June 2010

06/25/2010

Time Again To See 17 Movies Starring Simon Yam

by Matthew Hawkins

In this post:
1. Highlights from the Sweet Rot book release party!
2. As well as Microsoft’s holiday preview party.
3. And my obligatory E3 rundown.
4. Hey, I’m selling stuff, check it out!
5. And it’s that time again…

Man, another crazy week, so much going on. Am way behind, so first thing’s first: highlights from Joe‘s book release party from this past Saturday, at the new Toy Tokyo gallery space…

The Sweet Rot

As you can see, the place was crazy packed…

Since it’s a Sweet Rot affair, there naturally had to be sweets! The dude (and his main lady June) sure knows how to make a mean red velvet cupcake, that’s for sure…

… Though the sugar coated (or in this case chocolate) highlight was the custom Sweet Rot candy bars that were free with every purchase of the book…

Speaking of, pretty much every illustration from the volume was adorning the gallery walls, along with a pair of massive (and quite gorgeous) paintings, also featuring the book’s cast of characters; I’ve witnessed the later develop in Joe’s studio over the months, so it was a real treat to see them complete at long last…

Here’s Joe signing a copy for myself and Katie

And here’s the gf with June…

Not surprisingly, the evening was a siren call for pretty much every member of the real life Sweet Rot posse. Here we have a blurry pic of Keith and Annie, with whom myself, Joe, and June shared Japanese hijinks with…

Kenny chatting it up with Jay. Not surprisingly, Rush did come up in the evening’s conversation (the former is a major fan of the band)…

Kenny’s Japanese friend (whose name I can never remember) and Russ…

Crazy Russian Alex and John (who, along with Russ and his twin brother Rod, makes up the original Sweet Rot gang)…

Richie Reingold from the Beer Drinking Fools and Skum City (who is stepping down as the lead signer of the latter, which means I have a chance to reclaim my spot as front man) and Ian…

Drew from DETHRACE and Mike Moosehead from BDF/Blackout Shoppers/Skum City (whom I’m seeing Faith No More with next weekend!)…

… Funniest part was Justin from World War IX and Joe discovering that I’ve known both guys for years! Come to think of it, never did hang with both dudes at the same time till that night. Also got to met Joe’s brothers and other members of his family, in that “wow, so that’s what they’re like!” kinda way. I’m assuming the feeling was mutual. Afterwards was the after-party…

… Which saw yet another original Simko confection, the Screamsicle: orange creamsicle soda mixed with vodka. Tasted like DayQuil, but got the job done, especially since it was my first drink in weeks (had to hold off while dealing with that nasty staph infection). Unfortunately, no highlights from the bar since I’m certain no one would take too kindly of me posting their drunken mugs (I don’t think I’ve ever seen Drew so faced, which is saying a lot), plus my camera ain’t so hot in low light situations (the pic above is borrowed from June and her brand new, fancy-schmancy image capturing device), so here’s the view from this new Korean joint that just opening up in East Village that Katie and I hit immediately beforehand…

… It’s where Love Saves The Day used to be, and the bulgogi is to die for. Highly recommended. Anyhow, Joe’s new book is simply phenomenal, and I’m proud as punch that it’s finally out. If you’re looking for a kids books that not run of the mill like most today, and has distinctly Vaughn Bode sensibilities, than look no further! To order your copy, simply hit this page.

No Ifs, Ands, or Buts; You HAVE To Jump

Now that the dust has finally settled, guess it’s time to finally address all the awesomeness and all the nonsense that E3 generally embodies. But first, even though I wasn’t able to attend, some hand’s on reporting! Of sorts; earlier this week was another summertime Microsoft holiday press event, which contained some of the goods from the big show, for those of us who couldn’t make it out to LA last week. Unfortunately not everything made the trip; as expected, Kinect was present, but Fable 3, Gears of War 3, and this summer’s crop of XBLA titles were all absent.

Halo Reach was also in the house, as anticipated, hence why Dave came along for the ride. Joe was also invited, but… get this: the day before, while playing ukuleles in Brighton Beach, Kunal somehow lost Joe’s iPhone, so that day was spent acquiring a replacement. Yes, Joe got an iPhone 3G3, exactly two days before the new one came out. lol. Hey, dude needed a phone, and since he didn’t pre-order the iPhone 4, there was no way in hell he’s getting one before mid-July last I heard. On the bright side, since he’s been rocking the 2G since day one, so at least Joe can now play Espagulda 2!

Anyway, here’s Dave rocking the Halo Reach; I simply love telling folks if I want to play that game “no thanks, I brought someone in to play for me!”

… Hopefully he’ll be submitting his impressions in due time. And as crazy as it might sound, the new Xbox 360 doesn’t look nearly as retarded in the flesh as it does in pictures, though the “it looks like a Alienware case, circa 2002″ description still pretty apt unfortunately…

… Also, now that it’s been confirmed to be just as faulty as the model it’s replacing, not having an easily detachable hard drive is gonna be a real issue. Additionally, along with the PS3 redesign, we have further proof that Nintendo seems to be the only ones who can properly redesign video game hardware. And while I’ll be talking about this next time, as excited as I am for the Nintendo 3DS, the look of the system itself is kinda “meh” in my book, hence why I’ll wait for it’s redux as well!

