“Why do ninjas need a secretary?!?!”

by Matthew Edward Hawkins

Okay, there’s a LOT to talk about, video game-wise; in addition to reviewing a bunch of titles, like I keep saying I’m going to, today is day one of E3! But since I’m serious about not wanting to do super long and dense posts any longer, since that seems to be tiring everyone out at this point (especially myself), how about I first go over what’s been going on, like this past weekend?

Here We Go Again!

So instead of E3, let’s talk about… DigitalLife? This past Thursday night was the summer press preview show. As is usually the case with these “DigitalLife Lite” events as I often refer to them, it was yet another an awkward collection of smaller companies with their own takes on Apple software for the PC, stuff that’s trying to be iTunes or iPhoto like, along with stuff that makes one’s non-Apple phone more iPhone-ish. Which to be honest, is just like the show proper, but at least that one gets a few big names like Microsoft and the such.

Anyhow, nothing spectacular, especially anything related to games… though along with the Apple rip-offs, one also needs to add Guitar Hero rip-offs to the list of stuff one will invariably comes across. There was only one game publisher present, and it was Real… you know, the makers of that one video format that everyone hates? Anyhow, they’re actually publishing games for the Wii and DS, given how they’re all about the casual gaming, and both systems are enjoyed by that market. Though their DS game is simply a Diner Dash rip-off, but with hair, and their Wii title is some Mystery Cast File-like title, meaning it’s one of those hidden object games. And given my history with such genre of gaming…. I worked on a MCF wannabe last year and instantly grew to hate that whole space.

… Seriously, I know most games make zero sense, but I can’t believe people actually enjoy playing the part of a detective that is told “Okay, here’s the scene of the murder, and it’s a real mess, we know, so we need you to find: a baseball glove, butterfly, a hot dog, etc.” Not only is it once again completely nonsense, but it’s also BORING AS FUCK…

Yet there was at least one really cool little thing at the event: a Knight Rider GPS unit! The company behind it, Mio, actually hired the dude that did the voice of the talking car, so as you drive around, KITT is actually giving you instructions on where to go next! Plus the thing has red LEDs, so when GPS KITT talks, it corresponds as it did on the show!

They actually had the guy (you know, William Daniels, aka Mr. Feeny from Boy Meets World) record 300 different common names, so he doesn’t just address you as Michael (though Katie sez that if she were to get one, she’d only set it to that). And the Mio rep said they’d love to get Daniels back in the studio to record some more names. Anyhow, it comes out this September, and if I had a car, I’d TOTALLY get one. But if you do, here’s the official site for more info.

The other major thing of note, and back to games, was the announcement of the NY Games Conference.

Hey, remember when DigitalLife was originally some big gaming event called Game On, or something along those lines? Seems like Ziff Davis is once again trying to host some huge gaming event or New York City, and since doing a E3-wannabe bombed, how about something along the lines of the GDC instead? Granted, there’s more game companies here in NYC than ever, but it’s still not that much, especially when you discount those VC funded entities that are just about making cell phone games, most of whom won’t be around in eighteen months time (if that) anyway. Needless to say, I’ll be keeping a close eye on NY Games Conference, so more as it develops.


Next I went down to Webster Hall to catch Boris, this experimental noise metal group from Japan. They were awesome. But since I’m pretty bad when it comes to describing music, I’ll just link to Mike’s report instead.

There were a lot of familiar faces in the crowd. Hey, did you know that Frank Lantz is a fan of Boris? Well now you know!

Afterwards, because Carlos was once again in town, myself, Joe Salina, and Mooney took him down to Kenka, a bit head of schedule for the rest of us (since we were all there less than seven days ago). There was a Jews for Jesus guy outside, and since I’m a big fan of their pamphlets, I decided to grab one, and the following interaction took place:

“Hey, can I get one?”

“Sure! Here you go!”

… Can I ask you: do you believe in the existence of Jesus Christ?”

“Yeah, sure!”

“Do you believe that he’s the son of God?”

“Sure, why not?!”

“Are you a Christian?”

“I’m half Korean!”


“That means I was raised Catholic.”

The dude was a cheery British chap. Once again, to put it all in perspective: a British Jew praising Jesus Christ in front of a Japanese restaurant in New York city, on a Thursday night. Afterwards, I got home around 4 in the morning and woke Katie up to ask her the question of the night. This time it was “what’s cuter: bunnies or baby foxes?” And she answered baby foxes, simply because they’re a lot less common, which is true.

“Lion King, eat my cunt.”

Friday night Katie and myself went over to Joe Simko’s for an evening of drinking and watching cable access. Flaccid Ego, that psychic call-in show was on, but alas, I wasn’t able to get on. Damn. Sandy Kane was also on, and for anyone who doesn’t live in NYC, she’s a “comedic stripper” that’s been a staple of cable access for God knows how long. Just imagine your 60 year old aunt who lives in Long Island who still thinks she’s 20, and singing “saucy” song parodies. Simply head on over to her MySpace page to see what I’m talking about… might I recommend “My Boyfriend’s Black”? Anyhow, she was apparently in Time Square the day before according to Mooney and I was hoping for some footage of her trying to steal the Naked Cowboy’s thunder, which is what I heard she was trying to do, but alas nothing.

Speaking of cable access, I forgot to mention how Mooney came up with a rather novel idea for a segment for my coming soon cable access program: wrestling with inanimate objects. Basically me versus cardboard boxes, toys, groceries, and anything else under the soon. If you anyone has any ideas, please pass them along!

Rumbo in Dumbo X

As for Saturday, it was the World of Unpredictable Wrestling’s Rumbo in Dumbo 10! Went in with a great deal of anticipation, mostly because it would be Katie’s first time, but also a bit of trepidation, since there was a talent raid not too long ago, meaning new faces as well as the loss of some old, favorites. But all fears were put to a rest when I saw a dude dressed like a rodeo clown walking around before bell time. As well as a ninja.

I brought along a camera, but most of my pictures did not come out so hot, but here’s a nice one of the aforementioned ninja, along with another one…

… Also with them was a fucking cute as hell girl in business attire, carrying around a clipboard (sadly, couldn’t get a good, close-up pic of her). These guys showed up in the ring just as a match between a new dude, Mikey Firezone, who has no real gimmick other than having a name that makes one thinks he sells tires, and Tristian Spade, a big dude who is basically a pimp-type character, was about to get underway. The ninjas just stood there and looked confused, as did everyone else, with the exception of the ho’s that Spade brought in, who simply stood there, trying their best to look all hot. Check out the one in the purple, with the comically huge breasts…


… There was this dude from last time, who sat behind Mooney and myself, barking one-liners at the wrestler the entire time, and he was thankfully back. Such as “NICE DOCKERS” re: Spade’s very nice, white dress pants. And as Spade left the ring after his defeat (the dude is a solid, powerhouse wrestler, but always looses his matches, though because he’s so awesome as the cocky asshole that’s also just an incredibly sore loser, I guess that’s just the way it is), he proclaimed that at least he was going home with a bunch of fine ladies, which got “THAT’S YOUR PROBLEM, NOT OURS” in response.

Here’s a couple of pics of the match directly before that one, which opened up the show, between Pete Simmons, your average big dude sporting tons of tattoos (which elicited a “Whoa!” from Katie, as the first dude to step into the ring) and El Shoes, another pimp-type character, but a far more light-hearted one, meaning he had a huge, puffy jacket for comedic effect…

And here we have a not so great one of perhaps my favorite wrestler in all of WUW, Brooklyn Jeff…

… If that simply looks like a pic of an old dude about to land on a younger one, well, I guess it technically is. “BROOKLYN JEFF YOU’RE A DINOSAUR” was what wiseguy had to say about him, but make no mistake… despite not being the youngest guy in the ring, he was most definitely the toughest (also, I think the dude is actually friends with Brooklyn Jeff in real life, and it was simply a friendly rib). Here’s a better shot…

I am not ashamed to admit that I was as giddy as a schoolgirl when he noticed me in the audience (which I guess wasn’t so hard, since I was clearly the loudest guy cheering for him) and gave me a thumbs up. Brooklyn Jeff acknowledged ME!!!

Another fave of mine, and Mooney’s, is of course the Musketeer, who I’ve also written about previously…

This time he had two helpers on-hand, Squire, the mini-Musketeer from before, and the very first one, and Montague, the first, extremely gay Squire ver 1.0 that I first saw at the end of last year.

All I can say is, if you can’t understand the appeal of a large, muscularly man that grapples with other dudes, acting like an arrogant aristocrat, with the phrase “Touch?!” emblazoned on his ass, to help complete the effect of him thrusting his waist at his just fallen opponent…

… Then well, it sucks to be you is all I can say.

Another highlight was sitting behind the Musketeer’s five year old son, who I guess is clearly bored to death of this father’s antics, despite how unique it might be compared to other dads. The whole time he was just playing with his stuffed cat… actually, mostly strangling it. And making high-pitched screams, which was uber effective against the creepy fat Italian guy who is always in the audience (that all the other wrestlers can’t stand, from what I’ve heard) tried to act all cutesy with him. And yes, the really old Jewish looking man and the Spanish girl with the lazy eyes were both sitting next to him, as usual, in the front row.

Here’s the clown from before!

… Not a bad wrestler, that guy. He was part of some tag team tournament, partnered with Steven Person, another face that I was happy to see stick around. Of course, after doing all the hard, Steven turned on him. What a heel!

The final match had the Unknown Masks as they were called coming back to the ring for the second part of the tag team tournament (or something like that), with the aforementioned hottie…

She explained that they were not from “parts unknown” as the ring announcer had said, but from Peru. And she was not their secretary but their caseworker. Anyhow, they were fucking horrible; most of their offense consisted of comical looking judo chops. Though they weren’t as bad as Uptown Bad Boy from last time… now that was terrible. It was at this point, Mooney thought about leaving with his pal Gavin, but I said I was staying, cuz at this point, you never know if a legit injury was about to go down. Then, no less than 30 seconds after saying that, one of the masked Peruvian ninjas took his caseworker?s clipboard and smashed it against his opponents skull, nice and HARD, with one half of the clipboard flying into the audience, right into the face of a women sitting front row!

Overall, a great show, even if it was a bit uneven and not as strong as Rumbo In Dumbos past. Apparently the card got all mixed up at the last minute when Tim Arson, aka the Zombie from ECW, pulled a muscle the night prior (Musteteer was supposed to fight Reggaedones, Mooney’s HS pal who plays a Puerto Rican heel, but that got switched to Minion, a dude who basically wears scary face makeup). And the crowd was good… kinda small this time around, but totally devoid of hipsters (thank God) and filled with only with diehards. Katie noted that she never knew there was white trash in NYC, but not in a bad way. And I’d much rather sit next to some fat dude wearing a Stone Cold Steve Austin shirt cuz he really like wrasslin’, hence why he’s there in the first place, and loving every moment about it, instead of some skinny ass douchebag from NYU also wearing a Stone Cold Austin shirt, but because its “ironic” or some nonsense, and is only there so he has something else to write (I’m sorry, “live-blog”) about via Twitter via his iPhone 3G.

Nope, Haven’t Seen Wall-E Yet!

And yesterday I saw Sakuran with Hilary…

Based on a manga, it tells the tale of a young girl who is sold to a brothel and the trials and tribulations she goes through as she becomes the head mistress, as well as all that comes with such a position. She is given given the name Kiyoha by her new caretakers and immediately makes it known that she does not want to become a courtesan, as evidenced by her freaking out while taking a bath with all the older, fully developed women in employment there (which leads to a series of rapid-fire shots of all their breasts and nipples) and an attempt at escape, which is less than successful. In return, Kiyoha is tied down and beaten, and it’s something that would happen time and time again as she grows up and learns the tricks of the trade. Despite the fact that she loathes her role and yearns for freedom, by the time Kiyoha becomes of age, she’s easily the hottest girl the brothel has to offer as well as a master manipulator of men, making her not only extremely popular among the clientele, but an immediate thread to Takao, the number one mistress, or head oiran as they were called back then.

Early on Kiyoha falls in love with a customer, who doesn’t seem like the rest of them and comes to see her on a regular basis, which naturally pisses off her superiors. When Kiyoha is ordered to attend to a major client, a lord, but instead brushes him off to make time with her true love, the lord goes nuts and starts storming the place, and catches his date in the act, then immediately brushes the dude off to slap Kiyoha around. The scuffle doesn’t last long at all, but just when Kiyoha thinks her man is going to comfort her, he simply runs off, and she learns a true hard lesson in life: all men are scum. Kiyoha then continues along, angry at the world and unwilling to bow down to anyone rules, which again gets her in a ton of hot water, especially with Takao. In the world of the oiran, women are supposed to be graceful, cultured, and most importantly obedient, which Kiyoha fails on all accounts, not only getting into fights with customers, but with the other girls she works with.

Then wouldn’t you know… Takao is accidentally killed, during an attempt to kill her lover, whom she is pissed is fascinated with Kiyoha. Whilte struggling, the dude accidentally slashes her neck. Oops! The brothel then asks Kiyoha to take her place, which she doesn’t want to do, but again, she has the skills to drive men wild, and reluctantly agrees, if only to prove to herself and all her doubters that she can be a far better head mistress than that bitch Takao ever was. And she does succeed, again, breaking all the rules along the way. Eventually, a samurai falls in love with her, and offers his hand in marriage. But then we discover that Kiyoha is pregnant! Obviously no one knows who the father is, and she flat out refused to give it up, despite the fact that she pretty much has to if she’s going to enter the life of nobility….

Sakuran is simply a feast for the senses; it was directed by a photographer, and clearly shows, with vibrant colors in every single shot, and everything is just so beautifully composed. Think Dicky Tracy, but in Japan, and with prostitutes… also a billion times better. The acting was phenomenal, not just the actress portraying Kiyoha, but the one playing the part of Takao, which is actually the girl that wowed me in Fine, Totally Fine (Yoshino Kimura). Also worth noting is the totally fantastic, genre-bending soundtrack, which features elements of jazz, big band orchestra, techno, and even hard rock. Can’t wait to grab the soundtrack, as well as read the original manga.

… Next I went up to the Bronx to check out Jason’s newest bundle of joy, and to also finally get an AC for the living room, where I do all my work. Here’s a fun fact: most everything you’ve read from me these past couple of weeks, I’ve been either mostly or entirely nude! So needless to say, it?s nice to not sweat while writing (it’s hard work writing about games… okay, not really, and most definitely not THAT hard). I also got to check out Jason’s iPhone 3G (which is indeed very nice… which makes me all the angrier at AT&T) and also hear about all the hijinks that went down while waiting in line for it (he didn’t wait in line for a week like the morons in all the major cities… he just went up to a mall upstate and got there around six the day of). It can basically be summed with: no matter how much of Apple diehard you are, mall cops are not going to put up with any amount of shit. Also, the amount of money you spend on shit doesn’t make you any more important than the rest of us.

After installing the AC, I wanted to head out to Alex from Rocketship’s birthday bash (and possibly hit Raina Lee’s karaoke book launch party afterwards), but I just wasn’t up for it. Gotta say, I’m not some young college kid anymore, and the consecutive nights of staying out late and drinking is starting to take its toll on me. Oh, and sitting around the house all day to write as well (whereas as before at least I had to do some moving around to get to the place I was writing) isn’t doing me any good. At least I finally have Wii Fit on the way! I guess those Wii Alerts do work after-all.

EDIT: Okay, not after getting my “thanks for ordering!” email, I just got a “sorry, but product is no longer available, sorry!” notification. Just awesome.

But yeah, I’ll be taking about games, as well as the interesting news that was revealed just today alone, a bit later tonight!

  • allan

    ‘especially when you discount those VC funded entities that are just about making cell phone games, most of whom won?t be around in eighteen months time (if that) anyway’

    I couldn’t agree with you more. good seeing you at the filmfest!

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