Friday, December 16, 2016

The History that Can Be Found in Pokemon - Part One

Lunar Landing
(12/16/2016) --- It was a while since I played first generation games of Pokemon, in fact it could be almost 13 years since I played any of the first, second and third generation games. They simply lost the appeal due certain circumstances about moving to another country and re-starting my life from zero.

I still played the newer games with the exception of Sun & Moon, and Alpha & Omega (which I plan to buy eventually) as time passed, I felt the itch about playing the games again and after losing my original cartridges; mostly after being kicked out due my identity and sexuality, I didn't mind buying Pokemon Yellow on the Virtual Console and re-start playing generation one (Wikipedia - Pokemon Red)

Pika Intro Screen
It is totally a different experience play the game as an adult than as a 13 years old adolescence, there are some details you can ignore quite easily when you are young versus whenever you revise the game.

What I found fascinating is that the game itself is placed on planet that could be Earth, even there are some hints that the game is set on a post-apocalyptic alien invasion that happened probably after the Apollo 11 mission (Wikipedia, Apollo 11) but the process took thousands and even millions of years (Wojcik, 2013) such as 65 millions ago that can be situated in the Paleocene (Wikipedia, Paleocene).

Albeit what it really got my attention are the little pop culture references centered around the many games, but it is the one towards found in Generation 1 that gave the clue about the timeline and some history of the Pokemon World that could be placed on an alternate Earth, as on the first image the old man in the Pewter City Museum gives the date July 20 of 1969 which is the date of the Apollo 11 lunar landing.

Space Shuttle Columbia
Inside the games' lore, we can see that in Generation 1 there are mentions of space travel which subsequently became part of the mythos; but finding inside the Space Shuttle Columbia scale model (Wikipedia, Space Shuttle Columbia) inside the space exhibition we can set that the games are around 1996 to 1998; but before 2003 as there are no mentions of any incident towards the Columbia.

The idea itself about the evolutionary traits and origin of the species is debated through the entire series of games as well in the anime; but always space seems to be the center of a sub-context on the game mythos; and it is actually quite appealing, due the reasons it give the idea that Pokemon are from outer space; as there are no signs of biological life that started on that world but rather one that was an invasive species, who slowly during the eons assimilated and grow to create an extinction event within the game story.

References:

  1. Web retrieved:  Wikipedia - Pokemon Red and Blue - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pok%C3%A9mon_Red_and_Blue (1996)
  2. Web retrieved: Wikipedia - Apollo 11 - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apollo_11
  3. Web retrieved: Craked.com ; 4 Reasons Pokemon is the Scariest Alien Invasion Story Ever, Wojcik, Jonathan - http://www.cracked.com/quick-fixes/4-reasons-pokemon-scariest-alien-invasion-story-ever/ 2013
  4. Web retrieved:  Wikipedia - Paleocene ; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paleocene
  5. Web retrieved: 

Monday, November 21, 2016

Gone Home A Sad Beautiful Story

Intro Screen
(11/21/2016) --- Finding a unique game is always a rewarding experiencing, finding a game with an LGBT content is even more interesting as there aren't many in the market that can tell a story before the days where marriage equality became a reality and Don't Ask Don't Tell seemed to be an aspect from the past.

At least those ideas seem to be a thing from the past, that can fade in the next four years. The time where LGBT rights experienced some many stumbles such as the the Reagan administration with the AIDS epidemic, the ascension on the national spotlight of the Westboro Baptist Church, Don't Ask Don't Tell, the killing of Matthew Shepard at the end of the decade; the novels Armistead Maupin novels, the Super Nintendo and riot grrrl just to name a few cultural and social events that gave a shape to the two decades.

The Dining Room
The game itself offers a very minimalist approach towards the gameplay; it is set on June the 7th of 1995, in Oregon. Kaitlin Greenbriar returns to the United State after traveling around Europe after graduation. She also arrived to a new residence in which her father inherited from his late uncle Oscar.

As the moment Kait arrives in the new house she saw a note left by her sister asking her to not search for clues about what happened to everyone. Curiosity starts as the main motivator to start exploring around the house and it's what it sets the events of the game in motion. The game itself is on the same vein as The Chinese Room (homepage) specifically their game Dear Esther (Dear Esther - Wikipedia). That set the goals as well the aesthetics of exploring an enviroment through the use of memories and give the player a minimal approach to submerge them in the game.

Imagery of the 1990's
The game is filled with imagery set on the 1990's, there are the faux rock and grunge bands, the fake SNES games but also books that were common to see on those days; as well names of celebrities and television shows. There are some minor easter eggs, such as the one in the photo that it could be a developer mistake but on the flyer that is below the book, KSNC (Wiki-commons) is a radio station in Kansas that back in 1995 didn't had reach to Oregon where the game is located.

