Welcome to the Inconvenienced Blog. This is a Comedy and Gaming Culture Site all rolled into one. Alongside humorous articles, we'll also be be giving our thoughts on games, and the gaming industry as a whole.

Hope you stick around and get to know the place.

31 October 2007

What The Land Before Time XIII should have been like.

When I was a nipper, it was one of my biggest pleasures to watch The Land Before Time series of animated films. I mean, what red-blooded boy wouldn't have that in his top ten activities? It's got dinosaurs in it, and it's a cartoon; a winning formula if there ever was one. But over time, I got bored of those simple movies, preferring instead to watch more traumatising flicks. However, it has recently came to my attention that they're still making them, and XIII is the latest in the series. It's due to be released in November, and when I found out I just sat there, thinking not only "do people still watch that stuff?" and "holy hell, what a missed opportunity!"

As you all know, 13 is an unlucky number. Combined with a Friday, it's practically Apocalypse Now; it's the ghoulish version of 9/11. Today is Halloween, an annual version of Apocalypse Now, and more commercialised. It doesn't take a whole lot of thinking to combine the two together, and think: "I have an excellent idea, what say we forget about this bound-to-be-boring plotline of friendship and youth, and give the kids what they really want to see? Zombie Dinosaurs!"

I am aware of the fact that The Land Before Time movies are not known for their controversy. Their targeted audience are kids who haven't heard of "homosexuality" yet, and if they ever did hear of it (which their parents wouldn't approve of) they would quite likely twist their face and assume that Jesus would deal with these people personally. But I propose that half the kids who watch the damn series wouldn't mind it at all if there were more scenes of dinosaurs being ripped to shreds by Sharptooth.

Speaking of Sharptooth, I think it would be an excellent plot-twist for him to come back to life and lead the zombie army into battle. Let's face it, there's been no better villain in the series than the fucking massive T-Rex who was the first villain, and his demise (being drowned under a rock) was one of the biggest cop-outs ever. Where were the ridiculous amounts of blood? Instead of being torn to pieces at the hands of a similarly dangerous creature, he had trouble swimming in a pond. And I apologise if I just spoilt the first film for anyone, but you should really watch awesome films sooner.

Sharptooth in Land Before Time XIII.

I also think that Spike should be zombified. It's nothing that I have against him, being as he is the jolliest of all the group, but this idea appeals to me for three reasons:

  1. He is already terminally slow, which means he can fit into his new role perfectly. His facial expression is normally the standard face of a brain-fried carnivore anyway. Like the bully that would kick you in the shin at school. Fair enough, his is an expression of happiness rather than mild indigestion, but just imagine said bully was bought a new car. That kind of face.
  2. As slow as he would be, having Spike stomping up to you, trying to bite your face off, would be absolutely terrifying and much more memorable than anything that "Hi guys, I use a lot of petrol for my chainsaw!" Leatherface guy could manage. Having him mutter incoherently as he chews your flesh would probably be the worst part.
  3. Whenever Spike is there, happily trotting along, you get the impression that while danger could reach the group, nothing bad could ever come of it, because Spike is never fucking worried. He's just got a massive obnoxious grin that in my view hides the soul of an omniscient being, put on Earth to provide comic relief and other niceties. Remove Spike from the group, and place him as an antagonist, and start running as fast as you can, because Spike is gonna get you.
I was going to edit this image badly in Paint to give Spike a more zombie-like apperance, but on second thoughts that fucker is already scary enough. Is he yawning or opening his mouth to eat someone whole? Holy fuck.


Now that we've established why Spike would be the uber-zombie (and really, if it gets too scary for the little 'uns, he could always get turned back in a scene fit to be the dictionary definition of "Deus Ex Machina"), I also think we should consider the possibility that Littlefoot and Cera should get it on. And by "on" I mean having sexual intercourse. Now, I'm not into bestiality, but it would be the natural evolution...

(sorry about that. I had to go down to have a plate of Beans on Toast, with hot-dogs. Oh, and there was the small matter of answering the door three hundred times to give bratty little kids one or two awful-tasting sweets while making witty remarks about their shit costumes.)

....of their relationship, and it would be the perfect sexual education for children, having two of their favourite characters Making Magic would effectively tutor children on the ways of "sticking it in her pooper." I think that they might be underage, but in this movie they'd be at least sixteen. It is, after all, a zombie movie. You need to have teens in it somewhere.

But just because they're of consensual age doesn't mean that old Grandpa can't lecture them on not going to the Dinosaur Graveyard, only to be completely ignored and ridiculed when the group decide unanimously to go to the Dinosaur Graveyard. As that has been the base plotline of every single movie so far - senile old man tells naive playful kids not to venture into Point of Danger X, while being conveniently ignored - I can't see why we should break tradition now, especially considering the importance of this fact. "Don't go to graveyards or you'll have your face digested by the undead." One of the main facts of life, that.

I think we can all agree that my version of the thirteenth movie is far far better than the one coming out in a matter of weeks. All they really have to do is scrap that pitiful idea, ring me up to get the rights for the idea, and then give a further ring to ol' George Romero.

And then ring up me again with an offer to direct when Romero turns them down.

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30 October 2007

Conundrum: Chapter 1

Apologies for the change in schedule for this chapter; originally meant to be appearing tomorrow, I've instead decided to post it today so it doesn't collide with the article I have planned for Halloween tomorrow, and vice versa.

Wildcat would like it to be known that the character "Wildcat" in this piece isn't actually a blatant attempt for self-promotion, but instead his username stemmed from the character itself. Without further ado, here's the next chapter in a fanfiction epic.


