Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Memes of Marinus

While I'm on the subject of video games, here's a video game meme. It was going around Tumblr as a 30-Day Challenge, but I just thought I'd do it here as one of Ye Olde Questionnaires.

1. Your very first video game.
I can't remember the first game I ever played; I've been in and out of the arcades since before I can remember. The first video game we ever owned was, I believe, Combat, which came with the Atari 2600.

2. Your favorite character.
Link or Mario. I'm also very fond of Donkey Kong. And Pac-Man.

3. A game that is underrated.
I'm going to say Banjo Kazooie, not because I know if it's underrated or not, but because I really wish that they'd figure out the rights issues and get a new version on the Wii.

4. Your guilty pleasure game.
You know my feelings on the guilty pleasure concept. It is nice to take out frustrations on smashing things and destroying enemies in video games, though. I'm not sure which games I like that I'm supposed to feel bad about liking. Pokemon Snap for the N64, maybe? I find it very relaxing and cute.

5. Game character you feel you are most like (or wish you were).
I love fantasy novels where there's a long quest involved, so I guess I put a lot of myself into Link when I'm playing the various Zelda games.

6. Most annoying character.
Oh, how I still hate that dog from Duck Hunt.

7. Favorite game couple.
I have no idea.

8. Best soundtrack.
I love the music in Super Mario Galaxy. But the Legend of Zelda theme music so much.

9. Saddest game scene.
I'm sure something in a Zelda game.

10. Best gameplay.
I do love the motion control on the Wii. I don't think it's essential to every game, but using it to swing a sword in Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess or make Mario skate in Super Mario Galaxy 2 or to play anything in Wii Sports is a lot of fun.

11. Gaming system of choice.
The Wii. Before that, I loved Nintendo 64 best, but hardly any of the N64 games work anymore.

12. A game everyone should play.
I'm not the type to make that sort of statement.

13. A game you’ve played more than five times.
I think the game I've played most in my life was Pac-Man at the arcade. Of course, this question really refers to playing a game all the way through to the end of the story and then playing it over again. Probably that's Star Wars: The Arcade Game. Or Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time.

14. Current (or most recent) gaming wallpaper.
I've never used any. Surprise, surprise, mine are always sexy chicks.

15. Post a screenshot from the game you're playing right now.
See my previous post. Although I think that wallpaper might technically be from Monster Hunter 2, not Monster Hunter Tri, but it's so damn cool, I just had to use it.

16. Game with the best cut scenes.
I love the Mary Blair-esque cut scenes in Epic Mickey, and I found the story scenes in Force Unleashed to be some pretty great Star Wars. Especially the confrontation between Starkiller and Darth Vader on Corellia.

17. Favorite antagonist.
Bowser's always fun.

18. Favorite protagonist.
Again, Link or Mario.

19. Picture of a game setting you wish you lived in.
The Deku Forest in the Zelda games is always pretty. I love the village in Monster Hunter Tri, which is right on the ocean.

20. Favorite genre.
Adventure games, I guess. What do you call stuff like that? I also enjoy first-person shooters, especially for two players. Becca and I have lots of fun with those.

21. Game with the best story.
I always get really caught up in the Zelda games. I can't wait for Skyward Sword. I really loved Twilight Princess.

22. A game sequel which disappointed you.
I really loved The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, and was disappointed in The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. I was hoping for something similar to The Two Towers, but it was too complicated and annoying.

23. Game you think had the best graphics or art style.
Super Mario Galaxy 2. I prefer the cartoony graphics in video games.

24. Favorite classic game.
Space Invaders.

25. A game you plan on playing.
I have a whole list of games I want to play. I'll tell you the upcoming release I'm most excited about, which is LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars.

26. Best voice acting.
I've never given it much thought.

27. Most epic scene ever.
I keep going back to the confrontation on Corellia in Force Unleashed. It gave me chills the way a lot of good Star Wars does.

28. Favorite game developer.
Nintendo. I'm also more apt to play EA Games. And I love Traveler's Tales for the LEGO games.

29. A game you thought you wouldn't like, but ended up loving.
Well, Monster Hunter Tri...

30. Your favorite game of all time.
Right now, I think the game I enjoyed the most was New Super Mario Bros. Wii, because it was the best of the old school, side-scrolling Mario, but with two players so I could play it with Becca (who had never actually played classic Mario before; she'd only played Super Mario 64 and various incarnations of Mario Kart). That was just a fun experience, as much as she was frustrated by it! Flashbacks of playing Super Mario Bros. 3 as a kid...

Monster Hunter Tri

I took that deal on a month of Gamefly that they've been advertising on television lately, and this week I've been playing Monster Hunter Tri. I never played the first two games, so I wasn't sure what to expect, but the commercials for this game when it came out made it look pretty cool, so I thought I'd give it a shot.

Someone Becca works with told her, in no uncertain terms, that the Monster Hunter games suck. She played with this one for a little while and was inclined to agree. For a game about hunting monsters, it's pretty talky, and she got bored with a lot of the runaround involved in building up the character. I took over for her and, really, after a while I was also inclined to think "Yeah, this is a pretty boring game."

