Name: Stuart, aka "Stu"
Posts by Stu:
Wow...it sure is dusty in here. Sorry for the drought everyone. We've been...busy. Yeah. Busy. Not doing any espionage missions in a alternate Cold War reality where we have to use a degauss pigeons, run into allegories of popular culture, take special medications for all of my missions, and everyone are cyborg robots that look like the people on bathroom signs. Nope. Not us. Though that sounds vaguely familiar.
Oh, that's the incredibly wonderfully bizarre world of Jazzpunk, the new game from indie developer Necrophone Games. Set in this extremely bright alternate world where Cold War espionage and cyber crime meet, you play as an agent for hire and perform various missions while under the influence of your required Missionoyl, which may or may not be a reality enhancing pharmaceutical that is making this as weird as it is. As an actual game, it's really a first person, semi-open world adventure game with a really bizarre and tinge to the darker side sense of humor i.e. my kind. That kind of sense of humor where when things happen, you laugh because it's completely unexpected, or exactly the thing you wish it would be but "no way would they do that", and you accept the reality that is presented and continue on. You accept that you first meet your character on the baggage carousel of an airport. That sentence was worded very specifically. Not at the carousel. On. You accept that your boss goes to his "wine cellar", which is really him doing the pantomiming walking down stairs trick while getting in a drunken stupor under his desk. You accept running into a pie smoking and wearing a beret. Again, specifically worded and grammatically formatted sentence. You accept that whenever you need to use the mouse for something outside of looking, your character suddenly appropriates a hand that would fit in a close up shot of Ren and Stimpy. In fact, Ren and Stimpy is a remarkably good example of the style of humor found in Jazzpunk. The original Ren and Stimpy episodes, not the Ren and Stimpy Adult Party stuff that we all collectively should but cannot forget.
As we all know, humor is very difficult in games. There are far too many examples of games falling so far flat on their faces trying to be funny that their noses came out the back of their heads, which ironically would be rather funny. Jazzpunk succeeds in it's humor by being very simple with it. Jazzpunk also goes in the direction that the humor is not as much dialog, which would be difficult seeing the entire VO is done through voice modulators appropriate for 60s era Cold War spy robots though there are floating subtitles for all the characters, but on visual gags almost to the point of slapstick comedy. With that, on top of the Ren and Stimpy allegory, I'd also throw in bits of Airplane, The Naked Gun movies, and other absurdist parodies like them for good measure. Even some core gameplay mechanics help in this endeavor, like pretty much the only way to interact one object with another is by throwing the item at it, which makes me laugh every time. Especially when it's a request as simple as "Please remove your shoes". It also helps that in many cases, the most humorous parts don't to come to you, you go to them. The side missions and little extra bits in the main missions that do absolutely nothing to move the plot along were just as absurd in every fantastic way possible and when you find them, if you're like me, you start going down this insane little rabbit hole wanting to interact with everything as much as you can just to see what it'll do.
Visually, the game seems to be very inspired by the works of Saul Bass, especially the opening cutscene. Bright colors abound with a stylized cut out motif, the game is beyond cel-shaded. It's a love letter to the pop culture, animation and art of the 1950s and 1960s and I adore it. It's vibrant and actually very beautiful, the exact opposite of many shades of brown and gunmetal grey: the game that happens most everywhere else. Also, with this psychotropic nature of your missions and what they can entail, it fits. My only issue was that, after some extended play time, it started messing with my head out of game, where I started feeling those cold sweats and headaches of maybe I should put the game down for a while. Either that or the Missionoyl was actually coming through the keyboard and into my own system. That would explain so many things. As for the music, it's more on the jazz and less on the punk in the title. Fitting in with that spy aesthetic, the music seemed to perfectly contrast that create the feeling that what was happening was entirely serious, even though it very obviously wasn't.
I don't score games because I find it naturally unfair. I like or dislike games for different reasons and no matter how hard people try, not all games are created equal. However, I can make recommendations. For those of you that want something completely different from most anything else out there in all the right ways and something legitimately funny with just a slight dark sense of humor, go as quickly as possible to your computer gaming device that is of a PC, Mac, or Linux base and either buy this on Steam or from Necrophone Games directly. It will be absolutely worth it. Now, if you excuse me, another bottle of Placebex has appeared seemingly out of nowhere. Hopefully I won't gallop away like a horse like last time.
