Does whatever a spider can! Let's discuss Spider-Man: Homecoming!


December 31, 2015

PS4nukkah: Dragon Quest Heroes


That awkward moment when you realize that you played the godawful Final Fantasy Type-0 to completion, but couldn’t be bothered to make it even halfway into the significantly-better Dragon Quest VIII.

Also, isn’t Hanukkah over?  Yes.  But on the other hand, shut up.

December 28, 2015

Star Wars: The Force Awakens: Unleashed: Revelations: Revengeance


So the other day, I had an epiphany.  Well, maybe not a pure epiphany, but at least the sudden insight needed to ask a certain question: “Do I actually hate Star Wars?”

It seems implausible, at a glance.  My understanding of Star Wars, even beyond its unshakable place in culture and history, is that it’s storytelling pared down to its most simple and effective form.  (That’s not so true of the prequels, I hear, but everybody would rather ignore those, so I will too for now).  So by that logic, hating Star Wars means hating the fundamentals -- if not the very concept -- of fiction.  That’s kind of a problem for a guy who’s trying to become a purveyor of fiction in his own right.  Obviously, I’m not that far off the deep end.

But I haven’t cared about Star Wars for a long time, if at all.  I know what’s in the movies, because -- cultural osmosis outside -- I’ve seen each of them once or twice.  And I’ve never had any real problems with them, even in the face of things like the Plinkett reviews.  They were just kind of…there.  I’m basically like, “Oh, Han Solo?  Yeah, he’s all right.”  And then I move on.  It’s not as if I’ve never been moved to tears by a fictional character, but even if the seven movies (to date) have their strong points, I can’t share the enthusiasm of others.  I’ll just shrug and say “Yeah, it’s all right.”  And then I’ll move on.

That’s the case with The Force Awakens, as well.  And I’ll explain why (with full spoilers) in a bit.

December 24, 2015

Star Wars: The Force Awakens: Unleashed: Revelations


I really want to call this movie The Force Unleashed, and I’ve already fought subconscious urges to type out Unleashed instead of Awakens on multiple occasions.  So if I start typing out TFU instead of TFA, that’s why.

It should go without saying, but there are going to be some spoilers.  As in, all of them.  Okay?  Good.

Now then.  Go ahead and read on -- because I have a couple of stories to tell.

December 21, 2015

PS4nukkah: The Witcher 3


All right, cards on the table: is The Witcher 3 a good game?  Yeah, obviously.

Really, you could leave it at that.  It’s a good game that’s both fun and intriguing; there are thrills to be had, but you only have to play for an hour or two (if that) to realize that this isn’t your standard-fare adventure.  That’s kind of a given, since I’m guessing that The Witcher 3 is one of 2015’s biggest games both in terms of popularity/hype and the actual scale of its world.  I had my doubts beforehand because open-world games have lost their pizazz in the wake of an industry that’s trying to run the subgenre into the ground (should we blame GTA5’s success for that?  Who knows?), but CD Projekt RED’s latest deserves whatever praise it gets…even if it’s not exactly ZOMG BESTEST GAEM EVAR material, but whatever.  You’re in good hands with it.

But you’re not here to see me give my blessing, are you?  So let’s get in deep with the game -- and try not to develop a Gwent addiction.  First off…

December 19, 2015

RE: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

First things first: Ryan and/or Rory, if you’re reading this, then this isn’t the ten-thousand-word post you’re looking for.  But it’s something for now -- with a Star Wars reference to boot -- and the real post will go up this coming Thursday.  Assuming that all goes well and there’s no major catastrophe, but you get the idea.

Just as well, though.  I’m sure that not everyone’s gotten a chance to go out and see the movie for themselves (as of this post), so the smart thing to do is to wait until a little time has passed.  Not only that, but it’s a good idea to let the movie sink in.  I personally prefer having time to digest a movie before talking about it in full, and in a lot of ways that’s preferable to spewing a bunch of words before everything settles in.  With that said, I’ll make a slight exception this time around.  Because A) I feel like I’ve done more than enough digesting at this point, and B) I might as well take part in this cultural event and do what everyone else is probably doing.  Because relevance.  Or peer pressure.  Or self-righteous vindication.  Take your pick.

So, this post is NOT a review.  It will NOT have spoilers (i.e. anything beyond what’s been in trailers and widely-released info online).  Granted some stuff might allude to events that happen, but I’ll try to keep things vague.  This post is more of a reaction, full of my opinions, thoughts, and biases -- as is my standard.  You know, in case anyone out there ever thought they should take me seriously.

