July 2010 Archives

The Week in Links

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Kitten Surprise!! ( how to break up a cat fight ) The Original (YouTube)
Yep, that'll do it.

Arcade Propaganda Posters Collected In Calendar (GameSetWatch)
These are some very nice posters. Not a very usable calendar, but nice posters.

Quote Of The Day - Ben Stein (Joe. My. God.)
This is the kind of thing Old School Republicans say to each other in comfort. Of course the only reason people are poor is because they're lazy. I guess Ben Stein has always been an elitist asshole.

Cow Clicker Yields Ruminations On Social Gaming's Tense Battle Lines (Gamasutra)
Funny article. Great that Ian Bogost entertains a discussion in comments.

Metroid: Other M To Include Two Hour Movie Version Of Game (Kotaku)
YES.

Kotaku did some nice previews of this fall's Wii games, including a very complimentary look at Wii Party and a very hesitant preview of Other M. I have the latter coming via the Amazon deal, since it generates $20 of credit. The former will no doubt be an in-store pickup.

Hey, I'm reminded of something: a couple years ago, people were complaining that Nintendo wasn't doing enough with the Miis. Back then, I thought that was an odd, unfounded complaint. But today, I wonder what those same people think about how Microsoft has leveraged their Avatars? Because I only ever see the Avatars in NXE screenshots and whenever you're expected to buy a new shirt for them.

Also Donkey Kong Country Returns and Kirby Epic Yarn, which, between the two of them, I hold out hope that they will show up last year's multiplayer failure that was New Super Mario Bros Wii.

Not really a trailer, though. This six minute movie has got to be the game's actual opening cinematic.

Sony revealed a teaser trailer just ahead of this one that left a lot of questions in the air... one of them being the location. This extended edition makes it clear: Metropolis.

And Green Arrow looks pretty dead.

Ah, Giganta. Chumping your way through major battles for as long as we've known you.

So, Wonder Woman is beating the hell out of Metallo. Green Lantern is trading punches with Black Adam. Cyborg is shooting missiles at Lex Luthor, Circe and Deathstroke. Batman sends Flash to go do something. The armored-up Batman was a source of speculation in the shorter trailer. Seems pretty clear now: he's prepared for some very heavy action.

Things are serious. Wonder Woman just out-and-out beheaded Metallo. Not that it matters. He'll just reform.

Flash is also sporting some armor. Earlier in the clip, Joker and Harley Quinn try to take him down with a missile launcher.

What happens here is Black Adam has GL pinned, and then he calls down the Shazam lightning... just as Flash rolls in to help. This triggers a massive explosion... perhaps a combination of the Marvel family's magic lightning, the Oan space science of the Power Ring, and the elemental time-power of the Speed Force? Yes, let's go with that.

The DCU Triforce is Magic / Science / Nature. Double-go with that.

Seems like half the cast dies in the blast, as when the smoke clears we see Deathstroke beating up Batman (with Joker angry in the background), and Lex Luthor crushing Wonder Woman's head. Lex demands she call in Superman, who has been noticeably absent. Lex's prologue narration suggests he has been weakened...

And indeed, Superman is doing what he always does when he's hit with Extreme Weakness. He's recharging up by the sun.

And he's pissed. He lands in Metropolis in an uncharacteristic fury. He and Luthor both call for their seconds; Lex yells for Black Adam and Superman screams for Batman.

Superman burns Adam's head. At this point, I'm sort of stuck on the voice work. Unsure about Adam Baldwin on this. I'll have to go re-watch the Superman/Doomsday movie and see how that fits.

This was a nicely dirty Luthor trick. He stuffed Kryptonite in Wonder Woman's mouth, knowing Superman would hover over her body (corpse?)

Now the big reveal: Brainiac stuff. Sounds to me like this is what the game is going to be a lot of "Join the heroes and beat low-level Brainiac robot monsters" or "Join the villains and beat low-level Brainiac robot monsters."

The big switcheroo! This entire movie has been Lex from the future warning the Justice League about this grim possibility. So really, the whole thing could be ca-ca.

And Batman says as much, which prompts a cute brow-furrow from Superman.

