Essential writings

Every time I fill out an application, real or fake, I initially panic about clips. The reporting one, the interview one, the review one, oh no, which one should I choose. When I finally sat down to review, I realized I could condense my style into three pieces.

  1. Drink pairings for your favorite game franchise
    • My pièce de résistance. The appeal of alcohol and the magic of video games. I’ve never had more fun writing.
  2. ‘London Has Fallen’ means standards have fallen
    • This is where I truly let loose with the bite and the silly. Switching out generic man hero character’s name brought me the sanity I needed to make it through this trainwreck of a film.
  3. New video game release: ‘The Beginner’s Guide’ review
    • Being serious is insanely difficult to me. This game was powerful enough to make me put on a serious face; it also gave me the challenge of reviewing a game without saying anything about it.

PCP: 3D Ultra Minigolf

Fun Fridayz #16 – Finite Flaws

Minigolf, Many Fun

The short of it: It’s about as much fun as real crappy minigolf. 

No real excuses here. Felt bad, fell asleep. 

So my buddy Max and I had a few and booted up the ol’ 360 arcade game, 3D Ultra Minigolf. 

I downloaded it a few months ago for a few bucks after watching Achievement Hunter’s wonderfully classic Let’s Play 3D Ultra Minigolf.

It went about as well as one could expect. Mixing wonky physics and alcohol turned into a series of terrible failures, where a max power shot was a hole in one, but putting became an extra six strokes on a Par 2 course.

For a cheap laugh, though, it’s a real sinker.

PCP: The Wire

Watching Wednesday #15 – Well, Wire Wins

Through The Wire

Wired for success

The short of it: Despite its obvious age, and the terrifying truth that the aughts are now a sign of age, The Wire’s vulnerable characters make this a sort of odd predecessor to Game of Thrones.

It’s the answer at everyone’s fingertips the moment social media asks about masterpieces of television or Twitter tosses out a poll about favorite shows.

And here I am, years and years later, just deciding to start it on a whim, despite the thousands of internet voices praising it every time I logged on.

No surprise here, it’s dope.

Now, I’d like to say that’s a bad joke on account of the dope-slinging focus in the first season, but the show’s heartbreaking depictions of both the addicts and the dealers make any joke about it far more bitter than I’d like. So for now, that’s just one of my more mediocre mannerisms.

The show’s good. It starts with this immediate jump into the life of the Baltimore Police Department– another victim of the streets to deal with and another soon-to-be-victim of the streets to comfort. Character names fly by, but the faces and voices stick.

 

PCP: Igorrr

Monotony Monday #16 (Real) – Mais Melodies

A Frankenstein of Influences

Yis, Master(fully done music)

The short of it: If there’s beauty in chaos, Igorrr is chaos in beauty. 

Of everything I’ve recommended, Igorrr presents the largest challenge. Anime could be a cartoon, manga a comic book, podcasts a radio piece, RPGs an improv show.

But Igorrr is a bit harder to simplify. He’s a composer, a producer, a musician. But at the same time, his mastery of multiple melodies makes his music surprisingly inaccessible for those with non-esoteric tastes.

This is the second difficulty of selling his music– musical elitism, especially regarding genres and subgenres, is disgusting. It can invalidate valid criticisms and ruin recommendations. And I personally despise it; it’s the perpetual thorn in music discussion’s side. So I’m struggling with describing his music without falling back to the undescriptive and unattractive terms of “normal” or “mainstream.” Hell, even non-esoteric is pretty esoteric.

So Igorrr makes music. The genre is technically breakcore, with various YouTube comments referring to it as “baroquecore” or “paniccore” or various other conflated typings that are plaguing musical innovation.

It’s brutal– fast, seemingly chaotic, loud and sorrowful and angry. It’s reminiscent of Aphex Twin and Squarepusher, only with less of a refined edge. And again, it’s just hard to quantify what I mean by that. Igorrr is immensely talented, and so are Aphex Twin and Squarepusher. But while the latter two’s music seems honed to a fine point where they make amazing use of their skills with their equipment and instruments, Igorrr just seems to grasp at everything within reach. Opera, baroque music, dizzying blast beats, guttural screeches and refined metal screams, everything is sucked into this precisely laid-out composition.

I may be misconstruing the type of music his contemporaries make, but, at the very least, I need to talk about the fascinating oddity that is Igorrr.

He takes these clean samples, like this elegant guitar melody, and drags them through the mud and filth to make them beautiful.

