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Learnt Some Japanese

Anata wa, bodi o shutoku suru junbi ga dekite imasu ka?

Are you ready to get bodied, son?

Green Valley!

I made it out of my cold place just in time for carousels and nose-dives last weekend. Big Bro & Co arrived on Friday night, and I was home sick (but better) for the fifth day in a row to greet them, wondering if my legs would carry me the next day.

They did! I felt great. We took the train early morning, and came back home late night, and played games till way later - maybe I wouldn't have maintained my snivel for another full week if I'd taken it easier just a couple more days, but... worth it.

I'm almost getting over the thrill of Gröna Lund, though. I feel it, but I'm getting used to it. The first ride still gave that tingling sensation you both fear and crave, but the ones after weren't all that special. Fun, fast and ferocious, but not exhilarating like they used to be. I guess all people reach that point eventually huh? Third time was the charm. Fourth... it feels like it'd be fun to try something new.

Time to visit a new place, maybe? To try the most intense and insane attractions this one has to offer... maybe? But I'm not much for things that spin. Insane (is the name of their one roller coaster that does). Roller coasters are my thing. And of course a little bumper cars, haunted houses, fish n' chips, sunshine, ocean breezes; whatever attractions are on offer. We had plenty of all aforementioned elements, though maybe a bit too much sun.

I tried a little cotton candy too, for the first time in... 15 years? Split one portion on on all four of us since all I really wanted was a taste, and sugar, you know. I asked the cashier how much sugar it was. Pure sugar, he said. But how much? Oh, about... one deciliter. Though, actually, if you compare to sweet beverages, like Coke, that contain just as much in no more than 33 cl canisters... it's not all that incredible.

But it was a great day. We took the ferry route back home, conversed on classic rock bands, rediscovered our reddening skin in the hallway mirror (even though we'd spent as much time as possible in shadow) and settled down by the table for a bowl of porridge, peace, and Pipes (a card game) - weary but content.

So that was the weekend, and after that it's been one thing after the other; time's counting down to two long weekend trips. First to Torsfjärden next week, and Kälvudden the one after - four days each. Hopefully there'll be time for a couple new concerts and recouping in between visits... summer's closing in with leaps and bounds; it's nigh time to get some sunshine and frizzy air.

We Complicate

Why do we make everything so difficult for ourselves?

Usually it's with the intention of making things easier, too. My dad's the perfect example of how to unnecessarily complicate the most arbitrary tasks, countering with the customary 'isn't that unnecessary' each time you will to do something that could be done later, or easier, or combined with another task, like: ...I can't remember the latest occurrence, but it is, or at least used to be, common.

It's not like he's lazy, that's just his way of being efficient, even if it often results in less being done than could have been done if all things were just done right away; without hassle.

With age he might have gained a tendency to really complicate things instead, making the easiest endeavors take as much effort as possible, thus rendering his old trademark statement obsolete. He now cooks multiple eggs at once, for example, to save electricity and water, and eats only one, assuming we'll chip in on the rest - even my sister who continually reminds him she doesn't eat eggs. He has his own meal times, too, so we've all usually eaten when the time comes.

Where was I again? Making things difficult when they could be easy. Right. Like this blog. Like computers. Like outsourcing certain tasks, only to realize the quality's inferior; then having to move them all back again. Or migrating from one OS to another, only to have to move again in a few years. And backing up things, and then backing up the backup. Storyboards. Hello's. Planning meals.... where was I going with this again?

Our modern world. Constantly connected. Constantly evolving. Constantly devising new methods to do things we've never had any trouble doing before. Using everything we can to it's fullest potential (or further) so that we may derive more from it than is good for anyone.

Examples:

Effectivising animal farms: creating horrible living conditions for animals, who get wide-spread diseases as a result, then giving them antibiotics to counter said diseases: creating bacteria strains resistant to antibiotics.

Effectivising agriculture by use of artificial fertilizers, that effectively siphon all available nutrients from the ground, over time turning it into a dead and barren wasteland, and making us have to eat more vegetables to get our daily nutritional fill, which also means: increasing the agricultural input further, still with fertilizers that kill the ground, speeding up said process until neither ground nor crops contain the nutrition necessary for our survival.

