By blog on Jun. 27, 2009.
I am so very surly today. Flat-out disgruntled. I just want to go sit on the couch and watch TV. I want to veg out, I want to be a couch potato… where the hell did that term come from anyway!? Okay I just checked, it came from some dude who just made it up, then wrote a whole handbook, and trade marked the phrase. Huh. That was less exciting than I thought it would be.
So I’m bored, lethargic, irritable, and the one person who can make that better isn’t here. My SO had to drag herself off to fulfil an annoying obligation she had forced upon her, by her mother, of course, to take the dear little annoyance to the bank to open yet another savings account… seriously, how many do they need!? Get a damn finance broker, get one online! Then my SO doesn’t have to take you places! Even the fact that Wordpress doesn’t have an angry enough emote is irritating me right now. Gah! I hate when I get like this, but that doesn’t help, of course not.
The only thing to do is to go take a nice bath, and then chill out for a while, otherwise I think I’m going to blow a gasket. Chuck my ‘nana if you will. As in, banana, not grandmother. I don’t know, that’s just something my SO’s dad says.
At times like these, I am really damn thankful for a weekend. I am going to have a sleep in, then shuffle around in my pyjamas and bathrobe all day, refusing to do anything at all useful, and generally be pampered by my SO who will bring me good foods and sit with me whilst I watch movies all day. That’s how a Sunday should be spent! Unproductive and psychologically uplifting.
By blog on Jun. 26, 2009.
In my attempts to keep myself continuously amused, I check over Fail Blog daily. Always good for a chuckle, sometimes even a guffaw! Occasionally you will see questions from answers.Yahoo, and most of the time, they are blatantly fake. Today I happened across a wonderful little nugget. A fishy nugget if you will, where someone had ostensibly asked the question as to how they might become a mermaid. What in the heck!?
I thought, no, this has to be fake! So I quickly Google searched it, and oh my goodness, you would not believe the amount of people asking about this, claiming to have had ’side effects’ from trying spells to do this, and some who claimed outright that they had done it. I was constantly waiting for the ‘I know this is just imagination’ or ‘I am just pretending’ but I didn’t see that anywhere! Sadly, I was also waiting for the ‘I am a mermaid, and you can be one too, for just £99.99′ but thankfully I didn’t see that. Though to be honest, I didn’t check all that much.
What I did notice from my cursory, and a little bit appalled, glance, was the abundance of references to a Disney program, H2O Just Add Water. I want to blame Disney, but it isn’t their fault, I suppose. I know that children have wild imaginations, and that’s partly what makes them cool, but surely our younger generation doesn’t think this is really going to happen for them? Well obviously they do, and that is really, genuinely sad. Even this surly chap would never, ever, want to see the realisation dawn across a little face that they can’t, in fact, become a mermaid.
My goodness, my mind just did a little tumble in my head at that last sentence. In all my years of life, I never thought I would say that, or write it. Oh how odd. I have to go nap now.
By blog on Jun. 26, 2009.
Currently media across the globe are writing and talking of the death of Michael Jackson, but I for one wanted to write something a little more personal. I wanted to share how one song from his rather extensive list of hits has always stuck in my mind. I wanted to write of Michael Jackson and gaming, because gaming really has close to home meaning for me, so here’s my contribution to the global reaction to his death.
When I hear the name, ‘Michael Jackson’, there is one song which comes to mind; The Way You Make Me Feel. Want to know why? I’m going to tell you anyway, so I hope you do. I suppose if you don’t, you could stop reading, but don’t do that. The reason I think of that song is because, whilst playing the awesome game that was Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, I would ride along the beach-side highway, on an awesome Chopper. The roar of my hog’s engine was perfectly matched by the subwoofa enhanced intro to that song, the two together were a pure symphony to my ears. Ahhh, great times.
So that is my personal memory of Michael Jackson’s music, that woofing intro and a great Chopper in perfect harmony. Now, I know that Michael actually appeared in games, too. Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker was a SEGA game, which actually did pretty well. I think having the biggest pop sensation of the 80’s helped them out there. He was also featured in a boxing game, if you can believe that, by the name of Ready 2 Rumble Boxing: Round 2. I have seen the pictures, but I still have a hard time believing it. He was also in, very, very, briefily, Space Channel 5, which was a Dreamcast game that I completely missed.
