Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Immersion and the Little Details

Immersion is an odd thing; it can make or break a game, and can be subjective depending on who’s playing. It’s often hard to put your finger on where it comes from, but a heavy handed approach is certainly not it.

What would a game like Red Dead Redemption be if we did not feel like we were actually a part of this living, breathing, wild frontier world? What would Heroes of Stalingrad be without the gritty attention to detail in the bloody battle? These are both games that I find to have great immersion, whatever you’re doing, you feel like a part of the game, as you should. The reactions of things around you are a great help in this.

In Rockstar’s games, there’s an underlying banality, criticised by some, but I find it helps mediate the action and pacing. In Red Dead Redemption, you could be drinking or playing dice or poker one minute, and in a hectic gunfight with bandits or lawmen the next, all of the more day to day activities you can do, even hunting, lets you feel like you’re living in this world around you, hunting and trapping for meat and pelts to sell to earn your livelihood. The addition of random events found around the fictional state Red Dead sets itself in adds to this immersion, and they’re rare and varied enough not to take you out of the world.

The newly released Mount & Blade DLC expansion pack, Napoleonic Wars, by TaleWorlds handles immersion in an interesting way. A solely multiplayer affair, it takes place in the last days of the Napoleonic War, but pits any army of the period against the others, with little resemblance to historical events. The graphics and animations of Mount & Blade have heavily been criticised, and fairly so, but the mechanics really make the game stand out.

Thrown into the game are several classes and features that would likely go unused in a mainstream game, but the community really brings a great variation to the way battles pan out.

Line Infantry are your typical fighting unit, but each country has their own variations. These don’t change the mechanics at all, but add small variations that enrich the game’s setting. For example, the British Army has Highland Regiments, German Foot, a Yorkshire Regiment, all with their own individual classes and uniforms. You could argue there isn’t particularly much variation, but there’s enough to make a difference. Of course, foot isn’t all you need, there’s a wide variation of cavalry, dragoons, hussars and even the famed horse guard. None of this serves to add to the mechanics and the only gameplay variation between these units is the equipment that is sometimes geared towards a different role.

But I haven’t even gotten to the best parts about this DLC. What really takes the biscuit on an immersion level. Whatever unit you choose to join, you have a set of options, foot soldier, officer, or you can choose to play an instrument. These vary depending on who you play, highland regiments have bagpipes, Yorkshire regiments have a horn, while most other foot regiments have a fifer. These play different tunes depending on what instrument you choose, music like Rule Britannia and Men of Harlech. These are actually used by the in game community, one that acts with surprising discipline and cohesiveness, despite how little communication can be going on at times. In one battle I found me and my fellow redcoats crouched in a trench just outside a Russian fort. We had arranged ourselves into a neat firing line and were periodically discharging our rifles at any Russians who dared show themselves. The addition of player built defences that have to be built up, and knocked down, should they be enemy defences, by engineers adds a layer of tactics to all this, as does manned cannons and rocket artillery, both of which have to be loaded manually, as they would be realistically.

The end result of this is an expansion pack that is really held up by immersion. It’s what the players make of it, and so far, they’ve made a great deal.

Crusader Kings II Review

Crusader Kings II is all the fun of feudal politics, scheming and power-grabbing, from the relative safety of a Grand Strategy game.

I’ll admit I was sceptical about reviewing this one. Before Crusader Kings II I had never shown any interest at all in Grand Strategy, the closest I’ve got is games like the Total War series and civilisation, and they tend to lean towards strategy in the more traditional elements of commanding your troops on the field. I’ve always liked to fight my own battles, either from afar or on the ground, rather than watch numbers tick over.

But too much time spent reading A Song of Ice and Fire and watching Game of Thrones and I started getting the urge to stab some backs and plot some misdeeds. And Paradox Interactive’s Crusader Kings II is really the best place for a budding Tywin Lannister to start their conniving.

Unlike most strategy games where you’ll play as a country, in Crusader Kings 2 you’ll play as a Feudal House, and Paradox have really done their homework with this title. Major characters and houses like William the Conqueror or House Plantagenet have Wikipedia links built into the game, so anyone can look up the lives and histories of their character or house, but a lot of the fun in Crusader Kings 2 comes from picking a minor house and building yourself up from a single province or county.

