You can touch it, down there....

Ok first, sorry for not posting for over a week but I decided to take an impromptu vacation from the internet in general while I was visiting my family aside from checking my email, and in general entertainment news slowed to a crawl. Moving on today's header refers to what was easily my favorite present from Santa: The Nintendo DS. And more specifically referring to this very amusing VG Cats comic:

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I don't have Wifi, but I was able to try it out at a friends house with Mario Kart and its pretty cool and suprisingly fun when you don't have to worry about some jackass using racial slurs or whining since you can't talk to them. You can order a part from Nintendo that's far cheaper than a wireless adapater that you just hook into a usb port on your computer (assuming you have DSL of course) but I may wait and see if I get more games that take advantage of wifi play before I justify buying it. Mario & Luigi: Partners in time is also an instant classic for anyone looking for a good rpg with a solid challenge. But so far I do not have any games that make extensive use of the stylus, but I'll look for something as soon as I get down to my local gamestore.

I also got Guild Wars for the PC, the main attraction of this MMORPG is that unlike every other one out there it's completely free. My experience so far is limited, but it just seems not all that different from WOW although it's entirely possible that I may just have played to much of that game and need an MMO break in general. Which leads to my next topic-for the time being, I believe I am done with the World of Warcraft. Going on endless high levle runs into dungeons is just about the only thing you can do at my level in the game and not only is it extremely tedious to get a good solid group together, it's just starting to seem like a chore. I still have about two weeks before I get billed again, so I may give it another shot before I finally decide to cancel, but odds are I'll be taking a nice long break if not a permanent one.

I did manage to catch several movies in my brief time off. First up-King Kong: I thought it was a brilliant hollywood epic that even at three hours doesn't feel stretched with brilliant performances by almost everyone. Unfortunatley Jack Black shows no adeptness at playing it straight and comes off as a cartoon villain with shifty eyes for pratically the whole film. But I highly reccomend it.

Then there was The Ringer: Possibly the biggest suprise on my end because I was expecting this movie with Johnny Knoxville to be horribly tasteless, gross and unfunny to boot. After all, it is about a guy who pretends to be retarded in order to win the Special Olympics and get a big payday. It manages to skip all three of those, never treating disabled people with disrespect and still managing to be fairly entertaining. The plot is fairly predictable, but it's probably one of the better comedic bets right now.

That leads into the other comedy I saw-Fun With Dick & Jane: It's a perfectly alright comedy with a moderate amount of laughs, but they just played it a little too safe for my tastes when they could've really used this opportunity to either completely rip on big buisness or make a really biting comedy about desperate people with seemingly few options. Not bad, but probably could've been much better.

And finally Munich: This is a movie everybody should probably see. It's shocking, powerful, and extremely well done. But be warned that it is a very heavy movie and really starts to drag the last 25 minutes or so. But this would seem to be an easy oscar favorite for all the important categories.

That's really it for today, but I promise to update tommorow or Sunday. Until then, do yourself a favor and GO BUY THE SERENITY DVD.


Return of the King

Although I will cover King Kong in this post, today's header is about the return of another king-King Graham. The legendary King's Quest series is making a comeback, and it's all thanks to the fans. The new game is completely fan made, which makes it thankfully completely free. I will be anxiously awaiting the release of this one.

Played Halo 1 & 2 until your eyes bled out and still need even more? Fans come to the rescue again-Halo: Zero, a free 2D prequel made for Halo fans, by Halo fans. Obviously not nearly as sophisticated as it's big budget counterparts, but an impressive and fun little game nonetheless.

Working Designs is officially dead. While they were merely a publishing company, they were responsible for bringing a lot of great games over here with wonderfully done translations (i.e. the Lunar series). But the persident, Victor Ireland said he did want to pursue options on the 360 after his bad experiences with Sony, so this may turn into a positive if seeing more Japanese-developed titles on the 360.

And finally, King Kong is out tommorow. All signs point to this being one of the few remakes that not only does not suck, but even outdoes the original, pretty much cementing Peter Jackson as a true genius rather than some guy who just got lucky. I will most likely be seeing it Sunday, and fully expect it to rock. But Jackson's big hits have all been based on well-known previous material so far, I'd like to see him tackle some original material.


Greatest. Game. Ever.

Just what will be the greatest game ever? BRADY BUNCH KUNG FU. I know it's mobile, but the sheer audacity and orignality of this idea totally rocks. Can we do the same thing with the Cosby show?

So I may actually start liking EA again. Although they haven't really supported Nintendo in the past, according to the big N they are very excited about the Revolution and it's wacky new controller. I'll wait and see if this actually translates into something cool, but if you can get the biggest game company in America in your corner, that's a good starting point. I have also heard the Revolution will easily be the least powerful of the next gen consoles, but if that equals a relatively cheap system (I'm guessing $250) and keeping games in the $50, I'll be happy to throw most of my money their way.

Pretty much the only major release this weekend is the long-awaited debut of Chronicles of Narnia. I'm excited but also a little hesitant, as Disney's history with live-action films is not pretty, and the ads do make it seem like it's more of a LOTR wannabe than its own film.

I did see Aeon Flux last Friday and surprisingly it did not suck. I'm not saying run to your nearest theater and grab a ticket, but it's not a bad option if you've seen just about every really good movie and are just looking for a decent way to kill some time.

All right, that's all for today, but I'll try and be back this weekend.


Bring me the head of Roger Ebert!

Seriously, how this lazy fatass became America's premiere critic is beyond me, but he should at least be smart enough to not blast a medium he knows little to nothing about. Yet this does not stop him, as seen by this recent exchange:

Q. I was saddened to read that you consider video games an inherently inferior medium to film and literature, despite your admitted lack of familiarity with the great works of the medium. This strikes me as especially perplexing, given how receptive you have been in the past to other oft-maligned media such as comic books and animation. Was not film itself once a new field of art? Did it not also take decades for its academic respectability to be recognized?

There are already countless serious studies on game theory and criticism available, including Mark S. Meadows' Pause & Effect: The Art of Interactive Narrative, Nick Montfort's Twisty Little Passages: An Approach to Interactive Fiction, Noah Wardrip-Fruin and Pat Harrigan's First Person: New Media as Story, Performance, and Game, and Mark J.P. Wolf's The Medium of the Video Game, to name a few.

I hold out hope that you will take the time to broaden your experience with games beyond the trashy, artless "adaptations" that pollute our movie theaters, and let you discover the true wonder of this emerging medium, just as you have so passionately helped me to appreciate the greatness of many wonderful films.

Andrew Davis, St. Cloud, Minn.

A. Yours is the most civil of countless messages I have received after writing that I did indeed consider video games inherently inferior to film and literature. There is a structural reason for that: Video games by their nature require player choices, which is the opposite of the strategy of serious film and literature, which requires authorial control.

I am prepared to believe that video games can be elegant, subtle, sophisticated, challenging and visually wonderful. But I believe the nature of the medium prevents it from moving beyond craftsmanship to the stature of art. To my knowledge, no one in or out of the field has ever been able to cite a game worthy of comparison with the great dramatists, poets, filmmakers, novelists and composers. That a game can aspire to artistic importance as a visual experience, I accept. But for most gamers, video games represent a loss of those precious hours we have available to make ourselves more cultured, civilized and empathetic.

Unlike the lost hours on such brilliant films you gave thumbs up to like "The Honeymooners"? I love when some out of touch old guy rants about something he knows nothing about. As far as being a waste of time? You sit on your ever enlarging ass at the theatre for hours on end evaluating exactly what would be a good waste of our time. Award-winning composers like Danny Elfman have done videogame music, genius. As far as making us as a society more cultured, civilized and empathetic, video games actually have a better chance of doing that in terms of potential than a movie or book. As you yourself said, movies & books take authorial control, meaning that they take a specific viewpoint and train of thought. Games are getting to be less and less like this, where you have much more direct control over your character's actions and how that affects the world around your character (just look at all the games where you have the choice of being good or evil). Unlike movies or books, they do not tell you what to think, they increasingly let you decide for yourself. There are fluff videogames and there are serious videogames, just like with books and movies. You have strictly based your opinions on the admittedly numerous bad films that have come out of Hollywood based on the medium, but if someone would actually take a game with a solid story and adapt with a crew that was seriously committed to the project (which is hard for ANY film to accomplish these days), you would see a different result.

Moving on, the only film opening in wide release this weekend is Aeon Flux. What are my early thoughts? I have a free pass to this movie and I'm still not sure I want to waste the time to see it. The TV series was an incoherent mess with rather gross sexual undertones, the fact that it wasn't screened for crtics doesn't bode well either.

My Xbox 360 is officially sold, but I do plan on getting another eventually, and a big determiner of exactly when might be when these awesome skins become available:

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Ok, that's all for today, I'll probably post again before the week's end however.


That's a whole lotta turkeys

Did I miss something? I always thought Thanksgiving was a prime time to release big studio pictures and the first year-end oscar contenders, so what is with the dreck coming out this holiday weekend? Ok, everybody could smell the pile that Yours Mine & Ours was a mile away, but you need something for the kids who already saw Harry Potter. I just feel sorry for Dennis Quaid & Rene Russo slumming it in a crappy large family comedy that was played out last year with Cheaper by the Dozen (which was a perfectly all right film, but has a ridiculously unecessary sequel coming out next month).
Rent & Ice Harvest seem to have all the right tools (directors who have done good previous work, stellar cast), but even the most positive reviews on both films admit they are largely flawed attempts. And Just Friends seems like yet another waste of the usually funny Ryan Reynolds, who needs to start picking some smarter roles.

And the only other news worth mentioning is another tragic passing in the entertainment industry. Mr. Miyagi, Pat Morita has passed away. The guy had a long history of good work, but was obviously best known for the Karate Kid movies. My condolences go out to his family and friends.

