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

June 29, 2013

Let's discuss Xenoblade Chronicles (Part 1).

There’s only one wrong way to play Xenoblade Chronicles...and I found it.  

I’ll be upfront with you.  If for some reason you have a Wii, but never gave this game a shot, you owe it to yourself to track it down now.  And if you do, DON’T do what I did and pick away at it over the course of a year.  I know it’s a long game -- very long -- but the faster you beat it, the more likely you are to be able to digest its particulars in one fell swoop.  The gameplay, the story, all of it; if you have the willpower, I’d recommend an all-guns-blazing marathon run.  Don’t play any other games but Xenoblade until you finish it.  Got it?  That way, when you decide to sit down and write a post about it, you’ll be able to remember and type everything you need to in order to prove that you haven’t lost your touch.

…Though I could be reaching a bit.

Warning: There are some minor spoilers up ahead, so unless you want to subject yourself to the horrors within, I’d recommend avoiding this post.  Nothing deal-breaking, but there is stuff in there that’ll sour an experience if you’re not careful.

So let’s do this thing, and celebrate the one game that justifies the Wii’s existence.  You know, unless you count Skyward Sword, Punch-Out!!, Sin and Punishment: Star Successor, Kirby’s Epic Yarn, Trauma Team, NBA Jam, Donkey Kong Country Returns, Tatsunoko vs. Capcom, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Super Mario Galaxy, Super Mario Galaxy 2, No More Heroes, No More Heroes 2, MadWorld, Sonic Colors, Super Paper Mario, Metroid Prime 3, Monster Hunter Tri, Mario Kart Wii, Muramasa: The Demon Blade, New Super Mario Bros. Wii, and about twenty other games on this list.

…Why do people give the Wii so much crap, exactly?

June 27, 2013

I Hraet You (69)

Beat 69: The Best Plan

If the circumstances were a little better (or if he even had control over his legs), Lloyd might have jumped up and done a little dance.  But he’d have to stay content with laying there on the ground.  So he listened in, hoping that Arjuna would give him just the info he needed…and that Sheila would stay asleep.

“You don’t know her story at all, do you?” Arjuna asked.  “Well, I do.  She may have those crazy proportions, but Sheila’s a year younger than us.  She transferred in to L. Bernstein right around winter of last year.  And from what I’ve heard, she hasn’t exactly made a lot of friends since.”

Lloyd didn’t want to believe it, but he could confirm it.  Her contact list was surprisingly bare.

June 26, 2013

RE: The Last of Us

I think I’ve been playing this game the wrong way. 

Warning: Minor spoilers for the first few hours of the game.  Nothing too extensive, though -- and it’s stuff you could intuit just by looking at the box art. 

June 25, 2013

Feel my POWER! Housekeeping BLASTER!

Or…something significantly less hammy.

Whatever.  Let’s chat a bit about the blog, yes?  There are a few things worth discussing.  Don’t worry, there’ll be music.  You just bring the snacks.

Man of Steel: Kneel Before Clods (Finale)

You know what?  I actually have something positive to say about this movie.  But first…

Spoilers!  But also, positive thinking.  But also spoilers.

June 24, 2013

I Hraet You (68)

Beat 68: Even Inchworms Have Their Pride

Even though she’d left the TV on, Jane didn’t have much interest in the promos flashing across the screen (especially those mentioning Wrestlepalooza).  She just sat atop her bed, thumbing through a catalog in search of some nice furniture.  Not much else mattered at the moment; the sun was setting, so she’d figured she’d earned the right to have a bit of rest.

She flipped to a new page.  I wonder if this table will match the kitchen’s d├ęcor, she thought as she pressed a finger to her chin.  Maybe they’ve got different models.  I’ll have to go down to the store and see for myself.  Who knows?  Maybe I’ll find something even nicer?  She glanced to her right, taking note of the groove in the bed -- one so deep she could have used it as a makeshift tub.  Oh, but I wonder if Bernie will like what I find.  Maybe I’ll wait until he gets home…or maybe I’ll just surprise him with --


The slight smile on Jane’s face evaporated.  “So she’s at it again,” she said with a sigh.

June 21, 2013

Man of Steel: Kneel Before Clods (Part 2)

I don’t want to write this post anymore.  I don’t.

I don’t like this movie.  And the more I think about it, the lower my opinion of it goes.  I have to wonder what the mindset behind its masterminds entailed -- you know, what they were saying to each other in roundtable discussions or pitch meetings, or whatever.  I don’t have a problem with them saying things like “Let’s make a new Superman movie”; in fact, I would love to see a new movie, one that earns and deserves universal praise.  But the more they add to that statement, the more problems start to pop up. 

