Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Ariana

A small 1000 word scene that was bouncing around in my head.

"Ariana"

Money.

It's always about the money.

Ariana knocked a stack of books off a chair and dragged it to the door, slamming it under the handle and wedging a small chest underneath the raised chair legs, it made a solid brace she was satisfied with. She began to circle the room, checking every window, ensuring the shutters were closed and locked. All the while keeping her gun trained on the figure in the centre.

It was a lower floor room in a half-abandoned inn, decorated with the few material possessions she has chosen to keep over the years, an open floor design with two doors in, one leading to the hallway, and the other to the privy, the room she stood in was a combination of bedroom, kitchen, and everything else, not that she had the furniture for entertaining, her bed was barely anything more than pile of rags in the corner.

With the heavy shutters on the windows now locked in place, Ariana felt safe enough to lower her weapon, the man tied to the chair in the centre of the room relaxed and an edge of cockiness covered his bruised face with a grin.

"Why don't you check again love, I reckon you missed a spot."

She lurched forward and raised her gun at the man, the wide-bore barrel inches away from his face, so close the smell of stale discharged steam and oil burned at his nostril hairs. She stared down the sight into his eyes and gave him a look of pure hate.

Don't tempt me Dirk.”

I could kill him, why don't I kill him?

The man was no longer smiling, instead he tilted his head and spat a glob of bloodied saliva onto the floorboards.

You're wasting your time girl, they know where we are. They'll break down that door, free me, and then we'll take what we're owed.”

The grin came back, but with more malice this time, Dirk's left eye was almost entirely swollen shut and a large cut on his lower lip slowly seeped blood in and around his mouth. The portable gas lamp on the table next to her shone its dull light across his face, a lumped mess by her hand.

There's been so many bodies already, what's one more?

"If you don't have the gold we could always.. work it out."

He began to chuckle but she hit him across the face with the back of her gloved hand, the force was enough to rock the chair side to side, lead scaling inside her glove bit into Dirk's face once again. He coughed and more blood and spit came out, spraying across the floor in an arc. Grunting he locked eyes with her, but kept silent

Holstering the gun in the frame attached to her thigh, Ariana took a step backwards then turned away from the brute, out of Dirk's sight she slipped her hand out of its glove, through the leather and lead plating the sheer dullness of his skull had broken her skin, a split down her finger stung and was beginning to bleed, Ariana winced as she put the glove back on then turned around to face him.

Why did you come here? You got what you want, our deal was final. I was paid to shoot him, I shot him"

"You was paid to kill 'im."

"The man's dead."

"Aye that he is, but it wasn't your bullet that done it. You broke the contract."

She paced back and forth across the room, trying to get a grasp of the situation, she didn't have the money, nor any means of acquiring that amount.

It was supposed to be one job, just one, quick, simple pull of the trigger

Shadows raced across the bench, people, maybe a dozen, the gaslight in the alley outside giving them away as it cast their figures through the crack of the shutters. She was running out of time. She needed to get out of there, but she still had a debt to take care of.

"I don't have your money Dirk, you knew that already."

She turned to face him.

"What do you want from me?"

"Blood."

That was enough to set her off. She kicked Dirk in the chest, sending both him and the chair he was tied to crashing to the ground, with the wind knocked out of his lungs he hunched forward, but a kick with her leather boot forced him back to the ground. She stood over him, one foot on his neck, with just enough pressure to make the situation painful.

I can do it, I should do it.

"I could do it, you know I could, they wouldn't find me across the border."

Struggling to breathe, the bloodied and bruised man just smiled up at her, he wheezed out at her.

"They wouldn't find you, but they'd find her."

Beth

Mixed sensations of dread, of fear, washed over her body, followed with an overpowering primal rage, she reached for her holster, but grabbed Dirk's hand instead, a hand that her her gun firmly in its grip. In a single motion he ripped the holster from her thigh with one hand and struck a blow into her stomach with the other, the torn leather encasing and the gun scattered across the room, Ariana doubled over in shock and pain, he grabbed her by the hair and pulled her down to the floor, their heads collided and her vision blurred. His large hands grabbing at her shoulders pinning their bodies together, his brutal, wheezing breath was hot against her face as she struggled against him, the smell of tobacco and rancid meat. Pushing against his face to get as far away as possible she could feel his smile as he wrapped a calloused hand around her slender throat. As he tightened his hold on her she managed to lift a leg high enough to bring it down with force onto his groin.

He bellowed in pain and released her enough to get free, she ran to the corner of the room, vision still shaky, to where her gun was. Dirk stood himself up with one hand with his other cradling his crotch, he winced in pain as he rose, and took hold of a shattered chair leg from the ground.

He was too slow.

Ariana aimed the gun at his face, but the room was spinning, she knew she couldn't miss, and only had one chance to save herself, but the thoughts kept running through her head.