Increasing gluten amounts in wheat for better fermentation effect: increasing the potential to incur leaky gut or gluten intolerance, as a result rendering it harder for us to attain the nutrients we require, further causating aforementioned issue.

Industrialism to improve society: making us slaves to our own well-willed wishes of social progress, creating social injustice, a reliance on an imbalanced and consumerist economy to keep progressing, and making the world one that benefits the rich rather than the strong, or the crafty.

Popularism to distract people from the problems at hand, and have them focus on irrelevant things like certain people, or trends, or media frenzy while the controlling elite reap the rewards, and keep destroying the Earth as per above.

Consumerism to improve economic standing and stature of the aforementioned elite: creating an ever-increasing reliance on increasing wastefulness to satisfy our shallow and superficial wants for more though we all know we'd be better off with less, and as a result we dispense our natural reserves until there is... nothing... left.

Where am I going with this? Nowhere, because there's only one Planet Earth. We'd better start uncomplicating (note there is actually no proper antonym for complicating) fast, or we're fucked. Royally. Really. I don't mean that in a luxurious and pleasurably way - just like the illusion of 'change' and 'progress' is all but what it gives us.

We should go back to our roots, and start growing again, instead of just fluttering off like falling leaves; realizing all too late as we dwindle to the dark winter ground, that our courageous leap off the tree that held us killed us all.

Or to keep it simple: Save the planet. Save ourselves.

Better Blogging

If you want to know how to become a better blogger... you'd better ask someone else. I've been blogging for twelve years but I still don't know what I'm doing. I've posted blog-related things like:

...but I don't follow my own advice half the time. I know the secrets, but I don't want to conform. I could turn this into a business, but I'd rather keep it personal. I'm not greedy. I'm tempted, but when I look at the world and what the capitalist approach has done for it... I think I'll take a different approach.

You probably hear the confidence-booster affirmation I'm worth more or I'm worth this a lot, but that doesn't apply to material wealth. It applies to choices. How you live. What you are. Care about the world - because you're worth a better future.

So on this rare topic of blogging, let me give you some solid advice that no one else will, because I feel like selling out today:

  • Be yourself, readers will appreciate you for you.
  • Don't limit yourself; don't confine yourself to a single topic. Evolve. Open your mind. Don't fear controversy if it helps you grow.
  • Stay true to yourself, and as such also to your viewers.
  • Care for your blog. Even if it is a business: a good business is like a second home. Make it your second home.
  • Write for yourself, even if no one reads. It's easy to start thinking about what everyone else wants, but if you just do you soon others will want to do you too.
  • Persevere, because Tukalue wasn't built in a day-

But most importantly: make sure this is what you want to do. If not: do something else. The goals may seem a bit selfish, which is why you probably won't get them elsewhere - because it makes you seem selfish, and giving a selfless impression seems to be the recommended thing to do if you want your blog to prosper. It seems to be working too.

But for who else would you start a blog if not for yourself? If you choose this route it'll be a big part of your life before you know it, so you'd better be ready for a long term commitment. If you do make it a business: make it a business you want to run. When designing a race: design a race you'll want to run yourself, and others will join in.

Make your world, and the world is yours.

The NEW DOOM - Early Impressions

So I finally played through the new DOOM a while back! Disregarding the lack of numeral appended to title - which makes the game seem to be intended as a potential replacement for the old classic with the same name which it has neither merit nor meaning to match, it was... boring, easy to get lost in, too much, and too little, with too much grind: a futuristic interface at the expense of readability, with impractical scrolling, fuzzy fonts and more. The rune challenges were both fun and annoying, and so were the other elements of the sort.

They claimed this to be a no-nonsense re-inventation, but though nostalgic elements are indeed both common and appreciated, the overall feel is far gone. It feels more like RAGE than DOOM. More like Bethesda than iD. More like the games I enjoy playing once for the visual experience, than the classics that provide no-nonsense carnage, with atmosphere and pixel perfect simplicity and simple menus for quick re-playability, rather than gargantuan scenes, overly complex futuristic aesthetics and elaborate side-story you shouldn't bother to read.

I'm past the 'boring' first impressions at this point, and knee-deep in the perpetual grind. But this is an addiction more like alcohol than good food. A little won't taste so good, but as your intake grows so will your appreciation - until you're drunk and giddy, and soon wake up with the worst hangover ever, wondering why you wasted so much time in this pit of hell? Good food: can be enjoyed instantly, as many times as you wish; over and over, and over again.

To elaborate on that simile: good food takes time to prepare, as this game very much did, but once it's done you'll want to eat it all at once, and if you really liked it you'll want to eat it again in the future. You'll savor the experience. You'll be satisfied, and maybe surprised, and feel complete with the intricate yet flawless ensemble of ingredients therein. But here... there were some odd ingredients. Something tasted a bit off. Maybe the chef forgot one of the obligatory spices. Maybe he added too much of another. It's tasty, but maybe a bit salt. One portion's enough.

It's not my distaste for the modern grind speaking, it's my distaste for (to focus on plausible reason rather than the finished product) selling (out). The modern gaming experience has shifted from innovation to surplus: better graphics, bigger sizes, more hours with each game. The ingenuity required to craft a legend seems lost with the times, but I have no doubt my later reviews on this game will be more positive, because it's easy to have an honest first impression the first time you play, but difficult to maintain the negativity if you do get hooked to something, and this seems like something it'd be easy to get hooked to... for good or bad?

A few thoughts on the main differences, and new elements in this game:

Doomguy

Good choice not giving him a voice, but chill out with the aggressive personality. Shaking fists, throwing screens at walls, etc. Sure, destroying the energy capsules make sense (as do the glory kills - they're spawn of hell after all), but I always felt the original Doomguy had a near unphasable resolve, strong-willed, quick, smart, tough and with a strong sense of justice. All good things personified, with a little bit of unearthly grit. Don't make it personal.

The background story was pretty cool, though I wouldn't mind if more of it was 'myth'.

Glory Kills

...were easier to get into than I expected, not so much gore for the sense of gore, but because they serve a purpose, and with continual use it becomes a both strategical and satisfying form of easy carnage. Beasts that'd take plenty of additional ammo to tear apart are easy to break with your hands, which does both complicate and make some encounters almost too easy, but also adds an appreciated new strategical element to the battle. And you can manage without them, if you really want to.

Weapon Upgrades

These felt like an unnecessary complication at first, but there is a sense of strategy involved, and the varied attacks are fun. Depending on what upgrades you apply you can make each round a different experience with this. Though I don't think I'd mind if they skipped them entirely, and just went with the...

Suit Upgrades

...because these were just perfect. Simplistic and rewarding. A good complement to the classic backpacks. This, kill counts and secrets would be all the 'extras' I need.

Power Upgrades

...don't look as cool as they could. I liked the old spheres better.

Rune Challenges

These would probably be better left outside the main game. Mini-challenges? Fun, but they disrupt the experience (and require re-loading the level both before and after). Could've made this one of those 'bonus' things you usually unlock when you complete the main game.

Secrets, Collectibles, Bots...

It's too much. I wish I could disable them all. Classic secrets, that'd be enough.

Arcade Mode

Haven't tried this one yet, but I like the idea! Endless variation.

New Monsters

It feels like they were made to be horrifying rather than characteristic and personal. Was the Imp fur too 'cute'? I miss the green Hell Knight plasma too. The new feels a bit generic. New additions are appreciated, and the new combat patterns feel balanced and intelligent - the AI is great, but even if the new enemies remind more of the old than some of the ones in DOOM 3 they're still not like they used to be! If this wasn't DOOM I'd love the new ones too, but I liked the old better. They had character.

There's little hope for this to change now of course, but maybe with a suitable mod we could play this with the monsters like they used to be. The new AI is great, just need a more traditional visual match to their much-improved mechanics.

The 'Documentation'

Trying to back up everything with science and fancy words makes a lot of it lose it's charm. When you embark into hell, at least, then leave out the science. It's uncharted territory; it should be new. Of course it'd make sense humans have been to hell and back before if the previous games were prequels, but this isn't DOOM 3 is it? After Hell on Earth? It seems like this ends in the right place for a reinterpretation of the second game as well, and yet parts of the documented 'myth' seem based on the earlier games. I'm not with it.

