Friday, November 26, 2010

The Monthly Retard Jamboree! #02

Imagine this. You're treading water in a massive sewage tank. There are a million other people, all doing the same, in an infinite space every direction around you. It smells like sheep manure and feels like watered-down cooking grease. It's in your hair and face and eyes. Then, from out of no-where, an opinion! A devastating opinion knocks you back. Except this opinion is different. It's not got any thought process behind it. It isn't well-conceived or opinion-based. It's just retarded spewing. Mouth words out. The man who issued forth the opinion is all up in your face. He won't shut up! ...don't worry though. Andy comes to the rescue, hitting the opinionee in the back of the head with a shovel. He's here to save you from the verbal diorhea. You are saved.

Unless, of course, you are the victim in our second installment of the...


Okay, so a few dumb things this month. Not as many as last month I've seen, but regardless, some insanely weird things that don't carry as much weight as you'd hope. Let's begin.

"Kinect is the best thing of 2010"
-Captain Spazz
Now, Captain Spazz is an intelligent guy. He's lived a fairly long life and has seen advances in technology that men twenty years ago could only have dreamed of. Yet even I'm gobsmacked when he makes a blatantly bad comment like this. The Kinect system for Xbox 360 consoles is not the best thing of the year. It has little to no scientific merit. It will not revolutionize how we play games. I mean, this is the year in which we were gifted with things like Christopher Nolan's Inception, technology like the iPad. Even PlayStation Move has more use to gaming as a whole than Kinect could possibly hope - how does that qualify for "best thing of 2010"?

But I digress. Humans crave different experiences. We are a race who enjoy above all, innovation and gimmicks. Novelty is the selling point of almost every piece of technological hardware made this decade, and the Kinect is no different. So when it was pointed out to sir Captain Spazz that it's really just the novelty that has made him reach this decision, and how it will wear off (it will, it always does) and that - and this is the most important thing - the hardware by itself has little to nothing to do with the success of the machine, that the software will determine whether or not this will be flash-in-the-pan or genuine Microsoft success story... he laughed in my face and determinedly erased all my comments from the thread. Perhaps this is the worst thing of all, the idea that calm, rational decisions, are almost indefinitely outweighed by verbal spewage. Especially when regarding trite like Call of Duty: Black Ops. Speaking of which.

"Portal is awful, and Super Paper Mario is the best game of the decade"
-Twinkle Dizzlebottom

Now, my old friend Twinkle and I were discussing games when we came across this very strange topic - which is better, Portal or Super Paper Mario. His opinion was that Portal was shit-easy garbage that had no innovation and terrible level design. My opinion was that Super Paper Mario was narratively weak franchise that, while definitely better than most JRPGs in circulation, has no staying power compared to more technically and narratively competent games like Half-Life. So. Which one of us is "right"?

We both are. And we both made retarded comments. Opinions, especially opinions masked by nostalgia, are fickle beasts and hold nothing on their own. Whether or not we can, as a whole, deem a game "good," or "bad," should not be based on personal opinion, but rather... overall impact. So, which game is better - Portal or Super Paper Mario? In the history of gaming, which title shall be held aloft as the "better" one - the game where you are led through a mysterious complex by a murderous and insane AI as you shoot gravity-behind wormholes at things, or the one where you run through a genius and colourful world full of excitement, adventure and intrigue, stomping on turtles and generally having a laugh? Well... while definitely Portal is the bigger critical success, which I can personally attest to, no game can ever be deemed good for everybody. So I'm going to let you decide whether or not Portal trumps Paper Mario, and I'll move on to a game that I know for bloody certain is terrible...

Oh man don't encourage me..LOL

There is SOOO much good stuff there. Norse mythos is so rich and so little is done with it. I was hoping this would do for Norse what God of War did for Greek myth. The loot system is very well done. Auto pick, easy sorting and adjustable auto salvage. The camera is generally good and no worse than many well liked action games, it also has selectable zoom. The classes are very deep and armor very customizable. Cyber space and hair was not the best but character models and armor was very tight and detailed. The environments were also generally good and packed with detail.
I expressed distaste last month for Too Human, an unmitigated piece of garbage. One of twelve fans of this game decided to take out their love/hate issues on me, throwing around words like "deep" and "tight" and "detail" and "camera".

Maybe there is a difficulty curve to Too Human I'm missing. Maybe my small brain-meats cannot compare to the ethereal nature of those who enjoy this game. Or maybe they're just making excuses, trying to justify their overly extravagant $60 purchase for a game developed by once-loved creators of Eternal Darkness. Perhaps they're thick pro-360 dumbwads who stand up for every "exclusive to Xbox 360!" title, like it makes their system so much better than the others. (Protip, and aside - single-system gaming is the worst way to game. So many experiences you miss out on. Don't pick sides, don't discriminate, just dive in to some of the best entertainment experiences available.)

What I think is ironic most about Tevin's statement here is the idea that "Norse mythology is rich and little is done with it," because that basically sums up my experience of the game. Norse mythology is rich, and in Too Human, little is done with it. Why, I pray, have these gods been reduced in likability and personality to the extent that they're basically ethereal businessmen, with no warmth or impact at all? God of War did mythology right - they hyper-charged them, made them wrathful, emotionally fragile beings - beings we came to either care about, or hate, or want to kill or whatever. Too Human's use of Norse mythology is pitiful, especially the idea that they basically turn Baldur into just another identical space-marine badass.

Controls can certainly be subjective. Graphics are wholly subjective (as I've mentioned before, after Crysis barely anything holds up for me graphics-wise, so I tend not to draw attention to it - if it's done well, very good, but if not, what's it matter?). But lame, awful storytelling like what I mentioned above, I hope is universal. I so hope. I so hope we can all agree that two jacket potatoes having a conversation is not a gripping or engaging drama - so why do some people insist on trying to convince us, and themselves, otherwise?

I'm Andy. That was Retard Jamboree. And I'm going to go hide from the comments by hiding under some old Paper Mario cartridges.

Andrew Deavin is outrageous, and outspoken - but never outheard.

Congratulations to the Desert Bus for Hope crew for raising an unholy $194, 000 for Child's Play! Thankyou for providing us with much entertainment for a fabulous cause - helping sick children be happier, and less sick. Fantastic!


  1. pretty awful use of a slur. The word retard marginalizes a vulnerable population of human beings. They get when you are mocking them. Does that bother you at all?

  2. If I intended to mock those of genuinely lower intelligence I would not have used the word "retard". I find the word itself works better in context of average people who do or say moronic things.

    I mean, we're living in a world where "gay" can be used to refer to a homosexual person and no-one bats an eyelid... why should they bat an eyelid when I call someone being stupid a "retard"? The use of the word "retard," to refer to people who are retarded, is a grossly offensive one. In all other contexts, I find it a socially acceptable, if a little neglegent, usage.