Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A Philosophical Discussion of Limbo.

Limbo is a video game that uses physics and environmental puzzles as obstacles for a small boy stuck in the otherworldly world of Limbo. Limbo of course being the fictitious edge of hell as coined from the wonder mind of Dante Alighieri. This game portrays this world through pure imagery and wonderfully familiar yet disturbingly distant imagery to the extent it seems the hell dimension and our own dimension are mixing space in the crossroads known as limbo.


First of all I've heard the boy searching for his baby sister story before...i don't how they came to that conclusion unless the developers wrote it online somewhere. the fact of the matter is the game tells nothing from where the boy came from or who he is. There is no back story whatsoever so here I'm going to go into my interpretation from pure imagery. Limbo uses pure imagery and a title to portray this games story. I feel it was left open ended for our own interpretations instead of a set story like most games of this day do. All we have is the title "Limbo" and the games black and white hi contrast dreary dreamlike imagery. First we have a nameless protagonist little boy who  awakens in a forest, thats it. after a few trials with bear traps and a giant spider he finds other children that well are trying to kill him or running away from him. Since everyone he encounters except for the giant spider are also children, this makes me think they are not children at all that maybe when these people died their lost souls are portrayed in their purest form, as children. but of course some are still hostile and some are just afraid. Maybe the hostile one have been there for a while and are just plain evil souls. and the ones who run and the countless dead bodies are the ones who are kind like you but think you are one of the hostiles. But the dead bodies...if you are already dead how can they die again...well maybe limbo is like a half dead maybe there is hope of coming back. or maybe the dead ones suffer a fate in hell.

Our Character is a nameless boy who just awakens in limbo. in the fashion that he runs and casually looks around it does seem that he is looking for something or someone or just plain trying to find a way out of the dangerous forest. After a while the forest starts to blend into rooftops and hotel signs and just plain industry. in a mindbogglingly heartwarming scene he finds a small girl picking flowers he looks as if he knows her and just before he gets to her a deadly parasite attaches itself to his head and heads him to certain death. He outsmarts the parasite and makes his way back to the girl but it seems where she was just picking flowers i just more lonely dead industry like everything else around him. The world seems to be unstable its shifting. I'm going to take a break to breathe here, the girl I feel is someone close to him who has also died. I think they are a couple and old couple. Maybe the wife died and the husband died there after and she had gotten a head start. maybe she was lucky and made it through all the deadly environment of limbo...maybe she isn't even there and the world is just fucking with his head and trying to get him to follow his heart to certain death. But later after some seriously mindfucking environmental obstacles he finally finds her he walks up behind her and she notices him with a gasp. end credits.

She was there after all. I do think they both died and not to far apart from one another. they could have been a young couple but they seems to have age to me...just a hunch i guess. Again in this limbo everyone is a child no matter their age. there is no time so there is no age. Just like in Lost's sideways world...everyone is there no matter when they died because there is no now... per say. I do still think they died maybe a couple of years apart since the girl got such a head start on the boy. Maybe he can get her out of limbo...maybe it was trials of reincarnation and now they can come back as babies and live together again and find each other once more. They beat it...they beat hell, they beat limbo.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Interactive Art-form and the Industry that holds it back

First off, games are art plain and simple. No matter if you actually like or play video games or not, they are still art. Art isn't an opinion, its not subjective. The definition of art is the creation of something through a medium, games fall in that category.

That said, It's Industry and the extreme competition not just between the artists but between the technology and the companies that own it. One problem that holds games back from being on the same pedestal as movies and music is how fast they go out of print. A game that came out 2 years ago or longer is really hard to find, you have to find a used copy and sometimes you can't even find that. When there are amazing trilogies like Mass Effect but its hard to find a new copy of Mass Effect 1 is really discouraging. When there are movies they are still printing box sets of like star wars and the godfather and those movies came out over 30 years ago, and I have trouble finding a decent copy of a game that came out less than two years ago. So games need to be more acceptable for it to be recognized to the art community as a true form of art.

Secondly the industry itself is far too competitive with its technology. PS3 versus Xbox 360 versus Nintendo Wii versus PC and so on. There are some games that are exclusively issued to be only played on one console as well as for PC. No one says the Godfather has to be only played on a Sony DVD player and if you want to play it on a Philips you have to buy the Philips copy of that movie, no its all compatible. All games are on DVD format(except PS3 which is blu-ray but that's different, the console still plays dvds) Its just their licensed to be only played on the console that its meant to be played on. In order to play Heavy Rain I have to buy a PS3 and until I do I won't access to one of the decades best games. This very competitive capitalist system is detrimental to games as an art-form in my opinion.