Level Builder

This thing had a name, but I just can't remember it right now... I haven't tried it yet, but I both like and don't like the idea of it. What I don't like is how it effectively replaces the extra perks people would've thrown in with their custom levels had they made them on their own, outside the game, and how this feature pretty much renders the modding community (a big portion of it, at least) unnecessary, and not only that, but also relies on official servers to keep said level archive and community alive. What I do like is of course that it lets everyone make levels, and share them easily! There seems to be a big dose of those available so far.

It's a fun feature, but still, I wish they'd made a game that was easy to hack; with which the modding community could thrive for years to come. The original's survived a long time thanks to that.

Hayden and Vega

Great characters. You never really know where you have them, and they sometimes surprise you. They definitely add something to the story.

The Multiplayer Style

Though the Single Player campaign is a big part of the game (and I really appreciate it), it feels like big parts of the game are designed with multiplayer in mind. Boss fights and arenas in particular. The original had some arenas like them, but far from all, and power-up's were often hidden away, or provided at special occasions, whereas here they're all over the place, and sometimes hidden in plain sight in one of the many nooks and crannies of highly dimensional multiplayer-like maps. I appreciate the design overall - it looks awesome, but it feels pretty different from the original too.

Anything Else?

One thing I'd have loved to see here were more segmented levels, where each one provided something new and memorable - architecture that just didn't look good, but had that special something that kept it from just becoming one more level. The boss fights were pretty unique, but all the rest of them blur together. The only big distinction is Hell and Mars.

It's not all bad. I mean: it's a great game on it's own! It's fun, just like the original, and I applaud the effort that went in to making it both easy to play, and replay, with attention to detail and mechanics, all the while keeping it true to the classic in so many ways. But is this the one game that'll replace it? Hell no. This is something else. A good something, and forget boring - I don't know how that seemed like a suitable word to reflect my early moments with the game, but...

I guess wat irks me is that they had perfection with the first game, so why didn't they use what they had to make something even better? I don't mean re-using old level designs, or keeping the graphics crisp and 1995ish, but they had a working formula. A precise balance of elements that made the game. Decades of research as to why it was such a well-received and lasting game, too. Colliding interests? Too many interests? Too different developers? Whatever the reason: it didn't turn out quite like I hoped it would, but it was still a blast to play.

Left 4 Dead 2 - Quick Impressions

I tried the Left 4 Dead 2 single player story recently, and I wasn't all that impressed. It felt a lot like Dead Island... but without a goal. It was just carnage. One mission at a time. No lack of ammo, or items, and no collectibles or crafting. Boring. Shoot-em-up without the right dynamics, with superfluous enemies and items. Too easy, and too messy, or hard in the wrong way considering I did die a few times but didn't think much of it. There was no penalty. The action didn't have any weight to it, no matter how intense it was. Sort of like the original FEAR or Counter-Strike styles, where both players and enemies feel too light, like insects - their skirmishes surfacial and superficial. But I think the superfluous items and lack of death penalty were the big things. They killed the challenge.

It wasn't all that bad, but it really didn't lure me in, and the narrative/story feels pretty much non-existent. It's just a bunch of survivors fighting it out, trying to get rescued, shooting their way through massive zombie hordes that don't deal nearly enough damage (though this might vary depending on difficulty level), and are way too fast, and all of this with an unlimited supply of ammo for whatever weapons you find (though you can only choose one), which feels unnecessary considering there are melee weapons you'd be able to use as a last resort. There's no sense of survival, and even with a surplus of items you can't hoard. There's just hordes... of everything. Senseless violence without strategy or story.

I guess there's a reason Steam gave out the game for free.

Reading up on the game online it seems like a game aimed at multiplayer though, so maybe it's just not for me. The first mission of the campaign had me disappointed, as did the mechanics, and the inexistent story where the characters don't even receive a proper introduction - but if time allows maybe there'll be more impressions to follow. For now... this is not a single-player gem.

 rated 1/5: shit shit shit
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