 Ready?  HERE WE GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

December 17, 2015

The Birds and the Ps


Okay, if we’re being totally honest?  This post actually doesn’t have anything to do with birds.  But I wanted to have a cute and pun-filled title to start things off, so I figured I might as well.

Also, it still starts with a B.  And guess which recently-announced character for a certain magical fighting game also has a name starting with a B?  That’s right -- Billy Kane has been confirmed for King of Fighters XIV.  Get ready for some super-sticky shenanigans.

Right.  But seriously, though.  Bayonetta in Smash Bros.  That’s amazing.  When I saw her revealed, I actually had my breath taken away.  I guess that’s the power of an Umbran Witch.

December 14, 2015

PS4nukkah: Metal Gear Solid V


You know, there’s something that’s been on my mind recently.

If you’re reading this post, then you’re probably aware of the current trends in the game industry.  One of the biggies right now: open-world games, for better or worse.  It makes sense for the subgenre to gain some traction, though; setting aside graphical power, the best way to prove the evolution of the medium (technologically or otherwise) is to increase the scale.  We’re thirty years out from the left-to-right stages of Super Mario Bros., so the assumption is that a bigger world = a better game.  And I mean assumption.

By now, gamers have caught on to the issues.  Sure, worlds are getting bigger and players can explore more of them -- but so what?  On one hand, you’ve got the Assassin’s Creed franchise, which puts out these massive, lavishly-rendered, intensively-researched historical cities one year after another -- and instead of being playgrounds that sate the mind and soul, they’ve long since devolved into repetitive chore simulators and window dressing.  Meanwhile, the recent Batman games went from the tightly-knit and small-scale Arkham Asylum to the bank-busting and bloated Arkham Knight; it had a big world and sheer graphical horsepower, but at the cost of a good story, good gameplay, and a game that didn’t have to shoehorn the Batmobile into every situation.  (Again, WHY do you have to drag the Batmobile up a building when you have the Batplane?)

I guess what I’m getting at here is this: are video games getting too big?  And of course, MGSV is here to provide one possible answer.

December 10, 2015

So How Good is Tomb Raider, Really?

Hey, anybody remember PlayStation All-Stars: Battle Royale?  Anybody?

A lot of discussions have been had on the game’s roster, which is completely fair.  Not all of the choices made in/for that game were what I’d call good, and the lack of some key faces is proof of that.  Chief among them?  I’m pretty sure there were some people calling for Lara Croft (with Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon pretty much locked away in Activision’s dungeon), but were passionately denied the chance.  Why?  Who knows?  I mean, I’m not an expert on the franchise, but I thought that Tomb Raider was a mainstay of the PlayStation family until semi-recently.  Granted I’m guessing some installments and ports made it to the PC, but even if Lara’s jumped to other consoles, it’s a moot point when she would’ve shared a game with a Big Daddy and Isaac Clarke.

Anyway, Tomb Raider.  Thanks to the 2013 reboot and the recent game, the name’s seen a lot of traction.  Like plenty of properties these days, what’s old is new again; there’s a new Lara Croft and not one, but two brand new adventures, with a whole new style and the horsepower to make each new game the most extensive to date.  That’s not to undermine the successes and legacy of the earlier games, of course, but it’s a safe bet that the new stuff -- spearheaded by Crystal Dynamics -- is here to stay.

But is that a good thing?  Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh…

December 7, 2015

PS4nukkah: Bloodborne

I’m an idiot.

That should be blatantly obvious by now, because collectively I’ve blown about a hundred hours on the modern-day Final Fantasy games, and cleared one of its latest entries before I even touched Bloodborne.  I remedied that eventually, and while I’ve already said some stuff about the game already -- good things, no less -- I can’t emphasize it enough.  Bloodborne is a good-ass game.  If you haven’t played it and you have a PS4, go play it.  Especially now, since the DLC expansion The Old Hunters is out, AND there’s a game of the year edition that has it packed in.

But let’s get back to the matter at hand.  See, it’s been months -- literal months -- since the last time I booted up Bloodborne.  I pretty much forgot how to play, so I figured it’d be best if I started over with a new character and file.  As such, I made a new version of my old mainstay, Blackules; I just barely made it to the second boss (on accident) the first time around, but I hoped I’d do much better with a new hunter by my side.  And the initial run would have gone a lot better if I wasn’t a complete idiot.

I forgot how to heal -- and ended up assuming that I couldn’t heal until later in the game.

And you know what?  It might have actually made me -- if not the game in general -- even better.

December 3, 2015

Introducing: PS4nukkah!!