“Let’s make a new Superman movie,” they might say.  And then someone will pipe in and go, “Let’s make it a reboot.”  Okay, that I can deal with, because as much of a stigma that word has, sometimes it’s necessary and even beneficial.  But it just gets worse from there.  “Let’s make it a reboot for the modern generation.”  And “Let’s make it a reboot for the modern generation, because the old Superman movies just wouldn’t cut it in today’s world.”  And “Let’s make a darker, more realistic reboot for the modern generation, because the old Superman just won’t cut it for today’s world and audiences.”  It’s one hell of a slippery slope.

That’s not exactly a fair, one-to-one representation of what goes on in the minds of executives and creative-types, I know.  But I hope you’ll forgive my cynicism when Man of Steel, at its basest, is exactly what I described…and comes out of the gate with one leg in a bear trap and the other on fire.  All they had to do was make a movie with good characters, good action, and a good story.  That’s all they had to do.  But they didn’t.  And that really puts me in a bad mood.

And my mood’s about to get a whole lot worse.

WARNING: More spoilers, I guess.  But whatever.  I’m gonna go to bed for a few thousand hours to sleep off this headache.  You guys probably should, too…whether you’ve seen the movie or not.

June 20, 2013

I Hraet You (67)

Beat 67: And May the Wonders Never Cease

How does the old saying go?  Something about a stiff upper lip?  Ah, the exact context escapes me at the moment, but I suspect I’ve no troubles following through with such advice.

Not surprisingly, Lloyd couldn’t bring himself to move his upper lip, much less the rest of his body.  And remarkably, it didn’t have anything to do with the chair he’d been bound to; he had near-complete control over his neck and above, but he still couldn’t cry like a panicked emu (whatever that sounded like).  He could only sit there and stare, and hope that his face had frozen into a smile.  It hadn’t.  It couldn’t.

But that was fine.  Because Sheila smiled back at him.

June 18, 2013

Man of Steel: Kneel Before Clods (Part 1)

I don’t know a thing about Superman.

I know his origin story, sure, but if you asked me about his particulars, and his defining moments in the DC Comics canon, I’d turn into a stuttering mess.  I can guess what he stands for, but there’s still a lot I’m missing.  A whole lot.  What I know about Superman comes from the myriad cartoons that have aired.  I think that my earliest exposure to Superman came from a VHS I watched at my grandma’s house when I was a kid, which happened to have a minutes-long slice of one of the really old Superman cartoons (which apparently came from 1941.  Damn, that’s old.)  And there’s the other stuff that aired, up to and including Justice League Unlimited…if only because of that badass theme song.  Even beyond that, I have a newfound appreciation for Superman thanks to Injustice: Gods Among Us.

My understanding of Superman was that he was the hero of heroes.  His power was only a fraction of his character.  He was -- he is -- goodness and justice incarnate.  He’s a stand-up guy that (unless pushed) will always do the right thing, regardless of the sacrifices he has to make.  He’s something worth aspiring towards, even if mere mortals can never reach that plateau.  He can come off as boring, but I would think that those internal struggles and societal interactions make for dozens, if not hundreds, of interesting stories.  If handled properly, Superman could dominate anything he appears in, infusing stories with a spirit even mightier than the last son of Krypton.  Also, this happened.

I don’t know a thing about Superman.  But then again, I don’t need to.  I have my own ideas of what he stands for.  I know the intent behind both the characters and the writers.  I know that no matter how many people say “Batman’s the best!” I’ll gladly jump into the Superman camp -- because I know that’s the hero who’s more likely to capture my heart and mind.

And that just makes Man of Steel even more disappointing.

WARNING: You’d best prepare yourself for some spoilers as big as Darkseid’s wading boots, so if you haven’t seen the movie -- and still intend to do so -- come back once you have.  Otherwise, go spend some time in the Phantom Zone.  Or Bismarck, North Dakota. 

June 17, 2013

I Hraet You (66)

Beat 66: What a Wonderful Person!

“Mmmm…hmmm…more than willing to try my luck.”

Lloyd -- still more than a little groggy -- lifted his head.  Even with his glasses on (though a little askew) the world hadn’t quite come back into focus yet.  I seem to have taken an impromptu slumber, he thought.  So I suppose that the opportunity to partake in games of chance has long since passed.  He tried to adjust his glasses a bit, but couldn’t handle the task; in fact, he could hardly move his hands apart from one another.  It almost felt as if they’d been tied behind his…

Suddenly, Lloyd didn’t feel quite so groggy. 

June 13, 2013

I Hraet You, Dimanagul

Huh.  I knew I was forgetting to do something.

Well, not really; it’s just that I prefer not to upload two posts a day because…arbitrary reasons.  But I didn’t want to wait any longer to make this announcement, primarily because I want to help out others -- chief among them, those that help me.  So here’s a marginally-official announcement.

