Monday, August 29, 2016

To Any Leeroy Apologists

"I see all the young believers
Your target audience
I see all the old deceivers
We all just sing their song"

Marilyn Manson - Target Audience


Wow... it's a good thing I stopped reading PCGamer back in the mid '90s or I'd have burst an artery by now.
Back when I reminisced about the whole Retrodruid phenomenon I wound up glancing at the wikipedia entry for Leeeerooooyyyyyy nnnJennnkins! (yes, that's how it's spelled) and made a mental note to burst an artery later over a couple of their references.
Look, I happen to be overstocked on arteries. It's a medical thing some of us are prone to and I'll have none of your prejudice you anti-lunatite!

So, once upon a time in a younger, more honest internet, Leeroy Jenkins did a very stupid thing. Or did he? Half the Wikipedia entry on him seems intent on taking the anti-intellectual stance in favor of the slack-jawed yokel who became the emblem of gamer stupidity. Among other waffling, it feeds us the following gem:
"The August 2005 issue of PC Gamer UK featured an article on the video, titled "The Ballad of Leeroy Jenkins". The article took the position that the video was designed as a negative commentary on the kind of "nerd-guilds" that meticulously and statistically plan out raids with all the seriousness of actual military tactics. They added that they felt Leeroy is, in fact, the hero of the piece, acting against the geekiness of his guild."

For the record, I do not give a flying fuck who Ben Schulz is and what else he's done with his life. Half the point of persistent online worlds is the separation between universes. I care about Leeroy and Leeroy's a very important symbol - doubly so in light of statements like the above. Leeroy's a retard. Staged or not (viewing it now after all these years it seems likely staged) the original video makes that much clear. Leeroy's Gilligan, the drooling dunce that ruins everyone's hard work, a reiteration of a simple and time-honored comedy skit that likely goes back to caveman days. That's all he is. That anyone should attempt to justify his stupidity as some sort of meta-gaming commentary against his betters explains much of what has dragged the game industry so hopelessly into the reeking morass of commonality. Gamer culture, to whatever extent it merits such a label, has transitioned from one able to condemn the Leeroys of the world to actually being composed and ruled by the Leeroys of the world. U mad bro? OMG U tryhard!

I'm not going to bother looking up the actual PCGamer article, since I'm more bothered with the lip-service paid it by Wikipedia, our worldwide delusion of consensus. See, whoever cited that little pearl of wisdom doesn't seem to get that, if true, Leeroy's "commentary" would be orders of magnitude worse than we've ever thought. One can laugh at a momentary lapse of gray matter yet still forgive it. However, to champion the cause of stupidity, to make a statement glorifying thoughtlessness in order to take a swipe at "nerds" - and in a realm of the mind, no less - would degrade Leeroy from a mere quaint, episodic emblem of stupidity into the lowest degenerate refuse of the sickening, sub-sentient slime we call the mass market. However inept, misinformed, unworkable or misguided his guildmates' plan might have been, Leeroy's lack of plan is indisputably worse. Leeroy's a cretin, a moron, a retard, an idiot, a mouthbreather, a backbirth, a dimwit, a dunce, a dipshit, an imbecile, a Dubbya. To claim otherwise is to transition from the realm of quaint foolishness to that of unforgivable anti-intellectualism.

Luckily the player in question himself does not seem to have taken that stance as far as I can tell.
Unluckily, PCGamer and Wikipedia seem unable to rise to the ethical and intellectual standards of Leeroy Jenkins.
Then again, "give the lady what she wants" amirite internets?

Hey, don't listen to me. I'm just a pitiful anonymous.

Friday, August 26, 2016

The Feminist Man's Doublethink

"She spreads herself wide open to let the insects in
She leaves a trail of honey to show me where she's been
She has the blood of reptile just underneath her skin!
Seeds from a thousand others drip down from within"

NIN - Reptile


Err, before you get past the first line below, I'm going to spoil a few chapters of the fantasy book The Wise Man's Fear. Nothing too major but y'know, fair warning.

So, like many, I'm patiently awaiting the final installment of The Kingkiller Chronicle. Though weak on the world-building side of fantasizing which I normally place before other concerns, Rothfuss' characters are nonetheless for the most part pleasingly three-dimensional and his rationalization of magic makes for unusually tense, balanced fantasy conflicts. Unfortunately, the books are also filled with a rather tiresome suite of politically correct babble. The hero's of a thinly-veiled real-world ethnic minority and bemoans the prejudice against his people everywhere he goes. The token martial artists are matriarchal warrior women and of course it wouldn't have been enough for them to be merely competent, worthy adversaries but must be portrayed as vastly superior to male combatants. Several chapters of the first book were dedicated to a ridiculous drug war dramatization of cocaine addiction.

