Saturday, May 16, 2009

Dangers of the Wasteland are Dangerous

A spider (or possibly daddy longlegs) in my bathroom last night;

Twitter Sonnet #19

Manga's safe behind glass at the comic store.
Wildflower honey's almost liquid.
I have disks and two guitars on my floor.
This room is versatile and intrepid.
Thursday seems to be the new Friday here.
Saw college kids mob the liquor aisle.
To-day English music I had to hear.
Switched between The Clash and Cream a while.
The green shirts I saw are too pale for me.
Oy vey, men's clothes are so fucking boring.
But at least I still have you, sweet whiskey.
Boring clothes is why men turn to drinking.
A glowing ghoul is totally useless.
Without a mad mortician accomplice.

I started running into glowing ghouls in Fallout 3 at Tim's last night. I was hanging out in the Tennpenny Tower area and I kind of broke the quests there by doing half of a lot of them--Tennpenny Tower's a big hotel that was somehow left standing in the middle of the post-apocalyptic wasteland. There are a bunch of snooty people living there under the leadership of a guy in the penthouse who always wears a red blazer named Alistair Tennpenny. He's evil, which I discovered when I blew his head to Scanners chunks with a combat shotgun at point blank range and gained positive karma for it. There are a bunch of ghouls (people with rotting flesh) living outside who want to live in the tower, but the neighbourhood association won't let them in--your options are either to exterminate the ghouls for the people living in the tower, exterminate the people in the tower for the ghouls, or convince the people to let the ghouls live with them.

No section of the game better brought home to me the fact that Bethesda put less than a third of the love into Fallout 3 they put into Oblivion--first of all, convincing the people to let the ghouls in really only requires high speech ability for your character and highlights the lack of interesting dialogue trees that distinguished Fallout 2. But then there's a lot of poor continuity, like how practically everyone in the tower referred to my female character as a guy, how some people forgot Alistair Tennpenny was dead within the same conversation in which they acknowledged it--hell, the thing was obviously sloppily constructed from the simple fact that Tennpenny's guards didn't rush in when they heard a shotgun blast in Tennpenny's room after watching me enter carrying a combat shotgun. The guards didn't even react to me differently afterwards, not until I started executing them one by one. And even then, the civilians kept roaming around like cattle. Add to this the weak animation for the people that makes them look like they're floating when they walk and the muddy texture mapping for all the female characters, it's really hard to believe Fallout 3 came out after Oblivion and not vice versa.

I watched Blazing Saddles for the first time last night. Wonderful film--I'm glad to've watched a lot of westerns first, because the primary mission of the film seems to be taking not just western cliches, but also high points in western cinema, and exaggerating them to absurd levels. I loved Madeline Kahn's lethargic Marlene Dietrich impression, and Harvey Korman's rendition of Gabriele Ferzetti's railroad tycoon in Once Upon a Time in the West was brilliant. I loved when he started humping a statue while in the middle of soliloquising his desire for more land.

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