Thursday, September 28, 2017

Alien Isolation Review

Alien Isolation Review

Image result for alien isolation

Alien is a horror low fidelity science fiction movie that was released on May 25, 1979. In the movie, crew members found an unknown creature in the alien ship and it became a killing machine. The movie shows the intensity and horrifying experience in a small limited space. For a few years later, it became one of the famous series in the science fiction horror genre.
20th Century Fox, a distribution company, was trying to create games that were based on Alien, but most of them failed to achieve success. A few years later, Creative Assembly, a game company, wanted to make a claustrophobic experience to players. The developers also wanted to make sure that players kept worrying about where the monster comes from. As a result, they decided to make Alien Isolation that is based on the first Alien movie. Alien Isolation is a survival horror game that was released in 2014. Did developers successfully create a horrifying experience?

Image result for alien isolation

There is no doubt that the alien makes the game more intense and terrifying. Most horror games give some disadvantages to enemies such as super speed and behavioral problems. However, in the game, the alien is always faster and stronger than players. The alien also is intelligent and learns player’s patterns and behaviors. Furthermore, players cannot kill or run away from the alien even with the strongest weapon in the game. The only way that players can survive is to hide until the alien passes or use fire to make the alien turn away. Even though the alien has a lot of advantages that usually can be seen in a final boss, the alien keeps tracking players from the start to the end of the game. Because of these elements, it is required to hide or use fire to force it to leave. However, because of the enemy’s advantage, playing this game becomes harder than other games since players face the final boss from the beginning. There are also other types of enemies such as androids and survivors, but they are not as noticeable as the alien.

Image result for alien isolation saving

One of the most memorable systems in Alien Isolation is a manual saving system. Most games use an auto saving system that automatically saves the game in a specific area. The system can make players feel safe from the death, and prevent them from being annoyed by losing progress. However, in Alien Isolation, players are required to go to a saving point to save their progress like older games did. Which means if players forget to save and die, they have to restart the game from the last saved point which can be further than they think. It also does not allow players to save when they are in dangerous situation. This system becomes controversial because it is an old method and it requires a few seconds to save the progress. However, the manual saving system reminds players not to rely on the saving system. It also makes people afraid of death. If the developers wants to make a intensifying experience, a manual saving system is a good concept.

Image result for alien isolation graphic

The most developed element is the graphics and sound effects that are reminiscent of the first Alien movie. Most of the Alien games do not appeal to players with graphics because the games were focused on the first-person shooting genre and it requires a lot of space. As a result, developers could not produce overwhelming designs at that time. However, with a small interior concept and developed technology, Creative Assembly could focus on the graphics and sound details one by one. For the graphics part, reflection on the floor, wall textures in different rooms, and lighting makes the game look realistic. Also, the blood and flickering lights in certain parts give a creepy feeling to players. The sound effects add a more realistic, horrifying experience and some indications to players. For example, the footstep sounds from the vent and repeated dot sounds from the tracker warn that the alien is close to players. Growling sounds from the alien and screams from survivors also intensify the scary atmosphere around the players.

Image result for alien isolation

Alien Isolation can be hard for most people because of the monster’s artificial intelligence that tracks down players easily. However, the game successfully gives the players an intensifying and horrifying experience with the alien, graphics, and sound effects. It also strongly reproduces the environment from the first Alien movie too. There is no doubt that Alien Isolation is the best game that is based on the Alien movie series.

Monday, November 7, 2016

"Bloodchild" by Octavia E. Butler Question


"Bloodchild" by Octavia E. Butler

.        What is your reaction to the text you just read?

     I think it is weird because the story shows not only the relationships between human and aliens but also human's pregnant for aliens. In the story, aliens use human as a way of making aliens’ babies. It makes me feel strange about this story because of the way that the aliens born their children. Also, Gan, the main character of "Bloodchild," does not deny this situation even though he sees the progress of giving birth.

2     What connections did you make with the story? Discuss the elements of the story with which you are able to connect.

