A World of Nightmares, A World of Fears – A Night with Inside

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Playdead’s Inside opens on a bleak night in the woods. Rain pours down as you, the player, guide a young boy to safety from those looking for him. In the brief moments where I have failed to evade capture, those hunting me have not hesitated to kill or send in the dogs. Strangling the life out of the boy, tearing him to pieces, and other times shooting him as if he poses a threat. Why are these government agents so angry, efficient, and deadly? Why does the boy’s life have no value, in the world of Inside, unless he is dead?

In the midst of the tension of evasion and escape, developer Playdead showcases a subtle technical prowess. For example, the rain storm that immerses the opening of the game naturally comes to an end. If you look in the background of the pictures below, you’ll see how the boy has moved through the storm to the point where the clouds are diminishing.

 

The limited color palette provides for some striking visuals. I love how the game uses natural light to highlight scenes and immerse the player deeper into the overall tone of the game.

Inside also cleverly uses light in it’s puzzles. My favorite so far (not pictured), being an unseen light overhead moving back and forth. As the light hits a pipe, the light bends around it, forcing the player to move in order not to get caught. It is as if Playdead is having a silent conversation with the player, dance with the light and death will not become you.

I have so many questions about the brutal world of Inside. My biggest question right now is: By the way the camera is positioned, is something watching me? I’ll keep playing to find out. But first, let’s end with something cheerful, shall we.

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Don’t Make Me Go To Sleep

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I didn’t want to go to sleep last night.

My eyes burned. My body was telling me that it was time to recharge, but I didn’t want to.

The night before, I hadn’t slept the greatest. Had a dream where my family was at Disneyland. We were having a good time at the park. Somehow though, Disneyland twisted into a Nazi concentration camp. My dream was filled with dread and despair. And then things got worse when the head of the camp decided that I was going to be his new best friend. He tortured me.

Woke up with my heart pounding. I had no recollection of how I was tortured but instead had a deep sense that it had been awful. I didn’t sleep well after that, my dream had felt too real.

Where did the dream come from? What terrible combination of consumed media propelled my mind into such a nightmarish void? I haven’t read any accounts of torture in at least a few years since I read Unbroken. My family and I haven’t even visited a Disney park together.

I’m also not sure how Disneyland became a concentration camp. Maybe, for some parents, that is what Disney feels like?

Be Prepared: Bring Your Own Laptop

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A few weeks ago, a potential consultant dropped by the office wanting to introduce himself and his work.

Him: “Good morning. I’m so-and-so. I have a meeting with so-and-so. Do you have something I can plug into the TV and access Dropbox with? I want to be able to show my work.”

Me: “Sure. I’ll be able to help you with that.”

My boss came into the conference room at this point, shut the door, and started the meeting. I went back to my desk and proceeded to unplug my laptop for this person to use. Figured I could sacrifice an hour of not working, right? As I was about to unplug my first cable, I thought, “Why should I give up my laptop when this person is clearly not prepared for this meeting?” So, I did nothing.

The meeting moved along and there was no further mention of needing a device to look at work samples.

Side Note: I work in a visual profession. Not bringing visual items to look over = a massive mistake.

Got me thinking that when you come for a meeting, you need to be prepared. You need to bring your own device to showcase your own work; need to bring work that makes you look amazing. Being prepared puts a spotlight on the fact that you value the other person’s time and understand what is needed to put your best foot forward.

Scar, in the Lion King, sang it best, “Be prepared!”

Titanfall 2

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The titan has fallen.

Titanfall 2 is an incremental upgrade/step forward for the Call of Duty formula. Mashing together the tried and tired Call of Duty fried pie shell with the filling of a boy and his robot story. This results in taking the best parts of Mirror’s Edge, the parkour, and putting that gameplay mechanic together with lots of shooting and emotional robot storytelling.

The level design is nothing to text your best friend over. While I found the overall gameplay and design enough to keep me moving forward, I did get bored. Bored enough to try and break the game by playing on easy/regular (I’d alternate), pushing through the levels without killing anyone. Once I figured I could power through a level, especially towards the end of the game, I would just run until the next checkpoint kicked in. Why battle through tons of enemies and bullet-spongy robots when I could move the “story” forward?

There are moments where Titanfall 2 shines. Moments where I loved being in a gigantic robot mowing down the masses of enemy troops. But those moments of joy were fleeting. As hard as the developers tried to shake up the Call of Duty formula, Titanfall 2 still felt like Call of Duty 1.1.

