Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Lootcrate Review: October 2014 - Fear

WARNING: This review contains spoilers for the October 2014 Lootcrate. Obviously.



I've been a big fan of Lootcrate ever since I first joined in July of this year. For those unfamiliar with the service, Lootcrate is a monthly box filled with pop culture collectibles and other cool stuff chosen to fit a certain theme (Villains, Heroes, Galactic, etc). This month, in observance of Halloween, the Lootcrate theme is FEAR, being advertised with names like The Walking Dead and Dead Rising.

Initial thoughts

I'm a big horror fan in practically every meaning of the term. Silent Hill 2 is my favorite game of all time, Alien and Silence of the Lambs rank at the top of my favorite movie list, and in general the sensation of fear makes me feel so alive. So, obviously, I'm expecting a lot from this lootcrate. So far I know that there's a Walking Dead comic and a Dead Rising item, neither of which excite me, but I'm still hanging in for a Scarecrow item or a maybe even something Silent Hill related. No matter what, I'm extremely excited to open this crate.

Contents

The October Lootcrate contains the following items:



1. The Walking Dead Issue 132 (Lootcrate exclusive variant cover)

I've read a couple dozen issues of the Walking Dead comic series, and it's very enjoyable. An alternate cover of the latest issue is a solid collectible, especially for such a popular series. My only quarrel with this cover is that instead of making the image something interesting like they did with the Rocket Raccoon comic book from the Villains crate, this cover is just a zombie wearing a Lootcrate shirt. Not exactly exciting, but hey, it's cool.



 2. Dead Rising 3 Sledgesaw Hammer Pen

Now this is where I started to get a little upset. Okay, I get it, Capcom is trying to hype the PC release of Dead Rising 3. But that's not something that Lootcrate should just sit down and take. Dead Rising isn't a very loved franchise; I'd be very surprised if you could find me a die hard fan of the games. And not only that, but the game is a terrible representation of fear, because you get insanely overpowered weapons and kill zombies in the funniest and craziest ways you can think of. As for the actual item, it's okay. I mean, it's just a pen. It looks kind of cool, but it's hard to display and definitely not something that I'm going to be using often.



3. 'How to Survive a Sharknado' Book

Once again, a terrible representation of fear. Sharknado is a satirical movie that no one takes seriously, and it definitely doesn't invoke fear. So besides that being a stupid choice for the theme, I actually really like the book. It's an encyclopedia of fictional weather and monsters, complete with descriptions, danger levels, and tips on surviving them. Pretty interesting read and I do like the item, but I don't like that it took up the space of something that could have been actually fear related.



4. 'Death by Kitten' shirt

This shirt is probably what pissed me off the most. I was expecting something pop culture related for the shirt, maybe something from a classic Slasher film. Hell, if I had my way it would have been a Silent Hill shirt. But a skull made of kittens? That'd be a fantastic inclusion if the theme were 'Cringeworthy Novelty Bullshit'. But no, the theme is fear. You could argue that since it's a skull it's a good inclusion for Halloween, but really, it's lame. I'm still going to wear the shirt, don't get me wrong; it's not as if it's the most blasphemous thing I've ever seen. I'm not mad, Lootcrate, I'm just disappointed.



5. SuperEmoFriends Art Print 

Okay, I lied. THIS is what pissed me off the most. It is nothing more than a slab of cardboard with some cartoon printed on it. Not even anything special, just something you'd expect out of a 16 year old Tumblr artist. Oh, and did I forget to mention that it spoils the Walking Dead for you? Lovely, Lootcrate, simply lovely.



6. 'Smite' in-game Jack the Reaper skin

I've never heard of the game 'Smite' before, so this item is irrelevant. It's an exclusive skin for the game, and for the players, that's pretty neat. It's not like I can complain, it is what it is, and I can't use it. Still though, a very nice small touch to the crate.