 This concept reminds me “Alien” series films because aliens in the movie also use human as hosts for the aliens’ babies, and it kills human when the aliens are born. In the movie, the aliens attack people and put their eggs into human's body. Of course giving alien's birth does not end well in the movie. However, in "Bloodchild," Gan decides to give birth to alien babies even though he knows that he will have a lot of pains from pregnant.

3     What change would you make to adapt this story into another medium? What medium would you use? What changes would you make?

     I would change this story into the film because the film can effectively show the story through the images. If I change something for the story, I probably show images that are more about the conflict between human and alien to show Gan's emotion and his last decision in an effective way. 

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Elements in Cyberpunk

Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson

Elements in Cyberpunk

     Technology has been developed. People use the smartphone to use the internet and wear VR glasses to have a better experience with entertainment. Sometimes, we imagine what technology we will see in the future. Cyberpunk is one of the Sci-Fi genres that shows near future time. In Cyberpunk films and novels, it shows high technology with different culture.

The Near Future.

     In Cyberpunk, it is hard to find trees and animals. Most Cyberpunk genre shows the well-developed city, but it does not show forest and animals because of the environmental pollution. Also, some of the forests become restrict area because of the pollution and mysterious monsters. In the 'Monsters' movie directed by Gareth Edwards, parts of the United States and Mexico become restricted area after the huge pollution from the crash of the NASA space probe, and armies fight against giant monsters lives in the restricted area.

     Asian culture in Cyberpunk can be found easier than other genres. In Cyberpunk, Asian characters are significant because of the high technology development that East Asia countries have; Samsung and LG are examples of the East Asia company that has high technology. In 'Snow Crash' by Neal Stephenson, Hiro, an Asian-African character in the novel, is a hacker who enters into Metaverse, a virtual reality world, teams up with the mafia to get onto the Raft, rescues people from Snow Crash. Also, in "Blade Runner" directed by Ridley Scott, it shows the Asian restaurant that the main character buys food from.

Paprika (2006)

     Cyberpunk shows beautiful high technology with the various change from the present such as culture and environmental differences. We don't know how the future looks like, but we can guess various near future from cyberpunk novels and films.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Illusion or Real? - Pan's Labyrinth and The Ocean at the End of the Lane

Illusion or Real?

     "Illusion" is a thing that is not real, but some people can see it for specific reasons such as diseases and stress. Some novels and films use illusion to bring people into the story, but some of them give ambiguous stories that people need to ask about illusion. Is it real or not? Here are the two urban fantasy stories that might relate to illusion (or real fantasy,)"Pan's Labyrinth" by Guillermo del Toro, and "The Ocean at the End of the Lane" by Neil Gaiman. Theses two gives beautiful fantasy experiences with horrible reality, but

     Let's talk about the works first. "Pan's Labyrinth" is the story that follows Ofilia's beautiful fantasy and cruel reality in Spain. In reality, she gets a lot of stress from her Captain Vidal, a general and Ofilia's new father who is brutal, new environment, and her pregnant mother's poor condition. On the other hands, in fantasy part, she becomes the most important character, and complete the missions that are given by Pan, the fantasy creature. After Ofilia's death, Ofilia goes to the fantasy world and becomes princess Moanna.

     In "The Ocean at the End of the Lane," it follows the memories of the man who has experienced with a fantasy world. The man also has similar stories with Ofilia that the man has a lot of bad experiences in the real world; he was the lonely boy who does not have single friends at his seventh birthday party, miner's suicide, and has a financial problem. In the fantasy part (it is not beautiful as Ofilia's fantasy,) the boy is choked by the coin and sees creatures throws coins to people.

     Many people might have the same question. Is their fantasy real? It is hard to determine that "Pan's Labyrinth" fantasy is real or illusion since there are a few parts that make the fantasy real or not. The evidence that shows the fantasy is not real can be found in the last scene when Ofilia talks with Pan. When Captain Vidal comes to the Ofilia through the forest labyrinth, he saw that she talks with nothing. Also, Ofilia gets a lot of stress from Vidal, it can cause Ofilia's fantasy. However, other evidence that shows the fantasy is real can be found in the chalk that makes the secret door to the baby, mandragora that cures Ofilia's mother for a while, and the forest labyrinth that blocks Vidal. Because of these pieces of evidence, it is not clear that Ofilia's fantasy is true or not.

