Wednesday, April 11, 2018

First Time Playing Fortnite

I had to try it as I always enjoyed players versus players games, but overall the reason I tried it was after seeing one content developer that I patron "GameOver Jesse" playing it with one of my favorite streamers "MissClikk" and I decided to give it a go since I got a new CPU about a week ago; I thought let's have some fun.

Fortnite definite plays with some retro values mixed with the modern concept of micro-transactions as a form of game investment and revenue; essentially you as a player can get better ammo if you invest the money, but also there is no money enough to invest in mental peace into not throwing your control or fist to the screen, when you know you got killed within seconds of landing into the scenario.

The gameplay is almost intuitive, is really to understand at least on the pvp option; I haven't played the story mode yet and I have no interest at the moment, mostly because some schedule restrains. I haven't even played on teams as I haven't found anyone to stick with yet and I have enjoy a little bit the solo missions in the battle royal, it gives me the opportunity to explore the scenario and check where the random items can be generated and to see if there is a pattern between the different houses or edification's around the terrain.

In the short moments I had played so far, I haven't checked if there is a disparity between the levels of the players but with some practice I had learned to avoid much of the other players and reach from position 91 to 27th in matters of hours but still there are some difference between who can purchase content and doesn't, such as getting better defenses or certain items but I am probably wrong as it was a quick observation from the couple of times I had played it.

Some of the items such as the gliders give me some curiosity, but I haven't really check on their functionality and it's worth investing into them, maybe I can try purchasing them later whenever I feel more secure with the game environment; another thing worth to mention is that Fortnite at least in my opinion is not worth playing with a keyboard and mouse.

Playing around with a controller is just easier, not only towards moving the camera but aiming; you can change in between numeric pad of the keyboard and the controller to alternate better towards the arsenal of weapons. I probably wouldn't say which controller is better? I only used so far with the PS4 control and it worked quite well, probably the Xbox control could be smoother during the gameplay, but I have no interest to buying it.

What is with the graphics, they are mostly low level poly's; and they can run quite well with a computer that is not built for gaming and the sounds aren't exactly immersing in the experience; at least for me they remind me of the early PlayStation games and the game itself reminds me of that, which is one of the reasons I find it quite cute and charming and that it can be accessed without buying anything it gives an extra appeal.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

The Multiverse and Metaphysical Aspects of Smash Brothers and Mario Galaxy Part One

The best explanation to understand Nintendo cosmology it goes that we have to see it as a multiverse, in which different planes of reality and timelines intersect with each other, and in certain moment they collide within each other. We have seen how the different realities intersect on Pokemon Sun versus Ultra Sun, in which Nintendo played with the idea that the time placement of their characters is far more complex than one linear story-line.

Sorry for the random thoughts, but within the latest entry of Smash Brothers for the Switch it make think on how the omnipotence of Master Core could be but also on how Rosalina essentially controls time and space within certain conditions, which she could be considered one of the most powerful individuals or deities within the entire franchise as within Zelda, not even the three goddess have the ability to reset an entire universe at will.

The deities as they go in the Nintendo-verse can go between a complex pantheon, each with their own different set of skills and how they interact with the people that they worship them, albeit the one deity that plays with the idea of who is overall is the Master Core, the same essences of the entire multiverse.

For been such a powerful being within the cosmology of the game, the Master Core itself is quite passive and is essence is sealed within some of his vessels such as tabuu and the hands. Yet, within such power the Core don't do anything, is much as his emissaries have the real power to shape the universe as their own will.

Is interesting to see Smash Brothers because it's the game that can tie the different gaps on where the games are located, if they share their own planet but at this moment we all can infer the characters come from different universes and timelines. One reason we can see, are Twilight Princess Link versus Toon Link as one example, but also within the latest addition now we have Hylian Champion which sums the number what characters are brought and from what eras.

One idea that I see towards why the Nintendoverse is set in a multiverse, rather than the characters to be positioned on different corners of the universe, where the fluctuation of time is different as well the technological advancements is how many characters interact besides the aforementioned example; Mr. Game and Watch as well Mario are part of the same universe but they come from different eras. Also having the Core, the Hands and Tavuu, expose there are individuals or beings powerful than Rosalina and the Lumas.

We had seen Rosalina and the Lumas reseting time and space, to recreate the failing universe into a new one; leaving a few individuals with the previous memories at the end Galaxy only to have some new adventures after the destruction of the previous universe. Is quite a catastrophic event for just one universe, but what if the destruction of the Mario's universe created a chain event that even brought Breath of the Wild as a new universe for the Zelda franchise?

Think about it? Is not weird, as the strings of the cosmos tend to be related and a chain reaction in one universe could lead the demise or creation of another one; so if there is a series of events that unfold a mass destruction there should be a balance and life could be born between the chaos. Is so weird to think how can one event could affect others almost as a butterfly effect.

To be continued...

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Link’s Awakening is a Retell of Dante’s Inferno and Purgatory

Link’s Awakening is a Retell of Dante’s Inferno and Purgatory
By: Gustavo Calvo

Koholint is Where the Dreams Live.

Let’s talk about literature a little bit, we all had on a certain point of our lives a book that has influenced our personal lives; also, there has been moment where different branches of art influence each other. Beyond, the 2010 Dante’s Inferno video game, there are other video games influenced by the classic of literature that was written in 1308.
Some of you probably heard the theory that Majora’s Mask is a retell of 1/3 of Inferno, but in reality, we can see that Majora’s Mask is one of the many games that were influenced by the narrative of the Divine comedy; Link’s Awakening is just another one but also they play with the tropes of a linear adventure that makes the player reach and defeat the ultimate evil.
The Legend of Zelda franchise until Breath of the Wild follows a linear path of adventure, similar as when Dante’s on the first chant descend into hell to find and rescue the soul of Beatrice; in theory, Dante’s journey is a journey that sets him to search enlighten, similar as Link when he set sail in the great sea to improve his body and soul.
The influences don’t need to be so direct, they can be subtle; they, can show where the creators found the inspiration. In the case of Link’s Awakening waking up ashore in Koholint Island is similar when Dante’s reach the shores of Purgatory and find himself with the task to climb the mountain of Purgatory to save the soul of his lover; in the case of Link to find an escape of the island that he is trapped.
 One of the similarities that are found in almost every Zelda game prior Breath of the Wild is the number of dungeons that are within each game, within a few exceptions the numbers that repeats the most are eight or nine; which in the game they are a necessary route to obtain Link’s source of knowledge and wake up the Wind Fish, which itself could be a mere representation of God.
The game can take a more complex turn, as through the gameplay we can see hints of an ontological paradox, which the Wind Fish let information spread around the island on how to wake him up from the slumber; but, we don’t need to go on that level of analysis of reality, that could be taken for another topic.
One interesting aspect towards the game lore is how the deal of a divine being is exposed to the player, it matches the concept of God in the Divine Comedy; albeit not towards the metaphysical representation as a trinity but rather it takes the form of a whale with wings, which seems to have a similar divine power in which his essence is everywhere on the realms he created.
The comparisons between Beatrice (Dante’s love interest) and Marin, being Link’s guide through the adventure are quite similar to the roles of Virgil in the hell part of the poem and Beatrice during the last stages of purgatory; they both represent an idea of a perfect knowledge that is almost impossible to reach, but overall, they a motivation for the hero to move forward in their quest for knowledge.
The ending of the game, is where we can see a parallelism between the ending of the epic poem as an ascension to heaven in which Dante is in perfect communion with God’s Grace and Link becoming aware of the complexity of his own existence that it could be a mere dream; one last aspect that is worth noticing is  that Marin is similar as Beatrice, both are tragic figures, that are the end their liberation is marked on the will of their own deities.

Musings on Indie Video Games

The more I delve into services such as Kickstarter or Steam, the more I find fascinating  on how the process is taken to invent something new but also to create a narrative that is not seen on mainstream video games. We can think about services such as Stream who offer a platform for indie developers, such as the case of Phil Poisson or as he was known Phil Fish who debuted on Stream with his game Fez; even if the case of Phil's can be extreme due the treatment he got by the industry and how his  public persona got handled, it's probably to think on the creation process that is just different for each developer.

Maybe the reason I started again to think about indie games, came from many times I had checked on Kickstarter that has turned into the new platform for developers to find funds for their projects but also a good way to interact with fans and get good feedback on the Beta process.

The last game I had played was Undertale, which I find really charming; is just witty as well play with the emotions of retro values; albeit looking at different projects on Kickstarter there are a new array of content, that new creators are trying to push to the general public. I have no preference to what I had seen right now and I am just essentially waiting until this upcoming Thursday when I get paid, to see any possible options I can support.

It is always interesting to see how much the developers create a relationship with potential fans, as well on how to connect with critics and people that can push their games into a more mainstream audiences. The problem with services such as Kickstarter is that there is a small limited amount to fund a campaign, which in 31 days could set a game from seeing the public light or just fade into the oblivion.

Service as Stream Greenlight offer the possibility for indie games, but also it depends on a popularity contest; it can be seen such as a tool to promote your game but still doesn't mean that there is going to be any success, it can go towards how the players perceive the games and what review he can give about the project.

Truly there has been an evolution since Web 1.0 and how video games and multimedia products are sold; we had moved beyond the forums and now we as a collective focus on websites that mine data and information to know what can work and what will fail based on marketing analysis, which at the end if it success it will give the developers some income or will destroy them financially .

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

From Koholint to Termina, Legend of Zelda Games that Deal with Existentialism

Temina (L) and Koholint (R)
These two games are the ones I see interconnected in the entire franchise, why? Not because the are set in parallel realms of existence, but because they deal with desolation, despair and death. It's interesting to notice that much of the games who are set away from Hyrule are the ones who usually contain darker themes and play towards some form of existentialism and nihilism.

It is not difficult to see some elements of nihilism in the games, mostly as they are related to an endless cycle of reincarnation and misery; yet the moments where those cycles seem to be broken are seen in Majora's Mask and Link's Awakening, those two games deal with the conception that life is completely futile and meaningless, almost is life is a mere fantasy or a dream.

Within the Link's Awakening plot, everything is set on a dream from a deity, which it could be considered as if our reality is just a mere simulation or only we exists within a dream. The postulate of the dream argument can be traced around Descartes, but the interpretation can be found towards different eras of humanity in which the question of a dream is just a mere extension of our sensuous experiences.

The interpretation of reality on Link's Awakening could be related an experience machine, a hypothetical idea of science fiction in which a machine can give the user the reality he desires; even so, there are no machines that can give the Wind Fish the reality he wants, he can still create the reality he desires; making the idea of his reality a mix of his own desires and an extension to bring someone else but also to put an end the simulation under certain parameters which in this case are the Siren's Instruments.

Majora's Mask play with another extension of reality, something that is beyond a mere dream but rather a cycle that we are stuck in "such as samsara" but with a twist that the ultimate end is entropy, that we are destined to repeat our existence over and over with minor twitches. At the end, the differences between the two games are minimal, the lands in which they are set face an ultimate extinction regards X or Y outcomes.

Termina as a land is probably the most wicked one, as there is not set for oblivion or death; is just a cycle that repeats over and over. The impossibility of not dying is the least of the horrid aspects of that world, but rather that the citizens couldn't care or are in denial about their ultimate end, because they know their lives aren't worth it is something that could creep an adult who plays the game and start analyzing the ontological topics that are offered in a subtle context could see that is not a game for children.

Maybe as an adult I had found myself more attracted to these two games due the themes they offer, they aren't Ocarina of Time or Breath of the Wild that are more adventure oriented, even if OoT offers the time travel paradox it fails to give an idea of the ultimate fate Link had as a person who saw the possibilities and how one person can create a difference in the planes of existences.

Yet; in these two games they are is almost as a total denial of deism; the idea of God or any deity playing a central role in the plot. On Link's Awakening, the idea of the Wind Fish as the source of existence for the inhabitants of the island seems to give them some discomfort up to the point the laugh at Link but also they explain that is just a legend; albeit the inhabitants as well everything could be extensions of the Wind Fish psyche that he doesn't want to go back to the real world and everything is created to preserve the dream.

Majora's Mask plays with the previous idea also, the Skull Kid and the Happy Mask Salesman become obsessed with the idea of preserving and destroying an idea of the illusion of life that is worth keeping repeating a cycle of endless destruction, that can essentially be described as a dream. Just trapped in a fixed point, doing the same actions over and over, knowing that even if death comes there still another day instead of resting into the oblivion.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

The Importance of Patreon

Patreon Logo
The more I submerge myself into Patreon, the more I am convinced services as this are essential towards the branding or artists as well musicians, content developers and any creative person who is looking for a platform to be in contact with their fan-base but also to receive feedback and expand what they can do to entertain and create fresh content.