That's really it for today, hopefully I'll have some time to update Saturday or Sunday though.


To play or not to play

Yup, I got my 360 at midnight. I pretty much immediately listed it on ebay. But, being the rabid gamer that I am, it is taking plenty of will power to just let it and Perfect Dark Zero just sit in my room unopened. I just have to keep reminding myself that it will be worth it in a couple of months when I can most likely get one and a few games at a good used price.

Thankfully Dragon Quest VIII is keeping me very occupied so far. It really is old school in all the good and bad ways. good ways in that it has great focus on story and characters, bad in that you can only save at churches in towns, no auto-mapping and you have to go to church to determine how close you are to a level up.

I did see both Goblet of Fire and Walk the Line over the weekend, and definitely reccomend both. Goblet of Fire was pretty good, but anyone who read the book will notice a lot missing, which may hurt it for the hardcore Potter crowd. Walk the Line features oscar-worthy performances from both Joaquin Phoenix & Reese Witherspoon (who do all their own singing and sound great), my only problem was this had sort of a deja vu feel as it pretty much follows the same path as Ray (poor & traumatic childhood, quick rise, lots of affairs, nearly ruined by drugs then makes a big comeback).

Ok, that's really all for today, but I'll talk about this week's movies either tommorow or Friday.


Well, I guess I won't be sleeping in on Tuesday then....

Okay, apparently there was a funny little mix-up and it turns out that yes I will be getting my 360 launch day. My reaction was somewhat akin to Balki Bartokomous doing the dance of joy. It was definitely an unexpected feeling, since I wasn't that pumped about the 360. It's the irritional gamer in me. The same one that I can normally keep under control cause if I didn't I'd max out my credit cards on just about every game system out there. The irritional gamer in me wants the 360 if for no other reason that it's a new system with new games. Luckily my rational side is a lot stronger and realizes that if I wait till a solid library of games I want are available for it (which at this point looks like next fall), I can probably get a used one and some games at a very good price. The only systems to date i have bought at launch were the Xbox & the Gamceube and although I don't regret the actual purchase, I regret not waiting about 7 months because they both dropped $100 in price and head a decent library rather than the meager launch lineup I was initially stuck with.

I've only devled a little bit into Dragon Quest VIII at this juncture, but my initial fears have been laid to rest. The characters are still a little to reiminiscent of Dragonball, but the world looks gogreous and the system is a classic turned-based one that actually does just enough to stay away from being archaic. But like any good rpg the real treat is the characters (who have some of the best voice acting I've heard in a long time) and the beautifully realized world you explore. This may actually be one of the last good traditional rpgs. so those who are fans of that dying sub-genre may want to pick it up.

Contained within the DQ VIII casing was a playable demo of the long awaited Final Fantasy XII, and boy are things different. I'm not even really sure how to accurately describe the rather bizarre battle system here. Actually I guess it would be somewhat akin to that of an MMORPG, where you sort of have turns, but eveyrthing is still pretty much done in real time and you engage enemies on the field map rather than go into some battle stage. It takes a little adjusting, but I like what I've played so far. FF XII is months awaym though, so we'll see what if any fine tuning will do to it.


Guess I can sleep in on Tuesday....

So, I just came back from my local Gamestop today after picking up Dragon Quest VIII, and I've been told that even though I reserved my 360 over 5 months ago, I won't be getting one on launch day. My local Gamestop is only getting a measly 12 units. I'll most likely get it within a couple of weeks after launch, but there's always something special about being able to get something on launch day. I'd probably be more pissed if I had allowed myself to get all psyched about the launch, but since I'm pretty much still set on selling the sucker anyways, that just hopefully means I'll sell it in time for a happy new year rather than a merry Christmas.

Moving on two very big movies are out tommorow-Walk the Line and Harry Potter & The Goblet of Fire. I'm going to see the first showing of Goblet of Fire tommorrow morning and I can't wait, I've enjoyed every Potter film so far, and they seem to get better with each successive film, this one looking to be no exception. Walk the Line looks excellent as well and has good word of mouth, so I'll probably try and catch it this weekend if I have the time and energy. That's it for now, but I'll probably do another update this weekend.


Over 220 launch titles?!?

Well, technically speaking, that's what the Xbox 360 will launch with. Note that only 18 of these are actual stand-alone 360 titles though:
  • Amped 3 (2K Sports)
  • Call of Duty 2 (Activision)
  • Condemned: Criminal Origins (SEGA)
  • FIFA Soccer 06 Road to 2006 FIFA World Cup (Electronic Arts)
  • GUN (Activision)
  • Kameo: Elements of Power (Microsoft Game Studios)
  • Madden NFL 06 (Electronic Arts)
  • NBA 2K6 (2K Sports)
  • NBA LIVE 06 (Electronic Arts)
  • Need for Speed Most Wanted (Electronic Arts)
  • NHL 2K6 (2K Sports)
  • Perfect Dark Zero (Microsoft Game Studios)
  • Peter Jackson's King Kong: The Official Game of the Movie (Ubisoft)
  • Project Gotham Racing 3 (Microsoft Game Studios)
  • Quake 4 (Activision)
  • Ridge Racer 6 (Namco)
  • Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 06 (Electronic Arts)
  • Tony Hawk's American Wasteland (Activision)
The other 200+ titles will comprise of the rather impresive starting list of backwards compatible titles you can play with the hard drive, you can get the known list here.

Not quite enough you say? There will also be a nice mix of titles in the Xbox live arcade for download come launch day including classics like Joust & Gauntlet (which if I've heard correctly, can be played on live against other people, that's pretty fucking sweet). So there will be something for just about everybody come launch day.

A few reviews are up already as well, and so far the killer app appears to be Project Gotham Racing 3, which I have seen in action and looks amazing, but it's still a car game and I'm not a car guy. Perfect Dark Zero has not been reviewed yet, so we'll have to see how that goes.

Two rather noteworthy rpgs hit this week for the PS2. Magna Carta: Tears of Blood & Dragon Quest VIII.
Magna Carta oddly enough has nothing to do with the famous document that is its namesake, it is more along the lines of games like Shadow Hearts, with a dark twist and an interesting timing system instead of your traditional rpg bouts. I said my piece awhile ago about the really poor demo of Dragon Quest VIII, and while I stand by my views of the demo, reviews across the board have been nothing short of stellar, so I am very tempted to pick it up.

Sonic's other archenemy, Shadow the Hedgehog, also gets his own game out this week. Again, I still have an issue with giving a character from Sonic's stable a gun as that not only doesn't really fit the traditional gameplay, but obviously disposes with the rather light-hearted feel of the series. it does sound interesting that they've added a whole pick your side element, but in reality the last good Sonic game was for the Sega CD, and I feel that won't change here.

One other thing before I go. Eddie Guerrero passed away this weekend. I admit my interest in the WWE has waned greatly the past few years, but I always made sure to watch any time Eddie Guerrero was on. He was a brilliant athlete, and although I can't claim to know him personally, seemed like one hell of a guy. He overcame being a minority, a cruiserwieght, a car crash and a long addiction to painkillers to get to his spot in the WWE the last few years. He will be sorely missed and my deepest condolences go out to his family, friends and the millions of fans like me who would give just about anything to see him lie, cheat and steal just one more time.

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Jumanji in space, what a brilliant idea!

Ok, Jumanji was by no means a brilliant film, but it was kind of a fun stupid big effects movie. But Zathura is exactly what it sounds like-wacky adventures playing a board game that takes place in space instead of a deadly jungle. It's gotten suprsingly solid reviews so far, but it really just looks annoying to me, especially with the two annoying kids in the lead.

But Zathura seems like a better bet than this week's other releases. Derailed-With Clive Owen and Jennifer Aniston is just gonna be another one of those mysteries that just twists and turns til nothing makes any sense. Pride & Prejudice-another crappy Jane Austen inspired pile that is once again about upper class vs. lower class and how love gets over all that. And finally, 50 cent doing his best to follow in Eminem's footsteps with Get Rich or Die Trying. I'd actually be interested in seeing that if I could ever understand a fucking word the guy says, he just mumbles everything.

The only noteworthy game release i haven't already touched on this week is Suikoden Tactics. This reperesents a new direction for the series, but maybe not in a good way. It counts down the massive character list by half and while it does away with all the horrid things in the last entry, it also ditches the cool things from previous episodes in the series with it's focus on turn-based strategy. But then again I could use a solid SRPG so i might at least give this one a serious look.

All right, that's really all for today, but I'll try and update again sometime this weekend.


Annie get your GUN

Ok, so after thinking on it a little while, I've sort of decided that not talking about the games coming out every week doesn't really work either, so I'll compromise and talk about games that I give a rat's ass about, so this particular entry will also somewhat focus on catching up on releases the last couple of weeks.

But first, I'll talk about this past weekend's films. I saw both Jarhead & Chicken Little. Jarhead was a very solid film with really strong performances. Especially Peter Sarsgard in what should be an easy supporting actor nomination. It actually manages to be very different from most other wars films because it speaks of the boredom of war. It's all about the endless waiting and anticipation of action that never seems to come.

Chicken Little was suprisingly weak. Maybe there is some special spell that Pixar knows to crank out magical films one after the other, but nobody else can really seem to create films that are not only visually impressive, but have memorable and endearing characters as well as good stories. Chicken Little lacks all of that in spades. It's poor story seems like several bad ones cast together, his sidekicks are about as generic as they come, and the laughs are few and far between, which is saying a lot when it's only 77 minutes long. The opening box office was expectedly strong, but I hope it dies quickly so Disney at least learns that you shouldn't be able to get away with flashy crap like this and label it "entertainment".