7. Slashes and Bites Tattoos

Incredibly generic, yes, but you can't go wrong with tattoos. I don't know about the other looters, but I'm definitely gonna be trying some of these out in the near future.

8. Toxic Waste candy

Not fear related, true, but who's gonna complain about candy? It's only one piece, but Hell, it's better than nothing. 

Overall

I can say without hesitation that this is the worst Lootcrate I've ever gotten. It's not terrible, but it's really not great either. Besides the Walking Dead items, there's nothing really fear related here. Nothing Scarecrow related, nothing horror movie related, and even though Capcom was involved, they chose Dead Rising over Resident Evil. It seems to me like Lootcrate just picked the theme Fear because they assumed it would be synonymous with Halloween, but damn if it didn't set me up for massive disappointment. I'd just like to say this: Stick with your theme. Your theme this year was fear, but the only thing that really follows that is the Walking Dead comic. Dead Rising is about destroying zombies in crazy and funny ways, not about fear at all. Sharknado is a satire movie. The rest of the stuff... well, the shirt is like the opposite of fear. I got this crate because I'm a horror fan, not a 14 year old hipster.

5.75/10



Sunday, September 21, 2014

Let's Get Cynical! The Fappening II: Electric Boogaloo

PLEASE NOTE: Let's Get Cynical! is not intended to be a collection of rational thoughts, but rather a quick rant concerning my immediate reactions and afterthoughts. Please respond accordingly. 



I knew this day would come eventually, but not so soon.... never so soon....

Unfortunately for female celebrities, it would seem that even more naked photos have been leaked to the internet by the hands of an anonymous hacker. Multiple hackers, most likely, but it's not like I have any way of knowing. He was probably a systems administrator...

Anyway, this time around the targets are Vanessa Hudgens. Kim Kardashian, Rihanna, Avril Lavigne, and Kate Cuoco, as well as some familiar faces such as Jennifer Lawrence and Victoria Justice. Personally, I don't even give a damn anymore, it's not like I can say anything that hasn't been said. What you're doing is evil and invasive and all that shit, but I'm fairly certain most participants are content with that. If you're looking for a more in-depth response, feel free to check out my initial reaction to the Fappening. After your done drowning your hard drives in obscene selfies, that is.

I'm honestly not sure how to feel about all this. I can't really blame the celebrities for taking the photos in the place (unless their passwords were 'password' instead of 'pa$sword'), and 4chan is anonymous so there's no individual I can really direct any of my feelings towards. I can blame the general public for encouraging this kind of stuff... wait, no I can't.

All I can say is this: http://boards.4chan.org/s/thread/15333851/the-fappening-cont.

Enjoy your prey, you goddamned vultures. Just make sure the bloodstains don't set in as deep as they did in the Fappening Episode 1: The Phantom Menace.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Youtube Update: Official Goniloc Theme Song and New Stefan Sketch



What's up, fan(s)! It's been a while since my last video, and I apologize for the bite-sized hiatus. However, I return bearing good news: Courtesy of Chandler Myers, a musician I met on the internet cesspool known as Reddit, Goniloc now has an official theme song. Inspired by the soundtracks of horror games such as Amnesia and Outlast, this 30-second beauty will be playing at during the credits of nearly every Goniloc video from here on out. The Goniloc theme song is featured at the end of 'Anti-Drug PSA', the 9th Stefan sketch, which you can view in the embedded player below. You can go have a listen right now! Unless you're deaf. Or your computer/device doesn't have functioning speakers.




As you may have noticed, the Magnificent Clown played a prominent role in this video. The final installment in the Magnificent Clown saga is underway, but due to intense creative differences between the clown and I, it's taking a rather long time. I've got a whole bunch of stuff planned for October that I may or may not follow through with, so be sure to stay tuned to my Youtube channel and this putrid, rotting mass of words that I call my blog for the latest news! Until then, don't die. That's just a suggestion, though, don't take it too seriously.

