Well, since it?s been over a week since the last update, and I could use a break from my latest freelance gig (I’m editing video for the National Enquirer, believe it or not), time for a quick update… Especially since May 31 is somewhat of a special day; it’s the four year anniversary of this website! Yay. Though truth be told, I did have something special planned for today to mark the occasion, that being the first real installment of the podcast, but unfortunately there’s been a slight delay; the current plan is to head over Mike’s tomorrow afternoon, and hopefully what is produced shall be decent enough for public consumption.
But it’s just as well and par for the course. The past couple of weeks, though this past one in particular, has been pretty “meh” due to a variety of reasons. First off, got sick again, which was completely unexpected and totally sucked; it happened while I was hanging with Carlos and the rest of the crew last Thursday… there I was, swilling beer, dining on greasy French Fries, and shooting the shit, having a great old time, and next thing you know, I feel my throat closing up and my annoying, just gotten rid off, cough comes back. Once again, getting old, lol.
On a semi-related note, this past week is also the one year anniversary of my big trip to Japan, and aside from missing the wonderful sights and sounds, I also really miss the feeling I had there, of feeling super healthy from all the awesome foods that were readily (and cheaply available). Plus I was just more out and about at that point… and here I am now, mostly just sitting around the apartment, on the computer. My health has been a primary concern as of late, though I’ve also been lazy too; today also marks the last day of my COBRA health coverage, but I’ve yet to sign up for the Freelancer’s Union, mostly for their health benefits. On another related note, the past couple of days I’ve been on the search for Wii Fit, and like many others, it’s been a frustrating hunt to say the least, but I’ll go into details in just a bit, though I will say that I’m no longer planning on using a video game as a focal point towards getting in shape, which is a silly notion overall when one sits down to think about it.
Oh, also, the weather last year was really nice this time of year, though I don’t think it was just central to Japan… meanwhile, aside from the already wacky weather 08 has provided we finally got the first real hot day here in NYC, and Christ do I hate the heat in the city.
Anyway, getting sick threw me out of the loop for the next following days, hence one reason for the lack of updates, though over-all it’s also just been a time in which nothing has really come together. Another plan for this weekend was to head to New Hampshire for Space War 2008, another classic gaming tournament going on at Funspot, and organized by Twin Galaxies. This one centers on classic, and somewhat recent shmups, and the long story short is, I know a guy from college who used to hold the record for Giga Wing 2 (it was something with 13 zeroes) but lost it to some kind in Brazil, and was going there to reclaim his title. So the plan was to go and watch him reclaim his record, or at least his attempt to, but again, things just feel apart.
Also, the MoCCA Art Fest is next weekend, and I couldn’t be any less ready. I was really hoping for a fourth UNLUCKY preview mini to debut, but that just ain’t happening. Furthermore, the first volume of Harvest is also not going to be there sadly. Hopefully everything will come together later this year for SPX… At least #3 will be making its premiere at the show, for those who haven’t had a chance to pick up a copy at Rocketship, Jim Hanley’s, and Forbidden Planet.
… Plus even your fine comic book establishment, that is if you live in San Fran, Chicago, or Baltimore. And if they don’t, ask for it! Or simply order your copy (or copies) directly from me; just look for the store link at the very top of this page!
So yeah, it’s just been one of those weeks. Though there has been more than just sitting around and feeling sick or bummed out…
It?s Not Like My Childhood Was Raped Or Anything, But Still
Saw Indiana Jones 4 last Friday night with Katie and Dave. In a nutshell: I thought it was pretty stupid. If I was a diehard Indy fan, I’d probably be more upset or annoyed. It was just this long, two hour long argument against digital filmmaking. And I was once again reminded how I used to be a fan of Spielberg (back when I was like, 15); it’s really depressing how many creative folks, as they get older, get so wrapped up in doing shit that’s “for the family” and what not. Though in the end, I just find mysticism surrounding Biblical artifacts a whole lot interesting than stuff relating to little green men, at least when it comes to a movie built around a globetrotting archeologist. But hey, at least Cate Blanchett kicked ass, at least in my opinion.
Actually, Katie told me afterwards how she wanted to walk about after the first twenty minutes. I guess I liked it more than her… at least in the beginning, which I didn’t mind, and felt as if it was an “homage” to the previous flicks. But along the way, it just got dumber and dumber… I recall folks at the time complaining about Tarantino’s Death Proof, particularly the dialogue, saying “It’s like he’s trying to write Tarantino-esque dialog” which made no sense in that case, but I do believe that vibe somewhat applies here I pretty much gave up on Indy 4, during the huge jungle chase scene, which started out “real” but turned into green-screen bullshit. Dave and his buddies on the other hand loved it, as do quite a few others, so I guess it’s just a case of different strokes, etc.
