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Mass Effect 3’s Stupid “Modes”

I just found out that ME3 gives the option to play the game in 3 different ‘modes’ (http://www.gamerevolution.com/news/will-you-play-story-action-or-rpg-mode-in-mass-effect-3-10451): Action, RPG, or Story. Action mode takes all of the decisions in dialogue out of the game and instead focuses on the action/shooter aspects of the game. RPG is the full and un-watered-down game and is the only real option. Story mode is the worst mode as it waters down gameplay to focus on the story, as if the first two games didn’t tell a great story as-is. Allow me to explain why even though these modes are optional, they shouldn’t have been added:

                First, why include them at all (other than RPG mode, of course)? I mean, I know why EA did; they wanted to appeal to every gamer.  However, the issue with this is that a video game can’t be all things all at once. Developers that attempt to make games like that tend to make sub-par games (by ‘tend to’, I really mean to say ‘always’). The experience suffers from a lack of focus and clear direction.

               The first two Mass Effect games were choice-driven narratives (ME3’s RPG mode is exempt from all of these things, by the way, since it’s the normal/only mode). That was part of the charm and originality of them. What happens when you take that part away and focus all of your effort and attention on the action part of the gameplay? Well, you’d get a mostly-solid third-person squad-based sci-fi shooter, and  while this wouldn’t necessarily amount to a bad game, I somehow find it hard to believe that it would have captured the kind of loyal fanbase that it currently has in the sea of other shooters that exist alongside it. If people wanted to play a pure action game then they should’ve picked another franchise. Mass Effect as a whole is heavily about making big decisions that affect an entire galaxy and those around your immediate vicinity.

                Then there’s the other side to that proverbial coin: What would’ve happened if the first two Mass Effect titles had lackluster gameplay and only an amazing story to fall back upon? They are "games" after all; Most people play games under the assumption that they’re designed to be fun, and not as a direct source of reading material. If people played ME 1/2 and expected to be reading a book then they’re doing it wrong.  Authors write books for this purpose.

Basically, Mass effect is a sum of two parts: Without story the gameplay is meaningless, yet having a well-written and engaging video game-based story without fun gameplay means that you might as well read a book and shut off the console (nothing wrong with doing just that every once and a while, just don’t complain that it’s taking forever to get the next cutscene and that the shooting bits are boring :D ). The same thing can be said about roughly 80-100% of video games (made-up stats FTW!). Video games are a strange art medium; Interactivity in art is an extremely effective way of communicating a story to a person.

Rush Limbaugh vs Sandra Fluke

Why are people so mad about what Rush Limbaugh said about that girl? I listened to what she said about birth control, and honestly it was stupid. She wants insurance companies to pay for contraception. Hold up, that sounds a whole lot like “please pay me to do something that isn’t necessary to live”. She’s claiming that during the years students are in law school they spend over $3000 in contraception. $3000. She also claims that students are struggling to make ends meet due to contraception not being covered under current student health plans. If this is all true and students are, in fact, struggling financially, then what they need to either deal with the contraception prices or deal with the consequences of procreation. Or, ya know, they could just STOP HAVING SEX. Seriously, why should health insurance companies be burdened with such a cost? If the contraceptives were medically necessary then I could see it being part of a health plan. But I’m pretty sure that they aren’t needed to live. If someone can point me to some research on how these things are needed for women to live, then cool. But then think about this: should condoms be covered as well? Or how about whatever else goes with sex? Should health insurers pay for that?

Post written by Zekk on 3/6/2012 at approximately 6:30 PM.

PEOPLE WE LIKE: J Dilla

This is a new segment on Zekk Attack! that I’d like to call “PEOPLE WE LIKE”. It will showcase, of course, human beings just like you and I who do some pretty awesome stuff, and why we think they’re cool. This week, I’d like to talk a little bit about James Dewitt Yancey, otherwise known as J DILLA.

J Dilla is often referred to as the greatest hip-hop producer of all time. He blended old-school funk and soul music to make instrumental tracks that all sorts of people could jam to. He quickly became popular in the late 80s/early 90s as part of the Slum Village collective, a hip hop group specializing in soul music manifesting itself in hip hop beats. He is perhaps best known for his collaboration with rapper/fellow producer Otis Jackson Jr. as the duo Jaylib. It can be estimated that J Dilla has produced well over 1,000 different songs in total, including instrumentals that he provided for other artists. 

J Dilla passed away on February 10th, 2006, just 3 days after his 32nd birthday. He had a long history with psychedelic drugs and excessive use of painkillers that led to his eventual, and unfortunate, demise. Since his passing, virtually every hip hop producer has released some sort of tribute album or track in his memory. These tributes can usually be expected to release in February, Dilla’s month of birth and death. They utilize a similar style of composure to show respect for the massive amount of great music Yancey gave to the world. Surely he will never be forgotten, but will live on in the hearts and minds of all who appreciate real hip-hop music.

Post written by Zeph on 2/23/2012 at approximately 9:00 PM.

ENTITY Project is Coming Together!

So me and HYPERIANT over here have been making music for a little while now, and it’s been pretty exciting. The name is ENTITY, lending inspiration from the Data Integration Thought Entity on SuzuHaru. Lots more work is getting done musically, I think, than I eeeeever could’ve accomplished on my own. It’s starting to sound pretty good, you should give us a listen.

Our first decent track, Reversal, is almost finished.  No word on when the full thing will be downloadable yet or not.  Chris seems to be the drop expert so far.  He also seems to like spelling my name and the band name in all caps, which I presume is a stylistic choice.  The name “ENTITY” is an acronym composed of ENTer and realITY, which I simultaneously believe is awesome and lame at the same time.  In any case, he’s right.  We’ve had fun making music so far and the results are worth a listen.

Post written by Zeph and Hyper on 1/29/2012 at approximately 11:00 PM.

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