Friday, June 07, 2013

FFF Part VIII --- The Aftermath

Okay, it's been over a month since I did one of these. Sorry about that. Let's get caught up and then keep going, because believe it or not, I wasn't quite done yet. If you want to get caught up in what's going on in this extended "treatment" of a found footage horror film, you can read up on it.

WHERE WE LEFT OFF:  The current parish priest in Garretsburg explained how his predecessor was basically nuts in believing there was a cult in the woods. But then Father Anderson shows up at their motel. He starts to tell them about what's happening, when he has a coughing fit and keels over. At the same time, the footage started to break down, going awash in noise and static.


The camera cuts to a shot of a police car and an ambulance in the motel parking lot. We see the legs of a bunch of people in uniform, along with some EMTs pushing a stretcher into their vehicle.

We can overhear a little bit of the conversation between the cops and the college students:

"So what were you doing when Anderson had this . . . fit?" a deputy asks.

"Just talking to him," Staci said.

"For this 'project' of yours?" another asks.

"Yes," Staci admits, but her voice is hesitant.

"Did you happen to catch the conversation on camera?"

Staci starts to answer, but Ray jumps in, "No, Leon couldn't get the camera started. Then, when Father Anderson had his fit, he dropped it."

A foot steps down in front of the camera, blocking the lens.

The camera then cuts to Leon turning it on again. He faces the camera and explains the situation: "So the cops just left with Father Anderson's body. The EMTs are thinking he had some sort of stroke or a heart attack or something."

"Why'd you lie to them about the camera?" Staci asks off-camera.

Leon swings the camera around to show Staci, Bethany, and Ray in the motel room. Ray is up and pacing.

"Don't you realize what would have happened if we told them we had it on?" Ray asks. "They would have confiscated the camera immediately and we'd have lost everything. Then they probably would have run us out of town. But now they think that we don't have any evidence of what happened."

"'What happened?'" Bethany asks. "You think they murdered him?"

Ray nods. "Of course. Isn't it obvious? He comes back in town to finally talk about what happened with the kid, and next thing you know, he's dead. A little too convenient, don't you think?"

Bethany rises and starts packing her things. "Then that's it. I'm out of here. I don't want to stay here any longer."

"I agree with Bethany," Leon said. "A school project is one thing, but I didn't sign on to investigate a murder!"

Ray turned around. "Now hold on. Let's not chicken out yet! This is just starting to get interesting."

"Don't you get it, Ray?" Bethany's voice is almost a hysterical shriek. "If they killed the father, they could kill us next!"

"Besides, with Father Anderson gone, what else do we have?" Leon asks.

"Not gonna happen, babe. We're fine. Look, let's at least check the camera's footage and see if there's anything that might explain what happened. The least we can do is turn over the footage to the FBI, right?"

Everyone looks to Staci. She turns to Leon. "Dump the footage. Let's see what we have."

So what do they have? We'll find out next week. (I promise!)

Saturday, June 01, 2013


Oh, boy, it has been a while since I've been on here, hasn't it? I've let a lot of stuff slide (sorry, Freaky Fun Friday readers! I promise, the last installment was not the end of that series!).

I blame Reus.

Okay, so it's really my fault. I'm not good at keeping myself motivated, especially when there's a video game to distract me. And Reus (don't ask me how to pronounce it) is an incredible distraction.

The premise is simple: you're a living planet. You are in direct control of four giants (Ocean, Forest, Rock, and Swamp). You use them to create different biomes and place resources (animal, plant, and mineral).

But the giants aren't alone on the planet. There are these pesky things called "humans," and they have a mind of their own. They'll settle anywhere they can find resources and start building special projects. It's up to you to provide the humans what they need so they can build those projects. But at the same time, you also have to keep them in line because, if you don't, they'll turn on you and attack the giants. And you only have 30, 60, or 120 minutes to get as much done as you can.

I've found Reus to be mind-bogglingly addictive, and part of the reason why is the nature of the game. It's a stripped down god-game (think old school Populous) with heavy puzzle elements. Every resource you can place can interact with the stuff next to it. For example, if you place certain animals near minerals, they'll provide more food. Or if you put certain minerals next to plants, those minerals will provide more gold. Part of the challenge is to find the best interaction to help bolster what the humans are up to. And you want the humans to build those projects. Pretty much every time they do, they provide your giants with an "ambassador" that unlocks special powers, allowing the giants to upgrade the resources, leading to more and better interactions that allow the humans to build more and more impressive projects.

Ah, those humans. Love 'em and hate 'em in this game. There literally is no good way to control them (aside from being really careful where you place the resources). They'll sometimes pick odd projects (one of my swamp villages kept trying to build a "Geologist" project, which requires mountains. They were nowhere near a mountain. I finally had to have my Rock Giant destroy the village). And if you give them too many resources too quickly, they'll get greedy. Greed is bad. Greed leads to the villages attacking each other and eventually, the giants.

Not only that, but the game sets unofficial "goals" for each playthrough. For example, one of the goals I'm trying to meet right now is to create a game where all of the villages create 2,000 food together. Meeting those goals unlocks more resources to use in the game (something you also receive the first time the humans build a particular type of project).

Not everything is hunky-dory with this game, however. Figuring everything out is kind of tricky. The game links to a wiki that I've found really helpful, but a lot of what a player does is trial-and-error. That's not necessarily bad, but you have to be careful not to lock yourself into one way of playing.

Also, there are stability issues that have been maddening for me. A few times, my giants have frozen in place and won't take orders. I found an easy fix for that one, but the most recent has really upset me. The game will randomly crash at the same point, over and over. For example, last night, I finally managed to complete some projects that had been eluding me. I had only 15 minutes left in my game. And then it all crashed. I tried reloading from the auto-save, only to have it crash again. And again. And again. Needless to say, I had some unpleasant thoughts about the game.

But that shouldn't stop you from checking out this great game. It's available from a variety of sources and it's only about ten bucks. Well worth the money, believe me!