- Goniloc

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Let's Get Cynical! 'The Fappening' and #LeakforJLaw

PLEASE NOTE: Let's Get Cynical! is not intended to be a collection of rational thoughts, but rather a quick rant concerning my immediate reactions and opinions. Please respond accordingly. 




Earlier today, private photos of many celebrities (I'd give a solid number, but more are being added as I type) were leaked to the internet collectively. When I say private, I think you all know damn well what I mean. Celebrities such as Victoria Justice, Ariana Grande, Kate Upton, and Jennifer Lawrence have all been victimized by an alleged hacker who collected all the nude photos and uploaded them to 4chan and it has since spread all over the internet. I'm still trying to grasp this whole situation myself, to be honest. How exactly does something like this happen? As much as I hate to admit it, that's very impressive hacking work; not everyone can collect private, supposedly deleted photos from famous people and leak them to the internet all at the same time. Then again, I suppose that's why it's such a big deal, and why August 31st, 2014 has been dubbed "The Fappening".



Most people's first impressions of "The Fappening" are positive, even celebratory. And while it may seem that way at first, you need to consider that each celebrity is an individual, and these were all private pictures. It's one thing when a celebrity does that purposely, or even when one celebrity has a single photo leaked, but when literally hundreds of naked pictures of stars with otherwise clean records get stolen, it's a humongous invasion of privacy. I can't even begin to imagine how Jennifer Lawrence feels, as she was already hounded by fans online. Victoria Justice has even begun claiming that all the leaked pictures of her are fake (which was quickly shot down by a redditor who found similarity between the faceless nudes and photoshoot pictures of the star). Overall, it's kind of... gross, really. Even worse, the hacker is probably viewing his or her self as a Robin Hood type figure, stealing nudes from the rich, and giving to the masses. I haven't linked any of the obscene pictures of the celebrities, and I don't intend to. If you want to see the images, it's a google search away. But I advise you consider the celebrities feelings on this first.



Now, the leak is certainly a bad thing in general, and naturally, fans would want to comfort and reassure their idols. Sounds like a great idea, right? Let's go show our support for our celebrities in need! And that's the thinking that helped created #LeakforJLaw, which is quite possibly the most idiotic way anyone could respond to this. Basically, the logic behind #LeakforJlaw is that if women everyone post nude pictures of themselves online, it will drown out the hype around Jennifer Lawrence's nudes and make this whole situation not seem like such a big deal. Which is of course what happened, right? Heh, NOPE. All that happened was 'The Fappening' got more publicity and girls quick to jump on the bandwagon have screwed themselves over (but, in the process, gained hundreds of followers). I cannot even imagine the type of person you'd need to be to think that #LeakforJLaw would be effective. A common argument is "How dare you try and shame women's bodies!". It's not that it's disgraceful, it's just the principle... it's flawed at it's core and really doesn't make much sense. But hey, now a bunch of male and lesbian redditors have more material to download.



If people want to show off their naked bodies on the internet, I fully support that. You go right ahead, #LeakforJLaw participaters. But that doesn't change the fact that all the celebrities involved in the initial wave of 'The Fappening' never gave permission for this pictures to be distributed online. And things like mindless twitter campaigns and mongoloid TMZ reporting will only make this ordeal last a solid week longer than it needs to. The entire situation is wild, wacky, and super dooper quacky. I'm not sure who else will be violated, if the hacker will get caught, or if anything else notable will come out of this, but I do know that this calls for some reminders of basic modern human behavior:

1. Respect people's privacy. Seriously, consider the feelings of the celebrities, love them or hate them (Hell, I don't even know half of them).

2. If you're comfortable displaying your naked body and you want to do it in an appropriate environment, go ahead. But be aware of anything else you might be causing in doing so.

3. Don't... be stupid? Yeah, don't be stupid. Don't take naked photos of yourself that you don't want leaked on the internet, because if you're famous, they will be. Don't steal private photos of people just for the Hell of it. Don't support the stealing of private photos. If you get paid to manage millions of people's photos (coughcoughApplecoughcough), you better make damn sure that they don't get breached this easily. And for the love of salmonella, if you don't support the hacking, don't give it attention by posting more nudes in that context!

This has been half-assed public service announcement from Goniloc. What's your stance on 'The Fappening'? Good or bad? And would you ever consider supporting someone in a way similar to #LeakforJLaw? Leave a comment below. That's an order.


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Eminem Teases New Album Release, 'Shady XV'



Along with the recent release of his new single 'Guts Over Fear', Eminem has officially announced the November 24th release date of his newest album, titled 'Shady XV'. The album is a celebration of Slim Shady Records, containing hit songs from throughout the label's entire discography (including artists such as Eminem, 50 cent, D12, Bad Meets Evil, etc) as well as songs that are "Ooh damn, Jeremy, don't touch those yet, they're piping hot, fresh out of the oven" songs by all the artists. Shady XV will contain two discs (or albums, if you're a digital Damascus dingarooni): one composed of the previously released songs, and an entire album dedicated to new material.

Well, let's start off with the positive side of things: SLIM SHADY IS BACK IN TOWN, BOYS! That's right, Slim Shady (hotter than a set of twin babies) is back in action, hitting the high road at all time record-smashing speeds. Zooming faster than Lightning McQueen's dad on heroin, Eminem comes chugging down the tracks to drop some sizzle-sizzle crackle tea kettle tunes for the whole family. Eminem is easily one of my favorite musical artists of all time, so I'm very excited to hear his new stuff. But I have some many questions: Is Dre producing this? Is this what the rumored third D12 album is? Will Donkey Kong be featured in a song on this album? Why is Ricardo still reading this article?



However, all the excitement aside, I do have two major concerns. The first one is trivial; I didn't enjoy the Marshall Mathers LP 2 that much because of how 'pop' it sounded. The songs were still fine, but the album as a whole felt kind of empty. Plenty of people enjoyed it, though, and even if Eminem's songs aren't that great, more D12 and 50 cent is always a good thing. My other concern is on a different scale: With the way Eminem and Shady Records is dealing with this album, they're making it seem like a goodbye. Leaving the music industry 15 years after establishing a label would be a high note for Eminem to go on, and he has been talking a lot lately about how he's not as popular and what not. I'm personally okay with Eminem leaving as is, but I recognize that this sentiment is not universally shared. But what the Hell do I know, I'm just a low-budget hemophiliac with big dreams.

Chair

Sunday, August 17, 2014

A Renaissance of Fear: The Do's and Do Not's of Horror Games



With the rise of horror Let's Plays and social gaming (such as the PS Share function), the genre of horror has been getting a massive boost this console generation. Games like Amnesia and Slender kickstarted the rebirth of horror gaming, and the release of Outlast made sure that plenty of gamers were on board (especially since it was free on PS4). For a horror fan such as myself, a renaissance of fear is a godsend. We now have a plethora of titles releasing, such as Alien: Isolation, The Evil Within, Silent Hills (hell yeah!),  Until Dawn, Dying Light, and even more beyond that. Hell, I remember when the only horror game I had to look forward to was Resident Evil 6, and now there are so many that I can't even afford to pre-order them all. However, with so many developers jumping onto the spook train, I think that it's important to highlight what works in a horror game and what doesn't. This isn't to say that I don't want developers to explore new, creative ways to scare gamers; I'm just aware of past horror failures that I'd rather not see repeated. So without further ado, the do's and do not's of the horror genre.

DO have jump scares. Nothing is quite as frightening as something unknown suddenly popping out at you, except for maybe the anticipation of a jump scare. Which brings me to:

DO NOT rely solely on jump scares. Jump scares are a fantastic way to scare gamers, but without a solid atmosphere, it's just one jump after another and it starts to lose it's fear factor. Keep us in anticipation, make us dread to turn the corner. The key to making someone afraid is to keep them wondering what's going to happen next, and if your formula is jump scare + jump scare + jump scare, the unknown starts to become pretty damn known.

