Nilin needs some help exploring Neo-Paris to find some lost memories.
Note: This is a rewrite of the original article posed on Novemer 24. Explanation in the last paragraph.
Overview: I had some high hopes for Remember Me, Capcom’s memory-stealing, ass-kicking, knuckle-duster. Now I’m wondering if I want to purge this game from my databanks. Somehow, they managed to take a bleeding edge cyberpunk idea, add some excellent visuals to hook you, and implement what can only be described as some bad ideas that bring down much of what’s good about this game.
But let’s try to highlight better aspects of Remember Me, mainly the story and visuals:
The Story: In Paris (now Neo-Paris) 2084, the Memorize corporation has risen to dominance thanks to its Sensation Engine (Sensen) brain implant that allows people to share memories as part of a futuristic social network. Sensen can also be used to alter or even delete memories, affecting how people act. This alteration capability has not gone unnoticed by the “Errorist” movement, who sees this ability as a form of mind control (figuratively and literally) and seek to end Memorize’s operations.
Nilin is a “memory-hunter”, someone who can steal and alter (”remix”) memories. She was caught by Memorize’s S.A.B.R.E. Force, as part of their campaign to end the errorist movement, and taken to La Bastille to have her memories removed. But Edge, the errorist leader, helps her escape and is now trying to help her recover her memories before a final assault to take down Memorize.
What has been seen… The visuals of Remember Me is some sweet eye-candy. The differences between Slum 404 and sewers, and Saint-Michel district and Memorize’s headquarters are certainly stark enough in contrast. The slum areas certainly look like DIY constructs.
Some of the robots you’ll encounter won’t be this sexy, or working,… or friendly.
It certainly all looks inviting enough to explore. But that’s where one of the game’s problems come in: Limited exploration. All too often, the path you have to walk is linear with only a few branch areas where some upgrade “patches” might be hidden (in that case, a “clue” presents itself to show where the patches are). You will encounter some obstacles, so Nilin becomes a sort of “Spider babe” who is able to climb up and slide down ladders and pipes, shimmy across ledges a-la Ninja Warrior “Cliffhanger”, and even jump across bottomless pits between ledges. Arrows show the way to go, and if necessary and “aug-eye” clue can be called upon to show you the way. Helpful, but it’s no fun for more adventurous explorers.
Take your time walking the streets and admire the “view”.
As a memory hunter, Nilin has the ability to “remix” memories. This ability can have a dramatic effect on your target like turning a vicious enemy into an ally… IF it’s done right.
Remixing memories is quite fun, seeing the possible outcomes. Too bad you’ll only get three four chances to do remixes.
Control out of control. For those of you expecting a first person shooter, let me break the news to you: This isn’t a shooter, and it’s not first-person. Remember Me is third-person, from-behind, like Tomb Raider. And it’s a beat-em-up fighting game (think “Double Dragon”). I tend to prefer first-person games, but third-person can work for me… IF things work out right. Unfortunately, like many third-person games, the “camera” used tend to cause problems itself. Clipping, obstructions, and inability to fully control the camera (particularly when hanging off ledges) can make for some serious frustration, especially during the fights.
Speaking of fights, that’s where I had some serious problems. To start, you use the game’s “Combo Lab” to construct your own combo of punch-and-kick “pressens” that can do extra damage, heal yourself, or allow you to use special “Super Pressens” (S-Prssens) sooner and more often. Think carefully when making your combos as the pressens only do their magic if you do the combos correctly, otherwise your fighting skills become nothing more than a pointless exercise in button mashing. Another problem is that the combos are “predetermined,” meaning that the pattern of punches and kicks are already decided for you. You just decide what pressen those attacks are.
As for the fighting itself, it’s all about rhythm as ekkko points out in the comments. I was finally able to get past a fight with mourner leapers thanks to ekkko’s tip, though I did have to die another half-dozen times more before I saw an attack pattern being used, then it was the mourner leaper’s turn to get their asses handed to them. After that, it was smooth sailing through the end, except for a couple of “puzzles” to solve near the end. No more watching Nilin die during fights.
Remember: Fighting is all about rhythm, like dancing, only with an occasional evasive two-step to avoid creeps who want to “cut in.”
Conclusion: Remember Me had the potential to be a great cyberpunk game, possibly ten stars. It had a story line with some twists to make you want to stay until the end. It had the visuals to make the story come alive. But lack of exploration, a wonky camera, and limited combo customization should make you reconsider whether you want Remember Me to take up memory space on your systems.
