Monday, June 24, 2013

Portal 2

I loved the original Portal game and the sequel is just as good, but is now a full length game. The plot carries on from the original. The same excellent voice-acting and humour are there along with some backstory. It’s great to play a game that doesn’t simply rely on blasting things, unlike almost every other game on Xbox.

Portal 2 also adds an online or split screen multiplayer mode. I’ve only played the first few levels of this so far, but it’s good stuff. Just need to find someone to play online with. :-)

Monday, June 3, 2013

The Sarah Connor Chronicles

This is a TV series based on the Terminator films. It is set after Terminator 2 and focuses on Sarah’s struggle to bring John up to be the future leader of humanity and to keep him safe from SkyNet’s continuing efforts to kill him, while also attempting to prevent SkyNet’s invention by changing key events in the present. They are joined by a reprogrammed Terminator, called Cameron, played by Summer Glau.

They made two series, with a total of 31 40-minute episodes so there is plenty to watch. On the down side it doesn’t look like they will make any more, so the story just runs out without conclusion. On the up side, Summer Glau makes a fantastic Terminator. Throughout the series there are constant minor things that she does that indicate that her character is more than just a robot killing machine, such as taking up dancing and helping a cancer patient. It seems likely to me that the plot would develop until they came to the realisation that preventing SkyNet from being built isn’t going to work – the time travel thing makes it too simple to sidestep and even if you succeed, humanity would just redevelop something similar a little later. The real solution is to convince SkyNet (or some similar AI faction) that humanity can be co-existed with and doesn’t need to be exterminated. I think that this is where John & Cameron’s relationship would have gone if the series had continued.

The rest of the cast are also excellent and there are many mini-plots with flashbacks to the future war providing additional depth to the main story. Religion gets the usual free ride, as ex-FBI agent Ellison “teaches” a young AI, called John Henry, about the value of human life, although there were hints that this wasn’t necessarily being accepted uncritically and this could have developed had the show continued. There was also a tendency to present Cameron as sexy-Terminator, which was disappointing. As an AI combat chassis specialising in infiltration there was plenty of scope for playing down the sexy and many fashion-is-bullshit-anyway gags.