My lack of experience with feudal politicking and Grand Strategy shined through the first time I successfully attempted playing, the first time proper being ended with my utter confusion at what the interface did, which I’m well aware every Grand Strategy player will deride me for. I picked the aged Morcar of Northumberland, just after the Norman invasion succeeded, a good way of keeping games varied in Crusader Kings is to pick different dates when you start a game, and realised that I was well into middle age and unmarried, with no children. This was not a good start.

Realising that my line would be succeeded by my rebellious younger brother and his son, I quickly set out to marry as high as I possibly could. I combed far and wide for an unmarried woman attached to a house where the ruler would accept my proposal, obviously she would have no choice in the matter, Crusader Kings II laughs at the modern ideas of equality, it really is medieval to the bone, and realised there was an eligible bachelorette in the Royal Family of Germany. Without thinking to examine who this woman was, I arranged the marriage as quickly as possible, a German princess for a wife would make me a powerful man indeed, I thought.

My plans came apart quickly enough, I realised I had not married a German princess, but instead, the Queen Mother. And she was nearly a decade older than I was. Unable to see how much danger this put me in, the game ends when your line dies out, I thought that at least she would be fertile, for a while, at least, and that I could get an heir in her quickly enough. Not the case. God forbid that the characters in Crusader Kings II do anything at your pace, but I was content to wait, and foolishly decided that my brother, at this time rebelling against the Crown, something I was not keen on doing, knowing well from my history books what William the Bastard did with rebels, I threw my lot in with him. Frankly still sour about the Harrying of the North after just under a millennium. The North remembers.

I was particularly keen to bring my brother’s counties into my own hands, sadly punishing my brother and rewarding me for my loyalty did not seem to be in William’s agenda.  My brother was imprisoned, and soon died due to the poor conditions of life in a dungeon. Foolishly, my next target was his son, and because of one assassin I paid, I sealed my own fate. Of course, the assassin did his business with the strictest professionalism, my nephew was dead and his lands were now mine. And no-one was any the wiser of my grievous crime. But years had passed and now I had no heir. This continued to be the case, through thick and thin, sickness and health, I just wasn’t able to get the missus pregnant, let alone have a good, healthy son, and when I died, that was it, my House was done for, forever doomed to a footnote in history.

So far, at least, my other games have turned out better. And the unpredictability of Crusader Kings II really does give it an edge that will make you come back to it again and again. Gameplay can certainly be seen as complicated by someone as inexperienced in the genre as I, but I’m sure someone used to games on this scale will find it a lot easier to grasp than I did. Graphics and aesthetics are an odd complaint to level at this genre, but I have one big one. They could have been handled so much better to get you into the feeling of the game. What we see now is a rendered satellite image style map of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, with small characters representing armies or your personal council about their business tower over whichever county they’re in, and none of this really makes you feel like a feudal lord. The bordering of a table at the edge of the map, which then simply dips into an endless grey void doesn’t help matters. If Paradox hadn’t wanted us to look beyond the edge of the map, there’s a very simple way to do this: Don’t let us. A grey void is a horrific way to do this, it takes us out of whatever immersion we had built up, and if we’re going to pretend it’s on a table, why a rendered style map? Why not one similar to the first Medieval: Total War? We could have had the feeling of looking over a pencilled map or sculpted table in a war room, small wooden pieces moving around it to show tactical developments.

None of this distracts overall from the game, however, which is better than ever thanks to the inclusion of a character creator DLC, where the player can create their customised character right down to portrait, house, position and traits, though adding too many traits will age your character a ridiculous amount, as such it’s best to start low and see what sort of hand the game deals you, which can be annoying when it’s meant to be your character, especially at the rate it ages you.

Other complaints are pettier than this, the music for example, it’s good, but it blares at you at a ridiculous volume, forcing you to turn it way down if you don’t want it distracting you throughout gameplay.

The art, as well, is good and captures the setting well, which is good, because you’ll spend a long time looking at it, and I mean a long time. My computer is not bad by any means, I can run most modern games on any setting I like, but Crusader Kings II takes forever to load, and that’s for people with better processors than me as well. I understand that this can’t be helped; it’s a result of the sheer amount of calculations that make a game on this scale possible. All over the virtual world, there are decisions and plots being put through their paces, battles and full scale crusades. All of this is calculated in real time, and the only edge the player has is the ability to pause to make their decisions, which isn’t much when you’re up against a perfect machine being, which knows Pi to a thousand places.

The depth in this game is really worth mentioning, because I’ve never played anything like it, it’s hard to sum up really, everything is seamless, but there’s a lot you can do, and things have far reaching consequences, different traits can give you different advantages or disadvantages depending on how you choose to play, and games can pan out differently depending on how certain characters like you, all of this can work for better or worse.

The game is one of those last vestiges of difficulty and intrigue in a world filled with games that, in some sad cases, literally play themselves. I’d say fans of Grand Strategy should pick it up, but I don’t doubt that almost all of them probably have. Gamers who love G.R.R Martin’s books and HBO’s series based on them might want to give this a try, and strategy fans like myself who would have previously dismissed Grand Strategy should really think twice before passing a game like Crusader King’s 2.

Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad Review

When setting out to make a sequel to their debut game, Red Orchestra: Ostfront 41-45, developers Tripwire Interactive strived to make a brutal, unrelenting depiction of one of the bloodiest battles in human history.

Only the third game to be made by the developers, following the team’s breakout success in a competition, of all things, Red Orchestra 2 lives up to its promises and is easily one of the grittiest feeling games I’ve ever played.

Immersion is key in a game like Heroes of Stalingrad, immersion, after all, can make or break a game, and Red Orchestra 2 can immerse you brilliantly in the horrific brutality of Stalingrad. In the singleplayer campaign or a well populated multiplayer game, you’ll fight fiercely and bleed for every inch of ground you try and seize.

Many of these skirmishes take place in the cramped corridors of bombed out buildings, where you’ll react to movement by sheer reflex with no time to think about your actions. The added option to manually rack the bolt of a standard service rifle such as the German K98k or Russian Mosin-Nagant adds to this. If you miss your first shot in a close quarters fight, your only option may be to use your rifle like a club, or be beaten by an enemy with an automatic weapon.

Added to this is a feeling of horror. Whether you’re in a full blown firefight or creeping through an enemy held building, the atmosphere is all around you. Gunshots, artillery explosions, screams and cries from both your side and the enemy will fill the air. There’s a horrible feeling that humanizes the violence seen tossed around willy-nilly in most games, an enemy will occasionally lie, writhing on the ground and filling your head with the sounds of their last choking breath, or sickening gargles as their lungs fill with blood.

The usually emotionless shells of multiplayer characters will be able to comment on most things that happen in the game. If your stamina runs low, they’ll pant and mutter breathlessly about how they need to rest. If your side is taking heavy losses, cries of despair will ring out from all angles, there may be anger over a murdered comrade, or simply a bestial scream as you swing a rifle at a foeman’s head.

This, combined with how unpredictable your deaths can be, a rifle butt to the back of the head, or a bullet tearing into your chest as you round a corner, keep you on edge at almost all times. And overriding the music of death is the game’s orchestral score, with separate themes for the Russian and German armies that switch depending on how the battle goes. The music is typical of any game or film set on the Eastern Front, and although it isn’t particularly memorable, it provides an excellent backing to the grim setting of Stalingrad.

Particular detail has been paid to the setting, with Tripwire employees flying out to the city now known as Volgograd to dig up photographs and floor plans of buildings at the time of the battle, and the maps really do shine this particular devotion. Buildings range from the small and relatively intact, to huge concrete behemoths and places that may once have been factories, but are now just a pile of framework and rubble. 

This attention to detail is obviously helped by the games graphics and aesthetics.  Though the latter can sometimes take away from the former. It’s hard to appreciate how good the game can look sometimes when it’s layered in dirt and grit, with the washed out brown colourings that are so prevalent in the shooter genre.

Heroes of Stalingrad is rather more honest than some of its more mainstream rivals though. There’s no doubt it focuses on multiplayer. Singleplayer isn’t just a tacked on feature, it’s simply a tutorial. It’s not just obvious, it’s completely transparent. The two campaigns, one for each faction, are entertaining to a point, but the vapid AI controlled bots lack any of the guile that a human opponent will have.

The highlight of the single-player comes in the small cutscenes between chapters, where excerpts from the soldiers’ diaries are read by the game’s voice actors, accompanied by Sam Hulick’s score and the same piece of artwork. It’s a lazy approach, but it helps build the all-important atmosphere, and it’s a decent touch for a game that has absolutely no story or characters to speak of. The only recurring characters are the unseen German and Russian men who give you your briefings before each mission, and they’re not even given names.

