Dying Light

Today, I’d like to talk a little about the game Dying Light, and some concerns I have with it.

First, however, I’d like to get a few things out of the way. One thing I’d like to make clear is that I really like this game. It reminds me, in a way, of the game Prototype, in that both games are great if you just want to run around at random. It’s also fun to make weapons out of scavenged scrap, running around and fighting zombies. Somehow, throwing a machete into the cranium of a rotting, walking corpse never seems to get old…

The other thing I will make clear is that there will be plenty of spoilers, so if you haven’t played this game and don’t want stuff spoiled for you, you shouldn’t keep reading.

With these things done with, let the ranting begin.

My issue with this game concerns the DLC, “The Following”.

The plot of the DLC has protagonist Kyle Crane find a secret way out of the quarantined city of Harran, in search of a group of people who are said to be immune to the infection that is turning people into zombies.

The reason for this journey is that the research for a cure against the zombie infection, which Dr. Camden is working on, is seemingly yielding no results, and the people within the quarantine are rapidly running low on suppressant drugs.

Now, before we get to my main issue, can I just get a few things clear?

Harran is under quarantine. The entire city is in lockdown and nobody gets in or out. The only way out, as you discover, is deep within an old, disused sewer passage, which connects to an old cave system that finally leads out to the countryside. And finding this place required a map, which was taken from a delirious smuggler.

In other words, not many knew about this passage.

So why the flying hell is the countryside shock full of zombies!?

The fucking place is crawling with them! They’re all over the roads and fields and woods and bridges and beaches and god knows what else!

I mean, it makes sense that Harran is full of zombies, since it’s a city. This is farmlands, with just a small town to the south, which is far from big enough to support even half the amount of ex-humans running around.

So how the fuck did they get there? The point of a quarantine is that nobody is getting in or out! If more people are getting into this area, then the quarantine has been breached, and we’re looking at a fucking pandemic!

Now, on a side note, one would think that this being the countryside, we’d see more than just zombies and bandits running around, and actually find zombified animals. But no, the area seems devoid of animal life.

Now, this is perhaps because designing and animating  various animals is very costly and complicated. It’s also possible that it’s to maintain the ambiguity of the location, since Harran is obviously a fictional place, and could, from the looks of it, take place anywhere from Spain to Turkey.

So adding regional animals might be more trouble than it’s worth.

Not to mention that it’s possible that the infection doesn’t turn animals, and just kills them instead.

And of course, either way, I can’t say it’s a big loss. I’ve got enough trouble avoiding zombie mutants and freaks with machine guns and machetes. I do NOT need to worry about zombie gerbils gnawing my feet off or rabid, rotting mountain lions tearing my stomach open.

So, what is my big issue with the DLC, then? Well, It concerns the ending of the DLC’s story.

As you play through the story, you find that the immunity to the virus is connected to the cult known as “The Children of the Sun”, and especially with their leader, known as “The Mother”. At the end of the DLC,  it is revealed that The Mother, who’s husband was a colonel who died during the outbreak, had discovered what she believed to be a cure for the virus, inside a military installation. However, it turns out that if you find a cache of strange, non-labeled vials of serum in a locked crate requiring high level clearance, it is a VERY bad idea to down it like it’s a jägerbomb. Go figure…

Whether the serum reacted with the infection in her body or it was just inherently asshole science á la The Umbrella Corporation, it mutated her into a sentient volatile. While exposed to light, she would retain her faculties, and even be able to communicate telepathically to others who were exposed to the serum. However, once the light turned off, she’d devolve into a crazed, murderous monster.

Horrified at what she’d become, and having just murdered her companions under the aforementioned murderous frenzy, she resolved to make amends and “Become the Mother they deserved”, using the vaporized serum to grant temporary immunity to the members of the cult.

And after all this is revealed, you are given a choice. Fulfill your part of the Prophecy of the Sun, and cleanse the infection, or reject her offer in order to procure the serum for Dr. Camden.

Now, option A seems like the more sensible and kind option, right? Cleanse the infection is, after all, your end goal anyway, so everyone wins!

There’s only one problem. Her idea of “cleansing the infection” is to detonate a nuclear bomb, which will wipe out the countryside and probably Harran as well.

So, clearly then, option B is the better choice. So you reject her offer, since surely there is some suppressant within the serum that could perhaps be isolated and synthesized.

Her reaction? Sticking the vial down your throat and forcing you to drink it, to see things “through her eyes”.