The exploration of the house brings to a window of the past, at least for the people who grew up in the 1990's. It's almost as residences looked like, not in terms of architectures but the items that could be found that made references to that era. The use of cassetes, VHS tapes as well the mention of the SNES bring some sort of nostalgia about certain cultural aspect of the Americana Culture but then it brings an important underlying on why is important to keep pushing to end discrimination on the work place but also end LGBT-phobia; the game talks between letters about how the family comes to cope that their youngest daughter Samantha is a lesbian.
Lonnie

The story of Gone Home deals with abandonment and coming in terms with identy, but also it gives an insight through the mechanics about Don't Ask Don't Tell (DADT- Wiki) separated loved ones who served in the military to be open in public; also, another important part of the story goes on how parental attitudes, friends can affect the life of an individual who feels rejection.

Maybe, the protagonist of the story is Kait's sister Samantha, who through a series of letters as well hidden messages around the house and clues about her academic performance can give the player a sense of solitude and alienation she was experiencing, but also the idea can still be experienced today. Within family niches, they can provide a key to a healthy functional adult (Husted, 2012) and prevent suicide when they are on a younger stage in life.

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Spoilers
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As it was saw in the game, the ultimate fate of Sam and the girl she fall in love with, Lonnie; showed that both didn't find acceptance and they found comfort within each other; but, to think that two young people under the age of 20 could make it on their own 20 years ago as if is in today, is still difficult.

Lonnie or Yolanda DeSoto, as a young latina lesbian who is also involved within the military in one of the most turbulent periods of the contemporary history could had faced a destiny worse than Samantha herself; she could had been the subject of rape and other forms of physically violence if she dared to talk openly about her identity and sexual orientation.

Towards Sam family life, we could see that based on her parents marital issues she felt abandoned but at the moment they knew she was a lesbian, they simply dind't cared and thought she could be just experimenting but based on Sam's diary's, she knew it wasn't a "phase" as the feelings for Lonnie were real.

As it was saw on the end of the game, there wasn't a happy ending, it was a family who got thorn out by not knowing how to communicate properly and to find acceptance in their differences. Albeit, the clues about who Sam identity was rely on the clues of her musical tastes that are spread around the house and how Riot grrrl became a central queer ideology that was situated with a subtle aspect that maybe Sam's and Kaith parents didn't noticed.

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Spoilers
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Heavens to Betsy
Heavens to Betsy (Wikipedia Commons) play an important role towards the game narrative, as the queercore band songs are played constantly on the game as the story progress it shows the struggle that being alienated feels but also on how the punk feminist music could had affected culturary someone who didn't had a voice.

Is really interesting to see how those subtle forms of expression where common in a day where the Internet and the forums where on their "baby days" where music and zines were on vogue to transmit ideas and political information.

It could be even considered a form of revolution to spread a message before mass communication took over and it gave voices to the groups and tribes that didn't had them. Albeit now, even with the use of internet and social media as tools, it is important to know that is central to keep the fight for equality and understanding open, because discrimination is still rampant and there is no way to ensure that our rights as citizens will be respected.

References:


  • Homepage: The Chinese Room - http://www.thechineseroom.co.uk/
  • The Chinese Room - Dear Esther: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dear_Esther
  • KSNC - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/KSNC
  • Don't Ask Don't Tell - Wiki, Commons: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Don%27t_ask,_don%27t_tell
  • NPR.org, Husted, Kris - Family Acceptance, in Preventing Gay Youth From Considering Suicide. http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2012/02/13/146831239/family-acceptance-key-in-preventing-gay-youths-from-considering-suicide
  • Heavens to Betsy - Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heavens_to_Betsy

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Legend of Badminton Prologue Game Review

Sir Pirlock in Jail
(10/06/2016) --- What a nice and cute little game, the Legend of Badminton is. The game brings a reminiscent of the old SCUMM games such as Monkey Island, Loom, Sam and Max, Grim Fandago, Maniac Mansion among others (SCUMM, Wiki) but adapted through a simple interface of three actions that are compatible with the enviroment.

The Legend of Badminton is set in a continent that is reminiscent of the medieval times of our Earth; but, there is a dispute between different kingdoms for the Earldom of Badminton that is controlled by a wannabe Earl named Sir Pirlock who is with the idea to recover the former glory of the Earldom that was left by his late father.

The game-play is quite straightforward, is mostly puzzled oriented in is episodic wise. The prologue was released on 2014 and there hasn't been any new updated towards the official website; within the exception that there is a crowdfunding process in progress (Hernandez-Muñoz) but there is not enough information to know when the next chapter date will be. Leaving the game to think that is in the limbo.

Rapido and Pirlock
The gameplay is set between Spanish and English, there are some grammatical mistakes as well some jokes are lost in translation between both languages, leaving the experience to be enjoyed at the best within the Spanish option.

The story is actually quite quirky and the dialogues are incredibly funny. It explores the ideas of same-sex attraction, failure, discomfort to the status quo and living in a probable madness.

The idea that the game is just a mere fantasy coming from Pirlock head can be well sustained as he seems himself surrounded in a heroic journey of rebellion mixed with a rat that talks only to him but not to anyone else. It is so strange how to think that Pirlock could be a normal person while other characters treat him as if he had some mental health problems.

On a certain point Pirlock starts hesitating if everything is in his head, because it's faithful companion in his adventure is a talking rat which could be probably a figment of a delusion in which he is living in. Because, there are no such things as a talking rat or giant spiders that live under a well.

