May 2009

05/31/2009

“Finally we?ll be able to build Neo-Tokyo?”

by Matthew Hawkins

Been a low-key weekend, yet still a busy one…

The Midnight Room

First off, this past Friday night was a midnight screening of Tommy Wiseau’s cinematic masterpiece The Room, which some folks out there might recall me being a pretty big fan of. It’s apparently the new Rocky Horror in LA, so Katie and I wanted to be there before it became something similar here in NYC. Because nothing makes you seem more on the pulse of what’s hip that being able to claim that you were there for some pop cultural phenomena’s infancy before all the bandwagon jumpers ruined everything. And as expected, it was both tons of fun and kinda lame.

It all went down at Village East Cinema, which if I’m not mistaken was the original site for the original NYC Rocky Horror (who are now in Chelsea, I believe). Got there somwhat early, though it was for the best since the long developed fairly early on, which basically resembled a block party, with folks getting drunk and high right there on the street. Not before too long, we found ourselves in its super big screening room, which was where I caught the New York primer of the Spawn movie with John Green so many years back (lol). The crowd energy was high, and a good time seemed to be guaranteed… that was until we noticed the idiots to our right with assorted instruments.

Right before the kick-off, the organizers began giving out plastic utensils (one midnight Room tradition is for the audience to chuck plastic spoons whenever a picture of a spoon, which is in a frame resting on an end-table, pops up on screen) and tiny foam footballs (another tradition is for folks to toss the pigskin back and forth during the ridiculous and nonsensical football scenes) to the audience. I’m afraid that I don’t have any real info regarding said people, like if they’re officially affiliated with Wiseau or anything like that. They were selling the DVD and movie poster, along with shirts, though they were all lame and paled in comparison to some of the fan made ones that Katie and I occasionally caught glimpses of. At the very least, the organizers didn’t come off as annoying as Eventually one of them came out to greet the crowd and introduce… some no-name female stand-up comic. None of us had any idea who hell she was, nor what she was doing (one would think that maybe she would do jokes based entirely on, or at least related to the movie) but it was soon made crystal clear that she was perhaps the worst comic ever. And once who totally didn’t handle being heckled well at all. What a train-wreck, and not even an enjoyable one. But the next guest was actually legit: Mike Holmes, who played Mike! AKA the guy who makes the comical blowjob face, for those who’ve already seen The Room already. Didn’t say much, other than it’s amazing that everyone loves such an abortion of a movie, plus offered to answer any questions afterwards. And with that the movie rolled…

When I first told Hilary that I was seeing it yet again, but at a theater, she could only scratch her head. But even those who have seen the DVD a million times already it owe to themselves to catch The Room on the big screen. It’s SO much worse, mostly because all these fine details (i.e. mistakes) become far more noticeable and therefore comical. The ridiculous green-screen scenes looks twenty times more ridiculous. And it was fun hearing people yell stupid shit like “HI DENNY!” and “YOU’VE GOT CANCER!!!” Again, you have to see it to know what the hell is going on. Because we sat kinda close, Katie and I were constantly getting hit by plastic spoons, which was all good cuz, aside from them not hurting one bit, it gave us plenty of ammo as well.

Though the worst part was easily the aforementioned douchey band. During the Skinimax sex scenes, which btw way feature some amazing r&b duets, these jack-offs felt the need to be part of the show and play along. Not only did they completely drown out said music, which we both wanted to enjoy echoing throughout the cavernous theater, along with everyone’s groans at the most un-erotic thing ever, but they also completely sucked. Sorry, but I hated band geeks back in high school, and their late 20s Willamsburg counterparts are even more obnoxious. I think the worst part was when they were done, the audience members would cheer the onscreen action, but they thought it was for them, and then take massive swings of their Budweiser 40s (lulz). There’s also this one part where the audience all does the Mission Impossible theme, and it wasn’t until Katie noted “You’d think of all things, they would play along to that” that they actually began doing so. At least I was able to throw plastic spoons at them.

After the credits rolled, Katie and I sat there, waiting for Holmes to show up, but never did. And because this anorexic drunk chick who was part of the band kept going on and on about a party at the accordion player’s place, we decided to get f*ck outta there, pronto. But swinging by the bathrooms proved to be an especially smart move since that’s where Holmes was, entertaining a small yet captive crowd. He shared a bunch of fascinating tidbits about the production, including…

- Everyone did the best they could to eek as much information from the extremely enigmatic Wiseau while on-set, including Holmes himself, but hardly anyone was successful. Though Holmes was able to find out that he’s from Poland. The dude is also “at least” in his 50s, and everyday he would put “some kind of product on his face to make him look the way that he did.”

- As for where he gathered the money to finance The Room, that too is a mystery, though as also reported in a few other places, Wiseau was somehow involved in either the textile or fashion industry.

- During the eight months of production, Wiseau went through five different sets of crew. He was constantly firing and re-hiring people. Each and every day he would go off on someone different or have something new to go on a tirade about.

- Holmes himself went through three different onscreen girlfriends. The second girl was fired because she stood up to Wiseau or something like that, which infuriated the director so much that he threw a water bottle at her. Wiseau noted that anyone familiar with the movie already knows that Wiseau has definite women issues.

- This would somewhat explain the extended shooting schedule, since certain scenes were apparently shot over and over again, due to the constantly changing cast.

- It was noted numerous times how everything was exceptionally unprofessional, from top to bottom. For everyone, from the actors to the crew, it was just another paycheck. Regardless of where it came from, Wiseau clearly had money to burn (as further evidenced by his curious decision to shoot everything in both 35 mm and HD at the same exact time).

- Though Wiseau himself was clearly the worst offender, like how he’d audition different women for assorted female roles on the spot at the set. Which among other things is very uncomfortable for any actor, to be put on the spot like that, since they generally take place behind closed doors. Again, a sign of his view towards the fairer sex.

- Holmes thought Greg Sestero, the lead co-star, was a cool dude. But he was ultimately just a pretty face, a model, which clearly showed via his very stiff acting.

- Juliette Danielle, who played the female lead was, was also very sweet. Though she too had absolutely no idea what she was doing. Everyone would sit around and watch her performance via the monitor, which was described as watching a trainwreck. Eventually, Tommy had to forbade such activity since it was become a distraction or the like.

- The weird man-boy who played Denny, Philip Haldiman, is actually a friend of Mike’s. And was actually older than him, despite playing a kid of undetermined age; t the time he was around 26.

- Mike at one point also supposed to play the drug dealer. To accommodate the duel roles, Wiseau suggest he wear a hat or pair of sunglasses. But he didn’t bother to show up to on set that day, so Wiseau got someone else instead.

- At premiere of the movie, Wiseau brought with him two girls, who were obviously hookers.

- The Room was supposed to be a serious sexual drama, no joke, but halfway through the screening, people began to laugh and make fun it. Sestero, who aside from being an actor on the movie, also helped to run the production, and was basically Wiseau’s assistant, whispered into Tommy’s about how he did an superb job crafting a dark comedy, which the audience was clearly reacting to in a positive manner, and he just rolled with the punches.

At Least The Musketeer Won

Meanwhile, there’s not nearly as much to talk about regarding last night’s Rumbo In Dumbo 18: Mayhem In May. It was an okay show; the crowd was definitely hot, and there was some in-ring decent action, but the problems that have always persisted are starting to become especially annoying.

The first match between Cowboy Billy Walker and Benji the Klown was was easily the best; both guys are some of the best the WUW has to offer, plus it was short and sweet and to the point. Billy Walker was able to win thanks to his “cousin” interfering, this super pasty white guy who had to be easily 6’5, so tall that he was able to climb over the top rope, plus had a tall cowboy hat on, making him close to 7 feet tall in the end. His big boot was a tad bit sloppy, but it was maybe his first time in the ring and seemed nervous overall, so it’s all good. At the end of the match, Billy Walker (who next to the Musketeer is the second best heel in the entire company, with a totally hilarious Texas drawl, especially from someone whose actually Puerto Rican) tried to introduce the latest addition to his stable, whose name is Big Bad… couldn’t hear the rest cuz that’s when the mic died (they really need to work on the audio), but he played along, like he was cut off on purpose.

