12/13/2009

Fun-Fact: Santa’s Mom Is Hot

by Matthew Hawkins

In this post:
1. Tis the season to figure out certain shmups work, learn how to cook an egg, & hang with ninja turtles.
2. A couple of pics of some of the AWESOME stuff that’s been showing in my mailbox up as of late.
3. And a look at the potentially next great video game zine!

Lots and Lots and LOTS of Purple Bullets

As expected, it’s been a busy past couple of days…

- First and foremost, learned a lot this week. On Tuesday night I finally had Espgaluda’s system broken down for me via Dave Mauro. As a result, been playing it like crazy ever since. Well, until recently that is, but I’ll get to that in just a few. Unfortunately, Dave was not able explain to me how Mushihime-sama works exactly since he doesn’t know either!

He also went over all the differences between Horri and Sanwa parts, since I’m officially in the market for arcade sticks. I’m looking to get something that’s PS2-compatible since I now have a pair of PS2 to Xbox 360 converters, which Dave also explained how they worked. Finally, was able to pay the guy for the deep discount copy of Left 4 Dead 2 with… what else… a spare Dreamcast I had lying around.

And on Wednesday night I finally learned how to properly cook eggs thanks to Dave Roman’s sister Michele. In the end, Naomi’s instructions to Sunny in MGS4 on how to make them sunny side were fairly accurate, but nothing was mentioned regarding prep. My main problem apparently was been how I’ve been using the wrong temperature all along! Among a few other details, of course.

Though the real highlight, aside from catching some random showing of Pee Wee’s Big Adventure on cable (which is better now than ever, btw), was how I had to make damn sure that I didn’t spill the beans regarding her surprise birthday party in just a few days. As her husband Rob would later explain to Michele’s brother, his wife Raina, Katie, and myself at the actual thing, I was the final hurdle so to speak. And granted, I have a penchant for babbling, but I consider myself someone who is somewhat careful with his use of words, believe it or not! Grammar, of course, is an entirely different story.

- As for what didn’t happen last week, was supposed to check out Dark Void on Wednesday in the afternoon. Was gonna sit down the producer and finally get some hands on time with the game, and planned on passing along all the juicy tidbits in this exact entry. But long story short, didn’t go down, though I did get a copy of DiRT2 for my troubles!

- And the day before, I finally sold Katie’s eMac to some dude on Craigslist, which she no longer needed thanks to her recently acquired and still sparkly fresh MacBook. To prove what a total Apple goon I ultimate am (despite all my rage towards fellow users of OS X), I’m kicking myself for not talking some parting shots of the machine; still kinda miss my own eMac which I sold over a year ago.

I suppose my bond was mostly developed due to the fact that it was the poor person’s G4 and had to defend it quite a bit; I fondly recall all the reticule over at YayHooray when admitting to the graphic design snobs that rule that roost how I was correspond via something other than a souped up G5 with 8 gigs of ram. Granted, each model had one stupid hardware issue after another, they never seemed to play nice with Tiger for whatever bizarre reason, and that gorgeous flat CRT screen from Sony was still never quite as good the iMac G3′s, but still… at least the whole thing looked hella sexy. As well as way too big and bulky, hence why we had to get rid of the thing, to make room.

- Friday night was the aforementioned surprise party for Michele, and as somewhat implied, it thankfully went as planned; she totally didn?t see it coming! And yesterday was the annual holiday cartoon marathon at Dave & Raina’s. In years past, there used to be live action fare as well, but a rule was made saying it had to be animated or bust. Needless to say, I was slightly disgruntled that I wasn’t able to pull out my SCTV Christmas DVD, but the surprise Gumby holiday episodes more than made up for things. My fave was the one in which the big red guy gets ill (the sickly thin Santa was very depressing looking, and therefore ultra effective), so Pokey calls a witch friend of his to deliver presents to all the world’s good little boys and girls instead. Sorry, no Hanukkah Harry here I’m afraid.

We also saw the Fat Albert Christmas special (I had forgotten how morbidly obese Fat Albert really was), the Back To The Future Christmas animated special (note to self: track down the Alf Tales one for next year), the long-time classic Frost The Snowman (which I had never seen before!), a wacky animu called Mi Santa or something to that effect (this dude is named Santa cuz he was born on Christmas Eve, but hates Xmas cuz his parents were never around, and is harassed by some chick who’s also named Santa and happens to grows voluptuous tits and ass when she encounters someone that embodies the holiday sprit, or something to that effect), a couple of recent Disney CGI offerings (including one featuring the talent of Dave Foley and was surprisingly decent), and a stop-motion epic from Rankin & Bass called The Life And Times of Santa Claus. It would take too long to explain this particular Santa origin story, but the most important thing is how his dad is basically Saruman, from the Lord of The Rings, and his mother is a fairy, a very hot one at that. And while it wasn’t as flat-out insane like the Cabbage Patch Kids or My Little Pony specials from years past, the live-action TMNT one that Steve Flack brought over was pretty up there (enough for me not to mind the bending of the so called rules). Instead of explaining it, why not check it out for yourselves?

