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Found 13 results

  1. Rapture

    Life is Just One Big Opportunity

    Despite the rather philosophical and metaphorical nature of the title of this blog, all I'm doing today is talking about my weekend, specifically this past Saturday morning. This past Saturday morning happened to be one of the best examples of how life is just full of opportunities waiting to be taken, most of which are fed to you on a silver platter but you may not even realize it. However, in my case, it all started with a newspaper ad. Let's backtrack to earlier last week. It was about mid-Wednesday when I walked back into my dad's house after staying with some friends for a couple of days. I usually swap between my dad's place and friends' houses every couple of days; when I'm home, I'm working on writing and playing video games or watching tons of NCIS; when I'm with my friends, I'm not doing much else except play video games, hang out, go to parties and eat Taco Bell. Needless to say, I like being home for a few days in between being with friends, just as a breather. When I returned home, I walked by my dad's computer table and my eyes instantly darted toward a piece of laminated paper. On top of the paper, but also laminated, was a small newspaper clipping and on the paper, a written note. It was from my dad's girlfriend, saying that he should address the newspaper clipping. Written in the newspaper clipping was an add seeking people for an upcoming movie called, “Noah.” Now, I've never done much of any acting, but it's always been a personal dream to get into it, as it may be for many others. However, it's never really been a passion strong enough for me to take classes or get into theater. For me, it's always been something that I thought would just “happen” for me – maybe I would impress someone one day and end up with lines in a movie. Hey, it could happen right? Of course, another way to go about it is to go to casting calls, where casting agencies look for people to put into movies, televisions shows, plays, commercials, even web series. If you're not already in the business, it can be rather difficult to just break into a Hollywood career, and it's still rather difficult if you already are. Still, I saw this as an opportunity. If anything, it'd be a fun Saturday morning with my dad, who looked rather excited to be in attendance. The ad was looking for “slim, slender men and women, with runner's bodies.” While I'm not in the best of shape, I'm definitely slim and slender – my dad, on the other hand, is a big, bald, muscular dude who would probably be better fit for playing the role as a football player or a wrestler. Nevertheless, he really wanted to go and, since I had nothing to do that morning, I tagged along. The casting call was about a half hour away from my dad's in a town called Brookville, which is the same town that I had lived in for one year just after I moved from my hometown and just one year before I moved to Connecticut at the end of 9th grade (technically, I lived in Upper Brookville, but whatever). The entire ride there, my dad and I talked about what exactly the casting call would be like, what we may be doing, and, obviously, how cool it would be if the both of us got into the movie. Mid-ride, I looked up the movie and found that, contrary to what I was thinking, this movie “Noah” is going to be a big-budget film, not some indie short or something to that effect. Once I found out that Russell Crowe and Emma Stone were going to be in the movie, I knew shit was going to get real. This was now more exciting than ever – if we got into the movie, I could meet these people! Maybe! Anyway, we finally arrive at the location of the casting call, which happens to be at a local church. We find our way into a decently-sized room with about one hundred chairs. Some people were already there, but overall the room was rather empty. No one there seemed important, either. This is pretty much what it looked like. It wasn't until almost an hour later, when the casting call was about to begin, that not only a parade of wannabe-actors and actresses walk in, even some that seemed qualified by holding resumes and portfolios or headshots and whatnot, but also some rich-as-hell and important-as-hell-looking people strolled in. These people were the ones that seemed to be running the entire thing. Not long after, the two of us and everyone else in the room were given a form to fill out. Apparently, this form was just for basic information that they would use to cast for future projects – once you're in their database, any time they do a casting call, you'll be automatically put into the running and possibly considered without even moving a muscle. However, this form was far from basic...I mean, how in the hell am I supposed to know my neck size and jacket length off the top of my head? And why was my dad's Ford F150 considered a “prop” when I'm at a casting call for a movie set in biblical times? Does Russell Crowe not finish the ark in time and needs a getaway vehicle to escape the flood? I guess I'd have to be in the business to know that information. When I was filling out the form, another man walked up to me and gave me a card, telling me to write my name on it and keep it on me. It was entirely vague and almost a bit creepy, but I nevertheless felt very excited because I was specifically picked for something! Soon after, one of the important-looking dudes grabbed a microphone, apparently from a dimensional portal inside the right pocket of his jeans, and began to speak to us. We were told that the call is based primarily on filling out that form and then getting a picture taken of us. Once both of those things were done, we could leave, since the building was getting packed with people and a huge line was forming behind us, so they wanted to keep things moving. Though, if you were given one of those cards to put your name on, you must go outside once your done and wait. He also explained that the casting call was for another movie called, “Wolves of Wall Street” or something like that, but after that I heard nothing more on the film. Guess I wasn't leaving anytime soon. I felt bad for my dad, considering it was his idea to go, but he didn't get one of those cards. Then again, I didn't know what exactly the cards were meant for, so they could have been for something bad (there's always that possibility), but no one knew at that point. I still hadn't got called up for my picture to be taken yet, so it wasn't of much concern. When my row of chairs finally did get called, we all stood and formed a line for our pictures to be taken. After a few minutes, I got up to a table and handed a short man my form. On both of his arms, he had some pretty cool Super Mario Bros tattoos that wrapped around his biceps and fore-arms. I pointed them out and told him that they were cool, in which he only replied, “Thanks.” I shrugged it off and walked by him to get my picture taken. This was one of his tattoos. He also had Peach dressed as that chick from Waterboy and Mario as Jesus from The Passion. As I stood at the tape on the ground, waiting for the camera guys to find the right backdrop for my awesome picture (apparently, after using the same part of the wall for other people, now it was decided that they needed a new place to take these pictures), the tattooed guy turned in his chair and stretched out his arm, in his hand a small card. I took it, finding that it was one of those name cards from earlier but with information on the back: the name of a film and an email address. He told me to send pictures of myself to that email address. Fuck yeah, I'm good. I get picked for movies without even trying. So, now I was in the running for three different films, one of which being the one mentioned on the back of that card. I guess they weren't casting for that film that morning, so to be picked for some role or position for that movie got me really hyped. I'm still pressuring my dad so I can get headshots of myself as quick as possible (after I finished this sentence, I got up and reminded my dad again, just to be more of a bother). With pictures taken for both my dad and I, we stepped outside and I seemed to be one of the first ones out there to be waiting thanks to that card. I didn't really converse with anyone – there was a small group of people talking to each other that all seemed hand-picked for this specific movie and were there because the casting guys asked them to be. Other people stepped outside in small bunches and they all seemed disconnected, so I didn't make any moves at anyone. I just stood near my father unit and talked with him for a while. Finally, one of the casting people walked outside. I had no idea if he was the director of the movie, but he might as well have been – he spoke like how I thought a director would speak and dressed like how I thought one would dress, he was definitely playing the role well if he wasn't director already. I'll call him the director. The director was now addressing us, letting us know that we were chosen because we fit the bill rather well and now we were going to do some small acting routines that will be featured in what seemed like an action scene in the movie. Next to him was a bulky, curly