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Act II of MS Paint Adventures is now starting. Act I, it turns out, was mainly just prologue and introduction to the game mechanics, so if you were reading it before but got bored and stopped, or if you haven’t been reading it at all, this would be a good place to pick it up, it looks like. (Click through.)

A brief recap: Zoosmell Pooplord John Egbert (internet handle: ectoBiologist) likes paranormal lore, amateur magic and pranks, and terrible movies. His father likes to bake cakes, and collects fanciful harlequins.

John’s friend Flighty Broad Rose Lalonde (handle: tentacleTherapist) likes obscure literature, creative writing, and all things Cthuloid. Her mother has so far only been seen eerily silhouetted in a flash of lightning, but she is apparently into gin and derision. And paintings of elegant wizards.

Our two main characters have extremely cumbersome inventory systems (referred to as a SYLLADEX), based on various data structures such as ‘stack’, ‘queue’, and ‘tree’. They also have a STRIFE SPECIBUS, which indicates their preferred style of weapon. Rose’s is unknown; John has aligned his (apparently permanently) to hammers.

The main plot seems to revolve around the beta release of a new video game called SBURB. Rose has installed the server application, and John the client, which allows Rose to see and manipulate objects in John’s house via a video game cursor-and-menu interface. Once this was discovered, there followed the installation of (and messing around with) several complicated machines that seem to have something to do with card-based alchemy. Also, Rose accidentally destroyed John’s bathroom.

Eventually, a flaming meteor was spotted hurtling toward John’s house. One of the alchemy machines gave a rather short countdown of the time before impact. After some brief flailing around by John and Rose, the meteor has, apparently, struck. Act I closed on the image of a fiery mushroom cloud, and the author posted the above image in the Speculation thread on the MSPA forums.

And that’s the story so far.

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Here’s a neat thing you can spend quite some time reading when you’re supposed to be working. It’s a regular column from Destructoid.com, each article detailing one of the author’s favorite video game moments, and what’s so great about them, including video of the moment in question.

This is, clearly, spoilers. Not just in the links, but here in this post. You’ve been warned.

But anyway, here are a few I’ve picked out as particularly notable, because they’re the ones I particularly agree with. Not that they weren’t all cool moments (the ones I was familiar with anyway), but these are the ones where I nodded and said “Absofuckinglutely.”

Super Metroid: Return of the Baby Metroid — Your mileage may well vary on this one.  What the author doesn’t mention is that, in Super Metroid, you don’t spend much time with the Baby Metroid at all; you don’t get an opportunity to form any attachment to it, really. But, for people like me who played the everliving hell out of Metroid 2 on the Game Boy and actually got to spend some quality time bonding with the cute li’l jellyfish, it was a powerful moment.

Metal Gear Solid 3: Pulling the Trigger — Okay, I didn’t play MGS3. But reading the description of the event… damn. I am impressed. That would have floored me, had I encountered it, unspoiled, during gameplay. There is, somewhere in the back of my head, the knowledge of a similar moment in another game which I did experience, but I can’t quite remember what it was… maybe it’s further up the list.

Super Metroid: Brrzzzzaaaaaaap! — Yeah. That was damn cool. As I recall, I found this out by accident, just trying to escape Draygon’s clutches and thinking “That looks maybe grappable… OH SHIT.”

Metal Gear Solid 3: End of The End — Again, didn’t play it. But this sounds friggin badass. And the alternate solutions are hilarious.

Day of the Tentacle: Suckers and Stripes Forever — If you had asked me, prior to reading this, to name some of the best adventure-game puzzles I could think of off the top of my head, this one probably would not have occurred to me. But he’s absolutely right, it was brilliant. (What would have occurred to me? Hmm. Sending the wind-up bunnies to their explodey doom in Full Throttle, to the tune of “Ride of the Valkyries”? That was a great moment indeed, and should be on the list, but great puzzle? Well… it was decent…

I remember being very satisfied with the marble board in Riven. (Not so much the animal sounds puzzle). What else… eh, I’ll dwell on it later when I’m not in the middle of a post.

Super Metroid: Learning to Fly Wall-Jump — Yes, yes indeed. Goddamn, Super Metroid was such a good game.

Ico: A Leap of Faith — Brilliant game. Combat got tedious, but it was so worth it. Jenni, why haven’t you played this yet?

Hotel Dusk: Through the Looking Glass — That flash of insight where it just clicks what you have to do, and you try it and it works… that’s what adventure games are all about.

Silent Hill 2: Oh My God What The Fucking Fuck? — The author here is absolutely right, and then again, oh so terribly wrong. Because that is not a “pair of inaminate mannequins” that Pyramid Head is raping. Or, well, it is, but that phrase doesn’t mean what it sounds like it means. A “mannequin”, in this context, is the name for a monster which consists of two pairs of mannequin legs and the adjoining pelvises, with the pelvises joined at the cut — it walks on one pair of legs, and attacks you with the other. Because, yes, it is quite animate, as you will note if you watch the video. They only stop being animate once Pyramid Head has finished raping them to death.

Silent Hill 2 fucked my shit way, way up. It did this by being extremely scary — not in the Resident Evil “BOO! GOTCHA!” sense but in the “Oh god oh god what is that sound I don’t want to open this door oh god” sense. It was so disturbing and frightening that I really did not want to play it… but the story was so good that I had to.

The sequels, sadly, did not achieve this balance.

Monkey Island: You Fight Like a Cow — If you’ve played KoL, and more specifically Insult Beer Pong, you already know I love this. (Yes, Insult Beer Pong was my doing. No, I shan’t apologize.)

Chrono Trigger: And That’s Why Your Mom’s a Miserable Cripple — Yeah, this was pretty moving. But not for the usual reason. See, I only played Chrono Trigger just recently, on the DS. And when I got to this scene, I figured out the password pretty quick. Lucca’s (except in my game she was named “Jet”) mom’s name is Lara, that’s easy. What I didn’t get right away was the “left button – A button – right button – A button” thing. I was tapping away on the regular Search button, trying desperately to find somewhere I could input the password and save Jet’s mom. So many times, I saw the fade-to-black and heard that awful crunch and scream. Eventually, I looked it up on GameFAQs. “Oh man!” I said. “Of course!”

So I reloaded the save and tried again. And again. And again. Because it didn’t fucking work. I don’t know if the DS version was fucked up, or just my copy, but the buttons did not register and it was not possible to save Jet’s mom.

*crunch* “Scream!”

It was the most terrible thing ever.

Beyond Good and Evil: A Moment of Silence — Yeah, the dude gets this one spot on. It’s been a long time since I played it, so I don’t remember for certain, but chances are I had a big ol’ case of “I got something in my eye” at that point. I’m a total puss when it comes to a sad, well-directed scene. In fact, if it’s directed well enough, I’ve been known to get choked up from a scene being not sad at all, but rather too awesome. I’m a big manly man, yes I am.

Jeez, this was
long. I shoulda broken it up and gotten multiple posts out of it.

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I like Star Wars. I wouldn’t say I’m a Star Wars fan, but it’s among the stuff I like. And sometimes I feel embarrassed by that, what with Episodes 1-3 being so wholly execrable, and Lucas “re-imagining” the originals into the ground, and generally just taking a giant shit all over the franchise because he doesn’t understand that the originals were good in spite of him, they were good because the other people working on the projects told him when his writing and ideas were shitty and forced him to rewrite until they were good, instead of just saying “Yes that’s awesome Mr. Lucas, whatever you say Mr. Lucas!”

Anyway, that went a bit ranty, but my point is: Sometimes I’m embarrassed about liking Star Wars. But then I watch something like this, and I say “Fuck yes, I like Star Wars.”