This weekend's films don't look too promising either (I'll get into why on Thursday), but I can highly reccomend two recent video releases for you to check out instead-Millions, a brilliant family movie by Danny Boyle about two boys who discover a bag full of stolen money; and Refer Madness: The Musical-A brilliant sendup of the original cult classic with lots of funny song & dance numbers thrown in. Either of these films would be a good bet for this weekend.

Want to play a 360 game now? Not only do they have display kiosks at Walmart & Best Buy, but some 360 games have already hit the shelves-Kameo is already out. All I'm gonna say is that it would really suck to buy the game and not be able to get a 360 on launch day. The 360 controllers are out too, but they have a function-they are also PC compatible.

Alas, any lingering shred of doubt about selling my 360 dissapeared with the quiet delay of Elder Scrolls: Oblivion into the next year. I think this is a true blow to the 360 launch, as a lot of people I know were sold on that game alone. Now, don't get me wrong, there are plenty of stellar-looking titles for launch (Perfect Dark Zero is looking better by the day), but for me that was the killer app, and now I can most certainly wait.

Now, catching up on past releases: I am extremely tempted to buy City of Villains. It just sounds cool (especially with my credit for Oblivion just sitting at Gamestop) to have your own fort and legions of doom, not to mention battling City of Heroes players (although from what I've read the Heroes far outnumber the villains right now, which could lead to obvious problems in PvP. But I'm certainly not done with Warcraft and the last thing I need is another huge time suck like it. I'll probably hold off til I'm bored with WOW(which may happen relatively soon since i'm nearing the level cap and the expansion isn't out til July), but there are severa MMOs that look extremely interesting now (I've always wanted to get into Final Fantasy XI) and plenty on the way (Dungeons & Dragons is finally getting its own MMO early next year).

The latest James Bond title also came out recently from EA, and like most EA titles, it's big on presentation, and lacking in sunbstance. I'm not shocked but dissapointed that EA has chosen to mine old titles Goldeneye & From Russia With Love. The Bond titles sucked for years. The first good one in a long time was the original Everything or Nothing. It really seems like the last few years EA has been sitting on nothing but their past laurels. It may not be anytime real soon, but eventually that's going to really kick them in the ass. And I will be laughing when it does.

I also recently played Soul Calibur III & Spartan. Soul Calibur is an excellnt game series, and the third one doesn't really change that. The probably is that it barely changes anything. The new modes are repetive or pathetically boring, the new characters don't really add anything, and where the hell is online play? The underlying engine still rocks, but you can buy Soul Calibur II and get the same experience with better modes. In Spartan I was just lost. You are one soldier in a huge crowd and although you get really cool manuevers, just try pulling something fancy off when enemies are gangbanging you left and right. It's much more effective(though admittedly really dull) to just hack through everything). Plus, it has escort missions, which are the ultimate evil in gaming.

But the most recent releases this week and last week mostly focus on guns, lots of them. War freaks can get their war on with several different titles-Star Wars Battlefront 2, Call of Duty 2 and Battlefield 2. SW: Battlefront 2 seems like the best bet if for no other reason than you can not only fight in space but kick major ass a a Jedi. Plus, modern day or historic war games are a dime a dozen. Oddly enough, futuristic ones are few and far between.

GUN, Activision's attempt to do something other than Tony Hawk games also comes out this week. They are selling it as a GTA style game in the old west, but I've seen the gameplay and the reviews seem to concur that's it's not nearly as deep or offers as many hours as other "sandbox" titles.

Finally, a new Matrix game hits this week. And it finally lets you play as Neo. The problem is that will anyone care? The original Matrix game was pure crap. The Matrix online is a massive failure, and most fans felt burned by the rather lackluster sequels. Who knows, maybe this will finally redeem the franchise.

Ok, that's really all for today, but i'll be back tommorow for sure.


Did the Mouse lay an Egg?

Today's question won't really be answered til monday, but a whole lot is riding on Disney's Chicken Little, their forst computer animated film without the seemingly infallible Pixar touch behind it. I'm sure the kids will flock to it, but unless it's in near record numbers, Pixar will be laughing all the way to the bank as Disney will desperately try to lure them back. But I think the real question is, just what the hell has happened to Disney animation over the last decade or so? Their last truly venerable animated hit before Pixar came along was The Lion King. There has been an undervalued gem or two since then (Emperor's New Groove), but otherwise the House of Mouse has released many tepid offerings that appealed to neither kids or adults (Treasure Planet, several forgettable Winnie the Pooh films, etc.). The quality of the animation itself hasn't died down, but that's probably part of the problem-too wrapped up in how a movie looks than whether the characters & story is actually interesting. Maybe the recent shakeup at Disney is a long overdue sign of change-only time will tell.

This weekend's other big offering will tell whether people are tired of war stories-Jarhead features an acclaimed director (Sam Mendes) and a stellar cast (Jake Gyllenhal, Jamie Foxx, Peter Sarsgaard), but it may be an all to often visited view on war from a soldier's perspective, especially in a time when people are pretty tired of war.

That's really all for today, I'll definitely update again tommorow or sunday though.


WOW Rantings & Ravings Vol. 1

The header is sort of joke. As I have stated, I will not make this a column mainly devoted to WOW, but I will occasionally talk about it. And with Blizzcon, where they are showcasing the upcoming expansion pack for WOW going on this weekend, it seemed like a good opportunity to talk about my thoughts on the expansion as it's now known and my experiences with the game.

First thought-the methods of travel need to be vastly improved. Currently there are three realistic options to get to anywhere-foot/ mount, griffin or begging some mage to teleport you there. While there's nothing theoretically wrong with traveling on foot it just takes awhile. The real problem is with the griffins. I admit, the first few times I flew on a griffin, it was pretty cool. You get to see new places as you are flying over, and it has a very majestic feeling. The problem is that it is much like your modern day bargain bin flights, only without the fun strip searches. There is no direct flight path to many cities, and you have to make many stops if you are trying to get to a particularly far place. And it's not like you can get transfers, so it can get costly & time consuming jetting around from city to city. Now, I can ask a player to teleport me, but that can also take a whole lot of time, be costly, and pointless if there's no one available. The simple solution-Have NPC teleporters that can teleport you to any city/refuge you've already traveled to. It should cost a bit more since it's a more convient way of traveling, but I think most would gladly pay extra in order to get there fast. It would also stop greedy mages from ripping people off (or least have them offer bargain bin discounts).

Second thought-New Class: Ambassador. Now I know that Blizzard has repeatedly stated that it is (understandbly) incredibly hard to to balance the current classes, which is why we probably won't be seeing a new one anytime real soon. But I think an Ambassador class would benot only an ideal and original addition, but a fairly easy fit. The idea is this-although some players really keep to heart the whole Aliiance vs. Horde thing, many (including myself) get along fine with suppossed enemies and even occasionally help out if possible. The downside is that we can't really communicate with each other or team up. The Ambassador would be a solution to that. Your basic tool would be the use of language. You can team up with members of an opposite faction and if you are on a party they can invite members of another faction. As far as attack, your powers would focus and crowd control-lowering agression of nearby enemies, charming (which most magic clases dcan do to some extent, but this would be much more focused), and be able to talk to enemies in their language and listen so they reveal key locations of items, bosses, etc. I think it would truly add a unique dimension of gameplay.

Now, onto the expansion itself. Not everything has been revealed as of yet, but honestly the tidbits that have been aren't that exciting. Don't get me wrong, being able to explore the orc homeworld sounds very cool-

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But the new level cap doesn't really solve the end game issue, just prolongs it a little. And then there's the new races. While the Alliance race hasn't been revealed yet, the Horde race, the Blood Elves, Seem like a fairly poor choice.

Blizzard has pretty much admitted to the Blood Elves being there to offer a "sexy" race for the Horde side. The Horde isn't supposssed to be sexy. They are suppossed to be a mostly vicious, ugly and cruel group built on an uneasy alliance that seems about to break at any moment (which might be something WOW can touch upon in the next expansion, whenever that is). These Blood Elves just look like Night Elves with a different hue. Hopefully the gameplay difference will make up for the lack of creativity there, but if that's the biggest selling point of this expansion, I may skip it for awhile.

Moving on from WOW, I've sort of decided to scale back on my focus on game releases. Not in the sense that I'll really stop talking about them, more that I'll talk about them when I get to play with them so I can give a better opinion on them. It may mean I'm giving an opinion about a game months after it's out, but it's not like I'm really under any pressure or get paid to do this. That's it for today.


Legend of Zorro? More like Suck of Zorro. Saw 2? More like Suck 2. Weather Man? More like; well, you get the idea....

Today's title was inpsired by a very funny PVP comic I ran across:

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Another weekend, another slate of lame releases. I mean, seriously, nothing coming out this weekend looks promising in the least. Sure, Weatherman has Nicholas Cage & Michael Cane, but it also has hackjob driector Gore Verbinski (The Ring, one of the least scary horror movies of the last decade) behind the helm and seems almost like a retread of Family Man, just without the fantasy element. Saw II is a crappy slapped together sequel to an excruciatingly bad original, only with even worse actors this time.
Then there's Prime with Uma Thurman & Meryl Streep . The premise itself sounds interesting enough-A neurotic woman starts dating a much younger man who is also her therapist's (Streep) son. But the trailers seemed to really strain for laughs that just aren't there.
And finally there is the Legend of Zorro. You know how this automatically sucks-they added an annoying kid. It's always the death knell of a franchise to add a child. In other words, this weekend I will be catching up on movies I should've seen ahile ago like History of Violence.

Moving on, I did see Doom last Sunday, and it didn't suck, automatically making it the best video game adaptation in quite a while(arguably ever, but I actually liked the first Resident Evil movie & the first Mortal Kombat movie). It was far from a great film, but it had some good action, cool monsters and was faithful to it's video game origins.

