I hope you’re happy Gaben

Oh hey, two posts in one day! Both about nostalgia!
It’s like I’m on a roll or something.
Well, I may as well get to the point.

All these years later and I’m still mad that the Half-Life series killed the SiN franchise.
And now it looks like neither story will ever be finished. SiN Episodes: Emergence ends on a cliffhanger, and guess what? So does Half-Life 2: Episode 2. Ironic that the two franchises who set out to reinvent shooters forever will never actually tell the ends of their stories. While I have largely come to peace with the fact that Half-Life 2: Episode 3
and Half-Life 3 will never happen, I’m still furious that it had to take SiN Episodes down with it — it was fun as hell and seemed like it was building up to something epic, and the silly 90’s action hero cyberpunk angle of the SiN franchise was hard to beat, and still is impossible to find a decent surrogate for.

I hope you’re happy, Gaben.

You killed the most innovative shooters of our times.

Can we get a do-over?

In memory of an aborted but promising franchise taken from us too soon, have a trailer.

FUCK I’m mad about losing this series.

Goddamn I miss the 1.0 Internet

So I was touring the old Space Jam website (as I occasionally do) and reliving a whole bunch of childhood, when I stumble onto some missing bits that just dead end.

..No. I wanted to keep going, you monsters!

And while the nostalgia is utterly lost on people who were either too young or didn’t have internet at all in the 1990’s, well… web design kind of sucked by modern standards. But we made it work, and while the end results were about as pretty as the mugshot for the Frankenstein Creature, the fact that it worked at all was kind of sexy. These were the days of Geocities, Tripod, and Angelfire. MySpace wasn’t around to be a meme yet, and above all, America Online seemed like it ruled all. Furthermore, we ALL had dial up (Only folks like Bill Gates and co. could afford broadband in those days, or at least it seemed that way), which was accompanied by the most delightful noise to ever grace your eardrums. We didn’t have Facebook groups, we had fanlistings and fansites (most of which were hosted on the aforementioned Geocities, Tripod, or Angelfire), and you were a trailblazer if you had one. The opening of Friendster heralded the beginning of the Social Media Era, and all the cool kids were using it, and neither Apple nor Google had yet taken over the effing world. Indeed, Google was barely getting started by the close of the 1.0 era.

And I guess most importantly about the Internet 1.0 era was that it was, apparently, NOT “the internet” but “the world wide web”. Oh, and everything felt like it broke every half hour.

That too.

But despite all the troubles that came with it and the frustrations of the limitations of the technology, I miss it a lot.

Not because it was in any way better than what we have now (BY NO MEANS), but because it all still felt infinite, especially to those of us who were kids at the time, and like the best was yet to come.

Now, in more ways than one, it feels sort of like we’re rapidly approaching the end of the internet.

Not literally of course. But the wild west anything-is-possible feel of the digital frontier is now very greatly diminished, and I miss when we had it in abundance.

That’s all.

“Shudder” is a tragic miss for horror fans

Recently I completed my free trial for Shudder, a streaming service that aims to “kill Netflix” as far as selection of horror movies is concerned. As a small time Horror aficionado myself, I felt compelled to give it a try.
So does Shudder live up to its promises?

Kind of, but not in the ways that actually matter.

First, the Android App (the platform on which I tested Shudder) is impeccably well designed. It’s fast, smooth, well organized, and one of the most intuitive app experiences I’ve ever had. Design-wise, this may be one of the best apps presently on the Google Play store. However, a streaming service does not live by user interface design. It lives (and dies) by content.

So, as far as content goes, does Shudder kill Netflix? Sort of. They do have a decently sized selection. It is most definitely larger than Netflix’s horror films section. So in technical terms, they have a solid selling point here. It’s just a shame that so few of the films are any good.

Rarely do I see such a well designed app utterly unaccompanied by content worth starting it up for. The claim is that Shudder “kills Netflix on selection”, but true as this may be, it’s pointless if the selection is bad to begin with. 

More so than even Netflix, the service has tons of low budget films “like” the one you want to watch, but seldom do they have what you ACTUALLY want to watch — I certainly never found the things I wanted to see. Classic 70’s and 80’s slasher films, skeezy 90’s sex-horror, John Carpenter B-Movies, Hammer Horror, experimental 60’s fare, and even public domain 20’s, 30’s, 40’s and 50’s films are all conspicuous by their absence. Most of the selection is divided into 2 categories: Asian Horror films, and uber-low budget “shock-schlack”: stuff that flies in under the radar because no radar is respectable enough to display it. Most is of exceedingly low quality, with probably the only decent thing I found to watch being a super-campy 80’s film called “The Stuff” which with full honestly I can say I actually enjoyed, so thank God for that.

