January 2008

First off, a quick update regarding No More Heroes.

Remember how I couldn’t even get passed the tutorial? Well, I figured out what was wrong: my lightsaber was out of juice. When you consider that there’s so much stuff to keep track off and remember, especially in the beginning, you’d think that they could have given some sort of audio cue. Yes, there’s an icon to the right, but with so much shit going on, it’s hard to miss (plus the color difference between filled and empty is pretty minimal). And that’s pretty gay.

But at least I was finally able to get into the game, though I haven’t played it all that much (I simply beat the first guy and just started collecting money so I can buy my ticket to face off boss number 2). So based on only what little I’ve played thus far, here are my impressions, starting with the good:

+ I fucking LOVE the presentation, especially the visuals. The art direction is kinda all over the place, and while not as tight and cohesive as Killer 7, still works splendidly. I especially love the use of pixel graphics (parts of it, as noted previously, does feel like Galaga), which by itself would have been boring (at least at this point, in which everyone is doing it to cash in on video game nostalgia), but mixed with all the other elements, it just works. The transitions from section to section are downright beautiful and the change in visuals when you go into berserker rage are also most excellent. Again, the interface could still use some work, due to the aforementioned problems, but otherwise, outstanding.
+ The music, from what I’ve heard is pretty catchy, and the audio effects are also nice (again, I just wish there was more of it to help the player along). The voice acting is cheesy, but to a tolerable, almost decent degree. It’s much better that what we all heard in the trailer. I even laughed at a few of the jokes. That’s rather rare in a video game.
+ The overall gameplay works for me. I don’t mind the free-roaming GTA vibe, since anything is better than the far too rigid on-rails bullshit of Killer 7. You can actually check out the cool scenery (which again is not as tight at Killer 7, another reason to hate that game).
+ I love the little touches during fights, like the slots that go off when you take out a bad guy. It adds to the chaos, but in a good way.
+ Man, that bit with the cell phone, near the end of the first level, before the boss fight, was AWESOME. FUCKING AWESOME. Such a nice set-up. Then again, given my penchant for cell phones, I might be a bit biased here.
+ Hey Katie, you get to play with a kitten in your character’s pad! And he’s cute. I also love how his place is filled with stupid figures and shit. Just like me!
+ I also like that he has a thing for pro-wrestling. In fact, the main character, Travis Touchdown is the first main character in a game that I’ve really liked in a very long time: seems to like animu, has decent tastes in shirts, just wants to get laid.

Though its been far from perfect:

- First off, I am not a fan of the controls thus far. I appreciate the need to do something different, as well as take advantage of the Wii-motes and nunchuck’s capabilities, and while some it is quite nice, such as spinning during face-offs, some of the other maneuvers feel totally tacked on and just too cumbersome, especially for a brawler-type game. Stunning your foe feels especially awkward and totally pointless. Meanwhile, recharging your sword is annoying, but you can tell that it was designed to be that way. Still don’t like it.
- The camera, especially indoors, is quite simply awful.
- I normally don’t complain about this, but I found the inconsistent frame rate a real distraction, and a total pain in the ass during the boss fight.
- I hope to God there isn’t much driving around in the game, or it gets better, because thus far, its super lame, and feels like a very transparent means of padding things out.

… But hey, I just started, so I guess I shouldn’t be saying this early. EDIT: And btw, I guess it might be a good time to pass along a link to the discussion going on about the game over at the forum, which is here. I’ll pass along more impressions and thoughts as I continue playing the game. Though unfortunately, given my hectic schedule, I’m afraid I won’t be able to dedicate as much time towards it as I’d like to. Plus, I have another title on my mind at the moment…

Rez HD finally game out today, and never before have I so desperately wanted a Xbox 360 and a huge HD set with a souped up audio set-up so very badly. Get this bullshit: when I asked Dave Mauro if he was getting in, I was shocked and horrified by his response: no. Why? Because he’s played it enough alright. Bullshit. That and how the Dreamcast version looks plenty good already. Well, yes, it’s beautiful, but… but… but…

Anyway, I refuse to let his wonderful set-up go to waste (the dude has like a 60 inch plasma screen from Samsung, the fucker is HOOGE AND BEE-UTIFUL), so Dave, if you’re reading this, I’m coming over this weekend to download and play the damn thing. Hell, I’ll pay for it. And I’m sure you can give Halo 3 a rest for just a few hours. Can’t wait for another five hour go with the game without blinking once!
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Anyway, time from some highlights from you know where

- EA passed along an email to me last week that effectively went “LOL, writer?s strike.” Which, I dunno, to me felt like kind of a dick move.

- Want a PS3? Are you confused as to what your options are? Don?t worry, you will be.

- Sorry, but count me as one of the folks who, for the most part, am not down with Penny Arcade. And that does not necessarily mean that I am in fact down with cancer. But hey, at least the art is very nice!

- Via the random video game videos thread: you folks do know that Charles Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden is out, right?

- Get this, aside from dicks in the mouth and dicks in the ass, porn stars love video games as well.

- Related: yet another naked girl playing the Wii.

- Want me know why I openly pirate video games? Here you go (warning: it?s apparently a bit long-winded).

- Am totally lovin the war torn Mushroom Kingdom stage from Smash Bros Brawl.

- Okay, maybe I?m biased, but I actually think the Iron Man game looks pretty decent!

- I myself am a proud member of the Figure 4 Weekly Empire~! Want to know why?

- Perhaps this has popped up elsewhere, but whatevers: in the vein of the I am 8-bit art show comes a tribute to Stan ?The Man? Lee

- This site is apparently 32% evil, 68% good.

- Hear me bitch about how animation today, primarily 3D animation, totally fucking blows! And again, I miss Liquid Television, and ESPECIALLY Night Flight.