I mean, come on, the dude made a song out of his chicken’s pecks.

Real cock of the walk type of music.

PCP: White Noise

Monotony Monday #?? – Mmmmmmeh

hmmmmmmmmmmmm

The short of it: Sometimes sleep is more than the silence that starts it. 

You stare at the back of your eyelids.

The roar of nothing deafens you.

You blink in and out of consciousness, waiting for the one that lasts more the unsatisfying split second that trades time for nothing.

This is supposed to be sleep, the great equalizer, the cousin of death.

And yet it dances around you like some sort of dark goose. Black swan. Whatever.

That’s when the A/C kicks on again, replacing a silent roar with an actual roar, gently rattling over the sound of the world outside. The fog of noise surrounds you. The hum slowly travels in one ear before exiting out the other, collecting the terrifying array of thoughts screaming around in your brain as it leaves. A blanket of ambience settles over you, coaxing the cure for your exhaustion.

And then you wake up.

 

PCP: The Long Dark

Fun Friday #15 – Ffffffffroze Fun

Long Dark, Short Arrival

Alright, I’ll be honest, I took a personal day to recover. This’ll be updated tomorrow

Hey, it’s updated. The short of it is I’m exhausted and this game is dope– if you’re into survival and atmosphere, pick this up ASAP. As much fun as I had, I think I’ll wait for a sale to pick this up.

Okay, so I survived the long dark.

Not the game, the skull splitting hangover I got from a single sugary alcoholic drink for my birthday coupled with a week of exhaustion.

I did not survive The Long Dark.

That might be because I was playing the trial version of the now “finished” game– a rarity in the survival genre. Along with the fact that this is true survival, not survival horror, not survival zombie base building early access, or whatever other obnoxious tags get tacked onto the remnants of the Greenlight program, The Long Dark is almost a miracle.

Not only did it emerge from dreaded Early Access, it did so with a flourish, adding a story mode with its ultimate release. After playing through five or so days in said story mode, it’s delightfully competent. The animations for character interactions (depicted in flashbacks and only a little interaction) are these moving painted styles that manage to work with the gameplay’s very-obviously-Unity looks.

With a hotbutton for managing all of the important tasks for survival, like eating or crafting, the tension for survival is built on your management of resources, both material, chronological, and caloric. Instead of losing yourself in the frustration of management menus and mysterious blueprints that require a wiki, it’s truly all on your ability to survive.

So you find yourself, alone, with the wind howling in your ears as you desperately try to make a fire out of an old newspaper and the scattering of branches from the snowstorm.

Days pass. Maybe you don’t make it. Maybe you do, maybe you luck out and stumble on a cache and the corpse of its creator. Either way, you’ll eventually end up in a similar situation.

You find yourself, alone again, but you’re locked in the comfort of your cave. The fire is roaring, stocked with reclaimed wood and lumber, with a guaranteed burn time of nearly half a day. Your supply of venison and dog food give you a few days of comfort in the face of a blinding blizzard. The three bullets you own are always near your grasp, protecting you from the harsh realities of a devastated world.

And yet you feel no better than you did when your vision started to blur from exhaustion and hypothermia and your numb fingers struggled with tinder.

This is the possessive, enthralling terror of The Long Dark. There are no hordes to outsmart, no bosses to beat. Every sunrise isn’t a symbol of the warmth and hope. Instead, it’s a cold reminder that in just a few short hours, your body may consume the final calories of energy left in your body. Your new shelter may become a mangy wolf’s new home. You might just forget to boil your water when your thirst becomes too great.

Or you just might forget where your shelter is when the storm hits and the snow blinds you, leaving you to become just another victim of the long dark.

 

 

PCP: Berserk, Vol. 1

Watching Wednesday #15 – Weeawoo

I Bes in the Zerk

The short of it: As striking as it is brutal (much like Guts), Berserk is a legend for a reason. Gorgeous depictions of terrifying tragedies make it hard to put down and harder to look away. 

Technically, you look at manga, which is close enough to watching. Whatever, it’s dope.

I’ve got this bad habit of comparisons, which, as a concept, are generally lazy. Thanks to the transitive property though, a revelation is revealed about this legendary series:

Berserk is Dark Souls.
Dark Souls is Berserk.
Catch-22 is Dark Souls.
Catch-22 is Berserk.

