NEIL AND THE MATRIX

Morpheus had long traversed The Matrix in search of The One: Someone with the power to bend and manipulate the Matrix’s rules to their will. He had been following a long line of clues leading to another ‘potential’, and his latest lead had the most promise of any he could remember.

Morpheus held two fingers to his right ear.

“Cipher, location.”

“5 blocks north. The Agents haven’t noticed you yet, thank God.” Cipher replied.

Morpheus came upon a large crowd on the sidewalk, congregated around a man sitting on a stool, who was adorned in a fancy looking suit and a top hat.

“It’s him,” Morpheus thought. “Neil.”

Neil had a command over The Matrix that Morpheus couldn’t begin to fathom. Neil took his top hat off of his head, reached his hand into it, and pulled a rabbit from its depths, seemingly materializing it from nothing. Morpheus’ eyes widened behind his sunglasses, mouth agape at this mastery over The Matrix.

Neil momentarily stopped and sneezed. Morpheus approached him and offered a handkerchief. Neil held his hand up to decline, and took a handkerchief from his own sleeve. And another. And another! Neil proceeded to pull a seemingly infinite number of handkerchiefs from his sleeve!

This was all Morpheus needed. He turned around. “Cipher. He’s The One.”

~

Neil and Morpheus sat across from each other in a decrepit, aging room, its antique Victorian furniture torn and discolored from years of neglect.

“I’ve been looking for you for a long time, Neil.” Morpheus explained. “The Oracle has prophesied that one would be born, one with the power to control The Matrix, able to bend and break its rules. Neil, I believe that you are The One.”

Morpheus extended two fists, and opened them dramatically. In his left hand, the blue pill. “Take the blue pill,” Morpheus explained, “and you will forget this ever happened. You’ll go back to your normal life, your normal job. You’ll stay in the fantasy.”

“Take the red pill, and this all goes away. You will come with me, you will seek out your destiny as The One, and you will come to understand The Matrix and its true purpose.”

Neil reached out his hand, took the blue pill, and placed it in his mouth. Morpheus frowned, surprised. Then Neil opened his mouth, the red pill sitting atop his extended tongue! Morpheus looked back at his hands, and somehow the two had been switched! Morpheus’ face wrinkled in confusion.

Neil then reached behind Morpheus’ ear, and took the red pill from behind it! Morpheus struggled to maintain composure.

“Incredible.” Morpheus uttered, shaking his head.

~

Morpheus had just been rescued by Neil and Trinity from the Agents’ grasp, and both Morpheus and Trinity had successfully escaped just in time to avoid them. However, just as Neil was putting his ear to the pay-phone receiver to escape, the receiver exploded, shot by an agent, trapping Neil!

“Damnit!” Morpheus exclaimed. “He’s not read-“ Trinity stopped Morpheus, grasping his shoulder reassuringly.

“He can do this.”

The agent quickly approached Neil from behind, grimacing angrily. He grabbed Neil’s shoulder and violently flung Neil around. He raised his fist to attack Neil, but suddenly noticed that the man he was attacking wasn’t Neil at all. This man looked just like Neil, except he was wearing thick glasses, had a big nose, bushy eyebrows and a mustache.

“Oh…” The agent lowered his fist, turning to see where Neil went. “Sorry.” The agent strode away in search.

Morpheus and Trinity watched the code of The Matrix trickle down the computer monitor, amazed at what they were seeing.

“He… he changed his face! He’s manipulating the Matrix!” Morpheus knew that Neil would change humanity’s fate forever.

DEMON DATER DEMO

So we're working on a game we've been thinking about for a long time called Demon Dater. @ClarkJewett has been working on the music for awhile, before we stopped work on the first version of it. I fucking love the sound of it.

I asked @ClarkJewett to write his thoughts about Demon Dater Demo so that I or we could formulate an interesting blog post about them. But his loose thoughts on it are just, great, so here they are:

When I was working on demon dater I was inspired pretty heavily by Shoji Meguro and Shu Takumi. Demon Dater in my mind has always been about bold characters. Each demon you meet is strongly attached to certain character traits, not unlike the way Takumi writes his characters in Ace Attorney and Ghost Trick. Shoji Meguro writes the music for Shin Megami Tensei, which is a series about summoning demons in a cyberpunk future (usually). Basically, I asked myself “What if Shu Takumi made a visual novel set in Tokyo Millennium” 

Once I was several songs in, the soundtrack also started to take form in an interesting way in my mind. It started to feel like a musical. While I didn't explicitly ever right them down a lot of the songs have “lyrics” that reflect what is supposed to be happening in the plot. I leaned into this concept and when I started writing a song I asked myself “If this was a play, who would sing this song? What would they be saying?” 

A minor touch that also started as an unconscious germ was the fact that the music that has to do with power structures (Cor Novum and LAW) are very classically composed. If you stripped away all the electronic components and played them on piano or arranged them for a classical ensemble they'd sound pretty at home. To a lesser extent, Theres also something very square about the rhythm section (when I say square I mean theres an evenness to the drums/bass/rhythm guitar) in these as well as Righteous Pursuit. Even though the melody has a very languid meter in that song, the guitars and drums are very steady. Contrast with Blood on the Rocks which is supposed to be a place curated for demons which has a more breathing rhythmic structure.   -@ClarkJewett

Isn't that fucking good? I know little about music but I love reading Clark's thoughts on it. Goddamn. -@jrdptttt

PNTGRM's 2016 Game of the Year Extravaganza: "The GOTY's"

Here at PNTGRM we've been hard at work formulating our 2016 GOTY list, "The GOTY's." We have used objectivity and ethics to ascertain the true GOTY, and the 6 games which, while also good, are subordinate and inferior to the one true GOTY.

This list is not ordered in any meaningful way save for the final entry, the number one, that blessed game that somehow edged out every other game and, truly, became GOTY.

Hylics

This game was built in RPG Maker, which means the majority of the gameplay is a turn based slugfest. This simply won’t do for our list, unless it’s a slugfest that takes place in a setting that can be described as “The Neverhood, but on even more drugs”. The combination of noise rock, partially randomly generated dialogue, and highly digitized claymation style makes this game a headfirst dive into the truly surreal. Also I love that when you die instead of kicking you back out to the title it sends you to heaven, which is just so chill. -@ClarkJewett

Hyper Light Drifter

This game is a place, a place that I love going to. It uses a sense of pacing expertly to make you feel what’s happening - The languid exploration, the intense, staccato fights. Hyper Light Drifter is just so thoughtfully put together, it’s incredible how well everything works. The melancholy, triumphant tone! The way the background art leads you to secrets, forcing you to pay attention! Plus, it got fucking robbed in other lists this year. It’s a game I’m going to come back to for a long time, like a Ghibli movie or something. -@jrdptttt

Ace Attorney: Spirit of Justice

AA.png

A few days after completing this game, I realized that the new Phoenix Wright was actually really well written. It turns out that you can have a cast full of colorful and outlandish characters and still write a meaningful story with subtlety. Spirit of Justice focuses primarily around Phoenix’s protege, Apollo Justice as he grapples with his own identity and his relationship with his biological father, his adopted father, and his lawyer-dad. What makes this great is that each case also deals with this theme of identity and reflects the struggles Apollo faces, but it’s very slick about only kind of letting you in on its secret. Then a bumbling paratrooper gets chased up a tree by a puppy and makes a Metalocaplypse reference. -@ClarkJewett
 

Firewatch

I love the way that this game teases out its central tension and conflict, suggesting that what’s happening is big, dramatic, blockbuster-thriller-like in scope, but then revealing itself to be much more low-key and character-focused. Firewatch is able to deeply communicate its characters and themes to you in such a way where you don’t even really realize it’s happening, and you come out of it wondering how exactly you know Henry and Delilah so well. -@jrdptttt

Hitman

(a.k.a. How to Get Away with Murder with a Fire Extinguisher)

(a.k.a. How to Get Away with Murder with a Fire Extinguisher)

Hitman is pure joy. Every time I lose a round and fail to hit man I’m always smiling if not outright cackling. Hitman is a game about becoming familiar with blueprints both spacial and temporal. It’s not a game that you're supposed to win on the first playthrough. This would be frustrating if it weren’t for the fact the game is practically on its knees begging you to run around and just clown on the NPCs. There’s so much to discover and the way you go about this is so rife with physical comedy it’s hard to put this game down. -@ClarkJewett

Overwatch

Gremlin Child by  Oryozema

Gremlin Child by Oryozema

It’s really good. It’s got good characters who I like, and it’s good. It’s fun to play the game and when you play it, you feel good. It’s good when you win and less good when you lose (But still good!).

It’s just really, very good.

If you like to play good games that make you feel good then play Overwatch. -@jrdptttt

AND NOW... "THE GOTY's" 2016 GOTY:

The... The Senpai?!

I’m truly, truly flattered to announce to you, here, that The Senpai is PNTGRM’s official Game of the Year.

Why is the The Senpai PNTGRM’s GOTY? Let me count the ways:

  • The jokes
  • The goofs
  • The gags
  • And so much more

It’s hard at the top. PNTGRM knows this, and we believe it. But PNTGRM has proved themselves to ourselves, and we know, in our hearts, that we deserve this coveted GOTY.

Thank you very much to everyone who played ;-*

-@PNTGRM_