Online Games and Music

Saturday, June 10, 2006

The Matrix: Path of NEO - Game Review from a Fan Perspective

After the disappointment of Enter The Matrix, Shiny takes a shot at The Matrix: Path of Neo. It is currently taking a beating by gamer magazines and online reviews while fans are still buying and appreciating the continuation of the franchise.

True gamers will hate it. True fans will love it. If you are both, then you will have mixed feeling.

It is only 8-10 hours of game play. A decent gamer might be able to beat the game in a day and a half depending on the level of difficulty that they start off with. Level of difficulty is determined by a dream sequence that NEO has. The dream begins with relatively easy to beat security guards trickling into the lobby scene and continues to crank out harder and harder opponents. Ten measly hours of game play is a major let down for the hardcore gamer who wants to get fully immersed in a game.

It is hard to complain about the fighting in the game as it is very cool. As in Enter the Matrix, the player can use focus to enter "bullet time" and do amazing super-human feats. Neo eventually learns to hurl objects using his mind. THERE IS NO SPOON. He can also reflect bullets back at shooters. Give Neo a katana and he gets feudal on your buttox using deadly Japanese sword fighting techniques. Code vision is another cool power.

Fans will appreciate the additional story that features Neo saving people that are targeted by the Matrix. Neo's zen like silence to other characters banter in Path is true to his on going enlightenment. Although fans will enjoy interacting with their favorite scenes in the movie, they may find the mixed up edits from each movie in need of structure.

Some of the graphics do not do the game justice as the rendering seems like it is from the late nineties. The gun control is also somewhat wacky. Although the overall game play is much better than Enter the Matrix, the graphics do take a little from the game.

The final scene is a great surprise for fans as it is different from the actual movie.

Despite the terrible reviews it has received, a true fan will appreciate The Matrix: Path of Neo even if it is too short to buy.

True gamers will do better to let this one be a mystery as they will fine no depth on par with 21st century gaming.

Hopefully, the next game will be the one that can go toe to toe with games like Metal Gear Solid or Halo.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Why We Like the Music We Do

What is music? All sounds are comprised of sound waves. What distinguishes music from other sound waves is the manner in which the sound waves vibrate and decrease from loud to soft. Dropping a metal pan on the floor presents jarring, erratic vibrations. Striking a note on a piano chord presents a softer more uniform and smooth transition from loud to soft. Obviously, a musical note is going to be much more pleasant to the ear.

There’s an old adage about how “music sooths the savage beast.” Not only is this true, it is actually an understatement. Music plays such a profound part of our lives, that we will barely scratch the surface here, but let’s give it an overview.

All of us grew up with certain songs or instrumentals that strike a chord that reverberates through our entire being. For example, when I hear “A Summer Place,” it immediately carries me back to summer months in the fifties. The experience is so profound that I can remember the feel of the sun on my face, the smell of hot dogs cooked over an open fire and the laughter of friends and family.

There is a theory that certain notes or chords resonate with a vibration that is particularly harmonious to specific people. Have you ever heard a song that gave you “goose bumps?” If so, then you give validation to this theory. When this occurs, the music has a profound affect on the subconscious. Add intense emotion to the equation and you have one powerful, indelible, blueprint on your subconscious that will follow you the rest of your life.

For example, let’s say that you receive news of the death of a loved one while a specific piece of music is playing on the radio. That particular music may have a lasting impression. Years later, for no apparent reason, you may find yourself immediately thrown into a state of depression upon hearing that same tune. The same can be true of “positive” feelings as described in the story above.

The subliminal effect of music is a proven fact. How often do you find yourself humming a fragment of a tune that you can’t identify only to discover that it’s a new “commercial” message you heard on your television. The advertising industry pays huge amounts of money to conduct research into why and how music works on the subconscious mind. This is also the reason why you see the recent trend by large companies to reconstitute classics originally performed by some of the greats of stage and screen.

Just for fun, the next time you find yourself humming a tune, try and remember when, where and under what circumstances you heard it for the very first time. The exercise will probably help you to better understand how past events have shaped your musical preferences. And, I’ll wager that the next time you hear “A Summer Place,” you will remember reading this article.

Happy Listening!