12.30.2009

On Dreams and R.E.M.

Let's face it--we all dream and have dreams. Big dreams, small dreams, secret dreams. Yesterday, for example, I dreamed I was Spider-Man. You think being Spider-Man would be a pretty rockin' dream, right? Wrong. It wasn't a good dream. Why? Instead of nice, thick, rope-like strings of web shooting out of my wrists, however, I shot little fishing lines that went a total of five feet before arcing to the ground. Fail.

The web-shooting was the pinnacle of Spider-Man's repertoire! You cannot separate them. Imagine Tobey Maguire shooting little wussy strands of web out of his hand.

"Go web go!"

And now you see why this dream sucked. Contrarily, the dream wherein I have telekinesis still is the best dream I have had.

On another note, I have not yet had a dream where I am flying. I have dreams where I have the ability of teleportation, but to date none of flying. I've heard it's an extraordinary experience.

Now, to the other aspect of dreams: our aspirations. What is your dream? As a child, I toyed with the idea, as most children do, of becoming an astronaut. I threw it away after I discovered that the moon had already been explored--because once you've explored the moon, you've really explored every stellar object, haven't you?

Until I reached high school, I really didn't have any dreams--sad to say--of what I wanted to do with my life. Up till then, my real passion was gaming, an occupation of rarity in today's society. Now, I enjoy writing--the perfect vocation of chance; that is to say, you either succeed or you don't (I'm not doing a very good job explaining this, am I? How ironic.).

I don't know; maybe I should try drama instead of writing these glorious works of literature. See? There's a little imp of doubt that surreptitiously arrives to haunt you. There is almost always a shadow of self-doubt when it comes to careers. Is there self-doubt when it comes to dreams, aspirations? Probably.

Dreams, dreams, dreams. For more about dreams, please watch Susan Boyle's cover of I Dreamed a Dream.

That in no way leads me to my next topic, R.E.M. Wait--it does! You dream in the REM cycle. Done.

R.E.M. is an American rock band best known for its song "It's The End Of The World As We Know It."

Thanks for reading.

12.29.2009

On Chrono Trigger

I am a gamer. I enjoy games. Board games, mind games, video games, the works. I especially am a fan of PC gaming. As of now, I am playing Baldur's Gate II, Left 4 Dead 2, and to shake things up, Medieval 2: Total War. I have Bloons Tower Defense 4 up and running right now. Games are fun; I think we can all agree on that. Lately however, I have been marking a gradual decline in the overall quality of these video games compared to the games of old. Let me explain.

In their unending quest to give us the perfect playing experience that all will enjoy, I think that developers these days have forgotten what makes a game a thrill of diversionary delight. Because that's what they are, right? Diversions, escapes, little ways we can avoid the crapshoot of a world we live in and go duel some pirate in some insult swordplay. This is the quintessence of a solid game. Heck, my sister loved the ancient DOS game Sleuth, where you maneuvered your little @ around trying to solve a murder in some Godforsaken mansion. It was obviously made by an impatient person: if you weren't quick enough, the murderer upped the ante and began stalking you! And it said that most explicitly: "The murderer is stalking you!"

I will not lie. That scared the crap out of me. It still does. And that was from the glory days of DOS, where the graphics where only as good as your ASCII skills. It was its simplicity and repeatability that gave that game it's essence.

This is why Chrono Trigger stands out as--I emphatically believe--one of the most satisfying and excellent games of all time. I shall lay out, with data, charts, and prescriptions why I state this statement.

Gameplay. It's simple, yet captivating. You run around the world; you enter dungeons; you don't have to engage every single enemy you saw, thereby avoiding any inconvenient Final Fantasy-style encounters with peeved egrets (which, after being slain, materialized fifty feet later, even more perturbed); you got better weapons; you leveled up; etc.

Plot. Yes, it has a plot. It involves time travel. It involves Chrono Triggers. It involves battling a mega-ultra baddie named Magus, and an even badder one named Lavos. It contains romance, betrayal, plot twists, and everything which makes a story great. It even has around a dozen different endings, which kind of beats the pants of L4D2's "The Survivors Have Been Overwhelmed/The Survivors Have Escaped!".

Characters. They are lovable. Even Robo the robot has more personality than Link, who flaunts about with fairies and smashes jars for amusement. Ayla has irresistible charm. Crono sports a katana, which seems oddly out of place in this universe. Enough said. By the way, the next time a game successfully incorporates a friggin' frog (who is the best ever) into it's storyline, tell me. Anyhow, the characters do not become annoying over time, each is unique in personality and temperament, and hold different abilities in combat.

Chrono Trigger is an exhilarating game to play. It sucks you in and doesn't let you go. And that is what gives it my thumbs up of the day.

Now if only Legend of the Seeker had a spin-off game.

Thanks for reading.


12.28.2009

Concerning Hobbits

As I contemplated what my first blog post should be, my mind was riddled with endless ideas.

"Justin," I said to myself, "There are endless ideas that would be relevant and inspiring for today's culture. Why don't you write about something that will attract attention?"

"Justin," I replied, "You're right. This first post should be christened with something truly spectacular." And so, I girded myself, ready to begin a topic so controversial and volatile that masses of people will flock to my blog, ready to throw in their two cents.

This is why I speak today on hobbits. They're cute little buggers, aren't they? With their curly hair, hairy feet, and innocent attitude towards life, they set the awesomeness bar astronomically high for aspiring young men such as myself.

Hobbits are essentially shorter relatives of the human race. They farm. They drink. They smoke profusely. They eat voraciously. They destroy dark lords like punks. They had a Soviet home computer named after them. And they do it all while being tipsy from all those mushrooms. Truly, my friends, is there anything they can't do?

However, this brings me to a large, bleeding point that I must address: Frodo's knack for mediocrity. It irritates me. Not only does he manage to get himself stabbed or mutilated at every turn, he possesses a remarkable lack of wits by entrusting himself, the Ring-bearer and only hope for the salvation of Middle-earth, to a malnourished, sushi-loving thing with a past history of dissociative identity disorder and hating hobbit's guts.

In my opinion, he deserved to be divorced from his finger.

However, I suppose all's well that ends well, as the little Skeletor, Gollum, manages to trip over a rock and fall into the fiery abyss of Mount Doom.

Thank God for Deus ex Machina.

In the meantime, I leave you with this. Samwise Gamgee is the best. His cooking is probably unrivaled in Arda, and he manages to beat the crap out of Shelob, who--ironically enough--had just beat the crap out of Frodo.

Following at a close second is Merry, who manages to cripple the freaking witch-king with a stab to the freaking knee-pit. Pippin comes in third. Pip, your klutzy klutzness is a slight annoyance, but you make up for it with your scintillating personality.

Frodo, screw you. I wish you had lost your thumb.

Thanks for reading.