surrealcouchuniverse

"You're not drunk if you can lie on the floor without holding on." – Dean Martin


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MY FAVORITE X-BOX 360 GAMES

So at the end of this generation, I am left pondering the X-Box 360 and the collection of games I have played on it. I do not intend to purchase a PS4 or X-box One at this stage, so I thought I would list my favourite 360 games. I have excluded games I played on computer even it also came out on 360 (such as Blood Dragon). I also didn’t include games I haven’t fully played through yet or are on the “to-do” pile (otherwise Deus Ex would probably be on here).

BASTION- This game has everything and it meshes together perfectly. It has a deep world, mechanics and narrative that reinforce each other, and a super-sexy narrator. This is my favourite game on 360. A bittersweet story about human nature, despair, hope and heroism that I am never tired of playing.

THE DARKNESS- The Darkness is a game that oozes style. The Darkness 2 also falls in this category, except that it ends on such a cliffhanger. It may not have the best shooting mechanics or the most wide variety of enemies; but the comic-style, strong narrative and inventive style makes this awesome shooter stand out.

X-COM: ENEMY UNKNOWN- As a fan of turn-based strategy, I was eagerly awaiting this game. And I loved this game when it came out. I eagerly rushed back after work to put in a solid 4-6 hours a night. A perfect reimagining that offered me a next-gen turn-based game that was awesome.

DARK SOULS- This game ticked all the boxes for me. A bleak, dark atmosphere with a narrative that hinted at things instead of providing allot of exposition, this game caught me by surprise. There is nothing quite like finally beating that boss that dwarfs your pathetic human character.

JUST CAUSE 2- For all the open world games out there, this is the one genre I felt really improved this generation with the processing power. But out of all the games, only 2 really stood out. Just Cause 2 allowed me to assassinate a General by flying a plane into him. What more needs to be said?

ASSASSIN’S CREED: BROTHERHOOD- The Assassins Creed series always looked good but I never tried them too much (unfortunately). Brotherhood was the first game I picked up, and I really liked how it made me feel. Sure, allot of the fights felt really easy (“press X to win” was in full effect). But playing as a free-running assassin felt right.

So they are the favourite games on the 360. I am looking forward to buying some games that I haven’t played yet (such as Katamari, Assassin’s Creed Liberation, Dark Souls 2) at bargain prices. That is, of course, unless Steam puts them on sale first.


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HOW BIG ARE WE IN LIFE: QUICK THOUGHTS

Here are some random existential thoughts on how big we truly are in this universe.

Whenever I think of the universe and the vast size of it, it makes me feel very small. Even when just thinking of the number of people on the planet or in this city, it occurs to me that I will be lucky to meet even 1% of them. Even taking my family and all my ancestors throughout time, it is once again 1% (if that) that I will be alive at the same time as. Throughout the vastness of space and time, there is far more happening than I will ever be involved in or see. Far more has happened before I lived and will happen after I die than when I am alive.

Whenever I think of the people I loved and supported, it makes me feel very big. The love and admiration I have for people in my life and how much I effect their lives makes me feel very big. Sharing in their triumphs and sorrows and watching them grow into who they want to. There is great happiness and sadness as well, as sometimes life seems to crush them under its pressures, which are sometimes more than anyone should handle.

Which comes back to me feeling small. Sometimes the changes and support I offer against all that life imposes unfairly is like trying to hold back the tide. Sometimes even the things we feel we can affect are not really things we can influence to any great degree


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Mortal Kombat Conquest: First Thoughts

Mortal Kombat Conquest is a live-action television series based on the fighting games. I have watched the first 5 episodes and have the following thoughts on this:

– For games that are noted for their brutality, it is clear that these shows are overly clean and bloodless. The games were noted for there brutal fatalities and also there out-there characters. Most of this has been toned down for the show. Although sub-zero and scorpion still showed up, they used their powers in a very limited way (probably to keep within the special effects budget).

– The acting is horrible. But the dialogue is even worse. There are times when it is cringe-worthy as characters deliver silly, stilted dialogue. Emoting was obviously beyond allot of the actors who were chosen because they simply looked the part.

– Raiden as the thunder-god is still useless and reactionary. There are many times when the rules of Mortal Kombat are broken, and calling him would solve the problems immediately. However, they never do because that would solve the issues very simply.

– It is interesting what they are doing with Shao Kahn. They are turning him into a paranoid ruler of a realm that is arid and dying. It could be interesting to see where this goes, but I imagine by the end that all this will be dropped.

– The fight scenes are also bad, but weirdly fun. It is interesting to see all the flips and the like that are impractical and don’t even look that cool. It is like watching a train wreck. They are also somehow getting worse as the show goes on.

I will probably finish watching this, but I will have it on more as background noise. Definitely not one I would recommend at all.


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Things I Like Doing When I Get Up In The Morning.

The morning. A time when all your troubles from yesterday still haven’t gone away and all the effort and energy you thought you would have has not suddenly materialised. Here are my favourite things I like to do in the morning:

Light Exercise- I don’t like doing anything to heavy in the mornings. However, some light stretches and bodyweight exercises feel good. Going for a light run also feel good. The good things I like about doing this is that it doesn’t take much preparation and so doesn’t use too much of my willpower to convince myself to start moving. I normally alternate between running and light exercises in front of my computer so I can watch something interesting.