Next up was another super strong match, between Mickey Firezone, who is supposed to be a clean cut kid, the all-around good guy that the crowd was booing heavily, vs Rick Cataldo, the flaming gay guy who used to play the heel and still does I guess, but was now the fan favorite, either because he was facing against Firezone or perhaps because he’s just so damn charming! Then you had Jorge Santi vs Anthony Starr, two super talented young guys that wowed the crowd with plenty of technical moves and high-spots, thought the match just went on forever, to the point that people began to stop caring near the end. That there is one prime problem with the WUW; with so many people on the roster, you’d think they’d keep every match nice and brisk, as to allow everyone ample time in the ring. Instead, you get a bunch of overly long one-on-one matches, and by the end, you get four or five tag matches that include eight guys at the same-time, with so much crap going on that you can’t keep up and only burns you out.

There was also a championship match between Reggaedones, who is Mooney’s friend, versus Tristan Spade, the pimp character that I like a lot, and surprisingly, Tristan won the belt! Match was okay, even with the couple of botched spots. Afterwards Tim Arson challenged Spade to a championship match, but since he wasn’t in his zombie get-up, it wasn’t nearly as cool as it should have been. Everything else was pretty lackluster; just one long and boring match after another. Another major annoyance were all the camera people getting in the way. There was like five this time around, which would be tolerable if all this footage was being utilized for some cable access show or on YouTube or anything, but it’s not. What’s the point?! Worst was how one dude was totally in the field of vision for a bunch of kids in front of me, but thankfully he was moved eventually. Mooney was more or less infuriated when The Unknown Masks came out with some broken looking blonde, and not the hottie they’re normally escorted to the ring by, the brunette with the glasses, otherwise known as their case worker.

We were so bored that we decided to jet early, but we thankfully stuck around long enough for the Musketeer’s match against some random fat black guy that neither of us had seen before, but for some reason had a belt. Musketeer had to carry his fat ass the entire match, but at least he won the title! Mooney and I were seriously the loudest Musketeer fans in the entire audience, with people giving up looks like “who the hell are these guys?!” Afterwards was yet another potentially boring match, meaning…. yes… I wasn’t around for Brooklyn Jeff’s match. Perhaps if I had checked the website ahead of time, or maybe if they actually went down the card at the show, I would have know enough to stick around. Bummer.

Seriously?

Okay, we’re now less than 24 hours away from E3 2009. Once again, I actually don’t feel too bad for not being able to attend since it’s gonna be hella busy all this week, getting reading for next weekend’s film festival/comic book show super combo. So busy that I’m basically forbidding myself from even going near NeoGAF, which basically becomes a black hole for productivity during any E3 week thanks to it’s up to the millisecond breaking news and “scintillating” show related discussions. Not sure if I’ll even have the time to post about it on my blog in a timely manner, so may as well pass this along now, even though everyone and their moms have already seen it….

… Wow. I was expecting an iPod Touch rip-off or the like, but instead we simply the Mylo, risen from its grave? Like so many others, I can’t help look at that drool-worthy (yet semi-plausible) looking concept piece that was all the rage a while ago…

… And wonder what things could have gone so wrong. There’s also word how the box art for the PSP Go basically legitimizes those pics of the PS3 Slim from a while back. Though I have to ask where those pics of the PSP Go’s box are from as well. Don’t even get me started on how fugly the new PS3 is either (which has more or less been confirmed to exist, though we won’t be getting it till this winter from what I understand). Granted, the original PS2 looked like ass as well, but the PStwo was a very pleasing to the eye revamp. Meanwhile, the original PlayStation was not murder on the eyes, with the PSone still going down as one of the sexiest looking consoles ever. What the hell is with Sony these days? Can’t seem to do anything right, no matter the front.

Anyhow, the current hot rumor is how there’s a new Mario might be announced at the show? Now that’s a surprise! Given how the last one came out only two years ago, and how in recent years, the gap between Mario titles has traditionally been between five and six years. Which then makes me wonder if it’ll be a “true” Mario title or just another pin-off. Guess time will tell!

5 Seconds Later

You know, I used to also have a fairly strong reputation for finding plenty of non-game related nonsense on the internet, in addition to all the wacky video game stuff as well. But ever since the forums popped up, which has become my primary place of depositing such stuff, things have been a bit dry on that end around here. So just for the hell of it…

- As most folks have heard from now, North Korea seems raring for a fight! And how does the people of Japan, who seem to be right in their sights, feel about this? How about we ask the internet!

- Sticking with Sakaku Complex for just a sec, everyone say hello to the world’s oldest otaku.

- Was I the only one out there who had no idea that Mad Max 4 was going to be a 3D anime? Well, it’s been cancelled anyway.

- Scientists recently got together to develop the most annoying song ever. I personally don’t think it’s half bad!

- Now this is a killer way to get laid. Or at least attempt at it.

- It’s true what they say, it’s not easy being a woman. NSFW btw. EDIT: They took down the ultra detailed and highly uncomfortable tutorial video? Damn!

- Speaking of videos, 5 Second Films is filled with very brief movies that tell a story are indeed five seconds long, and quite a few of them are actually pretty neat! My favorites thus far are the ones on Cinco de Mayo, magic, monster hunting, triplets, a robot dog, a strange encounter, and a changeling.

- And regarding the forums, it’s not only a great place to find such stuff and more, but also original content, or at the very least, answers to all of life’s most pressing issues.

- Sorry, one last link and it’s video game related, but one that’s just too amazing not to share. From SC of course: those who have long been fascinated by the science behind the breast jiggling in Soul Calibur finally have some detailed answers.

5 Years Later

Much of this weekend has been dedicated towards the new zine. There’s an old article I wrote a long whiles ago that I’m dusting off, so that meant going all over the city and making sure stuff is up to date. Plus taking pictures to add a bit of an extra color, despite the actual thing being in black and white. One such place was Video Games New York, and because I sometimes forget that not everyone who reads this blog lives in New York, and since I’ll only be using one of the many that was taken in the final product, here’s some of the rest…

… Guess I’ll upload all of them on Flickr or something. But yeah, it’s coming all, though I’m a tad behind on my schedule. Which is mostly my fault, so I have zero room to bitch. At the very least, the cover is finally done, and man is it ever beautiful…

… Give it up to Lamar, that guy is mad talented and mad awesome to boot! As for this particular installment’s cheesecake centerfold, Mia is currently making some last minute additions and tweaks, and I’m fairly certain that the result will kick lots of ass. Or at least feature lots of ass!

BTW, today marks the five-year anniversary of this blog! I still remember the day that Jason suggested I started one up, and my only response was, effectively, “no, cuz blogs are dumb.” Ha!

I almost feel the need to say something eloquent or philosophical, like it’s some kind of big occasion or turning point in my life. Which is pretty silly, given that it’s just the internet, stupid. Then again, such a sentiment may not be so ridiculous, since a lot has happened in my life because of this site, either directly or indirectly. Among other things, it’s allowed me to see, hear, and go to so many incredible things, and more importantly, introduce me to quite a few awesome people. So I just wanted to thank everyone out there, especially those who have been so supportive, it really means a lot!

Plus, whenever there’s any kind of milestone, I also try to make some kind of promise, like my posts will be more frequent and shorter. Not gonna say that this time. Though… I might finally have this site (or at least portions of it) translated in Japanese in the very near future. As usual, I’ll keep everyone posted. Anyway, here’s hoping that I can keep everyone entertained for another five years and beyond!

4 comments

Last night was Demo Night IX. For those who don’t know or might have forgotten, Demo Nights are when a bunch of local game creators in the New York (and New Jersey) area all get together to show off what they’re working on to their peers. And it was pretty neat, as they generally are. I’ll be filing a report for Gamasutra in a bit, but I will mention right now that perhaps the best of the bunch is something everyone out there can play this very second! It’s called WikiPaths, and it’s something that many of us already engage in, and that’s play six degrees via Wikipedia, but in a more structured format. Give it a spin!

