February 19, 2006

Chasers [Open Thread]

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at February 19, 2006 11:59 PM

When I got home Friday evening, I reflected on the fact that my weekend would be, apart from going running and a few stops in lab, completely empty of any scheduled activities. In the past seven days I had gone to three concerts, a D&D game, a ballroom dance class, and had had several late nights, in lab and otherwise, so naturally I was pretty exhausted. I felt like spending the weekend being introverted and geeky, and I realized this was a perfect opportunity to do something that's been on my to-do list for a long time:

Half-Life 2: Yes, I finally sat down and fired up this game that's been on my hard drive for over a year. A review is sort of superfluous at this point, as anyone who's interested has already played it. Nevertheless, I can say that so far the game has definitely been worth my while. It starts off with a chase scene, running from the agents of an Orwellian police state first on foot and then over water on a kind of personal hovercraft. This is executed very well; in many FPS games one just plods through the early levels carefully clearing every room, but here the player is forced to choose his battles. The sense of being chased is very immersive—I had dreams last night about being chased, although the context was somewhat different—and the moments of running for cover under a hail of gunfire feel very cinematic. It's also quite satisfying when weaponry is added to your vehicle and you can finally duel with the attack helicopter that's been hunting you.

Following the initial chase scenes, the game switches gears into a zombie horror scenario that feels like an homage to Resident Evil. (Although Resident Evil lacked the joy of throwing around buzzsaw blades with a gravity gun.) By the end of this level I was swinging my shotgun around in paranoid twitches like Dick Cheney at a quail hunt. That's about where I am at the moment, but I'll post a follow-up review once I've completed the rest of the game.

The Plastic Constellations: Crusades: This is a bit heavier than what I normally listen to, but that's not a bad thing. Apparently this band is currently touring with The Hold Steady, which is an appropriate match—the Constellations have more of a post-punk sound than The Hold Steady, but the intensity level is similar. While I liked their sound, I found the quality of the CD a bit uneven; some tracks are really good but others didn't do much for me. "Ghost In The House" is one of the better ones.

Tags: Games, Music, Open Thread
Comments

Chasers, huh? Well, we all know what the most important one of those is---I am referring to Tarzan Boy, of course.

I have had some dreams in which I have been chased. This includes both ones where I wanted to wake up and those where I didn't.

Posted by: Mason | February 20, 2006 12:18 AM

Since this is an open thread, and I just read Mason's unbelievable confession over on his blog that he's never watched Bull Durham, here's a suggestion- why not run another "favorites" post like you did on '90s CDs but solicit input on the movie titles from that decade that one should keep in mind were one building a DVD library?

Posted by: JSpur | February 22, 2006 8:09 AM

Re: HL2, you meet the crazy priest yet in Ravenholm? He's teh awesome. The game switches moods a few more times before it's done, and IMHO it's always a good ride (though there are some parts I liked better than others).

When you finish, I'd recommend FEAR, as it compares favorably--a bit different, but similarly immersive FPS.

Oh, and there have been a number of really solid Dinosaur Comics lately, and today's in particular totally made me think of you.

Posted by: Lemming | February 22, 2006 10:35 AM

Yes, I have been neglecting the blog and the open thread due to work-related program activities.

JSpur: That's a good idea. Some that immediately come to mind are Pulp Fiction, The Big Lebowski, The Matrix, Army of Darkness, Clerks. Of course those are personal favorites. Anyway, an "Essential 90's Films" thread would be worthwhile, although I may save it for the next time I expect to be away from the blog for a few days.

Lemming: Yeah, Father Gregori was excellent. I just finished the Ravenholm chapter last night, got to "Highway 17" and have managed to find many inventive ways to overturn the buggy.

T-Rex indeed hit upon a difficult dilemma in today's strip. I also liked the pre-Valentine's-Day strip on the 13th. Also also: the storyline that recently finished in Scary Go Round with the battle of the bands.

Posted by: Arcane Gazebo | February 22, 2006 6:12 PM

On the "essential 90s films" idea, to make it more interesting you might consider asking people to rank them as well as list them. Just to get a little controversy going and to see how people's preferences sort out.

Posted by: JSpur | February 23, 2006 7:25 AM

It will probably make an appropriate entry to have during the March Meeting, given that you'll probably be too busy hooking up (at least in the best of all possible worlds) and may not have time for much blogging. :)

Posted by: Mason | February 23, 2006 1:52 PM

Mason: I am somewhat less optimistic about my activities during the March Meeting, but since I am likely to be occupied in one way or another that would still be good timing. :)

Posted by: Arcane Gazebo | February 23, 2006 3:01 PM
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