- Thus the holiday party season has officially started! There’s a bunch more coming down the pipeline, but it sucks to say that all the rest have the same basic theme: thank f*cking God 2009 is coming to close. And it sucks because it’s true; this year has been a total headache and heartbreaker for virtually everyone, including myself. Though next week’s shindig is a party of a different sort, Blip Fest 2009! Which again I’ll be covering for GameSetWatch, and which again everyone should definitely check out! As previously noted, I’m actually super psyched that the card is mostly new names, though some battle tested favorite will be on-hand, mostly the rock solid local dudes, like Nullsleep, Bit Shifter, and Glomag. Though no Anamanaguchi, which is perplexing to say the least.

I’m also eager to see some familiar faces yet again like Brian, formerly of click-stick fame, as well as the creator of Fez himself, Phil Fish! Simon from Gamasutra & GSW is also rolling into town, but just for the next few days and will actually be leaving when Blip gets underway! Oh well. Adam from Attract Mode is also coming to NYC in a few weeks! I’ll be giving him and his wife a full tour of all the game related hot-spots of the Big Apple, though considering how things are these days, that should last all of fifteen minutes.

- Speaking of, especially since Adam has become such a massively supportive force behind it, production of the third installment of the fort90zine is well under way! Finally found a super fab cover artist and even more folks will be contributing their game related insight and anecdotes this time around. It’s gonna be the best issue yet, by far. But before continuing on with the subject of zines…

- Guess what the mail guy dropped off a few days ago?

… Yup, my copy of Mushihime-sama Futari FINALLY arrived from Play-Asia (I was honestly expecting it to show up in January after hearing about this), and I even managed to snag the DLC card as you can see! Haven’t used it yet since I find it so pretty and almost don’t want to ruin the thing. Plus, I tried paying for the additional mode myself and was denied for some reason; normally it makes sense that one could not purchase content from Japan with American points, but dmauro was able to (who unfortunately didn’t get a copy with the card, despite pre-ordering his well in advance). Then again, I’ve heard reports that Black Label has some slowdown issues, and it’s not like I’m bored with the twenty or so modes the stand-alone title already provides.

But yeah, stopped Espgaluda like a bad habit once Futari arrived, and ever at this early point, I have to say that it might be one of my all-time favorite shmups of all time! The music alone is heads and tails above everyone else, save Radiant Silvergun (which is still the king in every category, to the point that it’s positively unfair to compare it to any other shooter, period). Anyhow, also got this…

… Been meaning to get some Polytron threads for some time now, but it was the chance to get the limited edition Fez soundtrack that finally got that ball rolling…

… Too bad it’s a mini-CDR, so I therefore can’t stick it in my slot-loading iMac! Oh, and this showed up as well…

… Yup, my very own original piece of art from Shintaro Kago! I ended up placing an order shortly after last time while crossing my fingers. Though what helped the most was me explaining to Kago my situation, hence why he put it in a metal frame, ensuring that it couldn’t be shoved in my tiny has hell mail box, even if the delivery goon tried. And as you can see, it’s simply beautiful.

- As what else didn?t happened/show up, any guesses? The Rise statue from National Console Support. Was promised an email or phone call one week after my last conversation, which didn’t happen of course. And was told the same story: haven’t heard from the distributor and blah, blah, blah. My biggest beef was once again how I was charged full price many moons ago when it was supposed to be a pre-ordered, and you generally get charged when the item finally comes out and is on is about to be shipped. Well, was told that’s how it works with credit card orders, but not with PayPal, cuz that’s just not how PayPal works. And this person was right. Still, was not very confident with the assurance with how my item was on its way, eventually. I almost came close to canceling my order entirely and just get something else (I have way too many plastic little girls littering my apartment as is), but a few days later I finally got notice that it was at long last headed towards me. Though they also asked for extra cash, since the American dollar had grown considerably weaker since March. lol. Maybe due to me waiting this long, and the negligible amount that was requested, I simply went ahead and decided to accept. Though I’m fairly certain that I won’t be doing business with NCSX anytime soon.