But I also played it straight for five hours.

And the next day, I couldn't get the thought of more questing out of my head. So I played for another few hours. You have to keep building up the character more and more before you have enough strength, experience, knowledge and equipment to go around hunting the giant monsters, but you cut your teeth on the smaller stuff and gathering precious stones and developing your skills. At some point, this stuff become a real challenge. It got completely engrossing, and I can't stop playing it. I don't know, you just stick with it for a while and suddenly you just want to be able to build as much as you possibly can. I'm considering just paying to keep this used copy of the game because there's obviously a lot more things to do--I can only go on level 2 quests so far.

I can't wait to hunt the big game, but trying to get there is surprisingly fun.

Oh, and not that anyone's keeping score, but just some opinions on other games I've played recently: Batman: The Brave and the Bold is pretty straightforward, but it's enjoyable, especially if you're a fan of the cartoon; I FINALLY played Star Wars: The Force Unleashed and thought it was awesome (best non-LEGO (Star Wars game I've played since the arcade version back in '93); and I adored Epic Mickey, which I'm hoping to get for a birthday or something and will talk more about then.

I love my Wii.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Original Idea...

I read a story this morning that DreamWorks has purchased an original screenplay by J. Michael Straczynski called Voices from the Dead, which has real-life friends Arthur Conan Doyle and Harry Houdini teaming up with a psychic to solve a series of murders in 1920s New York.

Sounds like a good idea. In fact, I know it's a good idea. I know this because I've read William Hjortsberg's great novel Nevermore, which is about real-life friends Arthur Conan Doyle and Harry Houdini teaming up with a psychic to solve a series of murders in 1920s New York. They're also helped when the psychic contacts the ghost of Edgar Allan Poe.

Can't wait to see if that happens in Straczysnki's "original" screenplay...

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

BP Cares

I'm beyond disgusted with these new BP commercials that are all about how wonderful and magnanimous BP is for cleaning up after their gigantic oil spill.

Seriously, this would be like if, through negligence, I let my neighbor's house burn down, then was ordered by the government to pay for the rebuilding of the house, and then wrote an editorial for the local paper about what a wonderful guy I am for rebuilding my neighbor's house out of my own pocket. Yes, I care about the neighborhood and deserve accolades, even when it's just me giving them to myself.

Give me a break.

Meanwhile, BP successfully lobbied to get convicted Lockerbie bomber Abdelbeset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi out of his life sentence and exchanged over to Libya after Libya threatened to pull out of oil deals. International terrorist convicted of murdering 270 people? Who cares, it's getting in the way of profits!

I'm sure we won't see commercials about that, though.

Film Week

A review of the films I've seen this past week.


MEAN GIRLS 2 (2011)
It's even more noticeable in this lame cash-in than in the terrible Camp Rock movies that Meaghan Martin is a painfully, painfully limited actress. Jennifer Stone acts circles around the main cast, and Tim Meadows is kind of fun reprising his role from the real first movie, but seriously, why does this thing even exist? * star.

I guess I'm never going to like these movies very much. I've tried four or so times in the last 20 years to even make it all the way through The Pink Panther, and I've failed every time. I failed with this one, too. Would it be unfair to rate a movie I didn't finish watching? I guess these just aren't for me.

Ridiculous. * star.

There were things about this movie--about parents grieving the loss of a young child--that were very recognizable. I thought a lot about my Dad and he what he want through (and is still going through) after Ellen died. There's a kind of numbness that pervades here; not in an emotionally distant way, but in the way that, after the death of a child, life can just become a constant acknowledgment that a person who should be there isn't, and how do you live after something like that happens? Grief never goes away, but it can become assimilated. Nicole Kidman is pretty good in this, but I think Aaron Eckhart is really good in it. Maybe I just related to him more directly. I can only judge this based on my own experiences with grief, but I found it to be very true and very observant, without simple explanations. **** stars.

Superman Classic

Disney animator Robb Pratt directed this short Superman fan movie, starring Superboy star John Newton and his wife Jennifer Newton. It’s just a quick taste of Superman here, but it instantly leaves you craving much more. The animation and design of this film are just exquisite. I would see this movie in the theater at least 12 times.

Monday, February 07, 2011

The Spider-Man Reboot Continues to Look Unappealing

ME: "So, I understand why Spidey might wear a cup, but why does his codpiece need to be this completely different color to drag your eye straight to his spider-dick? It immediately reminds me of nipples on the batsuit."

BECCA: "That's what you're worried about? Because what I'd like to know is why Spider-Man's costume pattern looks like a giant cock. I can't unsee that."

Me, neither.

Kristen Bell Mondays

IMKristenBell: Long stems swords.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Song of the Week: "Itchycoo Park"

I've been listening to the Small Faces all day, but this is my favorite track of theirs. Dig the silly promo clip; I need a sign that says "Amazing Grotto." New name for my apartment? Anyway, this is just one of those songs that makes me feel incredibly good. I can't hear this and not smile.

This Is Literally Everything You Need to Know About the American News Media