Monthly Archives: June 2012

Let’s give it up for extreme violence at E3 2012

First, a true fact: I am not at the physical E3, set at the Los Angeles Convention center, but I can still hear the clapping.

Clapping, in general, is a standard at a convention or event where someone talks and then pauses in anticipation. It’s also pretty much expected when shown something exciting, such as a new game trailer or even just a teensy weensy teaser to get the blood a-pumping and the heartrate up. It’s a reaction, and it is, more or less, a confirmation that what was shown was appreciated or desired or looked upon favorably. Golf claps and sarcastic, slow-building claps that are found only in cinematic talkies are different beasts. However, from what I witnessed via live-streams of E3 2012 press conferences, there are two instances of clapping that struck me as…woefully odd. Disappointing, too.

One happened during a live demo of The Last of Us, and the other during a live demo of God of War: Ascension, and both are sad reminders of why the media portrays gamers as violent-minded folk. When you clap for extreme violence, you are clapping with genuine excitement. You clap because you care.

In God of War: Ascension, during a boss fight, Kratos does his QTE thing and rips out a monster’s brain and then slices it in half, as if the ripping out the brain didn’t already do the needful. This got a rousing reaction from the crowd, with applause to back it up. In The Last of Us, Joel takes the head of a man attacking him and slams it repeatedly into a small dresser until the side of it–the dresser, that is–is covered in blood and the man is unmoving. The audience at the conference really liked this moment and decided to let the world know by starting giving it a round of applause.

Both of these moments immediately made me uncomfortable. I myself felt no need to clap; granted, I was watching from the other side of the United States, first in an office and then second in bed in my pajamas with a kitty cat by my feet. I spent most of the God of War: Ascension live demo reading the comments over at GiantBomb and laughing along, but I did watch the live demo for The Last of Us with genuine interest. I loved when Joel got shot and kind of stumbled back, but brushed it off due to the intense scenario he and that Ellen Page girl were in. I loved how crazy fast everything was happening, and I loved why Joel had to do that horrible thing to that man–to survive, to keep going. I don’t love the moment itself, but the push behind it. That kind of violence really shows the grittiness of the game and that it is in fact¬†The Road and all post-apocalyptic tropes and themes, and that to keep on truckin’ one has to do what one has to do. By no means should these actions be applauded–but they should be understood. The audience members clapping like little kids on Christmas morning clearly did not understand what was happening on that big screen in front of them.

I’ll end with this polar opposite scenario then. In LEGO City Undercover–a debut videogame I now desperately want, but only on the Nintendo 3DS as I’m still not convinced a Wii U is worth acquiring–police detective Chase McCain races down a criminal, tackles him in broad daylight on a populated city street, and the evildoer explodes into LEGO bits and studs. No one clapped.

The Sea Will Claim Everything in its first hour of clicking

My dream goal would be to cover all the games that came grouped in Bundle in a Box‘s first package for The First Hour, but my time and sanity are running lower and lower with each new day in June that comes to pass. It really is amazing that I’m typing these words here at Grinding Down at all. If anything, I’m happy to report I played an hour (and then some more) of The Sea Will Claim Everything, a unique-looking point-and-click adventure game set in the fantastical realm known as the Lands of Dreams. Click that previously linked sentence to see how the sixty minutes went.

The sad news is that I dragged my feet with this review and the bundle is now over;¬†The Sea Will Claim Everything will not be available for a little bit until Jonas Kyratzes can set up a webshop. So, if you are interested in it and didn’t purchase a bundle, you’ll have to now wait. Sorry, little dreamers.

But stay tuned, as I am going to continue to play The Sea Will Claim Everything and will let you know how it all turns out.

Back into the wild to remember which Pokemon I liked

I haven’t posted my haiku review of it yet, but I “beat” Professor Layton’s London Life the other night. And, of course, in an Animal Crossing-esque mini-game made up of fetch quests only, beating the thing is not a terribly difficult mountain climb, but rather a nice walk around the park until the sun goes down and it is time to head home lest a shadowcat eviscerate you. And I sure did take my time, as I’ve been chipping away at fixing Little London’s problems since November 2011. But it’s over. Surprisingly major crisis averted, minute problems of every townsperson resolved, happiness earned, and credits scrolled. The actual main plot through and through is a bit silly and confusing, but I’ll save that for another post. Dangerously, after the credits are done and some ineffectual text plays, I am dropped back into London Life to continue doing all the tiny tasks again and again and again, which is fine, really. But I wanted to play something else for a change.

All of this is to say I took out the Professor Layton and the Last Specter cartridge from my Nintendo 3DS…and replaced it with Pokemon White, a game I haven’t touched in over a year. Shocking, I know. I basically got all the way up to the final fight (or series of fights) and couldn’t beat a certain tier, which meant blatant amounts of grinding, something I wasn’t interested in at the time. And I then put the game aside and forgot about it. Obviously.

But I’m back, and boy was my first few minutes disorienting. First of all, I guess I last saved my progress within some shopping mall, but one that also contained trainers ready to fight. Y’know, not exactly a safe zone, like a health center or neighborhood house. Not knowing this, I immediately went to chat with a young woman nearby. Her name was…Waitress Flo, and she wanted to kick my butt; I guess I had forgotten to previously leave her a nice tip. Alas, many of my Pokemon were weak and low on health, so I had to scrape by. As soon as the fight ended, I got the bleep out of there and took some time to re-learn the menus and what items I had, as well as familiarize myself with my team of pocket monsters.

Only three stood out as memorable, the ones I’ve used since the dawn of time, and the other three felt immediately like space-fillers. But anyways, yeah. My trio of attackers included the following:

The problem is that these are my only heavy hitters, and after they fall, I don’t have anyone else strong enough to take their places. So now I am looking around my storage box for three worthy contenders, and then I guess I will grind them up to the mid-forties or low fifties via Victory Road and hope that I can take down the Ferocious Four (or whatever they are called) in one fell swoop. If anything, the time spent grinding will help me get back into the groove of the game, as well as continue to grow Trashy into the biggest, baddest pile of punching trash you ever did see. I told the world I’d beat Pokemon White with garbage, and I plan to see that promise come to fruition.