Thursday, April 15, 2010

The meeting took place as planned. Seven hundred refugees figuring out God on Earth, and not a human in sight. Relics littered everywhere and they took turns describing man and lamented. How very close they had come to unlocking everything, and look now. Its taken but a century to transform reality into dust. The meeting ended with them acknowledging the fact that human kind is not to be allowed to prosper anywhere else in the galaxy.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Loss is always hard, but can be coped with, and must be coped with, and in doing so, you discover just how resilient you are. Which makes for some rather painfully interesting dips into self-discovery.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

I have always had a thing for round eyed aliens. That's what I inevitably get around to doodling when I'm too bored to even think up things to draw. There's something charming about vicious creatures who have a soft side to them. Or perhaps the soft side is just something it wants you to think it has. Take this for example:

I had a character called Koopu, and now I realise I've been unconsciously plagiarising! The one up there is Alien Hominid. He started out as a flash sidescrolling web game hero and quickly rose in popularity to make his way onto consoles. I was a fan of the original, and now that I've got my hands on the ps2 version, I suddenly remembered Koopu. Koopu was then, not wholly a figment of my imagination. See for yourselves.
Its scary how much of what you think to be original might actually be 'borrowed', without you even knowing it. But I guess thats how art works. No piece of writing, art, whatever, can be really completely original. Its all, in many ways, a rethinking of its inspirational original, which was in turn subconsciously, or very consciously, reworked from it's predecessors and so on.

Thats not to say I consider Koopu a work of art, per se! But one things for certain, after Koopu finished venting his often unjustifiable cute bloodthirsty alien rage on humans, they turned into of art themselves.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Little me, in the shroud,
stone still for a while,
and then, alive,
tumbling, trembling,
falling, elsewhere in time,
and place and reason.
Some world's found a need for me again,
and I unconsciously
find myself obliging.

What I wrote above
is what I remember:
The only bit I remember
the rest is a journey for purpose
clouded with struggles
of the most mundane kind.

Questions, questions are all I have
at the moment, and what
the people say counts for little;
I don't know much myself
but if only that little tiny shimmering
strand of memory weaves
itself bigger, and larger
and stronger through time,
and reaches me here, stuck
in a web of part-wonder, part-curiosity
and mostly misplaced ambition,
I'd have something to
show me the way.

I lie in wait.

edit: while this was written in as sincere a manner as is possible at the time of writing, I find myself wincing considerably re-reading it twice. Yeowch.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The lonely son of a bitch

Ugliness is all in your mind, he kept telling himself. What you think to be ugly is perhaps beautiful to someone else. That is, after all, natural. These differences in perception are what goes into making us truly human. But it's okay to think something or someone ugly; you're only doing what comes naturally. You're not treating the person any differently after labeling him so. That, he also told himself, must surely count for something.

All around him were people whom he could barely relate to. But he knew that for the next few years, he would be spending time with them, getting to know them better and he might as well make good use of this time and immerse himself in all the kinds of ugly there is in this world. For, again he told himself, there surely was all sorts of people gathered here, ready to learn and perhaps, later, transform that into something beautiful, or kill it and pursue something else entirely.

He quickly scanned the front row. All average, all extremely artificial in how they dress. All of them, he noted, simply reek of mediocrity. But its alright. Its quite alright. There isn't any need for sudden bouts of natural disgust. You don't know almost anybody, and already you're marking off people, ticking off one after the other. This has become a hobby. This is wrong. He shook his head silently and reprimanded himself mentally.

And then, suddenly he stops fighting and lets all of that go and realizes that he really is the best, most balanced person in the entire room. There's no use thinking otherwise. He isn't smiling and overreacting at every funny word. He isn't looking to please the next guy or girl he sees that he likes and would like as a friend. He isn't especially keen on going out of his way to help lost and confused souls who are too shy to ask for any assistance in the first place and sit smiling to themselves wryly, all alone. Why, he isn't remotely like any of them, and the sweeping generalizations he's been making till now suddenly feel justified. A feeling comes over him and he lets it hang on for a little while longer before letting it dissipate. I'm nowhere new. And for the first time, he smiles that well known, time-worn cruel smile of his.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Okay. Time for a quick roundup of the past 3 days:

  • Frequent blackouts have seen me taking out my guitar and singing and playing Rabindrasangeet songs to entertain my parents and save myself from creeping boredom. Oh, and I can't sing Rabindrasangeet for the life of me, I just figured out. My guitar needs to be restringed.
  • The two tests went reasonably good, then better, in that order. I stayed up the entire night studying for my Augustan paper, and am extremely proud of myself. Regardless of how I fare, I know I had a lot of fun writing the answers.
  • Dad and me love making fun of how Bengali culture can't seem to get out of the Rabindranath fixation and can't seem to make any new headstart. We started this by remembering people who used to sing the same old songs, and horribly at that. Suffice to say, Ma wasn't particularly anxious about listening to our discussion.
  • A getaway is in the works. More on this soon.
  • Avinash got me Deadpool and books for my birthday!
  • I wish Saptarshi cheers up soon and gets to be his hearty self again. He deserves better.

Retrogame Review: Klonoa 2 Lunatea's Veil

Klonoa 2 was released very early on in the PS2's lifespan, and wasn't especially successful commercially. Perhaps its because by 2001, the 2d sidescrolling platformer as a major genre was virtually extinct, and with the advent of 3d platformers like Rayman 2 and Jak and Daxter, both of which were released for the Playstation 2 as well, people probably overlooked this little gem. I'm playing it in 2010, 9 years after its release, and I can safely say that this title is already a modern day classic in my book.

