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

May 29, 2014

Lightning Returns: One Final Battle

I don’t think I’ve had an existential crisis this bad since I watched Transformers: Dark of the Moon and legitimately wanted to bash my head against something until everything went black. 

Just thought I’d throw that out there to set the tone.

May 26, 2014

On Transistor (And My Love-Hate Relationship)

My excitement for Watch Dogs is inversely proportional to hype surrounding its release -- and directly proportional to the amount of time left until said release.

I can remember a time when I thought that the game would be something new, exciting, and interesting, and actually looked forward to seeing more of it.  But from what I’ve seen and what I could gather, and with the knowledge gained from what are now semi-historical precedents (and recent concerns), I’m not feeling very confident about its quality.  Is Aiden Pearce going to be more than just a bland, designated hero living out a revenge fantasy?  Probably not.  Is the gameplay and game at large going to offer up something better than what we’ve seen in the open-world genre?  Probably not.  Is the story going to have something meaningful to say and do more than just name-check real-world concerns?  Probably not.  And I feel bad about thinking the way I do right now; once upon a time, I would have been eager to try Watch Dogs, or anything coming down the pipeline.  Now it feels like I have to wait for people to announce that the newest release is anything above "not terrible".  Look at what you’ve done to me, video games.

Well, maybe this is just a sign that I need to stay away from triple-A games forever for a while.  Tokyo Jungle has been plenty good to me recently, after all, so it’s not like I’m ready to wash my hands of this woeful medium. 

And then there’s Transistor.  Oh dear, is there ever.

May 22, 2014

How to Make a Good Power Rangers Movie

This is the most redundant post ever written.

Power Rangers isn’t in need of a reboot or a movie.  (Well, another movie.)  Okay, sure, it wouldn’t be a game-breaker if it got another movie, especially if it got the care and skill -- and to a lesser extent budget -- needed to put something good on the silver screen.  But remember, this franchise has gotten more than just a couple of movies born and raised in the States, and even more than big screen releases by virtue of (and reflecting) its Super Sentai counterparts...if you can believe that.  This is a franchise that’s been constantly and consistently rebooting itself for decades.  Mighty Morphin’ may be the one that started it all, but it’s not the be-all and end-all.  It’s not one isolated story, but one connected (however vaguely) to dozens.

My guess is that with the recently-announced Lionsgate movie (the guys behind Twilight, Divergent, and The Hunger Games -- oh joy), they plan to take out some of the sillier, anachronistic elements and repurpose the Rangers for a modern age.  Except Power Rangers already did that.  It was called Dino Thunder; it had “teenagers with attitude” who were more than just goody-goodies tackling problems in and out of battle (making it on a sports team vs. fighting monsters as per duty, for example), kept a leash on the silliness, and even brought back fan favorite Tommy as a treat to older fans.  And that was it.  That was all they needed to do, and they did it.

That should be the end of it.  But alas, here we are -- and with me about to go into Indignant Nerd-Paladin mode.

May 19, 2014

So What’s the Deal with Sexy Characters? (Part 2)

I need to watch more Seinfeld.

I’ve been thinking about doing a post on BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma over the past couple of weeks, but given that I’ve had material gathering dust for ages, I figured I should get that stuff out there first.  So until then, I want to bring it into the discussion of sexy characters -- however briefly.  Again.

CP is the first BB installment I’ve played since the original Continuum Shift from years ago -- and the new installment offers up a chance for me to start fresh and learn to play more characters with some competence besides “easy mode” Ragna.  I’ve long since started maining Hakumen --the sickest character -- but I can’t help but think back to one night when I was on the character select screen for the trials.  I spotted Litchi’s picture nestled in the corner, and I thought to myself, “Hey, why not?”

Well, I can think of one reason: because she’s a sexy character, and if you play a sexy character, you’re clearly a terrible person who deserves to get kicked in the junk, right?  And by default she’s awful and sexist, and her creators are awful and sexist and deserve a million kicks to the junk.  At least if a subsection of the internet is to be believed.

Strawman?  Never heard of it.  Is that some kind of scarecrow superhero?

May 15, 2014

So What’s the Deal with Sexy Characters? (Part 1)

I hope you read that title with your best Jerry Seinfeld impression.

This was originally supposed to be one of those short, open-ended question posts I’ve started doing, but this is a topic that I want to dig into to make my case.  So it’s a good idea to strap in early.  Of course, like any given post, there’s nothing stopping you from weighing in with a comment once all’s typed and done.  It’ll just take a bit longer to get down to the bottom of the page.  Okay?  Okay.

I’ve mentioned this before, but it seems like nothing has really been gained when it comes to the discussion on the depiction of women in games…and media in general, but I see the most conflict pop up in games.  The whole Zero Suit Samus/high heel debacle brought the debate up again.  Just as it did with the Sorceress/Amazon designs of Dragon’s Crown.  To say nothing of intermittent arguments, like when there’s an article on Senran Kagura, or Dead or Alive, or whatever.  It almost feels like there’s moral outrage just because some designs pop up…and then there IS moral outrage when you get articles like this.

I’m not going to say that article wasn’t purposefully rabble-rousing to generate traffic…but I am going to think it.  