And then on top of all of this we have publishers that publish games that don't even work right just for face value. I know the film and music industry makes crap movies and music sometimes but at least you can still watch and listen to them. Its not the movie keeps pausing or the cd keeps ejecting itself. These games have severe technical issues and still make to the shelves to be bought be people that don't no shit about games, and thats what they prey on, casual games that see "Dirt Monster Extreme Basher...with Tits!" and think ""Bo I Gots to have me one of these!! for 60 bucks! I love America!"

Lastly we all know, well at least the ones with brains know that the best movies and music comes from the underground scene of Independent studios with actual artistic ambition. The same goes for music, the Indie and Underground music scene have the best and most artistically interesting music out there. In the game world there is no underground. Sure the developer have genuine artistic ambition but they still have to go for household name publishing companies to ever get into the stores. We don't find games shops like indie record stores with garage made indie games that still have modern technology. its not like the indie bands are still using tin cans to record, unless they are extreme purists. I think in order for more artistically interesting games to come out we need more of an underground of Indie developers. To have that major graphical engines and the software for making new engines should be more accable. It needs to be just as accessible as Final Cut Pro or the Adobe Suite so more artists can tap into this Interactive art form, I know I'd like to.

In Conclusion it may sound like I hate games when in fact I am a hardcore gamer that loves a good story driven campaign and I love a good multiplayer its just the shark filled gaming industry I have a problem with but really te same goes for hollywood and the mainstream music scene but thats all gaming has got, is the sharks. We need a Indie gaming scene that is one bandwagon I would be happy to jump on.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

A Banjo and a Brand New Car!

Indie, short for Independent, is a music genre that is still in the underground but still insanely popular among that underground. I see people out at normal jobs that just listen to the radio and listen to the next big thing and still haven't heard of the biggest of the indie bands i.e. modest mouse, the shins, belle and sebastian. but these bands are insanely popular among the indie underground... but not only that indie and folk music is all over corporate consumerism. Just about every car, soap, phones, clothes, bank, tax products have a crooning voice and a banjo in the background. This is odd to me because this music isn't on the radio and the people that watch all this tv have no idea that the music in these commercials are real bands with real albums and real followings.

I guess the reason that these underground bands with virturally no radio play and no video play on mtv is all over the commercials is because the bands that are infecting the radio don't need the money and the indie bands do...well less than lil wayne does of course. I'll just keep listening to my miles davis cds and new the arcade fire and drink PBR because its good, not cause its the next big thing.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Hardcore: The Unseen Safe House

A bare room with nothing in it but space in the morning. This room would most likely smell of old people or whoever used it last, maybe a birthday party of some sort. The room later that night after all the ruckus would smell of body sweat. The air would feel dense and humid and lonely once again, after all the ruckus. The everyday passerby sees the show as noise pollution. Some see it as a place where their kids would learn about fucking and drugs. This is the people that we consider to be the bad crowd. We want to keep our kids in school and church. If they aren't accepted it is their own fault for being so non-social. They use sarcasm and cynical remarks and it drives the normal kids away, this is why they are not accepted. These hardcore punk shows are just their path to self destruction, prison and suicide. That's what its told in the above ground anyway.

The hardcore scene has been alive, dead, and fighting for surviving in the minds of the American youth since the late seventies. It has always been what most people see as the junkies. Music that the criminals listen to and make. Tattooed low-lives that do nothing but scream angry songs about murder. This is so far from the truth its insane. Hardcore and punk shows have been the true safe haven of the non-socially accepted for years. The sad thing is that most teens are socially unaccepted. The even sadder thing is that allot of these kids never even hear of hardcore and think hardcore is just another word for metal and the only metal bands they have heard of is the bigger bands such as Slipknot and Disturbed which is told to them as the devil's music and such which is only a selling point for bands and most of the "nu" metal bands are just as corporate as the groups they claim to be against, but that's another story.