- Yeah, I have to admit, after all was said and done, I find the MacBook Air to be kind of crappy. Maybe I?m just pissed that I never got my MacBook Pro Mini.

- Have you folks heard about the ultra obsessive and all around insane Star Wars Episode 4 re-edit and repair job? Well, the guy actually pulled it off, and I guess the most important things to know is A) Han shoots first and B) Chewie finally got his goddamn medal.

- The future of masturbation is finally here. And yes, you’re supposed to put your dick in this…

- If you think message boards where people bitch about being a gamer (like mine to a certain extent) is gay, then check out one for cops.

- You sometimes just gotta love diehard Christians and their attempts at “powerful” filmmaking.

- I can?t believe people complained enough about Oprah to the government to fill up over 100 fucking pages.

- The fonts of Brooklyn.

- Recent editions to the awesome random pictures thread include…

- I hate to say this, but I’m sometimes very glad that I don?t live in Brooklyn anymore, ESPECIALLY Park Slope.

- The scent of a woman, at least one with huge fake tits, in a bottle. Want one?

- Time for EXTREME MIDGET WRESTLING!!!

- It?s like Time Cube, but with ducks.

In this thread, we talk about teachers we wanted to have sex with.

- The animated gif thread now features the brand new greatest gif of all time, starring Spider Man (unfortunately, for whatever reason, Safari users will have to switch to Firefox to view it).

- And finally, via the random video tread comes hardcore Smurf sex (and speaking Spanish I believe), the awesomest ransom note ever, as well as the awesmoest response to some YouTube video blogger ever, even more reasons why I absolutely can’t wait to go back to Japan (part one and part two), and Flashkata!!!

Though my new absolute fave YouTube vid at the moment would have to be yet another wacky Japanese commercial remix, in the vein of that McDonald’s remix from before, this time featuring Werhter?s Original candy. Plus, for those that might be interested, here?s the mp3!

1 comment

01/30/2008

The Legend Of The Gary Gilmore Gun

by Matthew Hawkins

Holy shit, has it seriously been two weeks since my last update? Christ, everything is such a blur these days, mostly because the Game Developer’s Conference is rapidly approaching and before that I’ll be in Washington to visit the parental units (maximum lulz), so that means I’ll be out of commission for over two weeks, and with stuff like ICON to tend to, I’ve been more or less in a whirlwind of crap to do.

Guess I’ll start with this past weekend since that’s still fresh in my mind (the previous weekend was spent… I dunno, I think I just holed in my apartment, playing Neo Geo Battle Coliseum for the most part):

- Katie rolled into town last Thursday night, and the evening was spent dining on Thai via delivery and a tape of vintage cable access circa 1999/2000, with the highlight being an episode of Mad Dog, a call in show starring a skinny dog who called himself Mad Dog, and his rather gross Italian lady-friend. It was truly Manhattan cable access at its apex, during the last great golden era (before the internet became the new, final frontier). While they played Donkey Kong on a 2600 and ate pizza on the air, various folks called in, including a guy from Philly that just wanted to say ?What?s up yo. What?s up.?, some dude that wanted to see “a little bit of that bush” (referring to the aforementioned gross lady friend), and Mad Dog?s nemesis Mad Cat. I am well aware that NOTHING of what I just wrote makes any sense, nor does it probably sounds at all interesting to the uninitiated, but trust me when I say that it was AWESOME. Later was the opening to Subway Girl and Concrete TV, again circa the late 90s, and you could tell it was an older edition because it featured more C+C Music Factory that it does today, though it still had plenty of clips from that gay porn and Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen home video that they like to feature. And yes, I will try to upload all this good stuff on YouTube, eventually.

- Friday night, we had dinner with Joe and June at Mexican joint in Times Square. The highlight of the evening would have been the gross guy in the booth right next to us who was more or less date raping his date the entire time while we looked on in horror, if not for the big announcement: MAGMA FEST LIVES ON! I MIGHT BE GOING BACK TO JAPAN!!! Maybe. The details seem really hazy right now, but basically, the trainwreck of a punk fest managed to procure some funding (I?m guessing the aftermath looked good on television). More as it develops!

- Saturday afternoon Katie convinced me to check out Dim Sum Go Go, one of those Asian-fusion-type places that I fucking loathe, because for the most part, its for scared shitless white people who can?t stead the heat of real-deal ethnic food, but I will admit, once in a while comes one that is actually pretty decent, and Dim Sum Go Go fits on that very short list. I?m guessing because it?s the French cuisine part, and as we all know, French cuisine is pretty adaptable to most any other, especially Asian, or at least anyone that watched Iron Chef would know. Anyway, here?s a pic of their Go Go Burgers, which is basically beef (not hamburger patties, more like mini-steak flanks) wrapped in steamed buns with a side of some mysterious vegetable that is supposed to be French fries, but it most certainly was not a potato.

- Hilary then joined us, and after a quick trip to the underground mall in Chinatown, on Elizabeth Street, so I could pick up Marble Mania/Kororinpa, we made our way to St. Mark?s, to my favorite watering hole, Grassroots. Thank fucking God that young guy from NYE was not tending the bar, who as you might recall, drove my party out due to the constant playing of Live. Anyhow, it was my chance to sit down with the two lovely ladies that will be illustrating my clone and mucas filled sexual fantasy, and to answer any questions. Though for the most part, it was just Katie and Hilary drawing very cute girls, and then saying out loud “YOU?RE GONNA GET RAPED!!!”

Everyone also drew each other, of course. Here’s Katie’s rendition of her man, as well as Hilary, which both Katie and I agree is tough to draw without her glasses (she was wearing contacts that night):

And here is Katie’s depiction of herself. So sad-o’s, yet so cute!

Hopefully Hilary will scan her ultra cute drawing of Katie, and myself, which had the word LECH written in bold, and with an arrow pointing straight towards me. Hey, what can I say? I like ‘em young.