It's a damn fine piece of work, that's for sure. If I had Future-Lex's time-travelling abilities, I think I'd go back five years and tell the dev team to stop the game planning and just make a couple of brilliant CG animated movies.

Family sidebar: Clark and I watched this once through, and he asked to see it again. We made it about ten seconds into Lex's pre-show when Clark moaned "Did I just lose a tooth?" This trailer knocked a baby tooth clean out of my boy's head.

I just felt like I couldn't play anything else until I got Le Saboteur finished.

And besides, last night I ran into Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

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I was out running off a Nazi alarm, when suddenly a car started flying through the air above me. The Nazis inside were still shooting, but they kept on flying into the No Man's Land section of the map.

Saboteur began weird - with a flashback inside a flashback involving a countryside car race - so it fits that the ending would be weird. There was a quick rampage through a factory, then a very brief boss encounter. The most important bit is this: you get to keep playing after the credits end.

After watching the big finale, I only had a few hotspots left to scour. I cleaned out Notre Dame, which was no problem. I still had almost everything waiting for me up in Sarbrucken, so that took some doing. Sarbrucken contains the last few cars you need to find to complete the collection Perk... after getting them, that left me with one Gold Perk to unlock, so I bought it off for 3000 instead of actually doing it. It was the one where you have to kill 10 Nazis in 10 seconds or whatever. Sounded hard. F that.

By 2am, I was down to one Trophy remaining. The one you get for spending 75,000 francs(?). The thing is, there's not a lot to buy in The Saboteur. By this point in the game - 70+ hours in - all that's left is ammo. I was at 55,000. That's kind of a lot of ammo to go through to grab the Trophy.

I ended up standing by the gun store guy, emptying my rocket launchers and machine guns into the air, and then continuously buying more ammo. It was stupid and took an hour. Not a satisfying ending, but at least I went to bed knowing that I would never play The Saboteur again.

That's my fifth Platinum, following up Assassin's Creed II, Katamari Forever ( <3 Super proud of that one <3 ), Ratchet & Clank: Whatever The Last One Was, and everybody's Platinum, Burnout Paradise.

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I was up late last night playing The Saboteur. Again. I had to put it away to devote a month+ to the mighty superiority of Red Dead Redemption, but it's back on top of the pile.

I'm kind of past the fun part of the game and more into the I swore to myself I would Platinum this part. As far as the storyline goes, I'm at the bit where the Parisian resistance hideouts start getting compromised, and the Kesslers have been abducted, again. I've spent so many hours pursuing sidebar goals that I could not even toss out a guess as to how close this is to the end. The game calls it Act III. Sounds final.

I've also spent some serious time re-Saboteuring to recover from various game crashes. It freezes a lot, completely unpredictably. I've had it freeze during tense vehicle chase scenes, and I've had it freeze while closing out the menu at the gun store. Luckily, you can save anywhere in The Saboteur. But that doesn't excuse the fact that the game shouldn't be freezing in the first place.

Since I can't be bothered to advance the story, much of what I did last night centered on unlocking Gold Perks and PlayStation Trophies. You get a Trophy for kissing 50 women, for example. Kissing is one of the seven or so things you can do to wait out a low-level Nazi alarm. Now, the only place I ever saw one of the game's pre-determinedably kissable ladies is on the southeast side of Le Havre, waaaaay up in the top left of France. So last night I did some kiss-grinding in Le Havre.

That street with the kiss station happens to be on a hill overlooking the downtown of Le Havre, so I would peg one of the Nazis standing on the street corner with my silenced pistol. Not to kill him, just to get him to raise an alarm. Then I'd dash back to kiss the girl. Repeat x 50.

While in Le Havre, I also finished off the Gold Perk for killing multiple Nazis with one sniper bullet. Very easy. At the end of that same street is a Nazi post with three guys standing around. Just had to line up two of them, shoot, then run off the alarm. Ten double-kills unlocks the Perk.

One thing about Nazis in The Saboteur: They're not particularly motivated when the alarm level is low.

