Default Tester

Help people get better with video games. Donate to Child's Play for karma Achievements.

Join Default Tester and save the Galaxy. Service guarantees citizenship. Would you like to know more?

Great question. If I only had one video I could play it would be this.

Oh crap sorry! Extra Credits! Along with Heathcliff, I dedicate this story to the following people, in no particular order:

Ada Lovelace

Kurt Vonnegut

Bill Gates

Steve Jobs

Grace Hopper

Ray Kurzweil

Gabe Newell

Barack Obama

Michelle Obama

The Fam

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Issue : People : Small Buisness

Issue Summary:
America is broke. This state is a result of a complex system of decisions and events occurring over time that add up to bad spending. America has also run out of stuff that only it can do, as other countries have caught up in terms of doing things like agriculture, technology, movies, and everything else.

Step to Reproduce:
To repeat this state a country has to be around for a while, and be spending money it does not have on things that are not the people. Another way to get here fast is to invent stuff and truly believe that someone somewhere else will not be able to improve and profit from what you made, instead of expect and encourage it.

Expected Results:
The people are broke and angry again, and business are a bit closer to broke and panicking. The entertainment industry is panicking in particular, because of the internet. The internet has the entertainment industry scared because they are beginning to realize that the internet has been quietly outsourcing the United States only true unique natural resource, the constantly evolving culture of a diverse group of people. We have never been the smartest lot, or the kindest, but we have always been the freshest.

America plays Jazz, the world is playing jazz a few years later, america decides to rock a fitted cap with a sticker on the bill, oh look what they on now over in Barcelona! Angelina Jolie is a world famous actress, Aishwarya Rai is an every country but America famous actress. America has always lived on the cutting edge of entertainment but for the first time in the history of our country, America is falling behind in swag.

QA Observations:
The Entertainment industries idea to turn off the internet will be the nail in the coffin for American swag dominance, putting the American entertainment industry in danger of becoming an isolated and boring niche market, as the world will soon tire of dealing with our bullshit rules.

Youtube has recreated Vaudeville, and in that rebirth it has become a conduit for American small business. Dancers, singers, actors, and comedians circumvent the entertainment industry by posting directly to the public, and live quite well off advertisements and individual purchases of their intellectual property. I think that is what has the entertainment industry angry.

But what they may not realize is that Youtube has been keeping our country on life support, giving opportunity and motivation to kids that have no idea what their talent is worth yet, but are brave enough to roll the dice and show it to other people anyway, with the added benefit of not having to deal with A&R gatekeepers, who's main concern is how to monetize it, or distill it for the demographic they believe may want to pay for it.

Unless the American entertainment industry figures out how to play nice with the internet America will get really boring, when America stops entertaining and inspiring other countries, our usefulness will expire, and we will become the assholes that are just assholes, no longer funny and interesting assholes. Assholes that are just assholes and nothing else are fair game, they are no good to anybody. Also, the entertainment industry really really doesn't want it with the internet, but if they keep knocking on that door soon it will be open.

Fact: You cannot win an argument against the internet. Just give it what it wants, let it keep what it makes, leave it alone, and it wont bother you. It might even help you out if it likes you, the internet can be very random at times, but its heart is always open to help out an old friend on the ropes. Happy new year.  

The Protoculture Mixtape V.21

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Issue : People : Barley

A long time ago I was an alcoholic. Nah, I am still an alcoholic,  just haven't had anything to drink in a long time. If I went out and drank again I wouldn't be an alcoholic right away, but I would keep drinking until I became the alcoholic I was a long time ago all over again. I can be very persistent when it comes to something I like.

I like getting drunk because it makes stuff go away for a couple hours. It's like a mana buff, and if you drink enough you get to a sweet spot where everything feels ok and you can speak and the panic attacks are gone and you are friendly and wise and strong and cool. But the new me is a lot like the old me in persistence. I would black out, and the new me would take the wheel for the length of time the elixir was in my system.

It's like that old book where the guy drank something and would wake up on a busy street covered in his own vomit, or would have to figure out where everything he owned was all over again, one thing at a time, like a detective, or people in his life would get in touch to ask who stole his body last night for a joyride, because sure as sunshine it wasn't him in there. That type of thing.

The first time I blacked out I was stoked, because I was hurting. Some guys jumped me while I was skating over a bridge and worked me over pretty bad. They had been stalking me for weeks due to umbrage taken in my graffito name being on a wall they had claimed earlier. It was a wooden overhang bridge over a Levi, three guys stood on the end of one side of the bridge, and when I got into the middle, I realized there where two guys approaching behind me.

I recognized the guys in front of me and knew there would be a problem, eh, I just figured they wanted to posture and let me know who was boss of the bridge, until some guy punched me in the back of the head. Then yelling, something sharp against my rib, yelling, and other loud sounds that sounded really far away. I swung my board wildly, convincing myself that I might live if I could swim past the fists and get off the bridge.

And I did, I got past them and bolted, until one of them tripped me. I remember thinking, "what the fuck?" Everything was in slow mo. Then all of the sudden I hear a loud voice say "WHAT'S GOING ON OVER THERE!" It was some dude working on his lawn. The guys heard him and bolted, I was going to bolt as well, but when I started up it hurt too much to move. 

The guy took me into his house and cleaned me up, he asked if I wanted to get the police involved, I politely declined. Then he gave me a beer, said "shit happens, shake it off," and let me go. I couldn't go home because my mom would lose her shit if she saw me in that state, so I walked my board to my buddies house and drank Seagrums 7 until I blacked out, and woke up on the bathroom floor next to a chick I had never seen before. It was a pretty bad day, but I'm still alive, so I can't really complain. 

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Issue : Games : Fish Tacos

San Diego is funny in that everybody living here thinks they know where the best Mexican food is located, but here is the thing, unless they are talking about the taco truck that stops by the car wash up El Cajon over by Pancho Villa's, they don't know what they are talking about.

The confusion gets deeper when these people begin speaking on separate dishes that make up the ultimate Mexican joint, tending to create pillars by which to judge another's selection. Most hang their hat on the burrito, some the taco, it varies. Many progressives speak to a plate as a whole, the taco, beans, presentation, fixins. Not to mention red versus green salsa, as that is a whole separate debate.

The fatal flaw in all of these worthy dishes is that they are super hard to fuck up. The danger is mostly in too much salt vs. I can't even eat this without my tongue shoveling to the back of my throat. The real litmus test of a taco joint is and has always been the fish taco, and this is where the taco truck over by Pancho Villa's soars. It gets it in, the damn thing, it does it.

I ended up chatting with the owner one day while on a pilgrimage to the promised Winnebago. He told me at first he just rocked for the love like everybody else, a block party here, a quinceañera there, but when people got a taste of the goods they wanted to know where they can get that piff regular. And then he got to thinking about it, and  the weird thing was he actually enjoyed making the food for them, the process, the looks on peoples faces when they enjoy what he made. He was sold, he decided to open up his own spot.

Only problem was his credit was jacked, he tried to go to banks to get loans but they weren't trying to hear all that good vibes jazz, they deal in bulk units of guap, and burritos don't trade on nastaq. He was getting hit with rejection left and right and nobody would fuck with him, until he stumbled on this local non profit. He told them what he was trying to get into, they ran a credit check, and got back to him in a week saying he was accepted, he was floored.

They said "Yeah whatever, you good." and had him fax over some stuff, then had him go to their offices to demonstrate his chef steez by hooking up some food in a manner not unlike a business plan/stage. They had his fish tacos, a few months later a Winnebago rolls up to a parking lot outside a car wash everyday and runs Bartertown, yeah, that good. Go have a fish taco there, then come back and tell me about a California burrito. I bet you can't. Best you could say is "well, other stuff is aiiight, but that taco truck though..."

