I didn’t even realize that Bethesda had posted the full soundtrack for DOOM(2016) to YouTube until today. I did, of course, purchase both the game and soundtrack back in 2016 and cannot wait until Doom Eternal arrives.
Yeah. It’s going to be be a long wait.
The Overwatch League is in its first season! I caught the first Saturday’s matches, although I was a bit late for the first game. My team, the LA Gladiators, had its match last, so no worries there.
London Spitfire versus Philadelphia Fusion
Highlights between halves of the match:
New York Excelsior versus Houston Outlaws
the main event:
Seoul Dynasty versus Los Angeles Gladiators
The Gladiators made a proper entrance:
I’m not posting the results here, but all the matches were fun to watch, with the last one being super fierce. Seoul has one of the best, and most experienced Overwatch teams in the league and the Gladiators didn’t slack off. The videos of the entire matches should be up at https://overwatchleague.com. Looking forward to next Saturday. 🙂
When I was a kid, watching TV programs meant watching what was on at a particular time and you had to know when your favorite shows were on and be ready to watch at that time, or have it recorded to tape (those antique things), or you’d miss out on that day or week. I remember some channels had bad reception in our area too.
I lived through the fall of the corner video stores (RIP Blockbuster and Hollywood Video), so the slow(!) change to the on-demand delivery of content was not unforeseeable. These days, I rarely turn on a TV to watch a broadcast channel. Usually, I’m just using the display to watch something on Netflix or Crunchyroll, or even streamed off my phone.
I can totally see a day when the cable that brings broadcast shows into the home will only be used instead for internet access and to watch live event streams as needed.
News programs still seem to dominate broadcast channels, or that’s at least what is on during prime times when I see my parents watching. It’s either that or shows about hoarders or house hunters I see most often, with the occasional movie.
As for the news, there’s just so many more options online and it’s super easy to focus on specific topics from multiple sources. TV just doesn’t offer such flexibility, and that’s why it’s super worrisome that there’s still a large number of people that only get news information primarily from TV, and from the big networks. Sure, some of them are doing a good job, but, there’s often these days stories that break online, with all the big networks scrambling to catch up or even just copy-pasting social media posts.
It’s a different world these days and it’s getting more online-centered. I wonder if anybody reading this is out of range for some of this, like in a rural area or something. I wonder what people in those areas think of all this. Do they even notice?
I like stories. In all the various forms they come in. I’ve been this way most of my life. I think it started with books, but I appreciate a good story, even when it’s wrapped in a lot of fancy technology.
It began with a live for books. That came once I got basic reading down. It only expanded once I got into a grade in school where “story time” was a thing. I secretly longed for this part of the day a bit more than recess.
I listened to The Hobbit, The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, and Watership Down. I was hooked. School libraries were somewhat small, so I quickly moved up to the local public library and my library card was an essential, everyday carry item.
It wasn’t just books though. I loved TV shows and movies, as well as video games. Still do.
Now, storytelling is usually a key aspect of many games (sometimes in sports video games as well.) Some games are even just basically interactive stories, with the player only making minor branching choices, or even being in nearly complete control as the main protagonist, or sharing that with other players, in small to massively multiplayer online role-playing games, like World of Warcraft.
In all cases, it’s whatever story is being told (or guided towards) that draws me in. The awesome thing about loving stories is there are so many to experience. Running out is simply not an option, and it’s as easy as listening to another nearby human being.
It’s been a few weeks since the last wrap-up post. Things have happened. Quite a few things. I’ve seen a few more movies and even reviewed one that was excellent.
This week, however, saw a few things I hadn’t expected or that I forgot were about to come up. The first was that I saw the launch of a YouTube channel. This one’s special because it’s dedicated to gaming, but even more important, the person starting it (Peter Saddington) intends to pursue the great dream of many gamers (myself included): to play games as a full-time occupation. Take a look:
As you can see, Peter’s got quite the passion for gaming and for doing what’s super scary at its core – committing publicly to being serious about making a living pursuing his passion. He even is sharing that with nearly complete strangers like myself. He feels like he can make an assessment of a game in the first 15 minutes of play. I think there will be a few exceptions, but that might just be due to how some games are designed.
