“Firewatch”: A Beautiful Exploration of Love, Commitment and Isolation

When we were kids, playing games on our lovely Sega and Nintendo consoles, did we ever imagine there will come a time when gaming will become a medium as deeply impactful and moving as most great books and movies are?

Well ladies and gentlemen, we are living in that time now. And Firewatch is the perfect (living) proof of it. I don’t remember being so profoundly touched by a game in my entire life. And that’s saying something because I’ve been gaming since I was 5 years old.

Firewatch Poster
Image Courtesy: http://www.blurppy.com

The Plot:

Excerpt taken from IGN.com

Firewatch is a mystery set in the woods of Wyoming, where your only emotional lifeline is the person on the other end of a handheld radio. You play as a man named Henry who has retreated from his messy life to work as a fire lookout in the wilderness. Perched high atop a mountain, it’s your job to look for smoke and keep the wilderness safe. An especially hot and dry summer has everyone on edge. Your supervisor, a woman named Delilah, is available to you at all times over a small, handheld radio – and is your only contact with the world you’ve left behind. But when something strange draws you out of your lookout tower and into the world, you’ll explore a wild and unknown environment, facing questions and making interpersonal choices that can build or destroy the only meaningful relationship you have.

My Take on the Game:

The only thing I knew about Firewatch before starting it was that it’s based on exploring wilderness. I didn’t read about the story, or the characters. I went in completely blank. I thought it was a National Park Ranger Simulator. And well, that was reason enough for me to be excited about it because 1. I love nature, and 2. I love nature VERY MUCH.

So when it started off, I rubbed my hands together all giddy like a child, thinking “This is gonna be so exciting walking around the woods.” And then suddenly in the very first 5 seconds, a written narration starts. Telling me about a clumsy but charming guy (Henry), and a sweet and confident girl (Julia), and their meet-cute in a bar. And at this point I say to myself with sudden realization “Oohhh, I think I’m gonna fall in love with this game.

Now the question arises; if this guy has such a perfect life with Julia, why would he move to a dead-end job as a lookout out in the woods?

Wanna know the reason? Please purchase the game. This game deserves to be purchased IMMEDIATELY.

[The screenshots I’ll be sharing in this post are of the actual gameplay. Yes, the beauty of it leaves you speechless.]

Firewatch Sunset
Image Courtesy: http://www.superbwallpapers.com

Firewatch is perfection in every single aspect. The way this game deals with adult issues through world-class storytelling with the support of a hilarious and heart-wrenching script along with some of the most amazing voice-acting I’ve ever heard in my life makes Firewatch easily my most memorable interactive gaming experience. And how can one forget the perfection of the art direction and gorgeous visuals. It literally blows away your mind.

As I’ve already discussed, the game is completely narrative driven. You, as Henry, work under your supervisor Delilah, and 95% of Firewatch is based on the dialogues of these two individuals over the handheld radio. And that’s where the beauty of this game lies. Just like when reading from a book, you get to enter the minds of these two people who have both run away from something from their life back at home. Along the way, you do run into some trouble. Firewatch goes from something moving to something harrowing in just a couple of chapters, and there are times when you are scared to go out in the dark because of the lurking danger and the terrifying conspiracies surrounding you.

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Thank You 2015

[Note: Yeah, I couldn’t come up with a more clever way to title this post. Sigh. Please bear with me.]

We all know 2015 was a year filled with tragedies for so many people; lives were lost, people were banished from their homeland, families were torn apart. But this year also taught us the power of endurance of the human spirit. It taught us that people are still kind and generous regardless of what race, creed or religion the helpless belong to. It taught us that our enemies sure can hurt us but they can’t break us. So before going any further, look back to the year and focus on the positive. Focus on the GOOD in humanity. There’s plenty of it in this world 🙂

Now let’s get to why I wanna thank 2015, speaking from personal experience.

THANK YOU!

When 2014 was nearing the end, I was at the lowest possible point in my life, and I had no clue whatsoever that the coming year will prove to be by far the absolute best year of my entire existence. I was told since I was a kid that when it feels like life SUCKS – that it’s not giving you lemons, it’s throwing huge ass watermelons right at your nose – THAT’S the point where you should be relaxed that things are now gonna turn for the better. I didn’t quite believe it back then but now I’ve learnt that the best thing about a bad patch in your life is that it doesn’t last forever.

Mine didn’t as well, and I am eternally thankful for this year which has been the pinnacle of my personal growth.

Nah, I didn’t land a big job, or get thousands of followers on this blog, or did anything that quantifies material success. What I achieved was far more fulfilling than that. What I feel today, this satisfaction, this hope, this calmness, this can never be achieved by money or fame. Yeah sure, everyone has their own definition of happiness; if money and fame makes someone happy then good for them. Heck, for the past 4 years even I myself used to think of money and success as the ultimate answer. But this year changed me as a person. I am NOTHING like I was a year before, and believe me, that’s a really good thing.

My personal achievements in 2015 might seem laughable to some people, but let’s just say they’re a pretty huge deal for me. 🙂

Alright without further ado, here’s my year in review 😉

(oh snap that rhymed)

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5 Lines (or less) Movie Reviews: MI5 Rogue Nation, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, Paper Towns

5 Lines (or less) Reviews

Mission Impossible 5 – Rogue Nation:

Image Courtesy: http://screenrant.com/
Image Courtesy: http://screenrant.com/

MI has become the “Coca-Cola of Movies”: they know how to sell it, it maintains a consistent quality and it NEVER disappoints. It is the one single franchise from which you can always expect the best, and Rogue Nation is no exception. Visually stunning, gripping and suspenseful storyline, mind-DESTROYING action scenes, and Tom Cruise who is definitely a vampire (that guy does NOT age) is ridiculously fantastic as ever.

