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April 06th 2007

I'm currently on vacation and I'll be back for my regular life on April 10th, I guess. One week ago I attended a Nine Inch Nails concert. Few hours after the concert my allergic spring reactions finally set in. How I've missed it. With itching eyes and regular sneezing, and having a hard time breathing, you can imagine working on my projects is not really what I'm willing to do right now. Thus, I keep playing games and watching movies and series. The Longest Journey surprised me. I had played Dreamfall first, so going back to a game that was like ten years old wasn't as easy at first, but the world and the story sucked me in and in total I can say that I prefer The Longest Journey over Dreamfall. I really love both, but TLJ has a certain charm to it that I will surely remember from now on. After TLJ I started playing S.T.A.L.K.E.R. which I'd been looking forward to quite a while now. Well, after playing for a few hours I feel disappointed. The graphics are very nice, even if not up to Half-Life 2 standards. But what really bugs me are the absolutely senseless sidequests that have you running around for rewards that are completely unnecessary to you, because you don't need to buy ammo or food or anything because you get plenty of that stuff by looting your enemies' corpses, and thus you don't need to sell the sidequests rewards. And, what are they calling it - Al? Artificial Life, or something. Well, it might be true that Stalkers sit around the fire and tell stories (in russian), and sometimes whip out their guitars to play a few (nice) tunes, but overall it seems to be a bit buggy (when going to sleep they start snoring before even starting the lie-down-animation). And why does everybody have the same guitar? The animations for all models are below standards, and while talking they just open and close their mouth like fish, while even Half-Life 1 already opened mouths according to the volume of the given speech. Okay, normally I wouldn't really bash a game for its look if the actual gameplay were fun. But it somehow isn't. In total it's a dull Counter-Strike clone in a post-apocalyptic environment. Dark Messiah was fun. Half-Life 2 Episode 1 was fun. But Stalker lacks certain things. Oh yeah, did I mention Stalker has 5 different endings or something? Who the hell cares about different endings? It's only frustrating.
Anyway, the second game I played was Runaway 2, a point and click adventure. I really enjoyed the demo, that's why I picked up the full game. Now I liked the first three chapters of the game. Sometimes the puzzles were slightly too far-fetched for my taste, but overall it was a fun experience. The dialogs are witty and the art is wonderful. However, after the third chapter things started getting really ugly. The story suddenly involved aliens and other far-fetched stuff. Also, the character Joshua makes me wanna go kill somebody. Do you remember Jar-Jar Binks from Star Wars? Joshua is probably twice as annoying. And the most ironic thing is: In the end the demo was the reason I lost interest in the main game. Why? Because the demo let you play a part very LATE in the main game. That wouldn't be so bad, if they hadn't changed the puzzles, leaving out areas and one complete character! It was very frustrating to find out that when you thought it's just like the demo, it actually wasn't. I had to go through all dialogs again, and search all places once again even though I'd basically already done it. Which leads me to another "flaw" in the game: You find a lot of items in areas that you can't use. Although after talking to NPCs you need to go back to those areas and try all those items again, because your character now may think he needs items he previously didn't "know" he'd need, which in the end makes you search places more than just once, which, in my opinion, is extremely frustrating if items are already just a few pixels small anyway.
After the part that was somehow the same as in the demo the story revealed something about aliens. And I'm really tired of aliens used as explanation for mysterious events. It's like saying a villain kills people "because he can" or because "humans are stupid". Well, duh. Or after a long story the main character wakes up and realizes "it was just a dream". In the case of Runaway 2 I guess it was meant in a humorous way, but I'm just tired of it. The story up until that part was very entertaining and engaging, but I've lost interest in it. I probably will never play the remaining two chapters. Just like the first Runaway: Everything was nice until the one part with the weird transvestites. Somebody in the story department needs a swift kick in the ass.

I won't write reviews for Runaway 2 and Stalker because I won't finish them (well, maybe I'll finish Runaway 2 someday). And I realize that writing reviews doesn't have much sense anyway, so I guess I will probably take a break from writing reviews for a while and just recommend games and movies in the little MS box to the left. Giving scores to something is just a personal opinion anyway, and in the end it's either recommendable or not. And if it is, you'll read about it here.

Just in case you're looking for something interesting to read, try the interview with Ragnar Tornquist, the creator of The Longest Journey.

April 01st 2007

Day 61 of Antaran's Journal has been found on my desk under a pile of mobile phone bills.

Muddasheep's Daydream Part 8

Hello, nice to meet you. My balloon is Lightslategray.