Alright, I’m not a math guy. There’s a reason I took algebra at a community college and there’s a reason I got a journalism degree and not one that involves non-data-driven numbers.

Alright, they’re the same reason. Maybe the writing skills I thought compensated for my lack of math ones aren’t quite as good as I thought.

The point is, I butchered that as bad as Guts butchers and is butchered. It’s too cruel too cool.

Note: Berserk’s occult cult status isn’t exaggerated. Knowing the story doesn’t spoil the ride or mystique. So far at least. 

PCP: “Mononokay”

Mononotony Monday #15 – Monono More Like Moyesyes

Sorority Noise is More Than Noise

The short of it: A song made me feel again, okay?

There’s a lot I want to say about Sorority Noise. They’ve quickly raced past the likes of The Front Bottoms and Modern Baseball to become my favorite emo/pop punk-y band, and, by extension, one of my favorite musical acts in general.

At first listen, I thought they were another annoying indie-lite band with nonsensical lyrics, thanks to Pandora’s recommendation of “Dirty Ickes” (“I taught myself Norse to sit on your front porch” – I mean, c’mon).

I eventually got others like “Where Are You?” and “Blonde Hair, Black Lungs,” which quickly won me over with their mix of melody and edge. I was planning to write about “Where Are You?” because of how accessible and catchy it is. Instead, I mentally pushed myself into writing about the song that nearly broke me.

I mean, shit man. That’s the first time in a long time a song’s actually stopped me in my tracks and consider myself.

What does it mean to be happy?
And am I getting better?
I used to make excuses for myself but it’s not the weather
I’ve tried to rid myself of my anxious tendencies
But I have to accept my head for what it is to me
I’m not super human
Well I’m barely alive
But I would kill to leave my house and not be afraid of the outside
So I started thinking
It’d be so nice
To not have trouble sleeping
I haven’t slept in nights

Cameron Boucher’s monotone confession is the same monologue I’ve had when it’s too late and I’ve done too much thinking.

Plus, I’m basically the same person.

imageimage.jpeg

PCP: DemooD

Fun Fridayz #14 – Freaky/Free

Mood: Doom –
Doom Doom Doomdoom Doom

The short of it: The Doom demo demolishes for its demo, despite being dodgy for doubters, dredging up demonstrations from dangling in the depths of demise.

I cracked and finally got Doom, even though I already listened to its soundtrack in its entirety multiple times. And, much like Prey, my purchasing decision was based on the demo.

While a sale actually made me pull the trigger, trialing the first level made me pick up the gun.

As nice as “Free Weekends” and betas and such are (shoutout Path of Exile beta), it’s hard to argue against the value of a downloadable, specially focused trial that gives a sense of consumer-friendly development.

PCP: True Detective

Watching Wednesday #14 – Wicked West (South)

Tru Dat

The short of it: Sometimes, the crowds are absolutely right. This show deserves every molecule of praise it’s received. 

After resubscribing to HBO for the Game of Thrones revival, I remembered that they only show one episode a week. So in a desperate attempt to kill the wait until the next dose of meaning in my life, I finally watched the first season of True Detective.

Gawddangit.

Eight hours later, I a.) miss Louisiana and b.) need to share this show with everyone.

If, like me, anyone hasn’t watched this show because they’re a big, dumb idiot–

It’s a pair of detectives trying to solve a mysterious occult murder from 1995, with Woody Harrelson is the good ol’ boy Marty Hart and Matthew McConaughey is the brilliant detective with an edge Rust Cohle.

The plot seems standard, but the one really impressive thing about the show is how well it nails everything.

Cary Joji Fukunaga’s direction is nothing short of flawless, peaking with a gorgeous, six minute tracking shot and sustaining the beautiful mystique of the rest of the series. Nic Pizzolatto’s writing is brilliant, despite the fact it took me an episode or two to accept the sheer edginess of some of the dialogue of Cohle. Thankfully, McConaughey’s portrayal saves it from descending into esoteric darkness.

Every setting is a perfect picture of southern Louisiana, from the dingy 90s police stations to the abandoned properties along the bayous. Characters’ accents are easily the most accurate accents I’ve ever heard, with bit characters nailing the dat and dey of Cajun-tinted English.

The intrigue of the occult-tinged murder only deepens as the clues and mysteries add up. It’s terrifying and puzzling– there’s a reason I burned through the series in one go. It demands it. The character progression is as satisfying as the progression on the murder cases.

In a word, it’s killer.