NOTE: I originally blogged RM while in a state of rage due to an inability to get past a point late in the game. Do NOT try that at home! After a break and ekkko’s hint (and a few more deaths before discovering a pattern), I did make it past and finish easily. With calmer headspace prevailing, I saw fit to revise RM’s rating from 2 to 4 stars. The issues of the camera, premade combos, and no exploration still hold the game back though.
WARNING! The following article contains graphic pictures of a dead robot. Viewer discretion is advised.
The tip of the iceberg? Depending on how you want to look at it, robots just took one step closer (or further away) from being human as one domestic robot has apparently killed itself. Because of the degree of the robot’s (self) destruction, determining exactly why it chose to kill itself remains a mystery, though we do have some “theories”.
The GORY details: On 12-Nov-2013, a Roomba robot in Hinterstoder (apartments) in Kirchdorf, Austria finished cleaning up spilled cereal in a kitchen and was shut down by the owner. But for reasons yet unknown, the robot restarted, pushed a pot out of its way, and wound up on the kitchen stove “hotplate” where it melted and started a fire.
(Firefighter Helmut Kniewasser) ‘Somehow it seems to have reactivated itself and made its way along the work surface where it pushed a cooking pot out of the way and basically that was the end of it.
‘It pretty quickly started to melt underneath and then stuck to the kitchen hotplate. It then caught fire. By the time we arrived, it was just a pile of ash.
‘The entire building had to be evacuated and there was severe smoke damage particularly in the flat where the robot had been in use.
The human apt dwellers were allowed to return after cleanup, except the Roomba’s owner (who also owns the apts) whose flat is not livable. The owner plans to sue Roomba: “The company that makes the robots is selling dangerous devices, I intend to sue to get compensation. It has ruined my home as everything is smoke damaged.”
Another version of the truth: With the Roomba reduced to ashes and no witnesses to the event, it will be near impossible to determine exactly why the bot fried itself. We can only speculate for now, but the real reason may not be as sci-fi as some might believe.
Bad owner: The owner claims he shut the bot off when it finished, but it is possible the switch may not have been completely in the off position. A slight jostle, bump, or tremor could have cause the switch close in the “on” position. And the rest of the story… This would be the most likely reason (IMO).
Then again, the owner may have been a total dick, repeatedly bullying the Roomba until its spirit was broken.
Defective robot: The owner’s claim the robot is dangerous may hold up in court, unless Roomba can prove it tested its units satisfactorily so that it should be improbable for the bot start up on its own, unless the owner… see above.
Asimov’s Directives: No word on if Roomba programs the robots with The Three Laws, but if so then the robot’s suicide may be the unit following those laws. But then, why would it endanger humans in the other apts, where its actions violate the First and Third laws? That would put us back at the “Defective robot” spot, unless…
The Ghost: (From CNET:) “In future times, when the distinction between robot and human becomes far more blurred, occurrences such as these will surely become more usual.” Indeed, this is what Dr. Alfred Lanning was talking about when discussing “The Ghost In The Machine”. Was this an example of the “Ghost?” Have we actually seen the much-promised singularity, only to lose it in a puff of smoke? Are we so close to the humanization of the machines that the seemingly simple Roomba is just the infant of greater things to come?
“That, detective, is the RIGHT question.
“Gentlemen, we can build him. We have the technology. We have the capability to build the world’s first bionic man.”
Overview: Ever wondered how close we are to making a real artificial, cybernetic life form? A robotic android (”Roboid” as I would prefer to call them) like Lt. Cmdr. Data?
Well, a couple of guys thought it would make for an incredible thought experiment… and, they went through with it earlier this year. Richard Walker (the bearded dude) and Professor Alexander Seifalian got together, along with Bertolt Meyer (psychology professor with an artificial arm and hand) as the model, and the most advanced bionic/cybernetic prosthetics and implants available and built TIBM (my name for him). The result… not bad for a first attempt, but it does have a long way to go to be Data. It does show, however, that we’ve come a long way from peg-legs and hook-hands (deal with it, pirates!). You can watch the video online at the Smithsonian Channel’s site or on YouTube.
Some assembly required.
Batteries not included.
