Tagged lonely

Landscape Painting of Yanchep Western Australia (Simon Deadman Remix)

RND/ To consider a remix painting of a Simon Deadman photograph of Yanchep, Western Australia:

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Yanchep Western Australia (remix of Simon Deadman photo)

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// how to play big science

Peter Green – In The Skies (1979) cover remix

RND/ To imagine a remix of the inside cover of Pete Green’s album “In The Skies” (1979) while listening to his track “A Fool No More”

– In a prominent serial number in the lower right hand corner gives these lonely 70’s clouds an even stranger feel

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In The Skies Album Cover Inside Remix

No there’s the blues, man:

// how to play big science

24Hrs on Twitter as a Lonely Waste Of Time

RND/ In which, due to a particularly bad recent fit of existential depression and terminal boredom, you mistakenly try getting back onto Social Media, only to find it somehow even emptier than your old, half-undead life. Some notes in passing:

  • You find the user interface a bit more slick and ‘friendly’ than you last remember
  • You won’t even get the name you want because some idiot piss weasel with two tweets is cyber-squatting there
  • The recommendations of ‘who to follow’ are toxic and worthless
  • The ‘taylored ads’ that pop up are astoundingly meaningless to you; it’s like patchoui flavored nut-shaving foam was being advertised to Travis Bickle. No only is Travis violently not-interested in your foam, he now wants to casually kill you with something sharp
  • You pause while writing this, to take on some watery yet disgustingly salty barley soup out of a old can, with organic brown pittas and strong cheddar cheese
  • All the old sad faces you used to once follow are still there, denizens of nowhere, shuffling around in their empty open air prison, still forever waiting for something, anything to happen – but it never does
  • One cool guy you’ve interacted before gave you a free Steam key to his crap indie game, which was truly generous. But it’s still crap, and he just can’t see it
  • The worst tweet you saw within 24 hours was the following, willingly self-compromised, middling, spineless, carefully stage managed, weasel-like, hang-wringing, ‘one must always find a happy compromise’ style tweet by a generally good but annoyingly fretful videogame-critique Youtuber. It’s offensively-inoffensive nicey-niceness made you slightly puke in your mouth. (A little like his videos then..) Is this where we’re at on Social Media? [As opposed to what, Rob?] Jeez, might as well get yourself a fucking PR middle-manager bot to tweet for ya:
*blurrgggh, shiver*
  • Yuck! You tweeted back “Pussy”, and a Henry Rollins “Do it” video link. Drop and give me twenty, motherfuckers
  • You didn’t find any way of immediately muting retweets – in which whiny hipster liberals, trustifarians and other ultra-privileged, cheap-champange weekend socialists ‘ditto’ some vaguely lefty™ news item – not that such often vitally important voices don’t need amplifying, not that you didn’t often entirely agree with the truth behind the stories retweeted, but mannn – there was still the sneeking suspicion retweeting such news was often simply more about ‘look at all the politically correct things *I’m* interested in – and therefore look how important and socially with-it I am. (why i also even watched ‘get out!’ with my black friends without sweating too much.)’ Of course, saying that online makes you out like some psychotic, professionally miserabalist alt right chode. Best to keep your trap shut, Kid – which seems precisely the point of Twitter from the very outset. (So why sign up with the other digital lemmings?) Shut up, keep your head down and get on with it – whatever the fuck it is – because the alternative of talking a load of time wasting shite to a bunch of *other* random assholes online – seems infinitely worse. (Hang on though, isn’t that the Interwebs itself? Other than just continually punching the time clock before death for something to do, what the holy cosmic shit are we all even doing out here? Where even is ‘here’?)
  • Speaking of which, talk about the World White Web! Pasty guffawing nerds in a room, talking near-total shit about shit videogames. There doesn’t seem much in the universe that’s more tedious (other than wankers who follow Elon Musk.) And still – years after you left – the same old fragmentary, going-nowhere-fast conversations and too-little-too-fucking-late style mini rants about how ‘you know, i think we (the indie games community) need to #unionize’ and ‘the difficult issue of #pricing’ in the modern marketplace. Your eyes often rolled so hard while listening to all this, you got eye-lash.
  • Unless your already famous, nobody gives a flying tinker’s tweet about who you remotely imagine you are, and nobody is remotely interested in what you’re doing – they just want positive feedback echo chambers where you talk to them about themselves, their endless bullshit little projects and plans. But try turning that conversation about for a nanosecond and try shoehorning in the fact that, ‘hey look over here, I’m an artist, too!’ and that sudden horrible sucking noise you’ll hear is the sound of all the air in the social media airlock being vacuumed back into the bottomless Electronic Void. “There is only self promotion on social media, the only self promotion allowed, is for those already (/self) anointed ‘Social’ enough to tweet constantly about their (digital) selves – their fucking amazing, endlessly artistic productive chipper and fun filled existences.’ How utterly cliquey and deeply.. pathetic it all seems.
  • Twitter makes you feel like a desperate ‘try-hard’. Why the fuck bother tweeting when nobody’s listening? The whole thing seems vacuous and shallow. Who’s trying to please who, here? Do you really think you’re gonna get anyone to follow you – even the sad sacks with no life are too busy to know you even exist.
  • Some indie game gamedev tosser was following 12k people. Just staring at his stupid smug head and that number underneath it made you mad. Like anything could have been less meaningful, or vain. He’d have to use a fucking rotatory sander on his smart phone just to swipe down fast enough to read his twitter feed. What a crock. What a paper thin sham. ‘Interaction’. You’d rather interact with a passing bolt of lightning than lower yourself to follow this wanker – or even worse, have him follow you. “You do understand that? It’s not really a special message to you, Mr. Cole.”
  • You left, and nobody even knew you’d gone. How depressing – and how impossibly naive on your part. Like you could of expected anything else. This is not your scene. You were never part of the in-crowd. Make your own scene – crowds are not to be trusted. A mere 24 hours on social media, and you feel like an endless month of dead end Sundays has been dumped on your existential doorstep. To hell with that energy sapping white noise.
  • Twitter and other companies of their ilk are nothing but data sucking parasites, concerned only with their warped version of ‘community spirit’. That is, feed them your secrets and dreams, and (passively, like morons) watch them bloat up like ticks. Tweet me about that when it happens – about how you helped made it happen – and *then* I’ll follow you.
Existential Saturday Night Tweet