But when the alert gets up to five? Forget about it. It is holy hell unleashed. One of the Perks requires you to survive a Level 5 Alert, which is as high as the Nazi scale goes. When one of my Kissel Runs in Le Havre went south, I decided to go for broke and see if I could tease the alert up to five. At first I just ran around the strip of countryside east of the town, machine gunning Nazis. Then I dashed back to get a vehicle so as to kick up some real mayhem. I got one of those open-topped things that have a front-facing machine gun. That certainly did some damage, but the game handles those stupidly... it's not like Warhawk where you can switch between the driver and gunner positions easily and safely. No, when you stop using the mounted gun, you have to physically exit the vehicle. And then to drive it, you have to climb back up. The Nazis do not stop shooting at you while you do this. It's eyerolling little quirks like that the keep The Saboteur out of the halls of Great Games.

Once I got tired of that stupid dance, I hopped into a Gestapo Cruiser. These things are great. Fast, strong and equipped with dual machine guns and infinite ammo. Tooling around with that brought me up to Level 5.

If you've played The Saboteur, you know what my next problem is. There's only one place in the whole of France where you can sit out a Level 5... and it's halfway up the Eiffel Tower. So I had to drive (and run, once my car exploded) from Le Havre all the way south to western Paris, while avoiding the Nazi tanks and planes that were hunting me. As I ducked into town, I entered in the corner where there's a Resistance hideout and pulled another Gestapo Cruiser out of the garage. That one got me to the steps of the Tower, where a couple elevator trips and more dodging plane fire got me to the hideyhole. Perk achieved.

I'm just so hot to finish this one.

By the way, I have over 60 hours in on this game, and I just realized that those things featured in the shot above are public men's bathrooms.

I found this "Adventures with the DC Super Heroes" magazine as I was going through some boxes of old mags. It's from 2000 and was produced as a free giveaway if you bought two gallons of milk. Inside, among all the typical kids mag mazes and dorky articles, is two pages of terribly unfunny comic strips. Well, unfunny in the way that 90% of all newspaper comic strips are unfunny. I don't blame writer Chris Duffy and artist Joe Staton. Much.

That's the last one. Always end on a fart joke.

The Week in Links

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Mario Kart Wii Grand Prix Race Pinball (YouTube)
Irritation. This is obviously a Screwball Scramble kind of game, where you slam buttons to indirectly manipulate a marble through the obstacle course. Kotaku posted this video, but called it a board game, so all the message board dopes neglected to watch the video and assumed it was a Fireball Island kind of game where marbles are rolled down tracks and perhaps knock pawns around. Although definitely a game and sort of board-ish, I'd call it a toy, not a board game.

My, Professor Layton, What A Lovely Big Box You Have (Kotaku)
Let's go, NA blu-ray release! And hey, what about that animated Animal Crossing movie? I want that on blu-ray as well.

Adventures by Disney: Egypt (Disney)
I'm sure it's easy to be cynical about this whole "world tours by Disney" thing, but we would totally do this.

Bill Murray Is Ready To See You Now (GQ)
I thought this was an amazing interview, particularly the part where he bets against Ghostbusters 3. And the Garfield story.

Green Lantern's Light Shines In Rise Of The Manhunters (Kotaku)
Seems a little early to announce a Green Lantern movie game, but Comic Con only comes once a year. I'm hoping we can avoid a video game failure on the scale of Iron Man, but I am reservedly skeptical. PRESS X TO ATTACK WITH GIANT BOXING GLOVE.

I get incredibly lucky.

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Just started a game with Chad, like my second game ever of Words With Friends (my username is jfourhman). And I get handed a seven-letter word on the first play. And it's not even some stupid non-word, it's an actual word that normal people know.

Although that certainly jumped me to an early lead, Chad has already evened the game out by turn 3 with his own seven-letter word. Except his was "quassin."

I hate Scrabble.

I have defeated water in our household.

Mostly. I mean, we had some basement leaks patched earlier this year as part of the room renovation and there is now some new dampness in different spots during massive rainshowers as the water finds alternate ways to flow, but nothing serious yet. Nothing a giant concrete patio in the backyard won't fix.

But while I can't go 100% on that claim, I can point to two other success stories. First, the cat dish:

That's our new water-pumping cat hydrator, a Cat-It Fresh & Clear. For years, we used this model, a PetMate DrinkWell:

We've been through at least two of these, and they have always disappointed. the DrinkWell just has too many parts to clean, and refilling the reservoir is a pain. Your cat is licking this all day, it is going to get grody. And since most of the gross stuff is hidden in interior plastic parts (the reservoir, the chamber, the upper well that goes to the slide, the pump itself, the plastic filter), it's a lot to clean... and you should be cleaning it often. But the worst part is the sound the pump makes when the water level is low, or when it gets clogged with cat detritus. It makes an obnoxious spitting noise that I can hear from anywhere in the house.

Refilling the Cat-It means putting a handful of ice cubes on top of it. No hustling the plastic hopper over to the sink. Annie (our gray) prefers her water cold anyway. And while I'm sure this model will get gross and the pump will clog, I think it will be better to clean since it's just one central drum with a couple of circular plastic doodads locked inside it. Since it is both easier to clean and easier to refill, the chances of me hearing a spitting pump seem nicely low.

Now let's go back to the basement.

I've had a dehumidifier stationed near my basement-dwelling comics for years. In our townhouse, I could dump the water via exiting through the sliding glass door. In our new place, the basement sadly lacks any kind of egress. For a while, I trucked the water upstairs and out the back door. Then I got the bright idea to hump it across the room to the sump pump well, because that's what a sump pump is for, right?

Since the renovation, and the unfinished side of the basement halved in size, I've been thinking of moving the dehumidifier so it sits right beside the sump pump. Then, with a short length of hose, I'd be out of the water-moving business entirely.

Turns out my parents just happened to have a thirty foot length of hose with one end cut off.

So I did not have to move the dehumidifier much at all, just had to lace a hose under my comics (quelle horreur!) and along the wall.

That hose is in a constant state of drip, which, thankfully, I can't hear.

The clear hose in the picture is from the HVAC unit, which was rather niftily set up to pump the water up and across the ceiling and down to the well. I suppose I could have tried to run a hose from the dehumidifier directly into that box.

So I'm feeling pretty good. Or, I was until my mower broke again.

While going through another box of old papers and whatnot, I found this:

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I think this was photocopied out of an old issue of The Duelist. The ad was for a comics/card store called Iguana's Comic Book Cafe out of Iowa City (which apparently closed in 2003). $30 got you any five items on the list. What was great about this was that 1996 was right after Magic's ascendancy. We had plenty of Fourth Edition and Ice Age, but the early stuff was tough to find and harder to afford. So $6 for ten Antiquities commons sounded pretty amazing.

So I found that - several photocopies, actually - and had a good chuckle. But I knew that, even though this photocopy was empty (although note the obsessive-compulsive correction of the typo on #8), I did order this. So what, I struggled to remember, did I select off this list?

I did not have to wonder for long. A few inches further in the box, I found a shipping envelope with an invoice still sealed to the outside.

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And there was my answer. I chose the Scrye Counter, an Italian Dark booster, an Arabian Nights uncommon, the Arena/Sewers of Estark combo, and ten Alpha commons. $30. I seem to recall that Dark booster getting mocked, since it was in a language I can't read... back then we didn't have as many International Editions to kick around.

The Arena card was pretty slick, though. At the time, you could only get it by buying one of those awful Magic fantasy novels (which I also did), so it was a certifiably rare find. No idea if they ever reprinted it. I vaguely recall it being at the center of some nasty deck that would repeatedly throw two creatures into the Arena, only to consistently kill the one belonging to the opponent.

I said this on Twitter:

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I was led to this conclusion thanks to the somewhat odd contents of the first Marvel costume DLC pack (first of four, at $6 apiece), which contained Dr. Octopus, Iron Man, Mystique, The Thing and Daredevil.

And I'm already fatally close to being exactly correct. The second pack (coming next week) will contain Spider-Man (big name), Human Torch (FF), Elektra (female AND villain), Ghost Rider (bonus) and Thor (dillweed).

According to the master list, here's who is left for the remaining two packs: Captain America, Green Goblin, Hulk, Invisible Woman, Magneto, The Punisher, Rogue, Storm, Venom and Wolverine.

There's three villains (Goblin, Magneto and Venom), which suggests one of them should have been swapped in for Ghost Rider in pack #2. Goblin is going to have to act as a dillweed in order to fulfill my prophecy. No problem there!

There's three women, but one of them will be assigned a Fantastic Four designate. So that will work out precisely according to plan.

The unexplainable lack of Mr. Fantastic means one pack will be FF-less. I imagine the idea is that Sue's blue FF costume will be unisex, so you'll have to make your own Reed. But this does give us an extra slot.

Wolverine is definitely a big name. And between Hulk, Cap and Punisher, I'd go with Hulk as my second big name character. But thanks to Mr. Fantastic's absence, we can classify Captain America as a bonus big name. Which leaves Punisher as dillweed.

Here's my call for the last two packs: Venom, Invisible Woman, Rogue, Punisher and Wolverine for one... and in the last set, Magneto, Green Goblin, Storm, Hulk and Captain America.

Fingers crossed for a Green Lantern set next summer.

I found this "Adventures with the DC Super Heroes" magazine as I was going through some boxes of old mags. It's from 2000 and was produced as a free giveaway if you bought two gallons of milk. Inside, among all the typical kids mag mazes and dorky articles, is two pages of terribly unfunny comic strips. Well, unfunny in the way that 90% of all newspaper comic strips are unfunny. I don't blame writer Chris Duffy and artist Joe Staton. Much.

That's five of six. Looks like Ronald McDonald to me.

The Week in Links

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Song A Day #561: The iPhone Antenna Song (YouTube)
"The media loves a failure, in a string of successes."

And I love that this guy quick posted a welcome video once he realized he was getting mad plays for being featured at today's Apple press conference.

iPhone 4 Press Conference - The Post-Game Wrapup (Andy Ihnatko)

"I can't get myself worked up about the antenna issue. I'm simply not seeing the widespread user complaints that I normally associate with a functional defect in a product. Nobody understands if it's a design problem, a firmware issue, or just the same articulation of the old problem that all iPhones experience with AT&T coverage in spotty areas. I certainly don't think it's a big enough issue to forego all of the iPhone 4's advantages."

Apple silent after Consumer Reports critique (Yahoo News)
I like how this article begins as an iPhone slam piece ("People buy iPhones for emotional reasons, not because they're the best phones.") and then goes into how great the iPhone is ("It outperformed every other smart phone on the market in other regards.")

A Bit Tone Deaf (Postmodern Barney)
Yeah, I thought this JSA gay gag was out of place as well.

In which I compare two writers' approaches to Superman. (Beaucoup Kevin)
The Hitman page is brilliant. The JMS Superman page less so. I get the feeling JMS is writing this "Grounded" storyline not for existing fans, but for people who don't read comics (IE, most people). It seems more like a treatment for a new Superman movie or TV show, not a comic.

Peter Fernandez (1927-2010) (Cartoon Brew)
Go, go Speed Racer. Go gentle into that good night.

Ed Emberley & Friends (Cartoon Brew)
Wow. His drawing book was a pretty major part of the early 80s for me. Never since have I turned as many ovals into frog heads.

The TINY TITANS head to Riverdale for a historic first meeting with LITTLE ARCHIE (DC Source)
That is just freaking great. Must get.

The sickness, evidenced in 1992.

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Here's a checklist card for the Summer 1992 Marvel crossover, Infinity War.

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If you do not recall this one, it was the middle leg of the Infinity "trilogy," following up the nifty Infinity Gauntlet crossover (which itself continued on the oft-overlooked, super-cool miniseries, Thanos Quest). Both Infinity War and Infinity Crusade (part three) sucked.

But that did not deter me from THIS:

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Not only did I complete the checklist, I added some titles that were missing. I bet that Silver Sable and the Wild Pack two-parter was critical to the Infinity War saga.

All of these books are currently about twenty feet behind me.

rdr-stats.jpgI did not realize I was that close to the full 100.

The Rockstar Social Club makes it extremely handy to figure out what I'm missing on that 100%, by way of a very hip almost-an-infographic display. See below.

As you can see, I played it straight, as far as Honor and Fame were concerned. Aside from the advantage of almost never being run around the map chased by stupid sheriffs, I discovered that NPCs might have rewards for me, just because I was so nice. A nun randomly - like, in the street randomly - gave me a rosary charm that purports to reduce enemy accuracy.