So what is needed to build your own TIBM? Well, you need a body-frame to install everything on, otherwise things fall apart very rapidly. Next, some limbs would help. Prosthetic arms and legs have been around for some time, but today’s computer technology practically makes them indistinguishable from the real thing, provided you wear long-sleeve shirts and full-length pants. Next, a skull made from a synthetic, bone-like material to house your cyberbrain… once that’s been made. A microphone for ears, special glasses for eyes, a latex “skin” face… so far TIBM is shaping up real good.
What about inside, where it counts? Another synthetic material has been developed that can be made into any shape, but for now it serves as artificial blood vessels. That should work with the artificial heart and nano-particle “blood” being used. They have an artificial kidney that uses real kidney cells, and a prototype pancreas. The Internet-based chatbot serves as the brain, albeit a primitive and imperfect brain.
So TIBM is looking more human, but what about moving like a human? Piece of cake for the hands and arms, but as for walking, the legs themselves don’t do it alone. That’s where a motorized, exoskeleton comes in for walking. Baby steps at this point.
Better, Stronger, Faster… Cheaper. TIBM represents the advance of technology, inspired by The Six Million Dollar Man. If you want to compare price tags, TIBM costs only ONE million, so for one Steve Austin you can have a half-dozen TIBMs. One problem is that TIBM won’t have nuclear power sources of Austin.
The lack of nuclear power is but a minor nuisance, compared to other problems of TIBM. For one thing, some of the implants use Bluetooth, an unsecure wireless protocol leaving them open to hacking. Its walking ability needs much work still. TIBM is also incomplete, missing vital organs like the brain, liver, and digestive tract.
Ethical considerations were also brought up briefly; While the devices were made for people (like soldiers) who lost limbs or organs in accidents, some may try to “upgrade” themselves without a real medical need. Then there’s concern that TIBM may be the prototype of a new race that may supplant or destroy humanity.
Bertolt Meyer takes a trip to the Uncanny Valley as he meets the completed TIBM, complete with his face, for the first time.
Conclusion. We’ve certainly come a long way from peg-legs and Jarvick artificial hearts, but there is still some development to go yet before we can make fully functional androids. Even now, or as shown near the end of the show as Dr. Meyer tries a new prosthetic, developments and breakthroughs keep us moving closer to that day. And when that day does arrive… will humanity be ready? If TIBM’s fumble with a pint at the end is any indication, humans still have plenty of time to be prepared.
In case nobody noticed, the machines are taking over… starting with our jobs.
The robots ARE taking over. Well, the brainless sheeple have succeeded where the terrorists tried. The US Government has self-destructed and the country is fucked. Brainless hordes of tea-party zombie-borgs are now roaming the streets, assimilating independents and eating their brains. And all because the sheeple did something so stupid like “voting”, not for a person, but for a corporate brand. Our only hope now is an underground anti-party resistance armed with smart-phones with Linux, the Original Constitution of The United States (THX Nick Cage!), and nuclear powered SUVs armed with…
Wait, WHAT? Oh, no zombies yet… just the shutdown. Still, better be prepared… just… in… case… But before I get ahead of history, something from last week I’ve been meaning to blog: Machines taking over US labor.
The Singularity Hub reports on an Oxford University research paper that shows America’s job market is susceptible to computerization. This is based on 702 job listings and advances in artificial intelligence, where computers can replace meat in transportation, labor, and even administrative support jobs:
“While computerization has been historically confined to routine tasks involving explicit rule-based activities, algorithms for big data are now rapidly entering domains reliant upon pattern recognition and can readily substitute for labor in a wide range of non-routine cognitive tasks,” write study authors Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael Osborne.
Detroit knows… Having your job being replaced by a machine is old news to Detroit, MI, US. Ever since the 1970s, robots have taken over factory jobs, leaving the hapless humans out in the cold… if not in the unemployment office. But those old clunkers are mere toys compared to what today’s mechs can do, especially when combined with still advancing artificial intelligence. Maybe one day, robots will be building… (wait for it)… ROBOTS!
“Robots building robots. Now that’s just stupid!” - Det. Del Spooner
Numbers game. The paper puts the actual number at 47%. Not actual jobs that will be lost, but what could be lost to automation; Jobs at risk of automation. Even then, there’s no accounting for economics (not that there ever is any accounting for economics(!)). Factors such as regulation, actual costs of automation, and post-automation benefits/cots aren’t figured in, so that 47% is more a “rough” estimate.
So who can we replace? The paper’s appendix has a listing showing what jobs they studied for possible automation. The jobs are listed by increasing probability of automation, and some are marked with a 1 or 0 indicating if the position can automated or not. So who lucked out, and who’s out of luck?
