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Now Reading: Mind MGMT

Mind MGMT, put simply, is Matt Kindt’s tale of a secret organization of people with bizarre mental powers. The main plot is about a group of former members fighting against the Mind MGMT organization, which was formerly a beneficial one, but is now corrupt and evil, but the book also gets into the long history of the organization and its many weird members. As usual with Kindt, the powers these characters have are a lot more varied and unique than the usual telepathy/telekinesis/etc-type abilities you expect when you hear the term “mental powers”. Sure, there’s a little of that too, but mostly there’s a bunch of unconventional powers involving controlling and affecting minds through various mediums like books, music, and art.

This world and its characters are made even more dense by the unusual placement of pieces of side stories around the gutters of the pages and by Kindt’s dreamlike water colored art, which tends to contain a lot of double-imagery and other odd visual subtexts.

My only complaint is the same one I usually have about these kind of self-contained independent comics: the ending feels a bit sudden and condensed compared to all the slow build-up preceding it, a common problem with these kind of niche titles. Still definitely a worthwhile read though.

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Now Playing: Final Fantasy Dimensions (2010)

Final Fantasy Dimensions is a mobile exclusive Final Fantasy game that’s based heavily on the old-timey Final Fantasy games of the NES and SNES days. The similarity to older Final Fantasy games is both the best and worst thing about this game. Yes, the retro look and mechanics and all the references to the old games are nice, but it brings all the old weaknesses with it too.

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notahero

Now Playing: Not A Hero (2015)

A Devolver Digital game with shooting, pixel graphics, and a nice chiptune soundtrack? What could go wrong? Shifty controls and outright cheating, that’s what. The game starts out decently, with fast paced shooting that feels a little like a side scrolling Hotline Miami, though a little more forgiving. There are multiple characters to be unlocked, though they all seem pretty useless once you unlock the fast running shotgun guy whose name I already forget.

There are comedic briefings between each mission that are amusing at first, but then get a bit grating after the first few times, when you just want to see your mission objectives, but are just given several minutes of jokes and nonsense that scrolls by way too slowly.

The biggest problem is that the button for the slide dash move is the same button used to take cover. Tap X to take cover, hold X to slide…except a lot of the time, even when you just tap X, you still end up sliding. When you are trying to take cover from a guy shooting a hail of bullets at you, but instead you slide directly into him, well…you can see how that might be a problem. A bit more than halfway through the game, the difficulty takes a huge, sudden leap too. It goes from walk in the park to Super Meat Boy type, one single wrong twitch and you’re dead, difficult. This suddenly turns that minor annoyance of a control issue into maddening mission failure after mission failure. I was trying to push through anyway, despite it becoming frustratingly un-fun to try to beat the missions with all the challenge objectives too, but then this happened in a ridiculously tough and strict secret challenge level:

I don’t even know how many times I had to try this level just to get this done, 50 times at least, and then it fucks me over like that? You can very clearly see that I got to the exit before the time ran out, but then the timer kept fucking clicking down anyway. No thanks, buddy. Quit and deleted the game before I ended up breaking another controller. Luckily, it was a free game this month, so all I lost was a few hours of my time, though I regret even that.

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Now Reading: Rachel Rising

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This is a surprisingly dark story from Terry Moore. Seems like every damn person in the town this takes place in is some kind of secret serial killer/abuser/rapist/necrophile/etc. As it turns out later in the story, there is a reason for that, but you’ll have to read it to find that out. This is a typically entertaining Terry Moore story, full of great black and white art and a thoroughly compelling story and cast of characters. The only downside is the same issue Echo had: this story was clearly meant to go on much longer than it did. There’s about 39 issues worth of build up and then everything (almost) is suddenly resolved in a single, final issue and it’s all over before you can even blink. It’s still a worthwhile read, but it sure would be nice to have a more natural conclusion to a Terry Moore story again. Maybe someday…

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Now Playing: Back To The Future – The Game (2010)

Back to the Future is an early Telltale title, back before the modern “Telltale formula” was established, and you can really see why no one really talks about these older games of theirs anymore. The good news is that this game follows more of a standard point and click adventure formula, a pretty well written plot, and has relatively high production quality for its time. The bad news is that it has an unhealthy amount of some of the worst qualities of point and click adventures, which stand out even more with some pretty awful controls.

This game was clearly not meant to be played with a controller and the conversion of its original mouse controls did not turn out well at all. Using a thumbstick to manually navigate a point and click character through awkward camera angles and mazes of invisible walls is about as much fun as navigating through the piles and piles of mostly pointless dialogue trees that make up the majority of the gameplay. The story and dialogue are good at their core, but they’re padded with sooooo much filler dialogue and backtracking in the worst point and click adventure kind of way that it all gets a bit old by the time you’re about halfway through.

This is one of those adventures where you’ll be stuck with nowhere to go and nothing to do and it will turn out that you missed a single line of dialogue in a character’s dialogue tree that’s necessary to make a new dialogue line appear in another character’s dialogue tree that in turn activates the event needed to proceed and blah blah blah and that’s basically the whole game. There are very few puzzles and they’re too basic and/or generic to be very enjoyable. I suffered through the rest of it anyway because I’m a huge fan of Back to the Future and it at least did a good job of capturing that Back to the Future feel, but I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone else who didn’t feel the same way.

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Now Playing: The Walking Dead – Michonne (2016)

The Walking Dead – Michonne is a Telltale “miniseries”. So this apparently means that it’s not only a few episodes shorter than the usual Telltale game, but each episode also feels a bit shorter and smaller than usual. I’m not sure why they went this route with this game instead of just doing a little more and making it a full “season”. I guess they were just experimenting with a possible new format, but I can’t say I’m a huge fan of it.

Now, this game is not bad by any means, but it definitely suffers from the compressed format. All that same Telltale formula gameplay and storytelling is there, but with all the characters and plot being so much more rushed than usual, nothing really packs the usual punch of other modern Telltale games. No one, on either the friend or enemy side, was developed enough that I was surprised or felt that I cared at all when they suddenly died, and the brief plot was too simple for any of your timed choices to really feel like they mattered, and what good is the Telltale formula without the usual twists and tensions? Again, it wasn’t an outright unpleasant experience, there are much worse ways to spend three hours, but it wasn’t particularly memorable and I definitely wouldn’t classify it as a “must play” like the full Walking Dead games.

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Now Playing: Resident Evil 6 (2012)

Resident Evil 6 is kind of the ultimate culmination of all the games that came before it, packing in most of the major characters, several new ones, and various familiar and new types of monsters of all shapes and sizes, all in a lengthy, globe-spanning game made up of four inter-connecting campaigns. Eh, it’s got action in it though, so clearly IT SUCKS, BRO!

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