Get it?  It’s clever, because if you think of it as one word (with the 4 as an A), then it reads like “Psanukkah”.  And that sounds like Hanukkah.  Or pretty close to it, at least.

…It was either this or “PS4nzaa”.  Count your blessings.

Well, here we are.  After two full years on the market, the PS4 finally has a games library worth being excited about.  Granted that library is still full of holes, and it pales in comparison to what the Wii U’s been offering for much longer without a shred of fanfare, but for what it’s worth?  The PS4’s got some good games on it now, conclusively.  And with the holiday season encroaching upon us all, I see no better way to honor that dramatically-reduced rate of disappointment than by talking about some of those games.

Under normal circumstances, I’d be doing something like this for the Wii U.  But in order to not be such a biased fanboy, I’ve opted to switch gears and talk about what Sony’s latest has to offer.  It’s only fair, after all.  What games will I talk about?  I’m guessing that you already know the answer if you’ve read some of my other posts.  But for the sake of argument -- and a cohesive miniseries -- I’ll say that there’s going to be a certain theme attached to each of these four games.

What’s the theme?  Well…

November 30, 2015

Let’s “discuss” Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 (Part 3).


“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.  Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.”
--Jeremiah 29:11-12

All right.  One for the road.

Don’t worry.  We’ll get through the campaign together.  Or...part of it at least.  So let's go ahead and get bloppy one last time.

November 26, 2015

So Who is Cloud Strife, Really?


Full disclosure: I didn’t see the recent Nintendo Direct live, so I heard about the biggest headline indirectly thanks to my brother and his phone.  He had me guess who the new Smash Bros. character was, and my first (and only) guess was Shantae thanks to some rumblings I’d heard.  He didn’t even know who that was, so he did me a solid and said it was Cloud.  My delayed response?  “That’s impossible.”  And for minutes after, “But why?” repeated with an increasingly desperate and confused tone.

In all honesty, though?  I’m not all that hung up on Cloud coming to Smash Bros.  Sure, I can think of other characters who deserve a spot first, but that’s what the big Smash Ballot was for (wherein I voted for Wonder Red, because of course I did).  I don’t intend to play as Cloud, since I already have a stable of characters that’s bursting at the seams; still, his inclusion has made plenty of people happy.  That’s something worth celebrating -- and indeed, plenty of people have already started celebrating.  Seeing Maximillian goberserk over the reveal was an experience more emotional than all of the David Cage games put together.  Not that that's very difficult.

November 23, 2015

Let’s “discuss” Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 (Part 2).


Jesus wept.

…I know I said that I’d find another long Bible verse for this intro, but there’s something that’s been on my mind.  I have a question that needs answering.

Is Call of Duty terrible?  I know that question’s as loaded as a Gatling gun the size of Montana, but let’s work through it, shall we?

November 19, 2015

In Search of Majestic Games


I’ve been thinking about Until Dawn recently, even though -- as of this post -- it’s been more than a month since I finished it.  Part of the blame is on the recently announced VR installment, Rush of Blood.  I don’t know what to make of that, because I haven’t followed VR developments too closely; still, the fact that Until Dawn is seeing more play than a one-off release inspires confidence.  It’s new, it’s different, and even if there are some serious flaws, overall it’s still a good game.  I’m glad it came out, and I hope it gives Supermassive Games the freedom to branch out.

People are going to have different reasons as to why they like Until Dawn (thanks to that pesky thing we call “free will”).  Some wanted horror movie tropes, and got them.  Some wanted an adventure in the vein of a Quantic Dream title -- minus the Quantic Dream -- and got that.  But even if people give different reasons, I have one of my own.  I don’t think anyone’s going to fight me on it, but it might be the reason why the game succeeds overall, on some basic level.  And beyond that, Until Dawn is a good reminder of what a game can be, because its makers remembered what a game could be.

The word of the day -- or close enough to it -- is spirit.

November 16, 2015

Let’s “discuss” Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 (Part 1).


“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”
--Romans 3:23-26

*sigh*

Shit.

November 12, 2015

It’s Super Dynamic Controversy Time!


Oh wait, what am I saying?  It’s always Super Dynamic Controversy Time.  I’m just taking time out to highlight it because -- well, why not?

Obviously, I’m prone to thinking about video games, and thinking hard about them.  I want the medium to evolve and reach its full potential, even if the journey to that ideal form is rough and sluggish.  Certain mindsets and practices aren’t helping, though; big businesses aren’t always the most eager to explore the art forms, but it’s not as if we can blame the suits for all of gaming’s ills.  Problems exist on, and are exacerbated by, people on every rung of the ladder.  The sooner everyone understands that, the better off we’ll all be.  Self-reflection, open-mindedness, et cetera, et cetera.