Reading- Before the day starts to take its toll, sitting down for 15-20 minutes and reading a good book is fun. It helps to prepare myself mentally for a day of stress that is sure to follow with something that engages my mind, my imagination and I can do at my own pace.

Guitar Practice- As reading and exercise, this helps gets the blood flowing and shakes the cobwebs out mentally and physically. I would normally do this for 15-20minutes on the days I don’t begin my day with any reading

Breakfast, maybe- Normally skipped but some days I have a nice breakfast. My definition of nice is now scrambled eggs and bacon. It beats nothing but is only done if I get up early enough. Otherwise, Green Tea and some Nuts can go a long way.


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Comic Thoughts: Twelve (Marvel)

Twelve is a comic where twelve World War 2 heroes get frozen to sleep and wake up in the modern day. Here they have to adjust to modern life while the government hopes they act as heroes and show the world what heroes are meant to be. This is following events such as Civil War where heroes fight each other. Spoilers follow.

Tonally, I am not sure what this book is trying to say. The heroes come out, some come out and try to be heroes quite successfully. But then they just end up arguing amongst themselves. This isn’t helped by the bad guy being one of them (in fact the best of them, the Superman stand-in). And in order to drag out this mystery, a pretty weak deus-ex machine plot device is used.

Even the scenes of them trying to fit into the modern world, despite filling a big slot of the book, are not well handled. It is effective, however, in showing that there were things not always black-and-white even with the heroes of old. The rest is just the usual of change in police procedures, life on the wrong side of the road vs idealism, etc.

This book would have been better if there was a villain, perhaps a similar frozen villain. After criticising (in-story) all the hero vs hero stuff at the beginning, it devolves into a hero vs hero finale at the end.


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My Thoughts on Rude by Magic

Rude by Magic is a song that I don’t like. And it is funny because the main reasons I don’t like it is because of the story that it tries to tell as opposed to the music or the beat. The musicality of the song is quite nice and catchy in the normal pop-song style with the bridge, the breakdown, chorus and semi-rap-singing, but the story is just so stupid.

Basically, the song is about a guy who goes to a girl’s father to ask for her hand in marriage. He does this because he knows the dad is old-fashioned. However, as opposed to this being a technicality, the dad says he doesn’t like him and he can’t have his daughter’s hand in marriage.

The singer than goes on to complain about how the dad’s answer doesn’t matter to him. Which, at this point I ask, why even bother asking or singing the song about it? Half the chorus is about how he is pleading with the father to give permission, the other half is about how he doesn’t care what the father says and thinks he is being impolite/rude for not saying yes. And then he threatens to runaway with the fathers daughter (and not see them again) if he doesn’t give the blessing.

And the music video makes it even stupider. When he tries to dress up respectively to impress this old-fashioned man in a suit and tie, he decides to wear a beanie and bring his friends along. He looks stupid. This song’s lyrics are stupid. Which is a shame because, unfortunately, this beat was actually one of the more interesting beats on the radio at the time it was a hit.


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Why I Like The Rock vs Mankind “I Quit” Match from Royal Rumber 1999

The Rock and Mankind had allot of really good matches. However, the “I Quit” match from 1999 was one of my favourites. For those who don’t know, an “I Quit” match involves one of the wrestlers saying “I Quit” to lose the match. The reason I like the match so much isn’t because it was a spot-fest, but because it was such a good culmination of the story and the wrestlers personalities.

The main thing for a wrestling match is the face/heel dynamic. Here, it is very clear: The Rock is the up and coming heel with the backing of the corporate stable and the boss; Mankind is a plucky underdog wrestler who won the title through grit and determination after being cheated by The Rock and given a disadvantage (Mankind was in a match earlier in the night where the Rock interfered to beat up Mankind). As the match started, they fell into these face/heel. The Rock tried to cheap shot Mankind before the bell, but Mankind gained the upper hand.

This continued throughout the match. When The Rock started to gain some ascendency, he trash-talked the commentators allowing Mankind to gain the upper hand again. Whenever he was asked what he wanted to do, he had a smart response as opposed to Mankind’s more straightforward responses. The Rock was a cocky entertainer, but he was also a heel and this continued until the end of the match. This is when Mankind was handcuffed and Rock beat him with a chair, without even bothering to ask Mankind to quit.

And the Rock cheated to win. The hook of the match was if Mankind would quit, something fans never pictured him doing. His character was a deranged man who took massive bumps, but also the hero of the story. And heroes don’t submit or quit. The commentators did an excellent job of putting over The Rock, Mankind, the odds being stacked against Mankind and the brutality of the match. .

And this is why this is one of my favourite matches. There is allot more I could talk about, but they managed to walk a fine line successfully with still being true to there characters as well as the hero/villain dynamic, despite these seeming to be at odds with each other. It goes to show the talent of the wrestlers involved that, despite Rock being entertaining and Mankind being deranged, it was still clear who was the good and bad guys

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