Anyway, didn?t stay long because those two had their own plans, plus I had my own, at Gleason?s Gym, in the heart of DUMBO, for…

- The World of Unpredictable Wrestling had another Rumbo in Dumbo this past Saturday night, and again, it was amazing. It was three hours plus of the finest amateur wrestling that you can get for just $15, and all the stars from last time were in action. Well, with the exception of El Shoes (the pimp) and Brooklyn Jeff (who I?m almost certain is a real-deal cop), even though the latter was in attendance, but just looking on (I kept hoping he would jump into the ring at any minute, but alas, heartbreak… and I?m pretty sure I?m the guy?s biggest fan, aside from all the little kids in Bay Ridge whom he tries to set a good example for).

The crowd was totally hot, and pretty big, much bigger than before, which was already at capacity. Like all awesome things to do in Brooklyn, hipsters have apparently caught wind of the event, and quite a few were visible early on (including a few cute hipster girls, which are the only good things to come of any invasion), but most did not stick around long. Pussies. And this time around, I avoided the first row, next to the fat and annoying diehard Italian guy who has so many skin tags on his eyelid that I?m amazed he can see anything, the small, docile Jewish gentleman, and the really into the action Hispanic girl with the lazy eye. Instead, I was in the third row, right in front of the best heckler of the night, and right next to a dude that wasn?t as funny, but at least he tried his best..

There were so many matches, and so much good stuff, its impossible to convey all the goodness, but highlights include (note, for the following section, some knowledge of professional wrestling terminology might help)…

… The first match was between two random white dudes, that was solid, if a bit unspectacular, until the very last second, when one guy unleashed one of the craziest, most dangerous finishing moves ever, which was a Pedigree (a double underhook facebuster) turned into a backwards piledriver, right on the guy?s head. Yikes.

… Second match involved the 8th Street Assassin, who again is one of those out of shape looking dudes that can really move well, all things considered. Still didn?t stop the dude from behind me from going “Hey it?s Patrick! From Spongebob!” Like everything else from the show, I guess you had to be there.

… The third match ended with a real legit injury. Some guy landed wrong, and you could tell that they had to chance the ending of the match all of a sudden. Turns out the dude had dislocated his shoulder, which totally sucks, but it could have been worse. At the time, it did look worse. Quite a scary scene.

… Mooney showed up in time for the fourth match, which featured our fave wrestler, the Musketeer! The dude is quite simply MONEY. And we were quite clearly his only fans, because Mooney and I were the only ones cheering for the guy, whereas everyone booed like crazy (well, he is a heel), and the guy next to us kept yelling “TWO GAY!”, which is a rip on his “Touch?!” that he yells at his opponents (how disrespectful). t a certain point, one guy next to us asked if we were friends with the Musketeer, which would at least make the most sense as to why were so vocal with our support, but Mooney simply answered that we just love the guy.

Sadly, his gay escort was missing (he looked pretty terrified last time, so I guess its no surprise), so in his place was a young dude, also in musketeer garb, though junior grade, hence his title of Squire I guess. The Musketeer was interviewed before the match, which allowed for his angle to be explained; since loosing the belt last year, he?s been on a no-win streak, which he attributes to as a conspiracy from the guy who runs the show, aka ex-wrestler Johnny Rodz, so to make the swashbuckler happy, he brought in a special guest referee. Well, the Musketeer still lost, and he lost it, with the scene culminating with next month?s challenge: Johnny Roz (who is old but still looks like an ass kicker, like all those old-timey wrasslers) plus the guest ref (who is also another tough-guy) vs the Musketeer and A MYSTERY PARTNER~! And then it ended with Johnny giving the Musketeer a touche, which made him totally flip out: “THAT?S MY LINE! YOU CAN?T USE THAT ONE ME!!!”

… Mooney?s favorite tag team saw some action, which are two dudes in biker garb that he prefers to call “The Racists!” even though one of them looks Hispanic. They teamed up with another dude that I like, called The Voice, whose entire gimmick is that he had a scary voice.

… The OMG wrestler of the night had to be the debuting Uptown Bad Boy. Jesus, where to begin: just imagine part Belushi as his samurai character from SNL, part… baby, a big baby, as a wrestler. He came to the ring with a very effeminate looking poncho that had the Japanese rising sun on it, which got a “I don?t find that offensive” reaction from Mooney (the guy?s part Japanese). The strangest thing was how he didn?t have a funny voice or anything; the guy just looks like that normally? Plus he had a nasty scar on is chest, ill-placed tattoos, and was also a not so great wrestler.

… Another fave of Mooney’s and mine, Steven Person, aka Spider Ham, pulled the second craziest finisher of the night, which is basically the Walls of Jericho (an elevated Boston crab), but from behind. Looked really awesome.

… The final match was for the east coast championship, but instead of just a regular match, it was a belt on a pole match, which is a staple of wresting for decades now. This is where the new champion is not the one who can score a pin-fall first, but who can get to the belt that is suspended above the ring, high above, first. The thing is, the roof at Gleason’s Gym is extremely low. In fact, anyone who wants to do high-flying moves from the top rope is forced to jump from the middle rope, otherwise they’ll literally hit their heads on the ceiling.

Also, fighting for the belt was Reggadones, a school chum of Mooney’s. In fact, many of his classmates were in attendance, and despite being the bad guy, he had a very vocal cheering section. It was hilarious watching him beat up his opponent, then climb the ropes VERY slowly, and not nab the belt, despite the fact it was right in front of him, to draw out time so the other guy could make a comeback (truth is, anyone who simply held up their hand while just standing on the mat could have taken the strap). But after some ridiculous degrees of back and forth, Reggadones got the belt and won! Outstanding.

Afterwards, Mooney and I went to Kenka’s for another late Saturday night session of kimchee and Sapporo.