I think the man was great for music, personally, and I find many of the allegations levelled against him in recent years pretty damn preposterous. He seemed like someone who was too nice for the business he worked in, so understandably became a recluse. He will be missed by so many people, but I think that it’s great he has left such an outstanding legacy.
By blog on Jun. 25, 2009.
So, I am still playing Starfy. I think I have finally decided that I do in fact like the game. Granted, it’s not the best title on the DS, but it is solid, and does keep me coming back to play.
As for the game being too easy, yeah, it is, but I do enjoy the mild challenge of the controls swapping between on land mode and in water mode. There is a certain enjoyment to be had from collecting the numerous pieces of ‘Stuff’ which are outfit pieces you can put on Starfy. You dress him up in ‘Beachwear’ and ‘Sunglasses and you get a ‘Special’ outfit which in this case is Starfy on a banana lounge, under a beach umbrella with a giant snot-bubble coming from his face (he doesn’t really have a nose, so…) which indicates his relaxed nature because of his ‘Beach Vacation’. My Starfy is currently dressed as Rudolf.
So yeah, I find myself coming back to the game over and over, and whilst the game does borrow from great Nintendo titles, as with the mine cart riding levels which pay homage to Donkey Kong Country, there is also some unique aspects all Starfy’s own. Having him zoom around in water, and then run like a tiny little yellow star-shaped madman. Another aspect of the game is useful, but lends itself to making the game too easy, is having Moe on the bottom screen going mental if you are near a secret or chest. Moe is the big annoying clam that goes everywhere with Starfy, and does all his talking. Starfy just makes noises and strange faces. Oh and if you have the game, try tapping on Moe and Starfy in the title screen – this is a hint given in-game, but if you’re like me you don’t really read those…
Oh and as for cut scenes, they feel terribly long. Probably because I am too lazy to read them, and they don’t scroll through quick enough for me to feel good about not reading them. So yes, I do like the game, and will continue to play it until I have gone through all the worlds and collected all the Stuff.
By blog on Jun. 25, 2009.
After my last post where I wrote of the live-action film of Avatar: The Last Airbender, I have had more thoughts on both that movie and live-action remakes in general.
Okay, first off, as for Avatar… I have to say, I am actually leaning more towards racebending.com’s perception of things. I mean, Katara and Sokka and their people are based on the Inuit… and the casting call for them stated ‘Caucasian or any other ethnicity’. Doesn’t that seem odd? The two actors picked to play these characters are pretty damn Anglo-Saxon looking, and I find that just a little bit sad. It would have been really exciting to see some up and coming actors who at least remotely looked Inuit. So, whilst I will not boycott the movie, I can clearly see that there is some stuff going on there that I would rather wasn’t.
Now, on to what I wanted to say about live-action remakes in general. When you see an actor cast in the role of a character that has only been either cartoon or an image in your imagination – as with characters from books – it is so very highly unlikely that the actor will look exactly like you imagined them that it is sort of ridiculous to try. What has to be attained is the right ‘feel’. Not everyone was perfectly happy with casting choices from The Lord of the Rings, but no one can doubt that the cast really ‘owned’ their characters. They managed to embody them, even if they weren’t the spitting image.
Now, that’s not to say that it doesn’t matter at all what the actors look like, I mean, I care about the Avatar actors so there’s proof to that. But I am also extremely leery of who is going to be cast in The Song of Ice and Fire series that HBO is going to make. I really hope this series will be good, and the actors cast good, but not overly known ones. I think that would work best, I mean, that’s what worked so well for the Harry Potter movies.
On the flip side to that, the Cowboy Bebop film is going to be starring Keanu Reeves as Spike, but I honestly think that could work. Either way, with all these things, people care. People love Cowboy Bebop, they love Song of Ice and Fire, so what they don’t want to see is crappy remakes of them.
By blog on Jun. 24, 2009.
Sometimes, sometimes someone else says something just right. They say it so perfectly that really nothing else needs to be said. Except that then I wouldn’t be able to write about it… because I am going to anyway.
What has tickled my funny-bone today is seeing this Penny Arcade. Up until seeing this I hadn’t really paid much attention to the fact that there is going to be an Avatar: The Last Airbender film, but because of this I actually went and had a look at the trailer. Which looks like a heck of a lot of fun, actually.