I had the chance actually to chat with Peter on the phone briefly this evening. You can feel the seriousness and energy he has, even on a short call. I can’t help but want to see him succeed, and I’ll try to help as best I can. I didn’t mention this blog, but I might bring it up at a later time. I’ll probably share more of his videos on social media, however. He’s currently reviewing gaming PC configurations that fit his budget, which is a good idea, since a very high-performance rig is a necessity, especially for somebody that hasn’t been deep in the gaming scene for multiple years.
The next thing I hadn’t reminded myself strongly about was the US premiere of the Sword Art Online movie. I purchased my ticket quite a few months ago and set a calendar item. I got a couple of reminders from the ticket company, via email. That helped me to get a bit hyped for it. I’ll probably see it again once it’s in wider release this coming week.
That’s all for now. There are some fun and festivities this weekend, but that’ll be for another post. I hope everyone else’s weeks have been good. It’s March! Things are warming up in the northern hemisphere. Let’s enjoy the changing season.
At the urging of someone close to me, here’s my review of Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale, based on my having attended the US premiere in Hollywood.
It’s a fascinating look at a “what if” situation. Specifically, it continues the situation introduced by the series itself, so I’ll go over that briefly before digging into the movie.
In the TV show, Sword Art Online (SAO) is the newest of a near future’s virtual reality (VR) massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPG). In this fictional future, VR terminals, called NerveGear, completely immerse players, temporarily shutting down their real-world body’s motor and sensory functions. That means that usually, users must log in someplace comfortable, like their beds at home, or a secured location. One player does so from a place that’s not their home, but it’s a spoiler, so that’s all I’ll say about that.
At any rate, there’s a significant event in the SAO game world, attracting all players to the same location. It’s thousands of individuals. The event is one unique to the game world, created by its lead developer. What happens is a terrifying thing: an ominous entity appears and tells them the game’s real objective. The only way to leave the game is to “win” it, by conquering the final boss in the highest dungeon. All players are affected by this condition. They cannot log out!
Unspoken is also a terrifying secondary condition. Dying in-game results in real-life death. The first season of the series is then the adventures of the main protagonist, Kirito, and the friends he gathers in-game. Kirito has gaming experience, and specifically with an early release (beta) version of SAO, which leads to his having fine-tuned skills and knowledge of the game’s behavior. He’s quickly labeled a “beater” (beta cheater) due to that when he’s found out. That pushes Kirito to go solo, refusing to team up formally with any other players. It drives him to quickly level up to be the first to conquer and progress through the massive 100-level dungeon. He later has trouble and finds out that the higher levels require huge teams, so he must have allies, and it progresses from there.
The second season takes place in a post-apocalyptic, shooting-based world, Gun Gale Online (GGO), that, while safer than SAO, had it’s own real-world connection to a problem player. It deals with a slightly different set of real-world issues as well. It’s worth a watch.
I was late to the screening (80-minute drive directly from work), so I arrived at the tail-end of the movie summarizing this 2-season plot. The film is watchable, on its own, due to that. It’s been more than couple years since the SAO game ended, and many “survivors” of SAO were admitted to a unique set of schools to complete their real-world education and (not mentioned) rehabilitation, after having spent years logged into another world. Some, like Kirito, had also joined other VR worlds after SAO or joined its newer, fantasy-based successor.
There exists in the post-SAO future an augmented reality (AR) game, called Ordinal Scale. This game exists as a separate visible (to players) overlay on top of what they see in the real world, via a less bulky head-mounted display, much like Google Glass. Unlike VR games, players must be physically conscious and, importantly, real-world locations matter. If you’re thinking of Pokemon Go, it’s a logical evolution of that type of AR game. In Ordinal Scale, there are boss battle events put on nightly, which rewards the players participating, if they manage to virtually survive and if the boss is defeated. Players receive short notice as to the location, which is usually either an existing public space, or a cordoned off space, so there’s a controlled safety factor the game’s developers are aware of.