- Otherwise, nothing too exciting to report. Like I said, I’ve been busying with GDC-related business to a large degree; I finally submitted my final scores for the Independent Games Festival’s inaugural mobile competition this past Friday. As for what else I’ve been playing, I believe I’ve already mentioned Kororinpa… also been giving the Wii version of Resident Evil a go, and I haven’t had any problems my second time around, unlike with Twilight Princess.

Oh, and I just got No More Heroes today. Despite my hate for Killer 7 (still fucking sucks in my book, period), I wanted to give it a shot when I first caught glimpses of it, and was relieved to hear from Heather, who was reviewing the game for PLAY that it wasn’t half bad (hey, anything less than wretched is better than Killer 7, and most importantly, it sounded as if it actually had gameplay). Anyway, haven’t played too much of it, but gotta say, I too love the look and especially the low-fi, pixely presentation (hey, I would expect no-less from Suda 51), but I will admit to having problems already, and I haven’t even gone through the tutorial. Actually, I can’t; I believe I’m at the last task, to wipe out all the bad guys with my super move, but I only got half of them, and the rest seem indestructible no matter what I do. Is this just another case of me sucking?

Also got Contra 4 for the DS and that’s been thoroughly kicking my ass. The music in particular has been pretty fantastic, but that’s hardly a surprise given that Virt’s behind them! Been messing around with my PSP as well; some might recall the troubles I’ve been having, and after an unsuccessful attempt at downgrading my firmware, I have at least discovered a solution to some of my problems: my memory card was the reason why certain games were running slow or herky-jerky, the PSP ISOs to be exact. So I got a SanDisk card to replace my Sony one (“it’s a Sony!” alright) and have been smooth sailing for the most part ever since. Though I still can’t run homebrew apps like emulators, but for whatever reason, Cave Story still works (thankfully).

Plus, I finally got a copy of Demolition Girl (the UK version of that Simple 2000 attack of the 50 foot woman game) for the PS2, and some wacky Japanese cooking game for the PSone, neither of which I’ve had much of a chance to sink my teeth into. Oh well. And I should probably give The Red Star a whirl, because its been weeks since borrowing a copy from Jeremiah, and I don’t want to be that guy.

- Like I said, nothing too exciting to report from these past two weeks. Well, except for one thing… something actually quite wild to be honest. It went down not this past Sunday, but the one before it, and it’s so crazy that I almost thought about not saying anything, because A) I was genuinely creeped out by it, and B) was almost certain no one would believe me. But as its been pointed out numerous times, 90% of the shit that happens to be sounds totally far-fetched, yet it’s not, cuz that’s the luck I have, so I figured, why the hell not! But before I got back to this past late Monday night, I should perhaps go back about five years ago… Back in 2003, I was working at Medieval Times, the box office in Times Square. I believe I?ve already recounted several stories in this very blog about the crazy, just got rich from the lottery millionaires, the ultra hot yet oh so annoying ren fair chicks, my sexually frustrated co-workers, folks from SNL, douchebag tourists, and a number of the other bizarre personalities I had to deal with. But I?ve never talked about “Charlie.” Charlie came in one late weekday evening, around this time of the year actually, which meant it was super dead (a month prior it was mad busy, it being December and the busy holiday shopping season). In retrospect, Charlie was a weird looking fellow, but given that where I worked, weirdoes was a super common appearance (I ain’t gonna go into details as to what made him so strange, due to fears of getting gutted). The guy just walked around, checking everything out, but to the degree that it was clear that he was not a serious shopper (otherwise I would have cared and tried to help him out), so I went back to either cleaning a sword, or working on a Nick Mag piece, which I often did during dead periods. Finally, right before I was gonna kick him out to close shop early, so I could go home and catch something on TV, he finally spoke: he explained to me that he was a collector of weapons and was impressed by the collection that was on-hand, which I could not have given two shits about, since I heard it so many times a day (I mean, who the hell else goes into a sword shop in this day and age?), nor did I really pay much notice when he began to go into his most prized possession, that was until he mentioned that he had it on him. He then began to ask me if I knew who Gary Gilmore was. And I did.

Now, for those unfamiliar with the man, I guess that’s what Wikipedia is for, but basically, Gilmore is famous for killing two people in Utah in the late 70s and then demanding to be executed, which he was (Gilmore was actually the first person to be executed after the death penalty was reinstated after a brief suspension). The guy looked forward to death, almost relished the idea of retribution that he felt it would bring, and in the process, as well as after his demise, became a cult icon of sorts, inspiring all sorts of songwriters (its rumored that Johnny Cash spoke to him on the eve of his death), authors, even artists such as Matthew Barney, who portrays him in one of his Cremaster films. That was how I knew about Gilmore at the time. Anyhow, Charlie explained to me that he had Gary Gilmore’s gun, the tool which he used to murder two people, and which he claims has become a reverend object, a source of mysticism. He claimed that it was enchanted, for a lack of a better term. How Gilmore was caught was this: his gun accidently went off after the murder, shooting himself in the hand, which left a trail of blood, allowing the authorities to track him down. Charlie claimed that he believed, as did others, that the gun had a mind of its own basically, that it wanted Gilmore to be caught, as well as to also absorb his power, which I guess was somehow transfused when his blood got on it. Yes, this all sounds very Lord of the Rings-ish, which had just come out at the time, btw. Anyhow, Charlie claimed to have the gun; when asked how the hell he got it, and why is it not in the hands of the authorities, it was explained that it was replaced with a fake, and since then its had gone through the hands of various collectors over the years, including himself.

