Remember When…

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Ok, so this is my response to this thing that’s been passed around Facebook for the past few months. The original says, “Remember When Teachers, Public Employees, Planned Parenthood, NPR and PBS Crashed The Stock Market, Wiped Out Half Of Our 401Ks, Took Trillions In Taxpayer Funded Bail Outs, Spilled Oil In The Gulf Of Mexico, Gave Themselves Billions In Bonuses, And Paid No Taxes? Yeah, Me Neither… Pass It On.”

My first response was, “Well yes, as a matter of fact, I do remember when Planned Parenthood, NPR and PBS didn’t pay taxes.” But that sorta misses the point. I suppose the message here is that those nasty teabaggers and other fiscally conservative-types are demonizing these wonderful institutions while corporations are running rampant and ruining the country (nevermind that it was the corporate bailouts and crony capitalism that sparked the whole tea party movement in the first place).

My real issue with the meme is that it is a textbook example of a straw man argument. Nobody on the other side is accusing teachers, etc. of these sorts of awful things. All that is being called for is a little budgetary restraint. Is asking public employees to tighten their belts (like everyone else in the private sector already has) that horrible? Aren’t PBS, NPR and Planned Parenthood valuable enough institutions that they can survive without the small percentage of federal dollars they take in? Geesh. Lighten up lefties.

Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath on PC (7/10)

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This is the fourth Oddworld game. The first two were great 2-D puzzle platform games of which I was reminded of when I played the excellent Braid. In the X-Box era Oddworld moved into 3-D with Munch’s Oddysee. After having purchased all four games during a Steam sale, I immediately jumped in to Munch’s Oddysee. Oh my god. What a horrible game with horrible controls, animation, and everything. I gave up after about 4 hours of tedium. Fortunately, Stranger’s Wrath takes a completely different turn.

Stranger’s Wrath is a hybrid platformer/FPS game. Unlike its predecessor, this game actually manages to be controllable despite its limited console-inherited customization settings. The FPS parts of the game are nowhere near Half Life FPS game play standards, but they work well. The gimmick here is that you have a single weapon with a variety of ammo that does everything from tie up enemies to lure them into environmental hazards. I think the idea was that you would approach combat as though it were a puzzle with an ideal ammo solution. In reality, it doesn’t really work out like that. I just spent most of the time using the machine gun bees.

The story doesn’t really take shape until the last third of the game. Up until then, much of it seems like a series of samey quests. However, I did like the way the game’s main plot twist played out in that last third so stick with it if you can. If Oddworld Inhabitants ever decides to continue this series, they’d better hire some more voice talent. Having every creature in the game voiced by one dude is just lame.