The very first game I played, not because I wanted to get it out of the way due to sheer embarrassment, or cuz I was already drunk, was the new Kinect title from Harmonix, Dance Central…

… Not gonna lie, despite being a Harmonix fanboy, I didn’t give their new game much thought when it was revealed at E3 due to my overall disdain for Kinect, but after playing it, I’m a believer. The game is ungodly fun, period. The philosophy that a dance game should require any button presses or plastic to hold onto period, plus they simply know how to make a good music based game, also period. Oh, and they are the kings of making hot video game chicks, an opinion they either appreciate me repeating or are completely creeped by out at this point. It’s hard to pin-point why this particular title succeeds while all the others have failed; the aforementioned elimination of the traditional interface is quite brilliant in its implementation, on a level that the other Kinect games totally miss the mark on (more on that later). More importantly, the overall experience, much like Rock Band as well, is totally inviting and genuinely stylish, not at all douche-y like every other dancing game, if that makes any sense. The moves and routines themselves are also loads of fun; I actually played on the medium difficultly and not once was I frustrated or embarrassed (plus even managed to score four stars, which is rather impressive if I don’t say so myself, considering how poorly coordinated I am). Dance Central will be THE reason to own Kinect, without a doubt, though its overall success hinges on what price-point the device is at. The almost confirmed $150 cost of hardware alone is unfortunately not good at all.

Neither were the other Kinect games I’m afraid. First you had the Wii Sports rip-off. It’s bad when the interface alone is mind-blowingly complicated; to initiate activities, you had to grab onto the on-screen zipper and pull to the right, but for whatever reason, it refused to acknowledge Dave’s gestures and only read mine, despite the fact that we were both in the range of the camera, plus I was way in the back. And to navigate the menu, you had to hold your hand out in a spot for a certain amount of time, which was highly uncomfortable due to the awkward positioning of the aforementioned registration area. As for the games itself, let’s start with the good; bowling wasn’t bad…

… Though it’s no Wii Bowling, that’s for sure. Everything else simply wasn’t up to snuff; there was track and field, which required running in place. Unlike in Wii Fitness, where the key is to maintain a steady rhythm, here you have to move your legs as fast as possible, which is rather tricky when your trying not to go anywhere. The worst was the hurdles; you literally have to jump to clear them. When asked if there was a setting to make it so one would only have to gesture with the legs, sorta like the fake jumping in Wii Fitness and other Balance Board titles, was told no dice. The hardware/software tracks your feet, so getting off the ground is a necessity. When I explained that I have neighbors downstairs that I’d rather not disturb, the PR rep kinda just chuckled and rolled her eyes. “Come on, can’t you jump just a little?” No, I can’t, I don’t want to bother the two kindly old ladies below me. Another thing; I live in a tiny Manhattan apartment, so no matter how wide that lens is, there is no way it’s going to detect my feet and I just don’t have the room to Sorry, but I’m moving my couch to play games.

There were other activities too, like one that combined dodge ball and squash, but the motion tracking was quite laggy. But hey, it’s pre-release software with pre-release hardware that had been on all day. Ubi Soft also had their Kinect title that stunk up their E3 presentation, which I actually wanted to check out, but their rep totally blew me off (man, they can’t stand me something fierce). Finally you had the title with the tiger cub, but because there was so much background noise (you had a DJ spinning records, among other things, one couldn’t interact with it via voice, which is a primary thrust of the game. Otherwise, it sorta detected my hand movements. The game looks okay I guess; not a big fan of the art, but then again, never been a fan of the warm and fuzzy, all ages look that many titles for the 360 stemming from UK devs employ. Overall, I want to like Kinect… I too am annoyed that MS is essentially aping Nintendo, but it’s not like this is new from them (cuz, you know they drew “inspiration” for Windows from Mac). At least they’re seeing the light, plus are doing their own spin on it (whereas the PlayStation Movie is indeed a shameless Wii knock-off, and Sony was the ones who mocked Nintendo the most if I’m not mistaken).

The very idea of just using your hands to move around in thin air to control the action on-screen is the stuff of science fiction, finally realized, so that alone is the cost of celebration, but there’s plenty of bugs to work out. Or more importantly, there needs to be more folks who know what they’re doing to contribute towards the platform, which will hopefully happen in time. Still, the need for lots of physical space, along with how one needs to be standing up to interact with the thing will be huge hurdles that will need to be worked on. Along with the $150 price tag, which is a total deal breaker, plain and simple.

Dave and I decided to take a brief brake from gaming and check out Windows Mobile 7, which makes its long-awaited debut at the end of the year (maybe, could be delayed yet again). Unfortunately there weren’t any handsets to play around with, so you just had two reps with their actual phones that everyone desperately tried to grope. Speaking of which, the antics of my fellow bloggers… primarily their prima-donna attitude… were especially out of control that evening. I could list several specific examples, but since it’s always the same, I’ll just repeat the following: A) as annoying as the whining and bitchiness from writers from big name blogs might be, the ones from the no name blogs are even worse, cuz it truly impresses NO ONE, B) it’s real classy to complain non-stop about whatever function and its hosts while drinking as much of their booze and eating as much of their free food as possible, and C) seriously, don’t be an asshole and tip the bartender. You’d think having free drinks made by folks whose job is to be especially attentive would translate to gratuity, but I’m apparently wrong. Best/worst part was when some guy tried to disassemble a Kinect unit and got indignant when he was (way too) politely asked to put the (prototype, meaning especially fragile and expensive) hardware down.