A shimmer of light and nothing more. With a new moon and a light cloud cover to steal the stars, the grey rooftop was bathed in darkness. A weak light above a maintenance hatch merely pretended to offer fresh illumination.
The street below, Clifton Boulevard, was dimly lit by street lamps and traffic signals. The nine o'clock curfew had already cleared the streets of life and darkened the neighboring buildings.
Absence of life and light gave the city an abandoned feel. It was a notion that pleased the black suited vigilante.
The silent figure strolled across the roof of a five-story building. Barely a sparkle of glint from his colorless armor gave the silhouette shape. Matching backswept ears crested his helmet. The chrome of his facemask and fingertip claws was barely discernable.
His gate was deliberate. With each step, he concealed the lengthy 36-inch barrel of a rifle in his own infinitesimal outline. He preferred caution and never revealed all of his strengths to would-be combatants.
It was the vigilante's eyes that truly revealed his presence. Backlit night-vision lenses gave him the glowing crimson eyes of a phantom.
He stopped abruptly. He listened intently as his suit amplified the ambiance. The maintenance access began to open lazily. A pittance of light filtered through the opening. Beyond the hatch, a gawky, well-dressed man ducked into view. The new figure crawled through the hatch in an ungainly manner.
Somewhat amused by the sight, the crime fighter lowered his rifle. With the booming growl of his synthetic voice, he called out to the little man. "What are you doing there?"
The new man stumbled and turned to face the vigilante. "I had a report of a man on a roof over here. I'm Agent North... Perhaps I should ask YOU what YOU'RE doing here." North leveled a small side arm at the vigilante as to accent his statement. His actions drew a slight snicker.
"The Wildcat," the armored figure said with a nod. "I'm on patrol."
Agent North pointed to the long rifle and asked, "With that?"
"Absolutely, something bad is going on tonight. I can feel it."
"I think you need to put down the gun and come with me sir. NOW."
"Afraid not agent, I have a job to do."
Before the agent could react, Wildcat whirled to face the edge of the building and stepped into space.
Inaudible outside of the stylized helmet, he spoke a command into his microphone. In less then a second, the computer analyzed the command, removed it from its output queue, and executed the instructions. As the ground rushed up to meet him, a burst of super-compressed gas surged from beneath the back panel of Wildcat's armor.
When the dust of the pavement began to stir beneath him, the vigilante barked a second silent order. The hidden micro-thrusters silenced, and he struck the boulevard with minimal force.
After a quick glance at the dumbfounded Agent North, Wildcat continued his patrol. He used a scanner function to monitor the police and military communication channels. Yet, only a single police band was active.
Reports of curfew violations and an occasional bum dominated the transmissions. Wildcat had listened to the same signals every night for the entirety of his two-week stay. It was a remarkably quiet, boring city considering the circumstances.
The crime fighter had been conducting his typical efforts and monitoring his alter ego's investments when the first national newscasts aired. The reporters had indicated that a terrorist effort had been thwarted and that a so-called "dirty bomb" had been safely detonated in the desserts of New Mexico.
Naturally, questions arose surrounding the decision to detonate rather then dismantle the bomb. Later, reports emerged that identified the blast as a surface detonation, a practice that had been prohibited on a governmental and international level for decades.
New rumors arose, but every question seemed to have an answer. Even so, The Wildcat's mind was dissatisfied. The entire matter felt empty. He never could explain his decision to visit the site, but experience had taught him to trust his instincts.
After a brief aerial search, he had found the blast site among several devastated ruins on the edge of a canyon. Strangely, the canyon did not appear on any of his maps. Wildcat also stumbled across a city nearly 60 miles to the east.
Perhaps the most striking discrepancy was the complete lack of a military presence in the area. Under normal circumstances, an unidentified aircraft such as Wildcat's custom-built Cougar 10 would draw a fighter escort and demands to land. Instead, the vigilante had found only silence.
He had landed outside of the city and walked confidently into town. Two police officers and a man that identified himself as a federal agent awaited Wildcat at the outskirts. Their weapons drawn, the three men welcomed the armored stranger with demands that he surrender. A pair of police choppers had already secured the Cougar 10, and reinforcements were en route.
In the two weeks that followed, the vigilante had eluded the "authorities" and patrolled the city by night. He also selected several sites for possible field bases and observed the populace.
At that moment, The Wildcat stopped in the middle of the street. One of the police communications had captured his attention.
"...suspect is armed with long rifle. Suspect is wearing a... an expensive Halloween costume."
Deep rumbling laughter escaped the black helmet. The vigilante muted the police band and examined his rifle. While he waited, the flickering and dim streetlamps caught his attention. Something was draining the city's main power plant for the third time in one week.
"Hold it freak!"
The Wildcat glanced over his shoulder at the officer. "Freak? Oh, that hurts."
A second, older officer trained an assault shotgun on the vigilante. "Drop the weapon, put your hands on your head!"
"One way or another, you're not staying on the street tonight," the first officer added.
Wildcat turned to face the officers. "What IS with you people?" He then uttered a silenced command.
A simple chime and synthetic female voice conveyed a warning. "Stand clear... Stand clear."
In a gush of activity, the micro-thrusters engaged and a cloud of dirt and rock encircled the suited figure. He rocketed toward a neighboring building and left a freshly worn pothole in the street.
Once above the edifice, the stream of gas silenced. The vigilante dropped onto the structure with a hollow thud. For a single taunting moment, he peered down at the officers. "Well... At least I'm off the street."
The Wildcat preferred the rooftops to street travel. Fewer people interfered and he had a better view of the city skyline.
He returned to his original course and resumed his efforts to monitor the police band. Shortly, his thoughts returned to the strange events that originally drew him to New Mexico.
The situation was obviously not a simple matter of political maneuvering or a show of anti-terrorist muscle. The president and his administration suffered politically for allowing a dirty bomb to enter the US. And detonating the device in such a grandstanding manner had served only to outrage activist groups around the globe.
Even the local infrastructure had been adversely affected. The power plant regularly suffered from power drains. Local communications networks had only limited capacity, and no phone or internet connections could be established beyond the city limits.
More disturbing however, was the lack of interest by the locals. In fact, no one even discussed the city's problems or the supposed terrorist effort. Of course, a National Guard unit or some other military force should have been present to help keep the peace, but the streets were patrolled by local law enforcement alone.
Not that crime was a problem. The people were ever obedient and orderly. It was as though the entire city were removed from reality.
The Wildcat hesitated for a moment as a new police report crossed his headset. Apparently, the alarm system at the laboratory complex east of the city had been triggered. Every night the alarms sounded at the Chamberlain Research Institute.
At first, the vigilante had responded to the alarms with fervor. Yet each night he arrived to find a security team reassuring the local police force of a false alarm. After two weeks, the alarms seemed more like the proverbial boy who cried wolf.
Still, the police message left an uneasy sensation in Wildcat's gut. After all, in the children's tale the boy encountered a real wolf but received no aid as his people became too accustomed to the repeated hoax. The crime fighter resolved to investigate after his standard patrol, if for no other reason then his own peace of mind.
Suddenly, the night air was cut by a shriek. The woman's voice was shrill and filled with deathly fear. Her voice echoed among the buildings.
Wildcat charged to the edge of the rooftop and peered down into an alley below. A door in the side of the opposing building stood open. Two grungy middle-aged men slowly pried a struggling woman from the apartment.
The first man menaced the girl with a double-barrel shotgun. Wielding a long knife, the second man restrained the victim. Blood spattered both men and smeared the girl's long sleep dress.
Tears streamed down the young woman's face. The shotgun carelessly waved to and fro before her. Abruptly, the knife's blade found the straps of her garment. The silky fabric fell away exposing soft skin to gruff, perverted hands.
The Wildcat placed his rifle aside and opened a small holster on his belt. He focused his aim on the thug that caressed the girl with his shotgun.
With a soft buzz, the dart bored into the man's throat. Stunned, he clutched the wound and lowered his weapon. The tranquilizer took affect quickly as the man stumbled about at random.
The second man, startled by his friend's erratic behavior, lowered his guard. His grip on the topless girl loosened. "What? What's wrong?"
At last, the shotgun wielding man succumbed to the chemicals and slumped to the cold alley's pavement. Realizing the opportunity, the girl ran screaming toward the nearest street.
In a single motion, The Wildcat holstered the dart gun, snatched up his rifle, and leapt over the ledge. He activated the micro-thrusters for a split second to slow his six-story fall. The vigilante dropped between the young victim and her attackers.
The remaining thug reacted instinctively and lunged at Wildcat's abdomen. Pain and fear were visible in the criminal's grimace. He stood shocked, astonished to find that his blade had not penetrated the fabric of Wildcat's suit. The man's hand had slipped over the blade and blood began to seep from the fresh cut.
The man dove for his partner's shotgun, rolled, and blasted both barrels into the vigilante at point blank range. Wildcat slammed into the neighboring wall with a thunderous crack. He let his rifle drop to the ground and growled.
The vigilante kicked the shotgun aside and pounded the man in the chest. With fierce vigor, he ripped the thug off the ground and flung him against a nearby dumpster. As the man slowly regained his senses and turned, the vigilante plucked the 12-gauge from the ground. Wielding the weapon as a club, Wildcat whipped the man across the face and watched him collapse into a pool of blood.
"You should have surrendered when the knife idea didn't work," The Wildcat muttered as he retrieved the knife and placed both weapons next to the victim's door. Evidence. "And where are those cops when you need them?"

