Friday, December 30, 2011

Gaming Review: Uncharted 3 & Gaming Alliance Meeting

Active Cinematic experience.  That's what the lead developers at Naughty Dog call the Uncharted series.  They are not liars.  Playing Uncharted, any piece of the trilogy, is like watching a movie.  Not as good as an Indiana Jones, but extremely better than that travesty Tomb Raider.  And I'm a Lara Croft fan!

Small nuances, for instance how Nathan will gently touch the wall on his way past, or stumble over things, make him a character that is comfortable to play.  I often find myself playing and thinking he's a real actor.  Or that he was at least based on one.  Which he was!  Uncharted's main character,Nathan Drake was based on Harrison Ford and Johnny Knoxville, actually.  Crazy, right?  I know.

I've played each of the Uncharted games, and found that though the creators very clearly designed a male Lara Croft, I'm so glad they expounded on what was missing from Tomb Raider.  Each of the Uncharted games have a plane crash, a train of some sort, and a boat.  Same things each time...and yet I'm always impressed.  It is Nate who makes the game what it is, and his great band of friends (Everyone but his girlfriend/estranged wife Elena Fisher.  She irks me a bit.)

Similar to the  way he touches things, the throwaway commentary he spills out is great as well.  When you're playing and feeling as though you've had just about enough of the shootout you're in, Nate will say something like, "I'm sick of this!"  He stumbles, stutters, and missteps.  He's a fragile character, something most video games won't give us, and that's what makes him so much fun to play.

YA Review: Giving Up the V by Serena Robar

Giving Up the V by Serena Robar
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This book was NOT what I expected it to be.
From the description, I was truly expecting a humorous journey through the life of Spencer Davis, proud virgin.  What I got was a journey through the life of Spencer Davis,, Just kinda waiting on someone to give it to.

I'm not a prude, nor am I a stranger to books that cover the sexual ideas and philosophies of teenaagers, but this book left me unsatisfied.

Spencer Davis has just turned 16.  And in her house that means her first trip to the gynecologist and a brand new shiny pack of birth control pills.  The first date in the stirrups proves to be mortifying but not fatal and Spencer is less than enthused about receiving this rite of passage because she personally can't see herself needing the pills.  She isn't very much like the other members of her "Crew", who are very much sexually active.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Picture Book Review: One Love by Cedella Marley

Sometimes the smiles on an illustration can make your own face light up.  I found that was definitely the case with "One Love".  Bob Marley's oldest daughter, Cedella Marley takes the basic lyrics of her father's well-known song and puts together a short and endearing little book.

Little C, a happy little brown girl with dreadlock pigtails, is joining her family and neighborhood to build "One Love Park", while she remarks on how she finds love throughout her world. Small nods to Bob Marley are found within the pages as his likeness is found on coffee mugs, t-shirts and posters.

Gaming News: Telltale Games Makes Adaptations an Art

I discovered Telltale Games quite on accident.  I was cruising through the PlayStation Store, trying to find something new to play, when I came across Back To The Future: The Game, and darn near fell out of my chair.  A playable Marty McFly?!  An all new adventure in the Delorean?  A Delorean I could fly?!  My geek went into overdrive.

The game itself was fun, but it was their dedication to original B2TF fans that I found most amazing.  I think first of all, one of the greatest things to me was that they consulted Bob Gale and Robert Zemeckis, the original writers, to make sure their storylines were cohesive and made sense in the Back to the Future universe.  I HATE when game developers and even screenwriters create sequels without giving respect to the original story.  To my personal excitement, Christopher Lloyd not only agreed to allow his likeness be used in the game, but also signed on to voice Dr. Emmett Brown.  GREAT SCOTT! Telltale also secured smaller roles like that of the original Jennifer, Claudia Wells, and made sure to include Doc's dog Einstein.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

YA Review: Scored by Lauren Mclaughlin

Scored by Lauren McLaughlin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My ACT score was in the 20's.
Nobody cares about that anymore.

My GPA has always been "above average"
No one wants to hear about it.

My life has been carefully controlled by grades, scores, ratings and rank since before I was even aware of it, all under the premise that if I scored well enough, the finances that I didn't have wouldn't matter.  That without these scores, I was doomed to only achieve the levels my money would allow.  The rich children would have better opportunities, but the well-scored could always level the field through merit-based scholarship.

Recently, I've begun to monitor my Klout score.  Klout is an algorithim calculations based website that monitors your social media influence.  Higher scores reflect the amount of people on the web that value what you talk about and share.  Companies use these scores to pinpoint the best people to help market their products.  For instance, a high klout score with an emphasis on Cars, may get you a free week-long test drive from a car company.

On the surface these things sound AWESOME.  No more is it about "who you know", or "what you have", but it's about YOU.  Who you are.  What you do.  Fair and impartial, technology does the work that humans have failed at.

That said, let me just start this review by admitting that the most chilling thing that hit me almost immediately, was that Imani, our main character's "score" in this book is 64...

My Klout "score" is 64.

We're ALREADY scoring and charting and tagging ourselves into a fresh new caste system.  One where everyone is "better" because no one is.

Oh my gosh where do I even begin.