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  1. I've just finished the series and I'm not sure what I think of it. Jenna Ortega is perfect as Wednesday. She absolutely carries the show. It's worth watching just for her performance. All the other actors playing Addams family members are great too. And those characters are brilliantly realised. Whenever they're on screen the show shines. But it's telling that they're the only parts of the show that were pre existing. Everything original in the show could be, as @DarhkFox says, from any other recent supernatural show. Or even any CW show. Setting the show in Nevermore Academy is a good idea, but it's just a TV high school. Attractive kids in cliques, only this time the popular girls are literal sirens, the jocks are werewolves etc. Only the show then basically forgets about their non human nature (except occasionally for plot points) and leans on their clique characteristics. So the popular girls are just bitchy and so on. The world the show creates is one in which non-humans ("outcasts") are apparently well known by humans ("normies") and are treated with what's essentially racism. That just doesn't work for me. It feels cheap and it spoils a lot of the fun of the Addams Family show and movies, which is seeing how people react with polite terror to the family. In this, they're just treated with disdain. And it leads to Morticia - a white woman - telling a black man that "men like you don't know what it's like to be treated as second class" (I'm paraphrasing, not a direct quote) which felt really problematic to me. That said, I did enjoy it, and Ortega is so good in the role that if it gets a second season I will definitely watch. Oh, and Gwendoline Christie is, as always, fantastic.
  2. Mostly agree. Against a really banged up Giants though, they struggled in the first half and that old curse of self inflicted penalties really hurt them. If they can be the team they were in the second half for the rest of the season, they don't have much to fear. OBJ to Dallas over New York, do you think?
  3. Holedown was a good recommendation, but I very quickly ran out of upgrades to buy and levels to progress through. And at that point it's just a case of beating your own records, but that's not enough to keep my interest. If games like Vampire Survivors get your dopamine flowing I think you'll keep enjoying it. Otherwise be aware it's only a quick game.
  4. The effects don't hold up in any way. My daughter pissed herself laughing at that scene.
  5. My ten year old watched Poltergeist a few weeks ago. His verdict: "What about this film was supposed to be scary?" Also, I had to explain what static on a TV channel was and what it meant which made me feel older than dirt.
  6. I'd genuinely rather sandpaper my own bollocks than watch any more than the 30 seconds of that shit I managed. It's not even so bad it's good, it's just utter, utter crap.
  7. You might enjoy Little, Big by John Crowley, in that case.
  8. I know we've had decades of games with stories, but I think we haven't yet really figured out the best way of telling stories in the medium yet. You're absolutely right that a lot of games come up with set pieces and fit the narrative around them, rather than coming up with something that would work with the story. That's literally what Titanfall 2 did: come up with ideas for fun sequences that they called "action blocks", whittle them down to a game's worth of the best ones, combined them in the best way to make levels and then make a story around them. In that case it worked well, but that was mostly down to the characters. The plot was nothing especially wonderful. Most games aren't that lucky. I think we tend to end up mostly with games that are "about" gameplay with narrative being less important, or games that are the other way around. It's rare that both those aspects of a game are valued equally and work in harmony, but I think that in the future these will become more common. I hope so, anyway.
  9. I think I'm a bit out of step with the opinions this week, as I thought the "best Star Wars-y" bit was shit. It had no urgency, no weight, no sense of immediacy. It was like watching a student film (but obviously it looked far better than that). I don't know why it was in the episode, unless it was to hammer home but we already know about that. Maybe they felt they needed it to keep fans' interest, and the reviews I've read of the episode bring it up as a highlight too so if that was the intention I guess it's working. To me it felt utterly unnecessary and from a different (worse) show. Other than that, I really enjoyed the episode, although plot wise it feels like:
  10. I'm definitely getting more out of The Mirror and The Light than I am out of any game I'm currently playing... But on the other hand, this year I've played a whole bunch of games I really enjoyed. I just need something other than 'numbers go up' from my games.
  11. Yeah, you're absolutely right. And this is often down to narrative not being as involved as necessary during the game concept phase. By the time a writer's brought on, the game is often pretty firmly conceived in terms of setting, tone, genre, (very general) mechanics. And then later on a writer comes in and has to try to fit narrative themes into stuff that's not going to change to help make things feel cohesively integrated.
