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All posts for the month May, 2007

Leaving for DC for our very first excursion to the fabled East Coast, our firm intention is to capitalize on a precious long weekend. For the flight, I am bringing along my Nintendo DS and Hotel Dusk, but the recent announcements from Nintendo have me slightly riled up, if there can be such a state.

Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, Geometry Wars DS, Mario Strikers Charged, they all make me happy. But Planet Puzzle League, a revival of the puzzle perfection that was Tetris Attack, has me in throes of ecstasy. Do nerds lose their virginities to the nigh-sexual stimulation delivered upon slabs of unassailable gameplay? If so, then Tetris Attack was my first, and I remember her way too well.

A puzzle game is a funny thing. Its purpose is to stroke you until you are frustrated with mounds of unfulfilled resolutions that dance tantalizingly within reach. Yet pleasure in them is in the play, not the completion. Each time you do it, you learn to can go longer, and in time it's second nature. You gain mastery of a new, simple universe with simple rules, until you meet another player. Pitted against each other, you become addicted to unending contests of attrition.

The perfect puzzle game, which Tetris Attack is, never lets up. The split second of breath it gives you to either save yourself, or let a fuckton of bricks crush the life out of you is like trying to pants Death and escape alive. A perfect puzzle game, like Tetris Attack, doesn't give you or your opponent any cheap saves though. Each near-death experience is earned, and each earned is in turn a riposte, and each riposte can add up to a counterattack upon your nemesis' unpreparéd ego. I would say this game is the purest distillation of human power struggle and its wanton equilibrium ever made.

You know when a game is perfect when in the end a match between equally skilled players is decided not on luck, but on preserverance. This isn't the imbalanced Puzzle Fighters, the analog Wetrix, the stoic Tetris, the feminist Zuma, the arbitrary Lumines, or the shallow Bust-a-Move. This is Planet Puzzle League. Be afraid.

Spiderman 3, like Return of the King, is a movie that tried to do far too much. Both were worth the price of the ticket, when worth is measured in entertainment value, but for a deeper satisfaction, they failed to scratch an itch I've had since my child's mind, impressionable and gullible, clung to these works as if the universes therein were my secret fuel. I don't need to defend Spiderman 3, the movie sine Venom, as I think critics were far too harsh on it. It's when we get to Venom that I feel dreadfully disappointed.

So we get it. There were too many themes. Responsibility to a wife, hubris in doing the right thing, revenge, friendship, anger, principles, the immorality of the otherwise impoverished, all are smooshed into this movie. Wasn't well-orchestrated, but it's mature for a comic-movie. That's good. It's thrown at us without plain badass action and funny jokes being forgotten, no easy task, and the Raimi/Stan camp was delightful, if sycophantic to the demographic.

And then they ruined Venom, the only reason I even care about the Marvel universe.

Venom's story is about humiliation, which they hamfistedly alluded to. In the comic, Eddie Brock sought to please his father, an uncompromisingly religious man. Neither his perfect grades, nor his physical prowess moved the patriarch. Finally losing his job by fabricating a story, Brock not only failed to impress his father, but the scandal destroyed their relationship permanently. Devastated, Eddie contemplated suicide.

One night, Eddie goes to the Our Lady of the Saints Church to please for forgiveness. Spiderman happens to dispose of the symbiote there, fearing that it would bond with him. The symbiote, which was essentially a neutral being (unlike the one in the movie) found a match in Brock's hatred for Spiderman, who's alter-ego had exposed the scandal, bonded with Brock. They formed Venom.

Any none of that Venom, other than the black suit and some teeth, made it onto the big-screen. There was none of the gleefully violent and morbidly funny Venom who, having found salvation in the union, hunts an innocent Spiderman while tormenting him by doing laundry for Aunt May by day. There was none of the Venom who refers to himself as "we" and "us" and hungers for Parker's liver with a little chianti. There was none of his desire to "save innocents" from Spiderman, whom he saw as the real evildoer through his twisted mind. The comic Venom was what Spiderman with the same genius and dedication would turn into without Peter Parker's nuturing family and friends.

Instead, we got a simplified alien monster inserted almost like a clip-art into the movie. We are not pleased.

Finally assembled our pics, after getting submissions from many friends. I tried to make a short photo-essay with my comments on with our wedding photos, split into these albums: REHEARSAL, CEREMONY, and BANQUET.

I had a lot of fun recalling the stories from that day, but their accuracy, filtered thru the heady haze of the day, may leave much to be desired. 😀

Now that this institutional is concluded, life awaits the next milestone. Birth, school, love, job, marriage, children, retirement, and death. These are pillars of the American life, and though you don't need them all for a steady foundation, the more you have the steadier you seem.

When we saw how the wedding had completed, we knew we had grown up. And that, in retrospect, is pluperfection.

It was during this creative process that I fully realized how important rhythm was to storytelling. I unconsciously discovered the duality of interiorization and distancing between the creator and his artwork.

I wanted to communicate a cinematic experience according to two principles:
First, the succession of images, which is the montage, and second, the direction, the dramatic structure.

Contrary to one may believe, I think it is the second point that most characterises Another World. There is a dramatic tension in the game that does not always rely on visual effects, even though the visual effects appear now and then to reinforce efficiently the direction of the game. This game assists the immersion of the player with no exterior elements to the world (score, energy gauge etc.) displayed on the screen.

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