The Protoculture Mixtape V.19

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Issue : People : The Avengers

The avengers is a fictional team of superheroes. The original team was made up of Iron Man (Tony Stark)Ant-Man (Dr. Henry Pym)Wasp (Janet Van Dyne)Thor, and the Hulk (Bruce Banner).

Iron Man was born a billionaire playboy, and mean drunk, who also happened to make stuff. He became a superhero by using the money his father made to put together a big clunky metal suit to protect the person within. It could fly, and shoot big lasers out of little lasers, and all types of ill shit that whoever inside of it could control remotely. The suit was so well made that it beat anything it went up against, it was pretty good tech.

Everybody thought the suit was badass, but nobody could stand the guy inside it. They couldn't stand him because the guy inside that big clunky thing had it so good for so long he forgot how to treat people. He lost it, and began to see the suit as a right, and not privilege, or better yet, a blessing.

He got so comfortable living high in the shadow of the suit that one day he talked slick to a person that wanted to know more about it. The person politely asked Iron Man about a version of the suit he had pre-ordered.

In response Iron Man said, fuck you, it's done when Iron Man says its done, and don't come round here no more, because I will call the Avengers and the rest of my powerful buddies if you want to get it popping, because I am Iron Man, and you are a fart in the breeze, and that is how it is.  

Later on  Captain America was discovered in some ice, which began cracking due to Iron Mans reckless mouth. Then Captain America woke up, and everybody stopped listening to Iron Man. But for a while there Iron Man was a big deal in the Avengers.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Issue : People : Love

Love is a science fiction movie. In it a dude gets picked to live in a space station orbiting earth. He gets by alright up there for a while with a computer that allows him to keep in contact with his people. But then it goes away.

He passes the time by working out, studying, and listening to messages he had saved before he lost comms. But as time passes, he starts to get lonely. He stops shaving, starts talking to himself, obsessing over all the bad stuff he had seen, and all the other stuff that happens when someone loses contact with other people.

He spends most days staring out the porthole at earth, wondering what the hell is going on. One day he sees an explosion on a landmass, then another, then another. The chain reaction went really fast, like B-R-A-A-A-A-P! And then nothing again. A little while later comms are restored for a bit, with only enough time for his buddy from Houston to tell him that things down on earth got fubar, and he has to figure out a way to get by until they can come pick him up.

A long time passes and he is just done, he starts to accept that everyone down there is gone, and he is the only human being left. The only thing keeping him going is that he doesn't know for sure, his lady could still be down there, his friends, his family. So one day he just says fuck it, he is going home.

He puts on his space suit and goes outside, intending to float into the Earths atmosphere. His plan is popping off, when all of the sudden a group of non humans discover him out there alone. Love ends with him learning they set up a satellite of their own that orbits earth, explaining the brief life of a race of people that lived there once.

Oh, and here are some game industry jobs for old lang zine.

The Protoculture Mixtape V.17

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Issue : Games : Danny Chen

Hey so what happened to Danny Chen? They say he was found dead in the guard tower, looked as if he offed himself with his issued piece. Doesn't sound like Danny. I bet it was those fuckers in his company. They were always giving him shit over nothing, chink this and shit bag that. I heard they pulled rack ops on him over that water heater AFI.

Dragged him through the barracks stripped, he was screaming, no one said a thing. Wonder whats going on over there Army side, used to be about different stuff. Used to be anyone you share a foxhole with was made, along with anyone behind that flag. That used to be the oath, to protect people. If what they say is true, the army let the enemy drag a man through their own house in the middle of the night, and no one said a thing. Can't be true, they are better than that.

Not for nothing, but I also heard everyone watched two chicks kiss over at Little Creek. They said PO2 Gaeta hopped off the boat the moment it anchored and made out with her lady, PO3 Snell for homecoming honors. That's awesome, when did the USS Oak Hill get back in?

I still can't figure out what happened to Danny Chen. Been looking around the tubes, no one is saying anything, seems weird. A lot of military types have been committing suicide or getting friendly fired by their fellow soldiers and sailors lately, more have been dying like that than in combat these days, I hear. Danny's parents are asking about him, but they have had about as much luck as I have. Still, doesn't sound like Danny to off himself, something must be going on.

The Protoculture Mixtape V.16

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Issue : People : Spazzzin

I long time ago I hated my high school math teacher and he hated me back. It didn't start out like that though, we just kind of fell into it. It was tough to figure out what I was supposed to be doing there. I would get dropped off and follow these instructions written on pieces of paper that said PE, or ECON, and I walk to the back of the class and sit down.

I spent the rest of class doodling or writing little stories or whatever. I couldn't hear anything back there, which was fine, because everything the teacher said came directly from a book that I would read on my own time, and I wouldn't have been able to hear anything if I tried, because the rest of the class spent their idle time chatting it up.

My math teacher was an old adjunct, all I remember about him is that he wore Birkenstocks with fuzzy wool grey socks. I only remember because the class gave him all of the shit over it. They had a hard time understanding the fashion choice, so they would always ask him things in the form of a question. Stuff like, "What do you do when it rains?" Or, "Who dressed you?" But he didn't seem to mind much I guess, because he showed up everyday wearing the same thing.

During his lectures he would randomly ask kids to come up and solve a problem on the dry erase board, I spent everyday in fear of going up there. In his class I wouldn't doodle or write, I followed the lecture and did the problems, because I knew it was only a matter of time till my name was called. The math wasn't the problem, it was the walk up, and then the writing of the problem on the board.

Not many people in high school liked me, don't really know why, just didn't. Which was an easy fix, show up, sit in back, stay low and quiet, speaking only to people I trust until the final bell rings, then get out. But unfortunately I shared classes with the same students that didn't like me, and the teacher asking me to come up front was putting me directly into their line of fire.

This situation would always cause panic attacks in me, as in I would just sit in front of the dry erase board frozen. I could hear the laughs behind me, so I couldn't turn around, I could feel the teachers impatience with me, so I couldn't speak. The seconds feeling like hours, the shaking, the stillness, all of those things.

My high school math teacher hated me because I spazzed on him one day. I was in front of the class staring at the board, and to my left I hear "You can't divide twelve and three?" It was him. Everything went from nothing to something, I got so mad. I had never said a thing about his Birkenstocks, I had never made a sound in his class, but in my mind here he was making fun of me with them, I felt betrayed.

So I wheel around and in the span of a second I was nose to nose with him. I was cursing and threatening and carrying on, I wanted him to hit me. My line of reasoning at the time was "Fuck him, fuck them, fuck everything, lets go." He called security, they came and subdued me, then dragged me to the principals office. I was at home suspended within the hour. The math teacher and I never shared another word the rest of the semester, and I never had to go up to the dry erase board again.

The Protoculture Mixtape V.15

Monday, December 19, 2011

Issue : Games : Grand Theft Auto

Calvin Cordozar Broadus Jr, better known as Snoop Dogg, is an American rapper, singer, record producer, actor, auto tune singer, and father. Snoop Dogg has been famous for a long time now but got his first break rapping with another rapper named Dr. Dre on a song called "Deep Cover," written for the soundtrack to a film of the same name. The film is about a uniformed policeman recruited by a drug enforcement agent to infiltrate a drug smuggling organization.