And then there's Felurian. Felurian's a succubus / siren / etc. The book classifies her a fairy, but really she's just a  standard mythological temptress inflicting death by snu-snu on unwary men. Now, you might be saying that's anything but politically correct but bear with me. The hero, Kvothe, manages to fuck Felurian all he wants and nonetheless escape death by properly flattering and seducing her to her every whim until she can take no more and condescends to teach this lowly hapless male the arts of love.

First off, let's just acknowledge that above all she's just a bad character, shameless, cheap and trite fan service at its basest. If for no other reason, Rothfuss should have been inundated with hate mail from fans insulted by his assumption of their simple-mindedness. Of course she's also social commentary, and in context also an instant classic example of pandering feminist idiocy.

Much later, after leaving her and then spending a good deal of time being ridiculed for his male-ness by the aforementioned warrior women, Kvothe runs into a caravan which has kidnapped a couple of village girls for use as sex slaves. He murders each and every one of them, saving the damsels and inflicting undeniable righteous retribution on these, the vilest, sickening men ever to walk the earth. All well and good except for Felurian.

What was the fairy doing that was so different from those slavers, except that the girls they kidnap might have some chance at survival?

See, this is the sort of mental disconnect which has made swear words of terms like "politically correct" or "social justice warrior." Felurian is presented as an almost angelic being. By the end of her chapter, the hero leaves her with a sense of longing for her beauty, transcendent wisdom and immortally gracious presence. This character will then presumably resume trapping and murdering men for her own uses. Endlessly. Immortally. This is a character spoken of in reverential terms throughout the books.

Compare her to the slovenly, bestial men keeping poor weak village girls as sex slaves. Where exactly is the difference? She's certainly portrayed as powerful enough that no mortal man (Princes Charming excepted, natch) could hope to fight her or even resist her, any more than a child could resist a trained soldier. Where exactly is the moral high ground here?

It's easy to find criticism of Felurian. First page of a Google search, several hits... all of them from brainwashed feminist dimwits complaining that Felurian negatively portrays female sexuality. Fucking bullshit. She's a justification of women's power over men, a hero's mentor on his journey, a multi-millennial serial killer exculpated for giving the hero a magic cape, a domineering, condescending condemnation of male sexuality. Felurian is no better than a thousands-year-old serial child molester and murderer painted in a positive light for being a symbol of empowered female sexuality and a cheap slam against men unable to please a woman.

What's supposed to mitigate her crimes in our eyes, her endless murders of those far weaker than herself?

Well, her victims are men, of course. Men are evil. Men are pigs. We know it. We've grown up knowing it. We have grown up knowing the feminist gospel truth. Men deserve whatever abuse women care to hurl at them. What is worse, these men are guilty of the grand deadly sin of our feminist-dominated public discourse.

Felurian's victims, these lowly, evil, evil men, are guilty of desiring sex. Bbuuuurrrnn theeemmm !

You want a definition of anti-feminism?
It's the anger of a gentle man.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

ST:TNG - The Royale

In an effort to relive my early teens, I am re-watching old episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation. It is both better and worse than I remembered it, as was my youth most likely.
_____________________________________

Seriesdate: 2.12
The Royale

"I hold no malice toward my benefactors. They could not possibly know the Hell that they have put me through. For it was such a badly written book, filled with endless cliche and shallow characters, I shall welcome death when it comes."

Well if that ain't the pot calling the prose purple! I think I may have just found the turning point in the whole TNG series. Not that this episode is actually that good or anything.
Ummm, okay, we're in a Vegas casino. Why are we in a Vegas casino?

It's yet another nonsensical dive into mid 20th century cliche shoehorned into a supposed SciFi series. Why? Devil only knows and that devil's name in this case is yet again (unsurprisingly by this point) Tracy Tormé. Why, Mr. Tormé? Why did you take a job writing for a show set 400 years in the future if you were either unable or unwilling to write for a futuristic setting?

Le sigh.

