Monday, April 16, 2012

Writers Block.

I know my last big blog was the review, and I feel like I should have something totally awsome to follow that up, but tbh, MadPea hasn't released another hunt quite yet (^_~) and I'm still exploring. There's so much going on I find it hard to consontrate on one thing. so I'll share a picture I took at Innsmouth, the horror themed Sim Nymeth showed me because it goes so perfect with the song I can't stop listening to. It's so haunting in itself, and yet it resounds with me.

The Song:


There's a haunt in my house
It's a big old house
And it breathes like I breathe
And it lives like I live

But I won
Yet I won the good fight against my own demons
But the fact still remains
There's something wrong with this place

There's a bridge that we all know
And with a cross overhead, you know nobody grows cold
And it breathes like I breathe

But I won the good fight when it reached out to me
But the fact still remains
There's something wrong with that place

You can run but you can't hide

Friday, April 6, 2012

Sanity Falls Hunt Review (graphic intensive)

"We're all Inn Sane here."

Alexander Blackwell (Alex): “I’m waking up with metallic taste of blood tainting my mouth. I look at my clothes and see blood everywhere, but I don’t feel any pain or see any wounds. It probably isn’t my blood. I try to think but realize that I have no memory of the last 24 hours. The last thing I remember is coming to Sanity Falls with my wife. I feel dizzy, someone must have drugged me. Groggy and confused, I stagger onto my feet and call out for Livea. When silence answers me back, I become aware of my surroundings. I am on the edge of a bridge overlooking the Sanity River. In the puddle of blood beside me lays a phone. It starts ringing..” (taken from MadPea Website)


So today's adventure (okay yesterdays- but by the time me and the two buddies that assisted along the journey and I were done we were all about just able to crawl into bed and pass out) brings us to the most recent MadPea hunt- Sanity Falls. You star as Alexander Blackwell, who's a burnt out yet somehow insanely popular Psychiatrist who decides that it's that the place he has to vacation is none other than this so called beautiful Sanity Falls. Well, let's just say that the Travel agent on duty is likely to get fired, or the good Doctor's finally gone bonkers when you realize where you've woken up. Now I'm not going to go step by step into the whole game but I'll be pointing things out and you'll note there's a crap ton of pictures- that's because I couldn't get over the entire feel of the game though I've got to tip my hat off- if they've never been fans of Indigo Prophecies or Heavy Rain they've paid a silent and ignorant homage to it. 

There were many familiar elements on it to me but it only increased my love. From the get-go I was hooked; a hunt with a storyline? I even gender bent for the occasion- and I have to say, I make a pretty handsome male. For a “Free” avatar (After paying the 100L for the HUD- which, after getting ONE prize a friend has said and I agree with is well worth the Lindin spent)- it's actually one I'll play with over time. Of course before I went to bed I had to tweak my own additions to it- simply changing shape and skin and modding the hair and collar a bit, bamf- I've got Akemo Blackwell, the forlorn Lesbian lover seeking her beloved Liver Wife! (no copyright infringement intended, and I swear to gravy the HUD phone makes her name appear that way). What I love is the whole kind of creepy feel to it; there was a point the sun had sent on this hunt and the background noises had my hairs standing on end. 

A pretty awesome easy to use HUD actually, and a small Ode to my favorite "part" of the game.

The opening sequence you're dropped on your head (just kidding, though I've used a bit of creative license with the photos because I can. Na na na na na.) And you can't remember how you got there, only that you're there. This is definitely one of those hunts you should pay attention to -everything- because there's subtle hints to the endings. Foggy and hazed, you assume much like I do- dude's been drugged. So it's time to put your top cap on Watson, we're on the chase. Get up you drunken lush, and answer your ringing phone. Time to hear creepy man and watch an intense video. Time to stumble down the road, and hope you've decided to go the right way towards the inn. My biggest bum was the lack of actual hints beyond posters; in a game I would hope to find just a few more "interactive" treats though I will admit to a few being hidden in a few.  Though I had to do a bit of stumbling around. Now here comes one of my biggest gripes, though its understand why they did it. I disliked having to teleport OUT of the sim to find the hunt items. In a few stores they were quite difficult to find due to the sheer size and it pulled away from the entire ambiance the game had going. I understand they do this too to help increase traffic of the stores and help as a kind of promotion or to the hunters who simply go to find the items) but for the whole "Storyline" of the game it made it difficult.

You really should see the view from here.