May 12, 2014

Destiny (Or: This Isn’t Funny Anymore, Video Games)

So have you ever played that game Tokyo Jungle?  I have recently, and the best way I can describe it is by saying…yikesy mikesy.  It’s been a while since I’ve played a game so amazing.  I’m even considering putting it in my personal Top 10.  It goes without saying, then, that it’s going to get a post somewhere down the line -- because it does everything The Last of Us did, but better.  Much better.

Speaking of coming attractions, I tried my first imported game -- and thus, I’ve gained one more level in nerdiness.  Can you guess what it is?  I’ll give you a hint: you can press buttons to do stuff.  Seriously though, I haven’t gotten into it as much as I want to, but it looks like there are plenty of systems to dive into.  Thing is, playing it kind of requires me to change my mindset; you kind of have to think like a pilot (hint hint) to survive, let alone win. 

And in non-gaming news, I’ve been pecking away at certain files.  And I’ve made some real progress!  I’m hoping that I can reach a point where I can talk about it in earnest, because there are some pretty cool things I can say.  Exciting stuff, without a doubt…for me, at least.  It’s not that often where I hype myself up with something I do, after all.

If you’re wondering what those points have to do with Destiny, then consider them little more than delay tactics.  From this point on, the post is set to take a nasty turn -- because I can’t think of time when a single piece of news made me this angry.

Excluding the announcement of a nostalgia-bait Power Rangers movie.  Man.  That was not a good week for entertainment.

May 8, 2014

Ruminations on the Big N’s Blondes

Hey guys!  Want to see me whack a beehive with a hockey stick?  Then let me ask you a question: how do you feel about Zero Suit Samus’ new design?

I’m going to come right out and say it: I think it’s all right.  The high heels are an interesting addition, and one that I wouldn’t have made, but hey.  It’s there, and it’s just a tweak to a character that’s already pretty cool.  But I think the best part of the redesign is ZSS’s face, and head in general; HD graphics have served her well, and believe it or not that’s the part of her I keep zeroing in on.  Now, if only the rest of the internet could do the same, we’d be set.

Then again, it seems like these days there’s always something to rally behind -- some trivial, others…not so much.  Given that I buried my face in my hands and shook my head when I heard that there’s going to be a movie reboot of Power Rangers by the dark forces behind movies like Twilight, The Hunger Games, and Divergent, I’m probably no better than anyone else out there.

Though in my defense…really, Hollywood?  Really?

May 5, 2014

On Donkey Kong and the Pursuit of Next-Gen

So when did “epic” start being a thing?

I would ask if people still use that term, and play it as being a synonym for “cool” or “awesome”, but not that long ago it popped up in a commercial or something, and my brother scoffed at the idea.  “I hate it when people use ‘epic’,” he said, more or less.  I don’t blame him.  Setting aside what an epic is supposed to be and what it actually means, it feels like it’s a bit of a reach in terms of the modern-day lexicon.  It’s verbal escalation; being cool isn’t enough, and being awesome isn’t enough, so obviously the only way to top that is by being EPIC, right?  But the tradeoff is that you get diminishing returns; it makes what was once incredible seem commonplace if you overuse it.  That, and it just makes you sound like a doof.  Or a bro.  Doofbro.

That strive to be epic -- to act in excess -- is a real problem, if you ask me.  It feels like there’s this constant pressure to be “bigger, better, and more badass”, as CliffyB once put it.  But that’s unsustainable, and unrewarding when you get down to it.  It’s not always about adding in more, and more, and more; an audience is more than capable of building tolerance, and too much epic can lead to them getting burned out.  Or to put it another way, it’d take ten summer blockbusters just to get them to normal.

So what’s the solution, then?  Hard to say for sure -- but if nothing else, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze gives us one possible answer.

May 1, 2014

Let’s discuss inFAMOUS: Second Son (Part 2).

So I guess I lied about the last post being the first and only time I used the proper capitalization.

You know, I think I might have thought of a way to solve Infamous’ recurring problem.  Or “problem”, if you prefer; it’s pretty much built on certain mechanics and conventions, after all, and some people actually like the way it plays out.  Others don’t.  Either way, the key problem is that -- as Second Son shows -- by trying to make Delsin and his game pull triple-duty to accommodate a good path and evil path along with neutral, mission-to-mission characterization, overall he’s weakened as a character.  I’m glad I got to play as a Good Delsin, but the moments where I got to see his heroic persona come to light aren’t nearly frequent enough.  What IS frequent are scenes and dialogue that could have been spoken by Good Delsin, Evil Delsin, Neutral Delsin, or DmC’s Donte if he was actually worth a damn.

Yeah.  I’m still sore that game exists.  Given that Second Son’s story has reopened old wounds, can you blame me?  Even good guys have their limits, you know.

It’s probably worth noting that as I type this, I’m listening to a remix of the Tekken Tag opening.  And since that has the infamous Electric Wind God Fist, that’s a good enough segue for me to declare that there are SPOILERS incoming.

Is it good enough for you?  Okay.  Then let’s go with this one: BRING IT ON, YA ALIENS!