Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Technical Junk

Schoolwork is goin' A-OK, for the most part.

I'm adding some new links on the sidebar, because I can: - A site that has and will explain, in multiple parts, how comics imploded in the 90s. Fascinating stuff.

Sore Thumbs - Former EGM/1Up editors Dan "Shoe" Hsu and Crispin Boyer explore facets of game journalism. With more companies being caught in the act of stupid crap in recent years, it's really interesting to hear how this kind of thing has been going down for years.

Also, Warren Ellis betrayed my trust, letting me go back to his blog and enjoy, and then not even putting his disgusting pictures behind a link this time! For shame.


Saturday, November 22, 2008


At first I thought all this school shit was going to pile up and destroy me, but I feel I am on my way to conquering it. Hopefully it doesn't get nukes along the way.

What was released this week, videogame-wise? Why, Mortal Kombat Vs. DC Universe of course! Exciting.

As you may or may not know, I disdain all things MK. It's a series that has gone on for way too long, and has been consistently mediocre. Of course, I haven't played an iteration in the series since the fourth, so I am relying entirely on past experience and the word of others. But why should I play games I have no interest in? Plus, it's not like any of the lame conceptual things are getting any less lame.

MK vs. DC has a number of problems on its own without the added burden of being MK. The brand crossing is nonsensical, jarring even. It reeks of latching onto he coattails of better projects...better projects, I might add, that came out a decade ago. It's the last act of a desperate franchise.

I could mention that the game seems toned down in violence from previous MKs, disappointing the series' fanbase of drooling idiots, but I don't give a fuck.

But upon watching all the game's fatalities/"Heroic Brutalities" on Youtube (aw the modern wonders, allowing me to get the most enjoyable part of the game without having to spend any money on it), most of my preconceived notions seemed to be correct.

Another thing I noticed: what the hell is Captain Marvel doing there? I know DC wants him to be a banner character for them now, but jumping jack Jesus, he's so conceptually distant from the MK aesthetic, it's just plain bizarre. I mean, he is very much a character designed for children, even more so than any other DC character.

Also, while I for one love seeing Darkseid in a "real" fighting game (none of this JLA Task Force shit), it's too bad it's one I'll never play.

Speaking of comic book stuff...Watchmen trailer!

It's hard to pinpoint what I don't like about the new trailer. I don't even think I noticed Rorschach referring to the group as 'Watchmen' like others have. But it felt off. When the characters were speaking long strings of dialogue, it hurt my expectations. I, along with others, was growing more optimistic about the project. And while I'm not giving up on it yet, the newest previews leave me cold, definitely.

My biggest worries for this project is that it'll end up as being a lifeless recreation with details changed around (which isn't that big a problem, for the most part), completely lobotomizing the story. Some may say it's because Zack Snyder is a hack director who does the material for money. In my view, if the movie turns out this way, it won't be because Snyder is a hack, but rather that Snyder is a fanboy of the material, but for all the wrong reasons.

I mean, the reason Watchmen is partially responsible for destroying the mainstream comics scene is that fans that later became writers glommed onto the gritter elements but weren't smart enough to understand the themes.

But back to the movie, part of my fear comes from the absolutely ill-conceived Watchmen videogame.

Since I don't read EGM anymore, I didn't get the story on that. But from the excerpts and descriptions, it sounds like an abomination. Essentially taking the characters and putting them in a generic action game (complete with such horrific buzz concepts as finishing moves and a RAGE METER) under the guise of UNTOLD BACKSTORY! that no one wanted or needed.

Of course the game stars Rorschach. Aside from being the more violent/action-oriented character in the book, he's the one character who is misunderstood and will probably still be misunderstood by audiences (both the original readers and the ones brought in by the movie). They think he's a hardcore badass. He is really the representative of the logical extreme of vigilantism in superhero comics, turning into a simple-minded, Objectivist asshole. That's why he's a great character, but it's terrifying to see how some people would 'look up' to that.

