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  • sinfony 12:18 am on December 11, 2012 Permalink  

    @rampant Cartography, you say?! Miasmata downloading now.

  • sinfony 1:31 am on December 9, 2012 Permalink  

    @feen, I’m not saying no game can tell a story, merely that I’ve found that story (really, directed narrative) is not something I care about in games. I don’t doubt that there are exceptions, and that people will find ways to deliver directed narrative in games that I will enjoy. But at this time, in most cases, I’m just not interested in it.

  • sinfony 8:14 pm on December 8, 2012 Permalink  

    I have been playing a lot of Halo 4. It has caused me to come to a realization, one that I fear may lead to excommunication:

    I don’t care about story in games.

    Caveat: I love me some lore.

    This has been true for quite a while, although I didn’t realize it. I have spent a while typing out a really long, meandering explanation of why this is so, but doing so has pretty well clarified my thinking and it can be summed up as follows:

    Both gameplay and spectacle are the enemy of directed narrative. In other media, directed narrative still leaves plenty of room for imagination, and so I am fine with it there. In games, directed narrative only serves to diminish the possibilities of the world, and concessions such as locked doors and limited paths are constant reminders of that. And, since you see, hear, and interact with everything that the developers have put into place, there is precious little left to the imagination while playing. So when the narrative portions come along, I just don’t care, because, frankly, I would rather experience those things in a book or movie. What I do care about is the spectacle that games like Halo 4 provide–give me your dyson spheres with skyscraping machines of ancient devise and unknowable purpose. Let me gaze upon them from afar as the god rays stream through, and let me walk right up to and explore them. Give me the broad strokes of future history and alien past, and let me ponder what has been and will be. But Cortana is going rampant and we need to get back to earth and an ancient alien is hell bent on finding a particular machine that does a particular thing and we totally need to stop him and also Master Chief is like a combination human and machine and let’s explore that? Don’t care. Call me when it’s lore.

    Still a shorter way of putting it: lore and spectacle give context to imagination. Directed narrative snuffs it. I’ll happily plow through a Halo campaign to see the amazing sights and learn about the past; I’ll yawn through the breathless narrative. Lest ye think Halo 4’s narrative just isn’t up to scratch, I feel this way about pretty much every game I’ve ever played.

    Even more critical than lore/spectacle, of course, is gameplay, which is why many of my favorite games are entirely devoid of lore and spectacle. Indeed, this is why my game of the year is Trials Evolution.

  • sinfony 8:33 pm on December 2, 2012 Permalink  

    @UMD I loved Yager. Gave up at one point because of an irritatingly difficult mission, but it had a lovely flight model.

  • sinfony 7:14 pm on November 29, 2012 Permalink  

    So right now you can get Saints Row 3, Metro 2033, Red Faction: Armageddon, a bunch of Company of Heroes, and Darksiders from Humble Bundle for just a bit over five dollars. It feels a little bit like looting.

  • sinfony 4:38 am on November 29, 2012 Permalink

    I feel it is my moral obligation to inform you all that Kerbal Space Program 1) continues to be terrific and 2) will apparently go up in price again soon (it is currently $18). It’s been a long time since any game has delighted me as much as KSP, so I encourage each and every one of you to snag it.

  • sinfony 5:22 am on November 28, 2012 Permalink  

    I will tolerate no ill words regarding FIFA 13. That is all.

  • sinfony 6:27 pm on November 14, 2012 Permalink  

    I’ll start giving a fuck about GTA when they make one with gameplay that approaches “passable.” I have no patience for the overwrought nonsense that constitutes the story in GTA games; if there’s not even a good game underneath it (which there never is), I find it hard to engage.

  • sinfony 8:30 pm on September 14, 2012 Permalink  

    Since Obsidian’s Kickstarter is already at ~$370,000 in about half a day, I assume we’ve all already backed it?

  • sinfony 7:59 pm on September 6, 2012 Permalink  

    This is your monthly reminder that Dwarf Fortress is the hottest shit ever: the guy who wrote Getting Started with Dwarf Fortress has devised an “Automatic Minecart Shotgun”: http://brokenforum.com/index.php?threads/the-dwarf-fortress-thread-of-blood-rain-vampires-and-skeletal-cows.725/page-19#post-233350 (links are busted?)