haired man that looked of Hawaiian descent. The director told us that we'd be split into two groups, one with him and one with Hawaii man, and would do some basic acting then switch stations (so, we'd be with Hawaii man first, then the director or vice versa). Pretty much exactly what he looked like but much more muscular. I was split into the Hawaii man's group first. We walked farther away from the building with the guy, who was very much less director-ish than his buddy. On our way to our “station,” he explained that we were all basically cast for the movie and now they were looking for people to do some minor action stuff that isn't exactly stunt-worthy, as in we'd be getting paid a bit more than regular extras because we were going to be doing some physical work, though we were considered stunt-doubles or anything. This was awesome news. I wasn't sure how accurate his statement was – that we were literally cast in the movie or that our chances of being cast were much better, to the point that we might as well be – but either way I was excited as all hell. To be simply cast like that, as if it were the means of snapping one's fingers, was such an intense experience. Over at the Hawaii man's station, our first acting had to do with pretending we were holding a shield and spear and had to poke upward, as if we were fighting something much larger than us. I could explain to you why, as we were told, but I don't want to be “that guy” nor do I like spoilers, even if the movie doesn't come out until 2014. Let's just say that if you've read the Bible or at least just the story of Noah, this movie doesn't exactly follow that story exactly. Anyway, I was one of the first to go and with a loud, “ACTION!,” from Tito of Rocket Power fame, I marched forward, doing my best impression of a guy with a spear and a shield fighting something much larger than himself. I felt like I did a pretty good job, but once I was done, I knew I definitely did a good job – Hawaii man pointed to me and said, “Good job, kid, good job,” while giving me a nice thumbs-up. Achievement Unlocked – Hawaiian Man Likes Your Style. I am, of course, not an actor by trade, so for a random guy like me to actually do well in some acting felt good. At the same time, I was absolutely baffled by the performances of the others – over half of my group was made up by guys and girls that had come to the casting call with portfolios, resumes, pictures, etc, many of which claiming to be actors and actresses. But, holy shit, did some of them suck! One guy thought he was a boxer, using his “spear” like a dagger and his shield like a baseball bat (???) to deliver too many strikes in an unrealistic amount of time. Another guy wasn't even trying. His performance was so pathetic that I was actually surprised at how bad some people could be at acting. If he actually went to war as a guy with a spear and a shield, he'd be the last to die because no opponent would consider him enough of a threat to actually waste time on killing him first. After that session, which also included some formation drills (which weren't hard and no one seemed to do those particularly awful), we left Hawaiian man and made our way back over to the director. At this station, we had to run at about 3/4th speed and come to a quick stop, as if something comes out of nowhere and stops our progress. As much as that sounds somewhat easy, it's a lot harder than it seems. 3/4th speed still means that you're giving it at least a jog and then to stop on as close to a dime as possible due to something that doesn't exist, and not fall over, and make sure that your facial expression mirrors a situation in which you're rather desperate and for this calamity to happen is terrible...well, it's a huge clusterfuck of stuff you have to do and it's not easy, especially for someone with no acting experience like myself. Because of how many people that were waiting, I only got to do it twice. I have to say, I did the exercise rather well – not the best, but definitely one of the best out of the people in my group. I definitely tried my hardest to make it convincing. After a couple of rounds, we were done. The groups came together with the director and Hawaiian man. The two explained to us that the working conditions would be hard, as the scene has action and isn't exactly set upon a yacht or anything like that. However, we would be getting paid more. Still, he stressed that people that don't think they can handle it should just back out. No one did, but considering some of the performances I saw, I wish they did. Jeez, shit was bad at times. We also had to do a scene in which we pretend to be a super hero and cry about it. We all lined up and met the director and Hawaiian man individually, which basically boiled down to handing them the cards with our names on them and getting a handshake. I thanked them for their time, then walked over to my dad so we could head home. Of course, the entire way back we talked about the experience. My dad, though disappointed that he didn't get specifically picked for anything, was still happy that he went and was proud of me. He talked anxiously about finding more casting calls so that he could one day be in a movie with Russell Crowe, which would be awesome for him. He also sent a text to his girlfriend's daughter, who is a photographer, so I could get headshots done for that other movie that I need to email out. And then I went home and played Street Fighter. All I wanted to do was play more Street Fighter. So, the moral of the story is to always take opportunities and pursue your dreams, even if you think it's impossible. You'll always lose if you never try, even if the stakes are high or your goal is unreachable. Sometimes, things can just go your way and an opportunity will present itself that may change part or all of your life. I mean, is this just some acting work or the beginning of a full-fledged Hollywood career? Am I the next James Franco? I could very well be! Or we could be in the sequel to Pineapple Express together, that would be sweet. Or, at the very least, always take time to read the newspaper and peruse the ads. You never know what you'll find.
  2. In the aftermath of this year's EVO 2012 event, I felt the need to get back into playing more fighting games and putting together an effort to do well at tournaments. In these past several months, I have missed the feeling of practicing fighting games and going to tournaments - EVO was the kicker I needed to refuel that passion. Yesterday, while perusing Facebook and still hyped about EVO, I came across a long entry by a friend, Geoff "Vermanubis" Butterworth. He's one of the most well-known Smash players in its community, being an extremely talented and intelligent individual who also happens to be one of the best Ganondorf players in the country. What he posted spoke to me in volumes, so much that I bookmarked it and read it over and over. Now, I want to share it all with you. The following are words from Geoff, not me, and I take no credit in producing the quote. Geoff gave me permission to post this in my blog. I only want to share these words with all of you and hope it helps with your careers in competitive gaming or anything else in life. --- "In retrospect of Evo, I've been thinking about how people improve at things, and trying to dig a little deeper into why some people excel, while others get stymied. To keep it as brief as possible, I think it can be simplified to observation. For example, in my musical pursuits (I know, I create an analog between music and just about everything), I actively and manually rebuild my understanding of music so I can arrive at a conceptualization of music that's most successful for my particular application. In order to analyze songs, I needed to learn to read sheet music so I could explore the harmonies in a song a bit closer. However, I didn't and haven't been making an effort to deconstruct my current understanding of sheet music, so my sight-reading skills stay about the same. The point of this is that you can't labor away at something mindlessly and hope to breach an obstacle. I'm far more concerned with the content of the music than developing an algorithmic ability to read on sight. So, naturally, I've plateaued at my current level of sight-reading, despite reading music almost daily. If you want to excel at something, you have to greet any and all problems and weaknesses and endure the ass-pains of reconstructing particular models of thinking. Pumping in time like it's going out of style isn't going to get anyone anywhere. Time in conjunction with a cognitive effort to understand the nature of the task is what makes people do well. Think of a concept like a lump of clay. Every time you consider a new concept, such as, say, what to do in an unfamiliar match-up, it's like adding another lump of clay. To integrate that lump of clay, you need to mold it, 'cause it won't just osmose into the bigger lump by itself. This is just a pattern I've noticed in both myself and in just about everyone else. When effort is put to thinking and understanding, instead of hoping for causeless epiphanies, results invariably come." -Geoff "Vermanubis" Butterworth (Permission to post granted)
  3. Rapture

    So I'm Playing League of Legends And...

