A Note for the Slow

Once upon a time, I wrote something I’m rather proud of.  Nobody Cares About Your Stupid Copyright Disclaimers.  It was funny, and charming, and informative, and it made the world a better place.  I just read it right now, and it brought a big smile to my face.  Man I rule.

So, anyways, point is, I wrote something great.  A humorous post calling out dumb people on the internet who think that claiming they didn’t mean to infringe copyright somehow exonerates them from infringing copyright while also explaining some of the basics about how copyright works.  It is a thing of beauty.  If you haven’t read it yet, you should.  It will make your life better.

People find that post.  Problem is, people don’t read that post.  See, for some people, this presses their hot button.  So they read the title, assume the content I wrote from that, then head right to the comment section as if I’m going to bother reading what they have to say when they clearly didn’t give me the same respect.

Todd just left a comment.  Todd’s one of those people.  I could respond to that, but I’d rather just call it out and mock it.  I’m assuming Todd just didn’t read the post.  I’m being generous in doing so.  Because the alternative is that Todd was just too dumb to comprehend what he was reading.  But just imagine what was going through Todd’s head there.  Aside from empty space.  Dude just read a title, than had some thought in his mind he absolutely thought the world needed to know.  Never mind that he had no comprehension of the actual content of that post.  Never mind that the post itself was in support of the very concepts he seems to think it’s arguing against.  Dude was so bloody full  of himself he thought he knew what it was all about without even reading it, because todd has all the attention span of a retarded goldfish.

So, I know time doesn’t come free.  I know it takes time to read something.  But please, if you’re going to take the time to leave a content, at least read the post first.  Otherwise you end up looking really dumb.

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A Point for Let’s Plays

So video let’s plays have officially become a thing now.  Just now.  Right here when I said it.  That made it so.

Anyways, once upon a time, I used to watch quite a bit of them.  Followed a few guys.  It was interesting, watching new perspectives on games I already knew, seeing someone go through a game they new so well, being introduced to whole new games I wouldn’t have experienced before.  And part of that was getting to know the people who played them.  The ones that were worth watching all had a good personality, and were able to bring something of themselves to the experience.

As I went through life, my time started coming at more of a premium, and I drifted away in favor of other things.

Yet now, as I become a stranger in a strange land, having next to no social network in this weird place I just moved to, I find myself coming back to them.  Specifically, the same people I used to watch.  And while part of it’s for entertainment value, another part of it feels kind of like catching up with old friends.  Coming back to the personalities I spent so much time with.  And it may be a little sad, but, being alone in a completely new and uncertain environment, that’s a really fulfilling feeling right now.  With as much personality as the good lpers put into these things, perhaps there’s something to it.

The Light in the Dark Souls

Last time, on Running out of Titles for Dark Souls we followed up on beating possibly the hardest enemy I’ve ever faced, Manus, by taking on the easiest boss in the game, Pinwheel.  Felt a bit like shifting without a clutch.  After overcoming that challenge way back in Oolacile, is there anything left in Lordran that can stretch us?  Well, what do you say we find out?

After emerging from Pinwheel’s lair, I find myself surrounded by a deep darkness, the likes of which we’ve not seen before.  The only light I can see comes from those prism stones littered among the path, and the occasional message expressing dismay.  “I can’t take this…”  “Need hope.” “Despair.”  Looks like the other chosen ones have been beaten down by this place.  I may have gotten myself into something, here.

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I follow the prism stones along until I find out where I am.  The Tomb of the Giants.  I’ve heard of this place.  Not anything good about it.

Red Metal had left me some advice last time, for this situation.  Following it means doing something I find really distasteful, but… well, I have to keep moving forward.

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The Sunlight Maggot.  It lead my friend, Solaire, to his doom.  With luck, it might save me from mine.

Oh man, nobody’s going to be able to recognize me without that gargoyle helmet.  It’s like I’m wearing a whole new face.  It does emit light, however.  And light’s what I need.  I’m not about to dive into an enemy-strewn underground cavern without being able to see.  Especially not when I can see the glow of some eyes just a bit away.

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It illuminates this skull, directly to my left.  Guess they weren’t kidding with the name of this place.  I smash it just in case.  I’ve no inclination to give respect to the dead when I’ve died so much more.  There’s a bit of light coming from the lava in the area beyond.  Not enough to illuminate this place, of course.  I think I recognize that, though.  Am I looking at the Demon Ruins there?

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The glowing eyes I saw earlier belonged to this giant skeleton.  I’m a little disappointed.  I’d fought one of these already, a long, long time ago, back in the graveyard by Firelink Shrine.  I had a divine weapon then.  I never changed my equipment after fighting Pinwheel.  This could be trouble.