  • sinfony 5:26 pm on July 12, 2012 Permalink  

    $10 gone already on das Steam Summer Sale (Deus Ex: Human Revolution Augmented Edition GET). My list of wait-and-see games is all set as well. Commence the bargaining!

  • sinfony 4:24 am on July 6, 2012 Permalink  

    @bowls This is turning into a cheap/expensive day for me on the Squawkbox. First Payday for $5, now the DF book for $8. When will the bargains stop?!

  • sinfony 11:47 pm on July 5, 2012 Permalink  

    So I went to my Amazon games purchase history thing to grab the key for Payday, that I might then activate it on Steam. And I discover that at some point I bought Dawn of War II Gold, which I don’t remember doing at all. Thanks, past me!

  • sinfony 11:15 pm on July 5, 2012 Permalink  

    @bowls For tilesets, I like Mike Mayday’s (http://artgoblin.pl/df.php).

    @RedSwirl et al. It wasn’t just the gameplay I found lumbering in Gears. It was every aspect: the world, the characters (if you can call them that), the voice acting, the art, etc. For this reason, I’m not too keen on Vanquish, as flash, bosses, and over-the-top premises don’t really do it for me. Payday, though. Five bucks? All over it, even if I might never have time to play it.

  • sinfony 9:00 pm on July 4, 2012 Permalink  

    @RedSwirl Alas, it is done; Gears 3 has turned into the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection.

  • sinfony 6:43 pm on July 4, 2012 Permalink  

    @mjpilon I just picked up Gears 3 after trading in a pile of games, on the theory that I should probably play one of those damn games finally. Played through about 45 minutes last night and I kind of hate it. Everything about it seems best described as “lumbering.” Think it’s going back to the store, to be replaced by god only knows what, took me forever to find something I wanted last time.

  • sinfony 9:23 pm on July 3, 2012 Permalink  

    @bowls @beige I haven’t actually read the Getting Started with Dwarf Fortress book, but the guy who wrote it previously did an excellent DF tutorial (at his site, http://afteractionreporter.com/ ), which was how I learned to play the game, so I’m sure the book will give you everything you need. He also posts pretty frequently at Broken Forum (brokenforum.com) as do other DF stalwarts, in case more assistance is needed.

  • sinfony 7:01 pm on July 2, 2012 Permalink  

    @bowls A year of game time in DF doesn’t take very long at all, unless you get waylaid by goblins or forgotten beasts or something and need to spend a lot of time paused and figuring out how in Arnok’s name you are going to deal with it. Which, I should say, is fairly common.

  • sinfony 12:43 am on May 25, 2012 Permalink  

    Red, That system can probably scrape by with a couple of minor changes (I assume you mean you have a Radeon 6850). 1) Much more RAM. As much as your motherboard can manage. 2) 64-bit Windows. There are already rumblings about upcoming games requiring 64-bit. My own HTPC has a Phenom II X2 550, which seems to benchmark around the Q6600, Radeon 6850, and 12 GB RAM, and I have no problems with anything I’ve thrown at it.

    That said, Q6600 is at the very tail end of its usefulness, and it’s unlikely that your motherboard supports a significant upgrade over it. You’ll be able to get by for now, but budget for a new mobo, processor, and RAM (i.e. faster, since your current mobo likely doesn’t support anything close to the latest-and-greatest) in the near term.

    Can’t recommend a good wireless mouse and keyboard, but if you don’t already have one, definitely get a wireless 360 controller for PC. I think you can get a dodgy third-party receiver that will work with your existing 360 controllers for cheap, but I’d recommend ponying up the $50 for an official MS one (which comes with a controller, and it’s always nice to have extras).

  • sinfony 5:33 pm on May 3, 2012 Permalink  

    Have now achieved gold medals on all but the last 3-4 Extreme levels in Trials Evolution. I WILL PREVAIL.

    Also, Trials Evolution is awesome.

  • sinfony 7:54 pm on April 25, 2012 Permalink  

    Are you playing Trials Evolution? Why are you not playing Trials Evolution?! You should be playing it right now! I am mid-vacation and thus haven’t been able to put too much time in, but I’m closing in on completing all the tracks. Had to quit after 300 attempts at the same jump (not exaggerating) on third-to-last level turned my left hand into a very sore claw. Itching to get back into it.

