November 2006 Archives

Blob Wars: Metal Blob Solid

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Blob Wars is the story of a blob named Bob, who’s trying to save his race from certain destruction from the Aliens. It’s a simple 2d Platform game written in SDL, so it runs on Windows, Linux, and MacOS (probably others as well). It’s also the most polished FLOSS game I’ve ever seen.

The level design is simple, with levels unlocking as you clear others, sometimes branching into multiple paths you can take, and each level includes some things you can’t access until you get the Rebreather (allows you to swim indefinitely) or the Jetpack.

There are a variety of weapons, each providing different strategies. Each weapon gives you unlimited ammunition, however, you can only have one weapon at a time, so sometimes you have to be careful not to pick up an unwanted weapon drop.

This is just a great freeware game, and I’d seriously suggest you pick it up. Anyone interested in game development might also want to consider the sequel, which is in 3D and in development at the same site.

Stranger Than Fiction

I’m not a big fan of Will Ferrel. Never have been. He’s schtick has always been acting like a fucking idiot. That said, I love this movie, and Will Ferrel does an excellent job with the character of Harold Crick.

Harold Crick is an auditor for the IRS. And he’s just an interesting man as that makes him sound. Until one day he begins hearing a narrator, who is telling the story of his life, including his inevitable death. See, Author Kay Eiffel doesn’t write Comedies. In her stories, the protagonist must die. And such it is with Harold Crick. However, Harold’s death can’t be just any death, it needs to be special, and so Kay has been fretting for close to 10 years on how to kill Harold Crick.

Faced with death, Harold chooses to live the life he always wanted. He goes after the girl, he learns things he always meant to. He turns his life into something with meaning, something that defines him more than just his work. He decides that he wants to live, not because he fears death, but he finally enjoys living. So he seeks out Ms. Eiffel. Once meeting her, and she realizes that she’s about to kill a real person, and not only about to, but may have killed others in the past through her writing, she presents him with the book, including the outlined, but as-yet-untyped ending.

This movie is about Literature. It’s about characters, and it’s about how people respond to the circumstances of their lives. Harold realizes that he’s a character in a book, but somehow he still has free will, he still chooses his own path. The question is one of Fate. Can Harold avoid the fate that Kay Eiffel has written for him? It’s an interesting question. One which the movie only partly addresses, because this movie isn’t about escaping fate. It’s about the Hero accepting that which is inevitable, and walking into the fire knowing beyond a doubt that they are doing absolutely the right thing.

This is a beautiful film. It’s well shot, it’s well timed, and it flows very well. I would argue that it is artistically one of the finest films I’ve seen in a long time. It’s entertaining, and interesting, and wonderful. I highly recommend this wonderful little story about the unexpected Heroes in everyday people.

God's Debris

Scott Adams, the creator of the venerable Dilbert comic, presents to the world, his “thought experiment” God’s Debris in free e-book PDF form. What kind of thought experiment? Well, it’s basically new potential theory on how the Universe is driven by probability. It’s an interesting read.

I couldn’t help but be reminded while reading the book of Rufus, from Kevin Smith’s movie Dogma. In the movie, Rufus says “I think it’s better to have ideas. You can change an idea. Changing a belief is trickier. Life should malleable and progressive; working from idea to idea permits that. Beliefs anchor you to certain points and limit growth; new ideas can’t generate. Life becomes stagnant.” In this book, Adams’ main point appears to be that all of Humanity’s ideas and beliefs regarding God are inherently flawed, because how could Man possibly understand a being such as God?

It’s an interesting point, and an interesting book. He approaches the book by having the main character (well, there are only two), who goes by the name of “Avatar” who apparently knows everything. Of course, Adams admits in the prologue that he simulated that glut of knowledge by always using the simplest explanation for everything, because even though it may not always be correct, it usually sounds plausible enough to be believable.

Frankly, while the book is interesting, an easy read, and probably worth going through, providing you aren’t a slobbering imbecile, it’s not nearly as revolutionary as Adams would have you believe. The idea that God is unfathomable to Man is not a new one. The idea that our views on the world our tainted by our inability to understand it all, is not new. However, it makes for an interesting read, especially when you being to examine what is true, and what isn’t.

In all, it’s an interest book, certainly worth the download, though I’m not sure if it would be worth the $12.95 the book retails for. However, I’m debating picking up the sequel. Like I said, it’s interesting, but I don’t think it’s likely to shock anyone to the core the way Adams seems to feel.