Oh, there was also this pretty rad looking ARG that combines the mini golf and the iPhone, but that’s not available as of yet. Moving on, another thing I was going to pass a head’s up on was my latest review for Americurry, but once again, I’m gonna have to revisit the place that I went to yesterday due to camera issues. Not that mind all that much, though once again, I really need to get something semi-professional.

At least it works well enough when there’s plenty of natural light. So how about some pictures of super cool shirts that I got instead? Been a while…

… Believe it or not, given my penchant for silkscreened shirts and the such, I had never purchased anything from Etsy up until now! Anyway, they’re from Mad Made Monsters, and as you can tell from the second shirt, they’re based in Seattle. Along with how they’re super cool, of course. But check out how they came to me…

… It’s not silkscreened, that’s completely hand-done!

Time for two more pics…

… Yup, it’s the latest installment of Nurse Nurse from the always amazing Katie Skelly! And I’m not just saying this cuz she’s my gf and all, but this latest installment is quite seriously the best work she’s ever done, dead f’n serious. Be sure to stop by our table at MoCCA next weekend to pick one up, along with whatever equally awesome stuff that Hilary will also have available! Oh, and the latest issue of the zine, naturally.

Speaking of stuff going on in the city, I was also hoping to pass along the schedule for the upcoming New York Asian Film Festival, but apparently there’s been a slight delay. Though if you check out the past couple of posts, you’ll find some info regarding the potential line-up, including a guest appearance by Lau Ching-wan(!!!) and the sequel to Tokyo Gore Police, Tokyo Gore Night!

… I’ve already asked Hilary to procure another flask of vodka, to help make the sequel go down as smooth as the original. But yeah, 09 edition might quite possibly the best one yet, which is saying a lot. And as noted last time, later tonight is the midnight screening of The Room, but in the meantime, here’s my end of the week round up of noteworthy game related news, pics, and vids!

- E3 is now just two days away, but I’m kinda not feeling it. Granted, I’ll be like everyone else come Monday, constantly refreshing NeoGAF thoughout the week, but aside from a few game announcements and updates, there’s not much I’m that excited for. In fact, like many others, I’m somewhat afraid of what’s to come, that being possible news of the next round of consoles, more than likely from Microsoft, since the Xbox 360 is technically the oldest of the bunch. But as so many others have stated, they’ve barely scratched the surface in regards to it’s capabilities, and same obviously goes for the PS3.

The one game everyone?s talking about the most is, not surprisingly, whatever the next Metal Gear title might be. Another new face recently popped up over at the countdown site, which appeared to be Raiden at first, but now whom most believe to be Sunny. And I do enjoy Leigh Alexander’s theory that you’ll still be able to play Big Boss as well, in some kind of dual timeline set-up. But you know, I’m a pretty big Metal Gear fan and all, yet I’d honestly prefer something different Kojima and crew. Maybe another ZOE, Snatcher, or Policenauts, ANYTHING else other than MSG yet again. Kojima did such a great job tying up every loose end from the entire series in part 4, so to add even more stuff on top might be a recipe for disaster. Though I’m pretty sure I’m in the minority on this one…

- Well the big new story from yesterday was how adult games, specifically any title that depicts any sort of sexual violence, otherwise known as “rape simulators” by certain folks in the media, were set to be banned in Japan. But then came word earlier this morning that there is actually no such ban going into effect, along with how it was all just wishful thinking on the part of the media.

I’m not gonna lie and state there wasn’t a tiny sigh of relief upon hearing the good news that some ame in which hapless school girls get rapped by space tentacles would not be yanked from whatever shelves in Japan as originally feared. Because as offensive and depraved as some titles like the overly talked about Rapelay might be, people have the right play whatever the hell they want, period. And anything that not only prevents people from accessing whatever form of media, but also impedes upon its creation and distribution, is just plain bad news, regardless of any negative societal stigma. Once again, I just love how Rapelay was just another stupid game, like so many others of its kind, that hardly anyone knew or cared about, plus an old one at that. Until some political watchdog group decided to shed light upon it, who with help from everyone else out there eager to make a buck by making headlines, made it this now well known and highly sought after things. Good job idiots.

- Here’s a chat with the creator of Katamari Damacy and Noby Noby Boy, Keita Takahashi that’s an absolute must read, mostly because in order to ensure that he wasn’t bored during the interview, which in turn would have made the whole thing a chore to read as well, Mathew Kumar and Christian Nutt gave the guy paper and colored markers to doodle with…

- The new Metal Gear isn’t the only game that’s getting a lot of attention today; surprisingly, No More Heroes 2 is getting a lot of buzz. Mostly due to this absolutely kick-ass trailer. The thing I love is how Grasshopper Manufacture, if they had decided to do the sequel on the 360 or PS3, they would have been totally justified. But they’re sticking with the Wii!

- Sticking to the Wii for just a sec, remember me gushing over Muscle March? It’s a game that has lots of people hot and bothered, as well as praying for an eventual American release. Which will probably never happen, though according to Chris Kohler it’s just as well, cuz it apparently blows big time?!

- Guess who is my favorite publisher at the moment? It easily has to be XSEED. Why? Because they’re bring both Fragile, that animu looking ghost hunting game that I first made mention almost a year ago for the Wii and Yuusha 30, that WarioWare crossed with a RPG title for the PSP that I’ve also been talking about for some time now are both heading to America! I was always hoping for an eventual release for the first one, but never expected in a million years for the second, which will be called Half-Minute Hero, or something like that. Sure, okay!

- Meanwhile, over on the PS3 side of things, and sorry to keep bring up old entries, but remember my mention of Mainichi Issyo, which was part Animal Crossing, part social network game, part news reader? Well it would seem that the white cat whose quietly served as Sony’s PlayStation mascot for some time now (he had a PSone game that I heard was insanely fun, but it’s been impossible for me to get my hands on it due to lack of information, such as the title) has been replaced by… Misato Katsuragi?!

- And this one sorta came out of nowhere; Mega Man is going to be in another new game, and wearing his 8-bit threads once again, but for a shump? And an underwater one at that

- While on the subject of the Blue Bomber, here’s the latest Mega Man 2.5D trailer. Sorry, but the Paper Mario infused gameplay looks a bit too cumbersome for my tastes, though the two player mode on the other hand looks fairly interesting.

- Roy Blakely, who runs a neat little site he calls Kotowari just posted links to web comics featuring Disgaea 3 and Devil Summoner. And they look pretty awesome!

… Unfortunately, unless you understand Japanese, you won’t understand what the hell is going on, though here’s hoping that Roy might find the time sometime soon to translate the Devil Summoner one at least.

- Adam over at Attractmo.de posted this on Twitter, and it’s just too awesome not to share: some shirtless guy’s video review of Shadow of the Colossus.

- They’re not pixels but “dots”; SNK released launched a 2D Dot Graphics Gallery to help illustrate the creative process behind KOF XII’s ultra detailed sprites (though you’ll probably need this if you again don’t understand Japanese).

Meanwhile, over at Sankaku Complex, there’s a slightly more comprehensive look back at everyone’s favorite, Mai Shiranui. She’s still not in KOF XII last I heard, but you just know she’ll pop up eventually, more than likely as a DLC character for the home release.

- Moving over to yet another famous fighting femme fatale for just a sec, check out this collection of Cammy figures from over the years.

- And this Resident Evil designer Licker statue is both look cool and rather disgusting…

- I’m pretty sure a while back I made mention of a line of classic Sega coin-ops, made bite-sized. Well, here’s a closer look at them, via some toy and figure show in Japan recently (which one, I don’t know, since there seems to be about one a week at this rate).

- Last time I brought up the Mosh Amp, along with the PainStation. Well, here’s another “brilliant” fusing of performance art and video games, Dance Dance Immolation. Basically, you DDR while being someone shoots a flamethrower at you. Interesting…

- Via Brandon Boyer’s neck of the woods, did you know that there’s a Rhythm Heaven iTunes visualizer? Well now you know! I guess I must be lucky, since mine has yet to crash once…

- I gotta admit, this made me chuckle…

- Meanwhile, Simon Parkin at Chewing Pixels (one of those blogs that I don’t visit nearly enough) just started a new series in which he visits the working environments of various game creative types, starting off with the office of NanaOn-Sha! And as expected, it’s about as cool as one could imagine…

… Though if it’s cooler than Masaya Matsuura’s pal Rodney Greenblat is open for debate.

- I will pay good money for one of these Servbot mugs

- And remember that episode of Futurama where they parody Space Invaders? Someone made an entire game out of it!

- Oh, and there’s not just one but two new NES games out there to give a spin! Though only one is in a proper cartridge format.

- Speaking of the NES, Tiny Cartridge has always been on-top of the chiptunes scenes, and constantly highlighting the ROMs that Pulsewave and like love to distribute as flyers. And now one can finally make their own!

- It’s also the place to go for the latest in Made in Ore news, and the latest must-play microgame is from… the creator or Kirby and Smash Bros?!

- I’m fairly certain that the big surprise regarding Nanashi no Game (aka The Game with No Name) is indeed a sequel, which was just revealed in Famtisu. Oh well. Though the news of there not only being a cursed RPG but platformer as well is fairly intriguing. How about a cursed shump for part three? Way too obvious a joke, I know.

Yet the real star of that particular entry has to be this…

- So EA’s planning on a Walden Woods game?

- And finally, something that’s not entirely game related, yet relevant to my interests and still very much worth sharing. What happens when an uber otaku dork decides to give it all up? It’s called “graduating” and here’s what that looks like.

EDIT: Here we have a better assortment of pics

- EDIT: BTW, this just in… EGM is coming back?!?! Whoa.

3 comments

05/26/2009

Toot, Toot, I’m The Velvet Assassin!

by Matthew Hawkins

So how was everyone’s Memorial Day Weekend?

“… Are you ready to see reflections of your life?”

Mine was pretty decent, since it offered the chance for Katie and I to indulge in the splendor that is The Room, not just once but twice. First on Friday night, when Joe and June came over… other highlights from that evening include an extremely soulful rendition of Roy Orbison’s “You Go It” from Joe during our Rock Band 2 session, and June accidentally knocking over some figures of mine while attempting to do the hambone. Along with Joe’s attempt to fix things, but making things worse in the process. Oh well, it was an accident, and at least Katie got a real good laugh out of that one. Thankfully, none of the WW2 machinery/cat girls were involved, since those are pretty fragile.

I hate to admit it, but I’m seriously considering one of those glass displays to house all my goofy game related and amimu figures. Makes total sense, and I have more than enough to justify one, but… I guess that’s too dorky, even for me. Anyhow, the second viewing took place when Hilary was over on Sunday. It was supposed to be a work related get-together, though we mostly just got drunk, dined on Thai food, and also watched old 90s music videos. Again, it’s a real shame that the Directors Label kinda bombed, I think the world could really use a Matt Mahurin collection. Anyhow, both parties were sufficiently blown away by The Room, and for good reason: as noted in my recap a few weeks back, in this day and age in which everyone tries to be all cute by making a crap movie on purpose, it’s almost refreshing to see something so genuinely wretched. Anyhow, Katie and I clearly have not had our fill, because there’s going to be a midnight screening at the end of this Friday at the Village East!

As for Saturday, it was Dave Mauro’s birthday dance party! The dude was smart enough to leave off the extra “Dance” and the world “Revolution” when advertising the shindig. And I guess it’s hardly a surprise that Dave is really good at DDR, since he’s an expert at every single game ever made. Here’s a few crappy iPhone pics of the birthday boy cutting the mat…

… Yes, that’s DDR being played via an Astro City cab. For those not in the know… Apparently, there’s footage of me doing some moves, but I have yet to review it myself. I actually managed to impress Dave and a few of his pals with some of my moves! I hate to brag, but I’m not the worst dancer in the world. Also, earlier in the day, found out that the next Rumbo in Dumbo is happening next Saturday night, so that along with The Midnight Room means a pretty stacked weekend ahead already. Already had to pass on a chance to see the Toxic Avenger musical (playing at the same place where I caught the Evil Dead musical, which was actually pretty excellent, but I have no idea if they’re behind this one as well). And I guess that means that I won’t be heading off to New Hampshire to see whatever the heck is going on at Funspot. Sorry Jason. Mind filing a report for me and the rest of us? UPDATE: So the dude can’t go this weekend anyway. Oh well.

BTW, today happens to be another Dave’s birthday, that of Dave Roman, along with his lovely wife Raina Telgemeier. Yay!

Thank You Sega/Screw You Sega

The weather’s been pretty decent all holiday weekend, so I’ve been trying to take advantage and get some much needed fresh-air. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t been wasting away in front of a television (or computer) with controller in hand either. Here’s a bit of what I’ve been playing as of late…

So been playing lots as of late, some pretty decent, others not so much. Since I’ve yet to beat any of the following, and might not ever, here’s my basic two cents, which of course is subject to change…

BOOM BLOX BASH PARTY (WII) I keep saying that the first game is criminally underrated, but that’s a lie because it was the darling of every critic at the time of its release, along with criminally underplayed, which also can’t be true since a sequel was produced, so the original must have made some money. Still, hardly anyone I personally know ever talks about the damn thing, which actually bums me out. Well, what is easily one of the absolute best games for the Wii, without a doubt, is back and better than ever. EA just sent me my copy, so I’ve barely scratched surface, but thus far, it’s amazing. Bash Party is another one of those sequels that shrewdly sticks to what worked before, which was basically everything, and doesn’t mess with a wining formula by simply adding things here and there. In that sense, it’s more of an expansion pack than anything else, but a GIGANTIC one, since there’s literally a ton of new levels and all sorts of new things to knock over, along with new ways to do it. The slingshot toll is perhaps my favorite, thus far. Haven’t even touched the online stuff. I’ll be playing this for years without a doubt (hell, I never even fully finished the first one).

OUTRUN ONLINE ARCADE (XBLA) Every once in a while there comes a Sega game that reminds oneself why they were a raving Sega fanboy back in the day, and how much one misses those happier times, when they sorta knew what they were doing. And it’s also the first game since Pac Man CE to help XBLA actually feel like an Arcade. Fun fact: it was the original OutRun 2, not Halo and the like, that made me break down and get an Xbox 1. So now it’s update is back, and is just as exhilarating as it ever was. Granted, it’s still no Daytona USA, but what really is? Plus, it would have been nice to have 2′s tracks instead of just SP’s, but beggars can’t be choosers, plus I’m amazed they were able to pack in as much as they did in the paltry sized download. Actually, and correct me if I’m wrong, but there were some weird graphical effects in the original OutRun SP/2006 that are non-existent here. As for the real selling point here, the online play, it’s pretty flawless… provided you can find people to play with. Thus far, there have been countless minutes wasted in which I’m just sitting and waiting for other players to show up. So yeah, not enough players out there. Also, when you finally get a group of folks, you just sit there, waiting for some other race to end, so the lobby kinda blows. But I personally experienced no lag or any other kind of hiccup while playing, so at least the netcode itself is rock-solid. Which lends itself to an experience very akin to playing head to head at a read deal arcade! I really wish it was a bigger success so other AM2 or AM3 classics could be ported over, but I’m just happy to have OutRun as is.

VIRTUAL ON: ORATORIO TANGRAM (XBLA) Meanwhile, I can’t believe people are actually wasting their time with this monstrosity. Talk about a disappointment. First off, it’s just the Dreamcast title… Sega didn’t even bother to touch the far better looking Model 3 version, which the Xbox 360 could have easily handled… and lazily ported to boot. They didn’t even bother to get rid of the VMU graphic in the game. Anyhow, visuals asides, what matter is how it plays, and it plays like ass, plain and simple. Or maybe I’m just not patient or skilled enough to deal with the gimped controls. I can’t remember if it was worse on the DC controller or the 360′s. I’m honestly too lazy to find out for myself, since I have that version as well. But yeah, the best home version, via a system’s stock controller, still remains the Saturn version believe it or not. But aside from the fact that it’s damn near impossible to move your mech around, those in the know can tell you that even the basic system has been gimped.