I’ll come back to that later on.  But for now, let’s talk about Metal Gear and gigantic asses.  Given sneaking suits of games past, those two are far from mutually exclusive.

November 9, 2015

Let’s discuss Until Dawn (Part 2).

Previously on Let’s discuss Until Dawn…        

Oh man, I am so qualified to talk about this game, because I think horror movies are dumb.

Now it’s up to the gang to solve the mystery…and it’s up to you, the player, to keep them alive.

My theory is that Supermassive Games didn’t want to make a horror game.

*ominous sound*

I think the biggest thing about them is that I like what they represent instead of liking them because of who they are.

But let’s give Supermassive Games the benefit of the doubt.

*jump scare*

You should judge a game by what it is, not what it isn’t.

*cut to black*

…That would have worked a lot better if I had a cutscene to sync up with those words.  But forget it.  Have some more words and forget about it.  And also HAVE MORE SPOILERS.

November 5, 2015

Let’s discuss Until Dawn (Part 1).

Oh man, I am so qualified to talk about this game, because I think horror movies are dumb.

Well, maybe that’s too strong of a claim.  It’s not like I think every movie in the genre is dumb, or that the genre in its entirety is dumb.  But I’ve had some bad experiences in the past, and not because I got scared out of my gourd.  I actually WISH I’d been scared out of my gourd, because in theory that’s what horror movies are about -- making you forget that there’s a screen between you and the action, and making you feel just as vulnerable as the victims du jour.

I’d like to think that horror movies aren’t just vehicles for gore and murder, because that’s not what horror movies are about.  (Nor is it about busting out the baps, but that’s neither here nor there.)  Call me naïve, but I would have thought that a horror movie that can’t scare is a terrible horror movie, just like a comedy that can’t amuse is a terrible comedy.  But I got dragged to see The Thing remake, the Friday the 13th remake, Legion (ostensibly), and sat through no shortage of offerings on TV.  Too many of them have been a slog, and I’m ready for a change.  I’m ready for the good stuff.

That brings me to Until Dawn -- a game that I can’t decide is amazing or awful.

November 2, 2015

What’s the Key to a Good Combat System?

If we’re being completely honest here, I’ve never been in a fight.  I count myself lucky that the closest I’ve ever come to fisticuffs is some guy accidentally hitting me in the stomach while I zipped up my backpack.  Even if fighting is something that’s glorified -- in games, in movies, in media at large -- it’s not as glamorous as it sounds.  People can get hurt, and I seem to recall an episode of How I Met Your Mother where the consequence of a fight was a lawsuit for assault.  Moral of the story: don’t get into a fight.  Especially with Marshall.  That dude’s crazy.

Hopefully, the closest I’ll get to throwing down is a round of video games.  I’d like to think that a person can play them without fear of getting punched in the face (unless they’re having a Mario Party session), and seeing as how games thrive on virtual conflict, it’s no surprise that they’re pretty good at it.  Slashing up demons, kicking rival fighters, grappling foes into oblivion, it’s all there.  And despite the fact that I put on airs of wanting higher-class art for the medium, that’s not entirely true; I’m no stranger to a good Heavenly Potemkin Buster.

So you know what?  Let’s take time out to talk about combat in video games -- and what makes it good.

October 29, 2015

The World’s Spookiest Post?


I’d imagine that with Halloween right around the corner, people are flooding the internet with skeletons, ghosts, zombies, vampires, werewolves, jack-o-lanterns, and other nightmarish ephemera (even though it’s plainly obvious that there’s nothing scarier than the creatures lurking in the ocean).  This would be the part where I play into that -- or more appropriately, do a post about something super-spooky.  A scary game, for one.  But I just did a hefty post on Crimson Peak, and it kind of feels like I’d be double-dipping.

So I asked myself, “What would be the scariest thing I could offer up to anyone who stumbles upon this post?”  And the answer to that is simple: art by someone who has no business trying to do art.  Because there’s nothing scarier than someone without talent shoving his lack of talent in people’s faces!

Mediocrity, ooooooooOOOOOoooOOOOoooooooooo!  How chilling!

October 26, 2015

So How Good is Star Wars, Really?

So my brother came in one night and announced that he ordered us tickets to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens, because of course he did.

