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August 2014

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Aug. 31st, 2014

real life, fluffyman, costume

Fluffyman’s Updates from the Tor-Cha Chamber 8/31/2014

Can’t say I’ve been quite productive over this past Summer, but hey it’s nice to get some relaxation. But a few major things did change, I made my first co-op blog in a long time (And I hope to make another sooner rather than later) and that is there is a new Manic Expression website up, but I wasn’t exactly too energetic in posting all my blogs over there when they asked. I will still be an active member of Manic-Expression though, and maybe post some old blogs eventually.

Right now, just a couple of things on my mind:

-I have been thinking about a blog that tackled the whole situation that transpired in Ferguson, Missouri that started with the unlawful shooting of Michael Brown but I’ve been having a hard time finding the right approach to it, and really want to make sure I’ve taken in most of the facts before I go full in. As well there is always more that will be said of it, will be hard to pin down a point in which I could say something big.

-Part of the reason you haven’t been seeing political blogs from me mostly because I have felt a bit frustrated on how some have decided to respond to when I take a firm political position. It most certainly will make if I ever decide to tackle Anita Sarkeesian and the issue of women representation in gaming again a bit of a struggle, something that has blown up again recently and I’m not certain if I have a large grasp to make an absolute statement just yet.

-I have been working on ideas for another Top List but plenty have been really hard to rank or hard to make a write up for.

-I am really thinking of a way to continue my Gem or Turd series, but haven’t quite thought of a really good subject just yet.

Not much else to really write except I’m always open to ideas and hey I am open to potential Co-Op blog partners, though as always would have to be a subject that will be fit. Just wanted to let people know where I am at and haven’t dropped off the surface, just wanted to take a bit of a break.

Lastly… Bangarang, Robin. (And hopefully no one will take this as in poor taste)


Source: kattnoir on Tumblr

RIP Robin Williams

1951-2014

And to not forget who else passed away recently.


Source: That-Bearded Man on Tumblr

RIP Sir Richard Attenborough

1923-2014

End of Rant

Aug. 11th, 2014

Boromir

Quick Review: “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” (2014)


Poster Created by: Paramount Pictures
Courtesy of: Wikipedia Protected Under: Fair Use, to illustrate subject of the review

It takes a special sort of combination that makes MUTATED TURTLES THAT ARE NINJAS feel like a life-less boring experience without an original bone in its body. Being a film produced by Michael Bay, directed by the guy who gave us Battle: Los Angeles, starring Megan Fox, with a $125 Million budget and a troubled hype mainly involving aliens and Shredder supposedly being a white dude, there wasn’t much hope for it. But my goodness it didn’t feel like they even tried to make it even enjoyably bad.

To put it bluntly, this film is a Frankenstein monster of modern blockbuster tropes, corrupt corporate executives who want to make profit out of misery, a man who acts behind the shadows, “all the characters went to high school” sort of origin writing, a climax that takes place on top of a tower, “I killed your father!”… suddenly aliens aren’t looking so bad right now. A film that tries in no attempt to even make fun of how overused these elements are played frustratingly straight, a far cry from being based on a comic book that was essentially a parody.

Making the routine plot all the more worse is the characters lacking just about any development. April O’ Neil (Megan Fox) is the central character and yet her character is more dictated by the plot, than vice versa. O’Neil barely has any real endearing traits on her own at times coming off as the filmmakers trying to make a female Sam Witwicky from the Transformers films but Fox cannot pull it off, as she always looks like she’s in a constant state of confusion. The Turtles have their character traits but have no character arcs, they are merely defined by their one-note traits, and their clothing has more actual personality than the people wearing them. For those coming in expecting that Will Arnett could be the film’s saving grace but sad to say not even GOB can magically make the movie better. Arnett’s Vern Fenwick is just an unfunny comic relief and kind of a creep around April, even wearing a friggin fedora at one point.

But even more egregious, the film makes some changes to what people know and love about the Turtles to which it feels even dumber than what came before. Say goodbye to Hamato Yoshi, Splinter (Danny Woodburn w/ the voice of Tony Shaloub) and the Turtles learned martial arts from a book, and not even get cool Kung Fu Hustle powers either. In fact there is actually little to no personal connection between Shredder (Tohoru Masamune) and the Turtles, most of theirs and April’s backstory revolves around a character called Eric Sacks (William Fichtner) to a point in which ol’ Shred-head ends up being a pointless part of a freaking Turtles movie. The foot clan itself is just pathetic, at very little point do they provide a challenge for the Turtles and Karai (Minae Noji) in spite of supposedly being Shredder’s pupil is a big pile of nothing in the film, spends most of her screen-time getting her ass kicked.

Most importantly, the film just isn’t fun. As much as they try to make humor of the proceedings, they come across as flat attempts to distract from the fact that the film basically looked at what other movies has done and thought they should un-ironically copy them wholesale. Sorry but I see the stitches, so much so I can’t even think of anything big to compliment it with.

It’s the worst film I have seen so far this year and possibly the worst Turtles movie in the whole franchise. The third movie if anything at least didn’t make me feel so bored.



End of Rant

Aug. 7th, 2014

Sayid

CALLING OUT HATERS: The Ending to “The Last of Us” (Big SPOILERS)



Don’t let this not ending moment fool you; this game is kind of depressing.
Image Source: thelastofus-a

WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS

Although the game is over a year old, I’d strongly advise if you haven’t played The Last of Us on either the PS3 or the PS4, its best not to read any further.  There will also be spoilers for inFAMOUS 2.


The Last of Us is Naughty Dog’s swan song to the last generation of video games, a post-apocalyptic third-person stealth-action hybrid that rewards careful thinking and resource management as opposed to guns blazing, Uncharted this is not.  It also weaves an emotional narrative that is part Walking Dead meeting Children of Men, in which it centers around a cynical grizzled middle-aged man named Joel (Troy Baker) who has to help guide the hot-tempered 14-year-old Ellen Page-look alike Ellie (Ashley Johnson, who was the waitress in The Avengers) to a rogue group called the Fireflies because she may be the cure to a fungal disease that has plagued humanity for twenty years.

The game also contains a very polarizing ending that really makes or breaks it for some people.  Essentially the only way for the Fireflies to extract the cure for the disease from Ellie is to kill her.  This doesn’t go over well for Joel who in the big Falcon Player Punch of a prologue he had lost a daughter and has throughout the game stuck his life out for Ellie, even doing some really dark things in order to make sure she is safe and they grew a mutual bond with each other through the course of the game.  So he makes the big decision to instead save Ellie’s life as opposed to have her anti-fungal genes be examined for “the greater good.”

Now of course there is a major issue that a lot of people have with this and compounded by the fact you cannot make Joel change his mind… isn’t Ellie’s possible sacrifice justified?  The world had been turned to shit because of the disease, many people lost including loved ones and people who have been friendly with both Joel and Ellie.  Joel even has to lie to Ellie at the end over fear of losing her. Doesn’t Joel’s decision to pretty much say “fuck the world, I must save Ellie” come across as selfish?

Though I guess a bit of cynicism can be read on the side of Joel, seeing the worst side of humanity for many years, especially in the course of the game, he likely doesn’t feel like it would change with a cure.  Society is already fucked, so what will a cure to only part of the problem do for it?  As well he doesn’t know if the Fireflies’ motivations are genuine, they were going to do it while Ellie isn’t even aware of it happening, and the Fireflies only concerned about for a cure for them-selves.  There is a bunch of angles in which you can see Joel’s side, beyond just “I just don’t want to another little girl to die.”

But regardless, I feel like the issue for me is more in how the player is forced along to just make the one path.  As cinematically driven the game is, when people get towards that moment of what they’d see as misplaced morality, they might feel almost less inclined to see it through to the end.  That the choice the character makes you not want to finish the journey.  It was what personally made me un-easy about having to sneak past the Fireflies to save Ellie because part of me thinks that the character I am controlling isn’t entirely in the right, and I wished there would have been an option to go another path.

To put in comparison to another Sony game is inFAMOUS 2, in the game’s last moments it gives you the choice of two different paths: Heroic Sacrifice or Preservation.  Cole gets enough juice to power the Ray Field Inhibitor (RFI) which would defeat the Beast, but in a twist if he activates it, he’ll wipe out just about every Conduit on Earth including himself and his friends.  So the sacrifice is presented by being the morally good thing to do, whilst the bad ending is to decide that Conduits are worth saving and the rest of humanity will have to kiss their ass (I think I haven’t really witnessed that Bad Ending).  So in that game you are given the choice of “needs of the many (Humanity) vs. needs of the few (Conduits).”

I think in order to have been some ideal ground for The Last of Us, there could have been a choice, though maybe not necessarily as laid out as black-and-white.  Make the choice for Joel as opposed to have it be forced upon the player, and in the narrative presented it still could have worked.  How hard they fought to get to the Fireflies in the first place could be seen as grounds for Joel seeing Ellie’s sacrifice is necessary.

But it was Naughty Dog’s choice to make a linear narrative and who knows this might not be the end of it anyway, as there are talks of a sequel that they’ll make after Uncharted 4.  There may be some ramifications of Joel’s actions, the Fireflies’ leader may be dead but I doubt that will stop them from hunting him and Ellie, and of course the world is a shit-heap no shortage of people infected or just completely off the bend.  In spite of my reservations about how the last big moral decision made me feel a bit uneasy about continuing, I am at the very least interested in how the narrative will go from here.

That is unless your name is Spoony.  He thinks this game is bad and you should feel bad for liking it.  The latter part is what bothers me more than the former.

End of Rant

Jul. 15th, 2014

rowsdower

CALLING OUT HATERS: Top 15 “Weird Al” Yankovic Songs



Image Source: Splitsider

What is there really to say about “Weird Al” Yankovic?  He wasn’t the first person to do song parodies but he is one of those people who made it into an art form.  Born Alfred Matthew Yankovic (No relation to Frank Yankovic) started on the Dr. Demento show, and has had a somewhat healthy career since the early 1980s, he is pretty much the Michael Jackson of song parodies.  I’ve been a fan of his for years, the first album I listened to was “Weird Al” Yankovic In 3-D, I attended a concert of his back in 1999, have seen just about every music video of his, and UHF I would agree is an underrated comedy classic.

Now here comes the difficult part, in light of the release of Al’s final album with RCA Mandatory Fun (Which is TODAY, BTW), I felt like I might as well give people what I feel are my favorite songs of his, both his parodies and his original works.  But there are so many damn songs to pick from that I really really liked it felt a bit more difficult to choose from.  So sorry in advance if a few of your favorites didn’t make it, and since Mandatory Fun is fresh I won’t be including any songs from that.  And I made it a point to not include any of his polka compilations because they are just covers, so not really count as much as his other songs (He does do a mean “Bohemian Rhapsody” though), same goes for his cover of “George of the Jungle.”

Cue the accordion… or just the list…


Honorable Mentions:

“I Love Rocky Road”: Taking a Joan Jett song about a love or Rock N’ Roll and make it about a favorite ice ream flavor takes a stroke of genius.

“I Lost on Jeopardy”: It almost was foregone with the Greg Kihn Band song it’s based on itself already called “Jeopardy.”  Bonus points for getting Don Pardo one of the original announcers of the game show in the late 1960s-early 1970s.  Though the song was in 1984 it actually made before the Alex Trebek version, so that’s why the set looks so retro in the music video.

“I Want a New Duck”: Probably holds a special place in my heart seeing a Donald Duck 60 Minutes-esque TV special which had a montage set to this song.

“One More Minute”: A pretty painful anti-love song, probably one of his more personal hits, but still feels a bit funny in execution how exaggerated the pain comes from.

