Fallout 4 – Beyond Good and Evil

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Rexis here!

What does it mean to be evil?

Google tells me it means “profoundly immoral and malevolent.” This is an important definition because morality is objective. What is evil to one person may not be evil to another. Why do I bring this up? Mostly because I started playing Fallout 4 again and while I think its a masterpiece of moral grey areas, others seem to have a hard time understanding the simple narrative and prefer the usual complaint of “I can’t choose to kill everyone, therefore I can’t be an evil character.” They go on to blame lazy writing, casual players ruining the franchise, and the IP being in the hands of the wrong development team (among other things, look at a YouTube comment section and you’ll see what I mean).

Could it be, though, that Bethesda is presenting you the ultimate type of story arch? The one in which the hero/villain is not clearly defined? George R. R. Martin takes this concept to soaring heights in Game of Thrones, ensuring that the heroes and villains are pretty much all grey and he is lauded for it. Bethesda does it and gets crap for it. I suppose without a karma meter it can be difficult to know if what you are doing it wrong, huh? Like murder.

Fallout 4, in my opinion, is reaching for a higher mark. Gone are the days of simply enslaving Wasteland survivors. Now we must ask a serious question, one that has far too important implications: How do I feel about artificial intelligence?

(And by extension: How human do you have to be to be considered human? Is AI life valuable? Is it even life? Do synths have rights? Do they have the right to exist at all? If they are indistinguishable from human and express all ranges of emotion, are they really just machines? If some synths do bad things, should we destroy them all? What if some are genuinely good? Should we distinguish between synths and humans at all times or just let it be? Do they deserve saving or eradication?)

This question defines your character in the game and when presented with the four factions, you must choose which prevails. (Spoilers from here on, btw.) You could choose to side with the Brotherhood of Steel who seek to destroy all synths and impose their military might and technology on the Commonwealth.  You could join the Institute and your son, who are known as the boogeymen of the Commonwealth because they kidnap people and replace them with synths, acting upon the land like an experiment, guised as an attempt to somehow aid mankind. The Railroad seems like a good choice because they free synths from a life of slavery, but the ends always justify the means and they don’t care who they hurt in the process. The Minutemen on the other hand seem a bit like the good guys, desiring a rebuilt Commonwealth and destruction of the Institute. Though they seem unconcerned about the actions of the Railroad.

All of these choices are right and wrong! That’s the beauty of this. I’ve seen so many comments about how the factions suck and there’s no good/bad. And if you fall into this camp, perhaps try talking about the game with a friend. Ask them what they would do for real, not as a video game character, but if it were a real decision they were faced with. The answer might surprise you. And if you don’t have a friend, here’s what I’d do. I would fall in line with the Minutemen because my morals align with theirs for the most part. If I wanted to pick an evil option, it would be the Institute. I can’t get past their kidnapping people in the night. I believe the Brotherhood of Steel has good intentions, but are terrible at public relations, and I don’t agree with their policy of destroying all synths. The Railroad has a good message of freedom and liberty for synths, something I can get behind, but I’m not willing to kill innocent/uninvolved people in order to get there.

Like George R. R. “I kill everyone you love” Martin, I agree that the villain of the story if only the hero for the other side. Yes, Fallout 4 is less of a sandbox than the other Fallout games, but it isn’t just a good/evil apocalypse simulator. Its calling on you to consider far more philosophical questions with no right or wrong answers.

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The Legend of Zelda – All The Links

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Rexis here!

Hello internet! This being one of my favorite franchises, its easy to come up with stuff to write about Zelda. As a bonus, I get to learn new information about a series of games I adore. Information like exactly how many different Links there are. I mean, we’ve all seen the official timelines, but do you know how many games are direct sequels featuring the same character of Link? Well, I did some reading on zeldawiki.org and I have a number. So how many Links are there?Are you ready? Queue drum roll….

Eleven.