Well, anyway, choice of venue aside the writing wasn't actually that terrible. The show starts out strongly enough with a mention of Fermat's last theorem as a stereotypical unsolvable puzzle. Slight glitch, it was solved a few years after the episode aired. We'll call that bad luck. The crew is then faced with another unsolvable puzzle, the aforementioned 20th-century hotel casino on the frozen surface of a gas giant, built to house and entertain one single human. Good directing and acting allows for the gratuitous prop-reusing plot to be played off as the joke it was. Some gaping plot holes, as befits Star Trekking, like why, if the aliens who set the whole thing up could read a paperback novel in English, could they not just... ask their prisoner what he wanted?

Whatever. The only real high point of the whole episode is the derision of the imaginary pulp crime novel on which the hotel casino setting is based, the sort of thing which literally begins with the phrase "it was a dark and stormy night" - criticism somewhat undermined by it coming from the mouths of Star Trek characters. It sounds like a jab at Ian Fleming to me, justified but also coming from some very black pots. Forget the original series in all its pulpy glory. Think of the whole first season of TNG, complete with catfights with hairy balls, drunken orgies, moon-eyed lover-boys, bug-eating, gangsters... Wesley... and all the other batshit insanity. After Haven, The Big Goodbye and Conspiracy, the writing staff as a whole, much less Tormé, had no footing as literary critics.

I do get the feeling, however, that the derision of cheap writing was largely self-directed and indicated a very real intention on the writers' part to improve upon their poor showing thus far. Rather forgettable on the whole, The Royale may nonetheless be the turning point where the series got intentionally and not just accidentally good.

____________________________
P.S.: Amusing side-note.
It's always funny to see science fact outpace the science fiction of yesteryear and often been remarked that we've already surpassed the information processing technology which seemed centuries into the future in the mid-'80s. However, our society has in many ways also stagnated, nowhere more so than in the high expectations we all had of the space program. Fermat's last theorem may have been solved embarrassingly quickly, but the dead astronaut in this episode supposedly originated in the third attempted manned mission beyond the solar system ... in 2037.

Most of us shared this sort of expectation of progress up to the mid to late '90s. Then the American people in all their wisdom, perennial money-sink for the whole world, elected the corporatist, fundamentalist, reactionary, virulently anti-scientific Bush regime and our species hasn't even managed to set foot on Mars yet.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Massively Single-Player?

I was planning a post about a non-combat feature in MMOs but got distracted by one of my reference points. Richard Garriott is bragging he's going to bring back the '90s with a brand spankin' new feature-packed MMO extravaganza to put all the WoW-clones to shame. Trite "thing of the stuff" title aside, Shroud of the Avatar nonetheless looks intriguing enough, except for the part where it's going to be some half and half mishmash of single player RPG and optional multiplayer world.

First off, that's not new. Nor does it predate the current abysmal state of affairs. Cutscene-laden adventure gaming and other moronic Hollywood envy have plagued online games for some time. The World of Warcraft recipe of the past dozen years runs thusly: a single-player string of missions placed online only to justify constant DRM checking and server upkeep fees, with a tacked-on layer of group content somewhere toward the back, where it won't trip up mass-market customers too terrified of the added complexity and unpredictability of intelligent opponents. WoW-clones are single-player campaigns with optional multiplayer "endgame" timesinks.

Second, there's no such thing as optional difficulty, or at least not in multiplayer. If players can out-compete each other by sitting in single-player mode building up their stats then going online only to lord it over their peers, they will do so. If they can't, they will demand the ability to do so. A multiplayer "option" is only as viable as allowed by the ease and comfort of its single-player counterpart. In a single-player game, far from prying eyes and the shame of public failure, players may sometimes attempt challenges. In a multiplayer game they will take the quickest, easiest, safest route to lording their social acceptability and mediocrity over others, especially (paradoxically) by pressuring developers to turn games into single-player grindfests in the interest of character advancement. Once you open that door, once you break the central concept of all players inhabiting the same interconnected world, once you shift the focus from the world to self-aggrandizement, you'll only keep sliding downhill. See: instancing.

