She probably didn’t deserve this.

So I was playing GTA V the other day, and I met this woman.


She was not sprawled in the street when I met her. She was standing in a driveway in the hills of Vinewood, where I had been sneaking into people’s yards to swim in their pools and set bombs.

She was chatting with a neighbor about the inane sort of things you might imagine wealthy people chat about while loitering in their driveways. Outrage over trivial offenses – passionately discussed in hushed, indignant tones. The faux reluctance to speak ill of others overwhelmed by the need for attention and validation. The sort of bonding ritual that occurs when people having nothing of any significance to say feel the urge to have a conversation.

I was supposed to be looking for a place to stash a getaway car, but decided I could spare a few moments to indulge in a game of “stand real close”.

A few minutes under the silent, unwavering gaze of a meth addict is enough to kill the conversation, and the two retreat to their respective mansions. I likewise return to my own business.


Emerging from a pool, sticky bomb in hand, I am suddenly confronted with white suit lady again – now standing at her fence arms folded, gazing down over the city. She catches sight of me crouched in the stealth position one foot away from her, and turns to run.

This naturally triggers Trevor’s chase reflex, so I pursue.

Just as I activate hatevision, I see her leap over the fence, tumble to the bottom of the incline and come up into a full sprint. Watching her weave through traffic, I think – Holy shit. This bitch is on meth.

Being curious as to how far from her spawn point she’ll go, I hop the fence and take off after her. She is unreasonably fast, so I hurl myself down multiple hills to close the distance. I catch up and become fixated with trying to herd the pathing algorithm closer to downtown.

After a protracted foot chase, I see her cut across the street in the far distance, only to have her legs swept out from under her by the hood of a car.

Just walking away from the scene felt very anti-climactic, so I decided to take a few mementos of our brief time together.





She will never be subjected to bad customer service again. She is free now.


GTA V: Trevor

Some thoughts on Grand Theft Auto V:

1. I am still a shitty driver.

2. I still can’t aim.

3. Holy shit, Trevor.

4. My fear of planes translates into the virtual world.

5. When attempting to take cover, I usually end up on the side of the wall/lumber stack/dumpster under fire, rather than behind it. From the perspective of my attackers, I just fall to the ground and curl into the fetal position whenever someone starts shooting at me. This is pretty consistently a bad tactic.

6. Why in the fuck can you not throw environmental objects at people anymore? I walked up to a construction site on my first day of playing, spied a stack of bricks, and was like “Shit yeah, let’s party.” And then, like some kind of cruel joke, I found that I could not even lay hands on them. I had a pile of bricks. Unsuspecting targets were all around me. And yet, I could do nothing but stand there as they smugly paraded their unmarred skulls in front of me. I felt powerless.

Why did you take this away from me, Rockstar?

7. Trevor.

Instead of one main character, this GTA has three. You can switch between them (once they are unlocked). While you are playing on one of the characters, the other two are going about their own business. So when you switch back to them, they are not where you left them and are typically in the middle of some other task1.

Usually not murder though. That only seems to happen when you are in control. This makes me think that the underlying story is actually that you are a malevolent possessing spirit fucking with the lives of these people for your own amusement. You take control of them, go on a killing spree, and just as you are standing over a pile of bodies and burning wreckage, you peace out and leave them to deal with the aftermath. Think Fallen. Or a Shedim.

It is worth noting that I did not give the GTA series the credit it was due until (relatively) recently (c. TBoGT). I just took it for your typical murder simulator (you know, like most games), and not the freaking brilliant satire of . . . everything that it actually is. My b.

1Trevor is usually just vomiting. Or staring into the sun.

Thomas Was Alone

Friday I finished a game called Thomas Was Alone. It’s about a group of AIs who are basically the x-Men of the AIs inhabiting the mainframe of a company called Artificial Life Solutions. This game is positively beautiful in style, execution and character development – which is impressive considering all the characters are rectangles, and all are voiced by one narrator. It’s like someone is reading you a story that just happens to manifest interactively. And in terms of gameplay, it is essentially everything a platformer ought to be: a series of kinetic puzzles whose solutions require awareness and mindful action. And once you understand how it works, moving through the level is very fluid.

This game was originally developed as a flash game during a 24 hour game design challenge – that version is here, but be aware that it is the mechanics of the game only. Though on that topic, I will say that the jump took a bit of getting used to, as there is no momentum to account for – when you stop holding the stick/arrow key, you just stop your sideways movement, and that is where you fall.

Here is the Steam page for the game, with a trailer and screens for you to admire: Thomas Was Alone Or just watch this (sound on – the soundstrack is pretty excellent as well).

Zero is GOB Bluth under the mask. The thought occurs to me every time he throws out a grenade. He yells “Grenade!”, but it’s not like “Look out, grenade!”. It’s more “Grenade, yesss!”, punctuated by an implied fist-pump. Or maybe he just mouths “Fuck, yeah” under his helmet.

Then I heard him say “Illusion” for the first time, and that sealed the deal.

Also just recognized that GOB Bluth is a recursive acronym. Like Xinu. Kind of.

No, wait, it is just redundant. Like ATM machine.

Anyway, enjoy this.

Illusions Michael
tricks are what a whore does for
money or cocaine

Rhythm got me.

