Sunday, November 27, 2011

Annoying plotholes

It is no secret that I absolutely love most things with a narrative. That said, I thought it might kill some time to list 5 annoying plotholes that I've personally noticed. Hopefully, at least one of these should be painfully familiar to you. Do note though, that this will contain SPOILERS in order to explain my points. Here we go:

5. Joker Disguises.
In "The Dark Knight" The Joker uses a disguise at least twice in order to reach his goals. Once as a redheaded nurse and once as a police officer. So what's so strange about that? It's disguises! Here the deal: The Jokers face ISN'T exactly a mystery to the general public. He quite literally appeared on main stream television and did a close-up of himself (Albeit with a cheap handheld camera). On top of that, even if we allow it to be hard to recognize him through the face paint, he has huge scars on each side of his mouth. You're telling me that no one noticed the police officer with a scarred smiley face, or the redheaded nurse wearing clown make-up? No deal.

4. Super Bulimia Man?
Another DC Superhero movie. In Superman Returns, good old Kal'el has been away from Earth for several years. Let's stop right there. While the movie might be 'meh' at best (it kinda requires you to actually like Superman, which alot of people sadly doesn't) the plothole actually came already at the premise which is kinda odd. Apparently, Superman also had a Super Eating Disorder as he spent his time at the ruined remains of his homeplanet of Krypton without food. Either Supes found a still-running Kryptonian Diner, or he lived for 5 years straight without eating. So what possible effects can not eating have on a Kryptonian body? None apparently, apart from changing Christopher Reeves into Brandon Routh.

3. Birds.
This is one that most people have probably thought of. At the end of The Return of The King, the 3rd Lord of the Rings book - Gandalf saves Frodo and Sam from the erupting mt. Doom by sending giant falcons to save them. So, why exactly didn't Gandalf just bring the birdies with him when he went to the council meeting at the elven kingdom? Well you might say, Gandalf obviously has an adventurous spirit and wants Frodo to make a difference to the world! I'm gonna stop you there, Gandalf already experienced the 'thrill' of making a Hobbit an international hero ONCE, in the form of Bilbo. Here's my theory of what the reasoning behind that ending was: A feeling of dread in the head of Tolkien when he realised he had written himself into a corner.

2. Coldblooded Dorothy
The Wicked Witch of The East from The Wizard of Oz was a mean old wench, She ruled the entire Eastern region of Oz with an iron fist and made the munchkins collect food for her. That said, Dorothy drops an entire house on her head, killing her, steals her shoes and leaves the premises as fast as possible. Sure, I'm making Dorothy sound alot meaner than she's portrayed, but let's be honest. Dorothy never really gives any thought to the fact that she's actually taken a life throughout the entirety of the rest of the series. On top of that, not only did she crush a woman with a house. She later goes on to MELT another woman, equivalent of pouring acid on her, while she cheers on as the woman screams in agony: "I'm Melting! I'm Melting! what world, what a woooorld...." That's just coldblooded murder. Psychopatic female.

1. Whatever happened to that Priest guy?
I love me some zombies from time to time. They're an easy fictional enemy and they're most definetly creepy. George A. Romero's Night of The Living Dead is an awesome movie, and I personally consider it part of the classic horror movie line-up (which mostly includes the classic Universal monster flicks). That said, at the end of 'Night' a Priest character is introduced. This guy has been bitten by the zombies, but for some reason he doesn't turn. He ends up having a dog following him around for protection. Not for the protection of him, but for others should he ever turn. Romero went on to make Dawn of The Dead, Day of The Dead, Land of The Dead and Diary of The Dead 1 & 2 with possibly more that I don't know of. Theese movies all supposedly take place in the same universe, but the Priest is nowhere to be found in any of the sequels. So where DID he go anyway? Well, only Romero knows.

So that was my humble list. I know alot of you probably expected the death of a certain Final Fantasy character to be there. So why isn't it there? Well.. I kinda wanted to stick to movies this time, or at least things that have been turned into movies. So perhaps on another list.

- Later Days.

Friday, November 25, 2011


So I decided to put a Project Wonderful ad on the site. I've also started advertising on Scandinavia & The World and if you got here by clicking that ad: Welcome! Check out the place. It's a bit dusty but I'll be gradually working on cleaning out the codwebs.

with that remark you might be thinking: Wait, isn't this made with a blogging service? Yes. For now. I'm currently saving up for the purpose of getting my own domain name where I can put not only this thing, but my entire online portfolio as well. That would mean my webcomics (There's 2 of them still online) and mayhaps some of my older stuff could be found all on the same page. That would make all this stuff a little more manageable, and make it easier for you guys to check out my stuff without checking several different places.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Video Games evolving into a form of media

What is art? This is a question that has been on a lot of peoples lips since the first introduction of new media. To many, art is a piece of work from which each can draw their own interpretation, and emotional response based on their personal experiences, and personality. What large groups of people seem to agree on however, is what art isn’t. The conservative Christians in the so-called Bible Belt of the 30's and 40's considered the thriving popularity of movies to be the work of the Devil and the parents of the last decade spent their time worrying if little Timmy might learn how to hijack a car by playing Grand Theft Auto 3.

But can video games be considered a stand alone medium of expression? The shortsighted answer is a cold No. The more optimistic answer however is: Not yet, But it most definitely should.

When the general public thinks of video games they often think of them as playthings. A brief escapism from the everyday life, in a video game you can be a cowboy fighting a gang of thieves or a successful manager bringing your football team to the World cup finale. But potentially, video games can teach you about life, and maybe a little bit about yourself. In video games with charisma, a choice that may seem like the most positive at the moment can turn out hurting the people you are trying to help. A good example of this is the fairly recent fantasy roleplaying game: Dragon Age Origins.

In Dragon Age, you play as a warden. The Wardens is a international organization that has treaties with the different species in the world to bring them armies to fight a soon to come blight upon the land. When you go to the Dwarwen kingdom in the mountains, this is supposed to be smooth sailing. The king has recently passed away however and there is disputes between the kings own chosen follower, and his actual heir of blood. At a first glance, the choice seems easy. The prince uses less than honorable methods and the other one seems like a regular saint that has been forced into hiding by hired goons.

But when the game ends, and you get the updates on what has happened in the different nations since your influence, the saint-like heir is actually the bad ending. Instead of making the Dwarven nation a better place, he just carried on the same way the late king did and the land of dwarves plunged into civil war. The prince however, ends up changing the way the whole kingdom is run. People are now free to choose their own careers, where before they were locked into kind of life their parent of the same sex had, in likeness of the Indian caste-system from the real world.

This is kind of a weak example, but choices and consequences like this one could be used to teach players about the world we live in. Strategy games could be used to teach history and First person shooters could be used to explore the single soldier’s role in a war started by diplomats. It may provoke us, make us question ourselves and potentially make us change for the better.

Video games can also be documentaries, but this has a long bumpy road ahead of it. In 2007, a division of the video game developer Atomic games worked with the American military to develop a training simulator. During the process however, the band of soldiers that the division had worked with was sent off to Iraq to fight in the war. There, the band participated in one of the most bloody battles of the entire Iraq campaign and lost a lot of teammates. When the soldiers returned, they contacted Atomic games and asked them to convey the story of the battle through a video game to the rest of the world. What resulted was a survival horror game but not in the traditional sense, the fear would come from uncertain, terrifying unpredictability of an actual city war. It would use the likenesses and retelling of the soldiers and senior officers that fought in the battle of Fallujah to paint an as accurate and respectful picture as possible of not only those six days, but of the entire war.

But as was predictable, some people weren't happy. Once word got out that someone was making a game about such a recent event, people were outraged. Parents who had lost sons and daughters in the battle, and senior officers who didn't even participate started a debate about it. Heads were going to roll. These people, as with many others still viewed games as toys. Their anger reached the press, and the press literally destroyed the credibility of the small video game developer. Konami, who was slated to publish the title soon backed out of the project and Atomic games was left out in the cold. In a matter of a few years, that being as soon as 2009, Atomic games shut down completely. And that with Six Days in Fallujah still a ways behind hitting store shelves, which I suspect it never will.

There's a lot of blame to go around for this affair. It's easy for an enthusiast like me to just say that those that lost loved ones should have ignored the release of the title completely or even backed it up. After all, it seemed like a really entertaining title. But that's just it. Video games are still at a social standpoint where it's merely escapism. While Atomic games should have been credited for wanting to take the medium further, Six Days in Fallujah would still be released in the golden age of Modern war-based shooters. To many, Six Days wouldn't have stood out much in the flood of first person shooters that comes out these days and it would have been shrugged off as yet another Call of Duty- or Battlefield-like title. That said, to me the blame goes to Konami. Konami is a huge video game publisher, and has followed the medium since the beginning. Konami was originally one of the backers of the project before they eventually left it and that means they simply lost their spine. This is a huge publisher, they must have known that making this game was quite literally sticking your hand in a hornets nest. This was like if as huge a movie-company as Universal Pictures had backed out of a movie, simply because it said something the general demographic didn't agree about.

But that's the thing about freedom of expression. If you want to have a right, you have to accept the responsibility that comes with it. And you have to be ready to defend your points when confronted about them. There will always, always be someone who disagrees with you. If you're planning to use a medium as young as video games to express yourself, you have to understand that you will most likely be on your own. Even video games that was supposed try and teach children about the second world war has been stopped in development because of moral outrage, and that's even though it might have had the best intentions.

So that brings us to my conclusion. Video games are a very young medium. Older and more respected mediums has gone through exactly the same challenges that video games face today. Comic books still face them. Movies won them all. Rock N' Roll won them as well. We have a unique storytelling and teaching opportunity in front of us, now we just have to make people respect it. And once they do, we have to know how to live up to the responsibility that comes with it.