Saturday, October 29, 2016

DotTeeVee: My Summer Car Early Access Gameplay Trailer

Around these parts it's a very poorly kept secret that I'm a huge fan of My Summer Car, the greatest game ever produced that's set in 1995 Finland, even better than EA Sports Reindeer Hunter '95, a TurboGraphix 17 exclusive. By the time you've read the above lines I'll have already logged countless hours of engine construction and Suomi countryside wandering because the bug-riddled and pitifully incomplete early access version was released on October 26. Suffice it to say, you're going to want to get in on the ground floor of this one, even if it means a few things might not be completely ready yet. One must be patient, quality is not something you can rush and this game is already a glorious beacon of light in the otherwise gloomy nightmarescape that is my life.

Let's look at the release video!

We're not even messing around this time, as we get subtitles to render our heavily-accented narrator understandable. We hit the ground running with an unsuccessful merger leading to gory death, a common enough flight of fantasy during my highway driving days made into glorious Scandinavian reality by this computerized world of fantasy. The fact that the "cylinder head" isn't working yet doesn't even faze me. I've played Paradox games, I'm used to everything being broken during the initial release and then a series of patches making it even worse, somehow.

In other news the shiny paint jobs still won't increase the performance of your Soviet-era compact, but on the other hand there is something to be said for looking good. Maybe a lot of something, because society will correctly make conclusions on your character and competence using that as the primary metric.

It's fine, I'm not in any hurry.

Next up, some hot car-part ordering action, back when you had to fill-out so-called "paper" forms and send them through something called the "mail." Hard to believe, I know. On the downside it's going to be expensive, but my wallet is already spread as wide open as it can be and is completely unashamed. 

Improving the obscene gestures will be a top priority of patch 7.43c.

Sadly the early access "car inspection" is going to be a "fail." Again, would that every game was this honest. Our new Madden game will feature maybe one new, worthless feature you'll go into the options to turn off and half the players will be on the wrong team until we mostly fix that a month later. What are you going to do, buy a competing egg-ball game?

In other news the windshield wipers, they do nussink!!!

One of my favorite pastimes.

The store can also be broken into, because there's just something about automobile games that demand the opportunity to commit crimes. Besides, it's the only way to get at the slot-machine, a feature that I practically begged like a starving hound for. Then it's back on the road for some of that "major engine failure," which I guess is severe tire damage's even less felicitous sibling. 

The sauna doesn't work yet, but I can use my imagination, since I haven't destroyed it with too much counsel gaming and am an independent PC game playing immortal god-king.

The car crashes again. "Welcome everybody!" Aw, yeah. I feel a song coming on.

Hey, do ya love me. I'm non-functional cylinder head
A hot new paint job, a merger that leaves you dead
Hey, do ya love me I'm a Soviet-era machine
Get into my world 1995 Suomi dream 

I'm Finland Speeding

Get it on, get it on, get it on...

Komment Korner

Early Access to My Summer Car gives Russian malware.

Finland, what are you doing?

Be careful what you wish for, someone will dent your shit.

where hakka-pelitta

Cancelled my Titanfall 2 preorder for this.

Aaron Zehner is the author of "The Foolchild Invention" available in paperback and e-book format. Read free excerpts here and here. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

News You Can't Use: Future of TV Could be Pills that make People Hallucinate Television Shows

If there's one aspect of our garbage culture that has staying power and isn't going anywhere it's definitely the electronic toilet. After all, what could be more satisfying than passively sitting in front of the glow-box absorbing the Right-Think from the five four giant monopolies that control the flow of information and are sure to sanitize it for your protection? Yes, this pastime of the fool, the lazy and the lazy fool is not going anywhere. Even if we need to start giving you the blue pill so you can wake up in television land, fat and happy in the vast wasteland.

The future of TV might everyone taking hallucinogenic drugs, according to the head of Netflix.

He's on the roof of the school fighting invisible snakes and try to fly, must be watching "television" again. Well, time for me to watch "Celebrity Dancing." *takes several tabs of acid*

The threats to the streaming TV company might not be Amazon or other streaming services, but instead “pharmacological” ways of entertaining people, Reed Hastings has said.

I'm pretty sure we already have those, dudemar. It's called "getting wasted."