     What about another story? "The Ocean at the End of the Lane" fantasy is an illusion even though he has a lot of stories with Lettie in the fantasy world. The boy (or the man) believes what he sees in the fantasy world and gets amazing experiences, but the boy forgets everything when he comes back to the reality. This phenomenon is similar to the dream that all people have because the memories from the dream disappear when people wake up from sleep. It reminds me the novel 'Life of Pi,' by Yann Martel, since Patel, the main character, tries to ignore the reality and believes his fantasy that happens on the boat.

     As you can see, these works show the fantasy that is not real; Ofilia's anxiety makes herself as a princess and the boy's situation causes building the fantasy world. Is it important to know that the fantasy is an illusion or not? I think it is really important because the illusion shows the main character's mental state and it makes people focus on the main character. If the fantasy is real, it would not focus on the main character, but the fantasy world like Ofilia, Patel, and the boy. What do you think about this?

Saturday, October 1, 2016

The pattern of the Hero's Journey


The Pattern of the Hero's Journey

     In novels and comic books, most heroes save innocents with their super power. Superman has strong power and fly ability, Thor has the special weapon that creates lightening, and Flash has the highest velocity in the world. Even though they have super powers, they get deep troubles by villains, but they overcome their problem and become stronger. As you notice, most heroes have different ability, but similar experiences.

    How heroes' stories have similar patterns? It is because many creators use the template to make a scenario. The template is called 'Monomyth' or 'Hero's Journey.' In the 'Hero's Journey.' In this template, it shows how heroes start journey, get troubles, solve problems, develop skills, and return to their home. 'The Hobbit' is a good example that uses the pattern very well.

The Hobbit movie

     In the beginning of 'Hero's Journey,' heroes show themselves as a chicken (does not like adventure and afraid of going into deep trouble,) but decides to go for adventure for various reasons. In 'The Hobbit,' Bilbo, a main character of the story, is a normal person who likes daily life, but it changes when Gandalf and dwarves come to Bilbo's house and make a disturbance. Of course Bilbo refuses dwarves' offer, but Bilbo changes his mind when Gandalf urges him to go.
     During the adventure of 'Hero's Journey,' heroes get a lot of troubles and regret their decision to go to adventure, but they also find their special ability to solve problems. During the adventure toward to the Lonely Mountain, Bilbo keeps thinking about his hometown and gets depressed when he faces bad weather, hunger, and deadly creatures, such as goblins, trolls, and spiders. However, whenever he gets troubles, he miraculously escapes from the dangers, and finds Smaug's weakness. At the end of the story, Bilbo comes back to his hometown.

Start the Journey!!!

     In conclusion, a lot of novel writers use 'Hero's Journey' to make flexible stories. Most heroes follow the rules that they start adventure for various reasons, learn new skills from troubles, and come back to the hometown.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Elder Stereotype in Film and Novel

Too many old villains...

Elder Stereotype in Film and Novel

     What do you think when you meet your grandparents? Some people say that they are warm, peaceful, and love since they love their grandson. However, most people think grandparents are evil, powerful, and bad because they use power to control people with no actual power, and causes problems such as car accidents and conflict between grandparents and families. Hating elders might happen because of elder's personality, but psychologists found that people are mostly affected by  novels and films. How novels and films make elder stereotype?


     What is the best way to make elders as annoying people? It is showing elders as main villains or monsters in stories. Villains are characters who oppose to hero and show themselves as greedy, pitiless, and aggressive people. When elders are villains, they become the most annoying characters in stories. Also, when people constantly watch and read these novels and films, it affects people to get elder stereotype. There are many examples that show elders as villains.