Unfortunately, I came for a laundry list of movies, not just one. There are still video rental stores in my city, and if I just wanted one film, I’d go to those. As a long-term subscription service Shudder unfortunately lacks value.

My advice? Plan out a camp-horror marathon weekend with some friends, get the free trial, and go to town. Just cancel the trial before they bill you. It’s simply not worth actual money with their current selection.

Maybe Shudder will get better with time. I hope it does. Most of what Netflix has is serious garbage, and Amazon Prime’s free movie streaming has one hell of a neutered selection. The day may come when Shudder rises to elevate itself above the sub-Sharknado quality selection it currently has, and takes its place among the pantheon of great streaming services.

All I know is that it is not this day.

Enjoy the free trial, but if you’re a serious horror fan, I’d advise you to keep looking.

Another year, another curiously timed BrAngelina breakup

​Curious how Brad and Angelina break up [AGAIN] just as:

-Hillary’s campaign is at its most vulnerable point since Bernie was at his height.

-Gary Johnson is making huge gains with the independents Hillary was courting.

-The Trump campaign is smelling blood in the water and circling the Clintons like hungry sharks.

-Standing Rock’s big protest continues and was just starting to be addressed in the news.

-word of two major oil spills in a 7 day span began to trickle to even the most uninformed.

-Solid evidence was emerging that 9/11 was a controlled demolition.

-The situation in Syria escalates in a way which paints the US government in an unfavorable light.

-racial segregation is returning to our universities for the first time since Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.

But no, I’m sure Brad and Angelina are really having trouble and will never get back together like the last six and a half dozen times they called it quits forever.

They’re ACTORS. Some of the best in the business. They’re acting a part. What, Actors are truthful the second they set foot off the set? Please.

Stay classy America.

Some quick thoughts on the “PS4 Pro”

​Well, thank you Sony for justifying my switch to the Glorious Golden PC Gaming Master Race, with additional slumming it in Xbox Land.

The whole PS4 hardware gen has been one long irritating disappointment for me with inconsistent levels of control over auto updates (which has cost me money in wifi overages), network issues, price spikes of Playstation Plus, and all with nothing seriously good to show for it.

Xbox by comparison has done so much right this gen.

Boy, what a reversal of the pre-release hype and scandal this gen turned out to be.

Also: it doesn’t even do 4k natively? The shit, Sony?

Also also, WHO PASSED UP THE NAME OF PS4K?!  

For shame, Sony.

I guess you really do just have failure ingrained in your DNA now. First PCs, then TVs, then tablets, then phones, and now PlayStation. I guess there really isn’t a single failure you won’t run with scissors straight into these days.

How far you have fallen.

Premium is a bullshit descriptor

When it comes to phones anyway.

It’s kind of sad, but despite all the OEMs saying that a metal build (or even more horrific, a GLASS BACK PANEL!) feels the most “premium”, I still find myself wistfully holding my first gen LG Nexus 5 and first gen Moto X and acknowledging that these phones were the best feeling devices I’ve ever held. The first gen Nexus 5’s shape is still the coolest in my opinion: straight sides and that subtle science fiction curve at either end of the device is just classic and ageless. There’s a reason that shape is still used by so many app advertisements (the only shape used more frequently is that of the iPhone).

Granted, I don’t think that should be the shape of every Android phone, but in an age when many phones still boil down to “screen on a black or white slab”, I think we could stand to make that slab a little more eye catching.

And it and the 2013 Moto X were both made of plastic yet are some of the most comfortable devices to hold, and never once felt cheap. I think that skewers the present ideal among manufacturers about what “premium devices” should feel like (lots of glass and/or metal. Gods help you if you drop it onto a sidewalk and permanently get a jagged scuff on the metal or crack the back glass panel — something I have seen happen to a LOT of iPhones over the years). Plastic takes a drop better, and the 2013 Moto X had a metal frame BENEATH said plastic for extra rigidity, and mine has taken countless dives with only some minor scratches on the corners to show for it.

I think we ought to redefine what a “premium” feel means, and I think the secret to that lies in phones made in 2013.