Blog News

Because the real Opiate of the Asses goes by the name "Ego" now. Fuck you.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Spotlight on Games: Looming

Looming is a free flash game that can be found on most flash game sites like Kongregate and Newgrounds. It is a fairly simple game in terms of graphics and mechanics, but it goes deeper than most games in terms of philosophy, art, and story.

In Looming, you play as September, a man exploring the ruins of a place called Looming. You use the arrow keys to move around, X to interact with objects and C to open your inventory. You roam around, collecting artifacts to piece together the story of Looming. There are 9 endings to unlock, each varying on a set of items  or the time spent in Looming. 


In terms of story, this game has it all. It has a love story, a mystery, a tragic hero and opposing factions. The game starts off with September writing a letter to his lover; January, and every ending has a different letter written to January. This alone manages to give the world of Looming a melancholy feel, for whenever September leaves to investigate the ruins of Looming, he is away from his lover's embrace. The atmosphere of Looming itself is detached, mysterious, forlorn and despondent. As you wander through the wasteland of Looming, you discover the story of two peoples, and a beast called the OarBoar. The two peoples, the Lorem and the Seecha represent two different philosophies of engineering. The literal, focusing only on creating machines and the literal, observable aspect of the world, and the theoretical, focusing on subjects like mathematics, biology, psychology and physics, developing those theories, making calculations, but never actually building. Observing the interactions of these two factions is the OarBoar, possibly the only permanent resident of Looming, whose bones and messages are scattered across the land.

The art style of Looming is gorgeous. Huge gears, machines and temples left behind by the people litter the land, adding the the sense of insignificance and eeriness. The ambient sound effects are unnerving to say the least. They include gusting wind and strange voices chanting a forgotten language (which is actually the word "Looming" played backwards). The little birds that roam the landscape serve two purposes, to distract the player from the hard-to-see items required to find all the endings, and to add a sense of emptiness and barrenness to the world. I've never played a game where I felt so alone and desolate as this game. These stories, while simple on their own, are intertwined and complex together, they all effect each other. The poetic letters from September that mark each ending tie the endings together, and give the game a satisfying completeness. When you win, you don't want to stop playing, the beauty of the game is astounding.

Gregory Weir makes gorgeous games, I'm looking forward to reviewing more of them in the future.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Video Games are an Art

Yes. Video games are an art. Well why not? Cinema, originally just a means to entertain people is now an art. Writing, originally created to convey ideas, is now an art, and art itself originally fulfilled the same purpose writing did, communication.

Creating a true work of art takes an incredible amount of skill in all three of the aforementioned art forms. The ability to tell a story, but meld it with art, make it immersive and interactive, the ability to create an entire world is an incredible skill. I respect anyone with the ability to make a quality game. That's also why most video games are made by a whole team of people. The best games are made by several masters of story, art, design and music. All of these qualities come together to form a beautiful world for the appreciator to experience.

I hardly see making a video game as just making a product, it's much more than that.
When you make a quality game, you're creating an world, you're making people and environments that interact in unique and sometimes unpredictable ways. 

You know you've made a good game when it involves players emotionally, when they make an intimate connection with them and brings them to tears. Examples of games like that are Portal 2 or Bioshock. I'll be honest, I cried at the end of both of those games. Another excellent feature I love to see in games is dystopia. I'm a sucker for dystopias. I loved the books Anthem by Ayn Rand, Orwell's 1984 and Brave New World by Huxley. Dystopias fascinate me, and I would jump at any opportunity to experience one. Bioshock has definitively become my favorite games for these reasons.
Another excellent quality is atmosphere, the feel a game gives you. Whether it's tragic, rebellious or epic, the atmosphere is really what pulls a game together and makes it real.

This is why I'm going to start a weekly post, every Saturday (or Sunday, depending on my laziness), a spotlight on games. I'm going to choose a game that I've truly enjoyed, but with a few rules. To keep it interesting  I will NOT be doing mainstream games. Instead I'm going to look at flash games, obscure playstation games, indie games, retro games, mods, anything that hasn't received much spotlight. It's going to be a challenge, but it will give me an excuse to hunt around the places I've always wanted to go to find games I've never heard of, and hopefully ones I will enjoy. First Spotlight on Games will be this weekend, so stay tuned.

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Election Aftermath

Oh fuck guys, it's time for politics.

