A Game About Squares is a pretty neat minimalist logic/puzzle game. It’s pretty easy early on but some of the later levels are challenging. The jokes between levels can get a little annoying, though.
It does a pretty good job of slowly teaching you the concepts you’ll use later on. The only problem I found was that right off the bat, it wasn’t completely clear. You click on the square to move it in the direction of its arrow, and you want each square to get to its color’s circle.
Satisfaction is USA’s other new show that premiered last night (why would USA and FX begin a combined four new shows on the same night?) and the least likely one for me to like, since I gathered from the commercials that it’s about a male prostitute. And it sorta is, but that was slightly misleading.
The beginning is a more cliched version of American Beauty. White wealthy married couple, disaffected teenage daughter, despite the nice job and house and family the guy is completely miserable and flips out, and quits his job. Meanwhile, the wife is miserable too, because her husband works all the time and doesn’t pay her enough attention.
Then the dude finds out his wife is banging a male prostitute, tries to fight the guy, ends up accidentally stealing his phone, and starts taking his clients (and extremely conveniently, they’re all new clients, no one is like “who the fuck are you? where’s my normal hooker?”). This is supposed to be some big life changing thing, because he learns to appreciate his wife and his kid more by going out and banging other guy’s miserable unappreciated wives.
I also didn’t like this, so 0 for 4 on last night’s new shows. And now I will once again complain that USA used to make fun and light shows, but now they’re trying to copy AMC and FX and Showtime and HBO by making edgy dark dramas, but theirs aren’t as good, so I just wish they’d go back to making stuff like Psych and Monk.
Rush is USA’s new show that looked like halfway between Royal Pains and that David Duchovny movie where he’s a disgraced doctor working for criminals. And it sort of is, with maybe a little Californication thrown in, since the protagonist is a piece of shit who gets laid a lot and there’s one woman he really cares about but he’s screwed it up.
The cast has a bunch of random actors who I haven’t seen in a while but like, like Erica Cerra, Black Shawn from Rescue Me, that guy from Reaper that was neither the main guy nor Sock, and the really hot Odette Annable.
I could maybe have enjoyed this show, but I found the main character unlikable in a bad way. On Californication, Hank looks tired, he’s basically never clean shaven, his car is a wreck, and he looks pretty disheveled. That makes me like him more, or at least hate him less. This guy is Handsome McCoolGuy, impeccably dressed with the fancy car and… fuck that guy. As much as I want to watch a show with Odette Annable, I just don’t want to watch a show about a guy I hate unless he’s fun to hate. Which this guy isn’t, I just want to punch him in the face.
You’re the Worst is FX’s other new comedy, this about two terrible people who hate-bang each other, but like eventually of course they will fall in love because it’s that kind of premise. It’s a tiny bit funnier than Married, but I similarly don’t particularly identify with miserable people who get laid all the time.
Married is one of FX’s new comedies. Oscar-winning writer Nat Faxon and Judy Greer play a couple with kids who don’t bang enough for his tastes. Which I can understand, because Judy Greer is very hot. Unfortunately, it’s not all that funny. It probably doesn’t help that I’m not married and have no kids, so I don’t really get what these people are going through.
The Strain is FX’s new series, partly directed and co-written by Guillermo del Toro, based on his series of novels that I didn’t know existed. The pilot is really nice looking, as far as set design and cinematography and stuff go, which I guess goes along with being directed by del Toro. The story is… not too bad. I certainly liked it better than the True Blood pilot, but that’s not saying much.
The bald guy from L&O: LA and House of Cards plays a CDC investigator, except he has hair now. He always seems to play guys who are kinda dicks, but you don’t totally hate them? You don’t like them either. I dunno. He’s an interesting actor, I guess. Sydney’s hispanic sister from Alias is his partner. Sean Astin is their tech guy. They investigate an airplane that landed at JFK and then just stopped partway between the runway and the gate. Because, apparently, of a vampire on board, but obviously they don’t know that. Walder Frey from GoT plays the one non-evil guy who seems to know what’s going on, but he comes off as a crackpot so nobody pays attention to him.
I liked it enough to watch further, but not enough to get particularly excited about it.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is the sequel to the first one that I didn’t like very much but since Natalie Dormer is in the third one (or third ones?) I figure I’ll see that so I guess I have to see this too. It’s pretty similar to the first one. Fight to the death takes a back seat to more important issues like fashion, reality TV drama, and a really dull love triangle. And also for a story largely about the plight of poor Americans, it is really, really white.