Yes. There are eleven different Links across 18 canon releases. Let’s go over them, shall we?

1

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Skyward Sword comes first chronologically with the very first Link.

2

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Minish Cap adds a second Link.

3

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Four Swords adds a third. (Four thirds? The four sword is weird.)

4

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Ocarina of Time adds the fourth and probably most notable Link because his actions divide the timeline into three different possible scenarios. The Link in Majora’s Mask is the same and follows the Child Timeline (when Link is returned to his youth and there is no conflict with Ganon.)

5

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The child timeline provides us with Link number five in Twilight Princess.

6

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Link number six once more wields the Four Sword in Four Swords Adventure (a different title than the original Four Swords) and caps off the child timeline.

7

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In the fallen hero timeline, Link dies at the end of Ocarina of Time and we see Link number seven some years later gracing A Link to the Past, Oracle of Seasons, Oracle of Ages, and Link’s Awakening. This version is notable because he is in so many different games.

8

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In A Link Between Worlds and Tri Force Heroes, we have Link number eight.

9

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And this is where we find the NES titles, the original Legend of Zelda and Link’s Adventure feature Link number 9. But we aren’t done yet.

10

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The Adult TimeLine involves the future of Hyrule in Ocarina of Time, after Ganon is sealed in the sacred realm and Link is returned to his youth, except now we see what happens to Hyrule with no Link. I’ll skip some exposition here because this isn’t a history lesson, but the world is flooded and we have Windwaker and Phantom Hourglass giving us Link number ten.

11

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Finally, Link number 11 is in Spirit Tracks. He’s a descendent to the Link from Windwaker to some extent as opposed to a direct sequel.

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Number 12? I don’t know. All we know about Link from Breath of the Wild is that he wakes up in a resurrection chamber. I have some ideas about this, but that’s a post for another day….

Rex’s Top Five Zelda Games of All Time

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Rexis here!

How sick am I of social media outlets pushing this topic on me and asking me to vote for my favorite Zelda game?! Sick enough to clarify it on my own blog, that is! Seriously, how many deciding votes do me need to finally declare OoT and/or ALttP the overall winner? These are always the two that come out on top and I think it has a lot to do with the years they were released. More on that later perhaps. For now, let’s jump right into this.

5 Ocarina of Time

That’s right! Sitting at the number five spot on my list is the game that brought link into the 3D world for the first time. I vividly remember buying the gold edition of this game the day it released and saying goodbye to what little social life I had when I was 14. I was lost in a massive (for its time) Hyrule full of new dangers and puzzles. I was a Zelda fan already, but I was blown away by this game. This is the game that solidified my love for the franchise. (A love built on entry 1 – you’ll see. Don’t skip ahead.)

4  A Link Between Worlds

I feel like this game may have slipped under a lot of people’s radars and its really a shame. I enjoyed the ever loving crap out of this one. It broke from Zelda tradition by incorporating an item/weapon rental system and allowed you to complete the dungeons in any order, harkening back to the first Zelda title on NES. This would prove to be a test for the upcoming Breath of the Wild. People don’t want linearity in their adventure games, and while I’ve had no problem with it in the past, this title proves Zelda can be versatile.

3 Windwaker

If you know anything about me at all, and I would think some of my regular readers do, I love me some pirates. Anything and everything pirate related (looking at you Black Flag <3) so Windwaker immediately gets points for having them. When it first came out, I picked it up as I do with most Zelda games, but I wasn’t fond of the cell shading. As the years have gone by I have fallen in love with the style. Not to mention I always find something new in this one whenever I play through it because I’ve never reached 100% on a single play through.

2 Twilight Princess

This game was a sleeper hit for me. I know I’ve played it before, but I picked it up on HD for the Wolf Link Amiibo. How could I not? If I can get a wolf pet in Breath of the Wild, shut up and take my money. Playing through it now, I realize how much I LOVE this game. It is my absolute favorite of the console titles and 3D titles for good reason. Not to mention Zelda is so awesome in this game. If you haven’t played this one, for whatever reason, do it!