My entire crime count consists of one assault, one law officer assault, two law officer murders (I thought they were enemies!), one horse theft (I got on the wrong horse!), one abduction, and two robberies (I think opening up drawers in a hotel room that doesn't belong to you counts as a robbery.)

That multiplayer stat is off. I don't think the Social Club is properly tracking RDR multiplayer.

I'm surprised that I have only put in 45 hours. I figure I've only logged a couple hours since finishing the storyline, so that's 40-odd dedicated to completing the story. Plenty more hours to go, though. Between the remaining 100% items, the Social Club challenges, the multiplayer and the upcoming DLC, I foresee adventures in New Austin for the rest of the year.

Here's some additional interesting stats:

Days in game: 60
World events encountered: 390 (I think this is the random stuff that you fall into while riding or dapping around town or otherwise not occupied on a storyline mission.)
Money: almost $9,000
Total Dead Eye Time: 09:51 (I always forget I have Dead Eye.)
Animals killed: 434
People killed: 1,330
Total pounds of meat harvested: 20,038 lbs
Chests opened: 91
Medicine used: 1
Wolves killed: 114 (For some reason, my second most killed animal category is Domesticated Horses. Whoops!)

This is a portion of what I'm missing on the 100%. Getting all those outfit elements is going to be the pisser. But I'm so close.

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I'm also missing two rare weapons (huh?), one minigame (HUH??), and about half of the Wanted poster bounties.

Kinda forgot they did this, but here's my online stats page for my barely-played Uncharted 2 multiplayer. Here's my career overview:

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That's for 8 matches total, thusly:

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So yeah, I have not played this one much, as far as multiplayer is concerned. But look at those global averages... over 621 hours! That's nuts. 25 solid days is the average. Who is out there with enough playtime to make up for my paltry 3.5?

The stats also reveal my weapon preferences (meh) and what in-game medals I have unlocked. Again, not very many. 8 to a global average of 361. Sheezus.

I suspect my Red Dead Redemption stats will be much more interesting.

I found this "Adventures with the DC Super Heroes" magazine as I was going through some boxes of old mags. It's from 2000 and was produced as a free giveaway if you bought two gallons of milk. Inside, among all the typical kids mag mazes and dorky articles, is two pages of terribly unfunny comic strips. Well, unfunny in the way that 90% of all newspaper comic strips are unfunny. I don't blame writer Chris Duffy and artist Joe Staton. Much.

That's four of six. Find a way to laugh yet?

The Week in Links

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Mappy Is A Bad Policeman (YouTube)
Awwww, here's a cute animation that neatly summarizes Mappy.

If Pokemon Were Real (Kotaku)
DeviantArt users do it again.

Reasons Why This Is Bad, Even If You're Not a Troll (MetaFilter via Penny Arcade)
Great comments about Blizzard's (now defunct) plan to add real names to World of WarCraft forum posts... particularly the parts about what female and minority gamers have to put up with online. Someday somebody is going to figure out how to beat the piss out of someone online, and we can put a stop to all the racist, homophobic, obnoxious assholes out there wrecking online gaming.

Retro Fit (Mice Age)
I have no interest in Captain Eo, but the Fantasyland rehab is going to be neat to watch. Also, Kevin pulls up a Google map of DAK... damn, Rafiki's Goat-Petting Station really is way out there.

THE COVER TO ACTION COMICS #894 WILL SURPRISE YOU (DCU Source)
Not that I care overmuch about Death herself, but I am very much against the arbitrary editorial rule that has kept the Vertigo staff banned from the DCU. So this move is a good thing. A lot of DC standbys have crossed back and forth across both imprints (Jonah Hex, Doom Patrol to name two), so why continue to isolate Swamp Thing?

Dave Smith Retires (Michael Barrier)
Does he have an official Disney Legend designation yet?

Also, scroll down on that page for a bizarre Donald Duck Uniqlo t-shirt.

