Combos are so fucking stupid

I was chatting with some bros on Facebook about the upcoming PC version of Killer Instinct that was announced at E3, and naturally whenever the topic of Killer Instinct arises, you have to talk about combos, and of course c-c-c-combo breakers.

I made a remark about how the reboot should allow for combo hit counter to exceed the three digit mark, as in the old Killer Instinct, the combo hit counter topped out at 99, regardless of how many hits you registered afterward.  I was quickly shown a video clip of the 2013 version of Killer Instinct that I wasn’t even aware even existed, and how not only has the combo hit counter exceeded the three digit mark, it’s surpassed the four digit mark.  The video is over 24 minutes long, and yep, the player in the video executes a combo that is 2,603 hits.

Two thousand, six hundred, and three hits.

Okay, not only is this fucking absurd, it’s fucking stupid.  Combos are fucking stupid, and are completely grossly out of hand, and out of control in games.

I mean seriously, think about it; yes, it’s a video game, and yes there’s a degree of suspended belief we’re supposed to consider, but hitting an opponent over 2,000 times in succession, over the span of over 20 minutes?  Uh yeah, I’d sure hope they’re out for the count after that much effort.  But in that regard, so is the victor, after spending the last twenty minutes concentrating on repeating the same sequence of button presses for twenty fucking minutes.

I remember when the idea of combos were more or less discovered by accident, from players that exploited the Street Fighter programming to where you could chain together particular hits with special moves, to where the opponent couldn’t counter in between.  And why wouldn’t they want to use such tactics; given the fact that two people pay money to play the game, nobody wants to lose to have to pay more money, they want to win, and ride their original token/quarter(s) as long as they can.

When it came to combos back then, Guile’s Four Fierce was pretty much the ultimate combo.  If pulled off, it was a guaranteed dizzy, and executing it again would guarantee end the round, but you wouldn’t even get to the Sonic Boom part, because the damage values were so absurdly high back then, the round would already be over.

The point is, it was four hits, and it basically won you a fight, if you could hit it.  Eventually in later Street Fighters, damage values dropped, and they introduced the first-ever hit counter.   However, even then, a 4-5 hit combo was still the norm.

Eventually, Killer Instinct came out in 1994 and not only jumped the shark as far as combo hit counting was concerned, it took Fonzi, the shark, and the entire cast of Happy Days, put them all into a time capsule, and threw it counter clockwise, so that it could perpetually repeat in time all the times it jumped the shark.  Combos that ranged from like nine hits to over 99 hits became the norm, and it basically became a game where it was that you knew how to execute combos of repeated monotonous button presses, or you wasted your money.

Unfortunately, combo hit counting became a cool thing, and it wasn’t long before the Mortal Kombat franchise hopped aboard, and introduced a combo system in MK3 that has continued to be the norm even to present time.  Gone was repeating the sequence of Scorpion’s spear, uppercut, slide kick to easy victories, and now having to hit a guy 38 times in order to tick them down to low enough health to fatality them.

Naturally, the Street Fighter franchise joined the fray, and I still remember that Ken’s Shinryuken could register 16-18 hits if landed deep enough into the opponent’s sprite.  Somehow, Ken’s back, trapezius, hamstring, triceps, calf and ankle all were allowed to register hits in the logistics of such a move landing that many hits.

Ultimately, I don’t really understand the fascination with hits throughout the evolution of fighting games.  Ideally, my goal is simply to win by any means necessary, and at least back in the olden days of SFII, the more fierce punches and roundhouse kicks I landed, the quicker the opponent went down.  I had no shame in forcing opponents to block a light punch in order to set them up for a cheap throw, as long as I won.

Wouldn’t it be cool if there were a fighting game that took into consideration that in a real-life fight, sometimes all it takes is a single, well-landed punch or kick, to end it?  Like, the perfect storm of circumstances, positioning and strike thrown, knocks one person completely the fuck out instantaneously?  I mean, I’d find that more realistic than when developers try to improve character designs and graphics to make them look more “real.”

But seriously, combos are so out of hand that they’re completely stupid now.  How about some real innovation in gaming for the future?

Jurassic World > Mad Max, easily

If I dared make such a statement over social media, I would instantaneously be labeled as things such as curmudgeon, contrarian, hipster or the like, but it’s true.

