One Likes to Believe in the Freedom of Music — R40 Live

I’ve been a Rush fan for quite a few years, even when I was only familiar with Tom Sawyer. As a drummer, I appreciated Neil Peart’s skill and talent, and Moving Pictures remains one of my favorite albums of all time. After I saw them in Phoenix this July as part of the R40 tour, I went out and finished up my collection of Rush albums. Since then, I’ve quickly embraced them as my favorite band (they were previously number 2 — sorry Styx!). There are few songs of theirs I don’t like, and not only do I still massively appreciate Neil Peart’s skill, I’ve also grown to recognize that Geddy Lee is perhaps the best bassist of all time, and Alex Lifeson is a pretty skilled guitarist in his own right. Peart’s lyrics are weirdly deep and poetic for a rock band, and Lee’s strange, acquired-taste voice firmly cement them as a rock band for nerds. So, yeah, I really like them. They have a 12-minute song about Sauron, for God’s sake.

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Like The Last of Us with Jumping — Fallout 4

An oft-mocked anecdote in the gaming industry comes to us by way of Machinima. Back in 2012, Ubisoft was about to release the excellent Far Cry 3, and as usual with big-name games these days, advertising kiosks were set up in stores across the country. Usually, these kiosks will be giant cardboard displays with one of the game’s principle characters (the antagonist Vaas, in the case of Far Cry 3) and some colorful decor to draw the eye. There’s also usually a box quote or two on the kiosk from a respected review source (IGN, Gamespot, et al) with a quote from the review and a score. At least, if the reviews are good.

Far Cry 3 was a spectacular game, and as such its reviews were good. Ubisoft opted to use a quote from Machinima’s review of the game. Machinima isn’t a traditional game review-centric site like the ones mentioned above, but rather a fairly large gaming media conglomerate housed on YouTube, and built off of a pretty deep community of content creators who push all the levers related to games and media. So, it was kind of strange for Ubisoft to go with their review quote, but still not too weird. What was weird about it? The quote they went with was “Like Skyrim with guns,” followed by an attribution with no actual score, despite the fact that Machinima gave the game a 9/10.

“Like Skyrim with guns”? Really? It’s particularly funny for a couple of reasons. One, at the time of Far Cry 3’s release, Skyrim had been out for about a year, so it was still quite possible that people hadn’t played it. Far Cry 3 was developed by Ubisoft, and Skyrim was made by Bethesda. So, in advertising for their own game, Ubi effectively advertised someone else’s, as well. I guess they were kind of going for The Worf Effect, wherein someone is immediately judged based on the fact that they can stand up to someone who’s known for being particularly strong. That said, Far Cry 3 really isn’t Skyrim with guns. At all. I mean, they’re open-world sandboxes, like half the games on the market right now, and Far Cry does have some RPG elements, but that’s pretty much where the comparison to Skyrim ends.

They’re both great games, but it seems silly to try to convince someone to buy your game based solely on that person’s understand of the fact that this other, very different game, made by a different company, is also very good. It’s like opening a lemonade stand and having your sign be an arrow to someone else’s lemonade stand that says “like that guy’s lemonade, but the cups are plastic”. Weird.

So, why am I writing this? Because lately I’ve been way into a game that practically is Skyrim with guns, Fallout 4.

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A Hole Knew Whirled

Hello, darkness, my old friend …

Greetings, stranger. If you’ve made it this far, I can at least assume you grasp the basic capacity for English that’ll be required for full enjoyment of this blog. So, congratulations. You go. A winner is you.

Now, why, you ask, might a strapping young stranger like yourself feel so inclined to read this blog?

Well, the short answer is you won’t. To be honest, my tastes, and by extension the things I’ll write about, are so eclectic and strange that it would be beyond the realm of rationality for me to purport to claim the attention of any passerby longer than a cursory glance. And I’m fine with that.

Fact of the matter is, much like Rush’s 9-minute instrumental masterpiece, this blog is very much “an exercise in self-indulgence”. As such, I’m going to be writing about whatever I damn well please. What does that mean? Mostly, video games, ’80s music, the internet, sitcoms, voice actors, Shakespeare, and whatever the hell else I feel like.

Now why, you ask, did I feel it necessary to inflict myself on the internet at large? Well, I actually started my first blog back in the summer of 2011 when I was 14.  Yikes. Over the past few years it’s gone up and down in activity, with my inevitably attempting to resuscitate its desiccated corpse every six months or so, but looking back at the writings of my vapid adolescence, I can’t help but be disgusted. As such, I felt it necessary to give myself a clean go. So, just like Borderlands 2, Empire Strikes Back, and Fly By Night, the second attempt will hopefully be everything the first one was, and so, so much more. 

When I started college, I started a more personal blog documenting my … adventures, if you will, for my family. But you guys can’t read that. Sorry. It’s too special. Actually, it’s probably just super boring. So here’s what you guys get.

Unlike my last effort, this blog won’t just be contained by video games. Obviously, they’ll make a recurring appearance, but they won’t be the only thing I’m constrained by. Hopefully, this means it won’t die twice a year like Dean Winchester. I mean, there’s still a very good chance it will. But at least this way I’ll feel worse about it. Wait, that doesn’t make sense.

Long story short, if you ever wondered about the inner workings of some weird male college student who spends too much time on the internet and playing video games, and really should go out in the sun more, and really should lay off the coffee, I mean seriously, it’s probably really bad for his health, and what’s with all the cereal anyway, who eats that much cereal — This is the place for you. In essence, it’s the place for nobody. But screw it.

We’ll do it live.