Entries for September, 2013

I finally finished my story for the second month of the Stinklings.  I’m not really happy with it, but since I was late finishing it, I have to just submit what I have.  It’s not very high quality by any means, but it is done.  Which, for me, as I have said before, is a victory in itself.   


I emailed it to the group, but it looks like only Matt and I have finished our stories.  This was a pretty rough one to do.  I know that Haley has been so super busy that she couldn’t do one, and Emery is in China doing who knows what.  A lot of family networking, he says.


I haven’t been on Minecraft in a fair bit, so no new stories on that front.  I don’t really have any big plans for the game, either.  Valentine is constructing a huge dungeon crawl for the server, but he’s in Atlanta for a few months, so I don’t know the status of that one. 


Now that I’ve finished my story and have some time off from work, I hope to hit the page again.  I’ve been thinking about writing about why I think XCOM could have been the perfect e-sports game. What do you think?

Posted by Narzack on September 10, 2013 at 03:00 PM | Get some!

I got some feedback from Matt on my urban fantasy story.  I’ve come to realize that Matt and I just write stories that the other person likes; our tastes seem to line up pretty well.  The stuff I write he digs, the stuff he writes I dig.  It’s neat.  He was a fan of what he called a twist at the end.  I thought it was fairly obvious from the start, but maybe it’s harder to pick up on for a reader.  I certainly wasn’t trying to go for a twist, just a neat little moment.  Either way, I’m interested to see what Haley and Emery have to say.  I’m sure they’ll be a lot more vicious.  .


A Machine for Pigs just released last week.  TA was an awesome dude and gifted to Haley for us to cast, so we played through it a couple of nights.   It wasn’t as scary as Amnesia, and I honestly think that the Amnesia name in the title- Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs- may have hurt the game’s reception.  I think that probably gave people an expectation that the game never intended to meet. 


Much like Dark Descent, though, the game starts you waking up in a strange place with no memory and has you slowly piecing together the narrative from notes and journal entries.  The story in Machine for Pigs is actually darker and more disturbing than Dark Descent.  It’s just not very scary.  And, much like Dear Esther, it’s a fairly linear and narrative heavy game.  There isn’t much emphasis on exploration or ‘playing’ even.  It’s more of a horrid haunted house that you proceed through at your own pace.  That’s not to say there weren’t scary moments, they were there.  But, it seemed to me that the emphasis from thechineseroom was on the story, rather than the fear.  I remember an interview from last year where Frictional was talking about how they wanted to explore emotions other than fear with Machine for Pigs.  I think it was accomplished, because I certainly felt despair, revulsion, grief, and pity. 


Really good game overall.  I like the story a lot.


After that, we followed up with Outlast, a game from Red Barrels out of Montreal.  In it, you play an investigative reporter checking out an asylum with a shady reputation.  You have a camcorder with which to document all your findings and it comes equipped with a nightvision mode.  So, when you’re in a particularly dark area, you pull out the camera and navigate via the nightvision.  And holy spamoley is it scary.  It looks just like a scene from [Rec]. In fact, with the camera, the whole game feels like a found footage movie.  The entire time I played it, I felt like I was in a horror movie.  And it was awesome.  And terrifying.  In fact, Outlast is one of the scariest games I’ve ever played.  We’re talking Fatal Frame levels of scary.  We have three really good highlights of Haley screaming her lungs out.  Really, really scary game.  I liked it so much.  It, too, was a gift from TA.  I really, really liked it.  Defintely a game to pick up if you’re into horror and found-footage style movies.


I want to play Minecraft, but every time I log on, I just sit in my house trying to figure out what I want to do.  I built an addition to my house, but that just means that I have another that I most likely won’t furnish.  I don’t need any gems or minerals, so I have no reason to go into the mines.  Perhaps I can build a basement.  I’ve also considered making a bunch of ‘ancient ruins’ underneath hills and stuff for people to come across.  Maybe put notes and books in there that hint of some great cataclysm.  Maybe some spooky or tragic stuff could have happened in the deep past, I dunno. I just don’t have any worthwhile projects, and everyone else is on for hours at a time, just building and building. 


First preproduction meeting for Alms and Ohms on Wednesday!  Hooray! 




Currently listening to: Zelda Reorchestrated- A Link to the Past
Currently reading: Caliban's War by James S.A. Coffey
Currently watching: Kingdom Series One
Currently feeling: tired
Posted by Narzack on September 19, 2013 at 02:00 AM | Get some!

Why did I enjoy Outlast so much?  It certainly relied pretty heavily on jump-scares, a horror crutch that often annoys me.  But none of the jump-scares in the game really bothered me, though, there was one that had no accompanying sting that stands out as possibly my favorite moment.  I believe part of the reason I didn’t care so much is that it makes narrative sense to me.  You’re being stalked and hunted by insane inmates of the asylum. It follows that they would surprise and attack you with no warning.  And, past the opening few areas, they sort of fade away.