BUT ANYWAY, Windows Mobile 7…

… The OS is hella sexy, and definitely gives the iPhone and Android a run for its money in terms of looks and functionality, But there’s only one problem of course: it’s MS, which means little reason to support it since hardly anyone else (i.e games and app makers) will be doing so. Plus, again its MS, which means the final product will be gimped somehow, along with the fact that most Windows handset generally suck to being in. Such a shame too; I’m a BIG fan of competition and differing cell phone operation systems, provided they’re up to the task of actually competing.

Oh, hey, Office 2011…

… Anyone who really cares knows the deal: the interface is much better and more Mac like, yet tens years into OS X and it’s still not built upon Coca (which also means not 64-bit version). Why? They just haven’t had the time to do so. All righty then!

Here’s Dave playing the new Harry Potter Lego game, that’s out next week. The PR rep tried explaining to him that killing Professor Quirrell was not possible since it’s a kids game, especially at this point in the story, when he’s technically not a bad guy yet…

The PC version of Dead Rising 2 looked just as good as the upcoming 360 and PS3 version, though sadly, doesn’t look better, which it could. Which is a bit of a surprise, considering that the computer version of Street Fighter 4 had additional graphical modes…

Remainder of the night was spent with Dance Central. Here’s Dave cutting the rug with Harmonix’s John Drake…

“I think we’ve finally lost video gaming to the mainstream.”

As for the rest of E3 2010, since there’s been no lack of coverage elsewhere, talking about it is somewhat pointless, yet I’m contractually obligated to write out in some detail, hence the following rundown. WARNING: many of the news links I’ve included are from Sankaku Complex, and the animu that’s littered all over the place might be a bit much for some, especially for those at work. Sorry about that, but yes, I get much of my gaming news from that place these days. Perhaps that shows what I think of the major outlets these days I suppose…

- For starters, thank God for Twitter. I actually wasn’t able to watch all the press conferences as they broke, cuz I wasn’t by my desk, but was still able to keep abreast of what was going on thanks to messages like the one above, as well as this one.

As for the us vs. them argument, it’s something that these days I don’t touch with a ten foot pole. All I’ll say is that there are valid points on both sides. I’m just annoyed when there’s shameless copycatting on either end; a trite Wii Fit knock-off is just as bad as another lazy update to a 2D fighting game franchise in my book.

- So forget the petty complaints about the faithful losing ground to the casuals aside, what game got me excited the most? Why, Rez 2 of course!

… aka Children of Eden. Glad to know I’m not the only one whose been waiting after all these years. I’ve watched the trailer, no joke, maybe 200 times by now? Unfortunately, the harsh truth is, Miz’s output post Rez/UGA/Sega has been spotty at best, with Lumines and Genki Rockets being the only real highlights. And the fact that the latter is a band speaks volumes, so I’m hoping this game will see him back in proper form, cuz at long last, it’s the game he’s wanted to do, or so it seems.

At the very least, there’s a level of excitement and confidence from the house of Q that hasn’t been seen in a very long time. And thus far, according to Mike, it’s shaping up quite fine.

- Runner up would have to be the new Metal Gear game, which easily had one of the best teaser sites leading up to the show….

… The game itself looks insanely awesome. Much like for Children of Eden, I’ve watched this way too many times for such a short timeframe. Though I too must wonder if it’ll actually get released in Japan.

- As for the rest of the show proper, I must say, never before has a Penny Arcade sums up a show some eloquently before.

I’ve already gone over most of the MS stuff, though still bears re-posting. And back to the re-designed 360, I love how it’s the same old bullshit, but in a brand new package.

Though I have to wonder if that’s worse than this; the sound of the disc getting literally destroyed is ear piercing to say the least.

Moving on, and since Kinect has been covered already… and because I could honestly care less about the new Gears of War or Fable, sorry… there’s this year’s Summer of Arcade offerings. As previously noted, I’m pretty psyched for the Hard Corps “sequel”, Limbo looks to be a decent choice for the obligatory indie title, and call me nuts, but I’m actually very interested in the new Castlevania…

Back to the Kinect; it’s funny cuz it’s true…

- Then you had Nintendo. The fact that they went out to create a portable gaming machine that’s capable of displaying 3D visuals without the need for glasses, and were able to do so (by all accounts from those who have actually interacted with the thing), is simply mind-blowing. Not surprisingly, Tiny Cartridge has an excellent list that answers many right off the bat questions, but the bottom-line is that it is, there’s very good reason to get very excited over the 3DS!

Yet that being said, I’m won’t be rushing to the store on day one. Why? First off, the price point is rumored to around the $250-300, which to be honest, only makes sense given all the fancy hardware involved. Though I won’t be so much waiting or a price drop but a hardware re-design; the 3DS looks kinda “meh” in the same way the original DS did, and we all know how prettier it got not long afterwards. Then again, there’s a very good chance that, once I finally get my hands on the new Kid Icarus game, I’ll elbow folks on my way to the cash register! And don’t forget Metal Gear Solid 3D, if it does indeed become something more than just a tech demo…

… Plus tits. Can’t forget tits (definitely nsfw, btw).

- As for their non-3DS software, I’m interested in the new Zelda cuz it’s the new Zelda, period. Oh, and it also looks awesome, though not quite the wild departure that many were expecting; weren’t both Miyamoto and Aonuma quoted as saying “Oh shit, time for a change in gears” after they saw Shadow of the Colossus at a E3 years ago? New Kirby looks beautiful (though I’m glad to know I’m not the only who found it oddly familiar) and new Donkey Kong Country actually looks like something I’d like to play! Though naturally, I’d be fare more excited if Retro had revived Sonic & Knuckles.

There were also some omissions, a few of them glaring. Meanwhile, the highlight of their big presentation?

- Sony on the otherhand… To be completely honest, I barely paid any attention to what they had to say or show. All I know is that Last Guardian, the lone Sony game I give a shit about, was not on-hand. Meanwhile, I’ve long since stopped caring about Gran Turismo 5 and that one looks to finally be coming out.

Otherwise, I’m fairly clueless when it comes to what was revealed and the like. Though I did hear how Kojima did not like how Sony handled the wristbands for their presser. I also heard how Sony has decided to launch yet another ill-fitted, and excessively lame brain PSP advertising initiative. Hey, I guess a precocious, wise-ass little black boy is a tad bit less offense than a black woman being chocked out by a white woman. And kudos for Sony for refusing to give up on the platform? I honestly don’t think anyone would blame them for coming out with a PSP 2 at this point. And that marketing dude made an appearance on-stage, and caused quite the stir.

I also love their plan to start charging premium use of their PlayStation Network, especially since the bare bones version is barely tolerable. Case in point; this is what I saw when I tried to download a few very moderately sized games…

Oh, there was also the PlayStation Move. As previously noted, at least Kinect is a slightly different take on motion control. As if Sony could possibly makes them look any more douche-y… so moving on!

- Besides Metal Gear Rising and two new Castlevanias, Konami had this. Like Dave sez: be sure to watch the vid with transcription on for extra lols! Anyway, the Ninety-Nine Nights 2 producer guy either LOVES his job or HATES it. And a million new features? Okay… Meanwhile, Dance Masters, more than anything else, illustrates why Dance Central actually works; it’s drop dead simple, all you do is dance. Just imitate the dancer in front of you, period. Which is challenging enough as is, so why add all the completely unnecessary “game-y” elements? It honestly appears as if you don’t even need to follow the routine itself, just touch the glowing spots when you’re supposed to, which makes the whole “record yourself to use as footage in the background when you play with friends next time” all the more confusing.

Though the biggest surprise of the show, imho, was news that Otomedius is coming to the US! Does anyone know if it’s version G that’s headed our way, or the recently announced version X?

- Without the biggest disappointment in my book was the lack of a Persona 5 announcement. But at least there Rock of Ages looks mighty compelling.

- Ubi Soft managed to stink up the show even more so than their previous attempt, and without James Cameron’s help no less! Less said the better when it comes to that Michael Jackson game. At least they had the Scott Pilgrim game! Must also admit that the Rayman reboot looks beautiful, and something that I would actually not mind playing! Too bad it’s all French-y with it’s humor, though at least it’s not as bad what I hear they’re doing to Driver. Just look it up yourself.

- Get this: the new Need For Speed is being developed by those who created Burnout. That fact that such earth shattering news has been received with relatively little fanfare I guess speaks volumes about the state of franchises and the parties involved. And even I have to admit, I’m not nearly excited as I would be such news had broken out four or five years ago. Still, I am eager to see what the fruits of such union might be… though it’ll also have to compete with Split/Second 2 and Blur 2 more than likely.

- The trailer to Super Scribblenauts, while looking insanely fun and all, simply reminds me that my brain will be even less creative this time around when it comes to solving puzzles.

- I was super excited by that Mortal Kombat vid that appeared online shortly before the show, which offered a more realistic take on the franchise. But the new game that was revealed looked like the same old, same old. Oh well.

- Nice to know that Marvel vs Capcom 3 is looking better than ever. Appears to be the perfect blend of part 2 and Tatsunoko vs. Capcom, which obviously is a good thing.

- Square is releasing Secret of Mana on the iPhone. That’s neat. Chrono Trigger next please!

- For those who wish to hear more about the 3DS from the man himself, here’s a nice sit down chat with Shiggy. But for those wished they could have been there to actually experience the 3D for themselves, I’ve heard this is just as good as the real thing.

- Lost In Shadow, for those who actually know about that game, was at the show and is apparently just as good as everyone hoped it would be.

- On a semi-related note, I must admit, the new Echochrome might make me get a PlayStation Move after-all

To be honest, I was going to get it regardless when I thought Children of Eden used Sony’s motion control method exclusively solely, but it’s since been revealed that it’ll utilize a standard control scheme as well (it’s also coming out for the 360 and Kinect, and I suppose I could control the action like the guy in the trailer, but I think anyone’s arms would get tired like that after a while).

- One last mention of both Miz and Shiggy, together at long last…

- Did you know Sword and Sworcery was also in attendance? Such a shame that absolutely no one paid any mind, except for GameSetWatch of course!

- It happened last time, and once again, there’s a bunch of missed connections from the show.

- I was wrong, there was at least one title from Sony that got me and most everyone hot and bothered (at least those with actual taste), and it was the latest from the folks behind Flow and Flower…

… BTW, did you guys know about the Attract Mode X Nobuooo video series? How about checking out this interview with Jenova Chen, about Journey, and working backwards from there?

- Finally we have the real deal game of the show. Don’t shake the baby!

Organization/Liquidation

So the new iPhone came out yesterday. And… I don’t have it, nor will I for a very good while; despite AT&T being so lax when it comes to upgrade eligibility, the absolute soonest I can get one without paying full price is next April. And that’s all good, cuz then I can simply wait for iPhone 5, or just get the Verizon version! Hopefully, whatever the case might be, that stupid problem in which it loses signal cuz you hold it at the bottom with your left hand will be fixed by then (or as the rest of the blogosphere calls it, the “Death Grip”). I’m not even a lefty yet even I’m incensed, mostly due to the arrogant reaction by Steve Jobs himself. Yet at least it’s resulted in some comedy gold of sorts.