My girlfriend brought the following issue to my attention. It seems a few thousand people in some of the more republican parts of the US want to secede from the country. 

Yes, this is real
Jesus people, we're living in a democracy, that means majority rules. Just because the guy you wanted didn't get elected doesn't mean you have to try and start another Civil War. You had eight years of that moron Bush, the man who put us into trillions of dollars of debt, then you blame Obama for it and we can't have eight years of him? 

For fucks sake, he's not going to ruin the damn country (any more than it already is). The president doesn't have nearly as much power as people are led to believe, the only way he could possibly get us into a bigger mess is if he just started spending again like Bush, and he's not, he's trying to lower the debt with higher taxes. Sure, no one wants to pay taxes, but they're necessary, they have to be paid, especially by the rich. Those of you who try and argue that "trickle down politics" is the best course of action, it's not, because the top 1% have boatloads of money, and the economy is still a mess, we're still in debt. The problem is that the top 1% is trying to hold onto their money, trying to spend as little as possible instead of creating jobs and circulating it. If the rich are doing their best to hold onto their money, how do we get it from them and back into the system? That's right. Taxes.

Like I said, no one likes to pay taxes. But look at Europe. Most of Europe is doing fantastic because they have high taxes and tons of welfare programs including free education, free housing, public transportation and  free healthcare. I wouldn't mind paying 40% of my income if I get those things, I would probably be spending that 40% on all that anyway. 

Then we get the idiots calling socialism evil. Yes it's socialism, but guess what, it works, and it works damn well. France, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark and Germany are some of the worlds countries that are doing the best. They have the highest standard of living, no major problems with education, poverty or economy, and they, as nations, are overall more technologically advanced than us (for example, Germany has QR codes all over major cities for public transportation, something we don't have.) Socialism isn't evil, that doesn't even make sense. It's a political stance, and the most successful one the world has yet to see. 

Now I feel like I have to apologize for going on this rambling political spiel. I have some less angry posts planned ahead, I'll have one or two up during the week. Keep checking back.

Tell Your Friends

I'm working on a couple posts, and I'm going to start a regular weekly postings. (Hint, hint, it relates to the original topic of this blog). This place is really getting off the ground now. Tell your friends, don't forget to share the page. In the meantime, enjoy this nonsensical iPod background I made in like 10 minutes on Photoshop.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

On Dark Humor

As a realist, and a man of science (or so I like to claim), I make myself look at all sides of an issue before I make a conclusive decision about it. I do this in adherence with the theory of argument, that conceding points can make your argument stronger. While I do admit I am biased on some points and positions, I do my best to consider all viewpoints of any situation.

And when I say any situation, I mean ANY situation.

This mindset is the reason I can appreciate dark humor. Everything has a funny side, no matter how awful, sickening or depressing it is. I can find the humor in everything from dead baby jokes to 9/11. It doesn't mean I don't consider the countless deaths and brutality involved in the incident, it doesn't mean I don't realize the political and moral effects and implications it has. I consider myself a very moral individual. I abhor  injustice, ignorance, and needless bloodshed, but I also believe everything has a funny side.

Making jokes about these things is almost like an unconscious morale boost. It makes a stressful concept in the mind a little less serious, allows you to cope with it better, and it keeps you from being one of those morons that say "Someone might get offended at this so I'll get offended for them".

Yes there are people who were traumatized by certain events that should be kept away from dark humor. Yes there are people who lost loved ones in the 9/11 attacks. Being a moral person, you have an obligation to avoid making insensitive comments around those people and to make sure no one is going to be offended before you crack a dark joke. That's just a general rule of "Don't be a dick". However, no one is forcing them to look at pictures of dark humor.

For example, I follow a few pages on Facebook including Derp and Not Listening to Lil Wayne. These pages post a lot of dark humor that I'm able to enjoy. The also post a lot of hate mail they get for the dark humor they post. If you don't like what they post, don't follow them. No one is forcing you to follow them. No one is forcing you to look at dark humor. You chose to like that page, and you can choose not to without being a dumbass. Dark humor isn't for everyone, but you have no right to spoil our fun.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

One Week's Warning

I'm changing the name of my blog to "The Opiate of the Asses" next Wednesday. That is November 14th. If you can't find this page anytime after then, use "", or Google the keywords "Opiate of the Asses blog". I'll also be working on some graphics for my blog, more updates to come.