I simply think Jurassic World was a vastly superior movie over Mad Max: Fury Road.

Neither movie was really mind blowing, thought-provoking or something that blew me away, but when I think about how I felt after seeing both movies, I come away from Jurassic World with more pleasing emotions than I did after seeing Fury Road.

Ultimately, I don’t really understand the maniacal opinion that Fury Road was the greatest movie ever made, nor do I really understand peoples’ desires to see it again and again and again like they’re all claiming to, or actually doing, according to social media.

Fury Road was an entertaining movie, but ultimately, it’s best described as something that my mother would say:

엉터리영화

Which is “bullshit movie” in Korean.  It was entertaining sure, but it really was a bullshit movie with a lame plot, excessively over-the-top acting, and was just overall kind of stupid.  Again, not to say it wasn’t entertaining, but I think it’s far deserving from the universal praise that everyone seems to be so willing and capable of lavishing onto it.

If I were to go to the theater right now, and had to choose between which movie to see a second time, without any hesitation, it’d be Jurassic World.  Chris Pratt plus a posse of velociraptors easily has my favor over the hardcore extreme version of basically a Griswold Family Road Trip movie.

Photos: Jinx/Fishbones photoshoot candids

Note: the following post is from approximately one year ago, held back as a courtesy.

Good things happen when involved parties collaborate.  I came along to help out where I could with a photoshoot that featured Jen’s Jinx costume, the finished Fishbones bazooka by Volpin Props, shot by Joseph Chi Lin.

Obviously, this is relevant to my interests as Jinx is one of my favorite LoL characters, and all involved parties are what I’d consider friendly, so I can say that in spite of poor weather and typical Georgia summer heat, I had a good time taking part, and making a directional suggestion or two in my own right.

I thought it would be a good idea to bring my own camera, because I thought I’d want to take pictures of the street graffiti of the Krog Street tunnel, but ultimately, nothing in particular in the caught my fancy, due to the incestual mishmash of tags upon tags upon tags creating a whole lot of artistic vomit.

But it was good that I did, because I was able to take some candids of the processes of setting up our area, a few shots in between poses, and just a behind-the-scenes feel of what turned out to be an awesome example of talented parties collaborating for the sake of good art.

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Re: Final Fantasy Meh-ven Remake

Impetus: E3 announcement that Final Fantasy VII is being remade occurs, people lose their shit.

The most interesting thing about this whole thing is seeing just how much this is dividing up my friends list on Facebook.  As usual, it’s a tale of extremes, because either people are rabidly excited for it, or they’re fiercely hostile towards the notion of this FF7 being remade.  And then there’s the passive-aggressive bickering amongst the two factions, as well as people like me who are more fascinated with the social chaos of it all, rather than the actual news itself.

Frankly, put me in the camp that is less than lukewarm about this announcement.  I feel that it’s more or less a copout by Squeenix to dust off a classic, pretty it up, and re-release it, rather than y’know, trying to come up with something new and innovative and make one more tick-mark closer to the inevitable Final Fantasy XX, which will basically mark the end of video games as a whole.

I’m pleased that this is going to make a lot of people genuinely happy, but it’s basically going to be nothing new, for anyone who had already done it before.  I mean, I maxed out the clock in the game of grinding, because I wanted maxed out characters, a gold chocobo, duplicates of Knights of the Round Materia that I would then grind to max those out, and so forth, as well as finding out the ways to beat Ruby and Emerald Weapons.  For all I know, I may still very well have the save file on the little collection of 8MB PS1 memory cards I still have somewhere in the attic.

Why would I want to do all of this all over again?  Just because it’s prettier?  Aesthetics don’t affect stories, otherwise books would cease to exist if they could all be republished in visual formats.

This is dumb.  All remakes are dumb, honestly.  They’re cop outs by companies too lazy to invest in good storytelling, and further contribute to the notion that the world is devoid of original ideas.  Remakes are a slap in the face of creativity.

I enjoyed playing the FF4 remakes on the DS, but after beating it on a minimal effort, I saw no point in going back to try and polish everything, because there was no point.  FF7 is probably going to be the exact same thing for lots of people, but at least those who never played the original might just be swept away in the amazement of a journey played for a first time as opposed to those of us who already have.

