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Title: Desert Bus!
Posted: November 21, 2009 (02:30 PM)
Every year, the amiable folks at Loading Ready Run fire up their Sega CD and play "Desert Bus" from the completed but never released "Penn & Teller's Smoke & Mirrors." The rules are simple: The more money donated to the Child's Play charity, the longer they keep on playing. Right now, they have received $18,238 in donations and have racked up a time limit of 105 hours. They are 19 hours into this year's Desert Bus, and so far they've gotten a whopping 2 points.
At the Desert Bus for Hope web site, you can find links to a live chat, a live web cam of the drivers and their company, and a live feed of the actual "gameplay." Auctions and contests are held frequently during the duration of the Bussing, and the Bussers often have guests either in person or through phone/skype. One of the most memorable moments from the first year was when Teller himself made an appearance via speaker phone. It's virtually a tradition that he'll order lunch for the crew.
For more information on the "Desert Bus" game itself, check out the Wikipedia article on "Smoke & Mirrors." Frank Cifaldi of Lost Levels also did a recent blog article for 1UP about the game, which features an interview with one of the programmers.
Title: King of Fighters: The Movie
Posted: November 19, 2009 (06:22 PM)
Bet you didn't know one was in production! Here are some in-costume cast pictures from a thread on IMDb:
Mai Shiranui (Maggie Q):
***Lessee, boobs don't seem big or very bouncy. Don't see any paper fans in the second screenshot, but they will probably figure into some kind of "look we threw in something from the game" moment.
***I don't know who Vice is, but I suspect she's a lesbian with purple hair.
***Don't know her either.
Rugal (Ray Park):
***They just aren't trying, are they?
My prediction for this project:
It'll open in like a thousand theaters, run for a month, and then fade back into obscurity. Like "Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li," there's a 99% it won't be screened for critics. It'll probably be on DVD before summer next year. (I'm betting this is a winter/spring release, a favorite time for studios to drop their duds.)
Now the big mystery is, who finances these train wrecks? Anyone with half a brain would have to know this is doomed to flop. "King of Fighters" has its following, but it's not like it's as ubiquitous as, say, Halo or Resident Evil. Counting on the fans to attend? They're the very people who're savvy enough to realize that game-to-movie adaptations suck. I'd be shocked if the opening weekend were greater than $10 million.
So movies like this have no audience and no appeal to the average movie goer, and yet they somehow still get financed and produced. There must be some sort of pyramid scheme at work, or maybe studio decision makers really are that dumb.
Title: G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra
Posted: November 19, 2009 (04:24 PM)
I only ever had one "G.I. Joe." My mother bought it for me when I was very little. It was a tiny little figurine that came with a boar. She took me and my "G.I. Joe" to the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, which was great fun. Can't say the same for this movie.
First of all, during the entire 118 minutes, I never spotted my G.I. Joe or his pet boar. Second, I have a vague recollection of the cartoons, but I certainly don't remember Dr. Doom being a member of Cobra. Third, and perhaps worst of all, the main villain has an incredibly small walk-on role. As you all might remember, Cobra was led by an evil giant snake in the original cartoon show. In the movie, there's a scene with said snake, but it isn't giant or sentient yet. It bites some shock trooper's arm in a demonstration and,... we never hear from it again. So much for the "Rise of Cobra." More like, the "Cameo of Cobra."
The movie features Brendan Fraser in a cameo role. Why, I do not know. I guess it would be kind of cool if you were a fan of "The Mummy" or "Looney Tunes: Back in Action," but I haven't seen either movie. He kind of sits there and barks commentary while G.I. Joe fights Black Ninja.
Well, I guess there was a lot of explosions and violence. If you've ever wanted to see a major landmark destroyed via a terrorist attack while helpless civilians run away from the wreckage screaming, then this is the movie for you. Don't see much of that these days, do we?