I liked the feeling of being in a movie.  It certainly helped that your character carries around a camcorder with the intention of recording as much as possible.  It has a nightvision mode that looks right out of a found-footage horror film, complete with grainy resolution and limited visibility.   Entering any dark room was an exercise in creeping terror, much akin to the final sequence in The Silence of the Lambs.  Creeping around in the dark, peering through the viewfinder at objects rendered in a grainy green, catching a glimpse of an inmate’s glowing eyes, not knowing if he’s harmless or intent on murder.  Those moments were definitely the most nerve-wracking.  That’s what most of the game ended up like.  Extended moments of dread, as you creep through this broken asylum.


And, then, when you are chased, it really felt like you were in control, vaulting over desks, slamming doors shut behind you, sliding under a bed to hide. There are moments of pure brilliance, such as when, pursued by two enormous naked murders, I spied an open window.  Immediately, I turned and jumped through it, grabbing onto the sill and shimmying to freedom.  It was all so seamless and effortless, exactly like a movie. Despite the ease of moment and escape, you never feel safe.  You’re always on edge, heart always pounding.  It all felt very real to me, not game-y. 


I dunno, I just really liked it.

Currently reading: Caliban's War by James S.A. Corey
Currently watching: Derek
Currently feeling: nostalgic
Posted by Narzack on September 24, 2013 at 07:40 PM | 1 Dropkicked

I had the most bittersweet dream last night.  I dreamed that my mom and aunt still owned the Mercer house.  I was up there visiting for some reason, and they were working on it, cleaning it, taking things out.  I walked through the rooms and ended up in my old corner room.  Most of my stuff was still there.  My old bed, my closet, even my computer desk.  I opened the doors of the desk and saw all my old games and videos.  In the house, there was a big window between my room and the dining room(that I often used to traverse between the two), and my mom saw me through the window. 


At this point, I think I was crying, because that room was so special to me and held so many good memories, even though I was there for only a year or so. It was the year that I came out of my shell, so to speak.  I was confident, I was outgoing, I was friendly, I was fearless.  I talked to anyone.  I talked to girls, pretty girls even, with no fear.  I made friends in every social circle.  I ran Star Wars games that were so much fun.  I joined the Speech and Debate team.  I had friends over and we played Perfect Dark for hours and hours.  I stayed up till the wee hours on Friday nights, reading Stephen Baxter books and listening to the hardcore show on RadioU.  And, I wrote a lot.  All in all, it was a treasured time for me.


The rest of my family, my brother and two sisters, ended up in the room and we reminisced for quite some time.  I then told Mom that she couldn’t sell the house, that I would buy it.  I wanted that house so badly.  It was still in such good shape, clean walls, clean carpet, bright lights, just an open, beautiful house.  Big backyard with a tiny creek.  Such a wonderful, lovely house that would be mine, surrounded by all those memories.


Then I woke up and remembered that it was sold long ago and the last time I saw it, it was gross and falling apart.

Currently watching: Black Books Series Two
Currently feeling: melancholy
Posted by Narzack on September 25, 2013 at 01:11 PM | 1 Dropkicked

I have three great passions in life: books and writing, video games, and filmmaking.  I’ve talked about the first two quite a bit already.  But, I’ve neglected to really gush about the third.  Video games and especially books are what make me happy.  But, filmmaking is definitely what I was built to do.  I love nothing more.  My happiest moments have been on-set, whether it was during film school working on truly awful shorts or all the ultra, sub-microbudget films I’ve made with Devo and later, Haley.  I love it.  Nothing makes me happier or thrills me more. 


Last night, we had our very first pre-production meeting for the latest Not One Zombie film, Alms and Ohms.  It’s sort of an epilogue to The Boys, our flagship Not One Zombie piece.  And let me tell you, I am so incredibly pumped.  I’ve written and sent out something like ten emails today alone, just organizing and building up for it.  We’re not even shooting until January, and I can barely contain my excitement.  We’re building up a bigger and bigger crew (We have a producer and AD this time) and even constructing sets for this one.  Ever production we do becomes more and more professional.  It’s incredible.  I love it so much.  I love thinking about it, I love planning for it, I love doing all the stupid annoying work for it.  I like just talking about making movies.  It’s the biggest thrill.  Without a doubt, filmmaking is what I was made to do.  Even super-low budget stuff like this.  I’m so excited that I want this to be our first submission to a film festival.  I am just so very, very stoked for this.


In the meantime, check out the other videos we’ve done:  http://www.youtube.com/notonezombie


Currently feeling: giddy
Posted by Narzack on September 26, 2013 at 03:45 PM | Get some!
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