“A Rock Out Of Place, In A Japanese Garden? … SUPPLIES!!!”
Also last weekend saw a surprise houseguest: Travis Nichols was in town, and crashed at my place a couple of nights. Which also meant introducing him to the wonders of New York cable access. Plus, he played some games, including a bunch of old Sega Master Systems titles, via the PS2 (I have a disc that has the emulator and a shit-load of SMS and Game Gear roms… similar to one for the Dreamcast that I used to have, but have somehow misplaced). There’s nothing like the excitement that takes over a person when they come across a game that they loved dearly as a child and haven’t played in like 20 years… in Travis’s case, it was Ninja.
Speaking of, been getting plenty of play with the Xbox 360:
Beautiful Katamari – So yeah, it’s not my imagination; the game is MUCH harder than before. Whereas in part 1 and 2 (can’t say for 3 since I haven’t played it that much, for perhaps obvious reasons) you are given more than enough time to complete the goal, so you can just go about at a somewhat leisurely pace and casually explore, now you’re given so little time that gone is that relaxing vibe, and instead it’s actually stressful, believe it or not. Plus, as stated previously, you have the awkward control scheme, with the twin sticks not being perpendicular, and the shape of the 360′s controller itself makes one’s hands hurt during gameplay after a while. BUT… almost all that bullshit is totally worth it for the absolutely brilliant last stage, which you get the sense is something they’ve wanted to do since day one, but only now with the power of the 360 is it finally possible. Plus, the new tracks are pretty awesome.
Dead Or Alive 4 – You know, I recently read in an article about Ninja Gaiden 2 in which the head of Team Ninja, Tomonobu Itagaki, stated how he had mastered the fighting genre with DOA 4. Ummm… It’s not a horrible game by any stretch. I mean, I am a fan of the Dead Or Alive series, though most it does have to do with its roster of scantily clad girls, and how the main chick’s storyline involves fighting clones of herself, which have gotten more and more naked as the series has progressed… Plus, it’s always been a pretty game, and at the end of the day, a decent button masher. Yet, after five or six or so editions (part 1 alone has had so many flavors), I’ve begun to grow bored.
Virtua Fighter 5 – …But not with the VF formula. Even though I was less than enthralled with part 4 for whatever reason; it just felt like a step backwards on numerous levels, since it really was (the elevated levels and extra action button was a HUGE turn off with many… and I for one didn’t mind either). Plus the game just looked ugly, and I only bother to pop in EVO every once in a while to play it in VF1 mode. But part 5, while still playing it safe, just feels and especially looks amazing. Also helping are the two new characters, who are pretty awesome (whereas I found 4′s first wave of new faces to be pretty boring). The Quest Mode is better than ever, and much like Joe, I’m building my Eileen up to be a hipster hottie. And call me crazy, but I don’t mind playing with the stock 360 controller, though I am thinking of getting a proper arcade stick (especially with Soul Calibur 4 on the way).
Devil May Cry 4 – Just the demo… and I don’t know why, but I feel as if I’ve missed out on the DMC boat. I’m more than happy to admit that what I played of parts 1 and 3 (passed on 2 since everyone said it sucked) delivered on the high-octane fueled thrills, but I also though the exploration aspects and collecting of stuff in part 1 was a real drag, and while I saw none of that with 3, it simply fell by the way side at the time. And part 4 seems to have a return of the former. Also, as silly as it sounds, and as neat-o the camera system is, I always end up struggling with it when exploring for some stupid reason, hence the apathy.
N+ – Once again, just the demo, and again, I feel like I’m missing the boat here. It’s certainly neat, but not “OMG, THIS IS LIKE VIDEO GAME CRACK” like everyone else whose played it. I also love how when Katie first saw me play the game, she groaned and went “Does EVERY game have to be all 8-bit?” She does have a point… hence another reason why I’m especially looking towards Braid.
BioShock – The demo of course, and surprisingly, I found myself not wanting to throw up after 20 minutes of play! Yet, I find myself stuck, and yes, I know that’s pretty sad.
Table Tennis – I actually liked this game when it first came out… I believe I even gushed over it in my GSW write-up. But years later, and more importantly, after experiencing Wii Play, it just doesn’t hold up.
Sega Rally Revo – You know, at a certain point, I actually kinda liked it. I always knew it was different, and not exactly the Sega Rally of old (1 & 2), but I always thought I should give it a chance. And… I’ve given up on it. The more I played it, the more it’s idiosyncrasies began to show, and they frankly got on my nerds. First off, and this coming from a guy that defends the framerates of PGR and DiRT, but whatever frames this game is running at totally sucks. It’s gotta be less than 30, and pretty much drags things down. There’s two other things: first is the less than stellar (and simply all over the place) handling, which I do believe is made worse with the framerate. And second is the graphics; it’s funny how the game looked really good in still shots, but again in motion, it’s not, to the point that everything looks like a bland mess. Very difficult to explain. Conversely, I decided to pop in Sega Rally 2 immediately after-playing, and despite the erratic framerate, its at least at a mostly steady, and never dipping below 30, plus the textures are GORGEOUS. Sorry, but my old, almost nine year old 128-bitter totally beats the shit out of the 256-bit (I think that’s what the 360 has) monster, at least with this particular game. Not helping is the God-awful soundtrack; the series has always been known about the phenomenal tunes (even the piece of shit Sega Rally 2006 had great music). And the front-end is as bland as can be… My God Sega, how the might have fallen.
… Otherwise, I’ve also been playing plenty of Project Gotham Racing 3, speak of the devil, which I picked up for dirt cheap, and my copy of Gears Of War just arrived, though I haven’t had the chance to give it a shot just yet. I’m also wondering about Lost Colonies. I guess I should just download the demo!
As mentioned previously, I’ve been trying to get ahold of Wii Fit, with zero luck. The thing is, I totally had a chance to pick one up last Thursday, when I saw a big stack of them at Toys R Us in Times Square, but didn’t cuz I didn’t feel like lugging it around later in the evening (and taking it to karaoke would have been a drag alright). But ever since then, I’ve yet to come even close to one.
I guess this is what feels like for all those frustrated folks who had such a bitch of a time getting their Wii’s. Actually, from what I understand, people are still having a hard time getting the console, what, two years later? And not during the holiday season? Oh boy… I will admit that I’ve been lucky; one of the definite perks of my job is that you often get to ask for free stuff, and you get it. Nintendo has been super nice to me in the past, with the complimentary Wii and DS Lite, both during times when they were in heavy demand. And I just don’t feel like being a jerk asking for one, even if it “business related”; I suppose I just want to go through the same headaches that Joe Consumer is going through, had been going throw, and it totally sucks.
I checked all over the place, and it would seem that the only place to have a regular stock of the stuff is the Nintendo World Store, here in NYC. It was explained to me on the phone that each morning they get a brand new batch. Though when asked how many was usually on-hand, no given an answer, but was told that each morning they run out within the first half hour to hour of opening. So yesterday morning, I went out with Katie as she headed towards work, while my destination was the store. Got there around 10:15… I thought they opened at 10, my mistake. And naturally they were all gone. I asked at what time they had sold out, and how many they had available in the first place, but again no answers. At least from the first person; I managed to pry from the second person that each morning there’s a line that forms up front. 30 minutes before the store opens, a store employee goes out and gives wristbands. I asked how many had showed up that morning, and was told around 150. And when I enquired how many of those got what they were waiting for, no clear answer was given, but it was definitely less than a quarter of the group. Which totally sucks. And I’m a diehard Nintendo fan for sure, but I kinda don’t feel like getting up 4:30 in the morning to head down to Time Square to wait in line till 9.
Many people are getting really sick and tired of how difficult it is to come by Nintendo’s hardware offerings. Some wonder what the hell is going on, and the official explanation has always been that Nintendo simply has very strict guidelines when it comes to production (the complete antithesis of the Xbox 360, of course). But others are wondering if there are other reasons, such as Nintendo distributing a very limited supply on purpose, to help generate demand. Most folks who have any real business acumen believe this to be an absolutely insane notion; what company would willingly sacrifice profit for buzz? Well… buzz is pretty damn important, especially at this stage of the video game war. It’s pretty much one of the few things the system has going for it, to be honest. Another major point of discussion is the serious dearth of software for the system. We’ve seen it before; starting with the N64, and getting worse with the GameCube, and finally even more so with the Wii, Nintendo appears to be the only ones making any good games for their device. As for the notion that money that would go towards a Wii and its software would then move onto a competitor, well, the playing field has changed and so has its audience; it’s safe to say that a good deal of those wanting to invest in Wii might not turn to the 360 or PS3 as an alternative since most of them are not your typical video gamers. So perhaps there is less perceived risk involved with such a strategy? And as asinine it might sound, I have to admit, I keep hearing more and more people state that it might not be some wacky conspiracy…
The ones getting the biggest shaft to an extent are the traditional/hardcore video gamers. But, and I think the success of the PS3 has proven, they are indeed becoming less and less important. They still matter, but they no longer help to dictate who is number one as clearly as they used to. As for Wii Fit, I still want one, but I’m not going to kill myself by going on some wild goose-chase. And as much as I wanted it to be by my side as I attempt to shed some pounds for this summer, I guess regular old exercise, plus boxing, will simply have to do.