  12. Thanks all! I did play two more runs, and it's not grabbing me at all, so I think I'll bin it off. I couldn't give less of a shit about numbers going up or the upgrade/survival loop - those things have never appealed to me in any game - so it looks like I'm definitely not the intended audience for the game!
  13. @Garibaldi Your points weren't entirely wrong, but the studios who think they can get away with the designer or producer knocking out the story and writing are getting fewer and fewer. These days, in my experience, it's generally down to the studio valuing the writing/narrative enough to hire a specialist, but not internalising that the specialist actually has a skillset that isn't just something anyone can do without experience or training. It's odd, because I haven't really noticed people doing the same thing with other disciplines - when I was a level or systems designer, people would offer opinions but be far more willing to accept that I knew what I was talking about and to accept my decisions as a discipline specialist. And they wouldn't usually offer 'solutions'. But now I'm a writer, I'm getting so many more suggestions about why (for example) we don't need to bother setting up something that'll later be a payoff, then digging their heels in when I tell them why the setup is there. Just today I had the comment of "this seems unnecessary" for something that characterises an NPC who's being a shit to the main character but who will later on need your help. I pointed out that we're trying to make the player genuinely consider whether or not to help this NPC later on (in a situation where the intention is that you don't want to help this person because they're such a shit and deserve to have a bad ending to their storyline, but the player will then lose out on a good bit of loot), and that without these bits of characterisation the decision about whether to help will be far less impactful as it's essentially going to be someone you feel neutral towards, who you've met once for two minutes asking for help. And in that situation the player's likely to help, because they'll get the good loot and they've got no desire to see the NPC get their comeuppance. The resolution? "We should make them more of an asshole earlier and cut the other bits." So now I'm arguing that doing this will make the story strand feel clumsy, unearned and unsatisfying structurally, and having to explain the concept of tripling to someone who's not actually interested in why things have to work in a certain way for the story, and just wants any of the narrative stuff over as quickly as possible.
  14. I've heard so much about how good this game is, so I downloaded it on the Xbox and I've played a couple of runs. I'm not sure it's for me. The twenty minutes I was playing might be the most bored I've been with a game in years. I'll give it another two or three runs to see if it somehow grabs me, but if the gameplay is just 'walk around avoiding enemies and collecting gems/coins while your character shoots' for the whole game, I doubt I'll persevere.
  15. This isn't really accurate. Most games that are heavily story focussed do spend the money to hire 'proper' (as in, dedicated) writers these days. In the last decade I haven't worked on a single one that hasn't. A lot of writers are hired in from other media though, and they don't understand the difference between, say, comics writing and games writing. So you end up with writing that might be good, but isn't a good fit for the medium. Another big problem is that story is often still seen as something that's really only there to support other game pillars. So a designer will come up with a system or a mechanic that they really like but which goes against a lot of the narrative pillars, but the assumption is that the writing will change to accommodate the designer's idea. A third big problem is that everyone thinks they know how narrative works, when actually most people don't really understand why it works. So the writer will come up with a plot for a quest that works really well, but a non-specialist will start demanding changes to the macguffin or the payoff or how a character behaves in a plot beat without understanding that the changes will make everything worse, and even when they're told this by their narrative specialist they'll want the changes anyway because they don't like rubber ducks, even though the inclusion of the rubber duck is actually important. Another issue is that the rule of cool is usually actively damaging to the narrative, but no-one other than the writer or narrative designer will accept this, so something cool goes in the game that then requires the writer to justify it in a very unnatural way. You also still have the problem that writers are often brought in too late to properly integrate the narrative with the rest of the game, or that they're used as a triage service for when something's not quite working: "the writer will come up with a way to justify this" is really common, because it's cheaper and usually faster to get a writer to rewrite something than to get designers and coders to change a system, or multiple artists and animators to change art assets. And writing for games is only tangentially similar to screenplay writing. There's so much more you need to keep track of that you'll be spending more time in a spreadsheet than you will in Final Draft or other screenwriting software.
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