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InterventionCon and Borderlands

So this past weekend was the third (already?) InterventionCon. It’s a fun, if smallish, local con put on by an impressively small staff who nonetheless manage to give it a “big con” professional feel. The basic theme of the con is “your online life, offline,” basically giving it a “meta-geekery” vibe similar to Dragon*Con (but on a much smaller scale). There’s a bit of comics, a bit of anime, a bit of cosplay, a bit of technogeekery, even a tiny hint of furry, but no one element really jumps out. This big tent approach is good in that everyone is welcome, but it also has its downside, in that there’s no really strong pull for any group. Despite being open to everybody, InterventionCon is not a “must-go” con for anybody, at least not yet.

Granted, I see most of the con from inside the Dealer Room (or “Artist Alley/Vendor Room” as the con refers to it), which possibly colors my perceptions. On the other hand, the Dealer Room is also usually the main hub of activity. There are several breakout panel rooms which usually have a double-handful of people in them at any given time, a videogaming room, and an open gaming room, and several corridors. Although the Marriott where the con takes place has a huge and impressive restaurant/lounge area (which at a furry con would be overrun with fursuiters and artists), as far as I can tell InterventionCon doesn’t go down there. What crowds there are to find, are in the Dealer Room.

The other thing I’ve noticed about InterventionCon, is that there isn’t much of an art culture. Most people in the Vendor Hall are there as vendors, selling books or crochet ponies or what have you, not doing art at the table– and the attendees don’t seem to be expecting it, either. I was never asked to do a badge or a sketch (my primary profit-makers at most cons), even by people who seemed very taken with my work. Furthermore, those people who were offering sketches at the table, were undercutting themselves badly. One artist wanted to charge me $10 for a fully inked, elaborate sketch; another $15 for an inked and shaded pair of characters. In both cases, I shoved $20 bills at them, just to drive the lesson home.

gneech_chanWhile sitting around at the con not doing any badges or sketches (le sigh), I decided to noodle around with new persona ideas for myself, including this cute little guy, who combines the whole “dapper lion” thing with my little buddy Keroberos. Only problem is, I still can’t figure out how to get more of the sea green and similar colors I wanted into the design without becoming garish. I’m an autumn, and if the persona is to reflect me, he should totally be dressing in gold and burgundy.

Also, I think way too much about that kind of stuff.

But Enough of That Art’n'Creativity’n'Stuff. Let’s Blow Shit Up

As InterventionCon rolls up its sidewalks at 3:00 on Sunday, that left me with all of last evening to occupy myself. I could have watched that Doctor Who we’ve got on the DVR, but instead I downloaded BorderLands 2 to give it a try. Mrs. Gneech and I are forever on the lookout for brainless shooty games we can play together, and this one is about as brainless and shooty as they come. Gung Ho FPS in a quasi-post-apocalypse SF setting with a soundtrack by Escape From LA, Borderlands 2 is snarky, sarcastic, and winks at you from the other side of the 4th wall to make sure you don’t take all the explosions and bloody head-shots seriously.

Does it work? Eh… sort of. The snarky humor and Wile E. Coyote violence are basically there to punch up pretty cut-and-dried FPS gameplay… go here, kill baddies, pull lever, kill baddies, find boss, kill boss, rinse and repeat. The loot is completely randomized, which does sometimes make for strange and amusing results. I picked up a gun which does something like 70+ points of damage and has a sniper scope (as opposed to the more common ~20 points of damage on the first level), so I spent a lot of time starting a battle from far distant cover and going “Boom! Headshot.” Borderlands 2 also floats around somewhere between FPS and MMO, with quest-givers, side missions, and explorer deeds, and encourages you to hook up with other players (via Steam) and take on missions together. However, your character model is determined by your class (all the women are “sirens,” for instance, and all the sirens are women) and the character models only vary by means of three different heads and palette-swaps. So it won’t be long before every character looks exactly identical to every other character.

