Monday, May 30, 2011

Red Dead Redemption Ending

As a heads up, if you stumble across this blog on a google search or something and haven't played through the whole game yet, it's probably best not to read it as I will spoil it..

Anyway, yes, my summer has become so boring that I've resorted to blogging about a video game. 12 days. In 12 days I leave for Oregon. I'm sure I'll be busy enough once I get there that video games won't be a significant part of my day, but until then.. heh..

So my friend Joe let me borrow his copy of Red Dead Redemption. It's a game where you are a cowboy and in Grand Theft Auto style you roam across the old west doing pretty much whatever you want to do and going and visiting acquaintances for missions if you so choose. I had been playing it for about three weeks now (I don't game that hardcore, I can't beat a game in 2 days like some of you probably can) and had become rather attached to the protagonist, John Marsden. It was a great story, a cool character and the worst video game ending ever.

The guy was an outlaw who had given up the gangster life to settle down on a ranch with his wife and son. After a few years of this peaceful life of a good guy, the FBI then came and kidnapped his family and sent him on a mission to go find his old posse in the old west and kill them. This is where the game starts. You play around in the old west helping people out and you get a choice to be good or bad, I typically chose to do the good and finally you kill the other 3 guys you were in the gang with. Then the FBI agents let your family go and you're reunited. Everything is happy, your family is okay, your character is okay and you have a ranch to begin a new life on. This is where the game should end and any intelligent story writer would have had this story end, but no.

Next you play a few dull missions working on the farm getting attached to the characters of your family doing farm stuff before the final mission where the US Army shows up at your ranch to kill you for no apparent reason. You fight them off and escort your family to the barn. On the way the old man on your farm gets shot and dies. Here John puts his family on the horse and tells them to leave. They get away fine. John then peeks out the door and sees about 15 soldiers standing around, which, any other time in this game would have been cause to flee or possibly even bunker in and kill them all (yes, he's that much of a bad ass.) Instead the cut scene shows him shove the door open and then it takes you into the slow-mo targeting mode where you can shoot them. I targeted about 6 of them and then he shoots them all and they die. The following cut scene shows the remaining soldiers all shooting John and the dick of an FBI agent who blackmailed you throughout the whole game lighting a cigar and smiling.

I have honestly never been more pissed off at a video game in my life other than maybe the time I played FFX the first time. The next scene takes you to his son and wife on a horse and her saying "Did you hear that? We have to go back." I then returned and they run over to see John in a pool of blood, obviously dead.

X-box achievement 100 points.

Wait? Seriously? That's it? Pissed off I pause the game, go switch on the computer and search the internet to see if I screwed up and got the "bad" ending, but there is only one ending to the game. I unpause the game and a cutscene then takes you to a rainy day with John's son, Jack, now aged a few years, admiring his grave. It pans over to his mom's grave too.

Great, as if they didn't ruin the game enough they inexplicably had his mother die for unknown causes. You then take control of Jack for a free roam with no missions to do. Pissed off I head to the town with the FBI headquarters thinking that I'm just going to kill everyone in it, but I get there and there is a question mark on the minimap, so I go to it.

Some guy tells me that the FBI agent who killed John is at some cabin living a peaceful retired life now. I go there and after a series of meeting people who tell me to go somewhere else find the guy. Jack then tells the guy that he's John's son and the FBI man tells Jack to leave before he kills him too. Jack insults him and the duel screen is brought up. I won the duel and Jack kills the bad guy and the credits roll.

Xbox achievement 50 points.

I wish I'd have never played this game.

You go throughout the whole game searching out your friends to kill them in order to save your family. Each time the story makes it sad for you to kill your friends, but you know you're doing it for the greater good of your family and the society of the whole west (your friends are pretty bad dudes). Then at the end you finally settle down and life is good. You've shown the whole west that you're not the gangster outlaw you once were and that you're there for good. Until for no reason at all the makers at Rockstar thought it would be a good idea to have John die in the most dramatic fashion and have his wife end up dead for no reason. Then they have the nerve to think that the character that you just spent 20-30 hours of your life getting to know and admire can be avenged with his stupid son, who did nothing but complain about him during the time you knew him, and you'll be happy. Fail Rockstar.