The movie begins, however, with Kirito, and the others, noticing strong things happening to players, and specifically to SAO survivors, after some of the battles.
The movie’s worth a viewing so that I won’t go too deep into its plot. It’s related to the events in the original SAO game, but for a character not seen in the show, but with a connection to many SAO players. Ordinal Scale does touch upon a few of the current worries around AR, but the fictional world also offers some interesting solutions to some, such as having specifically planned-out places for players to safely gather. It also encourages exercise, which a VR player like Kirito quickly finds is hindering him a bit until he comes up with a creative solution to help him progress. He and others notice that the bosses are bosses they’ve seen in SAO before, giving them a useful leg up on dealing with them and also ensuring they do the most damage, which affects their ranking.
The number 2 ranked Ordinal Scale player also is a key figure and appears to be an SAO survivor as well, which quickly gains the attention of Kirito and his girlfriend, Asuna, who recognizes him first as a former guildmate from SAO. They’re concerned that this player is connected to strange happenings stemming from Ordinal Scale, and Kirito gains a rival since one can’t make it to #1 without going through #2.
There’s also a virtual idol appearing in many of the boss battles, Yuna, who also happens to be a pop singer with many fans in their real world, and who has an upcoming concert in a major arena. She serenades players as they battle, granting both a bonus buff at the beginning and granting an experience point boost to the top player for each victorious battle. There something strange about her, and many don’t know if she’s a real life person, or a virtual idol, like Hatsune Miko. This ambiguity does matter, but any more description of her is too much.
If fantasy-based action appeals to you, this is a must-see. If you have an interest in AR or VR, I’d say give it a look as well. It’s a great adventure, nonetheless. I do want to see it again, not just to see it from a further back row, but because it is entertaining. I’m giving Ordinal Scale a top recommendation, and I do hope that more anime series get a movie if this one does well in a wider release. US release is March 9, so mark your calendars!
My hobby is playing video and computer games. It’s not a secret. What I like about them is a bit tougher to describe, but I’ll try.
Games are usually a fun pastime, and that is what I believe their primary reason for existing is. I do play games mainly because I find them fun. That’s not the only reason, though.
I also play them to visit, if only for a short time, different worlds than the current, real one. Sometimes it’s vastly different worlds, at times, there’s only a slight difference. It’ll be a “what if this one thing happened” scenario, and what kinds of adventures would result.
Often, I do like taking on the role of a hero, saving the day. I think I enjoy that because, unlike a book, or a movie, I get to control the flow of whatever “story” unfolds. Sometimes it’s a branching story, and other times, it can be a very linear story, and the variations can have their ways of entertaining, at different times and depending on what I’m in the mood for.
Games are also a way to provide exercise for the mind, without dire consequences. Solving puzzles in virtual worlds is also fun, and those virtual achievements can be something to remember fondly if only because some seemingly impossible task was pulled off by what might have been a burst of creative thinking.
Some games hide surprises and delightful moments, and I dig those as well.
This is not an exhaustive set of reasons, but I think it’s good for now. I might expand this someday, but I’m sure I far from alone in most of these reasons.
Apologies, but I need to get something silly out of my system. It’s not that silly, but just on loop in my head.
OK, now that that’s out of my system (3 months isn’t long at all), it’s on the to the rest of the blank page. It’s putting up quite a fight today. I won’t let it win. There will be words that form thoughts. Soon.
Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking. -Albert Einstein
This writing thing is tough on days like today. That’s because I can think of not a single original thought to put forth here and it’s annoying. I’m also fighting off a buzz of distractions that are in my head. Those thoughts, that have no substance, are the hardest to get away from because they keep playing, like an old radio station, in a tight loop.
Like right now, suddenly, I’m thinking of a different song than the one above and it’s stuck playing its hook over and over again. Maybe I can purge it if I listen.
Well, that was fun, but I don’t think it worked so well. The page is looking less blank, so I’ll consider this battle a draw and return for more combat tomorrow.