Monday, October 17, 2011

One Sentence Synopsis: Portal 2


Things That Make My Head Hurt: Hercules

Most people know three things about Hercules: that he was incredibly strong, that he was tasked to do a series of labors for some reason, and that a load of women followed him around, inexplicably singing gospel music at him.

Hercules is one of those iconic characters, a lot like Sherlock Holmes; everyone knows who is he, but nobody really knows anything about him.  I suspect that this is for a very good reason.

So check it.

Hercules was the son of Zeus, the main dude of the Gods.  Zeus had a real problem keeping his junk in his pants, so he had quite a few children running around--but for some reason, this particular child annoyed his wife, Hera, the very most. You'd think after a while that she'd just get used to it, but who can fathom the depths of a woman?  Also Hera was Zeus' sister, which makes me a little cautious to accept that fancy dress party invitation from the ancient greeks. 

At any rate, Zeus boned Alcmene--try saying that three times fast--and Hercules was born.  I know I'm trying to focus on this origin story, but Alcmene also happened to be Zeus' great-granddaughter.  What the fuck, ancient greeks?  What the fuck.

Right, sorry, Hercules.  Born.  Giant baby.  Zeus, for whatever reasons that will only be known to him, decided to allow the baby to feed from Hera--who I guess just happened to be lactating at the time?--while she was sleeping, so maybe that explains why she has a rod up her ass about the whole Hercules thing.  This little scheme allowed Hercules to become partially immortal, which, you know?  I guess kind of makes sense.  At least one thing in this story does.

Hercules goes back to live on earth, and Hera decides that she doesn't have anything better to do than kill a baby, so she sends some snakes after him.  Now, look, I'm not saying I want Hera to succeed in killing Hercules any more than the next person, but she is an immortal goddess.  He is a dude that can lift things.  She never, ever, EVER manages to kill him. 

Look, I'm going to belabor this point for a minute.  Hera once turned a woman into a crane for claiming that she was the most beautiful person on earth.  She once blinded a dude for agreeing with Zeus over her.  She turned a lady into turtle for not showing up at a wedding.  A TURTLE.  And yet the best she could do with the small child that she despised over all other things was to sick some snakes on him and, I guess, hide in a corner and cackle to herself.

The snakes thing doesn't work, shockingly, and Hercules grows up to be The Strongest Man Alive(tm).  A lot of various things happen--I don't intend to even start on the Labours of Hercules--but the most important part is that he marries a woman named Megara.

Hey, Disney fans, you remember Megara, right?  Smart, sassy, unwilling consort of the devil.  The Disney movie spends a lot of time detailing the rise and fall of their relationship, right up to the point where Hercules learns to be Selfless(tm) and Kind(tm) and then everyone rides Pegasus off into the sunset.  PEGASUS BELONGED TO BELLEROPHONE YOU TWAthe majority of the Disney story is cut from whole cloth, except for the fact that A) Megara existed and B) She had a uterus.  She was actually the daughter of the king of Thebes, given to Hercules for doing a terribly good job either lifting something or killing something.  She dutifully bore him two children, which he MURDERED HAHAHAHA.

Yeah.  Hera, who has plenty of time to up the game on her killin' step-children, decides to drive Hercules mad for a while.  Just general insanity.  In the throes of his insanity, Hercules murders his wife and two children.  Oopsie.  Not exactly a heart-warming end to that tale.

In order to atone for his guilt, Hercules agrees to do a series of tasks, which eventually is known as the 12 Labours of Hercules.  Hera goes off to figure out how to, I dunno, turn Hercules' best friend into a toad or something, and all is well.

Postscript: After Alcmene births Hercules, she ends up marrying a dude who also happens to be one of Zeus' sons.  Haha!  No, I'm sorry ancient greeks, I'm going to be busy EVERY weekend.  Yeah, even that one.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Beauty and the Beast makes my head hurt

We'll take a break from our regularly scheduled stupid horror game post, and have a chat about Beauty and the Beast. I'm going to start out by doing something that I don't normally do: link you to the text.

Here it is. The story's short, and worth a read, which is another way of saying that this fairy tale is so fucked up that you have to read it.

Now like most people, the only thing I knew about Beauty and the Beast was the Disney version, where Beauty is clearly suffering from Stockholm Syndrome.

I've seen the Disney version of Hercules, so I know that Disney is capable of committing some pretty horrific editing atrocities in the interest of selling cute plastic toys

so I wasn't expecting the Disney version to be the definitive one. Still, the back story seemed solid: the Beast is a horrible, loathsome prince who doesn't show an old lady any kindness. She reveals herself to be an enchantress—because duh—and the prince is cursed to become a beast until such time where he can feel love, and be loved in return. His entire castle is also transformed along with him since, you know, the enchantress already had her wand out and everything; and since this was apparently a small and insignificant kingdom and everyone's family members were dead from the plague, nobody realized what happened for many years. Fine.

So what's different about the original version? Well, everything, for a start. The story is centered mostly around Beauty and her two miserable sisters. Beauty's real name is never given, since she is apparently so beautiful that she's nicknamed Beauty—It is a real kindness to her that she wasn't born with a cleft palate, I'll tell you what—and none of the other characters are named at all because fuck them.

Beauty is not only beautiful, but also gentle and kind—the text is a little unclear here, but it seems to indicate that Beauty was kind because she was beautiful, which is definitely contrary to my experience. The other two sisters are always spoken of together, so we'll call them The Sisters; in addition, there's the rich merchant who fathered them all, and three brothers who basically don't exist. Mom's dead, and she's the luckiest of the group. In fact, I'm renaming this Beauty's Mom: The Dead One, because she definitely happily ever aftered, even if she wasn't alive.

So Beauty is perfect and The Sisters are vain and jealous, and everyone is just sitting around waiting for the merchant to lose all his belongings so this story will get started. Once he finally does they all pack up and move from the city to the country, which, really? Who wouldn't want a nice little cottage out in the country? Fucking hell.

And here's the first part that seemed a little strange to me.

 In the beginning she found it very difficult, for she had not been used to work as a servant; but in less than two months she grew stronger and healthier than ever. After she had done her work, she read, played on the harpsichord, or else sung whilst she spun. On the contrary, her two sisters did not know how to spend their time; they got up at ten, and did nothing but saunter about the whole day, lamenting the loss of their fine clothes and acquaintance.

First off, how does this family own a harpsichord? I know I'm focusing on the less glaring aspect of that paragraph, but really? You've lost everything in the stock market crash, and somehow you haven't sold your harpsichord? Well, obviously Beauty needs something to practice on. I bet she plays beautifully too, the twat. Also, since The Sisters are planning on just moping around all day, 10 seems like a fairly early rise time for them. Cut some slack.

Okay, right. Let's highlight it again

In the beginning she found it very difficult, for she had not been used to work as a servant”

Right, I get that they were a very wealthy family and so cleaning would have been naturally relegated to the servants, but... well, shouldn't this be written “she found it very difficult, for she had not been used to work as a normal human being”? It's sort of acting like the only two classes of people are those who do work for others and those who have work done for them. In fact, remember that part where they lost all their money and had to go and live in the forest? Yeah, I don't think this story was written by a commoner, you guys.

Everyone slaves away for a while, being normal and acting like most people have to act, and then dad finds out that a missing ship has come to port with a load of his belongings on it! Oh man, dad, this is the perfect excuse for you to get lost in the woods and meet with a mysterious monster. Dad agrees and sets off, his head filled with requests from The Sisters for finery and things. You'd think that everyone would just encourage The Sisters to stay in bed all day and spare them all the trouble, but I suppose the internet hadn't been invented yet. Beauty, being so beautiful and kind and wise and helpful and hardworking, doesn't ask for anything at all—except a single red rose, to avoid making her sisters look badly. Yeah. It says that.

 Not that Beauty cared for a rose, but she asked for something, lest she should seem by her example to condemn her sisters' conduct, who would have said she did it only to
look particular.”

Two things: one, if your sisters are asking for the Maltese Falcon and you only ask for a rose, you're probably not doing your best to avoid looking like you're being really condescending to them. And two, the text makes a huge deal about what a voracious reader Beauty was, whiling away her time devouring all manner of novels. I don't believe it. Why? Because if Beauty were truly a reader, what she would have asked for would have been a book.

So Pops makes it into town and for one reason or another is unable to make any money off his waterlogged belongings, so he heads back home. On the way he gets lost, and finds himself in an enchanted courtyard. He gets everything—food, a place to rest, plenty of clothes to wear—and on the way out decides to take a single rose for Beauty.

And for the first time in this story, the Beast appears. And he flips the fuck OUT.

 "You are very ungrateful, (said the
beast to him, in a terrible voice) I have saved your life by receiving
you into my castle, and, in return, you steal my roses, which I value
beyond any thing in the universe; but you shall die for it; I give you
but a quarter of an hour to prepare yourself, to say your prayers." 

The merchant begs for his life, and the Beast agrees to spare it, as long as the merchant sends a daughter in his place. Oh, and then gives him a load of gold. Passive-aggressive much? It's almost like he'd be the perfect companion for Bea... oh. Right.

Beauty decides to take her father's place, because of course she does, and eventually finds out that the Beast just plans on her living there for the rest of her life. He doesn't want to harm her at all. He just wants to look at her.

 "Beauty, (said the
monster,) will you give me leave to see you sup?"

Oh wow. Oh WOW.

 when he said to her, "Beauty, will you be my wife?" She was some
time before she durst answer; for she was afraid of making him angry, if
she refused. At last, however, she said, trembling, "No, Beast."
Immediately the poor monster began to sigh, and hissed so frightfully,
that the whole palace echoed. But Beauty soon recovered her fright, for
Beast having said, in a mournful voice, "then farewell, Beauty," left
the room; and only turned back, now and then, to look at her as he went out"

Ooooooh WOW. Somebody's read The Game.

What's the best part? The best part is that Beauty spends 3 months in this castle before anything happens, and the Beast asks her to marry him EVERY SINGLE NIGHT. Every single night! And even though she thinks the Beast is wonderful and kind and sweet and gentle, she can't bring herself to marry him because he is a horrible beast.

It's a good thing the gentle, sweet, kind, thoughtful, intelligent Beauty was also born beautiful. Yep.

The Beast finally agrees to let Beauty go back to her home, just to see her father for a week. In this time, her sisters have found some wealthy gentlemen to marry them. Great!

They were both of them very
unhappy. The eldest had married a gentleman, extremely handsome indeed,
but so fond of his own person, that he was full of nothing but his own
dear self, and neglected his wife. The second had married a man of wit,
but he only made use of it to plague and torment every body, and his
wife most of all."


The agreement is that Beauty can spend a week with her family and then must return immediately to the Beast. The Sisters decide to derail her plans because she had the audacity to come home all dressed up and shit—that bitch—and because the both of them are stupid and have forgotten that they hated having Beauty around.

What's their big plan? To be nice to her until she agrees to stay two weeks. GASP. Just go ahead and assume this crackerjack idea works, because it does. Even though Beauty has the ability to return to the castle AT ANY TIME, INSTANTLY she doesn't go back to tell him that she's staying an extra week or anything, no no. No, the deformed animal that asks her to marry him every fucking night will certainly understand when she doesn't show up.

After 10 days, Beauty has an awful dream that the Beast is dying, and finally decides to return to the castle. She wakes up in her normal bed, and then spends the day to herself. You know, getting some alone time.

She put on one of her richest suits to please him, and waited
for evening with the utmost impatience; at last the wished-for hour
came, the clock struck nine, yet no Beast appeared.

Oh shit, maybe she shouldn't have spent so much time playing solitaire. That's how it gets you!

And here is the best part of this story. THE BEST FUCKING PART.

 "You forgot your promise, and I was
so afflicted for having lost you, that I resolved to starve myself; but
since I have the happiness of seeing you once more, I die satisfied."


Oh man. Oooooh man. Someone forgot to tell the Beast that women don't like men who pretend to be their friends and emotionally blackmail them into liki-

"No, dear Beast, (said Beauty,) you must not die; live to be my husband;
from this moment I give you my hand, and swear to be none but yours.

Fuck it.


Postscript: So what's the Beast's real backstory? Well...

a wicked fairy had condemned me to remain under that shape
till a beautiful virgin should consent to marry me: the fairy likewise
enjoined me to conceal my understanding; there was only you in the world
generous enough to be won by the goodness of my temper; and in offering
you my crown, I can't discharge the obligations I have to you."

Why? Well, it doesn't really matter because she comes back and turns Beauty's two sisters into stone statues. Teehee!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Silent Hill: Homecoming: Return of the Jedi

First post can be found here
And the second post, here

Well here we are again

It's always such a pleasure

Remember when you tried to kill me twice?

so instead of a genuinely fun game like Portal, I'm playing Silent Hill: Homecoming.  I get to redo an hour's worth of gameplay because of some goddamned, bitchy nurses.  Bitches.

Oh great, I forgot that hole-in-the-door woman went to the same acting school as mom.

"I wonder who slept in this bed last" I gotta be honest with you buddy, that would be the last thing I would be thinking about in a mouldering, demon infested hotel.

Must be that military training.


I have played through the same part 3 times. FUCK this game.

I have finally gotten some pistol ammunition, so I can take care of these ladies like God intended.


You don't fool me with your sexy walk, evil demon nurses.


oh man save point, will you marry me?  Ours is a pure, wholesome love.

So after all that, hole-in-the-door lady gives me a key and says thanks.  Uh, really?

Can't a former marine get some love?

What's behind mystery door number 3?!

It's Josh.  Fucking brat.

So you're telling me after years of military training, not only can Alex not clear that jump, he doesn't possess the upper body strength to hoist himself out of a hole?

The secret ending is that Alex's 'military service' was all a scam to get some VA benefits.

"I wonder what I've fallen into?"  I-it's a dining room, Alex.  There are chairs and tables and plates.  Okay?  It is clearly a dining room.

Alex, are you sure you should be wandering around without a caregiver or something?

That's Mayor Bartlett?


Oh, oops.  Bye-bye Mayor Bartlett.

Oh Alex, Jesus can't protect you now.

This giant, clearly-a-boss-monster is very giant and screeching, but what I don't understand is: why is he vomiting up black tar?

Yup, that's the one thing that stands out to me.

Now pardon me while I hide in the closet and cry.

I killed the monster, and it fell down a giant, unending hole.  Huh.  Wonder what that symbolizes.


hurr durr hurr

Maybe this game will surprise me, and Alex won't fall down the h--...nevermind.

Twat.  Twat.  Idiot.  Useless twat.

I woke up in a jail cell.  In walks a racist caricature.  YAY.

The racist caricature let me out when I told him that the mayor had been killed by a creature.  YAY.

Uh, sir?  There's a giant bloodstain on the floor?  Sir?



I have no weapons.  There's growling.  Oh god.  Where the fuck are my weapSAVE POINT.

We have to stop meeting like this, save point.

And start meeting like THIS.

Racist caricature died pretty quickly.  Ah well.  We hardly knew ye.

New creatures!  The achievement I get is Split Personality.  DUDE I AM SO CALLING IT, ALEX DOESN'T REALLY EXIST.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Silent Hill: Homecoming: Part 2

Edit:  The first post can be found here

Let's begin again!

Where we left off last: mom's catatonic, the mayor is obviously a monster in a human suit, and the main character is almost likely a figment of the creepy child's imagination.  Smashing.

Hmmm, it appears as if I'm waiting on a scripted event of some kind.  Guess that means I get to walk back into every single room!

Great, now I'm in a cemetary.  This day just gets better and better.

Hello fanservice devil dogs!

Pyramid Head shows up, doesn't he?  Fuck.

I'm not particularly frightened of Pyramid Head, I'm just not understanding how he fits in the theme of this iteration.

We've got vagina face, sexy nurses, devil dogs... in a game that focuses around two sons and an overbearing military father.  If you can't figure out how to make monsters based off a military obsession mixed with a father that witholds love, then I don't know how to help you.

But a fear of women mixed with an attraction to women DOES NOT WORK.

Unless soldier boy here is secretly attracted to his mum.

...I will apologize if the main character is secretly attracted to his mum.

Health drink in the middle of a cemetary.  Not complaining.

What is a health drink, anyway?  I'm rather picturing a bottle of Naked Juice that's not yet out of date.  Alex picks it up and thinks "YES, I love green machine."

Having considered it, I have also decided that I will apologize if one of the enemies turns out to be a military airplane made of skin with angry eyes.

This cemetary is crawling with foley artists.

That inside out dog really did not like my throat.

"Climb down" man, fuck you

no I will not climb down into a nest of bugs

And then I hid in a corner for the rest of the game, the end.

There sure are a lot of graves in this cemetary.  Depressing.

Thought for later: cemetaries could use more fairground games.


oh god now everyone knows that I am unnecessarily afraid of living skeletons.


Alex is looking for his missing little brother, Joshua.  Alex just passed a dumpster and commented that something 'smelled like it had died'.  Uh.

Not to be morbid, but maybe you should check in that dumpster, dude.

Well well well, it's Alex's ex-girlfriend.  Sexy!

Oh christ.

How long is this extremely awkward conversation going to continue?

blah blah blah blah just give me the walkie talkie.  Your subtext of betrayed hurt doesn't bother me.


Wait, no, I'm still Alex.  False alarm.

"There's a lot of stuff piled here.  I guess Curtis isn't expecting visitors." well, or Curtis is protecting himself from the legions of skin dogs.  Also, who the hell is Curtis?


THAT'S Curtis.

You're pretty sure that gun is broken, Alex.  You were in the military, and you're PRETTY sure that gun is broken?

Oh god Alex, at least hold the gun like you know what you're doing with it.

What are you going to do, pistol whip all the demons to death?

You know what?  I think I'm going to need to see some military ID or something.

Okay, so you have a walkie talkie, you have military training.  Impress me.

"Hello?"  Okay, or just keep being Alex.

Holy shit, soundtrack, calm down.

What, have you got NIN playing back there or something?

Alex isn't comfortable hunting demons unless he has With Teeth on repeat.

So I have to go... back into the cemetary?

And then I hid in a corner for the rest of the game, the end.

New monster time! I am grateful that it isn't a vagina monster.

coffin rumbling coffin rumbling WHY IS THE COFFIN RUMBLING


There's a watch in a coffin.

Maybe it's a DEMON WATCH?

Actually it is a demon watch.

Ladies and gentlemen, I am now in Silent Hill.  It is... well, it's not that much different from Shepherd's Glen, really.

Silent Hill has new and exciting doors that refuse to open for me.

I like that the map helpfully points out which doors won't open.  Cheers, mate.

Aw shit.

Come on thankfully not a vagina monster, why you gotta play me like that?

Why does the elevator make a squelching noise?

I hate this game.



I have found a hole in a door that has a lady's voice.  She seems nice.  I think we're dating.

and there's Pyramid Head!


He walked over, stared at me in a way that made it obvious that he saw me, and then walked off.

And 100 fanboys just orgasmed.

Here's a new enemy--a flesh spider.  And spiders are mentioned at one point in the game.  We'll count that as a viable metaphor.


Oh good I got swarmed by nurses that can't be blocked



Silent Hill: Homecoming

Hey cats and kits, what's happening?  A lot's been going on here, none of which is particularly interesting.

What is interesting is that it's October!  And in October, I brave the forces of my extremely wimpy nature and play a horror game.  This year I've chosen Silent Hill: Homecoming, and as a change of pace, I will write up a nice, slightly muddled post about the story.  Think of it as cliff notes for weird games.

Until that time, I'm going to post a list of notes and thoughts that I've jotted down while playing the game.  Warning: they may not all make sense, even IN context.


Starts in a creepy hospital.  Voice acting is surprisingly good.

We're going to take this guy and experiment on him.  Better give him a torch.


Why is the mirror bleeding?  Well, there's a knife in it, obviously.

Hell waited until I had a weapon before opening a portal.  That's considerate.


Stab a door open.  It's a spine.  Except then it becomes a fleshy open portal with teeth.

Here's the thing, repressed sexual aggression was James' problem.  Why is this soldier trying to find his brother being plagued by sexual metaphors.

I should probably watch the opening cinematic.

There was a bug on my face and I couldn't tell.

But thanks for letting me know I got an achievement there, xbox.

Couldn't decide if i wanted to go down the hallway or through the door.  Turns out the hallway just had an achievement.

How do you feel about beating up a bunch of women, soldier?  Do you feel like a man?

Creepy boy has asked me for a toy.  Yeah kid, I'll get your devil toy for you.

A toy was just pulled through a gaping, bleeding gash.  Really?


And I have to stick my hand in it!  I get attacked, of course.


This torch is shit. Who the hell made this torch? I want to complain to the manager.

Somebody get hell's manager, I need to complain about this torch.

I get it, 100 doors I can't open is very spooky.  It also means I can't find my way so that I get lots and lots of time to listen to your foley man try
to scare the piss out of me.



I really need to watch the opening cinematic.


it was a dream.  He was dreaming.

Oh shit, this IS the opening cinematic.


"Good luck, soldier." says the creepy truck driver.  He failed to add "Hope we can do that again some time" while looking wistful.

Gay jokes!  Always funny.

So in the dream of hell that I had I picked up a knife, a first aid kit, and a health drink.  I started, for some reason, with a radio and a torch.
Back in the real world, I have everything except the torch and the radio.  O... kay then.

I guess that torch was recalled for being shite.

All the doors in this town are broken.  A proper locksmith could make a killing.



I'm back home.  Looks like nobody's mowed the lawn in a while.  I bet I'll get bitched out about that.

His jacket is a camo jacket.


A lone chair parked in the middle of the living room.  I'm sure mom doesn't rock in it while she stares at the wall and mutters.  That would be crazy!

An army of grandmas lives in this house.

The doilies!  The doilies of DOOM.

Konami, take note:  Next game should have a hell demon that is based off a doily.

I'm calling it: the soldier isn't real, he's a figment of the creepy kid's imagination.  He is a manifestation of the kid's desire to please his father,
who is a former soldier.


Oh good, it's the shite flashlight again.  It's like an old friend.

Mom went to the Torgo school of acting.

"I had this dream.  I just have a feeling he's in trouble.  Don't worry about it."  COMFORT SON WINS AGAIN.


To get into the spirit of things, I have pushed over a dress form.  Take that, women.