It was cold, but not as cold as it could be. Or so I had been reminded of a few times already. I was walking up a hill and it was taking more effort than I care to admit. The alcohol from two bloody marys and three beers was already in my veins, the rest still sloshing in my gut. A pair of headphones kept most of the noise of the world around me out, a song of summers from decades ago hid the rest. I was sucking desperately on a nicotine lozenge trying to kick a habit. I felt like Bruce Springsteen from the Philadelphia video. There wasn’t much comfort in that moment, but there was happiness. And I think maybe that makes me sad. Continue reading
You say you’ve never heard of Brian Fallon
but his anthems were behind my eyes
when you found me bright and wide
when you stumbled out our bed
for one last time in the evening sky
his crowes came for what you left behind
it wasn’t as horrible as it sounds
I just don’t go to that side of town
I heard from a friend that he treats you well
that he’s not into the same painkillers as I was
I found a few myself I could try and love
and I laugh from time to time
When I think about how nice it’s been
when we finally admitted it had to end
And if you’re sleepwalking don’t worry about it
I remember all those hiding spots from when we were kids
I started visiting Copeland after his parents had died. I guess we were always friends, it just always felt more like we both orbited a similar group of people but always remained on opposite hemispheres from each other. I wish I could say that I did it out of an act of empathy or to be there for a person who probably could use some company. The reality of it is though, I felt obligated. I mean, I was the one who had come across the accident.
The smell is what sticks with me the most. The bouquet of gasoline, rubber, and plastic, with a hint of meat all fueling the same fire was actually kind of pleasant on its own. It was only when it was paired with the violent, and most likely, excruciating deaths of two people, who were probably decades away from a more natural end that makes it a scent that haunted me. There was nothing I could have done, I’m sure of that, that is why that specific part of the night only stole a few nights of sleep from me. Continue reading
I never thought I was a crazy person. I was convinced that I was level headed and that I would act rationally in any situation. Never in a million years did I think that I would find myself looking at a series of actions and decisions that I had couldn’t find a logic to, all I had was the knowledge that they were of my creation. Victor had an intent when he created his monster, all I had was the wreckage. Continue reading
A Way Out is a strange game to grasp. On the surface, it’s an adventure game in the same vein as a Telltale game or Quantic Dreams. The plot is a paint by numbers 70’s crime drama. Not to say any of those things are bad, just not very memorable. What sets A Way Out apart is the decision to make the entire experience defined by co-op gameplay.
When I say co-op gameplay, I’m not talking about your run of the mill co-op. This isn’t a situation where single player is exactly the same as multiplayer except two Master Chiefs are running around. A Way Out is impossible to play without a partner and the game will make sure you remember this every chance that it gets.
The game follows two protagonists Vincent and Leo, two convicts who have wound up in prison and decide to team up, escape, and take revenge on a mutual enemy. There’s not much else to get into in terms of plot. It’s not very deep. To be honest though, I didn’t find this to be a bad thing. There was enough there to give the game a purpose, but the story is not the reason to play this game. Once again, for that we need to go back to the co-op.
It’s hard to explain just how devoted this game is to the concept of co-op gameplay with just words, but let me try. In one scenario the two “heroes” are chasing down a foreman through a construction zone. In the ten minute sequence both players trade off chasing the man down while the other overcomes an obstacle, one will control a crane while the other climbs over it, then the camera perspective will change to a top down perspective where the two players will have to communicate to orchestrate a pincer maneuver to trap their target in order to initiate a joint interrogation scene. Now this may seem like a set piece section right out of Uncharted, and in a way, it is. But remember, all of this is being done with two players operating independently with nothing in the game overtly communicating what needs to be done. All the communication has to happen between the player.
This right here is what makes the game so special. Never before have I seen a game that not only requires two players to speak and organize with each other but also do as little as possible to facilitate it. Other than voice chat, there’s no option to tap on walls, or set waypoints, or highlight objects. This is where the fun exists. Not so much in the game itself, but in cooperating with a partner to accomplish something in a setting that demands nothing less. This is where the emotional connection comes from, you don’t connect with the characters themselves but with the person who is inhabiting the avatar. Without realizing the game changes from a simple crime drama to a wholly personal experience with the person you’ve chosen to accompany through the 7-8 hour long plot.
All of the joy resides in the cooperative nature of the game, I can’t stress this enough, but it’s also the source of some issues. By hour two of the game, you’ve basically seen everything that the game has in terms of actual mechanics. After that it’s essentially the same actions just in a new scenario with a couple of one-off moments to spice it up. Also, it becomes very easy to see the contrivances in place to facilitate a cooperative approach to a problem. Even though the enjoyment exists so much outside the game itself, seeing the man behind the curtain still isn’t fun.
Technically, the game is just fine. The graphics aren’t stunning by any means, but seem perfectly adequate for the price. I didn’t encounter any glaring glitches during my play though but there have been some reports of bugs, so keep that in mind I guess.
I know it’s early in the year and I will probably have to eat some crow here, but for my money A Way Out is one of the best gaming experiences to be had this year. Just make sure you find yourself a good partner and make sure your tapping finger is strong.
I don’t lead a very exciting life. There’s really no way around that. This fact is the reason I try so hard, desperately at times, to find any nugget of inspiration I can find in what I believe most would call the mundane. But sometimes, I’m overwhelmed by an abundance of things that could each change my core on their and leave me a quivering mess of a human if taken as a whole. This phenomenon often has the effect of making me retreat inward to the safety of my own perceptions of myself, just to see if they’ve changed in a new setting.
What follows is a collection of journal entries I wrote while on vacation in Bali. These were written often in alternating states of dread and euphoria and with varying influences of caffeine and alcohol. They are stream of conscious missives of a man lost in himself while being so incredibly certain of where he was on a map. Continue reading
Hey everyone, sorry that things have been a little quiet here, I assure you that the show is very much alive. In fact, that’s what I wanted to talk to you about today. Since we transitioned the show into a live streaming talk show we’ve been able to gauge our viewership and popularity more accurately. […]