There is currently a – rather stupid, if you ask me – furore about the casting choices in the film. A controversy highlighted by Gabe’s declaration of not caring about the facts , just being angry for the sake of being angry. That is kind of what it seems like, to me. I checked out the casting choices, and it seems pretty alright to me. No live action film can be entirely spot on for the casting of cartoon characters, and it seems a heck of a lot better than Dragon Ball Evolution!
A website has gone up about this issue, racebending.com, and it’s really very odd to see people really angered about the casting choices. It seems as though they believe that the casting of the leads is inappropriate because the characters are supposed to be Asian, but all the actors are white. I feel like I can see both sides to this argument, on the one hand, the characters are obviously diverging from their original cartoon counterparts. On the other, it is clear that Paramount has kept in mind the fact that they are selling to a particular demographic, America.
Whilst the website does contain information that is thought provoking, I think all this talk of boycotting the film is somewhat of an overreaction.
By blog on Jun. 24, 2009.
For the last week or so I have been playing The Legendary Starfy. I’m in the sixth world in the game, where I am currently swimming around on rainbows and turning into a Rooster – named Roostar… because Starfy… is a star… oh goodness – who can cluck so loud it effects aspects of the game.
It is all rather rather odd. The thing is, I still don’t know if I like the game. After playing somewhere around ten hours, I don’t know if I like the game. But I keep playing… but it’s kind of irritating… Isn’t that odd!? I certainly think it’s odd. I have never before encountered that in a game. Usually I know pretty much instantly if I am going to like a game, even if I haven’t got the hang of it yet. Or I can play for five minutes and know I don’t really care for the game, and probably won’t pick it up again.
But that’s not the case with this game. When I have free time but am not close to my computer – because if I were close to my computer I would be playing Heroes of Might and Magic 3 – I think to myself, I’ll play some Starfy. But as I am playing it I know I am wearing a slightly bemused expression, an expression that says ‘I don’t know if I like this’, that same expression that people wear when they walk into modern art galleries and stand before a llama shaped topiary – Sims fans will recognise that little gem.
I said to my SO yesterday that I think I will have finished the game before I figure out if I really like it, to which she said that means I don’t like the game. But I am not sure, I sort of do… I just feel that it… is a game I’ve played before packaged in a new pretty wrapper… But it does have it’s own thing going on too… so yeah, still undecided.
By blog on Jun. 24, 2009.
Of late I have been playing two games. Starfy, as I have mentioned, and an old favorite of mine, Heroes of Might and Magic III. This game was originally released way back in 1999, so I have to play it on a tiny little window lest it look absolutely terrible.
The Heroes of Might and Magic series has seen five incarnations, as well as two spin offs. With the exception of the latest version, I have played all the games in the series. Of all those, HOMM3 is my favorite, for a number of reasons. HOMM3 has by far the most ‘adult’ graphics. The first two in the series, for obvious reasons, have a kind of MS Paint colour scheme. It’s bright, and the graphics are extremely limited. Okay, that’s understandable. The fourth and fifth titles in the series, have a horrible, cartoonish feel to them. Now I love cartoons, and I love HOMM, but the two don’t mix at all!
I honestly can’t believe the way that HOMM5 looks, it is really, really disappointing. The thing that really irritates me about the graphics on HOMM5 is the fact that it looks like an updated World of bloody Warcraft. I hate that game, I dislike the WoW-kids that play it, and I bloody hate when other games try to emulate any aspect of it purely because it has such a high number of subscribers… it comes down to money. Now, I know that there is a possibility that that wasn’t what the creators of HOMM5 were doing, but why not go back to a graphics style that actually looks good!? I’m wearing my angry face, now.
Okay, back to what I like about HOMM3… The troop types diverged a little bit from the first two games, and I think it was for the best. The town view screens look good, and are clear and easy to use. I like fact that the hero isn’t used in the same way that it is in HOMM4 and HOMM5, he sits there up at the top, can cast spells, but isn’t in the battle proper. I also like that each city type, Rampart, Castle, Necropolis, etc, has it’s own play style. You really do need to learn exactly what each troop type is capable of, and it can make or break you in-game. So, now I am off to play some more of the game. Oh, and make my own map! That is so much fun, even if it takes about a year for a large map to be well done.