I’m happy I played the game.

SIDE BAR: My son kept telling me that it looked like I was playing Destiny. Speaking of Bungie, Destiny, with gigantic robots you can call down from the heavens, would be sweet. Get on that, Bungie.

Pew, pew, pew. My robot died. I didn’t cry. Game Over.

3/5 – A fun distraction that you can now pick up for $5. 

Title: Titanfall 2
Developer: Respawn Entertainment
Platform: PS4, Xbox One, Windows
Reviews on: PS4

Mission Completed

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Wednesday night, Tabitha and I got another shot at watching Mission: Impossible – Fallout. Now where were we… oh yeah, in the bathroom!

Munching on Twizzlers, alone in the theater, Tab and I watched as Superman and Tom Cruise continued their BMW funded frenemy adventure. I was reminded that my most favorite types of movies are movies that allow you to click off your brain and escape for awhile. Movies that allow you to travel to exotic lands, drive really fast, and play front row witness to insane stunts.

My most favorite part of Mission: Impossible – Fallout is that Tom Cruise does every stunt you see on screen. Stunts such as:

  • Driving a motorcycle, super fast, through the streets of Paris.
  • Driving a boxy BMW, not as fast, through the streets of Paris, with your friends. (I think Tom Cruise was secretly auditioning for the next The Fast and the Furious movie. SPOILER ALERT: Tom Cruise turns out to be the bad guy in Fast 9.)
  • Running everywhere; Running all over the place.
  • Jumping from rooftop to rooftop.
  • Running again, because Maverick still misses Goose and this is how he pays penance.

By the end of the movie, Tom Cruise hops into a helicopter. Turns out he can fly a helicopter, for real (see video below). There is something about knowing that when Tom does something in the Impossible series that it is him.

SIDE BAR: Makes one wonder if Tom made a pact with the Devil to look forever young and be able to survive any stunt he tries. In exchange for these amazing abilities, he has to believe/preach aliens.

Tab and I had fun completing our mission to watch Mission: Impossible – Fallout. Summer action movies are the best. Especially when Tom Cruise and Superman, mortal frenemies, are involved.

Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle – Versus Mode

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Wyatt and I just discovered the versus mode in Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle. The versus mode, for those who do not know, unlocks all character skills while pitting players against one another. Powered up mayhem ensues with each 15 to 20 minute match.

We’ve enjoyed strategically moving about the board while blowing each other away in hilarious fashion. Our match conversations are often full of trash talking while others are completely silent.

SILENT = SERIOUS!

I cannot recommend this mode enough. Reminds me of something that I would have poured hours into in high school. Our discovery of versus mode has breathed new life into Kingdom Battle for my family. If you have the game, grab a friend and check it out.

Mission Failed

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Tab and I were excited this past weekend, we were going to go on a date!

While Wyatt went to go spend quality time with his grandparents, we drove to one of my favorite local theaters. Where we grabbed some popcorn, Mountain Dew (on tap!), and made our way to our recliner seats.

The previews featured some nightmare-inducing crud known as Slender Man (no thanks). And then our feature presentation began, Mission: Impossible – Fallout.

I’m not sure how far we got into the movie before the mission went south. Could have been thirty minutes to an hour before the sound cut out.

Up until this point, Tom Cruise had jumped out of a plane and was now making his way through a throbbing techno music infused party. That’s when the fight occurred in the bathroom. Superman decided to help Tom Cruise out.

The vocal and background music track cut out first. All Tab and I could hear were various grunts and bathroom tiles breaking from the fighting. One of those deals where you hoped it was just a momentary issue but knew something big, technically, had happened. The movie soon froze-in-frame and the lights came up. A major part of the theater sound system had blown. No more Tom; No more crazy mission.

The ultimate buddy flick.

Walking back out into the summertime blaze, Tab and I felt gypped. Mission: Impossible – Fallout had been fantastic ride up until the technical failure. We had been strapped into a most excellent rollercoaster only to have the ride malfunction and our tickets refunded. Bummer.

The backyard swimming pool ended up calling us for a bit. Nothing like floating around minus a kid making waves. Got to watch the thunderheads, off in the distance, grow and move about.

With our weekend date a sorta bust, we hope to join Tom Cruise and Superman again soon. We can’t wait to see how the movie ends.