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The giant skeleton places one hand behind his blade and slams it down.  I slip to the side of his strike, and cut into him twice.  This straightens him up, and then he falls apart.  I wait for him to reform, ready to switch over to the Silver Knight Spear.  I watch his bones closely, ready to enter my inventory the moment they start quivering closer together.  I keep waiting.  And waiting.  The moment never comes.  I didn’t kill him with a divine weapon, but I still killed him for good.  Huh.  Were these guys powered by some different necromancy?  Did killing Pinwheel earlier cut off the skeleton’s regeneration ability, somehow?  Was it that I smashed the giant, non-animated skeleton earlier?  No idea.  But I like the results.

The path leads downwards, curving back and forth.  It takes me past another giant skeleton.  A dead one.  Well, you know what I mean.  I smash it for good measure.  The next curve puts me in front of another enemy giant skeleton.  It cuts down at me.  I block it, knocking it back, then cut into it twice.  Like the last one, it doesn’t recover.

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There’s a corpse trapped in the ribcage of another giant behind him.  I pick up some souls from the corpse, the take a moment to wonder how exactly it got there.

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It’s Not You, It’s Me

Years ago.  I made the decision to beat all my games, or come as close as I was able to.  This turned out to be a pretty big undertaking.  Like I said, it’s been years, I’ve been going by console generation, and I’m still working through my collection from two generations ago.  Since then, I have played hundreds of games.  Beaten hundreds of games.  And as much as I have impeccable taste, there are still some bad ones that slipped through.  Sure, there were a few I wasn’t actually able to beat.  There were a handful I couldn’t bear to go all the way through.  There were a couple I called completed just because I technically saw everything the game had to offer, and couldn’t bear to truly complete it.

Even so, in the time I’ve been taking on this quest, I have beaten nearly every game I’ve owned.  Even the horrible, miserable, foul games that made me question my faith in a kind and loving God forevermore, I endured, and I conquered.  I have defeated Fur Fighters.  Overcome Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub Zero.  Thoroughly plumbed the depths of Wrestlemania X8.  I have seen some of the darkest parts of the world of video games.

Why, then, is it Baldur’s Gate, one of the most highly regarded games out there, that I just can’t bear to force myself through any longer?

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There are a lot of people who like this game, for very good reason.  Even people who, like myself, never played it in its proper era.  People who love the story, get really into the world, even people who enjoy all the prep-work the game’s combat is based on, all things I’d normally enjoy myself.

But in trying to figure out why people liked the game when I just could not, reading over what people were saying about it felt like I had somehow ended up with a completely different game than anyone else.  The world that people loved, in what time I played I just saw standard fantasy forests and villages, with no more details than you could see anywhere else.  The plot?  They had some interesting things with the iron crisis, but I cleared that up and I never got the story past the base that some jerk killed my dad and wanted to kill me.  Both of those could have become something good, but I’ll never know, because neither of them managed to go anywhere in the first ten hours I spent playing the game.  Neither did the gameplay.  I was a mage.  I had one spell slot.  I could cast one spell a day, then I was completely useless.  First level D&D 3.5E was always really weak on the first level, and that stretches out so long here.

I’d love to jump into the middle of this.  I’d love to see the game everyone else enjoys so much.  This is one of the favorite games of a great swath of people, and there has to be good reason for that.  It has to turn into something great later on.

But as much as I enjoy a good slow-paced story, 10 hours without giving me anything is a little too much.  I don’t know if I’ve ever played a game that’s so slow about everything.  I spent ten hours with this great, wondrous, award winning game, and did not come across a single hook.  This game is amazing.  I was bored out of my skull.  Everyone loves it.  I could not go on.  I have finished so much worse, and I will likely never beat this game, or play its sequel.

It goes to show, the critical success, the popularity, it’s no guarantee that you’ll find the experience enjoyable.  People like different things.  And that’s a beautiful thing.  And sometimes, it’s okay not to like something.  Even when the whole world disagrees with you.

Visual Novel Theatre-Fantasia: Realm of Thanos

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Fantasia: Realm of Thanos.  Here’s a visual novel that owns some really odd online real estate.  Most of the visual novel market, as least as far as I’ve seen, doesn’t pay much mind to it, but on certain segments, certain forums?  People are absolutely fanatical for it.  There’s something that draws people there.  What is it, exactly?  Is it that it really emphasizes its anime-style bad boys, and that’s just what all these people are into?  Is it that the main character’s situation, being a stranger in a world completely foreign to them, strongly resonates with today’s disaffected youth?  Does being pushed to enter the world of romance and finding all your options to be total jerks and losers feel so familiar to so many people?  In our special, exploratory edition of Visual Novel Theatre, I pack my best shorts, make myself a sandwich, and head deep into the bushes of Fantasia to find out.