Klonoa 2, it seems to me, much like its lauded predecessor on the psx, has been designed with a very specific audience in mind. For everything in the game oozes the old world charm of the NES days of gaming, back when platformers were a dime a dozen, and were probably the most popular genre. Its also very self consciously Japanese in everything from speech, to character design to the soundtrack. The gameplay itself reminds me a lot of Ristar for the genesis, largely because how exquisitely simple it is. In Ristar, all you had were your hands, with which you grabbed enemies and hooks and propelled yourself forward. In Klonoa, you blow your enemies up into little balls and then use them to jump higher and hit switches. You also grab hold of floating balls and ascending copters. If you have played Yoshi's Island for the SNES, you'll find yourself especially at home with Klonoa. However, Yoshi's Island was something else entirely, and comparing the two doesn't make sense. Klonoa's approach is essentially a lot simpler. There are no special moves whatsoever to learn, and while that may sound boring to some, its not. It leads to a more focused feel.

The controls are very tight. You'll rarely if ever find yourself dying because of difficulty in controlling Klonoa. In fact, you'll rarely die at all. One of the drawbacks of this game is that it's a little too easy sometimes. It all depends on how you look at it though: I was looking for a fun platforming experience, and I came away with something so much more. It IS easy, but that's hardly the point of the game. The actual enjoyment in Klonoa lies in the platforming. Its so fun grabbing enemies and jumping up and solving the many simple yet satisfying puzzles thrown in that you'll soon forget that you've never died till now.

Graphically, Klonoa is gorgeous, with weird and wonderful 3d backgrounds and Klonoa and gang themselves cel shaded, lending them a cartoony look. 2.5D platforming needs more love. I'm not kidding. There are people who seriously miss old school gaming, myself included, and the 2.5D way keeps both sorts of people happy: you get your graphics, and you maintain the classic gameplay too. And that is exactly what Klonoa does. It plays like a lavishly designed NES platformer, albeit with 3D thrown in for good measure. The colors are vivid and psychedelic. Character design is impressive and the cutscenes inbetween visions are decent. And, most importantly, skippable. But having a story egging you on is very fun as well.

The soundtrack, now, is where you'll finally see how much heart this game has. The soundtrack, ladies and gentlemen, is absolutely incredible. Its beautiful, sad, happy, fast-paced, thoughtful and more. It proves that a good soundtrack complements a game tremendously, making it a transcendental experience in gaming, once in a while. Klonoa very surely delivers in this regard. It reeks of a beautiful fantasy setting, mystical, charming and at times haunting, all at once. It's good enough to be listened to separately!

So there you have it. Klonoa 2 is a brilliant combination of old school, classic platforming, superior music, and quirky and delightful graphics and it's sure to delight platforming fans and help introduce many to the genre as well. Highly recommended. 9/10.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Violet and brooding
a soft summer evening
a tint of frustration
in the air

A chair by the ocean
missing the commotion of
home this far away
its not fair.

And the swishing of the waves
and the crying of the gulls
and the sand and the rocks
they all argue:

You've come out here alone
alive and to postpone
all your thoughts until
they are due.

The violet night sky
angry, beautiful, can't lie
and you know to think is but to
waste this time

You've eked out for yourself
you never sought out any help
and the least you can do is enjoy it,
please try.

Friday, April 2, 2010

My ps2 is dead. End of story. I didn't know how dependent I'd gotten to be on that little thing till now.

And suddenly I feel extremely light. Its hilarious I know. And I was probably expecting something like this. I mean, just when I was finally getting to enjoy the console, it, or fate, pulls this off. Amazing. What now?

Nothing. Except perhaps getting back to things that really need my attention. My exams, for one.

Sigh. Tata.



Thursday, April 1, 2010

Early post for today. Like, real early. Its 2 24 am now, and I just finished playing a level of Halo. The first one. Yes, I know: How come I never played it before?! What the hell was I thinking? etc. As it turns out, this game is VERY fun. I don't like fpss in general, but this is an exception. It runs a bit choppy on pcs...the port isn't perfect unfortunately, but the fun factor takes over soon and if you're a science fiction fan then you're pretty much bound to be pleased. Who am I kidding...this game is already held to be a legend amongst gamers, and while this does play like a more or less generic fps, I can tell why it caused such a stir when it got released in the early 2000s.

And stay tuned for first impressions on...*drumroll please* Ratchet and Clank 3! Ratchet and Clank is one of those games you cannot dislike even if you wanted to. And I hear part 3 is something delightful to play.

Its quite funny, me blogging this enthusiastically all of a sudden. I'm actually having a lot of fun doing this after God knows how long, regardless of whether people are actually reading it or not.
I'm late. To quickly go over yesterday:
  • Extremely uneventful overall, till home when me and the guys went for a stroll.
  • Saptarshi messages me that the internet speed has doubled.
  • We, all three of us, think it to be a really bad attempt on Saptarshi's part at trying an April Fool's out on us.
  • Then we remember April Fool's is still a day away.
  • We scurry to Bishu's place to find out that it IS in fact, the truth.
  • We do a little victory dance and call Saptarshi up who is almost dancing himself and slightly incredulous.
And today, I lost my way in Salt Lake and unknowingly took an extremely long detour which has me tired out too bad. I can barely type. Lemonade's got my throat all sticky and is making me thirsty all over again. This is my third glass all day. After the eds me and Saptarshi finally found time to hang out, and we met with Samik and Somak and got the photocopies for Tuesday's test. And I didn't score too badly in the American Novel test but nothing too brilliant either.