Oh MAN, you wouldn’t believe the shitty shit shit I just had to sit through. I went to see a variety show of comedy that my friends were opening. They were great, knocked it out of the park, and I decided to stay for another act, and oh JEEZ. I’m going to have to start my Scatter Storming this story is so insane.
In which Ethos needs to let a traumatizing experience out of his system -
There are some terrible things that are so bad they’re good. Some awkward moments that actually relieve tension. This evening, ladies and gentlemen, I witnessed an amateur performance so bad that it out terrible’d terrible.
It all started with the worst MC in the history of history. He was awkward and quiet and mumbling. I was so excited for his drawn-out introduction to be over because it would mean the dawn of a new act and I could stop wishing I was elsewhere. If only I knew how badly I’d be begging for the return of that MC, because out stepped that kid. Y’know, that kid in high school that thought he was your best friend after you were the first person not to tell him to fuck off. He’d follow you around the school and invite you over to his house to let his mom make you grilled cheese while you watched Star Trek reruns squished into a couch so small that it felt like it was designed for an eighth of a dwarf. That guy came out to start a stand-up act. But if only it was a stand-up act. It took him 4 minutes to even start talking. He thought it was hilarious to take his fucking time with everything. Setting up meticulously slowly as if an Andy Kaufman impression. A REALLY REALLY BAD impression. It was painful to watch. But then he spoke. He was doing character stand-up. Not always a bad thing, and I thought it kinda half-worked half the time, although he had no charisma or comedic timing. But then he went from stand-up routine into a half-lecture about the circular nature of time. It was as if he had just heard a first-year philosophy lecture and thought he was top-shit with his “brand new” ideas. But we’re not done yet…
Oh no, after Awkward McPretentious (let’s just call him Larry here on out) confused and bored his audience with dime-store philosophy, he proceeded to ask his viewers to raise their hands if they were scared of the future. The ones who did (I absolutely refused to participate regardless of my feelings) were asked to come to the front of the stage. Then he slapped each one on the head and called them stupid. HILARIOUS, RIGHT?! Jesus fuck, then he went back to the cyclical nature of time, warning everybody that we would be living with cavemen in the near future. Which of course led to talk of an experiment he had been working on for years.
Now, let me pause for a minute to let you all know that even if I’m making no sense to any of you, I can promise that Larry was taking 17 times as long and being 39 times less coherent than I am in my recounting.
Anyway, Larry proceeded to baffle and anger us all with nonsensical talk of some caveman specimen he had been growing inside an artichoke. “Okay,” I thought “he’s going to pull out an artichoke”. Fine, anything to distract from the abortion I was sitting through. But no, somehow Larry had wrangled somebody to dress up like a fucking artichoke and enter the room while making barbaric growling noises. Larry then asked any willing audience members to line up and start plucking from the artichoke to begin the birthing process.
Seriously, what the fuck?! Are you reading what I’m typing?! THIS ACTUALLY JUST HAPPENED TO ME!!
At this point, it was too late to leave. There was (somehow) a line forming, and escape was no longer rude but increasingly impossible. But then would have been a better time than when the caveman was finally undressed from the artichoke. And I don’t use the word “undressed” lightly as there was now a mostly-naked man acting like a beagle and crawling around the audience sniffing crotches and licking feet while Larry somehow still droned on about ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. Nobody had chuckled in nearly 10 minutes, and the thing had gone from embarrassing stand-up to spectacularly awful performance art.
Then, as if the Gods of Awkward were concentrating all their hate on this small theatre, Larry revealed that the artichoke leaves had messages on them and that the audience members who peeled them off the caveman should read the messages out loud. Not only do I hate audience participation (I’m there for a fucking SHOW, don’t make ME entertain YOU), but these messages weren’t even close to comedic. They were the most indulgent existentialist-fapping clusterfucks of NOTHING I’ve ever heard in my life. And I took film in high school.
Anyway, then after some more really awkward acting, the caveman ended up on stage with Larry, and then the honey came out. Yup, the mother fucking cuntwipe took honey out of his bag and started pouring it all over his artichoke cavebaby. Then he stuck bread to the honey. Then he took a FULL-FLEDGED CHICKEN (cooked, thankfully) out and fed it to the half-naked dog-cavemen.
I am seriously not making an ounce of this up. Then the terrible performance art turned into a sort of one-act play in which the caveman gained the ability to speak and had a conversation with Larry that resembled the worst of any final boss dialogue scenes of a JRPG.
I wish it didn’t get any worse, but it did. Larry took off his suit and started fighting the caveman for the chicken and then they broke out into song. I was expecting 15 minutes of awkward stand-up and I got 40 minutes of utter and complete bullshit.
I tore RIGHT out of there not daring to give another act a chance. I’m still shaking from the trauma. Anyway, about Alan Wake.
Right, games -
Riddles got it right below. Alan Wake is really cool and a lot of fun to play. I also appreciate that Alan is not an instant badass. He feels like an actual human being and that adds to the atmosphere and feeling of vulnerability. I’m also more easily scared than Riddles, and great sound design coupled with a spooky eye in an in-game TV was enough to make me on edge for the entirety of my play session.
But unlike old Ethos, I actually enjoyed the fright. The foreshadowing was really cool, and it was nice to have an X-Files-esque style of the paranormal co-existing with the normal without any additional explanation needed. Bright Falls is a fucked up town, and it’s barely a reprieve from the creepy and dangerous night sections.
Like Riddles, I am completely unimpressed with the animations and lip-syncing during cutscenes. I actually like Alan’s voice work, but his wife is pretty bad, and the scenes are a little tough to watch at spots because of the awkward movement of the characters. Still, the mood is great, and during the action nighttime spots, the game looks great. Really cool lighting and shadow effects make the enemies look extra spooky, and light feel extra powerful. Anyway, I’m not far in, but I am impressed. I like that there’s no easy comparison to any other game.
Star Ocean got more interesting -
The battle system is really deep. But it also involves skill and I just want a RPG to sleepily grind while I fall asleep, so we’ll see how much I play of it.
Happy Birthday, Kaypoe! -
It’s Kaypoe’s birthday today, so I featured him on the cover. Feel free to follow him on Twitter.
Well that’s it. That Larry story really took it out of me. Goodnight all!