The scenarios are actually quite lovely as well the character designs, they evoke this old era of video gaming that is really gone; a beautiful factor of nostalgia from an era that gaming was simple and yet beautiful. It reminds me of the third incarnation of Monkey Island (The Curse of Monkey Island, Wikipedia) and Grim Fandago, just to name a few.

The proposal coming from Carmen Hernandez-Muñoz is actually refreshing and entertaining, is strange that after almost 2 years there aren't any more episodes or information in general about the development of the game at all. It is also understandable that being an independent developer is not easy, especially within a market that craves graphics over quality, which is a reason I firmly believe in supporting independent developers around the world towards their creation.

The map
A good way to support Carmen and her game, is to go to the official Legend of Badminton Facebook page (Legend of Badminton, Facebook) in which there is information on how to donate to the crowdfunding campaign to help her team to bring new chapters, or even saying hello and giving a nice compliment about the game itself.

References:


  1. Web retrieved: SCUMM - Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SCUMM
  2. Web retrieved: Hernandez-Muñoz, Carmen. The Legend of Badminton: http://www.legendofbadminton.com/?lang=en
  3. Web retrieved: The Curse of Monkey Island - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Curse_of_Monkey_Island
  4. Web retrieved: Legend of Badminton Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/BadmintonianResistance/

Sunday, July 24, 2016

The Theory of a Game How Many Timelines are in the Mario Games Chapter 1

(7/25/2016) --- I have theory, in which we are going to play a game. Two games to be precise, Mario Bros and Donkey Kong; why? Both games are intrinsically united towards the narrative of the characters but is the Mario timeline that unifies all the main games together until the appearance of Mario Galaxy (Mario Wiki - Mario Galaxy) in which the timeline essentially splits into three; but the idea of three timelines itself can be more complex.

The reason goes that after the recreation of the universe (yes, that is a spoiler) the timeline got diverted into three and joined by the the 8-bit era. The start of the timeline comes toward our world, a timeline where the first Mario or better known as Jumpman adventure takes place along with the first Donkey Kong.

The Second Mario
The first timeline could be considered the home-console era in which the second Mario among his brother travel to the Mushroom Kingdom and becomes some fort of a champion, here there are no more references of Donkey Kong with this Mario, but rather they still with the Jumpman, the progenitor that resides in the home world (Mario Wiki-  Mario NES)

The second and last era is the 2000 in which the Galaxy games show up and opens to the last timeline which is the one that appears after the recreation of the universe and opens the possibility of the multiverse in which different characters from franchises not related to Mario compete between each other and is also on a time placement where WaLuigi exists, mostly as an extra dimensional being in which he has never show up on the main time frame but only on the ones towards competition.

The third and last timeline is the most depressing in which Mario finally retires and conquers an island in which it could be considered the timeline in which Wario appeared for the first time and lead to the events of Wario World amd Wario Ware.

We are going to speak about the multiverse in another entry and how the different universes collide into the Smash Brother's series of games. Each timeline or era is marked by an event but overall, the main division comes with the end of the universe, that exact moment is where it can bet set as a new moment of events in which Mario continues his adventures and in another option he just finish his life in a lonely island where the events of Mario Land take place after the fight with Bowser was over.

Jumpman
To understand where everything began, we have to set the timeline in a place where we can see it and that is in an Earth similar as our own, it has some minor variation in which oxygen is a little bit higher because a giant gorilla rampages through the city of New York in which he kidnaps a woman named Pauline, the woman is the girlfriend of a man named Mario.

This Mario has black hair, is also short while his girl is brunette with blue eyes; a trait the second Mario would inherit but his brother Luigi got some of his father's look. The siblings didn't followed their father's foot steps instead they went and formed a plumbing business, but before that they were kidnapped during their birth by an unknown force.
The twins ended up in Yoshi Island soon almost after being born, of course there is an allegory of the storch that we can say it didn't happened and it was a mere kidnapping act by an unknown force, that unknown force turned out to be Bowser when he was a child, thus setting the age gap between the twins and Bower in between five to six year apart, as Bowser when he was younger seemed to be already capable of speech and walking by himself, but the Koopa physiology hasn't been explored on any of the games but it looked as Bowser was highly inteligent to create a plan on stranding two infants in the middle of an island with dinosaurs.

We have to understand that what we see on the Yoshi's Island versus the world where the twins were born are two separate places and probably two separate dimensions, who flows on the same time-stream; parallel worlds in other words.

Back in NYC, a desolated Jumpman not knowing what happened to his kids takes the blame on Donkey Kong, and this is where the events of Donkey Kong Jr take place (Donkey Kong Jr - Mario Wiki) in which the child of the 8-bit era Donkey Kong, Jr (Mariowiki - Donkey Kong) in which after Donkey Kong Sr, went into a rampage on the third game, then the events within the Mario/ Jumpman timeline ended.

As time passed by the twins didn't returned back to the prime Earth, but there is a division between  what happened at the end to Mario, as within the last timeline, when the universe is recreated Mario keeps his adventure but there is a divergent point in which he finally retires and the adventures of Wario start and a second one in which he continues to be the protector of the castle and the Kingdom.