I’ve made an open invitation for guest chapters of I Hraet You before -- and indeed, there is one up on the archive page already -- but for a while I was worried no one else would heed the call.  That is no longer a concern; earlier this week a Mr. Eric R. Jackson (a Cross-Up frequenter, if you check the comments here and there) uploaded his own take on the story.  With sexy results, one could argue.  So if you want to go over there and read what happens when someone else takes up the torch, do so.  And do it immediately.  And even beyond that, you should just spend a long-ass time perusing his blog, Memories of a Dimanagul.  It’s pretty friggin’ great…by which I mean it’ll probably make you a better person.  And we could all use a bit of that.

So go.  I’m ready for whatever else he’s got planned, and you should be too.  Keep checking back there for updates, and keep checking back here for chapters in the main canon.  No matter where you go, you’re bound to feel the love.  Because presumably, there’s no other place on the internet where you can find love -- especially not www.love.com.

NO, DON’T TRY AND LOOK IT UP FOR YOURSELF.  I once typed in fun.com one day because I was bored.  It did NOT go well.  Not at all.

I Hraet You (65)

Beat 65: Anyone Up for a Pun with Scales?

“Wait a minute.  Now just -- just hold on a minute,” said Trixie.  “What do you mean, ‘dead or alive’?  Why would my dad give an order like that?  Okay, yeah, I ain’t gonna say he’s the nicest guy around, but I woulda figured he’d keep himself from goin’ that far.  I mean, I…I’m his daughter, right?”

Mrs. Overdose couldn’t do much more besides shrug and keep driving down the road. 

“So you met my dad, then?”

“Not personally.  He just rounded up a bunch of hunters and gave ‘em orders -- bring you back, dead or alive.  He might’ve lucked out in findin’ me, but he might as well have just put a price on your head and thrown it into a pig pen.”  She pressed her lips down on her reed.  “It’s like all that mattered was gettin’ the job done.”

June 12, 2013

Kid's Game 2: Electric Boogaloo

You know, I’ve been thinking.  (Cue the screeches of a million feral kittens.)

I really don’t think there’s any other way for me to explain the issues I have with “gritty” stories.  I’ve gone on, and on, and on about them, and I’ve tried to justify my issues as best I could.  Some -- myself included -- might say I’m being unreasonable, and that’s probably true.  Some might agree with me.  And of course, there are some who probably disagree because, hey, maybe that grit is something genuinely attractive to people.  That’s fine.  I’m not going to tell anyone that they’re wrong for liking the things that they do…even if I don’t.

I know what I like, and I’ll gladly gravitate toward it.  And given the chance, I’ll defend it, and explain why I feel the way that I do.  Simple, yes?  I sure hope so.  Because I’m about to do it again.

Here’s the question at hand: are children’s shows the ultimate medium?

June 11, 2013

June 10, 2013

I Hraet You (64)

Beat 64: The Interplay of Mediation and Murder

Lloyd took a seat and sighed -- and against all reason, put a smile on his face.  “Okay.  Well now…do either of you feel like talking about what happened?”

“There’s not really much to talk about,” said Jane.  She looked to Sheila, who blew her nose and nodded.  “These things just sort of happen, you know?  It’s nothing for you to concern yourself with -- especially since you’re a guest here.”

Lloyd’s eyes roved around.  Somehow, he couldn’t quite share the O’Leary family’s indifference.  For starters, only a quarter of the kitchen table remained; the rest of the wooden shards either lay on the floor, on in the hair of Sheila, Jane, and even Lloyd.  Drawers leaned against carved-up cabinets, and knives spread across the tile floor (thankfully, none of them had been dyed red).  The refrigerator doors hung on by a few measly screws, with no shortage of goods smashed wafer-thin.  The oven had exploded.  And even then, the chaos extended further -- the living room had overturned furniture, a shattered TV, bent lamps, and paintings that had likely seen use as clubs and hammers.

“Pardon my obtrusiveness,” said Lloyd, “but I think that when my life is put in danger, one could argue that it becomes my problem.”  In spite of being a third party, he’d taken the most hits; while the ladies had long since bandaged and patched up his wounds, he still looked more than a little tender.  The fact that his shirt and pants had “accidentally” gotten shredded and exposed fresh bandages didn’t help.

Neither did Sheila’s heated panting.  But then again, he could excuse that; she had every right to stare, considering that Lloyd (if not for his nearly-broken neck) would have done the same.

June 7, 2013

The Last of Us: A Pre-Discussion

I’m going to go ahead and be honest.  I really don’t know how I feel about The Last of Us right now.  

I know that’s unfair, but hear me out here.  If you’ve been reading this blog for long enough, you can probably pinpoint my tastes and preferences.  You know where I want to go with my own works.  And I’m pretty damn sure you know that I’ve been burned badly by plenty of recent releases.  So there’s no doubt in my mind that, even if the quality of the game is actually outstanding, and even if reviews that have started popping up have dished out high scores, I know that I have an unfair, unreasonable bias against The Last of Us.

