The everyday ramblings of one nerd.



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No, I have no Idea why it just won't build. I can't read err... whatever that is.

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Office Drama : The Quickening

Matthew : Ready for lunch?
Brandon : Could be.
I must admit, I am forced to assume that you believe that your voice is a finite resource.
We're in the same room, you know.
Matthew : Yes, you are correct finite.
Brandon : That, or that you are preparing for the eventually of your promotion, and getting your own office.
Mark : ROFL
I don't even have my own office...
Brandon : I hope you don't think promotions work like the Quickening in Highlander.
Mark : There can be only 1
Brandon : Killing Mark won't get you his job.
Well, I say that.
Mark : I'm calling the cops
<Mark has left the conversation.>
Brandon : We might have to ask Josh.

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A feast for the senses.

There's been handful of recent games that have shown up recently that have one thing in common: they might give you a seizure.  First on the list, Gridrunner Revolution, a game which Games Radar rated "Most Insane of 2009", and for good reason.  Gridrunner is the brainchild of one Jeff Minter, who has mastered the art of subjecting your eyes to a dizzying and at times addictive array of psychedelic visuals in his games.  Gridrunner is at the core a top-down vertical shooter, but things go a bit weird after that.  Gravity, the ability to turn your ship in any direction, and the encouragement to score big by creating pretty patterns with your ships shots all mark some interesting departures from what you would expect.  Oh, and sheep too, they make you go "ding" and they can save your life.  This is not really the proper place for me to review or even adequately explain any of Llamasoft's recent game, it's hard enough to describe the premise of the game without sounding like a stark raving lunatic here I go:

  • The ship is controlled with the left stick, you can rotate the facing of the ship with the right stick.  You can change between different ships (representing your extra lives) for different shot patterns.
  • "Sheepies" fall from the top of the screen, if you collect one, your score multiplier goes up, and your ships firepower is also increased.  Sheepies can also be used to save you if you die, because when hit, your ship will briefly bounce around on the screen, which you can steer into enemies to bounce longer, touch a sheepie and "Sheepie Save!" you are brought back to life with no penalty, nice.
  • Many of the stages have a "Sun" which hangs around being massive.  Not only does it shoot at you, but its gravity will bend your shots.  The more convoluted a path your bullets take, the higher score when it finally hits something.  You can also blow up the sun, turning it into a black hole.  This makes the score multiplier go nuts.

While you're attempting all this, you have to be able to handle visual overload.  Your eyes might be wide, teary affairs from the strain of attempting to take in the visual overload of the trippy visuals the game hits you over the head with.

However, impossible as it immediately seemed to me, there is a game around that is even more abusive on the eyes than anything Llamasoft has come up with.  Beat Hazard.  On it's own, it's a pretty generic twin-stick shooter, akin to geometry wars, with one simple twist.  The enemy spawns, player shots, and eye-bleeding visuals are all tied to the music that's playing, any you can pick any song from your collection to play on.  This game is absolutely BRUTAL on your eyes, with everything brightly strobing in time with your music.

It's a very simple game, but throw on some thumping electronic dance music, set the difficulty to "Jedi" and kiss your retinas goodbye.  I keep coming back for more, but I wonder if any of this will lead to permanant damage.

Pssssh, I'm sure I''ll be fine.

Here's a video of me getting schooled on hardcore ("Jedi") difficulty.  Viewers with epilepsy, beware.

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