But what happened to Jumpman, he became a toy maker and created a line of Mario toys and Donkey Kong continued certain rivalry until that Donkey Kong became old and retired on Kong Island. While at the end him and Pauline experienced some adventures of their own but not without missing their children.




References:

  1. Web Retrieved: http://www.mariowiki.com/Super_Mario_Galaxy
  2. Web Retrieved: http://www.mariowiki.com/Super_Mario_Bros.
  3. Web Retrieved: http://www.mariowiki.com/Donkey_Kong_Jr._(game)
  4. Web Retrieved: http://www.mariowiki.com/Donkey_Kong

Friday, July 1, 2016

Game Theory What if Link is a Clone

Link Artwork 
(6/29/16) --- This is a what if? I had this idea at first when I was playing Skyward Sword a few months ago and within Lanayru the dragon sequence, where he gives a nickname to Link - "That's not much of a name, is it? How about I add a model number to your name like my friends have got? LD-Link-16...? (Skyward Sword). I thought about the idea that Link could be just another product of technology but also it could be a reference to the number of game Skyward Sword was.

It's easy to understand that the robots and the time-stones are common technology in that zone on the different time periods; and talking about real life is really a common practice to give an alphanumeric code to machines but what if at the end instead of an eternal cycle of reincarnation placed by a curse "Link as we know it is a mere clone?" is not strange to think about it.

Why Lanayru gave that number to Link? The 16th, it could be a mere random number, but also it could be the code that is linked to the production of soldiers that are need it to bring peace and act as conduits or catharsis agents that everything is going to be OK in case of crisis but also in case the lands needs a savior. How Many Links could had been before the Sky Era? And who was the original bearer of the name?

There are different points to substance the idea that the Link we had been playing is just a series of clones on different stages, and is breed in order to keep the peace within the kingdom rather than being a random event given by the Demise Curse (SkyWard Sword – Demise)

Great Deku Tree
The first piece of information we can find is that Link never had parents or the parents died, he has relatives or guardians, which they barely express any real familial relations by blood besides some vague implications – such as an uncle or a “grandmother” – (A Link to the Past – Link’s Uncle) in the case of Ocarina of Time we have the mother of Link running away from a war to “protect” the child from the Hyrulian Civil War (Ocarina of Time – Link’s Mother) and giving him to the Great Deku Tree.



Why to give the child to a deity? Did she know the child held certain power that could bring peace to Hyrule once Link was an adult or at least old enough to handle it? The idea of protecting the one who will bring peace is not strange as it has been explored in the Superman mythos, but also it gives the idea that probably that Link existence was bounded to the Shrine of Resurrection (Breath of the Wild – Shrine of Resurrection) 

Then we have the case in the Wind Waker of Aryll (Wind Waker – Aryll) while it gives an idea that she could be related to link by blood, there is no proof on the game that she and Link are related by genetics but rather that both were adopted by their grandmother; and that the Tower of the Gods (Wind Waker – Tower of the Gods) have a particular pattern that is found on the Shrine of Resurrection, which the color blue reflects the technology that is used and even it could be the Tower of the Gods the place where Link could had woken up after the flooding that gave birth to the Great Sea.

Gohdan in the Tower of the Gods
If we continue with other guardians, we have Link’s Uncle on A Link to the Past, Rusl on the Twilight Princess and even the Smith on the Minish Cap (which the relationship that he has with Link is never clear if is his nephew or grandson) but all of them fulfill the roles of guardians of the hero of the different ages.

The second piece of information, it seems to be no matter what the magic in Hyrule seems to be related to technology, such as the time stones, the Ancient Robots, the tunics which resemble mostly suits to survive heavy environments, the ability to time travel back and forth and etcetera, it's also interesting to see that in theory the past timeline before the Sky Era could be a more advanced time than the dystopic present that Hyrule is living on all the timelines, which resembles the middle ages.

Shrine of Resurection
The biggest clue that Link could be just a clone, of the original that lived many centuries before comes within the mysterious Shrine of Resurrection but as well the sequences in Twilight Princess which that Link interacts with the Hero of Time in order to learn the techniques that he already learned. It is strange to think that within the resurrection process, the idea of the newest Link interacting with a memory of the previous could serve as a catalyst to learn the techniques.

During reincarnation cycle according to Buddhism we inherit the spiritual traits and not physical we can see this concept explored on Avatar: The Last Airbender and the Legend of Kora in which the different reincarnations of the avatar share nothing physical in common while Link during the different incarnations seems to be much of the same person but adapted to different eras. What if the Link that we mentioned before in Skyward was as Lanayru just a mere clone? The sixteen clone already made and the project continued for eons in order that a "hero" would be there to bring stability.

The Hero's Chosen by the Gods and Time
The Hero Spirit seems to be another indicator that Link can't reproduce as to be infertile as he references to Link of Twilight as his "son" even if the Hero of Time never left anyone to teach his movements and skills; but, with the Shine of Resurrection there could be hints that the Sheika's were more skilled in the use of magic and artifacts but also into technology.

Maybe some of the Links reflect certain independence beyond their role as a hero, They develop aspirations beyond being mere tools of the Royal Family and when they die they realize their existence was probably just as empty as it was saving Hyrule; but hey, at the end this is just a game theory and nothing to be taken seriously.