Also, at least I’ve been enjoying the new iOS 4. At least I’ve been trying to; been buggy as hell, and fixing the problem has been an absolute headache; tried to do a wipe and re-install, but something happened just as iTunes was talking with Apple HS… no doubt the lines were clogged due to folks trying to activate their new devices… and my phone got bricked. Couldn’t do a damn thing (plugging it back into my Mac, let alone a hard reset, did absolutely nothing) and had to wait for the battery to drain. lulz.

But when it works, it works. Why am I getting into such minutia btw? To introduce the following, which was quite the hit on Twitter when I posted it; as you can see, I’m a big fan of the new folders feature. That and I have a fuckton of apps, mostly games…

… I still remember Adam‘s eyes bugging out when he first saw my (unorganized) games collection on my device! And speaking of Twitter…

As those who follow my feed might recall, I’m in the process of getting rid of some unnecessary goods and trying to earn some extra cash. Thus far I’ve been able to sell a Sony studio-styled iPhone/iPod Touch compatible headset (specifically the remote and speakers) to Anthony and will be soon bequeath a copy of Pop’N Twin Bee for the Super Famicom to Jason.

But I still have a couple of things left to rid off, and perhaps a few of my fine readers out there might be interested in some not too shabby video game related goods? Up for grabs is the following:

1. A modded PlayStation 1. This is the original model we’re talking about, with the expansion port in the back, but not the very first generation, since this one has the now standard PS A/V connection, and not raw composite ports like in the very first ones. Got it modded in Chinatown many years ago, when I needed to play work in progress software while I was at Ubi Soft at home, and has served me valiantly ever since. Aside from a tiny scratch at the top of the lid, the condition of the machine could be best described as pristine, especially considering how old it is, and runs flawlessly to boot. Well, maybe one out of twenty times when you turn on the power, you just get a blank screen, but simply hit reset and you’re good to go (which was like that before I a mod chip installed… just one of those hardware quirks I guess). Comes with the original controller, matching (and genuine Sony) memory card, plus AC & AV cable. Ass a bonus, I’m throwing in one of those plug in the back mod carts, which I didn’t use to play non commercial/import software like advertised (since I had the mod chip for all that) but to listen to non-redbook music and watch FMVs. And yes, to reiterate, this machine does it all: plays domestic and foreign games, as well as back-ups you filthy pirates.

2. A modded PlayStation 2. Again, we’re talking about the original design, the monolith. Again, got it modded in Chinatown so I could review pre-release software. Sorry, I have no idea which chip is inside, but since it was installed quite a few years ago, I’d imagine its an earlier version of whatever is currently popular; can’t play region 2 movies like my recently modded PStwo for example. Runs domestic games, imports, and copied software (not that I advocate piracy, but honestly, some of the best stuff that was never released here can easily be found online, and without the aide of some greedy eBay goon) flawlessly… at least the PlayStation 2 variety. For whatever reason, have never been able to run PSone software; because I’ve always had the PSX handy, it never really bothered me. As before, I’ve got a scratch on the top and a few on the bottom, but absolutely nothing major and it’s all hardly noticeable, especially if you have the system horizontally (for the record, I am IMMACULATE with my shit; the system itself was actually used, cuz it was the only model that was compatible with the mod chips being sold and installed at Chinatown at the time). As above, a controller is included, though where the wire and the housing meets is a bit damaged, but still works quite fine, plus Dual Shock 2s are still easy to track down these days. AC & AV cable included, and the bonus this time is a genuine Sony vertical stand!

Just name me a price for both items, I’m fairly negotiable, as well as desperate. Been trying to sell them on Craigslist, and I’ll save the stories for another time person, but basically, there’s a LOT of con artists out there. I’d toss them up on eBay, but there’s a strict policy against modded consoles, due to the piracy connections. But there is one other item up for grabs…

… And because in this instance there’s no reason why it can’t be on eBay, it is. Please make me money and help me buy stuff! To be honest, I’m mostly trying to save money towards this…

Once Again, Summertime Means Asian Films Are Go!

One last thing, a reminder: the >New York Asian Film Fest 2010 finally kicks off tonight! For those who might be interested, my hit list was recently posted over at the forums, and as noted at the end, recently attended a press screening of Confessions, which absolutely blew both myself and Hilary away. Highest recommendation possible.

Be sure to buy your tickets now before they run out; the festival’s homepage will take you to where you need to go. And my coverage officially begins later this weekend!

3 comments

In this post:
1. Part two of last weekend’s Jersey shore hijinks!
2. And a modest, but important nonetheless head’s up

Alright, so where were we? Oh yes, WILDWOOD!!! And for those who somehow missed it, be sure to check out part one first.

Here we have one of the many fine crafts one can acquire at the Jersey shore…

Though even better…

“coconut turtles! we got one” sez Katie.

Again, tasty treats were abound, including the quite difficult to find variety…

“i used to have candy cigarettes as a kid. guess what? they work.”

