Mixed Feelings

Amanda Palmer is continuing her blazing stride on top of her new album that got released this week. What do you mean you didn’t know? Was there another reason to wait for 9/11 to get around? So what do I think of it you might ask?

Actually what I think is not important. Sometime it is more important what you feel and “Theatre is Evil” is full of feelings. <<Insert silly meme here.>> There are some hurt feelings inside but all in all the album is the perfect pile of mixed feelings. Personally I backed Palmer’s kickstarter due to being a silly pushover for anything that  Niel Gaiman politely asks me to do. The pragmatic in me was anxious to see where my money went into. The little kid in the back of the room was overjoyed of the sheer brilliance of what came out of throwing a wad of cash at a talented and crazy woman and her posse of gifted in all manner artistic people.

This whole work week passed under the over-looming shadow of Palmer in my playlist. In the end I don’t know if it actually helped me preserve my sanity or actually methodically reignited my frustration with the status quo and the tediousness spreading slowly in my life. The album reminded me the sensuality of love, the bitter-sweetness of loneliness and the overwhelming power of happiness! Just go to her website and give the singles a spin or watch the awesome music videos. The full album is even more worthy of your attention. Not to mention that is Pay-What-You-Want!

 

Tyria Pains

The Elder Dragon is awake and his evil is coursing through the world of Tyria. No nation is safe from the hordes of undead rising to his command. No race is safe from his corruption twisting its people…

My headstart in Guild Wars 2 is nearing its end and that’s a good thing as my hands are starting to develop the weirdest of numbing cramps… Maybe I was loosing my gaming conditioning. Maybe it was for the better. :P Sadly Guild Wars 2 is out and I am pushing my gaming into top gear! Guild Wars 2 prelaunch was one of the most successful launches I have experienced first hand. For half of the last Saturday ArenaNet were trying to bring up the login servers that were crippled down by the onslaught of eager heroes seeking entry to Tyria. It may sound bad but actually I appreciated ArenaNet’s prompt actions and especially the timely feedback through various channels that kept us informed of the status of ongoing issues and how they are being addressed.

What about the actual game? Well, it is A new MMORPG! Guild Wars 2 is improving on everything you would expect from current MMORPGs and solidifies its new and improved methods of handling your adventures. You can do whatever you want and still gain experience and make progress! You can quest and explore the vast world, fight its dangers or compete with other players or trade and craft items and all that jazz! :D Everything moves you forward. I love the exploration! Most of the Sunday I spend jumping and climbing all over the place as my ever-growing album with vista screenshots can testify to.

Argh… my wrist! I guess it is time to take a break! I am eager to see how ArenaNet will handle the full game launch tomorrow. See you soon in Tyria!

On Different Nights

There are many Dark Knight posts on the nets but this one is mine. Being silly when I try to be serious… just like I usually do.

So thanks to the realization last week that I haven’t actually watched the first Dark Knight I got lucky enough to watch all three movies of Nolan’s Batman trilogy in close proximity to one another. So what did I win by being that lucky?

I watched “Batman Begins” with a bit of analytics running in the background of my brain. That was due to the knowledge that this was the first movie of a trilogy soon to be concluded. I actually enjoyed it a lot. It was a bit silly compared to the second one but a very nicely done origin story. And I loved all the hints of what is to come. That movie actually left me most lost in thought after watching it as I was perplexed as how I have missed it when it was first going  through the big screens. I pondered on that and the strange relationship between us and the passing of time. How do we deal with it? Do we let it slowly fade the memories of the past be they pleasant or painful or we fight to keep them with a pang of nostalgia… Ridiculous notions like that…

“The Dark Knight“? It was nice and everyone loves it, Heath Ledger rocked and we all miss him. End of story. Or is it? There are theories and discussion how this movie is the transition between the other two or how it prepared us for the finale… I guess I view each one of the movies as perfectly self-sufficient one. Some people need that connection but I guess I try to look over it. For me “The Dark Knight” is just a movie about Batman. Just that and a damn good one at what it does. A perfect meal all on it own. A day in the life of Batman. Now that I think about it, it reminds me of the Batman:Animated Series from the 90s…

And we come to the hype. “The Dark Knight Rises”. The raw input: visuals – check!; sound – check!; good acting – check! Anne Hathaway is a Catwoman I approve of and if anyone disagrees there must be something wrong with them!

Now my 2 cents. I think this movie on its own is the actual execution of Nolan’s magic trick that everyone was expecting (by now) from the trilogy. Pledges were made. The Turn got me but not my roommate who saw through it early on and was a tad bid disappointed from the movie. I suspect he won’t be the only one. I don’t regret being fooled so easily as it allowed me to enjoy the Prestige to its fullest. Isn’t this why we went to the show? To be surprised and entertained! Then I guess Nolan’s performance was adequately exquisite or I received what I paid for. Either way works fine for me!

Side trivia note: What is “Game of Thrones” doing in my Batmans?!
Joffrey was quite impressed by Batman at a young age and why would lord Baelish post as a CIA agent and try to take Bane head on?! I thought he was cunning and stuff?!

Limbus

Hmm… so last post mentions Mass Effect. Fitting perhaps that yesterday the new “extended” endings have been released. They seem decent but nothing incredible in any case. At least if the endings were like that from the beginning I guess there wouldn’t have been all the rage that we witnessed few months back. Better late than ever some may say.

Speaking on endings I finished Limbo. Sadly I was too busy to brag about this little jewel being in the latest Humble Indie Bundle while it was still available. The game is simply amazing. It possesses incredibly refined macabre graphic style and atmosphere. It is a Game of Death. Death will follow you all the way through this carefully calibrated  puzzle platformer. At first I felt genuinely bad each time the Boy would die under my control. He is just so fragile which would make some of the puzzles later on involving a lot of acrobatics even more satisfying when you are pass them. The engine brings everything to life perfectly. Can’t say that I didn’t have the guilty pleasure of doing some stupid things just to see what will happen to the raggedy boyish silhouette when I fail. In the end though each death brought me dissatisfaction and bitter regret… I should have been better at keeping the little boy traversing his (maybe) nightmares safe! But I was very proud of myself when I completed all the challenges the game threw at me. A very nice exercise for the brain in my opinion. All in all the game is worth every cent on its own and you will do well to get it as soon as possible!

Random Post on Games

Hey people! Decided to pass by. Here is something that was sitting scribbled on the back of my ledger:

My mind was pondering about Life while I was going past some pretty trees. I contemplated on my brother’s (bio) and mine (tech) education and the possible combination of the two. Which led my trail of thought to the Mass Effect 3 ending. I don’t know what you did with your Shepard but mine bit the middle one. Ignoring any possible bashing on the “various” ME3 endings I gotta give it to Bioware. They created a hero we cared about. Well, unless you were a bit of a dick and wanted your Shepard to be a douche. I think it was because each one of us also participated in his/her creation and the hardships that followed for three consecutive games. And that gave us some time to get to know our Shepards a little better. So I felt a bit sad that my Shepard is gone now. I will miss her… and Garrus.

OK, that takes care of that. Being sleep deprived and lazy – here is an article done by the delightful guys from Rock, Paper, Shotgun that pretty much sums up Gouken’s and mine impressions of Diablo 3:

The RPS Verdict: Diablo 3

And lastly here is a Kickstarter project that bears a little relevance to the theme I am running with for the blog. So if you need a new deck of cards you can get a fancy one for few bucks:

ULTRAVIOLET // Playing cards from beta17 // updated with the Relaunched project.

Are we friends or are we dancers?

Let’s take a break from all the vidya kickstarters. Sometimes you just need to sit back, relax and watch the world burn. And what is more perfect for moments like that than a movie about the Apocalypse! Here’s where Kickstarter comes in again. Brea Grant and friends are trying to get their apocalyptic buddy sci-fi horror movie funded and they are in the final hours of the campaign and need your help!

Best Friends Forever Project Home

The RPG Scene is Wasteland!

