Trouble Thinking

August 16, 2012

Hey Listen to All This Shit

HEY! Listen.

-Ben Sollee is a Cellist, he’s quite good! He’s a singer-songwriter who basically sings stuff that would be tired and a bit annoying if it was a dude with an acoustic guitar but sounds pretty awesome with a cello. He’s pretty neat! I’d check him out by clicking the thing below here:

-In Case of Emergency is a podcast! It’s cute! That’s really the main drive of my continued listening. In Case of Emergency is several of your friends having a silly conversation in the background of a party. It rarely gets me rolling on the floor, but the presentation and topics manage to consistently entertain and just generally feel like a cup of cocoa. It’s completely worth listening to all of them! All of the premises are equally funny, which is impressive! You’d think they would run out. Check it out here: http://icoecast.libsyn.com/

-Comedy Bang Bang is both a show and a podcast! But the podcast is something you can listen to immediately, so you should! It’s so good. I highly recommend finding any and all that include Paul F. Thompkins as a guest because he’s fucking amazing. The premise of the show is basically one actual guest, and one fake-person guest played by a comedian. They’re long, they’re consistently both in-character and out of character funny, and it’s just a good time to be had. It’s a great way to be introduced to a wide variety of comedic talent as well! Give it a listen at http://www.earwolf.com/show/comedy-bang-bang-podcast/ and in the meantime look at this clip from the show, it’s awesome.

-The Alex Bellegarde Trio is cool! They play well, also there’s a regular jam session thing that I guess I got to see without having any fucking clue what was going on. I distinctly remember being in the bathroom thinking “jeez, the sax is really loud” and coming out to find someone practicing right outside the door, getting ready to go on stage! It’s cool, you should go. Be more respectful than I was! I wasn’t paying as much attention as I should have, I didn’t really understand it, I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. Check them out at: http://www.myspace.com/alexbellegarde Also check out a neat thing on the Jam Sessions! It’s got a lot of music too.

That’s it! Listen to a bunch of neat stuff, have fun you crazy kid.

November 3, 2011

Bastion is Great, Buy It After The Steam Sale Ends.

Filed under: Game News, Game Reviews, Video Games — Tags: , , , , , , , — Durandal @ 11:53 am


Bastion is such a danged excellent experience, I recommend you pay more than $7.50 for it. In fact, not only should wait until you have the opportunity to pay $15, you should send Supergiant games an extra $5 to thank them.

Briefly, Bastion is a beautifully rendered dungeon crawl/action-RPG. Less briefly, Bastion tells the story of a young man who wakes up to find the world has shattered around him in the night and sets out to put everything back together. He’s guided… well, you’re guided, by the voice of an old man telling the story of how he does it. The narrative conceit, added late in the development apparently, works amazingly well. You’re gently guided to the right paths, you get commentary on your actions that can be pithy or surprisingly touching. There are also some very well done bits where the old man can only tell you what he thinks may have happened, which is a nice way of turning the previously omniscient narrator into a portion of the story.

Bastion is a triumph of form over function. It’s a game type I’ve played dozens if not hundreds of times before. You walk, you smack, you gather, you build. But with an astoundingly deft touch, the writing and art direction manages to make you care so much more than you expect in a game like this. It comes, appropriately, in both big and little pieces. The beautiful painted landscapes that rise out of nothing to meet you as you run, the spare lines of text that hint at a society you wish you could have seen in full flower, the way the narrator seems ashamed of the fact that he needs to send a kid to do the dirty work, the distant music from a time you’re trying to bring back. All of these pieces of design lift what could have been a standard slogging kill-fest into something simultaeously melancholy and heartening.

This is one of the few games where the compulsion toward completionism that I tend to feel regardless carried some emotional weight. I wasn’t making sure I had all the upgrade structures, I was putting back the pieces of a shattered world so that a hard-working kid could finally rest. I wasn’t getting achievements, I was paying tribute to the people that would be forgotten without me. Its a game with few characters, but it makes you feel for all of them. Including the beasts you need to kill to make your way in the world. It’s not mawkish or sentimental, either. It just presents you with a situation that is unfortunate and too few options to fix it.

Through these touches Bastion achieves one of the best game narratives I’ve seen, using subtle strokes to tell a story bigger than the part you play in it.

The best recommendation I can give is that immediately upon finishing it, I wanted to wipe my memory and start again from the beginning. Hell, it’s got a newgame+, I may do just that.

Buy Bastion at Half Off!

June 22, 2011

New Music Time!

Filed under: Music — Tags: , , — Durandal @ 10:25 am

I’m pretty sure my taste in music is awful, it’s just this gnawing in the back of my mind that tells me I’m listening to the horrible fourth-string ripoff of something that was passe 20 years ago.  Listening to music comes with a field of sonic regret briefly aligning waveforms to take the form of an unimpressed baby-boomer.

But I found a solution! Well, two solutions. One is realizing that all of you are so much fucking worse. I mean really, you guys. Jeez. No one is into Hanson anymore, that’s so 2009. The second part of the solution is listening to dinky local stations that play weird unpopular stuff. The one music rule I know is if I’ve heard of something before you, I am the winner.

So here’s a couple of songs I think are pretty fun from a band I think I’m now into called “The Parting Gifts“.

“Bound to Let Me Down” sounds pretty similar to early-ish Beatles stuff, it’s neat.

“Sleepy City” is upbeat and folksy and doesn’t overstay its welcome so that’s nice!

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