By blog on Jun. 19, 2009.
When watching some silly video on IGN, I happened to see a link to a video of a game called A Boy and His Blob. At first it was the amusing title that caught my eye. I don’t know, blobs are funny. Then I actually watched the video. For those two minutes, I was totally captivated. This is a beautiful game, it looks like a cross between a Miyazaki film and Braid. The Blob actually reminds me of the Kodamas from Princess Mononoke.
I am actually going to embed that first video that I watched, because I think this game looks like a lot of fun. I really enjoy enchanting games, games that have a sense of surrealism. Braid really had this, it was a compelling game, even if annoyingly difficult.
A Boy and His Blob is a follow on from the original NES title, which was released back in 1989. Up until a few hours ago, I had never heard of either iteration of this game. The story centers around a little boy helping an alien blob he meets after it crashes to Earth. Together, they are trying to save Blob’s people back on Blobolonia from an evil emperor who took over. Sounds alright, I can live with that. Off we go.
It’s a platform game, where you progress by having Blob aid the little boy, which happens by the boy feeding Blob different jelly beans which cause Blob to turn into different helpful items. For example, Licorice jelly beans turns Blob into a ladder, Tangerine jelly beans to a trampoline, Bubble Gum jelly beans into a bubble, and Caramel jelly beans turns Blob into a cannon.
The game is due out late September this year, so shortly thereafter for the rest of the world, hopefully. Here’s a video, and if you have the time, it’s worth dropping by IGN to check out more.
By blog on Jun. 19, 2009.
At the beginning of this week, I felt really, really, really, lazy. Extreme lethargy plagued my every waking moment. I just couldn’t be stuffed. But I think that’s one of those things you need to be pushed through, and I was pushed by that extra task at work this week.
So now that I am a little less intolerably lazy, I think I will take a look at IGN’s Top Ten games of E3 2009.
10: New Super Mario Bros. Wii It’s always exciting to see this title pop up, on any console. I believe in Nintendo’s ability to create wonderful Mario games. This one you can actually have up to four players playing at once. This is a pretty exciting feature, even though it would be a two-player deal at my house. I really look forward to playing this game!
9: Just Cause II I wasn’t overly impressed with the first iteration of this game, and in spite of good graphics, this game doesn’t really appeal either.
8: Modern Warfare 2 I never played Modern Warfare in the first place, so again, little interest in the sequel.
7: Homefront This could be interesting, or maybe not. That’s the problem with trailers, it’s often very difficult to get a grip on what kind of game will be delivered in the end. If it lives up to expectations (a remote chance, really) it could be very good.
6: Alan Wake It’s hard to get excited about this game right now, because I was excited about it when it was announced about two or three years ago. I look forward to getting my hands on it, but it’s a removed feeling until I know it’s actually close to release. Good idea though, and I love the integral use of the light and shadow game mechanic.
5: Brütal Legend I hadn’t heard of this at all. I watched the trailer and it looks so very, very, stupid. It’s like Meatloaf’s version of heaven. No thanks.
4: Mass Effect 2 I think I would be a lot more excited about this one if I had finished the fist game. I can’t do that, however, because it hasn’t ever allowed me to play it since I upgraded computers.
3: Scribblenauts I can’t wait to play this game, it looks fantastic. It’s like the next generation of puzzle game after Crayon Physics Delux. Really wonderful looking game.
2: Splinter Cell: Conviction Huh. I managed to hear nothing about this game for the entirety of E3. I like playing the Splinter Cell games (dammit Fisher!) so this should be fun.
1: Uncharted: Among Thieves I don’t really know why this one is at the top. It looks pretty, sure, but the trailer isn’t particularly interesting. I am not a PS3 player, so I don’t really care.
My personal Top Three: Alan Wake, New Super Mario Bros. Wii, and Scribblenauts As I said, Alan Wake features some interesting game mechanics that, whilst they don’t have the kick they did when the game was first introduced, still look like a lot of fun to play with. I can’t believe that Mario Bros. was that far down in the list, but I look forward to kicking some Bowser ass on the Wii. Scribblenauts just looks like an amazing implementation of an amazing idea. I can’t wait to try and figure out things that the game hasn’t included… My mind refuses to believe I can type in any word and have that object appear!