In the song Snoop says:

/Creep with me as I crawl through the hood,
/Maniac, lunatic, call 'em Snoop Eastwood
/Kickin dust as I bust fuck peace
/And, the mothafuckin drug police
/You already know I gives a fuck about a cop
/So why in the fuck would you think that it would stop
/Plot, yeah, that's what we's about to do
/Take your ass on a mission with the boys in blue
/Dre, (whatup, Snoop) yo I got the feelin
/Tonight's the night like Betty White, and I'm chillin
/Killin, feelin, no remorse, yeah
/So lets go straight to the motherfuckin' source
/And see what we can find
/Crooked ass cops that be gettin niggaz a gang of times
/And now they wanna make a deal with me
/Scoop me up and put me on they team and chill with me
/And make my pockets bigger
/They want to meet with me tonight at 7:00, so whassup nigger?
/What you wanna do? (What you wanna do?)
/I got the gauge, a uzi and the mothafuckin 22
/so if you wanna blast, nigga we can buck 'em
/If we stick 'em then we stuck 'em so fuck 'em!"

The movie did not do too well, but the song was a breakthrough hit for both Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg. Parents got mad when they heard the song. They argued that Snoop Dog was advocating the murder of police, and believed that kids would listen to the Snoop and want to kill policemen as well.

A song by Big Pun, featuring Fat Joe, called "Twinz (Deep Cover '98)", from his album Capital Punishment, featured the same beat and different lyrics. It is featured in the video games Saints Row 2True Crime: New York City, and Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories, on the rap radio station The Liberty Jam.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Issue : People : Mission Impossible

A little while ago my lady wanted to quit her job as a chef over at one of those beach resorts. She had been wanting to do it for while, but as we are both journeymen in our respective industries, her in food, and me in games, she had to hang around her gig while I found another, as earlier I had reached the end of my time at the workplace I was at.

We have been operating as nomads for years now. We both show up at a place, learn what we need to learn, meet who we need to meet, but always comes the day where either we realize its time to move on, they realize its time for us to move on, or the environs require us to move on, because there is nothing else for us to learn there.

Sometimes when her hooptie breaks down I drop her off and pick her up there. The grounds look like the San Diego other people talk about, the people that don't live here on a day to day basis. People were smiling, on ski-doo's and shit, and in those paddle boats that are like two seater bikes on water. Sun reflecting on water, flip flops, and random badmitton games. That kind of stuff.

Which was a weird juxtaposition to see against what she told me goes on in the kitchen. The price of staying in a cabana on the resort is exclusive to the MTV Cribs and my super sweet sixteen parent crowd. So when they order something they want it fast and want it perfect, as that is how I imagine they justify paying all that money for a place to sleep at in a different city.

So my experience was totally spoiled by her, because when I looked at the people smiling in the paddle boats I saw them yelling at her about a steak they sent back that they ordered to be cooked burnt, and she against her wants for the meat burnt it for them. A hard thing for a chef to live with.

Or the people on ski doo's that loved standing at the pass while she is expediting to let her know all about how their best bud Gordon Ramsey would plate broccolli, just to let her know that although they themselves do not cook, they know everything about it, or at least more than her.

So that time came where she decided it was time to move on. The only problem was she was worried about confronting her bosses about the move, so she hatched a plan. At the end of a shift she snuck into the general managers office while he was giving a tour. Her plan was to write her resignation letter on his computer, print it out on his printer, slip it into a manila envelope she would obtain from his shelf, leave it on his desk, leave, and never come back.

She had gotten this far into the letter, "Dear sir. It is with great urgency that I must inform you" before realizing that she had not checked to see if the printer worked. So she opened another document in order to run a test print, the test doc just said "H," it printed out just fine, she sat the test page on his desk.

But just as she returned to her resignation document she heard voices making their way to the office, she bolted. When she came back the next day no one said a thing about it, and they usually gossip about everything.

When she told me about this botched sortie I said that there is a chance that her manager may think there is a disgruntled worker leaving vague threats on his computer, and signing them with "H." She said, "Good, now that I still have to work there maybe it will keep him honest."

Oh, and here are some gaming industry jobs for all the journeymen out there.

The Default Tester Mixtape V.13

Monday, December 12, 2011

Issue : Games : RAGE

I started playing PC games a long time ago. My mom bought our first PC to write her dissertation, it needed to be connected to the internet so she could send stuff back and forth to her professors. She put it in the living room, where it sat for months as a display piece when she was at work.

Back then computers represented boring stuff like typing homework or learning things, I knew games existed on this machine, I had even stuck my toe in at school by playing Oregon trail and Zork, but it wasn't something I imagined a kid like me being able to interact with all the time. It was a rich mans drug. 

Nobody knew what to do with it. It's hard to believe now, but back then computers were not even close to as big a deal as they are now, even though pretty much everything that makes the internet what it is today was in there. You needed a person in the know to show you what it could do.

The person that showed me what computers could do was my buddy "Noodles." I met him through skateboarding, and we also both happened to be obsessed with video games and comics. When he heard there was a computer in my home he brought over a shoe box full of floppy disks and CD's. I watched him install all of these games with funny names, stuff like "Kings Quest," "Hexen," and "Doom 2." 

He showed me how to launch them, I asked him how I would be able to play without a controller, he just laughed and said he was going home. I asked him why he didn't want to play a few games before he left, he said to load up "Doom 2," and don't worry, we will be playing together all night. That was the end for me.

I am almost done with Rage, and it breaks my heart. What happened? I never thought I would see the day that ID software would consider the PC version of a game an afterthought. The game looks pretty, on a console. The PC version seems to only care about character models and mad jukes. 

The UI is a mess, the video options are barely customize-able and suffer from Goldilocks complex, without the just right bed. And what story? The game has you collecting junk to sell, actual junk, not junk to assemble things, just random junk.

The modern fallout titles feel more like iD atmosphere, the modern CS/COD titles feel more like iD combat, the modern Serious Sam titles feel more like the iD spirit of fun for fun's sake. This should not be, I feel as if iD is too big to fail. But time marches, I believe in iD, they'l get it done. 


Saturday, December 10, 2011

Issue : People : Putin On The Ritz

Russia, or, the Russian Federation, is a country in northern Eurasia. Russia shares borders with Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, China, Mongolia, and North Korea. Its flag is made up of three solid bars. White, blue and red.

Russia recently had a parliamentary election that didn't go very well. The United Russia party, led by Vladimir Putin, received nearly 50% of the vote in the election. The people that voted got it in their mind that the elections were rigged.

And in what is becoming a common occurrence these days, the people have taken to the streets.  Although  no one thought that Russia would do anything about vote rigging if they found out, because everyone, not just Russians, are scared of Vladimir Putin. But now they want Vladimir Putin gone, they are tired of his shit.

So they are out there in the streets with the signs that say "Putin must go!" They are placing themselves in front of doorways only to have storm troopers via sci-fi channel yank them away or pepper spray them in the face while they stare defiantly into the nozzle. I don't want to sound so bummed about the whole thing, as this is the first modern superpower, diminished for sure, but still, to have their top dog caught red handed and get called for dismissal.

It just feels like the movement is popping off in an easy mode way. Vote rigging? Really? Have they not been watching the regimes falling like dominoes all around them? Why would you do that, and get caught? Wasn't Putin in the KGB?

The only benefit of the doubt I can see is that it is Russia. They have been bullying their citizens so long perhaps they started to believe that it can't and won't happen to them. They were above it. Not a smart line of thinking to fall into.

And plus this whole civil rights movement that has gripped our country's national consciousness is a repeat. Black people are now Arabs, Vietnam is now the middle east, homosexuals are now immigrants (unless they want to join the military or get married, then they are homosexuals again), hippies are now hipsters (were we even trying with this one?), communists are now socialists, and Government is still Government, but now corporations are also government.

We could have got it all done in the last cycle, seeing as how every thirty years the same types pop up. Beatnicks--> Mods--> Hippies--> Hipsters -->Goth--> New Wave--> Baggy jeans---> Skinny jeans etc..