The most unnerving part of the game, however, is that Snyder is right alongside the developers cheering them on. He apparently describes getting all hot and nerd bothered by seeing this stuff on screen. I'm sorry, but Watchmen really isn't something you can geek out to. Unless of course, you're one of the ones who loves it for all the wrong reasons.

Let us pray.

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Monday, November 17, 2008

The Something of Boris

The new James Bond movie is good, but did very little that bedazzled me. The initial two chase sequences have so much shaky cam I could barely tell what was going on, although that seemed to have fixed itself by the end.

It also suffers from feeling like a bridge film, tying the loose ends from Casino Royale and setting up this century's SPECTRE for future films. Fans of the last film may be happy to see the former, but it still makes it difficult for the film to feel standalone.

Deaths in this movie are convoluted. "We'll shoot him, and then fill him with oil!" "No, we shall fill him oil, and then shoot him!" "Maybe we should just shoot him." "SHUT UP!"

Also includes blatant Goldfinger reference!


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Death and the Whiners

Item: Hey, remember the year or so before the release of the PS when the idea that the system would block any copy of a game that you wasn't the one the system first 'registered', in an attempt to kill the used and rented game market (also borrowing copies from friends and replacing broken games)? Remember how terrible an idea that was?
Well Epic has another suggestion for killing that pest, years after I thought they just sort of forgot about that argument. Of course, that strategy is more one for going bankrupt than for killing this apparent menace, as consumers would rather just go elsewhere than pay money for incomplete games.

Item: Holy shit. End of an era, maybe.

Item: Back to that lovely Tatsunoko vs Capcom, I find a lot of people still complaining that the Capcom character selection is an "Keiji Inafune love-fest" (Inafune, for the unwary, is the creator of Mega Man and several one-shot Capcom games of modern times, everything from Dead Rising to Zack and Wiki. He's also head of Capcom R&D).
Now, there are 11 Capcom characters so far announced (and I don't expect more than one more will be in the final game). 4 out of those 11 are from Inafune-originated games. That there tells you something. HOWEVER, where the complaint probably comes from is the fact that 5 of the remaining 7 are the perquisite fighting game characters, and that leaves only 2 (the most recently announced Capcom characters, Saki and Viewtiful Joe) non-fighting game characters that are also from games that Inafune did not direct.
Even so, it's not like the Inafune character choices are outlandish. Two of them are from Capcom's biggest franchise (Mega Man and Roll), one of them is from a series that has been fairly prominent in recent times (Soki for Onimusha), and the last one was chosen to be the giant counterpart to Tatsunoko's Gold Lightan (and I'm sure a Lost Planet robot was chosen over Capcom's other giant robots for relevance purposes).
Just like in Smash Bros., this is just a case of making up something stupid to explain why your pet character isn't in it, rather then just go for the more logical explanations.

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Sunday, November 02, 2008


In the meantime, you missed many important events, including ma birfdah and spooky H'al'lo'we'en day. Thems the breaks when I'm busy doing super important junk.

I've been playing the new Castlevania for DS. It is difficult at points, which I mean every single boss battle. All after the first have killed me approximately 4 or 5 times each before I somehow plow through them. The enemies are also jerks, but not unbeatable jerks, and the game doesn't let buying important life-saving potions become an easy task either! The difficulty, in a way, does make it different from the previous portable editions of the franchise, which I was hoping.

The main gameplay mechanic, glyphs, is pretty much a combination of the previous games soul stealing/magic cards system. It works, and finding a neato combo is fun, but it seems the actual glyph collecting is more complicated than it should be, with the things showing up after defeating certain enemies at a low rate. It would be easier it they popped up as much as the souls in Dawn of Sorrow did, but maybe I'm just missing something at the point of the game I am in currently.

The element system for the weapons works, but switching between different sets of powers so I can gut jellyfish with swords and then smash derby-wearing skeletons with pickaxes can be tiring at times. Also, aside from stuff like "fish hate lightning" and "skeletons hate hammer", the weaknesses and resistances aren't always easy to figure out without killing one first and examining the enemy guidebook.

I'm enjoying it, but I've still a ways to go before slaying Dracula. I'll get that bastard good, though.

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