1 Link’s Awakening

You read that right. This little gem originally released for Game Boy is my all-time, hand down, no regrets, favorite Zelda game. And it doesn’t even have Zelda in it! I used to play a lot of Game Boy. A lot. So much. And it was usually this game. I know it like the back of my hand. Then they released it in color and it got better. Currently, I play it on my 3DS from time to time. Its the only Zelda title I can just sit and play through without feeling like it repetitive. I never get tired of it.

So that’s it. My top five Zelda games. Now shut up social media sites. I will not vote again!

Nintendo Switch – Called it!

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Rexis here!

The news is in! Have you seen the Nintendo Switch reveal yet? Take a look here.

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And its funny Kotaku should ask this question because… YES! This is exactly what I expected! As a matter of fact, on Feburary 6, 2015 I said “this would be the last generation of strictly handheld systems like the 3DS and Vita.” And look at what has happened! The 3DS has received some adjustments, but nothing new has been slated for a handheld system from Nintendo. All the patents we’ve seen regarding a new handheld were actually for the controller for the new Nintendo Switch. The Console Fusion Era is upon us! Nintendo is merging its console and handheld lines with this new Switch machine hybrid!

Okay. Okay. Enough gloating, I guess. But you can’t blame me for being excited about making an accurate prediction about the future of gaming, can you?

This new and innovative idea looks really cool for your gamer on the go and the system looks like it will be powerful enough to run Skyrim at the very least (isn’t that a five year old game?). So it would seem Nintendo isn’t really embracing a new powerful console, but once again relying on innovation to sell the product. Its worked for them before, but personally, I won’t be buying one.

I have my XBOX One and PC at this point, and I’ve no interest in going further with consoles myself. I’ve said all this before. Of course, I also have a 3DS I never play. So it wouldn’t make sense for me to get something like this. I can certainly understand the appeal, but its not for me. And I have some serious doubts about the scenarios presented in the video. I doubt anyone is having a rooftop party with friends and bringing their Switch to the mix. (I know they are just showcasing the capabilities, but honestly, I just need to see a guy sitting in his game room to relate. Because that’s all I do.)

Other concerns I have involve the battery life (my Wii U gets about 4 hours so its not lasting on any flights) and the comfort of those tiny “joy-cons”. If you’ve recently picked up an NES controller or GBA Micro, you’ll understand. How are you supposed to play first person games with one joystick anyway? (I’m talking about multiplayer here. You wouldn’t be able to tilt the camera or turn in some situation.) A lot remains to be seen in this regard and since full specs haven’t been released yet, people will speculate for the time being.

This leaves me with one other question. What does the console part do? We’ve seen that the system can function fine without it, so what is the purpose of slotting it into the console other than broadcasting it to the TV? This remains to be seen as well. If its only function is to send the video to the TV or upgrade graphics to 4K maybe, then would Nintendo consider selling the Switch sans console?

Seems all eyes are going to be on Nintendo, at least until Microsoft opens up about Project Scorpio a bit more. Like I said, I’m not buying one, but I will certainly be following its story. Nintendo has a history of either blowing people away or letting them down completely, so this console could be a make or break deal for them.

More over, did you see the obvious comparison between The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Skyrim? I’ve read articles comparing the two, but I found it interesting that they chose those two games as the demo for the hardware. If this Zelda title was inspired by Skyrim, this could be the best Zelda game yet. Luckily, I’ll have my Wii U to experience it on.

So what do you think? Is this thing going to take off or is it just a glorified tablet with controls attached? Is Zelda going to be amazing or too much of a break from tradition? I’d love to discuss it in the comments.

Nerds are Cool

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Rexis here!