I love that this happened to the St. Louis Cardinals

Long story short: Employees of the St. Louis Cardinals are accused of “hacking” into the databases of the Houston Astros, gaining insider information about trade talks, player data and other proprietary information.

I used to not really care about the St. Louis Cardinals.  In the sense that they weren’t on my radar at all, and I didn’t really have feelings of like or dislike for them, period.  In 2006, I actively rooted for the Cardinals en route to their World Series victory, because they were 83-win underdogs throughout the entire playoffs, and had a pretty amazing run, and it was fun to watch them upset the Mets in the NLCS that year.

Eventually, I became enamored with Albert Pujols, who was, at the time performing basically baseball Jesus-feats on a nightly basis for the Cards, and I can admit that I was a fan of Pujols, even if it meant passively supporting the Cardinals.

Times change however, and as my own baseball fandom progressed, somewhere along the line, I kind of got tired of the Cardinals.  As a whole, their franchise is revered and often lauded as one of the squeaky clean, most “right” organizations out there, and everything from their players, their style of play, the organization, their ballpark, all the way to their fans, were often considered the crème of the crop as far as the royal baseball was concerned.

When anything cool is happening, like a hitting streak or a pitcher with an impressive run of scoreless innings, if the Cardinals were on the horizon, you could basically bank that the good times were going to end.  If there was a team you were rooting for that was on a hot streak, it could be pretty certain that when they played the Cardinals, it would come to an end.

What really sucked is that no matter what the circumstances, the Cardinals were always good.  Nothing could derail them, whether it’s injuries, the free agent departure of Albert Pujols, or anything else, my rule of thumb became that if the Cardinals made it into the playoffs, they were going to fuck things up for basically everyone.

In 2011, the Braves had the mother of late-season collapses, and went from basically being a sure-fire bet for the Wild Card and a chance in the playoffs, the losing the last game of the season, and getting leap-frogged, by the Cardinals.  The Cardinals would then storm through the playoffs, and win the World Series outright.

In 2012, the Braves were the unfortunate first victims to the absurdity of a one-game playoff system newly integrated, and in spite of being six games superior in record, still had a date with the St. Louis Cardinals, to see who got to really play in the playoffs.  Naturally, the Cardinals benefitted from the mother of botched umpire calls, and defeated the Braves, where they would proceed to get umpire assistance again against the Nationals, breaking the hearts of my closest friends, before ultimately failing to the Giants, because it was an even-numbered year.

The stories never really cease either, because no matter the loss of Pujols, the blown-out elbows of Christ Carpenter or Adam Wainwright, the Cardinals just keep winning.  They always make the playoffs, they always make it far, and they just simply just get the job done, no matter what.

I resent the Cardinals, because they’re really that good, and on top of that, they seem to be the charmed franchise that always gets that extra bit of luck, whether it’s benefitting from umpire calls, or taking a piece of garbage player, and finding the right role for him that turns him into a Cy Young-caliber pitcher or a pinch-hit wunderkind.

Which is why it makes this story, that the Cardinals are underhanded hackers, attempting to capitalize on absolutely anyone, including a team that’s no longer in their division, much less league, that much juicier and gratifying of a story.

Of course the Cardinals are cheaters!  Why else are they always this good?  Why do they always seem to know what scrapheaps to pick up and transform into productive tools?

I think it was J. Jonah Jameson who said it best in Spider-Man, that as much as people love to see heroes rise, they love to see them fail as well.  This is, in a way, kind of the Cardinals failing just a little bit, because no matter what resolution comes from whatever happens next between the FBI, the Cardinals, Astros and MLB, the Cardinals are most certainly marked forever now.  A team that tried to get covert insider information from another organization, and who knows the magnitude of how far down the rabbit hole the espionage went?

I mean, I’m not saying it happened, but if the Cardinals kind of knew that the Braves were going to be huge sellers, seeing as how the Braves traded Evan Gattis to the Astros, who’s to say that that kind of knowledge didn’t help facilitate the Jason Heyward for Shelby Miller trade between the Braves and Cards?

Either way, I love that this happened to the St. Louis Cardinals.  For all the years of talk about how the Cardinals do everything the right way, it’s nice to see that when the day was truly over, they weren’t above trying to use an underhanded method to facilitate the image of success that they’re always striving for.