Anyway, there's not much else to recommend this movie. Joseph Gordon-Levitt hams it up real well, and Dennis Quaid does a good impression of John Wayne, but all the other performances are pretty "meh." The story, from what I could gather, was about a terrorist plot to establish a new Hollywood movie franchise. I've only seen that plot and its variations employed in a gazillion other movies this year. By the way, was the President a bad guy in the original G.I. Joe cartoon? I can't remember.
FUN FACT: I saw Ray Park (Black Ninja) in person some months ago, during Disney Hollywood Studios' "Star Wars" week. He was on display at a booth, signing autographs. I wonder if he rode "Star Tours" that weekend?
Title: New Lufia game being developed by the original team.
Posted: November 17, 2009 (10:42 AM)
I found this out on the HG101 forums, which linked to a Joystiq article from last week. I'm guessing this announcement got lost in the hype for "Cock of Doody" and the "Gayonetta" beta, 'cause I don't remember any mainstream gaming site covering this.
In a somewhat strange development, Square Enix will publish the game. This isn't unprecedented, as Squenix also published the last game in the "Blandia" franchise, which had been the property of Game Arts up 'til that point. While I'm not a fan of the Squeer half of that company, I have to admit that they handle localizations better than Natsume, who seem incapable of releasing anything that isn't severely glitched. Also, I suspect the "Enix" side of the company was behind this, because there's no way Squeer would invest in something that doesn't have the words "Final Fantasy" or "Kingdom Hearts" in the title.
Here's to a Lufia that lives up the first two instead of sucking like the last two.
Title: I sat through all 150 minutes of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
Posted: November 14, 2009 (05:32 PM)
1) Michael Bay to his actors: "Tanned skin or GTFO."
2) Fat chicks don't go to college.
3) Sam's mom is an idiot.
4) Me during the opening: "This narration by Optimus Prime is pointless and further dumbs everything down. Wait a minute, this action scene is almost incomprehensible. Come back, narration!"
5) The sound experience in a nut shell: Humans screaming and barking orders, loud explosions, clanging and banging metal, and revving engines. I hate to think what listening to all this on large theater speakers would have been like.
6) There is a rather unbearable stretch of the movie that consists entirely of shots depicting: Puny humans running through deserts and ruins; transformed cars driving around deserts and ruins; and army guys spouting technobabble in deserts and ruins. Michael Bay loves his filler.
7) Only a Prime can kill a Prime,... Wait a minute, didn't Optimus get killed by Megatron and a couple of his cohorts?
8) An alternate title for this movie could have been "Transformers: The Fallen Gets Raped."
9) Arcee, the only female Transformer, dies like a punk. Is Michael Bay trying to ape Yoshiyuki Tomino or something?
10) I didn't want to mention The Twins, but I just realized they got more screen time and dialogue than the other autobots. If I were a Transformer fan, I'd be pissed.
Title: For those who want to know the extent of Sonic 2K6's awfulness...
Posted: November 05, 2009 (03:52 PM)
WARNING: Contains graphic depictions of awful game design.
Title: Monster World Primer
Posted: October 28, 2009 (01:01 PM)
"Wonder Boy in Monster Land": The original Japanese arcade game isn't as glitchy as the "English" (har har) bootleg, and the gameplay is a bit more lenient. The SMS version is an acceptable substitute, but the arcade experience has a richer variety of enemies and music.
"Monster World II": Stupidly named "Wonder Boy III: Dragon's Trap" in non-Japanese territories. Introduced "Metroid" elements into the Action/RPG gameplay. Crystal equipment sucks. Tasmanian Sword has a cool cheat. Hades Armor is the best kept secret in the game. Hawk-Man sucks.
"Wonder Boy in Monster World": Fully refines the Metroid/Zelda hybrid gameplay. For my money, this ranks with "Popful Mail" as one of the greatest Action/RPGs ever. The ending bugged for me years, until I found out about...
"Monster World IV": Import only. The only game in the series to have a chick as a protagonist. Somewhat obscure because 1) it wasn't on the Super Nintendo and 2) it wasn't made by Squeersoft. Also, the only game in the series where the music wasn't composed by Shinichi Sakamoto; however, some of his themes are used.