In the same way that the cinema and TV screen made “the opera and the novel” much smaller, something else might be on the way to do the same thing, the Netflix boss said at a Wall Street Journal event.

Yes, books are now in the same category of cultural irrelevance as singing crying clown stories. Read it and weep, "am writing" newbs.

Those challenges could come from anywhere, he said. They might not be another form of screen: “Is it VR, is it gaming, is it pharmacological?” Mr Hastings asked the event.

Is it stagnation, lazy writing, endless offensive commercials, bland story-lines, pandering, lack of imagination, cookie-cutter ideas, intelligence insulting or the general trend of "this show ain no good neither?" No, clearly we need a virtual reality world to properly display the staggering artistic vision of "Big Brother: Canada."

He went on to say that it might be possible that in the coming years someone will develop a drug that will make people get the same experiences that at the moment come from streaming services like Netflix.

Yeah, if only someone would develop this so-called "hallucinogen." PCP and chill, anyone?

Apparently making reference to The Matrix, he said that we might be able to take one pill to escape into a hallucination and then another to come back.

Not sure how you'd take the come back pill while doing what the scientific community refers to as "tripping balls" but these ideas are so compelling and well-conceived I'll give you a pass.

“In twenty or fifty years, taking a personalized blue pill you just hallucinate in an entertaining way and then a white pill brings you back to normality is perfectly viable,” Mr Hastings said.

Twenty, fifty, whatever "the future," you get the idea. We'll finally create a way to have entertaining delusions. Maybe next we'll invent something that might be called "buzz juice" that you drink to lower inhibitions and create a pleasurable numbness.

Mr Hastings didn’t indicate whether or not Netflix would look to make such drugs itself, or how it would fend off any companies that did. But it does sound a little like something out Black Mirror, which Netflix is showing the new season of at the moment.

See, TeeVee is actually educational. Keep watching, you drooling moron.

Full Article.
Aaron Zehner is the author of "The Foolchild Invention" available in paperback and e-book format. Read free excerpts here and here. 

Saturday, October 22, 2016

News You Can't Use: Woman Mistakes Meeting for Trump Gathering, Smears Peanut Butter on Cars

Are you aware that there's an election in the United States coming up in November? Probably not, it's been a very noncontroversial and sedate lead-up to what is certain to be a well-supervised and fraud-free snout count. Still, it's a great time for people with faulty mental functioning and I don't just mean the chance to get paid by acting as shock troops for the Democrats. There's also just the chance to theme your meltdowns into something nice and topical instead of the usual "stop stalking me" or headbanging behavior.

An Amherst woman is expected to be charged with disorderly conduct after she smeared peanut butter on 30 vehicles she believed were parked outside a Trump gathering.

Savor this sentence like an aged cognac, in a few weeks it will all be over and the Ministry of Truth will be back to reporting our military victories in Yemen and how we're certainly not teetering on the edge of civil and/or nuclear war. For now, let's talk about a woman with bad head-wiring who meticulously applied Jiff, presumably after drawing little hearts in each can with a knife, to numerous vehicles. You're gonna need those proteins and massive calorie content after all that hard work.

Investigators said the gathering was actually a conservation group and had nothing to do with politics.

Trust me, our discussion circle on the little red book is completely apolitical.

The incident was reported Monday evening when the group's meeting was interrupted by a woman that appeared intoxicated. 

Yet another incident we can blame on demon juice. Don't worry, booze-bags are also on the shortlist of paid under-the-table in Soros paper donkey party professionals. 

According to the incident report, the woman identified by deputies as Christina Ferguson, 32, entered the meeting and began yelling she hated Donald Trump. The woman was asked to leave, and did.

I asked you to leave and you did. Everyone's happy.

Drinking is very sophisticated.

According to the incident report the woman used peanut butter to make phallic symbols and wrote profanity across the windshield of another vehicle.

This is really some high effort chaos for a prematurely aged cork-sucker. Let's meticulously draw the male wedding gear on dozens of cars. Also, cussing. It's almost like all those alcohol commercials are lying to us about all the fun we'll get out of binge drinking.

Ferguson had a preliminary breath alcohol concentration of .218.

When you're above the Mendoza Line with the old alcohol concentration you might find yourself in trouble.

Ferguson is free on bond. 