So truly, the game is meant to be played as a multiplayer experience. Which generally has a good array of choices that can suit almost any play style. Having dabbled with Ostfront 41-45, I expected myself to be a crack shot with a bolt action rifle, every attempt to use an SMG in the previous game had lead to me firing a wildly inaccurate burst of shots that flew just about everywhere but where I was aiming.

The opposite of this was true in Heroes of Stalingrad. Every shot I fired with a supposedly trusty rifle went wide, or fell short, or simply failed to disable my enemy, until I started playing as the assault class, making myself into a highly mobile, close quarters fighting machine, mowing down rooms of enemies with short, deadly bursts of automatic fire.

As well as the game mechanics work, however, there’s a prevalent feeling that the game is missing a huge chunk of what made its previous incarnation great. There are two vehicles you can crew, which are beautifully modelled both interior and exterior, but don’t really provide much in the way of tactics beyond your usual use of tanks.

In addition to this, there’s not much in the way of a commander system. You’ll find yourself running around acting on your own initiative, there’s no-one co-ordinating your team into focussed assaults and massed rushes to take heavily defended positions.

There are certainly less maps in Stalingrad, and most are a lot smaller than their Ostfront counterparts. Narrow, ruined streets having replaced the wide open plains and forests of the last game, and it feels slightly poorer for it.

The final word on Heroes of Stalingrad has to be a good one. The game looks good, feels satisfying and has an atmosphere that no other game of its genre can really boast. It portrays a brutal time in human history with sometimes harrowing accuracy.
Bullets have as much impact as they can without your PC reaching out and punching you, shots that narrowly whizz past you and explosions in your area will distort your hearing, and suppress and shellshock you. A bullet wound will cause you to bleed if it isn’t patched up, and even if you try, you might fade out quicker than you can react.

Gamers who enjoy titles such as ArmA and other war sims and tactical shooters will no doubt want to give Red Orchestra a try, it balances gameplay and polish with realism perfectly, you can run and gun if you’re good enough, and at close range, even firing from the hip is a viable tactic, but caution is advised, and at longer ranges the game employs previously unseen features in the genre, such as being able to zero your sights to compensate for bullet drop.

It’s a previously unseen niche for World War II realism, and definitely well worth a look.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Saints Row: The Third Review

Saints Row: The Third is Volition’s latest offering in the increasingly madcap Saints Row series, developed with aims to bring the world of sandbox crime games to a new level of freedom.

The final result certainly accomplishes that goal to a certain extent, and really makes the series stand out on its own, for better and for worse. The first Saints Row - despite an impressive number of sales and numbers from reviews sat firmly somewhere in the 80s – could never really shake the comparisons to Rockstar’s behemoth of the genre: Grand Theft Auto. But the games really seem to be travelling in different directions, since Saints Row and GTA: Vice City Stories Rockstar has come out with steadily more mature and gritty stories, whereas Volition has let you take off all of your clothes and jump out of a plane.

It’s a common complaint, but the amount of grit and actual substance taken away from the story and gameplay of Saints Row: The Third. Saints Row 2 was, at the end of the day, grounded with some vague semblance of realism that made the extraordinary things you could do stand out all that more. You see Rockstar doing this all the time. They don’t need to let you sit in your depressing flat you share with your annoying cousin and watch ultra-macho chat shows, or spend virtual hours in a saloon in Red Dead Redemption, knocking back shot after shot until you stagger out into the street and fall into the dirt. They do it to create a benign, everyday atmosphere so that going out and having a knife fight with a bear or driving a supercar through the Liberty City equivalent of Times Square feels that much more special by comparison.

Saints Row: The Third, however, really doesn’t break up the action with anything. The most banal things I can think of doing in the time I played for, and it is a ridiculous amount of time, is posing for pictures. The Saints are international celebrities, after all, and the game at least manages to convey that well. There are twenty fans to find in the city that want to take your picture, fans occasionally gasp in amazement at your passing or run up to ask for an autograph. Pictures of the Saints’ lieutenants are on billboards in every street and all but three of the clothing shops in the game’s setting of Steelport are dedicated to selling Saints clothing and merchandise.

It’s not that Saints Row: The Third isn’t a good game; it’s more a case that a lot of the dirtier side of things has been lost. It almost seems to mirror the happenings of the game. The Saints, formerly feared, vicious gang members have become pampered international celebrities, and the game seems to have toned down the violence to people being swallowed in a big cloud of bright red, at the very worst. There were parts of Saints Row 2 that were genuinely harrowing, or worthy of flinching at, at least, Johnny Gat breaking a rival gang leaders legs and burying him alive, Carlos being dragged behind a speeding truck until your only option is euthanize him, it really made you feel like you were in a violent and inhospitable world. The characters in Saints Row: The Third don’t die aged 90 in their own beds, but everything happens so suddenly and is over so quickly that it’s robbed of its weight.

The story isn’t spectacular but it’s not terrible by any means, everything ties together, no matter which order you pick your available missions in, and characters are well voiced, colourful and make good additions to the world around you. The cutscenes and dialogue are really the best feature of the game as far as story goes. The protagonist is no longer the straight man to the rest of the world’s insanity and now leans towards comic relief. Each of the seven different personalities you can pick is beautifully voiced, with individual dialogue and idle one-liners. Without much effort I’ve been able to pick out a personality that I find suits the character I’ve made. It really misses out on all the awkwardness that comes from having a customisable voiced protagonist.

The extent you’re able to customise your character at is hit and miss, to say the least. Facial and body customisation is a lot better than it was in Saints Row 2, though there really isn’t much to say for most of the male body types, the extremes being either athletic, a potato monster or a gears of war character. Customisation of clothing takes a dive too. The selection is a lot bigger and has some great variation, but it comes at the expense of being able to dress your character in individual layers of clothing. You’ll be able to make a great looking character regardless, but it could have been so much better if they’d expanded on the system from Saints Row 2 and brought in more items. Especially useless is the individual clothing slot for masks, which contains one item. There are other items that could go in the mask slot, but apparently this didn’t occur to Volition who decided they should all be hats.

Speaking of characters, it’s worth saying that the animation is great. Characters run, jump and reload fluidly and realistically. I’d often take the long way to a destination just so I could see my character scurrying over a mesh fence like Spider-Man, or vaulting across someone’s garden. Clipping is practically non-existent, though characters with large hats or hair may find them cropped when they get into a vehicle.

Vehicle customisation has had a few cutbacks since the last game; you can no longer bounce around on hydraulics, which wasn’t a particularly interesting feature in the first place. It would be nice to be able to customise vehicles like the Bear APC and the multitude of helicopters you’re going to collect throughout the game, but it’s no major issue that you can’t.

When you get down to the nitty-gritty of it, Saints Row: The Third is all about the gameplay and freedom, and there are really no faults there I can point out. The core gameplay works well enough that I haven’t noticed anything that particularly stands out about it. You charge or drive around as fast as you can and lots of things die. It’s plain dumb fun, and there are about as many different ways to do this as you’ll feel like. You can strafe with a helicopter gunship, call down a precision airstrike, launch Call of Duty style guided missiles, embark on a chainsaw massacre or literally burst people with a gigantic pair of ‘Apoca-Fists.’

Once you’ve started your rampage it probably won’t be long until you’ve attracted the attention of the authorities or other gangs, and it’s a shame to say that the nature of Saints Row doesn’t quite make these pursuits as thrilling as trying to evade the police in Grand Theft Auto. A character about midway through the ranking system isn’t going to have any trouble until tanks start chasing them, which means that until then, police chases are more of a nuisance than anything more threatening.

It’s pretty safe to say that no-one’s going to really be challenged by Saints Row: The Third unless they crank the difficulty way up. It’s rare that you’ll ever be killed directly by anyone you’re fighting, most of the time deaths come from being caught in the explosion of whatever vehicle you might be driving, which is annoying to say the least, especially if you’ve just attempted to bail out of said vehicle and die anyway.

At the end of the day, anything I can criticise about Saints Row: The Third is offset by the fact that I’ve put over one-hundred man hours into it, finding everything it has to offer and then some. It’s a great game for a lark, but it really doesn’t advance anything other than the increasingly ridiculous storyline of Saints Row. Fans of sandbox crime games, or open world games in general, should really give it a try, you won’t find anything particularly new or amazing, but you’ll probably have a ton of fun blasting your way through Steelport.

