Left 4 Dead

Run! Free popcorn!

I’ve been spending a fair amount of time lately playing Left 4 Dead on PC. I knew from the beginning that it’d be at least an interesting game, but ever since I tried out the demo I’ve been completely hooked. Smart move, Valve, you just knew that all you needed to do was release a two-map demo and you’d reel everyone in, didn’t you?

Anyhow, I’ve finished all four campaigns several times and I’ve also given the Versus mode some time as well. I wasn’t all too interested in playing Versus as infected to begin with – it just seemed tacked-on, somehow. But playing a couple of rounds of Versus as a Boomer or a Hunter was more than enough to make me almost favor that mode. There’s just something incredibly satisfying about creeping up on another human player and messing with him just when he’s the most vulnerable.

For a game that contains so little content, Left 4 Dead sure makes good use of what it has. I’m very curious to see where Valve goes from here, what added content they’ll provide. While the most obvious features might be new maps, I’d like them to flesh things out on other levels – some new weapons, perhaps some new survivor types (a four-player SWAT squad perhaps) and some new special zombies? Hell, that’d make those four campaigns worth grinding through at least fifty times more! Yup, I’m into it that much!

Also, it’s nice with a coop game that takes its coop so seriously. There are plenty of incentives for teamwork, and the biggest one would be the mere fact that keeping your buddies alive will ensure your own survival as well. Yeah, it’s very difficult to survive without a friend nearby – all it takes is one special zombie (a Hunter or a Smoker) and you could be downed and killed. I don’t think any zombie game has ever conveyed this aspect better, not even Resident Evil or Dead Rising. This is probably the first real zombie game that manages to maintain the mood and the panic of the ideal zombie apocalypse scenario. Great, great stuff!

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Proper work

Spent the evening fixing some stuff at home, using screw drivers and drillers – you know, proper tools for proper work. It’s easy to get satisfied by the measliest little job if it requires at least some strength. I guess that’s the future of urban vacations – sending city kids to the countryside to have them chop wood or paint houses. They’d have a blast!

I’ve had a number of blogs through the years and none of them have lived for longer than, say, a couple of months. It’s difficult to find the focus and motivation to post, what language to write in and what you want to reveal and what you want to keep to yourself. All of these things are matters that one must consider when writing online, because you never know who might find your writings and what they might make of it. For instance, I remember when I applied for my current job – it just so happened that a number of people at the company had taken their time to look me up on the Internet. Sure, my CV included a link to some of my work online, but it did take just a pinch of extra effort to look up my blog. But so they did, and there was the naked truth just under the noses. Luckily, the blog didn’t contain anything overly embarassing, but you never know – when you least expect it, your future boss might see your photos of your piss drunk mug on Facebook!

Finished up Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road” today. It’s quite a spectacular book, I must say, if only for the fact that such a renowned writer receives the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for a post-apocalyptic book that might as well have been called “Mad Max without the punk and cars”. I must admit that I am indeed a sucker for the whole end-of-the-world stuff but I don’t think I’ve ever visualized it in such a way that McCarthy does.

The style goes very much along the lines of Robinson Crusoe, with at times unnecessary details of how the main character goes about to ensure his and his son’s survival. But while this can at times be overwhelming, it’s also something that adds to the mood and the plausibility of the whole scenario.

I’m very much looking forward to seeing Penhall’s and Hillcoat’s adaptation of the book for the screen. Viggo Mortensen seems just right to pull this thing off with dignity!

Just finished reading Michael Chabon’s “Gentlemen of the Road”. It’s a short novel but it’s written in a pretty complex fashion. Chabon’s language has for some reason evolved into a very lengthy, wordy, descriptive style where it’s easy to get lost in his vague and at times poetic descriptions. It has its charm, but it’s nowhere near what I think is his best work so far, Kavalier & Clay.

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