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I’ve been watching Spoony’s retrospective videos about Ultima series. Now, I haven’t played the games myself (other than bits of IV, VII, and Underworld), but what I’ve studied that there’s more than meet’s the eye on the whole overarching plot of the games, and it has to do with the fact that how avatar eats/doesn’t eat in the games. It is quite clear that the Ultima series is (besides that “be a messiah and not a dick” plot that’s not all that interesting in the Freudian sense) about the fact that Avatar has a serious eating disorder at the beginning, which leads to a more severe mental problems in later games.

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neil-gaiman:

Today’s Google Doodle is a Moog Synthesizer. Here’s the instructions…

(Moog is pronounced to rhyme with Vogue, by the way. Not Moo with a G at the end.)

Source: moogmusic.com
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neil-gaiman:

Childhood is cannibals and psychotics vomiting in your mouth. Yes.

RIP the wonderful Maurice Sendak

blowncovers:

We’ll miss you.

Source: blowncovers
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Son of a Matter, Man of a Spirit

by ~vilinder

This is a poem, I wrote one night. Click “Read more” to read it.

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So, I’m pretty sure you know about the whole SOPA incident I wrote a song about it. Unfortunately I’m not much of a composer so it actually needs to be made more than to just a couple of lyrics. So, feel free to make it to an actual song if you feel like it. Just make sure you do licence it acordingly. Here’s the actual lyrics.

Creative Commons License
Feds took my Ponies away by Vili “VVP” Penttilä is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at docs.google.com.

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Look, you know that I’m brony, and pretty proud about that fact. I love the show, it’s characters, it’s humor and it’s beautiful animation, and I consider it to be one of the best animation shows for a while. However, there is one, major flaw that must be addressed, and that flaw is not something you just can shrug on, since it is the kind of flaw which the whole show is based on. Namely: the fact that how commercial FiM is in the end. Before we move on, I’d like say to you all that this isn’t pleasant to read, especially if you’re a fellow brony, and I also know this whole post might ruin the whole series for you. So consider yourself warned.

Now, let’s get the good things out of the way first. One of the things the series does right is being quite feminist show, not it that militant Valerie Solanas kind of way, but in the good way, since basically it supports the gender neutrality in a way. The main characters are diverse, from tomboyish, competitive and rather arrogant Rainbow Dash, to intellectual, a bit asocial bookworm Twilight Sparkle, and sophisticated, creative perfectionist Rarity, and the basic themes of the show are the magic of friendship it isn’t enough to consider these points that I’m going to make insignificant.

Let’s face it, since it’s launch in 1982, My Little Pony has been line of toys, and that is the state of it today. You could say that since the launch of the HUB (channel that airs FiM) and success of the live action Transformers movie has moved it’s business plan towards conglomerate, which two arms are the entertainment and toy making, but that might be partially true, but even so the fact stays that it is a commercial company, and hence the products it makes are strictly commercial. And yes, I know that in this day and age, almost everything is commercial in a way or another, but right now, let’s talk about ponies, shall we? The issue which razes with the fact of being a toy line first, is that it makes FiM more or less, a toy commercial, and advertising things to children without any media reading skills, is quite fishy to me, and that’s the reason why Toucan Sam and his many mascot friends stay out of Finnish TV-Screens.

So yeah, we all agree the above statement, but we all had our Action Men and Ponies in the past, so no big deal, right? I have to say that this rabbit hole goes deeper than that. Before we move on, I’d probably should explain a one basic ideal behind the green left movement, is that the limitless growth (which has been the basic pillar of the economy and whole western society for past 60 years), can’t occur in the limitless space (earth), and trying to make it happen only ends up causing a huge catastrophe (wars, huge economical depression, the increase of inequality between developed and developing countries…). And what business ponies have with all this? Well they are made out of plastic, and plastic is made out of oil, which is quite crucial base of our current society, and running out all the time as I’m writing this post. Now, the issue of limited oil reserves and how much we’re dependent of it is much bigger issue, and I’m not saying ponies or even Hasbro are the responsible for it, but they have a role on it, and while not directly implying that children should take their part in the consumption hysteria, the show is, in a way, giving children the idea of that kind of behavior being good, even though it will most likely doom us all.

Will this stop me loving the show? No, but I just wanted to address a thing that I find being an issue. You see, these things are not black and white, the show has real merits and I doubt it is Hasbro’s intention to destroy the world one (kinda cute) plastic pony at the time, but if we don’t think and do about these issues, the world will end up being a quite crappy place in the end, and we don’t want that to happen, do we?