Red Dead Redemption, expanded

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I finished Red Dead Redemption over a week ago, but did not rush to weblog it as I did with ModNation Racers. Partly that's because I think MNR is getting a bad rap re: load times. I have a stack of games I'm working through at the moment, and ModNation's loading is not so wide of the mark that it's a defensible opinion to avoid playing the game because you think the loads take too long. Come on. LEGO Harry Potter takes forever to get started. If you use the warping campsites in Red Dead Redemption you get to enjoy plenty of load screens. I put in Uncharted 2 last weekend after months of not playing it and I had to wait for 90 minutes of multiplayer updates! 90 minutes?!?! Let's get pissed about that, not about 30 seconds of waiting for a race to start in ModNation.

But the main reason I've been quiet about Red Dead Redemption is that I've been letting the game sink in. RDR has a beautiful ending. A beautiful, tragic ending. I had it spoiled for me thanks to a writer that really ought to know better, so I don't want to wreck it for you... but I needed to stay away from the game for a bit after finishing it.

I picked up the soundtrack and love the four vocal tracks, particularly the end credit song. Like Tsukiko Amano's gentle pop song from the end of Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly, "Deadman's Gun" will hang with me forever. It's a dangerous, evocative ballad that reveals an exposed, wounded soul. It's about being pushed to a point where you have to make a difficult decision. It strikes me as a nicely romantic take on the American psyche, which is entirely appropriate.

May not want to view that video on YouTube, as the comments are full of critical spoilers.

I'm listening to the vocal tracks now and I am struck by how unusual they are, as far as video game soundtracks go. 2010 Game of the Year is RDR's to lose, at this point.

Today, Rockstar announced upcoming DLC packs, some paid, perhaps one more for free (they wouldn't charge for anti-griefing measures, would they?) I hope one of these updates adds video recording. Just Cause 2 for PS3 has it; GTAIV on PC has it... we need to get more games to have it.

One of the DLC packs promises a new single-player adventure, based on zombies. Normally, I would be rolling my eyes so hard they'd pop at that, but since undead in the West is the callsign of my beloved Doomtown, I'll give it a pass. Given the way the storyline ended, Rockstar could do some seriously unsettling things with that... but I imagine it will be wholly separate from the game proper, since there are almost no supernatural elements in the story. (*Almost none.)

One more thing. After you beat the game, make sure you go back and buy a newspaper.

josh-brolin-as-jonah-hex.jpgJust got around to reading a weird interview with Josh Brolin in the July issue of Wizard. This was the issue I picked up for free at Comic Con Philly. I don't know if Brolin is always this candid in his interviews, but now that I've read a few with him about hex, it seems clear that he was really concerned about this picture.

When Wizard asks "how do you see this character," Brolin says "I'm not sure what my take is on him. It changes all the time."

That's, like, the first part of the printed interview. Sets an odd tone.

Wizard asks him how he feels about the film's forced switch to a PG-13 rating... which I guess was early enough in production that they had to do it for real, and not just by editing out the gory bits. IE: the gory bits were never even shot, so there's little hope for adding them all back in for a massive R-rated home video release. Do people still say "home video"?

Anyway, Brolin admits "I was really angry, very angry." But then he straightens up to the company line that it's "a way better decision," because they have to be more creative with how they mask the violence. Sort of Hitchcockian, I presume. Although I'm sure any film class would string me up for mentioning Alfred Hitchcock in a riff about Jonah Hex.

Here's the biggie:

"I do think there is a possibility the movie could be bad, but now I feel like there is a greater possibility the movie could be original. I didn't even say good. I said it could be original."

To date, Jonah Hex has scraped up barely $10 million in sales, which will surely flag it as one of the year's biggest bombs.

That's about a million more than MacGruber. But one-seventh of The Last Airbender.

I still plan on getting the Hex blu-ray.

Am I supposed to be paying for this service? Is that why it suddenly stopped working several months ago?

Back up. For years, I've been using IGN's database to track the entirety of my video game collection. Actually, it's about to be a decade... I created my IGN account in 2001. And it's always been a pageview sink, because it takes a stupid amount of clicks to get stuff added. Plus over the years it has had a rocky relationship with Safari and other Mac browsers. But the upshot is that I get neat little factoids like this:

igncoll2010.jpg

Some time ago, IGN actually tried to cut down on the click-click-click by adding a popup management box to every searchable object in their database. When signed in, you're supposed to be able to click "add to collection" and then you're done. Except that it doesn't work, and hasn't for months. When you hit that radio button, your browser just does nothing.

