You are currently browsing the daily archive for October 13, 2010.

For those following the news, Chris Carter has definitely been working his ass off at coming across as a right real looney toon and an embarrassment to gay men across the country.

The man who once could have been seen by some as a role model to the gay community has been responsible for one of the clumsiest, most poorly executed “coup” in modern NZ politics.

Not only that, but he has been one of the more extravagant examples of ministerial personal expenditure.

Then when he is challenged about his behaviour, he archly accuses people of homophobia.

As a gay man, I find Chris Carter’s behaviour embarrassing and tends to reinforce the stereotype of the queeny, emotional campy gay man. His recent petulant temper tantrums and nasty threats have given the impression of a man unfit for office.

No doubt Chris has been under stress, and I know I can be very direct and nasty when stressed – but I at least apologise and acknowledge my error when I calm down. Chris just gets more huffy and indignant.

In the most latest incident where he was kicked out of the Labour Party, he once again refused to acknowledge that it was his own fault for doing damage to his party and even threw out his favourite “homophobia” catch cry.

While homophobia is still very much a big problem in NZ, it is just a bit more behind the scenes than before, in Chris’ case most NZers don’t give a crap that he is gay. They are just sick of his sense of entitlement and they are certainly tired of his boy who cried wolf behaviour.

Chris Carter’s homophobia cries remind me a lot of other extreme liberals. As with any political mindset – Right, Left or Centrist – there are people who are so indoctrinated into their ideology that they lack the ability to use their critical thinking skills to think before they leap.

These are the folks who decry the slightest offence and feed their opposite number. One of the reasons we often hear the extreme Right whine on about Political Correctness is because the extreme Left have declared sexism or racism at every little provocation.

When Paul Henry made his stupid statements, some just saw the cries of racism as typical over-reaction from these idealogues. Just like Chris Carter, their cries end up doing their own cause more damage than good.

And often, like Chris Carter, they do not care to engage in honest discussion about an issue but rather choose to refuse to accept they could be in the wrong.

While I do tend to lean more to the Left than the Right, I don’t agree with the need to assume the worst of every single thing. I am a firm believer in researching intent and facts before crying out that someone is out to subjugate women or is trying to enforce a corrupt monarchy.

If it isn’t obvious, then you need to look closer before leaping to conclusions. Much like the claims that liberal groups make against the police. Having known a few police in New Zealand, these guys aren’t out to beat up the public or turn NZ into a facist police state. They genuinely want to protect NZ and the freedoms we enjoy. And these guys aren’t in the minority, they represent the majority of police.

While I do believe that the NZ Police need to be held accountable and scrutinised, there is a world of difference between scrutiny and harassment. Again, extreme Left folk can often take this too far, automatically assuming that anyone in authority cannot be trusted to do their job.

Scrutiny doesn’t mean a lack of trust, it means keeping an eye on the details when there is an issue.

Because even the most trustworthy person can make a mistake. The question isn’t about blame, it isn’t about assuming a mistake – it is about addressing potential problems.

In a way, it is about attitude. Do you assume the worst, yell and scream, accuse people of the worst crimes? Or do you assume that in the grey areas mistakes can be made and possibly people might betray your trust – but you need to find out through open and rational investigation.

I guess I find that these guys cry wolf too often because it is easier than having to actually think about what they are complaining about before jumping into battle.

I guess I want to assume the best before going to the worst.

Conan

Advertisements

I have just finished playing Ninja Theory’s Enslaved, and I felt that I kind of need to get my finishing thoughts about the game out there.

For those who didn’t know about this game, Enslaved is a post-apocalyptic third-person platformer with a melée combat element. It retells the classic Chinese tale, Journey to the West – better known in NZ by the television version, Monkey.

Enslaved includes a very cool looking post apocalypse over-run with abandoned war machines that were programmed to kill all humans.

Much like Heavenly Sword, another Ninja Theory game, Enslaved left me feeling wanting more. But not in a “that was awesome cool” way but in a “what? Is that it?” way.

There were many similarities between the two games – a desperate desire to tell a compelling story, and a desire to be a fun game. Unfortunately it felt to me in both instances that Ninja Theory kind of gave up half way through the process.

But I’m going to focus on Enslaved here.

Gameplay
Many reviewers have compared Enslaved to Uncharted 2 – and it isn’t a surprise. UC2 has kind of set a new benchmark for production of a third person game both in storytelling and gameplay. Uncharted 2 is not innovative in its gameplay, but it is innovative in how it uses established gameplay. Naughty Dog clearly decided that reinventing the wheel isn’t necessary, focus on good solid and engaging gameplay – then produce exciting set pieces around that gameplay that really lets the player cut loose and have fun.

Enslaved’s gameplay was solid, but also very lacking. The platforming felt unnecessary and used only to pad out the game, the fighting felt anaemic and limited, and there really wasn’t much strategy to the game. It often felt like the gameplay was just there to get you along to the next cut scene.

The cinematic chase scenes were at times cool. but often annoying too.

It wasn’t awful, and was fun at times – but generally I just felt like the game didn’t want to let me really experience the setting.

Graphics
I get that a lot of developers love using the Unreal engine – but why do they do such a sloppy job of it. And why did Ninja Theory drop the ball so badly this time. Heavenly Sword was a gorgeous game that rarely experienced the glitches so common in Unreal engine games. But here the game was constantly plagued by glitches – slow texture loading, clipping, characters mysteriously vanishing… but more than that the game would enigmatically boost the volume on the music, or keep a track playing when it should have cancelled – often drowning out dialogue…

In one instance, Monkey fell but didn’t die, requiring me to reload the game.

