This Is That Bluehost Commercial

Every video.  Every.  Single.  Video.  I understand how AdBlocker works, and I understand this would be a moot issue if I’d stop being lazy and just install the thing and be done with it.  I do.  I’m not even sure why at this point I haven’t if only for a case of short-term (or maybe long-term, I honestly don’t know) memory loss.  But because of my laziness, every YouTube video I fire up has this commercial before it: the girl with the Pixar quivering lips reaching slowly across the table, the man grinning as he watches her while they play out the facsimile of a first date and we discover she’s not reaching for him but her computer mouse in order to make a purchase with him on the other side of this phone call helping her select the proper pair of sunglasses.  I don’t make it too far in, hitting SKIP as soon as it’s available, so perhaps there’s a redeeming quality at the end I’m unaware of.  Doubtful, but possible.

I’ve had to use Bluehost for a number of years, and never found them terribly helpful.  Their systems go down with a frightening amount of frequency, and communication is often limited to waiting in a queue for online chat only to have whomever you’re talking with tell you “their systems are down”.  Though Bluehost is far from the worst offender to be sure, I don’t need to see them represented every time I want to watch a video of dogs doing something funny by someone wearing a sly-knowing smile when the reality of that grin is far more mediocre.

Honestly, I’m just tired of seeing them.

Video Game

This Is Ori And The Blind Forest (First Impressions)

Having just picked this up a day ago, I’m not comfortable enough calling this an all-out review, but since it’s on the forefront of list of things I want to talk about, here we are.

The graphics are gorgeous.  While I fall willingly into the “Yes” camp in the video-games-as-art argument, anyone still unconvinced need only look to Ori.  Developed by Moon Studios, Ori’s animation is a beautiful blend of influences – Pixar, Studio Ghibli, even Don Bluth – every inch of the screen given over to life through the Narrator’s language, the use of color, environment, character movement and emotion, hinted history, and sound.  Even the translated words are handled with care, these “subtitles” at times becoming a subtle placement of wind, at others, the text within a children’s storybook.  Rarely am I immediately enthralled by any enterprise regardless of medium, but Ori struck my senses so completely and so quickly, already I feel as though I’ve missed some part of the experience during my short time in.  Not since Shadow of the Colossus (and, by extension, Ico) have I been so feverish about a game.

Gameplay is a platforming mix.  Early hours remind me of Metroid in its exploration versus barred-until-ability navigation.  Though others have certainly come before and after, gameplay is reminiscent of Mark of the Ninja and Super Meat Boy, of all things, comparisons spawned by controls, responsiveness, quickness, and unlocked skills.  I’m sure better examples exist, but it’s late and I’m struggling to find them.  I’ve read the game becomes brutal in its difficulty down the line, but a handful of hours in, I have yet to experience this.  While not a wholly apt genre relation, there are some RPG elements in the form of a skill tree with three branches allowing some uniqueness between experiences.  Perhaps this is more customization than true RPG.  Again: late.

Lastly, one final love.  I’m a big fan of world-building, as I’ve mentioned before.  Even if the fleshing-out of a place never fully comes, the hint of is enough to keep me chasing that bait.  Ori is proving a wonderful fantasy experience with sci-fi leanings, strange artifacts and ancient monuments just begging to have their histories told through the delving of every nook and cranny.  Only a handful of times have I gunned to 100% a game and unearth all its secrets, but I can absolutely see me doing so here.

Already I wish I could start my time with Ori over again and approach it anew.  At $20, it’s a must.  I’d have easily paid double and considered it a steal.  A must play.