As I mentioned here’s an awesome Kickstarter’s Project for you! Personally I haven’t played Wasteland (maybe due to being born the same year it was released) but I have high regards for the Fallout games and firmly believe that as with how Double Fine will breath new life into Adventure Games so will the Wasteland 2 project breath new life into epic RPGs! Check out Brian Fargo’s video and see if it might spike your interest (also it gives very funny commentary of the current developer – publisher relations) and hurry up as there are only three days left until the successful funding of the project!

Akira

So yesterday I had no Internet when I got home.

What do?

Decide to watch Akira.

Then all the little things we think we know.

Suddenly all the big things we don’t understand.

“But some day we ought to be able to… Because… it has already begun!”

Kicking it off!

There is a certain tidal wave sweeping through the Internet that could have quite the impact on the arts and specifically in producing great art. So I decided to point you in its direction if by any chance it has gone unnoticed by you. I am talking about – Kickstarter!

I was semi-aware of Kickstarter‘s existence for some time. I knew it was a funding platform of sorts but never looked too much into its workings. That was until back in February a bunch of cool guys decided that instead of asking around for producers to approve them for funding they would ask the gamers if anyone actually wants to see their new video game made! And who wouldn’t like to see a new adventure game following strictly in the footstep of its classic point and click predecessors – Day of the Tentacle and Monkey Island. Being die-hard fan of those I immediately gave them hefty pile of my hard earned boondollars. Now you are wondering who were those guys and why did I trust them with my moneys? See Kickstarter employs an all or nothing funding model… you actually give the creator money only if enough other people also pledge that they would support the project. If the funding threshold is reached by the project deadline you have to pay up and then the creator gets to make his awesome project a reality. Yeah, this is all nice and dandy but why help? Well usually you would be offered a lot of different rewards depending on your contribution… Check Tim Shaffer’s awesome video and Double Fines Adventure project page and you might understand how they convinced me:

Now I am guessing that you might not be into adventure video games and not share my enthusiasm. So why is thing important… Well, it is important cause it gets the creator in touch directly with his audience. Totally circumventing grumpy producers and sour marketing guys. Just look at what Double Fine did – they asked for 400,000$ and instead they got over 3,000,000$ (Did I mention projects can get over-funded :D) This means that there is big audience looking for something different from what all the big producers and publishers deem profitable and interesting to the consumers. Double Fine simply pushed Kickstarter into hyper-drive. It is the new thriving place for indie games developers, neophyte artists, fledgeling writers and creative designers trying to break free from corporate tendencies and limitation so they can to do grand things especially for you!

Crowd-funding has been going steady for some time even before Double Fine‘s amazingly successful pitch into it and Kickstarter has been helping it become more and more viable for a while now. So what’s not to like? Actually the only thing I don’t like is that currently while you can back up projects from all over the world, you can not start a project if you are not an American citizen. I find this quite frustrating because crowd-funding has incredible potential to help artists and visionaries form less developed countries reach out and find the support to accomplish their crazy cool ideas. Luckily there are some other platforms already going on beside Kickstarter. One of them for example is IndieGogo. It follows pretty much identical model to Kickstarter without limiting project creation process to America only. In my opinion on IndieGogo you will find more social causes and personal agendas alongside artistic projects that on Kickstarter. But all is well, everyone should be able to make his voice heard and see if there is someone to listen.

I think that you will see quite a few crowd-funding projects presented here in the future. Especially in the coming weeks. To get things rolling I would like to share and hope to spark your interest in supporting the project of some friends of mine. They are trying to get a comic book publishing house running to showcase the amazing artists and illustrators we have in Bulgaria and I have tagged along. Here is the project for funding the music video to go alongside our next comic book:

It is in Bulgarian only (Sorry guys, the Bulgarian crowd-funding platform we use is quite limiting for the moment.)

On Melancholy Hill

What!? The blog is barely up and he is of prattling on again emo style! This might have been the case if Lex and I have managed to get to the screening of Melancholia… Instead Life surprised us with a crash (luckily the biker dude must be fine and without fractures or other internal injuries) and totally spun our plans around… That lead to an interesting evening filled with exploring the dark corners of Brussels streets, checking out new bars for future adventures, intriguing theology and psychology discussions… and all this obfuscated by a proper dose of alcohol.  I need to crawl into bed but rest assured that there is something brewing in my head waiting to get out… and now: