Gelatinous Cubes aren’t as stupid as you’d think.

It’s difficult to be afraid of any monster that looks like a giant, wobbling mass of Jello. Even if it can swallow you whole, I always had issue with the Gelatinous Cube whenever it oozed its way into video games from its Pen & Paper roots. On paper, with your imagination fueling it, it’s certainly a monster worthy of some degree of terror. Swallowed whole, it’s easy to imagine your character slowly suffocate. In games though, that ‘slow suffocation’ would likely end after a brief debilitation and a little damage. All that potential fear is thrown out and you’re left with a wibbly-wobbly, mostly laughable bit of dungeon canon fodder.

I do like Gelatinous Cubes though. They are just weird enough to be cool, but not cool enough to be important. They are at least a step up from yet another horde of gnolls/goblins/skeletons. I don’t expect much more of them though, and that’s a shame. Why? This:

This TED wasn’t particularly uplifting. That’s why this post is about Gelatinous Cubes, not fixing world hunger or something else of global significance. Still, it was fascinating. I didn’t know anything about slime molds coming in. To learn that such a simple creature features some really smart abilities blew me away. The video gave me hope for Gelatinous Cubes to break their mold and do something far more intelligent with their time.

Gelatinous Cubes should always efficiently map their way around their environment, always finding the most efficient route to new Adventures it wants to use as its food source.  If Adventurers aren’t around, they should then fall back on their hunger for really rare treasures, and efficiently track those down instead. They should also exhibit some form of learning as slime molds do. For instance, they could learn to dodge traps or avoid maces being swung at them.

If push comes to shove, I think we should consider even more intelligent Gelatinous Cubes. Imagine a herd of them ravaging the countryside, as they’ve evolved to be a hive mind or at least a social monster. Let them eat cows and farmers.

And then, after many years of destruction, we can domestic the bastards and turn them into better pets than slime molds in TED video ever could be. Imagine adventurers riding their Gelatinous Cube mounts gloriously into battle against … probably gnolls/goblins/skeletons. Damn.

But at least it’ll be cool to ride over those minions and feed Sir Limeheart. That’s what I am calling my Gelatinous Cube mount, that is; what about you?

#GelatinousCube #TED #DumbPosts

Hannibal (TV, Season One)

Screencap046

I am not exactly a connoisseur of horror, though I do enjoy it. Despite seeing movies that were far gorier, I remember walking away from my first viewing of The Silence of the Lambs deeply unsettled. It was a disturbing movie that relied less on jump scares and buckets of blood; instead, we are introduced to some deeply troubled humans.

To me, what made Hannibal Lecter such a memorable character was that he retained his intelligence and was never reducible to any sort of base desire. He doesn’t do what he does out of some misguided sense of the divine or because a particular type of madness is speaking strange voices in his head. He doesn’t even do it for retribution, revenge, or personal gain. He’s simply an individual maddened by his antisocial tendencies and his overwhelming sense of intellectual curiosity, both leading him completely astray.

The Silence of the Lambs managed to leave me troubled not necessarily for its realism, but because it gave me far more human monsters to fear than previous horror greats like Freddie, Jason, Frankenstein, or Dracula. Those feelings carry over perfectly to the NBC TV show Hannibal, which premiered last year.

Hannibal (the television series) takes place for The Silence of the Lambs, and introduces us to a Hannibal Lecter whose reputation has yet to be cemented. For the first few episodes, it seemed like Will Graham, a criminal profiler with a strong sense of empathy working for the FBI on criminal investigations of serial killers, might be our main character. Thankfully, as season one evolved, the entire cast gets rounded out as the slow introduction to Hannibal Lecter in all his glory takes center stage.

I had heard great things about the show, but I was far too distracted with other things to start it until recently. One of the biggest praises my close friend sang about it were the show’s visuals. Unlike what I would typically expect for a cable television show, Hannibal does not disappoint on the horror imagery. There were several scenes during the first season that crawled inside my braincage and left their terrifying residue behind so I’d still see them when I closed my eyes. Seriously, this show can be really fucked up.

Visuals aside, the acting is really great too. I am always a big fan of Laurence Fishburne, though I would prefer to see him as Cowboy Curtis again. He plays moody and serious so well that I forget he’s a likely a nice guy in real life. Hugh Dancy plays our main character Will Graham, but I can’t recall ever seeing him in anything before. He brings a certain boyish charm to his disturbing ability to put himself in the shoes of any killer and it works well. Mads Mikkelsen’s Hannibal Lecter is the obvious standout though. I remember his character in Casino Royale because he managed to be creepy with little dialogue. Let him wax philosophical about madness and toss out the occasional smirk, however, and Mads Mikkelsen’s creep factor raises by a factor of ten. His acting sold me on the show.