    God damn it. I really didn't want to like this game at all. I was a hardcore Starcraft 2 monster, very happy grinding my way through mid-level leagues until somehow becoming the champion of the world in 2016. And I dismissed this game rather quickly for being somewhat hard to follow at first glance and for its cartoonish style. Now that I think about it, all the hate I had for the game was probably rather illogical, but then again, hate is rarely logical. Then, at MLG Anaheim, our good friend Mr. vVv LordJerith convinced me that I should dabble more in the realm of MOBAs and MMOs. With Guild Wars 2 far out on the horizon, really my only best choice without spending any outlandish amounts of money (just purchased a ticket to DayGlow) was League of Legends. He said I'd enjoy it, and I said it was stupid. And now I really enjoy it. I honestly could go on and on about what I like about the game, so I will. First of all, it's free-to-play. All that was needed from me was a download and install. I don't know about anyone else, but free stuff is amazing, especially if the free stuff happens to be a well-made video game that's actually worth something. I mean, what better way is there to get into a competitive game than to pick one up that costs you know monetary investment? And what better way to advertise a highly-competitive title than to make it free? I can't think of one (well, I can, but they're not appropriate for all audiences [hookers]). So I decided to finally start it up and get into playing. Now, from watching LoL matches at various MLG events, I realized I probably wouldn't understand how exactly the game works until I play it, but I already had a basic idea of how games functioned - walk around, cast spells, level up, merk bitches, destroy stuff, take their base, destroy the base, enjoy victory. And, obviously excluding major and minor details, that's pretty much a summary of any game of competitive LoL ever. But once I got to playing it, I found that it was not only enjoyable, but somewhat addicting. For a new player surrounded by other new players, and some low-skill ones, I found myself doing rather well in my introductory matches after utilizing the game's tutorial. Once I figured out the basic gameplan of what a LoL player should be doing to get XP and Gold, as well as deal with enemy champions, I pretty much dominated a majority of my matches. And even in matches my team lost, I still did pretty okay and wasn't completely shut-out. I really began to enjoy the huge amount of champions to choose from. It felt like Riot played a lot of Marvel vs Capcom 2 back in their day considering how huge the roster is. With so many champions, I felt a bit more at home on the selection screen, and was pleasantly surprised to find a number of heroes that seemed enjoyable. I played several rounds with Skarner, Malphite, and Fiddlesticks thanks to them being free at the time, and enjoyed learning what they had to offer and how I could use them to play specific roles on a team, even if my team was just a random bunch of people. Eventually I got that, "one more game, one more game..." kind of feeling, to the point where I spent an entire afternoon playing and forgot to eat any sort of lunch or dinner, only being reminded by my dad that I had only ate eggs and toast earlier that day and that I was probably starving. I was - it was very easy for me to just jump into another game, talk with new people, figure out a strategy, and try to play my best. Meeting new people to play with was a lot of fun, especially after having an enjoyable time with one another in a particular lane and doing well, prompting each other to congratulate one another after every possible action and send friend requests immediately after the match. I missed that kind of interaction, one that is so desperately needed in an experience like Starcraft 2, where loneliness is very common. The one thing I didn't miss, however, were idiotic teammates. Besides the several afk people and a couple of feeders, I only had one instance where a teammate just did something so ridiculously stupid that it made me become vocally annoyed with it. It basically boiled down to when I was jumped into an emergency 2v1 situation just as one of my teammates was returning from base. I got slowed out of nowhere just as my teammate came to my side. Instead of helping me, he promptly turned right around and ran away. I almost got away with a kill, but was unable to finish one of them off. Either way, I was going to die, no thanks to my mate, who then now had a 2v1 situation of his own that he barely survived thanks to turret hugging. Wasn't happy about that. Still, I find League of Legends to be very enjoyable, which still sort of bothers me. Now that I've been playing League, I want to continue to play League, but now I feel like all the time I've put into Starcraft 2 to be genuinely good will be cast out the window if I stop putting the time in. And now with summer in full gear, I'll have a job, and I've moved down to NY for the time being to see my friends. I feel a bit overwhelmed. But then I remember that it's all just gaming and I'll get over it eventually. I do what I was meant to do. And really what I feel like I am meant to do right now is to kick ass on LoL for the bitches. Bitches love ass kicking on LoL. So yeah, I'm enjoying it. Fuck.
  4. Rapture