I'll confess a good deal of curiousity as to what comes of Shroud of the Avatar. I'm willing to chalk the whole Tabula Rasa fiasco up to NCSoft's idiocy, being acquainted with same from my City of Heroes days. I never even played Garriott's games back in the day but by reputation alone I'll grant he may have a thing or two up his sleeve. Still, this one "feature" keeps me from investing in SotA. It's one hell of an open door to the new-school degenerate whiny complacent gamer trash that have dragged virtual worlds so far down over the years.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Quit Forsaking Yourself, Genius

"Thought he had it all before they called his bluff
Found out that his skin just wasn't thick enough"

NIN - I'm Looking Forward to Joining You Finally


You gotta love the Gethsemane chapter of the Jesus myth. Not only does it execute a successful dramatic build-up before the climax of the fable, thus elevating itself to more skillful oratory than the Bible's otherwise rather dry brand of superstitious lunacy but reveals a bit about the countless writers who massaged that collection of texts into existence and maybe even whatever original figure inspired the Jesus character.

It's very human. Here we have a fanatical religious and social reformer who's been wandering the dust-choked shores of Galilee for a decade or so trying his damndest to fix the world, to the best of his limited knowledge and abilities, and so far business has been pretty good. People show up to his seminars, they listen a bit. They like me, Yeshua tells himself, they really really like me.

It goes to his head a bit. I mean, the poor sap must've been a little cracked to begin with (or had too much of that sub-tropical sun) to take up the street-corner prophet line of work, but to me it's always been likely that Jesus, like so many of the most successful liars, conned himself into believing his own bullshit. Some good portion of that poor naked ape's brain probably really thought it was the progeny of the almighty creator of the universe. He thought he was bulletproof.

So imagine him in Gethsemane, that poor self-deluded do-gooder, a carpenter's son who ran his mouth too much for his own good. He can practically see the other shoe about to drop. There had been whispers and hints of betrayal, and anyone who's taken even one look at human affairs knows how the powerful crack down on those who might shake up the system. He might've been crazy but by the standards of his time he wouldn't have been stupid. He knows the soldiers are coming. Maybe not that very minute, maybe not that night, but he knows his days are numbered. The delusion begins to crack. He breathes the cool night air in the olive orchard and counts his allies. He knows the big man upstairs, good old pops has got his back. So the minutes and hours pass and no chariots appear to whisk him off to salvation. He knows it less than before. No glorious shining host descends from on high. He knows it less, and less and less... and the world around him goes on as it always has, nature persists with every breath he takes but the supernatural fails him. So he asks "take this cup from me" and with that line and others like it I think it's safe to say there must really have been a central figure who inspired the New Testament mythology.

It's not a line any writer would have willingly woven into the story, unless constrained by pre-existing consensus as to how the story goes. It trips up the narrative. Such words would not be spoken by the earthly third of universal omnipotence who could nose-wiggle his way out the bind if he felt like it, nor by an omniscient entity who already knows how it's all gonna go down. They are rarely spoken even by demigods of Jesus' ilk, by convention a rather self-assured and belligerent lot. Herakles, writhing in agony and ready for self-immolation as Nessus' blood sears through his skin and veins, doesn't bitch at Zeus to come down and get his share of punishment. That's not the way this kind of story goes.

It is, however, exactly the line we'd expect from a very human confidence artist steeped in a culture of scapegoating. He's preached himself into a corner and is desperately looking for a way out. Maybe the words were spoken up into the sky, maybe they were mumbled to someone he was trying to convince to impersonate him. Ida know. But if someone overheard it then in the garden and it became part of the oral history which would, a century and more later, be set down by a gaggle of third-rate hacks as Gospel, then well, go to Fanfiction.net and ask them about how important "canon" is to a good fanfic.

This is all ignoring the more amusing angle of Jesus praying all night in the garden combined with the three-for-one deity sale nonsense of trinitarianism. A demigod asking pops to bail him out, that makes sense. Who in Melpomene's name does an avatar of the divine pray to, though? At least it's not as batshit cracked as Rama holding an archery contest against another avatar of himself but it does inadvertently reveal a core truth about religion.

What is prayer, ever, except talking to yourself?

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Shattered Steel

Wow... chalk up another shitty little copycat. I mean, I complain a lot about WoW-clones and other game copycatting now, but let's not forget we bought a lot of redundant crap back in the '90s too.

So. It's 1996. FASA and Activision are making big waves with the Mechwarrior games. Players love calling themselves "Clan Wolf" and stomping around in hundred-ton bipedal war machines. Mechwarrior 2 arguably did the most to cement the initial designation for online assemblages of computer gamers as "clans" before RPGs caught up and guilds became more common. The sounds of rockets and rending metal escape many a teenager's darkened room.

