“Dancer wins!”

by Matthew Edward Hawkins

On Friday night MK & I went birthday present shopping for Marc and I ended up getting Soul Calibur 3. I had always planned on picking it up eventually, but MK’s insistence finally drove me to fork over the $50 for a copy. She also wanted to get Stubbs the Zombie, but I had to remind her that we’re both on tight budget these days.

At the same Best Buy where I picked up SC3, they has both a DS and the new GBA SP on display. Holy shit is the new SP screen nice! Its even brighter than the DS’s! Which sorta sucks… I was planning on finally getting a DS once my bonus check arrived, but now I’m conflicted (word of the Famicom GB Micro doesn’t make things any better). Didn’t spend too much time with either system; the SP was playing Donkey Kong Country 3, which as you might know, sucks, and the DS had Metroid Pinball, but I never got the chance to try it out (but MK did, and I think she liked it). Also stopped by a Target to see if Lumines and Ridge Racers was $20 as I had heard at Gaming Age, but it wasn’t (nevermind that I don’t have a PSP yet).

Once we got to Brooklyn, MK & I tore into SC3, which we wound up playing all weekend. And each session only ended once her thumbs began to hurt. As for that night, after Soul Calibur, MK still wanted to play something, but a title that was far less taxing on the thumbs, so she gave Animal Crossing for a spin while I dug into my assortment of Genesis titles emulated on the Mac. Finally played Golden Axe 3, and I honestly don’t understand all the hate it got (both EGM and Gamefan back in the day bashed it all to hell). Its not like Golden Axe 1 & 2 were that much better. Or at least, its aged poorly enough that its now at part 3′s level. At least they’re all ber than Altered Beast. Dear God…

But while MK & I were relaxing at home with video games, my roommate was in the midst of a subway ride from hell. Long story short, upon entering a station in Manhattan, she stumbled across a guy jacking-off and later ended up in the same train as the perv. The whole time the guy kept harassing her, and it was one of things where everyone was watching the whole scene, but no one bothered to come to Steph’s aide. Except one guy, some teenage gangsta type who stopped the guy from exiting the train to follow her. Its really nice to know that there are some good samaritans out there in the city.

As for Saturday, I decided to skip out on playing poker at a cemetery in Brooklyn. Instead we played more Soul Calibur and then watched MST3K on DVD during the day and went out to Marc’s birthday dinner in the evening. It was at some Italian restaurant (or course) and Marc had us all play an after-dinner game (of course). Plus he also gave us all party favor bags, and mine include one of those ultra cheesy and cheap DVDs that has public domain cartoons and horror flicks, the ones that you see at the drug store for 99 cents. I’m actually afraid to watch min. BTW, Marc’s BD present was Katamary Damacy; I’m pretty sure he’ll like it.

After dinner was karaoke (Marc’s favorite thing) at the Chelsea Bar & Grill. Since it wasn’t until much later in the evening, we most of our time drawing on the paper table clothes (mostly Godzilla characters, inspired by our talk about Godzilla Final War and how fucking amazing it was). Later on, Marc sang some Garth Brooke song, and I did “You Might Think” by the Cars. And the ride home was a total headache; I forget how many exactly times we had to switch trains. It all started with a train breaking down on the bridge, which meant we had sitch to a train that… went on the bridge, and it was all downhill from there. Once again, things would run a thousand percent smoother if the MTA had a plan for when trains break down, especially considering that it happens every five minutes (literally).

MK & I got in around 2 and it seemed like the ideal time for a movie, so I popped in the Blues Brothers. Its easily one of my favorite flicks of all time, and MK finally had to see why.

And on Sunday, MK & I got in the car and took Stephy plus our friend Adam along for the ride. First stop was Rocketship where MK & I picked up some books, and Adam played the stock “holy shit, comics sure have changed since I stopped reading so and so years ago!” person. I ran into some folks on the streets, two former students from SVA, and they gave me that strange look I get whenever anyone sees me out of the context of school and its somehow hard to compute for them.

We didn’t ride around Willamsburg making fun of the hipsters like last weekend (nor did I get the chance to ogling hot Hasidic chicks); instead we went to Ikea to do some shopping and feast on fine Swedish meatballs. Everyone (except for myself) seemed to enjoy overhearing a conversation in the dining area between two big nerds. It’s a scene we’re all familiar with: there’s a one big fat nerd, or the alpha nerd, who’s bald and is wearing glasses, plus a black hooded sweatshirt, usually something wrestling related. And he’s going on and on and on about something, in this instance movie related, and making quips like he was Denis Miller: “The Highlander 3? Why?” plus very loud and clear, for the whole world to hear, so they can properly recognize his genius. And with this huge dominant nerd is a smaller, far skinnier nerd, one who doesn’t say much but grins and nods his head in agreement. Plus the guy has a long, leather trench coat, of course. Though thing is, I encounter these types of folks so frequently that the novelty has long since worn off.

… I guess I should comment on Soul Calibur 3. Basically, its pretty awesome. I know Dreamcast diehards are still convinced that part 1 is still king, and they’re entitled to their opinions (hey, I’m not saying that its not a game that still hold up its own today), but 3 builds upon what was established in 2 to great success. Basically, the graphics are even nicer (3 does seem to one-up 2, even though I was playing the Gamecube version, albeit by just a very small margin), the new characters are cool (can’t wait to unlock Owl Guy!) and the new backgrounds are some of the best yet (and seeing old SC1 stages again, but revamped, is pretty cool). But its still more of the same. Yeah, I guess. But the best part has to be the create-a-character feature, which is one of the greatest things ever, especially when playing head to head with randomly generated opponents (even if most of the time the women are bald).

The only downside is the single player mode where the AI is pretty cheap, with the constant hits while you’re down. That and the occasional ground tearing apart effect when you fall makes it feel a bit too much like Tekken 5. So its either multiplayer or bust it seems….

In other game news real quick, the word on the street is that the Generation NEX, the “brand new” NES system, pretty much bites. There’s reports everywhere stating incompatibility problems, even with Super Mario Bros! What the hell? And for a while, I honestly thought this would be the one thing to help really re-ignite the NES scene.

Also, many of you folks are probably familiar with i am 8 bit art show which I covered early this year (that one post alone is the reason why 95% of you folks found about this site, right?). Well, there’s now a store up and running. I’m totally gonna get the shirt, the buttons, and perhaps a print.

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