“Headline News”: A solid parody of “Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm” if a bit dated considering it’s involving big things that happened in 1994, especially the Nancy Kerrigan-Tonya Harding incident.

“All About the Pentiums”: An aggressive Puff Daddy parody about… computers.  Yeah, better than it sounds, though slightly outdated considering it’s 1999, and computers have advanced quite a bit since then.

“Couch Potato”: “Lose Yourself” by Eminem was a great song, and while Al has done quite a few songs already on TV obsession I felt this was his strongest.  Too bad this never gotten an official video, due to Eminem not really wanting one.

“Hardware Store”: Really is one thing to be honorable especially when Al lists off all those dang tools near the end of the song.

“Ode to a Superhero”: “Weird Al” Yankovic’s tribute to Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man to “Piano Man”… if only this was included on one of the film’s soundtracks.  And I agree Al, Willem Dafoe does look scarier without the dumb Power Rangers mask.

“Virus Alert”: Delete immediately before someone gets hurt.  A ridiculously catchy song based upon a thing that always can keep a computer user on edge.

“Weasel Stomping Day”: A somewhat hilariously upbeat and sadistic song on stomping on a furry little critter, and fitting for being featured on an episode of Robot Chicken.

“CNR”: Charles Nelson Reilly may have passed away in 2007 but didn’t prevent Al from making this kick-ass tribute to him in 2009… well half tribute/Chuck Norris joke parody.

“Perform This Way”: Pretty much a summation of Lady Gaga’s persona, parodying one of her most ridiculously catchy songs.  And if anything more encouraging Gaga giving her OK on it when her manager didn’t, as long as he gave the proceeds of the song to the Human Rights Campaign (The original song was personal for her after-all).  Bonus points for the music video that pastes Al’s face onto a woman’s body, your decision on whether or not that is really hot.


15. “The Saga Begins”
Parody of: “American Pie” by Don McLean
Album: Running With Scissors

This was impressive in two ways, one of which making the plot of The Phantom Menace sounding good, but another is that he wrote it from leaked plot details and got most of the movie accurate (I’d kill to hear Liam Neeson actually say “Stick it in your pointy ears” though).  Really puts me back into an innocent time where I too was a blind Star Wars fanboy, I even had people of Music class sing this along with me.  I just didn’t feel the crushing disappointment of the film itself until years later.


14. “Everything You Know Is Wrong”
Album: Bad Hair Day

“What is white up and down, what’s short is long.”  This completely almost nonsensical song just gets me not only for just the shit that happens but also the ridiculously catchy nature of it.  Rabid wolverines, aliens that look like Jamie Farr, dying from an infection of a paper cut, heaven having a noisy ice machine…   There doesn’t really seem to be much of a logic to it, only that all you need to understand is “Everything you know is wrong.”


13. “White and Nerdy”
Parody of: “Riding Dirty” by Charmillionaire f/ Krayzie Bone
Album: Straight out of Lynwood

What can make up a good parody is making the lyrics about a completely different subject than its original song and yet somehow make it work.  Here it’s Charmillionaire’s song of racial profiling and turning it into a song of a nerd boasting himself, like it would somehow give him cred with the gangsters.  Helping is Al’s ability to really match up with the tone of the song, and Sir Alfred Yankovic isn’t a bad rapper himself.  Then there is the music video which to date has nearly 86 Million views on YouTube, and boasts a few notable cameos including Donny Osmand, Seth Green and… Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele?  This was a song that pretty much made Straight out of Lynwood a hit, and definitely the “hippest” you’ll hear anyone sing about nerd culture.  Slightly dated with a MySpace reference though.


12. “Jurassic Park”
Parody of: “MacArthur Park” by Richard Harris
Album: Alapalooza

Jimmy Webb’s love-it-or-hate-it 1968 hit actually adapts pretty well into a movie about cloned dinosaurs running amok in an island attraction.  Not so much about leaving cakes in the rain (Which is a metaphor I guess) as it is about people getting disemboweled and leaving them kind of mad.  Jurassic Park was HUGE in 1993, so I guess Al wanted a bit of that Spielberg hype waved, and it worked.   The film itself even 2 decades old stands the test of time, and for me so does this parody.


11. “Don’t Download This Song”
Album: Straight out of Lynwood

What also never fails to be timeless, the ridiculousness of charitable ballads.  As the cause might be good they usually come across as over-produced and/or lyrically questionable.  “We Are The World” being one example that comes to mind, but for me the one I really get sick of is “Do They Know It’s Christmas?”  Anyway this is basically a song shouting out to how basically the music industry including the RIAA does not take kindly to the whole music sharing scene, thus is a parody of how they would try to reach out and basically say “Don’t Download This Song.”  Sadly considering how the record companies (or pretty much any media company now and days) pretty much want to act as judge, jury and executioner to anyone who wants to download their shit, the song doesn’t seem all too exaggerated.  Pretty much has all the tropes they use in place in place guilt tripping, exaggeration of the consequences, and just all around trying to make you feel like the worst human being of the world, regardless if you are 30 or 10.  As a bit of satire in itself Al actually offered this song as a free download up to the release, encouraging bit of thought to practice what he preaches.  But still buy Al’s albums, he still needs to eat after all.  If anything though this song highlights just how very disturbing the music industry runs things.


10. “Trapped in the Drive-Thru”
Parody of: “Trapped In The Closet” by R. Kelly
Album: Straight out of Lynwood

With something as already ludicrous as R. Kelly’s magnum opus, what can really match that?  A song making an epic out of going to the drive-thru.  Brings up a scenario we all can relate to, in the middle of the night wanting something to eat but can’t really decide on what to, so it’s off a trip to the drive-thru.  What is the mundane made all the more dramatic, from just simply discussing food, finding change in the freaking car, to how people can share awkward stares for a long time (“Well he looks at me… and I look at him… and he looks at me… and I look at him” etc), also thrown in a bit of “Black Dog” by Led Zeppelin to break things up.  The absurdity of the whole thing definitely makes it one of Al’s best epic songs, though what I consider his best is still to come.


9. “Gump”
Parody of: “Lump” by the Presidents of the United States
Album: Bad Hair Day

I don’t really have as fond of memories towards Forrest Gump as much as I used to and really I’m starting to get sick of annoyingly sentimental movies.  However that doesn’t make this a bad song based upon the film in anyway, works the whole thing about Forrest Gump really well into the beats of the song it is parodying.  While not a full summary of the film itself, still breaks down some of the basic elements to make it entertaining.  And that’s all I have to say about that.


8. “Albuquerque”
Album: Running With Scissors

A somewhat abusive childhood with Sauerkraut turns into an epic journey to a certain city in New Mexico.  So much crazy shit happens in the span of 11 minutes and 2 seconds, getting into a plane crash, fighting with a hermaphrodite with only one nostril over a snorkel, wanting donuts but getting weasels, marrying a girl named Zelda, having two children with her… and then mutilating two people one with a chainsaw and one with his teeth.  The setting only seems incidental in the gist of things, but if anything shows how something completely off the wall random can turn into an epic.  The wackiest adventure you’d find about Albuquerque… that is before Breaking Bad.  WAKA WAKA DOO DOO YEAH.


7. “Bedrock Anthem”
Parody of: “Under the Bridge” and “Give It Away” by Red Hod Chili Peppers
Album: Alapalooza

Yabba-Dabba-Yabba-Dabba-Dabba-Doo now.  Who knew a simple cartoon that was basically The Honeymooners in the Stone Age can really fit into the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ style and two completely different songs as well.  It isn’t enough to be said, pretty much nails the Chili Peppers and making you really nostalgic at the same time (Whether or not that is a good thing is up to debate).  The song was also popular enough to be included in The Flintstones movie soundtrack, along with “Walk the Dinosaur” by Was (Not Was) (Only a year after it was covered by George Clinton & the Goombas for Super Mario Bros.) and “Anarchy in Bedrock” by Green Jelly.  This song is just a gay old time.


6. “Yoda”
Parody of: “Lola” by the Kinks
Album: Dare to be Stupid

Seems a bit weird to have a tribute song to Yoda 5 years after Empire Strikes Back, still an instant classic from Al.  It’s also another song that really veers differently from the subject matter of the song it parodies, as “Lola” is about transgender confusion.  Still though doesn’t take away from the enjoyment of basically a tribute to the little green alien puppet we all know and love.  “I know Darth Vader’s really got you annoyed, but remember if you kill him then you’ll be unemployed” almost feels fitting to that cave scene doesn’t it?  “I will be playing this part til I’m old and gray” well almost took 30 years, but now Mark Hamill will be playing the part of Luke again, though making the movies until the end of time remains to be seen (And skipped out on about 3).  Wonder if Frank Oz has any Yoda left in him or is he still retired?


5. “Amish Paradise”
Parody of: “Gangsta’s Paradise” by Coolio
Album: Bad Hair Day

There is nothing less Gangsta than being Amish, but Al had found a way to make it fit parodying the breakaway hit from the Dangerous Minds soundtrack.  “An Amish with a ‘tude, you know that’s unheard of”, I don’t know you do a good job of making it sound it that way yourself.  Basically putting in all the things we know of the Amish into the tune of a rap song, pacifism included and even throwing a bit of the ending theme of Gilligan’s Island for good measure.  Now this parody is not without it’s controversy as Al actually didn’t get proper permission to do it from Coolio (Al always made it a point to get permission to parody a song even if he is allowed not to).  Thankfully fences have been mended in 2006, so now there is no bad blood between Al and Coolio.  And thus you can really appreciate this song without being guilty over the original artist’s opinion.  Otherwise I may have to get medieval on your hiney.


4. “Dare to be Stupid”
Album: Dare to be Stupid

What some would actually describe as the best Devo song that actually wasn’t written by Devo.  What Devo’s Mark Mothersbaugh once said about it "I was in shock. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever heard. He sort of re-sculpted that song into something else and, umm... I hate him for it, basically."  Al’s love letter to low intelligence probably the funnest of Al’s original songs and probably has the most fun music video of all of his.  Basically twisting a lot of old phrases to take the illogical step and even adding some nonsensical ones that fit well within the call of stupidity (“Stick your head in the microwave and get yourself a tan”, “Mashed potatoes can be your friend.”).  And of course the music video having a lot of energy, references (To both Devo and other things) really adds to the song as well.  Though one thing it does feel out of place is Transformers: The Movie in which Wreck-Gar and the Junkions become a pest to the heroes.  Not saying it isn’t fitting for the Junkions mind you, but it doesn’t feel appropriate for chase music.  It led him to make an awesome appearance as Wreck-Gar in Transformers Animated though, and doesn’t take away from the fact this song makes it feel awesome to be stupid.  I m seriouz, ya guys.


3. “Fat”
Parody of: “Bad” by Michael Jackson
Album: Even Worse

It may be incredibly cheap to laugh at fat jokes, but this definitely feels more amusing to me than most with the addition of being put to the backbeat of Michael Jackson.  Just hilarious as well to look at the Music Video and Al acting around in a fat suit doing most of the same things Jackson did, with much less success than MJ.  Just playing up the humor that a person would make being fat as intimidating but really it’s pretty damn absurd.  I think if you feel offended by this, I think you are taking this a bit too seriously, there isn’t a lot that feels all that mean-spirited at least with this.  Now if Al called fat people disgusting pigs or the worst in civilization anything else, then it might be something.  But point is I’ve heard far worse on fat, and this is still a ridiculously fun parody.


2. “Smells Like Nirvana”
Parody of: “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana
Album: Off the Deep End

As like a phoenix raising from the ashes, after Al’s flop of UHF it was this song that revived his career.  A parody of Nirvana’s breakaway hit from Nevermind that actually got the blessing of Kurt Cobain, in which it makes fun of the fact that at times Mr. Cobain’s lyrics can be incomprehensible.  Yes indeed it is hard to bargle newdle zouss with all these marbles in my mouth.  Such an affectionate parody, it takes a lot of love to make something sound so good like the original song and yet pave its own path making it a grand imitation and a playful tribute.  And this was before the age of the internet in which you could easily find the words up online, so people would easily confused what the lyrics are, what is otherwise known as a Mondegreen.  Funny I ran across a Mondegreen with one of Al’s songs “Slime Creatures from Outer Space” sounded to me like “Flying Teachers from Outer Space.”  It still pains me a bit to think about Kurt Cobain who took his own life in 1994, a man who had so much to give to the world ending it when he was 27.  But his legacy will definitely live on as a rock legend both through his songs and this parody tribute.


1. “Eat It”
Parody of: “Beat It” by Michael Jackson
Album: “Weird Al” Yankovic in 3-D

Whilst Al had produced notable songs before this one, it was one that I think really put him up into the mainstream and got him a Grammy.  Most certainly is the first “Weird Al” song I’ve ever listened to and I feel it is his greatest accomplishment so far.  Turning Michael Jackson’s song of gang violence and turning it into basically telling people that you should probably eat when you are told.  I think if anything getting approval from the King of Pop himself was another interesting thing as he even can get good humor out of twisting a song into meaning something completely different (He didn’t approve a parody of “Black or White” though).  The video itself resembles the original it’s uncanny with a few added visual gags, even some of the extras look so much like the original.  Now of course, there is some irony to think as a song such as this as you probably wouldn’t get Al to eat whatever you’d feed him on his plate, as he’s become an outspoken vegetarian.  Also applies to songs like “My Bologna” or “Spam” or “Lasagna” (Though vegetarian alternatives do exist) or that scene in UHF where he puts a hotdog in a Twinkie.  Though always separate the art from the artist that’s what I say, and I doubt half of the songs you can really take seriously if you take them at face value.  Al certainly has crafted his art of parody over the years but this is where I feel this was one where he pretty much solidified.  “Eat It” is my personal favorite song of his.

*To polka melody*

My personal favorite song… of his.  Favorite song of his.  Favorite song of his.  Favorite song of his.  My personal favorite song!

HEY!

End of Rant

Jul. 9th, 2014

catwoman

CALLING OUT HATERS: Shipping (W/jashykins)

PRESENTS

A

CO-OP BLOG

Image Created by: Marukaite Chikyuu on Tumblr

Previously on the Tor-Cha Chamber…

“Ah, shippers, how I absolutely dread them. I mean some might be justified as it’s rare to find a compelling romantic story in fiction now and days. While I find that Harry/Hermoine didn’t have the same sort of bond her and Ron had, the dissenters to Harry/Ginny are understandable considering J.K. Rowling did a really bad job building up that relationship, more pages were devoted to his ill-fated and misguided relationship with Cho Chang than developing up a significant bond with the youngest Weasley. However in some cases I think they are pushing it when it comes to finding the “signs” of their shipping preference, and I’m calling out the ones in that group that are awfully defensive about whom they prefer as a couple.”

(One Zutara Rant later)

“I just wanted to make a point on why I just don’t see why this pairing is enough to be worked up over. They can have their fanfictions and fanarts but when some of them shove their preferences down other people’s throats by bemoaning and insulting shippers of the official couple, then it crosses a line between an innocent preference to obsessive fanboyism. This is not something to get worked up over, they are fictional characters, there are far more worthy causes in the world to be all in a fussy about, having viscous debates about couples in a TV show isn’t one of them, as it doesn’t have the effect as say drastic changes in the environment or concern over how the government is running things. Don’t take it too personal, and at least have a sense of humor about it, I mean… why so serious? Now isn’t that so much better advice than saying ‘Get a life!’”

-CALLING OUT HATERS: Zutara Shippers get no satisfaction (Avatar: The Last Airbender SPOILERS), June 6th 2010


Look at the people around you when you walk down a crowded street, there is probably a sizable portion of them that are… SHIPPERS! In one form or another they have their own OTP or One True Pairing that they prefer in fiction or in real life. They’ll probably rant at great length about it on an open forum, in their blog, post a bunch of gifs on Tumblr or just talk with at great length with their friends, strongly supporting about whom they prefer as a couple, even battle with other ships over who is the true pairing. They might even make little cute nicknames of their preferences combining the first and/or last names of their characters to represent their ships.

Chances are your parents, grandparents and even great grandparents have done it as well. Before there was people debating Edward and Jacob, there was Betty and Veronica. Think the debates over Peter Parker’s one true love, Gwen Stacy or Mary Jane Watson is a recent thing? That battle has been waged since 1966, not even Gwen dying in 1973 has quite stopped it.

But maybe I’m not quite the romantic, but I just can’t find myself understanding the whole fascination of shipping. I mean certainly I can feel strongly about people who have a romantic pull in fiction, after-all I did make a defense of Kataang (The official pairing of Katara and Aang in Avatar: The Last Airbender) over four years ago. But there are certain aspects about shipping that I don’t really understand, especially the people who like to like to make cross-over ships (Merida/Hiccup, Elsa/Jack Frost… really?).

I mean it’s not like there is someone who has confessed continually can help a Fluffy Man out.


Jash Derin Kol-Ze aka jashykins:

Yeah, really wish there was someone to help you out. Someone who has a blog series about what they ship.

Wait...that's me...so...yeah...

I didn't start out as a big shipper and it's something I kind of ended up accepting about myself. I ship purely for fun and get annoyed when people take it too seriously. Even if people use shipping to make arguments that I agree with I don't usually like it since it takes out the fun element.

I ship things that I wouldn't ship in real life including incest. They're fictional people so real world logic doesn't apply.


Fluffyman:

…You ship incest?



jashykins:

Well the people in my incest ships aren't real. Nothing is actually happening to them in the real world. It's the reason I can enjoy a good slasher film: nothing is actually real so I don't have to feel guilty about cheering the killer on.

In the ship Wincest (pairing between Dean and Sam in the show Supernatural) or Charlie/Miles (Charlie and Miles Matheson from the show Revolution), things don't have to happen like they would in the real world, especially in the second example.

Besides the age difference in Charlie/Miles, there is the fact that Miles is either Charlie's Uncle or Father (because the show got cancelled we'll never know for sure). In real life I would be against this because of the power play that could easily go on.

But it's fiction and non-canon so if I don't want to imagine that happening, I don't have to and so I can enjoy the ship my own way.


Fluffyman:

Well… if I were to follow that, I’d put out some examples of my own… I mean not something I personally ship but have seen people ship or really shipped within the show itself.

I mean with Game of Thrones, brother-sister incest isn’t just implied, it’s freaking canon. Part of a major conflict in the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros is the incestual relationship between Jaime and Cersei Lannister which they have not only done the nasty, they’ve birthed several children including the unholy abomination Joffrey. And funny thing is there are people who believe in them, even if they are not very nice people, it’s hard to find a moral paragon in the show or the novels to be sure. But I find it really mortifying people believe in an incestuous relationship between two kind of awful people… it is just pretty damn wrong. Ship might have sunk like a rock with the scene in which it very much looked like Jaime was raping Cersei (Which they changed from the book where it’s direct about it being consensual) but that sort of plot device is a rant for another time.

One non-canon incest shipping that really freaks me out: Prince Zuko and Princess Azula, the heirs to the Fire Nation throne in Avatar: The Last Airbender. Not only is this ship creepy for the obvious reason of incest, they could not be more different of characters. Zuko is a banished prince who had spent most of his life being the unfavorite to his father Fire Lord Ozai, and feels capturing the Avatar will restore his honor. Azula is Daddy’s Little Sociopath, has no empathy for anyone around her, only cares about goals that benefit her, not mention a master Firebender and carries out creepily elaborate schemes, making her one of the most dangerous characters in the show. Both have mommy issues, however Zuko yearns because of his abusive relationship with his father, Azula dreads because her mother never loved her. Pretty much both characters are trying to kill each other for most of the show (Azula though more trying to kill Zuko than vice versa) and even have a climactic battle at the end. There is a brief period in which the characters are “at peace” with each other, but even then, there are major differences that separate them. The idea of Azula being shipped with anyone though scratches my head, she isn’t a character that has a lot of redemption or even sympathy, I doubt there is anyone that is “the one” for her because. Maybe people just don’t like Mai, Zuko’s official pairing partner in the show.

Other incest pairings I’ve seen people ship: Simon/River Tam from Firefly, Wanda and Pietro Maximoff of Marvel Comics (Which Jeph Loeb decided to canonize in Ultimates 3 *shudders*), Thor and Loki in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Elsa and Anna in Frozen, Peter Petrelli and Claire Bennett in Heroes (Not helping with the actors briefly dating in real life), Chuck and Ellie Bartowski in Chuck, and I’m certain plenty of others that you’d likely experienced.

I think what usually leads people to do things is when writers seem to have a failure to really write interesting romances for characters, but resonate much strongly with writing a relationship with a sibling or another relative. I can definitely see people seeing the failure of a canon ship causing them to wish there was a much better pairing, but to a blood relative… must admit personally creeps me out.

Getting back to the whole writing of relationships, is there anything that you can say about the mindset of those who write ships because they feel official couples fail to compel them?


jaskykins:

From my own mindset I never ship something because a canon ship fails. I ship canon couples as well as non-canon ones.

In the Animorphs series I ship Jake/Cassie and Rachel/Tobias just as hard as the non-canon couple Tobias/Marco.

I have really big emotions for Jake/Cassie and how much they go through and change throughout the war. I feel the sadness in the Rachel/Tobias ship by the end of the series. So they don't fail at all. They are big wins.

So I ship Tobias/Marco because I see connections between the two. Not because one of the canon ships failed.

I can't get into the mindset of someone who ships just because they feel a canon couple failed since the mindset is truly foreign to me. Of course I'm also one that doesn't hate most ships except one so I'm pretty open minded about most things.

The only pairing I don't like is canon and is from Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. It is between Jesse Flores and Derek Reese. It commits the sin of dumbing down Derek in order for the ship to work. Does that mean I started shipping Sarah Connor/Derek Reese because of it?

Hell no.

I see chemistry between two characters and I ship them. Not because 'the canon ship failed'. Of course this does mean there is a vast number of my ships that conflict with each other.


Fluffyman:

Well I feel I might relate a bit more to the mindset of finding the canon ship lacking and wish at the very least they could be bothered with writing one that is more compelling and better built upon. Harry Potter and Ginny Weasley is one canonical ship I haven’t really felt. As much as J.K. Rowling and the films try to push them as a great couple, the fact is neither really did a good job building this great romance between them. They of course plant the seeds of something in Chamber of Secrets but Ginny’s importance in the series doesn’t come anywhere near as relevant until The Half-Blood Prince when they eventually become an item and (to borrow a bit of British terminology) snog. In-between Harry is side-tracked with a crush on Cho Chang which ends up pretty badly for both of them in Order of the Phoenix anyway with a combination of jealousy, betrayal and the death of Cedric Diggory (It’s much worse in the books). Harry and Cho’s arc of at least three books felt like it was given more care and attention to than the canon ship of Harry and Ginny which just seems more spontaneous than anything. Ron and Hermoine at least had an undercurrent that spread throughout the seven books, even with their tiffs especially with the whole in-book-only House Elves subplot. That does not mean I ship Harry and Cho mind you, it was great that it ended as it was more of a strained one that wasn’t going to work out.