    SC2 Lab Sessions - Day 1

    (Original post date - 3/7/12) I've decided to post up the first of my practice journal, SC2 Lab Sessions. Though I've been practicing Starcraft 2 for a couple of months now, today is the first day I'll be going over my day. I feel like recapping what I did today will help me with practice and keep things in perspective. Hopefully some analysis will help me with future matches. Of course, it's sort of weird to just say, “HEY DIARY I PLAYED SOME STARCRAFT TODAY AND AND AND” and it's equally as weird to simply post on a blog about it, so let me give you some context. My goal is to become a top Starcraft 2 player. Being a freshman in college, it's surprising that I have a lot of free time, but I do. With it, I try to get in several hours of ladder play a day. If I miss a day, I go harder the next day. I am coached by a friend, I practice with peers, and I go over tons of replays, including my own. Today was another “lab session”, in which I sit down either in my room, at the library, wherever I feel like I can concentrate and play, and get to grinding. Currently, I'm a high-ranked Silver league Terran. I'm pretty booty. But I'm trying to get better! Usually what I like to do is to play at least ten games of SC2 a day. Once I've played them, I decide whether or not I have the time and/or will to continue forward. In a several hour session today, I got in 11 games. However, there were several games that lasted very long, so it seems skewed. In the amount of time I played today, I could have probably hit 15+ matches, but I digress. Here were the stats: 11 games played 4 wins 7 losses Longest win streak – 3 wins Longest loss streak – 7 losses The day started out pretty well, as I clocked in a solid victory in a TvP Shattered Temple match. It lasted for only twenty minutes, it was a great warm-up game. However, it didn't prepare me for my next seven games, all of which I would lose. Some were close, some were atrociously bad on my end. Ultimately, what mattered was that I knew I had a lot of work to do. What struck me was odd was my terrible TvZ play. The TvZ match-up had been pretty good for me earlier in the week as I began to figure out ways to deal with banelings and infestors, two units that were giving me a lot of trouble when I entered the Silver league. However, they weren't necessarily the problem this time around. Three games in a row, I found myself the victim of early game roach all-ins. As hard as I tried, I just could not keep up with the production of marines to keep them out of my base so I could stabilize. Bunkers didn't work, more marines didn't work, and I couldn't get tanks out in time. I felt at a loss. Fuckin' roaches... I began to analyze how I was playing. I went back to the replays and looked at what I had done, and I tried my best to figure out what it was that was going wrong. Still, it would take an outside party to help me out. I ended up asking a friend for help with the roaches, and I was told that marauders were a good solution to the roach pushes, except I'd have to get my second gas a bit earlier to maintain marauder production. I was really happy with learning this, despite not actually having any more TvZ problems after that streak because I had no more roach all-ins against me after I asked my friend how to deal with them. I felt a bit of improvement, mostly in my knowledge. But then I learned, the hard way and once again, that I still was not the most knowledgable in build orders. My coach, and many others, have told me how doing a simple build until Platinum league, while working on my macro, will make me a better player and only after then should I get into specific builds. Nevertheless, I still have the urge to try different builds, and I do. Sometimes I go more mech heavy, others I push harder with marines, still others I try a strong 1/1/1 or something like that. I like to mix it up, and it does work if I play well. However, when sometimes I lose because I'm not playing well, others it's because I am simply an idiot. In one particular game, I got a TvT match-up with close spawns. Thinking I was smart, I decided to go with reaper aggression while expanding and pumping out marines. However, I know absolutely nothing about reaper builds and the timings behind them, so by the time I had about 4-5 reapers (which you don't need that many of, by the way), his army was ready to defend it and large enough to clean it up quickly. He then realized I had a small army and home, so he walked over, squatted over my face, and took a dump. I had to gg my way out of there. So far, I was getting discouraged. The losses were piling up and I felt like I should just get off before I began to tilt. Finally, I got another TvZ pairing, and while I wasn't subject to a roach all-in, I had a long battle ahead of me. That was certainly not what I wanted – dealing with a maxed Zerg army can get difficult if the Zerg is maintaining a strong economy. My harassment skills are just not what they should be, so the Zerg was able to keep his economy strong and his army stronger. There's a chance I could have won the fight, but I'll never know, and that's because my army micro, particularly when I have my units clumped onto each other, is terrible. My tanks were sieged, my marines stood before them, my thors in the mix, medivacs flying above, and 4/5ths of my ground army was washed away as banelings rolled in. Unable to micro effectively, my army literally disappeared before my eyes. If I had taken the banelings out, his army would have been toast. But I didn't. My lack of micro was splash-damage heaven. Don't encourage the banelings, Husky! I realized that I need to be more precise and do those actions when I'm in a conflict like that. My multitasking and microing has gotten better, but I still know it's a problem. Things like that, though, are inexcusable. I should have scanned to know exactly where his army was, sieged up, and split my army so I could avoid as much splash damage as possible. Eventually, I lost my 7th game in a row. But I wasn't done yet. Shakuras Plateau was the map of choice, TvP was the match-up, and I found myself in another match. I was determined to win this one (against an opponent named SHEEK, cool name?), no matter the cost. Lately, I've found that I've been doing a much better job of taking out expansions, and that's exactly how I won this match. As our Terran and Protoss armies got close to maxing, with all tiers of units being represented, I decided to make my way to his farthest right expansion (he had four bases at this time) as I expanded to my third base. Sieging tanks up, I took out pylons while he oddly advanced into the tanks. He also had Archons, for some reason not using High Templars, and ultimately I was able to hold it off, but just barely. His Dark Templar harassment was shut down very effectively, as were his drops. I definitely learned a bit about the drops just by how I handled them, very proud of myself! After retreating a bit and bringing my army back in numbers, I hit the same expansion again, fully taking it out this time. Raging, my opponent began to curse me out and simply gg'd, giving me the win without me even stepping foot in his natural expansion or main base. Granted, my ground army had 3/3 upgrades and my air units getting close to it, and I was on a gold mineral expansion with bunkers churning out marines, but at least he could have invited me into his natural for a house warming. Needless to say, I was happy, and after that I got another win on Metalopolis. Ten games down. I decided to stay in the library for one more game. I wouldn't leave for another hour. You see, it was a long struggle in a TvT match-up, but a rather uneventful one. Our armies maxed out, fought in small battles a few times, but nothing actually happened until the half hour mark, when I began to push out toward the middle of the map after he successfully took out my third expansion. He probably got excited, seeing as my main and natural were getting close to empty in terms of minerals. However, I had expanded to a fourth and fifth base on another corner of the map, giving me much more of a steady income. And once I was able to push through to his expansions, using the siege tanks I had to keep his army away from my thors, his income literally stopped. However, he was able to get another base going, and while I pumped out marines and was at max, as well as repairing my thors and tanks, he tried to max his army, as well. He got close to putting the gap a 50 supply. His army may have eventually matched mine, but after baiting him a bit with marines, he got edgy. Then I dropped into his natural to take out gas-mining SCVs and some buildings, prompting him to take all of his marines to stop this. This is when I moved closer to his sieged tanks. For some reason, just as I sieged up, he un-sieged and moved in, getting dealt tons of damage before he actually attacked. By the time his entire mass of marines raced back to help, it was too late. I had 6 more thors on the way and about two dozens marines marching closer and closer. Without so much as a good game, he left and the victory was mine. Ultimately, while my record became worse, I learned a lot from this session. Here's what I learned: 1) Roach all-ins are very effective if you're not prepared to deal with it in the early game. Scouting for a roach warren and seeing little gas being taken can help find a roach all-in before it happens. Marauders mixed in with marines are a good option in holding off these kinds of attacks. 2) Don't try builds you don't know, stick with what you know. 3) Don't build too many reapers if you plan to harass with them, and actually have an army being built, or make your economy stronger, while making reapers so you can hold off a counter-attack if need be. 4) Microing large armies is key. Do not keep your units bunched up against banelines. Use stimpack to get out of there if need be, and don't clump up large mech units next to each other. 5) Scan and scout often. Make sure you know of all transitions, tech, upgrades, everything. 6) Don't let the opponent stabilize. Constantly make sure you know what is going on after you deal a large blow to the enemy. Keep the pressure on, keep the attack on (if you can) so that way the opponent doesn't bring it back. Don't blow opportunities to deal a game-winning knock-out. Knowing these things, hopefully I'll do better tomorrow. I definitely felt like today's session was a good one. I learned a lot, even though I lost a lot. Winning is good, but you learn more when you are defeated. Until I'm the perfect SC2 player (which I will be, curse you DRG!), I will always have more to learn. That's how it goes. Tomorrow, there's more SC2 to play. Fuck yeah.
  5. Rapture

    Does Smash Need Rule Changes?

