Boys spank each other
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I suggest to Kathy Rose that those 1930s women, for all the differences, have much in common with today’s Irish actresses and she agrees that they all chose a way of life that demands compromises. Despite having the brains to do other things, Kathy Rose saw acting “as a way of having lots of different lives.” Although she can already foresee the day that it becomes a problem, through falling in love, wanting a solid home, the feeling of being open to whole different worlds is something she’s not yet prepared to give up.
Kathy Rose is currently appearing in Bedroom Farce at the Gate Theatre, a riotous comedy where she plays an upwardly mobile wife. It’s getting close to curtain time but we’re still drinking tea and eating cake and she remains intent on listening, on musing, on talking about Ria Mooney and ‘my girls’ from the 1930s. I ask her if she would like to pose any question about their lives to these women, if there was the chance.
‘I want to know what they’d say SO much,’ she says. ‘ I want to know what they’d say about relations with men, how they felt as a woman …’
She trails off with a shake of her head; the list of questions is endless. For this sometimes-weary researcher, it’s so encouraging to hear her reaction. Right now, it doesn’t matter whether she’s talking as Kathy Rose feminist campaigner or Kathy Rose the actress; the listening will go on.
game design, theory, and sports aesthetics.
Assassin’s Creed 2: 0 out of 5 stars.
Assassin’s Creed 2 teaches its player one thing: there is no problem that can’t be solved by throwing hookers at it. Spoilers follow.
Assassin’s Creed had some problems with repetition; however, it remained a fairly competent system for the purposes of climbing and assassinating. In contrast, Assassin’s Creed 2 has a problem with heaviness. The climbing and hidden-blading remain, but they’re weighed down by the choices of a design team who brainstormed for their sequel and literally threw none of their half-formed ideas out.
This heaviness is reflected in the character design differences between Altair and Ezio. The former was lithe and competent, and we bought it when he bowed his head to disguise himself as a passing monk; the latter is a bulky, slovenly mess. One killed swiftly and silently, while the other employs brute force as his primary modus operandi .
There are two things people mention when they need to explain what’s “better” about this game after noting that the problem of repetition remains: Leonardo’s Flying Machine and the Assassin’s Tomb explorations. We’ll get to the tombs later. There are two missions involving new vehicles in this game, both tied to Leonardo. These are the ludic equivalent of McBay explosion scenes: labor wasted on short set pieces rather than on balancing and playtesting core mechanics.
The first is a carriage chase through the Appenines, which I have to admit was the most fun I had with the game. You’ve got three obstacles: soldiers pursuing you on horseback, roadblocks, and archers shooting flaming arrows. The physics on the cart are quite complex, and you’ll spend most of your time sending it careening from side to side in an effort to emulate Andre the Giant’s strategy against Wesley in the Princess Bride : you’ve got to crush these fools against rocks. If the carriage had less health, then the roadblocks and archer flames would be more of a challenge; as it stands, you’ve got to dodge roughly half of them. Still, the experience is thrilling while it lasts.
The flying machine sequence, on the other hand, is patently ridiculous. This takes place in the context of needing to rush into San Marco to save the Doge from being poisoned. Time is of the essence, so, naturally, you waste the entire day climbing towers with your friend Antonio the thief. He shows you how to ascend to the top of the structure via a construction site, which you already knew how to do if you were thorough about clearing the Assassin’s Tombs.
Then… oh no! There’s a fence! Only a flying machine could get over that! You waste even more time killing pockets of guards so your thief friends can build pyres to keep Leonardo’s flying machine in the air. Finally, as night falls, you’re allowed to partake of the set piece that was advertised so heavily in AC2 promotional material. It lasts all of 45 seconds. You hit one hot air pocket, kick a few guards in the face (by double-clicking the left trigger instead of hitting X, which is a breathtaking usability failure), and fly toward San Marco for a cutscene. This raises two new points: cutscenes and the fact that Batman can fly.
I can’t remember whether or not Assassin’s Creed was cutscene-heavy. AC2 , on the other hand, is. A new addition to the formula is everybody’s favorite ludic abortion: the quicktime event. Ubisoft’s Anvil engine presumably can’t handle subtle physical expressions, so things like hugging need to take place in cutscenes. Near the beginning of the game, the player pointlessly presses a few buttons to allow Ezio to have casual sex with… drum roll… Amerigo Vespucci’s sister. Amerigo was a pornographer, get it? We never see her again; nor do we see Caterina Sforza, whose family was later tied to the Borgias through marriage, after “saving” her from being somehow stranded on an island and engaging in some extramarital flirting. More about the women in this game later.
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