  • sinfony 12:56 am on March 21, 2012 Permalink  

    Here is all I have to say about the ME3 ending for now: I haven’t beaten it, and therefore will not opine on any aspect of its ending. I do not now and never will care to hear any remarks on its ending from any person who has not beaten the game, for obvious reasons. When I am done with the game I will join everybody in the spoiler thread and see what people think about it.

  • sinfony 4:09 pm on March 9, 2012 Permalink  

    Shepard has survived her first mission: escaping the confines of the Xbox 360 for the promised land of the PC. There’s something rather terrifying about carrying around two games’ worth of character on a crappy thumb drive and subjecting the files therein to the vagaries of dodgy freeware. But hey, it worked!

    Once I actually start playing the game, I’ll pop into the spoiler thread.

  • sinfony 5:55 am on March 8, 2012 Permalink  

    @tolkoto I love the analogous mode in the recent FIFA games (Be a Pro). Surprising that it took until the last few years for that mode of play to catch on.

  • sinfony 5:48 am on March 8, 2012 Permalink  

    A Mass Effect 3 PSA: for those who held off a couple days on buying it, you can grab the PC download version for 20% off from Green Man Gaming with coupon code “TAKEE-ARTHB-ACK20”. Scored the Digital Deluxe N7 etc. edition for $63; regular will run you $48 (maths!). Looks like Shogun 2 is going on the back-burner; now, to go about copying my Shepard from my 360…

  • sinfony 9:27 pm on March 5, 2012 Permalink  

    On-disc DLC gets the big fat “do not care” from me, as you might expect. I believe I made this point in our earlier discussion of day-1 DLC, but, to me, whether the bits for which you’re paying extra come off a disc or a server is a meaningless difference.

  • sinfony 3:35 pm on February 25, 2012 Permalink  

    “Perception is what matters”

    This is not the case. Perception is important to marketing, certainly, but it is not the ultimate goal and as such should not be used as a justification for the position that day-1 DLC should not exist.

    What matters, in the end, to a public company like EA is not perception. It’s the bottom line. And their number crunchers have determined that whatever hit they might take on reputation among the segment of gamers who even care about this sort of thing is more than made up for the extra dollars they can get by selling DLC. Neither you nor I knows if their calculation is correct, nor will we, but, in any event, the chain of reasoning “perception is king -> day-1 DLC is bad for perception of the company -> day-1 DLC is wrong” is not sound, as it is based on a flawed premise.

    As regards EA’s financial position, they may have made a boatload of money off mobile gaming, but that’s far from the complete picture. The complete picture is that, in fiscal 2011, EA lost $276 million, and since that time has lost another $324 million (this is per EA’s most recent 10-K and 10-Q filings). Should any of us care about that? Of course not. But if we’re throwing numbers into the discussion to support points of view, let’s get the right numbers.

    Which leads to a larger point: should we care about business models? Frankly, I don’t think so. At the most basic level, our individual interactions with a business model go no further than “is this product worth, to me, the amount of money they’re asking for it?” Unless some kind of immoral practice (e.g. sweatshops) is involved, the processes by which the product came into being and its price was set should be irrelevant to that determination.

    “Budgets might be 20x larger these days, but I’m not having 20x as much fun. So something broke along the way, fix it please.”

    The first game I ever paid $60 for was Majora’s Mask, which came out in 2000. According to an inflation calculator, that’s $75.20 in 2010 dollars. In 2010, I paid $60 for Mass Effect 2, and I had a hell of a lot more fun with that than I did Majora’s Mask. According to the same calculator, the $50 game of yesteryear was still slightly above $60 in 2010 dollars. Again, if we’re bringing numbers in, let’s get them right.

    Finally, a point on the “evil corporations squeezing every last dollar they can out of us” point: how many of us are engaging in this discussion through the use of an Apple computer? I know I am, and I’m quite certain many of the rest of us are as well. Every point made here about pricing and squeezing the consumer applies with far greater force to Apple (which is rolling in an unholy amount of cash) than it does to EA (which appears to be losing money at an alarming clip). Yet, in my experience, discussions of the price of Apple products go completely the other direction, with consumers bending over backwards to claim that they really aren’t that expensive and are totally worth the premium. I don’t particularly care that Apple products are priced higher than they need to be to justify their production. I similarly don’t care if EA charges more than the break-even cost for Mass Effect 3, because the question comes down to whether the core game is worth $60 to me and whether the DLC is worth $10. And the answer to that question is different for me than it is for any of you (which reminds me of the worst moment in a podcast I can recall: when Jumping the Shark had an incoherent shouting match about whether reviews should take into account the price of the game).

