Dear Esther : A game that isn’t a game

I have been playing video games for the best part of my short life until now. I am sure my mother would be of the opinion that games are just an useless waste of time and I am sure that many would agree with her. For many games I do see her point, games like Call of Duty are fleeting experiences and even if you chose to say that it gives a way to escape from the real world, I do not see the point of doing just that even though I have enjoyed such games before, a good game of football with friends will do just the same, but feels much nicer and gives a greater sense of togetherness with your friends. Dear Esther isn’t anything like that. Continue reading

Advertisements

Mass Effect 4 : Reason to celebrate or cry foul ? AGAIN !

I love Mass Effect. I have played the entire storyline from start to finish on 3 separate occasions everytime carrying forward my save files. I have found the best possible endings to all the games. I have read the comics and read the books. I have seen the film and will eagerly anticipate future movies. I even own the soundtracks. Mass Effect vetted my appetite for sci-fi adventure. That is something that not many people are willing to take a chance on given the massive popularity of Star Wars and Star Trek. Bioware took a chance and made it work. They built a world that can rival any Sci-fi universe. Let this be a statement in the beginning that I am totally sold on Mass Effect 4 and would love to see Bioware craft a world as diverse and expansive as Star Wars and Star Trek. I truly believe the world of Captain Shepard has that potential.

The reason I say this is because the one common theme that all successful franchises have is that they manage to create multiple characters that people can enjoy, that people can fall in love with. Luke, Leia, Han, Yoda, Vader, Chewie and even C3PO and R2D2 – Star Wars had such characters aplenty which is why a variety of authors have managed to expand their world to such an extent. Star Trek found and refound the magic formula again and again with the 3 distinct crews that have existed through the years. They have spawned TV shows, movies and even entire languages. People love these franchises not because they are believable or because they are repeated (which many of them are) but because they tell a story that people are interested to hear, see and experience. Mass Effect managed to do just that. The outpouring of emotion at the release of Mass Effect 3 showed just that. Yes people complained about the ending but only because they cared. I loved the endings, I understand that the developers wanted to tell a story of their vision but perhaps had forgotten that people take to their fantasies quite strongly and through the course of the game they had come to believe in their own fantasies and were perhaps saddened to see someone else’s vision enforced upon them. I for one was in for the ride and loved the adventure Bioware managed to deliver. Continue reading

PS4 or XBOX ONE ? – An expectant gamer’s view

I have a confession to make – I have never owned a Playstation or Xbox. It was a luxury that my family could not afford. So like a hungry nerd gamer I have only ever watched from the sidelines. My experience on the consoles came from luckier friends. This way I have gotten the chance to play on PS1, PS2, PS3, Xbox 360, so I am not exactly complaining. Now at the cusp of a new generation of console wars I intend to finally own a console. But which one? I have always been a PC gamer and a dedicated one at that, happier on Dota 2 than Halo multiplayer I have nevertheless wanting to get in on the party purely since so many of my friends are avid Halo fans or MGS fans. Continue reading

A Night in Paris

Disclaimer: This is a sort of #whatifeel so no need to lose sleep over this.

I recently came across this article ‘One night in Paris‘ getting shared by my friends on facebook. I guess many Indians are doing the same all over the world. It is a tale of how disappointed an Indian felt for his flight getting cancelled in Paris and the hardships he had to face in the airport.

The article in question is an open letter to the CEO of Air-France/KLM. The author makes a fairly well documented case for airport/airline harassment. He gives a nicely portioned account of how the airline first delayed and then cancelled his flight to India. On top of that they didn’t arrange for a replacement flight. They were refused transit Visas and had to spend the night in the airport. They were given food coupons and bedding (‘resting kit’ he says) albeit with some delay. The next day they were accommodated on a different flight. All sounds good, doesn’t it? He claims otherwise. Now I realize perfectly that he doesn’t have to feel judged by me but since he posted his article online I feel I have the right to judge him as I please on my part. I feel this is nothing but a spoilt Indian kid’s angry tantrum for something that he didn’t have any control over. Continue reading

Megashark – A Mega SHAM! – A blow to shark conservation

Sharkweek just ended. Finally managed to see the Megalodon episode. I was extremely curious since it was so widely panned. Being from a science background and an avid fan of marine biology, I wanted to see how bad it was. I realized from the trailers that it was going to be absolute bollocks! but I was not prepared for this. The Moon-landing conspiracy is better designed than this. What the heck! Nessi is better designed than this. Everything they showed was pure BS. Every claim they made was full of holes. This idea had more holes than a tea-strainer. Scientists who do not exist in real life? Scientists who do exist but their schools are not shown just their department is shown? I have lost faith in the three “experts” that were shown on the show. They deserve to be banished from the scientific community after this farce. The photos do not match up to the accounts, heck! the dramatization does not match up to the accounts.

