Friday, 28 November 2014

What Have I Done

I have The Hobbit on the brain. Listening to the soundtrack right now while I draw. Even played some Skyrim just to get a watered-down medieval epic kind of feeling. Maybe not the most conventional mindset to be in when making a black and white comic about black and white toons, but eh.

I first heard the Misty Mountains Cold song linked by someone's Tumblr. When I first heard that song, she was a treasured ally. It's weird to think that I'll never hear that song and be her friend again. Hell, this month I had to cut someone out of my life IRL. Someone I'd known since the 10th grade.

I wonder who changed. I doubt I got better, because I feel worse than ever. But every time I talked to him, without even trying, all he did was make me feel like the biggest piece of shit. Like all of the world's problems were my fault. Because I cared about stuff. I really don't even think he consciously noticed. My personal and mental health has to come first, but it's still hard to believe that he won't be a part of my life anymore. It's not a decision I made lightly, and I'm sure as hell going to miss him. I just don't think he's the same person as the man I befriended.

What an awful thing, for people to stop caring for each other. When someone's mere presence is too sharp to hold onto, and when they can't soften those edges. Even if they want to. I had to have been that person to a lot of people.

On December 1st, I'm going to get back into contact with someone of immeasurable importance to me. I don't know if it will be face-to-face or through writing. Some things need to be said. I don't know what I'm going to say. It might be the last thing I ever say to her. Too many people have unceremoniously left my life. I couldn't be there for her when it counted, but the least I can do to honour our friendship is give it a proper end. We both deserve "Goodbye".

Friday, 19 September 2014

Smash Bros. For 3DS

Smash Bros. for the 3DS has the worst control scheme I’ve ever experienced in a video game. I say this because within the first 2 minute match, my hands were hurting from the clumsy button placement. Nothing else has ever accomplished this.

It's so awful, I almost wonder if this was done on purpose so more people would buy the Wii U version, thus boosting sales for the struggling console. I can't believe a video game in this century plays this terribly. And worse, from a franchise that was heralded for its' near-perfect precision gameplay.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Portal 2: First Thoughts

So I bought Portal 2. Still making my through. Some early impressions:

-Solid writing, although most of it has been spoiled for me by the internet parroting it all.

-I was seriously stuck dead in my tracks during one puzzle for about half an hour. And I figured it out right before I was going to surrender and look up the solution online. Figuring that out made me feel a lot smarter than I really am. Very few games have accomplished this. Most veer wildly too far into frustratingly vague territory, where you're punished simply for not having a psychic link to Tim Schaefer's schizophrenia.

-I miss when Chell was a person of colour, instead of a plastic-surgery-riddled Strong Female Character. Considering you're not even supposed to see her, and she's not even on the box, that's pretty disappointing that they would whitewash her just to appeal to a "wider audience".

-When I "rescued" the turret and brought it through the field that destroys anything you carry through it, I felt so bad I restarted from the last checkpoint and just left it before that part, intact. Just so it would "survive" my playthrough. It takes a very special game to make me care that much about the soulless robots shooting at me.

-The fat jokes get old, fast. 


Monday, 7 July 2014

Late Night Stuff

It's almost 11 pm. I should be asleep. But something is keeping me awake. The very odd feeling that I am about to do something great. I just don't know what it is yet. And I doubt anyone will notice.

I dunno. Maybe I'm just getting nostalgic reading one of Roger Ebert's books. I wish his bio-documentary was playing anywhere in Canada. I guess I'll have to stream it on Amazon or something.



Saturday, 28 June 2014

That Wizard Came From The Moon

Peter Dinklage can barely contain his excitement for being in the video game "Destiny". This is what $500 million can get you, ladies and gentlemen.

Between this, The Elder Scrolls Online and The Old Republic, maybe this will finally be the year where the large-scale multiplayer game dinosaurs finally collapse under their own weight.



Thursday, 8 May 2014

Stories And Stuff

One day, I want to create a story that makes you feel like you’re home. A place and people you get comfortable with, who you think about at the weirdest hours of the night. Characters and moments that become like old friends. Situations you daydream about, and spend days and weeks wracking your brain trying to figure out how it will end, and if it’s possible for a happy ending.