The whole thing is sad, sad that we are still talking and fighting to give the same basic rights and fairness to every human being, only one group at a time, and after a lot of bloodshed. Oh well, at least it gives this generation something to do that doesn't involve 1/3 getting slaughtered on the battlefield, well, yet.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Issue: Games: Pajama Hero Nemo

Little Nemo: The Dream Master (known as "Pajama Hero Nemo" in Japan) is a Capcom produced 2D platform game, released on the NES in 1990.  It's is based on the Japanese anime, Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland, which is based on the comic strip Little Nemo in Slumberland by Winsor McCay. The game's music was composed by Junko Tamiya, credited in the game as "Gonzou".

The game has you controlling a sleeping child named Nemo who is tasked with travelling to nightmare land to rescue Morpheous, the King of slumberland, from the Nightmare King. The game was innovative in that you not only traveled side to side but up and down, complimenting the whimsical level art and music. In your travels with Nemo you meet animals that allow him to use their powers if fed candy.

These powers are necessary for progression because while the game is whimsical the challenge level is not. Little Nemo: The Dream Master exists in the Battletoad family of games of that era that did not care if little kids did not beat it. The game was painted funny, but it wasn't laughing. I had to beat the game because I had no choice. I had purchased it in the dry spell between holidays and knew it was the only game I would be seeing for a long time. But I would not trade anything for the sense of accomplishment I felt at seeing final screen say "The End," and then thank me for playing.

Giant Bomb just debut a new Indie title called PID that so far looks to be a distant relative to Nemo's adventures. Its good to see that some are still carrying the torch for both 2D platformers and adventure titles. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Issue: People: Another Earth

Another Earth is a science fiction movie. In it a high school student causes a car accident while driving drunk after a celebration party for  getting accepted into college, killing every member of a family in the other car with the exception of the father. She gets a four year bid in prison for the accident, and works as a school janitor after she gets out, instead of going to college.

During the time all of this is happening a planet appears in the night sky and slowly begins to move closer to earth. When it gets close enough to see, people realize that the planet looks just like earth. People start buggin, some people believing that the planet is an earth from another dimension, and on the planet there are duplicate versions of everyone, except the people on that version made different choices, which resulted in a slightly different version of them, or dead versions of them. Nobody really agreed on what was going on, but they all agreed it's some scary shit.

The janitor girl never really recovered from the accident, and got it in her mind to apologize to the father. She shows up at his door one day, but when he answers the door she looses heart, and makes up a lie about being the cleaning lady. He fell into the bottle over the accident, and agrees to her offer to clean up, as his house became a trash can.

Meanwhile people have gotten together and started a mission that intends to land a spaceship on the planet. A lottery is enacted to find passengers for the ship, and the janitor girl wins one. She began to worry that the her of that earth would be ashamed of her, and worried if she would even be there.

Scientists recently discovered a planet with conditions matching ours. It's a big blue ball in the sweet spot around a sun. About 290 days in its year, rain, mountains, good parking. Nobody knows if there is life on it or not, although all signs point to something like us living there. It's a lot of solar systems away so science types say don't get all Buck Rogers just yet. But it's hard not to get excited about something like this. I hope they don't have nukes.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Issue: People: Book Stores

A long time ago I was a kid that lived to read books. Any book, it didn't really matter. I would go to the school library at lunch to read, I would go to the public library up the street to read, or I would ride my bike about four blocks up to the bookstore in the strip mall lot next to Cal Worthingtons. That kind of stuff.

The people at the bookstore called me "Sweet tooth" because the first thing I would do when I walked in was grab a handful of complimentary candy the owner provided in a glass jar on the checkout counter. He would say stuff like, "Hey sweet tooth, where are you going today?" I would smile and say something like, Space, or, World War Three, before going about my business of the day.

He was asking which section I would set up base camp in. I would choose the Sci Fi or Fantasy aisle mostly, I would walk up the isle pulling the books I had been chipping at previously, then I would sit down Indian style on the floor to read with the shelf at my back and the pile of candy in my lap.

I tried to stay out of peoples way, sometimes people would ask me what I was reading or what I thought they should read. My mom said I wasn't allowed to talk to people I didn't know while I was out, so I would just smile and grab something off the shelf and hand it to them. I never bought a book from the store, couldn't afford anything.

After book sales the owner would have a cardboard box full of books that didn't sell, but he though I might enjoy, waiting for me when I came in. I would stuff my book bag full of as many as I could carry home and hide them in my room. My mom didn't like me taking things from people for free.

I read that nowadays bookstore customers will type the name of books they see inside the book store into their smartphones, then go home and buy them online because it is cheaper. Last time I went to a bookstore there was barely anything in there, they were going out of business. Just rows and rows of empty shelf's. I only went in because they were selling everything for .25 cents a pop, I cleaned up, walked out with a cardboard box full of books. 

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Issue: Games: Batman Begins

Batman: Arkham Asylum is a 2009 action-adventure video game based on the DC comics character of the same name, developed by Rocksteady Studios and published by Eidos/Warner Brothers Interactive. It was written by veteran Batman writer Paul Dini, with many themes stemming from the Batman graphic novel Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth. Reception for the game ranged from "This game is the second coming of bat-Christ," to, "This almost makes up for every batman game before it."

X-Men Orgins: Wolverine is a 2009 action adventure game developed for multiple consoles by Raven Software, Amaze Entertainment, and Griptone Games, and released parallel to the film on May 1, 2009. The story is based on the film of the same name, and an original plot created by Raven Software. Reception for the game ranged from "Well, I like the violence," to, "This is hot garbage, and an affront to both Wolverine and Wakanda."

A while ago DC comics re-booted their entire superhero line. Every hero, every background. I have been avoiding reading them, I am scared to read them. I have only finished adjusting to a black Nick Fury and a Puerto-black spider man.

I used to read the series "What if?" because I enjoyed exploring the idea of comic events panning out different, but I don't like the idea of having to accept a bunch of whole new realities. What becomes of a reality then, even a fake one?

Why are they turning all the white superheroes black? Why not just make black superheroes? I feel like that is more racist in type than when I thought it, but its on the page now. But these guys have been at it a long time and know what they are doing, I'll hit the reboots up sooner or later, actually now I am kind of excited if only because I don't know how they went about changing them yet.

Issue: People: Supreme Lameness

A Reddit HHH sent out a kite:

"One of my really good friends, Ira, just lost his father to cancer. He's been struggling a lot with it. Trying to think of ways to show him some support so here goes. He maintains a hiphop blog with some good stuff on it... if you guys could check out his site you would be doing a lot more than just listening to hiphop. RESPECT.

Hold your head up Ira, btw, the site bumps vicious. Where the hell did you find this Chrono trigger flip? Dayum.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Issue: People: Herman Cain Obituaries

I don't know how to feel about Herman Cain now that he is gone. They say he is only suspending his run, but I threw on that Boys To Men jam "End of the Road" as all proper funerals require just in case.

Watching him attack the president on his policy, history, and hood pass felt like high school. It was like a set couldn't get at somebody they hated directly because they would look bad, so they convinced a naive member to fight for them by feeding them lines about crew loyalty, responsibility, and the fight in the dog, even though they could care less if he was beat to death, they just needed to soften the other guy up a bit.

While watching a news clip of his non concession Lyly said she never "Believed" his run, as in it should have never been taking seriously. I never spoken a word in defense of the guy before, but all of the sudden I'm spitting out factoids about his stint as Poppa Johns boss, his history of community leadership, his stalwart defense of  issues she cares about. I didn't understand why I did at the time but now I can admit the truth, it was because he is a black dude that wears glasses and cares about politics. I defended him because we shared those things.