And she then decides to fight you to the death. Her reasoning being that even breathing the serum will eventually result in more sentient volatiles, who will rip their own families apart once the sun sets. So she has to kill you to keep the serum from reaching anyone else.

Now, I have so many questions that I’m not sure where to start…

OK, so she doesn’t want more sentient volatiles, since they are a threat to everyone once the sun sets and they lose their minds. This, of course, is nothing like the regular volatiles who only come out at night, when the sun can’t burn them…

Oh wait. They’re exactly the same degree of threat.

And even if they weren’t, she doesn’t want you to leave with the serum, because it might create more sentient volatiles… so she crams the serum down your neck, to turn you into a sentient volatile… the thing she doesn’t want more of… And if that wasn’t bad enough, she then decides to fight you to the death.

AFTER she gave you the serum that makes you an equal match for her.

And then, let’s go one step further. In order to protect her children from the infection, she uses the vapours made from the serum to make them immune…

The same serum that she made clear still turns you into a sentient volatile if you breathe it instead of drinking it, just with a slower process.

Granted, it’s worth mentioning that we never see or hear of any other sentient volatiles, despite a lot of cult members breathing in the vapours over a long time, so what she bases that on, I’ve no idea.

But if she’s right, that means that to protect her followers from the infection, she exposed them to a substance that slowly infects them and turns them into the same kind of monster she is now trying to kill you to keep you from creating more of. 

HOW THE FUCK DOES THAT MAKE SENSE!?

You don’t want more senseless killing, so your plan is to expose people to a serum that turns them into monsters that kill people senselessly, until you can find a way to access the codes so you can nuke the entire region, killing everyone.

There’s being a religious fanatic, there’s being a genocidal maniac and then there’s being a complete fucking moron

Setting off a nuke because you don’t want people to die needlessly is absolutely idiotic! Especially if she’s wrong about the effects of breathing the vapours, since that means she fucks you over for having a good idea, in favour of her own plan that, like I said, is both counterproductive and idiotic!

Then again, I’m sure the people who survive will be thrilled! Sure, they are slowly dying of third degree burns and shitting out their entrails thanks to radioactive fallout, and you’ve made the entire region pretty much uninhabitable for about 20.000 years.

But thank fuck, now they don’t have to sleep uneasy in their pretty comfortable beds, with their books and games and music and their protective fences and UV lights keeping the volatiles away, eating candy bars and fruits and vegetables and food from disaster relief drops, waiting for Dr. Camden to find the cure for the zombie apocalypse…

Thanks a lot, Mother of the Sun. Truly, your plan was foolproof. What ever would we do without you…

And this brings us to the main issue I have with this ending.

It makes the entire story of the game fucking pointless!

Think about it. You’re here in the countryside, trying to find a cure for the zombie infection. You know, that thing you spent the entire end of the game trying to secure from Rais? The thing you used as leverage to make sure the GRE didn’t try to pull some bullshit like WIPING OUT HARRAN?

Turns out, that research was a dead end. All the people who died as a result of trying to reclaim it? Their deaths were in vain. Everything you fought and killed for was utterly meaningless.

And the choice you’re given is also meaningless! Both choices result in a crap ending! Even if you chose not to blow up everyone and manage to defeat the Mother, you’re still fucked, since now you’ve turned into a sentient volatile yourself, and arrive in front of a mother and her two children, just as the sun sets.

Fucking BRILLIANT!

I know zombie stories aren’t the happiest, but come on! This is just a slap in the face, it’s so bleak!

And the most annoying thing of all is that it’s all so pointless! Throughout the DLC, you get messages from Harran, telling you that the antizin is running low and that people have begun to turn.

Because hey, even though the GRE, corrupt as it may be, has a vested interest in the progress of that cure and by extension the well-being of everyone in the city, that doesn’t mean they will do something sensible like, you know… SEND THE MEDICINE SPECIFICALLY DESIGNED TO KEEP PEOPLE FROM TURNING INTO ZOMBIES!

Not a single air drop containing a single vial of antizin? All those air drops full of food and water and other disaster relief supplies, is missing the drug that is designed for this, exact purpose? That’s pure, unadulterated bullshit, right there.

So that’s my issue with this game. The DLC just ends up making you feel like nothing you did mattered.