Saturday, 14 January 2012

THQ & Vigil, Take note.

Things Dark Millennium Online must include.

Roleplay Servers - A good way to bring people in from other MMOs, as well as draw Dark Heresy players in. This does come with some extra work, interactive things in the environment, a mechanic for walking, an emote system with animations (which frankly, if you don't have a few of these anyway, you're doing wrong.)

Playable Sisters of Battle - Because girls can't be Space Marines, and they're my favourite race.

Playable Imperial Guard - Balancing this will be a bitch, but they're a staunch favourite. Who doesn't want to be a Commissar?

Playable everything-else-except Necrons and Tyranids - This might well upset players of these races, but I'm leaving them out because there's absolutely no social aspect to them, Tyranids are a hive mind who skitter around eating everything, and Necrons are long dead beings that don't do much except flay and destroy things. Neither of them are very talkative.

Unique Classes - Every race is different, after all. There are Librarians, Celestians, Stormtroopers, Raptors and more. Take note of this. The least you can do is give them different names, even if Raptors, Assault Marines and Seraphim all do the same thing.

Customisable Armour - Chances are you've already implemented something like this already, but whatever system you're going to use for armour, it's important you realise people want customisation, so include a (conservative) recolour system (to prevent such things as bright pink Imperial Guard) and transmog. Better yet, have an armour system like Space Marine's. Even Imperial Guard will need customisation, not everyone wants to be Cadian.

Don't make the same mistakes Relic does - Namely limiting everything to Blood Ravens, Orks and Eldar and making us pay for the rest.

And with any luck, decent balancing between Order and Destruction. It's not a great system for an MMO in the 41st Millenium, being able to split in three ways would most likely work better (Imperium, Xenos and Chaos) but however you do it, balance the game like its never been balanced before.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

On Assassin's Creed

So, whilst I have nothing better to do, in that I've finished college and I'm sleeping in a messed up pattern that leaves me awake most of the night, I figure I'll get back to trying to do some sporadic updates for my blog.

So I figured I'll talk about something someone drew my attention to over on the Escapist. By which I mean: I read someone's post about it and found it interesting enough to warrant further thought, about the characterisation of the main characters (not Desmond, he sucks) in the Assassin's Creed games.

For a quick summary to get us started: At the beginning of Assassin's Creed, Altair is a cocky, high ranking and skilled assassin, so cocksure of himself that he ignores just about everything he's been taught, which leads to one of his comrades dying, and another losing an arm below the elbow. Because of this he's punished and reduced to the rank of a novice, and he starts out angered by this, arguing with the leaders of the Assassins Bureaus, and in time, through killing his targets he becomes wiser. He also questions his targets as to why they do what they do, which provides a philosophical element to the game similar to that in the original Deus Ex. His attitude generally remains quite cold, but lets remember that this is a guy who's been brought up by an Assassin order.

Now lets compare him to Ezio, who I'd take a guess that most people consider the 'better' character out of the two. He was brought up as a Florentine noble, so he's pretty cocky too, and then, throughout the story, he stays cocky. He's pretty much only interested in sex and revenge. He kills his targets and doesn't give a damn why they do what they do. All he'll give is a bit of condemnation and a Requiescat in Pace. Throughout Assassin's Creed 2 and Brotherhood the character never really changes at all.

My point can be summed up thusly. Ezio might be the more colourful character, in terms of how he acts, but is he necessarily the better one?

And as a final note, Ezio may be the charmer, but I know far more girls who melt over Altair's cold, blunt nature.
The women I know are strange.
And are going to kill me for writing that.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Would you believe me...

...If I said lack of updates was because I have absolutely no interest in most things that come out until March or so? I'll try and get this site back on track, no promises, some demo reviews may be upcoming, as well as whatever news I can get my grubby mitts on. 

In the meantime, a more serious piece of quasi-news. Just as a warning, there's a bit of nightmare fuel at the end. Damn slow-mo.

So much for bringing families closer together, eh, Microsoft? Kinect just causes child abuse.

I'm going to hell for laughing at this, aren't I?
Lets finish this off with a little quote.

"Tragedy is when I cut my finger. Comedy is when you walk into an open sewer and die." - Mel Brooks.