The Monuments Men looked pretty interesting from the first trailer and had an impressive cast (George Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, John Goodman), but all the reviews said it was pretty dull. And it was pretty dull. They go to Europe to save some art, and they save some art. It being a WWII movie, a few of them die and there’s a moment to humanize a German soldier. But mostly, you know, Allies good, Germans bad, Art great, the end.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is too much like Bethesda’s Fallout games. It has all the things I hate about those games only more so. And the fantasy setting doesn’t appeal to me as much as the post-apocalyptic retro-futuristic thing Fallout does.
Probably the biggest problem in Fallout 3 and New Vegas is that you spend too much time fiddling with your inventory to get under your carry weight. In Skyrim it’s unbearable. The mouse pointer has a really narrow tip so that it’s kind of hard to click accurately, and when you misclick on the inventory headings, you exit out of the inventory entirely. Your carry weight isn’t displayed while interacting with vendors. The value and weight of items isn’t displayed unless you select them. And of course there’s no way to sort by either weight or value, because that would be too useful.
The next biggest problems in New Vegas was the roads not being clearly marked on your map, so you try to go directly to your destination only to run into a mountain. At least in Fallout 3, your obstacles were usually buildings, so you could tell you couldn’t pass over them. But with mountains, sometimes it looks like you can make it over and you don’t know until you’re 6 feet from the top that there’s an invisible wall in your way. Skyrim does the same thing, except there are mountains everywhere. And even when you’re on a road, dirt roads are poorly defined and you can lose track of which way the road goes. Snowing doesn’t make it any easier.
I think I must have been doing things in the wrong order or something? Because I keep being told to go to dungeons that I’m clearly not high enough level to be in. I say clearly, but it’s not clear at all at first. I’m two-hit killing things at the entrance, so I think this is totally appropriate for me. Then I get a little further and I’m using healing potions like crazy. And then the boss one shot kills me.
Having visited all the nearby places with quests on my map and found them too difficult, I went further out, finding a new city and acquiring new quests I couldn’t do. So I went after the far-away locations, and of course spent about a half an hour circling a mountain range unable to actually get to the places I was trying to get to, despite a narrow line on my map through the mountains that sure as hell looked like a road but I guess it was just a coffee stain or something. Fallout New Vegas at least had a much better designed world. If you headed down a road to the north from your starting town, a Cazadore would show up and kill you very quickly, so you knew not to go there. It was a nice way to prod you to go south instead, where the lower level content was. Here I don’t even know. The random wilderness enemies all seem very easy, even when they’re adjacent to a cave full of crap that kills me.
I was presented with several opportunities to join factions, but at no point has any distinction between the factions become clear. I mean, they are fighting each other, but other than disagreeing over who should rule, I don’t understand their argument or why I should pick one side over the other. Like the Imperials were going to execute me for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, but the Stormcloaks seem borderline interested in ethnic cleansing (they are Nords and don’t like the idea of being ruled by non-Nords). My only instinct so far is that one side’s court wizard lady is voiced by the woman who voiced Wonder Woman on the Justice League cartoon, and that just sort of makes me want to do what she says. I mean, it’s Wonder Woman, she wouldn’t lead me astray, right?
Combat is kind of weird. It’s first person and you click to attack. So when you’re fighting with a sword, you walk right up to stuff and click like crazy. Then it moves, and you try to follow, and you end up slashing your companion, and oh guess what when they are killed by friendly fire they die permanently. It worked a little better when I switched to an archer companion, but despite being this expert archer guy, if I give him a sword or axe or hammer to hold because I’m at my weight limit, he’ll use it. And then get killed by my friendly fire. I’m not sure magic or archery would have been a better choice, because it seems even easier to kill your companion that way.
There seem to be way too many crafting discipline. You can make weapons, armor, jewellery, potions, poisons, cook food, enchant weapons, improve weapons, improve armor, destroy enchanted weapons to learn their enchantment… your inventory is flooded with crafting recipe items.
The game is not without positives. You get a variety of goofy European accents, from Swarzenegger to the Family Guy’s two foreign guys that almost don’t have accents to Swedish Chef. I haven’t decided if I’m going to pick it back up, but I’m definitely taking a break. The game at this point is just frustrating as hell.
Extant is CBS’s summer science fiction drama, starring Halle Berry as an astronaut who gets pregnant in space by the ghost/alien doppleganger/something of her dead husband. Also, her still alive new husband has built a robot kid who they are raising together, and the robot kid might lead a future robot uprising. I was hoping that by the end of the pilot, the two main plot threads, the alien/ghost pregnancy and the robot kid, might connect in some way, but nope.
That disconnect bugged the crap out of me, so I don’t anticipate watching further. Also the entire thing where the AI kid could turn out to be evil, I don’t have much interest in that. I will say that Halle Berry looks great for a 47 year old, but that’s about all the positive I took away from it.