… Actually, one other last notable item did arrive, though over a week ago. Which I only recently finally finished reading!

Review: exp.

There’s a new video game zine in town and it’s by Mathew Kumar. When you open up it up, there’s an introduction from Kumar himself that begins with: “exp. is an experiment.” Which is immediately followed by an admission that he’s not trying to brainwash everyone into thinking that he’s Gods gift to video game journalism and all that nonsense, but just attempting to do things a little bit different. In the end, the guy is no bullsh*t artist.

First and foremost, the dude simply gets the zine format, as illustrated by the actual product itself. Everything from the choice cover stock to the fonts used, it’s all spot on and expertly executed. Yet at the same time, exp. is laid back and fluid, never once feeling forced or over calculated. The presentation is extremely minimalist and no-nonsense, but simultaneously warm and inviting, not at all coarse.

Well, what about the writing itself? Equally terrific. Again, “experimental” is not some empty promise; one stand out is his opener that centers around Trials HD, in which the game’s own peaks and valleys are mirror by Kumar’s struggles to find the perfect words. It’s practically poetry, I guess? Full disclosure: Kumar’s work in exp. I believe are examples of what some would consider “new games journalism”, most of which I totally hate. But that’s because most of it isn’t written by people with his sensibilities; for me, reading exp. was like being dragged to a poetry club… I HATE poetry by the way… and you hear one douchebag after another after another, all of whom simply reinforce your bias. But then that one guy takes the mic, either the one guy who gets it, or simply speaks your language, probably both, and all of sudden you’re in a terrific mood!

The true test though is when the subject is games that I could normally give a rat’s ass about, and Kumar managed to make me care about both Red Faction Guerilla and S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Though my absolute favorite was hearing him talk about how he would improve Super Metroid’s controls. Mainly cuz I myself have never been a fan of it either, though that’s not to say that I necessarily agree with his take on them!

exp. feels like an honest to God start of something new, even if Kumar has somewhat downplayed this possibility. But more than it’s potential down the road, it’s the timing of it’s arrival in the here and now that I find most intriguing, since there’s something else on the horizon that actually has promised to be the medium’s savior. Though I’ve already given them way too much attention, so less said the better I suppose! It all comes down to this simple question: you still feel like saving your pennies for $20 worth of hot air and ego or just $5 for actual substance? You know the answer, and it can be found at the official zine homepage.

And BTW

Was planning on repeating the same pattern from the past couple of posts, in which I open with a bunch of personal notes and then follow that up with a big round-up of links from across the web, or perhaps just my own slice of the internet pie. But I’ve got three different deadlines to mind, so I’d better cut things short while I have the time. Though I hope no one minds a few quick and dirty mentions from my day job…

- The lame stuff people will do to get gamers to buy stuff or make them laugh.

- Say hello to Mega Man 10 and goodbye to 16 years of fan speculation and fan fiction plus a blown opportunity. Seriously.

- Chariots of Mortal Kombat.

- Yet another reason to hate that friend of yours that spams your Facebook wall with constant FarmVille updates: cuz they’re potentially in cahoots with the insurance companies that want the Obama health care bill as dead as a doornail.

- And the Power Glove Handjob.

… And this has NOTHING to do with anything, but once again is the YouTube vid I’ve been most obsessed with the past couple of days: for fans of Star Trek: The Next Generation, and apple juice, and everything else.

  • http://www.yaytime.com dave roman

    “enough for me not to mind the bending of the so called rule”

    Technically we bent the rule last year because we DID watch the SCTV Christmas special, even though it wasn’t a cartoon/intended for kids/or made with puppets.

    But the more important goal is to try and to avoid watching the same special two years in a row (Charlie Brown excluded). But the rules are very flexible. We will watch SCTV again if enough people vote for it!
    I usually let the mood of the crowd dictate what we watch–and force one Rankin Bass special into every mix. ;)

  • http://dhex.wordpress.com dhex

    eggs prep? ain’t no prep for sunny side up. butter + pan over medium heat + egg!

  • http://www.fort90.com fort90

    dave roman – Wait, we watched the SCTV special last year? I totally don’t remember that. I though I simply passed along the DVD for you to watch during the upcoming actual holiday & add it to next year’s pile.

    BTW, do you have a copy of the Raccoon’s special? This time I recall you having a copy… that we watched like 2, 3 years ago?

    dhex – Was using Pam + scorching heat this entire time. As much as my brian is filled with tons of various types of knowledge, a lot of the simple stuff has yet to be comprehended.

  • http://dhex.wordpress.com dhex

    pam will work as well, but yeah, not huge heat and you’ll be groovy.

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