I mean, I guess I can’t blame him (too much) for it.  Pre-order culture has been a big part of the gaming world for ages -- for good or ill, and mostly ill at this stage -- but there are just some instances where it’s unavoidable.  Call it a hunch, but I suspect that The Force Awakens will qualify as a global event powerful enough to temporarily stop all the wars and debates in the world, not just some movie to see on a whim one weekend.  If you exist, you’re probably going to see it -- because even if you aren’t interested, friends and family probably are.  Or their friends and family are, or their friends and family are.  It’s an unavoidable chain, a sphere of influence half-built on peer pressure that demands you go see lightsabers and X-Wings and droids that can’t possibly have any practical use.

Well.  Aren’t I just laying all the cards on the table?

October 22, 2015

Crimson Peak: It Has Ghosts in It

So here’s the question that’s been on my mind for a while, at least since the halfway point of Crimson Peak: is Guillermo del Toro trying to tell us something?

It’s kind of a given that the answer is yes.  Presumably, every piece of art is a look inside the mind of the creator, and there are coded messages hidden within the overall package.  That’s something of an unsettling thought, knowing that the creator’s soul is -- intentionally or not -- inside a story; I’ll probably have a lot of explaining to do if/when my stuff ever makes it out there.  But for now, I have to think about what del Toro’s saying via Crimson Peak.

I’ll be the first to admit that he was never really on my radar until Pacific Rim (the first movie I was consciously aware he spearheaded, and incidentally one I enjoyed a lot).  But in light of his troubles with Konami and Silent Hills, and his other cancelled video game projects, and the uneasy state of Pacific Rim 2, you can’t help but wonder if all of it is taking a toll.  (Though the timetables don't necessarily sync up; games and movies take a LONG time to make, IIRC.)  And then I find out that Crimson Peak lost in the box office to Goosebumps, and after crying enough to have turned into a crusted and powdery husk I just -- I don’t know, I feel like the guy needs a hug.  Anyone could, really, but I feel like he needs one the most.  Like he was born a universe where very few things go his way, and only by receiving enough love can he return to the proper dimension.

It’s okay, Mr. del Toro.  If it makes you feel any better?  I think you made an awesome movie.

Time to do that thing I do where I ruin movies -- which I’ll admit is made possible by virtue of my good friend, SPOILERS.  He spoils everything that happens, and will also steal your wallets and food.  As one would.

October 19, 2015

Shower Thoughts with Monster Girls (Part 2)


You know what’s worse than talking about someone else’s created monster girls?  Talking about your own monster girls.  So let’s double-down on the sacrilege and get through this together.  I’m sure it won’t be…

Wait.  I feel like I’ve done this before, albeit under slightly-different contexts.  Like, does this feel familiar to anyone?

Eh.  Doesn’t matter.  As long as I don’t link to earlier posts, no one will ever judge me.  Now let’s dive into a post practically destined to include giant breasts.  Because if you’re going to hell, you might as well dive head-first.

October 15, 2015

The Last of Us -- feat. Kamen Rider OOO (Part 2)


Confession time: I’ve been reluctant to make this post, and the one before it.

It’s not that I mind expressing my opinions, since I at least try to rationalize what I type out.  But things can get pretty volatile when it comes to games, especially stuff like The Last of UsJust look at the comments at the end of this feature -- the vitriol could melt a steel wall.  It’s one thing to disagree with someone’s opinion (and his/her personal takeaway from a game, one that tries its best to inspire thought and discourse), but it’s another to shut it down while barely trying to make a counter-argument.

Imagine how I feel in my aims to avoid rocking the boat, but to be so daring, so mad, and so audacious as to claim that an underpants-loving goof from a merchandise-driven franchise is somehow better than the weathered survivalist from 2013’s critical darling and fan favorite.  I’m a little wary, to say the least.  But I’m serious here.  Kamen Rider OOO’s Eiji is, in my eyes, a better character than Joel.  And I’d even go so far as to say that his story in general is better, too.  Yes, yes, different mediums, different objectives, etc. -- but speaking personally?  One of those characters makes me deliberate (and smile) to this day, even after experiencing his story to completion more than a year ago.  The other is Joel Grumpybuns.  So all aboard the crazy train once more, yes?

October 12, 2015

Shower Thoughts with Monster Girls (Part 1)



Real talk?  I don’t know if there’s a heaven or a hell, but if there was ever a surefire way to get sent to the latter, it’d be with a post like this.

October 5, 2015

Two consoles enter, one console leaves!


The title implies as much, but this is actually pretty cut and dry.  So let’s get to it and not think about Mad Max any longer than we have to -- because it’s just going to bring up thoughts on Fury Road, and I imagine that would be a pretty big distraction.