28 October 2007

I should have saw this coming.

Jonny McBane and Dave Walker from the forums present to us the most awesome Halloween story ever. There's not much I can say that won't spoil it, other than: Go watch it now you bumbling idiots!

Or, alternatively, just watch it here.

27 October 2007

The Cognitively Challenged Person's Guide to Writing Like a Big Shot

If I know the vast majority of you as well as I think I do, then I already know you better than I'd like. I also know that none of you mentally deficient boobs could write a half-way decent penis joke if you had your pants unzipped and a thesaurus in your free hand. Hell, you guys would probably find a way to screw up a joke about Microsoft and erectile dysfunction. Consequently, in my constant struggle to make the world an altogether more awesome place, I believe it's time I gave plebes such as yourself a lesson in proper writing etiquette so that you too can go from an enormous douchebag with an over-inflated ego to an enormous douchebag with an over-inflated ego who can also write short, quippy comebacks and subtle references about bedding with other peoples' mothers. (Note in advance that this article could result in the reader feeling delusions of adequacy or self-importance. These feelings should subside by the end of your next day at your dead end job or your next trip to the DMV.)


Subject Matter


The first and foremost thing you should consider before writing anything about anything is figuring out what the hell you're going to write about. Don't even try to start without a damn good idea of what issue you're going to dance around for twelve paragraphs whilst you madly try to turn everything into a shitty pun or veiled sexual reference (consider it practice for when you run for congress). Firstly, remember that your readers never want to see anything remotely controversial or within the realms of sanity. They're always just looking for a quick read and a cheap laugh so they can bring some passing joy to their empty, joyless, sexless existence. Remember that when you're writing for some idiotic, ungrateful little shits to bring some passing joy to YOUR empty, joyless, sexless existence. Secondly, consider the interests and age of your scummy cesspool of an audience and try to pick a subject based off of that. To aid you, I've composed a brief list of age groups and the main interests thereof;
13-18: Sex jokes, video games

19-35: Gratuitous sex jokes, video games, pretending to be important

36-60: Clean wholesome activities, sex jokes

60+: Bran, smelling bad, driving slow, Viagra jokes


Title


The main thing you need to remember about the title is that it's the attention getter of your literary masterpiece. The title is the thing that introduces the reader to your article before it is unveiled to the reader and the full glory of it is imprinted in their brain forever more. As such, it needs to be interesting and big. But mostly big. It's like the bulge in your pants; the bigger it is, the more people will stop, point, and stare at it. Then you reveal unto them the whole thing in all its shining awesomeness.


Content


I have only two real tips here, but they are incredibly important, so take note and remember this advice, for it will serve you well in your future endeavours of funny-making.


1. Everything must be a joke


I cannot stress this enough. No matter what, your ultimate goal is to keep your reader interested, and if you're not telling a joke or building up a punchline, then you can essentially discard whatever you just wrote because no one gives a shit if it isn't piss your pants funny. So you always want to make sure that your readers walk away from your article more enrinched by the experience and with at least one less pair of good shorts.


2. Dick jokes


They're funny.





Varying Your Language


English is a nifty little language in that there are a dozen different ways to say just about everything. In fact, there are literally over ten terms for a penile erection. So just remember to toss it up a little bit here and there. For example, instead of saying "idiot faggot bastard douchebag," twice in a row, you could instead substitute it for "moronic gay-wad fatherless vagina-licker."