You call this justice? *pukes into dumpster*

Aaron Zehner is the author of "The Foolchild Invention" available in paperback and e-book format. Read free excerpts here and here. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

News You Can't Use: Classes for Jedis Run Afoul of the Lucasfilm Empire

Would you like to take a class where you learn to use your nerd stick and get valuable tips on life destruction via escapist fantasy worlds that now must be treated with the sort of grim seriousness formerly reserved for "this time we get to win" Vietnam war movies? Well, there's this thing called "intellectual property" and "litigation" so get ready for a lesson in the real dark side, you rebel scum. It's a Disney property now and, in case you didn't know, if you mess with the mouse you lose your house.

Obsessed fans of “Star Wars” have long enjoyed a tolerant relationship with owners of the pop culture empire’s copyrights and trademarks.

There was this crazy idea that encouraging fandom might actual lead to more revenue in the future. I know, pretty wild stuff. Let's shake off that bizarre idea and start suing the basement boys into oblivion.

But several companies that offer lightsaber combat and Jedi training classes for adults and children apparently went too far for Lucasfilm and its new owner, the Walt Disney Company, which has a reputation for zealously guarding intellectual property.

Your lightsaber moves are no match for our massive illegal monopoly. Here come the lawyers. I've got a bad feeling about this.

Lucasfilm filed a lawsuit last week against New York Jedi and Lightsaber Academy, which teach classes on how to engage in Jedi battles, alleging that the businesses’ use of the words “Jedi” and “lightsaber” along with a logo of the Jedi Order are in violation of intellectual property laws.

New York don't play, sucker. Up here in the world's worst city we fight off underground cannibals and subway dancers with fudging hand-lightning and crazy battles. Come and try it, addict in a Hello Kitty costume, I've had numerous Dirk Starkiller classes.

The lawsuit identifies Michael Brown, also known as Flynn Michael, as the man behind the businesses.

Hands up, don't sue.

Mr. Brown answered emails on Tuesday but said he was too busy and had poor cellular reception, so he could not answer questions about the lawsuit. He did not respond to an email message early Wednesday.

Never change, rotten apple. "I had trouble with my phone, ah'ight? My e-mail's broken too, so don't even bother."

A spokeswoman for Lucasfilm declined to comment on details of the lawsuit but said, “We protect our intellectual property rights vigorously and we take reports of suspected infringement seriously.”

Yeah, right. You can't do anything to me if I stop answering my phone.

New York Jedi offers private lessons and weekly group classes in Midtown Manhattan with “experienced dancers, martial artists, and cosplayers that know a thing or two about saber choreography.”

You'll be surrounded by mentally healthy individuals who enjoy successful and well-balanced lives at pew-pew fantasy academy.

On one part of the site, the classes are listed with a price of $10; elsewhere, it says the classes are free, but donations are accepted to help cover room fees.

Leave your "donation" on the nightstand. If you want me to do the Yoda voice or make droid sounds that costs extra.

The New York Jedi website also advertises a separate group called “Saberkids” for children ages 7 to 13.

Son, I don't think you're getting picked on enough in school so I signed you up for "sand gets everywhere" training.

For a small "donation" this could be you!

Lucasfilm has a long history of fan-created projects, some of which have had implicit endorsement from the company, which was purchased by Disney in 2013. 

The end of that nonsense is a small price to pay for one new soulless and uninspired film per year for the next century.

Aaron Zehner is the author of "The Foolchild Invention" available in paperback and e-book format. Read free excerpts here and here. 

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Civilization V Countdown: #1 Spain

We've finally reached the end of the road and it's almost time to discuss what is, in my correct personal opinion, the best play choice in Civilization 5. Before we do I wanted to throw out a few honorable mentions that didn't make the Top Ten list but are also favorites of mine. We've got the Mayans (Pyramids for faith and science, wacky date counter, yes please) Egypt (Wonder time!) and Russia (Extra iron? Wow!) just missing the cut and maybe one of them would have made the list if I slapped it together at a different time. Well, no. Let's be real, what you got was completely scientific in its development and brilliant in its execution. Let's take it home.

