Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Obtuse L4D Complaints

First of all, I like Left 4 Dead, despite the childish title. The game is fun, but there are a couple of things I want to complain about.

The Hunting Rifle is totally lame. Sure, it's the only gun that can reliably kill something from very far away, but you can only aim when you're safe, and you're only safe when you're not able to see very far. Its other ability, the power to penetrate through most objects, only sounds good until you understand what that actually entails. First of all, bullets can only go through brushes, which is a technical term for things like walls. Bullets can't go through cars*, trash bins, or boxes. Also, bullets can only go through one brush, so if that Hunter pinning your ally is behind two plywood walls, he may as well be on the moon.

L4D's newest addition, survival mode, is a good idea, but I'm not sure how I feel about it. It's inherently somewhat frustrating, but I think it's more frustrating than it has to be. I think I'd enjoy it more if it was less intense. There could be difficulty levels, and the easiest mode would let you play in a way that's fun without getting totally wrecked.

*Even the windshields and tires are completely impenetrable.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

DS9 Series Finale

I've been plowing through DS9 for the past few months, and I've finally finished it today. To put it simply, DS9 is fantastic. I have my complaints, but they're trivial. Doubters may say the finale was bad, but they are demonstrably wrong, since the ending was awesome.

All this Star Trek has definitely got me in the mood for the movie, good or bad. I've heard it's essentially a generic Science Fiction movie with the Enterprise cast thrown in, and what I've seen of the trailer seems to confirm that. My real concern is Kirk, who seems to be trying to project this "bad-ass" persona and failing. I never would have thought that someone would be a more self-righteous and grating captain that Shatner*, but it seems that someone has picked up that ball and ran with it.

*Shatner, you're great, but your character seems rather self-obsessed. I'd still place you as the second best Star Trek captain, after Picard.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Shakespeare: As You Like It

As You Like It has the silliest plot yet.

Rosalind and Orlando have fallen in love at first sight*, and agree to meet in the forest to evade the cruel families that don't want to see them together. To avoid being attacked, Rosalind travels to the wood dressed as a man. When Orlando and Rosalind meet, Rosalind decides to use her disguise to convince Orlando that he doesn't love Rosalind. This is solely for the purposed of hijinks.

Now it gets confusing.

Rosalind convinces Orlando to court Rosalind as though she were Rosalind, while Rosalind (who is still dressed like a man) acts irritating so as to make Orlando think that love isn't worth the trouble of dealing with something as absurd as a woman. Naturally, Orlando decides that the best thing to do is convince a complete stranger that he can put up with anything to win Rosalind's love, so he agrees with the plan. Come to think of it, Orlando is either an idiot or a jerk. He doesn't know where his love is, lost in the forest, but he spends his time dealing with some random stranger's shenanigans instead of looking for her.

Naturally, it all works out in the end.

Also, there's the "All the world's a stage" speech, which is good, if not particularly relevant to the action.

*Shakespeare doesn't seem to be able to have people fall in love any other way. In Shakespeare's world, love is a binary condition, and it jumps from one person to another instantly.

Now playing: Bob Dylan - I Shall Be Released
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Shakespeare And TF2, Together At Last

Shakespeare's been in the news lately. The mayor of Chicago announced that Thursday is talk like Shakespeare day, and the Supreme Court Justices Stevens and Scalia have been cited as being on the side that believes that Shakespeare didn't write Shakespeare, instead having been written by Edward De Vere, Earl Of Oxford.

I'm happy to see a Shakespeare day, but this Earl Of Oxford stuff is embarrassing. This just goes to show that figures of authority in one realm shouldn't have any authority outside of their jurisdiction. Fortunately, they don't have any authority in this case other than their celebrity.

In Valve news, they've sprung a surprise TF2 update just ahead of a L4D update that's supposed to launch today. It's odd, because it doesn't actually have any real content, but it clearly implies future content. Now characters have an item slot for headgear. DUN DUN DUN! This could be the biggest update other than the class packs. They let you reset your stats, too. I decided to take a screenshot of my stats and reset them, just to see what happened. Might as well show you my old stats:

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Shakespeare: Julius Caesar

Julius Caesar is really good. It's left a bunch of quotes in our culture, and it has a bunch of quotes that would have been well known had they not been overshadowed by the more famous lines.

The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves

Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look;
He thinks too much: such men are dangerous.

Casca: Ay, he spoke Greek.
Cassius: To what effect?
Casca: Nay, an I tell you that I'll ne'er look you i' the face again: but those that understood him smiled at one another, and shook their heads; but, for mine own part, it was Greek to me.

Cowards die many times before their deaths

Et tu, Bruté? — Then fall, Caesar!

Cry Havoc! and let slip the dogs of war.

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears;
I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.

And here's a cool speech: People are begging Julius Caesar to stay home, for fear he will die if he goes out. They have seen visions sent to them by the gods:

Julius Caesar
The gods do this in shame of cowardice:
Caesar should be a beast without a heart,
If he should stay at home today for fear.
No, Caesar shall not: danger knows full well
That Caesar is more dangerous than he:
We are two lions litter'd in one day,
And I the elder and more terrible:-
And Caesar shall go forth.

Talk about cool

Anyway, the play isn't actually about Caesar, it's about his assassination. Brutus is the protagonist.

21 Down, 16 To Go
Next Up: As You Like It

Monday, April 13, 2009

Braid Demo

The Braid demo is out on Steam, I'd highly advise you to try it out. 15$ is quite a bit for a game like that, but I'd still encourage you to buy it. It's good to encourage new games.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Shakespeare: The Merry Wives Of Windsor

The Merry Wives Of Windsor is a trivial piece of nothing. There's a legend that Shakespeare was specially requested to write a play to continue the life of Sir John Falstaff, and this play has the feeling of something written for a motive other than writing something great.

The play may be the first occurrence of the phrase "The world is my oyster". It has a different tone than we see it today, though:
"Why, then the world's mine oyster,
Which I with sword will open."
That is to say, "the world will be my source of money, which I'll get through violence."

20 Down, 17 To Go
Next Up: Julius Caesar

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Sniper Up Next For TF2: Predictions

The Sniper update is next for TF2. This doesn't adhere precisely to my rule that the least played class gets updated. Sniper is only the second least played class, after the spy, according to the TF2 stats page.*

Anyway, the thing that I'm interested are the other aspects of the update they're hinting at.

"It's actually shaping up to be the largest TF2 update yet, with multiple new maps and a bunch of gameplay tweaks. In addition, we've got another update in the works that should be done before the Sniper, and that one will include some new content for all classes."
I'm assuming that the "new maps" include the dual-cart mode, which seems like it would be a lot of fun. I'm hoping the "gameplay tweaks" means "demo nerf", since I hate demomen. My crazy prediction for the "new content for all classes" is female character models/voices. Otherwise, they wouldn't necesarily have new content for all classes.

I have no predictions for the weapons; I'm so bad at aiming, it doesn't matter what the alternate rifle is.
*The stats page is on the fritz for the moment**, so that may not be true.
**I assume that the stats are messed up, since it's reporting that the sniper's SMG is the third largest damage generator of the game.