I have spent a lot of my childhood seeing Discovery Channel and while I understand Discovery is not a declared scientific organization like National Geographic , they still do have a responsibility towards their younger audience. Adults can clearly see that this is pure BS and they do, the widespread uproar suggests so, but Discovery Channel is also seen by young impressionable children. I am terrified of sharks. They are the one fear I have, that I know of, but I also know that my fear is irrational. Sharks are not out to hunt humans. All the interactions are misunderstandings on the shark’s part and encroachment of their territory by us on our part. I was terrified of them in my childhood and I still am but if tomorrow someone comes up to me and asks me to help with Shark conservation, then I will do my best. I am afraid of them but now I am more afraid of Discovery Channel.

It would appear that Discovery Channel has been exemplary in creating works of SH*T lately. I also found out about the “Mermaid” shows and watched them. I am not sure if anyone in Discovery network is ever going to read this, but from this moment on Discovery Channel is NOT a education channel, its NOT ONLY an entertainment channel, but I now consider it to be a criminal organization. Its crime? It has betrayed my trust in them, it has dealt a blow if nothing else to shark conservation and will be responsible in part for every shark that dies from humans from now on. How can they claim an actor for a scientist? How can they say that he is a marine biologist? How does putting a tiny 1 sec disclaimer make it acceptable? How can they show an ordinary video of a shark swimming by and then “calculate” its dimensions to be 60+ ft? Do they even know what 60 ft looks like? The claimed witness photo by the SA spotter is so downright a blatant lie that I cannot even believe they thought it would be believable in any context. The Brazilian rescue footage does not even tally with whatever they made the poor guy claim. I am not a student of marine biology but even I can tear the whole episode apart from pure logic. And don’t even get me started on the excellent “scientific” conclusions that the “marine biologist”s and presumed “experts” got to in the last dramatization.

I am now actively going to ask the people I know to stop watching any channel from the Discovery network for any remote scientific sense. I can only wish that Steve Irwin is not turning in his premature grave, for if he witnessed this attack on shark conservation then I cannot imagine how hurt he would have been. If you want to see a FAR FAR more accurate documentary on Megalodon then watch this documentary from National Geographic (which still remains a scientific organization for me).

Rafael Nadal : The 2nd Return of the King

Rafa

Rafael Nadal

Yes He’s back. No he did not win his first comeback tournament. Just watched his final with Zeballos at Vina Del Mar, and sadly for Nadal fans he lost in 3 sets – 7-6, 6-7, 4-6. But frankly I did not expect him to be explosive in the first few tournaments. He is still feeling his knee and that was evident in his movements if you missed the band around his knee. I am sure he is not too comfortable being on the court right now but then how long can you sit out when tennis is your life. Very uncharacteristically he didn’t bother to chase down the ball and that too in some important points. His shot making was lacking and missed some downright simple plays. That he is yet to regain his composure and confidence after such a long break from competition was evident in the net plays. Time and again he attempted to come to the nets for the precarious points and again again he was unsure whether to go further up the net or go back to the baseline after 1~2 plays, resulting in him being stranded midcourt in some points. Earlier he would run and hit the down-the-line shots or even drag the opponent in to play cross-courts, but his lack of confidence (and also partly perhaps due to the pain) meant he refrained from doing either of those things. This was not the same Nadal as back in Paris last year.

But then truly it isn’t the same Nadal. This is a player who has suffered a painful injury and illness and has finally come out to play with the doctors telling him that its still going to hurt. He has come back from injury before however that was markedly different and it showed in his movements. No the Nadal from yesteryears is not back (YET!!!), but his multitude of fans can still take solace from the fact that he has grown in confidence over the week and will not have to sit out before plunging back in play since he will now move to the Brasil Open and continue his comeback there. So here to all Rafa fans, and primarily to Nadal himself, your fans wish you a speedy recovery and hope in every tournament that you will be back with the bullish attitude that won you so many fans – VAMOS RAFA!!!

Ballon D’Or : Greatness Undeserved

Messi is a great player. He has great ball skills, he has great hunger for goals and his vision is unparalleled. BUT he does not deserve the Ballon D’Or for 2012 nor did he deserve it for 2010. There has been recent reports where people have heaped praise on the four time Ballon D’Or winner and have called him a true great of our era. Most recently such a report was published by BBC sport. I am an avid fan of BBC but on this occasion I believe they failed miserably. Calling a player great because he has won the Ballon D’Or is something like making Beckham the King of England because he has won many premier league titles. That is their profession. They are (/were for Beckham and even that has too many question marks) the best in their profession but they are not great. In club football they are professionals, they get paid, that is their job. Do you expect to be given a knighthood simply because you are a good manager at some company. I believe Messi is far from being great. Continue reading