Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Going Postal 2.0

Can't remember the last game that made me fall off my chair laughing, ROTFL. After the failure of Quake Wars, Carmagaeddon, and Manhattan Project, I was fairly skeptical of even getting this to work... hah! Worked first time, as a pleasant surprise. No codes to hunt, cracks to download.
[Current score: Colaba Pavement 3, uTorrent 2.]
The graphics are a bit old; I remember playing the original 2D Postal back in '95, so this can't have been too far ahead, though the responsiveness of the Unreal engine is awesome. But it's a laugh riot because of the twisted, fast, and completely bonkers sense of humour that it overflows with.
'Save a Tree, Burn a Book.'
'Did you place an offering in the Donation Box? Then you are Forgiven.'
The ability to stick your shotgun up a cat's bum to use as a makeshift silencer.
The only, and repeat, ONLY, game in history I have played where I can pee on people.
The Church or Our Lady of Infinite Avarice, disgorging boomstick-toting priests to take on Osama clones.
Me getting captured by hillibillies and waking up... in the Gimp's leather suit, in his trunk.

The physics engine isn't up to HL2 standards, sadly; if you kick a corpse, there's a good chance it'll stick halfway in a wall, straight-edged and angular, until kicked again, and the 'rag-doll' effects are bit too ragdoll. Bloodsmears too smeary. Textures crude.
But is still so totally awesomely rocks. When will they build the next version with the HL2 engine?! :)

Though on a serious note, it kind of gets you thinking. This game is violent, disgusting, bloody, and disrespectful. And it's precisely for those reasons that it'll be loved by it's target audience. Even the protestors, most of the time, object on the basis of an idea, or a principle. A stereotype. Games are bad, they make you mad.

Does the human psyche actively seek out violence? Since the Deterrence principle effectively stopped war for the First-world nations, and now all nuclear nations, crime rates have been rising. I don't know if it's been directly since then, but it's close enough. Is crime - and all other forms of both real and virtual violence - a direct expression of the need to fight, and frustration at not being able to?

In primitive cultures, kids start fighting by fifteen. In more advanced societies, it's later, but the promise - and conditioning - begins from much earlier. It's only now, in the developed countries, that kids grow up knowing that, in a legitimate, socially acceptable way, fighting - violence - is not permitted, and never will be. Does that block off some outlet, some safety valve?

Notice how the US homicides graph spikes with the end of the last major war the US was involved in? I guess we'll know for sure when VR tech advances to the point that virtual violence is indistinguishable from the real. If actual crime rates drop - I'm vindicated.

In the meantime, I continue to go on a murderous citizen-hunting spree... and it's only Wednesday.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Roses are red, but V-Day is blue.

Please excuse general ranting post. But that's what I'm blogging for anyway, so if you don't like, take hike.

Feb 3rd: Order placed at Rediff.com. Delivery to be done on 14th.
Feb 14th:Not delivered.
Feb 18th:
From:Ashish Tewari
Date: Monday, February 18, 2008 03:26 PM
Subject: Complaint: Order No: 4384440
Hi, I wanted to bring to your attention the following order, which was placed on Date:2008-02-07 for delivery on Valentine's Day. As of today (18th), it is still showing as pending.
Should I have specified that I meant Valentine's Day 2008 and not 2009?
Order No: 4384440 Order Status :Approved
What's the next step from here? Has the cost been charged to me?
Feb 19th:
From: Support
To: Ashish Tewari Sent: Tuesday, February 19, 2008 9:42 PM
Subject: [Possible SPAM] RE:'Rediff=008-094-395' Complaint: Order No: 4384440
Dear Ashish,
Greetings from Rediff.com With reference to your mail, we would like to inform you that the item ordered against the Order No : 4384440 , has been delivered to the delivery address.
Assure you of prompt and courteous response on all your visits to Rediff.com
Warm Regards,
Customer Service
Rediff. Com
P.S: Please do not change the subject line for future correspondence .

Dear ABVP / Shiv Sainiks / Miscellaneous Lumpen Elements: Please update your calendars. Valentine's Day will henceforth be celebrated on the 19th of February, courtesy Rediff.com.