They could have removed the choice at the end, and just have you fight the Mother for the serum, without her sticking it down your neck, since that is twenty flavours of stupid. The serum could then be the final piece of the puzzle to make the cure. That would have been triumphant and uplifting, you could have a nice boss fight and bring the story to a satisfying ending.

That would have been perfectly serviceable! And guess what! If you do that, it actually makes sense that the game keeps going after the final mission! As it is, you effectively die either way, and yet you keep playing like a normal human after the credits!

But hey, what does internal continuity matter, in the grand scheme of things?

Oh right, it means the DLC makes sense and doesn’t piss people off…

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WTFAW: Aladdin Pt. 2

A while back, I wrote about the Disney movie Aladdin, as well as some fan theories about it. Since then, I have found something which might not technically count as a fan theory, but is close enough for me to consider it one for the sake of this article.

Dave, if you would.
Dave: The Genie in Aladdin is Satan.

Now, like I said, it’s not a fan theory in the traditional sense, since it does not have several articles about it or videos. I do, however, know that this idea exists, since people searching for information about it manage to find my blog.

As such, and keeping with the previous articles theme of misunderstanding a character, I’d like to take the opportunity to discuss this idea. So, what support is there for this theory?

Dave: OK, so the word Genie is derived from the word Jinni, the singular of Jinn. The Jinn are beings from Islamic and pre-islamic folklore, and they are said to be made out of smokeless fire. The Jinn were created with free will, much like humans, and the Islamic devil figure, Iblis, was himself a Jinni. All this means that the Genie may well be Satan.

OK, lets go over this, then.

It is true that according to folklore, the Jinn are made of smokeless flame and have free will. However, that doesn’t make them inherently evil, any more than humans are inherently evil for having free will.

And while Iblis was a Jinn, this does not automatically mean all Jinns are therefore evil. After all, according to Christianity, Satan was an angel before falling from grace, becoming the devil. That does not mean that angels are then automatically evil.

(Christopher Walken in The Prophecy notwithstanding)

And finally, let’s look at the basic idea of the theory. The Genie in Aladdin is the devil. Which devil are we talking about? Is he Satan, the christian devil or are we talking about Iblis, the islamic devil? Or is he just a jinn following Iblis?

The common idea for Iblis and his servants, unless I’m horribly misinformed, is that they encourage people to do evil, in an attempt to corrupt and lead humans astray. The christian devil and his minions, meanwhile, tend to take the role of accusers and liars.

Common, recurring themes in stories concerning the devil includes Faustian pacts, portrayals as both a beast of destruction and hate, and a silvertongued seducer, promising riches in exchange for your immortal soul.

Now, the Genie in Aladdin, meanwhile, is none of those. He doesn’t ask for anything in exchange for the wishes, at no point does he attempt to make anyone sign over anything, and the only reason he is fulfilling wishes at all is because he is a slave, and as such has no choice! If he did, he wouldn’t help Jafar, when he gets hold of the lamp.

And while he does help Aladdin in his deception, he also states in no uncertain terms, that the best course of action is to, and I quote:

Tell. Her. The. TRUTH!

Hell, later when Jafar has been defeated, and Aladdin is about to say farewell to Jasmine, because of the whole “a princess must marry a prince” law, what does the genie, supposedly the devil in disguise do?

He tells Aladdin to use his last wish to become a prince again, even though this means the Genie will remain a slave, the one dream and wish he has for himself.

In other words, he is fully prepared to give up what may be his only chance for freedom, in order to help Aladdin and Jasmine live happily ever after.

Not exactly what the Devil, the ultimate evil, prince of lies and darkness incarnate would do.

I think that covers all the points. So, why did I write this article, if this isn’t a traditional fan theory?

Because with this, I have hopefully provided people with an answer to a question that, for some reason, some of  them are asking.

Is the Genie in Aladdin Satan?

No, he isn’t.

Does he have a connection to the devil?

Well, yes, in that the Islamic devil figure is also a jinn. But by the same token, I belong to the same species as Mussolini. That doesn’t mean I’m a fascist dictator.

Dave: Well…

Shut up, Dave.

 

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The Rocky Horror Picture Show

I’d like to talk, if I may, (which I do, since this is my blog) about The Rocky Horror Picture Show, the Richard O’Brien musical movie and cult phenomenon.

If you haven’t seen the movie, I highly recommend it. While somewhat bizarre, it’s very entertaining with great music, good acting and a cast that includes Richard O’Brien himself, Charles Gray, Susan Sarandon, Brian Bostwick and, of course, Tim Curry as Dr. Frank N. Furter.