As Chris Griffin might say "that's imitatable!"

So just as Activision's gracing the market with what would become the first computer game I played on my family's very own first store-bought, non garage assembled genew-ine Pentium PC, Bioware and Interplay quickly crank out Shattered Steel for a slice of that action. I have no idea how it was received. I was too busy tweaking the loadouts on my beloved Atlas mech in the Mechwarrior 2: Mercenaries campaign. I merely tried Shattered Steel once because some guy had clandestinely installed it on a computer at my father's workplace, then went back to the real deal.

I didn't really have much of a concept of fair business dealings, copyright or objectively worthwhile (or not) products at thirteen. It's just that aside from being able to blow little potholes in the terrain, nothing about Shattered Steel really jazzed me. Decades later, I must say I had good tastes and I regret the three bucks or however much I wasted on this trash during a GoG sale.

Granted, some of my frustration stems from the hit/collision detection issues which are apparently due to GoG's flawed port and not the game itself, but overall, Shattered Steel comes across as the kiddie version of mecha mayhem. Lots of chicken-walker mechs (to recycle animation, I'm guessing) and a severe lack of customizable gear compared to MW2M's nickel-and-dime armor point sacrifices are just the start. The combat itself boils down to simplistic pew-pew. No heat management, little momentum to deal with, and in place of separate body segments an all-powerful force field. It's not just that Shattered Steel offers so little. The little it might be said to offer, like defense / speed / offense power distribution, was done much better by more complex competitors either extant or already in development like Uprising. I can't see how this thing ever sold, except perhaps by the efforts of ass-kissing game reviewers promoting it and because a lot of us at ten or thirteen would simply pick up whatever box on the shelf had the niftiest, glossiest, most explodiest cover image.

I'll grant I haven't played enough to get into its storyline. Other "action" versions of more complex genres, like Diablo, compensated for being dumbed down by also providing an immersive atmosphere. Still, I can't see how Shattered Steel's poor attempt at a mecha Starship Troopers routine could ever have been considered immersive. Neither does its music match Mercenaries' engrossing techno tracks.

The funniest thing here though is who developed what. FASA and Activision, now either defunct or as good as by conglomeration and deserving of oblivion, cranked out a quick series of Mechwarrior games which have remained reference points in the simulation realm two decades later. They even rounded the achievement off with a worthy foray into squad RTS games, Mech Commander.
The cheap-ass parasite Shattered Steel, on the other hand, was squeezed out the sphincters of Interplay and Bioware, names otherwise having well earned their lasting fame and continued success in other endeavors.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Wolfwalkers, Smellovision and Smellogaming

I gotta wonder...
The Secret of Kells more or less tripped out on the glory of medieval visual arts. Song of the Sea wove the eddies and currents of its little musical theme on screen. I thought any further Saloon Cartoon might deal with a third physical sense and there are only two left anyway, touch and the two-in-one chemical senses (smell and taste representing different receptors for the same information in different media.) Now, me, I'm partial to the notion that a well-directed movie revolves around lending objects physical presence, around the sense of touch, but going by its title alone Wolfwalkers must be focusing on the other remaining sense.

I mean come on, if you're going to make a movie about turning into a canine, you just cannot avoid the topic of sniffing
-and butts.
But anyhoo, I gotta wonder, how would you pull something like that off? Flipping perspectives into two-dimensional medievalism worked wonders for The Secret of Kells. Movies already have soundtracks, and even if Song of the Sea was a bit lacking in its aural milieu it managed to get its point across as to the importance of a heartfelt hum-along. Assuming they're not going to distribute Wolfwalkers with nose-tubes, the notion of how to render a chemical presence on-screen is a fascinating one.

Usually it's dealt with as a matter of green miasmas or superimposed images but that's kind of skirting the issue. Smell is not something emanated by an object as distinct from itself (unless we're talking bottles of perfume or scent glands) so much as a quality of that object, a gradient of its presence and its continuation in surrounding space over time. Scent comes across as a portion of that very object sloughed off, eroded, rarefied, extended beyond solidity. Unfortunately the one major point of reference for smell in film, Perfume, relied mainly on actors' reaction shots to get the intensity of a stench across, refusing to deal with the sense itself. That's no help.