    Apex 2012, one of the competitive Super Smash Bros community's biggest events ever, was supposed to bring back the hype and excitement that, according to many community members, had left the scene over the past couple of years. It certainly did just that – the event brought in over 700 unique Super Smash Bros Brawl and Super Smash Bros Melee players, as well as several hundred more individuals that entered Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition, Mortal Kombat, Super Smash Bros (for the Nintendo 64), and Pokemon. However, what Apex 2012 also did was cast a shadow of doubt across both of the major Smash communities. For Melee, this was due to the grand finals of the Melee singles competition. In the final match-up between two of the best players the game has ever seen, Armada of Sweden and Hungrybox of Florida, what was hoped to be a chaotic showdown of skill and merit became a slow match that progressed for more than an hour, an excruciating amount of time for any game that isn't Starcraft 2, League of Legends, or games of that nature. The hype was certainly there. This was because Hungrybox used Jigglypuff – while this isn't usually a problem, it was for Armada, who's character (Peach) has trouble dealing with Jigglypuff. Thus, Armada switched to Young Link, a projectile-based character, for grand finals, turning a hype match into a morbidly slow camp fest that lasted way too long than it should have. On the other hand, the Brawl community didn't have a problem with one particular match, but the result of the entire tournament itself. Some foreground: Apex 2012 marked the beginning of the end for the best character in Brawl, Metaknight. As of the end of the event, the American community banned the character from all tournaments using the “Unity Ruleset.” Any tournament part of that movement can not have Metaknight legal during competition, though non-Unity tournaments can still have the character legal if they so choose. Going into Apex, this didn't seem to be a problem. The pro-ban group was strong and growing in numbers, but then Apex came to a close with the 1st and 2nd place finishers being Japanese players. In Japan, the rule set is much different from the one found in the United States (heck, even the ones found in other parts of the world, as well). In Japan, Metaknight is legal, but also the timer is longer and most stages are banned from competitive play (on the other hand, the US allows over a dozen stages to be played on in some areas). The American community, seeing Japan's proficiency in the game, has now somewhat turned on its heel. Many players are now supporting the anti-ban movement, even some going as far as to advocate the US picking up the Japanese rule set for all tournaments, especially because many American players are now interested in attending Sun Rise, a tournament in Tokyo this August. The players definitely want to be prepared, no matter what it takes. Ocean was one of the many Japanese players to take down American greats like Mew2King. For Melee, some are advocating change to avoid slow game play For Brawl, players want to see change to stand up to the apparently superior Japanese players. But which side is right? Melee is certainly in a tough position here, especially because, besides from the grand finals, the entire tournament ran smoothly and matches were completed on time without any hassle. Grand finals seemed to be just a fluke. Though it is certainly reasonable that lowering the amount of lives, or “stocks”, each character has in a round (competitive Melee currently allots four stocks to each player per game) could create a better competitive experience, it doesn't seem like one match is enough proof to change a system that has been in place for around ten years or so. Then there's Brawl. Obviously if Nairo, the fifteen year-old Metaknight player from New Jersey who placed third in singles, had beaten out the top two Japanese players and took first place, there wouldn't be any discussion of unbanning Metaknight and mirroring the Japanese rule set But what happened, happened, and many players are certainly not ignoring this issue. It's certainly not a guarantee that non-Japanese players will get better just by adopting a new rule set or keeping Metaknight legal. And considering the American community just banned Metaknight, unbanning him immediately without properly evaluating how his ban would change the metagame of Brawl would be a very knee-jerk move. While it seems like the Melee community may not make any changes at all, attempts to change things are certainly breaking the surface in the Brawl community. Whether these changes become concrete within the next few months or not remains to be seen, but what we do know is this – the Melee community has been around for around ten years and will do anything to keep itself alive. And the Brawl community will do whatever it takes to grow and avoid becoming stale, and the American Brawlers specifically will pay any cost to take out the Japanese on their home turf. With that in mind, the games we play competitively may be drastically different in the next year or even in less time. And not many are completely sure if the routes being taken are the right ones to explore. Images courtesy of Robert Paul. Check out his Apex 2012 gallery at: http://robertpaul.smugmug.com/Events/APEX-2012
  6. After just over two months, the latest episode of Directional Influence has finally been released. You can check it out here: http://www.vvv-gaming.com/forum/topic/53169-directional-influence-episode-47-back-in-your-ear-canals/page__pid__483921#entry483921 Moving on. I'm actually quite happy that the episode got released when it did. It feels right. Being gone for two months, not doing my podcast left a void in my weekly routine that I couldn't really shake. Though I have been very busy over the course of the past two months, free time never became an issue to the point that I wouldn't have any time to do the show. Essentially, what it came down to was the quality of the show. Physically, I could do record the episodes, but the quality of the recordings were absolutely terrible, at some points so unclear it wasn't even worth listening to. For putting so much effort into the show for over a year, it wasn't worth trying to struggle with what I had at my disposal. However, my situation is now much better, both in terms of quality of internet, amount of work, and more. So getting this episode of Directional Influence was actually not very hard, at all. I was able to interview vVv Zero, this episode's special guest, quickly and easily last Thursday night, while the rest of the episode was recording Monday night with myself and Will, Zero not included. Fun fact: This episode wasn't even the episode that was going to originally be Episode 47. Episode 47 had two other incarnations. The first, which would have released two weeks after Episode 46, had no special guests planned. Instead, Will and myself had topics including the Metaknight situation and college Smash scenes, plus our usually screwing around that the podcast is known for. The second variation, which was attempted a week after the aforementioned episode was to be recorded, would have featured vVv Zero (for the interview that eventually would be recorded for the final release) and vVv Chibosempai. Both variations never left the drawing board. Concerning this episode, the only problem I ended up finding was the settings I use to maintain the quality found in all previous DI episodes bar the video episodes. To help settle into my new environment when recording the show, I fiddled with some settings to hopefully make the sound files easier to work with, as well as easier to record. As it turns out, my original settings would have been just fine and the ones I ended up using created slightly poorer quality in the sound recording. Thus, segments of the episode sound a bit different than others, a problem which will not show up in future DI episodes. Looking towards the future, Directional Influence seems to be back on track. We'll continue with our weekly show as we have since 2010 and, as of right now, nothing will stop us for doing just that. Not only that, but we continue to work on our live show at this year's Apex 2012, which will be an absolutely awesome experience. Overall, I'm happy with Episode 47. Not only does it feel great to have it finally out the door and in the hands of the public, but overall the show is a true return for the show. We've changed the podcast quite a bit: trying to get more organized, going the route of live video, etc. And, as many of you know, we've had "hiatuses" and "returns" over the past few months as we've tried to re-invent ourselves. But, to be honest, I think what we have going on here is a great thing - we're finally back to doing what Directional Influence was originally created to do: to talk about competitive Smash, feature awesome games, and give the community quality entertainment. So, yeah, we're back. Finally.
  7. Rapture