Then there is a case in which I find all ships lacking and wished that the creators have spent energy on something else… anything else. One stand-out example recently is the sequel series to Avatar: The Last Airbender called The Legend of Korra. In this show the attempts at romance are far more in the forefront to the series than they were the previous one, and it comes at the detriment. I kind of understand since it involves people in their teens to early adults as opposed to kids in the last show, they’d tailor stories more closely related to that audience. In terms of the people involved we have the main character Avatar Korra, the brooding firebending orphan Mako, his charmingly goofy earthbending brother Bolin and rich heiress/hair-flip expert Asami. How it goes is that Bolin really liked Korra, but Korra really likes Mako, but then Mako also has a thing with Asami, Bolin’s heart is broken, eventually Asami’s is as well, Korra and Mako get together, then due to the big conflict in Season 2 Korra and Mako split up, Asami kisses Mako then trying to rekindle a relationship (In which she’s at an all-time emotional low in that period BTW), but then things get side-tracked and then Korra and Mako decide to split out for reals. A tangled web indeed, made worse by taking up a good chunk of the screen time with mediocre writing by which at the end I would like to have just screamed to the heavens like Lumpy Space Prince and shout “I DON’T CAREEEEEEEEEEEEE!” Things seem to just get better with the third season though as there doesn’t seem to be any sort of shipping shenanigans this time… I hope.

Not as bothersome to me but still kind of annoying is the whole shipping wars of Adventure Time. Centric on the protagonist Finn the Human people either prefer him to be paired with Princess Bubblegum, Flame Princess, Lumpy Space Princess, Marceline the Vampire Queen… and I’m certain there are plenty of others, Finn trying to be the honorable hero he is pretty much a chick magnet in this show. But one thing to keep in mind with any of this is Finn’s emotional maturity or real lack thereof, as he is a boy growing up to be a man, thus can’t really fathom the complex emotions of adulthood. To put it simply I can’t really strongly get behind any ship as because he isn’t quite at the point where a serious romantic relationship is possible. But if I were to put my two cents on a few, Princess Bubblegum and Marceline are REALLY too old for Finn and the former seems to just be written more and more like a sociopath. Flame Princess ship they pretty much all but sank recently. And Lumpy Space Princess… whilst strongly suggesting recently she has deflowered Finn so to speak (Yes it’s still a family show), LSP doesn’t really have much emotional maturity herself and their “moment” so to speak LSP was taking advantage of Finn, feeling disturbingly close to rape.

Speaking of Adventure Time, a popular ship is something that goes beyond the average parameter of family shows and that is Princess Bubblegum and Marceline, and I think if anything is implied strongly with the writers themselves. This is a ship I actually can see, and it’d be definitely a ground-breaker to follow through with it, if there are any spines left in Cartoon Network that is, but this show pretty much contains a ton of moments in which you question you are watching something marketed towards kids.

Any two cents on same-sex shipping? I can definitely see you have a few yourself.


jashykins:

Same-sex ships are either man with man which is slash or woman with woman which is femslash. And there are ships involving more than two people but that's an area I'm just now really getting into.

What I've come across shipping slash and femslash is people saying that me, and people like me, are only shipping those kinds of pairings because we have a fetish. It can't be possibly be because we see connections between two characters. Nope, we have to be fetishing the LGBTQ+ community.

What makes that even more stupid at times is actual gays, lesbians, ect. ship femslash and slash so...are they fetishing themselves?

I, myself, am not turned on by a good majority of slash pairings, but I ship them because I believe I see a romantic connection between the two. So when I ship Tony Stark and Bruce Banner (called either Science Bros or Science Husbands) from The Avengers I am not doing it because I get off on imagining them having sex.

Not that I don't mind it, but it is far from the reason I like to pair them together.

Femslash pairings, for me at least, are a little more rare though I like them as equally as slash pairings.

One of my more recent femslash pairings is Sifay (Melinda May and Sif from Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) even though they only had one episode together and there's no assurance that they'll share another one.

And as for changing someone's sexuality for a ship: sometimes myself and others believe that it's obvious that someone isn't straight.

Such as Dean Winchester from Supernatural just has these moments where it seems he's bisexual. While in the Animorphs series Marco just acts too straight and makes a majority of the fandom agree he's not straight (I, myself, like to headcanon him as gay though I don't mind a bisexual Marco).

While having more LGBTQ+ representation in fiction would help, I don't think it would ever really stop these type of headcanons.


Fluffyman:

The accusation of fetishizing a sexual preference isn’t one that I haven’t heard before. This is different than the dumb accusation of something “pushing the homosexual agenda”; this is a case in which the homosexuals are actually offended by the way they are portrayed by others, especially in the media. There are writers and producers out there who just don’t know how homosexual relationships work, when gays are depicted in fiction, sadly they are usually put in as wacky comic relief or as part of an incredibly disingenuous ratings stunt. They write them less like human beings and more either to be ridiculed or fapped to.

Though with same-sex shippers, I do normally find the cases for them to be not so much about feeding a one-handed exercise and more thinking “wouldn’t it be cute if they were together” or something like that. Stark and Banner feels to me a pairing which people just really love how they talk and interact with each other, and becomes heartwarming when one isn’t afraid of the other.

Marceline and Princess Bubblegum though is a case in which their interactions can also be considered unresolved sexual tension. They have a troubled history together and in some ways feels like they’re mending a few fences in recent episodes that they’re involved in (At one point Bubblegum sniffs a shirt Marceline gave her to wake up in the morning… read that as you will). As much as people wish upon them being a couple there is still the hurdle that Adventure Time is on Cartoon Network, thus there is that barrier in which network censors would not approve of a same-sex relationship, even with all the other stuff it gets under a radar. I do hope there is at least a progressive change in which how family entertainment perceives homosexuality, but that’s definitely another rant for another time.


jashykins:

Yeah, some writers of TV shows and the like just don't get someone who isn't straight and their relationships. Queer baiting, though what is queer baiting and what isn't can be heavily up to debate at times, is a horrible thing where people entice others to watch in the hopes that a slash or femslash pairing will become canon. Basically using the HOPE of a same-sex relationship as bait to bring in views.


Fluffyman:

Now for a subject that I’m really kind of baffled on why some people genuinely like to do… cross-over ships. Can you explain to me the whole fascination with that?


jashykins:

I'm not really a person that goes with crossovers for the most part. The Shormlit Chronicles is mostly set in the Animorphs universe, at least for now though I have plans for that to change in the far future; and Inbetween: The Works of Crayak combines elements from The Following and Animorphs to get one universe.

So I don't have much experience with it personally. I will admit, though, that some crossover ships are cute and adorable.

Elsa and Jack Frost things I see on Tumblr make me okay with the ship though I don't ship it as much as I do other things.

The only fanfic I read, and do need to finish as well as the fic that came before it, that did a crossover ship wasn't one I'd normally think of but it worked. It was a Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles and Fringe crossover. The main pairing was Sarah Connor and Olivia Dunham.

The fic I need to finish does a great job at dealing with Sarah getting cancer and Olivia having to deal with that.


Fluffyman:

I personally don’t get the whole Jack Frost and Elsa thing, I mean other than being ice people and them having to come to terms with responsibility, Jack being a Guardian and Elsa being a Queen, there isn’t a whole lot in common with each other. Jack is a dorky trickster and Elsa is a bit rebellious but treats her powers in exile as a liberation and there isn’t a lot of time to be spent goofing around (Olaf is an unintended thing). I don’t exactly see them connecting quite as well as some Tumblr users do that gif them in scenes together.

As for Princess Merida and Hiccup, really hinges on derailing the former. One of the big messages of Brave was that Merida didn’t need a man to fulfill her life, the story was more about a conflict between herself and her considerably more conservative Queen mother Elinor. The suitors aren’t a major factor in her development, so how the heck can Hiccup be a major factor in her life? As much as there would be suggestion Merida would warm up to a suitor eventually, doesn’t change the facts. Hiccup might be part of a land with people who many of the adults have Scottish accents (Even though Vikings existed in Scandinavia), his dorkiness might have some appeal, but there is one important factor that cross-over shippers seem to not like and that is HE IS TAKEN. Hiccup doesn’t need a girl as he has Astrid, a determined yet hot-headed rookie dragon slayer who first hates Hiccup but then eventually warms up to him, and they even become an adorable official couple in the second film. I think it some people’s distaste for Astrid for some reason, but as much as she doesn’t quite strongly resonate with some people, she’s still with Hiccup, and she will always be with Hiccup (That is unless they pull some BS in the third film).

Other cross-over ships I’ve seen: Hiccup and Rapunzel (In spite of both being taken), Jack and Merida, Jack and Rapunzel (There’s even a whole shipping community called “Rise of the Brave Tangled Dragons”) Norman of ParaNorman and Coraline, Sailor Moon and Goku, Wally/Waldo and Carmen Sandiego, Bayonetta and Devil May Cry’s Dante (Helped by both being from the same creator), Samus and Solid Snake, Nathan Drake and Lara Croft, it goes on and on. And someone I knew once shipped Hunter of Road Rovers with Mallory of the cartoon Mighty Ducks doubling as inter-series AND inter-species ship.

It’s alright in the world of Fan Fiction but it just feels to me that if you do that, make pairings that might make sense. Then again I’m a person who has admitted to not being quite the romantic. As I myself don’t have a girlfriend and never officially had one, so I can’t exactly fathom entirely what can go into attraction, only really know what other people see it is.


jashykins:

The thing I think you're having a problem with is letting go of canon. As a multi-shipper who ships both canon and non-canon couples alike I don't worry too much about how they wouldn't all work and so I would just have to pick one.

I ship Dean with Sam but I still ship Dean with Castiel. Hell, Dean and Crowley look really promising especially with the finale of the current season.

So if you don't get too upset about canon, or how certain ships will conflict with other ships, there's really not much of a problem.

And as for pairings making sense...some people see things in some places that others don't. So it's really a difference of opinion at times.


Fluffyman:

Say… do you think you can ship me with someone, jashykins?


jaskykins:

Let me first say that I don't know you that well. Even though I do a decent job at keeping up with your blogs I'm not too familiar with what series/franchises you are into. Since I also don't know you that well...near impossible to think of anything at the moment.

With that said I'll have to go with a fellow member of Manic Expression. I will just say that I pair your blogging styles up and that's really all I'm going on: Jim Bevan.


Fluffyman:

*Laughs*

I don’t know if me and Mr. Bevan would stand each other. Now James Daniel Walsh is probably the closest I’ve come to of anyone in the Manic Expression website, being that he was a a major influence on my blogs in the first place. But I try my darndest to not suggest any tension between us when we did our co-op blogs. But he really gloated over me when he highlighted me as a Great Blogger back in March, and saying my series is better than his, leaves me very flattered. People might read some sort of tension in there. Oh and congratulations on being the latest blogger to be highlighted by James, you really seem to keep yourself busy to deserve it.


jashykins:

Ah, you and James. The great love story of our age.

And thanks for the congrats! I was extremely embarrassed and tried to hide from the screen. But it's still a nice feeling.

So who would you ship me with?


Fluffyman:

As far as you are concerned, I run into the same problem with you in that I only just became familiar with your work, so it’d be hard to ship someone. But maybe one of the guys from Supernatural you seem to really love them, maybe an Animorphs character, though I would have to really read up on them because I don’t have knowledge or experience in either. I know of one or two other known people who have a great appreciation of Supernatural so maybe… Obscurus Lupa?


jashykins:

Obscurus Lupa? I don't mind being paired with her. I don't keep up with her videos often but when I do watch them, sometimes in a binge which is the same way I like to view Linkara, I do enjoy her.