Potahto Rating:

4 out of 5 Potahtos

Watch It If:

you want to see the single best chase scene in action movie history (not kidding). And also if you’re super into great espionage-thrillers starring a 52-year-old Tom Cruise still kicking ass looking like a sexy 30-year-old.

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl:

Olivia Cooke as "Rachel" and Thomas Mann as "Greg" in a scene from the motion picture "Me and Earl and the Dying Girl." CREDIT: Anne Marie Fox, Fox Searchlight Pictures [Via MerlinFTP Drop]
Image Courtesy: Anne Marie Fox, Fox Searchlight Pictures [Via MerlinFTP Drop]
Friendship, love, parenting, witty banter, high-school cliques, crazy short films, stop-motion animation, cancer-drama, fear, life, death and a coming-of-age tale all rolled into one heartfelt and delightful package. I admire the way the writer dealt with cancer by not forcing you to feel pity and constant sorrow for the lovable characters. And I simply cherish that RARE event when a movie turns out to be better than its book.

Potahto Rating:

5 out of 5 Potahtos

Watch It If:

you are tired of sappy love stories and believe that teenage flicks on illnesses should not be so “boo-hoo-please-cry-for-me” type. And also if you need to see something that is in many ways better than The Fault in Our Stars.

Paper Towns:

Image Courtesy: http://www.usatoday.com/
Image Courtesy: http://www.usatoday.com/

It’s sad when a movie you were really excited about turns out to be a major let-down. Paper Towns is painfully dull! Nat Wolff who seems like a full-of-life-fun-guy IRL was the biggest depression-inducing aspect of this film for his monotonous performance. The super hyped Cara Delevingne: non-existent. The script: not so powerful. The only acceptable performances were by the main lead’s two best friends. 

Potahto Rating:

2 out of 5 Potahtos

Watch It If:

you want to see a mildly decent bromance. Otherwise, please don’t bother.

Pitch Perfect 2: Aca-Disappointing!

If you have some spare money lying around and want to go out for a fun movie-night, then please go watch Mad Max: Fury Road (I can’t recommend that movie enough) and steer clear of Pitch Perfect 2. That’s my most honest advice to you guys.

Pitch Perfect 2

Movie Synopsis:

After the Barden Bellas give a horribly disastrous performance at the Kennedy Center for President Obama’s birthday, they are suspended by the Barden University from ever participating in any acappella showcase or competition ever again. In order to redeem themselves the Bellas propose the idea that if they win the World Championships of Acappella, the university will reinstate them. But oh wait, there’s more! No American team has ever won that championship because (and I quote) “That’s because they hate us. THE WHOLE WORLD HATES US!”

My Take on the Movie:

I was and still am a huge fan of the first movie. I’ve seen it 10+ times and know it’s every single scene by heart. “Cups (When I’m Gone)” was the first song I properly sang and recorded with Audacity (not just bathroom-sing-it or car-drive-shout-it) and I’ve loved it ever since (coz I sounded so damn good singing it). Part 1 had so much heart! It had countless sweet, heartfelt and genuinely funny moments, it overflowed with genius witticism and had great character development. But sadly none of that is found in Pitch Perfect 2. NONE OF IT!

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The Only Thing That Is Constant Is Change

Writing 101 Day 12

The low and dark clouds swooped in the skyline and within seconds the heavens rained down upon one and all, soaking everybody in its cold embrace. Some students ran towards the department seeking shelter, and most let the rain engulf them. This was more than a pleasant surprise because only a few minutes ago it looked as if it was going to be a long and hard summer.

My friends and I huddled together on the corridor floor, and marveled at the sudden change in climate.

“It’s so weird how the weather changes in an instant.” said Maryaum, looking out through the window.

“And people also change just like the weather,” I whispered to myself, and everyone looked at me as if I had said something peculiar. “Oh come on guys. Hashtag Feeling Philosophical.”

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What It Means To Be Family

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Someone who gets to have one real best friend in this world is a lucky sumbitch; but then there are some special kinds of lucky people (like me) who get to have not one but seven best friends. Unfortunately, this day, two of them had been in a stupid fight over something quite trivial. You know, we have this system to break off a fight. Half of us handle one party and the other half handles the other. We never take sides; we just grab the first person who’s in our reach and drag her out to cool her off. So me and Aneeza (hey Aneeza, I know you’re reading this and are probably gonna kill me later for writing this piece) grabbed Rabeea by the shoulders and took her to the café. The other two dragged Huma off to someplace else. We bought some tea and boring-as-hell biscuits and went out to get some fresh air at the park.

Lo and behold, the weather wasn’t being kind to us either; the sun was mocking us with its blazing hot rays, shouting “SO YOU WANTED TO FEEL GOOD, EH? NOT ON MY WATCH!”; and the breeze hung in the air as if it was acting under Sun’s direct orders, telling us “Sorry guys, Mr. Sun has asked us to take a day off, but hey sweating is also good for your health, you know. You could use losing a few pounds.” Guess what weather, I’m underweight! :/

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“It all goes away. Eventually, everything goes away.”

Writing101 Day 4

Whenever I think about loss, I can’t think of any particular “thing”. Maybe the reason is that I’m a big hoarder of memories. I have this huge box up in the attic where I keep all my treasured memorabilia. All the diaries I’ve ever written, all the thoughtful gifts and cards I’ve received from my family and friends, some pictures, leaves and flowers, movie tickets, pieces of thread (I’m not getting into the detail of who those threads belong to), and everything else that has meant something special to me. So if I have to talk about loss (ugh, do I have to?) I’m going to share a story about a person who meant a LOT to me who is not in my life anymore. Buckle up people, you’re about to be depressed.

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