SPACE INVADERS EXTREME 2 (XBLA) I was a HUGE fan of the DS version, and was thusly psyched for the XBLA iteration, especially when I heard that Jeff Minter was onboard to supply the tripped out backgrounds. And overall, the game is okay, but suffers from the same issue that Lumines did when it jumped from a portable system; the game just feels slower and less fresh on the big screen. Plus the music is not as fun as the DS’s kicking chip soundtrack (instead we get the PSP’s audio, which is simply okay). Worst off is how the backgrounds aren’t all that impressive. Oh well. I guess I’m just a bit spoiled by the part 2 for the DS.

VELVET ASSASIN (XBOX 360) Basically, Meta Gear Solid-like sneak missions + hot chicks + fighting Nazis + drug use and abuse. Sounds like the perfect mix, right? You star as this British hottie who has to infiltrate the Third Reich’s defenses by lurking in the shadows and mostly staying out of harm’s way. When it comes to beating the bad guys, hitting them from behind is more or less the only option; unlike Solid Snake, your lady is not built for combat, with usually one two hits or less sending her down for the count. But to help make the odds even, you can shoot up with morphine, which grants said hottie with superior strength and abilities. Best part here is when you’re in morphine mode, everything looks all pink, with rose pedals raining from above, plus you’re running around in nothing but lingerie. Unfortunately the game is nothing more than one endlessly frustrating trial and error segment after another. There will be moments in which something happens, and you think its because of the amazingly written and programmed A.I., but next time you try it, you realize it was just pure, dumb luck. A severe disappointment cuz it could have been so much cooler.

BURNOUT PARADISE (XBOX 360) Once I gave up the Burnout 3 ghost, I was able to fully embrace Paradise. And the folks at Criterion deserve a lot of credit for deliver on their promises by actually supporting the game vigorously, with a nice mix of freebies and stuff in which the asking price is more than reasonable. The end result is a game that, while a different beast now compared to its original incarnation, is still totally stacked with tons and tons and TONS of stuff to engage in. But all this lovin has actually made the core problem worse, that being is its the ultimate ADD driver; it’s impossible to keep track of what’s going on cuz there’s just way too much stuff flying, and it’s so easy to drop out of an event or activity if you get bored, which totally kills a lot of desire to stick with a problem and improve. I totally love Paradise, but I suppose it says something that I can’t play the thing for more than ten minutes at a time.

MAJOR MINOR (WII) As everyone knows by now, I’m a fairly diehard PaRappa the Rapper/Rodney Greenblat/Masaya Matsuura fanboy. And as everyone also knows by now, Major Minor is a pretty crappy game. I guess what depresses me the most is how I played a slightly different version of the game, a pre-release/work in progress build that had NONE of the problems that plagues the final product. Meaning, it was actually playable, the controls were actually manageable and not at all inconsistent. As is, I simply cannot understand how anyone can get through this game via the normal means (if you keep failing, it goes into ultra easy mode, and I’d rather not do that). What makes the whole thing thoroughly depressing is how insanely awesome everything else is; you’ve got the extremely engaging characters, a fun little story, catchy as all hell music, the works.Too, too bad…

KLONA (WII) I was a big fan of the original for the PSone, so got wind of a a remake, I immediately became excited, but then extremely worried as to how they’d mess things up. Thankfully, the translation is a smooth one, with only the graphics being fiddled with (the glorious soundtracks, still on the original PlayStation’s finest, has been completely untouched). Some stupid America voices were added, which can thankfully be turned off in lieu of the Japanese originals, and the controls are exactly the same, at least with the Classic Controller. I believe with the Wii remote and nuchuck, there’s some waggle action, which I’m not gonna eve bother with. I already know it’s going to be this year’s Zack & Wiki, meaning no one will play this one either I bet.

EXCITEBOTS (WII) Another fun fact: despite being a life long fan of Mario games, and racing games, I’ve never been a fan of Mario Kart. Don’t ask me why. They’ve all just kinda bored me to tears, even the very idea of them (yet the concept of Mario & company playing golf or tennis has never once seemed silly) and I only have a single Kart title in my collection, that being Double Dash, mostly because the two players behind on set of wheels alone was of interest. Also, back when I was a diehard Genesis fanboy, I openly laughed at Nintendo’s own attempt at a Virtua Racing killer, which at the time was called FX Racer. I never did pay much attention to what it would eventually become, that being Stunt Race FX, and in retrospect, I felt as if I missed out. Cuz goofy vehicles with googly eyes is to be honest, not the worst idea in the world, and I guess that was my main motivation behind picking up ExciteBots, since I was hardly a fan of Nintendo’s racing fare (I even skipped out on the original F-Zero for the SNES, though I did get X for the N64, which I dug, and of course GX for the Cube, since Sega was behind the wheel on that one). The verdict? Eh, it’s okay. Not my kind of racing, where it’s more or less impossible to really go where you want to, you just have to hope for the best. The whole trick system is just retarded, though what’s worse is how Katie wanted to go head to head against me, and to this very day, I simply can’t figure out how to set-up an offline two player game. You know, this generation has been pretty piss-poor when its come to playing with friends who are next to you, at least on the 360. I remember spending like 20 minutes trying to figure out how in the hell to play with Dave in SSF2 Turbo HD Remix who had come over, cuz apparently, people only want to fight online. But to deal with some nonsense on a f’n Nintendo title? Boo.

RHYTHM HEAVEN (DS) Just started playing the US version. First off, and I hate to admit that some of the snobbier portion of the internet was correct when they stated that Rhythm Tengoku was indeed better than it’s DS sequel, but it’s still not a bad game (and I don’t care what anyone says, I’ve got better things to do than play Mother 3). But those same folks were right when they pointed out that the localization was less than thrilling, especially the somewhat butchered up J-pop number in stage four. I totally understand the need to translate the song, I just wish Nintendo had gotten a singer who, you know, cared. But once again, it’s a fine game, even for those of us who have no rhythm whatsoever. Note to self: stop trying to play the game on the subway. Aside from the fact that I can barely hear what’s going on, even with headphones on at full blast, and like all music games, you kinda need to hear the music, every-time I play I notice someone watching over my shoulder and I get performance anxiety. Most recently, very late this past Saturday night, it was some old Chinese dude with rancid breath.

ART STYLE: PICOPICT (DSIWARE) I’m sure I’m not the only one that’s bemoaned the quality of what’s available for DSiWare, at least on this side of the ocean, so I’ll simply move onto another annoyance; I absolutely loathe the fact that WiiPoints and DSiPoints are not cross-compatible. Given how they can be tied to the same account and person, it’s totally inexcusable. Anyhow, at last, a reason for me to bust out the credit card and splurge on some points; there’s like seven or so Art Style games in Japan, and we only have to, The first one, Aqua, was okay I guess but certainly nothing special. And truth be told, this latest one has a few neat tricks up its sleeve, but ultimately does not re-write the book on falling block puzzlers, though it has one crucial aspect that makes it a must play, at least for any card carrying Nintendo loyalist: some superb fan-service courtesy of Japanese chiptunes mega-sensations YMCK, who contributed a bunch of remixes of NES standards. Not surprisingly, Tiny Cartridge is all up in this biznatch, with plenty of samples for the unconvinced. But yeah, best 500 DSi Points I’ve spent thus far.

DEVIL SUMMONER 2 (PS2) Perhaps it’s no big surprise, given my love for Persona 3 & 4, which was my introduction to the wild and wonderful world of MegaTen, that I was jonesing to give Devil Summoner 2 a shot. And… all I can say thus far is, it’s no Persona, that’s for sure. But I just got started, so I’m trying my best to not pass any judgments. But that being said, I’m not at all thrilled with the small stuff, like the lack of voice acting or the awkward cinematics. Basically, I miss the polish of the Persona series. Though I am digging the action-oriented gameplay, and the concept behind the game’s world is pretty neat. It’s just the slow as hell pacing that’s killing me.

Vin Diesel In The Mushroom Kingdom

Time for a few odds and ends, from the past weekend and beyond. Though mostly cool stuff from GSW, Offworld, and Tiny Cartridges for other folks out there that were away from the internet for a good chunk of this past month, like I was.