From: Ashish Tewari
Date: Wednesday, February 20, 2008 11:37 AM
To: Support (customersupport@rediff.co.in)
Subject: Re: [Possible SPAM] RE: Complaint: Order No: 4384440
Delivery on the 19th for a festival on the 14th, even after the order has been booked 10 days in advance of the festival, is not counted as fulfilling customer satisfaction. You need to add a disclaimer that 'Product may be delivered up to 5 days after scheduled date' to avoid false representation and consumer court issues. I am very, very disappointed with the quality of Rediff's service. The recipient needs to receive this ON the day it is supposed to be delivered. What's the point of delivering it 5 days late? Are you suggesting that I need to celebrate Valentine's day, or a birthday, or any other occasion on the day they happen, or as per Rediff's convenience? I'm interested in hearing what is even the remotest justification you have for delivery of a Valentine's Day gift on the 19th. I may as well not have placed the order with Rediff. I have to put up with the consequences of not gifting on the 14th, then seeing my money go down the drain, and then be told that the delivery has been done late, without any apology or reason. Why should I gift flowers on the 19th of February? I already look bad for not giving on the 14th. Now an incompetent vendor screws it up even more by then doing a delivery a week later!

In fact, let me correct my above point. I am not interested in finding out why Rediff chooses to celebrate Valentine's Day on the 19th. As far as I am concerned, the order of a Valentine's Day Flowers was not executed. I did not order 'Flowers to be delivered on the 19th of February for no reason'. I am therefore assuming that my order placed has not been executed, and I want my order cancelled and my money back.


From: Support
To: Ashish Tewari
Sent: Thursday, February 21, 2008 10:12 PM
Subject: [Possible SPAM] RE:'Rediff=008-094-395' Complaint: Order No: 4384440
Dear Ashish,
Greetings from Rediff.com
We have received your mail and understand every reason for you being upset. We have made every attempts to deliver products on the intended date, however the same must have happened due to oversight by our enabling partners at the time of delivery.
They have attempted, but enabling partner screwed up. Interesting. Take the credit but pass the buck, in the same sentence!
We would not be able to meet the sentiment that you had intended to send along with a timely gift.
(at least, until we finish work on the rediff iTimeMachine 1.0 beta, I assume)
We truly understand the sentiments involved in your gifting. We request you to kindly bear with us this time, we are taking adequate measure to prevent any recurrence.
(by ensuring you don't have recurring customers?)
We once again sincerely regret the delay and inconvenience caused to you. We assure you courteous, prompt service on all your visits to www.rediff.com.
Warm Regards,
Customer Service
Rediff. Com

And how was your V-day?

Monday, February 18, 2008

just when you thought it couldn't get any better....

Guess who turns out to be in the wrecking business!
What's next? The Delilah franchise of hair salons?
I spoke to soon. They already are.

Now your chaetophobia can trigger your trichotillomania. Enjoy.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Back to the womb

sleep-deprived lethargy
late nights
cacophonous mornings passing in a semi-dozing drift
office ac off
moist air
like being back in the womb
would be if I were a set up quintuplets
with in-vitrio ipods

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Mumbai for Maharashtrians?

Jokes apart - I'm a northie who landed up in Bombay with 5k and nothing else, not so long ago. I got a job and a pg. That grew into a career, a flat, and a relationship. My bosses, co-workers, and friends have been non-Maharashtrians and Maharashtrians alike.
I've never had reason to complain, I haven't been discriminated against, and frankly, I've had an awesome time here. But... this city is drowning in people. Local populace from the hinterland and beyond, it's bursting at the seams with too many dreams, and not enough place for them all.
I'm an immigrant.
But I WILL oppose immigration when I hang out of trains. Pay exorbiant rents. Stand in serpentine queues. Sit in traffic jams. It doesn't matter who comes here. It matters a lot that he comes at all.
Sooner or later, it's all going to come down to economical natural selection. New companies will find it too expensive to set up shop in the city, so they'll come near it - near enough to use the workforce, but far enough to be affordable. The city will grow. And grow. And grow. Already it makes a lot of sense to change your residence according to where you work. Tomorrow, companies will factor in easily-commutable residential slots as part of the package for employees. And facilities and amenities. And the city will be a collection of _____ (insert company name here)-Nagars. Campuses, in the truest sense of the word.
We can't fight it. We can just try and make it easier, without the pressure cooker situations.

boo hoo

Quake Wars won't run 'coz my AGP is underpowered. I can't upgrade my AGP card because my motherboard isn't compatible. I can't change my motherboard 'coz I then need to change my processor as well. I can't buy a 22-inch flatscreen monitor and a 7.1 GigaWorks system 'coz I don't have any games that'll justify it, and I can't buy those games 'coz my AGP won't run them.
For want of a kingdom, the nail was lost.
...and Bioshock refuses to install without an internet connection. For some reason, Tata Indicom broadband doesn't fall into Bioshock's definition of 'internet'.
can I bang my forehead on my pitiful 15-inch CRT now?