 Though detaching a bit I do once more have to point out the entire amazing set up of the sim. A lot of it was dedicated to the "game" and beyond the amount of traffic generated later in the night it ran pretty smoothly. I understand why they opted to have people use the Avi- wearing only that, the HUD, and an Oracul AO I was running a minute amount of scripts. I was able to run on high Graphics for a good while too. Using their suggested settings with your draw distance up to 200 makes the hunt hard to do but increases the creep factor of the whole setting. The fog, everything was so well done. The trees even- if you've got your sounds up you can hear the crunch of the branches as you're wandering through it. I kept waiting to stumble across something, arm, leg.. though that was saved for much, much later. I enjoyed too the "Creep" left the perfect amount of gore, it wasn't overly emphasized as that's not "Scary" to me, just.. gore. 

Come on Alex, if you think hard enough, the answer will come.

The breadcrumb trail may not lead you back to paradise, but it will lead you to some of the most amazing designers in SecondLife. Though don't get disheartened, if you can't find something you're free to hop into group and ask for some assistance. There was a couple of locations we needed to ask for some guidance on. The Fallen Gods sim was one, but when we found it, we all were facepalming. Most are literally right under your nose, and for the most part the "hints" to where to find your items pretty much give you the answer- especially if your a fan of rhymes and riddles. Though more of the rhyming clue than the riddle, not so much. Though it does lead one to ask- why is a Raven like a Writing desk?

Before we get too much more sidetracked- the entire point of the game is to find two things: The Posters that have your wife's beautiful face and dial the numbers corresponding there. A bit of word to the wise: do it AT the posters, don't write them down they won't work unless you actually dial them in the vicinity of them. Found this out accidentally searching for a hint in the *cough* wrong schoolyard. Still would like to point out, not my fault. the hint was teachers, and it was on the MadPea Sim! (you devious monkeys you.) And these things are scattered EVERYWHERE- I mean, you gotta find 50 but some are in sneaky area's. Casually hidden behind a bathtub; though I did look for awhile within the creepy crib room (unfortunately I didn't take photos of them, so you'll have to see for yourself and find it.) with the bunny who as soon as I find it's creator I'm going to be buying, just because I'm sometimes a mean mother and it will make a great scare tactic the next time my daughters or granddaughters decide to act up.

I don't recall going into port- ohhh I see! I seee the lightt!

Now I'm almost done with my mildly obsessive fan-girl review, so fret not. Now I have to give homage to my favorite level; which starts out as the picture above suggests. Our Hero, orrrrr neurotically deranged psychopathic psychiatrist who's possibly suggested to have done the deed himself at this point (one too many crazy minds, doc?) falls asleep in front of a television. One can only go so long without actual rest, and he begins to dream. I actually took many photos of this level but decided in the end I'm going to taunt you all and tell you that you need to go see it for yourself, because photos do it no justice. The work that must have gone into making this must be staggering, the layers of texture and building to make some of the things seem floating and ethereal in a dream-like state.. kudos, Madpea. You've brought a new level of joy I thought impossible in my second life after finding my family. This was one of TWO, levels that you get after a certain point in the hunt.
 the second is something completely that you'd seen in an awesome game.

The hall of mirrors of a barren wasteland, our Hero is desperate to find any trace of his wife besides the video of her struggles. Time is winding down, and the clues are starting to blur from his sleep deprived mind. He was really loosing it, but he had to battle against odds because what would you do if your most precious thing was taken away? Why you'd traverse worlds to find her and bring her to safety. Though while our trusted Doc totes one nasty looking Ax on his back he had yet to use it for anything. Such as thinking that he was going to gleefully use it on the sadistic bastard that took his wife {Read: Split personalities! Baahaha}. Though you move through and find poster after poster, wallet after wallet and collect your amazing prizes to come to the final conclusion. You race to the bridge in a surreal world and with luck don't miss the big clue and dive off the end like me and my trusty teams of brain-smart hunters did. Though I have to once more point out the cheeky similarities to Indigo Prophecies in that last odd twist of scene. I'll not fully spoil the ending for you, but what I will suggest is that circumstances are not what they seem. Once you've completed the hunt, I shall offer my final and ending point on this amazing hunt.

The truth on how it should have ended.

  "Haha, good one Livea, love. Come here, I've got a present for you."
(We found a use for that ax!)


Sunday, April 1, 2012


I'll take that caffe-mocha-vodka-valium-latte to go, please.

So one life singularly is one complex ball of emotion, events, minor catastrophes and stress both good and the bad. One life is more than enough for any human being, given the events that are bound to unfold without the good honest kindness to give prior notice. So it makes so many question what in the name of the great beloved cosmic energy would someone want a Second one? What is this Second Life and what does it really do? I mean, at least in sim's you can lock 'em in a box and set them on fire and watch the carnage unfold. Why would you risk the loss of a first life to simply become something pixelated that doesn't require what we need? How can "Ten minutes" turn into three hours later? What the hell are you doing that's really so engrossing? 

