Mid-Week Mid-Boss v2.06

Hey yo. Welcome back to another fun week in my house.

Actually, this weekend WASN’T fun. My AC broke, and from Saturday morning to Sunday afternoon, I was cooking. It sucked, but in the end, I’ve got a window unit that’s working nicely for my room. The rest of the 2nd floor of my house isn’t cool, but it’d alright I suppose.

I can’t really think of much else to say. This week is full of a bunch of random stuff, but includes a return of anime content to my column. In addition, some movies, games and TV and stuff. Shit, I could write for any f*ckin zone here! But I won’t. I already have too little of a life as it is. Anyway, enjoy!


In The News
I have really been hesitant to mention anything to do with Jack Thompson, because, well, he’s a moron. But as many people know by know, the guy had promised to shell out $10,000 to charity to the first person to make a game featuring the father of a boy who died “because of video game violence” who seeks revenge on the company that made the game who “led to the boy’s death”. And of course, people took up his offer. There have already been several text games created and a mod for GTA: San Andreas that meet his criteria. What does he do? Claims it was all satirical without knowing what satire really is.

In a related story, Gabe from Penny Arcade emailed Thompson and basically said that $10,000 was a pittance to a lawyer, and that gamers had donated over half a million bucks to charity. Thompson called Gabe, bitched him out and basically said if he contacted him again, he’d sue.

So what do the evil assholes from Penny Arcade do to get back at Thompson? They donate $10,000 to charity because the people had made Thompson’s game. In fact, they donated it in Thompson’s name.

Thompson was so upset that these two guys actually donated money in his name that he wrote the Seattle Police Department claiming that he was being harassed! It gets better every day. This guy is a complete f*ckin nut.
You know, people have the opinion that Gabe and Tycho are assholes. Which the two of them will freely admit. But they also have a heart of f*ckin gold, all the while being dicks. I LOVE IT. I laughed my ass off when I heard about them donating that money. Way to go guys, you rock. (Source: Penny Arcade, Slashdot)

Gungho, a Japanese company whose parent company recently bought out the makers of Ragnarok Online, have bought out the majority of shares of Game Arts from the president of the company. Here’s how the share ownership breaks down: “Before the acquisition, Yoichi Miyaji had 35.2% of Game Arts’ shares, Gungho had 11.93%, as did Connect Technology, and Square Enix had 11.46% of the developer’s shares.” They don’t say exactly what percentage Gungho will aquire, but they will be the majority owners of the company, and will take over. It is assumed this is to have a bigger hand in the development of Grandia Online, which is currently in production at Game Arts.
I don’t know how big an impact this will have on the company, but I doubt it’s great news for everybody. If Gungho, an online game provider, has its way, I wouldn’t expect to see anymore offline Grandias after III, and possibly no more Lunar games at all. I could be wrong about that though. (Source: Gamasutra)

Little information on exactly what would be added to the GBA remake of Final Fantasy IV, until now. They will apparently be adding a new bonus dungeon, and also give you the ability to choose your party in the final battle, whereas before you had to fight with a specific party for story purposes.
*sarcasm* Oh golly gee wiz, I was on the fence before, but now I’m definitely getting this one! *sarcasm off* Ok, so these features are supposed to make it worth it to buy this game for the 3rd time? As I’ve said before, I probably will get it simply because a) Final Fantasy IV is my favorite in the series and b) they f*cked up the re-release on the PS1. Still, it doesn’t mean I have to like being a sucker. (Source: Games are Fun, RPGamer)

Correction: A few weeks ago, I mistakenly said that Square Enix would be porting Final Fantasy V and VI to the DS. I had my wires crossed on that a bit. Final Fantasys IV, V and VI will appear on the GBA and Final Fantasy III will be on the DS. And they are reportedly adding new features to the games, such as new areas and other stuff.
Woops. Not like it really matters. I don’t know if I’d want them to add some annoying touchscreen features to some of the most beloved Final Fantasy games. So even if you have a DS, you’re in luck and can play them. (Source: Games are Fun)


What I’ve Been Playing
Ok, my Gamefly subscription is in full swing now. And I’m going crazy with all the games coming in.

On Thursday, DOA Ultimate and MK: Shaolin Monks arrived. I needed to review Romancing SaGa ASAP, so I played DOA for a while and sent it back the next day. And I’m kinda glad I did because now I’m seriously rethinking getting DOA 4 for the Xbox 360. I may give it a rent, but DOA Ultimate just wasn’t that much fun. I didn’t play it for long, so I wasn’t very good at it, but I didn’t enjoy it enough to be confident in purchasing it. I may get Project Gotham Racing 3 instead, or Gun even. Not sure yet.