    E3 2011- My Experience

    This past week really took on a life of its own. I feel like it is just one of those trips that you truly can't predict what will happen next, not even at the huge, obviously scheduled event that is E3. It being my first E3, I didn't know what to expect, nor did I know how I'd handle such an epic adventure. I think I handled it well, but then again there were some mix-ups, some mistakes, things we will learn from next time around. But after all the games I played, people I met, friends I made, things I witness, do I regret making the trip out? Hell fucking no. Just being in California was truly amazing. Being Smash players, Will and myself took the opportunity to hang out with some of southern California's best Brawlers. Monday night, after settling in at the hotel, then taking SoCal's really awesome metro system, we hung out with the one and only Olimar main Rich Brown. A night later, Rich joined us for a small gathering at MikeHAZE's place, where SoCal's number 1 player Tyrant also made an appearance. Being able to play with the top players of the area was truly awesome, especially being of such a lower skill level than everyone who surrounded me. But then it was Day 1 of E3 and all that mattered was getting our hands on the best games at the expo. Hilariously, while we had plans to check out as much as possible to get our feet wet just in the first day, myself and Will, joined by Rich Brown who was representing AllisBrawl.com, found ourselves spending the entire day in the immense Nintendo booth in the West Hall of the Los Angeles Convention Center. Inside the Nintendo booth The 3DS section in particular really caught our attention because of the outstanding amount of games on display for the system at the time. We finally got our hands on games we already knew about like Mario Kart 3DS and Ocarina of Time 3DS, but also being able to play the just-announced Luigi's Mansion 2 was truly spectacular. Granted, I didn't completely love every game in the area; Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D was one of the few I didn't particularly like because of how awkward and clunky the controls were. But overall the 3DS area was really strong thanks to titles like Super Mario 3DS, Star Fox 64 3DS, Kid Icarus: Uprising, and so much more. Probably the best part about not only the 3DS, but the entire Nintendo booth, was that there were so many stations and set-ups for the games that waiting was practically a non-issue. There were enough 3DS stations that either you got to play pretty much within seconds if you wanted to, or maybe you had to wait a few minutes for someone's demo to be over. The exception, save for the obvious Wii U areas, was The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, which always had a line going for it. For that reason, I never bothered to try the game out, though Will and Rich Brown did as I played games like Kirby Wii. It was at the Kirby Wii station that I met a member of Insomniac, the developer behind Ratchet & Clank, who I had a lot of fun playing the game with. It's something else to realize that these developers are people just like you and me, even though they produce the games we live for. You'll be able to check out all of our Nintendo game impressions as we post them in the coming week. Day 2 gave us a chance to explore more of the convention center and boy had we been missing out by just being in the West Hall. Before we had to go back to the South Hall for a closed-door session with Bethesda, we checked out the sprawling booths of Activision, Sega, Ubisoft and Microsoft, getting our hands on games like Sonic Generations and Ninja Gaiden 3 before going back to the South Hall for the Bethesda demos. We got an exclusive sneak peek at The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim before an unplayable demo screening of Prey 2 and the chance to play an amazing Rage demo, and in my case I played Rage right next to the one and only Cliff Blezinski of Epic Games. All of these things were not open to anyone who just walked by on the show floor, you had to be invited. We were really glad to have been invited and get to experience what Bethesda had to offer. To check out all of our Day 2 game impressions, stay tuned. But then there was Day 3, where we had to fit in everything else we wanted to do into one 7 hour day. There was still so much for us to check out, especially because Day 1 was almost all Nintendo for us, so we immediately rushed around to try and get our hands on as many games as possible. After checking out games like Dark Souls and Duke Nukem Forever, we got a pre-alpha screening of Prototype 2. Even in pre-alpha, the game is looking pretty good, despite the obvious need for polish and all of that. Day 3 also surprised us quite a bit. Getting our hands on Rayman Origins gave us a game we felt was terribly underrated throughout the entire show. We cannot wait to give you our impressions on this unique platformer, but to be brief at this very moment, Rayman Origins is one of the most aesthetically pleasing, unique, funny, and difficult games I have played in a long time. At the Rayman Origins area at the Ubisoft booth Just as the final moments of E3 closed, we said good-bye to the Nintendo booth, the place we essentially lived in all of Day 1. We certainly did not want to leave, and it definitely sucked to get in the shuttle back to the hotel and have to go to the airport to leave the entire state not too long after the show ended. The entire experience came to a close so quickly that I'm still trying to take it all in a day after arriving back in New York. There's not much more I can say other than that the entire adventure was amazing and I cannot wait to go back next year if it's possible. Other than that, keep checking back for our individual game impressions on all the titles we got to play or see throughout the week. Trust me, it was almost other-worldly to actually have these games in our hands rather than just hearing about them in the news. You'll want to check back for these impressions. Go check out my E3 thread for updates here: E3 2011 Thread
  8. Hello everyone! My weekend was a great one, and I would love to share my experience with all of you guys . Tujo Party 2 Blog: Friday, June 10th I waked up at 9 AM. I eated a really good breakfast (thanks mom ), taked a shower, and then, prepared my bag and equipment for the upcoming travel & tournament. I was ready to go at 10:55 AM. "Something" on the back of my head told me to check out my bus ticket, and to my surprise, I had to take a bus in 20 minutes! I didn't knew I was late! Also, the president of Chile, Sebastian Pi
  9. Back in the year 2000, after we all got over the whole Y2K thing, I was still only seven years old. Actually, come to think of it, I don't really remember much of the actual Y2K scare until after the fact. Either way, we all found out that life would still continue, with or without computers apparently, and thus the rest of the first year of the century went off without a hitch. The birds chirped, the sun glowed, and MechWarrior 4 came out for PC. From then on, my life would never be the same: I became a mech fan. Ever since my dad got me MW4 for our family computer, that stuff we call, "outside", didn't matter anymore. All that mattered was MechWarrior 4 and it's subsequent expansions I harassed my family to get me on a holiday. I became obsessed with the experience, and mind you it was my first ever mech game. There was just something about these kinds of games that got me hooked. In fact, it was MechWarrior 4 that prompted me to get Metroid Prime for the Gamecube, as I thought Samus was a mech for some reason, setting ablaze my passion for the Metroid series and making it one of my favorite franchises in all of video gaming. Thanks MechWarrior. But though the Metroid series has had quite a number of stellar entries, MechWarrior