    On the subject of DLC versus expansion packs, I’ll repeat what is becoming my constant refrain: I don’t really care. The only DLC I’ve ever bought at or near release is map packs for various Halo and Call of Duty titles. I approach other types of DLC as I approach games in general: I don’t buy them until a) I hear that they’re good from people I trust, and b) they’re on sale. The same would be true of expansion packs, if those still existed.

  • sinfony 11:40 pm on February 23, 2012 Permalink  

    UMD, pricing is definitely pretty wild down under. I don’t pretend to understand it.

  • sinfony 10:50 pm on February 23, 2012 Permalink  

    Feen, I believe that, as a native Chicagoan transplanted to New York, I am contractually obligated to despise the Yankees. But I did root for the Giants in the Super Bowl!

  • sinfony 10:09 pm on February 23, 2012 Permalink  

    Shingro, perhaps inartfully worded on my part. I meant that merely to explain that part of the reason I’m bothered by some people who want everything the devs worked on to be included in the price stems from my subjective impressions of that group of people. I am aware that those impressions are anecdotal at best, and I will admit that they are influenced negatively, if illogically, by other vociferously awful gamer behavior (most recently, the disgusting attacks on Jennifer Hepler; more generally, any time I forget to mute voicechat in FPS multiplayer). Although you would not know it by my many posts today, I simply don’t have time in my life to run down the factual particulars of these kinds of things, and even if I did, I don’t care anywhere close to enough to bother.

    To be abundantly clear, I don’t think that people who disagree with me are terrorists, pirates, communists, or Yankees fans.

  • sinfony 9:26 pm on February 23, 2012 Permalink  

    Pete, I’m not taking the side of big business. I’m taking the side of judge the game, not its price and delivery mechanism. My participation here is part of my (likely futile) attempt to redirect discussion to the game itself and not to issues that are, frankly, ancillary at most. When all the rest of you buy ME3 on launch, I want to hear (in minimal-spoilers fashion) about how the game is. I’m afraid that all this handwringing about DLC could poison that discussion.

    To the rest of your point, I expect that people stopped “taking the side of the consumer” when the consumer became a frothing, incoherent, overentitled asshole–which, of course, is not what anybody here is, but take a detour through your local gaming forum and you’ll understand. I’m personally bothered by it because I’m quite certain that the majority of the “everything the devs did before they started stamping discs IS MINE” is the same crowd that pirates music/movies and then ruthlessly attacks anybody who says they’re wrong to do so. I have no patience for such people, nor for people who cannot muster a reasonable argument for their position. And again, I’m speaking exclusively about people on the internet at large, not ’round these parts. Everybody here has been alarmingly sensible, with the exception of Pete’s documented hatred of the letter Z.

    Rampant, as for licensing, I’m quite sure we’ve both breached the terms of some EULA just by having this conversation. Professional responsibility causes me to bite my tongue on the subject, but let’s just say that we probably agree on the larger issue.

  • sinfony 7:48 pm on February 23, 2012 Permalink  

    Pete, your view of day-one story DLC as a punishment rather than a reward is predicated on the assumption that, even without the additional money generated by selling it as additional DLC, that content would nevertheless be created. I don’t think that’s necessarily so. I don’t particularly care about DLC versus traditional expansion packs; to my way of thinking, they’re basically the same thing.

    Rampant, unlocking content on the disc versus downloading it is another distinction without a difference. Content is not worth more or less depending on where it’s initially stored. It’s ten bucks and the same content either way. One might as well object to DLC that’s served up by a server running IIS rather than Apache. I would compare it to being required to sign up for an EA Online account to be able to access particular multiplayer features of a given game–content that’s on the disc is withheld until you give them something of value, in this case, valuable demographic information. This process would be no more or less objectionable if you downloaded the multiplayer component separately.