Crackdown 3: a game of empty, clockwork megacity sadness

RND/ consider a mashup of online review transcripts and edited Loltube video footage to express the empty, clockwork megacity sadness of Crackdown 3:

In which Crackdown 3 has had a bumpy ride full of delays and studio departures, and now after everyone from developers to consumers has finished and done with the final product, it’s all too clear that something went very wrong.

While the bright lights of neon techno-tinged New Providence might seem attractive from afar, the city feels small, hollow, and incredibly bland. It’s a shock to play any game in Crackdown 3’s condition that’s been in development for so long, especially one created exclusively for Microsoft. There are multiple playable agents, but after such a lengthy advertising campaign, selecting anyone but Terry Crews aka Commander Jaxon, feels like a waste. He’s the only recognizable face, and his pseudo humorous outbursts provide the only deadpan chuckle-worthy moments in the game.

You’re sent to this island metropolis to shut down Terra Nova, a private militia run by the psychotic female badguy cliche Elizabeth Niemand. There are brief, crap 2D cut-scenes that give you as little story as possible; the rest of your direction comes from bullshit waypoints and idle radio chatter. Director Goodwin returns from the previous Crackdowns to cheer you on, along with Echo, the refugee-turned-rebel. Good grief. Once you get past the first area, you’re set loose in New Providence to complete the map’s checklist in whatever order you choose. In short, busywork.

Finishing each category of missions brings one of nine bosses out of hiding, eventually leading you to the top brass of Terra Nova. There are a few recordings you can track down and listen to, but they rarely offer new details about the world, merely giving the villains a chance to speak and granting a bit of XP. The near complete lack of an evolving plot or even a base of operations to return to, makes jumping around the map the entirety of the experience. It may seem unfortunate that there’s so little structure, but there’s certainly something to be said for a city-based open-world action game where you just sprint and shoot and cover as much ground as you can. But what, exactly?

The issue may be that there’s so much else going wrong here that even the minute to minute carnage loses its impact after a while – roughly thirty seconds to a minute and a half. Once you take over one of Terra Nova’s locations, like a defense turret or a toxic pipeline, the rest in that district will be labelled on the map. You can focus on one area to hunt down a specific boss, or take off and go to war with whatever nonsense ambles your way. There are also samples of agent DNA you can recover to unlock more characters, poisonous canisters to destroy, and races both on-foot and in vehicles. Woo fucking hoo.

The objectives at each location are repetitive and they can be confusing because specific terminals aren’t always highlighted right away, forcing you to hop around and guess what the game’s asking you to find. Some of these map missions rewire the city to work in your favour. Releasing citizens from prison increases the chance you’ll see them fighting alongside you later on, and capturing monorail stations will unlock travelling turrets that back you up. The city also evolves depending on the order you choose to eliminate bosses, removing their forces from subsequent encounters and increasing your chances of l337 gaming success. Players will noticed these perks as the campaign wears on, but much like the entire game they feel more like set dressing rather than a feature that can really be engaged with, existentially, in any truly meaningful sense.

Your agent can level up in six categories: agility, firearms, strength, explosives, driving, and weeping to themselves internally. You soak up bullshit ‘experience orbs’ when you practice each of these activities, or earn a dose of all types of XP when you locate hidden orbs. Each time you step into a new car or pick up a new weapon, it’s added to a catalog of astoundingly useless items so you can request it later at Agency supply points. These markers also let you respawn or fast-travel. This system encourages you to keep seeking and destroying mindlessly, but gives you little freedom in how you level up your agent, and aside from weeping silently to oneself, the rest of the skills aren’t really necessary. They become an afterthought unless you want to gain access to crazier vehicles or spend time tracking down agility orbs to upgrade your idiot jumping.

