Elaborated

Feb 11 2006, 4:44 PM


I’ve played Xmen legends during the past two months. Eventually, I finished it. Last week I started on Xmen legends II. Today I’ve already gotten to the final act, did the game get easier from the first to the second opus? Or am I just playing far too much? Or both?

And here is a subject all on its own: med student, last year, how will I play once I start internship? Who will be crazy enough to take the chance and start a family with a madman of gaming such as I? And the questions could go on and on. Oh well, I’ll never change and mostly because I don’t want to. End of discussion. I do hope to have heirs to carry my love of games. Maktoub”

Today’s one-word prompt gave me the idea to find some of my old writings, share them for those who’ve never seen them and Elaborate some ideas within, answer some questions I had left hanging.

X-men Legends was a good game, in my opinion. Fortunately I had written this little bit about it, otherwise, I would certainly not have even remembered it existed on my own. We have all seen many movies, read quite a few books and maybe even played hundreds of games (video, board, card, etc.). But those that really mark us we cannot really forget, for whatever reason that may be. If I would name one of each that marked me:

  • Book: Summer of Night, it’s an oldish one, I read it very young, my first of the Horror genre and it scared me immensely. I read it again about a year ago, I still like the book and I can absolutely see how it could have impacted me the way it did. I was in a school with a building as old as time, reminding me too much of the school the kids go to in the novel
  • Board game: Monopoly Classic Game. A silly but simple reason why. I was young, shopping for something new on Christmas, and the store owner’s daughter was or seemed rather “hot”. In retrospect, I cannot remember what feature qualified her as such to my young eyes, nevertheless, whenever I think of Christmas, I remember Monopoly and I remember her (Isabelle, gleaned from eavesdropping while looking around the shop).
  • Card game: Magic The Gathering. This was the first one I ever saw, tried and played. Back then, I felt that simply getting a hang of the rules was Magic in itself!
  • Video game: Final Fantasy VI. The original North American version, erroneously dubbed Final Fantasy 3 (while in truth it was the 6th game in the series), is the one that I borrowed from a friend one day on the schoolyard. I had little idea of what was in store, but I liked the name. It reminded me that ultra hard NES game I had once tried at another friend’s house. It became my favorite game for a very long time. As many can remember, the story was epic in its main path, but the side activities and the hidden quests related to each character truly open up the story. Both the lore and character development shine with personality, uniqueness. To this day, I still load up at least once a week some track from the Distant Worlds orchestral interpretations. My favorite music from FF6 is the Opera di Maria that the game’s character Celes Chere played in (as Maria)  🙂
  • Movie: if there is one movie that I could name despite having seen it so long ago, it’s Goonies! I rewatched just once about a decade or so ago and I was blown by how well I remembered e-ve-ry single scene as if I’d seen it just the day before. Yes, it’s rather old for some of you, it remains a timeless classic for me which can almost be said for the majority of Spielberg movies…

As for the last question….well, I’ve learned to tone down the intensity of the gaming somewhat. Or rather, I watered it down. By inserting short bursts of play in down times, whenever the significant other is busy, kid sleeping or busy, lunch breaks etc. I managed to still game (I’ve logged almost 200 hrs into Xenoblade Chronicles 2 this year!) while seeming not to. If everyone gets their quality time, who can complain really? As a consequence, it’s been almost 2 months since I last turned the PS4 on. My time has been mostly spent on portable gaming (3DS and the epically awesome Switch, my Vita disappeared more than a year ago….stolen? Unknown). There’s always a way to balance everything to some measure. It can just take patience to find it…

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Wandering thoughts

Most posts can be rather short. Quite a few times, writers seem to have more strength than the rest of us to produce longwinded entries. Often I end up skipping over the longer ones. And occasionally, one can be so compelling as to grip for pages on. Even stories that do not usually interest me can suck me when written with so much heart.

I come to wonder at times, what is my expression? What am I trying to tell the world and how am I doing it? On certain days, on certain occasions, I can sit and tell entire stories in my head. Stuff that could truly take the whole day to tell. But it’s all in my head, and a few hours later I will forget most of the details from before. Funny thing is if I sit down and try to pour it all out onto paper or otherwise…it simply flies away like wisps of smoke! My story ends prematurely just by trying to give birth to it. It is about time someone invented the mindreading typewriter! Just sync it, forget it and think away. Then every evening would be the work of parsing through the clutter and keeping the stories that matter. Although, every thought I have will matter to me, right?

I remember that time when I first found someone willing to hear my voice. All my stories were now theirs and it felt good. Together we filled notebooks upon notebooks, telling each other the most flabbergasting stories real and imagined. Or maybe the most real imaginings we could conjure up. “Reality is often counter-intuitive“. By retelling each other stories of moments we experienced together, we felt we came closer to understanding those events and maybe even our own realities (i.e. perceptions). Diving back into remnants of those past writings, I was surprised by the difference in how I saw my world. It was also rather amazing to realize how intricate we were in our descriptions.