Dealing With Writer's Block


...



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26 October 2007

Stop fucking whining about the number of maps

Every time someone has a complaint about Team Fortress 2, the number of maps comes into it, and it makes me really fucking pissed. I really begin to wonder if this reviewer has really played many popular skill-based online shooters, because I have a retort backed up by factual evidence.

Valve has seen that when you play CS:S, chances are you'll be sitting in an arabic setting known as DE_FREAKING_DUST. Players just started hating most of the maps they put out, and now it seems that the only 3 maps anyone ever plays are de_dust, de_dust2, and cs_office. That's it.

Of course, they're also playing custom maps with all disregards to level design just because people like the aspect of flying around with naught but a sniper rifle.

And to prove this isn't just the hearsay of some fanboy writer wanting to back up his game, I'm going to show you something. This is the first page of server results I got when I opened up my Steam server browser for Counter-Strike: Source. You may notice some colors inherent of a bad MySpace page...

Now hold your eye-bleeding for one second because these colors have a point. Red represents a server on a custom map, somehow taking the game BEYOND its tiny number of existing maps, yellow represents a server full of bots where no one is actually playing, blue represents a server playing one of the aforementioned insanely popular maps, and green represents people playing another map.

Notice how little green there is. And yet reviewers seem to think that the needs of those green people should be satisfied, as opposed to all the other people in this graph who seem to be quite enjoying themselves. (except for the people getting owned)

Now I'm going to make yet another bold and impossible accusation. Valve are gamers. Yes, those pixel-pushing office workers play games, have their own clan, spend entire days with office matches, and know what they find fun. And thus they look at statistics such as this and say "Wow. You remember that plan where we just make a bunch of maps however we can and put them out with Team Fortress 2? Yeah, let's NOT do that. Let's just make sure that when people are playing ctf_2fort over and over and over again for the next 10 years, they're STILL gonna like it.

One would almost think that the "quantity over quality" philosophy many associate with the orange box would carry over into the game, but no. Instead you get thinking like this: (Quote from Jeff Lane of Valve)
"Multiplayer communities tend to focus on a small group of maps, playing them over and over again. Instead of producing a large number of maps, most of which would go un-played, we decided to try and build a single map with more innate replayability than any we'd built before."

Reviewers: If you truly believe the game should have more maps, fine. I'll go whip together 50 orange-textured awkward faceoffs that inevitably end in blue always winning. Will you green-server people be satisfied then?

25 October 2007

Game review: Dawn of War

Drunky, my boss and former flame, asked, nay, begged me to join this blog in order to write some funny articles, reviews of the latest games, and insightful comments. I plan to do so reviewing every fucking thing on my Steam account. Today, we begin with...


In order to review this game, w
e (and by "we" I mean "I") will separate the review into categories, and give each of them a score between 0 and 10 points. At the end there will be an overall score for the game. So, let's get to work!

1.-Setting
This RTS (real time strategy) game is based on the interesting and dystopian universe created by Games Workshop in order to sell cheap plastic figures at ridiculously high prices to unsuspecting or mentaly ill customers. This universe is filled with factions who just love fighting each other, from the Empire of Man (think what the world would be like if Jesus had been the son of Stalin and Hitler...and these are the good guys) and the Orks (green beings who try to fit the word "git" into every single sentence), to the Eldar (space elves) and the Necrons (space zombies).

Since I support anything that involves zombies and ripping-off stupid kids, I give the setting a 10/10.

2.-Graphics
Dawn of War (sometimes refered to as "DoW") has been praised by almost all of the big reviewers (such as Gamespot) for it's "amazing" and "true to life" graphics.

"Holy shit! Fucking awesome!" -IGN

Personally, I don't see what's so great about it.

Of course, I may be biased. As some of you know, I happen to live in South America. I wont tell you the specific country, seeing how you'll end up confusing it with Cuba or Mexico anyway. The thing is, we have limited access to computer and computer parts here (or, as we call it, "El Diablo's machine"), so I'm only able to run the game on the lowest settings. Anyways, the details on the game are fantastic. While the facial expressions are not so great (still better than the ones from Brothers in Arms), you usually don't mind, mostly because of all the fucking gore on the game. There's gibs everywhere, explosions and bullets filling the screen. The effects of the lasers is great as well, and you can feel your screen shaking with each explosion (and believe me, there are lots of those, from grenade launchers to Orbital Strikes).

Matias and his three wives.

And more good news: Every expansion adds a little improvement to the graphics (Winter Assault added more gore, and Dark Crusade included that "see the whole scope of the battlefield" camera thingy you can also find on Company of Heroes). With the new expansion, Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War: This Time it's Personal (winner of the "Longest Title Award" at Gamernode, 2007) we can only expect Relic to replace the little 3D soldiers with actual footage from World War II. I give the graphics a 8/10

3.-Sound

"We are Chaos! Chaos is strong! Hurr Hurr!" Fucking annoying cultists. 3/10

4.-Single Player Campaign / Races
On the original Dawn of War, you play as the Space Marines, the über-soldiers of the Empire, fighting the alien forces that invade an Imperial planet. After doing some research, I gathered information about the campaign being based on the Bible. I guess that's interesting. Anyway, let's see the races from the original game:

The Space Marines:
The strongest units of the Empire of Man, they battle their enemies with guns and swords, wearing a powersuit, and always willing to die in the name of the Emperor. They strength lies on their strength and ability to kill pretty much any other unit on the game using only their infantry (You would have to me really stupid to lose using these guys). During the campaign you play as these brave men, trying to defend an Imperial world from alien invasions. On the Biblical sense of the campaign, it is pretty clear they represent Jesus' power, falling from the sky to "save" us, willing to die for our "mistakes", and always eager to "kick xeno ass".
FUN FACT: They are much cooler than their Starcraft counterparts, and don't die as easily.

The Orks:
Similar to the ones from every role-playing game ever, except this time they have machine guns and tanks. Their strength lies on their numbers and propaganda. You build "Waaagh" banners, which allow you to build more units, until you have an army of roughly three thousand soldiers. These soldiers happen to be the weakest life-form of the universe, and it takes only one Space Marine squad to kill all of them (which makes you wonder how they managed to invade the Imperial planet in the first place, I figure that simply yelling at 'em would cause a massive heart attack and end up sending them to Ork heaven). On the biblical sense, I believe they represent the Roman Empire, invading the hero's home (Israel), and being stupid. They dissapear halfway through the campaign (you kill their leader, and I suppose they all comit suicide afterwards).
FUN FACT: All of the Orks seem to be retarded. This may be because an ork is actually some kind of very advanced fungus.

The Forces of Chaos:
Fallen Space Marines. If you thought that the blood-loving, suicidal, xenophobic zealots that call themselves "Marines" were bad, imagine how they would be if they followed a demon instead of an Alexander the Great rip-off. That's right, they're bad ass. In fact, they're so bad ass...

...that they even have fucking horns. Isn't that subtle? Horns means evil. Tremble, you weaklings!
Now, on the Bible side of the story, it is easy to see that they represent the Jews. They are "fallen" marines, not following the orders of their God (or, may I say, misintepretating them?), so the Space Marines are sent to put them on the right path, even if that means dying for their sins. If the implied symbolism wasn't enough, one of their units is called "the deadly Torah", their leader's special ability is stealing the enemy's resources, and they even crucify one of their units when it says that they should "repent."

To the left: Sreist, a Chaos "heretic". To the right: Jesus.

You face them as the "ultimate enemies" on the game, and are only defeated after the Imperial Inquisitor (played by Samuel L. Jackson) orders an "Imperial Holocaust" on the planet.
FUN FACT: They control the most annoying units of the game.

The Imperial Guard:
These men are the backbone of the Empire's army. Their strength lies on nothing at all. Even though they aren't a playable race on the original game, they appear over and over and over again on the main Campaign, and you even get to control them on a couple of missions. They're not very useful, anyway. They happen to be almost as weak as the Orks, and they have the lowest moral on the game, meaning they may not die when you yell at them, but they'll start crying, throw their weapons, and then get into fetal position. After that, any other unit of the game simply walks towards them and stabs 'em in their heart slowly, very, very slowly. It's not as pathetic as it is disturbing. Being the cowards they are, it is obvious they represent the Bible's Frenchmen. (Note: I know the French didn't actually appear on the Bible, but since they were on the DaVinci Code, drunky tells me it is a fair deal).

Sacre Bleu!
The Eldar:
Half aliens, half ninjas, half elves. Their strength lies on their lack of strength, since they use stealth and lots of annoying invisible units to kill their enemies. I believe they represent the Bible's Eldar.

A lack of time prevents me from reviewing the campaigns from the expansions, Winter Assault (based on the battle of Stalingrad) and The Dark Crusade (based on the conquering of America by the spaniards), as well as the new races. They all suck anyway. 7/10

5.-Multiplayer
In order to test the game's multiplayer, I challenged our beloved drunkymonkey to a game of 1 on 1 (just like we used to... in bed). After he said something about "kicking my ass" and "Tally Ho Gents!", we started choosing our army. You see, the game allows you to paint your units, so internet players can customize their armies (as you could expect, half of them have names like "the dark fallen" and are completely black, with the other half being football teams).
We turned ours into mirror images of ourselves...

Top: Drunky's "Third Street Saints"
Bottom: Matias' "Royal Queens"

...and started to fight. Needless to say, he kicked my ass. I blame my troop's low morale. 0/10

6.-Bugs
Amazingly enough, I found no bugs on this g-

Sieg Heil!



...


8/10

7.-Overall Score and final comment

I think Relic may have misinterpreted the Bible. I think they did it on purpose, too.

OVERALL SCORE: 4/10
-By Matias

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Join us next week, when I'll review Valve's latest shitfest: The Orange Box!


24 October 2007

Conundrum: Prologue

The Wildcat is a force to be reckoned with on the Inconvenienced Forum. He is the creator and maintainer of the Half Life 2: Cataclysm thread, a juggernaut when it comes to forum RP. He is also the site admin of the Half Life 2 Files-hosted Bored With Life, and now he presents to the Inconvenienced Blog the prologue of his Half Life universe fanfiction. It's a good 'un.

--

Long shadows stretched down the city streets and up the sides of melancholy buildings. The late afternoon sun hung over the western desert town. The hot, dry wind stilled for the first time in weeks.

Scarcely a dozen people meandered about on Webber Avenue, and they would soon be inside the nearest structures. The air raid sirens had assured compliance of the denizens, but repeated drills had dulled their reactions.

A police cruiser rolled to a stop in the intersection with West 7th Street. The officers sat quietly for a few minutes and allowed the whipping red and blue lights to signify their authority.

One of the officers finally rasped a question of his partner. "Okay Cap, what is this? Another drill?"

Before Cap could answer, the sounds of rotors shook the air. The marine aircrafts' shadows flashed over the squad car and continued on their eastward flight path.

Cap shot a knowing glance at his partner and then pressed the send button on his radio. "Alright people listen up, this is Captain Heath. This is NOT a drill. I have been informed that the factory is closed... repeat, the factory IS closed.

"We now report to Agent Oldham and his people. A communications black out is in place for all civilian and low rank personnel. We're way beyond formal police codes and orderly evacuation. No one leaves the city.

"You know the routine frontward and backwards. Always face east, away from the base. Always wear your safety glasses. Keep the streets clear."

With that, the captain and his partner emerged from their vehicle. The men drew their side arms and double-checked the moving parts. By that time, only a fraction of the city's inhabitants remained outside. Clearing the streets would be an easy matter for the local police force.

Three blocks to the south, the doors of a second patrol car opened. To the north, a third duo vacated their cruiser. Soon, the entire city would be surrounded by armed law enforcement.

"Let's do it," the captain muttered.

He then fired a single blast into the asphalt. He knew that the bullet could ricochet, but he followed his orders dutifully. Multiple reports drifted on the air as the process was repeated throughout the city.