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So, you probably have at least heard about GTA IV, a blockbuster video game by Rockstar Games from 2008. As you might known, it’s one of my favourite games, and the favourite one in the GTA franchise, beating even San Andreas which everyone seems to think is the game that perfected the formula of GTA series. So why do I like GTA IV over SA? I just like how more mature the game is in it’s theme and presentation, without forgetting to add occasional dark humour to the mix when it’s appropriate. Sure, it is kinda mixed bag, but at least they tried to do something new with the franchise, unlike some other companies seem to do with their IP. So, the strength of IV is in the satire it presents, which lampoons the modern day America, and especially the hypocrisy of it’s society. But I’m not talking about IV here. The subject of this review is The Lost and Damned DLC, which was originally released a year later as the XBOX 360 exclusive tittle, but was soon released for PS3 and PC soon afterwards. And it’s not that great, though it manages to beat most of the DLC content out there easily. This is telling more about the current state of the DLC’s though.

The Lost and Damned tells a story of Johnny Klebitz, the vice president of The Lost MC chapter of Alderney. The story begins when Billy Gray, the president of said club is set free from prison, and imminently he returns to his old ways, fighting against the Angels of Death and spreading the chaos and anarchy over Liberty City and it’s neighbour Garden State. This doesn’t exactly suit with the more business oriented Johnny, and soon there’ll be a feud between the brethren

So, how should I put this? First of, the story is not that great. Though IV wasn’t really something out of the pen of Dostoyevsky either, at least it had some continuation between the missions. Sure, the different task giver’s missions rarely were connected with each other, but those by the same giver usually has some kind of story arch behind them, which made you more interested what was going to happen. In here, the arcs are non-existent, being about two or three missions long at best, and hence the whole mission tree is full of loose branches which are quite disconnected from each other, giving you a experience that’s quite hard to grasp on to. This highlights even more the fact how monotonous those missions are, since most of the time the missions seem to use formula “Drive here with the bike, and shoot these people” (with only three exceptions I can think of), which would have been quite more tolerable if there was an actual story behind it, and not some separate missions. Some would say that the side quests are the meat of GTA, but when they all are varieties of existing missions from base game, your really start to notice some repetitiveness there (all though I have to admit, it has the most accurate hand wrestling simulator that you can get with the mouse).

Another thing that’s disapointing with this game is it’s characters, since most of them are made out of the same generic mould, especially the members of The Lost MC. None of them really seem to have any personality outside the biker tropes that this piece is overusing quite nicely, and only thing I can tell Clay and Terry apart is the fact that first one brings you bikes when called and later one weapons. And if they are not the generic bikers you’re dealing with, they’re other kinds of stereotypes like Mafioso (Ray Boccino) or gangstas (Malc and DeSean). Even though they we’re present in the base game, they weren’t all it has, because there were quite a lot of other legitimate characters there like the Mc Leary’s, Roman Bellic e.t.c. It’s quite bad that the most memorable character you’ve got there has already made her appearance in the base game, when you got 10 hour expansion on your hands.

While we are talking about characters, the motives of Billy Gray and his motives later on in the game are not quite clear to me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that you should make it painfully oblivious when you’re writing any story, but in this particular case, there really wasn’t even a hint about them. So, the only reason I can think of him ratting out about The Lost was paranoiac fear towards them and especially Johnny. For my opinion, this is something they’ve could fleshed out better.

But the most biggest flaw this game has is the fact that there’s really not that much of a satire this time around, which is quite alarming considering the fact that it was the meat of the base game. Instead, it seems to take it too seriously, without even slightest hint of humour in it, other than baseball bats in the motorcycle races, which can be used for batting the other contestants off from their rides. So in the nutshell, the whole game is about a generic biker doing some jobs for different people, while there’s quite uninteresting plot running behind it, which actually has some potential to be something better than it actually is. But on the positive note, the game does answer some questions which were present on the base game, like more on the diamonds that eventually got robbed. So, if you want your fix of GTA for cheap, try to get The Episodes from Liberty City which has The Ballad of Gay Tony in it, which is far better DLC (at least the small bit I’ve played it), or if you prefer the old school GTA’s, Saint’s Row 2.

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Okay, so you probably have noticed that I’m not very active when it comes to updating this tumblr. Anyway, I thought I should write something for you, but since I can’t think anything I could write a whole post about, I’ll just make this to be about shorter statements and you’ll going to read it. You okay with that? Good, here we go!

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Extra Curricular: The Unofficial home of Extra Credits community

I presume you’ve heard about Extra Credits? If not, it’s a web series, which is a kind of “social commentary” of the game industry today. The Escapist used host the series, but since a some issues with the payments, the show had to migrate back on youtube. Extra Curricular is a community based around the series, so if you’re interested about the show or the community of it, I’ll recommend you to check the site out. Community is a pretty friendly bunch, so I’m sure you’d find it well in case you decide to join. Oh, and my forum name there is vvp, so be my guest and say hi!

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Appologies for those who have been waiting new review of an old classic. As the name indicates, this still isn’t it, but I promise it will come some time soon (like the day in the amusement park, that you might been planning to do for a while). Meanwhile, I’d like to write about thing that’s troubled me for a while, and I need to get out of my system. More after the break.

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