Alex Crumb

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Unhitching From Our Usual Tethers

Written by: Alex Crumb | Follow on: Twitter, Facebook

Published: Apr 23, 2018 8:02:47 PM

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I, like I assume most people would, used to daydream in the afternoon at work when my wandering mind became bored. Those aren't pleasant moments anymore. Instead of fanciful thoughts, I instead take the time to remember my fiance screaming as she suffocated during the trip down the highway to find help. I remember myself screaming at nothing in a supermarket parking lot the following afternoon. I remember leaving the hospital after she died ten days later and walking to my car to drive home in the snow. My daydreams' chief exports are death and screaming.

In the first week following her death, I couldn't form clear thoughts. I could not, and still cannot, recall complete short-term memories. I would stop breathing as if I had suddenly realized I'd neglected a phantom injury, gushing silently. I don't remember much of this time yet. I know I will someday. The eventuality terrorizes me.

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Devil May Cry 4 Turns 10 Years Old

Written by: Alex Crumb | Follow on: Twitter, Facebook

Published: Jan 29, 2018 10:16:04 AM

dmc4-box-ps3.jpgCool coats and motorcycle swords.

Hello! It’s me, professional internet storytelling expert, Alex Crumb. Today is the tenth anniversary of the million-selling PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 hard-action game, Devil May Cry 4, developed and published by Capcom.

I love this game. I drove an hour through a snowstorm to buy it and ran my car into a ditch on the return trip. A guy with a tractor pulled my car back onto the road. I played Devil May Cry 4 that afternoon with a white, imported Japanese DualShock 3 before they were available in the US. I guess that anecdote settles which date I ended up on certain watchlists!

Ten years? Wow! By my measure, absolutely everything and precisely nothing has changed in that time. Video games are still cool and video game players remain self-conscious about the comparatively uncool demeanor they must re-inhabit upon returning to the real world. That’s a  frustration I’m certain a lot of people share, but I’ll tell a story in a moment about how it’s not entirely true.

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Burnout Paradise Turns 10 Years Old

Written by: Alex Crumb | Follow on: Twitter, Facebook

Published: Jan 22, 2018 7:36:08 PM

burnout-paradise-ps3-box.jpgBetter to burn out than fade away.

Hello! It’s me, professional internet storytelling professional, Alex Crumb. Today is the tenth anniversary of the million-selling PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 action-driving game, Burnout Paradise, developed by Criterion Games and published by Electronic Arts.

I love Burnout Paradise. I 100% completed the game twice on PS3; once before the trophy patch, once after. I love the Burnout series. I completed Burnout 2: Point of Impact (3 out of 5 stars) on GameCube. I ripped Metallica’s Master of Puppets onto my Xbox in college and listened to it on repeat while playing the road rage mode in Burnout 3: Takedown (5 out of 5 stars). Maybe Burnout 3 gave me appendicitis in 2004? Medical science is a mystery.

Ten years? Wow! It’s amazing the restraint games from this era demonstrate, comparatively speaking. Burnout Paradise is a dead-ahead arcade racer. Self-confidence trembles and busts from its core locomotion. Its monstrous video-frictions crackle at each speed-boost, at each arcing turn, and at each concussive collision. Its micro-moment design remains unmatched ten years on, even alongside developer Criterion Games’ later, larger-budget efforts with Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit (4 out of 5 stars) and Need for Speed: Most Wanted (4 out of 5 stars).

Burnout Paradise was Criterion’s tipping point. It was their high-definition playground; a demo tape for the big time. But make no mistake, it was also Electronic Arts’ beta test for the coming decade of game development where any time a player spent in a game was a victory, for good or for ill. The line from Burnout Paradise to Star Wars Battlefront II ($ out of 5 stars) is straighter than you might believe.

So, let’s examine this moment in history.

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The Silver, the Brass, the Blood, and the Chorus—Part 6

Written by: Alex Crumb | Follow on: Twitter, Facebook

Published: Nov 12, 2017 12:00:00 PM

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Part 6: Black Hole

The formless mystics wrote lifelong screeds describing their journeys among the black holes. Fused to spacetime and abusive toward human relativity, the hearsay surrounding those fists of gravity were a deliberate mystery.

One day, a human soul grasped their function. Then a face of cruel form and size spat back and the function was given up.

Upon that soil, and that mystery, and those wells of interdimensional force, Meridian built a foundation.

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The Silver, the Brass, the Blood, and the Chorus—Part 5

Written by: Alex Crumb | Follow on: Twitter, Facebook

Published: Nov 11, 2017 11:49:53 AM

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Part 5: Reliquary

Rostand was left to the task. The aged easterner loped the palaces halls. She halted at certain doors. She kept still long enough to decide, then proceeded on.

Through one door and another, Rostand led the others deeper. They listened for the hidden lures in quiet rooms. Rostand was always the first to notice the cracks in the wall, leading to hidden spaces in the architecture. They filed down a narrow staircase. They inhaled to slip into gaps within the walls themselves. Suna struggled. He knocked apart the flaking materials with his bulk.

The secret rooms were vaults. Rahz checked the walls for where they were sealed in ages past. The antiques were left entomed, standing free in delicate arrangement about the floors.

Each lay dormant, either drained by time or hushed by a word.

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The Silver, the Brass, the Blood, and the Chorus—Part 4

Written by: Alex Crumb | Follow on: Twitter, Facebook

Published: Nov 10, 2017 10:48:51 AM

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Part 4: Palatial

"We're gonna check the solarium, the hedrons, and the gallery," Rahz explained into the foyer's echo. "We're looking for signs of inhuman life. Imprications, biomechs, or anything that runs on quicksilver. The initial request scoped ground access, if that wasn't already made clear by the drive in, we haven't confirmed."

"The owner could confirm it," Suna suggested.

Rahz held up one finger. "The owner is not currently on the premises."

"This is a simple job," Orry said. "Don't over-think it. Don't fantasize. We're being paid a good chunk of change. Till that angle tilts, the hammer stays in the truck."

Suna protested with his gigantic arms flung open, bracelets and charms jingling. "Orry, ground-access—!"

Rostand kicked Suna, sending him wincing to one knee.

"We're taking the silver today," Orry said. "That's enough for now."

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The Silver, the Brass, the Blood, and the Chorus—Part 3

Written by: Alex Crumb | Follow on: Twitter, Facebook

Published: Nov 9, 2017 5:06:33 PM

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Part 3: The Theeds

Separating the lively from the ancient was crucial to keeping Meridian upright. Without the young, none lived long enough to grow old. Without the antiques, there was no mystery to life's promised luxury.

Without the theeds, the ancients nesting atop the Inner Spires in their amber voxels were only human.

A theed separated the Weeping Desert's old world relics from their expressed design, however mysterious. A theed kept the antiques from killing their owners just long enough for them to grow old. 

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The Silver, the Brass, the Blood, and the Chorus—Part 2

Written by: Alex Crumb | Follow on: Twitter, Facebook

Published: Nov 8, 2017 10:47:08 AM

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The road elevated. The Inner Spires rose into view, gold slathered over light. At a distance, from the city perimeter, they were towers. Drawing nearer, they appeared uglier to the eye—stubby, inglorious volcanos, long cold.

The truck drew them nearer. The rain was still stiff as a snare line. The corroding tires swept away the gathered acid wash.

"Feel that?" Rahz asked. Orry set his fingertips to the door.

"Wheels are vibrating on the axel," Orry said.

Rahz kept her hand on the wheel. "There are only ten pinches of calliban connecting the drivetrain to the axel, but there are two hundred and sixteen ferrum rivets holding the truck together. The calliban can survive in this climate. The ferrum" she held the thought, clenching the wheel.

"Can we make the return trip?" Orry asked.

"No," Rahz answered. "Not on these wheels. Not with our skins."

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The Silver, the Brass, the Blood, and the Chorus—Part 1

Written by: Alex Crumb | Follow on: Twitter, Facebook

Published: Nov 7, 2017 3:28:09 PM

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According to the Silversmiths, any antiquities brought in from the Weeping Desert were entirely harmless. This was a decree founded on logic, rather than confidence. The logic was simple enough: if any antiquity truly was dangerous, it'd kill the man holding it well before he made it back into the city limits.

Who could say? Well, the dead, for one. The haunted, for another. They didn't keep a good command over language if the deserving circumstance struck them.

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9 Ways You Can Begin Purging Your Internet Addiction

Written by: Alex Crumb | Follow on: Twitter, Facebook

Published: Sep 6, 2017 12:00:00 PM

human-adaptability-chart.jpgAccording to a recent interview in "GQ" (Gentlemen's Quarterly) Magazine, Aziz Ansari revealed he recently quit the internet. Heh, yeah, dude, that owns. That owns, like, big time.

Look, there are worse role models in the world than Aziz Ansari. The guy crafted a non-genre masterclass in tasteful television with "Master of None" over on Netflix and taught a generation of men in their 30s that being a cock to women isn't fashionable.

But quitting the internet? Aziz, that is a confident move. That is game atop game, man. It's like the most punk rock thing you can do in 2017. Not many could pull it off, because the world is full of psychos and we need to talk to each other to maintain the panicked high that gets us from sunrise to sunset. Rumor has it, Christopher Nolan doesn't use or email or even own a cell phone (or let people sit in chairs on his movie sets). But I believe that's only a symptom of Nolan being a British person and is not a deliberate choice.

Nevertheless, it got me thinking: how can a normal person purge their internet addiction?

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Topics: technology

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