Guacamelee: A Mexican Hero comes to Life

This is a review of the indie video game Guacamelee, based on my own experiences as a limitedly skilled gamer.

This has to be the best game I’ve played all year.  Of course, it is quite different.  Typically I play puzzle-like games… ones that don’t require me to play and deal with adrenaline at the same time XD  Guacamelee is definitely a great starter action game.  It’s mostly a button-masher, like Castle Crashers, so it doesn’t require much.  However, there is much more to this game that makes it so great.

guac1

First, let’s take a minute to appreciate the music.  I personally feel as though it is hard to screw up Mexican music.  It’s just like Polka music, with a few “ondelay!” or “ayayay!”… I mean… that’s all I hear outside.  But, the game not only captures this real-life element in the music, it also includes an element which captures the environment of the game as well.  The game is light-hearted with funny characters and relationships, and yet it is dark because of the impending doom.  I feel as though the music gets this across in a catchy tune.  I usually mute game music and play my own.  For this game, I didn’t.

Now, let’s appreciate the art.  The more I draw and the more I learn about programming, the more I appreciate all the hard work that goes into a video game.  That SH** is hard.  Especially when you’ve got to consider all the different variables involved in a game.  In other words, I am not as hard of a critic as most.  The game perfectly captured the idea we all have of Mexico: bright and rural.  The art pieces of the towns even capture, more so, the Mexican culture: chickens, mariachi band, farms, beautiful señoritas, rounded señoras, and the namesake guacamole.  I’m not sure what the style of art is… but when I google “Mexican art”, I feel like this is where the game’s style is based.  And that makes sense.

guac2

That brings up the next aspect of the game.  The plot.  Obviously, both music and art capture the concept of Mexican culture.  But without the plot, none of that would be necessary.  The plot is just wonderful.  The setting is in Mexico, which is clear by now.  But the story line involves Mexican myth/legend/lore/etc, that of Calaca.  Wikipedia states:

A calaca  is a figure of a skull or skeleton (usually human) commonly used for decoration during the Mexican Day of the Dead festival. Calacas are generally depicted as joyous rather than mournful figures.  This draws on the Mexican belief that no dead soul likes to be thought of sadly, and that death should be a joyous occasion.

Those of you that don’t know anything about Mexicans should know that the Day of the Dead is a BIG celebration.  You can think of it as the Mexican version of the American Halloween.  The creators of the story have taken a symbol of death in Mexico, and have used it in a more negative manner than in real-life.  That’s okay.  Because a calaca is as much a symbol for death as the Grim Reaper.  If Scrooge can shake in his slippers when the third Ghost of Christmas to Come (who looks an awful lot like the Grim Reaper) shows up, then why can’t Mexicans shake their maracas when a walking, talking Calaca walks into the room.

you-are-not-alone

This is something about the story that I enjoyed.  The fact that the hero of the story must fight Calaca, who is trying to take over both the world of the dead and the land of the living.

I haven’t completed the game yet, because it is just challenging enough that I need to take breaks.  I’ve played up until I actually fight Calaca, but I’ve seen enough of all of this.  I give it a 5 out of 5.  You should go check it out.  Or at least let me know what you thought.

   guac3

Brand New is Brand New

Get this sh**: Did you know that “Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo” is a grammatically correct sentence?!  Check it out.

But that’s not the purpose of this post ;)

The purpose is this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7loS7c850kM

I’m one of those Brand New fans that absolutely loved the albums Your Favorite Weapons (2001) and Deja Entendu (2003).  Then became extremely disappointed with The Devil and God are Raging Inside (2006).  Typical fan.  Angry at the change in style because it’s beyond my comprehension that style changes with the humans involved in the music.

second

Well, now that I’m older.. and I’m more willing to give things I hated at first a second chance (not quite ready to give TBS’s Happiness Is (2014) a second chance YET).. I listened to Brand New’s album Daisy, and

… ohmygod

I do have to say, what was I thinking?!  Brand New came out of nowhere with this amazing album.

great-job

It’s not quite the Brand New I first fell in love with, but it is a new Brand New with a style that is different yet still GREAT.   There is a darker tone to the sound compared to the earlier version of Brand New much like the 2006 album, but there is a slightly more chaotic sound.  And they just work together SO much.