I have digressed farther than originally intended. I started with an idea. And on the way, I’ve lost that thread of thought.  Subjects related to perception and reality often bring anime/manga to mind, for me. Many convoluted stories in anime deal with such themes in their own manner. Steins GateSerial Experiments Lain, and even Sword Art Online are those I can think of the most in this case. This last one showcases unquestionably how gaming also delves into such a theme. Just look at the opening cutscene of any Bayonetta, not only those first words of each entry in the series so far but also the very concept within of the split nature of existence itself brings you towards the idea of reality and perception. For reasons I can’t quite describe, I feel like not including any movies here, except maybe one’s related to Virtual Reality like Ready Player One or The Matrix, or better yet: The Last Action Hero!

Beyond the simple-ish philosophical questions of the mind and it’s experience of the being, another albeit more “hard” science that deals with this kind of theme is quantum physics. For the uninitiated, the obscure [themes, topics, centers of study] of this field appear even more esoteric due to the peculiar fact that it is in a true, though untrue, way a study of perception and reality. At various levels, the macro reality we witness is a congealed form of the fluid microstructures composing it. Said micro backbone of our realities are in flux and take shape as we witness them. In that case, to what point do we influence what we see and thus what becomes real?

 

Segue

Lust is inescapable, but it does not define us. There are those who make themselves slaves of their heat. Their brains appear connected to their genitals which may be the true leader of that person’s motives. Nevertheless, it is inescapable. Is it strength to affirm and live your lustfulness in the most decadent way, weakness to fight against it and thus seem to fight against your own nature? Or is it strength to remain steadfast, to believe enough in your convictions, to walk the martyr’s path?

This week I have often wondered what it meant to be a true martyr. Contemporarily, a martyr requires an audience. Self-serving, virtuous groups such as chastity groups are an example of such. They sport “paraphernalia” identifying them as chaste or whatnot. Under the cover of being able to promote the virtue, I argue that it serves mainly to promote their “own” virtue. Many true historical Martyrs, had no idea they would become such. For whatever selfish or selfless reasons, they fought (metaphorically and/or truly) for their causes and ideals….to death. The assumption that a martyr had no fear of death is false. Truer it is to posit that they simply had principles or beliefs aligned with the concept of good that they will die for to uphold.  In a multilateral war, each side has their martyrs, their beliefs. Was there ever a side that felt that theirs was the truly evil one? It’s all a matter of perspective. But “goodness”, in utmost, unapologetic, purest form, is absolute. Far beyond the discussion of what a relative martyr is, the true martyr defends universal principles, as the good Doctor’s wife says: “…without hope, without witness, without reward.

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"Virtue is only virtue in extremis"

River Song

Eternal Stranger

pexels-photo-209037To some extent, many people have never lived out of the particular aspect of teenage angst whereby one feels foreign to everything and everyone.

Bodies changing, hormonal awakenings and all that…we’ve been through it, but have we come out of it?

When your mind thinks in a language and your peers’ in another, when your tongue craves tastes that others may shy away from and your ears ring with the echo of songs of the world that are unaccepted in your world…what does that make you?

In your being, foreign; by birth, foreign; who are you really?

Teens grow out of it.

Most learn to live with it

But too many die as it…

Foreign

Invisible

Invisible

Freedom of being…

Invisible is not lonesome, nor depressive.

Not unwanted, simply Invisible

Verily to not be there. Or rather, there but unperceived.

Isn’t Perception what defines personal Reality?

Some forget presence does not imply visible: the wind, love, hate, power

It is the worst thing to be so ignored that we are inexistent.

But it is the best thing.

Life is duality, a dilemma.

Echoing the complex nature of existence: invisible and there; hated and love but ultimately…..Free.