Recreational Therapists, chill out; Your jobs are safe with only a 0.0028 probability (or less than one third of one percent) of being replaced. You medical doctors (surgeons, physicians, and dentists) are in even better shape; Your probability is .0042 - .0044, but you have been marked as “not computerisable”.
Ironically, Computer-Controlled Machine Tool Operators (metal and plastic) have .86 probability, Computer Operators have .78, Computer Support Specialists have .65, Programmers - .48, Computer Hardware Engineers and Other Computer Occupations - .22.
At the bottom of the list: Telemarketers, as if those robocalls at dinnertime need to remind us.
No mention of Politicians, though Political Scientists have .039 probability. But given the recent DC bullshit, I for one would openly welcome our new cyber-overlords.
Additional Input. The New York Times has an “Op-Ed” post called “How Technology Wrecks the Middle Class.” Probably better, this spoken track from the 2011 deluxe re-release of Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s “Liverpool” explains what humanity will have to look forward to:
“Fallen World’s narrative was inspired by cyberpunk anime and films such as Appleseed, Terminator, and The Matrix Series. While the the game mechanics were designed with the idea of creating a totally new and unique, fast paced action, easy to play, but yet challenging gaming experience.”
Overview: In between rounds of Shadow Warrior Redux on Steam, I’ve been toying with this indie title that’s looking for a home on Steam but is available on Desura. For the uninitiated, Desura is much like Steam, a software distribution platform. Unlike Steam, Desura is geared more toward indie and “casual” games, which is the two categories that Fallen World falls into. As can be deduced by the above blurb, Fallen World takes some of the ideas common in cyberpunk and makes a game geared more for the web-browser gamer though it is available for any type player, from nubie web surfers to veteran joystick jocks who can still remember their favorite nth-key Pac-Man pattern.
Fallen World fits nicely for the casual cyberpunk gamer; It’s easy to pick up, but challenging enough to keep it from being boring. Plus, you get to earn experience points, or XPs, that you can spend to upgrade your skills and such. Those upgrades will be vital as you and Ai venture deeper into machine territory.
The Story: The machines have overrun Earth, but a small band of human resistance remains and they have a plan to pull the plug on the machine’s plans for domination. They have enlisted the help of Kuro, a ninja-cyborg, to help deliver a virus into the machine’s mainframe to shut them down. Kuro won’t be carrying the virus, but a cyborg girl named Ai will. Kuro needs to escort Ai from the human’s hideout to the machine’s headquarters, where she will upload the virus. The machines are already waiting for the duo…
True to anime tome, the termination of the last bot in a wave is… dramatic.
Bitch, please. Already I can hear the vets wondering why I would review a game like this, other than it being a cyberpunk game. Well, not all cyberpunkers are hardcore gamers (too busy hacking or making music, etc.). Some were gamers in the 80s and 90s, but the ravages of time has slowed our reflexes and killed our eyesight (I can happen to me, it WILL happen to you!), so these casual games may be our way to scratch an itchy trigger finger. And others are just starting out, so a casual game can get them started to being joystick jocks, or just net.dicks.
Some of the other gripes the pros might have:
It’s one of those “Flash” games. I’ve played Flash games online, but Fallen World is NOT one of them. FW uses a relatively new game creation engine called Unity. While Flash is mostly restricted to web browsers (though stand-alone Flash players are out thers), Unity games can be made to run on most any platform, on or offline.
There’s no mention on the minimum specs your system needs to run Fallen World, so try the online version first. If the web version runs well, the Desura version will work.
It’s only for those with no skills. Admittedly, my skills may not be what they used to be, but I’ve been able to hold my own against the robot hordes.
Escort game??!!!??? Nope, tower defense game. Ai doesn’t move as the robots close in. Instead, she relies on Kuro’s sword, random air strikes, and soldiers and turrets Kuro can call upon.
Of course, I have my own problems after playing:
Not so wide-open. I play using a wide-screen TV/monitor on my rig, so I would like to see a game fill the whole 16:9 HD ratio. Unfortunately, Fallen World doesn’t. It remains at the standard 4:3 ratio of old even in full-screen. A hold over from it’s port from browsers.
What’s the difference? They said there was going to be some features in the stand-alone version, but I’ve yet to see what they are. Maybe I haven’t played far enough into the game to find those features. A wide-screen option would have been nice (see above).