My favorite thing that Hannibal does so well is the food porn. I consider myself a foodie and I have watched a ton of cooking shows over the years. Seeing Hannibal prepare his posh meals and then describe them always gets my attention. It also adds that perfect creep factor since the audience is well-aware that Hannibal is likely lying about the particular choice of meat used in these dishes. It’s a strange feeling being in that audience and having to actively stop myself from saying, “Mmm, that sounds delicious!”

Considering the shows somewhat slow start, I am amazed how quickly it sunk its antlers deep into my flesh and lifted me up as yet another victim of its murderous charm. Finishing the last episode of the first season before work was a huge mistake, as a big focus of the rest of my day was getting back home to start the next season.

In other words, watch this show or I will flay you alive.

Screencap042

Weekly Encore: “Tumble Me This” Edition

Screencap043

#ICYMI

07/22 Good Game, Old Sport

07/24 The Half-Read Prints

Watching/Playing/Listening/Reading

In addition to my resurgence in watching anime, I’ve taken up the first season of Hannibal. I’m nearly done with Season One already and I am really enjoying it. This show’s dark visuals are horror movie quality, to say the least. A few were more stomach-churning than any of the blood and guts in any horror movie I have seen in recent memory. The acting is also solid.

Other than the sporadic ARAM, I’ve been working on Cook, Serve, Delicious and Shinobi (PS4). I also have tossed in some Hearthstone. All are fun, but nothing worth discussing.

For my next read, I am working on The Girl with All the Gifts. It’s a fairly recent science fiction book. The plot on the back of the book was sparse, but I picked it up anyway after a strong review from io9 (which previously gave me Ancillary Justice, which I loved). I’m only a few chapters in, and I think it’s going to be really good.

Ride in my #Blogysphere

Doone’s “Game Guys That Straight Guys Would Date” will likely be an odd duck for many of my fellow heterosexual comrades, but I am quite fond of the subject. Nothing annoys me more than a typical male who is all for shameless female eye candy or blatant faux-lesbian scenes who can’t handle male eye candy and who gets offended at the mere suggestion of another male’s attractiveness. I know I am not alone in voicing my sexual reverence for the beauty that is Monsieur Hugh Jackman. Would I sleep with him? Probably not. Would I giggle profusely and feel a tinge of jealously that his beard his better, his abs are more cut, and his singing voice is better than mine if I saw him IRL? Definitely.

Scott Rankin recently published a very fun poem over on his blog. Being the peculiar person that I am, I decided to read it aloud for all to hear. Since the poem reminded me of my Southern roots, I decided to use my accent. Check it out:

My pal Eri is back again. This time, she has a compelling rant about how so many MMORPG fans cower back to the safety of their factory-manufactured gameplay, constantly wishing for the next new MMO to change its ways to accommodate their every need. MMORPG Gamers: A type of gamer whose exposure to infinitely mutable, changeable games have rendered them all into entitled assholes.

A final shout out to Liore who shared with me that WildStar’s tumblr had reblogged my Gameranx review. THANKS LIORE!

Let’s Hear That Again

On my gaming as sports post, Jeromai laid down his own personal definition of the word:

“I guess to me the definition of a sport is on a fairly broad scale. It has a bit to do with athleticism, a lot to do with competition, the idea of mastery gets involved, which includes both mental (morale, dealing with stresses) and physical (fine tuning your body to do what it’s being asked to do) and if it allows for spectators and vicariously putting yourself into a ‘champion’s’ perspective or cheering on for a chosen flag/team/color for the sake of entertainment and catharsis… it’s more or less a sport to me.”

Agreed.

Words Gamers Use

It’s not live yet – I am still writing my initial batch and finalizing formats – but I thought I would throw down a public preview of a new side project I hope to launch very soon. Basically, it’s a ‘word of the day’ Twitter account for game, gaming, and gamer-related words, but done in the style of one of my favorite works, The Devil’s Dictionary. If you are unfamiliar with Ambrose Bierce’s masterpiece, it is essentially a dictionary, though the definitions are all quite cynical and often humorous in their honesty.

Here’s your sample:

wguWOD

Retweeting Myself

Previously on Murf Versus:

07/20 Weekly Encore: “Too Long” Edition

07/13 Weekly Encore: “Rolling thunder and unparalleled brilliance” Edition

07/05 Weekly Encore: “Oh, no” Edition