you specifically request that you don't want one (but even then most girls say that and still accept a gift, and a guy usually will take anything that's given to him.) At least with Christmas or birthdays you have a rough idea on what to get someone.
See, I figure that Valentine's Day measures the gift you give with the amount that you love the other person, and have such created a diagram to represent. You can use this to gauge how much someone is into you; just be sure to reference me when you think of it or explain the theory to someone else. Let's call it, the "Scale of Affection".


For example:

  • If I ask to be someone's random valentine, you might expect a card. Probably make it myself because I'm a bad-ass creative type like that.
  • If I like someone (and not desperate like the previous example), you might expect you might see a lunch, maybe dinner. Gift-wise, lolly string bikini tops and bottoms. Cha-ching!
  • If I'm in love, I'd probably propose. What's more romantic than Valentine's Day proposals? Oh, I know! Big fat clich├ęs and a "totally didn't see this coming" expression.

Notice how the scale starts at a rapid ascent. This is the early dating phase, where you still trying to impress people with all your money and great ideas. But the part that evens out in the middle, some might call the "cbf-ed" stage; where both parties are neither happy or upset at each other and call a truce to settle for a dinner and a movie.


And if you are upset about being alone, quit crying, you sissy. Valentine's Day is not an excuse to call the "Single's Appreciation Day" card. That's worse than celebrating being with someone, because you just end up making yourself look like a miserable git, who wants the world to feel sorry for them and their lack of a significant other. It makes you seem like you're totally dependant on someone else holding your hand to make you happy. Here's an idea:




Personally, I don't 'celebrate' Valentine's Day. To me it seems like a waste of time. I can have dinner or give a gift to anybody, any time I want. What I don't need is for someone to tell me that they are owed a gift because of some backwards universal love day which I never agreed to participate in in the first place.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Reasons why the Big Bang Theory sucks.

The Big Bang Theory is possibly the worst show on television. In fact, it's almost as bad as Two and a Half Men, and that is absurd. My claim to fame is that I've never outwardly laughed at any of the jokes while watching TBBT, and I will state it before and after each episode while it is on TV. Some people may claim I've smirked, or gasped in preparation for a giggle, but I retort with this statement: If I bash my head against a wall of solid concrete for long enough, I'm sure in my delirium I will also utter a similar sound. Don't mistake it for amusement, however. It's more of a mindless burst of utter bewilderment of the suffering I am currently enduring.



"Why have you watched any Big Bang episodes at all then?" Firstly, it was because I wanted to give the show a second chance. Then the reason evolved into a sort of love/hate relationship; I love to torture myself with ridiculous stereotypes, inane jokes and the same formula, over and over again.
Which brings me to the hate. I hate this guy:



Jim Parsons (AKA the lovable Sheldon Cooper), yes I agree, makes the show what it is. And Parsons can act, sure. But the character Sheldon Cooper is nauseating. The series can be summed up as follows: Sheldon is awkward with people. Says nerdy stuff. Cue audience laughter. Every other show on TV follows the same sort of set up, but what TBBT fails to do is disguise the plot of each episode. Charlie Harper anyone?

The slivers of information he speaks aren't even that hard to understand, if you have half a brain. Yet not even his "best friend" Leonard can understand him sometimes. They always seemed shocked or confused when Sheldon has said something which is too 'nerdy'. After 7 years, you'd think they'd have learnt by now.

The gags and jokes of the show is written by humourless half-wits. In the Irish Pub Formulation episode, Sheldon is playing a text-based computer game, a popular form of games in the 1970's-80s, due to the restriction in graphics. And with every input Sheldon writes, the audience laughs. The text transcripts are as follows:
> You are in a forest. There is quicksand to the west. A path leads to the east.
>> Go east. (LAUGHTER)
> An iron gate blocks your way.
>> Open gate. (LAUGHTER)
This shit is comedy gold.



The stereotypes aren't even right either. The cast actually wear interesting clothes, but just mismatch them in colour to make it appear as though they are out of touch with people. (This is the part where I feel I've written too much and couldn't be bothered watching any more without being overcome with frustration.)