Fluffyman:

So maybe you are right, shipping can be a fun thing. Mind you there is definitely an extreme to it, in which people so passionate they really start to tear fandoms apart. As well there are certain parts of which I’d not like to get into like when people ship a kid with a grown adult, I feel very uncomfortable with even discussing it. But taking away the bad, there can still be something enjoyable found in there, I don’t quite know if I can completely come up with the right words.

Just a few assorted thoughts to wrap things up about shipping on my end:

-I’m probably not alone in thinking as a child, Shaggy and Daphne felt more interesting of a pairing as opposed to Fred and Daphne.

-I honestly don’t care about Gilligan enough to really think he can really be paired up with Mary-Ann or Ginger (Though I’m more of a Mary-Ann guy but that’s a self-insert)

-Batman and Catwoman OTP.

-Peter Parker and Mary Jane OTP, though hard for me to think how it could have worked in Spectacular Spider-Man a show that ended before they even got to that point.

-Cloud Strife and Tifa Lockhart.

-I’m not a fan of actor shipping, even if celebrities can look adorable together, I leave that to the gossipy media.

-Good lord… don’t get me started on Anakin and Padme.

Any last things you want to say about shipping?


jashykins:

My final words would be to just enjoy ships for fun and not to take them too seriously. Not that I like when my OTP (Science Husbands) are said to just be friends, but I don't start yelling at people.

Some people just think that ships need to be canon because they believe in them. I believe the LGBTQ+ community should be represented better, but some of the more...passionate shippers take things too far and don't help.


Fluffyman:

There are plenty of people who can take things too far with something they are passionate about in their fandoms. That is not to say passion is a bad thing, but certain passionate battles definitely feel like they take the fun out of whatever they are fighting about.

Thank you so much for helping me with this blog. This definitely has been a surreal and at the same time kind of enlightening conversation.


jashykins:

You're welcome. I love talking about shipping so it was a good conversation for me too. And any time you want to ask me to collaborate with you in the future just ask.


Fluffyman:

Happy to ship with you.

Wait…

End of Rant


See jashykins on:
Her Blogspot page
Twitter
Tumblr
Has her own forums

Jun. 26th, 2014

real life, fluffyman, costume

Fluffyman’s Updates From the Tor-Cha Chamber 6/26/2014

Well, I have finally reached the milestone of 100 CALLING OUT HATERS blogs with my last Post E3 rant and this little update will mark the 100th blog I’ve used the COH tag on Manic_Expression (But won’t be counted among the core blogs), so I am swimming with a bunch of possibilities in my mind on where to go from here.

I’ve come up with so many ideas for a possible Centennial blog one of which is that encapsulates all of what CALLING OUT HATERS is about and what I’ve been trying to do with it.  But at the same time I have a lot of ideas in the works for future COH blogs that I almost feel more inclined to focus on that rather than one that strokes my own ego.  I am open to suggestions if you guys have anything in mind that I should do for a post-#100 blog, but it’s not really quite the forefront on my mind right about now.

Other assorted thoughts to share right about now:

-It has been forever since I’ve actually done a Co-Op blog, so I’m welcome to see if anyone on Manic Expression (Not just James but he can throw in some ideas too) would be willing to do one about a subject they are passionate about.  One dream one I’d like to express right now is a future Women blog with a woman to write a rant with.  As much as I strive to be perfect with my women rants they never feel complete without someone of that gender to give their two cents, and doesn’t have to be on the comment section.  Doesn’t mean any of the female Expressioners has to do this, but it’s just an idea.

-As you noticed, I never finished my “Movies of 2013” rants and am so beyond that, I don’t think I’ll ever get back to it, except maybe another installment of Scraps.

-Another idea for a future blog: The Spectacular Spider-ManI had just recently finished with the show and really would like to do a full-on rant on it, yet can’t haven’t quite gotten the inspiration to do it.  Just something on the back-burner and if any fellow fan of the show thinks they can help, they very well can.

-No plans to suffer through Transformers: Age of Extinction.

So yeah, that’s what’s going through my mind right now, other than the fact I am currently jobless, don’t have a sizable income and have debts to pay.  Living the life.

Last but not least, I don’t mean to make this a thing since I ended my last Update with a dedication but it feels very important to mention anyway… so long Tuco:

Image Source: Oldfilmsflicker on Tumblr

RIP Eli Wallach

1915-2014

End of Rant

Jun. 19th, 2014

Ghostbusters

CALLING OUT HATERS #100: Post E3 2014 Wrap-Up



The blandness of E3, it didn't take much for Luigi to pull ahead, and he takes no prisoners.
Image Made by: ChrisNR92 on DeviantArt
Image Protected Under: Fair Use

PREVIOUSLY ON E3

“How does the future of gaming look?

Right now, I am seeing a bubble, containing a lot of the practices and current ideas of the video game industry, ones which have better or worse defined this generation and looks to continue or expand onto this upcoming one. The inflated budgets, the DRM, annual installments of franchises, whipping developers into shape so that they’d get a game out without giving them much pause, break or lot of pay, sometimes forcing design decisions onto a franchise that was very fine without them and demanding more out of the consumer than $60 for a game, whether actual asking price or through some money grubbing DLC for vital features.

Now there is one thing I think is going to happen this next generation is the real test of how much this bubble is going to continue to expand before it is likely going to burst. Before the game industry becomes truly ruined by these practices that for the most part are shameful and wholly out of touch with the demands of the consumer.”

-CALLING OUT HATERS: Post E3 Thoughts Wrap-Up, June 19th 2013


Well the future of gaming has arrived… and it looks kind of boring.

As much as they tout it being a step-forward from the last generation, it feels all too much the same already, too much of the same sights, too much of the trotted out genres, too much of the same elements, that makes barely any game greatly stand-out as they should. Even with some smaller games and Nintendo bringing a lot more color to the table, gaming for the most part feels like the sort of industry bubble I had thought about last year in which as opposed to expanding to new horizons, it feels like they’re pursuing more of the same.

There was also the lack of that megaton announcement, a game or games that completely bowl us over, making us be excited from where the next-generation will take us. About the closest would be from Nintendo, and their new Legend of Zelda though that’s because their ambition seems to be aiming higher for the franchise and not keeping well within the comfort zone. For the life of me I can only find myself not as amped for many of the major franchises companies try to trot out, not to say some of them don’t interest me but there has to be a lot more for them to really be excited for.

As much as the next generation is selling well is no excuse to be so freaking lazy. There should be no excuse for the bullshit of not having female protagonists because they are too difficult to develop for (Only as victims apparently), to keep on trotting out protagonists as mainly gruff angsty white guys, to lock away graphical features from a PC version of the game to make it match the other versions, (And apparently Bungie is deliberately scaling down Destiny for a similar reason) no excuse to be afraid of doing something new and not take full advantage of the tech you have in front of you.

The “problems” a lot of major publishers seem just very self-imposed. I really think that Independents are lighting beacons of hope to show the breadth of content that can be mined, if Publishers didn’t stick their heads up their butts and actually took some risk. And another thing is can we not spend millions upon millions on every property you try to push, and telling people to fork over $60 + paid DLC for it, some of which you would only get exclusive to certain stores/systems? The current AAA gaming model feels like it’s only going to get more stagnant, and hopefully the developers will learn people won’t stand for it.



Assorted Non-Conference Related Game Thoughts:

-Alien: Isolation: This looks to be Sega’s redemption for the absolutely shitty Aliens: Colonial Marines. If true to gameplay demos and teasers this could be a solid survival horror game, in which you are constantly on your toes for a big acid blooded alien, unwound humans, and vicious androids. *fingers crossed*

-Counterspy: Nice to see a side-scrolling espionage game, but kind of not very stealthy having it be a character moving in full view of his targets. I don’t know.

-LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham: AKA Batman IN SPACE! Yeah that’s nice and all but doesn’t look too drastically different from Traveler’s Tales’ other LEGO games.

-Shadow of Mordor: Looks very much like Assassin’s Creed in The Lord of the Rings universe. Don’t really know if I really care, licensed game, and the continuing milking of a property.

-Rise of the Incarnates: Third person action multiplayer games can be a hard thing to get right, can Bandai Namco’s game do it well? Well it looks like it could be cool but at the same time archaic as hell.

-The Devil’s Third: Tomonobu Itagaki’s (Dead or Alive, Ninja Gaiden 1-2) new IP exclusive to the Wii U is a combination third-person shooter/hack and slash, but doesn’t quite look like it has the best elements of either or really looks that unique from itself. Might be wrong when the game actually comes out, but at this point the fluidity of the combat in Ninja Gaiden seems so long ago.



My E3 Awards/Games Of Show:

-Best Trailer: The Legend of Zelda for Wii U

-Second Best Trailer: Three way tie between Ori and the Blind Forest, Valiant Hearts: The Great War and No Man’s Sky


-Most Fun Trailer: Sunset Overdrive

-Least Impressive Trailer: Any of the Electronic Arts “teases.”

-Tease of Something I Hope Is Great: Cuphead

-Most Impressive On-Stage Demo: Rainbow Six: Siege (Which apparently IS a real-time demo, good but I still keep it cautious considering what happened to Watch Dogs). Batman: Arkham Knight is good but slightly dampened by not actually running on PS4.

-Game I Wish Wasn’t An Exclusive: Sunset Overdrive for the Xbox One (Repeat Winner!)

-Sequel I am Really Looking Forward To: Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End


-Biggest Surprise: Grim Fandango being brought back.

-Biggest Disappointments: No Beyond Good & Evil 2 and no The Last Guardian. (Kingdom Hearts III and Final Fantasy XV were announced beforehand there weren’t going to be anything at E3)

-Who The Hell Asked For This?: Conker being brought back… as part of Project: SPARK.

-Best/Worst Reveal: Shape Up at the Ubisoft conference

-Game With Design Choices Most Likely to Disappoint Long-time Fans: Fable Legends

-Up and Coming Common Game Trend: Being Dark and disturbing.

-Best Strength to Their Brand: Nintendo (Two-peat)

-Most Delusional to Their Brand: Electronic Arts

-Boring Conference Thing That Needs to Go Away: Executives’ awkwardly trying to drum up excitement to an audience mainly composed of the press.



Well, another year another E3, and honestly it doesn’t feel all that exciting. Can publishers take the underwhelming reactions of this year as something that really needs to be improved for this year? Who knows? But until there is a major nosedive in sales of tired old annual releases, I doubt the line-ups will change a whole lot.

By the way…

HAPPY 100th CALLING OUT HATERS BLOG EVERYONE!

Yeah I know not the grandest way to celebrate a 100th blog, but a proper centennial celebration will be coming up soon… I hope.

End of Rant

Jun. 16th, 2014

Boromir

CALLING OUT HATERS: Post E3 2014: Nintendo



Because that Luigi does nothing gif would be predictable.
                
Image Made by: Hot-Blooded-Victor on Tumblr

PREVIOUSLY ON E3

Whatever happened didn’t prevent them from continually reporting losses and being last place in the next generation wars, nor solve the problem of a lack of third party support.  The big N was coming at this E3 being considered a joke, a console with a piece of technology no one wanted, and badly needed to do something to really push itself out from the hole.

Yet somehow with all that, like a Master Sword shining in the midst of a darkened forest, with underwhelming conferences between Microsoft and Sony, Nintendo was able to give a glimmer of hope for this industry, light the way where many have gone so wrong.  Actually deliver on a competent conference and actually making people excited to play their games.