Dear god-Uwe Boll can't be stopped. First, he acquires the rights to make an awful movie based on the awful game Postal, but before he unleashes that atrocity on the public-he's going to release his $60 million dollar "epic" fantasy Dungeon Siege as two seperate films. Hardly a new tactic, but these two films are only going to be a month apart. If he ever does get the right to make a film based on the Warcraft franchise I'm going on a little hunting trip in Germany....


Doomed if you do, Doomed if you don't.

Yeah, I could go see a possibly oscar-worthy peromorfmance by Charlize Theron in North Country, or a mind-bending thriller from the director of Monster's Ball in Stay, but being the video game nut that I am, I need to see Doom this weekend. Granted, if it looked really horrible or had a hint of Uwe Boll anywhere near it I would not give it a shot. But it looks like it really captures the game well, provieds high violence with a healthy R rating rather than a demo-friendly PG-13, and I love the Rock as the next big thing in action. But I heard Rock's role in this may be akin to Steven Seagal's role in Executive decision, but as long as there is plenty of carnage I'm there.

One film I will definitely not be checking out this weekend or ever is Dreamer with Dakota Fanning. Fanning is arguably the most brilliant child actress in years (hell maybe decades), but this obviously cheesy Seabiscuit wannabe is so obviously hokey and made up manipulative crap for little kids who have a thing for horsies.


The Gift for the ubernerd in every World of Warcraft player.

The World or Warcraft is a staggeringly huge place with many things you may never discover even if you play for years. That being said, many free online guides are available and the in-game map is very well done also-So why in God's name would any idiot go and waste his money on a freaking Atlas for the game?

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It's another huge week of relesases for most systems this week.

Never gotten into an MMORPG? Maybe you might want to start with the grandaddy of them all-Ultima Online-the 8th age includes the original game and all the expansion packs so far, for the bargain price of $20. Why only $20? Cause the game is ridiclously dated and most other contenders have far surpassed it, you can tell by the desperation of the packaging-along with all those expansions comes 45 free days, free online items and an advanced character in case you don't wanna start at the bottom cause you know the only people left playing this are Lord British's most diehard subjects.

For some reason, a disturbing new trend this past year is brigning back licenses that were popular a generation or two ago. The latest is the video game take on the cult classic-The Warriors by Rockstar games for the PS2 & Xbox. I haven't played it yet, but judging from all the reviews, other than the plot it doesn't sound much different from Grand Theft Auto. You commit crimes, beat the hell out of rival gang memebers, etc.-The only difference being that you can play with other people. I think a real innvation to this whole genre would be realsitic management of a gang-Recruting menbers, keeping an eye on potential rivals, setting up a relationship with crooked cops, etc. The whole genre just seems to be incredibly stale no matter what era you put it in.

Possibly the last noteworthy Gamecube game of the year also comes out this week-Fire Emblem. It's fairly traditional strategy rpg-It's also the only one on the GC, so if you have one do yourself a favor and pick it up.

3 Huge shooters release this week. Serious Sam II-You like blowing lots of shit up at a insane pace with a good sense of humor thrown in-go with Sam. The graphics and gameplay are about as old-school as you can get, but there's definitely a good charm factor becuase of that. The latest Quake game is out this week as well. You played Doom 3? It's the same crap only they were smart enough to let you use a guna and a flashlight at the same fucking time in this game.
The new big dog is F.E.A.R. for the PC-all accounts say this game essentially captures the feel of being in a Jon Woo style gunfight. I'm not huge into shooters, I haven't played one since Halo 2, but I the reviews are so resoundingly psitive on F.E.A.R. that I may have to at least check it out.

Blitz: the League hits stores as well. It's suppsoedly an alternative to the No Fun League games that EA has a monopoly on now, but I've seen the gameplay and it fails to seem any different from the same rehashed NFL Blitz formula that got old years ago.

But the two games I am really interested in this week are Shadow of the Colossus and Shining Force Neo for PS2. Shadow of the Colossus is the sipritual succesor to a little brilliant cult game called Ico, in which every room was a brilliantly concieved puzzle you had to get through while protecting a mysterious princess. This new title is from the same team, but instead each boss is essentially a huge intricate puzzle. Shing Force Neo is the long overdue follow-up to what is the originator of turn-based strategy console games that started way back on the Genesis. But it's no longer a turn-based strategy title. It's an action adventure where you have a party of AI controlled team mates. It's not the classic return I was hoping for, but as long as the gameplay rocks, I really won't care.

Finally-It has become readily apparent that Ted Turner is out of touch with time & reality even more so than usual. This week-Gametap, a PC online gaming service launched. For a monthly fee you can download classic console titles. Apparently Billioaire ted or nobody that works for him has ever heard of an emulator....

Gabe & Tycho are my heroes

Joss Whedon may be my master, but Gabe & Tycho's massive pwnage of Jack Thompson this week earns them my completely unworthy worship for at least a good while. Remember how Thompson pledged 10,000 dollars to charity if anybody made a videogame according to his specifications? Well, somebody actually went ahead and did it; and big suprise, Thompson claimed he was only joking. Gabe & Tycho's response-donating 10,000 to charity in Mr. Thompson's name!

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Jack Thompson's response-Trying to have them arrested(just what failure of a University gave this moron his law degree anyways?):

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Yes he is a senile old coot that us gamers should laugh at. Here's the problem as Gabe & Tycho have pointed out-People are giving this guy some fucking attention. He was on CNN Monday night telling more blatant lies. Specifically that the NFL wanted nothing to do with Midway's upcoming Blitz: The League game because of it's edgier content than a normal football title when the reality is that the only reason the game is even being made is in response to EA's buying the rights to any & all NFL games. This man needs to be taken seriously, called on all his total bullshit, and recognized for the dregg of society that he truly is.

Moving on, game demos can be a very crucial thing, as they can make or break a game. That's why I was very disheartened trying out the new Dragon Warrior VIII demo I got by reserving said game. With all my highly anticipated rpgs quietly slipping to 2006 (Kingdom Hearts 2, Final Fantasy XII, Shadow Hearts 3, etc.), I was really hoping the latest Dragon Warrior would be able to fill my rpg needs. If the demo is any indication, it will fall way short of that. Not only do the characters look like Dragonball Z rejects:

, but the preview is very oddly put together, seperating a story quest where all you do is talk to people until you find the right one, and showing off a very basic battle system that shows little to no innovation along with very bad translation. There is nothing here to indicate why in a country where they release rpgs as often as we release sports titles, why it is the best-selling PS2 game ever. Granted the Japanese have very quirky taste when it comes to their gaming, but this seems like some relic dressed up with fancy artistry that I personally don't care for.

Finally today, I got some time in with Nightmare Before Christmas: Oogie's Revenge. I wasn't sure what to expect of a title based of such an awesome movie but made nearly a decade later, but Capcom has pulled off a fairly decent effort with it. Presentation-wsie, the game is flawless, the characters & look of Halloweentown are represented very well, and it features great original music & lyrics with some help from the legendary Danny Elfman. Combat-wise, it's really not much different from Capcom titles like Devil May Cry where you work up massive hit combos with a few very cool weapons. And just for the sake of weirdness, which sort of fits, boss battles really depend on how good you are at Parappa the Rapper-style sequences. It's nothing I would highly reccomend, but worth a rental.

That's it for today, but I'll be back tommorow with views on all the big games hitting this week.


Jack Thompson-Video game maker?

That's right, Jack Thompson, senile insane crusader, wants to make a video game! The catch? It's a video game that blatantly supports his view that video games are bad for you. If this guy is actually responsible for anything significant ever (instead of just latching his name on to reasonable legislation he had nothing to do with) I am moving to Canada.

Even more bad news-After confirming Edler Scrolls IV for Xbox 360 launch, developer Betheseda is quickly correcting that, just sticking to vague "holiday release". Not only that, butthe PC version is currently listed as 10 bucks cheaper. Selling my 360 for a hopefully insane profit is looking like a better option all the time.

Moving on into movies, although an official announcement will suppossedly be made sometime today, word is that Craig Daniels is the newest James Bond.

In my opinion he looks the least right for the role out of most of the other supposed front-runners (Hugh Jackman, Clive Owen, Jason Statham, who would've been my choice). But maybe this also means a new direction for Bond, which is probably badly needed at this point.

Three movies open this weekend that I could really care less about. Sure, Elizabeth town is a Cameron Crowe film, but his last few films all seem to be roughly the same movie-Young man rediscovers what he was missing in his life by meeting a vibrant young woman. It was pretty much the theme in Almost Famous, moreso in Jerry Maguire, and it just seems to be the only point of this movie.
Then there's Domino with Keira Knightley playing a real life model turned kickass bounty hunter. This initially looked somewhat promising, but further ispection by early reviews seems to indicate otherwise.
And finally the Fog. A remake of a fairly stupid John carpenter orignal with a cast of known but not big name actors (Tom Welling from Smallvile, Maggie Grace from Lost, Selma Blair) and yet another cheesy bad horror theme. I think I'll go catch History of Violence or Wallace & Gromit instead.....


MCcarthy, that was one of the Beatles, right?

Although it isn't a direct quote from anybody, I guarauntee you most of today's youth sadly has no fucking clue who Joseph MCcarthy is, and that's just sad. All the more reason they should go see George Clooney's Good Night and Good Luck-All about MCcarthy and his insane vendetta against imaginary enemies, and the one guy who had the integrity and spine to take him on-Edward R. Murrow. From all accounts it is an excellent portrayal of the events and rings shockingly relevant to current events as well (just goes to show that the world never changes all that much).

But, if like me, your ony major theater isn't even carrying that film, a pleasant alternative might be Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Wererabbit. Anybody who has seen Wallace & Gromit's video effrots knows that it's as very clever show even for adults. The movie has also gotten ridiculously positive reviews, so I'll hopefully check it out in the next couple of days.

The weeknd's other offerings seem much less promising.Two for The Money seems like a stupid carbon copy of just about any movie about a young hot protege who screws up big time and doesn't realize he's in way over his head (i.e. The Firm, which was also a horrid film). Waiting seemingly has a great cast, but glaringly bad reviews across the board, which usually means something, and In Her Shoes screams chick flick in every way possible.

The other big movie news this week is that Peter Jackson is taking the job of Executive producer for the upcoming Halo film. Let's pray this guy didn't just get lucky with LOTR. I ghighly doubt it, but we'll really have to wait til Kong is out to be sure. But it does seem like Halo is destined to be the first videogame movie that is more than just decent, and may actually be awesome.

Finally, the Xbox 360 launch limeup is starting to take form, and i'm offiically pumped. Perfect Dark is looking great if you've seen any recent videos and it's confiremed for launch day, along with Dead or Alive 4, Project Gotham Racing 3, Kameo, and several solid sports titles. But in my opinion the true killer app will be Elder Scrolls: Oblivion, which has officially been confirmed for launch day. Between that & WOW, assuming I'm still playing it, I may dissapear from the face of the Earth for several months, if not years....


Dying is easy, Good TV is hard

I haven't really mentioned the new fall season much, mainly cause there hasn't been much worth tlaking about. Most of the shows I have had high hopes for have sucked royally-Prison Break, Bones, Reunion Martha Stewart's apprentice (ok, I was expecting that to suck, but not because Martha is playing faux nice and not being the heartless bitch she's known for). But two shows have surprisingly seemed to rise about the rest of the fall garbage.

First, My Name is Earl with Jason Lee-It's about a slimy loser who lead a bad life, until he started believing in karma and decided to right all his past wrongs. It sounds cheesy & hokey, but smart writing truly makes this show work for now, we'll have to see if they go anywhere with it, though.

Second, Kitchen Confidential-This is what the big surprise for me was. I only even bothered checking it out because it has Xander(Nicholas Brendan) from Buffy in it, and it's an amazingly fast & sharp show that captures very well the intensity of running a five-star restauraunt. And it's already shown some good character development in a few episodes, which is a good sign as well.

Now, let's talk about Serenity. I saw it this weekend, and it was brilliant. I was hoping the opening take would be some huge suprise, thus guaranteeing the future of the franchise, but it made a very solid showing, and if most fans are spreading word and going to see it at least a few more times (I'm seeing it at least two more), it should do very well. But if for some reason it doesn't continue, it's a very fitting sendoff for fans. But just don't take my word for it, take Orson Scott Card's, the writer of the Sci-Fi classic Ender's Game

Ok, that's it for today. Go see Serenity! Again!


Joss Whedon is my Master now...

It's not just a motto, it's a T-Shirt! But finally, after what seems like forever, the long-awaited space western Serenity hits theatres tommorow. I can easily say that my expectations on this movie are going to be extremely high, simply because nothing Joss Whedon has ever done has ever been short of excellent. This is not just the dude who created Buffy the Vampire Slayer & Angel. He wrote Toy Story (still Pixar's best film IMO), made the X-Men script not suck(along with countless others as his early career as a script doctor, wrote some truly great episodes of Roseanne in its early years, and wrote the screenplay for the extremely underrated Titan A.E.

History is also in Joss' favor on Serenity. Failed TV shows or movies that by some miracle keep going tend to become huge successes. Star Trek, Naked Gun(which spawned from the failed Police Squad series), Family Guy, and even Joss Whedon's own Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which he turned from a mediocre campy comedy box office flop into a critically-acclaimed show with a huge cult fanbase. Mark my words, this will be the next Star Wars if people actually give it a fucking chance (hopefully without the crappy prequels 20 years down the line)

A movie like Serenity would also pretty much be the only thing that could pull me away from this weekend's other offering-Jessica Alba in a bikini! That really seems to be the only thing Into the Blue has going for it. Paul Walker is more wooden than Keanu Reaves could ever aspire to be (and Reaves has occasionally pulled off a good performance every now & then) and it really seems like your standard cheesy action flick.

In the video-game side, I have gotten some quality time with X-Men Legends II and I can say it is definitely a quality sequel. I'm only dissapointed in the character selection (not with who's available, just should be a lot more) and the character designs actually look somewhat horrendous on certain characters.

And it's yet another week of several high-profile videogames. I'm starting to wonder if they are even saving anything for November.

Far Cry: Instincts for Xbox should be in stores now. The game supossedly is fairly revolutionary for having virually no draw-in (meaning nothing magically starts appearing and you can literally see miles off in the distance) and a good balance between stealth and pure action gameplay since you can set traps for enemies as well as blast the hell out of them. Maybe if I get an itching to play an FPS other than Half-Life 2 (which granted, I've barely touched), I'll pick it up on PC.

The Suffering: Ties That Bind is out on PS2 & Xbox. If you never played the original, it's essentially Resident Evil with a whole lot more ammo, which is why I really enjoyed the original. I'm sure this one will be equally as good.

Possibly the last remaining quality platformer series-Sly Cooper comes out with its third installment this week. All I'll say is this is pretty much your only option is you still enjoy 3D platforming action that doesn't look like something your younger sibling would play with.

And finaly, yet another Pokemon game is out for the Gamecube. Granted, Pokemon XD: Gate of Drakness is only the second game for the GC, but it's about the billionth game in the series. I've always said that if you actually got a solid story behind the game, I'd gladly buy a Pokemon title, but they all seem to focus on collecting the animals rather than having a story with good characters.

That's all for today. GO SEE SERENITY!!!


Necrophilia at its finest....

Although it's obviously just another wonderfully weird Burton fantasy, one could look at Corpse Bride and see a rather disturbing underlying theme there. But as Nightmare Before Christmas is one of my favorite films of all time, I've definitely been eagerly awaiting this long overdue follow-up (although I'd prefer a new movie starring Jack Skellington and Co.). Even if it doesn't live up to its promise, like all Burton films it will be one weirdly fascinating ride.

Another film opening this weekend I badly would like to see is A History of Violence with Viggo Mortensen, Ed Helms & Maria Bello. The trailers look excellent, and it's gotten all kinds of film fest awards already. Unfortunately, it's only in select cities (which never means smaller ones like Chico), so I'll probably have to wait for video.

And finally, Jodie Foster comes back to the screen in Flightplan. Although it looks like a solid thriller, the ads are a shining example to trailers revealing far too much. Because either they are going to totally screw with the audience and actually have that the daughter never got on the plane, or any explanation as to why no one on the plane believes her is going to be so ridiculous it'll pretty much kill the film.

Ok, that's all for today.


It's like I'm in some new bizarro world....

"I want to give kudos for Nintendo for its attempt at innovation with the new controller," Moore commented, saying that the new device would -"bring people in that, as Iwata-san said, are either lapsed gamers or gamers that are intimidated by the complexity of the controller." That would be Microsoft's Peter Moore actually praising the Big N's radical new controller. Very odd to hear that when all the companies have just been trash-talking each other since around E3.

And while I promised this wouldn't be a column completely about WOW (although it pretty much occupies all my free time now), I will post occasional tidbits that seem interesting to me. Apparently, a plague has hit WOW, and it was completely unintentional. There is this powerful god that can infect players with a disease. The disease can be cured/survived, but it's also contagious, and many players have apparently been running back to a town before the disease is purged from their character. It then infects other players, and unless you are fairly high lvl, it will quickly kill your character. GMs have even been reportedly quarantining afflicted characters in an attempt to get a handle on it. I haven't run into it yet, but it's sort of interesting how these things can develop unintentionally.

And after a few months of barely anything for gamers, no less then 12 noteworthy titles have come out for the consoles and PC this week. YIKES.

First up are two titles that you might have already played, since they were actually released last year-Ninja Gaiden Black for Xbox & Fable: The Lost Chapters for PC. Now, the key thing about Ninja Gaiden:Black, in addition to new content, is that now it has an easy mode, just to make you feel like a total pussy for not being able to beat its insane difficulty last time. Fable:TLC is all about new content, as the biggest complaint was that the Xbox version was too short. Since the game was actually designed with the Xbox controller in mind, it'll be interesting to see how it performs on your standard keybooard mouse setup, but it should be a nice way to fill the time til Elder Scrolls: Oblivion comes out.

Myst V is out this week on PC. I hate the Myst series. It's always been a stirring example of what's wrong with the whole point & click genre, and why it's probably better left off dead (although I'll change my tune if a new King's Quest, Space Quest, Monkey Island or Sam & Max game comes out).

And what might be the answer to slow-moving adventure titles like Myst, Indigo Prophecy is out this week for consoles and PC. It's about a man who apparently committed a murder, but doesn't remember doing it. The key feature here is that the game plays out very differently depending on your actions (i.e. you can hide the body, or just run) and it's also played from different perspectives. Everyone is calling this the sleeper hit of the year so far and I can't wait to try it out.

Although it came out last week, I didn't really mention Evil Dead: Regeneration, cause I wanted to wait till a few reviews came in. Now they have, andf its pretty much confirmed my suspicions. Despite the fact that it features some damn funny orginal duialogue, and a dead midget sidekick that you can actually kick, it's still a crap game just like all the Evil Dead titles. I know Evil Dead simply survives on its psycho cult fanbase, but a good game might help build it (and maybe build momentum for a long overdue movie sequel!)

Kingdom Under Fire: Heroes for the Xbox is out this week as well, and it might be the last option for Xbox live players looking for something outside the usual sports & FPS titles on Live. It's essentially like Dynasty Warriors, but with a lot more emphasis and squad strategy and taking place in a medieval fantasy setting. My only complaint about the rather brilliant original was that the battles can be overly long, so if you don't mind that or are looking for a break from the usual fare, this would be a good pickup.

