Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Last Two Months


a panel I went to
This is just a life update post.

The big thing going on is that I suddenly took on a bunch of new responsibilities at work. I was put into a position where I’m making almost all of the decisions for my classroom. I’m working on meeting goals for my students and restructuring a room. It’s been tough work, and I’ve been super busy lately.
 
met this dude
I went to Comic Con over the weekend, and I met a few cool people. Charles Martinet, Phil Lamar, Tara Reid, George Romero. It was fun, but I have been realizing that I don’t have many friends that are nerds like I am. Really. I mean, I’ve got friends. I like them a lot. We just don’t share the same interests. I went to Comic Con alone because of that, and it made me realize that I need more nerdy friends.

I dreamt that I figured out an online glitch to rig the Russian election, so I made myself the President of Russia. I got sworn in over Skype and they sent me a big desk to work behind. I dreamt that I wrote a facebook status about it, something like, "So, I'm the President of Russia, does that mean I can wear one of those ear-flap hats?" Then I began getting paranoid that the Russian government would take me out for the ruse, and that's when I woke up. It was an odd dream. 

saw this dude
I saved a raccoon’s life. Haha. It was trapped and hurting, and I lifted up a branch and let it run free. It seemed to be find once I got it un-stuck.

I suppose the last thing that was big for me the last few months has been Smash Bros.. I went to a tournament and didn’t lose. Also, I had two blog posts go semi-viral. Check them out, here and here! It was fun to create them, and I’ve gotten more views on those posts than on all of my other blogs combined. I had thousands of views a day for a while.

Looking forward, I have plans to go to a Renaissance Festival and the SOHO music fest. This is happening during my two week summer break, so it should be fun. My school is year round, but we do get two weeks off for summer between sessions. I’m looking forward to E3 and spending some time writing my book.

A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE: a reread project – Beginning A Game of Thrones – Part 1

SPOILERS AHEAD (don’t read on or click links below if you don’t want to be spoiled)

Nothing has been curing my brain’s appetite for deep thought quite like G. R. R. Martin’s fantasy-series masterpiece, A Song of Ice and Fire. Lately, I’ve been delving into the ASOIAF Reddit, listening to podcasts (such as Radio Westeros and A Podcast of Ice and Fire), and watching YouTube theories (from awesome people like Preston Jacobs and Alt Shift X).

As an English/literature grad, I simply love doing literary analyses. After my first readthrough, back before my crazed absorption of the fandom’s collective thoughts and theories, I wrote my own little post to vent my ideas, but the one I’m writing here and now is different:

This is Part 1 of a series of notes/thoughts/observations/etc. that I’ve been taking as I reread the entire series. I’ve been marking up my book with ink pens and tiny bookmarks as if I were analyzing this for a lit class. I’m sharing it here for fun, and as my small contribution to the fandom.

CAUTION SPOILERS – I am not going to hold back on spoilers going forward. Text from Books 1-5, The Winds of Winter sample chapters, Game of Thrones TV show, The World of Ice and Fire, and anything else I can find will be posted. Do not read on if you do not want to be completely spoiled about everything.

So, to begin, I’m looking at the prologue of A Game of Thrones, near the end where Ser Waymar Royce shouts, “For Robert!” right before meeting his end in a dance of blades against the Others. I thought his shout was interesting, considering that the Night’s Watch takes no king’s side. Waymar is newer to the Watch, for sure, and it’s interesting to note that Waymar is the son of Bronze Yohn Royce, a lord of the Vale. Yohn took part in both the famed Tourney at Harrenhal where Rheagar crowned Lyanna and with the hunt that ended in a boar killing King Robert. It’s almost odd that Waymar shouts Robert’s name rather than his castle’s, which is Runestone.

Daenerys I - tells of her birth, and it’s interesting to note that her mother died birthing her. I’ve heard a theory that she, along with Jon Snow and Tyrion, are Lightbringer, a metaphor instead of a sword, and that all three had mothers died birthing them because their mothers symbolize Nissa Nissa. She was supposedly born on Dragonstone, but she does not remember it, for Ser Willem Darry and four loyal men broke into the nursery and took her to Braavos.

Eddard I – "Likely they were too shy to come out," Ned jested. He could feel the chill coming up the stairs, a cold breath from deep within the earth. "Kings are a rare sight in the north." 

         Robert snorted. "More likely they were hiding under the snow. Snow, Ned!" The king put one hand on the wallto steady himself as they descended.

Winterfell is an odd place. It sits on natural hot springs, and it walls are so warm that it makes people sweat at night. It has a supercool lake outside of it, where some have said that an ice dragon once died. Winterfell is like a living thing. Both the seat of the Winter Kings and a name that, taken apart, says that winter fell, or ended. That’s why I noted that a cold breath came from the crypts, deep within the earth (where the hot springs come from).