Nintendo Digital Event

Now there is a bit of a change up in spite of it being just a video conference like last year, they didn’t just have Satoru Iwata speak to the camera.  They decided to actually make an effort to entertain the audiences and not have the dry boredom of people just talking and talking.  One part being the Robot Chicken sketches, I don’t know how they got Seth Green and Stoopid Monkey to  agree but it definitely paid off as more of the highlights of the conference.

And whilst it has people talking about games it still pulled off the distinction of actually showing off games, and looking like actual gameplay, not half-finished ideas or heavily scripted gameplay, but actual games that look like they are running off the Wii U.  Not to mention their whole treehouse idea that gives video games a livestream access that not only has interviews with developers but shows off some gameplay of upcoming projects, a lot more than can be said of the other companies which don’t even bother with including the audience into what they are completely doing.

As much as they are behind in the console race, they are way ahead of presenting themselves to the general public.  Another thing too, almost a way to say “suck it Ubisoft”, there is actually a prevalent presence of women in these games.  Not as just damsel fodder or background decoration but actual playable women.  Whilst not entirely ideal as only one game they’ve shown has a woman at a starring role and she is essentially the video game embodiment of fanservice, it’s still a shit more progressive than other conferences that only seem to just tease a more inclusive audience, whilst mostly pandering to white males.

Well enough stroking the big N’s ego, let’s move forward to stroking their games’ ego:

-Super Smash Bros.: Well there is three big announcements that they made on the day, one is that you would be able to Play as your Miis and customize their movesets, which I hope is a bit more robust than they are letting on.  Near the end of the Digital Event they announced Lady Palutena, the Goddess of Light from Kid Icarus, as a new challenger even if a bit of a perverted introduction focusing on her butt and boobs during the anime part.  And lastly, most significant of all, Pac-Man, Namco’s equivalent to Mario before there was even a Mario, made his presence known later in the day, looking less like Ghostly Adventures and more like Pac-Man World. There was also a big Smash Bros. Invitational during the day in which we get to see a lot of the stuff being showcased including a Pong assist trophy, and Mega Man’s final smash:  SUPER FIGHTING ROBOT!  MEGA MAN!  FIGHTING TO SAVE THE WORLD! But it was Zero Suit Samus who won it all, which almost makes up for the lack of a new Metroid game announcement… ALMOST.  Though they say both a 2-D and a 3-D Metroid game may be in the works, but I’ll believe it when I see it.

-Amiibo: AKA Nintendo’s attempt to touch at the whole “playable figurines” market that both Skylanders and Disney Infinity has.  Only this time applying to existing games and you don’t need one of those stand thingies, you can actually do it on the Wii U gamepad.  I could see the potential for it in other games, but not really Smash which they demonstrated along with the Mii reveal.  Seems just pointless with how they talked about it for Smash.

-Yoshi’s Woolly World: No they aren’t putting Yoshi in the world made by Two Best Friends Play’s Woolie, instead a successor to the acclaimed yet not quite huge selling Kirby’s Epic Yarn.  It looks like they keep some of the stylistic ascetics of a yarn-like world, but at the same time retaining the spirit of the Yoshi’s Island games, though hopefully a lot more inspired than Yoshi’s New Island.  No confirmation if the game feels like pants just yet.

-Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker: The popular mini-game from Super Mario 3D World is given its own game.  Looks like more than just a tiny expansion, but a full-fledged new game, that takes the puzzler concept of the mini-game and greatly expanding upon it.  It’s about damn time Toad got his own game… 2015 The Year of Toad?

-New Legend of Zelda: *Aonuma snaps fingers*  Excuse me while I PICK UP MY JAW FROM THE FLOOR.  Something I’ve wanted for years is finally happening, a big open-world Legend of Zelda game taking its inspiration from the very first game’s relative lack of a complete handholding.  Other than that it looks like they are making interesting design choices, not dolling up Link in his green tunic for one, for another having somewhat futuristic looking designs for his weapons.  Does this mean a big change in Hyrule?  Who can say at this point from a teaser?  But it still doesn’t keep people from whining about the artstyle being “too cartoony” and a far cry from the tech demo a few E3s ago.  To this I say “*sigh* Here we freaking go again.”

-Pokémon Omega Ruby, Alpha Sapphire: It’s Pokémon, whilst remaking the DS games, it will sell like mad.  This was also the only 3DS game showcased on the digital conference. Next…

-Bayonetta 2 (W/ Bayonetta): We all know this game by now and it pissing off legions of fans of the first one for staying exclusive to the Wii U.  But still looks like it could still deliver the goods of insane combos with varying different degrees of undress.  As well now Nintendo players won’t be left in the dark as this game will come packaged with the first Bayonetta containing some extra Nintendo-themed costumes, as if she was fetish fuel enough.  Those Xbox fans still mad, hey you guys got Scalebound at least.

-Hyrule Warriors: Never thought to hear Dynasty Warriors and Zelda being an interesting combination but here we go, and most significant of all the playable characters in this trailer.  3 out of the 4 playable characters are women.  Princess Zelda, who isn’t quite frilly with her dress, Impa taking a page from her Ocarina of Time persona and fan favorite Princess Midna from Twilight Princess still looking like her adorable self.  That is some really encouraging thought that Nintendo isn’t afraid to make women a prominent part of the game, even if it does have a villainess that has a very exposed chest and the return of Ocarina Great Fairies who are hardly modest and even more stacked.  Almost no wonder, part of the development team is Team Ninja, and we can hope this goes better of a partnership than Metroid: Other M (Though I keep hearing that the whole regressive Samus thing is not their fault).

-Kirby and the Rainbow Curse: I don’t recall there being a big clamoring for a sequel for the DS game Kirby Canvas Curse but it still has quite a cult following, so at the very least they will be happy, and it has a nifty Claymation look to it as well.  Hadn’t really played the first game so I can’t comment more than that, but it looks like it could offer up some more fun.

-Xenoblade Chronicles X: The previously titled just X is probably one of the only showcases of a JRPG this year, and a follow-up to a game you can only find sold at Gamestops.  Though this trailer is odd considering they actually show bits of the story, and the character models don’t quite match up with the majestic vistas that they teased in previous trailers.  Still it’s encouraging to see a genre that isn’t dead and actually getting a push from Nintendo this time.  Also you can customize your character, which you can make a female if you want, more points for inclusivity.

-Mario Maker: How long has one wanted to create their own Mario levels without having to understand a great deal about ROM hacking, using a non-specific game making software and doing things from scratch.  Well this looks like the next best thing from a Nintendo console.  Definitely opens up a lot of possibilities for people to be as creative or likely as cruel as they can making a Mario level.  I do hope there is a much more varied options and even skins for the levels, like maybe make a Super Mario Bros. 3 or Super Mario World esque levels.  It’s definitely a dream, and hopefully the final game will be everything we hope it can be.  This would also be something nifty for the 3DS but who knows if Nintendo has plans for that.

-Splatoon: Finally a new IP.  A weird off-beat Multiplayer Third-Person shooting game that actually looks different enough to be fun.  Ink looks to be the name of the game in which you not only shoot others with it, you can traverse mainly by turning into a squid and swim through your own ink in order to take advantage over another player.  Hopefully it will be as fun as it looks, and be varied enough to not get repetitive.  If anything though the endless stream of “spraying your ink” jokes have already begun.

-Star Fox: Just given an itsy bitsy tease and later confirmed by Shigeru Miyamoto, but isn’t at a complete stage.  Still very exciting to see a game franchise that isn’t forgotten, now to see if people will actually get a Mother 3 release in the States.

Just a couple of thoughts on a few games that weren’t on the conference, but still part of Nintendo’s E3 line-up:

-Project Giant Robot and Project Guard: Two games that look to try to use the Wii U to the fullest that were demonstrated as part of the treehouse, whilst one seems like an overcomplicated rock-em-sock-em robots, the other seems like a basic tower defense game which gimmick is that you are only limited to a handful of cameras.  The former I feel has a lot more potential than the latter, but hopefully can both be good for what they are.

-Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric for Wii U and Sonic Boom: Shattered Crystal 3DS: Whilst I think it’s nice developers are trying to think outside the box in terms of designing a Sonic game, the Wii U version of the game based upon the upcoming Cartoon Network series looks like a step in the wrong direction.  For the most part things feel annoyingly slowed down way too much and a lot of mechanics just feel like other games that are not Sonic.  The 3DS game at least looks very much it retains the Sonic spirit without sacrificing many elements.

-Mario Party 10: Lot of people are pissed because of retaining the whole “all players in one car” thing from the last game.  Can’t say I share as I haven’t really played the series, but the whole board game aspect other installments have shared does look more appealing, if a bit drawn out.

-Mario Vs. Donkey Kong for Wii U: For anyone expecting this to be a remake of an underrated GBA game, you are SOL.  It’s just basically a mini-Mario focused game, which I’m very certain other installments share, but here it feels very much deceptive considering the title.

-Fantasy Life (3DS): A Life Sim/RPG that looks a cross between Dragon Quest and Animal Crossing.  Definitely looks like it has charm to it (It’s Dark Cloud and Professor Layton developer Level 5 doing it after all), and hopefully not be tedious.


Now the question is with this strong of showing at E3, would it really boost sales of their dying console or is it futile at this point?  I thought last year that the Wii U would actually beat the Xbox One (Which in fairness Microsoft was really sucking), but that didn’t pan out.  Hopefully at least the promise of new exciting games will give Nintendo enough life to really be a console still in the hearts of the public.

Mario Kart 8 drove up sales for the Wii U, maybe that will be a good sign. Or they might just go sharply down again once there isn’t a major game coming out just yet.  Whatever big will happen for Nintendo I don’t think it will be quick.

Next Time: A wrap up of the show, thoughts on assorted games not on conferences and what I feel next year will hold.

Rant to be continued…

Jun. 13th, 2014

Agent Smith

CALLING OUT HATERS: Post E3 2014: Sony


Kingdom Hearts and Final Fantasy fans share the feeling.

Image Source: Aurahack on Tumblr

PREVIOUSLY ON E3

OH MY GOD LOOK AT ALL THOSE GRAPHICS!

OH MY GOD FINAL FANTASY XVKINGDOM HEARTS III!

OH MY GOD EXCLUSIVE STUFF!

PS4 SUPPORTS USED GAMES AND CONSUMER RIGHTS!

YOU’LL BE ABLE TO SELL, TRADE OR KEEP IT FOREVER!

$399 US DOLLARS!

SUCK IT MICROSOFT!


Well to put it plainly as if I didn’t already in my Post E3 Sony blog, last year was big I mean big for Sony and their PlayStation 4, with all the DRM controversy and PR nightmares Microsoft was facing it didn’t take Sony much to take away the crown last year.  And all the hype has definitely paid off being the highest selling next generation console, 7 million globally by April. Of the consoles that Watch Dogs made it’s record 4 Million sales on PS4 was supposedly the top platform.  Sony won last year’s E3, but now with Microsoft stepping up their game in more ways than one, including an actually decent E3 conference.  Sony had more to prove than easy jabs at the competition.  And did they?  Well… it’s complicated.


Sony E3 Press Conference

Well looking at the reactions immediately this was easily the most controversial conference of the whole E3.  People really were amped up by the first hour of it, but then… Sony lost the momentum.  In the middle of their hyping games conference over the span of less than a half hour they decided to devote time to stuff that isn’t games and stuff that people might not give a damn about.  It might not have been very long but considering the momentum of what came before it felt like forever.