Heath raised a bullhorn to his lips and spoke. "Ladies and gentlemen, this is not a drill. Report to the nearest building and wait for further instructions. Anyone caught on the street can and will be shot." Heath tossed the bullhorn into the car and closed the door.

The captain and his partner began to stroll down the avenue with their handguns at the ready. The remaining pedestrians scattered for the nearest structure. No one actually expected the police to encounter serious resistance, but the officers remained tense for the sheer gravity of the situation.

The few vehicles permitted within the city limits stood abandoned. Each storefront was empty. Every window was faceless.

Captain Heath took note of one peculiar storefront window. Inside sat a row of televisions, each displaying the same announcement. The emergency broadcast instructed all observers to seek shelter.

Heath snickered. Even the bums of the city knew to go into the nearest building when the air raid sounded. It was always the adventurous or a few rebellious teenagers that dared tempt fate during the drills. Or an outsider that stumbled into the city on the wrong day.

The rhythmic thumping of chopper blades drew all attention to the sky. A pair of transports accompanied by their fighter escorts passed above the rooftops. Their easterly course carried them past the city quickly.

No markings. The aircraft were pitch black and plain.

"Rob... those aren't ours." Heath glimpsed his partner's startled face and then spoke into his radio. "Let's hurry this up."

Aside from the local police, the streets had been abandoned. Occasional chatter crackled from the captain's radio.

A group of teens. A bum hidden in a dumpster. They were the typical stragglers during any air raid drill. Nothing out of the ordinary.

"Hey!" Rob barked into an alley. "Put your hands on your head and step into the open!"

Captain Heath rushed to his partner's side. He leveled his glock at the young man that cowered beside the dumpster.

"Okay! I'm coming out," the man cried. "Just... don't shoot."

The man raised his hands and revealed a digital camcorder. Slowly he crept out of the shadows. A look of fear had been plastered on his face.

"What did you think you were doing?" Heath demanded.

"You can't cover it up forever," the man said defiantly. "I know the truth and you have no right."

"What are you? Drunk? Stoned?"

The strange man began to scream wildly. The brightness filled Captain Heath's vision. He closed his eyes and held his protective glasses as though he feared they might fall off.

After a few moments, Heath opened his eyes and stared down at the stranger writhing on the ground with his hands over his eyes.

As Rob leaned down to tend to the shrieking man, the captain turned to face the western sky. Barely visible above the horizon, Captain Heath could see the billowing top of the distinctive mushroom cloud.

A few moments later, the ground began to rumble. The horrific sound of the explosion was muffled only slightly by the distance. The very streetlights and buildings quivered at the sound.

"A-alright, p-p-p-prepare," Rob stammered into his radio, "...let's p-p-p-prepare for r-refugees." The man looked at the enthralled captain. "Cap? T-there w-will be survivors... w-won't there?"

Captain Heath remained silent and awestruck. He had no answers for his comrade. The city was safely out of range of the blast and most of its radiation, but that was the limit to its safety.

The sight before him was indescribable. His own emotions could not be vocalized. It was at that moment that Captain Heath knew his life, his whole world, would never be the same.


Press Start

Click here to watch

Or, for even higher quality:
Press Start
This is something Sinoda and I have been working on for a while. It would have been longer, but...after a while we realized how little progress we had made and decided to finish it up while we still had the patience.
You need DivX Web Player to view this. If you don't have the web player or it doesn't work for you, you can also download it. I'll have a 640x480 version up soon. (I would put it on YouTube, but several scenes require you to be able to see small things moving in the background, something you definitely CAN'T do on YouTube's shitty quality.)

23 October 2007

Places of Mythology.

Ah, mythology. It brings excitement into the usually dull reality of life. Instead of listening to out-of-touch world leaders babbling on about how great it is that men with very expensive and very lethal rifles are building a new future for those that are unfortunate enough to be living in the Middle-East, we get to sit back and listen to epic tales of violence, the Gods that perpetrate and endorse it, and headstrong women who find clothes to be more of a hindrance than a practicality.

But what are the stories without settings? In order for the actions to take place, they need a place to take place in, and mythology has no shortage of these. And to be honest, the places that are documented in these myths are much much much better than the places we have now. I mean, how cool does Camelot sound? Not only do you get to have massive feasts on a round table, but it’s a frigging castle. It’s a shame then, that no one knows where it was.

And this is what this article is about. I aim to provide logical answers to the question that plagues the mind of every historian. Just where is [Kickass Point of Interest X]? In a spiteful break from tradition, we’re going to cover four currently lost bastions of mythology. And we’re not going to do Camelot, neither. It’s only a model, after all.

Valhalla…


Valhalla, if it indeed exists, is quite possibly the most masculine place on Earth. But that is not to say that the only women allowed there deal in food preparation and nothing else, quite apart from it. Instead I mean it is the dream of every man worth his heroic salt to end up in Valhalla rather than the far more boring sounding Heaven. Indeed women serve a very important part in the Halls of Valhalla, valkyries being the ones that ferry dead warriors to this alcohol-fuelled afterlife. The first thing a fallen warrior sees after realizing he is in fact dead are a group of on-horseback, presumably promiscuous women who you can talk about swords to without them sighing, rolling their eyes, and then gossiping about how sad you are to their mates. They don’t gossip. They war-cry. Now, I don’t know about you, but I call awesome on that.

And that’s before even getting to the damn place. According to Wikipedia, “the hall itself has 540 doors, so wide that 800 warriors could walk through side-by-side.” In that case, coming down to breakfast to get your daily dose of Cornflakes for the day must be a truly monumental experience. And yes, I did just include Cornflakes and monumental in the same sentence. And for similar word contrasts, consider this: There is a rooster living in Valhalla called Gullinkambi. Even mentioning his name would force everyone in the same room as you to flex their muscles and say things that they wouldn’t necessarily say in front of their grandmothers.

If Breakfast Time doesn’t really get your juices flowing, how about this: Valhalla is just a really big waiting room for the greatest battle the world has ever seen. Ragnarök. This is basically the time in which the world will transform itself into a South Korean styled MMO in which you complete repetitive quests for money and epic loot. With a choice to be a Swordsman, Magician, Archer, and many more, you’ll spend the rest of eternity grinding rats while having an out of body experience, viewing yourself from an isometric camera angle.