And then I want the end to approach faster than you can prepare for. I want an audience that almost doesn’t want to see it end at all, because it would mean saying goodbye to a place in their lives that shielded them from the horrors of reality. Maybe even strengthened them to it.

And then I want the end to come and be so perfect, so shattering, so right that you don’t know what to do with yourself for a while after it’s over. Nothing but to sit in silence and absorb what happened, how it will never happen again, and how grateful you were that it happened to you.

I guess what it comes down to is paying a debt. I want to write that story to repay the stories that did that for me. The stories that make life worth living.

I don’t know if I’ve done that yet, but I think I’m getting closer…



Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Bungie: Destined For Failure?

Activision recently announced that it's going to cost them half a billion dollars to create Bungie's new game "Destiny". $500 million. That's even more than the rumoured cost of BioWare's Star Wars online game "The Old Republic".

There are about 7 million Playstation 4s in the hands of consumers, and about 5 million Xbox Ones that have been sold. As has already been pointed out, the only way Destiny will be make a profit is if every single human being who owns a Playstation 4 and an Xbox One buys a copy of Destiny.


The game that's just Borderlands without the flavour, personality, art direction or comedic appeal.

The game where Peter Dinklage boredly tells you to go over here and shoot bad guys, then go over here and shoot more bad guys.

The game that marks the point where Bungie fired one of the great video game composers, for apparently no reason(my guess is to cut costs somewhere).

A game with no readily apparent characterization, no indicator of a compelling story, and no one talking about it. Other than how expensive it is, because why else would anyone talk about it?

Monday, 5 May 2014

The Walking Dead: "You Killed Kenny!"

Did it ever feel like that scene in "No Time Left" where Kenny "dies" offscreen felt like a cheap placeholder, intentionally vague so they could bring him back later?

Wasn't it a complete non-event when, oh look, he's magically still alive in Season 2, even though that's literally impossible given his circumstances? And even though the end-of-game tally screen says he was overwhelmed by the horde?

Well, Gavin Hammon admitted that Kenny was canonically dead in Episode 5, until the director intentionally deleted audio files. They literally cheated at their own story just for idiotic fan-service in the next season. That is some BioWare level nonsense.

Boy, what a great feeling! To know that all of the tension is robbed from an entire franchise, now that Telltale Games can just pull a "Death & Return of Superman", and bring back any character the director has a chubby for. That just fills me with confidence.

Remember when Jurassic Park was the worst thing this developer had done?



Sunday, 13 April 2014

PAX East: "A Quick Reminder"

The Penny Arcade Expo and the owners of the Penny Arcade brand:

Women and minorities are already treated like an invasive species in conventions and nerd culture. If you know all of this, and still go to PAX, you are supporting everything wrong with what's supposed to be an open and inviting space. You are not just "part of the problem"... You ARE the problem. 




Monday, 31 March 2014

2013: Things I Loved PART 1

It's that time again. Well actually it's a couple of months after that time again. Time to make my end-of-year countdown list, of things that convinced me not to shoot myself in the head for another year.

Since the list is wordier this year, it'll be split into 2 parts. You can also check out the list of things I liked last year.

Below the cut is PART 1 of my favourite things of 2013:

Sunday, 16 March 2014

2013: Things I Liked

I'm gonna change things up a little with my year-end lists(that take place months after the year in question ended).

I'll do two lists: Things I liked, and things I loved.

Also, only two things are blacklisted this year: Penny Arcade's "Strip Search" reality show, and Daft Punk's "Random Access Memories". Both are things I enjoyed, before it came obvious they were associated with rape-culture shitheads.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

"The Wind Rises" Review

by Alex Hill



Sometimes I see a movie with my mom on a Tuesday night, because it's cheaper to go on Tuesdays. As a movie plays, there are usually interruptions. She'll ask who an actor is on screen, or for a snack or something, since I'm the one holding the food. For the two-hour running time of The Wind Rises, neither of us made a sound. Save for the crunching of popcorn behind us, and some laughter at a specific character design, a peculiar quiet descended on the audience. For the most part, we watched in silent reverence.

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Let's Green Egg And Ham It

I am so tired right now, I'm hallucinating. I could swear they were making another Shag Fu game.

But seriously, we're getting another one of these before Half-Life 3.