Sounds like a total bullshit story, I know. Yet… I was compelled. And after he told his tale, Charlie came to his point: he wanted to part ways with the gun, because it has “served it has purpose” and offered me the chance to purchase it from him. And before I could say anything, he pulled it out his pocket. For some reason, I didn’t freak out… I would imagine, if someone who passed by saw this go down, they would have though I was being robbed. And next thing I know, he offered me to hold it. And I did. In retrospect, a very bad move. But I was simply mesmerized by it all. Finally, Charlie stated his price, for a very low figure of $1,000. I asked if it was such a hot commodity, why so low an asking price, but he stated once more, and with a smile this time, that he it has served its purpose. But did I have the money to invest in such a thing? Technically yes… I did hold the combination to the safe; it was the end of the day, and many tickets to the theater show in Jersey had been sold that day, so I had more than enough to cover it (as well as a real desire to fuck over my boss, whom I passionately hated at the time). But, I wasn’t insane, and as cool as it would have been to own a mystical murder weapon, I had to decline. Charlie insisted that it was the deal of the century, and I re-iterated my answer, but he kept going on and on, to the point that I began to loose my patience and in the end, asked the guy to get out of the store so I could close shop. And that was that. Or so I thought.

Back to last Sunday night, I got a call late in the evening. I didn’t recognize the number, it said restricted on my cell phone’s display, but I assumed it was someone regarding ICON related business, and come on, it was too late for that stuff, so I let it go to voice mail. I checked it the next morning, and it was him… Charlie. He asked if I remembered him, and his offer, which still stands. Charlie then left a phone number to call him back. It was by far one of the creepiest fucking things ever. How in the hell did he get my number?! Well, more than likely, one of my co-workers at the store probably gave it to him, they also did stupid shit like that, giving out personal info to complete strangers. But still… to call back, six years later? To see if I was still interested in buying a murder weapon with mythical powers? And of course… and I think you all know what I’m gonna say next… I accidentally erased the voicemail. I know.

But yeah, Charlie?s message really creeped me out, so much so that I thought about changing my voicemail. And as silly as it sounds, the reason behind my reluctance towards sharing the story was the possibility that it might somehow aggravate an already bizarre scenario. On a side note, apparently it is common knowledge that the gun was purchased by a collector who recently tried to put it up for auction, and is indeed a holy grail of sorts, as far as politically tinged weapons goes. So I?m guessing that it?s actually a fake or something? But anyway…

- Speaking of mysteries, another one has recently popped up, but it?s no where near as exciting or crazy as the previous one: I recently got a letter from the state of New Jersey stating that they have in possession “property” that belongs to me, from back when I lived in Jersey City. Odd. My biggest fear is that it?s a baby that my crazy ex decided to dump on the grounds of where she knew I lived. And in that case, like Dave Roman suggested, I wonder if it?s half-black?

- Well on that note! I was going wrap things up like in the past by passing along highlights from the forums over the past couple of weeks, but I?ve decided to listen to the haters and cut an admittedly already too long of an update right here, right now. Guess I?ll do that later today or tonight. Though one final thing: so last week I was hanging out with a friend, watching La Blue Girl (I will withhold the identity of said friend, even though I?m pretty sure she would not give a fuck, but the last time I revealed a female cartoonist?s connection to hentai I got flack for it, but that particular person hails from Brooklyn and its become a well-known fact that a large degree of the female cartooning populous from that borough hates my guts, at least the indie/hipster variety… though seriously, that girl got upset over the stupidest thing, as if her parents would ever come across this stupid site, and still harbors a grudge that exists to this day, many years later, but anyway?) and noticed something quite peculiar! There was a scene in which the titular character and the horny midget ninja “thing” that serves as her foil were playing video games, and we actually got to see what they’re playing… Gradius!

Which led to me posting about it on Insert Credit, and it actually grew into a fairly extensive discussion regarding shumps and anime, in particular Gradius! Note to self: despite what Nullsleep and Hilary says, much check out Sky Girls

2 comments

01/16/2008

It Is Fine! EVERYTHING IS FINE.

by Matthew Hawkins

Once again, what was supposed to be a brief rundown of random bits and pieces in a semi-stream of consciousness fashion has grown into yet another lengthy entry due to my inability to post earlier in the week as planned, from both being too busy and being too easily distracted. So apologies in advance to all of those who think my updates are too long, but hey, I am trying.

At the very least, there?s something for everybody, me thinks: talk about beer, video games, strippers, cripples killing women, retards that kill snails, David Lynch, Star Wars, smells on a train, a Japanese punk rock festival, sexy nurses…
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- Guess I?ll start with this past weekend: Saturday was a pretty happening day, which was kicked off with some beer and some shmups at Nullsleep?s, along with Dave Mauro. Jeremiah had just gotten some new arcade boards and invited Dave and I to check ?em out. The highlight was Ketsui, a Cave shooter circa 2001-2002, with a mechanic that both encouraged one to get as close as possible to the enemy, as well as a lock-on mechanic, similar to Panzer Dragoon and Rez. So naturally I dug it a lot. Also, the music was very nice, very Do Apparently the game is set in that same universe, though I don?t think my pilot was a hot robot-idol. Speaking of music, I finally got to hear the track that Jeremiah did for some animu, based on a character whose figure I managed to get in a capsule machine during my brief stay (it?s a girl with two corn cobs sticking out of her ass, that was from some fictional anime from Densha Otoko, aka Train Man, that became real). We also watched YouTube videos on the Wii, including the now classic MAHVEL BAYBEE, along with yet another awesome vid of David Lynch dishing out the truth (though nothing beats his views on watching movies on an iPhone).

Then I went down to the MF Gallery with Dave for an opening which not only included a piece by a friend of Dave?s, but one from Joe Simko. While asking Joe if he had seen the also now legendary 2 Girls 1 Cup, some punk rock dude (who was either with or there for Dethrace, a punk band that was on-hand to perform) heard me and went ?DUDE!!! 2 GIRLS 1 CUP ROCKS!!!? and then explained that I should check out Chinese Delivery (which I tried doing, but it produced nothing, or least what I was supposed to see). I also voiced my concern about the screen actor’s guild strike to Joe, because it might mean the cancellation of the Oscars, which is basically our Super Bowl; a time for getting together to stuff our faces with pizza, getting loaded, placing bets, and cheering/booing/just plain yelling at the TV set.

