Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Walking Dead

I have read the whole series so far, and overall, I've gotta say, it impressed me; it exceeded my expectations. It is one of the best Horror stories you may ever come across. It's a very realistic story, particularly when dealing with the characters.

. . . Except for one thing: the relationship between Andrea and Dale. It's certainly not a big enough deal to ruin the story, but it did make me cringe. Why? First off, the biggest reason is the fact that Andrea looks a Hell of a lot like I do. I wear a ponytail and have freckles like she does, and we even have some similar personality traits, except she's apparently straight, which is not the problem. The problem is the fact that she's with some old, fat man. Not that I don't like the guy, but I did cheer for the moment he died, because that meant their relationship, the only thing to criticize about the whole series thus far, was over. Until then, reading the comic and reading of their relationship literally made me feel nauseous, because I inevitably started having unpleasant thoughts of being with the old fart. Thankfully, my girlfriend was able to help with that any time that happened. Thanks again, sweetheart. ;)

Second, even if I can get past the nastiness of the whole thing, the relationship just wasn't all too believable. The only thing the author made any connection for them was that they both lost people that were important to them and didn't want to be alone, like that's the only criteria for a relationship to work. "I don't care if he's an old man who'll die a whole few decades before I do, and I don't care if he's gross, I just don't want to be alone! I'll be with anybody, no matter who!" Quite frankly, even forgetting the age difference and all of that, their personalities were really not much of a match. I didn't feel any sort of connection between them. It feels like the relationship was forced upon the readers by the author, and it was bad enough at certain points that I'd even facepalm at the severe lack of any true connection, especially because the author felt the need to explain the connection, which was a ridiculous one at that. Just your typical "I wanted an all-around nice guy" viewpoint. If that's the best he can come up with, then the relationship shouldn't have fucking happened, partly because he wasn't the only candidate. Why not Glenn? He was around during that time as well. Or why not make her wait longer to meet somebody? Anyway, ultimately, it felt like an awkward mess, which I'm glad was fixed with Dale's death. Now Andrea is almost with a new guy, and this time, I'm actually feeling a connection, and the guy's not old and gross, so no complaints about that.

That's my only gripe. Otherwise, this comic series is wonderful,mostly because of the character development, and the realism, particularly because no one is safe. Read far enough into the series and that will become quite apparent.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

What Liberalism and Conservatism Really Are

Often, I hear of Liberals and Liberalism being compared to Progressivism, Socialism, Communism, etc. They are not related. Otherwise, only one term would be needed for them all.

Liberalism is a viewpoint that generally puts an importance on liberty and equality, hence the word "Liber," which is Greek for "Free". A person who is a Liberal typically considers constitutions, Liberal Democracy, free and fair elections, human rights, Capitalism, free trade, and the separation of church and state high values. Even with these general ideals, there are still differing opinions within the Liberal circle, much like any other.

Conservatism is simply the viewpoint of following tradition, keeping things the way they are, or were in the past, hence the word "Conserve," which essentially means to save or hold onto something. This means that it can cover a variety of different opinions, and not just the stereotypical ideology that is thrown out there, even by Conservatives themselves (and even by me, heh heh). One may be a supporter of the Constitution, another may be a supporter of the mentality present in the Dark Ages.

So yes, Progressivism is typically looked down upon by Conservatives, which makes sense, but Liberalism is not synonymous with it. Sometimes a Progressive viewpoint is needed to attain certain Liberal goals, but this is certainly not always the case.

Personally, I am not a follower of the Conservative philosophy because I don't believe in supporting something just because it's been that way, or has worked for a while, since things that work at one point in time do not always work at another. "This is the way we've done it before" honestly sounds more like an excuse than an argument. Also, a lot of old viewpoints have often been freedom-limiting before Liberalism stepped in and changed a few things around, such as slavery and women's rights just to name a couple, to give American citizens more freedom; to put things in line with the Constitution and make it more of a non-contradictory document.

I am a Liberal because I believe social equality is essential for freedom, and I'd like for our country to be more free than it already is. Nearly three hundred years have passed, and America still has problems with freedom, a country which was founded on that very concept. Not just the big things, but also the little things that quite a few people haven't noticed, such as supporting conformity in the workplace or within society otherwise (whether they realize it or not). Not that much can be done about that, but I'd like for it to be noted and have someone be influential in changing that atmosphere for the betterment of our society.

And quite frankly, I'd like to get married.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Metroid: Other M

I was pretty hyped for this game. I've been a big fan for quite a long time. I not only like the gameplay, but I liked the story. Well, of course. It's Science Fiction, and I generally love Science Fiction. But even that's not the only reason I liked the story. I also liked it because of the main character herself, Samus Aran. I have idolized her since childhood, because she was a headstrong, independent, bad ass woman who could take on the biggest baddies throughout the galaxy all by herself.  She's the Ellen Ripley of the realm of video games. Of course, she's not the only one who made me feel this way, but she helped me feel like I could do whatever I pleased if I put my mind to it. And she did that without even speaking much.

However, in recent years, she seems to have become more of a sex symbol. Of course, being a lesbian, I can't help but like that (she has a great ass, sure, but she has an unrealistic figure (too skinny) in Super Smash Bros. Brawl), but at the same time, I don't. It started a transition into a less tough personality for Samus, and essentially became yet another in a line of sexualized women in the field of video games, catering to the male gamer crowd and alienating women.