I guess the idea they had was probably something along the lines of showing just how much John had changed. That in the face of certain death to save his family he didn't hesitate giving his life at all, proving that his selfish nature as an outlaw was done for, but I felt this had been shown again and again throughout the game as the story progressed. There was no question that the character was a good person.

It was a brilliant story about a heroic character, probably more heroic than most story, movie and video game characters I've ever read/watched/played, and then Rockstar ruined it with a bad ending. I honestly don't know that I'll ever play another Rockstar game again. I play video games for the story more than the gameplay and I don't care how much fun the game was to play, if the story sucks, I don't want to bother again.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Start of summer and vegetarianism

It has been about a month since I last updated this. I really just haven't had much to write about. No exciting political things that I felt like expressing my opinion on, besides the fact that Osama is dead, but I think we're all in agreement that's win, no specific instances that bothered me to the point where I needed to rant and no real exciting events other than maybe my graduation. Okay I suppose graduation is a big deal, but to me it didn't feel like it because I still have to finish field school before I get my diploma, so it was more of a formality for my family to have a chance to all see that they were a good environment for a kid like me to be smart in.

Over the last month I've had a lot of time to do nothing, which has been mostly filled with video games and seeing friends. I spent a while in Logan visiting Alyssa and that was good. It wasn't necessarily the most pleasant time I've spent with her due to illness - but we had fun. I went back up a weekish later for GSA (aka geology nerds unite) and sat there for 16 hours opening and closing files while I supposedly took in information on peoples research of the past year. What a dull experience that was. Luckily my attendance fee of well over $100 was covered by the fact that I was the guy opening and closing files.

Alyssa and I hung out with Joe and Amanda a few nights ago. It was surprisingly fun. I normally hate being around married friends, but those two don't act like annoying newlyweds and I think having a female of my own around made it more acceptable to me. I went to a bar last night and realized what I realize every time I go to a bar; I don't like bars. I've also spent the last two nights playing Minecrack with my friends. Minecrack (Minecraft, but you call it crack because it's addicting like drugs) is basically this game where you build stuff... Ryan described it as "first person mining" and that's pretty accurate. You mine stuff, then you make stuff. I would basically say it's like Legos meets Doom 64 graphics meets unlimited creativity. It's probably unhealthily addicting.

I am on a vegetarian kick again. We all know this happens about once a year anymore. I got curious and clicked on an ad put out by PETA which was probably biased and targeted at the things I've posted about myself on the internet, but it was pretty gruesome. It was a video about how commercial farming is done. Now naturally I'm sure they took the worse case scenarios, but I've seen concurring information on shows I've watched on commercial farming on Discovery as well. This video just happened to be a little more graphic. It showed the living conditions of animals which are raised for food and it's just wrong. It's not really a matter of opinion or necessity or food chain. If you want to argue that route go hunt a deer, that's food chain. Commercial farming is just immoral.

Yes domestication is probably the single most important contribution to modern civilization. Without it we'd still be nomadic wanderers and human population would total in the millions. However, do we really need to eat so much meat that animals have to be raised and treated no differently than a stalk of corn which is produced for commercial farming? Humans are omnivorous. In fact grains are the thing which we digest best and our teeth are built for a mostly grain/fruit/vegetable diet. Our canine teeth are pretty weak sauce compared to most carnivores. Why then do we have bacon for breakfast, a hamburger for lunch and chicken parmigiana for dinner? I don't know, I guess our society is just accepting of that. However because of that we need so much meat that animals are raised and killed in incredibly unnatural ways that really is just wrong. This isn't even about the killing, things die other things eat them. That's natural. Sorting male chicks from female chicks for extermination because they don't grow fast enough without a chance at life, clipping the beaks off the chickens so they don't harm each other and having them live in cages no larger than the chicken itself for the entirety of its short life while it is raised to be fat and then subsequently killed for profit is evil.

By the way, compared to the pigs, cows and seafood - the chickens appeared to get the best treatment.