Why is Spain #1

With most civilizations you're directed in a certain direction by the unique ability, unit, improvement and/or building and I'm not nearly enough of a cool and original rebel to go against the obvious designer intentions. With Spain, you could get a variety of possible bonuses or none at all from whatever natural wonders you find and this gives every game a different character. It's refreshing not knowing. Your start could be absolutely dominant or complete garbage and it's out of your hands. And when it is a good start, forget about it. Throw in the Conquistador's ability to both fight and settle and the Tercio, which is, well, something and they're my clear favorite. I've played them enough to have actually gotten a workable Krakatoa, for goodness sake.

As for Isabella, I think the following amazing image is all you need to know.

Honestly, it's not even close.

Most Memorable Game as Spain?

Finding King Solomon's mines in the first ten turns, settling a city with the 500 gold and building almost every early wonder, even ones I wouldn't normally even consider like Temple of Artemis and the Great Wall. The city's production was absolutely insane even with a few citizens. The neighboring Mayans, perhaps rightly sensing that I wasn't going to share when it came to bronze age monoliths declared war, melted against some hastily raised defenses and ended up getting conquered. Later I founded a city on a City State island and got Krakatoa (!), adding a ridiculous science city to go with the production one en route to winning a cultural victory. 

Time to prevent that whole silly "Netherlands" thing.

Aaron Zehner is the author of "The Foolchild Invention" available in paperback and e-book format. Read free excerpts here and here. 

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Civilization V Countdown: #2 Poland

We're getting toward the end of the list and there won't be any lightweights from here on in, that's for sure. Today's topic is Poland, a civilization that for whatever reason hasn't been a major player in the Civilization series until Brave New World when they claimed a spot as one of the strongest choices. My list is all about that sweet subjectivity, of course, but even on a more legitimate "power ranking" I doubt many people would argue against putting them at #2. Well, those cranks that will argue anything, because manufactured drama is a lot of fun and a good use of my time would, but that's only like 70% of the internet, tops. As for me, no one will ever accuse me of forgetting Poland.

Why is Poland #2

Solidarity! This is, hands down, the most enjoyable unique ability of any civilization in the game. I love exploring the social policy tree, but dislike the fact that you generally open Tradition or Liberty, finish whichever you took, throw a few picks into one of the filler choices and then focus on Rationalism and your Ideology. Any other choice is sub-optimal and will likely lead to defeat on higher difficulties where this little room for error. Playing Poland solves this problem with free policies, allowing for some experimentation. Also top it off with some rather uninspiring horse-themed specials, but for me it's all about the chance to fill in aesthetics or try a hybrid opening or the many other little bonuses that open up, both providing strength and encouraging replay-ability. And, of course, Poland can into space.

Casimir III wields a scepter, has a formidable beard and my spellcheck thinks I was trying to type "similar." He's also the "Polish Justinian" a patron of the University system and an army reformer. He was killed while hunting, probably because they didn't have those orange vests in the 1300s.

He's also the Polish Henry VIII, fathering only daughters.

Most Memorable Game as Poland? 

Playing on "Emperor" for the first time I went with Poland and was able to play a four city turtle, not even fighting a war until a brief conflict in the modern era. I eventually won a space victory, beating several other nations that were also attempting it. After that I realized I could win on higher levels, shrugged my shoulders and went back to King without looking back. Honestly, what is the point of being forced to play one very specific strategy, over and over, and deal with the same inept AI that simply receives comical bonuses? The game has a better feel when there's actual room to make mistakes or suffer setbacks. I've even played games where I lost cities in war, couldn't get them back and kept playing. I know, crazy.

Not a flying toy.

Aaron Zehner is the author of "The Foolchild Invention" available in paperback and e-book format. Read free excerpts here and here. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Civilization V Countdown: #3 Venice

The release date is creeping closer for Civilization 6, which in my case will be in about three years when all the expansions, patches and mods are out, I'm finally bored with 5 and the price has fallen dramatically. Still, after seeing some actual game footage from Generation Nothing representatives with bass-free voices that talk like they're blasted out of their minds on Quaaludes (HELLO INTERNET! Thisisthebasementdwellingpolicalfantasyberniegamer! WHAT'S GOING ON?) I have to concede that six is likely to be a good game. Certainly the treble-heavy exposition from paid do-nothings made a better impression than the intelligence-insulting official hype videos (Wow, Builders! That's a new name and everything! Builders! Oh, wow.). There you have it, friends. Ordinary and soft as hell human derelicts of questionable talent are more convincing in marketing a new game than the slick corporate presentations the makers put together at extreme cost.