Anyway, hung out there for a bit, but once things began to get super crowded, myself, Joe, June, and the rest of the Sweetrot crew went to a bar, and because I was hungry, we then ended up at a papaya hot dog stand, believe it or not. Hey, I really wanted a corn dog. I then got a call from Mooney, who then joined us, and we all went looking for another bar. But because it was cold, and late, plus Joe and the rest of the gang had plans the next morning, it was soon just Mooney and myself, so we decided to hit Kenka for the dirt cheap Japanese beer. On the way, I ran into Jeremeiah?s crew of all things, who were all at a karaoke bar, but I passed on joining in cuz it was super crowded inside. And once at Kenka, Mooney and I had Sapporo by the pitchers (I can?t emphasize how DIRT CHEAP it is to drink there) and kimchee till three in the morning.

- Next day was mostly spent recovering. Hilary came over in the evening and we watched The Humanoid, a film that Dave made a copy for a while back, and for good reason; its good old fashioned shitty Italian Star Wars rip-off, with a dash of Barbarella. Its starts off as a blatant Star Wars rip, right now to the shots of ship flying by in the space, desert planet, and very Darth Vader-esque bad guy. But then we are introduced to the star of the movie… Richard Kiel, whom some might recall is the super huge bad guy Jaws from the old Roger Moore 007 films. Basically, one second he?s a kindly 7-foot tall space captain that loves his robot dog, and who also has a beard…

… And the next thing you know, he crash lands on the aforementioned desert planet (or maybe another one… everything is pretty much the same locale, due to the obviously meager budget) AND gets hit by a rocket that turns him into a rampaging monster controlled by the bad guys, who also happens to lose his beard. And that?s when things get WACKY!!!

Basically, the Darth Vader guy enlists the help of some bad scientist type to develop a means of taking over the planet of Metropolis, aka Earth in the year whatever, by turning its denizens into a mindless army, and Jaws is the test case I guess. So immediately he is sent to the capital to take out the head honcho (and brother of the Vader wannabe, who is named General Graal). But then the mad scientist decides to go after some girl who I guess spurned him, who is the token hottie in the film. The woman, who basically is a mix between Princess Leia and Emanuel, for those who know what that name means, is the guardian of some Asian kid that spouts off philosophical bullshit, and can also read minds, calm a savage beast (which is how he subdues Jaws), and conjure up these folks in a tight spot that are basically Jawas, but are tall and weld… imagine light sabers, but smaller and as arrows shot by bows. They were by far Hilary?s favorite part of the movie. Mine was the robot dog, which of course, was barely in the movie.

Oh, and mad scientist has an evil woman hanging around him, who pretty much redefines the term ?hat hair? to the Nth degree. She also has a thing for the Graal btw, though the most important thing to know is that to retain her youthful features, she has to absorb the essence of other younger women, so we got one scene in which a naked girl is put into a tube to be drained, which got Hilary and I both excited! Though in the end, the whole draining was a bust, but I at least got extra assurance that Hilary would do a fine job with Harvest. And sadly, both of us hoped the main girl would get gratuitously naked, since this was an Italian production after-all, but alas, epic fail (though she did get slightly wet when she fell into a bath tub).

Other notable things: man, the ships designs were complete knock-offs of Star Wars vehicles, but the scale was all wrong, and what was presented as being super big ship, like a Star Wars star destroyer, ended up being really small. Which at least made their ability to turn on a dime while in space not as ridiculous. Certain scenes were also total rips, right down to the beats, such as when the Millennium Falcon-esque ship is surrounded and a dogfight ensues. Though it should be noted that this particular ship actually looked like what Samus Aran, from Metroid, pilots, so it was ahead of its time in at least one instance. The music was also a shameless reproduction, though done entire on a Casio. Badly. It also needs to be mentioned how the main bad dude, Graal, wasn?t all that evil, all things considered. If you worked for Vadar and fucked up, he kills you. This guy just becomes disappointed, and revokes your privileges for a few days; not sure what they might be… maybe the super sweet parking spot? Later on, he gets all concerned that he?s taking needless casualties, whereas Vadar never once gave a shit, and sent his men out to slaughter like cattle. As for the movie’s Luke, even though he spoke English, Hilary and I for the life of us could not understand a goddamn word that he said, not once.

And not to give the ending away, but honestly, I doubt anyone else will come across it (I have no idea how Dave got his copy, which was obviously a dub of a Japanese LaserDisc… of a shitty Italian production, dubbed in English), but there?s a scene in which Jaws (sorry, the Humanoid) swings a garter, knocking all the bad guy?s head off, all in row, which was quite simply the greatest thing ever, plus when he becomes normal at the end, he gets his beard back.

Two thumbs up! WAY UP. And if anyone is interested in more screencaps, let me know, and I’ll whip some more up.

- Another film I recently got my hands on, this past Friday to be exact, and which I have been dying to see, is Electroma, the Daft Punk movie (the live action one), though I?m waiting till Katie is in town again to check it out. We?re both still pissed that they only played it once in the city, on a weekend that was not good for us (plus it was in Willamsburg… nuff said).

Though it was also late Friday night, after Wild Record Collection (which wasn?t on the air the Friday night prior, along with Concrete TV, which naturally got me really pissed), that I saw an interview with Crispin Glover, and in which I discovered that I had missed the screening of the second installment of his ?It? trilogy, which was playing at the IFC Center the last week of December. Still no fucking idea how that I passed me by…

Some might recall my review of his first ?It? movie, ?What Is It?? which in a nutshell, was written by a man with severe cerebral palsy, and who is also featured naked, in a clam shell, along with Glover as God or the devil in a fur coat, all accompanied by racist redneck music playing, images of Shirley Temple as a Nazi (with a bullwhip sticking out of her vag), and topless women with gigantic tits wearing animal masks. Plus scenes of retarded children pouring salt on snails.