I also played MK: Shaolin Monks some, and while it was fun, it wasn’t THAT fun and I sent it back on Monday. Which was a good thing because Romancing SaGa came in on Monday. You’ll have to read my forthcoming review to see what I think of it though.

I’m almost finished with Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow. I’m at like 87% complete, and have like 66% of the souls. I don’t know if I’ll bother to complete THAT, or if I’ll just go and get the rest of the endings, because souls don’t affect that. I also got Trauma Center this weekend, and boy is it fun and hard at the same time. There need to be more fun and unique games like this, because it makes perfect use of the touch screen, probably better than any other game out there. So so far, I only have 3 games but I’m soooo happy I have a DS.

Oh, and I also got a nifty little demo disc in the mail of a little game called Dragon Quest VIII. Now, I should preface this with the fact that I’m not a big Dragon Quest fan. The original was decent enough, but the story was pretty bad, even for the times, and the menus were annoying. Even up to DQVII, the menus weren’t much better, the music and graphics were on par with the SNES, and it just didn’t feel like a new game.

Dragon Quest VIII changed all that. First and foremost, Level 5 has done a splendid job updating the graphics. As usual, they are going with cel shaded graphics, and they look fabulous as always. I’m not a big Akira Toriyama fan, but his style has kinda grown on me. The game is fully 3D, and rendered beautifully.

Battles have finally come out of the stone ages as well, and are fully 3D. But it still certainly has the feel of a DQ game while at the same time being up to date. The menus aren’t as awful either. And there is even an animation every time you investigate a bag or bookshelf. It’s really pretty cool.

The sounds also sound like a current generation game, while at the same time containing many of your favorite DQ tunes, such as the “main opening theme” and the “inn theme” and even the short “you’ve won the battle theme”. There is even voice acting, which was pretty decent. There were some strange accents that may or may not be bad, but I’d have to listen more to be sure what my opinion is on that.

I don’t know if I’ll be reviewing this game for the site or not, but I hope so. I think this game is the PERFECT opportunity to win over people like me who HAVEN’T been into the series because of its dated feel. This is a game that FEELS like a Dragon Quest game, but also FEELS like it just came out. That’s the way it SHOULD be, and should have been with DQVII.


What I’ve Been Watching: Anime Edition
Ok, so I received my first shows in my Queue. I put Najica Blitz Tactics 1, 2 and 3 in first. Thursday, I received 2 and 3, but no volume 1!!!! WTF?!?! OMGWTFPWN!!!!!!111!!!!eins!!!!ichi!!!!uno!!!!!! It was all good though, because it came on Friday. It’s not like I REALLY had the time to watch it on Thursday.

Najica Blitz Tactics is defined by one thing: panty shots. Much like Agent Aika, this show is filled with gratuitous panty shots. Most of the enemies are women wearing short skirts, as are our heroines.

Speaking of which, here’s the story. Najica is a secret agent who is a top perfume developer by day, and agent by night. One of her missions involves her saving a girl from a perverted lady, and it turns out that the girl is a Humerate (basically an android) named Lila. And afterwards, Lila and Najica are partnered together to find and recover other Humerates who have gone astray.

The series is basically like a combination of James Bond type shows and Noir, except without the things that make those two shows charming. But it’s no real surprise, since the show doesn’t even take itself seriously. The story is decent, but not great. And it doesn’t need to be. It just needs to make sure there are plenty of panty shots.

The art style isn’t that great to me. Everyone seems to fall in love with Najica, but I personally don’t think she’s that great looking, compared to other anime characters especially. I guess her hair just doesn’t do it for me. Lila is basically a little girl with pink hair that’s in two braided ponytails. The art quality is good enough, but it’s just the style that I’m not big on.

The voices are very good, which is a given considering it’s Industrial Smoke and Mirrors. Kira Vincent-Davis plays Najica, and to be honest, it took a couple of episodes to get into the character. The first episode or two was pretty awful. But after that, she seemed to get into the groove better, and it wasn’t so bad. Monica Rial plays Lila, and since it’s basically the same role that she’s used to from Noir and Excel Saga (the soft spoken, quiet young sidekick), she plays the part to perfection. Then again, Monica can rarely do wrong by me. The music isn’t very good in my opinion. It seems like it’s trying to emulate the style of some of Cowboy Bebop’s music, but just doesn’t pull it off.