The sequel to Katamari Damacy, We Love Katamari is out this week on PS2, featuring more rolling-ball insanity and a fully fleshed out two-player mode. It also comes with a higher price tag than the original, at $30 instead of $20. Probably still a bargain, but If I'm going to pay significantly more, I'd expect a wider variety of modes (online, minigames, etc.).

The latest Mortal Kombat Game, Shaolin Monks is out. It's a spin off action title featuring Liu Kang & Kung Lao. Generally speaking, fighting game characters starring in their own titles always turn out poorly. The reviews so far have been suprisingly solid, but given my loathing for all things MK the last few years, I'll wait till I play it to pass judgement one way or the other.

Finally, three huge super hero-based titles come out this week, Ultimate Spider-Man, X-Men Legends II & Marvel Nemesis: Rise of The Imperfects. Ulitmate Spider-Man takes a distinctly new look from the newset comic, and also lets you play as Venom, his coolest arch-enemy. The same great web-swinging acrobatcis are back, but supposedly, they left the lame combat in as well, so I'm taking a wait and see attitude on that one. X-Men Legnds II is one I have been waiting on for quite awhile now since the original was such a blast. You get some old favorites like Wolverine, Gambit & Cyclops; but this one has the X-men teaming up with Magneto & his usual cronies, so you also get to play as Magneto, Pyro, Sabretooth etc. It also features online play, but given that it's a story-driven title, that may not work out very well. Rise of The Imperfects is the most iffy-looking of the bunch. The oringal characters look cheesy & generic & the fighting looks very shoddy. It also intantly removes the main reason we enjoyed previous fighting games featuring Marvel's mightiest-we enjoyed seeing established characters fight each other, it's a long-standing geek tradition to ask whether Cyclops could beat Mega Man, or Spider-Man can beat Wolverine. This title seems to totally ignore that fact. And it's an Electronic Arts title, which says enough in and of itself.

Ok, that;'s it for now, but given that it's officially thursday, I'll be back later on today with my thoughts on this weekend's movies (and any games that I mightve forgotten)


The revolution is here. And can someone explain to me what the hell it is?

Nintendo has finally revealed the Revolution's revolutionary controller, you can check out the pics and details here. I'm sure the initial reaction is "why does it look like the remote for my TV?" Leave to the Big N to go way out there. I'm sure the MS & Sony fanboys are already relentlessly mocking it, but I'll hold judgement til I actually get my hands on it. Odds are it'll be pretty damn cool.

The other "big" game news this week is that MS announced the release date of the 360-Nov. 22, which is around what everyone was expecting. There are also rumors of a massive shortage already much like when the PS2 came out. I'll be the first to say if I can get a $1000+ on ebay for my 360(which PS2s were easily selling for when they were scarce), I'm selling it and I'll get another one when they are plentiful if not slightly cheaper.

I played Squarenix's latest this week-Radiata stories. It's a suprsingly mediocre effort. The graphics are nice enough but the characters and voices are extremely annoying and the battle engine is just clumsy. It's a good thing X-Men Legends II is out next week.

Moviing on, a couple of actually good-looking movies open this weekend. Just Like Heaven, with Reese Witherspoon & Mark Ruffalo (along with John Heder from Napolean Dynamite). It's your standard romantic comedy movie, but it's got a good cast, and it's from the director of Mean Girls and the Freaky Friday remake, so I think it will be better than most of he lame generic ones that come out.

And there's also Lord of War, with Nicholas Cage. It's an interesting angle to take a look at the guy who supplies the madmen of the world with weapons, and Cage usually puts on a good show when he needs to.

That's really all for now, I hear WOW calling my name....


And the emmy goes to.... Microsoft?

That's correct. ladies and gentleman, Microsoft can now claim they have the emmy-winning Xbox live service as they have been awarded that statuette by National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences in the category of Outstanding Achievement in Technology and Advanced New Media. You can bet that's something they will be pushing for a long time to come.

I saw Transporter 2 on Sunday, and it was a mixed bag at best. It featured some truly awesome fight sequences, but that isn't enough against the horrid acting, the ridiculously awful characters, some truly ridiculous driving stunts and a plot that makes XXX look deep. So I'd reccomend waiting for the DVD so you can just watch the cool fight scenes.

But now the big news of the week (for me anyways)-I have finally joined the ranks of PC gamers! I now have a fairly kickass PC gaming rig and have just started a character on World of Warcraft (look for a Night Elf Rogue named Suria). Now, I've seen where many a blog I used to enjoy reading has suddenly become all about one game (including WOW) and I promise that won't happen here. If anything, this will only expand the variety of my posts, since it gives me reason to be interested in PC happenings as well.

Ok, now I'm off to plunder more treasure in WOW....


You're all a bunch of fairies!

SquareEnix's latest rpg, Radiata Stories, hits stores this week. It's from Tri-Ace, the developers of last year's Star Ocean: Till the end of Time, which was pretty cool game. This one focuses on a war between humans and the fairy races (for some reason that includes elves, dwarves, and several other races that look nothing like fairies). I should have it in my hands by Monday at the latest, so I'll let you know what I think.

I did get some playtime in with Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction this week. It's basically the same as the last Spider-Man game. Which means when you are freely roaming about the city, using Hulk's abilities as you like, the game is a blast. But when it gets down to actual story missions, the game quickl becomes tedious and annoying. But I'd still reccomend it for any major Hulk fan, as it captures him and his abilities so well.

The PS turns 10 years old this week. It's sort of funny how everyone basically thought when Sony launched their initial system that Sega and Nintendo would crush them. I'm no Sony fan, but there's no denying that they have smartly dominated the home console market and unless they pull some major fuckup with their next launch, it'll probably stay that way for awhile. It's also funny to think that with the huge void of good games lately, I've been going back into old PS games for entertainemnt. I just recently beat Lunar: Silver Star Story yet again and am no going through FF IX for at least the tenth time since I've owned it.

I have not seen Transporter 2 yet, but that's only because this weekend's offerings seem so dismal, I purposely saved it (which I'll get into on my next post).

That's all for now.


I want a golden ticket! Uh, I mean Xbox 360!

Really the only big thing happening this week in games has been the official launch of Mountain Dew Xbox 360 giveaway. Like many contests, you buy one of the Dews, and it has a code you enter for a chance to win. The big difference? There is a winner every 10 minutes, which may cause some nutso fanboys to go a little overboard and spend more than they would on an actual system. I plan to regularly put in codes, but since I already drink an unheatlhy amount of Mountain Dew as is, it won't change my spending much.

The only movie worth talking about opening this weekend is a sequel I'd never thought I'd see-The Transporter 2 starring Jason Statham. I loved the original movie, but it wasn't a hit here in the states (apparently it did very well overseas). And it seems to feature the same kickass action sequences that I loved in the original. The next couple weeks look pretty slim however.

Oh well, only 29 days till SERENITY......


Let the fleecing begin!

We knew i t would happen. As with the launch of any new big eletronic toy, the impulse for the stores is to really cash it in by offering bundles, but the Xbox 360 is already at an historically steep price, and now bundles from $700 to a whopping $1200 dollars have popped up. But usually bundles include some sort of savings. These bundles from all accounts seem to just package the stuff together at no savings whatsoever. Bottom line-your better off getting your own bundle package at this point.

An early review of Uwe Boll's (Alone in the Dark, House of the Dead) latest masterpiece, Bloodrayne, is up at IGN. They call it his best work to date, giving it a generous two stars out of five.

Now onto this weekend's offerings. First up is The Cave. A really stupid looking horror film. I mean seriously, a bunch of dumbass spelunkers enter a mysterious cave that another bunch of dumbass spelunkers mysteriously dissapeared in. Featuring a C-list cast and effects that are on par with low budget midnight movies. I'd be suprised if this takes in more than 2 mil.

Then there is Terry Gilliam's latest-The Brothers Grimm, starring Matt Damon & Heath Ledger. The reviews are sort of mixed, but I really like the concept and Ledger & Damon usually put on an entertaining show, so it's hopefully going to be a fun time.

Nothing else really go on today, but if something earth shattering happens, I'll be sure to comment on it.


How much is that doggy in the touch screen?

Out this week is the title that Nintendo's Reggie Fills-Aime has pushed as the second coming, Nintendogs for the Nintendo DS. I've never really gotten into these "virtual caretaker" games (i.e. Seaman, Tamagotchi, the Sims) where you basically substitute a real pet for a fake one. They aren't even really games, with no clear goal or end in sight. But despite that I'm sure this'll be a huge success based on the cuteness factor. And from the reviews I've read somebody finally realized that it' not fun to have to respond to a virtual pet's every whim and need, so most of that is eliminated. It'll be interesting to see if the public really picks up on this as it's meant to appeal to the non-gamer and really makes the DS take off. Personally, I'm far more interested in the new Lunar & Mario & Luigi rpgs coming out soon. If those are good, I may have to finally break down and get one.

But if the utter cuteness of Nintendogs makes you feel like unleashing some rage, also out this week is reportedly the first Hulk title that's actually good-Hulk: Ultimate Destruction. Someone finally got the idea that it's probably best to just let the game be a "sandbox" type like GTA (or more appropriately, Spider-Man 2) where while there's a story and missions, you also can just run around causing massive destruction. I'm hopefully getting it in the mail next week so I'll let you know my verdict then.

And finally, the other big release this week is 187-Ride or Die. It sounds like another GTA-themed rip-off, but instead it's like a poorly done urban version of Twisted Metal with poor controls. I'm really getting sick of these urban games, there shuld be some kind of moratorium on them & any game based on a war in the last 100 years.

That's it for today, but I'll defnitely be back tommorow with my thoughts on this weekend's movies. Until then....


Microsoft's official pirate speaks....