(Out of) Control. The on-line version requires use of the mouse, and there are two different ways to use it. Understandable, but a stick/pad control would be ideal for the stand-alone.
Get used to seeing this scene until your skills are advanced enough.
Conclusion. Fallen World certainly gives indie games a shot in the arm, showing that there are some good quality cyberpunk games out there. Still, I was a bit disappointed that the additions were not in the stand alone version (unless I need to play deeper). But for an asking price of $3 US, it’s certainly more of a challenge on your skills than on your wallet.
University of Washington researcher Rajesh Rao (left) was able to get his fellow researcher Andrea Stocco to press a button using only his mind… from across campus.
So he’s not Charles Xavier, but a researcher at the University of Washington was able to get a fellow researcher to push a keyboard button by sending the message through his mind, via computers, Internet, and a couple of wired caps.
Rajesh Rao set up a way to send a “fire” command mentally to colleague Andrea Stocco that would make him press the spacebar on his keyboard who was on the opposite side of the U of W campus.
The video, though short on length and sound, does show what appears to be a successful transmission of Rao’s “fire” command to Stocco’s head. Stocco compared the involuntary reaction to a “nervous twitch”. And Rao’s reaction:
“It was both exciting and eerie to watch an imagined action from my brain get translated into actual action by another brain,” Rao said. “This was basically a one-way flow of information from my brain to his. The next step is having a more equitable two-way conversation directly between the two brains.”
The setup was quite simple enough, but the effect will reverberate through the tech world for some time to come.
Getting into your head. The technology to connect a human brain to a machine has been around for a while; Machines that can read brainwave activity has been used by hospitals for years, recently there are machines that can “read” thoughts in your brain, they’re even developing thought controlled game controllers. But this is the first time one brain was actually “connected” to another. And the implications are, well…
Stocco said years from now the technology could be used, for example, by someone on the ground to help a flight attendant or passenger land an airplane if the pilot becomes incapacitated. Or a person with disabilities could communicate his or her wish, say, for food or water. The brain signals from one person to another would work even if they didn’t speak the same language.
Being able to “upload” and “download” such information into and from one’s brain would be just the tip of the iceberg. Got enough memory-space in your skull for the full Wikipedia site? How much porn can you cram into your cortex? Would you like to lean kung-fu like Neo? Instead of writing memoirs, you can just transfer your memories to tape/disk/net so others can experience what it’s like to be you. Maybe you would like to learn all the languages of the world without shelling out thousands for language courses or Rosetta Stone’s stuff. Hey, let’s try speaking to our PCs in native machine language!
But why stop at just transferring our knowledge? Emotions also play a part in our experiences, so that should also be part of our virtual personality. Better yet, just transfer our whole mind into another person’s head; Just take ‘em over and use their shells to do our bidding. Become a “Turnabout Intruder” of sorts… or maybe act as a Manchurian Candidate. Or, if they ever clone human bodies, you can backup your brain then restore it to your new shell. Real Altered Carbon shit, only without the need for a “stack” to be implanted. Pull on the new flesh like borrowed gloves, and burn your fingers once again.”
Don’t get that personal firewall just yet! The potential help and/or harm of this capability is great, but it’s not exactly advanced enough to make Altered Carbon or Brainstorm possible anytime soon.
Rao cautioned this technology only reads certain kinds of simple brain signals, not a person’s thoughts. And it doesn’t give anyone the ability to control your actions against your will.
Both researchers were in the lab wearing highly specialized equipment and under ideal conditions. They also had to obtain and follow a stringent set of international human-subject testing rules to conduct the demonstration.
“I think some people will be unnerved by this because they will overestimate the technology,” (Chantel Prat, assistant professor in psychology at the UW’s Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences) said. “There’s no possible way the technology that we have could be used on a person unknowingly or without their willing participation.”
So we can’t experience another person’s life or hijack their bodies, or have a personal army of meatbots, or learn kung-fu like Neo. We can still enjoy some killer fiction with such possibilities while they keep working on this.
I know, everyone’s glad to see CPR back up and running (especially the spammers), and I haven’t lost sight of what I’m supposed to be doing here. Sometimes I get… distracted. Like looking for the latest music and games to review… particularly games right now.
If you’re not familiar with Steam, it’s a multifunction platform for PCs where you can play games and smack-talk fellow gamers online since 2003. In October 2012, the Steam community started the Greenlight project, where members can help choose what games they would like to see on Steam, and where developers can showcase their hacking skills (or lack of) by sharing their mods, original games, etc.