At first I thought it was another 2003-era "We Only Tested This For IE 5.0" kind of error, until I found other IGN accounts complaining about the same problem. So here's the bold, Web 2.0-savvy, super-user-focused, interactive method around the problem.

Do a search for the game (as usual), but don't even bother zooming in to the view that shows the review page and screens and McGriddle ads and all that. Just do something you never thought you'd ever want to do: check the highlighted "Get Email Alerts" button.

ign-coll1.jpg

Funny how the option to hassle you forever via targeted marketing emails still works perfectly, huh?

Then you head up to the dropdown menu by your account in the top right corner and select Manage Alerts. This brings up all the awful games you're telling IGN that you want to hear about via email for the rest of your life. Like, say they upload some character artwork. Or they put together a list of cheats. BANG: you get an email.

What you want is to hit the edit function on this page:

ign-coll2.jpg

This is the backdoor method to get into the familiar object-edit page where you can add the game to your collection. Now you can check the button to add the game to your capital-C Collection.

ign-coll3.jpg

Don't forget to turn off the Email Alert checkbox. Unless you want generic-looking spam messages in your Yahoo Mail informing you when your chosen game gets used as a keyword in one of IGN's Year's Best articles.

I found this "Adventures with the DC Super Heroes" magazine as I was going through some boxes of old mags. It's from 2000 and was produced as a free giveaway if you bought two gallons of milk. Inside, among all the typical kids mag mazes and dorky articles, is two pages of terribly unfunny comic strips. Well, unfunny in the way that 90% of all newspaper comic strips are unfunny. I don't blame writer Chris Duffy and artist John Dulaney. Much.

That's three of six. Find a way to laugh yet?

The Week in Links

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Rock and Roll Pet Store (YouTube)
Found! I've been looking for this Nickelodeon interstitial for years!

STEVE BISSETTE, PART 1: TO "1963" AND BEYOND (Comic Book Resources)
1963 is about the only comic Image ever produced that I enjoyed, so it is fascinating to hear what blew up behind the scenes. My local shop has random issues of 1963 in the quarter bin.

M. Night Shyamalan Finally Made A Comedy (io9)
Rotten Tomatoes says Jonah Hex is numerically half as bad as Last Airbender. Great review.

International Incidents (4thletter)
Well I think 4thletter just predicted the outcome of Justice League: Generation Lost and what in the heck turned Max Lord evil.

Translation From Apple's Unique Dialect of PR-Speak to English of the 'Letter From Apple Regarding iPhone 4' (Daring Fireball)
The thing about ANY issue with the iPhone (and Apple in general) is that there are so many vocal opponents perched ready to jump on any bad news at all. Not that Apple is blameless, but if this is such a massive problem, why are tech websites still claiming that 4 has better service than the 3G (I guess it's in coverage areas that already have excellent AT&T coverage)?

It occurs to me that iPhone detractors today are the same as Mac enthusiasts back in the nineties. Back then, you couldn't mention "virus" without getting a raft of "You should buy a Mac" comments... now you can't bring up "iPhone" without a pile of haters chiming in to point out how awesome Droid is or how Apple fans are all sheep. Try it on Facebook sometime, you'll find out right away which of your friends are quick to heat about the topic.

Clark's first mini-golf experience.

Toys R Us is getting a lot of "exclusive" Imaginext repaints. That red Robin plane is a non-canon re-issue of the cool Green Lantern plane. No idea why Joker gets a castoff from the Imaginext Space line.

Yeah, a repaint of a regular Imaginext sub... but at least it makes sense for Pengy. If this was decoed like a penguin and not a shark, we'd own it.

Absolutely not. No way is any child of mine getting anywhere near this.

Oh, maybe I'm being a neatfreak prude, let's take a closer look...

ABSOLUTELY NOT.

Last time I noted the Superman vs He-Man set, now here's Lex Luthor vs Skeletor?!? Somebody is doing this totally wrong.

Seen at a local Salvation Army store. Come back in fifteen years when it's a rack full of Avatar DVDs.

Did I run this one already? Too bad, running it again.

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