I was a guy arguing the validity of a black president while the sitting president of the united states is a black man. I am first of new breed of hater, a new version of the race card should be released. Worst part is, all the things I don't like about our sitting president are related to his policy choices, I barely hear people complain about the fact that he is black. The race card is devaluing, I wont know how to argue at my current level without it in my arsenal. It's my anchor card.

An honestly, we all knew Herman wasn't Neo. 999, cmon man, that sounds like a Poppa John's deal. And the cowboy hat, I like, but you gotta sing like cowboy troy to stomp the landing. I mean Darrius is country as hell, not a ten gallon in sight. I don't think Herman is a bad guy, he even stuck with his side piece for thirteen years. I mean, he is a bad guy for having a side piece no matter how long, but in France she could have ridden in a back carriage during the inauguration parade.

You did a good thing  in trying Mr. Cain. I'm gonna tip a little Dr. Pepper out for you while this song cry.

The Protoculture Mixtape v.8

Issue: Regression : Modifications/Story

Issue Summary:

A mod (modification) is a term used in personal computer gaming. A mod creates new content for a previously released title through items, weapons, characters, enemies, models, levels, music, story line, and game mode. Mods can currently be made by the public or a developer, but require the user to have the original release in order to run, as mods are not standalone software. Modification is dangerous when people create mods independent of developer involvement.

A game story is a regular story located in a game. A Bethesda Softworks game called Skyrim installed a lot of stories in their game. I asked who owned these stories by stating, "I wonder if they own them, the stories I mean. Could they take what they wrote and do something with it, or do the owners of Skyrim own their words?"

Issue resolution progress:

Bethesda Softworks LLC recently announced the creation kit, a modification toolset available to anyone that will allow them to create anything they wish in Skyrim. Along with announcing the release of the Creation Kit, They announced that the kit will be available on Steam Workshop, a user created content marketplace for PC players.

Previously Bethesda also made strides in recognizing quality assurance personnel as the best video game players in the game industry and also in general by giving Sam "I Am" Bernstein a trophy for his pro speedrun through Skyrim. Although I am guessing he took it easy on his production staff competitor, as it is widely known they only play one portion of any game, the portion attached to their sprint, with the exception of demos for marketing.

Upon review this issue is closer to being verified fixed, QA suggests creation kits integrate into the flow of all sandbox style game development. Wow Bethesda, bravo zulu, big swinging balls you have over there...

Friday, December 2, 2011

Issue: Games: Hospital Records

Hospital Records is an independent drum and bass record label run out of South London. Tony Colman and Chris Goss started it as a way for them to get the music and musicians they liked together, and over the years it grew into one of the most well known labels in UK tech music.

I have something to say, I killed a demo today, and it doesn't matter much to me, as long as he's dead. Rocket pop then shotty. That is not the admitting part, that is me stunting. I want to get it out there that I soundtrack my activities, and have done so since before I can remember when I didn't.

Classic, bebop, or avant sans vocal Jazz or blues when I am reading or writing, metal, hip hop, rap, or jungle during physical activities, and D&B or Dub when I play games like shooters that don't require listening to audio or voice for full immersion.

Finding new music to bump used to be as easy as going to a show and swinging by the merch table. Being an old dude now I don't get out much anymore, I have reached the threshold of old guy in samurai design silk shirt doing a sad two step shuffle in the back of the club territory, so I tapped out. Now I rely on podcast's and whatnot to tell me what the kids are trying to dance to in skinny jeans.

The hospital records podcast is usually just the old hospital guys shooting the shit with old dj's about late nineties plates that melted faces around my time on floor watch. When they run out of stuff to talk about they throw on a tune they like, don't seem to matter the name of the producer to them, just that it feels good to listen to.

Hospital is celebrating fifteen years in business by releasing an album, I think it dropped a few days ago. Can't wait to hear what the selectors selected.

Issue: People: Hits

I took my first hit a very long time ago, it was delivered by a nun who happened to be my teacher. I received it because I spit into the dirt while waiting in line to come in from recess. She told me to come into the classroom, and for the class to wait outside. She closed the door behind her and asked me why I spit. I told her I didn't spit, and that I had shot a "boogie rocket."

She accused me of lying to god, I don't think she meant her, more that lying to her was akin to lying to god I think. Truth was I had spit, don't know why I lied. I heard my brother say "boogie rocket" once, but didn't know what it was, figured it had to be better than spitting though, reasoning that I had seen people get in trouble for spitting, and not "boogie rockets," solid logic to me at the time. She didn't buy it, and worked me over with a wooden yardstick.

Sometime around elementary school my brother and I came to the false realizations that we were physically safe when only our mom was there, and that we could pretty much do and say whatever we wanted. Once again solid logic at the time, but as we learned later a very painful hypothesis to try out in the field, as the next hit came from my dad.

He was the holy ghost ninja of belt work. He would come home and crack jokes with us, ask about school, or sports or entertainment, pretending nothing of note transpired. We would hop into bed feeling like they had finally taken a step back and realized what we did wasn't so bad at all, kid stuff.  Then in the middle of the night he would burst in like a swat raid of biblical wrath, stifled yelps, flashing lights, leather crackles, and little bodies scurrying for the door on all fours to no avail.

The first hit I delivered was given to a kid in middle school. We shared one or two classes and knew each other a bit. One day after an assembly he pantsed me as the combined classes were walking out of the gymnasium. Luckily this was in my pre-sagging era and the pantsing was only half successful, as in I was able to reach the belt in time to pull the pants and boxers halfway back up my ass. My Joe Boxers did a reverse muffin top that resembled a Victorian poets pantaloons.

I laughed it off and moved on with my life, but about a month later he threw a full can of soda that burst against the wall a few inches away from my head. I turned and looked at him and his friends who were laughing at the clouds. I began walking toward them while slowly zeroing in on the kid who had pantsed me.

When I got close enough I jump kicked him, I don't know why. Luckily the jump kick stunned him and his friends enough to give me time to think of what to do next, so I punched him in the stomach while yelling "Usssahhh!", I punched him there because I heard on TV that punching someone in the head would break your hand. He lunged forward and tackled me, we spent the rest of the time wrestling on the ground. A while later a couple security guards rolled up on golf carts and sat us in the principals office.

The principal said the witnesses state I walked up and jump kicked the kid unprovoked. I didn't know what "unprovoked" meant at the time, I thought it was a compliment for my technically sound jump kick. As in "How did a little kid learn to jump kick that well?" Or, "Who would teach children such a lethal maneuver?" I told her I took four years of karate, she started laughing.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Games: Orcs Must Die!

Ensemble studios was a video game developer established as an independent but owned by Microsoft by the time it disbanded. They made real time strategy games, most notably Age of Empires, Age of Mythology, and Halo Wars. Ensemble also made the genie engine, a popular game engine used in many strategy based games of the time. Ensemble closed its doors after the release of Halo Wars, announcing that two studios were being formed by former ES employees after the doors were shut.

Tony Goodman, the head of Ensemble studios started Robot entertainment, and offered any former member of the company a position at the start up. David Rippy, a former Ensemble studios producer, started Bonfire Studios, which was staffed entirely of former Ensemble team members. A few months later a new studio called Windstorm was created by ex Ensemble staffer Dusty Monk. A few months past the creation of Windstorm, a fourth studio called Newtoy, Inc. was created by several former Ensemble developers.  

Bonfire Studios was later acquired by Zynga and renamed Zynga Dallas. Newtoy was also acquired by Zynga and renamed, Zynga with friends, a nod to Newtoy's popular "with friends" series of games they released while still an independent company.