Alternatively, it could bring up thoughts of the recent Mad Max game, and I imagine that would plunge readers into the depths of despair.  Maybe.  I haven’t heard the most glowing recommendations for that one.

October 1, 2015

Let’s discuss Devil May Cry 4 (Part 3 -- FINALE).


Hey, welcome back.  How’s it going?  Boy, do I hate DmC: Devil May Cry.

Welp, that’s a good way to set the mood of this post.

September 28, 2015

Who Do You Want to Play As?


So a while back, I (finally) started playing The Witcher 3 -- and believe it or not, I actually like it.  I like the exploration, I like the combat, I suspect I have the potential to develop a Gwent addiction, and I even like Geralt.  Because even if his gravelly voice says otherwise, he’s not your standard tough guy antihero; seriously, you have no idea how much it means to me to have a character who shows a full range of emotions.  You will never know.

But even if I like Geralt, I have to admit I like Yennefer more.  She’s just plain cooler -- a witch with some serious magical chops, for sure, but there’s more to her than that.  She’s got the smarts, the sass, and underneath her bluster she’s someone that actually cares about things.  I admit I don’t know the full extent of her relationship with Geralt, but at least I know firsthand that there is a relationship.  It means something to them, and by proxy it means something to me.  It should go without saying, but I wish I could stop playing as a witcher so I could go full blast with a straight-up witch.

And that got me thinking -- which is my M.O., of course, but whatever.  No time for semantics.

September 24, 2015

Let’s discuss Devil May Cry 4 (Part 2).


I used to watch wrestling a lot more than I do nowadays.  Smackdown aired on basic cable, so I could flip it on and watch some body slams and muscular men getting uncomfortably close together (as if they wanted to kiss each other); I remember there was one fight between Rey Mysterio and Batista that was more or less amazing.  But when it hopped channels, I didn’t have the will to chase after it -- and I never really watched RAW in the first place, so I was out.  And the last wrestling game I played was Smackdown vs. Raw 2010 (I think), which was pretty fun IMO…but my brother decided to trade it in just ‘cause.  Either that, or he hated spending most matches unconscious and flat on his face.

I don’t know a lot about wrestling, but I know some stuff.  I know who John Cena is, and not just because of his sudden memetic uprising.  And it’s my understanding that, as of the last Wrestlemania (at the very least) he’s the WWE’s face.  He’s its hero.  He’s someone they’ve been pushing as a good guy, even if that’s with the grace of a cinder block to the gut.  But even if he and the WWE are way over the top, I have a hard time ignoring the motto of “Loyalty, Hustle, Respect” -- especially in the face of Devil May Cry 4.  Because the more I think about it, the more I realize that’s part of what makes the game great.  What do I mean?  Well --

Oh, right.  I played WWE All-Stars, too.  Man, what a sick game.

September 21, 2015

Are Video Games Getting Better?


Yeah, probably.  I mean, maybe?  Definitely?  Possibly?

Well, let’s see where we all stand by the end of the post.

September 17, 2015

Let’s discuss Devil May Cry 4 (Part 1).


So who’s better, Dante or Nero?

Don’t answer that yet.  I’ll get back to it…eventually.  But for now, let’s move on to something else.

September 14, 2015

A Lickety-Split Housekeeping EX Shuffle


You know, I’m a little bummed out that the phrase “lickety-split” has fallen by the wayside.  Someone needs to bring that back.  I’d say that I’d do it, but I’m lobbying for greater circulation of my quasi-catch phrase of “yikesy mikesy”.

All right, that’s enough irreverence.  Let’s do this fast.

September 10, 2015

On the Ninja Turtles and High Voltage




You know what?  I’ve never talked about Twilight at length on this blog, have I?

Okay, then.  Let’s go ahead and start with that.

September 7, 2015

Argh, I’m so embarrassed!

Alternate Post Title: Actually I Lied, Since There IS No Alternate Post Title and I AM Embarrassed

August 31, 2015

August 27, 2015

Honoring the Past (AKA Voltech the Hypocrite)


You know, I’ve never thought of myself as a “crusader”.

I’m pretty easygoing -- if not apathetic -- when it comes to the big subjects.  Politics, religion, stuff like that -- it doesn’t really make me hot under the collar, so it’s not as if I’m going to get into a screaming match with someone with a different opinion from me.  Really, the only thing I try and campaign for is better fiction.  We want more, and we deserve more -- but we need the wits and savvy to understand what makes stories good in the first place.  I’m not asking for much, I hope.