Despite the emphasis on the destruction of dead time on planet Earth through playing brainless videogames, the platforming is actually what separates Crackdown 3 from most open-world shooters. Lots of rewards sit in hard-to-reach areas, like propaganda towers you have to climb one ledge at a time. Leaping between tall buildings can be challenging in a way that not many open-worlds experiment with, but there just aren’t any exciting places to visit. The city is entirely believable as an entirely unbelievable nonplace of charmless fakeness, lacking entirely enough style to more than adequately highlight the soul sucking emptyness of the waste-pits, empty freeways, and barren rooftops. (In this strict regard it’s kinda desperate and beautiful.)

Aside from some very tall buildings, high-speed railway lines, and dancing projections, Crackdown 3’s visuals on the standard Xbox One look like something that launched on the Xbox 360. It’s one thing to replace detail with a foul rainbow of neon and bright, dim explosions, but even this is a significant step below already low AAA Games Industry expectations. Muddy textures are always popping in, the framerate chugs every now and then and the character models are frankly embarrassing. Enemy types are simply mindless drones with stiff animations and zero personality, and they sometimes freeze in place or fail to respond when you shoot them.

The bosses are also dull, with only a few offering scenarios that differ from the standard missions. The map is tiny, failing to impress at first and second glance, and it doesn’t resonate in any way when the brief campaign is thankfully over. In that way it exactly mirrors and exemplifies modern (synthetic) life in and under the contemporary hyperreal spectacle of global videogame capitalism.

Like before, the entire game can also be played alongside another human agent online in co-op. Having a partner makes everything only 2-3.75% bit better, whether it’s spotting and eliminating tricky-to-find bad guys or causing a minor ruckus on the barren city streets. It’s up to you to make the most of co-op as not much was designed with a second player in mind, aside from races and supply points. Your buddy is there merely to goof around with and supply a bit of extra firepower.

If you want to challenge other agents, there’s Wrecking Zone, the first attempt at PVP in the series. Matchmaking places you in one of two modes on a team of up to 5 players. Agent Hunter is like Call of Duty’s Kill Confirmed, requiring you to not only eliminate enemy team members, but to pick up the badges they drop to earn points. Territories is your basic conquest mode, continuously creating spots on the map for each team to capture and keep. Everyone’s l337 agility skillz are maxed out, and there are multiple air jets on each map that rocket you to higher ground. Deadpan-yea.

The series’ lock-on shooting comes in handy because agents can move so fast. Other than competitive multiplayer, the big difference between Wrecking Crew and the Campaign is the inclusion of environmental destruction. Most of the walls and platforms can be knocked down in large ugly clumps, clearing segmented parts of the map and giving you few places to hide. It’s supposed to look cool to see each area fall to pieces, but aside from filling up a meter for a super ability that you can also fill by picking up orbs there’s little strategy to demolition.

The maps are separate from New Providence, so you never get to cause similar damage to the actual city. Wrecking Crew is amusing for thirty seconds, but otherwise too chaotic. And with no progression system, there’s zero reason to keep coming back. Crackdown 3 is partying like it’s 2010, ignoring every advancement the open-world genre thinks it’s made in the past decade. The attempts at hu-mor and provocation are amazingly forgettable, and if it wasn’t for Echo and Goodwin prattling in your ear there’d be almost nothing but “absolutely nothing much” to any of it. Indeed, Crackdown 3 precisely excels at “almost nothing” – even in comparison to several of its more recently, pseudo-groundbreaking competitors. No matter how strong your agent can get or how much demolition you can cause, there are simply better cities to save.

In short, Crackdown 3 is an uninspired lazy retread of the original Crackdown, which The Industry might have gotten away with if this was 2007. This game just looks and feels like a budget basement title at best and not even a good-bad one at that. Just a bland mess of clunky physics and impact-free combat. Basically you’re just locking on and holding down a fire button until things are dead. The character floats around when you try and jump and it’s often hard to control – back in 2007 this kind of stuff was acceptable because it was all new and interesting and the open world marketplace wasn’t completely saturated.

As a hollow whole / hole, it’s just so rough and cheap and lazy looking – not lazily made as such, but rather its entire present universe feels so complacent – silently, violently uninspired – inert, lifeless and passive. Bog Standard Fun is all that’s on offer. Congratulations then to Crackdown 3 – the game that only exists to repeatedly tell players it doesn’t need to exist at all.

Illusion is needed to disguise the emptiness within
– Arthur Erickson, architect

The following gameplay video features quiet and lonely ambient music. Mechanical and dumb – welcome to an absurd, lifeless neon wasteland of aimlessly swirling virtual particles. Pew pew pew. Why, the pseudo-movement of brainless cellular automata crawling across an empty screen seem infinitely more interesting to look at. “Hey buddy you need to lite-en up and play Crackdown 3. It’s [/the?] shit.”

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  • Audio: mp3, 44100 Hz, mono, 69 kb/s (default), very quiet