No Feet, Dead Man, and Cap’N Shammy: A Sea of Thieves Tale

Header Photo by Alan

A dimly lit tavern and it’s quiet shanty tunes offer a night of reprieve for weary sailors on this dark and stormy night.

Oh, and the mead. The mead helps a lot.

Resting in the corner with drink in hand sits a lone pirate. He mumbles to himself between drinks as a duo comes through the door. Soaked in rain, one of them is a burly woman of sorts, covered in tattoos, and the other a scrawny man missing a hand. They each take a seat next to the drunken pirate.

Betwixt their idle conversation, he lifts his head.

“Dark night,” he says.

“Aye,” the woman responds, “cold as well.”

“No colder than the night me and my crew met The Queen of Crests.”

The man sighs.

“Gods, not this again. Every bleedin’ tavern this happens,” he moans.

He gets up with, “can’t a man just have a drink in peace.”

The pirate man lies his head back down.

The duo get up to leave.

The pirate slams a few blue-ish coins on the table. They glow in the faint lamp-light. The woman and man look on with awe.

“What are these?” the woman asks, her eyes fixated on the their beauty.

“The story’s true, if ye care to hear it,” the pirate responds with a sly smirk.

Slowly they both sit back down.

The pirate takes a long chug of his mead.

“Our tale begins on a night much like this…”

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What I Learned From The Kingdom Hearts Primer

Header Photo Credit

The Kingdom Hearts Primer was teased on September 27th, 2016 and ended on March 2nd, 2018. That’s 522 days to make this series happen, not counting the original botched recording that started exactly a year before the teaser went up. My co-host Brandon Carey and I totaled 103 episodes, averaging about half an hour a piece, or simply a clean 100 if we don’t count the custom-made trailers.
While I didn’t work every single one of those days, the primer was still something that hung around me that entire time, and I feel like I’ve learned a lot from it. Here’s a few of those things.

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The Journey’s End | Persona 3

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Note: For this article, it’s assumed that you’ve played Persona 3, or at least have a cursory knowledge of the game’s plot, characters, and combat system. If not, you may find yourself a bit lost.

Memento Mori. Remember that you will die. Remember your death.

Riding the train on the way to a new city and new life, we suddenly experience a moment in time where everything twists. The city is bathed in reds and greens, and everyone around us now resides in a literal coffin. To everyone else, this moment in time doesn’t exist. To us, and a select few others, it has a name: The Dark Hour.

This, and the enormous, seemingly endless, tower that dominates the landscape during this time, make up the bulk of Persona 3’s narrative, themes, and play hours. I can’t honestly say that Persona 3 is better than any of the other games in the franchise, but I feel that some aspects of it are worth taking a closer look at.

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I felt like I spent a lot of 2017 not doing much. While the Kingdom Hearts Primer rolled in and onward from the previous year, the sheer monotony of the editing process started to take its toll on me. At the same time, I also finally filmed one of my dream projects, LAST NIGHT, that I wrote back when I first started film school. Then I proceeded to barely work on the editing for it, even though I had to take off of school for a while do to financial reasons.

Whether for those reasons or not, not too many games seriously gripped me this past year, but even so, I deeply appreciate the level of storytelling, intimate or grandiose, through writing or gameplay, that video games are coming to consistently achieve.

Here’s a few of those.


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What I Want From Final Fantasy XV

Author’s Note: I’m well aware that this particular topic has been talked to death at this point, but I think it’s endlessly important to reiterate since it continues to be a quiet but very painful problem in a modern male’s adult life.

I remember the afternoon I was seeing off my old friend Keegan, after he spent the previous night playing video games and watching anime with me. I must have been around 11 or 12 and, without giving any thought to it, I hugged him goodbye. Not some kind of nonchalant side hug, but a real loving one, because he was my best friend and I really cherished him and his friendship. Afterwards my mother took me aside and told me that she thought that was really strange, and that maybe I made Keegan or his mother uncomfortable because of that. While the memory receded quickly, it internally fucked me emotionally up for years.

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Off Duty Dads [A Rainbow Six: Siege Montage]

Like the Glitch Kings 2K12 video before it, I went for a unified style for this (originally 5+ hours) night of Siege.

The idea behind it was a sort of “night on the town” aesthetic, hence the aggressive font choices and gradient flares on the thumbnails, but in the intermittent weeks since its completion I wish that it had made its way into the actual footage. Instead of a static noise and glitch transition, I would have gone for some quick flare flashes, and would’ve changed the somber sounding intro to something better for a party.

Regardless of that, I’m still quite proud of this little project. The animated transitions took a long time to get right, there are a few one-off jokes that are a couple seconds each, and it was easily the hardest I’ve pushed myself to edit out everything that wasn’t great.

The only downside was, because of the intensity of all this, I haven’t recorded any Siege since, and I’ve been playing a good bit less. Personally I’d love to take on a different game, but I haven’t played much else with friends on PC lately.

So what will be next? I dunno. Might be doing film projects for a while longer.

What I Learned From Interactive Friction Season 4

Season 4 was probably the first time I had a handle of things throughout the post-production process. Editing was really smooth and videos were posted regularly with only one mishap. Recording on the other hand was kind a nightmare.

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Glitch Kings 2K12 [A Rainbow Six: Siege Montage]

Glitch Kings came from a series of Siege matches wherein instead of playing against random people, we played against our own Skype group. It meant that there was a lot more salt than usual.

As far as editing, this was the first time I tried to go for a unified aesthetic. Everything from the title, to the thumbnail, to the transitions all followed the idea of “glitching out.” I wish I had maybe done a bit more with maybe the sound as well, but at some point I would’ve crossed the line to making the actual game less fun to watch.

The best and worst part about people enjoying this is that now I really want to make all my future videos follow the aforementioned unified aesthetic, and that’s putting me in a tough position for the one I’m currently working on.

My Favorite Games & Biggest Bummers of 2015

Starting with my first quarter at the Art Institute of Atlanta, my routines changed a lot last year. I began to work a bit on film projects before and after class. My commute became extremely long compared to my job (which I quit soon thereafter). My number of articles faltered even more than before even as Interactive Friction went on hiatus. But even so, I did get to play some video games.

Upon the completion of writing this I noticed that a lot of the big budget titles failed to impress me, even when they were good, but most of the side projects felt like they had a lot of heart put into them. There may be as many disappointing games on here as favorites, but that’s more because I didn’t have enough time to play everything I wanted to (especially in the ever growing indie-scene). To put it simply: don’t let my list deceive you. This was a fantastic year for games.

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Interactive Friction Season 4 & The Making Of A Trailer

After a longer break than I expected, but still appreciated, Interactive Friction has returned. This time however I’m going to work harder to keep on schedule, and I’ve already completed the first step by editing all the footage prior to this trailer going up. Additionally season 5’s raw footage is already mostly recorded, and the audio for our new project is primed for editing. The latter of these should be what to expect next from Brandon and I.

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