I’ve been absent for awhile. You may or may not have noticed. Sorry about that. Its not that I haven’t had time to write, I just don’t have anything to say lately. At least, nothing that hasn’t already been said. I’ve been spending time watching new TV shows and playing video games of course. In short, the Marvel shows Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage were amazing and I can’t wait for Iron Fist, The Defenders, and Punisher. As for gaming, my time is divided by my three current favorites: Grand Theft Auto Online, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD, and of course Minecraft.

See? I have nothing to say about these things except that they are all awesome. As is everything on the horizon. Dr. Strange, Rogue One, Logan, The Walking Dead, Fantastic Beasts and Game of Thrones are all coming soon. What an age we live in! There is so much to see and do in the world of entertainment, its hard to keep up with it all. I refuse to even watch the DC shows. I don’t have the time. I think we’ve hit a peak in regards to the nerd culture that permeates our society now. Its become almost… overwhelming.

Don’t get me wrong. Its great that we have this mass acceptance of what was once fringe culture. Gone are the days of the stereotypical basement dwelling nerd with his mint comic book collection. No longer do gamers hide their favorite pastimes. I even have a friend on Facebook asking about the pros/cons of LARP’ing in a graveyard with no fear of retribution. I can’t imagine how this would have gone ten or twelve years ago in my high school. Just kidding. I totally can because I lived it. As a gamer and player of CCG’s, I know exactly the kind of taunting and bullying that comes with the territory.

So what happened? How did we get from there to where we are now? How did the zeitgeist change so drastically? I’d wager it has something to do with the internet and social media, but what do I know? I’m just some anonymous blogger on the internet that can barely find the motivation to write.

What I do know is that we live in an era where fantasy worlds and fantastic beasts reign supreme.

And that is cool.

Movie Review – Ghostbusters 2016 (Spoiler free!)

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Rexis here!

As promised, I have stepped out into the horrible light of the day star and ultimately plopped myself down in front of some of the biggest theatre screens in the country (because we have those here) despite all of pop-culture telling me not to. When a movie trailer breaks the dislike record on YouTube, I have to see what all the fuss is about. The trailer did suck. On this point, I concede. But how did the movie truly fair? Was it good? Was it funny? Did it live up to the original?

I feel that since this is my third time talking about the film on my Ability Points, I should correct an error I made by claiming this movie to be a sequel. It is NOT a sequel, despite the wording at the beginning of the trailer. This movie makes NO REFERNCE to the events in the previous franchise installments actually happening. This is a reboot. As a matter of fact, you’ll see some familiar cameos playing nothing more than side characters rather than their original GB counterparts.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If you are a follower of the blog here, you’ll know one of my basic tenants when watching a movie: don’t expect it to be a certain way. This movie was created with the intent of taking a long dead franchise and renewing it for the up and coming generation. If you can’t deal with that, then don’t. No one cares if you’re going to watch a movie, James Rolfe. This movie has been crapped on considerably since its inception and now that I’ve seen it, I can tell you what to truly expect.

This movie… is not bad at all! I paid ten dollars and while I wasn’t laughing out loud, I did find it humorous and well worth the price. In fact, I might even say it was good. Obviously, there are going to be people who say it wasn’t as good as the first one, but come on… Really? Are you that guy? There are plenty of people who would counter that it was better. Of course, its hard to top any movie with Bill Murray in the first place so its not even a fair comparison. Lets drop the comparing act and stick with the facts, ok?

As I said, this was not a side splitting comedy by any means. There are a few different style of humor here sort of associated with each of the women. So you are bound to find one of them funnier than another. This works well because it gives you someone to relate with. Its also detrimental because if you don’t have a funny bone in your body, you might be not appreciate the different nuances of comedy. Its best to sit back and let the movie do its thing. Sometimes you’ll laugh, sometimes you won’t. Sometimes you’ll just think to yourself, Oh I get it! and that’s fine too.