Correspondingly, the difficulty seems to be all over the map, too. There’s a giant set-piece battle at the end of the first section of the game where you’re in an open area fighting a giant brute of a guy who is not only on fire, but who keeps setting you on fire as well as opening up giant fire pits all over the level. If you die, you simply respawn around the corner, which is handy, but every time you do, he goes back up to full health again. This led me into a loop for the longest time where I could just get to him, nick him a little, and then run out of ammo and get killed. Over and over. I finally defeated him basically through an exploit– I left the arena all together, which lured him over to one corner that stuck out so he could shoot at me, and he got trapped there by the AI pathing. So all I had to do at that stage was peek around the corner, snipe at him, and duck back until my shield recharged, then do it again. Since he was an otherwise unbeatable boss, I didn’t feel too bad about this– I figured that if the game is gonna cheat, I’m gonna cheat right back.

On the plus side, I do like the animation-esque art style and the western-bluesey soundtrack, which give me (positive) associations with Full Throttle. And I can see how the game would be fun with a full party, although I haven’t had the chance to try it yet. However, I suspect it’s going to be real hard to find a group that isn’t made up of four sirens, just because she’s the most appealing character design. We’ll see!

-The Gneech

Originally published at gneech.com. You can comment here or there.

Comments

( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
kylet
Sep. 24th, 2012 06:11 pm (UTC)
Yeah, not sure how well sea green would fit with the base lion fur/hair coloration. Cute if a bit Hartman-hipped ;-)

FWIW, Dev likes Borderlands 2 and I'm fairly certain won't use a Siren ;-) No clue what your scheduling is like, though.
the_gneech
Sep. 24th, 2012 06:41 pm (UTC)
More like bowlegged than Hartman-hipped. ;)

I have no idea what my scheduling is like either, but he's welcome to look me up on Steam!

http://steamcommunity.com/id/thegneech

-TG
aj_hyena
Sep. 24th, 2012 06:11 pm (UTC)
Torchlight 2 is better than Borderlands. Seriously. Get the game.
the_gneech
Sep. 24th, 2012 06:41 pm (UTC)
I'll look into it!

-TG
jamesbarrett
Sep. 24th, 2012 08:15 pm (UTC)
I'd consider joining ya'll for some of that action, depending on the price of the game and when we could hook up for it.
the_gneech
Sep. 25th, 2012 02:41 am (UTC)
The game is $60-ish; we don't have a schedule worked out yet (and Laurie doesn't actually have a copy yet). I'm going through the single-player mode to get my bearings atm.

-TG
jamesbarrett
Sep. 25th, 2012 04:13 am (UTC)
yeah, right now $60 games make me go "hmmm" though I do have steam so could join ya rather easily that way. I think, when Laurie gets her copy, let me know, I'll see if I can afford it then, and go from there. But it would be fun to play with ya'll in a silly game like that one. From the video you posted, I might go with Zero. He's quite my style. :)
huskyteer
Sep. 25th, 2012 01:18 pm (UTC)
Kero!Gneech is utterly cute.
the_gneech
Sep. 26th, 2012 02:27 pm (UTC)
Thank you! ^.^

-TG
stilghar
Sep. 26th, 2012 03:39 am (UTC)
I hated Capt. Flynt, but my first battle with W4R-D3N was even more frustrating.

If you haven't gotten there yet, the only hint I can give without a minor spoiler is to recommend a shock or corrosive weapon - preferably one with a high proc chance and/or fire rate, and Tesla/Acid grenades as well. If you can Gunzerk with a shock weapon in one hand and corrosive in the other, bonus. ;)

Also: There's a bug I've found and corroborated with others; please let me know if you can duplicate it. The Alt fire (RMB) of the Light Runner's Rocket Turret is *supposed* to fire a cluster of homing rockets, locked onto whatever target you were moused over when you click and hold RMB. In my experience, the cluster spawns in the barrel of the launcher and immediately detonates en masse. No damage to the car, but no effect on the target, either.

Edited at 2012-09-26 07:55 am (UTC)
the_gneech
Sep. 26th, 2012 02:29 pm (UTC)
I haven't even -seen- any shock or corrosive weapons, except in the "shooting gallery" mission. Nor have I found any vehicle upgrades.

-TG
stilghar
Sep. 26th, 2012 02:36 pm (UTC)
The alt-fire of the rocket turret is available as soon as the vehicle is, but you have to be in the gunner's seat to use it.

Catch me on Steam sometime; if nothing else, I can help you farm for one. Or try the slot machines at Moxxi's place once you get to Sanctuary.
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )

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