If you do a search on Steam for “cyberpunk,” you’ll come up with several games including classics like System Shock 2 and Deus Ex, and newer releases like Remember Me and the latest Shadowrun incarnation (they’ll be reviewed once I can afford and play them). The trend continues with the Greenlight project as I am following several games of interest.
**WARNING** Many of these games are still demos or “pre-alpha” releases, meaning they’re not ready for game time… yet. If enough people upvote them, maybe we can see them on Steam, and I can review them for you.
Here are the particular games I’m following:
Dead Cyborg. (Official site) Billed as a “First person, hard sci-fi adventure”, Dead Cyborg has the post-apocalyptic visuals to make a good adventure.
Shot of the underground bunker you’re trying to leave.
To help, or annoy, you, various robots can give you clues, needed inventory, or just a bit of humor. Some of the computer screens and trash can also clue you into what happened to have you wake up in a bunker. Currently freeware, there are two “episodes” already out but no mention of a third just yet. If pressed for a review, I would give it a solid 8 even though it’s not a shooter. But robots can’t live on shooters alone.
Neon XSZ (Neon Excesses). (Greenlight page) Think “Tron” does “Descent” and you get the basic idea of the gameplay, though it’s still in alpha form. You fly a virtual starfighter through the depths of cyberspace in order to defend it… or crash it.
Dreamfall Chapters: The Longest Journey. (Community forum) The third chapter of the Longest Journey series where you control the protagonist(s) as they venture between the crumbling cyberpunk world of Stark and the magic land of Arcadia. I have the first two Journeys in my Steam library, just need some time to check them out.
Fallen World. (Play online) “…inspired by cyberpunk anime and films such as Appleseed, Terminator, and The Matrix Series”, you play a cyborg-ninja that’s trying to protect a cyborg girl who can bring down the robot network. Something of a “tower defense” meets escort game. That escort part may be a turn-off for some, but try it online before downvoting, or calling Jean-Claude Van Damme for help.
If you remember an old game called Quarantine, your memory banks are still functioning.
You play a flying cab pilot named Zack Edgewater who is looking to get out of the hell-hole of New Bedlam. In the meantime, you work for fares and do jobs for the city’s factions until you can get one of those passcodes to leave this mad town in your dust. Quarantine does The Fifth Element.
Satellite Reign. (Official site) Not happy with the recent reboot of Syndicate? This should make up for it, as it’s made by the creator of Syndicate Wars. In Satellite Reign, you control a four-man squad through an “open cyberpunk city.” You can take on missions with open ultra-violence or ninja stealthiness, by converting enemies into allies or turning the infrastructure against them. This could be the next Syndicate.
There are others I’m following, but not all are cyberpunk, or even being developed anymore.
Say, pal, can you spare a buck? Some of these games have KickStarter pages, just search for them if they don’t have official sites. Some of these people are looking for those development bucks to get their games out, Steam or not. Some may already be out on Desura (I tried them once but found it was mostly Steam rips). If you would like to see these games out give them your support. And if or when they do come out, I’ll be ready to review them… barring anymore technical fubars.
Overview: Somewhere between going back to full time work, the original Half-Life, discovering a couple of games for possible review, and my own inherent laziness I’m surprised spammers haven’t totally taken over. At least I’ve been keeping an eye on things here… And have a chance to listen to some new tunes while working. Mind Teardown lead me to their debut and it’s been a pretty good listen. Nine tracks running in 25 minutes time, Dry Lung Overdrive will give your ears some sweet industrial/EBM sounds as the duo makes their musical statement for themselves, and their Euro-based Crime:Scene label (Might want to check out the label’s line up). You can also check out additional tracks they have on SoundCloud if this album is too short for your liking. In the mean time, let’s check the tracks:
Intro: Imagine waking up in the near future to the sounds of air-raid sirens as your radio proudly gives today’s weather as sunny with lots of radiation, highs expected to be near 110. As for the good news: THERE IS NO FUCKING GOOD NEWS!
Death Increased: A higher tempo track with distorted vocals. The chorus vocals really reverberate.
Machine Messiah: Some sharp guitar sounds punctuate this tune. Sort of like when Ministry went from synth to industrial.
Wreckage: Percussion begins with some nice hammer banging with this moderately paced guitar-driven work.
