Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Is There A Geeks Anonymous?

Hi, my name is Umgawa, and I'm a geek. Like, a super-bad kind of hardcore geek. I just finished an hour-long conversation with one of my friends about why it is that Massively Multiplayer game just ain't my bag, that reason being that the players (the whole Massive number of them) are essentially built around the game, when I feel that games of that sort should be built around the players, and that the only means of rebellion against the people who run the games is by means of canceling their subscriptions. Anyway.

So, that's not why I'm a geek, though. See, while I was at lunch today between my classes, I was hanging around with the geeks in the cafeteria. You'll know us by looking for the crowd of people around the girl with the laptop, who seems to have tons upon tons of music videos on her computer, and we all seem to really know more about 1980's Japanese-import cartoons than any group collectively should. By the way, those music videos were all from Final Fantasy games. And they were good. Like really good. Like, "makes Umgawa jealous" kind of good. And that's bad.

So, what did I do? I actually wanted to watch these things up close and personal, so rather than stealing her laptop, I went over to my friend's house after school and started looking around good ol' fulfilling, and I found out something that really shocked me: In as much as I really dig Final Fantasy X and FFX-2, their music videos just aren't that great. Maybe that's just because I hate that whiny little turd, Tidus, but half of the videos were just using sources from places like Gamestop and such, which tend to watermark their stuff.

There was one good video from Final Fantasy IX (which I never played), and that one had a Linkin Park song going in the background. While I don't particularly like Linkin Park, the video worked. Or, maybe it was the fact that all of the Black Mages in FFIX look like Orko from He-Man. Linkin Park and Evanescence are very popular in the Anime Music Video community. Yes, I checked it out, there's actually a community of these people, in the internet sense of community. I mean, it's not like they're all living in Berkeley, which wouldn't really surprise me if they were.

And the videos from Final Fantasy VII aren't all that great, either. I mean, the game was really good-looking when it came out, but it didn't age well at all. So, here I am, downloading the videos at my friend's house, expecting to get all welled-up with sadness when Aeris dies, and then... nothing. The cutscenes from the game did absolutely nothing to me. I felt like I was watching Highlander 2, really trying to give a shit, but totally unable to. Ah well, at least there's Advent Children to look forward to, probably next year here in the States.

Yeah, the real goods are the videos for Final Fantasy VIII (which I also never played). The fact that I never played it is probably a good thing for me, because I have no idea how the story plays out, and the only character I recognized was Squall, because he's in Kingdom Hearts, which I've yet to go back to. So, basically, since I have no idea what's going on, I'm just looking at these videos as music videos, because there's no context to reference. Music videos on MTV are just like this, really. Sometimes they try to tell a coherent story, but the best ones really dispose of clarity for style and snappy editing.

So! If you've got broadband, or about... eight hours on a regular modem (for each video) in which you don't need to use your computer or phone line, take note, because these are the good ones:

* There's one that just came out today (yesterday, now that I type this) that's done to the song "Clocks" by Coldplay. The video quality is absolutely fantastic, and I like the song. And there are a couple of clips in it that just look charming as hell. After seeing Beauty and the Beast, I'm a sucker for ballroom scenes, what can I tell you? Anyway, get that one first, and that one's like fifty-five megabytes.

* And then there's one that uses a techno remix of Carl Orff's "O Fortuna," which is better known as, "That song from Excalibur" or from that scene in The Doors when Jim Morrison starts to dabble in witchcraft with that insane woman and then chase her around with his dick. Anyway, there's none of that in this video, although there are a couple of wicked-large swords being whirled about. Where the last video was gorgeous and featured a nice ballroom-dancing sequence, this one rocks the fucking house. I mean, this clip just astounded the hell out of me, in that there are people dancing exactly to the beat of the song in one sequence, and there's one part where a motorcycle flies toward the camera and cuts away right on-beat. This one clocks in at around forty megs, and you should grab that one here.

* Last one of the day is an Evanescence video, using the song "My Immortal" or something along those lines. Yes, I know that it's cliched and probably more than a bit trite to use an Evanescence song in one of these, but the video runs almost entirely counter to the last two and manages to pull some great video that wasn't featured in either of those. I'm not sure whether the guy really intended to contrast the downbeat song against the crazed world that's featured in the clips he put together, but it seems to work fairly well on that level. It's not edited nearly as well as the previous two videos I mentioned, but still holds its own over most of the stuff out there. Grab this one last, even if you're a big Evanescence fan. About fifty-five megs on that one.

So, having seen at least a dozen of these videos today, I'm tempted to give it a whirl. I hear there's a program out on the internet that allows you to rip the FMV from FFX on your PC DVD-ROM (is there a such thing as acronym-alliteration?), which would give a much higher quality on the video than most of the FFX videos I saw; of course, most of those were Windows Media files, which tend to artifact to shit. Basically, I'm bored, I have a copy of Adobe Premiere and no source to edit. Ooh, maybe I should rip a DVD and start making trailers or something. That could be fun.

I'm going to bed. I've got class in five hours. No, it won't be another week before I update again; I was just busy this whole damn week, not that I've noticed any cries for an update, since nobody but Lauren, Kristen and my brother ever leave comments. But I'll forgive you all if you just watch a couple of those videos, preferably in the order I gave them to you. Unless you want your fucking house rocked, whereas start with the second one.

AIM: therbmcc71

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