Well the second installment is called ?It is fine! EVERYTHING IS FINE.? and stars the same man with cerebral palsy from the previous film, Steven C. Stewart, who was also the person who wrote all three movies (though IMDB seems to have it listed otherwise, with only writing the second one). The long story short is, Steward was placed into a nursing home after his parents died when he was in his early twenties, and was thought be mentally retarded, so for years he languished in the hospital, effectively a prisoner, until someone was able to finally understand him. He then wrote a trio of screenplays that Glover somehow got his hands on, shortly after Back To The Future to be exact, and then made it his mission to film them. And all the money he makes from acting in ?legit? films have been spent on the ?It? trilogy, which has also become his primary source of income, which he tours around the country with as part of a show that also includes a slide show and Q&A afterwards (plus he also sells his books that are old novels heavily edited to made super bizarre and creepy). Steward stars in both movies, but instead of being in just a few scenes in the first movie, he actually stars in part two, and because his health had begun to fail once the movies got underway, the second movies was shot first.

Okay, onto the film itself: Steward stars as a guy who has women falling all over him. Either he is ?normal? in the film?s universe, and that they don?t notice is handicap, or they do and it turns them on, I don?t know since I haven?t seen it (sadly). So he fucks all these women… and remember, the dude has severe cerebral palsy… and there is apparently all these scenes of very graphic sex. And then he kills them. Which instantly reminded me of The Late Bloomer, which I had seen a few years ago, where it was the same thing: a handicapped, and seemingly harmless man, going on a murder spree. But in this instance, it?s simply hilarious; there?s this one scene in which Steward is chocking a woman to death, but he is so obviously weak, and the grip that he has around the girl?s neck is so clearly not strong or tight at all, let alone dangerous looking. Adding to the LOL-factor is the victim?s overacting.

Another thing I was able to gleam from just a few precious clips is how everything is lit with primary colors, much like that old Dick Tracy live-action flick, and all the exterior shots looked like those fake New York street shots from Eyes Wide Shut. Except much, MUCH more fake looking. So yeah… I fucking pissed that I missed the screenings; I?m sure it was mentioned in one of many what?s going on mailing lists I?m part of, but I?ve just been to busy to check them out as of late. Glover mentioned in his interview that he?ll be on tour with both movies for the next couple of years, and won?t be filming installment three for a while now, but when he does, David Lynch will be producing it. Which makes total sense, of course!

- So the other night, Monday night, I went over to Dave?s watch one of my favorite movies from 2007, I?m A Cyborg But That?s Okay. Again, best opening credit sequence, ever. Also, best random bits of violence in a romantic comedy, ever, as well. He also got the latest firmware on my PSP (though for some reason, many homebrew apps and the PSone games I had are now broken, plus I still can?t get the Xyanide sequel to run on it, so maybe my system just sucks) and I finally got the chance to try out Koronipa, which is pretty damn awesome, and some goofy Japanese-only RC copter game call Bi-Bi-Bopter or something, which kinda sucked.

Speaking of the Wii, I recently gave Twilight Princess for the system a go. And… it?s not going so well. Not only the ultra boring first part of the game even worse the second time around, I can?t do jack shit due to constantly making mistakes, all stemming from me being familiar with the Gamecube version. Meaning, I?m always getting things mixed up, and it?s pretty annoying. Might have to give up on it actually.

- Sticking with games, John recently released a brand new video of his still being worked on game Nearly Departed. Check it out!

And remember my trip to Japan, specifically the purpose behind it, which was to offer a hand at some big crazy punk rock festival? Well, here?s a recent story on it from a Japanese news program. Don’t ask me why a story was done on it so many months later (maybe it wasn’t, and it just took someone a while to get it on YouTube?).

Looks like so much fun doesn?t it? One would never know that there was so much drama behind the scenes… unless that person was familiar with my extensive travelogue, of course!

- Back to making games, and John real quick, some might recall that he was one the last dudes to try and help make Spready Bear happen, which I only mention cuz someone yesterday asked me what the hell was going on that. And the answer is nothing! Of course. Hey, everyone?s been busy; last I heard, the programmer had to tend to some personal emergency, and that was a while ago. And hey, these things happen.

So maybe I shouldn?t even say anything, but I have recently begun preliminary work on yet a totally separate game with a long-time collaborator. I don?t want to say anything since everything is so early, plus the idea is so good that I?m afraid that it?s going to be ripped off. Yes, it?s THAT good! Though I will mention that I will finally be enlisting the help of an intern for such an undertaking; in the past I?ve had offers for assistance, but had to say no because the timing was all off, but this time, the call for help came at just the right time! Or at least, by the time all the paperwork is finally taken care of, production will have finally begin (since it?s a foreign students, the paperwork is gonna take longer). Sadly, the student in question is not some young female hottie, like those in the past, but at least the dude comes with a ton of skill sets. Besides, I have a girlfriend and all.

- Speaking of girls, I ran into a familiar face on the train the other day. Not someone I went out with, or even a fresh-faced student of mine from my days working at SVA. Nope, it was a stripper that I had hired for a friend?s bachelor party, though the best part is how I got her; frustrated with all the services not having what I was looking for in the realm of ?nerdy? girls, I put an ad in Craigslist for someone that was ?Hermione Granger-like?, meaning the girl was more for me than anyone else, but hey, it worked! And when I was became single last year, guess who was the first person I decided to drop a line to? You got it! And I don?t think she was bullshitting me when she said that she would have loved to gone out with me… if not for the fact that I had already seen her naked already, which she thought would have been too weird to get over, especially on a first date.