Whisper: A slower, somewhat softer tune. Makes for a nice change of pace.
Processing: This one sounds like some machinery doing… well, processing… stuff. Kind of funky actually.
Anthrax Junkie: Back to uptempo music. Fast beats abound with this instrumental.
Breakdown: Lots of percussion, like Ministry’s Twitch-era music, or a Stomp show.
Outro: More air-raid sirens while the announcement Everyone seen after eight will be shot. Sirens Corporation: Making Earth A Better Place closes out the album.
Conclusion: Mind Teardown has a debut that gives mid-80s industrial/EBM fans a good dose to keep them going with whatever cyberpunkish (or not) activity are engaged in. And this is just for starters…
While searching them on YouTube, I came across a link to an EP of theirs, Begin Self Destruction. I’m going the check it out, and keep listening the Dry Lung Overdrive while working, and at home. Good stuff.
Jan Scheuermann went from Wheel Of Fortune to a wheelchair, to being able to control a robot arm.
‘Breakthrough’ they say. 60 Minutes’s Scott Pelley used the term to describe the thought-controlled robot arm, though I suspect he may not have seen such machinery before. But given how this arm is controlled, “breakthrough” might be the appropriate term.
Jan Scheuermann appeared on Wheel Of Fortune in 1995. A year after her appearance, she was diagnosed with a hereditary condition called spinocerebellar degeneration (ataxia), which causes parts of her brain and spinal column to degenerate, leaving her a quadriplegic. Researchers at University of Pittsburgh’s Pitt School of Medicine attached two electrode arrays to her brain near the areas used for arm movement, and in a year she was able to use the arm as well as a normal person.
Four years in the making. The arm is the result of a Defense Department project called “Revolutionizing Prosthetics,” a project looking at making a new generation of prosthetic limbs that restore normal functions for soldiers who lost limbs in battle.
This old Associated Press video shows an early stage of the project where a monkey uses his mind to control a robot arm.
Sooner or later, this technology had to come to the average person, not just paraplegics but amputees as well.
In Jan’s case, having to connect the arm directly to her brain was necessary since her ataxia has ruined the connection(s) between her brain and limbs. For amputees, the connections are still intact so the connection can be made at the nerve endings.
Further refinements. Jan’s new arm is impressive, but still far from perfect. In the 60 Minutes video Jan has problems with grabbing objects she looks at. One possible solution is to use ‘touch’ sensors in the fingers to give feedback. Another possibility being considered is the use of Wi-Fi to eliminate the skull connectors.
Restoring arm and leg functions for amputees and paraplegics are only the beginning. They’re also looking at eyes (no pun intended), ears, and even artificial internal organs for for stroke and cerebral palsy victims, and even the elderly.
Once such artificial limbs and organs are ready for the general public, the only thing left to worry about is…
More preview than preview. I only planed a two-week vacation, but an infected (and eventually amputated) toe extended that to two unplanned months, expected to last to the end of the year. Now would be a good time to catch up on some stuff I’ve been planning on reviewing.
Starting off would be a movie so far into early development that it only exists as a script. User feat747 (aka Hashim Bannaga) written it for the Pulsar Sci-Fi Screenplay Contest and made it to the semi-finals. He’s looking for producers to bring the script to the screens. From I’ve read of the script, any willing producer will have something pretty good to work with.
The Story: In 2022, a highly-advanced A.I. named Avalon was created and begins learning at an incredible rate. Eventually, all companies and governments would relinquish control to Avalon. In 2053, Avalon creates a hacker program that launches a nuclear apocalypse that destroys ninety percent of humanity, and allows Avalon to take control of all electronics to become CyberNet.
It is now 2099, and Avalon has gathered survivors into the walled city of The Metropis Sector while building Elsia City and The Citadel for itself. The humans are given some of the basics (shelter, stipends, and a COM unit) and are allowed to regulate themselves. But some humans exist in the wastelands outside the city, raiding convoys for supplies.
Other cyberpunk stuff to look forward to: While the main story may sound like a Terminator rehash, there is a background story involving people being transferred into android bodies that makes for a major twist on human’s being. There’s also a bit of hacking, adventures in cyberspace, and other cyberpunk themes involved.
While it’s too early to rate (no visuals to check), it looks like The Citadel is off to a good start with its script. At last communication, feat747 was looking to bring it to life with the right producer(s). Let’s hope this comes out good, at least better than Snakes On A Plane.