Which is all a shame given that most of the time the game does look gorgeous. The set design and character models are great. Monkey grew on me as a character, and the Mechs were all very cool designs.

Story
So with gameplay not really rocking my world, and graphics being glitchy, it kind of comes down to the story.

Yes. The story.

While I do think that the In Media Res opening could have started a little differently, the story does start off well enough, and the initial chapters are well told. The game slowly reveals to us the city, we get some teasing hints about the characters and it all seems a very promising start. Unfortunately as the game progresses, all that promise – the interesting location and vision of a post-apocalyptic world kind of gets dumped in favour of a cliché heavy second half.

It’s a real shame that after presenting the ruins of New York City with it’s teasing hints of how the world collapsed – interesting posters that suggest the slow decent of civilisation, the state of the ruins – and then the minute Trip and Monkey are out of the city all that haunting and intriguing history is summarily dumped.

The middle part of the game, with the arrival of a third member to our merry band, does have some amusing banter and great visuals, and again teases some possible ideas of what happened before – but this gets lost in the hokum cliched plot development.

As if the characters didn’t already have a good enough reason to find out what happens at Pyramid. Instead a good 3-4 chapters are wasted on fetch quests that were unnecessary. I would have excised all but one maybe two chapters from that tripe and focused on getting to Pyramid. Which does bring me to the epilogue.

The ending is, in my opinion, crap. I saw it coming from a mile away and it was not an original finish to the story. It cheapened the whole experience for me because of two things:

a) It contradicted nearly everything leading up to it.

b) It lacked decent foreshadowing.

c) It kind of felt slapped on at the end. It was one of my most hated clichés in storytelling – the twist for the sake of a twist. And it wasn’t even a “ZOMG! I didn’t see that coming!” It was more “oh, so that’s how they decided to spin it this time.”

It felt to me like the writers suddenly felt that the story wasn’t profound enough and tried to have some moral quandry at the end – but it was so poorly handled and sloppily resolved it just felt like a lame duck ending. There isn’t really any room for a sequel either.

What this game and story needed was to firstly be twice the length it ended up being. It needed to draw more plot inspiration from it’s source material Journey to the West – it had some nice parallels at the beginning, but again dropped these in favour of bad lazy game clichés. There should have been more characters. There should have been more communities shown struggling to exist in the world. The arrival to Pyramid should have been the beginning of the third act of the game, and the final chapters should have been about exploring Pyramid and learning its secrets.

And those secrets should have been more profound and uncomfortably challenging than the lame-ass ending that Ninja Theory went with.

Apparently there is a DLC episode planned that will be a story that runs in parallel with the main one.

Given how disappointed the game left me feeling, I don’t intend to waste my money on it.

Ultimately I felt that Enslaved was a squandered opportunity. There was a lot of promise in the setting and characters, but the game cops out rather than does any justice to those inspired ideas.

Conan

Following from my post yesterday about MMP, another conservative rails against a democratic system because she is losing and once again we see facts being ignored in favour of the “waaah! It’s unfair and undemocratic” form of complaint.

The source of the problem is once again the idea that elections are a competition where the winner is the first past the line.

For those not in the know, STV is a Single Transferable Vote system. The way it works is that voters are provided a list of candidates and they rank those candidates in the order of preference.

Then the votes are counted based on ranking and via a series of rounds. As candidates drop off the listing, voters who voted for that candidate then have their next option placed until eventually the person the most people are willing to have as Mayor is selected.

Obviously this is a long process, but it also ensures that literally every vote counts. This is a vey democratic system because the voter gets to say “if not enough people like my primary candidate X, I am still happy to have candidate Y or Z.” Which in turn means you have a better chance of *not* getting a candidate winning that you don’t want in office.

The best tactic for this is to literally not place them in any of your preferences – which causes them to drop off your potential transferable votes.

Kerry Predergast, the current Mayor of Wellington, is clearly suffering from sour grapes because this election the result is so close between her and candidate Celia Ward-Brown, that she is now whining that it is an unfair system because she might lose this election.

In all the years I have lived in Wellington, I have heard nothing but scorn from people about Kerry. So much that it boggled my mind that she was ever able to get back into power.

The way Kerry sees the process is that she got the most votes as first preference. (We don’t know this for certain, by the way, she’s just assuming that most of her votes come from being number 1) and as such, she should win because other voters clearly weren’t as decisive as her supporters.

Thus it is unfair that she could lose because the other votes once they have gone through all the preferences could “steal” the mayoralty away from her.

But this is a democratic system. Kerry is seeing it as heats in a contest where her supporters only showed up for the first heat, and thus only voted once while other voters are voting more often to find a person to win.

But that isn’t how it works. All of Kerry’s votes still count each round. And as the rounds continue, her total number of votes increase.

This process ensures that the person who wins is the person that the most people in the city are happy to have as Mayor. That is the very definition of a democratic election.

Like National, Kerry is not interested in facts or the needs of the voters – she is only interested in getting her way and is upset to be facing the reality that the majority might not want her to be in power anymore. Now she is desperately trying to play the democracy card and is lying about how the system works.

She is arrogantly making assumptions about the voting, and clearly doesn’t understand how the system works or what a democratic election is about.

Hopefully this is a sign that KP is on the way out and a fresh approach to Wellington is on the way in. Based on how Kerry is acting, she is exposing exactly why she is a poor fit for Mayor for this city.

Conan

October 2010
M T W T F S S
« Sep   Dec »
 123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728293031

Tweeting away

Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.

Top Posts

Blog Stats

  • 13,427 hits

Pages

Advertisements