I'm not going to get into the history of hardcore and all that jazz. Its not the time for that. I really want this post to be more on a personally level, my own experience in the hardcore scene of the early 2000's. For me I found this music scene all own my own, with the help of some gracious friends and mostly self experience. My parents were and still are avid free will baptists and do not really listen to any music at all. I was picked on from kindergarten through eighth grade and didn't fit in at all. I didn't relate to my parents either (even though I was afraid of what hell was told to me to be and I went to church on a regular basis). I went to my first show with my friend Adrian in early 2002. The show was Zao, Unearth, and Stretch Armstrong. I saw a sort of unity in the crowd. This laid back yet energetic crowd that seemed to know each other. The bands were fine with just hanging out and drinking beers with the fans, but not as rock stars but as nearly best buds. I've never seen anything like it.

At hardcore shows it differs from rock shows and metal shows like a Pantera concert because even though some people drink, its not like everyone just go for getting plastered and acting a complete asshole and fucking some under aged slut and all her friends. You don't have to worry about some long haired drunk fuckhead trying to mosh. Rock shows seem to be these dingy nasty "sex, drugs, and rock n roll." Hardcore is "high fives, stage dives and hardcore." I have been to a few other genre shows but hardcore is where music seems to matter the most. Where music is the key ingredient, rather than just background noise to getting drunk and hitting on chicks.

Not until hardcore really did mix with metal and some of the more metal heads came out thinking it was just the same thing. The ideas clash and down hardcore went to just violent slug fests between the rival moshers. Boyfriends kick the asses of drunk old men. Straight Edgers take offence to some guy spilling been in their faces. See even the more anger fulled tough guy hardcore did seem to have this positive underline to their shows and show respect at the shows even though it was allot different from the more punk influenced "posi" hardcore of the mid to late eighties. Don't get me wrong I fucking love a great metal band as long as they are extremely talented and take the time to really think out songs. I'm really picky with metal. Bands like Between the Buried and Me who originated around the hardcore scenes of Raleigh now have tons of disrespectful drunks going to the shows and their shows get very violent and allot of fights break because of the clashing.

But now we go back, posi is seeming to be the new cool. I'm fine with that. When I think of a hardcore show I think of the good times, the sing-alongs. I think of my friends, the smell of sweat and salt. I think of how the outsiders don't get it. I think of how we are looked on as the junkies. I think of how I am not that junky. I think of how non of us are. I think of morality and respect, and how these virtues are avid at our shows. I think of how open minded everyone is, how no matter who you are, you are one of us as long as you have fun and show respect. I think of how I see people for the first time in their short lives, being themselves.

Thank you for listening.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Why Don’t I Have A “H.U.D.” In My Eyesight?

People sure do rely on the statistics too much. I myself was once guilty of this. The Statistics are not an accurate measurement of human nature. Actually no measurement is accurate. We are not computers. We do not speak in binary. We cannot be measured in numbers as a robot can be configured.

This brings me to my meat. My big daddy. My mother of pearl. My real sausage ball. I was told that statistics say that media violence affects people as a whole and not all people but as a whole. They said this is a fact because we can see it in numbers its something we can measure. I’m sorry but the human mind and actions cannot be measured. We are such a diverse culture on earth that nothing is constant. Everyone knows to have a successful science experiment you have to have a constant!

The even more specific of topics here is video games. I play “first-person shooters” or FPS video games. These games are very violent even with out blood (which usually gets a teen rating rather than mature). They help me with aggression and work stress and stress in the world at all! I have a lot of friends that enjoy the FPS. If this statistical accusation was true then myself among many other of my friends would be trained cold blooded killers that killed without mercy or remorse. This is not true. We are not cold blooded killers and I know of millions upon billions of earthlings FPS players who are not cold blooded killers but love to play these wonderfully violent video games.

Somebody once told me that what we did in videos games is what we would do if there were no consequence. Of fucking course it would be! Now let me explain what “no consequence” really means. No consequence doesn’t mean just no rules of government. I would still have a conscience, and a gut for morality without government and a respect for mankind. How do you think government got started. Human kind figured out really quick that killing everyone just for the sake of killings didn’t do very much for pro-creation. No consequence goes deeper than that. Without consequence means we have a world where people didn’t really die. It means when we die we get to start over and over and a recent checkpoint or manual save. It means that if we get hurt it only takes a bit from our health meter and we can replenish it by eating first-aid kits.

This of course is not reality nor is it even possible. It is only possible in the virtual safe haven of video game violence. Remember the gun was invented before the television, VCR, DVD player, and the X-box.