Time for another look at the fine apparel available at the boardwalk, where Bieber fever was in full effect. Along with other hunks that make the young girls swoon…

“wildwood math”

This pic once again proves that french fries are more popular than God…

My only disappointment from the weekend was no Juggalo sightings. These freak show clowns simply cannot compare…

Both Katie and I were not sure what this was supposed to mean…

You also had “rooms” filled with couches and beds where one could relax and get worked over by Chinese people. Great idea on paper, but it seemed awfully unsanitary, among other things…

Along with the iPhone, virtually every activity promised an iPad. I’ve seen plenty of fakes of the former, but have yet to see the dinky Chinese knock-offs of the latter…

When the sun settles, the rides light up!

The Wildwood(s) convention center is conveniently located by the shore as well; what I would give for a comic show there…

On our way back to the camper, we noticed that ice cream shop across the street was finally open!

… It mostly does evening hours, for perhaps obvious reasons. We had some the very next night and my God it was like the greatest ice cream ever.

It was a long day for myself, but especially Katie, who had to do all the driving, so she passed out before myself. Mostly cuz I was still hungry, so I went back out to hunt for food. For the finest chicken sandwich ever to be precise, which led me to… you know where!

… Once more, love the 50′s vibe of everything there. And here’s the last pic of day one; on the way back I passed by a Blockbuster…

The sandwich btw was most excellent, as expected, and was chowed down while indulging on cable access via the teeny tiny bedside tv. Not the highlight but the lowlight was the E3 pre-show special on Spike TV, but less said the better.

We both got up super early the next day for breakfast at a lakefront diner called Duffy’s, which totally hit the spot. Then we drove around, checking out all the other hotels and their goofy, 50′s architecture, as well as the cute homes that also populate the area. The idea of actually living in Wildwood kinda blew our minds, and needless to say, we would love to ourselves. At least on my end, in which most of my work is done at home, it’s semi-plausible.

Eventually, ended up venturing out quite a bit, and stumbled across a huge garage sale. This dude was selling all sorts of junk, like a ballerina statue inside a bottle of booze, a mug that had tits on it, and this…

As noted, theme restaurants were EVERYWHERE and come in all shapes and sizes…

Soon it was time to hit the beach proper, at least for Katie. Since I’m no swimmer, I went exploring on my own. Guess now is the appropriate time for some follow-up; finally saw a proper dermatologist, who gave me the meds I needed to get better. After just two days, my skin made a miraculous turn for the better, and just in the nick of time; was seriously afraid that I wouldn’t be able to be under the sun all weekend, period. But get this: like I said, had a staph infection, but the sun poisoning was a misdiagnosis. Instead, what I was also suffering from was… wait for it… an allergic reaction to Neosporin! When I tried using it to deal with my pussy wounds, the problem seemed to only get worse and I didn’t know why. That led to me using even more Neosporin and the problem getting worse, which I blamed on other things, like the sun. Anyhow, the doctor said he had never seen anything like that before, but I wasn’t joking when I said that I was allergic to EVERYTHING.

Anyway, back to exploring, since the brochure to the hotel mentioned a game room, decided to check it out!

… Not pictured on the other side was a Ms. Pac-Man machine stuck in test mode and Sunset Riders! And here’s the “kitchen” where they serve the complimentary breakfast…

Katie didn’t last long at the beach I’m afraid…

… The lack of crowds should have been a clear-cut sign; the water was apparently way freezing, with the strong winds not helping matters, hence why she eventually took a dip in the hotel’s pool. While that was going on, I roamed the boardwalk by myself; at this point, Saturday, more stuff was open than the day before. Like this house of worship..

There were seagull warnings all over the place (though my favorite, which I neglected to take a picture of, stated: IF YOU FEED ME, I WILL NEVER LEAVE YOU ALONE)…

“the only documentation of this historic achievement”

Day two was when I finally dug deep into the arcades. As expected, actual video games were far and few between. It’s all about ticket spewing activities. Though you also had the classic crane game, even ones imported directly from Japan!

Some operators felt the need to plaster absolutely everything with whatever’s hot, like this Wii slot machine…

Again, the vast majority of games found at the arcades were the aforementioned redemption machines. Even recent “standards” like Dance Dance Revolution were absent, and not once did I spot a single Street Fighter or any fighting title, which was definitely odd. There was just one Ms. Pac-Man machine throughout the entire boardwalk, and not a combo unit with Galaga no less! Which I played of course, and no didn’t reach the high score. Was super fast too, just how I like it too, but the sun’s glare simply got in the way. Excuses, excuses, I know. Though it’s worth noting that practically EVERY game center did have Terminator Salvation, that new light-gun game with the gigantic rifles and huge HD display.

At least there was plenty of skee ball, and the old fashioned, vastly superior to that neon bullshit that tries to pass itself off as such. The arcade near Morey’s Pier had the largest assortment, which is where Katie and I played the most…

… Her high score was 280 while mind was 320, a personal best! We had enough tickets in the end to win a stuffed blue frog. It was also where I spotted this sight of all sights…

… Yup, an actual Sega Racing Classic get-up, aka Daytona HD. And guess what? If f’n blows. Christ, Sega REALLY screwed this one. For those who haven’t heard, it’s the greatest arcade racer of all time in “glorious” HD. It totally didn’t need it; the supposedly low-res graphics still looks drop-dead gorgeous due the high-end arcade monitor it usually sports, with colors sharp and details vivid (provided the display is in decent enough shape and isn’t all blurry/riddled with burn in).

Oh boy, the monitor is 1080p (or maybe even 720p, don’t know/don’t care), but it’s a moot point since Sega neglected to update the graphics, so everything looks crappy now. Wonderful. As for the audio, well, it’s another remix of the seminal Daytona soundtrack, but I guess almost fifteen years later, you’re gonna have to try a bit harder to knock my socks off with yet another remix of King Of Speed, sorry. And no, I didn’t play the second track to see if the word Daytona was removed; one play was enough for me. What an abortion, Sega should be really ashamed of themselves. Moving on, hey, fried butter anyone?

