What? A Hiatus? So soon?

Not really. This week is a bit messed up, but there will always e something. As for entertainment today, well: my mistake is your boon! I had intended to release the Little Delineators in two batches of four, instead of dribs & drabs. So:

Three More Issues, starting here. It will conclude tomorrow, and a less anticipated event I can't imagine. I don't always put up stuff because it interests me; I put it up because it might interest someone else.

No sports, though. The line has to be drawn.

I also forgot to point you to the 1937 Housewife's Almanac, pieces from which will go up at the start of every month. The calendar matches 2016.

If you are interested in my new podcast, The Ramble, it's here.


     Here's something I wrote last week and forgot about and will now dump in. It's my 2015 Vow: play more games. Not a resolution, but a vow. I need the aching shoulders and twingy wrist-muscles and lower back pain that comes from a good, tense game. It's so relaxing! Actually, no, it's not, but nothing takes me out of everything like a good game, and for a while I've been looking at "Alien: Isolation." I don't play consoles because I can't aim or figure out the buttons. I mean, I could; I played Halo on Xbox all the way though and did fine, but recent experience with some 3rd person games was frustrating. I am controlling this guy. He is walking into walls. He is walking into walls and his feet are still moving. I don't find this "immersive" at all. It's like going to a Western movie and watching the hero spend five minutes trying to get on a horse by throwing himself towards the horse and hitting his head on the saddle. One of these games had a driving component, and again, it took me a while to master it; took out streetlights and fire hydrants and pedestrians, and even though I drove up and down and around the streets it had no effect on the plot.

     Give me a big screen close to my face and let me W A S D (spacebar) (shift to run) and I'm home.

     Plus, it has to work on my Mac, which means it was last year's game. This limits the selection. But I got a gift card for the Apple store, and snapped up "Alien: Isolation" because it wasn't a typical run-and-gun FPS. Played it for two hours in the dark, and you know a game has its hooks in you when you're sneaking behind a barricade to avoid the enemies who are Talking Loudly about how they think there's someone sneaking around out there, and you hit a button to move and accidentally turn on your flashlight. I winced and froze.

     "What was that? I thought I heard something. Should we investigate?"

     "Nah, this is the lower difficulty setting."

I was assisted by Axel, who is a lower-class-accent Brit. We are trying to get off the station. He did not make a good first impression, holding a gun to my head, but he knows his way around the station, seems resourceful, and is unaware that his voice acting and dialogue is mediocre. It is a common malady in this environment, though. The game looks incredible: it captures the late-70s sci-fi world of "Alien" completely, with chunky CRTs and clacky keyboards and green-on-black computer interfaces. Screenshots don't do it justice; when there's steam, you move through it. You're not admiring the reflected lighting that streams from the nearby planet through half-closed shutters. You're either looking at the ground to find some cast-off item to add to your stores or running in panic.

     In one incident, I was running to save Axel. This was interesting. Shortly after meeting him - he surprises you, puts a gun to your head, and says "Well there, well there, well there, looks like we're in a scripted cut-scene you can't influence." When it was done and we had teamed up I made up my mind to knock him senseless with my heavy metal implement at the earliest sensible opportunity. I understood his caution, masked as defensive offensiveness. He was just poorly written.

     I don't know if I'll finish it - the game seems intent on claiming a lot of my time, and I was initially annoyed by finding myself unable to get into some rooms because I lacked an Ion Torch. The only way to proceed was to travel to areas of the station that seem very far away, making me wonder if I'll ever get back, and making me wonder if I should have found the Ion Torch. Now: game logic suggests that if there are no ways to proceed beyond the ones provided - in this case, the inevitable ventilation shafts - then I will return, with an Ion Torch. But it bothers me.

     The advertisements are hit and miss. For example:

No. The one concession to the 70s look is the lower font, which is Blippo. The logo is bad 80s.

It's not hard to get old right. It's not easy, but you get them or you don't, and the problem is people who don't get them and don't know they don't.

Anyway, over and out; see you tomorrow.


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