But…really, can you blame me?  I don’t mind if you do -- because frankly, I blame myself.  And hopefully by the end of this post, I’ll be ready to dive into the game with a smile.

June 6, 2013

I Hraet You (63)

Beat 63: A Battlefield is No Place for Snacks

Even though he’d been offered such, and even with the scent of love-filled cookies wafting through the kitchen, somehow Lloyd couldn’t bring himself to keep his appetite.  “That’s quite the sense of humor, ma’am,” he said with an unnatural laugh.  “The way you speak, it sounds as if I’m in danger.  I would have assumed that as Miss O’Leary’s mother, you’d have thought her the one that needs protecting.”

“Oh no, I know my daughter’s strong enough to take care of herself,” Jane answered, offering her own laugh -- one several times more unnatural than Lloyd’s.  “It’s just that she can be so…so…”  She trailed off, though she kept an increasingly-eerie smile on her face as she moved from counter to counter.

“…So what, exactly?” Lloyd asked.

Jane looked back at him.  “Beg your pardon?”

“You started saying something about her, but you seem to have been at a loss for words.”

Jane pressed a hand to her cheek.  “Oh, I suppose I was, wasn’t I?”  She stared at Lloyd for a half minute.  “Oh well.”  And she went about her business once more. 

Something is definitely not right here, Lloyd thought.  Methinks I’d be in less danger if I tried to romance a shark.

June 4, 2013

The Volties: My Top 10 Video Game Songs

Blessed are the gamers, as I often say.  Well, not out loud.  Or in my head.  Or ever.  But I thought it once, I swear.

I may love video games, but I don’t need anyone telling me that there are things that they can and can’t do.  I’m more than aware of the flaws and faults of the medium.  That said, it IS interesting -- and harrowing -- to hear the words of someone who’s gotten in deep with game development, like this interview with game writer Susan O’Connor.  She outlines a few problems with the business, but in spite of that -- and in light of her work on several notable games, like BioShock, Far Cry 2, and the recent Tomb Raider -- I can’t help but think that she’s done good work, and it IS possible to get something more out of games with a little elbow grease.  In spite of that, I can’t help but think that she brings up a lot of legitimate points.  (I haven’t played the new Tomb Raider, but from what I’ve heard via TomBadguy’s review is true -- and there’s no doubt that it is -- the issues therein are proof enough of the problems.)

So let the records show: videogames have something very near or equal to ninety-nine problems, but more often than not music isn’t one of them.  So without further ado, these are my favorite video game songs.  (Though really, you can’t go wrong with just searching YouTube for Guilty Gear songs.  And on that note, how awesome is it that a new game is on the way?  Rashousen time, baby!)

June 3, 2013

I Hraet You (62)

Beat 62: More Bounce to the Sixteenth of a Pound

Patton looked down at his son, and pressed a paw against his shoulder.  “It’ll be all right.  I bet it’ll all work out in the end.”

JP didn’t return any of his compassion; he just stared out the van window, watching the town’s shops whiz past.  “It’ll work out because we’re bound to get involved,” he grumbled, his chin propped up with one hand.  “I’m starting to doubt anyone else can at this point -- and not just because of the usual ‘everyone but me is an idiot’ reason.”

“Mmmm.  Then that’s all the more reason to be at our best.”  He took a left turn.  “Can’t help anyone if we’re on an empty stomach.”

JP grunted.  Even ace detectives could use a meal every now and then.

June 1, 2013

Kingdom Hearts: Does Square-Enix Hate Women?

Apologies for the incendiary title, but I’m hard-pressed to think of anything more apt right now.

If you’ve been checking around this blog for a while -- and for that I thank you/apologize -- you may have noticed a particular running gag of mine.  See, if there’s one thing that I’ve noticed in the games by the now-bloated JRPG tyrant Square-Enix, it’s that the ladies in their games tend to be in less-than-admirable states.  It’s a consistent problem with this company, and while I wouldn’t say that it’s the only one at fault and/or worthy of blame, it is interesting -- and troubling -- to be able to trace a line from one nasty example to the next.  Hence the gag “Squeenix hates women.”

Now, to be fair, I’m sure there are some good examples of female characters out there in the company’s catalog.  I’m sure that there are some ladies who not only do the genre justice, but the medium at large.

Kingdom Hearts’ Aqua is not one of them.

Spoilers, as is the standard.  Then again, I’d assume if you had any interest in playing the game, you would have done so already.  So…callous spoilers, then?  Unfeeling spoilers?  Eh, let’s just go with “mild”.

Also, there’s NOT going to be mindless rage here.  Just a bit of a discussion.  Or a jumping off point.  Off a cliff.  Into Foot-In-Mouth Gorge, if I botch this.  So just work with me here.