    To the extent that your objection is simply to the notion of owning the plastic but not being allowed to access all the data on it, I think that’s a small part of the larger issue of licensing versus ownership, and far from the most pressing concern posed by the phenomenon of licensing everything we play.

  • sinfony 6:08 pm on February 23, 2012 Permalink  

    Rampant, your first point is simply incorrect. One need go no further than to search Amazon for Blade Runner DVDs to see that multiple editions of the same underlying content are prevalent in other media. And, of course, Star Wars. Dear lord, Star Wars.

    Pete, I don’t quite understand why you want publishers to be more frank about the purposes of DLC, given that a) it’s obvious what the real purpose is and b) what some PR drone is saying about DLC is completely irrelevant to whether the DLC is worth its price. PR drones have been spewing nonsense about products since time immemorial. That anybody is paying any attention is as much an indictment of the press as it is the game publishers.

  • sinfony 2:26 pm on February 23, 2012 Permalink  

    Think about it like this. In the music industry, for whatever reason, Japanese releases of albums often have bonus tracks on them. Those tracks were recorded at the same time as the ones included on the standard edition of the album, yet are only available in one market unless you want to pay a hefty premium to import or buy them again down the road when they’re released in another form. Nobody gets upset about this, nor should they.

    No creative work is ever finished. But when you find a creator whose work you enjoy, you come to trust that when they release something, they’re releasing it in a form that they can stand behind. So when Isis releases Wavering Radiant without “Way Through Woven Branches” and “Pliable Foe,” I don’t worry that the album is “incomplete.” I also buy those songs later on when they’re released in conjunction with other material, and they’re both great, and I still don’t question the band’s decision to leave them off the album.

    So, too, with Mass Effect. Over the years, Bioware has earned a certain degree of trust. I don’t believe they’ll release a version of Mass Effect 3 that’s incomplete, and if they decide that certain content is sufficiently unnecessary to the product as a whole that it can be spun off into DLC that can make them a few extra bucks, I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt. I don’t see anybody crying foul about novels and digital comics and whatever other non-game Mass Effect content they’re pumping out, despite the fact that it’s story material that could be in the game and that you have to pay extra for.

    Unrelatedly, the idea that you’ll feel like you’re “missing out” on something is silly. In the first two Mass Effect games, there are six character classes, at least six possible squad members, and a range of moral choices. Behind every combination of these things is content that will not be seen if you choose another combination. There is far more content “on the disc” in either of those games than you will ever see, and it will be so with ME3 as well. This is no different than restricting some content to those who pay a few more dollars. The fact that some of it is gated by money and some of it is gated by time invested is, as we often say in my profession, a distinction without a difference.

  • sinfony 3:57 am on February 23, 2012 Permalink  

    “what is essentially an incomplete game”

    This is what drives me crazy. This phrase has been, and will be, bandied about countless times as we lead up to the release of Mass Effect 3. It will be taken as gospel that it is “an incomplete game” before anybody has played it.

  • sinfony 1:52 am on February 23, 2012 Permalink  

    I’m mostly with Feen on the ME3 issue, except that I’ll say that this is an example of internet rage at its worst. Games cost money. Sometimes, companies will charge a little more for a particular bit of content when they know they can get it. This is not exactly war profiteering. Either the extra content is worth it to you or it isn’t; frankly, nobody else cares. I can’t wait for the enraged video about how they drop the prices of games over time, and the higher price at release is just a way of exploiting people’s excitement for the game, and Company X is the Fucking Devil for not just releasing it at $10 right from the start.

  • sinfony 7:14 pm on February 20, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: , ,   

    Go forth, Squadmates, and support the return of the Greatest Videogame Podcast That Ever Lived: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/idlethumbs/idle-thumbs-video-game-podcast

  • sinfony 9:59 pm on February 19, 2012 Permalink  

    For defending my forts, I’m a proponent of murderous archers in high towers, along with winding, trap-riddled entrances. It doesn’t have the “wow” factor of some forts (i.e., just saw somebody talking about having a dragon-head-shaped device over the entrance through which they pumped magma onto intruders), but it’s quick, easy, and gets the job done.

  • sinfony 2:55 pm on February 19, 2012 Permalink  

    Since I sense some cautious interest in the Dwarf Fortress, allow me to share this delightful nugget from the most recent major version’s changelog:

    “demons masquerading as gods will try a little harder”

    ?!!?! See also “stopped glazed items from having cabochon shapes in the glaze” and “fixed overabundant giant mosquitoes.” I can promise you this: Dwarf Fortress is the most fucked up game you will ever play.

