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Caffeinated Saturday, Episode 8

September 28, 2013

Finally, a Caffeinated Saturday that I actually post on a Saturday!

Futurama has aired their last episode. I’m bummed about that, as it’s undoubtedly my favorite TV series “of all time”, with South Park, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and The Daily Show following closely behind. I have very mixed feelings about the airing of the last episode. I’m saddened to know that there will no longer be ANY continuation of the series (not counting cheapo comics and “graphic novels”). Yet I believe that the series had jumped the shark after Season 4. That is to say that I feel that the pinnacle of the show was achieved in its last original running year, with Season 4, and that the movies and subsequent Comedy Central seasons were of gradual declining quality. While I enjoyed bits of each of the movies and a few of the “new” episodes, the show stopped exploring interesting topics and became a giant loop of inside jokes for nerds. So I’m glad that the series ended without sliding too much further downhill. Likewise, I’m glad that the show never really became a platform for contemporary, ephemeral political or pop culture topics (unlike South Park).

As much as I thoroughly enjoy South Park, I can’t help but feel that the show has jumped the shark and is stuck on exploiting forgettable political and pop culture topics. Watching older episodes makes me feel that many of the episodes are quaint and passe. The episodes that aren’t dependent on contemporary issues did age well; however shows like those are becoming increasingly rare. In fact I can’t name one off of the top of my head from the last few seasons, other than the Harley Davidson episode and You Have 0 Friends (my favorite episode of all time, which very accurately portrays my perspective of social media).

I’ve been watching quite a bit of The Daily Show again – something that I do in spurts. Just like my interest in new Trance music – it’s something that I tend to indulge in when I have a lot of free time. The Daily Show has always, always made me laugh. I tend to get a little lost in some of topics that they cover, namely the ones that I’m not super interested in, and some of the interviews are weak and unentertaining methods of pimping some new actor’s movie I don’t care about. Nevertheless, there have been more than enough worthwhile segments and interviews to make the show a huge win for any cynical, skeptical, or liberal viewers.

With the baby being here, we watch more TV than normal because it’s something we can keep on in the background. I haven’t had much time for gaming, but I have been playing Grand Theft Auto V. So far I think the game is probably a 90% – good, maybe even great, but definitely not “must play”. I’ve written a little bit about it on Twitter (still private, I think – it’s a place for me to vent about my job as well as games!). I would say that it’s an apex game for this generation of consoles, and the single player narrative is easily the best and most memorable that I’ve experienced in years, other than perhaps Skyrim. However I must add that GTA V doesn’t do anything new, and the game has more than a handful of bugs and takes a few steps backwards in comparison to GTA IV.

I’m waiting for the online component to make final judgement about the game, but right now I’ve actually got quite low hopes for the multiplayer. I thought MP was going to be part of the RELEASE version of the game, not patched in later. There will also be Pay-To-Win features that I find detestable. Granted, most of the REALLY good stuff in GTA V MP will require “earning” it, but I have a feeling that “XP boosters” and bullshit like that will certainly be part of the Pay-To-Win package that Rockstar is moving forward with. Moreover, Rockstar has already warned players that the early experience of the game will probably be really rough. My expectations are really low at this point, unfortunately.

I beat Call of Duty: Black Ops single player just before buying GTA V. It was an entirely underwhelming experience – with simple, uninteresting levels held together with gunbattles with swarms of brain-dead AI combatants. The game lacked competent AI, so it just threw more and more bodies at you to compensate, all with fairly uncanny accuracy. I guess the logic in the game development community is: if you can’t code tactical AI, just swarm them, they won’t know the difference. Heh. Ironically however, the multiplayer is solid and perhaps the best competitive FPS that I’ve played since GoldenEye on the Nintendo 64.

Interestingly enough, CoD:MW3 (which I beat a few months ago if I recall correctly) is quite the opposite. I found the multiplayer lacking, visually drab, and poorly balanced, yet I thought the single player was fantastic (for a Hollywood-style FPS).

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