And if we’re judging the quality of these places by the size of the inhabitants’ beards, Odin here pretty much wins it.

…is actually….um….


I can’t actually find a place that lives up to how bloody hardcore Valhalla is. I mean with Valhalla you have everything. You have demonic roosters, you have scantily-clad women, you have buckets and buckets of the ale stuff, and you have the knowledge that pretty soon you’re going to partake in the biggest, goriest, and most epic battle that the world has ever conceived. Also, from then on every proper noun and noun you ever use will be as testosterone-fuelled as Hulk Hogan.

Apart from Hugh Heffner’s house on a Friday night, you aren’t going to get that sort of quality anywhere else.

Atlantis…

Atlantis is a far more poetic and tragic affair from the general piss-up that Valhalla is. Located in the Atlantic ocean, it was apparently made up by Plato to forward his political beliefs. I can just imagine that happening now, George Bush stomping up to the podium and saying, “Howdy y’all. I’ve been hearing rumours on the Internets, right? And I’ve decided to answer these rumours with this: Imagine a massive island in the Altantic ocean full with powerful and important people. You with me so far? Then it sinks. Thank you for listening.” And then there’d be a rapturous applause.

I’m not quite sure why Plato came up with this idea, but the story of Atlantis is something that has captured peoples’ imaginations for centuries now. Basically it was the place where Poseidon hung out when he wasn’t making colossal waves for “rad surfers to tame.” Poseidon, being the cheeky sod he was, ended up falling in love with a mortal woman called Cleito, and they were at it like rabbits. They had ten kids together, who all took part in ruling the place.

To hear words about Atlantis, it pretty much sounds, in the early years, to be some sort of island utopia. Everyone appeared to be very rich, and I’m guessing the city of Atlantis itself had an astonishingly low crime-rate. The land was fertile, the animals abundant and varied, and the water clean and not say infested by various peoples’ piss.

Of course, this being mythological history things suddenly went wrong. And when things go wrong in mythology, the Gods start getting peeved, and when Gods get peeved, lightning bolts start falling from the sky. Zeus and the rest of his cronies decided that the government of Atlantis had turned into something he didn’t quite like, so instead of replacing that government with another government, he did what any right-thinking God would do, and sank the whole island, killing absolutely everyone on it.

…is actually New Orleans.

God, that was predictable, wasn’t it? I was going to put Gloucestershire down, but at the risk of this article becoming too British-centric, I decided to go for the obvious.

The flooding of New Orleans was not because of Zeus getting pissed off at how selfish people are of late, but because of what is called “really rubbish preparation.” No amount of prior warnings to the prospect of flooding seemed to make anyone wake up and say “holy fuck guys, maybe we should actually have a half-decent defence, just in case there’s a flood! I mean that not actually happen, being a port city and all, but y’know, stranger things have happened!”

While New Orleans didn’t actually sink, a good percentage of the city was submerged for a few days, and that’s got to count for something.

The Garden of Eden…

Ah, the Garden of Eden. The place which, according to Christianity, housed the first two humans in this world. One called Adam, and the other called Eve. It was supposedly a wonderful place, where the grass hadn’t been mindlessly picked at by some irritating youth, where the animals hadn’t been industrially herded into the backs of vans to be taken off to be slaughtered in a dark and badly ventilated room, and where you didn’t get signs telling you, in no uncertain terms, “do not step on the grass, thank you.”

What you did get was a sign telling you, in no uncertain terms, ‘do not eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, thank you.” If there was ever a reason to headbutt someone, I’d say it was because Eve was stupid enough to listen to a suspicious serpent who mysteriously appeared and got her to eat from a tree she had been specifically told not to. You just can’t trust snakes with anything…hadn’t she seen the Jungle Book? Anyway, because of this she pretty much doomed the rest of the human race ever to a life of misery. For being the first female, she did a pretty fucking bad job of it.

But she and Adam can both be blamed for being really bad parents. They must have forgotten to tell their first son, Cain, to under no circumstances kill his younger brother, Abel. Because that’s exactly what he did. If God created man in his own image, he must have been pretty damn depressed by that time.

But we’re digressing. You can pretty much imagine the Garden of Eden having a nice white picket fence running along the outside.

…is actually Hayes Garden Centre.

While researching this piece I saw that the Scottish, bless their souls, seemed convinced that a place called Mòinteach Bharbhais is actually the location of the Garden of Eden. Well, screw you Scotland, and the rest of you countries that seem to want to claim the Garden of Eden as your own, because I know from first-hand experience that the Garden of Eden is actually Haye’s Garden Centre.

It’s nestled in the British Lake District, in a town called Ambleside, and it’s one of the most heavenly places you’ll ever go to. The car-park is of a reasonable size and you can almost always get a space (if you can’t, there’s plenty of car-parks in the vicinity you could use instead), and right outside there’s a wishing well you can entertain the kids with, if they’re particularly gullible.

Inside, the fun really starts. There are loads of two for one offers on potted plants, and there’s a wide variety of them to choose from. If plants aren’t your thing, there is a multitude of garden sheds, and there’s even a sculpture and novelty section, and tonnes of shelves with joke books on them if your idea of humour is limited to making awful jokes about farmyard animals crossing the road.

As far as I know, there are no trees that you absolutely mustn’t eat the apples of if you don’t want to incur God’s ultimate wrath, but the staff attendants normally don’t like when you take fruit off the branches and tell you off. I’ve found that a swift swing to the face with a baseball bat normally ends their protestations, though. And then I normally pour soul on them. And maybe cut their legs off with hedge-trimmers.

The Hill on Which Jesus Was Crucified…

This is pretty much the point in which humanity had buggered up so many times it just wasn’t funny any more. After murdering so many people that God was forced to flood the world, you’d think we’d learn to take a hint, but no. Just a few thousand years after that, we end up killing the manifestation of God on Earth, which really goes to show what a terrible lack of business sense we had back then. We could have just forced him to turn water into wine for the rest of his days, that would have done wonders for the alcohol industry, but no, we stick the saviour of mankind on a cross and feed him vinegar until he doesn’t feel like living any more.