Regardless of whether or not you think the recently announced two-tier pricing system for Xbox 360 is a good idea, MS does have plenty of explaining to do. Around the time of E3 (and for a few weeeks after) they were fairly adamant that not only would the hard drive be a standard built in deal, but they also claimed that at least at first their would be one set price for the system. J. Allard (he would be MS' official pirate, having the shaved head and earring to look the part), was somewhat ready to field the public's questions, as he set up an online chat. I thought he defended the decision fairly well, but at the same time, was backpeddling about alot of things he claimed would be necessary for the next generation. This along with another top MS exec claiming that 95% of 360 games would not need the hard drive. But this statement is a bit misleading in itself. While a vast majority of games may not need the hard drive, the fact of the matter is that even if you never downloaded content or saved music to your hard drive, standard memory cards are notoriously small and can only store a handful of game saves (especially any game that has career or season modes to save), so odds are you would probably need at least two memory cards, thereby making the hard drive again a more than worthwhile purchase since it costs about the same as two and can store a helluva lot more.

But some hopefully good news has leaked out-MS is supposedly pricing their first party 360 games at $49.99, meaning we hopefully won't see any hike in price (although who knows what 3rd parties will do) from current games.

I picked up the first season of Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman last week, and as campy & cheesy as I remember the show being, time has made it seem even more so. But somehow, it still retains a large amount of it's charm. It's also sort of interesting to see where all those then young up & comers have ended up. Last I checked, Jonathon Shea (Lex Luthor) was on some syndicated Sci-Fi show called Mutant X, Dean Cain was hosting Ripley's Believe it or Not, and Teri Hatcher is on one of the top TV shows right now.

Finally, I did see both Red Eye & 40-Year Old Virgin over the weekend. Red Eye was a solid thriller, but gets a little silly and over the top at the end. It's worth seeing for Cillian Murphy's performance; between this and being the Scarecrow in Batman Begins, he'll have a nice long career as a creepy psycho. 40-Year Old Virgin is easily the funniest movie I have seen all year, it's an absolutely flawless fun comedy, Everyone is the cast is absolutely hilarious, and Carrell really shines in his first lead.

That's really it for now, but I'll defnitely be back later today or Wed. with some more thoughts on what's happening in the world of entertainment.


A tale of two 360s

Well, after weeks of no real news for gamers, several big announcements have come to light. The firs two being bad. One of the premiere games for the 360-Full Auto(think Burnout with guns), has been officially pushed back till next year. No one really knows how much This will affect the launch until we see what else is actually available, but it was something I had fully pre-ordered, so I'll have to think about what else I'd want to put that money on.

But much worse for Gamecube owners is that Zelda: The Twilight Princess has officially been delayed until at least the middle of 2006. This is realistically the one great game that was worth holding onto your Gamecube for, now with it possibly being pushed relatively close to the launch of the Revolution, they may even just move it on to their next system, as it would be a garaunteed system-seller.

And now for the big news-The 360's price was finally announced, and the rumors about there being a stripped-down and deluxe version were confirmed. The basic $299 model will not come with a hard drive or wireless controllers, but you also apparently won't need the hard drive to play most games (inlcuding the new Morrowind title, which is probably my most anticipated 360 game). But for only a $100 more (which it will cost to buy the 20 gig hard drive seperately), you will get a wireless controller, the hard drive, a head set and a dvd remote. In addition, the 360 only becomes backwards compatible with the hard drive, and obviously any downloadable content or media files you'd want to store and use for games or other purposes would very quickly fill up the standard memory card.

But the bigger implication here is that the hard drive will not be a standard in every 360 bought, possibly even only a small minority, meaning that most 360 games really won't take advantage of the possible features (i.e. save a game anywhere, faster loading, downloadable content, etc.). For me personally, things like downloadable content and backwards compatability aren't really a big deal though, so I'll have to see what if any affect the hard drive will have on any launch or near launch titles. If all it's good for is getting extra money out of me through downloadable content, I'll probably skip it.

Moving on-after a couple of weeks of mediocre offerings, we finally have some good-looking films open this weekend. First up is Wes Craven's Red Eye. This actually looks like the first promising thriller in a few years, but the previews already have given too much away, showing that Rachael Mcadams gets off the plane. Sure, it would've been harder to pull off, but a thriller taking place entirely in the confined space of a plane that has nothing to do with terrorists or prisoners would be a very cool idea.
And then there is Steve Carrell's first starring role-The 40-year Old Virgin. Normally, I would toss this off as another bad sex comedy about a total loser, but the great cast and suprisingly funny previews give me hope that this will be a great comedy.

Ok, that's really all for today, now excuse me while I readjust me 360 launch day budget.....


Same Ho, Same low.

Couple of fairly noteworthy game tidbits this week, so I'll address them first. Out this week is the forst NFL game with no competition, Madden 2006. I'll sum up my feeling s about this with a quote from Scrubs: Dr. Cox: You'd better go ahead and enjoy this while you can, Bob, because if your evil genie goes ahead and grants your wish and I'm gone forever, then the only one you're going to be able to contend with around here is yourself. And when you really get to know *that* person, oh, dear God, you'll scream so loud that Satan will want to tear up that contract he made with you at birth just so he can get some sleep.

The other big tidbit is that supposedly on August 17th, Microsoft will finally announce a firm date & release price for the 360. Hopefully they'll also announce what that standard price will definitely include as rumors are again picking up that the hard drive will actually be a seperate purchase. We'll just have to wait & see on that one.

Now onto the movies. We have 4 fairly underwhelming ones opening this weekend. First up is The Great Raid-Another true story about another small group of soldiers that faced great odds during a war. No dissrespect to the actual soldiers, but this seems so similar to the last 40 billion movies of this type that I have no interest in it.
Next up is Four Brothers which just has one of the silliest plots I've heard in awhile. 4 adopted kids come back home for their Mom's funeral. She was murdered and they want to take out revenge on whoever did it. The thing is, the previews hint at some huge citywide conspiracy, which given that she was some little old lady in a very poor neighborhood makes me laugh.
Then there is The Skeleton Key. The latest in a long line of particularly unscary and just plain horrendous horror films. In fact, it pretty much looks like a direct rip off of The Grudge, just with a Voodoo twist.
But all these seem like oscar contenders compared to this weeks biggest stinker-Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolow, starring talentless ass Rob Schneider. It'll be the same horrible jokes as last time, only in a different country (Deuce is a big loser, he only gets strange & freakish women, throw in some fart jokes). The box office has been in a huge rut this year, I seriously hope that trend continues this weekend in order to show that nobody wants to see this crap.

Perhaps the best thing to do this weekend is pick up a copy of the first season of Muppet Show. It's a good reminder of real family (meaning anyone of any age) entertainment when almost nothing is geared towards the entire family anymore.



Ok, pretty much the only thing worth talking about is this weekend's only major release-The Dukes of Hazzard, starring some of our greatest thespians-Sean William Scott, Johnny Knoxville & Jessica Simpson. In case you can't tell, that's complete sarcasm, but the fact is that there are few actors I could imagine fitting the roles better, and it looks like an incredibly fun popcorn movie, which is probably befitting the series (of which I've seen maybe half an episode ever). I know there has been some controversy stirred over keeping the confederate flag on the General Lee, but this is yet another example of PC gone too far. The confederate flag stood for a lot of things, not just slavery. It's more a representation of the rebel attitude, and removing it would be far too conformists for true troublemakers such as the dukes...


Speak No Evil

I seem to be doomed never to play FFXI. My old PS2 was barely working, and the new one isn't compatible with the required hard drive add on. But I figured that was fine because it's coming out for the 360. It was a big reason I wanted to buy the system. It's still coming out for the 360 and by the end of the year, but it won't support a crucial feature-Voice Chat. You'll still have to buy a USB keyboard if you want to play FFXI on your 360. They claim it's to help keep track of player abuse through the chat log, but this is complete bull. I refuse to play a game that only supports keyboard chat, there's no excuse for it these days, and neither will most other xbox live users who have been weaned on the good old headset. If Bungie & Blizzard can keep track, why can't Square? It's just really ridiculous and they just lost themselves a sale...

The only other big news this week so far is also from Square. Seem that Square may be going truly multi-platform, as there a big rumors that they may bring their biggest franchises (i.e. Final Fantasy & Dragon Warrior) to all 3 next gen consoles. It would be cool, but Sony would lose plenty of their pull if they could no longer claim to be the only system with most of Square's most popular titles, so my guess is they'll do whatever it takes to lock down at least a few exclusives.

And that's really all for today, but I'll definitely be back tommorow to talk about the weekend movies and if anything else pops up....


Fast Times at Superhero High

Really not a whole ton to talk about today, so I'll just briefly discuss the movies. First up is Stealth, which looks like some horrible combination of Top Gun and Knight Rider (or possibly 2001). I mean seriously, haven't we had enough of the whole machines gone horribly wrong? And notice that at least from the previews that much like any other machine, it's instantly evil. I also know they are pushing it as a Jamie Foxx film, but that's only cause of Ray. It's not a Jamie Foxx film, he's a supporting player, which means he'll be minimal if not die halfway through the film leaving us with Jessica Biel and the other dude who I am too lazy to look up.

Then there's Must love Dogs with Diane Lane & John Cusack. Now, putting these two wonderful actors in anything is almost enoug hreason to buy a ticket, but this is the same lame ass Sleepless in Seattle crap they've pulled a million times and nothing in the previews seem to indicate anything funny or remotely interesting.

Finally, there is the week's one bright spot-Sky High. The concept of superhero high is a little over the top and since it's a Disney film, probably can't be as edgy as I'd like, but it has a pretty stellar cast, and looks very slick, so I'll definitely check that out this weekend.

That's really about it for today, I'd post more if there was more to post about :), hopefully there'll be some more newsworthy stuff next time!


Jack Thompson is an idiot...

