Remember Me

Box Art

Nilin, the game’s protagonist.

I finished Remember Me a couple of weeks ago, but I started it in May. Part of the reason it took me so long is that the game didn’t pull me back in the early stages when I had Rocket League or Street Fighter available. It becomes more compulsive towards the end and ultimately I’m glad I finished it, but the game doesn’t make itself easy to like. It’s on the edge of excellence. Remember Me is a game that needs to be better at almost everything, few aspects worthy of praise without caveat. It’s an ambitious game full of great ideas and I admire much of what it accomplishes, but its execution is so lacking that it undermines itself constantly. Continue reading

How Halo 4’s ending took me from the most excited I’ve ever been about a video game to the most betrayed I’ve ever felt

I imagine I’m not the only person who’s ever misheard a song lyric or misunderstood a quotation only to find its true meaning unsatisfying afterwards.  Like discovering that Jimi Hendrix is singing about coming up for air, having dreamt about being underwater, when he sings “’Scuse me while I kiss the sky”, rather than brazenly canoodling with another man, saying, “’Scuse me while I kiss this guy.”  There’s an entire website devoted to this phenomenon called kissthisguy.com.  The front page there is pretty goddamn ugly, though, so I’d advise against clicking it if you have functioning eyes.

That’s a silly example, but I had a much more hurtful experience when I reached the end of Halo 4’s campaign.  I found myself watching a bold, abstract, emotional and exciting finale, only to have this cruelly undone leaving just the emotional experience to persist.  In this case the truth was frustrating, robbing me of a future for the franchise I was genuinely excited about.  Let me explain.

It’s the last cutscene in the game, so you really shouldn’t need a spoiler warning, but there it is. Continue reading

How, right before saving humanity throughout the galaxy from certain annihilation, Shepard revealed himself to be a liar and a coward.

Commander Shepard is, objectively, a hero.  But he’s also a man.  A man who likes women (in my playthrough, anyway).   He spent his entire first adventure pining after Tali, the feisty but naïve Quarian girl, only to be seduced by Liara’s disarming bashfulness.  But the charming commander had all along been hiding a selfish, uncompassionate self that would only manifest itself years later.

*Mass Effect 2 spoilers* Continue reading

American Wisdom T-Shirt

This was a gift for my uncle.  He and his wife very kindly let me stay with them and their two young boys whenever I visit the states.  I’m often introduced to the family’s friends and acquaintances.  At one fateful little league game I was trying to help tidy up and noticed that a catcher’s mitt had been left unattended.  In an attempt to prevent it from being stolen I picked it up to bring it over to the dugout to find out who it belonged to.  At this point its owner rushed forward and accosted me.  Continue reading

Second Opinion Edition 2

After someone else had taken over movie reviews I switched to writing a “staying in” column, there I would make recommendations for DVDs based on what was currently playing in cinemas.  The idea would be to recommend similar, and possibly superior, alternatives to the month’s releases.  And by the way, I was going for Garth Marenghi with that headshot. I think I succeeded.

This Week’s Releases: Ghost Rider, Becoming Jane, Outlaw, Norbit, The Number 23, The Illusionist.

There have been a mixed batch of films released in the past two weeks and as far as I can tell none of them have been spectacular so perhaps one of the recommendations below will offer a viable alternative. Continue reading

Second Opinion Edition 1

After someone else had taken over movie reviews I switched to writing a “staying in” column, there I would make recommendations for DVDs based on what was currently playing in cinemas.  The idea would be to recommend similar, and possibly superior, alternatives to the month’s releases.  And by the way, I was going for Garth Marenghi with that headshot. I think I succeeded.

Welcome to the first week of my new feature.  Instead of reviewing contemporary releases I’ll be giving some recommendations of what to check out with (some rather tenuous) ties to what’s in the spotlight.

In this edition I’ll be giving recommendations based on Hot Fuzz, the action comedy extravaganza from Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost.  Continue reading

Love Letter to Bruce Campbell

Note: I get a pivotal quote in this piece wrong.

There was a mathematical study done recently, assigning values to tension, gore etc. to work out the perfect horror ratio and The Shining came out on top. I do not like The Shining. In fact, I dislike most horror films; they all fail either to scare or to entertain me.  They’re rarely longer than ninety minutes, and this means they have to start killing characters as quickly as possible so there’s no room for any character development.  Even those around long enough to have a chance are too busy screaming to come anywhere close to acquiring more than one dimension to their personality. All of this would be forgivable if any of them had even the slightest sliver of charm, but they don’t. There are some examples of the genre where there is a subtext, the consumer culture satire in ‘Dawn of the Dead’ for example, but more often than not this is again lost in the monotony.  An honourable mention has to go to Spaced’s Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg’s simultaneous send-up and homage, the brilliantly titled “Shaun of the Dead”.  Despite the previous paragraph there are some horror films that I enjoy. This is because they have the intrinsic thing missing from all other pretenders: Bruce Campbell. Continue reading