And it is Dr. Frank N. Furter that is the focus of this article.

You see, while I do like the movie, a while back, during the buildup to the recent televised revival, I noticed something pretty troubling about how attached people are to Frank. Terms people use to describe him tend to be along the lines of “Sexy” or “Intriguing“. He’s called “Charming” and “Awesome” or things like that, with people saying how they cried when he died.

Now, that’s troubling enough, but there are people who actually, genuinely consider Frank inspirational.

Which is why I am writing this article. I’d like to take this opportunity to clarify a few things about the good Dr. Furter which people seemingly missed or choose to ignore.

Frank N. Furter is many things. Charming, loveable and especially inspirational are NOT some of them.

I hate to rain on peoples parade, but did you watch the movie? Because if you cried when Frank died, you either didn’t watch the rest of it or you didn’t pay attention.

Want some words to sum up Frank N. Furter? How about “rapist“? How about “murderer” or “cannibal“?

Here’s the thing that people seem to forget about Frank.

HE IS THE VILLAIN OF THE MOVIE!

The man is a complete monster, with virtually no redeeming features, beyond having a lovely singing voice!

Don’t believe me?

Let’s go over, in brief, some of the things he does in the movie.

He creates a sentient being in Rocky, who clearly has his own mind and thoughts, for the express purpose of using him as a sex toy.

He partially lobotomized Eddie, locked him in a freezer and then, when Eddie was released, killed him with an ice axe, either out of jealousy or because Eddie interrupted his song.

He then, not satisfied with having Rocky, the aforementioned sentient sex toy, dresses up as both Brad and Janet, intending to trick them both into having sex with him. You know what that’s called? That’s called attempted RAPE!

Later, we find that he has taken the corpse of Eddie, the man that (need I remind you) he KILLED WITH AN AXE, and had his servants cook it and serve it to his guests for dinner!

Brad, Janet, Columbia, Rocky and Dr. Scott are then all turned into statues he dresses up and seemingly brainwashes to participate in a demented floor show with himself as the star.

And finally, when he is told by his servants that they are taking control of the non-disclosed mission and are returning to their home planet, what does Frank do? He sings the song “I’m Going Home“.

Now, have you actually listened to the song? With all the things I have just described to you, what is the song actually about?

It’s Frank lamenting. Lamenting what, you ask?

Funnily enough, he’s not sad about the things he’s done, the people he’s hurt, the rape, the murder, the cannibalism, the brainwashing, the rape or murder and yes, I know I said those twice, because I need you to understand that Frank tried to RAPE TWO PEOPLE AND KILLED A THIRD! Not to mention that having sex with Rocky is in itself extremely questionable and might constitute as rape, since he’s pretty much brain-damaged and may not actually understand the concept of consent.

There’s also the other, implied murders that were needed to procure parts for Rocky’s creation. After all, those parts have to come from somewhere,  and graverobbing is out of the question, if you want fresh, high quality parts.

But no, he doesn’t regret that. Instead, he’s sad he’s CAN’T DO IT ANYMORE! He even goes so far as to imply that he’s just misunderstood, because “Everywhere has been the same“.

Aw, that poor, misunderstood man. He just wanted to be loved, all along… Oh wait, I just remembered.

HE KILLED A MAN WITH AN AXE AND SERVED THE CORPSE AS DINNER!

Do you understand what I’m trying to say? Frank N. Furter is a bona fide sociopath, completely devoid of compassion, remorse or guilt. His death is not tragic, and he’s not a sympathetic character.

Now, just for shits and giggles, let’s take Frank N. Furters character. Remove the singing voice, the apparent wealth, the scientific ingenuity, the mansion and servants.

What are you actually left with?

A sexually confused sociopath with no consideration for other peoples feelings or suffering since, in his mind, everyone around him exist solely for his pleasure, convenience and entertainment and to fulfill his deranged fantasies.

Does that sound at all familiar?

Here, let me make it clearer.

buffalobill
Buffalo Bill from “Silence of the Lambs

So, please, please for the love of god, don’t idolize Frank N. Furter. He’s not someone to look up to. He’s not a source for inspiration. Find him entertaining, by all means, but remember that he is, fundamentally, an absolutely horrible creature.

And yes, I know that comparing him to Buffalo Bill isn’t completely fair.

After all, Buffalo Bill didn’t rape any of his victims…