Upon creation Robot Entertainment announced they were working on two new games, one would be an RTS published by Microsoft Game Studios, and the other would be Age of Empires Online. The next year it was announced that Gas Powered Games would be taking over development of AOEO so Robot Entertainment could focus on a new IP. That new IP turned out to be Orcs Must Die!

Orcs Must Die demo'd at PAX in 2011, then released to X-box live arcade and PC in October 2011. The game is strategy/tower defense, the player being tasked with protecting fortresses containing magical rifts from an army of orcs, ogres, and gnolls that want to destroy the rifts for some reason or another. The game had a minimal marketing push and generated revenue numbers defined in technical rankings as double wood in the hood. 

Orcs Must Die is one of the rare tower defense titles that doesn't get insulted when it is called a tower defense game. The Newgrounds and Candystands of the world have saturated the RTS market, as the game type is pretty easy for one or a few people to poop out. They are the new free ski, they are the free, free ski's. They can be as deep or as simple as they like, as the gameplay is in the driver seat.

But the magic in Orcs Must Die is that it harkens back to the days when developers didn't like players that much, and would show that disdain by throwing enemies at you from all sides until you die, or they get tired of throwing them, and players liked getting so beat up by a single level they would throw the controller and swear to never play the game again because it is a bullshit game that they do not like, then restart the level over and over out of wounded pride.  

It's also one of those games that people will automatically compare to something else when someone attempts to explain why the game is fun. The avvy acts like ash, the gameplay is horde mode, the traps are basic. All possible truths, but here is the thing, it's fun to play even if all of that is true, a very rare jewel in this gaming age. I loved Age of Mythology and Empires, and am stoked that the guys that made those games survived wave after wave of industry traps, emerging with a perfect simple soup that could only come from experienced hands that know how to measure by eye. To put it simply, the game is fun.      

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

People: Sour Patch Kids

I am done with video games because they finally made the last one I need to buy. Sour Patch Kids, the game. What else is there to say really? Oh you don't like sour patch kids? Liar. Everybody loves them, and they were being nice letting the Kratos' of the virtual world eat before they came through as the new age locus, drinking everybody's milkshakes.

I don't know what system it is on, I don't know how the game will play, but it is already that good. I will not be the man to judge Capcom, they have to understand that they are shaping the next thousand years of human civilization, the pressure on their shoulders must be wesley crushing. Take your time guys, deep breaths.

Think I am full of shit? Probably. But don't listen to me or sour patch kids, listen to method man. he believes that this mash up is to be the great thing in the mouth and in the hands. He made a damn rap about it, and for all that rap music is, it has never been about just making raps up for no reason. You gotta believe in the flow. That movie Honey made me understand that.

Also here are some video game industry jobs. Not that they will still be there by the time you show up because like I said video games are done. That's two confirmed kills for sour patch kids, my teeth, and the game industry. But really, I love these things, I eat whole bags in one sitting, I am eating them now, and I finished the bag yesterday. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Games: DJ Boy

The empire of arcades was strong in the late 80's-early 90's, and the force strong within it. Back then a social retard with a pocket full of quarters had a plethora of escapes from society, and I made it my mission to understand and exploit all of my options. A five block radius around my home served as my operating area, because my mom would only let me ride my bike that far. 

The places available were a pretty deep well of good times. There was Scoops ice cream shop a block up and on the corner. It had Golden axe in there, but didn't begin to truly interest me until Street Fighter II showed up in early 92'. The combination of ice cream and competition won me over. 

Majicade was a fully stocked, real deal arcade located about five blocks up, complete with funny smell, sticky floors and, sketchy dudes that would stand behind you and completely ruin your game of Outrun by saying "Aww shit turn mayn" until the car either flipped or slowed to a stop right around the rocks area that I could never seem to pass. 

But Majicade also had the misfortune of attracting the hoods worst representatives like moths to flame, and in our little network of arcade cockroaches whispers of other kids getting their bikes stolen and asses kicked in the parking lot became way too frequent for that place to stay the local H.

Four blocks up and east you had the Am/Pm run by the honorable Mr. Knobby Batswai. He let you play the two Neo Geo standups he had for as long as you wanted, as long as you had bought something first. So, as long as you had a cup of soda in your hand, Samurai Showdown was yours. Good show, sir. But the place where I spent the most time was five blocks west and across the parking lot from Knobby's. Grapevine comic shop, Mecca for the ADD set. 

The person that ran it was an old surly Japanese lady named Ruth. All day she sat on a stool behind the glass rare comic/candy display case glaring at us kids like rats let loose in a cheese factory. She also had a disturbingly effective good cop/bad cop dynamic with her husband, who served as the comic guru and dungeon master of the D&D group that occupied the fold out tables in the middle of the room. 

Comics were in the back, and to the right of the entrance were a row of Arcade machines. She imported titles that the were way ahead of the stuff that we would see at the other joints. But the title that I remember to this day is a game called DJ Boy. It was a co-op side scrolling beat-em up and the story involved a dude on roller skates fighting to retrieve his boombox from a gang of thugs.

The games interface was in Japanese, but the host of the affair was an all too American disk jockey named Wolfman Jack (Japanese/American mix match boxes replaced Demon Kakka with Wolfman Jack as if it would help). He would randomly shout Gibberish like "Get em' all up on their hind legs!" or my personal favorite, "Kick em' boy!" 

And the enemies were another type of event altogether. I was a young kid an had no understanding of the fact that at the time Japan saw American urban culture through some kind of weird blurry goggles. What these goggles saw, if one wanted to use this game as an example, would either turn out to be Alex Haley's TV movie Roots, or a very creative stripper. 

The game had you fighting a black lady that seemed to have jumped out from an Aunt Jemima bottle into real life. her attack, if I remember correctly, was either a flaming fart, or she would throw one of her many children at you, overhand like a MLB pitcher. When you hit her, she would fall on the ground, ass up, and moan Aww Lawwwwd! Brilliant. 

Another worthy enemy was a guy that would begin the battle laying down, dressed as just another bum. But when you got closer he would jump up like a man possessed, rip off his clothes, and display what he was wearing under them. A fucking Chippendale's outfit.

 He would then commence to chase you around screen shaking his junk until you beat this half naked dude to death. It is during this battle that the Wolfman Jack audio that states, "Get em' on their hind legs," gets incredibly uncomfortable for a child to hear. 

Arcades are awesome, and I hope they come back in some form because without them everyone is just at home playing games, and not being exposed to full breadth of gaming culture. Some shit is better off not being seen at all, yes. But when it as all said and done, every type of person needs a spot to congregate. Even us nerdy types.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Games: Nobunaga's Ambition

Day 1 

So I run down to the mailbox to check for my new game fly rental. Bill, Bill, credit card...Bill, jury duty notice, Aha... here's the shit. I had put Persona 4 at the top of the list with about ten other selections below and in low availability, so I'm about to get my RPG on after I un-wrap this.... Oh... Nobunaga's Ambition: Rise to Power. For the PS2. Ok... It feels like I just got socks on Christmas morning, but it all good.

No really its cool, I put this on my game cue at some time or another. Which means that me of the past had wanted to play it. Actually, I always noticed this title on the shelf and wondered why it felt so exclusionary. Only the most Japanese among my group of gamers played it and even they walked away a bit shell shocked. When I would ask about it they simply mumbled something about watching my farm production and shuffled off. Hey, I played most of the Harvest moon series. So on the subject of farming, I feel "you can't tell me Nuuuthhinn!" Thank you.

But It can't be all that bad. I mean, they are in game 100,000,000 of the series. I hear you can dispatch spies, and murder Ronin. And I do hate me some bum ass, lazy ass, Ronin. So I guess I can crank up my trusty old PS Deuce and give this period piece a good bleeding. Ugh. I just read that last sentence.