A moving story... moved!

For all my loyal fans and faithful supporters who have been avidly following my trials and tribulations at the hands of the financial capital's treatment of it's denizens vis-a-vis translocation of residences, let me serve up to you, gently warmed, a multi-course repast of the aftermath of the move - where we are now.

The PC Room

One room has been converted into a combination of gaming centre, server room, laundromat and travel office.
A cupboard threatens to explode from the accumalated pressure of souvenirs, trekking equipment, and half a dozen knapsacks and sleeping bags so tightly rolled up they threaten to achieve critical mass. Especially R's alpine sleeping bag, the best way to picture which is to imagine a regular Kurl-on mattress somehow squeezed into a gas cylinder. I can hear it groaning and vibrating under stress, sometimes.
The rest of the cupboard looks like Lamington road, where my entire paraphenelia of electronic spares and discards, now completely indistinguishable from each other, languish in wait of the Great TurboListing Day, when they shall go up for auction on ebay.
Next to which is a desk which is not actually alive, though you may be fooled by the way it hums, moves, chuckles and chirrups to itself, is warm to the the touch and exhales gustily on your knees when you sit down; that's what comes of having a CPU, two heatsinks, and a subwoofer in one confined space. There's a small hole in the desk which the original owner had intended for a genteel 2-3 cables for monitor, speakers, etc. It looks like a Lovecraftian revenant now, with over 20 cables of assorted thicknesses, colors and tensions coiling out of it. 2 monitor, 3 ext. HDD, 1 USB hub, 1 joystick, 6 speaker, 1 mouse, 1 gamepad receptor, 1 webcam, 2 router, 1 cam cable, 1 cardreader coming out; 1 network and 1 power going in; and don't even think of the interior, where there's also 2 extension boards. It gives local network engineers heart attacks. I counted yesterday - 17 LEDs operate at any point of time. It's a bloody spaceshuttle flight deck.
And while you sit down, behind you the washing machine, if on, provides a pleasant growling, thumping, drumming background score, with the occasional merry splish-splash of overflow when the pipe falls off or the exhaust hose leaks.
At nights, it's like being in a high-tech womb.

Sunday, February 03, 2008


miss trekking. used to give me such a calm, fresh new perspective... too many things happening now, too much to do

Friday, February 01, 2008

Runaway 2

Basically a glorified puzzle-solving game where you need to discover the sequence of using items found, talking to people, and picking up on past clues. What I really liked about this was the intensely rich, immersive experience - from music, to background sound, to conversations, accents, situations, and the extremely... fantasy-type feel. A sense of somewhere, somehow, this can happen, and a sense of being part of a bygone age and place that was fun, adventurous, and relaxed. In fact, everything that a Catalina stands for. Every time that flying boat has entered my life, these are the feelings it brings - from Duck Tales, to Commando comics, to Indiana Jones, to Tales of the Gold Monkey. Wonder if there's a message in the pattern?
At a stage right now where the story's becoming... interesting. I've outsmarted a drunk monkey, a dyslexic marine, befriended a nymphomaniacal waitress, impersonated a top secret government official, brought a cockatoo back from the dead, desecrated a witch doctor's grave, stolen a toy from a child, helped a Hawaiian kahuna rediscover his roots, taught an australian surfer to surf without waves, taught a genius idiot-savant to speak again and learn dentistry, unlocked an alien portal, and am currently avoiding a psychotic killer and a megalomaniacal renegade colonel.
The characters are awesome. Kordsmeier has references to god knows how many megalomaniacal colonels from Hollywood lore. Platoon's Sgt. Elias Grodin, Forrest Gump's Lt. Dan, Apocalypse Now's Col. Kurtz and Lt. Col. Bill Kilgore. A dead Indiana Jones makes an appearance, as does an aged Baloo in a human avatar. Ehrich von Daniken is profoundly present, and a tropical Area 51. This is where it scores over Myst - Myst was too abstract, too alien, too unfamiliar. Here, you can use what you know from modern-day legends. It's an awesomely entertaining experience, and you do need to use your brains.
Let's see what happens next...