I mean something like the PlayStation TV sounds nice (Being able to play the PS4 without dragging the system around the house is a nice idea), the Playstation Now Beta coming July 31st is nice and it’s great to see more of the Ratchet & Clank movie. Then you had comic book writer Brian Michael Bendis looking like Kingpin pulling a James Cameron circa E3 2009 talking about a TV series adaptation of his acclaimed comic book Powers, but showing absolutely nothing about it, no footage or anything.  You also touted PSVita Support for the console but you pretty much contradicted yourself by devoting only a small portion of the conference to it without any major new game announcements.  Everybody says the Vita is dead but you don’t have to do them a favor, you’re killing your handheld.  Also I think some are interested in what your Morpheus headset is like which you mention but don’t really elaborate on.  What the heck was the point of bringing Vib Ribbon into it anyway since you don’t make much of it?

Then there is the boasting, oh my goodness the boasting.  You tout your PlayStation brand so much it almost feels like you are just ego stroking.  The letters segment was especially feeling a stretch, like those would be most of the comments you have been giving (MORE ZOMBIE GAMES! Not Crash Bandicoot or anything).  Not even Microsoft the same day did it so much, even with all the touting of exclusives.  And they actually said they are “all about the games” in the midst too.  Yes Sony, your statistics are impressive, but could we move on from that please?

The sad thing is, this has been an issue with Sony’s press conferences for years, always build momentum for awesome things but there is always an area that they will fall short and drag things out in the conference.  It seems 2 hours haven’t been enough to pad out with video games, they decided to just throw in stuff to pad things out.  I guess the problem is much more stand-out this year because Microsoft trimmed the fat for the most part.

But one thing I would like to make clear towards the haters, THIS IS NOT THE SAME THING MICROSOFT DID LAST YEAR.  In fact you seem to forget what was Microsoft’s conference last year because you kept on speaking about TV, TV, Sports, TV, yet I clearly remember that being from the Xbox One reveal in May 2013, NOT the 2013 Microsoft E3 Press Conference.  And even then Sony still showed a greater degree of support of games this conference than Microsoft did.

Now don’t get me wrong it still doesn’t forgive Sony for wasting people’s times in the midst of the conference, in terms of pacing Microsoft had it down this year.  But you have to really be careful of what you equate things to, because I see a lot of false equivalency in these statements comparing Sony this year to Microsoft last year, on the surface they might be sound but in depth they don’t make sense.

Though maybe this might also have to do with how the games were presented themselves.  And what were those this year:

-Destiny: The game that closed out last year’s E3 was given the front and center treatment.  However no new gameplay demo, just an extended trailer narrated by Tyrion Lannister himself Peter Dinklage and a few shots that at least look like they are representative of gameplay would look like outside of the First Person perspective.  Personally I don’t quite know yet if it looks all that interesting, it’s mash of Halo and Borderlands could be good but it’s not all apparent from gameplay. The other major thing is that there will be an open beta for the game on July 17th exclusive to the PS3 and PS4 as well as an Alpha you can sign up for which kicks off on June 12th.  I know Beta’s are a thing with games like this, but an Alpha, this is a practice that is starting to get on my nerves, making the players the testers and why the heck are you making the Alpha and Beta available like this a month apart?  And considering it’s releasing on September 9th, I think it just seems too small of a window.  On the other hand for those who want to invest in PS4, there is also a bundle for the game which comes in white.  That seems like a good incentive for those who would want to adopt the system when the game comes out.

-The Order: 1886: This was a mixed bag for me, on one hand it showcased some really good lighting effects for the console, on the other… it looks like a basic cinematic shooter.  And the scripted moments really overwhelmed the parts where you had full control of the character.  Hopefully this is only a small moment that is scripted and won’t be representative of how the game plays as a whole.  As a show demo though, it’s not really that grand.  And we won’t really know what the whole game will be like until February 2015.

-Entwined: Something rather odd to follow from The Order is a small game in which you fly bird like shapes through colorful environments in a way that reminds me a bit of the PS2 cult classic Rez.  It is also a game that was released on the same day as the conference.  It looks nice, though Jim Sterling thinks it’s just too simple. This was also the first major hiccup of the night as the microphones didn’t really work at for the developers.

-InFamous: First Light: Essentially a DLC spin-off game with one of Second Son’s secondary characters Fetch, who has neon powers.  It was just a trailer so I won’t comment, but it likely won’t be that different from the core game, which I really need to get around to really playing.  And sad to say the only game of the night that had a female playable character.

-Little Big Planet 3: The crowd has it.  I could almost squeal from excitement on this little reveal.  I am a fan of the LBP series and it’s nice that Sony is bringing this to the PS4.  I always love seeing how many people can come up with creative ideas using the tools the game provides, and the core game itself is pretty charming too.  Doesn’t look like this game is too far off the beaten path in terms of its core gameplay, but has a few new Sackpeople to play with: Oddsock an adorable dog sack person, Swoop a bird like sack person who can carry sackpeople like Tails in Sonic 3, and Toggle a sackperson who can go big and small with the touch of a button.  There was a gameplay demo but unlike a lot of demos on the day this felt authentic, whilst them not quite getting the handle of everything might be frustrating to some, to me it’s a relief after numerous “gameplay demonstrations” that feel like heavily scripted videos.  Sad to say Media Molecule won’t be handling duties this time as it is Sumo Digital, while spotty track record, hopefully can keep up the LBP tradition very well.  And hopefully people can make something glorious on both the PS3 and the PS4 this November.

-Bloodborne: From the moment the name From Software appeared on the screen all I could think of is… “Prepare to Die.”  Looks like instead of a dark medieval setting seems to settle for a very macabre Victorian setting.  Judging from a gameplay demo definitely seems to keep up the Souls tradition albeit faster paced in terms of combat.  We shall see if it will satisfy those who are gluttons for games that don’t hold your hand and punish you for mistakes.

-Far Cry 4: Ubisoft leftover, but this time showing a bit of gameplay, co-op that doesn’t look too far from the beaten path from Far Cry 3, though still looks a bit of fun especially putting C4 onto an explosive barrel, kicking it and detonating the C4, or a way of hijacking a vehicle.  Pretty neat, but Ubisoft still has a lot to prove if this game will play as good the final version, the last game had some criticism for not looking as good as the demos.

-Dead Island 2: Seeing Deep Silver and seeing it involves zombies I was expecting this another trailer for Dying Light, but nope another Techland franchise with the undead Dead Island.  Though to say the least this probably is far more representative of what the final game will feel like than that infamous “zombie child” trailer for the first game, suggesting an emotionally based game we never got, instead just a somewhat mediocre co-op zombie smash-a-thon.  Hopefully they will learn their lessons from the last game and Riptide but since those games have actually sold well, I kind of doubt they’ll go that far off the beaten path.

-Battlefield: Frontline: EA leftover, and all it was is a trailer and announcing the closed Beta.  Moving on…

-Disney Infinity 2.0: There was a HULK SMASH Moment that interrupted the presenter as he was talking about it, one of the more memorable moments of this conference.

-Magicka 2: I won’t say much except the trailer was pretty amusing, not really familiar with the first one.

-Grim Fandango: Dia De Los Muertos seems to be a popular holiday again in mainstream pop culture, with Guillermo Del Toro producing an interesting looking animated film The Book of Life and Pixar coming out with their as of yet untitled film, it seems like a good of time as any to bring back a thematically similar game that many people loved yet is hard to come by these days.  Tim Schafer’s classic is coming back and will be on the PS4 (Though not exclusive), and I definitely can’t wait to really play it to see what the hub bub was all about.

-Devolver Digital: A montage of the known independent companies line-up to be played on the PS4 including Broforce, Titan Souls, Not A Hero, Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number and The Talos Principle. Of the titles though I’m most interested in Hotline Miami 2 not only being a follow-up to an excellent game, but also comes with a level editor this time around (Though seems to be just for PC) so people can come up with their own crazy beat-downs.

-Let It Die: Another macabre looking game only this time from Suda51, the guy who made Killer7 and No More Heroes.  Definitely looks like it will be batshit insane, though considering the reception of his more recent works, it isn’t completely optimistic that this will be that great.  Certainly looks brutal though.

-Abzu: With a game company called Giant Squid it had to be bound that they’d develop an underwater game.  And it’s not often we see them, other than like say Endless Ocean but that’s more about exploring.  This looks gorgeous, and likely will go for simplicity like they name-dropped Journey.

-No Man’s Sky: Here is another jaw-dropper, whilst not entirely a new game it still looks like a gorgeous exploration game that seamlessly has you on an alien planet and blasting off in your spaceship.  Hopefully their ambition will meet up with actual gameplay, the potential just seems off the stratosphere.

-Free-to-Play (With A Disclaimer): A showcase of games that wouldn’t pay a dime for, a guy says it means “FREE-to-play”, completely undermined by one disclaimer.

Image Source: MetalMetalLand on Tumblr

Awkward, yet kind of hilarious.

-Mortal Kombat X: Prepare for spine severing, bone breaking and overall gory fun, as Neverrealm finally has their follow up to the well-regarded ninth-installment.  Whilst this was mainly a trailer, they actually did have a demo at the convention with a few new characters including Cassie Cage the daughter of Johnny Cage and Sonya Blade, and a few other female characters who actually seem to have clothing on for a change.  I hope at least it feels like a step forward, and not feel so samey as the last time.

-The Last of Us: Remastered and Grand Theft Auto V PS4 Port: Already ridiculous money-makers being ported to next-gen because, I guess they want more money or just want to have a new crowd play their games without as many hardware limitations as the previous console.  GTAV though won’t be exclusive as there will be an Xbox One and (To the relief of many) a PC version.

-Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain: Kojima knows how to make one hell of a trailers, and this was no different.  And kind of funny since this was the starter of the Microsoft conference last year, guess not being able to run 60 FPS on the Xbox One is a drawback.  Though as grim and dark everything seems to be portrayed here, you just know that the game will have a few in-jokes and humor in it.  As dire things are I doubt it would be that complete tone throughout, unless Kojima thinks he’s grown out of it.  And maybe just maybe it will make up for them releasing an overpriced demo with Ground Zeroes.

-Batman: Arkham Knight: After a somewhat mixed reaction to Origins, Rocksteady is back in the sattle with this game and presented a major gameplay trailer.  What was presented is the scale of Gotham, the Batmobile including driving around in it and shooting drones, as well as a bit of a new takedown system.  Then ends on the Scarecrow giving a creepy message.  Hopefully this shall be a great cap to a series that finally gave us the Batman video games we wanted. But what puts a damper on the hype though for Sony, this was running off of a PC build. Still looks beautiful but if the PS4 doesn’t match that, there will be a lot of rage.

-Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End: Even with the shake-ups at Naughty Dog as I’ve mentioned in my pre-E3 rant, it still didn’t prevent the company from teasing the next and possibly final chapter for Nathan Drake.  And immediately becomes apparent how gorgeous the next generation will be, especially looking at the trailer in 60 FPS. Whilst not showing any gameplay, likely not at that stage in which they can show it off.  It still is a good tease if anything, and really hope the shake-ups haven’t dampened on this series’ style and humor.


So yeah, Sony didn’t quite have the splash this year.  While there were interesting showcases there wasn’t anything quite bowling over save for maybe No Man’s Sky, Batman: Arkham Knight and Uncharted 4. People were even more disappointed there weren’t any new details on Kingdom Hearts III or Final Fantasy XV, the big games in last year’s show but to be fair Square-Enix said they wouldn’t be showing any new footage.  Even more disheartening nothing on The Last Guardian which Sony said wasn’t canceled.  And with the time in which they dragged it out, feels like Sony became complacent being on top, not really push the extra mile to keep everyone entertained for nearly 2 hours.