Anyway, for once I'll actually be doing my month long vegetarian thing not because I want to be healthy and live to be 100, but because I think those freaks over at PETA might be onto something.

Hey look at that, if I just type long enough I end up ranting about something. Anyway, goodnight. Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Three years of college, in summary.

I just realized that I only have two days left at Utah State, then I'm done here, for good. It's like an entire chapter of my life ends. I am unsure of how to feel about this. USU has had its up's and down's. I've hated this town with a passion sometimes and had trouble finding a friend who understood me others, but in all being here has probably been the best 3 years of my life.

I moved here during the Fall of 2008 as a transfer student from Weber State University with about 50 credits that I'd accumulated in three semesters. I had a roommate who I barely knew at the time. We hung out and met some people. I spent a lot of time with my girlfriend from Kaysville and because of it put a little less effort into a social life here than I probably should have. We broke up about halfway into the semester, the breakup was full of unnecessary drama, but it happens. I then began hanging out more with my neighbors and a couple of friends from class. I hadn't really established a set group of friends yet, but it was nice to be social. However I began to realize that this math-centric degree I was pursuing was certainly not for me and it worried me. I did not enjoy taking statics, calc 3 and autocad at all. However surveying and physics were sort of fun. What would I do? I figured I could just get through my math classes and things would improve, right?

During the Spring of 2009 I spent a lot more time socializing than concentrating on my classes. I hated all of them anyway. Dynamics, Strengths of Materials, Matlab, Differential Equations? Yuck. Then it sort of hit me, if I didn't like this kind of stuff, why was I bothering with it? Physics 2 was the only class I was learning anything in and enjoyed. I sat down one night and went through the course materials needed for every degree that was of any interest to me planning how long it would take to get the degrees. With geology I could graduate on time, and I've always loved earthquakes and rocks. Maybe that was the degree for me! I went and talked to the advisor and he seemed like a nice person and so I decided that's what I wanted to do. For the next semester I enrolled in Geology 1110 with a goal of finishing a geology degree in two years, hah. Gooooood luck to me.

That summer I moved home to Layton. I couldn't find a job so naturally the first thing I did was paid off my car with the money I'd saved up working over the school year. I was taking a class to finish my A.S. from Weber State. I was hoping to spend time with my friends from Bountiful, but they had all become distracted with women in their lives and had little to no time for hanging out. I had a rather boring and uneventful summer that was sort of depressing until the end of it when I decided I needed to go on a couple adventures. I spontaneously drove to Los Angeles alone at 3am and a few weeks later went with a friend I'd not hung out with in 6 years to Arches. Kind of crazy, but I needed that. It was fun and I really had some cool life experiences.

Fall of 2009 I came back to Logan. I started taking my geology class and some related non-major classes. What a strange schedule I had with WATS 4930 (GIS) and Geology 1110 in the same semester. Chem 1220, 1225 and Philosophy 3700 were also taken this semester. I made friends with some neighbors who ended up being some of my best friends throughout the next couple of years and had a couple of strange roommates. One was a weird drunk kid that ended up being a really fun guy and another was a really fun guy who ended up being somewhat mentally unstable. James and I were roommates again this year and we got along well. Supposedly we had a 5th roommate, but I don't know that he was ever around. Something about a girlfriend? I enjoyed my classes and had a fun time with my new friends. In all this year was starting out to be a better year than the one prior. Over Winter break I met a girlfriend myself who was quite the "life experience" herself.

Spring of 2010 started and I think my friends were all kind of surprised that I was dating someone. Two of my roommates moved out and were replaced by 3 new guys. One I'd met before and he seemed cool. Two of them were a bit different and just spent most of their time in their rooms playing video games. However they did become more social and more fun throughout the semester. As the semester went on I began dating other people and I became increasingly distracted with my classes; Geophysics, structural geology, Earth history and abnormal psychology. The classes really kicked my ass, but somehow I managed to get the best GPA I ever got in college this semester. I won't say what it was as it's probably lower than most people's "best GPA" but I took a lot of hard classes over my college career! Scoring good GPAs was tough! The semester ended and I moved back to Layton once more.

