I don’t have much in common with Michael Corleone, but there is one thing. What the mafia is for him, Dota 2 is for me. I’m in no way trying to say that I’m the godfather of Dota 2. I’m not. I never was. I’m actually dreadful at the game. But I also have a deep respect and fascination for what it is.
Where I’m from, Dota 1 was all around me. At school, all my friends played Dota. When you passed random males on the street, you could hear them discuss Dota. When you walked into a LAN cafe, on 90% of PC’s there’d be Dota (the rest were CS 1.6 and FIFA). So naturally, as a gamer, I played Dota. My roots in PC gaming were heavily influenced by the Blizzard holy trinity: Diablo 2, Starcraft and Warcraft 3. So playing Dota came to me naturally, it all made sense. Some guys made a mod where you didn’t have to do anything but play the Warcraft 3 hero micro-ing gameplay, coupled with some weird mutation of tower defense. It was actually more relaxing and inclusive than the traditional RTS gameplay of Warcraft 3, which I was in love with (but still sucked at). Instead of having to split into pairs of two, dishing it out Undead vs Orcs, Night Elf vs Humans and so on, we could all more or less play together in the same game, have a shared experience and later have banter about that experience. (more…)
Staying with my MMO gaming this week, I partook in the Mordrem Assault Event that’s currently ongoing in Guild Wars 2. It’s my first real event, and it’s been…okay, I guess. Every hour, one of three zones in the game gets assaulted by Mordrem mobs, and people will get together as zergs, zipping about the zone to beat down the spawned mobs. I won’t go in depth, but if you’re interested, this video is pretty all you need to see:
After taking a considerable break from games (by my standards) I decided to continue the adventures of my engineer in Guild Wars 2. The hype around Heart of Thorns is real, man. The game is getting the thing that’s been the biggest turn-off to people coming from other MMOs: the raids (except maybe also the lack of a holy trinity role distribution). I’m not a big MMO guy so I have never gone on a raid in any game before, but it sure sounds like great fun. It’s cool that ArenaNet seems committed to providing max level players with more stuff to do, though I’m still not sure how that is supposed to work without raising the level cap. I get that raising the level cap would be the “lame” and uninnovative thing to do, essentially just invalidating all the gear that players have worked so hard to acquire. (more…)
The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The Little Prince is a special novel and I would have loved to read it when I was a child, but alas, I did not. My sister bugged me to read it recently, because it’s one of her all-time favorites. It’s a really short, quick read, so I thought “sure, whatever” since I wouldn’t lose much time in any case.
The first few pages went by so quickly, because the style of writing is clearly aimed at children. I felt like I was reading a 5th grade literature textbook or something like that. (more…)
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I really enjoyed the first Hunger Games book. It was relatively light fare and Suzanne Collins’ prose was clean and to-the-point (which is always a plus in my book). Of course, these days everything has to be a trilogy of epic proportions, so it would’ve been weird not to read the second book. (more…)
The iconic city scape of Blade Runner. It’s clear what this world is like. People are stacked in huge buildings, bombarded with larger than life advertisements and everything is engulfed in darkness. A singular police car indicates that crime is normality.
Genres are a fun concept to think about. What makes a fantasy story different from a science fiction one? What makes steampunk so special? What’s so interesting about cyberpunk? It’s fair to say that the best works of fiction don’t follow a common recipe of their assumed genre, but play with and twist accepted the conventions of their genre, unless the work itself is introducing such a crassly new form of setting that can be seen as the quasi origin of a new genre, like Tolkien’s works. (more…)
When I was in my early teens and getting into serious reading, there were a few books that really got to me. It shouldn’t be a surprise that the Harry Potter books are some of those. There was also Dune and The Hitchhiker’s Guide. And then there was Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues under the Sea. At that time, I had a major weakness for escapist fiction. If it could transport me into a completely new world, I was into it. That’s true today as well of course, but the mind is more impressionable when you’re younger. You have less stuff to be worried about (basically school and very limited responsibilities at home) and your brain starts to come into its own. It’s a magical time to be a geek. (more…)
I’ve been away for a few weeks, which was nice. Time to take a step back and do something else from the usual grind. Well, not that much different, as I managed to see some films and read a book. There’s a ton of stuff I’m queuing up to write about, so here’s an outline.
Usagi Drop stole my heart
I might have mentioned it before, but I’ve been on a frustrating search for a good slice of life type anime or manga. I did not expect however to find an anime that would break into my favorites when I checked out Usagi Drop. Let me give it to you straight: Usagi Drop is an 11 episode long series adapted from a manga. It’s about Daikichi, a 30 year old guy without his own family. Upon his grandfather’s death, he learns at the wake that grandpa had a child with a mystery woman. The kid is a ~6 year old girl named Rin. The whole family is embarrassed by the situation, and when they started discussing where to send Rin to live, Daikichi steps up to become her guardian. Usagi Drop’s story revolves around the struggles and joys of raising a child in modern Japan. It’s got great characters, and mostly lives by just how likable Daikichi and Rin are. The storylines in the episodes are really light, low-key fare, so it’s really easy to watch. It’s all very happy and heartwarming and that’s something I really liked. It makes for a great contrast to all the heavy stuff I usually enjoy (Game of Thrones, etc.). There’s a sincerity in Usagi Drop that seems to have become really rare these days. A big, big recommendation from me. (more…)
Reminiscing about Persona, the japano-bug bit me hard again and I promptly started looking for something new to read. I’ve become more picky though, and stuff that I’d have devoured in the past just won’t go anymore with me. I’m afraid I’ve become an overly critical reader. (more…)
Yesterday when I was browsing YouTube, I stumbled upon a wonderful upload of Persona 3’s OST. “Oh sweet, I’m gonna have a listen” I thought, only to be wrestling with the feels 10 minutes later. The song was “Memories of You” (“Kimi no Kioku”). What the hell was going on?
Introducing Persona 3
What was so odd about Persona 3 is that thinking about it critically, there was a lot to like, but I never really thought of it as a great game in an objective sense. It’s a quite unusual JRPG. There are weird quirks and jankiness, it’s unintuitive to the Persona novice and there are probably many things its creators would want to reassess. (more…)