weekend recap: slings and arrows and farts

It’s not an iron-clad rule, but I generally prefer to avoid prefacing my entries here with personal asides.  It’s just that as far as Monday mornings go, this one has been particularly stressful and exhausting and miserable, and as I write this it’s not even lunchtime.  Can’t really say much more than that, unfortunately; I’m writing this mostly as a way of finding some zen within the chaos.

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Today’s must-read:  Russ Pitts on engaging with trolls.   This is, coincidentally enough, related to the link I posted a week or two ago which mocked that same troll.

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I finished South Park: The Stick of Truth late Friday night.  It’s a hell of a game, regardless of the level of your South Park fandom.  As I said the other day, I’d hardly call myself a huge fan – it’s been years since I watched the show on a regular basis – but I’m a fan in my heart, and I consider the movie one of the funniest movies ever made.  I say this so that you understand that even if I didn’t catch every single reference, I didn’t have to in order to enjoy the experience.  This is about as perfect a South Park game as one could reasonably hope for; the game is wickedly funny, and yet also a tremendous amount of fun to play and engage with.  

I finished the game in a little over 12 hours; I did nearly every side quest I could find, I hit the level cap quite easily, and I never stopped enjoying myself.  

That being said, it’s the sort of game that I can’t really see myself playing ever again.  Unlike, say, Skyrim – which SPSoT takes certain inspirations from – this game is fairly linear, and while there’s a lot to explore there aren’t necessarily any rabbit holes to fall into that you can’t quickly back out of.  I suppose playing as a different class might yield some slightly different jokes, but the overall experience would still be more or less identical.  It’s rare that I’d call a great game a “rental”, but there it is.

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Every once in a while I cross-post something here over at Kotaku’s TAY forum.  On a whim, I decided to cross-post the thing I wrote about political agendas and bad stomachs over there, and it got a pretty nice response and generated some healthy dialogue in the comments.

One of the comment threads – from someone who disagreed with my premise and said, in no uncertain terms, that they did NOT want to play any game with a political agenda, even if it was something they agreed with – caused me to eventually copy/paste from this excellent Believer interview with Harold Ramis, which I’d previously linked to on my tumblr.  I’m pasting the whole thing below, because it’s worth repeating.  (bolded text added for emphasis)

From The Believer:  http://www.believermag.com/issues/200603/?read=interview_ramis

BLVR: Rumor has it that you turned down the chance to direct Disney’s remake of Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner because you felt they weren’t interested in really exploring racism.

HR: The way they wanted to do it didn’t have a lot to do with the colossal amount of pain and violence that swirls around racial injustice. It would’ve been like an episode of The Jeffersons.What’s the point? But who knows, maybe that’s as much as most people want. I can’t tell you how many people have told me, “When I go to the movies, I don’t want to think.”

BLVR: Does that offend you as a filmmaker?

HR: It offends me as a human being. Why wouldn’t you want to think? What does that mean? Why not just shoot yourself in the fucking head? Or people’ll say that they don’t want to see any negative emotions. They don’t want to see unpleasantness. I did a comedy with Al Franken about his character Stuart Smalley, which was really about alcoholism and addiction and codependency. It had some painful stuff in it. When we showed it to focus groups, some of them actually said, “If I want to see a dysfunctional family, I’ll stay home.”

BLVR: Wow. I guess audiences just want more movies about stoned teenagers trying to find their cars.

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I came this close to sending Dark Souls II back in the mail this morning.  I played for about 30 minutes on Saturday night; I died 3 times, and each of those deaths felt cheap.  I’m not necessarily a big fan of ultra-difficult games, but I’m willing to engage with them if there’s enough people who convince me to at least try them out, and the thing that nearly everybody says is that while these games are hard, they’re almost never unfair.  Well, my three deaths were absolutely unfair, and they pissed me off, and instead of feeling challenged I felt taken advantage of.  

BUT.  

Because my rental copy of Metal Gear Solid Ground Zeroes won’t arrive until Thursday at the earliest (and which I’m pretty “meh” about anyway), and because my digitally pre-ordered copy of Infamous Second Sons won’t be unlocked until Friday, I’m feeling like maybe I should try giving Dark Souls II one more shot, from scratch, and see if maybe I can dig a little deeper and try to get past what was pissing me off so much.  My hopes aren’t high, mind you; it’s just that I’ve got nothing else going on, game-wise, and so I might as well see if I can approach it from a slightly different angle.

 

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