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I Am Adam’s Fading Fear. I Am Bitter Resolve.

March 23, 2014

Issue 18
Vol 3

black and white black movies white fight quotes fight club edward norton film tyler durden club 1_www.wallpaperfo.com_72

I was sitting in my dorm room in McDavid when I first saw Fight Club. It was a profound movie, an eye opening adventure that would not be duplicated for years to come. The following summer I read the book and maintained that the movie, directed by David Fincher, had done the impossible: it was better than the book. Not by much. But it was. I can still see chapters, as if I read them a moment ago.

The other incredible thing about the movie and book was that I knew, immediately after I finished both, that it was the type of book a rejected loner would gravitate too. Too lazy or stupid to decide anything meaningful about his life he would use Tyler Durden as a model. Like a child pretending to be a cowboy he would play the part. Over acting the part with wide eyes and the subtly of a hand grenade.

I am Adam’s mild annoyance.

Lets start this.

Mass Appeal

Much like my mission to read all of the books that I currently own I am doing the same thing with my video games. Being very thorough and making sure that I have completed every game that I have bought before I buy any new ones. I did beat Mass Effect 1, 2 and 3 but the ending and what happened in the last third of the final game made me want to go back and do it all over again. In fact that’s not the first time I have ever done this in this game. The games, individually each one is huge, and the trilogy by any definition is massive. So lets start from the beginning.

The game is set in a future with a long history. Rivalries and bad blood older than humanities first steps from between the Tigris and the Euphradies. I won’t go into detail because I don’t have the time or patience to explain everything the way it needs to be explained but the Mass Effect World is whole and very lively. You play as a human character called Shepard that is given the position of Spectre, a special agent of what passes for a galactic council. You go on a milky way spanning adventure where you can really get as involved as you want. You make choices and those choices have consequences later in the game, or the in the sequels. If you do something right, or wrong, you might just end up saving a character you like or getting them killed.

I think in the first game the signature moment for me is on Virmire, a planet inspired by the Phi Phi Islands. A lush planet that is the secret base for the main antagonist. And right before you go off and get into the thick of the fight you are faced with a choice. The first time I played the game I wasn’t able to save who I wanted. Wrex, a Krogan mercenary had found a way to save his people. Saving them would put the mission and the galaxy in jeopardy. Because I had not completed enough of the side missions and was not at at the appropriate levels he was shot and killed. Wrex wasn’t just powerful, or funny, he was an interesting character, one of my favorites. I knew right then and there that I was going to replay the game and save Wrex.

On that very same planet I was given another choice and no amount of leveling up would have changed anything. I had to choose between a potential love interest and a friend (which character is which changes depending on if your Shepard is a male or Female). I knew what I wanted to do and I made the choice and saved the girl. But it wasn’t easy. Not by a long shot.

Wrex argues for the future of his race, and his life, with the player.

Wrex argues for the future of his race, and his life, with the player.

After that planet and those choices the game went from “Pretty Good” to “HOLY FUCK THIS IS AMAZING!” The final firefights and ultimate battle felt like the end of a great  journey and I knew this game was going to be classic.  So I replayed the game, saved Wrex and did as many side missions as I could. My Shepard from the first game was pretty much maxed out. On each play through, after the first one, you can use your saved character to play through the game again. So that’s what I did. Each time, however, I found more and more things. The Universe of Mass Effect is huge and epic in a way that is hard to explain. Right Behind Star Trek I think I would live in the Mass Effect Universe (put a pin in Star Trek though…maybe the post for April).

Mass Effect 2 allies. Its up to you to save them, if you can.

Mass Effect 2 allies. Its up to you to save them, if you can.

I beat Mass Effect 2 and didn’t play through it twice, not immediately. I was impressed with it though. I though the promise of your choices effecting what you would be able to do or interact with in the next game. It did and it did in a big way. I think the most natural thing is to have the choices made in the middle of the story have the most ripples. Mass Effect 2 is like that. In this game you are tasked with getting a group of Assassins, Soldiers, and Scientists together to fight off a new threat. I am not in the business of giving away plot but this game is a sequel, and definitely effected by the events of the first game but it feels like a whole new game. Its darker, the whole game is. The characters are darker, deeper and more complex. The setting is darker and foreboding like the environments are against you also, there is no happy safe place like the Citadel in the first game. The enemy is darker, insect like and terribly inhuman and they act in a calculating, self-sacrificing way. There are few things scarier than an enemy who is willing to die for their cause even if it is just a video game. Hell even whether or not Shepard lives or dies is in question. If you don’t explore enough or ask enough questions the chances of your version of Shepard may die or one of your favorite side characters may die. The first time I beat this game I saved everyone and thought it wasn’t that hard. I had learned my lesson from the first game, I spoke to as many people as I could and did as much as I could this first play through. I did as much as I could. I was happy with the ending.

Then I played it twice more. once I got to the very end and Mordin, a scientists introduced in that game (One of the best characters in video game history, in my opinion) died. I didn’t hesitate, or even save the game. I stood up turned it off and counted the entire experience as a loss. The next time after that I was 75% through the game, making great time and having a blast. Jack, a violent, powerful and sexual female with plenty of tattoos and a shaved head argues with Miranda a dark haired bombshell with a sexy voice and a tight fitted suit (you have the option to sleep with either one, I always choose Miranda). The argument turns violent and Shepard has to break them up. This time I had to pick sides and that destroyed my friendship let alone any chances I had with Miranda. If she wasn’t on my side she would surely die, and I couldn’t have that. This time I turned the game off and didn’t play it for months. I had grown attached to each character and the idea of them dieing is not acceptable, especially if I had the chance to save them.

Epic on a galactic scale.

Epic on a galactic scale.

Then came Mass Effect 3. It has been a trend for me that the third game in a massively popular series is generally my favorite. COD: MW3. Halo 3. but Mass Effect 3 wasn’t my favorite. It had great graphics, improved and combat and game play, hell the firefights feel frantic and dangerous. The ending was…well lets just say it left something to be desired. That’s all I’ll say about that. Up until that though the game was brilliant. Just brilliant. Mass Effect 1 will always be my first love, when it comes to this series, BUT Mass Effect 3 is in my top 20 games of all time (a list I will put together for my blog in the near future. For the record Mass Effect 1 would make the top ten, for sure). It manages to do what just about every other game in that list has ever done. I think my friend Nate Edwards summed up what I like most in a game. “You have the ability to win but will you win is in question.” I like it in video games, movies or any fiction when the stakes are high and the characters aren’t necessarily the center of the story. In Mass Effect the game is focused on you and your crew but you get the feeling there the world you are playing in would go on without you. The mission in the end particularly felt frantic and desperate.

There was a point in this game where I had to decided between two major factions. Given my choices in the previous two games, and a handful of random choices in this game, I was given only two options when the third one is the one I really wanted. I watched a friend, and so much more die. It was brutal. It was like the first time I played ME1 and watched Wrex die, or the time Mordin bought the farm, or when I knew Miranda was a goner. I knew right then, right there that I was going to go back, back to the beginning and do it all over again. I was going to defeat Saren, save Wrex, survive the suicide mission, save Morden, save Miranda, save them all just so I can get to this point, one more time, and this time do it better. Do it the way it should be done.

I could go on about this game but I won’t. Just know that if they do really come out with a Mass Effect 4, or something like it, I will be there.  I cannot recommend it enough.

Resolution Round up 2014: The Dumpster Fire Continues

You can SMELL the disapointment.

You can SMELL the disappointment.

Running – F

I haven’t run once. Well that’s not true. If you count the times I went to the gym and ran on the elliptical and tread meal then I am running, again, sporadically. Its cold here but I should get over that. There is enough time to get back into running before I have a physical assessment in the Navy. So I should start running again. Like right now.

Fast Foot – C

Before I got into my apartment I had to eat a lot of fast food. A lot. I kept track of it in my planner. When I did move in to my place I found a grocery store and even got one of their little rewards cards (why does every place have one of these. I will look into it). I bought food, made lots, froze some, learn to cook more things. I went a solid 2 weeks without eating any fastfood, and that included the weekends. I think in February I had 5 meals that were fast food. And 3 of those were when I was still in the hotel. If I am being fair I only did go to a fast food restaurant twice when I had the choice of eating at my house. But I’m trying to be honest. I also did go to a restaurant for another reason and that’s a story you can read if you scroll down.

Certifications – B

The short answer is that I have been studying. I plan to take my Network+ exam in late March or April. Whats holding me up is that I need a .mil address to sign up for the free voucher for the certification. It took two days and some running around to finally get me on the list to have my account made but at a command of this size its going to take as long as the lazy ass administrators take to make my account. So once that happens the wheels start turning. I gave my self such a good grade because I have been studying and I know I can pass my network+ exam if I took it today. Once I get the voucher I plan on taking a practice exam or two, seeing where I am weakest and really hitting the books.

Another reason I gave myself a good grade is because of the leg work I did. I noticed that people are generally helpful as long as you ask in the right way. “Excuse me, I need a little bit of help” that is just polite but if you need something don’t just ask or say something like “Can you give it to me?” or even “How do I get it?” If you switch up the words and place the onus on yourself getting what you want then people want to help. People like to help, more than that people like to help people who want to help themselves. “What does it take to get [whatever you want].” Or something like that. Its simple and a real “gee whiz” sort of statement but it had happened me. Especially with this.

I work with or around a lot of civilians. They have a wide array of training and certifications and year, decades or experience in what I want to learn. So I introduce myself when I find someone who knows more than I do, and I ask them if I could come back later and “pick their brain”. I shake hands and I smile and show my interest. They won’t get me to pass any tests. They won’t get me any answers. They do have knowledge and know people I don’t. If I want into this industry networking is key. Not what you know but who you know.

Dating (again(again)) – A

Now I want to preface this with a request. No, not a request. A demand. I don’t want any sappy, insipid or condescending applause or back patting. In the end my ego and pride are pretty hard to swallow and my efforts to over come this is hard for me. So when you do that I feel like the special needs kid that slept through the night without shitting the bed.

I messaged a women on a dating website and she responded. This is out of the ordinary but not unexpected. And that’s what I expected to happen again. So we exchanged messages for the better part of a few days, casual conversation mostly. Then she asked me out. Now this is totally unprecedented. This is like being an astronaut and getting a letter from aliens asking about franchise rights for McDonald’s on their planet. I have been on dates before. But no one has ever asked me out and never on this site. before this the best I did was casual conversation and then nothing. I agreed and shortly after she sent me her number, right before I sent her mine.

This was going well. Too well and knowing my luck she was either 1) about to give me some excuse and backout. 2) Setting me up with her friend who has been off her medication for the better part of 4 weeks. 3) A spy who is about to work me for information (THIS is a real though that crossed my mind. Maybe I have been watching too much of The Americans. Its a good show).

The Americans on FX Wednesdays sometime...who gives a shit I use my DVR to record it. What do you people want?

The Americans on FX Wednesdays sometime…who gives a shit I use my DVR to record it. What do you people want?

A part of me wants to be cruel, a little, and write in florid detail a jacked up, over the top, scenario about me bringing Batman action figures, comic books and my sock puppet and talk about Batman all night long before she runs shouting into the night. But I am not as inept as I claim and I should really stop using that defense mechanism the one that makes me react in that way. That over the top way where I am part insulting you and entertaining myself. I HATE my insecurity.

This proves what I already knew what was true. If I kept trying then dumb luck was bound to kick in at some point. So that’s the plan going forward. Just swinging for the fences.

Also, for the record, I hate writing about this if only because this is the only section people focus on. If I get any comments I will be about this one section, I promise. In fact I had a friend, a close friend, flippantly tell a punch of people that this was all I wrote about and I haven’t shown her anything since. I hate people sometimes, especially the ones I love.

Oh…the date? Yeah it went fine and at the time of this writing we plan to see each other again. If the weather holds up that is.

The next few months should be interesting. Or at least I hope so. Or else I would have nothing to write about.

~ Adam

  1. Mass Effect (ok, and Bioshock, but less so) is the only game to really make me stop mid-game and not want to continue because I don’t want to make a choice. Though you know me–all light-side all the way, gotta do all the side missions. I didn’t lose anyone (who could have been saved) and only have played through once (that horrible ending…grrr). I was FemShep with Garrus as my soul mate. (Soldier bro-love forever. In fact, I recommend that matchup just so you can hear the incredible hilarious comments you get completely deadpan from Mordin. “I believe I have a topical ointment that can help with that.” So good.)

    PS. Yay good job!

    • Oh, PS. They have those little rewards cards everywhere because it’s an incentive for you to carry what amounts to a financial tracking device all the time. They track what you buy, build a profile around what kind of person you are (27/Black/Male/single/enjoys books), so they can better sell to you (and to everyone else). Insidious and smart.

      • With a cursory search on Google and some thought I figured that out a few moments after I wrote it. Didn’t think to take it out however.

    • Mordin makes the ointment crack if no matter who you decide to persue. OR at least he did when he thought I was hitting on Jack. Something specifically about Jack being a little promiscuous.

      I know you are a “completest” when it comes to video games. Have you played any of the DLC? I am playing through Mass Effect 3 again to see if I can save the Geth and the Quarians. On the first play through I had to sacrifice to Quarians because of choice I made in the second game that I made. At the time I thought it was the right choice to rewrite the heretics instead of killing them.

      • I managed to save both the Geth and Quarians, and got the ointment comment regarding inter species friction. But I haven’t played the DLCs because I’m being cheap. 😦

  2. Dominic permalink

    Dating comment,

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