And those of you who say, "You haven't watched enough episodes", I got you there as well. I googled the top ten The Big Bang Theory episodes and  from the top-most result, chose 4 from the list that were given. And in each, I recorded the amount of times I laughed. In case you were wondering, the resource is this:
http://vancouvergal.hubpages.com/hub/5-Best-Big-Bang-Theory-Episodes

The results are as follows:
Season 1: The Tangerine Factor
Sheldon speaks in flawed Mandarin, finds a seat in Penny's apartment, and Leonard and Penny go out.
Laughs: 0

Season 3: The Staircase Implementation
Explores the history of Sheldon and Leonard's meeting. The audience laughs at the phrase, "Cathedra mea, regulae meae".
Laughs: 0

Season 4: The Roommate Transmogrification
Some episode about Raj.
Laughs: 0

Season 5: The Flaming Spittoon Acquisition
Sheldon's evolution in character as he asks a girl out. Nerds play cards. Hilarity ensues.
Laughs: 0


The final tally is... 0 laughs! I can tell why the Big Bang Theory is so popular.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Time Machine Moments

"Let's unwrite these pages and replace them with our own words."

There are situations in everyone's life they never forget; where a person can look back and say, "man, I wish I handled that whole thing better." Personally, I'm not saying I regret anything I did in the past when I was young and immature. A Time Machine Moment is just a point in time in my life, where if I had done something different, it would be an entirely different existence than what it is today. If it's a good thing or not I don't know, because everything I've done has shaped me to be the person I am today.
Or some other equally romanticised bullshit like that.


Here's a couple examples. Spoiler alert:

Possibly is incredibly super boring.

#1. Lost chance
I was always a shy kid. Throughout primary and into the back end of high school, you'd never see me speak up or out. Equally as bad with girls, and gained no interest from them. So the first girl I liked didn't result in anything, because she never found out I liked her (at least, from me). We once stood about an inch from each other's faces, and for about 10 seconds I just stood there, frozen. She pushed me away.

#2. Fitting in
Moved into an Anglican high school, and I hated it there to start. I was a minority. Nothing was familiar to me, and it was daunting to make friends with all these strangers.

#3. Becoming a musical genius
When I first started playing music, there were the options of my instrument of choice. I chose Bass over drums. I still think I chose wrong.

#4. Another Missed Opportunity
I started working in data entry in mid 2008. There was a girl and we liked each other, but it went unspoken. But because my relationship with a different girl I had met prior had advanced much quicker, I lost all opportunity to develop our possible friend/courtship.

#5. Future prospects
I've always been interested in Anthropology, more specifically human behaviour. If I had my time over again, I would've chosen a different career path.

What would have I become if I had taken the opportunities given to me? A Slut? Popular? Talented? Boyfriend? Smart? Would I have become a completely different person?
If you want to understand it better, go watch Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths. Listen to Owl Man.

I promise the next entry won't be so prophetic.

Monday, 30 January 2012

Facebook is shit.

"I told you something. It was just for you and you told everybody. So I learned to cut out the middle man, make it all for everybody, always. Everybody can't turn around and tell everybody, everybody already knows."

I'm sure you've all realised you spend way too much time on 'the Facebook'. Whether it's watching the 'ticker'/the stalker feed, or waiting for friends to come online (sad), or stalking some old flame you had the digits for. And I know it too. I do it all the time. A good friend of mine will testament to my stalking ability with my dual monitor set up, "... with Facebook on one screen and a game on the other". Even as I write this my Facebook window is still open.

But have you really thought about what it does to you? How every part of you is laid out for the world to see?  That nothing is kept sacred within the walls of public domain.

Using Facebook is like having a shower. You don't have to do it, but it's routine, and if you don't do it for a long period of time, you start to feel dirty. It deludes you into thinking things don't exist, and that there are friends and acquaintances who are conspiring behind your back in order to take what's left of your soul that you didn't offer up to the gods of Facebook.



Everything you write shows up to every one else. Don't expect privacy. Don't expect to get away with anything. Someone is always out to decipher any inkling of a hidden message. We're not stupid. We can read. More than half the things that are posted, I would cut off my left arm to not have seen. Yet what compels us to read it at the end of the day?
Curiosity. Boredom. Flawed logic.

Solution to Facebook, you ask? I'm still searching for it myself. I know, I'm a hypocrite. I'm not going to stop using it. I'll just hate myself for my addictions. Maybe when chumsgroup.com gets a following.