  • sinfony 5:18 am on February 19, 2012 Permalink  

    I suck at the internet. Here’s the tutorial: http://afteractionreporter.com/dwarf-fortress-tutorials/

  • sinfony 5:14 am on February 19, 2012 Permalink  

    I’ve shared this lengthy Dwarf Fortress tutorial in the past–it’s how I learned the game. Note that it’s based on an older version of DF, so you won’t be learning whatever new madness Toady is up to, but hell, I haven’t bothered to do so either. Just download the version linked in the tutorial and you’ll be good to go.

  • sinfony 5:00 pm on February 18, 2012 Permalink  

    ME1 is a bit difficult to go back to on the gameplay front. The inventory is driving me up the wall (as it did the first time as well–I stand by my opinion that Jade Empire was Bioware’s best game of the Xbox generation, largely because it did away with all that inventory nonsense). The camera and animation in the conversations is also very repetitive, so don’t feel bad skipping through some of the main plot discussions.

    I am still pretty excited for all the story bits, though. Eden Prime is pretty lackluster, having played through the opening of the game several times in various aborted efforts to replay the game over the years, but I’m amped to back to the Citadel, Noveria, and Virmire (Feros I could take or leave).

    Bottom line: going back to ME1 cements the fact that ME2 is better in almost every way. That said, ME1 is a really good game, worth going back to if you find yourself with a lot of time.

  • sinfony 2:48 pm on February 18, 2012 Permalink  

    Just thought I would weigh in on the issue Feen raised. Have to say, I’m right there with Feen and Chris on this. I love the Squawkbox format, and was one of those against threads, but there have been times here that it seems threads would have come in very handy. People have different tastes, of course–I don’t mind that the lot of you sometimes get worked up over a game I couldn’t give less of a shit about (i.e. Katawa Shoujo) or one that I’ll never again have time in my life for (i.e. Dark Souls), but I’d still like to swing by and shoot the shit occasionally. This is impossible when the entire front page of the ‘box is walls of text about one of the aforementioned games. It also apparently caused me almost to miss a Squad Mix, which would have saddened me to no end. In short, perhaps a system for establishing when discussions could be moved to a thread is in order?

    I also admit that I am a bit miffed: you guys will jump straight down all manner of bizarre rabbitholes, but steadfastly refuse to play Dwarf Fortress, only the Single Greatest Achievement in Vidyagamez Ever of All Time Anywhere. So ends my bi-monthly entreaty.

    Finally, on the actual subject of games, I started playing Mass Effect again! On PC, so that I can then play through Mass Effect 2 and then have a good Shephard for Mass Effect 3 on PC, as I played through the first two on 360 but would rather play the third game as god intended. I have just finished Eden Prime. Playing through that stretch of the game represents the only time I have spent on videogames in 2012. Happily, this means that I won’t need to buy ME3 until it’s about two dollars.

  • sinfony 4:31 pm on December 29, 2011 Permalink  

    On the app front, the ones I use heavily that haven’t been mentioned:
    Downcast (an alternative to Instacast, which I haven’t used)
    Prompt (a nice and comparatively cheap SSH app)
    Atomic Web (to replace the godawful Safari)

  • sinfony 10:48 pm on December 14, 2011 Permalink  

    I arrived at my Squad Mix choices as follows:

    “Skin of the Night” – The first time I visited San Francisco, I happened to be listening to Saturdays = Youth (the album on which this appears) on the flight, and this song came on during our approach. At sunset. This song and that moment will forever be associated in my mind; they also make for a natural fit for the theme.

    “I’m Jim Morrison, I’m Dead” – Just leapt to mind immediately on reading the theme. Mogwai are the launching point for a lot of the music I listen to these days. This track leads off an album that is, frankly, one of their weakest, but it would stand out even on Young Team or Happy Songs for Happy People (my two favorites from the band).

  • sinfony 1:26 am on December 9, 2011 Permalink  

    @cgrajko I am all about the post-rock/post-metal. My tastes took a hard left turn in that direction when I first heard Jesu back in ’07.