Daisy_(album)

Mario and the Brick-breakers

pp

I’ve always loved Patent Pending.  Two summers ago, I discovered their music on Spotify when searching for a new punk band.  I’ve been in love ever since.  They are super funny (“Douchebag” and “Cheer Up Emo Kid”), yet can still bring in the right amount of emotion (compassion = “One less Heart to Break” and slight disgust = “Cut,Copy, Paste”).  It’s everything I liked about Blink 182 and Bowling for Soup and all those other punk bands that seemed to die away.

Their most recent album featured a song called “Hey, Mario”.  BEST SONG EVAR.  I mean… go listen for yourself: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uZeR-vxREvw. I think Patent Pending realized the genius.  So now they are taking the creativity to a new level.  Doing as punk does, and make a joke out of it all: Mock Documentary

Basically, Mario and the Brick-breakers have “published” an album which is soaring the charts.  Tracks 1, 2, 5, and 6 are definitely more my style… but the lyrics are all amazing.  WHO comes up with this SH!# ?  It’s kind of awesome.  The album is only a few dollars.  I suggest you go buy it and support this band.  Because… there aren’t very many punk bands out there who are this good.

Some Secrets are better Left Unsaid

What I’m about to say quite contradicts my last post.  Because what I did was share a secret that I’ve never said out loud to anyone… ever.  

This video: Mary Lambert’s “Secrets“… is meant to empower people.  To make them be more comfortable with themselves.  I get that.  Girls who are bigger shouldn’t be ashamed to eat a damn donut.  Girls who are skinnier shouldn’t be ashamed of their pointy cheekbones.  Love yourselves.  GREAT message.

Secrets are something ENTIRELY different.  Remember this project: Post Secret.  I remember it.  I remember reading posts about how people like to smell poop.  That is not a secret to share.  Don’t be ashamed.  Good for you.  But the world doesn’t want to know that when you walk into the bathroom you take a great big whiff of the present your co-worker just left you.

poop

‘Nuff said.

Obviously some secrets are lying by omission.  Like when you cheat on your girlfriend and you don’t tell her.  Telling your gf is NOT empowering.

cheat

Mary Lambert’s lyrics are less destructive.  But her chorus basically implies ALL kinds of secrets:

“They tells us from the time we’re young, to hide the things we don’t like about ourselves, inside ourselves.  I know I’m not the only one, who spent so long attempting to be someone else.”  

She doesn’t care that the world knows what her secrets are… but her secrets are characteristics that others might learn if they took the time to get to know her.  Those aren’t secrets.  Those are qualities she may or may not be ashamed of.  There is a difference.

Don’t get me wrong.  I love the song.  It’s a cute beat with cute lyrics with a cute video.  I hope it does lots of girls and boys good.  BUT PLEASE DON’T TELL ME STUFF like the last time you masturbated, what you cannot digest properly, or about that rash in a place I cannot normally see.  

thanks

I probably will judge you.  Not because of the information but because of the information.

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Video: Extended Trailer Hits for “Guardians of the Galaxy”

Originally posted on Confessions of a Nerf Herder:

Need any reassurance that Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy is actually going to be really, really good? Feast your eyes on this…

Pretty damn sweet, no? I absolutely cannot wait for Guardians to roll around later this month.

Guardians of the Galaxy expands the Marvel Cinematic Universe into the cosmos, where brash adventurer Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) finds himself the object of an unrelenting bounty hunt after stealing a mysterious orb coveted by Ronan (Lee Pace), a powerful villain with ambitious that threatens the entire universe.

To evade the ever-persistent Ronan, Quill is forced into an uneasy truce with a quartet of disparate misfits – Rocket (Bradley Cooper), a gun-toting raccoon, Groot (Vin Diesel), a tree-like humanoid, the deadly and enigmatic Gamora (Zoe Saldana) and the revenge-driven Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista).

But when Peter discovers the true power of the orb and the menace it poses to the…

View original 100 more words

Analyzing the Green Monster …

I’m a jealous person.  I’m just going to come right out and admit that.