It was like it was a contest to see who could be the biggest dick to Jesus. Feeding him vinegar is pretty damn sly, but how about putting a crown of thorns on his head, or making him carry the same thing that’s going to kill him? Or maybe letting a convicted killer out of jail instead of someone whose idea of violence is to push over a few tables when he doesn’t like the idea of gambling in a temple?

…is actually Iraq.


Because I’ve heard that everyone is very Cross there. Hur Hur Hur.

My next article comes up tonight.

It's twice as long as the Swan tirade, and in my opinion it's twice as good, too. I'm waiting to submit it until peak time though, so that when the Digg campaign starts, it'll become immediately popular.

Further afoot, I have chapter one of fifteen of one of Wildcat's fictions, and that'll be coming up tomorrow. This will come in weekly instalments that appear each Wednesday.

And Moxx's first article looms ever closer. I've been reading some of it, and it's the kind of thing you'd expect from that crazy cat, and it's about a subject that I'm sure you'll all enjoy.

22 October 2007

Why Game Developers Should Give A Shit About Scripts and Voice Acting

Pwnzerfaust today provides us with an article whose subject I feel very strongly about, Of course, this being The Texas Rattlesnake, it's filled with capitalized profanity and at the end of it if you're a script-writer for a game, you're bound to feel pretty damn suicidal. I sent a team invite to Pwnzerfaust a few days ago via email, but the git hasn't replied to it yet, so here's his contribution sent via email.

So my friend and I, suspended in a half-way drunken, half-way really-fucking-tired stupor, were bored and looking for something to do late last Friday night, and since we had already put angry cats in homeless people’s backpacks the Friday before that, we decided to give a long, hard, calculating look at our list of options. After a few tries at the dartboard, one of us finally managed to sober up enough to hit something that wasn’t a foot, the wall, the ceiling fan, or my clock radio, and that thing was Halo 3. We fired up the Xbox360, popped in the game, and started co-oping on normal (because we’re sissy pansy-asses like that). We had loads of fun for a while, but then we decided to stop beating the shit out of each other with gravity hammers and play the game properly, and then it just turned into something to do.

Anyway, we got to the second level or so and watched the cut-scene because neither of us remembered to press the A button to skip the damn thing. After a fairly good line delivery by the person who voices the Prophet of Truth (“Thinking... what? That you might escape the coming fire?”), we heard something along the lines of this:

“Ma’am, the squad leaders are requesting a rally point. Where should I tell them to go?”
*After unnecessarily pulling the slide on her pistol* “To war.”



…What.

No, seriously; what?

I mean, I’ve heard of being metaphorically kicked in the balls, but I never thought metaphors would actually jump up and actually kick you in the balls, causing you literal physical pain in your symbolic token of manhood. My disbelief would have lasted a good deal longer if my friend had not both ruined and greatly contributed to the importance of the situation by shouting “BITCH THAT DOESN’T HELP AT ALL!”

After a fit of uproarious yet completely serious and professional laughter, we continued playing the game as we had, just barely having forgotten the previous corny line before another one came up. And another. AND ANOTHER. And the corny dialogue JUST WOULDN’T FUCKING DIE. It was like night of the living dead only the zombies are sound waves and they want to kill your brain cells rather than eating them. And they’re at least one-hundred times more horrifying.

Unless you’ve been living in a hole/serving in Iraw (arguably the same thing) for the past decade or so, you’ve probably noticed that this is a recurring pattern in big-budget, big-business video games. If you haven’t been living in a hole/serving in Iraq yet still failed to discover this trend, you probably failed the similarities part of the IQ test. Large gaming corporations have just seemed to stop caring about the potential benefits of well-spoken, high-quality lines. They honestly don’t seem to realize that bad voice actors can turn the most epic and serious of situations into absurd and unbelievable idiot festivals.

Let’s take something like… oh, I don’t know… Oblivion, for example. The voice acting wasn’t horrid, to be sure, but I think that it could have been so much more. I just didn’t FEEL the actors; their joy, their pain, their cries as I ripped out entrails with a fiery claymore that screamed with the voices of women, children, and exceptionally girly men. Oh, and Patrick Stewart. Seriously, what the fuck was that about? Did they just record him talking in his sleep or what, because that was simply dreadful.

Then there are games with good voice acting and good writers. The most recent addition to that category that comes to mind is the towering, phallic monolith that is BioShock. If you haven’t played it, go back and read my exceptionally witty comment about your IQ, only reword it in such a way that it includes the words “BioShock” and “phallic monolith” without sounding convoluted or contrived. If you HAVE played it, then you would know that it’s probably the best game released this year for many thousands of reasons, all of which I cannot list simply because this article is reaching critical mass with me staying (mostly) on topic. For me, one of the most noticeable of these reasons was the absolutely spectacular voicing. Every character, major or minor, has a distinct, unique personality that is created almost entirely with their voices and dialogue. Every time Atlas’ voice cracked in on the radio, I felt comfort. Every time Andrew Ryan bellowed out of the speaker, I felt chi!
lls run up and down my spine. “A man chooses, a slave obeys,” is officially my favorite piece of dialogue ever written for any movie, television, or gaming production because it was so remarkably surreal, disturbing, and passionate that I was literally too stunned to move for over a minute after the scene was finished.

I tip my hat to the developers at 2K, because they know what a good monologue can contribute to the mood and story of a game, they know what the muffled sobs of hideous shells of people undone by their own greed can do to intensify the already thick and spreading atmosphere. Unlike so many game developers today, they know that gamers are not drooling cavemen lumbering around shouting “Want make dead people with bang-stick!”, that we want a story and characters that involve us, that coerce us into a world not at all our own. Game play is a must have, a fantastic story is key, but neither of those can fully deliver the best gaming experiences there are to be had. As they say, most of communication comes not from what you say, but how you say it. If you want to say it in the form of a high-explosive device to the face as opposed to a masterpiece of human speech, then by all means go ahead and do so, but I guarantee you that you’ll get no erections of happiness from me.