  • sinfony 6:52 pm on December 8, 2011 Permalink  

    As a sort of director’s commentary, I submitted a third choice for the Dusk Metropolis that was (sensibly) not included because (I assume) both the song and its title are problematically long. While thus unsuited to the mix, let me enthusiastically recommend to you all the song “The Sixth Extinction Crept Up Slowly, Like Sunlight Through the Shutters, as We Looked Back in Regret” by Red Sparowes, a majestic 19.5 minute capstone on their killer first album At the Soundless Dawn.

  • sinfony 12:55 am on November 15, 2011 Permalink  

    @bowley Funnily enough, I just started in on Alpha Protocol myself. The reasoning was simple: I tried to play F1 2010 but Games for Windows Live refused to let me sign in, thereby preventing me from loading up my save game, thereby causing me to pitch a fit and fire up the first game in the Steam list that sounded interesting. Very impressed so far. Even the tutorial portion has interesting bits; for instance (INCREDIBLY MINOR SPOILERS AHOY!) I loved that when you first meet Mina in person, she asks you if you remember her name, and your relationship with her improves if you do. Allowing that kind of thing to have an impact on your relationship with the characters, coupled with the fact that once the dialogue timer counts down, it’ll default to the wrong choice, meaning you can’t leave it sitting endlessly at the dialogue wheel a la Mass Effect, is pretty refreshing. I should point out now that I play very few games these days and it’s possible that all games do exactly this and I am a big dumbface.

  • sinfony 8:16 pm on October 14, 2011 Permalink  

    @impynickers During my senior year of high school, for Christmas, I got, my own TV and Come With Us. Brought my old Sega Genesis up to my room and spent many a day spinning the Chemical Brothers and playing NHL ’96. Those were the days. “Star Guitar” is a sweet song, with an even better video; from that album, I’d put the title track and “The Test” up with it as the standout tracks. And let’s not even start on Dig Your Own Hole, on which “Elektrobank” and “The Private Psychedelic Reel” stand head and shoulders above the more well-known cuts.

    All this Chemical Brothers talk has me wanting to go watch Hanna again.

  • sinfony 4:33 am on October 14, 2011 Permalink  

    The reasoning behind my Squad mix submissions was quite simple–I picked three of my favorite songs ever, from three (well, two) not especially well known bands, with the hope that somebody else might find them as delightful as I do. More specifically:

    “Only Shallow” – I enjoy tracing my current likes/interests back to the source. These days, I listen mostly to instrumental music that generally falls somewhere along the post-rock -> post-metal continuum. Although My Bloody Valentine employ vocals and don’t come anywhere close to metal, they unquestionably got me started on this road. “Only Shallow” kicks off their album Loveless, rightly considered among the best and most influential albums of its time (if not ever). You’ll no doubt recall “Sometimes” from Lost in Translation; I thus can trace it all back to one of my favorite movies.

    “Your Path to Divinity” – Jesu makes it easy for me to trace my current listening habits back to MBV. So madly did I fall for MBV that for years I would buy anything that was said to be in any way similar. Mostly that led me to pretty average stuff (i.e. Broken Social Scene), but when Pitchfork namedropped the Valentine in its review of Jesu’s 2007 album Conqueror, it did me a great service. Most of my memories of my last semester of college are bound up with this album; indeed, my enduring impression of that time is staying up late working on my screenplay and my thesis and listening to Conqueror (and Close to the Edge, but that’s another story entirely). “Your Path to Divinity” is from Jesu’s self-titled debut, which is definitely more challenging than his (did I mention? Jesu is largely the work of the inimitable Justin K. Broadrick) later releases. I recommend starting with Conqueror or the Silver EP and working forward before attempting the s/t or Heart Ache. Then begin exploring the infinitely expanding world of Broadrick’s back catalog and side projects.

    “Philos” – You need to listen to Russian Circles. No two ways about it. To me, they’re the most exciting band going right now, and I am counting down the days until their new album, Empros, hits (on October 25), which at this point is probably the only serious challenger to Jesu’s Ascension for my personal album of the year award (sorry, Boris). Great sound, tons of energy, and they employ their formidable chops in tasteful, stylish bursts. I heartily recommend their second and third albums; for a smaller sampling, try out the songs “Verses,” “Malko,” and the impeccably named “Death Rides a Horse.”

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