Sunday, 2 March 2014

Skyrim: "Don't Tread On Me"

Because drawing isn't working for me right now, and I have a lot of free time, I've been grinding in Skyrim. A meaningless goal I have is to reach level 100 before I tackle the end-game content of the main questline, and to pick up a few odd achievements here and there(I'm playing on the Xbox version, which unfortunately means longer load times and no mods).

Right now, my biggest conundrum is whether to side with the Imperials or the Stormcloaks. I'm playing a character who swore revenge on the empire for trying to execute him... but I'm hearing that picking the Stormcloaks is actually worse in the long-run for everyone but the native Nords.

I've already killed the Dark Brotherhood for sending assassins to kill me. I've established my character does not forgive nor forget attempts on his life, no matter the cost... So do I swallow my pride and side with the Imperials for the greater good, or do I ruin Skyrim for a lot of the races in Tamriel just for revenge?

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Love Is Not Selfish

How many of you have heard the phrase: “You have to love yourself before you can love anyone else”? The idea is that if you love yourself, it will naturally lead to caring about others, and not caring about yourself denies you the ability to have meaningful relationships. 

But wait, what about bankers? What about bible-thumping bigots? What about mass-murderers and dictators? What about lobbyists and corrupt police and senators and congressmen and gangs? What about rapists? What about hollywood executives? 

These are not self-loathing people. Psychopaths have high self-esteem. They love everything about themselves and continue to make the world worse because that initial self-love never spread out. Why wouldn’t they? They want everything for themselves because they see themselves as more important and more deserving. Hating yourself is not necessarily always what makes you hate others, so why would loving yourself be the only entryway to loving others?

You do not need to love yourself to love others. That’s bullshit. I hate pretty much everything about myself, and I cared about people. Certain people, at least. I was a humanist for most of my life, and my own self-loathing didn’t stop that. Even years after I should have stopped having any personal investment in the human race. Long after I should have given up on the species, I was still hoping and caring.

If I still care about anyone, it’s not because I had some epiphany or some moment of self-acceptance. It’s because I’m not a psychopath, and love is not selfish!



Friday, 7 February 2014

Japan's Vanilla Ice

Has anyone else heard about Mamoru Samuragochi, the composer of Resident Evil and Onimusha? Apparently he didn't actually write music, but took credit for ghost-written compositions due to being deaf by age 35(which is now also under question).

Geez. I hope this isn't a common thing. I'd hate to think of some of my heroes of video game music being frauds.

Is there any equivalent to this in movies or television? Granted, the music industry has no shortage of thieves, and then there are cases where "music by X" actually means "music by X and his recording team, sound engineers, etc.". It's clear that not every single note you hear in a Hans Zimmer score was his and his alone, but when you read "Soundtrack by Hans Zimmer", it's to be understood as being a brand more than the individual guy. And even then, he does roll up his sleeves and do the work(...sometimes. Other times he just sort of collects a paycheck when they re-use his themes from a previous movie in a sequel, but just get someone else to score the rest, like in Kung-Fu Panda 2).

But I can't think of an instance where a film composer was outed not only as having taken credit for music, but also accused of faking a disability.

For that matter, does anyone even remember the music in the first Resident Evil? Does anyone even remember Onimusha the game? In any case, this is just what Capcom needed: more bad publicity.



Thursday, 6 February 2014


I wish I had more to talk about on this blog. I meant this to be where I dump all of my video game rants and stuff, but I've become so disillusioned with the state of the medium that I don't feel like I have anything meaningful to say. And I just think the entire industry is on course to collapse anyway, and nobody wants to fix it, so...


Maybe one of these days I'll get off my ass and finish the Fave of 2013 list. Until then, I don't know what else to say.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

"Gears of War: Judgment" Review

by Alex Hill

I... think I like Gears of War: Judgment. But it's not a game that's trying particularly hard to be liked. I'm not sure what it wants to be. It's too big to be DLC for a previous game. The changes are both too extensive to be an add-on, but too grounded in the past to be its' own product. It's too small in focus to be the long-term leveling shooter that Gears 3 was. It doesn't invest in its' characters quite enough to be story-based. If you described it to police, it would be a fat, thin, tall, short, young, old person.