Monday, August 22, 2011

Ten Things Resulting From Last Week

1) I have a newfound loathing for thunderstorms.

I used to love turning my wired world topsy-turvy by unplugging everything electronic and taking in the wonder of nature, or curling up with a book and flashlight, or taking an opportunity to chat with whoever was with me. After losing approximately 8-10 hours of potential wedding planning and blogging in the past four days due to keeping my computer off during one thunderstorm after another, I am on the verge of moving to Idaho, or whatever state has a law against thunderstorms only striking when I am about to attempt something productive on the computer.

2) I now understand why so many of the video games I've played in the last few years have dragged on--it's not because of the specific games so much as a prevailing game design mindset of superficial gameplay.

Playing Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance became my activity of choice while waiting in frustration for each thunderstorm this week to end, and as I play farther into the game, I realize more and more that this otherwise enjoyable game suffers from Artificial Replayability Syndrome. That is, by repeating room layouts and requiring backtracking through areas that are more linear than the branching paths would have you believe, the game successfully increases the time spent playing with a minimal increase in developer effort and creativity.

Thinking about it, this apparent developer thought process that games must be as long as possible to maximize player enjoyment has resulted in so many modern (and, honestly, older) games implementing quick, easy methods of extending gameplay without adding any real content. Now I'm annoyed at the whole game industry.

3) I have decided that chocolate creme-filled Oreos are not as filling or satisfying as the regular variety (read: Double Stuf), though still good.

4) I realized that the news stories on's main page are so frequently depressing because when one terrible thing happens, whoever's in charge of the news reporting ensures that as many stories that follow are somehow similar to the big, tragic news they just covered.

I don't follow the news unless I hear of something directly of relevance to me, or unless the buzz is so great that I can no longer tolerate being in the dark about the only thing anyone is talking about. News of the Casey Anthony trial and its aftermath dominated AOL news for some time, and when that all began to subside, AOL kept the momentum going in the days that followed by featuring every story they could find about someone committing a disturbing act of violence against a family member. "If you liked this story about a woman who may or may not have murdered her child, you should check out these stories!" It sickens me to think that the media is encouraging our fixation on such things, and that we as a culture are so receptive to it.

5) The importance of sleeping is proportional to the length of my commute to work.

I moved. I previously had a four-minute commute to work. Four minutes. Fifteen if I walked briskly. Now I have a significantly longer commute to work, and I use up a lot more energy getting there and back again every day, as I have a lower tolerance for traffic than the average human being, I think. Sitting around in the car wears on me pretty heavily. Suddenly, midnight has changed from the marker of probably needing to go to bed, to the indicator that I'd better have a darn good reason for still being awake.

6) Video recording technology is more beyond me than ever before.

A friend of mine from YouTube and I tried to record a joint playthrough of a game this weekend, and were thwarted by a series of issues with the sound and video that neither of us could resolve after three hours or so. Moreover, my attempts to research and plan a video game marathon streamed live over the Internet resulted in a resolution to try thinking about the matter in another year, when everything would hopefully be magically easy. It's a wonder I ever made enough videos to become a minor Internet celebrity in the first place.

7) I've been feeling a strong urge to produce content for GameCola.

The thunderstorms have had other ideas, however.

8) I think I want to read the sequel to Dune once I'm finished with the book.

I've heard from one or two people that the sequel is terrible, which makes me all the more curious. I like to be entertained and intellectually stimulated, but I'm also fascinated by what makes things bad.

9) This blog featured two guest posts only a few days apart, a blog first.

One on the LEGO Movie video games from my wife-to-be, and one on the Marvel Cinematic Universe from my previously brother-in-law-to-be. Remember, we welcome your ideas for guest posts--drop us a line if you're interested.

10) I'm another week older.

No comments: