Let's discuss Avengers: Infinity War -- a movie BOUND to make you feel so good!

July 31, 2012

This looks like...wait, what is that?

I mean seriously, what is that supposed to be?  Oh boy.  I've got a bad feeling about this...

Well, at least it breaks up the monotony of wall-to-wall posts on The Dark Knight Rises and I Hraet You.  That has to count for something, right?

July 30, 2012

I Hraet You (25)

Beat 25: Aw, How Cute…Too Bad There’s Still a Fire

“All right.  Fun time is over.  Thinking time is now,” said JP, straining to keep up his stoic gaze.  “I would prefer for the janitor’s closet to NOT be my grave, so if you have any ideas, I’m all ears.”

“Yeah, I got one.”  Without another word, Trixie turned toward the door and started tackling it.  “Stupid damn door.  Yer goin’ down!”  She slammed a shoulder into it with a blow that would make Emmitt Smith proud…unfortunately, the door held its position.  “I ain’t done yet!  Gonna plow right through ya!”

JP threw his hands in the air.  “Well, I guess I had a nice enough life.  Little short for my tastes, but at least I’ll never have to worry about having a midlife crisis.”  He pressed a palm against his forehead.  “Or those awkward teenage years, for that matter.”

July 29, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises...With Old Men (Part 2)

They say that time heals all wounds.

Okay, except that one -- but the point still stands.  It’s been about a week since I saw The Dark Knight Rises, and I think the passion has died down a bit.  Enough people have seen it to discuss things, and I hope enough time has passed to have said discussions in a rational, non-flaming manner.  There’s nothing wrong with having an opinion, blasphemous as it may be; however, if you’re trying to make your opinion out to be the only one that’s acceptable wile stamping on the opinions of others (and others in their own right), then you’ve got a problem.

So in case it bears repeating -- it shouldn’t, but just in case -- I’m not out to tell anyone they’re wrong for liking The Dark Knight Rises, or for thinking it’s a good movie.  Even with my complaints and nitpicks, I still recognize that it’s a good movie.  Undeniably so, especially since I’ve had some time to think about it and collect my thoughts.  If you liked it, great.  You have plenty of reasons to like it (most of them likely related to Commissioner Gordon).  I’m just trying to provide my rationale.  That’s all.  If your opinion starts to change because of what I said, then that’s just the way it goes.  So let’s keep this post, and this blog, a no-bad-feelings zone, okay?

Good.  Now, it’s time for me to do what I do best: pissy nitpicking.

July 26, 2012

I Hraet You (24)

Beat 24: The Magical Closet of Love and Ammonia


Archery practice?

JP just kept shaking his head over and over, and slapping himself in the forehead.  “So this is how it ends, huh?” he asked himself.  “Somebody tries to shoot me, and the most they can come up with is some BS coincidence?  Jeez, a baboon could outthink these guys!”

Trixie patted JP on the shoulder.  “Look on the bright side -- least yer still alive.  And besides, the cops ain’t done lookin’ around just yet.  Give ‘em some time, and I bet they’ll find somethin’ good.”

July 24, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises…With Old Men (Part 1)

Play me in, Reggie!

Ah, thank you.  I needed that.  Now, let’s talk about The Dark Knight Rises.

July 23, 2012

I Hraet You (23)

Beat 23: Falsified Documents Are the Best

Trixie sat beside JP, looking as if she could either start screaming like a banshee or bawling like a baby.  Naturally, the fact that she’d become the lynchpin for his extortion plot left her in a sour mood -- but being in a classroom with children a decade younger, staring and whispering and gaping and questioning, made her regret waking up that morning.  Or that month, more appropriately.

She didn’t even get a desk of her own -- just a loose chair (a wobbly-legged one with gum stuck on it, for that matter) pulled next to JP’s.  But with the exception of the young Hoigleheimer -- scribbling in a notebook, even though class hadn’t started yet -- she had more than enough personal space.  The other children had backed off, occupying the desks at the room’s fringes.  In their eyes, she was practically radioactive…and certainly not in the good, superhero-creating way.

July 21, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises -- A Preamble

Before I begin, I want to take some time out to offer my condolences to the people of Aurora, Colorado.  Even if you never meet me, hear me, or see me, know that my thoughts are with you, and I pray for brighter days to return to your community soon enough.  What happened there was a tragedy, and even though all I can offer are my words and my feelings, I hope they're enough to help you move past this.

If you're reading this -- whether you're a part of that community or not -- I hope you'll take time out to have a moment of silence.


And now, let's move on to a different subject.  Click the jump for my typical irreverence.

July 19, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises: And So It Begins...

It’s 12:14 A.M. on July 20, 2012.  About twenty minutes ago, I was playing Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 with my brother (for a night-devouring three hours straight).  But with that done, I can focus on more important matters.  See, by this time twenty-four hours from now, I’ll have seen The Dark Knight Rises -- in IMAX, of course -- and laid this black-clad beast to rest. 

It’s the biggest movie of the year…well, one of the biggest, considering The Avengers.  It’s a movie that’s been anticipated by countless comic fans, film fans, and generally anyone who just likes living.  It’s set to vaporize box office records and cast them into the wind.  The time is ripe for Christopher Nolan, Batman, and everyone involved with this trilogy to step onto the stage -- the final proving ground -- and lay waste to all our hopes and dreams, and substitute them with dreams of the cowl-shrouded crimefighter.

And I for one am glad.  Because now -- or eventually, at least -- we can all shut the hell up about Batman.

"Now where did I leave my keys...?"

I Hraet You (22)

Beat 22: Remember, Guys: Bullying is Bad

JP furrowed his brow and groaned.  “What the hell…?”

“So you believe me?”

He rubbed his head, digging his fingers into his scalp.  “So this guy.  You’re sure about this?  The flying, and the knife through his chest?”

“Kinda hard to forget somethin’ like that, pal,” said Trixie.

“Was there anything else about him that seemed off?”

“I think yer a little too relaxed about this whole knife through the chest thing.”  Trixie folded her arms, and tapped a foot against the sidewalk.  “I guess if it bothers ya that much, he WAS wearin’ a top hat.  And a cape, too.  Looked like somethin’ straight outta Broadway.  Or…I dunno, some kinda musical.”  She moved her hands through the air.  “Oh yeah -- and I checked all around my place after he left.  So unless he packed up his bag o’ tricks right after, I’m guessin’ he didn’t hafta use any cranes or strings or nothin’ like that.  He was just…I dunno, some kinda ghost dandy.”

July 18, 2012

My hype for Persona 4 Arena has been noted.

Apparently, somebody on Siliconera read a comment of mine and decided to put a voice to it.

Hmmm...Fry, you wanna take this one?

Well, I'm going to lean towards the latter.  It's just so rare that anyone tries to weaponize my hype, so as a favor to this guy/lady I'll be sure to remember it -- almost spitefully so.

But really, can you blame me for being a little excited?  (Actually you can, but...by the roots of the world tree, Atlus and ArcSys are teaming up to make a fighting game based on Persona!  Supermassive success!)

By the way, I've decided on Naoto.  Never bring a sword to a gun fight.

July 17, 2012

The Curious Case of Katherine Noether

Sometimes it’s hard being a man.  Not because you’re the one people count on to kill spiders, or dislodge a basketball when it gets stuck between the hoop and the backboard (a shockingly frequent event, apparently), or because you’re supposed to be strong enough to open the pickle jar.  

"It's tough to be a maaaaaaaaan...I want to cryyyyyyyyy..."

No, it’s hard being a man because you’re more accountable for your words and actions than anyone else.

Okay, maybe that’s a bit of a sweeping generalization, but I think there’s more than a kernel of truth -- including and especially when those words and actions relate to talk about women.  Fortunately, if you’ve any more foresight than I do, you won’t make a faux pas while in the presence of a class that is 95% female.

July 16, 2012

I Hraet You (21)

Beat 21: The Plot, It Grows More Viscous 

8:14 A.M.
Costs Accrued: $148.54

Trixie followed JP along the sidewalk as Sondheim Middle School came into view.  Maybe it was just that she hadn’t been to a middle school since her own tween years, or maybe the sounds of laughing kids coming to greeter, but something about the building just felt small and quaint.  The main building stretched from one end of the block to another, like a massive hot dog made out of brown bricks, and sprinkled with polished windows.  As the pair trotted near the chain-link fence, she spotted the usual niceties -- the asphalt track, the grassy field, and no shortage of portables in the distance.  Even though they approached from the building’s backside, the flagpole at the front of the school stood high enough to peek past the roof -- and with it, the American and school flags flapping in tandem.

“So we’re clear on your schedule, then?” JP asked, hands in his pockets as he strode in the lead.  “Just follow my lead for the first bit.  Then when I give you the signal, you head back to my house and help my dad with his work.  Once lunchtime rolls around, you head back here; I’ll be waiting at…”  He pointed behind one of the portables, the one closest to the parking lot.  “That spot.  Meet me back there, and play along with me.  Got all that, Tex?”  He cocked his head back at her, refusing to give her the blessing of his full attention.   “Or do you need me to write it all down?”

July 14, 2012

This may actually be a bit interesting.

Looks like it's finally starting to take form...But what could it be?  Certainly nothing that would provoke a reaction like this:

Nope.  I'd never do that.  Unless I was about to eat some blueberry muffins -- hmmm, speaking of which...

*heads to kitchen*

This is what happens whenever I eat muffins.  But really, can you blame me?  They're evilly delicious!

July 13, 2012

Lollipop Chainsaw -- Or, What Makes a Character Attractive?

This is probably going to be the most asinine thing I’ve ever written (with the emphasis on ass), but bear with me here.  What I do, I do for the sake of…well, not science, but just to gauge the opinions of fellow gamers.  Or writers.  Or kung-fu cassowary slayers.  I know you’re a niche audience, but you guys need some love too.

Anyway.  A while back, the snafu with Jessica Nigri and Lollipop Chainsaw got me thinking.  The game’s lead heroine, I’d wager, was designed with a specific goal in mind to convey a specific feel for the game.  Say what you will about how many zombie games there are (too many, in my opinion) but there’s a contrast that I like in seeing rotting, moaning hordes of the undead going up against a cute, bubbly cheerleader.  As if to hammer that point home, this same character attacks with a roaring chainsaw, yet fires off rainbows and hearts just as quickly as she does zombie blood.

Juliet fulfills certain requirements that need to be checked off -- and at a base level, she does so with her looks.  She’s lithe and leggy, befitting her cheerleader status; in fact, some art I’ve seen depicts her as being roughly eight heads tall compared to the usual five or six.  (It’s a design decision that evokes thephilosophy of the much-discussed Bayonetta.)  In addition, being a blonde comes with all its own tropes -- doubly so thanks to the twin pigtails.  She was designed to be identifiable and quantifiable ten seconds after first meeting her, as she would if you were in high school and you cane face-to-face with a cheerleader.  In the case of “judging a book by its cover” Juliet makes an unabashed statement. 

July 12, 2012

I Hraet You (20)

Beat 20: Oh Right, There Are Other Characters

7:42 A.M.
Costs Accrued: $29.50

“So what happens now, pal?”

JP waved a hand through the air as he continued his business, sitting pretzel-style on the laundry room floor.  “Don’t stand over me when I’m working.  It’s irritating.”

Trixie backed up a few steps, though it didn’t help very much; she’d seen cardboard boxes with more breathing room.  She pressed her back into a hanging calendar, arms folded and finger tapping against her elbow to the beat of the bumping dryer.  “Ya said ya had somethin’ planned for me, so --”

“And I do,” said JP, the snipping of his task just barely audible over the nearby machines.  “So be a good little girl and be quiet for a while.  Think you can manage that, Tex?”

July 9, 2012

Of Virtua Fighter and Volcano Knees

A while back, I was having a conversation with my dentist about what I was going to do that summer.  “Do some writing” was the obvious choice, but with no small number of tools hovering around my mouth I wasn’t in much of a mood for conversation about the particulars.  So I just said “play some video games.”

“Oh?  Do you have Wii Sports?” he asked with a smile.  “My kids love that -- all that boxing and stuff.”  I told him that I did (though I’d loaned it out to a friend).  “What kind of games do you like?”

“Fighting games,” I answered -- though with his assistant currently shoving metal into my mouth, it sounded more like “Haahigg gaaaaze.”  I managed to raise my fists to illustrate.

It was a weird moment in more ways than one.  See, I like to think of myself as an intellectual gamer -- one that preferred titles emphasizing the mind and strategy instead of rote button-hammering and battering enemies with bullets and nail bats.  So I’ve collected my fair share of RPGs and strategy games -- a couple of Advance Wars, a couple of Disgaeas, a heaping helping of Shin Megami Tensei games…I even spent the better part of six months pining for Valkyria Chronicles.  I hold games that give you time to stop and think in high esteem...and the less said about my love of Phoenix Wright and 999, the better.

Given that, you’d think that I’d hate fighting games.  And to some extent, you’d be right. 

July 8, 2012

I Hraet You (19)

Beat 19: Always Restock Your Fridge.  Always.  

The principal’s office.  Lloyd had been to it a few times in the past; he was there when the drama club tried (and failed) to garner some more funds.  Not to mention requesting a slot for the club’s bake sale.  And the less said about his regular visits on matters of sexual harassment, the better. 

He sat as tranquilly as he could in the chair, staring at the cluttered desk before him.  Towers of ruffled paper and enough pens to lend to the entire student body lay atop it; behind it, an oversized, upholstered office chair that would suit a king.  A slew of cabinets dotted the room, framing short-yet-stuffed bookcases.  Ritzy plaques and forms decorated the walls, though Lloyd noticed that since last spring a few more fishing-themed pictures had gone up.  The room might have looked a bit stuffy -- and smelled like dried-out fish -- but to some extent, Lloyd couldn’t help but relax.

July 7, 2012

EVO 2012...Also, I Hraet You

So.  Guess what I'm watching?

Iron Chef?

As anyone who's seen me online knows (especially given the name of the blog), I have a deep appreciation and respect for fighting games.  Am I good at them?  Not really, no.  I've got slow reflexes, and I can't do much outside of a very limited number of combos.  Even so, I like the ideas behind them -- the strategy, the systems, the characters, and the over-the-top style prominent in virtually every game...well, except Mortal Kombat.  Don't care for that one.

July 5, 2012

July 4, 2012

Street Fighter: America Sheds a Tear for the 4th

I pledge allegiance to the hair
Of the greatest Street Fighter in America
And to the rolling sobat, on which he charges
One Sonic Boom, under Guile
Invincibility frames, with liberty, and Flash Kicks for all.

Happy Fourth of July, everyone -- from one world warrior to another.

July 3, 2012

Kingdom Hearts: Eraqus, This is Your Story

I’m a little wary about watching Birth by Sleep to its conclusion.

It’s on my to-do list, but it just feels like BBS is sliding farther and farther down that list.  I started watching Aqua’s story a while back, but I haven’t found the drive to see it through to the end (and of course, the same applies for the final story/ending).  Really, what do I have to look forward to?  Aqua faffing about in Disney dimensions for eighty percent of her story, only to have about ten percent of it actually matter?  And for what?  A final showdown featuring more cryptic, sequel-begging dialogue?  More abuse of The Big Four Words of the series (light, darkness, hearts, friends)?  Setup for the rest of the franchise that’s ultimately inconsequential? 

I view BBS as a story that, at the end of the day, didn’t need to be told.  It’s like if someone wrote a book about the origin of the guy who made Abraham Lincoln’s hat -- sure, it’s interesting, but does it really change anything?  Hell no.  I’d rather read a book about Abraham Lincoln, because he’s the one doing all the legwork as one of the presidents (figuratively speaking, of course).  I don’t want to read about the emotional turmoil of a hat-maker -- doubly so if said turmoil comes from one character that’s nigh-inconsequential, and another character that doesn’t know his foot from a bottle of sarsaparilla. 

But I’ve been thinking about the game for a while.  I’ve been thinking about why the game intrigued me in the first place.  I can tell you right now it wasn’t Ven, and certainly not Terra; I placed a fair portion of my hope in Aqua, as per my gut instincts.  But there was another character that caught my eye, and even got me to like him by virtue of his potential high-level-badassery. 

And it’s at this point I have to wonder: why wasn’t this game about Master Eraqus?


July 2, 2012

Back in the game.

*holds envelope to head*

Four fireworks shops, a tank, an artillery cannon, horse poop in the middle of the road, a WWII special on The History Channel, sweet and sour sauce, a sack full of pee, Bingo pens, a keyboard, eighty percent of my shaved-off hair, a crapton of wasps, and a town called Cut n' Shoot.

*opens envelope*

...Things I Saw At, Near, or On The Way to My Grandma's House.

Yeah, I'm back from my little trip.  And I got a haircut.  You know what that means; Cross-Up is back online, with all the posts you could ever hope (?) for.  And on that note, a quick announcement: updates on I Hraet You will resume this Sunday.  I want to keep up the two-chapter-a-week routine, plus I want to build a nice, healthy buffer...to say nothing of me working on some other projects.  Maybe you'll see them on the blog soon enough.

Or maybe I'll just stare at them until I wither and die.  I haven't decided yet.  Until then, enjoy this eerily appropriate song (based on its title mostly).