So, contrary to popular belief, I'm not dead. Sorry to disappoint anyone. But I'm hyper geeking out now. So I've been in a re-kick into Daft Punk recently, but rarely am I not in a kick for Daft Punk, since they announced their 4th studio album titled "Random Access Memories" will come out May 21st. I mean, with teasers like this shown on SNL of all places, how can I not get stoked?
But there's something huge that's just starting to break. It seems possible that a track from this brand new album has already gotten leaked. It definitely sounds like their work and it's already been said that there will be some great collaborations on this album, bringing in the likes of Paul Williams, Giorgio Moroder (producer for Donna Summer and David Bowie among others), and Chic's Nile Rodgers (guitarist, "Le Freak"). Could this be one of those collaborations? Whatever it is, it's an amazing track. Everyone, you have to listen to this and spread it around. Spread it everywhere on the internet. Trust me. It doesn't let me down at all.
For everyone who celebrates it, Merry Christmas to you. For all who celebrates something else, including but not limited to anti-life, happy whatever that would be from all of us at Save Point.
By the way, if you want to download the album, go ahead and do so. It can be free, but if you feel in the giving mood, you can pay what you want. It's full of holiday Chiptune wonderment.
Someone needs to find the skull kid and return the mask. Or relearn the Song of Time.
Say what you will about Psy's Gangnam Style, it is now the number 1 watched video on YouTube, beating out the Bieber's Baby. It's quickly on track of having one billion views. Honestly, outside of a resurgence of Never Gonna Give You Up or a song famous for being atrocious, I would equate this to being one of the first ultra hits, even if it's a one hit wonder, created first on the Internet as a psudo-meme into mainstream hit charts, though for me Gangnam Style will always be associated with this. So, with this mash up, let's take the meme levels, throw them to 11 and rip off the knob. Come on and slam and welcome to the jam everyone. BTW: This mash is actually extremely easy because Space Jam and Gangnam Style are in the same key and have the same BPM. Somewhere, Randy Savage is smiling.
Now if you know anything about web media, you may be looking at this going "Really Stu? Why are you promoting the Totally Rad Show? They've been around forever." Well, this is more an homage than a promotion. Announced on the first show this week, the Totally Rad Show is ending their almost six year run in two weeks.
One thing y'all may not know about me is that I'm a pretty big pinball fan. So much so that probably my most played games on my PS3 is Zen Studios' Zen Pinball 2 and FarSight Studios' Pinball Arcade (can't wait for Twilight Zone on the latter of those! Just need to add The Addams Family and I will be set.). It was one of those things I grew up with and something I very much miss with the mostly death of the arcades. The fact that there is only one pinball manufacturer left in the industry, Stern Pinball, is still something very sad to me, though it's better than none I guess. So this week's musical entry blends two things I enjoy: pinball and DJ Cutman. Recently, Cutman did a pinball charity event up in NYC in which he did an entire mix of pinball music. You rarely hear mixes from pinball tracks, so this is something really rare and pretty darn awesome as such. Included in the mix are tracks from The Machine: Bride of Pinbot, Funhouse, Fish Tales, The Addams Family (Including my favorite song in pinball history The Mamushka), and Elvira and the Party Monsters, among so many others. Of course, Sonic Spinball is in there too because slight trolling. The track is also released on DJ Cutman's awesome GameChops digital label, which is also worth checking out.
So usually I have some sort of chiptune or high energy gaming influenced house track or something like that here. Not this week. Well, it's still high energy, but not as much house. Getting classy here because I'm bringing the violin! Lindsey Stirling has been a long time violinist and YouTuber who's only made her first album release this past September, but is already has a pretty huge following through social media and other stuffs due to her unique violin styles, unexpected covers, and dance. And for the guys, and some girls because why be specific, because she's also immensely cute. For Halloween week, I found it only fitting to do the part of Halloween that no one ever has gotten sick of: zombies. Specifically thriller zombies.
So this one is just a preview, but I'm already hooked. Apparently, this is the first time this artist has written a 2xLSDJ song, but it's certainly solid enough for me. I'm totally loving this. Use this when you're questing for gingers on your own. Besides, his name is Storm Blooper. That's just an amazing image at that. They certainly needed some of those on Naboo.
So usually my Music Mondays are a chiptune showcase, but I've been feeling kind of down and sad for a while. Just have, don't go into it. So what do I have to cheer me up for short stints? This song. This song is so darn happy. Used as the closing theme to TomSka's asdfmovie5, it can be bought if you want the happy to be with you always. I just imagine someone doing a goofy high step walk down the street to the beat of this music, as it plays in the background, Ministry of Silly Walks style. If that doesn't make a smile creep to you, I don't know what will.