… So on every corner of boardwalk you had deep fried this, deep fried that, and I’ve always been curious about deep fried Oreos. But I’ve also been afraid that it’ll give me explosive diarrhea. Plus diabetes, can’t forget that (my dad had like size once at the local state fair in Washington and was finally diagnosed with the big D, though it was a long-time coming, bizarre carney food aside).

A loving tribute, flat-out racist, or both?

By mid/late afternoon, the entire place was packed, especially Morey’s Pier, a strong contrast to the day before. Yet it wasn’t a total madhouse, so the wait for rides were not insanely long; Katie and I were always next in line. I remember a good deal of my lone visit to Disneyland being spent just standing around, waiting for our turn. Finally got to go on a few roller-coasters, but since those are kinda hard to photograph, here’s the water slide, which was one of the busier attractions due to being quite warm and sunny…

This haunted ride was absolutely awesome, easily blowing away the day before’s laughable Ghost Ship. Reason? Teenage Asian dudes in black robes that go “Boo!”

I totally loved this kiddie ride featuring bootleg Speed Racer and pals…

Next time we’re gonna try to rent this trailer…

While waiting for one ride, Katie spotted this hairless pair…

… So glad he didn’t catch me sneaking pics and beat the shit out of me. Anyway, here’s Katie on a ride I would get on, cuz it’s one of those deals that spins a lot, and my stomach can’t handle those…

… It was one she never got the chance to ride as a kid for whatever reason. At long last, a dream fulfilled. Later, back indoors, I stumbled across this boss looking Iron Man pinball machine!

We ended up stumbling into a toy store on the boardwalk and this astromech made me once again feel very jealous toward Joel (who has the biggest collection that I know off). Wait, this guy was a spy? Zack, please tell me which episode this all goes down in; does R2 beat the crap out of him?

A staple of any beachside cuisine…

Along with HOT GERMAN WEINERS…

The plan was to take pics as I rode shotgun and Katie was behind the wheel during bumper cars, but I only got this pic before the calamity ensued…

… Shortly after we started moving, the lady in charge yelled “Hey, you, with the camera! Put it away!” The woman would also become extremely flustered that everyone was running into each other, which last I checked, was the point of bumper cars. You could tell that running the thing was punishment for poorly performing employees or something.

Because of one particularly fast & furious coaster, which raddled our brains a bit too much, all desires to go on anything similar had been severely diminished. So the very last ride was this magical boat that slowly ran the outside parameter of the park, which more on the slow and scenic side…

“just 2 hipsters riding in a magical ship, yawll.”

Yeah, as you can see, I was wearing a hipster hat, acquired as a preventative measure when I thought I had sun poisoning, but Katie insists that I don’t look like a total idiot with it. But girlfriends are supposed to say friendly lies like that, right?

Eventually it was dinnertime, and we settled on a joint called Duffer’s. Yes… in the morning we ate at Duffy’s, at night it was Duffer’s. Well, what made this place so special is how it had an arcade inside!

Along with mini golf to the side…

The food btw was, not surprisingly, amazing. My burger and Katie’s steak sandwich were both top notch. Best part was how there was a model train that ran on a track affixed near the ceiling the entire time! The major draw of the place is actually the desert menu; this family behind us each ordered a waffle, one that looked about four times bigger than the average one, with, no joke, almost half a foot high of ice cream and whipped on-top! Though Katie and I waited decided to hold off on after dinner sweets cuz we really wanted to try that parlor across our camper, for ice cream in bed (which as noted, did not disappoint). It’s also where I took this last pic of the day inside…

The next day it was finally time to say goodbye to Wildwood, which was a major bummer. Last pic of the entire trip; just as you roll into town there’s this overgrown, abandoned mini golf and arcade. Like Katie sez: “SILENT HILL 8″

That’s pretty much it! Like I said, the time of our lives, a get-away we both desperately needed. I just love the irony that immediately followed back home; cuz we had some time on our hands before turning the Zipcar in, I suggested we go to Trader Joe’s to stock up not only groceries, but (relatively) healthy food, since we both indulged in the junkiest food imaginable. So imagine my shock when… after three days straight of greasy hot dogs, french fries, and assorted sugary treats… that I had a severe allergic reaction to a bag of pre-cut apples that evening! A longtime fave snack of mine from TJ no less. Fun-fact: in addition to Neosporin, I’m pretty much allergic to everything, including many fruits, but the reaction is so minor that at most my throat just gets all tingly. I should have stopped after the first few pieces, when its was stronger than normal, but figured it was no big deal. Fast-forward half and hour, in which my throat was almost shut tight and Katie was seriously worried that I was going to die on the spot. Oy vey.

Alright, enough pics for now. Next up will be highlights from Joe‘s ultra fab book release party, plus my much anticipated (lol) two-cents regarding E3! I actually can’t afford to waste anytime since this week is gonna be a busy one; got a Microsoft event for us poor journalists who couldn’t make it out to LA last week and, not sure if you’ve all heard by now, but the New York Asian Film Fest 2010 kicks off very soon! Plus some other fun stuff, so as always, stay alert.

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In this post:
1. Part one of last weekend’s Jersey shore hijinks!
2. And if you’re looking for a candylicious good time in the city tonight, I’ve got a suggestion!