The story itself feels like a Hollywood reboot. I’ve mentioned before about this sort of thing and I won’t dwell on it too much, but a lot of the main points from the original Ghostbusters are hit in the new one. No different than The Force Awakens or any other reboot, really. I don’t know if predictable is the right word to describe it, but you have a sense of what will happen to some degree. This doesn’t take away from the storyline, however, which was all new. I don’t want to spoil it, but I enjoyed it.

Featuring a cast of veteran SNL alum, the acting was on par for a comedy. Timing and delivery were great and I felt like everyone working on the project was legitimately excited to be doing so. Who wouldn’t want to bust a few ghost, amirite? For me, it was Chris Hemsworth that actually stole the movie. If you’ve seen the trailer, you’ll know he plays the ditzy receptionist and I thought he was just fantastic at this role.

Ghostbusters 2016 does not disappoint, however, I recognize this movie isn’t for everyone. If you were a denier/naysayer from the beginning, don’t even bother. You won’t enjoy it simply because you don’t want to. For the rest of us who were open minded, this movie is a reboot well done and I’m looking forward to the next installment of what is undoubtedly a trilogy. And to the theatre savvy, stick around for the stinger after the credits.

There. I won’t have to write about Ghostbusters again for a while.

Skwad – Twenty One Pilots and Suicide Squad

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Rexis here!

Let’s get something out right off the bat here: I’m not a music aficionado. I just like what I like and I can’t help that I like it. I have a wide variety of genres that I enjoy, with the exception of country music. Sorry, but I just don’t feel it. That said, you can take what I say with a grain of salt. Music is a touchy subject for a lot of people, after all, and I’m more of a game “expert” anyway (Playing fast and loose with the term expert.). So with that in mind, let’s continue.

For a number of years now, I’ve been listening to a lot of the same stuff I listened to over a decade ago because music these days… well… it sucks. Sorry, but it does. There’s an alt rock station where I live that plays this garbage hit list poppy trash. I don’t understand. When did “alternative” become “trashy new wave rap/pop nonsense”? There’s even a song with a banjo in it that makes me want to claw my eyeballs out! But I digress. The reason you are reading about music on my nerd blog here is because of this:

Twenty One Pilots – Heathen

That’s Twenty One Pilots’ Heathen and a music video for Suicide Squad.

Naturally, I want to see the movie. I have my reservations because DC has done a fine job mucking up Superman in theatres, but this movie looks to be different. I’ve seen lots of articles going back and forth about the trailers, commentary on the characters, positive and negative reactions. You name it. Thing is, I wanted to see this movie before, but now that Twenty One Pilots is featured in the music video, I want to see it even more!

You see, I love those guys. Having only recently discovered them, I’ve been eating up every song they’ve made. You know that feeling when you stumble across something you lost years ago? Like finding a five dollar bill in an old coat pocket? That’s what it was like for me when I heard the single Stressed Out on the radio. Then I listened to more. And more. And more. And now Twenty One Pilots is constantly playing on my phone, in my car, and in my head.

Being something I absolutely love, I’ve been dying to write about them on the blog, but I don’t write about music. I listen to it while I write and I’m playing Heathens on repeat right now because its new and its awesome. And the tie-in with a comic book movie is all the reason I need to blog about them.

It was the lyrics that drew me to their music. Songs like Migraine and Forest are so lyrically masterful I can’t even hope to achieve that level of metaphor in my own writing. I can find something I relate to in almost every song and sometimes feel like they are singing directly to me, or rather, the lyrics are my own emotions finally finding a way out. Its therapeutic. You should seriously check these guys out if you haven’t already.

So on the subject of Suicide Squad, I know the music doesn’t make the movie, but it sure has increased my hype! If that was the goal, mission accomplished. As with every comic book movie, I’ll go into it with an open mind and try to enjoy it for what it is. All I can say for now is that they picked the right music and Zack Snyder (hack) isn’t directing. Those are very positive things in my book.

 Take it slow.