CRANK DAT SUPER SAIYAN
Anyway it’s been a busy week in general, news-wise, but instead of scouring the web for highlights, and because I’ve already gone on too long, plus its been a while, how about I just stick to the highlights as found on my neck of the internet woods?
- And for those who don’t know it yet, one definite front runner for game of the year will be Tatsunoko vs. Capcom. Imagine, Gotchaman vs Mega Man!
- The Brawl thread has recently become a great place to find out how to hack one’s Wii without the need of a mod chip! And since I’m tired of waiting for Starfox to appear on the VC, may as well make it happen myself!
- Hey, the Live A Live translation patch ver. 2.0 is finally available! Now you too can a caveman, cowboy, ninja, spaceman, and fireman I think, all in one handy-dandy jRPG!
- In addition to teaching little girls to take care of animals, figure skate, and be a fashion designer, they want to teach their parents how to quit smoking.
- There is no real Tetris movie in the works, but we are most definitely getting the game show.
- Hooray for WiiWare! I’m being sarcastic btw.
- Related… so I guess the consensus is, Mario Kart Will flat out sucks?
- So why do I all of a sudden give two shits about Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3? Two words: Gina Carano.
- Have I already mentioned the FPS experiment I will be engaging in, with Mike’s help?
- Got a whole slew of awesome random video game videos to share, and not just from the random video games video thread, though I have a bunch of those as well:
… while most have cringed, the trailer for Guitar Hero On Tour has TOTALLY sold the game for me!
…in case you didn’t hear, when it comes to video games, us Koreans are HARDCORE!!!
… Gradius, if it was a text adventure.
… as far as fan/parody videos go, this Mortal Kombat one is pretty damn good. SEXUALITY!
… believe it or not, this slightly NSFW animu-a-rrific game is supposed to teach English.
… and dudes will love this one, while girls will cringe; it’s EASILY the best ad for the Wii Fit yet.
- Via the stupid tattoos thread…
- And yeah, I most certainly will NOT be watching this show.
- Dick put it best with: “Mmmmmmmmm?jihadist donuts.”
- Once again, Cracked.com delivers a rather intriguing article: “5 Psychological Experiments That Prove Humanity is Doomed.”
- And here we have “The Grand List of Overused Science Fiction Clich?s”.
- Believe it or not, the awesome random pictures thread keeps getting better, and better, and better…
- And here we have some fine offerings from the random (non-video games) thread:
… what if Nazis went to the moon in 1945…and came back 73 years later?
… the best argument against the Large Hadron Collider yet!” When in doubt, blame Satan!
… we all know that all 14 year olds think they know how to fix the word, but Jesus…
… we also already know that all 14 year olds are indestructible.
… Remember the 80′s? Remember bread? Remember bread in the 80s?
… and Katie recently unearthed that MTV furry documentary. And it more than lives up to the hype!
- So there’s a now a fight club in Union Square? LOL.
- And MTV’s Real World is coming to Brooklyn. I still think the Bronx would be far more interesting.
- Oh God, I totally forgot… This is the weekend for I THINK I’M A CARRIE WHAT DO YOU GUYS THINK!?!? Ugh.
- I don’t think everyone got my “So I’m assuming folks are gonna ride their bikes in protest, right?” line. But it’s funny cuz it’s true!
- How many times exactly have I mentioned that I’m so fucking glad that I don’t live in Park Slope anymore? Not nearly enough is the answer.
- In this corner, man babies…
- And in this corner, Xalynne Blackblade…
- Sorry I haven’t passed this along before: the official poker douchebags thread.
- Believe it or not, Google Maps is a lot of fun sometimes!
- Yet another “please let this be real”: Gay Thug Dating Dot Com.
- The animated gif thread, now featuring a netty pot.
- Finally, the Soul Cancer/LOL Japan thread features highlights from my new favorite corner of the web, Sankaku Complex, including some of the most of nicest (dare I say beautiful?) looking hentai you’ll ever see. Seriously…
Oh, and then there’s this…
One last thing… I’ve kinda talked about it before, but after thinking about it, and also after noticing the absolute dearth of programming that’s currently available on the Manhattan Neighborhood Network, I’ve decided to go ahead and find out what’s the necessary steps to get my own cable access show. But I also need to figure out what it’s exactly going to be… so any suggestions are welcome. The plan right now is to have a plan, or a general outline by mid-summer. Naturally, I’ll pass along more as it develops…
And last, happy anniversary everyone! Hope some of you folks have gotten a kick out of this place for the four years. How about four more?