But, to be honest, it wasn't really that bad, especially compared to the transition made in this game. Now, Nintendo (or Team Ninja, not sure who) decided to make her one of those delicate flower types, essentially fitting her into more of a gender role stereotype. In this game, she will cower in fear before fierce enemies who'd rather roar and growl at her for a few minutes than fight her. She's even scared of Ridley, who Samus has faced several times before this game chronologically takes place.

This is obviously in complete contrast to her past behavior. Because of this, the story in this game does not fit with the rest of the series. However, that's not the worst part about this. The worst thing about this is it's misogynistic. Quite frankly, it's an insult to women. There's no reason Samus should be scared like this. Of course, this is all if they're making her this way just because she's female and because of, you know, estrogen and all that (estrogen, as well as testosterone, do not affect personality in that way, by the way; they mainly affect the sex drive and other sex characteristics such as voice).

But it's not just the cowardliness. Otherwise, I'd only bitch about this being an inconsistency. She also tends to get overemotional about all of the things she does, constantly putting herself in doubt. She even keeps talking about the Metroid baby that died at the end of Super Metroid.

Which brings me to the worst part about this whole thing: although she has her powers ready to use at the start of the game, she won't use any of them until Adam, her former commanding officer, authorizes use of her powers. First off, she is a sovereign individual who doesn't have to listen to authority to do what she needs to get done. In fact, I'm surprised her doing this shit doesn't get her killed, just in case she needed to do something to stay alive. But the worst part about this is actually the fact that Samus is dependent upon a male authority figure to do much of anything, like she's completely helpless to do otherwise. She's not his fucking slave. She's an independent woman, and that's how the series has been up until this point. Speaking of being inferior to Adam, she seems to be that way with the other guys as well. I've seen them try to fight her battles while she gets scared shitless and does fucking nothing; they have to try and save this formerly strong and level-headed woman. It's fucking pathetic.

To top it off, she constantly reflects on her past, often for really odd and minuscule reasons, or even none at all. Why she's doing that now and not in any previous Metroid game, I don't know. And why we need to know even half of the shit she tells us, I don't know. It's not interesting, and you can't skip any of the cutscenes. Quite frankly, I don't think there should be very many, if at all, cutscenes in Metroid in the first place, but the cutscenes in this game last several times longer than most people would want them to. I want to shoot aliens and monsters, not watch a fucking movie (a bad one at that).

Those are my gripes. Otherwise, the game is okay. The game's atmosphere is great, and the controls are okay. I also thought it was weird that Samus doesn't collect energy pellets and missiles anymore. She does this charge thing now. It's actually not bad, but I'd still prefer the collecting of stuffs, since this game really isn't that hard anyway. In fact, it's a little too easy, partly because of that new function that she never had before and has never had since. It's the easiest Metroid game ever, seriously. Also, excluding the cutscenes (which total up to about two hours long), the game doesn't last very long, but I think, considering the story, I'd prefer it that way.

But ultimately, would I recommend this game? Eh. . . maybe give it a rental. Just for the gameplay. Otherwise, if you're looking for a masterpiece in storytelling, or an evolution in Samus, stay far away. Quite frankly, the story and the characterization of Samus are so bad that they almost ruin this game. Normally, I don't care about story that much, but this game was pretty offensive to me, and possibly forever ruined a fictional character I idolized throughout my childhood. It ruins the experience when I try to play and have fun when that kind of bull shit mixes with the game. In fact, I felt like I wasn't even having fun half of the time playing the game because of the story and the new Samus (especially Samus). I'd even go as far as saying that the story is so bad that the game overall is almost as bad as Metroid Prime Hunters, maybe even worse. That's saying a lot.

But if you can get past that bull shit, then go ahead and give it a try. Even if you do play for the gameplay, though, just know it's still not nearly as good as most of the other Metroid games. It's still better than Metroid Prime Pinball and Metroid Prime Hunters, maybe (seriously, just maybe) Metroid II, but the rest are still superior. Even if you forget about the story, they still are.

Is it just me, or is Nintendo getting good at making games that look kick ass, but turn out to be disappointments in some odd way nowadays? I guess one exception would be New Super Mario Bros. Wii, but otherwise, even if a game is good, there's still something about it that just sucks bad enough to either be just a nuisance, almost ruin a game, or even just plain ruin it.

Anyway, I'm feeling a bit down after talking about what happened to Samus again, so I'm going to see if my family, or at least my girlfriend, can help me feel better. At least I can still depend on them.

EDIT: I forgot to mention the fact that you cannot do simple things like even shoot missiles in 2D mode anymore, which is quite inconvenient. You have to go into first-person mode to do that, and then you have to lock on to enemies to shoot it. Easily the worst thing about the gameplay.

And I forgot to talk about the new red-haired woman and her android clone thing (part of the story), but all I really feel the need to say is it's stupid. It's not bad like the way Samus is portrayed, it's just dumb.

EDIT 2: I realize that the emotions Samus had were building since at least Metroid Fusion, and that there's a manga that displays similar emotions. However, they are more understandable, because they don't take the emotions as far as they were in this game.

And I know of the PTSD claim. Quite frankly, that's bull shit, because she can get treated or possibly even cured, considering this game has a futuristic Science Fiction story. Not only that, but considering the way she acted in this game, I highly doubt a bounty hunter with PTSD this bad would still be in the business, whether because of her own realizations of how bad it is, or because of the fact that nobody would be willing to hire a bounty hunter that's capable of literally freezing in place during battle.

One last little factoid:

The same people who made this game made Metroid Other M.