  10. Since the Wii 2 was rumored, then finally confirmed, everyone has been crazed not only about the system itself and what it entails, but also the games coming out for it. Would the fabled Pikmin 3 finally be released, showing itself on the oddly dubbed "Project Cafe" successor to the current Wii? Will Zelda: Skyward Sword be pushed back to become a launch title for Wii 2? And what about that weird controller with the tablet in the middle? How will the streaming work and can it run with the 3DS? So many questions, but for Smashers like me, we want just one thing answered: Is there a Super Smash Bros 4? At this point, it's safe to say that we have absolutely no idea. Unlike the confirmation of the appearance of Wii 2 at E3, many of the game rumors have not been confirmed. PureNintendo.com recently gave a huge list of specs and concepts for the Wii 2, as well as a ridiculous amount of games that apparently are going to appear in trailer or playable form this year at the huge game expo. On that list, marked with a "playable" stamp, is Super Smash Bros 4. We may be seeing this sometime this June. So, I mean, what can we think of this? And what will it be like? To address the former, essentially this rumor is claiming that the next Smash Bros will be playable this year at E3. As much as this would be awesome and amazing for everyone, we have to think both realistically and logically here. Brawl was announced in 2005, which was quickly paired at E3 with the first launch trailer that confirmed Metaknight, Pit, Wario, Zero Suit Samus and Konami's Solid Snake to be playable characters. Just thinking of that, by the way, makes me giddy. There's nothing like anticipating a new Smash game. Anyway, when it was announced, it wasn't playable, and wouldn't become playable for a while. Brawl didn't actually begin its development stage until 2005, several years after the release of Melee, and wasn't even released until 2008. So, being realistic here, we really can't expect a true playable demo of the game yet. If anything, Nintendo will probably keep the game's gameplay, save for any that shows up in a release trailer, quite under wraps. Smash is one of Nintendo's hugest franchises and the last thing it wants to do is show all of its cards too early. Plus, this is if the console even has any playable demos in the first place - as far as we know, the confirmation of playable demos of any game for the system has not been announced, and if/when it does, it's doubtful Smash will be part of the playable category. When the Wii was announced, Wii Sports was the big game that was played, and even then we didn't see all of what the Wii had to offer back then. Putting that aside, let's be optimistic and say that there will be a Smash 4. We all want it to happen, even though we really don't know who will be making it in the first place. Sakurai was essentially begged to make Brawl and now he's all up in the Kid Icarus franchise as of late. That's not to say Nintendo lacks any capable developer; I'm sure Retro Studios wouldn't mind adding the best Smash Bros ever created to their resume. So, with that said, assuming it is being made, what kind of game will it be? As in, well, what kind of Smash will it be? What kind of Smash should it be? A better Brawl or a better Melee? Which is...better? With the Smash community, it seems like the two most viable options have appeared: It will be a "true" sequel to Melee, or an upgraded Brawl. And, in my eyes, I'm actually leaning toward the latter. Everyone knows I'm a huge Melee fan. I love the hype, the community, the overall amazing quality of the game. I've spent countless hours playing it by myself and even more with friends. There was nothing like a good game of Melee late at night back in the day. However, do I really just want a Melee 2.0? Not necessarily. Brawl, in it of itself, is a solid title. Yeah, there's things wrong with it, but it actually introduced a lot of things I do enjoy. I love the roster, save for a few spots; I'm a big fan of the stages; the campaign actually wasn't that bad; all of the cool things to unlock were pretty, um, cool. There's a lot that could be better, but to be completely honest, just because a game isn't "Melee 2.0" doesn't mean SSB4 can't be a good mix of what Melee was, what Brawl is, and what a new Smash game could bring. That, my readers, is what is the truly best option. The great thing about what we have here is that there is so much we can take from previous games, as well as create with new additions. There's nothing wrong with change. I love Melee, but I don't want to buy a graphically-updated replica of it. I want a new Smash, one that brings the best of all the previous titles, as well as changes up things that makes it separate from all the other titles. Sure, I'll still buy it regardless of whatever it turns out to be, but this seems like the smartest thing to do, and I'm sure the developers behind it, if they are behind it, are completely aware of this. With that said, I really have confidence in the next Smash. I don't want Brawl 2.0, Melee 2.0, or even 64 2.0 (though that would probably be as ridiculous as MvC2 in terms of craziness); I just want Super Smash Bros 4. I want to keep the best of the old, and bring in the best of the new. That's the clearest goal I can see for anyone that decides or decided to take on the franchise for the new console. And please, I beg of you, whomever is developing this game, please make Ridley and King K. Rool playable!
  11. What do you think of when you picture competitive gaming? Fame and glory? A fun weekend at an MLG event? Online matches? A waste of time and money? When it comes to competitive gaming, everyone has their own opinion. Many find it to be another road to glory in this thing we call life. Some just do it for fun. Others think it is not worth their time. But, the thing that all of our opinions have in common is that, for most of us, we are competitive gamers. Posting this at vVv, I can say that essentially everyone here is, in some way, shape or form, connected to competitive gaming. But, have any of you considered what the rest of the gaming community thinks? The people that don't out-host GB allstars and fly around the country to partake in events may not have the same views. Thanks to my position in my school newspaper, asking people for their opinions on certain subjects is almost a daily routine. So, I took it upon myself, after thinking about the idea for this article, to ask a few people about their thoughts on competitive gaming while I was supposed to be doing my actual work. One freshmen at my high school, who decided to be named anonymous, said, "I play with my friends , but I have no idea what Major League Gaming is. I know Halo 3 has a playlist called MLG, but I never play it. I never knew what it was." Just a case of unawareness? Many others seemed to have the same reaction. It seems like many of them don't know much about competitive gaming past owning their friends. What about the people that do know? "I never got into it, " said junior Garvin Wells, "it seemed like too much time. The chances of me doing anything or being successful are not there." Another junior, Brandon Conforti, seemed to think the same idea. "Unless I'm getting the hundreds of dollars back I spent to be there, why go?" Probably the most interesting bit I was able to collect, however, is a quote from my good friend Marco Melargno, who said, "It isn't the most welcoming of places. I was yelled at and called names more than I was invited to play games with people. They didn't care how good I was. I didn't even know if I was as good as them. They never let me show them." What does this all mean? Well, most of us can agree that, yes, many people aren't the most welcoming in the competitive gaming community. It may all just be a waste of time and money. What does this mean to people that have been a part of competitive gaming, for better or for worse? To be honest, from what I've seen, competitive gaming is a double-edged sword. There are times when you really just want to give up and pursue something else. But, then you have the times that you really do enjoy. Whether or not you keep going is up to you. This article isn't really meant to change people's opinions, but rather, just a different look in. Maybe it isn't so different than things you may have heard. Still nice to hear what others think. Names and quotes taken from students of Torrington High School of Torrington, Connecticut. Consent has been given to use the names and quotes from the individuals in the above article.
  12. Rapture