At the very least though, there wasn’t any giant enemy crabs.  Or announce any DRM policies.

However there is another conference the next day that would come and style the hype from both Microsoft and Sony.

Next Time: Nintendo shows they are not out of the race yet.

Rant to be continued…

Jun. 11th, 2014

catwoman

CALLING OUT HATERS: Post E3 2014: EA and Ubisoft

So like last year and the year before, between the big two conferences on Monday there was a showcase of what Electronic Arts and Ubisoft had to offer in the future.  And to be perfectly honest it might have been better had they not shown up at all.

EA

Image Source: autopoietico on Tumblr

Now for the list of games that have been shown at this expo, you would think that this would have been a solid conference.  Well it could have IF THEY HAD ACTUALLY SHOWN MOST OF THEM.  To sum up EA’s conference in a nutshell it feels like lots of developers talking, with hardly any gameplay.  Much of the games showcased seem to have not gotten to a point in which they could really show anything solid, all the very least could have shown concept trailers or anything that gets us away from just seeing developers try to tell us how their games will be good as opposed to just showing us.  For showing “what the fans want”, they really didn’t do a good job.

Well let’s just go over they did and at the same time did not show:

-Star Wars: Battlefront: One of the biggest bombshells of last year’s E3 started off the conference and… doesn’t seem to have progressed that much further since then.  Now of course DICE are likely a bunch of busy bees and that between finishing up Battlefield 4 (Though that is debatable if they actually did finish it) and at the same time developing Mirror’s Edge, it’s understandable they don’t have anything solid.  But this trailer at least showed their hearts are in the right place by doing some extensive research and some really neat looking pre-alpha footage if they aren’t all bullshots.  Hopefully DICE stays on target and delivers a solid Star Wars MP experience.  Now I’m curious though what else EA really has planned for the license.
                                              
-Dragon Age: Inquisition: While this game was shown at the Microsoft conference, there was still a bit more in here including showing which characters you’ll be having as companions and a brief snippet of gameplay.  The gameplay itself, if people didn’t like how the second game went a bit further into action territory, likely will not be bowled over here.  Though I’m curious as to when it switches between characters, does that mean to suggest co-op play or just very quick switching?  Who know’s, but the second game has been reviled in many communities as a game that shows the sign that Bioware is starting to lose its touch, will Inquisition rectify that?

-New Mass Effect: In 2012 people finished the fight, but a great many then felt severely disappointed in the final product, a product that feels like it was rushed out the door before BioWare was done developing it, especially the endings (Which I still haven’t gotten to as I hadn’t finished the second game).  The controversy over Mass Effect 3is still to be felt years after its initial release even with free DLC that tries to clarify the ending and further soured people’s view of BioWare between that and the underwhelming MMO Star Wars: The Old Republic.  Needless to say there needs to be more to win fans over to thinking that BioWare hasn’t lost their touch, and could a fourth Mass Effect really be the answer?  Well I don’t know because I’m always weary of developers promising a game to be a trilogy, but then suddenly make more.  It may be more or less Mass Effect: The Apology, but at this moment I feel like it’s just to keep a brand name alive more than anything.  But like Battlefront nothing really large was shown about it, or the New BioWare IP they teased in the same video.  It is going to take a lot more than developers talking exciting things than actually doing it.

-The Sims 4: One of my mother’s favorite game series’ is finally getting another one.  Though the demo for this one is mainly just trying to weave a narrative, likely using the Machinima tools that would come packed into the game like a Sims game usually would.  Also making a mention of how much more customizable your Sim can be in this game down to very individual parts, so if you ever finally wanted to give your Sim a booty you finally have the chance.  Though one odd part of the conference in which they actually play a character’s laughing to death for laughs.  As well anyone expecting a real next-gen leap in graphics will be sorely disappointed .  Well at least the Cowplant is back.

-EA Sports UFC: There is something just utterly wrong about seeing Bruce Lee being raised from the dead into a sport he likely would have never been participating in.  Graphically the game looks fine, and hopefully will be fun but that Bruce Lee elephant in the room… kind of cringe-worthy. 

-NHL 15, PGA 15, Madden 15, FIFA 15: Sports, sports, sports, sports, sports, sports.  The only big highlight of them being PGA 15 having a fantasy mode in which you can golf over Battleships.  As well as  there being no sight of NBA Live, which considering last year’s “comeback” was a critical and financial flop, is very understandable.

-New Criterion IP: You don’t know how much I wanted this to be a new Burnout but I guess these developers wanted something a little more ambitious.  As to how it will work though, remains to be seen, as once again… developers talking but not showing a hell of a lot.  At least it’s not another Need for Speed.

-Dawngate: EA promoting a game fitting in the ever-so-popular MOBA genre… and my guess will promptly try to kill it when it finally goes out to retail, much like most other genres they try to take advantage of.
-New Mirror’s Edge: You gotta have Faith.  Big bombshell at last E3, just given a few snippets of gameplay and lots of developer interviews.  The gameplay itself doesn’t look to off the beaten parkour/combat path but hopefully when further details are released show how it’s going to differ itself from the unique but flawed original.  And maybe, just maybe EA can have Faith to think outside the box.  And many wish to see more off-the-beaten path, especially since this is the only game in the conference with a female protagonist, Asian too.

-Battlefield: Hardline: Essentially Cops and Robbers Battlefield style and almost like if Payday 2 and the robbery missions of Grand Theft Auto V had a child.  But there is something oddly off-putting about the gameplay demonstration, in that such a simple robbery suddenly goes all Man of Steel destruction.  It feels like it’s still not moving away from the Battlefield idea of destructibility, just feels ill-suited to the setting.  Putting aside that I wasn’t entirely bowled over by it, as it still looks like BF with a new coat, as well I doubt actual players would be as competent to pull off the things in the trailer which feels very scripted.  At the very least people will get to play a sample of it sooner, as they announced a public Beta to be unlocked with anyone who has Battlefield 4 on PC or PS4.  Now would it lead to Visceral and DICE actually finishing the game?  We shall see.

Ubisoft
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So yeah Aisha Tyler came back and had a T-shirt that seems to suggest her #girlwood has as well but it looks more like #girlbone.  But if anything this year was much like her attempts at humor, trying too fucking hard.  I say fucking hard because they are so fucking hardcore they say fuck every other word along with shit, and assorting fucking words.  The sort of in-your-face attitude that really seems too forced to be really hype, I just got sick to fucking death of it right away.  There was also some awkward humor at the expense of the French, not really a good way of biting the hand that got you on that stage Aisha.

Moving on… fuck yeah games:

-Far Cry 4: Before there was even Aisha on stage people were presented with the first five minutes of this game, and in those five minutes establishing the main antagonist Pagan Min, which like Vaas in Far Cry 3 seems to be one that is feels way more interesting than the mighty whitey guy you likely take control of.  A villian so cold he likes to take a selfie of his villainy.  All in all it looks like it could be interesting, and the graphics look very good (Which hopefully the final version will resemble), but they didn’t present any major gameplay.  Though that would come later though.

-Just Dance 2015/Just Dance Now: There is nothing appealing to me about this series which seems to not evolve at all each new installment that comes out.  Then there is a mobile version which I wouldn’t even know how that would work or if it would work very well, even with the dancers on stage.  Hilariously this was after Aisha said that the conference would only “go bigger”, but this is just more of the same.  Moving on…

-Tom Clancy’s The Division: Now this is one of those trailers in which it tries to establish “Games are Serious you guys” starting out with a very dark scenario in which a family gets affected by the plague first their child dying, then the wife, then the husband taking his own life out of depression.  It moves to that with the awkward invisible fighting which is some sort of artistic expression or whatever, then establishing a Crew… look this just seems very window dressing for just a squad shooter that likely would not carry the weight of the emotional impact.  Might prove me wrong, but everything I’ve seen in this game so far does not seem to suggest that.

-The Crew: Another big reveal last E3… doesn’t really have much else new with it, except a lot of footage of sped out driving cross-country.  Though doesn’t mean the game isn’t interesting, but I feel there could have been a bit more to show, not having Need for Speed as a competitor this year I don’t think can be an excuse.

-Assassins Creed Unity: Microsoft left-over but showed a few new things like a trailer set to a daker version of “Everybody Wants to Rule the World.”  Then there is a new mission that felt a bit more solo oriented but suddenly goes co-op at the end.  Still doesn’t get me any more excited.

But then there is a major controversy associated with the game just a day after, when pressed about why there isn’t a lady assassin in the game, they didn’t say something like “it’s not the story we want to tell”, they said this big slice of pure bullshit:

"It's double the animations, it's double the voices, all that stuff and double the visual assets," Amancio said. "Especially because we have customizable assassins. It was really a lot of extra production work."

"Because of that, the common denominator was Arno," Amancio said. "It's not like we could cut our main character, so the only logical option, the only option we had, was to cut the female avatar."

"We started, but we had to drop it," St. Andre said. "I cannot speak for the future of the brand, but it was dear to the production team, so you can expect that it will happen eventually in the brand."

My god, they spend so many millions on games, yet can’t put in some extra production time to include females as assassins?  Also did the spin-off game Liberty suddenly not exist?  The female multiplayer models in previous AC games?  For a company that just released the female centered Child of Light not too long ago and having Aisha return as hosting duties this seems like a very regressive mindset to have.  As well other developers have had no issue with developing female protagonists in games and said it doesn’t take double effort to create females, why the hell do you guys have it?

This is definitely the things a future CALLING OUT HATERS: Women rant is made for.

-Shape Up: Now for some conference hilarity here is this game, a fitness game that throws zaniness at you and pretty much makes everyone on stage look like a giant fool.  It’s really hard to get excited with the market filled with fitness games already.

-Valiant Hearts: The Great War: Now here is something f’ing beautiful.  From the guys that gave us Rayman: Origins and Legends, a war torn game that actually isn’t a shooter.  Almost looks like War Horse only centered around a dog, and I cannot wait to see how they’ll make it all work.  As I’ve admitted in the Microsoft rant I am a sucker for these sorts of games, and definitely is a bright spot in what is a very “eh” conference.

BUT NOW FOR THE ULTIMATE REVEAL…

-Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege: I think a lot of people can admit to feeling slightly disappointed that this would be the game to cap off the E3 conference.  I mean certainly Rainbow Six hadn’t had a game since 2008 and there was that Patriots teaser that got people pretty hyped.  But a lot of people and I’m certain the crowd included were expecting Beyond Good & Evil 2.  At this point though, I don’t expect Ubisoft to really listen, but hey this game looks a little promising if a bit too much like it was a concept footage, especially with the animations of the hostage.  I’d firmly believe that this game might not look as good in final result than trailer, as things just looked too convenient.  As well as ran into the same problem as The Division gameplay at the Microsoft conference as the chatter sounded so damn unnatural and just played out very rigidly.  Hard to trust any of this after Watch Dogs.  It’d definitely be some real next gen shit if it does play out in the final version, but maybe a bit more removed from the tactical action the series is known for, I mean when has R6 ever needed a health bar?


So there you go two underwhelming company conferences.  Between them I’d say Ubisoft at least took the advantage of having some things to show and not have developers talk the audience to death, but on the other hand nothing quite leaps and bounds exciting from either.  Only Valiant Hearts really floored me out of any of the games between them.

Next Time: Sony and the near half-hour that might have destroyed their conference 2-hour conference

Rant to be continued…

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