In Fantasia: Realm of Thanos, you’re behind the wheel of Hammercles Von Chunkmeier, or whatever weak name you decided to give your main character instead, a 15 year old girl whose parents died in a plane crash and who apparently has literally no one else involved in her life at all.   So, you’re going through your hard knock life, doing whatever things it is that 15 year old girls do, when all of a sudden some random woman shows up, and tells you that there’s another world out there and it’s going to be destroyed unless you go out and get some loving from a guy whose life sucks as much as yours does.  Of course, you agree to that right away, because this wouldn’t be much of a story without it.  So off you’re whisked to the land of Fantasia, to go all big pimpin with four messed up mammajammas in the hopes that one of them will love you enough to produce a magic key that will save the land from the invading realm of Thanos somehow.  I don’t even know.  I think the author lost a little steam there.  Anyways, that’s the gist of it.  New world, gotta save it by getting some guy with a screwed up life to love you.

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Fantasia ROT is a homegrown effort by AzureXTwilight, and it’s obvious the author put a lot of thought into it.  Well, into certain parts of it at least.  There’s fifteen endings, plenty of branching paths, and a lot of character intertwining.  I do want to lead with this.  Whatever I may say about the rest of the visual novel, that’s something that always stands.  It feels like I’ve been given a little peek into an imaginary world that the author’s been spending a lot of time in, and that’s a really special thing.  It reminds me a lot of all my own imaginary worlds, stories, and people that just never made it out of my head.  That’s something that’s just so great out of all these amateur and indie releases we’re seeing now in the information age, that is lets people share these experiences that would normally be locked away, so valuable to one person yet invisible to all else, and that is truly on great display here.

That said, I didn’t like it.

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Everyone’s Dead in Dark Souls

Last time on Decently Drifting Dark Souls, we stabbed a skeleton in the dick!  Yeah, yeah, I know, progress through the game, getting ever closer to saving the world, all that stuff that’s kind of important too, but I don’t know that there’s anything else we got that’s ever going to beat stabbing a skeleton in the dick.  If you ever have the chance to try that, I would highly recommend it.

Anyways, we kicked some bony butt, flipped some switches, ran across a bridge, then passed through a fog gate.  That’s where we left off last time.

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The gate opens us into a big ol’ dark catacomb.  Aside from the candles keeping the wall corpses warm, I can’t see very far ahead of me.  I hug the wall to my right, then start walking along.

Before long, I spot an opening in the wall.  An arrow flies out of it and strikes me in the shoulder, to make sure I noticed.  Now, the fact that there’s something in there that needs killing would normally be motivation enough, but the developers of the game saw fit to sweeten the deal by highlighting that there’s treasure inside.  There’s a path leading out from here, so this is definitely a side trip, but I think I’ve earned myself a brief detour.

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I head in the door, than take a brief drop.  Immediately, I’m set upon by a few skeletons, one right behind me already swinging his sword, two more dropping arrows at me.  I block the blade, but take two arrows in the back. Obviously this isn’t a situation that can continue, so I roll out of the way.  The swordsman follows me, as does another arrow, both of which I block.  I pierce through the skeleton before me twice, taking another arrow as I do, then I book it for the staircase on the other side of the room.

The staircase ends up in a long, wide, dark hallway with a statue of some sort at the end of it.  He’s hidden in the darkness at first, but partway through is a large skeleton.  I don’t even stop as he strides forth, piercing him in the ankle before leaping away from his counter attack.

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I’m unsure as to how damaging he might be, and don’t particularly want to test his power out.  He’s not strong enough to pose any threat of getting past my guard, however.  At the same time, I counterjab into him several times and barely chip away at his life.  He’s got some strong defenses, at the very least.  We might be in for a drawn-out fight.

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I don’t have the patience for that right now.  I hit him in the face with a fireball.  He topples into a pile of bones.

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There’s a casket set before a statue of a mother with her child.  Inside the casket is a corpse with the Darkmoon Séance Ring, which lets me equip more spells.  The ring’s description claims that it’s worn by followers of the deity Gwyndolin, who is the last remaining deity in Anor Londo.  Yet, I had met Gwynevere in Anor Londo earlier.  That doesn’t match up…

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