"Monster World V": Will never happen.
Title: Am I alone in thinking Shinobi III had a better soundtrack than...
Posted: October 24, 2009 (06:42 PM)
...Revenge of Shinobi? Yuzo Koshiro is great and all, but it seems to me that Shinobi III had a more fleshed out and rich score. Consider that it has 51 minutes of material versus 24 minutes for RoS, which adds up to longer and more fleshed out tracks; consider the way in which some themes recur across multiple tracks, kind of tying the whole experience together; and consider how kick ass the music for Stage 7-1 is. I rest my case.
Title: Pondering FF7
Posted: October 24, 2009 (03:25 PM)
1) Shinra, a "corporation", brazenly murders thousands of people via the Midgar plate drop. That night must have been hell for their PR department.
2) If there is evidence of a world government in Final Fantasy VII, I've never spotted it in all my playthroughs of the game. So, how does a concept like a "corporation" even exist in such a world? Corporations are legal entities that need to be sanctioned by the governments that preside over them. Without law, I think it can be argued that there can't be corporations.
3) Junon has a giant cannon. Why? There is no other political/corporate super power on FF7's Earth. How did Shinra convince their shareholders to invest in something so blatantly useless? (A bit more on the shareholder issue later...)
4) There is much ado about Shinra sucking the "life force" out of the planet. Why? Millions of people die and are born every year, not to mention other organisms. Sounds like the ultimate renewable resource to me.
5) Tifa lets Cloud lie to himself and others. Why? Did it not occur to her that there could be consequences to her friend, I dunno, *living a lie*? Especially when said lie involves the genocide of an entire village, not to mention the *fate of the planet*?! And they say Cloud is mentally unstable... (Answer: Tifa allows Cloud to lie because the plot needs her to.)
6) Similar to point #3, why does Shinra need a military? Again, no other political/corporate super power seems to exist on this world. A straightforward police state would be enough to uphold order and keep the opposition in check. (Answer: Because the story demands that Shinra have an army, so that they can invade places and march on city streets.)
7) Shinra's executives are clearly insane. They think nothing of killing the citizens of their own mega city, they build giant canons and armies for no purpose, and their R&D department spends its time performing inhumane experiments and creating unstable and violent mutants. Why doesn't the company's shareholders vote these people out of power? It worked for Disney. Twice. (Answer: Shinra is not a corporation.)
Maybe I'll post more as they strike me. Feel free to chime in with your own.
Title: The Yellow Light of Death
Posted: October 21, 2009 (06:43 PM)
Watch out PS3 owners, 'cause the Xbox 360 isn't the only console with a design flaw. The PS3 version of the Red Ring of Death, called the "Yellow Light of Death", is cropping up more and more frequently. Unlike Microsoft, who promptly responded to their defect crisis, Sony is charging $150+tax to repair or replace YLOD'd consoles. Even worse: PS3 replacement consoles sent to consumers have also YLOD'd. Since those only have 90-day warranties, your only option is to cough up another $150+tax.
To make matters worse, if you don't back up your saves on a YLOD'd PS3 console,... they're gone forever! Sony keeps the hard drives of any defective consoles sent back to them. Remember: PS3 hard drives aren't detacheable! Boy, it sure does pay to be a 360 owner in this regard.
To date, Sony is not taking action against the YLOD; they're treating it like any other random defect, even as more and more YLODs pop up every year. If I made $150 a pop off bad hardware, I'd probably sit by and do jack shit too.
As the Plaything's userbase expands with the recent pricedrop and slim model, expect reports of YLODs to skyrocket. How much longer before Sony follows the lead of the respectable Microsoft and start extending warranties and offering free replacements? Oh, and backing up user saves too.
FOOTNOTE: YLODs have been reported since 2008, although HG101 believes there may be earlier instances. Thank goes to Hardcore Gaming 101 for their eye-opening guide to the Yellow Light crisis.