Beth... Dirk... Money.. Death..

The door to the room burst open. Several men wearing the same uniforms as Dirk began to pile into the room, in their hands were stun sticks, batons containing immense pressure build up in the shaft generating enough electricity to incapacitate an individual, standard equipment for city's police. She was cornered.

What have you done with her Dirk!?”

He took a casual step forward.

She's not a part of this, she's barely a child.”

Another step.

She steadied her aim.


Curse you Dirk, you bastard.” and pulled the trigger.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

That's all folks

Five Thumbs Down is no longer being updated.

I've removed the filler and left the gold, so feel free to go through the older posts for a laugh.

You can catch me at Tumblr




Monday, October 1, 2012

Thursday, February 23, 2012

POP!




LANGUAGE WARNING

BOGAN WARNING







I had just debarked from the train at Gosford, ready to waste another 20 minutes between trains. Girls with tattoos and nose rings scattered around the station which made for a slight improvement to the otherwise standard “drunk man with pants falling down” scenarios. Unfortunately this was their stop, so they walked out of my life forever.

The next person to walk into my life wasn't a cute tattooed girl, but a shirtless man in his late teens, wearing his cap at a backwards angle, with a cigarette hanging from his mouth.

He called over to me as I was walking past, and that's where our conversation began.

“Oi bro nice sunnies”

“Oh, thanks.”

“They make you look like the fucking Terminator, but there's only one problem.”

“Yeah? What's that?”

“I can see your eyes through 'em. That means if you're smashed, and the coppers come by, you can't hide.”

“Haha yeah I reckon” At this point I engage BOGAN MODE, and start shortening words and adding emphasis to all my vowels.

“I like the sunnies where they can't see your eyes, like when they come around at the station, you just pop 'em on and you're fine”

“Yeah they're good sunnies..”

“But hey yeah, when you're at night though.. you can't put them on ay? Because... how sus does that look?”

“Yeah nah, pretty sus ay”

After that we talk about our destinations, his being a shorter platform station. So I tell him he should be in a rear carriage, which he agrees on. The guy is really friendly, if not a little forward. Then our chat turns into the bizarre.

“My mate hey, he got caught on the front carriage, and the door was locked to get to the other carriage.”

“Ah shit, he miss his stop?”

“Fuck no, he fucking kicked the door down.”

“Kicked it?”

“Yeah mate, kicked it, POP” Every time he says pop from here on, he making a physical kicking gesture

“Wow, strong guy.”

“Not only that ay, he kicked ANOTHER door, POP, and then another, POP. And then he was gonna kick the last door, but a fucking guard came.”

“Ah shit, he get fined?”

“Nah man, he runs up and he's all Asian and shit, and says “OH NO PREASE STROP KICKIN DOORAH” and opens the door with his key, POP”

“I suppose if I saw a guy who kicked down three doors I wouldn't stop him either.”

“Fucking ay, I reckon I could kick down any door in the world.”

“Yeah?”

*POP*
“Yeah, I was in custody before, and this cunt's going “I raped your sister I raped your sister”, so I kicked down the concrete door, POP, and then the coppers come, POP, then I kick his door down, POP. And he's fucking there, but I'm like “nah won't kill yah”, so I elbowed him in the face”

“That shut him up?”

“Yeah, because I cut out his tongue, and fed him his tongue.”

“That'll really shut him up”

“Fucking yeah, he's got a metal tongue now, but he talks all fucked up.”

at this point I make a weird noise as an example of a person with a missing tongue, much to his delight

“HAHA that's heaps what he sounds like ay, llike a fucking retard. Oi nah but I shouldn't say retard, cause it's offensive to proper retards. Hey have you seen Click?”

“The Adam Sandler movie?”

“Yeah, what if I had that remote, wouldn't need to kick down a train door, just CLICK and POP, the doors open. Hey you know that part..”

“With the tits?”

“YEAH FUCKING MASSIVE TITS HAHAHAHAHA”

He goes on to talk about scenes from the movie, mostly the bits about boobs and farting

Eventually the train arrives and he runs off to the rear carriages, and another Gosford train chapter is written into history.


Saturday, November 12, 2011

Superman's Superprospects

Arkham Asylum was a homerun that no-one saw coming.

Video games and comics have rarely mixed in the past, for two things that go so well hand in hand in our lives, combining them usually ended up in poor results. Comic based video games are just bad, terribly bad. Those of you who have played Superman 64, the generic Spiderman games, or Catwoman: The Movie: The Game will know what I'm talking about.

North London Studio Rocksteady took the beloved Batman character, in a time when his popularity was at its peak, and decided to do the opposite of what everyone expected. They decided to make a Batman game unrelated to any existing story out there.

If they were to phone it in they would have gone straight to a "Batman Begins / Dark Knight" game, featuring Christian Bale's voice and rigid grimacing. Or at a stretch, gone for a game based on an existing storyline. But they didn't. They took some existing arcs and merely referenced them, choosing to do a new story, a standalone game story. And what was the result? Sheer brilliance.

It was an engaging, gritty, fun as absolute crap game and it was the first time the player actually felt like Batman. Rocksteady perfected the transition from stealth to full blown combat that most games can never do. One minute you'd be sneaking up on a thug and taking him down silently, the next you're engaged in fisticuffs with 15 ruffians, leaping from one to the other, snapping limbs and throwing Batarangs everywhere. For the first time in video game history, you weren't just playing Batman, you WERE Batman.

Arkham Aslyum also opened up a new level of Gotham for newcomers, the majority of people outside the comic world would know a few villains, but Rocksteady said "fuck you, know em all", and provided a massive amount of easter eggs, character bios, and tributes. Walking past a jail cell then doing a double take as I saw pages strewn across the room, all with dates marked on them, I said to myself "holy shit.. calender man?" and BOOM, with the press of the scan button the game gave me Calender Man's backstory and even an awesome little sketch of him.

Rocksteady struck gold once more, and gave Batman some space to stretch his legs and go on the prowl. Walling off a section of Gotham, Arkham City put you in the famous city itself, albeit a little worse for wear... you felt like Batman on a rough night, traversing rooftops, beating on thugs, and foiling the plots of the more eccentric villains.

All good things must come to an end though, and while I feel Batman has one more mind blowing game in him from Rocksteady, I know they can't churn out the gold too many more times. Rocksteady know this too, and they've already looked towards other DC Superfriends just waiting for a good game to be made for them, and god damn they're overdue.

But the problem with another character is there's really only one other option for a DC superhero. And that's Superman.

DC really missed the boat when it came to superhero movies. Where Marvel's colourful critters leap from the page to the screen easily, DC banks a lot of old storylines, some that date back to the 40's into a relatively small roster. And trying to put 70 years of character evolution into a 90 minute movie results in poor misunderstood films. This means that the mainstream audience are only familiar with a few DC characters, limiting Rocksteady's choice for their next game.

The problem with Superman is he's just too fucking Super. Clark works great when he plays a small role, like in Batman: Hush, and The Dark Knight Returns. In fact I half expected him to make a cameo in Arkham City much like Robin's little bit. Since they took a lot of ideas from No Man's Land which had a brilliant single issue story with Superman, I was looking foward to a little back and forth with Bruce and Clark. But hell, that's what DLC is for right?

Superman is great in small doses, but as a main focal point he loses his impact. There's no slow burn with him, he can utterly decimate anything at the speed of light. Let me break it down into a few key points why a Superman Game just won't work.


1) Superdickery

Batman is, at the end of the day, an ordinary man. Sure he's at his mental and physical peak, but he's still flesh and bone and blood. A stray bullet would put an end to his entire crusade.

Fighting 15 thugs in Arkham City takes a little bit of practice, and you still get knocked about if it doesn't go your way. Put a guy with a gun into the mix, and you're in a potentially lethal situation there.

With Superman, there's no danger. The guy can pummel the strongest opponents into dust, and is impervious to bullets. Superman fighting thugs is unbelievable, he'd have to go up against aliens, or robots, or other super-men, and that's just silly.

And the stealth parts, why need stealth when he can fly at the speed of sound? He'd round up 6 armoured and armed thugs in a second. Where Batman has to sneak around and use every trick he knows to come out unscathed, Superman can literally dick around.

2) Lex Luthor is a douche.

President Chucklefuck

Batman's villains are Batshit crazy, they have no desire for world domination or the like. Most want to just make money, or kill for the sake of killing. They reflect the deteriorating city in which they live. A city so corrupt and depraved it's cannibalising itself.

All of Superman's villains are domination geared. All they want to do is take over or destroy the world because they're thick-browed knuckleheads. He has 3 slightly non-generic villains, Bizzaro, Brainiac, and Lex Luthor.

Bizzaro would be the only one which could work in a straight out combat boss fight, since he's essentially Superman's version of "Shadow Link" in the Zelda series. Brainiac would be his Riddler to Batman, but that's a hell of a stretch there already. I suppose he could send robots to try to fuck shit up, but fighting robots compared to thugs... it just seems... well.. a tad shit.

And his greatest nemesis, Lex.. what can he do? He's just a douchey businessman who outsmarts Clark constantly, all he could really do is send waves of baddies at him, and hire out some aliens to knock over a building.

I don't know about you, but I couldn't give two shits about Superman's villlains. Now Batman, with The Joker, Poison Ivy, Catwoman, The Riddler, Pengiun... all great unique baddies, and most of them entirely believable. (To an extent).

When your main villain is the President of the United States, maybe you're not that good a hero?

3) Arkham City tour, gliding: 10 minutes, flying: 10 seconds.

Why walk when you can dance?

Batman is limited to how fast he can get to places in Arkham City, in a pinch he can get from one far end to the other (around the big middle wall) in about 2 minutes, and I reckon a good 10 minutes would be needed to cover most of the skyline. But he's only going so fast. With his gliding and grappling Batman has to really put the effort in to get somewhere fast, making the Mr Zsasz missions nail-biting towards the end.

Superman moves as fast as a mousefart, in an area that's 3-4 square miles, he could just fly back and forth at leisure. To really give it a sense of distance for Metropolis, Rocksteady would have to increase the city size at least 10 times. And you know what that means? Generic shitty buildings.

Arkham City has around 50 buildings inside the walls, at a guess. Including a large church, the Museum/Icerberg Lounge, the subway, Wonder City, the GCPD Building, Steel Mill, Poison Ivy's living fortress, and some other memorable establishments. It has a very unique look to it, each building has character and really gives you the feel of a proper city. But if they had to stretch the size of Metropolis for Superman, they'd have to cut down on the uniqueness, and recycle in a lot of buildings.

And what's in Metropolis anyway? The Daily Planet and what? I haven't got a clue.

4) Gadgets Galore.

Batman channels his inner Pikachu

Batman is limited to exploring the city by the gadgets he has unlocked. Some gaps are just too big to traverse without the line launcher, and steam pipes block the way to other parts until you get the freeze grenades. A new Batman game could introduce more challenges that could be overcome by equipping Bruce with a new gadget.

Superman, again, can fly and is invulnerable. He can freeze things with his breath, and he can melt shit with his face. What kind of unlocks could we have for the Man of Steel?

The "Powerless" idea will always be thrown about, make Superman weak so he has to unlock/gain his powers back and access new areas. But honestly.. is that something we want? Do we want to play a Superman game and find out you can't fly for 80% of it? That's just phoning it in. And how many storylines has relied on Superman not being that Super? The entire freaking series of Smallville was about Superman slowly learning his moves. It's the most overused story arc in the DC universe.

5) If(!Superman){trace("Then Who?!");}

One of the few non-Bruce Timm images in this article

Video games, like any product, are all about profits. And if you want to profit from a game, you really need to appeal to a wide audience. DC has a massive problem with this. Since Batman and Superman are really their only two main stayers in the public eye. And if a Superman game just won't work with the Arkham engine, then who will it work with?

Let's check the roster.

Wonder Woman
PROS:
- Well known and liked.
- Appeals to female gamers, and since they're nearly matching male gamers in numbers and there are still so many male-dominated games, it'd be great to have a proper female kick-ass character to go alongside Lara Croft and less alongside Bloodrayne.. the boobie sex vampire..
- Has a few Batman-esque gadgets: The lasso and wrist thingos would work well.

CONS:
- Essentially a female Superman.
- Boring assortment of villains.





Green Lantern
PROS:
- Midly well known
- Gadget system would work with various willpower moves
- More believable fighting thugs, as Hal is still a mortal man at heart.
- Great backstory and villain pool
- Alternate Lanterns, including Black-O-Lantern

CONS:
- Movie was critically panned worldwide.
- Had no real location to match Arkham City, would have to settle for a generic city, or a few locations, or .. space
- Can fly, though not as fast as Superman (you would believe anyway... he DOES patrol the freaking galaxy with efficiency)

The Flash
PROS:
- Slow him down a little bit, and he'd still be a believable character in the combat section.
- Combat engine would work nicely with him, and could be real fun.

CONS:
- No gadget system, most moves would be speed based.
- Known well enough, but no memorable villains or location. Want to fight some baddies in Keystone? "What's Keystone?" I hear you ask.. exactly.





Green Arrow
PROS:
- Ollie is Bruce with a bow and arrow. He's a street level hero with no powers, just lots of money and skill.
- Gadgets up the wazoo. Green Arrow utilizes "trick arrows", opening up a great selection.
- Attacking thugs on rooftops is what he does best
- Existing storylines with Green Lantern, Black Canary, The Flash, and his own Robin-esque sidekicks. Green Arrow has a great collection of partners.

CONS:
- No real bad guys apart from "generic dictator" or "crime boss"

Aquaman:
CONS
- Aquaman















Finally, why not pass on the mantle? After playing through the challenge maps of Arkham Asylum, I'm imppressed with the move-set they gave Robin, with his own set of gadets and that awesome retractable staff he uses, why not? At the very least have him as a playable character along with Nightwing. The catwoman parts were fun if not a little short. I'd really like to see more of the boy wonder in the mix.

Rocksteady have spun gold twice now, and I have faith in their abilities. If they do make a Superman game, let it not be their undoing.

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