Victory of the Roboincarnate

Nature was twisted, dragged upright into humanoid-shaped monsters, out for blood.

This was the Devouring Earth, commonly found throughout parts of Paragon City and the Rogue Isles: walking figures of stone, spindly tree men, large fungal marauders, and (worst of all) the mutated human beings, unrecognizably Cthulian, known as the Devoured. Their mission, brought about by the giant oozing single-celled monstrosity known as the Hamidon, was to reclaim the Earth from society, dragging everyone screaming to an unnaturally natural state.

The distant approaching sound of many mechanical feet heralded the opposite: today, it would be technology, not nature that would be striking back. Over the wartorn hill forged seven robotic war machines. Three were the robodrones, trusty mechanical foot troopers armed with light laser cannons. Short. Squat. Disposable. Two were the roboguards, taller and thicker than the robodrones, dispensing protective force shield bubbles where needed. Standing taller than the rest was the robodestroyer, a walking tank with missile batteries at its shoulders and cannons for arms. The last of the seven was the most striking of them all. This robot wore a cape, and projecting out of the top of its head was heavily wired remains of a human brain: the Roboincarnate himself.

What drives a man to abandon his warm attractive body for cold steel? In the case of the Roboincarnate, pure contempt. He began as a man with great technical skill but little faith for humanity. To him, most other people were but bleating fools who did not appreciate his brilliance. When he was paralyzed from the neck down, a victim of a random mugging turned ugly, what little identification he had with humankind was shed. His body was the enemy, he always loved machines, and somehow he managed to replace one with the other. Now, he sought to become some kind of machine god.

The Devouring Earth hordes against the Roboincarnate collective. This was a battle between nature gone awry and nature rejected. On the ground, the shambling elements took notice of approaching wave of technology and prepared to counterattack. Far above, an unmanned space station prepared to orbital drop reinforcements to replace fallen robots of the attacking super villain’s team.

The attackers paused, and the opponents sized eachother up for a moment. Were these mere enemies, there would need be no hesitation. However, within this battle, both sides could see what they truly hated embodied in one-another. This deserved a little acknowledgment.

The silence when broken when the Roboincarnate clenched his mechanical jaw in resolution and gestured for the attack. Immediately, laser turrets blazed and guided rockets fired. Then, smoke and chaos blotted out the rest of the battle. At the end, amongst shattered robots and the bodies of the Devouring Earth, only the Roboincarnate stood victorious, as cold and relentless as unbound progress itself.”

[Edit: Another bit of City of Heroes literature. The story was worth keeping, but the extensive spam related to my gaming habit lately was not.]


Another little thing I threw together using Ableton Live and some sample loops.

Music: “Cosmiquik”

Grand Theft Shenmue

Grand Theft Auto 4 has created quite a bunch of hype, and I suppose that’s relatively justified, as it is indeed a thoroughly entertaining game. However, contrary to it being a GTA thing, I’m thinking it’s more of a Shenmue thing.

Like Shenmue, there’s a great deal of focus on detail to simulate the environment, bringing about a “living city” feel. This is evident in GTA4 much more than the previous GTAs.

The main character, sort of a endearing Russian vagrant, is a neccessary part of this. Without that interplay between flawed-but-likable main character and the individual elements of the city, this wouldn’t have felt half as real.

It’s the realism – not “arbitrary inclusion of ballistics test data” realism but rather “great feeling interactive story” realism – that is causing reviewers to give this game a 9.5 – 10. It has to be: the game mechanics themselves haven’t improved that much. Sure, you can use cover, the physics are better, and there’s online multiplayer – but these are just features.