References:


  • Web Retrieved: http://zeldawiki.org/Lanayru_(Dragon)#cite_note-11
  • Web Retrieved: http://zeldawiki.org/Demise#cite_note-12
  • Web Retrieved: http://zeldawiki.org/Link%27s_Uncle
  • Web Retrieved: http://zeldawiki.org/Link%27s_Mother
  • Web Retrieved: http://zeldawiki.org/Shrine_of_Resurrection
  • Web Retrieved: http://zeldawiki.org/Aryll
  • Web Retrieved: http://zeldawiki.org/Tower_of_the_Gods

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

What I love about USA

There will be always love no matter what
(6/13/2016) --- I can't sleep or focus at this moment, it makes me think about escaping violence to keep finding it; I am writing this after a friend of mine suggested to write something positive (Angela, thank you) after so many negative events.

I was born in a society that didn't valued individuality, it was much of the enviroment I grew up in. I value a lot that I can be an individual here in the country but at the same time I hate being punished by who I am, that there are no laws that protect against discrimination based on sexual orientation and identity.

It is a sad scenario but is a reality it needs to change; what I love about being here is that I can express my free speech, I can write, I can enjoy my life --- yet, I still fear, we still fear. We shouldn't fear, we shouldn't fear a radical dogmatism (call it whatever you want to call it, but violence through religion is still violence regarding if you are Christian, Jew, Muslim or whatever), there is a liberty, a beautiful liberty that is not seen anywhere else and I love that. I do not want to live with the fear I was living in Colombia.

I love to pass by and see different people, talk with everyone. I love to go to the grocery store, to the electronic store and see a different scenario what I saw growing in Cartagena, I love to see people of different creed and origins. I love having friends vastly differently from my own self, I love going and sit in a coffee store without fear of the organized crime. I love just enjoying some peace and tranquility and I know people enjoy that too, some peace and tranquility.

There are so many aspects I do enjoy about living here, I do not want anyone to live in fear or to live knowing that there are people hating them, There are many things I enjoy besides food, I love going to a theme park and spend my day doing nothing, I love going on road trips and knowing the roads are safe. I love road trips a lot even if they are just to Orlando - which is not far away -, and go to Universal and to any event in that city, even to Saint Petersburg which is the closest city.

I know there is not a perfect road on the struggles of getting a better life, that the system is neither perfect; there are always going to be struggles to get equality done, not only for the community but for everyone who is being diminished as a second class citizens.



Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The Loneliness of Active Worlds

AWMix07
(4/20/2016)--- There is something melancholic about Active Worlds, is almost as being transported to another time in which the idea of a virtual world was an scenario almost impossible to achieve, but yet this world appeared and it was and still perfect to interact with.

As time passed and due financial struggles the game essentially ended in oblivion but yet it seemed to survive with only a small portion of the thousand players it once had.

There are still some active worlds who essentially where left abandoned with no more owners, there are some others who still have some members who visit but there are no more story lines, they are there to have some fun. Some of the worlds show the magnitude of the projects one time the users developed and how the communities bloomed. It gives a glimpse of how gaming was almost 25 years ago, as it offers some retro value on the looks but also on the environmental sounds.

On the first week of April of 2016, because of Youtube gamer VineSauce (1) podcast about the game bring the attention of some of the people who saw his video got an idea about finding the user who VineSauce thought was an NPC that went by name of Hitomi Fujiko, and from that point it became a trending topic that spawned several videos and got the interest of people about this old almost forgotten game.

Whatever the actions of VineSauce where a mere publicity stunt or he was completely oblivious due programming of certain BOTS (Wikipedia, Bots) to act as humans, it would be extremely suspicions to not analyze that the so called NPC could be an Administrator from the specific world who knew someone was going to be doing a podcast of the game and decided to go along with the story; and is good to know that administrators have the capabilities to track any user in the map they administer.

AWMyths
In theory the podcast is just a perfect Creepy Pasta material, it is creepy and is so amazingly designed to tell a narrative about a forgotten game that essentially is abandoned. Abandoned seems to be the perfect adjective as anyone who go within certain times won't find any users, not even on the Alpha World.

Probably that is the most probable scenario that happened to Vinny, who arrived and technically there was nobody when he was transmitting to his viewers and the Hitomi user who was watching the transmission decided to join in and just go with the mood of the story. Part of the story tends to be quite suspicious because some of the worlds, especially AWMyths the one he chose has been plagued with glitches in which the users won't be able to go far away as the world will send them back to the starting point. From that point it makes me wonder if Vinny was aware that the enviroment was having (and still having) technical issues,? this making the gameplay problematic but assuming that he didn't knew that probably just feed his psychosis that there was just desolation.

AWMix07
 A reality within the game, in which any player can experience is to go at high hours of the morning and find nobody but then go in the afternoon and meet with some of the players. The users of the virtual worlds are generally nice people around, some of them are students as well a few are seasoned users who had been using the world for decades.

There is a sense of loneliness when traveling around the different worlds, as there aren't many users within each world and mostly BOTS are the ones who were left behind but some of the scenarios are just fantastic as the people who play the game.