I have been playing a lot of Kinect games lately. Specifically, I have been playing a lot of dancing games. I have logged the most time in a game called Rhythm Party. It should be noted that on the majority of the songs, I have achieved a null score in terms of rhythm1. Apparently I utterly lack the ability to move in time with music at even the most basic level. As I was flailing my way through one of the Japanese groupdance tracks, an observation drifted through my mind: I am very awkward.

Then I thought to myself, “Fuck you, stupid brain. That was a cunty thing to think.”

To which it replied, “Well, I guess that makes you a stupid cunt then, doesn’t it?”

1My score in terms of pieces of furniture inadvertently kicked per song is pretty high.


I want to set up a Minecraft server with a couple of slight modifications. It will be a survival mode game such that dangerous creatures start spawning only after someone has manually lit the first light somewhere in the world. Prior to this, the world would be completely safe, but have an abbreviated day that provides only weak illumination.

After someone sets the first torch, you get a regular day/night cycle, but monsters will aggressively inhabit the land. Ideally everyone would then hunt this person to punish them.


The birth of religion on our Minecraft server:

Yes, I know it’s backward.

Why is skyface so very disappointed? Perhaps it is our frivolous use of resources. Perhaps it is because we started beating each other to death with handfuls of dirt the very moment we logged into a shared server. Perhaps it is because of the donggarden.

You know what, I bet it is the dongs. I feel like most gods are represented as being pretty solidly anti-dong. Unless that’s what they happen to be the god of, I guess. Then it probably wouldn’t be all that upsetting.


A challenger appears!

Call of Duty: Black Ops (plus bonus rambling)

Pizza guy is my favorite.

Was it racist to assume that the cook was a pizza guy? I did base the assumption on his swarthy appearance. Also, the look on the chubby girl’s face is quite possibly the most adorable thing ever.

Before anyone gets an anal cramp about all the guns, I realize that this commercial basically appeals to the worst aspects of human nature. Most of them do. It just so happens that we derive most of what we consider to be fun from our less noble impulses. Here are some other things that you might enjoy while playing this game:

Ok, everything in that image isn’t totally fair. The Devil in Miss Jones was a decent examination of how human beings more or less decide on their own suffering. The movie actually cautions against being preoccupied with selfish impulses, because that is what ultimately damns the soul. I would comfortably say that it is worthy of the label “art” – much more so than many mainstream movies.

Speaking of the damned, I started playing Dante’s Inferno yesterday. The game clearly takes some liberties with the plot. For example, I don’t think Dante was a soldier fighting in the Crusades. Nor do I remember the part where he tames a rancor and rides it around hell.

Artistic license aside, the game is a lot of fun. It is graphically impressive and plays like Devil May Cry: Here’s a room full of enemies for your ridiculously huge sword or gun or swordgun to chew through. Attain combo points. Smash benches and jars to retrieve glowing currency orbs. Finish your enemies with a sweet quick time event.

Dante’s Inferno also has a light side/dark side point system – or holy/unholy in this case. The type of points you get to purchase powers is determined by whether you choose to punish lost souls or absolve them. However, while thematically fitting, I’m not 100% sure Dante would have the authority to do that. Also, being absolved looks a lot like being stabbed in the face with a cross.

The most awesome thing I’ve seen in the game so far is in the circle of Lust. There is a screaming maelstrom in which souls are trapped, eternally at the mercy of the winds of desire. As you approach it, the sound of wind begins to clarify into the moans and gasps of the lustful. The effect is subtle and seamless and fairly creepy. Though for some reason still way less creepy than limbo, where you have unbaptized babies crawling out of a flaming womb and dragging themselves over to you on their little blade arms.

STO is the New WoW

Star Trek Online officially launched last week, presenting an MMO that has the same draw for me that WoW had for most of the people I game with. Which is to say that I have, at long last, found a game that will be a terrible time sink, for which I will cast aside more fulfilling hobbies and/or actual human interaction. H-hooray?

Anyway, look at my ship:


It would be fair to say that my interest in the Star Trek universe is more than passing. At one time I held a smallish library detailing the various languages, cultures and technologies from the series. There may have been a Klingon language pocket reference – I don’t really recall. I have since handed off these lesser dork tomes to younger siblings and cousins. This is not to be interpreted to mean that I ever outgrew them, I just recognize that online resources mean I no longer need to actually display my shame on a bookshelf.

STO’s strongest selling point is the space combat. Actually, strike that – the strongest selling point is just flying around through space, period. I would still be playing this game if it was just space tourism, because it’s beautiful. If you can crank the video settings up, the ships are highly detailed, space has an impressive feeling of depth and attack effects render with enough detail to distinguish one from another visually. The last item may not sound like much, but when your attacks are all basically some variation of “laser beams, pew pew”, it is at least somewhat noteworthy.

Screenshots below (click on them for big, pretty pictures):

space is big space is big space is big

sectorspace purplespace greenspace

I personally find the away missions – or any period of time not flying around in a spaceship – kind of lackluster. They’re not terrible or anything, it’s just that this particular portion of the game doesn’t compare to other MMOs – which is fine, because other MMOs don’t let you fly around in spaceships1, so they can go eat a bowl of dicks.

If nothing else, away missions are the only time you really get to see the bridge crew you create – who, by the way, are always available to flesh out an away team if you are a lonely nerd with no friends to play with. My second in command is my favorite (he’s the one on the right):


1But what about Eve Online, you say? Fuck you, you are a Libertarian.