*sigh*

That feels better.  I’ve never said it “out loud” before.  I have a handful of things I’m ashamed about, and sharing this makes me feel vulnerable.  So if you are going to attack me, please wait for the vulnerability to pass.

vulnerable

When I was a child, I would HATE it when someone came into my room.  Literally, I’d be yelling if anyone touched anything.. I liked everything to be the way I left it.  I remember this one time I came home from First grade, and my dolls had been left all over my floor.  What a hissy fit I threw.  

yelling-child

For the longest time, I would describe my child-self as a brat.  But all girls raised in a house of only boys become possessive and controlling, right?

But First grade isn’t the only time I remember reacting this way.  The next time I was 16 or 17.  It was after my father died.  My bedroom was the only place I could get away from my mourning mother, and my insensitive brothers.  A place I would go write in my journal or write poetry.  A place to listen to music that drowned out the rest of the world.  A place I cried.  So that justifies yelling at anyone coming into my room?

excuse

Then I went to college.  Did all the things that college kids do… drink, hangout with friends, sleep, skip class, and still manage to get a degree.  

lazycollegesenior

During college, though, I met someone who liked her room just so.  I met someone who didn’t like someone touching her things.  I connected with a girl who respected my stuff as much as I respected her stuff.  She understood me.  So I chalked all my temper-tantrums to my child-self being a spoiled brat, because I wasn’t the only one who liked a neat place.

The difference between us: shortly after we started dating, she became one of my things.  Not like I treated her less than human.  But that I became possessive and controlling like I did with my dolls.  I needed her to be set in a specific way.  My way.  A way I could trust.  A way that is most comfortable for me.  The possessiveness and control gave way to jealousy.  I turned into a complete crazy lady (I might be exaggerating a bit for emphasis.. there’s more to the story than this).

WHAT KIND OF PERSON AM I??

luck

I’m quite ashamed of the person I became.  One of the reasons I’m not in a relationship now is because I’m afraid of that person.  I do not want to subject someone else to the monster inside me.  

lemon-eyeroll

I’m a super laid-back person.. now.  It’s how I can manage the raging emotions within.  Sometimes I think that I’m ready to open up and find a new best friend.  But… how can you change something that has been inside you since you were a child?  You can’t… at least that’s what I’ve decided.  So I let people see the parts of me that I want them to see… the parts of me that I only allow myself to see.  Because if I knock even just a brick down, I’m afraid of what I’ll become.

There’s not just a Green monster waiting for something to call its own.  There are monsters of every color, just waiting.

monsters

I can mash-potatoe, I can do the twist, now tell me baby

Do you like it like this?

This post is a review of my experience with the video game The Bridge.  So if you haven’t played and you would like to.. you should read this because there aren’t any spoilers.  If you haven’t played and you don’t want to.. well, you can still read this ;)

The-Bridge-video-game-logo

The game is primarily a puzzle game.  There are 8 worlds, each with 5 levels.  In each level, you need to get through the exit door in order to complete the stage.  As you progress from one level to the next, new elements are introduced that make the puzzle slightly more difficult than the last.

The basis for the creativity is the M.C. Escher-like art.  It is what drew me to the game, it’s what drew my brother to the game, and I’m sure it’s what drew most players to the game.  M.C. Escher is well-known for his optical illusion pieces.  Most people recognize the pieces where you may follow a path to go in one direction and end in another.

mcescher

M.C. Escher has a ton of wonderful pieces.  He is one of the most famous surrealists of his time.

The game stayed true to the tricky paths.

original

You can move from one end of a path to another through a portal.  The paths also allow you to manipulate “gravity.”  Eventually, these portals will allow you to manipulate the color of your character… this allows you to access black keys and black doors only if you are black, and white keys and white doors only if you are white.  It is up to you to find the perfect path which gives you the proper color at the proper position.

Also, you’ll have to deal with portals and deadly balls.  As well, you can manipulate time so you do not have to begin a level all over again.

TheBridgeScreenshot6

Although you have these factors,  I found the puzzles much easier to solve than the game Braid.

All in all, I rate this game a 9 out of 10.  It was fun and challenging enough to make me want to finish the game.  Unfortunately, there wasn’t much of a story despite the fact that you get to meet Isaac Newton and your character is M.C. Escher himself.

Go on Steam and play the game.  Let me know what you think.