AWMyths
The scenario that VineSauce entered AWMyths is one of the most complex ones, outstandingly beautiful and incredibly retro. Is almost as navigating into a forgotten game such as Hexen (Hexen, 1995) but with no enemies and just an open world that it seems to have no end.

There are plenty of details, between hidden scrolls that tell the history each creator gave to their worlds, up to small Easter Eggs of forgotten pop culture reference, the game offers an incredible charming experience. Exploring the full extension of the scenarios can take days as they are as wide as what we have in Earth; but, knowing every little detail or any treasure you can find gives an positive experience.

One aspect to think about the scenarios (mostly to players who arrived after the downfall of the game) is how much the creators invested and why essentially left their creations abandoned? It gives a beautiful insight to a world that slowly is dying but that still exist. It even gives an idea on how Earth could become when we are here no more.

House of Jazz
If you want to visit Active Worlds, click here and the registration process is actually quite simple, then you will proceed to download the browser that enables the navigation through the different world.

Enjoy.












Gallery:













References:

  1. https://www.youtube.com/user/vinesauce
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Video_game_bot - Wikipedia Bots.
  3. http://www.ravensoft.com/games/hexen/view-game/ - Hexen, 1995
  4. https://www.activeworlds.com/web/index.php


Sunday, March 27, 2016

Life is Strange but Amazingly Entertaining (Theories and Review)

Front Cover
(3/26/2016) --- Life is Strange but surely is beautiful. I don't regret waiting for the game almost a year later in order to play it, it let me enjoy to the fullest. What I find fantastic about the game is the interaction that it gives the player towards creating predestination paradoxes through the entire course of the episodes.

The game centers on Maxine "Max" Caulfield who after waking up from a nightmare within her photography teacher  Mark Jefferson and later going to the restroom of the school she attends and witnessing the murder (without even knowing of her best friend) of Chloe Price she discovers that she can rewind time but as well manipulate it on a certain extent.

Max abilities comes with a price, every time she manipulates time she gets some health issues manifested towards headache, bleeding through her nose and loosing her conscious. The biggest repercussion Max have because through the use of her powers is that every time she interact with the fabric of reality she brings destruction to everyone around her.

Illuminatis?
What is entertaining about the game is how it explores the possibilities of different scenarios if the person has the power to re-do them. The actions you take, even if they are unrelated will have a repercussion later (1). It is almost related as trial and error but as well interaction between a global ecosystem.

The interactions between Max and her environment doesn't seem to be connected at first, in fact after Max wakes up from the nightmare and realizing that it could be that, just a nightmare. A storm creating a destruction path around Arcadia Bay; at first is difficult for Max to know why she was suddenly in the middle of a storm while walking on to her way on the top of the hill where the lighthouse was located (2)

Arcadia Bay - Polarized
The idea that maybe Max instead of having nightmares or having foreseen the future could be ambiguous, instead she could be at that exact moment where the town she grow up to be destroyed, She mentions it feel real when she walking on the top of the lighthouse cliff and feel the wind, only for her to wake up moments later in her classroom.

To think that maybe that moment where she was going to die on the cliff wasn't a nightmare but a moment in time where she "jumped" (3) from a failed attempt to save Chloe and or Arcadia Bay  and went back to the beginning of her time frame in order to re-do things over, but due the stress of being annihilated she developed some form of amnesia that prevented her to use the full extent of her abilities to manipulate time itself.

Mr. Jefferson Class
If Max could manipulate the general and relativity's, and move herself to the same coordinates in space time, where she finds herself an anchor she could essentially master her abilities to prevent certain moments in history. The idea is shown in Max's affinity to photographs in which she can travel back and forth if she has a relation to the photo (4) but thus creating a paradox or a causality.

Life is Strange deals with some ethical decisions about what to do to save someone, but also it is incredibly similar to a 2011 game named Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller (5), in which the protagonist a detective had some form of psychometric skills and let her see the objects history as well to interact with the past by possessing a certain individuals as well to alter the events of the future. Also both protagonist share a same sex attraction and their romantic half sacrifice themselves or are OK with the sacrifice in order to have their loved ones have a better life.

Cognition Cover
The game is quite enjoyable, it is well written, it is engaging into the gaming experience. The gameplay is extremely easy to master but one aspect of the controllers at least for PS4 is that is difficult to aim at certain objects in order to interact with them, such as opening the window to save the blue-jay or in the very beginning to move the utility bucket to grab the hammer and save Chloe from her first assassination.

The camera itself is quite friendly with the surroundings, always being half a frame from Max's waist up. The background music is just amazing as it have a catologue of indie compositions that fit so perfectly on the melancholic tones seen in the scenario, giving the game a sad atmosphere. It is just charming as well moving in which the experience seems to be a dream within a dream.

I really hope in the future there is a sequel or at least a spiritual one that will give more information about someone else with similar powers and how Max and Chloe could help that person, all of course depends on the decisions took by the player on the first five chapters of the game. Even so, it would be fun to see Mark Jefferson as the protagonist of his own game and explore his descent to becoming a murderer.