So I will play it. But not today. I'm still working my way through Nordic Fallout, and we just got Gears 3. Gonna hit up a little fortress tonight as a chaser, just to keep the skills sharp. And then there is, you know, Work. But yeah, its on the list. I promise I will not send this game back until I have given it its fair shake. Definitely. Tomorrow. 

Day 10 

Oh, Nobunaga's Ambition. Hey. Little guy. You still here? Ok, lets go ahead and see what all of the fuss is about. Cool, so I pop it in and, what's this? A twenty section tutorial... Wow. That's not that scary. Just saving money on paper.

I'm introduced to Nobunaga, a Lazy rich kid who is visited by the ghost of his dead father. His father teaches him how to run his Daimyo, I imagine to be the equivalent of a European's piece of land in Feudal times .And after about a Dickens book worth of text, its time for Ghost dad to take his kid around and show him the ropes.

Here is how you farm. Here is how you allocate resources for the acquisition of new lands while focusing on an agriculture based economy. Here is how you deliver plans to your lieutenants and place them in the best position to create positive revenue streams based on their strengths. Here is how you wage war on your neighbors for no other reason but they are there. Here is how you control the proletariat with an iron fist. You know. The basics. Great. So part one through three of the tutorial is knocked out. Can't wait for section four. And it only took... two hours. I'll get to the rest tomorrow.

Day 20 

Oh, my fucking god. It just sits there on the table, staring. "I thought you liked RPG's fam? I thought you enjoyed story driven titles? What's wrong? is Nobunga a little heavy for you? Perhaps Barbie's Equestrian Adventure is a more skill appropriate title for a casual player like yourself." Fuck you, Nobunaga's Ambition. I never really loved you. You were just there, clogging up my game fly cue then stinking up my coffee table. Knowing I can't send you back until I have at least gotten out of your damn tutorial. For honors sake. I have 17 MORE of those left! I can't do this. This is just to much. What are you, Nobunaga's Ambition? Are you a RTS? RPG? Adventure? Political Drama? Excel spreadsheet? Passions? What? Tell me! Damn you. Look at my hands. I'm sweating. Damn, I'm seein' Demons! this game is work.

Day 30 

Last... Tutorial... Something about the proper use of archers during sieges using the L2 shortcut, and something else about paying tribute to connecting fiefs... almost... done... The tutorial is done. Now I am sending this fucking pox on my house back to the hell from which it spawned. Game fly. You taught me a valuable lesson about myself by sending me this...Game. You taught me my limits. Nobunaga. You defeated me today...

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Issue: Games: Lost Power

Here is the thing. If I am stricken with amnesia and at every juncture solving puzzles involving conveniently placed fuze's and circuit boards, I am going to just assume that my past involved this kind of work. This would also be the case if I was running from splicers in an underground post Utopian hell, but still had time to direct water across a board or whatever the fuck you were doing to open doors in Bioshock.

I am not an electrician. I want everyone (especially game developers) to know this. I want to scream it from the rooftops. Taking voltage from one side of an electrical panel and distributing it evenly through a circuit is about as fun to me as having my pubic hairs removed by tweezers. Just so you know.  Games like Bioshock and Lost: Via Domus, seem to not have gotten the memo that I, in fact, have no Thomas Alva Edison swag. 

In the case of Lost especially, this puzzle element drastically hinders the flow of the game. situations that call for immediate action, tense situations where you don't know what is coming next, are derailed at their apex by these antiquated, filler, Myst-esqe,puzzles that would make even Steven Hawking type under his breath "For fuck sake..."

Uh oh, the plane I think I may have been on just violently crashed and is leaking fuel. Something needs to be done! I better run around and collect fuzes, cause when I complete a circuit on this electrical panel that gas is getting shut the fuck off!

Damn homie, I lost my camera and laptop, because I am a Photojournalist, that does electricity work as a side gig, apparently, and they are stowed in an electrically locked overhead compartment of the airplane that was ripped in half, but it can regain full power if I just put a fuze... there! Got it!

Aww shit, I'm in the hydra station and I am about to escape my captors. They are on the other side of this door, but how do I get to them? Fuck, man, I wish there was a... Oh there it is! A goddamn electrical box! Good thing all these random fuzes I have been picking up from the jungle floor and they left on my person after the strip search are compatible with every circuit box on the island! Can' no gwan preezon owld I! 

The whole, "putting puzzles in adventure games to lengthen play time," thing, needs to go to hell if the puzzles themselves cannot even be properly put into context within the world of the game. I don't remember Locke ever having to collect fuzes to escape a hatch lock down. 

The whole situation reeks of either laziness or a misplaced pretension on the developers part that fans wouldn't look past the "Razzle Dazzle" of having thier favorite characters from the show staring back at them through an uncanny valley.

They were at best pandering to the Idea of viewers of Lost being "smarter" than the average television viewer, and in doing so created what they thought would "challenge" us, or assumed that this smarter viewer was too busy reading Faust in braille while completing black belt level Sudoku puzzles blindfolded with their penises to play little "pew-pew games," and integrating plausibly challenging puzzles germane to the source material was not necessary to rake in the moo-la. 

And that ending... Ehh. It wasn't bad. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Issue: Games: Beyond Good & Evil

Beyond Good & Evil is an action-adventure video game written by Michel Ancel and developed by Ubisoft Montpellier, Ubisoft Milan, and Ubisoft Shanghai for GameCube, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 2, and Xbox platforms.

The story follows a reporter named Jade as she works with a resistance movement to reveal a planet wide alien conspiracy. The mechanics of the game have players using Jades martial arts skills for combat, her critical thinking for solving puzzles, and photography to gather evidence of the conspiracy.

Sides taken in the hundred year war for video games (which in gaming terms amounts to forum posts in all caps) has always been based on the question, "What is the most important ingredient to a game, story, or gameplay?"

And while players in camp gameplay have plenty of ammunition to use, we of camp story have few titles we may point toward that no one that has played the game could deny the story as it's driving force. It is a small but powerful pantheon, and different for everyone.

My list consists of The Secret of Monkey Island, Kings Quest, Chrono Trigger, Persona 3, Psychonauts, and Beyond Good & Evil. But like I said, everyone's is different.

Lyly and I play Skyrim differently. She owns a house and is married to a guy from the mage guild, who she says she married for the income he brings in from his magic shop. But she travels with him now instead of her former bff Lydia, not fast travels mind you, just ambles about from place to place the long way. I don't know about that guy.

I don't own a house or horse, and believe magic use is for milk drinkers. I also collect every book I find and read them in the Companions guild hall every night before I save and log. She thinks it's a boring waste of time, but I have been waiting my whole gaming career for the opportunity to waste time in that manner. Can't be shoving swords up dragons butts all day. You would run out of dragons or swords.

A few of the books I read could be whole games separate from the pages they live in. Who ever wrote them are great writers, and they read like they were written by people from camp story. I wonder if they own them, the stories I mean. Could they take what they wrote and do something with it, or do the owners of Skyrim own their words?

I hear rumbling from story guys in the industry that unless your last name is Meier or Levine you don't have a right to shit, which doesn't seem fair. Games create these massive sandbox worlds with potential for exponential growth. It would only help everyone to populate those worlds with as many different people, places, and things as possible.

Why would a writer give their baby up for adoption just because the state has a rule that gives it a right to the life of any baby born on its land? Back in the day the programmer was the writer, so it was easier. But things are different now.

Beyond Good & Evil 2 is coming out soon. I wonder where it will take us?