Anyway, I was on my way to have dinner with a friend, and found myself on a crowded L train, when I looked to my right, and there she was! But we had a guy between us, and random conversations with strippers you vaguely know, subway train or not, so I didn?t attempt to engage in conversation. And then, at the last minute, she noticed me, went back to her book, and that?s when I saw the look of ?Hey, wait a minute.? Which was right when I had to get off. Oh well, but once again, I’ve got a girlfriend anyway!

Also, speaking of trains, one morning I was late for work, as usual. The entire train was again packed, since it was the morning rush, and also completely dead in the water (well between to stations and going absolutely no where). Once we finally got moving and rolled into the next station, the conductor explained the reason for the delay was due to the train ahead of us and a situation involving “a passenger’s hygiene.” That’s a new one!

- And back to girls… this time naked ones, covered in goo! Just wanted to pass along word that production on Harvest is finally under way! From what I hear, Katie has begun preliminary character designs, plus there is apparently going to be a prequel of sorts for Synthetic Visions #2, the follow-up to her art house/comic book explosion that was the hit of SPX! It’s going to star clones that are sex slaves, and may or may not be related to Harvest… whatever! Still sounds awesome! Though she has Nurse Nurse #2 to finish up first. And speaking of, Hilary, who also been working on Harvest over on her end, recently did this fab and ultra sexy Nurse Nurse pin-up:

- Well it’s the new year, and I have been knee deep in ICON-related business. The big show is only a few months away, and I’ve been busy signing up guests and figuring out what the topics of conversation will be. I haven’t even gotten a chance to think about my big one hour thing for this upcoming show, which to be honest, I was totally gonna pass on, simply because the reaction from last year’s was so huge, especially with the MTV coverage afterwards, that I have no idea how I’m going to top myself. I’ve done two top ten lists, so that’s played out already; I have a basic idea for this year, but I’m not sure if it’s all that strong, though it does play to what has worked thus far… making fun of nerds. But aside from the pressure to perform, I just know that I’m gonna be swamped by all behind the scenes stuff that I’m now involved in, hence the desire to just stop while I’m ahead. Though both Jason and Katie have convinced me to give it a shot anyway, plus if I do hit another home-run, I am supposed to get a championship belt…

BTW, anyone interested in following how things develop, there is a topic about in the forums.

Besides ICON, I also have the GDC to look forward to, and I’ll be busy this upcoming weekend with my judging duties. Everything is more or less set, except for one thing: I still have no idea where I’m gonna stay. I’ll be in San Francisco for a week, and considering how expensive hotels are in NYC, and that I keep hearing that things are more expensive in SF…. oh boy. So any helpful hints, or maybe even a couch to crash on, would be greatly appreciated.
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Lastly, since I haven’t done so for almost a month now, perhaps it?s a good time to take a look at some highlights from the fort9forums? It’s actually been a pretty crazy time, as far as message boards in general are concerned; in addition to the recent return of the Insert Credit forums, a brand new player has hit the stage of history, that being the all-new, totally free and totally wild (as in the wild, wild west) Forum Axe, headed by that crazy Sonic lovin’/hatin’ Brit, James Edwards. Anyhow, it’s a nice return to the good old days of what the Axe used to be, over at the old IC forums, before it was destroyed by kiddie porn (and itself to be honest), as well as a nice change of pace to what I have going on, and one could say that it even compliments it, which even James can agree upon. Basically another new alliance has been formed!

But home turf still has plenty to offer, which a lot of you new folks (courtesy of all the link-age that my Love Love Torokko overview has received, via GameSetWatch and Insert Credit, welcome btw!) probably know nothing about! So let’s see…

- I finally played that sequel to Vib Ribbon. And it ain’t the worst thing in the world, actually.

- My piece in Nick Mag confused some Smash Bros diehards. LOL.

- Bioware is doing a Sonic the Hedgehog RPG?!?! Where was I when this news first broke? Which was apparently a while ago. Also, LULZ.

- Perhaps the best gun solution for the Wii thus far. Plus, news about the ability to play PS2 games off a hard drive via that mod chip on a memory card (on the page before the gun post).

- Are JRPG characters gay? Yes.

- And why I can’t play RPGs, or at least JRPGs.

- For better or worse, there have been quite a few additions to the stupid game story thread.

- And why I simply do not find Zero Punctuation all that funny.

- eBay is often filled with awesome stuff.

- Something else that I believe has become a pretty big hit on the internet, Animal Soccer World.

- Fatal Farm + Garfield = pure, unadulterated joy.

- And the random YouTube thread keeps on delivering, with all sorts of wacky shit, like Santana as you’ve never heard him before and Ronald McDonald freaking out in Japan. Too bad the videos proving that the WWE’s Vince McMahon is the Reptiloid Illuminati Antichrist, and that Tom Cruise Scientology vid were both taken down…

- Me bitching about Spider Man.

- Hey look! A retard tiger.

- Behold The Giant White Glove (and back when Michael Jackson still kicked ass).

- There was a Ewok Holocaust?

- What was sexy in the 80′s? This was. Again, slightly NSFW.

- I finally saw Resident Evil Extinction, at least the part that mattered. Verdict: it’s awesome… the link is a tiny bit NSFW btw.

- The shitty comics thread keeps on truckin’.

- I’ve mentioned her work around here before, but once again, it’s time to give it up for Milk.

- Another awesome female illustrator that I’m a fan of is Nadeshico Rin.

- The bitching about crazy bosses/co-workers thread is also still pretty happening.

- What do AMVs and 9/11 have to do with each? A lot apparently.

- Since its kinda been a while, another installment of LOL furries.

- Conjoined porn. NSWF, obviously.

- And defending yourself, with just a pack of cards. And believe it or not, NSFW.

One last thing, for those who don’t know already: if you registered for the forums and want to know why you haven’t been approved, please email me and I’ll get you all set up!

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