     Disney films are good examples that cause elder stereotype. In 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,'  Evil Queen shows herself as a beautiful woman in the world. However, after Snow White survives from a hunter, Evil Queen decides to kill Snow White by herself and Evil Queen becomes ugly grandmother. At the end, Snow Queen survives by prince's kiss and Evil Queen dies by thunder. Like Evil Queen, other villains, such as Scar from 'Lion King,' Claude Frollo from Hunchback of Notre Dame,' and Ratcliffe from 'Pocahontas,' are old, greedy, and powerful. Also, they have a bad ending.

     Elder villains can be seen in the novels. In the 'Aunt Maria' by Diana Wynne Jones, Aunt Maria, an evil old witch, abuses the power to control people. In the story, Maria changes people's name in her favor, orders people to work like slaves, and shows her temper. Also, she uses her magic power to control the village and people. At the end, Maria died in a tragic way.

Jafar in Aladin

     As you can see, there are a lot of films and novels that show elder stereotype. Fortunately, in these days, elder stereotype films and novels have been decreased. Movie directors and novel writers change the way of old people do in the story. Albus Dumbledore in 'Harry Potter' by J.K.Rowling shows himself as a protector and a responsible old magician and Gandalf from 'The Lord of the Ring' by J.R.R.Tolkien are powerful wizard who are against to the dark side.

Friday, September 16, 2016

What is New Weird? - Three Moments of an Explosion

One zombie loves human and it cures other zombies

What is New Weird? - Three Moments of an Explosion

     The word 'Weird' means something supernatural or uncanny, such as monster and magic from fantasy novels. Many novel writers such as Bram Stoker, and Mary Shelley, etc. made weird stories before 21 century. However, in these days, many people don't think zombies, vampires, and ghost as a weird monster because these concepts have been used so many times in different novels. Because of that reason, people are making different weird things and the works make people surprised. How do we define 'new weird'? It is hard to find the answer, but 'Three Moments of an Explosion' by China Miéville shows the answer well.

Ghosts kill people without reason. But Why???????

     'Three Moments of an Explosion' by China Miéville, is a collection of the stories that contains 28 fresh and 'new weird' stories. In the book, some of stories like 'Three Moments of an Explosion' are not story like other novels, but descriptive story. Also, other stories like The Crawl and 'Escape' are plots for video. There are a few examples of stories that explains new weird well.

     Miéville shows the zombie apocalypse in a different way in 'The Crawl.' The story looks scenario version of movie trailer that explain what happens in each scene. One of the scenes shows that two zombies kiss each other behind the violent fighting between human and zombies. Also another scene shows that the zombies do not use their feet, but hands and knuckles like humans raised by spiders. It makes the weird story because Miéville changes the way of zombies' characteristic that zombies supposed to run with their feet and not feel emotion.

     Another story, 'Estate' shows the story about animals that attack everything on the city. In the story, it starts with the animal terror, and the stags have burning antlers, but it does not tell the truth that why it happens. After this happening, some people act weird like Dan, who frequently carries burning stags. These things make the story weird because of the mystery of the incident and the way that the animals attack people.

The man goes into ghost world for saving his son...but

    What is the new weird that Miévile describes and how can we define weird? The meaning of 'New Weird' that Miéville shows on 'Three Moments of an Explosion' is variety ideas that do not come from anywhere like the animals attacks people in a weird way and the zombies fell in love with other zombies.

Zombie(?) + Alien = Horror???

Three Moments of an Explosion Review

     I apologize right now. I cannot read all these stories because this super weird book has the most weird words that does not come from the dictionary (what is the word 'rotvertising' means in the first story???) and the vocabulary that I learned, but I read some of the stories, so I continue to review this book.

     The first thought that I have gotten is the fresh idea from each story. Every story have new ideas that I have never heard from other novels or movies. However, like I said on the first paragraph, the stories make people hard to understand and do not teach us the detail of the stories, which means there is no complete explanation on these stories. That makes the weird stories, and bad for someone who does not like open endings or not-well explained stories. If you are the person who like weird films, I would recommend to watch 'The Thing (1982,2011),' 'Warm Bodies (2013),' 'The Hitchhiker's Guide to The Galaxy(2005),' and 'Grudge (2004).'