I started summer of 2010 working for the Census Bureau. It wasn't the greatest job at first, but it really grew on me. Making my own hours and walking around talking to people was sort of a fun job. Plus the pay wasn't that bad for an hourly job. I began seeing the girl from spring a lot more over the summer and things remained complicated as we tossed around conversations from "Should we get married?" to "Trisha, I don't approve of you making out with my friends." Towards the middle of the summer I got a serving job at a restaurant to give me something more to do. The census job changed and I got a new job with them verifying vacant houses and was offered an option to go to North Dakota and do this. I was very excited, but then a new job was offered to me. One doing geology, or so he said. I quit both of my jobs to work as a geologist, but ended up backpacking around in the mountains hammering posts into the ground for ten hours a day and camping at night. Summer was winding down so I figured I may as well quit before I get eaten by a mountain lion and did. My grandpa and I then went on the vacation from hell before my summer completely ended and when we got back I was excited to move back to Logan for my senior year.

In the fall of 2010 I came back to two new roommates and two of the same roommates. However they all seemed really fun from day one. During that first week, we met a group of what seemed like really cool girls. I ended up doing what was probably the closest thing I've ever done to cheating on a girl as I fell asleep with the one I was interested in while still technically dating Trisha, despite the fact that we were basically broken up without having acknowledged it to each other. We spent the next few weeks hanging out every night and honestly it was some of the funnest times I had in college. I think over time we basically just got sick of each other. I offended the one who had taken interest in me because I called her out on being a hypocrite in this very blog and we quit talking, haha. Sometimes I speak before I think, but whatever, it was for the best. Over the semester I worked as an undergraduate teaching fellow for a freshman level earth science class. The classes I took this semester were another geophysics class, sed-strat, geomorphology and geoarchaeology. Needless to say the semester made me feel pretty geo'd out. Christmas break was much needed and I got an xbox. This mean that I spent the entire break playing Final Fantasy 13, but then the story ended and I felt no need to continue playing, haha.

Spring of 2011 started out as a rather dull and miserable semester. Full of lots of late nights by myself playing Mass Effect 2, Fallout 3 or researching oil deposits in the Barrent's Sea for my Petroleum Systems class. Along with that I was taking Seismology, Mineralogy (for which I should be studying right now as the final is tomorrow) and Beginning Group Guitar. I was also again an undergraduate teaching fellow for the same geology instructor, but this time for a Junior level non-major class. I really enjoyed my experiences as a UTF. About a third of the way through the semester I decided I wanted a girlfriend and began actually making an effort to date a handful of girls. Nothing seemed to happen and I really just never met anyone who I shared a mutual interest with so I gave up. Petroleum Systems ended half way into the semester and my work load was cut in half. Now here I was studying earthquakes (seismology) and rocks (mineralogy). The two reasons I wanted to be a geologist to begin with and finding myself unhappy and questioning if I was even in the right major. I got accepted into a field school at Southern Oregon University and was happy about that. I applied for graduation and turned in my papers. I have a cap and gown sitting in the corner of my room. I was ready to leave and just see what life had to offer somewhere else. Through a set of unlikely circumstances I began dating a new girl. This is a rather new development and I have little to say about it at this point other than it makes me happy. Even more recently a distant relative of mine contacted me saying he wanted to help me find a job. Maybe life post-graduation isn't going to be too terrible.

I'm scared. I'm fucking terrified of life post-graduation. I'm going to come back from Oregon some time in late July or early August (I should probably look for sure), but then what? What if I don't find a job? What if I end up living at my mom's apartment as a 25 year old unemployed college graduate? Yikes, not a pleasant thought. For the last 3 years I've always known exactly what I would do when my summer was over. This time, I could do anything from getting married and moving across the country to be a professional geologist to being that loser playing 60 hours of xbox per week at my mom's place and I really have no way of forecasting what will happen. Scary, or maybe exciting. I may not make all the right decisions. Maybe I should have stuck with engineering, but I didn't. That was my decision. I made it, no one else. As long as I'm the one deciding, shouldn't that be enough to make me happy? Saturday I'm going to walk and attend Utah State University's spring commencement ceremony. I'm very excited. I'm very terrified.