Jack Thompson, for those who don't know, is a sleazeball lawyer who basically is trying to make a career of suing the game industry. He is the nutball of all nutballs. He has been constantly quoted as calling anybody who even dares to disagree with him A Nazi, a towel-head, and much worse. But before last week's historic deicision to make GTA: San Andreas a AO title, he was merely another in a sea of scumbag lawyers attaching himself to the latest trendy thing to censor. Now, that he has declared "victory" over GTA (something he really had nothing to do with, if you can even call it victory over a game that has already sold millions and will be in circulation for years thanks to this publicity), he is leading one of the most screwball causes I've heard in years-Thompson, being backed by of course some idiotic fringe religious group, has attacked the most popular series in PC history-The Sims. Specifically the Sims 2. The reason? Because of the ability to put different looks on your Sims, specifically, make them nude. But it's not really the nudity he's objecting to. He claims the skins make it a "paradise for pedophiles" because they can look at little digitized kids. WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU? I am literally at a loss for words at the sheer stupidity of this statement. If I ever meet Jack Thompson, I fully promise to beat the holy hell out of him using moves I saw on WWE. How's that for bad influence, jackass?

Moving on, two big press conferences were held by both Sony and Microsoft last week, and the most suprising thing is that no new information was really given. Sure, some more meaningless specs and BS about how their system is superior to all were said, but no announcments of pricing, no release dates, and no gameplay was shown on either system. I know these companies love to piss away their money, but this is ridiculous.

Finally, I did see both Wedding Crashers & The Island this past weekend. Wedding Crashers was absolutely brilliant, not original by any means, but every single actor brought their comedic a-game to the table, and that made it extremely funny. The first 25 minutes of The Island borders on excruciating (real proof that Michael Bay has no idea how to develop story or characters) but as soon as the action gets rolling, it becomes an excellent action film, so I'd reccomend it.

That's really all for now, but I'll hopefully be back tommorow...


Remember kids, massive sweraing and homicidal violence is ok, but we draw the line at sex!

This post is quite a bit later than I expected to do it, but given the big news this week of GTA: San Andreas being the first major game to get an Adults Only rating, I wanted to wait for all the initial reactions to come out and see what progessed before I posted my thoughts on the subject. Now, if you weren't aware, this is all due to some creative programmers with too much time in their hands that discovered some leftover code that the public was never really meant to see. Rockstar, acting much like our current administration, started out by blantantly lying that it was strictly the work of some hackers, but finally admitted that it was something left in the game after mounting evidence had piled up. Now granted, probably less than one percent of people who actually own the game would actually get this hack, but odds are at least of few of them would be kids, which would make GTA a bigger scapegoat than it already is. And bottom line, Rockstar dropped the ball here. They should be punished in the wallet, where it hurts them the most. But the reasoning behind the new rating is pretty goddamn spurious. Seriously, this is already a game where you can mercilessly beat the hell out of innocent people, have sex with hookers and run them over, as well as run your own drug cartel. But one little minigame pushes it up a whole level? Right. The game probably should've been rated AO to begin with, but that's the kiss of death since no major retailer will carry it, and money talks.

Moving on to movies; we have yet another unecessary remake in The Bad News Bears. My guess is that this will be worth it just for Billy Bob Thorton, as he is possibly the only one who could do justice to a role the great Walter Matthau defined. That being said, I'll wait for video.

And then there is The Island. Now either you love Michael Bay's cheesy action formula, or you think he's pretty much responsible for the downfall of Hollywood in terms of creativity. He made some true stinkers the past few years (namely Bad Boys II & Pearl Harbor), but The Island seems to have him back in his element and back on track. I'm seeing it tommorow so I'll let you know.

And that's pretty much it for today. It's been a hectic weekend, but hopefully I'll get another post in Monday to write about anything I might've skipped over.


CG killed the Animation star

Traditional animation has been just barely hanging on for awhile now (I think what officially killed bid budget animation films was Treasure Planet, brilliantly animated but a horrid film). More and more TV shows are cropping up as CG style (which in my opinion mostly looks blocky and awkward), but I always figured that the right movie could bring it back to the fore front (even Pixar heads said they'd be willing to do traditional animation for the right film).
Now, two movies have been announced that seem like a perfect fit for traditional animation, but instead they are going the CG route because of course, that's what is popular with the little kids now. Both the Smurfs and the Ninja Turtles are coming to the big screen sometime in the future, but it has been announced that they will be CG films, which seems like a poor fit. I really don't think either of these films will have a smooth transition over, and any fans will be annoyed and turned off by the choice, which seems to be a lose-proposition.

I did see Charlie and the Chocolate factory, and while it was quite enjoyable, I did have two major issues. The effects that happen when the kids do something stupid that nearly gets them killed (i.e. Augustus in the Pipe, Violet blowing up like a blueberry) seemed far more fake than the pratical effects used in tghe original, and Charlie seemed to win more by sheer luck than character in this version. But I still highly reccomend it overall. I didn't really get around to seeing Wedding Crashers yet, I figure I'll do it Friday at the latest.

That's really all for now (slow news week so far), but I'll be back by Thursday with thoughts on this weekend's movies.


A Chocolate Factory by any other name...

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is pretty much sacred ground. Lord only knows who would dare even attempt to remake it, and of course the question is why bother? This isn't like the several bad versions of Dune that exist out there, they got it perfect the first time. But, if anybody's got the stuff to make another version and do something different with it and have it not completely suck, it's got to be Tim Burton, the master of wonderfully weird. And someone like Depp is sure to put a unique stamp on the eccentric candyman.

And while I'm interested to see how Charlie & The Chocoalte Factory turns out, I'm actually much more interested in this weekend's other offering-Wedding Crashers with Vince Vaughn & Owen Wilson. Why? Because it's the first big budget comedy in a couple of years (I think the last one was American Wedding) that's clearly aimed at a non-middle school audience with an apparently hard-earned R rating. And while guys like Wilson & Vaughn don't need to be raunchy to be funny, it's when they are really allowed to let loose in adult fare that you see their best stuff. It's also good to know that no sacrifices were made for the bottom dollar. I'm really expecting this to be the first great comedy of 2005 (not hard considering the only even good one so far has been Hitch).

In the realm of WHY GOD WHY?!?!?-Sony pictures has apparently greenlighted three more sequels that nobody asked for in the first place. Roadhouse (without Patrick Swayze, because apparently he's too busy being a janitor in a pet store), Hollow Man and I Know What You Did Last Summer are ALL getting sequels. Road House and Hollow man were pathetic, and Last Summer was entertaining, but c'mon it already has one horrible sequel, it doesn't need a second. It's just amazing how people love to burn money in Hollywood. You can't claim brand recognition because they don't have any with these titles, and I doubt anyone who was in these movies and still has a career would bother signing up, so there goes any star power. I would just love to sit in on these pitch meetings where someone came up with this idea, someone else thought it was great, and nobody else in the room had the brains to say "ARE YOU FUCKING INSANE?"

Finally, The primetime emmy nominations were annoucned today, and it was nice to finally see Scrubs and especially Zach Braff get nominated (although John C. McGinley does such a great job as Dr. Cox that he should've also been nominated as well) considering how hard NBC has made it to even find out when the damn show is on. But otherwise there weren't any really good suprises (although I like that the guy from House was nominated, he's awesome, actually he's like Dr. Cox if he was in a drama) and mostly old favorites (only reason Sopranos didn't scoop up all the nominations possible was because it was taking the year off). But I was geniunely delighted and suprised to see Arrested Development win for best comedy last year, so maybe if they start giving awards to shows and people that actually deserve it, I'll start tuning in again.


Yo ho Yo ho a Pirates Life for Me!

Ok, first up, I did see Fantastic 4 over the weekend, and it was actually quite enjoyable. It wasn't quite up their with the cream of the crop like Spider Man or Batman Begins, but it was far better than disasters like Daredevil & the Hulk. It's a fun mindless blockbuster film with a good sense of humor and the entire cast filled their roles surprisingly well (with Chris Evans as the Human Torch being the highlight). I will definitely be buying a ticket for the inevitable sequel (and being that the movie not only did far above expectations, but can be credited with lifiting the box office out of a 19-week slump, it's almost a given).

Any Xbox owner should be forced to walk the plank if they don't do themselves the favor of picking up Sid Meier's Pirates!, which ships out tommorow. I was a HUGE fan of the original version which popped up way back in 1987 and I last played the pretty awesome Genesis version back in 93. I was planning for this to be my last Xbox purchase originally, but I fully plan to pick it up to really test out the 360's backwards compatibility when it comes out in Novemeber. It's the perfect title for anybody who's a fan of ship battles, swashbuckling and/or treasure hunting. And really, how many good pirate titles are out there, anyways?

Although a couple of fairly noteworthy movies are opening this weekend (which I'll talk about later in the week), easily the biggest release of this week (possibly of the whole year) is the new Harry Potter book, The Half-Blood Prince. I unabashedly worship the Harry Potter books. It's one of the few series where I will actually turn off everything in my room (I usually have at least two electronic devices on at any given time) and just read silently for hours. That being said, I'll pick one up this weekend if it's easy to find, otherwise, I may just wait till the hysteria dies down a little, as I've never really been one to do fanatical things like wait days in line or pick things up at midnight (aside from Halo 2, and only because a friend was willing to give me a ride). Course, that's one of the good things about living in a relatively small town, it's probably not gonna be that hard to find :)

I pretty much decided to pass on Killer 7, so you'll have to get word from other sources. Mainly because of just about every review, even the positive ones, ask you to look at the game strictly as "art in gaming" not as an actual game. Well, I'm sorry to be a spoilsport on edginess and creativity, but I believe that a game can have good, involving gameplay and also be a good artistic expression as well (i.e. Pyschonauts or Viewtiful Joe). I want art, I'll go to a museum (hell, there's even a gaming art exhibition touring right now called "I am 8-bit").

And lastly, I'd like to leave you with a better look into the diseased mind that is Uwe Boll.