In response to Ned saying, “Kings are a rare sight in the north,” King Robert, speaking about the northern people, says, “More likely they were hiding under the snow,” and then puts his hand on a wall. I think this is definitely a nod to Jon Snow, who is the heir to the throne in the Targaryen, hiding under the name of Snow and sent to the wall. Cool little secret, written by Martin.

The next page has this little golden line, The crypt continued on into darkness ahead of them, but beyond this point the tombs were empty and unsealed; black holes waiting for their dead, waiting for him and his children.”

and   his   children

Spells of doom, in my opinion. We already know that Robb gets killed, but the rest? Surely one Stark will survive, right?

Jon I – Tyrion is described by Jon: One green eye and one black one peered out from under a lank fall of hair so blond it seemed white.”

As important as hair color is at determining birth, Tyrion seems less like a Lannister and more like a secret Targ. I should note that this same chapter ends with Jon saying that Tyrion is a trueborn Lannister, only for Tyrion to reply, “Am I?”


(HERE IS PART 2)

And that shall close Part 1 of this blog series. I’ve read far beyond, but I don’t want to make these blogs too long. Anyway, thanks for reading, and tell me if I missed anything! Special thanks to http://www.asearchoficeandfire.comfor helping me keep track of chapter names and quotes!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

My Time With Splatoon’s Global Testfire



I took part in the Testfire Demo for Nintendo’s new shooter. Here are my thoughts:

1.
The motion controls are dreadful. It made me sick to move my character at the same time I moved my controller. Trying to use any weapon, save the Splat-Roller, was impossible with motion on. Luckily, you can switch it to normal controls. Someone needs to tell Nintendo that moving the Gamepad like a camera is NOT fun. It’s frustrating.

splatoon inkling
2. The Inkling/Squid’s jump is useless. Honestly, it needs to be 3 times as high as it is. I couldn’t even get up the side of a ramp with the jump. It was pathetic. As soon as I figured out that the jump is useless, I started to win. Just keep rolling and never jump.

3. Why is it possible to fall off the platforms? Who designed it like that? Shooters are not supposed to be about staying on platforms. Save the platforming sections for single player.



4. Swimming up walls needs some serious work. Unless you 100% cover an entire wall, your squid will just begin flailing around uselessly until you give up and fall. I recommend changing it so that if your squid jumps while going straight up a wall, he gets a boost so that he can bypass a short hop up onto a wall. That, or just make the ink shots cover more of the walls when they hit. I once cornered a squid up a wall. I had my roller down below him. He had nothing to do but drop and die, but he just sat up there flailing. I just waited for him to fall and die, and he did.



5. Only the Splat-Roller is even an option, at the moment. I realize that there are four guns in the demo, and that there will be more in the full game, but the Splat-Roller was totally overpowered. I suspect the reason is that it is extremely difficult to aim any of the other guns, but it is easy to roll over people. I won almost every game I played, getting the top score, as soon as I began using the roller. I suggest giving the Splat Shooters more range/faster shots, and giving the Charger gun more of an area-of-effect when it launches.



6. Aiming is not good. It’s hard to be accurate, even with motion-control off.


7. I hate how many of the ledges are “non climbable.” I don’t understand why one of the coolest ideas—swimming up walls—is limited so frequently. Many of the ledges, even ledges where one is allowed to be on/paint, have black-and-yellow police tape on them which keeps you from swimming up over them, even if they are 100% painted. I don’t understand why they have this. The one factory-like map had the most of it. For some reason, Nintendo wants us to use these two ramps rather than swim up the walls. It makes no sense. Take down the police tape.



8. 4 on 4 is really limited gameplay. I wish it were more players with bigger maps.



9. Nintendo doesn’t do dedicated servers; Nintendo relies on everyone’s connections being perfectly compatible. For this reason, several of my games dropped for player-to-player connection issues (not because of my Internet, trust me).
10. I like being able to jump across the map and help people on the front lines. That was the coolest feature.



11. Spawn-camping was easy on the factory map. I held up the entire other team with my Splat-Roller and grenades while the rest of my team painted the entire map. I wish there was more than one spawn-location.


splatoon inkling
12. My favorite thing to do in the beginning was instantly turn into a squid and ride out as far as I could, or follow behind someone else with a Splat-Roller.

13. I wish there was voice chat. I want to talk with the gaming community.



14. I wish Nintendo had a unified achievements system.



15. If two Splat-Rollers run into each other, pick one and kill them, Nintendo. When you kill both, nobody wins and that’s no fun.



16. Finally, I hate that I’m stuck with one set of weapons for an entire match. Why not be able to change out when you die? Allow users to build a couple of pre-sets, and then pick when they die. Not that anyone would ever switch from the Splat-Roller, since it’s the only weapon that is any good.



I’m probably not sold on this game. It’s fun in some ways, but not as fun as games like Fat Princess. If it were on Playstation 4, I’d probably go for it since the multiplayer userbase would be bigger, there would be dedicated servers, voice chat, and trophies to collect. Right now, it’s like going to a laser tag arena. It seems like it would be fun once and awhile, but not something I would get deep into.