References:


  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Butterfly_effect
  2. http://life-is-strange.wikia.com/wiki/Arcadia_Bay
  3. http://life-is-strange.wikia.com/wiki/Max_Caulfield#Powers_and_Abilities
  4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_travel#Backward_time_travel
  5. http://www.adventureclassicgaming.com/index.php/site/reviews/769/

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Theory of a Game: Smash Brothers and Fighting Against God

Master Hand
(3/19/2016) --- Lately I've been thinking about Smash Brother's (1) as one of the core games of the Nintendo franchise. The original game was developed by HAL Laboratory (2) on 1999 for the Nintendo 64 platform.

The game spawned four sequel, technically three because the Nintendo 3DS version is not very different from the Wii U version. The game franchise could take different interpretations such as the lose of innocence as well transitioning to adulthood. (3)

One aspect I've been thinking a lot as a theory what if the game dynamics also represent a fight between fate itself or an allegory to the Titanomachy (4) and even so an elaborated concept of Acts 5:39 in which at the end is just a mere fight against God as well to the order.

Yet, the idea seems to be quite extreme on that level but at the end the characters are facing the same essence of what it gave them life, The Master Core (5 - 6). The idea of the Master Core itself as a force of creation could be related more to the Shinto lore and the Kami (7) interpretation of the Gods between a part of nature instead of being something independent the Master Core and his emissaries are part of the same universe.

Tabuu
We have the concept of a trinity between the Master Hand, Crazy Hand and Tabuu. All of them act as heralds of the Master Core as well they compose part of is essence in which the story develops; but at the end is when the player defeat the hands where the true self of the Master Core is revealed.

The Core is corrupted, is not perfect, it has become corrupted. At the end what is the core? Is an ethereal being, is a being that at the end is composed of mere energy, but the way it interacts with the player shows that Core is a force that creates stability on the universe. Not only can be interpreted as the heart of the person that is playing with his toys.

The globes of the hands they look a lot as if they were Mario or Luigi, but at least an entity that creates a reflection on the beings that seem to influence the universe. What if The time-frame of the game is set on a point where the universe is about to collapse and the Master Core is looking for someone to hold his essence? I know is just a mere crazy theory, but it doesn't sound as farfetched because the characters are fighting against the entity who gave them life.

The problem is on why to defy the God of this universe? The same being who controlled every single strings of their actions. It would be the ultimate sin, the last taboo; and probably that was the sin that was committed on Brawl with the defiance of the last boss Tabuu, who tried to control the power of the Core but failed.

At the end there is no heaven or hell, much of the characters turn back into the status of figurines, they just turn back into what they were beings with no essence, who lead a fight that had no victory; because at the end life is just a mere mirage.


References:


  1. http://www.mariowiki.com/Super_Smash_Brothers
  2. http://www.hallab.co.jp/
  3. http://gamerant.com/super-smash-bros-theory/
  4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Titanomachy
  5. http://www.ssbwiki.com/Master_Core
  6. http://www.forbes.com/sites/insertcoin/2013/07/26/wii-us-super-smash-bros-wont-have-story-mode-for-the-worst-reason-ever/#1e4be327792e
  7. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kami

Friday, March 18, 2016

How Any Upcoming Zelda Games Should Take Inspiration From Chrono Trigger

(3/18/2016) --- Chrono Trigger and The Legend of Zelda are two of the most emblematic games within the niche of the market back in the late 80's and early 90's. The games still resonate within the imagery of the public as well the generations who played them; in fact The Legend of Zelda (1) is still popular and the franchise had developed into multiple spin-offs while Chrono Trigger (2) only had a few off-shots including Chrono Cross and Radical Dreamers.

Players have to understand that these two games created an impact in the imagery of the players of each generations and influenced developers within the next decades.

As any other franchises Square sequels with the Chrono project didn't had the same economical and social reception as the first installment, besides the lack of organizational approach the developers wanted to take (3).  The Chrono series itself offered a very defined aspect in the world of storytelling, it was precise but at the same time gave the players the chance to explore a complex world that surrounds La Guardia.

Then in 1998 we got one of the seminal games of all times, Ocarina of Time (4), the game essentially changed the modern panorama (5) and there is an expectation that Zelda Wii U will achieve something similar. What is interesting that both games contain similar fantasy elements and were similar successful on their own time is that Zelda prevailed on a commercial ground.

Zelda itself could learn in terms of continuity and gameplay could learn from the success of Chrono, as both franchise at a certain point had used time-travel as a storytelling resource, probably by technical issues when Ocarina of Time hit the market contained less space for a bigger scenario but as time and technology progressed within the industry, maps became as big as the game story mode.

The Legend of Zelda had reached a point that it the time frame of the chronology got divided into three different timelines (The Fallen Hero, The Adult Timeline and The Child Timeline) and the story of the game became quite convoluted, not to mention sparse as different Links appeared on the games, all justified by endless cycle of reincarnation. Almost being as a cruel joke to live in an eternal existence of misery and suffering (6).

The Wii U version could update the idea of time traveling by placing Link to interact with different eras much as it happened with Crono, in another case it could still follow the interaction between Hyrule, Termina or Lorule and let the player play on the different dimensions of the multiverse. There are so many different options to explore within the development of technology and the creative use of storytelling to revitalize the franchise back as it was on the golden days.

The incorporation of playing as multiple characters or adding a party wouldn't be a bad idea either, it won't turn the game into another RPG or a clone of Final Fantasy; the idea of multi-characters interactions is already been explored on Hyrule Warriors - even if it's not part of the canon, it gives a fresh perspective on the story of the Hyrule Fantasy -.

Queen Zeal
Using a certain set of characters through the game and giving a direct continuation to what happened to the previous ones. Bringing a more complex villain that don't fit on the Ganon archetype could be awesome. Thinking of a Machiavelli villain as the Queen of Zeal in which she showed hate and was in a search of immortality, without even hesitating into sacrificing her own daughter to obtain such power.

The Interlopers or at least characters that could be similar could be the best villain as they seem to be more complex on their machinations. Being them the Twili, as well with their previous history of bringing chaos they could be  used as the best villains to explore topics of desolation and power. Instead of finding the villain who only wants some personal gain through a powerful artifact or as well his disciples who aren't far away from their masters persona.

Inspiration could come into exploring further time traveling, the Time Stones and how the Ocarina was created could give some interesting plot lines to the games. Letting Link be more freely and let the players know more about Hryule without being too cryptic about the world they are playing in.




References:


  1. http://zeldawiki.org/The_Legend_of_Zelda_(Game)
  2. http://chrono.wikia.com/wiki/Chrono_Trigger
  3. Game Informer staff (February 2008). Game Informer. GameStop Corporation. pp. 24–25.
  4.  http://zeldawiki.org/The_Legend_of_Zelda:_Ocarina_of_Time
  5. http://www.designntrend.com/articles/72293/20160318/legend-of-zelda-wii-u-dev-game-finished-ocarina-of-time.htm
  6. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rebirth_(Buddhism)

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Game Theory Book of Mudora and the Evolution of the Hylian Language

(3/15/2016) --- Hello everyone; on this entry we are going to explore a little bit the myths and theories behind the Book of Mudora. As much of the Zelda fanatics know the book of Mudora is an item that at first appeared at Link to the Past as a tool that assisted Link in order to translate the ancient Hylian Language.

The problem with the Book of Mudora it goes on the translation of the versions. In the Japanese version there are no pieces of information towards what the Book of Mudora is beyond being a translation tool. In the North America release, the Book of Mudora was added more text and became more a core book towards the Hylian mythology.

It became the book with the core beliefs of the Hylian culture, the prophecies as well the language. The book became much of a central book of the beliefs and theism of the culture; in other words the idea of the Book of Mudora being an analogue of the Bible, Quaran or the Torah.

At the same time the book projects a more serious approach on semiotics and the theory that mostly the Book of Mudora is a composition of the evolution of the Hylian language. It is not strange for a cultural group of people to let dedicate a study of the evolution of the language or the applications. In other words The Book of Mudora could be a treaty on Hylian semiotics instead of being some sort of holy book; but at the same time we all know that language plays an important part of the lore within The Legend of Zelda; language within the folklore that is shown in the game it is shown as almost sacred, a tool in which the users can change the world.

As in a real world example, the use of the printed text as well with religious tones could be linked to the evolution of the language. We can relate to Johannes Gutenberg and the invention of the printer in which by just making the Bible accessible to the masses it created a beginning for literacy. Within every game there is some sort of evolution of the language.

The Great Deku Tree
If you have some time, I recommend checking on this link in which there is a complete explanation on how language evolve. The common denominator in the evolution of the language is set on the parameters and conventionalisms where a group of individuals set in order to interact between a channel. All of these has to go to the assumption that the understanding of the meaning vs. the object has the be understood by all the parties.

Translation from one language to the other is just of finding the interpretation on what vocable superimpose other in each language as well how to create a linguistic synapses between the communication process. All these process (that I probably just explained as short as possible) can take as little over 20 years in which words evolve and all over the course of a century.  Which is the same case within the Hylian language on the different timelines, which all of them show an evolution of the communication process that takes at Hyrule.

On one side of the graph we have Old Hylian and on the other we have New Hylian. Old Hylian was the common text found in Ocarina of Time while New Hylian being the a direct successor on the timeline.

Both set of texts have influence on Hiragana and Katakana syllabary, albeit the presentation is rather cryptic due the developers not containing a proper design on the writing system of Hyrule but if we use the Japanese system as a starting point we can interpret that the alphabet evolved (depending on the timeline) towards a complex system similar as the Kanji.

Now going back on the very beginning, the Book of Mudora has a relation towards the evolution of Hyrule since the Era of Creation. Not by containing the prophecies per-se but rather the tools that gave the future generations to settle and flourish; because if it wasn't due the influence of language there wouldn't be any kingdom or cities.

Thank you for reading.

References:



  1. http://zeldawiki.org/The_Legend_of_Zelda:_A_Link_to_the_Past
  2. http://zeldawiki.org/Book_of_Mudora
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semiotics
  4. http://zeldawiki.org/Hylian_Language
  5. http://www.pnas.org/content/96/14/8028.full
  6. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hiragana
  7. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katakana