But these days?  It feels like I’m campaigning and crusading against nostalgia-bait products more than anything else.  (Relatively speaking, given my tirades against grim and gritty fare…and before that, nearly everything Squeenix has put out semi-recently.)  People deserve good stories, and no matter the opinion on Joe Plumbers or sheeple or lowest common denominators, I’d like to think that when offered a genuinely good story, they’ll know what they’ve always wanted.  What they -- and we -- don’t need are retreads of the past, again and again and again.  We need something new.  Something different.  Something that at least has the potential to be good.

So why is it that I’ve been having more fun with stuff from the past?

August 24, 2015

DmC: Devil May Cry (feat. Kamen Rider Kiva)


Even though I haven’t played the previous game, there was something about Rise of the Tomb Raider that caught my interest.  The announcement trailer showed off a Lara Croft in therapy -- which makes sense, given what she went through.  I’m pretty sure she got gored by a spike within Tomb Raider’s first hour, and the assault only ramps up from there; I don’t want to meet the person who can shrug that off. 

Granted the 2013 game makes me imagine a Lara that would never ever want to go exploring again, but for what it’s worth?  Having her deal with the issues and consequences of the first game (and tend to some of the common complaints thrown its way) is an interesting idea.  It’s got potential to add depth to a character in an unconventional way.

So of course, the devs immediately decided to backpedal on that.  What a perfect idea.

August 20, 2015

SOS! URGENT! Attention-Grabbing Title!


Don’t worry, it’s not like I’m being held at gunpoint or anything.  But I think it’d be best if I got as much attention as possible via this post.  Because it could very well decide THE FATE OF THE UNIVERSE.  By which I mean “this blog”.  By which I mean “yo, I could use some reader input here”.

And to facilitate that…well, I’ll take the low-brow approach and fill this post with pictures of Christina Hendricks.  It worked once, so I figure it’ll work again.  Plus her classiness should even out the dirtiness of my scumbag tactics.

It’s fine, though.  You’ll know I’m really scraping the barrel when I fill a post with Alyson Hanningan pictures.  She’s the best.

August 17, 2015

Frozen: Let it Go (Headbang)

So if I did that thing I usually do and put up a spoiler warning, would anyone even care?  Like, I’m writing this here in 2015, and Frozen came out in…what, Thanksgiving 2013, or somewhere around that point?  Everyone who wanted to watch it by now has, yes?  So they know all the twists and turns.  And by extension, those looking for either telling reviews or in-depth analyses have long since found them.  In a lot of ways, this post is irrelevant; I’m the last guy on earth who’s seen this movie (who wanted to…but put no effort into trying to watch), so I’m more or less playing catch-up with the rest of the populace.

Why write it, then?  Well, anyone expecting a straight-up review is better off looking elsewhere; that’s not really my thing.  And even if (I assume) others have analyzed it frame-by-frame, those thoughts and opinions belong to them.  What follows are going to be my thoughts and opinions.  Not exactly the gospel, I know, but people seem really invested when I slam Final Fantasy, so maybe I’m doing something right.

Enough chatter, then.  What do I think of Frozen?  Well…

August 13, 2015

Frozen: The Princess Snide

Not too long ago, I was about to take my dogs out when I noticed my brother was watching a movie in another room.  Which movie?  Big Hero 6, as it turns out.  I don’t know if he had started watching it from the beginning or if he happened to spot it on TV mid-run, but I at least got a glimpse of Hiro and Baymax doing good guy stuff.  Or on the way to do good guy stuff.  Well, they did something, and that’s what counts.

Anyway, I went into the room to talk to him about it.  He didn’t say much about the quality, and I didn’t press him; he just wondered why Baymax was so fat.  “More to love,” I said.  And then, after a brief pause, I said with a smile “I saw Frozen the other day.”

His reaction was three times faster than the speed of light.  He groaned loudly and asked, “What are you, a six-year-old girl?”  I tried to make a case for the movie.  His response: “Fine, so it’s for six-to-ten-year-old girls.”  Needless to say, we didn’t exactly have a gripping and in-depth discussion on the film’s merits.  Granted I could have (and probably should have) argued more, but obstinacy is a forte both of us share.  Also, I didn’t want to clean up any dog pee.

So let’s unpack this for a minute -- by which I mean “time to have another talk about female characters and representation in fiction.”  I’m as excited as you are.

August 10, 2015

On Final Fantasy and Lost Empathy


Far be it for me to be typecast as “the guy who can’t stop poking holes in Final Fantasy games”, but there’s no way around it this time.  Bear with me here, though, because there are a LOT of posts to follow built around the ideas here.  Consider this foundation more than anything else.

Okay?  Okay.  So let me ask: does anyone here watch The Middle?

