Wednesday, February 19, 2014

maybe I'm in the black, maybe I'm on my knees

There's a lot that's been happening on Twitch TV this week. The most bizarre thing is the cooperative game session--excuse me, "social experiment"--that's been set up wherein the internet at large plays an old Pokémon GameBoy game emulated for the PC.

No, seriously. That's what's going on. (In fact, it occurs to me now that "Twitch" is the perfect description for what's going on, in a sense.)

If you've never played Pokémon before, it's massively confusing, but if you have, it's alternatively confusing, mentally stunning, emotionally frustrating and jaw-droppingly hysterical. For example...
  • This happened when Red, the Pokémon trainer, confronted Giovanni in a boss fight.
  • This happened after the boss fight...when the Silph Scope was on the floor, and just needed to be picked up. (The stream chose to walk Red out the door...it took close to ten hours to finally get back to the center and pick the Silph Scope up.)
  • At some point, after many fights (and much leveling-up of Pokémon), the "decision" was made by the stream to go back to the PokéCenter and try to put less usable fighters into storage. Instead, Eevee and Abby, two of the better fighters, were simply released, never to be seen again. Oops?
  • This may be the most perfect depiction of our battles with the ledge yet envisioned. It was like that. It was like that a lot.
  • At some point, the Helix Fossil, picked up early on in the game, became a god. I still don't entirely understand this.
  • Especially as the Helix Fossil has been less than helpful in cutting down trees. Or, well, helpful at anything else. In point of fact, we do more consulting with the Helix Fossil than anything else.
  • The mere act of accessing a computer within the game renders many of us gibbering idiots by the time it's finished. And it takes hours.
  • There's now a dedicated page where we, Helix' humble servants, can ask questions of the Holy Helix...and have them answered. (This is all getting somewhat messianic and disturbing.)
  • Red gets stuck. A lot. A WHOLE lot.
  • This is still what ends up happening most of the time.
  • In fact, there's an uncomfortably large amount of comparisons that might be made between Red and someone who hears voices. I mean, this poor guy. All he's trying to do is train up Pokémon and beat the game, so he can graduate as an accredited PokéTrainer, or something, and instead, thevoicesthevoicesthevoices...compelling him to bash his face into walls, walk repeatedly into corners, walk in and out of doors, get lost in mazes, get out, and promptly go back and get lost again...I mean, that has to be frustrating to deal with.
  • And while there's a lot of really impressive art coming out of this, the game remains the same--thousands and thousands of people trying to make one character do what they think is best...with no consultation and usually less consideration. And we're surprised it's ending up a train wreck of an emulator??
If you're still confused about the whole thing, go watch this. It pretty much explains the whole concept of what the internet at large--or, at least between 40,000 and 80,000 users of it, at any given time--are trying to do with the game. This is the current game objective. I predict it'll be another entire day before we achieve it.

What I'm taking away, ultimately, from this "social experiment"? People refuse to work together in large groups, they protest at the drop of a hat, they demand special privileges that ultimately don't matter, and in the end nothing gets done.

It explains so much about our culture.

The first official Firefly action figures are about to be released...and they're...well, not what we were hoping for, to say the least. Alan Tudyk was pretty pleased because his Wash figure will come with dinosaurs, not a toy gun--and okay, as that's such an iconic scene from the show, yeah, I suppose I'd be pleased too...But his figure still looks more like Spike in the Hawai'ian shirt from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

And that's just...not good.

In a similar vein, io9 has noticed that Syfy channel seems to have finally given in and embraced their apparent destiny of being the--as they put it--"Food Channel of props and special effects". Me, I don't think that's the best thing, but then, I haven't agreed with the direction Syfy's gone in since they changed their name due to not wanting brand identification with "geeks and dysfunctional, antisocial boys in their basements". So as ever, screw them.

I am really going to miss Warehouse 13, though.

In the meantime, Steam's now allowing gamers to choose their own tags for games. It's going about as you'd expect, and is generally regarded as a Bad Move by nearly everyone.

"The net never forgets." That's very true, in a sense, but so's the rest of the article. Well worth your time to read, and absolutely accurate on the state of the internet today.

Irrational Games is--for what some folks consider irrational reasons, amusingly--closing its doors. (And, by extension, laying folks off, which is never good.) Why? No one seems to know, and there's a lot of confusion. One more DLC--for BioShock Infinite, entitled "Burial at Sea"--will be released, but after that, Levine's returning to 2K Games, and nearly everyone else at Irrational Games is...fired, basically.

I'm just not sure how to take this. I mean, Levine--and, presumedly, the fifteen staffers he hand-picked to stay with him--seem happy enough with the change and the closure, but what about everyone else? It strikes me as the closing of Paragon all over again.

And that's the news for now! More later when the links get too weird to save.

No comments: