Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Hard Boiled Wonderland and The End of The World Review.

If you are going to read this novel at some point do not read this as it contains major spoilers.

As long as this book title is "Hard Boiled Wonderland and The End of The World" by Haruki Murakami is a 1985 novel exploring the idea of the subconscious mind.

This novel takes us through two stories:

Hard Boiled Wonderland - odd chapters 
End of The World - even chapters

Like a few of Murakami's novels both these stories are connected somehow but it's only until near the end that we realize what the connection is.

Hard Boiled Wonderland follows the narrator (as no characters in this novel has their name mentioned but are named after their profession or looks), the narrator is a Calcutec.

Calcutecs are human data processors who are trained to use their subconscious mind as encryption keys. Calcutecs work for the System -the government- unlike their criminals counterparts with the same abilities known as "Semiotecs" who work for the Factory which is generally a group of fallen Calcutecs. The relationship between the two groups is simple: the System protects data while the Semiotecs steal it and sell it.

Hard Boiled Wonderland starts off with the narrator completing a task for the scientist/old man who is working on an evolutionary project of sound removal, with this project he can increase, decrease or completely silence specific sounds, for thanks he gives the narrator a strange looking skull which he is told to keep safe as the Semiotecs are after it,  during the course of this half of the novel we come to realize that the skull is that of a Unicorn.

Later on the narrator receives a phone call from the professors granddaughter who warns him the world will end and that he must meet the professor again in order to explain the situation better. 

When he meets with the old man he is told that out of all the people who became Calcutecs by infusing their brain with a processor of some sort, the narrator is the only one to have survived after a few years, and that it is his world (the narrators) that is ending within a few days, he is told that he will fall asleep and be in a dream like world that his sub-conscience mind has created and he will be in this world for all eternity, if someone was to kill him in the real world it wouldn't matter as he'd still be there forever as the chip infused with his brain has so much data on it that it will not slow time down in his dream but completely stop time making nano seconds in reality all eternity in his head.

Towards the end of the book the narrator spends his last few hours contemplating on whether he has affected anyone, or if anyone would miss him or even know he was gone. The ending of this story is the narrator sitting in his car in a deserted car park and simply falling asleep, choosing that option and not suicide.

End of The World, follows a narrator again, in this story we follow the narrator as he tries to come to terms with what is happening and escape from the town enclosed within an indestructible wall.

This story starts out with our character just about to enter the town, where he meets another character referred to as the Gatekeeper, the Gatekeeper separates him from his shadow as know town people have one, he is told that his shadow will die soon after due to the upcoming winter as they do not have alot of strength on their own (nor are they permitted to be fused with their other half) he finds out that peoples shadows are what holds their minds and when their shadow dies their minds are gone and he will be fully accepted into the town.

Since his shadow holds his memories the narrator has no idea what drove him to come to the town so he plans to escape with his shadow, in the meantime the narrator makes a map of the town to give to his other half, the narrator is given quarters and a job by the Gatekeeper as every resident has a job they must fulfill, the job the narrator has is known as "Dreamreader", dreamreading is a job that involves the narrator removing any traces of mind from the town which are sealed inside the skulls of Unicorns who live in the town and when they die due to the harsh winter colds their skulls absorb fragments of the townsfolk minds which are then read by the Dreamreader after the Gatekeeper burns the corpses and gives the skulls to the librarian who's job is to provide assistance to the Dreamreader.

Towards the end of the novel the narrator falls in love with the librarian but since she has no mind and therefore cannot love him back he is driven to seek out the skull which has her mind in it, true to his word he frees his shadow from his prison and attempts to escape with his shadow out of the perfect town and they realize that the town does have an exit as it would not be perfect if it was missing an entrance. This exit turns out to be the pool which connects to the river which goes outside the wall from underneath, this pool was feared by all as it was said to kill anybody who went in it, this lie was made in order to prevent the townsfolk from leaving, the narrator decides it's best to stay in the town while his shadow decides to leave through the pool, before the shadow leaves he tell his other half the truth as he has his memories and the truth is that they are in a town created by their own mind in which the shadow wishes to escape from.

This means the ending of the Hard Boiled Wonderland story where the main character falls asleep for every,  is the start of the End of the World story where he is outside the town and about to enter but as these stories are told simultaneously it is hidden from us for the majority of the novel as we are lead to believe that the town was a real place and that the scientist from Hard Boiled Wonderland somehow escaped from the town and obtained a Unicorn skull.

Overall this novel is a masterpiece for its amazing convey of atmosphere and the way it makes the ending to both stories sad yet beautiful at the same time, this is a novel that any fan should definitely read.


Tuesday, 21 August 2012

10 PS3 HD Collections that should, but probably won't be made

Ape Escape


What would be included ?

Ape Escape, Ape Escape 2 and Ape Escape 3

Why it should be remade?

This was one of those simple games from everyone's childhood that they loved (it may not be this one but every gamer had one). If this were to be remade every fan out there would be overjoyed at the return of Ape Escape -and not another spin off-.

Why it probably won't be made ?

You would think when the whole PS3 HD Collections came about that Ape Escape would be one of the first few to be made and released, but no, there are no signs of it ever being made as SCE Japan Studio still continue to make spin offs that don't sell as much as what the main series do, but do spin offs ever outsell the main titles ... any ?


Suggested Trophy - Capture all monkeys.



Crash Bandicoot


What would be included ?

Crash Bandicoot, Crash Bandicoot 2, Crash Bandicoot 3, Crash Team Racing and Crash Bash

Why it should be remade?

Come on who didn't love Crash Bandicoot ... Exactly,  having this re-released and in HD would be amazing and would boost Naughty Dogs sales through the roof as those who lost, broke or didn't have the game but played it at their friends can buy it again and relive those moments of their childhood, after all Crash Bandicoot 2 was one of the best selling PS1 games worldwide, what would make them not want to remake it ?

Why it probably won't be made ?

All the games (Excluding Crash Bash made by Universal Interactive Studios)  have already been released on the PSN store. Furthermore it seems more likely that if this were to be made it would consist of the less brilliant PS2 games that were not made by the original creators Naughty Dog. Also Naught Dog have contributed to the HD Collection already but with their games Jak and Daxter skipping the earlier title of Crash suggesting they had reasons not to make it and instead go with a more modern series of game - Jak.

Suggested Trophy - Find the hidden warp room in Crash Bandicoot 2.



Dark Cloud


What would be included ?

Dark Cloud and Dark Chronicle/Dark Cloud 2

Why it should be remade?

Dark Cloud was one of those dungeon types of games, yet this stood out from the rest and is most memorable by fans, I can't quite put my finger on it but there was something about it that was so captivating, maybe it was the idea of finding parts and building the village, or maybe it was the dungeon floor rules but either way to be remade would be amazing and would give the game a second chance to reel in new fans if they ever came across it in a store.

Why it probably won't be made ?

Level-5 seems to be far too busy making more Professor-Layton games -sure they're great- but it'd be awesome if they made these two great games again, it was a rumor that they were making a HD Collection as well as a Dark Cloud 3 for the PS3, unfortunately these rumors date back from as early as 2008, and still nothing, so it's looking very likely that Level-5 are aware of what fans want but are continuing with the Professor-Layton series, who knows maybe after they slow down on that series that may look back at Dark Cloud and decide to revisit it.


Suggested Trophy - Rebuild all villages to everyone's requests.



Kingdom Hearts


What would be included ?

Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Heart 2

Why it should be remade?

Because it's Kingdom Hearts, should I need to explain. Anyways, these are the only two non-hand held console based and main titled games in the series, they should be considered for HD revamp because it will give fans something to look forward to before they come out with Kingdom Hearts 3.

Why it probably won't be made ?

Square Enix has been making too many spinoff's and side stories for hand-held consoles, so I can't see them deciding to make a remastered version of the main games as there will be gaps in the storyline's, also Square Enix is making a HD game but of Final Fantasy X. 

Hard to believe it but the first two games were out when I was a teenager, now I'm an adult and still no third game, although they do wish to make their new one the third game, so basically it doesn't seem like they have any time to make one.

Suggested Trophy - Get the secret ending.