Freedom of being

The passing of years: some updates

         3 years can be a very long time. It can also be the shortest intermede in a very eventful period of one’s life. Things have been rather crazy and hectic. Both work and life have been about constant changes, new situations, challenge after challenge and every new paradigm shift required so much adaptation…
            Since last I actually wrote anything here: 2 kids and marriage, not necessarily in that order or even in the reverse. At one point, gaming and all other nerdiness, as some would put it, kept me going and became a lifeline, a tether to hold on while crossing the torrents of the fast-paced events of the past years. But now, it all seems to be settling somewhat. The strange effect is that with more time on my hands to actually BE doing such activities as gaming, reading and the such, I am doing them far less.
         Two of the most notable mentions for that period: Dragon Age Inquisition and The Witcher 3 (including all DLC). Dragon Age came first, as soon as it was released it was in my hands (Thank you Amazon Release Date Delivery!). It solidified for me what I rather expected from this third installment. The first Dragon Age was amazing, novel and especially difficult for it required some concrete tactical thinking. The sequel was all flash, flair, and aesthetics, appealed to a greater number of non-hardcore PC owner and to console gamers. For me, though it was far too “lite” and lacked the grit and intelligence I felt in Origins. Dragon Age Inquisition did very well to merge many of its predecessors’ strengths to appeal to…everyone? In-depth looks and reviews about the game can be found elsewhere. Suffice to say that it was a welcome pit to sink into in the afternoons and evenings after work where all my problems remained at the door and I stepped into the shoes (or boots) of my characters.
         The Witcher 3 came quite a while after. I actually only started it around the time that Hearts of Stone Story DLC came out. Many loved the Blood and Wine DLC the most. It’s easy to understand: it was beautiful, colorful, different, fresh. but HoS, in my opinion, had the better story. I enjoyed the dark humor of that story, and I certainly rooted for the flawed immortal man that Geralt could either save or doom. I, of course, chose to save the bloke. Fantasy stories with a deep heart set in a form of reality are very appealing. The dragons, the wraith, griffins, and others serve as an anchor to the suspension of disbelief. The true core of the narrative remains very human and relatable. It reminds us of our own fragility, our own humanity, and actually gives hope for a moment that no matter how bad things may be, they could be worse. And no matter how much worse it keeps getting, somehow we must never back down and despair. As a friend of mine liked to repeat: “If you get to it you can get through it”.
         More recently, I have started playing Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice. It has been a very divisive game apparently, some people with negative opinions about it do seem right though. When it is not in combat, Hellbalde does feel like a walking simulator where you can die, and the permadeath system sounds really annoying. BUT, as an artistic whole, I think it’s a great achievement by an independent studio. It has gorgeous graphics, it figures a smart and different take on the subject at hand and horrendous hidden object type puzzles. This to say that, despite all the highs in anything, nothing is without some kind of imperfection. Flaws can actually be what defines some forms of art and it is what defines Senua’s Sacrifice. it is a game about psychosis!! Though it may never truly convey what it feels like or how it is REALLY to have such a condition, it gives an idea. And that cringing when looking for that latest blasted pattern? That boredom with the simplistic combat? That headache after inadvertently plunging into that first pit? Well, I guess they DID succeed in their objective…is this a glimpse of what a descent into insanity feels like?
         Much like the Cherek ships in the Belgariad, sometimes you must go through, plunge in, nearer to the abyss, into the mouth of the maelstrom and use its own force to slingshot yourself out of it all, not run away from the darkness but cross the depths to reach the light once again…
Cheers!

To you that this concerns (yes, you….)

This here is slightly adapted (by me) from a fictional book by a fictional character (author) in a real book written by a real author:
“The Road goes ever on and on,
Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone
And you must follow if you can,
Pursuing it with eager feet
Until it meets some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet,
And whither then? I cannot say. “
Our paths have met and are now drifting a bit away. But the Road remains and as long as we follow it our paths will intertwine again maybe tighter than before. I just hope I see you often enough before you have to go really far away. I am very fond of you and remain forever your friend.
Love,
Al

Random (maybe not) thoughts

Drawing a blank. So pissed at colleagues and fellow Haitians in general that I can’t function properly; hard to focus on work; can’t really enjoy a movie; no libido; hell, I ain’t even interested in gaming!!! Imagine that!!!!! Me…….not interested in gaming. All I have is my fury. Fury at my powerlessness… fury that doing things the “right” way, seems so wrong to everybody else! Fury at myself for being who I am. If I was born here, what happened along the way to make me so different? Why couldn’t I just be “one of them”? If that were so, maybe I’d be happier; be married by now; have kids (yes, plural). Wouldn’t I?

"Game of Thrones" first contact

Today I watched the very first episode of “Game of Thrones” the new HBO series based on the fantasy epic series “A Song of Ice and Fire”. The first book in the series is, duh, “A Game of Thrones”. Check it out on Amazon.com it seems interesting enough. Now I gotta admit that it is the very first time I’ve come in contact with this story. Why? Because I’ve had my cup full with so much to read, I have relied mostly on reviews and advice. There is so much material out there…It’s easy to stumble upon something you don’t like, and even easier to get hooked on something so hard that you forget all else.
After seeing the episode, I chose to go and find a sample of the book, just to see if my initial impression of how it could be was correct. And it was. I’m not going to include any spoilers for anyone who hasn’t seen the episode or read any of the books. What I will say is that the few pages I’ve sampled this afternoon after my viewing, have partly confirmed the “feel” I’ve gotten concerning the story. It reminds me of a series of books I’d read in high school on the long troublesome period before and after the reign of French king Philippe le Bel. A story full of intrigue, passion, treachery. But also of honor, of the old knightly ways that women of our time speak so fondly of, though in truth they know nothing of it!
And quite possibly, and this may be confirmed to me in time or through comments of readers of the books, I believe this is a story that will span decades or more. “Winter is coming”, a season in this fictional world really does last decades, and so many of the characters so young, it is gonna be a hell of a ride watching/reading them grow, and carry on the burden of the aftermath of their families’ actions. It will be a show to keep an eye on, and a story to read. I look forward to acquiring the books. This post is not intended as a review but rather my initial impressions of the story and to let my friends know about this as I’m sure they were as ignorant as me until HBO decided to bring to our screens every Sunday nights.
Let us pray enough people will watch and that the future episodes will never be of lesser quality.