- First off, you can forget about anything else related to E3 at this point. The big show is less than a week away, and I’ve given up following all the speculation, false leads, and leaks, legitimate or designed. It’ll be noteworthy even for a number of reasons; since day one, it’s been planned as a return to it’s former glory, as this gigantic orgasm for gamers, which has now been somewhat undermined by the swing flu scare (more and more Japanese representatives are issuing rain checks, and they’ve always been the star of the show). Then you have the possibility of the opening salvo of the next, NEXT generation of gaming, more than likely from MS, whose Xbox 360 is somewhat getting a bit long in the tooth, at least on paper.

Any predictions for the show? The same one I’ve been making forever now: Metal Gear Solid 360. BELIEVE. Though there’s no green anywhere on the latest countdown clock screen, which doesn’t bode my theory well at all…

- I’m sure everyone by now has heard about the swarm of bees that terrorized a bunch of hapless Gamestop employees at the Union Square location. lol. I’m just pissed that I missed out on the spectacle; I was literally one block away when all the hijinks where going down, enjoying a few drinks with Katie and Mooney at Revival.

All I can say is that it couldn’t have happened to a more deserving bunch of folks. Gamestops has a history of employing lame-brains, but that store is neck and neck with the one on Lexington and 86th for having the most inept and rudest clerk monkeys you will find anywhere on the island of Manhattan, which is saying a lot, given the abysmal state of retail in general.

- On the subject of pre-orders, time for another Dream Club update. Here’s a new vid of the game where you get to get drunk and oogle a bunch of dancing girls. As noted previously, one primary activity is to get the girls liquored up as well, to get them to talk about stuff they normally wouldn’t reveal, and to use that info to get in their pants. Anyhow, last I heard, the amount of anticipation for the title is quite high.

Nice to hear something for the Xbox 360 getting Japanese gamers excite. Granted, it’s soft-core eroge title. Well, speaking of Xboxes and Japan…

- I just caught the Inside Xbox featurette on Tekken 6 via Xbox Live. Looks awesome, can’t wait. Though I’m pretty shocked that it’s even being made in the first place, given how it’s fortunes in Japan keeps getting worse and worse and worse. Had a nice little run there at least.

I’m hoping that the dwindling interest in the system over there, along with the need to turn a profit among those that are still making games for it, at least among smaller houses that can’t afford a bomb, will lead to more region free titles. I’m thinking of Cave when I say that. Oh, who am I kidding. BTW, according to Tekken 6′s producer, the reason for a 360 version is cuz dumb Americans are the ones who eat that shit up, who all own Xboxes. Which is totally correct.

- Meanwhile, that Soul Calibur PSP title is look better and better withe very new batch of screenshots. Though someone over at NeoGAF made an interesting observation: Dampierre, the new character that’s I guessing is supposed to be modeled after Bill The Butcher from Gangs of New York looks an awful like Billy Mitchell…

- Sticking with fighters, man, I cannot wait for the localized version of Tatsunoko vs. Capcom. Some are hoping or even expecting word of additional characters when it finally hits. I wouldn’t mind, but I’m just happy to get the game without importing it, period. Though if there were to be some new faces, there’s a very good chance that Dante might be one!

- And speaking of Capcom, my favorite high profile wacky game related headline of recent memory has to be one about Capcom approaching Paul McCartney’s one-legged and totally insane ex-wife about being in Bionic Commando, and the ego tripping that supposedly ensued.

- Last time I mentioned that Studio Ghibli is working on a video game (despite the fact that Miyazaki hates them to death). Well, here’s what it’s looking like

- The thing about that particular title is how there’s a very good chance that it’ll eventually make it to America. Meanwhile, so many other games will never make it here, including Nanashi no Game, or The Game with No Name, by Square-Enix. Basically, it’s like the Ring, but instead of a videotape, its a cursed video game that will lead to the player’s death if it’s not finished in short order. Apparently, as you play the game, which is presented via a 3D, first person POV, there’s also another game within the game, some old 8-bit RPG, a la Final Fantasy 1. Again, sucks that we’ll never get the chance to play it… or will we?

GameSetWatch seems to think otherwise. If not, why else would there be a countdown clock on it’s homepage? Maybe word of an American release? Or maybe just a sequel? Since S-E just announced a bunch of new titles for the DS in America, and The Game With No Name is not included. Though we are getting Space Invaders Extreme 2, which I’m far happier about!

- Also from Taito is MusicGunGun, a rhythm-action light gun game. As noted, it’s more or less Ouendan sans touching the screen, just shooting at it!

- And also from GameSetWatch is this great interview with Shoji Meguro, the maestro behind the sounds of Persona! God, what I would give to hear those P4 tracks, orchestrated in August. Hopefully there’ll a recording available afterwards.

- Like I needed yet another reason to pick up that loli-molestation game for the DS, Doki Majo, yet I indeed have another: Star Radish, what started out as an April Fool’s Joke, and a totally neat one at that, is actually being made and will be included in Doki Majo Plus!

- Let’s talk about cell phones for a bit… primarily Nokia. Today they finally launched their Ovi service, which is basically supposed their version of the Apple App Store. You know, I was there at GDC 2008 and heard the head of Nokia state how they were at the forefront of the mobile world, which was ridiculous back then, given that the iPhone had already begun to dominate, and looking back now, those sentiments are even more downright ridiculous. Good thing for them that they still make cheap handsets for emerging and poor markets, because otherwise, otherwise they’d be out of business a long time ago. Their answer to the iPhone, the N97, is already way too late to the party, and the damn thing hasn’t even come out yet!

As for their game service, the (now, not so) new N-Gage, it had actually had tons of potential since day one, but not enough customers to utilize it. Which would help explain how there’s hardly anything available. I still have no idea why the heavily touted Metal Gear Solid was available for a grand total of one day before being pulled and never seen again. And now comes word how one game that was practically built for the platform, that could have easily help make Nokia a serious contender in the cell phone game arena, is now appearing on the DSi. Totally nuts. But at least that means people will actually get to play it! And as someone that’s been dying for augmented reality gaming to arrive for years now, it’s nice to see it finally happen.

- Kelly Farrell, part of NYC Resistor, has modified Katamari to be playing with a large ball controller…

… Details can be found here. Kelly claims the game is far more fun to play this way, and I guess it could be… provided she figures a way for a person to use both their hands, instead of holding up an optical mouse in one. But it’s still under construction I’m assuming. But even then, I have to wonder if there’ll be a way to incorporate resistance?

- Popping up not too long ago as well was word that Katamari Damacy Online is apparently still alive! Details are still sparse, but by the look of things, the game starts off in… Korea? Hey, that’s where all MMOs are played, plus it’s also where the game is being produced, so only natural.

- I’m always interested in video games being used for some other kind of application, generally one that’s positive, as in a learning tool, or something to enable those that are impaired in some manner. Well here’s something in that general area, but for the “ummm… okay” category; it’s a device that hooks up to a Game Boy Color(?) that also dispenses anesthesia?

… I’m guessing it’s basically a more sophisticated way of distracting your kid going into surgery with a video game and then bonking them in the head with a hammer?

- Then you have, from the makers of the PainStation (a game where two people go head to head via Pong, and the loser gets mild electroshock… sorry but Tekken Torture Tournament, which is the same idea but via Tekken 3, was MUCH better) comes the MoshPit Amp. I would probably dismiss the whole thing as being another lame example of gaming and art fart combined, but that little head-banging devil inside is pretty hilarious.

- Here’s yet another wacky concept (though not nearly as insane as the two above): a Virtual On-type game that uses the Wii Balance Board. For controls, with the Wii remote and nunchuck for combat I’m guessing. Sounds… too complicated.

- Check out what Braid used to look like, in its prototype stage!

- Another random game pic: I guess Capcom did some cross-promotional thing on PlayStation home, giving everyone Street Fighter 4 themed outfits?

… Jesus Christ.

- So a few weeks back, in Romania, there was a game convention called the Otaku Festival. Can’t really say how it was, or what it was really about since the homepage is in Romanian, but at the very least they had a totally kick ass trailer.

The same people behind the show also publish a magazine, and surprisingly, it’s in English! Or al least the info page is. The latest volume looks totally hawt…

… Plus it comes with an interactive DVD and fold out poster from eBoy…

… A very limited number is being produced, so I was shocked as hell to find out that at least one copy was still available when I tried ordering. Can’t wait! To be depressed that my fort90zine is so lame in comparison (kick-ass cover and centerfold not withstanding of course).