August 6, 2015

The Good, the Bad, and THAT MOVIE


Alternate Post Title: Technical Difficulties Rising: Revengeance

Alternate (Alternate) Post Title: The Last Horse Crosses the Finish Line

August 3, 2015

Do me a solid...


So I got a notification from Disqus that -- for one reason or another -- comments got de-synced between it and this blog.  That's pretty frustrating in its own right, but it goes further than that; since I'm a guy that tries to respond to every comment that comes my way, not knowing when and where comments pop up (which has already happened recently) means that I can't do what I want and need to do, and repay the kindness people have shown by leaving their thoughts here.

I'm going to try and fix it over the next couple of days -- assuming it can be fixed simply -- but until then?  I think I'd better push back some of the thicker posts I've got stocked.  I'd very much like to have this problem resolved, obviously.  So what I need for you, or anyone reading this, or anyone who simply glanced at it from their feed, to do is write a comment.  Any comment.  The way I see it, that's the best way to make sure things are working as intended.  I'll put more stuff up later this week (hopefully), but until then?  Let me preemptively give thanks.

But since I'm in the practice of throwing up thousands of words on-screen, I guess I'd better say something of merit.  So you know what?  If you're reading this, tell me about what TV shows you like.  What you're watching, what you have watched, whatever -- if it strikes your fancy, let me know.  There's still a hole in my heart thanks to How I Met Your Mother's departure, so filling it might heal my soul or whatever.  Failing that, I need to watch more Regular Show.  Or Steven Universe.  

So yeah, leave a comment if you can.  And thanks in advance.  And screw technical difficulties.

July 30, 2015

Street Fighter V: Headcanon Edition


Not to play armchair manager, but there’s a part of me that feels like it’s wrong for Daigo “The Beast” Umehara to play anyone but Ryu.  I’m not about to go doubting his skills or anything -- even if he was in a coma, the guy could play Street Fighter better than I ever could -- but you’d think that a guy who put so much into the franchise as well as embodies the tireless wanderer would have found his soul mate.  But in his recent EVO showings, he’s picked guys like Yun and Evil Ryu.  And I’m pretty much left saying “Is this it?  Has Daigo been corrupted by the power of the Dark Hadou?”

Well, it’s not like he’s turned evil in real life (or has he?!), so he’s free to do as he pleases.  But still, the allure of the character is just too great in Street Fighter IV’s latest -- and probably final -- iteration.  His damage output is incredible, he has nearly all of the tools Ryu has (and then some), and it only takes one hit for him to get started, i.e. melt an enemy’s life bar down to zero.  It’s almost poetic that one EVO had Daigo and his Evil Ryu beaten by John Choi and his normal Ryu, but that didn’t stop The Beast from sticking with the Dark Hadou.

So now I have to wonder: once Street Fighter IV gets phased out and the sequel gains traction, what does that mean for what’s ostensibly the most heinous power in the canon?  Frankly, I’m hoping for a lot.

July 27, 2015

What’s the Best-Looking Game You’ve Ever Seen?


There’s been a lot to talk about since this past E3, but you know what’s piqued my interest the most?  Street Fighter 5 (which should be obvious by now, but whatever).  As I’ve said in the past, the only trailers/footage I’ve grown to trust is what comes from fighting games, because they give the best indication of what the final product will actually be.  That’s not to say that SF5 hasn’t changed since its introductory trailer, but Ryu could throw fireballs then, and he’ll probably be able to throw them in the full version.  No broken promises there, I hope.

There’s been a deluge of info and footage on the game recently thanks to Eventhubs and friends, and right now it’s looking really good.  I mean that from a gameplay perspective, naturally, but even when I watch non-HD, non-60fps videos on YouTube, I still can’t help but think, “Wow, what a good-looking game.”  I think what clinched it for me was seeing Birdie in action; his Super is at once a weaponized joke and a striking display.

So with the stage now set, let’s talk about DEM GRAFFECTS -- and prove just how shallow we can all be.

July 23, 2015

Let’s “discuss” Batman: Arkham Knight (Part 2).


I thought about starting this post with a reference to the 60’s TV show, but then I remembered that this post was originally going to be just one instead of split into two.  So let’s not make this thing so long that it goes into three.

You know what’s next, right?  Yeah.  Let’s talk about the Batmobile.

July 20, 2015

Let’s “discuss” Batman: Arkham Knight (Part 1).


All right.  Let’s talk about fans.  Not Batman fans, mind you.  Just regular old ceiling fans.

Don’t worry.  I know almost exactly what I’m doing.