It's difficult to explain if you're not in the world. Beyond the ability to fully customize what you look like in ways that would take far too man plastic surgeons in the real world to do, there's a world full of trolls and hackers just waiting to steal from you. But in that mix there's loving, honest people. There's people with a terrifying fear to leave the house that can suddenly meet and know people all across the globe through a moment of a shared similarity. There's an endless possibility of near instantaneous gratification when you learn how to do something you once thought impossible. How many people who couldn't sew a stitch have become singularly dependent and wealthy off of the high-fashion gowns and clothing they sell in second life? The tireless hours spent building relationships that sometimes the real world can seem a distant dream.

What's the appeal? Ask that to someone who hopped from home to home as a child and can suddenly pretend for a little while to be that three year old child- to find a family that loved for them took them shopping and baked cookies. It seems so alien to some, such a sick and 'wrong' thing- but to that person who found therapy in a way that some therapists could easily relate to as "Role Play Therapy". Sometimes it's stress, and you can hurt so much from a "game" seems a joke. There are many of us who have tried to explain the pride that comes along with hours spent setting up a shopping area just right to someone out of game and all they saw was the wasted time sitting in front of a computer. Understanding it is beyond words or explanations, and sometimes there are those who "just don't get it". No amount of reading or blogging somewhere will ever explain that calling.

I can tell you why I do. It's more than therapy, and it's become something of a way to watch progress unfold. I find it endlessly frustrating to try and make change in the real world because the older I get the harder socialization becomes. I can't meet people the way I used to and I've gotten so select on the kind of things I enjoy that I'm finding it harder and harder to connect to my peers given the area's I'm in. So I can meet with people and I can help a complete stranger I might have come across while knowing there's always the safety of turning off the computer if it becomes too much. I can pretend for awhile to be that perfect person in that perfect world and visually build paradise. I know it can hold the keys to my own RL perfection but I can't verbally explain this to someone else. To explain to familiy and friends that that pixels on a screen have stolen just as much of my love as they have but they are in no way a replacement. 

I am so blessed in my life to know the people I know, to have the family I do. More and more I meet people on Second Life that have come from such broken backgrounds I wish I could just make them understand what it's like to have that. We are never so humbled as when we understand all the perfect gifts we have been given. In this visual world I can connect, I can build, I can make a successful business without the risks of loosing everything. I can do impossible stunts and fly- and I can enjoy it knowing that there's always the way to unplug. Walking away is difficult, and there are some who understand that addiction is addiction no matter what form it takes. It is no less disabling than alcohol or drugs could be and in some ways is a stronger addiction. Though I think sometimes it outweighs the so called drawbacks of it.

I love my Real Life family, I've got them in my life and in so many ways they help me. Without them I'd not be where I am today which as difficult and frustrating of a situation it can be is still something of heaven to me. I've in no way lost any of the love I give them. There are things we struggle with as adults that we think somehow when we're teenagers we'll magically get to some age and know all the things we should have before through life's lessons- and the truth be told we're just older, more ignorant, and less pleased about it. So I try to learn, I try to take my ignorance and replace it with useful given knowledge. Though I also have to some way more than creatively express myself need to be able to visually watch something change and grow. Opportunities we had before close more and more everyday and I pray that when my own children are grown that they have a sliver of the chance we took advantage of when I was a kid. 

The world is changing and it's a terrifying place full of anger and prejudice. I find in Second Life I can escape that, and I can watch the things I've put myself into flourish and not simply wither or never be able to see the fruits of that labor. In a market where I watch people of a higher life expectancy fall through jobs supposedly secure the fear returns. I watch relationships fall and rise with mere moments of no warning and I see my own life like some long movie. How many immortalized moments do we miss? Memories we'll never be able to go back and rewrite? I'm not even certain anymore. Today my Bestie, Nymeth Vale, did a shoot for a challenge I was totally stoked to be part of. I took my own photo of it and wanted to write some kind of awesome blurb for again but more and more I find that these are never what I intended them to be.

Yet I think everything happens for a reason too. I'm going to spend all day tomorrow offline, though I may come on simply to play music I'm going to shut off my computer for 24 hours and see what happens. I'm going to do those things I said I was going to do and I'm going to sit down and create memories not so immortalized, but will forever stay with me and with luck my children as they grow. Then, the day after, I'm going to log back in for a few moments while my daughter is at school and my son safely tucked in for his usual nap and I'm going to blog my heart out, and maybe by then I'll have some actual answers.