- More recently, as in this past weekend, was something called Pixel Hail, which among other things had those awesome looking classic book covers as game box arts “in the flesh” you could say…

- I keep forgetting to talk about XNA Community Games, and how most of the offerings just plain suck. I know that’s messed up to say, since it’s all just student work, but there has to be something wrong, since I’ve seen far better amateur endeavors in so many other places. Something must be on Microsoft’s end. That being said, there are the occasional titles that look potentially interesting, such as Grapple Buggy.

Aside from the novel concept, which appears to be a mix of Master Blaster and Bionic Commando, it also looks much nicer than your typical XNA title…

- When I mentioned many other places, Japan is obviously one of them, where there’s simply too many high quality amateur games to account for. At least, that’s how it use to feel, and things might be changing. Recently, four of the brightest doujin game creators gathered to share their thoughts, and the picture they painted was a bit on the bleak side, though highly informative nonetheless.

- Obviously, the biggest issue with doujin soft has been getting ahold of them. There’s plenty of sites to help, like Canned Dogs, but one wishes there was an easier way. And there might be: first you have Curious Factory (best looking thus far is Witch-bot Meglilo, which has a real Milestone vibe) and also Rockin Android (trailers for all of their titles can be conveniently found here). Both are domestic distributors for stuff that generally stays on in Japan, which is totally great, though in the case of Rockin Android, a few things might not be on the up and up to some in the know.

- Oh, and Dux, the latest in the long line of shmups for the dearly departed Dreamcast (though this might indeed be the last one, cuz I’ve yet to hear of any other in development) is finally done and coming out soon. Even though the bosses look pretty cool, I’m not biting till I hear that it doesn’t suck like Last Hope did, their last DC title. I especially feel sorry for those that spent $500 on the Neo Geo cart.

- Was never the biggest fan of Bioshock back in the day… don’t get me wrong, it’s an incredible game, but it didn’t take a hold of me like many others. Though I’m pretty jazzed for the sequel after seeing some of the jaw-dropping concept art that’s floating around

- Courtesy of Offworld: I have no idea what Mutatione is all about, but this concept art is just awesome…

- First take a look at the Japanese trailer for End of Eternity, a new Sega RPG by Tri-Ace. Now take a gander at the American trailer for the same game, retitled Resonance of Fate. Notice a difference?

- Here’s a truly amazing image I keep meaning to pass along: Bit.Trip Beat, which could be best described as Pong for the 21st Century, being played by the man who created Pong, as well modern video games as a whole

- So not too long after that statue of Rise from Persona 4 that was introduced at Hobby Complex a short while ago was made official, someone else announces yet another Rise statue!

… And literally the day after I put money down for the other one! Though to be honest, I prefer the first Rise. Sorry, but schoolgirl outfit > bikinis. Though the cell phone strap with Teddy on it is a totally cute detail. But thus far, we’ve got two Rises and one Teddy statue (which I also finally pre-ordered). Where the hell is the Chie love, huh?

UPDATE: Thanks to Mia, I now have a far better look at the new Rise, and… what previously looked kinda “meh” due to somewhat busted hair, is actually gorgeous! Great, now I really want that one too.

- Crappy video game movie alert! It’s called simply Gamer, where a popular game of the future has kids controlling actual humans in some combination of MMO and FPS. To be honest, the concept is kinda intriguing, but the best part is how its by the same people behind Crank and Crank 2! Though Jason Statham isn’t the star, and that kinda sucks. Anyhow, expect a review over at GSW once it finally hits the big screen this September… provided it actually does.

- I had absolutely no idea that there was a Retro Arcade Museum just a few miles outside of the city!

… Damn, I actually wish I had a car. Perhaps a road-trip might be in order, you reading this Jason?

- On that note, we all love train-wrecks, though a persons interest will often determine what makes one cringe the most. For gamers, horribly assembled arcade cabinets would certainly qualify, which is why this collection of pics is indeed a guilty pleasure

- I have zero idea what game this screenshot is from, but it features a velociraptor driving a jeep…

… Hence why I absolutely need to know what game it’s from, pronto.

- Time to check out some high quality game related artwork, primarily stuff by the fans, since as everyone knows, I’m also a big fan of the stuff. And to kick things off, has everyone been stopping Life Meter as they should? Truth be told, I’ve been slacking with the updates on that end, for a bunch of dumb reasons, but that’s all in the past! Just posted this, a totally awesome Devil Summoner 2 image…

… by some person, who I know absolutely nothing about, other than his or her site is chock full of goodness, like this totally hawt Persona 4/IGN couch guys mash-up…

- Here’s a dude’s work that’s kinda getting around, since it is fairly pleasing to the eye, mostly this Jill Valentine…

… Then again, dude is basically just tracing other people’s artwork in vector, albeit very nicely. I kinda prefer the original more…

… One can find plenty of other wonderful pieces at Ryu’s Form Site, though a word a warning: it’s kinda NSFW. Though hardly any worse than Sankaku Complex, which I link to all the time without any warning. I know. Also, I love the ultra uptight comments in the GSW post. Most readers aren’t generally like that, thank goodness.

- Also via GSW: do you know who David Schleinkofer is? The name might not ring a bell, but if you’ve played games such as the original Sim City or Sim Tower, then surely you’re familiar with his work

… Though most will surely recognize this magnificent piece of art, which certainly had a profound impact on my childhood…

… And here’s what the artist himself thought about the subject matter at the time:

“When the art director first gave me one of the toys to look at and I tried to open it up and then close it back up into it’s original car or jet shape I found it difficult to do and commented to my wife that these toys are never going to catch on with kids because it’s to hard to operate. MAN ! Was I ever wrong.”

- I’ve seen this before, ages ago, but I at least have the identity of the person behind it: it’s Winona Nelson!

- Here we have a girl with a Triforce earring

- All I can say is God bless Paul Robertson…

- I was kinda hot and cold when 8-Bit Fatalities first made a wave, but I will admit that this one of Pac Man is kinda cute…

- Here’s one artists rendering of Guile from Street Fighter 2, if he was made ultra realistic. Not bad actually…

- One of my new favorite blogs has to be pixelstyle, which basically highlights excellent examples of excellent pixels. Not too long ago they featured Dave own handiwork, and here’s another beautiful example, by Rich Grillotti

- Then there’s GamOvr, which is just chock full random game related nonsense. Like….

- Back to hipsters, found the following pic over at NeoGAF, with the theory that Duke Nukem Forever was to actually return, the character should be a hipster douchebag. To bring him up to the times or something like that…

… Interesting theory.

- Also via NeoGAF, by that one dude that loves to take models from assorted games and just throw them together…

… The original, full-sized version can be found here, for wallpaper purposes.

- Speaking of the Mushroom Kingdom, remember those custom Mega Man figures from last time? These are even better…

… It’s all about the Toad.

- Scoping out game related clothing, both the good and the bad, is another hobby of mine. Regarding the following, which again was found on Offworld, I’m still conflicted as to where it’s in the former or latter…

… Regarding the rest of their catalogue, hipster/gamer apparel is nothing new, but never to this strong a degree. I will say that I kinda dig this Zelda tee. Where as this is nothing more than a lame attempt at Meat Bun has done already, but much better.

- And those folks behind the insanely incredible Mother 3 fanbook (even as someone who thinks the game is ridiculously overrated, even I was impressed) are now producing apparel related to… Metal Gear Solid? I’ve already pre-ordered the Fox Hound messenger bag btw.

- On a related note, check out this totally killer Silent Hill cosplay

- I’m not the biggest fan of Mirror’s Edge, primarily the wonky character design of the lead (I’m glad it’s an Asian chick with realistic proportions, but the tattoo on the face? give me a break), but I can’t help but be impressed by this

- Another thing I’m pissed about missing this past month, on account of my trip back home, was the NYU Spring 2009 ITP (Interactive Telecommunications Program) show. GSW once again has plenty of highlights, though one of the definite stats of the show was my good pal Jeremiah Johnson, which the rest of the world already knows as Nullsleep. Here are two examples of Jeremiah’s Data Spills, which are digital canvases that’s been “slashed”…

… Messing around with pre-existing game code and exploring it potential is hardly new to Jeremiah, and I’m not just talking about his work in the field of chiptunes. I’m still a big fan of his previous work, Gr_dius, in which he modded a Gradius cart to erase all on-screen indications of the Vic Viper, yet still made the game playable. The afterparty I also heard was pretty phenomenal, and from the looks of it, that was no lie.