    Let's Get This Straight

    Yeah, I'm not one for introductions. Let's get this straight so we can all move on. Sound good? When I was interviewed by Jerry (vVv LordJerith for all of you unnecessarily oblivious), we discussed a potential plan for me to have an active blog of my writings. This would include reviewing, and whatever else that was conversed about, since I honestly can't remember. Well, here it is. This is vVv Blogsanity. I like the name. This is my blog, which will be (hopefully) a go-to source for information and entertainment. For those of you that know how I write, I'm always one to add humor and sarcasm into whatever I'm doing. I can be blunt. I can hate. I can praise. That's what makes it fun. So, here is what you should expect from this insanity of the blogs: -Reviews -Previews -Demo Play -Rants -Opinion Articles Reviewing and previewing is pretty simple. I'll analyze movies, books, TV shows, games, etc. that have been released or will be released in the near future. Reviews will be, well, reviewing these things. Previews will be getting a close look at these things before released, as in what to expect, any information, and such. Demo Play is a favorite of mine. It is similar to the a Preview, but more like a Hands-On Feature. I essentially take a demo (Xbox 360 only, since that's what I play) and analyze the game based on said demo. This is almost like a review of the demo, but may lead into what to expect from the final build of the game, what should be fixed for the final build of the game, and if the final build of the game is worth your time based on what I've experienced in the demo. It's a good time. Then, we have rants. Everyone likes rants. Rants will be the most random thing you'll find here and it'll mostly be for your entertainment. I'll pick really any topic and rant about it. Whether or not you benefit from it isn't up to me, it is up to if you enjoy someone rambling on about the same thing until it is like beating a dead horse. Also a good time. Finally, we have Opinion Articles. This is like a rant, but unlike a rant, isn't a rant. I'll find a topic of interest and give my two cents on it while avoiding going into a hatefest, avoiding sipping that haterade, and going into rant mode. Think of it as the anti-rant. So, yeah. That's what you should know. That's what you'll be getting. That's what I'll be delivering to you. I hope you all enjoy what is to come (no "That's what she said" implication intended). If you have any suggestions, comments, concerns, etc, I believe there is a form of commenting on these blogs. If not, you can e-mail me at brodeurrocks@optonline.net or tri1337@hotmail.com, or aim me at dkmonkey30 or send me a private message here on the site. Any questions?
  13. Rapture

    District 9 Review

    Even though this isn't a new review (I wrote this one around the time the movie came out), because this blog is here, I figured I'd post it for you all to access easier. And, I love the movie, so you should read this anyways. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- District 9 Produced by Peter Jackson, Bill Block, Ken Kamins, Paul Hanson, and Elliot Ferwerda Written by Neil Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell Released: August 14th, 2009 (NA) Time: 112 min. Here's my problem with summer movies that aren't The Dark Knight (2008). Every summer movie it seems, unlike The Dark Knight, never seem to resonate. None of them really took my breath away. After seeing the normal flow of summer movies this year, I was saddened to find that none of them almost suffocated me to death. The only one that was truly a good movie was Star Trek, not because its Star Trek, but because it was just a damn good movie. Still, that was technically Spring, but I digress. Yet, someone decided to throw me a lifeline named District 9. The most I knew about it was that it had something to do with aliens, something to do with a district (people say its the 9th one, but that's debatable), and...well, yeah, that's it. It made me curious. So, why not check it out? After walking out of that movie theater last Friday night, I will gladly say that everyone with more than half a brain should see this movie. It is dramatic, smart, action-packed, and above all, a movie that you will talk about for weeks on end. District 9 is an adventure that you may not have expected and that's what's great about it. It's not a cliche alien flick, it's a true, honest movie about social issues we still have today. Still, without the messages, you can walk out saying that it was still amazing. And you'd be right. District 9 follows the events of an ongoing crisis in South Africa, in some points showing it as a documentary, which involves the housing of over a million of "Prawns", a derogatory term the humans have given the non-humans, in the District 9 slum. Following the footsteps of corporate puppet Wikus van der Merwe, the film takes you on a spiraling roller coaster of an adventure that ends with an odd, yet "actiony" ending. Science-fiction fans will appreciate the time taken into making it a sure hit, yet people just looking for a good time will find a lot of awesome fights and explosion to satisfy any thrill seeker. District 9 successfully weaves action with a emotional narrative that focuses on the conflict between the humans and aliens, as well as their relationships between each other. The aliens seem to be more human than the humans are, with every sentence heartfelt, even if they are all clicks and gargles and need subtitles for the normal human being to understand (that being the movie-goer, mind you). Of course, it becomes more personal when the main character finds himself in a predicament that he can't seem to get out of without the help of one of the extraterrestrials. The movie itself is almost near-perfect. There is very little to bash it on, but then again, nothing is perfect. District 9 seems to take off a bit too slow as it tries to build up the atmosphere of the movie with documentary-styled introductions to the conflict and it's history. The ending is also a bit offbeat, as it doesn't really end, but rather just leaves the conflict ongoing and without much solution. This may be a message to the viewer or may just be that it doesn't need an ending, but some may be a bit disappointed in what they don't get after watching the whole movie. But, I can easily say that the positives extremely outweigh the minimal negatives there are. District 9 is a masterpiece of sorts. It brings a breath of fresh air to a dim summer movie line-up that didn't impress many at all. District 9 is something Hollywood needed. It is an intelligent movie that many need to see for more than it just being an alien movie. There is something to be learned from District 9. When you take the time to truly create an amazing movie and not just slap something together with poor dialogue and crappy acting pieces, you get something like District 9: a film that is above average in every meaning of the phrase. You should not think twice about seeing District 9. Catch this gem before you lose it.
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