I thought we were gonna talk about Venice? Yeah, let's do some of that.

Why is Venice #3?

"It's a playable city-state!" declares someone who has completely missed the point. Naturally, Venice can do a lot of things city-states can't, but they are clearly an experiment in how much the basic rules can be changed while still being fun and playable. The good news is Venice is a lot of fun to play and a real challenge as well. Somehow, "we'll put handicaps on you, the player" tends to get a worse reaction than the equal and opposite "we'll give the AI free stuff to make up for its poor play." It's really two sides of the same coin and when you pick Venice, you know you're going to get a very different game. It's because of this issue, not in spite of it, that I love to play as them. Add in flavorful bonuses like double trade routes and merchant takeovers and maybe they're not as weak as the reputation. Also, don't forget the Great Galleass, which never seems to rate a mention but is actually one of the very few unique naval units and a very appropriate choice, too.

Besides, who wouldn't want to be the Doge? Former trivia contest answer Enrico Dandolo truly shines as the wealthy blind old man whose schemes sometimes get a little out of hand. Like that whole Fourth Crusade misstep, for example.

You can pay me by attacking other Christians, it should work out.

Most Memorable Game as Venice? 

I was going for the Great Betrayal achievement (I can't praise the number and creativity of the achievements in this game enough) and Byzantium was actually in the game and converted Venice to the One True Faith. Time to reward that with senseless violence. Nothing like a little historical propriety in what otherwise tends to veer into the most ridiculous historical "what ifs" imaginable. Apply the unique unit, send in some Knights, next thing you know the Crusader army is repeating the same mistakes because we don't like to learn from them. After this atrocity it was back to sending out cargo ships and building toward the diplomatic victory as if nothing had happened, just like in real life.

A funny thing happened on the way to Jerusalem...

Aaron Zehner is the author of "The Foolchild Invention" available in paperback and e-book format. Read free excerpts here and here. 

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Civilization V Countdown: #4 Ethiopia

Growing up in the eighties the word "Ethiopia" called to mind starvation, human misery, an expanding desert and dying children. Not exactly themes that would make for fun times in a vidiot game. Then there's Mussolini's aggression and massacres against hopelessly out-matched soldiers and I think we can all agree that the 20th century wasn't exactly good times for the land of Prester John and the resting place of the Ark of the Covenant. Suffice it to say, the Civilization 5 incarnation focuses more on these aspects and is actually a lot of fun to play.

Why is Ethiopia #4?

One of my favorite aspects of Civ 5 is the religion mechanic and Ethiopia is arguably the best choice to fully explore it (The Celts must rely on unmodified forests, ugh). The Stele gives a strong faith boost right away and, combined with shrines and temples, you might be able to still get a strong religion without relying on faith pantheons and faith natural/world wonders. Or you could throw those into the mix too and really go wild. The unique ability is a strong defensive bonus and you get a unique unit that presents a more optimistic impression of the Italian conquest. These elements combine for a very strong start that is resistant to enemy aggression. It probably isn't a coincidence that the AI Ethiopia always seems to be a powerhouse when they show up in my games as other civilizations.

The leader is Haile Selassie, Time magazine Person of the Year for 1935, symbol of noble but doomed opposition in the face of tyranny and trivia question answer.

Then I told the class about Gandhi's love of nuclear missiles.

Most Memorable Game as Ethiopia? 

Playing on Prince difficulty I was able to peacefully spread my religion almost everywhere. It was ridiculous, the other civilizations with religions were hard-pressed to even keep their Holy Cities. This, combined with the tithe belief led to sickening amounts of income and an eventual diplomatic victory. Is it just a coincidence that some of the most fun games happened on the lower difficulties, while winning on high levels requires a strict adherence to an optimal development path that tends to be largely forgettable? Nah, can't be. I must play on at least Immortal every time or people I've never met and couldn't possibly care less about will be disappointed in me.

I *heart* these.

Aaron Zehner is the author of "The Foolchild Invention" available in paperback and e-book format. Read free excerpts here and here.