Friday, November 21, 2014

VR Media Impressions [November 9-15, 2014]

Shows Covered
South Park [Season 18]
Log Horizon [Season 2]
Sword Art Online 2

This week provided quite a good turn out I'd say, with Sword Art Online 2 really taking the cake for surprising me. South Park having a VR centric episode featuring the Oculus Rift was pretty fun too, though I can't quite say I laughed all that much. Maybe I'm just too aware of how awesome the tech is to feel anything but awe for it? That's no good, I'll have to fix that later.

Anyhow, I can't help but feel as though Log Horizon didn't progress much at all. They explained the significance of flavor text more broadly and prepared more, but I can't help but feel as though it could have been handled more quickly with some changes to the script. Alas, It was still a fine episode, though not a particularly memorable one.

By comparison, I was not expecting to be writing about South Park for one of these, though I probably should considering they've done coverage for tech rather frequently in the past. In this episode, it seems they were doing a bit on Total Recall or Inception, using the Oculus Rift and Customer Service as worldly foundations for the joke. Perhaps its my overly close connection to VR or lack of knowledge on total recall, but I couldn't find this episode very funny. I mean, the references were clever and all, but it honestly never struck me with a laugh out loud moment. By all means, it had enough VR references crammed in to satiate my nerdy side, but from the perspective, but the only thing that really got me to really giggle a bit was the "F*%$ YOU" jokes that were made at the notion of bringing up the potential premise that they were in VR. It's like in if I made a VRMMORPG and gathered everyone together and said "You are all trapped in this game until such a time that you beat the final boss. Deaths in game will kill you IRL as well." Most people would reply likewise because they'd probably be expecting it and find it cheap that I'd use the premise. The only other recurring joke I can recall was the bit about customer service which annoyed me to no end since I have a disgust for phone operated positions. I'm much more tolerant to customer service since you have to go to them, but telemarketing is one area where I genuinely feel forgiveness cannot be attained. Were any individual I know involved in such acts I'd probably do everything in my power to negate their existence. Disowning if a child, estranging if a sibling, parent or distant relative, and were a horror(s) to befall them, I'd wholeheartedly believe they had it coming. There's lines to the horror of course, but consider that line very close to the "Even Evil has Standards" realm. Yup, that bad.

Sword Art Online by comparison felt like it really hit it's stride. The episode was mainly composed of two parts: The VR segments about fighting Zekken and the IRL segments about Asuna's home life. Both really worked well as the Asuna bits really helped flesh here out into bit more of a real character while the VR bits had some of the best action the series has shown. Asuna had hints of a deeper a character since there series' start, though that was mostly sidelined in place of her romance with Kirito. Now, the story's conventional structure is being faced with a challenge it hadn't tried to deal with since basically the start. The challenge we all have to deal with and that VR acts as an escape from: Real life. The past few episodes were worrying for their lack of gravity in many aspects, but Mother's Rosario has so far shown that SAO can use character drama and their circumstances as VERY good alternative to the life on the line stakes it tried to depend on in SAO, ALO, and GGO. I was genuinely floored by this week's episode and am awaiting the next one with anticipation. Really, can't stress how impressed I really was.

Well then everyone, that just about wraps it up for this week's VR Media Impressions. Sorry for the delay, I found myself rather pre-occupied with a lot of the other matters, though I can say that SAO has really renewed my interest in its story and I'm very excited for what this Saturday will bring. Hopefully Log Horizon will likewise deliver on it's promise from the last 2 build up episodes.

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