My random unwarranted speculation about Wolfwalkers aside, what I'd like to see (in both movies and video games) is scent represented as an alteration of an object's texture or visual richness. For a smell-dependent movie character or playable video game character, objects would become more clear as they get scented (either by approaching or being downwind) depending on their olfactory properties. The world would be made up of drab, faded, low-contrast grayscales and tans until scents come into play, at which point some objects (plain rocks or water) would remain indistinct while others (a steaming food dish) would gain a wealth of resolution and depth. Some objects may be grainy (masked by other scents maybe) or stand out in uncomfortably garish, eye-popping reek.

Then of course you could also weave scents into sound. I don't meant specifically that scent should have a sound of its own (that would be green miasma territory all over again) but that pleasant or unpleasant scents could alter the soundscape accordingly. A fearsomely or appetizingly distracting smell might efface the sound of everything but its source. The sound of a character's voice could grow richer and more emotive upon approach into smelling range while remaining tinny and MIDI-simplistic from long range. Scary-smelling voices could sound harsh, metallic, grating, while a bottle of perfume or cologne could alter a character's voice into whatever tones we naked apes consider appealing.

Anyway, as far as Wolfwalkers goes, it's not like I have a choice. I'm hoping for something stylish and interesting like Kells, but good or bad, demi-lupine me's gonna watch the crap out of that thing.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Feist

Evildoers beware, I've got a Stick!
Oh, look, Sonic's gone goth.

Actually, the game most closely brought to mind by this little platformer would be Space Invaders, more on that in a moment.

Very little separates Feist from the hordes of '80s throwbacks (usually pixelated) churned out by the game industry's fringes to fleece hipsters who'll buy anything artsy, retro or just plain unplayable-for-the-hell-of-it. It manages to scrabble above the likes of Braid or Machinarium via inspired, invested, informed, interesting artistic choices integrated fully into the practical side of gameplay. Not to the point where one might call it a "good" finished product on the whole but nonetheless a worthy effort and worth buying... on sale.

It's been called too short. I agree. In itself this would not doom it, as it has failed to destroy many others. Old-school gamers have long since learned to sink their teeth into half-baked goodness. Feist successfully rides its obsessive negative-space backlit wonderland into the ground and bursts out the other side of kitch so fascinatingly that I expect we'll be seeing this gimmick copied into a small trend soon by other games. Its music, ambience and sound effects provide apt accompaniment in defiance of the overall trend toward forgettable, flat background noise in computer games over the past decade. Feist looks and sounds great.

However, all this... design... left expansion of this intriguing formula somewhere by the wayside. Despite professional level design, Feist is unavoidably truncated, a mere demo of what it could have been and unfortunately, instead of admitting this lack, its developers decided to appeal to another old-school gimmick. They teased the save points ever so slightly outside the player's comfort zone to force longer replays and create the illusion of length.

See, Feist, like some of its competitors, makes liberal use of a movement system capable of minutely detailed inertia. Objects of various weights and buoyancy bounce and wobble with satisfying grace (or lack thereof) and often a pixel's breadth separates your toe from untimely spiky death with that pixel you need to pirouette upon usually doing its own share of wobbling. To cut a long explanation short, watching the true experts "let's play" Feist in youtube videos reminds me of Space Invaders. It reminds me of hordes of little kids my age cluttering arcades, mashing their palm down on the big red "Fire!" button ceaselessly. The best timing is all the time.

So when you're basically doing the button-mash and the boss in the seventh room responds with a graveyard smash, when you know damn well that only random chance separated you from victory, it's very unsatisfying to respawn, not at the end of room six but back in room three or four, to be forced to replay a pointless grind merely to get yourself to the real challenge. This little gimmick has spelled clumsy, cheap design since its formulation decades ago and has grown no more palatable with age. If "taming the randomizer" is still a catchphrase, Feist not only fails to do so but ties you down and repeatedly lets that beast maul your foot.

The sad part here is that one can basically mix-and-match good and bad concepts between these low-budget artsy fringe titles which dare to experiment and see where they really should have learned from each other. After running through Sir, You Are Being Hunted a few times, I commented that its randomized environments lacked enough elements to become truly immersive. Of course, SYABH is an FPS. Feist is a 2D platformer which can make do with a low number of elements and can much more easily combine them. Given its emphasis on unstable footing, its lack of reliance on precision in the first place, I can't help but think this is a game which would have benefited greatly from algorithmically generated environments and backgrounds.

As it stands, it's an intriguing little demo of a good artistic concept which doesn't quite grow into a full game.