  Edit - Kingdom Hearts is now getting an HD collection. Yay




What would be included ?

Klonoa and Klonoa 2

Why it should be remade?

Klonoa is a platforming game that is just as good as Crash Bandicoot and Spyro, it may not have had extra challenges that don't need to be done, but are there for hard core gamers (like the gems in Crash Bandicoot) but this was still a highly enjoyable, imaginable and creative game that was a wonder to play.

Why it probably won't be made ?

The game was not well known so they decided to remake the first game for the Wii, if sales were good they'd consider making a third one, it came out in 2008 and no sign of a third one, so it's a no brainier as to why it won't be made.


Suggested Trophy - Release all bubbles.



Project Zero


What would be included ?

Project Zero, Project Zero 2 and Project Zero 3

Why it should be remade?

These games have went down as the scariest games ever made, so it's got a pretty big title for itself why would they not want to remake them. For a title as big as that they have not released many games, so by releasing an HD Collection it would be a clear indication that the developers still have an interest and would still like to make these games.

Why it probably won't be made ?

Project Zero/Fatal Frame won't be made, the second one in particular as it was just recently re-released for the Wii in HD with additional content, also Nintendo seems to have some control over the future of this series, now and I really doubt Nintendo will allow games to be revamped for their rivals console the PS3 do you ?

Suggested Trophy - Get the runaway ending.





What would be included ?

Rayman and Rayman 2

Why it should be remade?

Rayman (like Klonoa) was another fantastic platformer that sadly did not get the reputation it should have it was merely pushed aside by Crash Bandicoot and Spyro and ignored or not known about by the vast majority of it's intended audience, now in a world without Crash Bandicoot or Spyro mainstream games and in a world where not many platformers are released it will give Rayman another chance at getting noticed.


Why it probably won't be made ?

Well lets see, released on the PSN store, they're busy making a third one in HD, and Rayman has never really received the status he truly deserved nor the number of fans, who knows maybe they will make one and release it prior to the third installment as a surprise.


Suggested Trophy - Unlock all cages.



Resident Evil


What would be included ?

Resident Evil, Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 3

Why it should be remade?

Let's face it, the original's were awesome weren't they  why shouldn't they get remade. This was truly a step forward for the horror genre in gaming, the fourth game changed horror again but sadly made it more action and less about surviving, so it'd be nice to remake these and show people what Resident Evil -and other horror games- were like before they decided to give it a revamp.

Why it probably won't be made ?

Well it won't be made because they've already made one entitled "Chronicles" also the original games have also been released on the PSN store so chances of them also being released in stores and in HD are looking pretty slim, further more if they were to make an HD Collection, Capcom would probably chose to make another version of Resident Evil 4 *Sigh* rather than the classics for the ps1.

Suggested Trophy - Kill Nemesis for good.





What would be included ?

Siren and Forbidden Siren 2 

Why it should be remade?

These games stayed true to the original concept of horror and was not action like (The second game came out after the horror evolution in gaming but remained true to the concept). They were very unique and highly creative, games like these tend to go unnoticed which is a real shame as it is these games that are truly amazing and for those who do discover and play them they realize that these games are without doubt some of the best made game out there.

Why it probably won't be made ?

Have you heard of Siren .... No, that's one of the reasons why it will probably not be made, not enough potential buyers , also the style of Siren is very unsettling and if it was to be revamped to meet HD standards that layer of disturbance caused by the HD art will be lost and the game would not have a big an impact as they once did.


Suggested Trophy - Complete the game without sightjacking.



Spyro the Dragon


What would be included ?

Spyro, Spyro 2 and Spyro Year of the Dragon

Why it should be remade?

Like Crash Bandicoot these games were amazing and remembered fondly by all, who didn't love the little purple dragon (not the horrible bad-ass looking one now). Having a HD release of this would encourage any fan to pick it up and jump straight back into their childhood.

Why it probably won't be made ?

Well they released all the Spyro games onto the PSN store, although the three stores, (PAL, North America and Japan) vary with what titles they have, with this being online and ready to download and relive, it is very unlikely that it will not be getting added to the HD Collection list.

Suggested Trophy - Collect all dragon eggs.