[Outlast]
DO NOT have a lot of action/combat options. The biggest offenders here are the newer Resident Evil titles and Dead Space 3. Fear is derived from vulnerability, and giving the player a fully loaded machine gun doesn't exactly line up with vulnerability. Making the player completely defenseless is a solid way to induce screams (Amnesia, Outlast, Corpse Party), but it's not the only option...

DO have action of some kind. I'd like to see developers get creative with this. It's bad to have explosions and gunfights at every turn, but without something interesting the game starts to get a little stale. Let's look at Silent Hill 2, for example: You have a pistol, as well as a variety of melee options. However, bullets are extremely difficult to come by, and the melee options are slow are unreliable. This not only makes every monster that much scarier, but it's also a guaranteed "Oh shit!" at the beginning of every boss battle. You don't need combat for action, though. It can come in the form of a chase scene, or a monster encounter that requires you to think outside the box to survive (the Kaernk in Amnesia is a perfect example of this).

[Resident Evil 6]
DO have puzzles of some kind. Make the player confused, make them struggle to understand what's going on and what needs to be done. Amnesia, Outlast, Silent Hill, Resident Evil, they all include puzzles of some kind. If you have arrows plastered on every wall, directing you where to go, the game is reduced to little more than a mildly frightening game of tag. But if you include riddles, missing keys, locked doors, repeating rooms, ominous clues and things of that nature, the game becomes more intense and players get more from solving something. However, this can go wrong...

DO NOT overdo it on the puzzles. You're trying to stump the gamers, but you want them to progress eventually. The puzzles should be hard, but not 'half an hour wandering back and forth' hard. A big offender of this was the free demo for the new Silent Hill game, P.T. There were so many points where I had to look up not only what to do, but what in the hell the controls were. There's a part where you have to press R3 and look at a specific point, and in the beginning P.T. gives you the impression that there are no controls besides walking. Many people were stuck at the ending especially (I couldn't even beat it, because there is no clear way to trigger the ending), and as much as I enjoyed the horror aspect of the game, that is simply NOT how you handle puzzles. Make the player baffled, not overly frustrated.

[Silent Hill 2]
DO have a solid story. This goes without saying. If the plot of your game is 'There is a bad man. Don't let him get you.' coughcough*Slender*coughcough, then why the hell would I be interested in playing that? A creepy background story is great, especially as you piece together what happens in your mind. But once again, this can and has in the past gone horribly wrong.

DO NOT make your story crystal clear. There are horror games out there with constant cutscenes and lengthy, explanatory dialogue. That's fine and dandy for adventure games, but this a horror game! Like I touched on before, not understanding what's going on is scary. Amnesia has you waking up knowing nothing, and you find out what the plot is by reading notes scattered around the castle. Rarely is anything explicitly given to you, and even when it is, you can piece it together with the notes you've found to make realizations that some players would have missed. In Silent Hill, you don't even truly grasp what's going on until the very end, and even then it requires some thinking. Feed the story to the player piece by piece, don't shove it all down our throats at once.

[Amnesia: The Dark Descent]
Hopefully some horror developers are taking notes, be it from this or any other source. I'd hate to have this beautiful rebirth spoiled by some games that make LittleBigPlanet look scary. What do you think about the list? Is there something you'd add? Something you disagree with? Something banging on the door over there? Be sure to leave a comment with your two cents below.

Monday, August 11, 2014

BREAKING: Goose papa

Slim shady
Hotter than a set of twin babies 
Egg salmon salmon
Chooga chooga yurts mugga
Hubble roulette ya banned 
Bbaannnneedd
Slim harrow 
Hotter than a set of twin sparrows 
Jim Gordon 
Hotter than a set of twin champion fungal throat disease