Is a great marketing tool, as well communication based one: you can see a better interaction if you pay, the creators set a price as well the price towards the patreons, in theory is quite good as it can serve to place the celebrities of the new era with their fans but also it can be binding towards the creators such as they are bind to honor the prizes that are in correlation of what their fans are giving; the way I see it is as "a rewards system, that at the moment the fanatics aren't satisfied it can leave a creator without any income" it is quite flaw, because we are rewarding artists mostly based on a difference between their content, fan reaction and how much the fans can give.

I am thinking "on a certain perspective, services such as Patreon can help artists and content creators towards gaining notoriety and selling their own personas; but we as a society we should focus more on arts and the different spectrum's that encompass creation, instead of supporting a system that essentially is established for begging" Patreon in theory, seems to defy a lot the begging system but is dependent on users since Youtube ad-sense revenue program became obsolete and left several creators on the limbo without the ability to monetize.

Maybe is true, being an indie within social media can be brutal, and creating a solid platform can be almost impossible to generate revenue; but, if the creators have enough of a fan base or hook with someone that can expose them further such an influencer, in theory as I said before using a service as Patreon to connect with people is not a bad idea, it can be seen as an exchange of intangible set of services which the ultimate end is mostly a PR platform for anyone who wants to consolidate their own brand.

The dynamics on Patreon are quite interesting to see, the developments between the involved parties could lead to a positive development such as generating a dialogue between the work of the creator and what feedback the supporter. It can be used quite efficiently to improve the content, but also it can be used to alienate the creators as the sponsors could demand certain things if they hold enough financial power from them.

It is quite an odd scenario, mostly because it mimics the Renaissance or almost any artist who is at the mercy of their financial sponsors; in certain way it can be avoided depending on how much control the creator have over the prices and the interaction between the sponsors. It is quite cool, to see it from different angles, as the platform gives some stability but not a full one, it can also help with the exposure as there will be revenue for Ad-Words or any other social media advertisement programs .

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Bullet Hell by RichaadEB Album Review

Bullet Hell Cover 
I haven't played any games of the Touhou Project or as is known in the West Project Shrine Maiden; the only reference I had from the game itself where so videos a former co-worker showed me around 4 years ago about this new game that he was keen to play, but it never got my attention. 

Without knowing and almost four years I found myself appealed by a musician named RichaadEB  and his metal covers, but also his different adaptation towards Eurobeats, video games music and collaborations with other musicians such as Family Jules and Jonathan Young; his channel got my attention by mere accident after finding a cover of Super Mario RPG around 2013 but it wasn't until 2016 where I finally subscribed after listening to a cover of the Theme of Schala of Chrono Trigger.

During the last year, Richaad uploaded covers of the Shrine Maiden, some of them got my attention but I never imagined it was the same game series my co-worker used to speak about; I enjoyed some of the ones I was able to listen during my break time and the power chords with the upbeat tempo got my attention.

I got the album two weeks ago, when he first announced without realizing the inspiration, I opted to bought as I was already a fan of his work and I started to listen Bullet Hell. The different images the sound made me imagine where towards a battlefield in which cute girls battle a mystical evil; it made me imagine scenarios that could be found in series such as Puella Magical and Sailor Moon, but mixed with the Saga of Tania the Evil.

An epic fantasy in which Metal plays a quintessential part of the storytelling, and let epic battles that involve magic and cute magical girls; but, what is the most amazing aspect of the album is the skills RichaadEB to create something charming and compelling, to make someone who never heard about Touhou Project fully until this day, to feel mesmerized for the music and the journey that Bullet Hell takes.

The jewel of this album is track 14, Bad Apple which it closes the entire journey with Christina Vee's voice, it totally sounds amazing as the production gives a fresh air to the song and to someone who never heard about Bullet Hell it will be something fresh as well a neat introduction to Metal.

If you want to purchase the physical copy of the album you may click here and even request any special signed message, which I did as I requested an interpretation of Richaad's cat Kocha, been asleep while wearing a Cappy and as an extra bonus I got his cat barking also.

Thank you for reading me.