BTW, those who would like to attempt something like try something similar themselves, here’s a tutorial.

- Meanwhile, Tiny Cartridge has the 411 when it comes to creating a Game Boy Camera image, even if you don’t have the real things!

- And on a related note, the folks at PixelJoint recently celebrated the 20th anniversary of the original Game Boy by holding a contest to see who could come up with the prettiest faux screenshots. The winner is something called Plagued that I guess could have been made for the real thing. Still very pretty, regardless…

- I loves me some Lego, and not just ones depicting shump ships. Also, something big and complicated is not necessarily better; here we have a very simply yet ultra effective NES courtesy of this particular Lego enthusiast

… Though regarding size, I will have to admit that Sean Kenney’s gigantic DS is pretty kick ass…

- Going back to chiptunes for just a bit, here we have a pair of YMO covers via the very awesome DS-10.

- I can’t believe I missed out on this. Also, more chiptunes performances need to be like that. Not that I don’t mind pasty white dudes in hipster garb jumping up and down on stage and all, but…

- BTW, you’ll soon be able to create your own 8-bit tunes via the iPhone! And for those who don’t know about it, there’s already a Sid player available, which costs like three bucks, but included in the package is like very single Commodore soundtrack ever produced and then some.

- It would seem the new thing is to incorporate vocals into vocals into chiptunes. Not actual vocals… which has been happening for sometime now, and with somewhat mixed results (I’d have to say Goto80 is my favorite, most successful example)… but via the vocaloid. Here’s two examples.

- I previously mentioned YMCK in connection to Tiny Cartridge. Well, they were kind enough to point out an oldie, but certainly a goodie most recently, a music video for their classic ditty, Panic Racer 005.

- And for those you who still haven’t been fully indoctrinated into the world of 8-bit music, this virtual mixtape is a very excellent primer.

- Though for those of you who are still too scared to take the plunge, there’s this far more “safer” collection of assorted Weezer covers. Look, Dave did the album art! Maybe I can ask him why in the hell there’s no Surf Wax America, which is the only truly great Weezer song. Sad but true.

- Time now for another assortment of game related videos! First up is the latest batch of user created content via Made in Ore that Tiny Cartridge has been completely on-top of, most of which are simply tributes to other games, including Metoid, Street Fighter 2 (violence against women is fun, yay), and the somewhat forgotten NES classic Golgo 13.

Even recent stuff like Game Center CX 2 and Bit.Trip Beat! And about thirty more.

- Sticking with Tiny Cartridge (God I love that site), they’re the ones that finally opening my eyes to The Outfoxies, a classic arcade Namco title I’ve heard about for seemingly ages but never bothered to see what the fuss was all about. It’s basically Super Smash Brothers, but instead of assorted Nintendo characters, you have assorted assassins?

- Yet another thing I’m a total sucker for is speed runs, and here we have Link’s Awakening being thrashed in just over two minutes. Mostly due to some kind of select button glitch, which means the video will make absolutely no sense to anyone! But it was enough for me to finally pick up a copy from eBay (I realize that it’ll probably come out for the DSi, once it gets its Virtual Console-thingy up and running, but nothing beats playing Game Boy games on a real-deal Game Boy).

- And here we have a fairly impressive looking (thus far) Zelda 1 remake for the DS. It definitely needs some work, like with the sprite and animation, but again it’s a work in progress, so all that stuff is subject to change. I wonder where he got the overworld theme, cuz its totally rocking, nice and epic sounding. Also, be sure to check by the comments section to discover how retarded people on the internet can be.

- I forget if I passed this along before, when talking about fan-made sequels and other rom hacks, but this one for Super Metroid, Metroid: SR388 is pretty much every Metroid fanboy’s wet dream come true. If there’s a God above, the folks behind it will actually finish the damn thing! It’s been in the works for close to four years now.

- Back to glitches, here we have Street Fighter: de-constructed, courtesy of Dylan Hayes. Dylan has all sorts of similar experiments, somewhat along the same lines of what Jeremiah is doing, like this one featuring Mortal Kombat 2.

- And sticking with pixels, here we have a cute little film by Garth+Ginny, proving that one can do a lot with just 50×50 dots.

- Offworld is definitely the place to go for such fare; Brandon Boyer has a real love for anything pixel related, as we all do, though he has a far better knack at hunting down the really cool stuff, at least more so than the rest of us… like this absolutely mind-blowing music video featuring a pixel filled swimming pool.

- He also loves to claim that it’s the official repository for every goofy Super Mario hack out there, such as this.

- Talk about high concept: first, take a classic Beatles song and replace the instruments with samples from Mega Man 2 and Zelda 3. Next, digitize film footage of the Beatles, then convert both the colors and resolution to match the NES’s specs. Lastly, upscale it to 1080p. The end result is a video by Super Madrigal Bros.

- As much as I loathe hipster-dipster duos that sing about nostalgic bullsh*t on YouTube, along with Donkey Kong Country, I have to admit that this particular entry is not a total waste of time and actually worthwhile! It’s well done and the song in question is indeed dope.

- I should also hate this Mega Man 2 rap, yet I cannot. Sorry.

- Whereas this one easily explains why everyone hates Nintendo fans so much.

- Believe it or not, GameTap recently produced a rather comprehensive and overall quite enjoyable Sonic the Hedgehog retrospective, featuring plenty of interviews and neat behind the scenes tidbits. To kicks things off, here’s part one.

- Watched this again, the first time in ages, thanks to a swell guy on my Twitter feed reminding me of it’s existence; it’s a French documentary on shumps. Worth checking out, especially for all of you who aren’t into them.

Meanwhile in Japan, there’s gonna be some kind of TV show that’s all about them! Called Calling the Shooting Game Advice Corps. Last time I mentioned the I thing I miss most about Japan, which was the food. Runner up? Easily it’s television.

- Another something from a while back that deserves some extra attention: classic footage a laser show from CES ’93 to celebrate Star Fox and the Super FX chip. Said it many times before, and it totally bears repeating: Star Fox for the NES >>>>>>>>>>>>> every other version out there, even the N64 sequel. Flat-shaded polygons for the win.

- Remember that Phoenix Wright musical featuring an all female cast? A bunch of highlights from the production. And it honestly doesn’t look half bad?

- Who says crappy game related humor on dumb sketch shows is purely an American thing? I’m still on the look out for the one featured on that horrible home video show on the My Network hosted by Arsenio Hall (at least they went through the trouble of animating Miis in assorted dumb situations).

- Still haven’t caught the new Star Trek movie yet (hell, haven’t seen the new Terminator or Wolverine flicks either). My plan is to catch all three, in a row, sometime later this week. Anyhow, one of my all time fave episodes of Next Generation is when Wesely tries to save the crew from some wacky game that’s taken over the entire crew. As a kid, I couldn’t believe how dumb it appeared to be, yet now, considering how most casual games not only play but also look, it’s actually a somewhat plausible glimpse into the future. Anyhow, the trailer to the episode in question, as unearthed by Steven Totilo at his new Kotaku digs.

- And this one’s for him, since it features another common interest of ours: professional wrestling! For the rest of you, there’s very little video game related content I’m afraid (I certainly wished they showed the game more, no doubt).

- Remember my mention of Muscle March? Now you can check out the whole game, in action, from start to finish. Oh God, now I’m back to figuring out how to mod my Wii, just great.

- Finally comes word that Noby Noby players this weekend finally reached Mars! Something that many feel would never happen. Guess people are still playing the game in good numbers! Though the theory is that Keita Takehashi or his crew fiddled with all the stats. Hey, whatever works.

BTW, this was supposed to be another one of those relatively quick updates, hence the lack of organization. But I kinda lost track of time, and… my bad!

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