So… E3! What a show, huh? Much to talk about, as well as make fun of, but I’ll save the recap and analysis once the dust has finally settled. True the big show wrapped up yesterday, but there’s still plenty of reports being filed, mostly regarding the under the radar games, i.e. the stuff I care about the most. Till then, how about a look at last weekend?

Katie and I finally made it out to Wildwood, NJ for a much anticipated escape from the city, and the whole thing was simply AWESOME. I’ve been curious about the place ever since Joe and June had their own long weekend there a couple summers ago, in which both myself and my girlfriend at the time were invited, but my significant other claimed it was lame and instead suggested another Jersey shore, which ended up being quite pale in comparison. I was told afterwards of the wonderful sand and water that Wildwood has (which is not relevant to my interests), as well as its boardwalk, filled to the brim with countless arcades and corndog vendors (which most definitely IS relevant to my interests).

Long story short, the place more than lived up to the hype, and we both totally fell in love with the place! But enough chatter, time for the pictures. Though this time, along with my two cents, I’m passing along Katie’s (lifted directly from her own Facebook rundown)!

For starters, after a grueling four hour drive through the hell that is the Jersey highway system (which was capped off by an encounter with a douchebag traffic cop; when you travel in a Zipcar, it’s like having a huge sign that screams “WE’RE FROM NEW YORK CITY, PULL US OVER AND FUCK WITH US FOR NO GOOD REASON”) the following was a sight for sore eyes, as we went down the main drag of our new stomping grounds, at least for that weekend…

Which led us directly to our hotel, the Starlux

… Virtually every place was designed to resemble beach party movies from the late 50s/early 60s, and in the Starlux’s case, that meant fake palm trees and doo-woop music piped via loudspeakers…

… Though we didn’t stay at the hotel proper, but across the street, where they had a cottage and a pair of airstream trailers…

… Our was towards the back. A look inside…

… Super cute indeed! Soon it was time to hit the beach, which was literally around the corner (we highly recommend the Starlux btw). Here’s the hotel directly across…

Great job! And here was our gateway to paradise…

… Katie sez: “i don’t know where the “s” comes from. i’ve never heard to it referred as wildwoods before!”

… Yo, that’s my girlfriend! And here we are, around 5-ish on a late Friday afternoon. As you can see, the boardwalk’s fairly empty; since it wasn’t officially summer, beach season was still a whiles off, which offered assorted advantages. Though we had to supplement our people watching by gawking at novelty shirts…

… I’m still kicking myself in the ass for not picking it up. Then there’s the following; no idea what it’s about. Related to Married With Children?

Like I said, the entire place was fairly barren, especially at arcades. We had our pick of air hockey tables, that’s for sure…

Man, haven’t seen one of these in ages…

Katie trying to win a stuffed bear in a flying jacket. Unfortunately, those crane games are tough as nails…

“wildwood has sass to spare.”

“tim and eric were here.”

“we did not eat this.”

… Yup, one of the best parts of Wildwood was the awesome beach cuisine, but that sign above was a deal killer for us. Meanwhile, here’s a childhood favorite of Katie’s…

“best pizza on the planet.” And it was pretty damn good.

Soon the crowd began to show up…

Morey’s Piers was where all the rides were…

“this is how i felt all weekend!!!”

Again, the place was practically deserted; note the lone dude on the rollercoaster!

… Less people meant we had to pass on certain rides (sure we could have gone on the coaster, but stuff like that is always best with a crowd), whereas other attractions had no lines whatsoever and were instantly accessible, so that was pretty awesome.

“no smoking, duders!!!”

… Though you could smoke where the pirates hung out…

You can always tell if something’s popular when you see it pimped on the boardwalk. Case in point, virtually every game promised the chance to win either a Wii or iPhone…

Here’s the Ghost Ship….

… Long story short, it’s totally sucks. Less said the better. Meanwhile, a look at the gigantic ferris wheel from below…

And a look down below from it!

Again, “GREAT JOB”

The guy running this particular game amused both Katie and I greatly with his voice modulator; dude sounded just like this video. Also, note the wide variety of characters available, everyone from Stripe the evil Gremlin to Shadow the Hedgehog…

Every 30 seconds one of these trolleys transporting fat people would pass by…

Hey look, it’s Travis Touchdown! I guess manning the aquarium is one of the side jobs in No More Heroes 3…

… Note the snake. I hope it didn’t eat Jeane!

It’s a proud moment in every rat-tailed mom’s life; her five year old son’s first tattoo…

… I like to pretend it’s not a temporary tat but the real thing. Actually, in New Jersey, you never know.

Douglas Candies was pretty happening, with the feature attraction being their salt water taffy (still haven’t had a chance to crack the box we got open)…

I know the sun was out, but it was getting sorta for a Friday, at least for fine Jewish fellows here…

Shows how little I know; I was completely blown away by this cage of hermit crabs for sale, while Katie thought it was no big deal…

… Though even the gf was impressed by some of the shell work…

Katie also helped me spot this chick wearing an Undertaker jacket. Why did I find this so exciting? “no explanation necessary”

That’s it for now! Normally I’d have part two ready in the wings, but I just looked at the clock and I’m officially running late for Joe’s big book release party! Which I retardedly neglected to mention last time…

Swing on by if you’re in the city, it’s easily the hottest, as well as the sweetest ticket in town! Case in point: “screamsicles” (Joe’s very own concoction) will be served. See you there!!!

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