Overall, the show is good enough, but not great. I’ll probably end up buying the brick if only because it’s pretty cheap and there are commentaries (that I didn’t watch because I didn’t want to watch the series twice in a day). None of the extras were really that great though. The show is just a fluff show overall, and its biggest claim to fame is probably that it was the only anime series to have a pair of panties come with the first disc and box.

Overall Score: C


What I’ve Been Watching

Before I get to the TV shows, I wanna talk about a couple of DVDs I rented. See, Blockbuster online gives you two free rentals a month, and in addition, for my birthday I got a $25 gift card for Blockbuster. And since damn near everything was in my queue already for Blockbuster online, I went in not knowing what to get. And both shows I got were by accident.

First I started looking for TV shows. They had The Chappelle Show Season 2 on the new release rack, but I wanted to see Season One first (this is actually in my Queue but near the bottom). But they didn’t have it at all in the TV section. And right next to it was the special interest section. And I was looking through it and saw An Evening With Kevin Smith. Now, I consider myself to be a big Smith fan, and I had never seen this movie, so I grabbed it. I knew it was just him talking, but since I think he’s a god, to me that’s awesome.

And it IS awesome. Just so you know, it IS just him talking. He did Q&A sessions at a few colleges and they filmed it. And it’s two discs worth of these sessions. 4 hours of it. And it’s good. He’s a really great storyteller, and that’s what it really is, a bunch of stories. Like he talks about how the Superman Returns project that he wrote the script for fell through (in short, Producer Jon Peters had stupid ideas that Smith had to incorporate, but it was all for naught when Tim Burton was brought on board and basically nixed the script from the get go). He talks about a documentary Prince had him make that will never see the light of day. He talks about how his first time having sex with his future wife was one of the most painful experiences in his life. And he talks about the early days of Jason Mewes.

It’s a really good look inside one of the best writers today. He gives us very intimate details (he gives a very painfully accurate description of the aforementioned sex episode) and is very candid about everything. And it’s really funny when he will call people in the middle of a session and have them say stuff in the mic. I need to buy this, but I don’t know if I will simply because I walked away from it with everything it had to offer. There aren’t any bonus features or anything. It’s just him talking. And it’s great, but is it worth a buy? Higher on my list is Clerks 10th Anniversary and Mallrats 10th Anniversary (which I can get, autographed, on The Secret Stash for MSRP. I could blow so much money on that site it’s not even funny.

Anyway, the other film I got in the horror section. I was going to try to get Ringu (the original Japanese version of the Ring), but they didn’t have it. But in that area, I saw House of 1000 Corpses that someone had hidden. I hadn’t ever seen it, so I rented it, since I heard it was good.

And it had potential, but overall I’d say it was pretty meh. The story was pretty standard for a slasher movie. Clearly, Zombie was greatly inspired by Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I’ve never seen the original, but some of his camera effects and the crazy family were clearly derived from that.

Speaking of camera effects, in my opinion, that is the worst part about the movie. Zombie isn’t that good of a director in my opinion. Everything was overused. Some of the weird camera effects would have been fine as a transition, but when there were several minutes of shots all in negative, or when there is a 5 minute slow-motion scene to the tune of country music, it is really, really shitty. I’d say about half the movie is decent-good directing, and the other half is “OMFG, this is the worst directing and editing I’ve ever seen and I can’t believe they gave this man a camera and money”.

The shitty effects really ruin the best part of the movie, which is the ending scenes where he introduces new villains. Those two guys are wonderful, some of the best “monster” design I’ve EVER seen, and he is more concerned with the f*cking red filter on the lens.

Pretty much the only parts of the movie I liked were the aforementioned villains at the end and the music. Again, the story was decent (if extremely predictable), but the direction as a whole was awful. I may end up renting the Devil’s Rejects just because, but it’ll be on my Blockbuster Online and not using actual money.

Ok, enough of that, let’s get some TV shows.

Wednesday
Lost – See, now that’s what I’m talking about. Things are finally starting to pick up. The flashbacks weren’t the best, but they fit in really nicely with the episode. And as I said, they made a big deal about the f*ckin computer, which they will do every episode. Until somebody f*cks up (like Hurley was about to) and it goes off. Still some of the best shit was on the other part of the island, and it seems as if that will be the case next episode as well. The big questions I have now are: will the tail survivors try to meet up with the other survivors? What happened to all the rest of them? And will we get to see some flashbacks of Adebeci? That was a great turnaround with Adebeci turning out to be a decent guy and Anna Lucia being the leader megabitch. Good stuff. Finally starting to pick up steam.

Friday
Ghost Whisperer – This was a pretty good episode. We got to see the one chick become a full partner to JLH. But even cooler was Sean Maher, aka Simon Tam in Firefly/Serenity, who plays a ghost. It was a good episode with some touching moments, and a nice twist involving the dude with the heart. Again, very good writing with a shitty star. But Sean helped carry his scenes!

Threshold – At first, I thought this would be a standard episode, but then when they talked about how the signal was acting as a computer virus, and they set off the EMP, they kicked it up a notch. And apparently they’re going to kick the notch in the balls next week. A traitor in their midst? One of the Threshold members dies? I hope neither is the case because I LOVE the cast. And I realize what I really love about the show. It’s like a CSI type cop show, except there are really no rules as to what the agents can do, and it just has a more original feel. None of this torn from the headlines crap. Threshold, to me, is easily the best new show of the year. The cast is great, the writing is excellent, and every episode seems to take things further and make it seem like things are getting worse and worse. And it’s awesome!

Saturday
TNA Impact – Whoops. Forgot to watch it. It’s just on at a shitty time, and since I don’t regret missing it, it means I didn’t care enough about it to begin with, so I’m not gonna bother with it anymore.

Sunday, Monday
NFL Football – This week was pretty good I guess. The Cowboys game was decent, and it’s too bad both teams were playing like shit for most of the game, otherwise it would have been great. But a win is a win I guess. The Eagles are on bye, the two backs in Miami fizzled, and nothing else really interested me.

Tuesday
My Name Is Earl – As always, another good episode from this great show. Probably one of the least funny, but still good. One thing I didn’t particularly like was how they were treating karma almost as a religious symbol, because personally, that will make the show less funny. I don’t see it happening though.

The Office – Ah, the old bait and switch. Though you had to see it coming. You had to know that they wouldn’t fire any of the main characters, and like Michael, they would have had problems firing one of the regular-yet-not-star cast members. A somber episode overall with some really, really funny moments though.


Linkage

Eric was a little late last week, but better late than never. HERE is his column from last week.

Lucard talks about werewolves this week. Like really hairy people. The kind that masturbate so much that they grow hair on their palms. You know who you are, you damn dirty werewolves!

I got quoted in John Duran’s latest Lost Recap! As for not comparing it with season 1 since it was some of the best TV ever, well that’s just silly. They have the same writers, same characters and same cast members, and they can still make it really good. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the overall story, but some of the decisions they’ve made piss me off for some reason.

Two awesome game reviews for awesome games. First, Liquidcross’ review of Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow which is pretty much spot on. The game is a blast to play, and if you’re a fan of Castlevania games and you don’t own this, then you suck! Alex Williams reviewed We Love Katamari and he’s pretty much dead on as well. This game is more of the same, with some new features and game types. You better enjoy it though, because there won’t be any more of these by the guy who made the first two. He was hesitant to make a sequel to begin with. So if we see another Katamari game (after this and the one on the PSP), it will probably be by somebody else.

John Cavanagh (are you the dude from Threshold?!) reviews the Alien Quadrilogy which is easily one of the best DVD collections out there. It’s simply almost too much shit to watch. It took me over a week to watch it, considering the movies are 2-2.5 hours each and then there’s the commentaries and each bonus DVD is 3 hours. I’m hoping the Batman Anthology will be half this good, because even though Batman Forever and Batman and Robin sucked balls, the other two were awesome.

I have to apologize to O’Reilly for my comments last week. I stand by what I said, but I was pretty harsh about it, and it appears that I was misunderstanding his stance on the issue of rentals. I agree with him that if there is a good game you rent and you like it then you SHOULD buy it. That’s why services like Gamefly are nice because you can try the
game, and if you like it, keep it. With regards to which one is easier to pirate, I guess both are easy depending on your own knowledge. But I think pretty much all digital media is fairly easy to pirate when it comes down to it, if you have the knowhow, but even more, the desire.

Brad Torreano’s Mondo Culto is always an interesting read. And this week, he even convinced me to add a movie to my Blockbuster Queue! No way! I was actually surprised they had it on Blockbuster, but they do have a whole ton of shit there.


That’s it for this week. I’ll see you again next week with more stuff about stuff and things. So be there or I’ll tell Jack Thompson that you’re donating money in his name and he’ll be SOOOO pissed that he’ll write a nasty letter to your mommy. HAH, take that!