I sometimes wonder why we don't have a balloon attached to our hands right after birth. A balloon that would be of the color the parents can choose, just like a name, but instead of a name. You wouldn't have a name like Michael Jordan or Ben Kingsley anymore, just Darkturquoise or Floralwhite. Your passport wouldn't have a name, no photo, no address - just 16 pages full of your color. You can pay with your balloon by holding it in front of Balloon Scanners and it automatically subtracts the paid money from your bank account. Touching other's balloons would be highly illegal (unless you're married or related). There would be a group of people whose balloons have burst, they live in the dark alleys, a tragic life with no identity. You can kill somebody by stinging his or her balloon, that's why there will be balloons made of cannabis material. Imagine Bill Gates' - or rather Gold's - golden balloon getting shot in front of a restaurant, the news channels blaring about the Assassination of Gold. Imagine suicide sects, standing on a hill with scissors, cutting off their balloons at the same time, seeing the mass of different colored balloons slowly rising up the sky. There will be laws for each country for the limited colors they can choose from, and ultimately there will be wars between several humans of different colors, just because their balloons are just not the same. It will be blasphemy to love somebody who has the same balloon color, it will be said that it brings misfortune and impotence. We could dispose of airbags- we have our balloons to save our heads in accidents. Actually, if we make bigger balloons we could get rid of all the means of transportations and just fly around hanging on our colored friends. There will be Balloon Stations should your balloon need a fresh amount of helium. Balloon Care facilities could offer a face lift for your balloon - your identity - for a large amount of money. Priests will tell stories about the Crucifixion of Saint Balloon, and scientists reveal studies of how the bursting of a black balloon caused the Big Bang (is that racist?). Muslim women won't cover their bodies anymore, only their balloons will wear burqas. A whole dedicated fashion trend will arise, producing clothes for everyone's balloons. You would be able to adopt forsaken balloons from the Balloon Shelter for your new born child. Pets will have small balloons as well. Actors will be cast by the look of their balloons. Porn will feature scenes of multiple balloons rubbing against each other. The graveyards will be full of balloons, bound to the gravestones of their owners who died before their balloons burst (those balloons can still be used for payment, so graveyards must invest in tighter security). And when your view in the stadium is blocked by thousands of balloons and you even think once that balloons are maybe actually obsolete - your balloon will magically burst.

March 28th 2007

Antaran has lived another day.

March 22nd 2007

Day 59 of Antaran's Journal has been revealed.

March 21st 2007

Muddasheep's Daydream Part 7

Stop for a minute and carefully, consciously look around, look at the cars that evolved out of simple carriages drawn by horses, look at the pavement under your feet, spanning around the country like callus, watching all the people sitting inside their cars, mostly just following their everyday life, take the routes they are used to. There are hundreds driving the streets, flowing like blood in your veins, their destinations are mostly working places which they need to attend to earn colored metal and paper pieces which they can trade for food, water, and gas to drive more, to work more, to eat more, to drink more. To reproduce. Would you want to bring a child into this world? Would you decline were you offered to be born? Could you cope with it should you have a child that kills itself, or suffers hunger and pain in the third world war? Is it right to believe there will be a third world war, or will this kind of thinking just spawn it?

Some people need to look away from their mirrors and look up at the stars and realize we're the current generation, given the opportunities of certain level of technology, and not look at others in disgust, but with the feeling that we are sharing approximately fifty years with each other, we are living on this planet and we can change the course of this ship for the next passengers in the next century. Can we? Nature is defending itself, and yet we continue to force results of laziness and comfortable style of living upon it, treating it like a toy. And yet there are people who do not have the possibility of staying another ten minutes in the shower because the water feels nice on the skin. They can't waste any drop because every drop drying on the ground means one less fragment of hope. I feel ashamed writing about it, I feel ashamed reading about it in the news, where it tells of water shortages next to Britney Spear's drug addiction problems.

Sometimes I wonder if I'm already dead. In 53 years I will die of a heart attack, and before I die I will live my life again, second by second, dying again, repeating my life in my head, being stuck in a loop. Sometimes my heart reminds me of its fragility, either by beating too fast or too slow for short amounts of time. This body I direct through this life is a weak machine. You surely know the saying that if you're standing in front of a lot of people and you're nervous you have to picture the audience naked. I know a better trick. Simply imagine that the humans before you are being controlled by their souls, relying on society habits to better understand their lives. They aren't really looking at you. Eyes are just instruments for receiving light and telling brains to make something out of it. Why they look like they do is a mystery, but the longer you look at them the more deformed they appear. The mouth, a disgusting instrument to absorb food, the nose in the middle of the head, full of dirt and snot, skin that is full of little unevennesses, pimples and tiny hairs. Seen an attractive woman or man? Watch how they eat. Watch how they swallow, how they talk while eating, spitting. Imagine them puking, imagine them being forty years older, imagine them being rotten in their coffins. The closer you look the clearer it becomes.




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