The Protoculture Mixtape v.7 


Monday, November 21, 2011

Issue: People: Big Momma's Soul food

Tyler Perry is an American actor, director, playwright, entrepreneur, screenwriter, producer, author, licensed driver, business owner, amateur magician, friend of Oprah, and songwriter. He was born in New Orleans, Louisiana as Emmitt Perry Jr. He has three siblings, a father and a mother.

Tyler Perry didn't like his dad much because his dad beat him. But he loved his mom, and she would take him to church every week. So he ended up liking church because his dad wasn't there. When he was sixteen he had his name legally changed to Tyler so people wouldn't confuse him with his dad.

When Tyler Perry grew up he moved to Atlanta and decided to make plays and movies for black people using situations he saw while hanging around black people, and themes he learned from church. His plays and films include christian themes of forgiveness, dignity and self worth, and address issues such as child abuse and dysfunctional families.

Tyler Perry used his life savings to finance his first play, "I know I've been changed." It debuted at a local community theater, and was a failure in finance and public reception. So Perry took it back to the lab and spent the next six years tweaking and re-releasing it on the chitlin' circuit, with people hating it less and less each time.

On the chitlin' circuit he gained a following among black people who related to the stuff he wrote about. But as his work became more popular the criticism grew, the main focus being the perception that his work perpetuates negative racial stereotypes.

The most vocal detractors to Perry's work have been other black people. During an interview Spike Lee said, "Each artist should be allowed to pursue their artistic endeavors but I still think there is a lot of stuff out today that is 'coonery' and buffoonery. I know it's making a lot of money and breaking records, but we can do better … I see these two ads for these two shows [Tyler Perry’s Meet the Browns and House of Payne] and I am scratching my head … We got a black president and we going back to Mantan Moreland and Sleep 'n' Eat?"

Jamilah Lemieux made similar remarks on National Public Radio. While thanking Perry for employing blacks in front of and behind the camera and for making work with humor and "positive messages about self-worth, love and respect", she criticized him for making television shows "marked by old stereotypes of buffoonish, emasculated black men and crass, sassy black women."

Cultural critic Touré said in an interview that "Tyler Perry is perhaps the worst filmmaker in Hollywood" and was quoted as saying earlier that Perry is the "KFC of black cinema".

Listen, Tyler Perry is a bad director. I have watched his movies and am not a fan, except for Soul Food, c'mon, it was his "The Sixth Sense." (Crap, that wasn't him... Uh oh..) I do not like them for pacing, structure, dialogue and him being all up in the shots reasons, and would not if he made films for any race or subject.

But my mom does, she relates to the people, the places and the themes. Whenever I go home she sits the whole family down and we watch one of his 30 hour plays. And when non black people attack his work I suggest they accept that they may not know enough about black people to properly judge Tyler Perrys work.

But now I realize that statement implies I understand black culture enough to judge his work, and I probably don't. I am just a black dude with a 9-5 trying to figure everything out. The black men and women I surround myself with are also boring, educated, and semi functional. He makes movies for black people in the situations he saw while growing up, and the black people that lived those situations like them. 

I do not like his portrayal of the black experience, but accept that other black people do, and perhaps the reason all of us enlightened black people are so offended is because we know there are still real life black people out there "cooning" in the manner we see in his films. And we upwardly mobile Negroes are embarrassed of that version of us, we want to hide them. 

Eh, to each their own. And what the fuck is wrong with fried chicken?
The Protoculture Mixtape v.6

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Issue: People: Carlsbad

A medium time ago I tested for one of the old guard companies. My hair was a nappy brier patch imitating dreadlocks that I hid it under a big grey wool cap. After a while people began to refer to me as "Black in the hat," because I wore the hat everyday as I couldn't afford to get my hair fixed at the time.  But I didn't mind the Dr. Seuss reference much because most people couldn't pronounce my real name correctly anyway.

I got a callback once to test one of those games about the lives of basketball players. You could dress them up and put regular basketball player stuff in their house like gold toilets and strippers. You could also play basketball with them and track their stats over the course of a season. In the testing bay I sat with a group of testers I had worked with previously.

The group was composed of a short black lesbian girl that ran a hip hop radio station, a skinny white guy that barely spoke but was regarded as the best video game basketball player on the team, a Mexican kid that laughed a lot and listened to San Diego gangster rap exclusively, a down to earth guy from New York that spoke his mind no matter who was in front of him, and a kid from Carlsbad that everybody called Carlsbad.

At lunch we would grab fast food together or drive around the area smoking herbal essence. During the ride we mostly argued among each other about what hip hop is and where it is going, spit horrible freestyle raps, or talked a lot of shit. But we didn't make much of the shit talking as we were all passionate about music, and sometimes after seven days straight of crunchtime hours it felt good to yell at somebody about something you care about instead of getting yelled at over things you could care less about.

Carlsbad was a skinny white kid that wore thin rim glasses and talked the smack of a guy three times his size, to guys three times his size. After work we played a lot of online FPS's together. He was the kid that would spam and curse during matches, and if someone responded to the bait he was a master at finding the button that would send them ballistic. The group would end up focusing on him because of stuff he said. One time he and I got into it while we were arguing the legacy of Eminem.

He believed Eminem to be the undisputed greatest rapper to ever walk the earth, I disagreed with him, but admitted that he is definitely in the running. In response he said, "Well if Eminem was a nigga you would say the same thing." Crickets, I told the driver to stop the car because I was going to put hands on him. I felt the need to defend the honor of my race against that word.

So we stopped in a random Cul de sac and got out. Everyone stood in a semi around he and I, he looked scared and a bit sad, but I was so angry I didn't care what he felt, I only cared about how he made me feel. New York broke the silence by asking me a question, he asked "Is he right?"

I turned to look at him, he had a slight smile on his face. I started thinking about his question and came to the conclusion that Carlsbad was right, If Eminem was black he would either not be as popular as he is, or his skill plus his race might make him the unquestioned king of rap. The word nigga tripped me up, I didn't even consider the question he posed after hearing it.

After that I dropped my guard and started laughing, Carlsbad started laughing, then everybody started laughing and talking shit again. From then on New York and I looked after Carlsbad when people gave him shit, we knew he was a smart dude and meant well, he just didn't consider how other people would feel about the things he said because he didn't really think words were a big deal anymore, even though to most people they are.

Carlsbad wanted to marry his girlfriend but her parents couldn't stand him. His own parents wanted him out of their house because he was always in trouble and they didn't see his life going anywhere. He caught a couple cases for drug possession, the first time for a bag with two mushroom caps he was carrying at a party, and the next time for a marijuana roach in his cars glove box.

His parole required him to be employed, but he couldn't explain to the parole officer how testing works, you work for a couple months, then you are off, and if they liked you they call you back. The judge had a hard time believing that was how it worked as well, he thought Carlsbad just got fired. So the judge sentenced him to prison to teach him a lesson in commitment, because you can't get fired from prison.

Carlsbad was terrified of prison, he talked a good game, but understood that he wasn't built for that life, and we knew he wasn't either. One night after we had finished an outdoor sniper map, he said "I can't take this anymore dude, I'm taking off, I love you bruh take it easy." I gave him shit for saying he loved me before I peace'd out, I called it gay.

I learned later that after he logged off he went into his garage, closed all the doors, ran a hose from his muffler to the inside of his car through the window, got in the car, and turned over the engine. A few weeks later our staffing representative called to tell me he committed suicide, and to ask if I was interested in doing a TRC pass against the newest titles alpha build.

He would always ask me to come over to hang out, but he was all the way up north and I would complain about gas money, honestly he still annoyed me a little bit in person, and it was just easier to deal with him online. I don't play the same game we played anymore.

If you have time head over to the online profile "Airizzle" and say hi to Carlsbad. I love you too cracker jack, sleep well.

Protoculture Mixtape v.5

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