Babby’s First Post: Introductions and A Whoreson’s look at Deus Ex

Hello reader.

I’ve been asked to make posts for this blog, so I figured I should at least introduce myself. I am whoreson.  That is all you’ll ever need to know.  I won’t tell you who I am or any real specifics about myself, so don’t expect any stories about what I had for breakfast or what happened to me the other day.

At the moment, I’m not sure what types of things I’ll be posting.  They might not exactly fit the style nasen75 has set for this blog; I hope he doesn’t mind. Well they’ll probably be mostly about video games, anime and the like, so I think it should fit under the umbrella of pop culture (but probably not history).  I do have a tendency to write mostly when I have it in my head that I am some kind of philosopher, so beware when I break out bigger words (cause I’m trying to convince myself that I’m smart).

Before I continue, I want to make a comment about blogs, seeing as I’m contributing to one, and I should probably state my views on them.  I find one of the most narcissistic things a person can do is put his (or her) opinions out for the whole world to see and act like they are the words of an intellectual genius. (I’m sure nasen75 agrees and will probably agree with the following…). I cannot emphasize this enough: the stuff I will put here are my opinions, based on my current views of the world or whatever the hell I’m talking about. If you think that they’re full of crap FEEL FREE TO ARGUE WITH ME.  This will sadly attract trolls (if they’re even out there and reading blogs), so let me explain.  Give me interesting links and make logical arguments to change my view, as I try to change yours with my own links and arguments.  So none of this – “U ar dum” business.  If we’ve all been taught to write essays based on logical reasoning since the fucking 5th grade, then you should damn well know how to express your thoughts in a coherent manner and cite the sources of your facts as well. Even if the internet grants you anonymity, you shouldn’t use it as an excuse to act like a hopeless fool.  Use it as a gift that allows you to express your opinions without fear of persecution Anyways angry ranting aside, The world is a huge place, filled with interesting facts and there’s no way I could know everything. I won’t even pretend to pretend to know everything.  I endeavor to be as open minded, and I hope that you’re reading this because you’re open-minded too.

Well now that I’m done spewing my drivel at you, let’s talk about something a million times more light-hearted and fun – video games (yay). I just spent about 2 hours playing an old PC game called Deus Ex (and am currently wishing I had recorded it / taken screen caps – aww well I’ll just post some random pictures of it from online).  Deus Ex is a cyberpunk themed FPS made in 2000 that centers around RPG elements and multiple paths that promote exploration.  Some of the elements, such as skill points and hacking/picking locks that are explored in Deus Ex show up in more modern games, like Fallout 3 (not saying it’s the first game to do it, but just an early adopter).

JC looks a little like Arnold Schwarzenegger

So I first heard about Deus Ex around the time the new game (Deus Ex Human Revolution) was announced. I’ve been wanting to experience older games and games of a more diverse nature (from my usual fare of FPS delights), to see how the evolution of video games has brought about today’s crop and what interesting mechanics have been left to the wayside by game designers and popular trends.  And honestly, I’m getting a bit tired of how mainstream games are taking fewer risks by churning out similar games (i.e. games with similar mechanics, maybe with one big change) (trying not to sound hipster here, but am sounding extremely hipster-ish). I haven’t (and still don’t) have much time to play though, so I’ve only pursued this desire in small doses (often giving up, since many games are hard to play nowadays without the relentless drive that seems to have possessed the gamers of the past and the sometimes buggy gameplay they put up with).

Deus Ex seemed to be a great fit for me, someone who has a very short attention span when playing games and a distaste for grinding to reach a point where my character is fun to play (my biggest gripes pretty much qualify every RPG in existence) but who hates that his character will only be able to A) sneak around or B) run in guns blazing (something the modern shooters loves to do).  It did still have that steep learning curve of old games, mostly due to its awful shooting mechanic, and it didn’t help that I set the difficulty to max (thinking that that somehow made me hardcore).

A lot of things make this game unplayable for the “modern” gamer.  Your character, despite being some badass super agent, has the aim of a stormtrooper at the beginning.  In the game, the player aims with a reticule that shrinks to indicate your accuracy. This process can take anywhere from 6 hours to 12 days and occurs only within 20 feet of the enemy, which usually gives the enemy plenty of time to run over and pop your head off with upsettingly accuracy. You can improve the speed at which you aim by increasing the level of training you have for certain skills.  I assume, at top levels, you can aim with ease, but this mechanic pretty much ruins shooting (in a shooter for crying out loud) for (what I can only guess is) the first 80% of the game, judging by how “quickly” I accrue skill points and the exponential cost of improving each skill.

There they are! Blast 'em

Many people complain about how poorly the graphics have aged in this game.  Sure, fine. But that’s not what really bothers me about the graphics.  What bothers me is that someone, somewhere thought it’d be a great mechanic to create areas of the map, that have no graphics.  They are pitch black and you only have portable light sources with extremely short lifespans. And I don’t mean, “can see the outlines of things and can sort of feel my way out” pitch black; I mean “I HAVE ONLY 1 FLARE LEFT AND ABOUT 100 MILES OF TUNNEL AHEAD AND BEHIND ME OH GOD THE LAST FLARE HAS GONE OUT I’M LOST FOREVER”.

This is an actual screenshot from the game... TOTALLY not a googled photo of the color black

What I do love is the freedom I get in this game.  Each arena actually has several entrances and combat can be approached differently depending on the situation.  In the second level, I was tasked with attacking a enemy fortress.  I, being the idiot that I am, went in through the front door, guns blazing.  After killing all the guards at the main entrance, I wandered off to explore other potential avenues of attack.  Within a few minutes, I found myself back at the beginning of the level, where a small boy stood.  I talked to him briefly, and gave him a candy-bar, which prompted him to inform me that there was a secret passage into the enemy base I just attacked behind a vending machine RIGHT WHERE I STARTED THE LEVEL.  I hacked my way through the door to find myself within the fortress I just tried to storm. AMAZING.

Good old Wikipedia. Has all the right pictures

Honestly, I’m not far along enough in the game to pass any kind of final judgment.  All I can say is that so far there are a lot of issues that make me hesitant to play.  Games like Deus Ex need to have some kind of pull to get players to grind through the worst of it and get to all the great stuff in the game.  For me, the game just doesn’t have enough of a pull for me to spend my precious free time slogging it.  Once I can free up more time, I might sing a different tune. Though I suspect that I’ll be trying to put my time into Deus Ex’s newest successor, which comes out in a short while, instead.

At the moment (in game), I have reached an impasse.  I have saved the Statute of Liberty from terrorists, liberated a hotel… from terrorists, and am trying to destroy an power generator to stop (you guessed it) terrorists.  I stand at the top of a flight of stairs, after a gunfight gone bad.  Everything that could go wrong did go wrong.  My initial explosive booby trap only caught one of the 8 guards that rushed up the flight of stairs after I set off the alarm.  My gas grenade ended up only catching 4 of the remaining guards.  A full blown gunfight between me and the rest of the guards has left me low on ammo and bleeding from every limb.  Due to my non-existent aiming, I had to dance from pillar to pillar spraying bullets from all my guns in the vague direction of the enemies, all the while, getting peppered with bullets.  As I peer into the darkness below, I make out the vague shapes of 5 guards, armed to the teeth.  My inventory only contains 2 LAMs (think grenades that double as mines), a handful of gas grenades and a crowbar.  At the bottom of the stairs is a neat little cluster of 3 soldiers; a LAM would suit them nicely.  I hoist the grenade up high and chuck it… 2 inches in front of me .  Well shit, should’ve invested in that perk.