Thursday, January 29, 2015

Marvel Disk Wars The Avengers - Episode Three: Iron Man, Reborn!

Marvel Comics always had mixed luck when it comes to animation.  While they've never had anything that compares to the glory days of DC (Batman: The Animated Series is still pretty much the bar all other animated superhero shows are held to), but they've had a few successes on their hands.  The X-Men and Spider-Man both had (somewhat) successful runs in the 90's, and the characters from the Avengers are having a surge in popularity now from their cinematic success.

Hopefully this will have the effect of erasing the memory of Avengers: United They Stand.

But enough of that garbage, let's get back to Japan's interpretation of the Avengers, and all the madness that will surely come with it.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Let's Talk: Arms

I don't know if this happens to anybody else out there in the world, but it's something that bothers me on a regular basis.  In a way, it's rather interesting that in order to function in the world I'm able to put major issues facing the world (global warming, the Islamic State, the steady sinking of Venice) into a secondary position in my head, while pushing others (anything related to the Kardashians) into the same level of priority in my life as "what's going on in the middle of Death Valley?"  (Answer: Who cares?)

However, this recurring issue is one that I face daily, and while it should be a simple matter that biology and evolution would likely solve within the first five years of the first human-like creature to wander the planet, it still affects me greatly.

What am I supposed to do with my arms while I sleep?

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The X-Men Arcade Game

Pop Quiz.

People who ever wandered into a video arcade in the early 90's undoubtedly saw this behemoth lurking near the front:

So, who was the second best character to play as?  I mean, we all know the best character was Nightcrawler.  He was short enough that several attacks would simply whiff over his head, his special attack had the most reach of any character across the screen, and his "hit them when they're down" animation was to actively jump up and down on the enemy.

But the second best?

That'd be this one.

No, that's not Wolverine.  It's Dazzler.

Trust me.  Dazzler was the second best character, if for no other reason her "hit them when they're down" move was to kick robots in the crotch.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Review: Boyhood

I watched the movie Boyhood over the weekend.

For those not in the know, Boyhood is a film by Richard Linklater, chronicling moments in the life of a boy as he goes from ages six to eighteen, filmed over the span of twelve years.

Reread that, because it can be slightly off-putting to the brain until you realize that yes, they filmed tiny segments of the film across twelve years to accurately show this kid growing up.

It has Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke, Ellar Coltrane, and Lorelai Linklater in a rather blatant display of nepotism (kidding!).

I'll admit, I was thrown off by seeing a younger Patricia Arquette, I kept expecting ghosts to show up any minute.

Friday, January 23, 2015


Short post today.

 Do you like music?

Specifically, do you like They Might Be Giants?

Then click here and go listen to their music.

That's it.  No more.

...what, you want more?

Okay, fine.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Marvel Disk Wars The Avengers - Episode Two: All Heroes Exterminated?!

When I heard that Japan was doing a show about the Avengers, all I could really picture was their classic show about Spider-Man.

For those not in the know, the Japanese Spider-Man show differed in a few subtle ways from the comic book character we all know.  In the comics, teenager Peter Parker is bitten by a radioactive spider, gains the proportionate strength, speed, and agility of a spider, and initially tries to get a career wrestling The Macho Man before his Uncle Ben dies and yadda yadda great power, great responsibility.

In the Japanese show (I'm not making any of this up), motorcycle racer Takuya Yamashiro witnesses a warship named the "Marveller" from the planet "Spider" crashing to Earth.  Takuya's father, a space archaeologist (because why wouldn't Japan have people with that job?) is killed upon discovering it.  His girlfriend, a kind-of nerdy reporter for a newspaper headed by a woman who is secretly one of the primary villainesses ("The Amazoness") working for the primary villain, whose name is "Professor Monster."  Takuya, after getting his throat slashed by a minion of the bad guys, winds up meeting Garia ("from the planet Spider") who gives him a bracelet that fills Takuya with "Spider-Essence" and heals him.  Oh, and he gets to use the Marveller in his fight against giant monsters by having it transform into a giant robot.

What I'm trying to say is that if Sony really, really wanted to reboot the Spider-Man movies after the Tobey Maguire ones, they went with the wrong Spider-Man.

Where was I?  Oh, right.  Needless to say, the Japanese Avengers program is nothing like that at all.  Yet.  I'm not ruling out each one summoning a portion of a giant robot that wields a gamma-powered hammer, but let's get back to the action.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Everything Wrong With DC Comics In One Title

I've been sitting on a borrowed copy of a book for about half a year now.  I go back, reread some of it, try to figure out how to put my thoughts into words, come up with a paragraph or two of information, and then give up because I wasn't able to really express what I wanted to say.

However, this is the day.

This is the day I present the reason why, for the most part, I really don't care about the "New 52" universe that DC Comics has created.

Today we discuss "SHAZAM!"

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Go Watch The Thing This Band Did That Exists Now (or: A Look At Sunset Hearts)

This blog might not reach a ton of viewers, and most of the people who have access to updates already know each other, but I figured I'd utilize it today to give a shout out to a guy I know and the band he's part of.

If you haven't heard of Sunset Hearts, then I'm doing you a favor.  If you have heard of Sunset Hearts, then, well, then you know it's a thing.

And it's a good thing.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Fails Of The Weak

When you sit down and look at a video game as a project and not just as some flashy pictures on a screen with some "beeps" and "boops" of varying qualities, you realize there's a LOT of work that goes into even the most mundane ones.  Somebody invested a non-insignificant chunk of their life programming that game, whether it's something as innovative as Doom, something as advanced as Skyrim, or something as terrible as Ninja Blade.

However, even with multiple people cranking out game code all day trying to predict just how a bullet would pass between trees, how a face should move, or how a jeep should drive up a hill, you can't anticipate everything.  You might have a group of people who test the game, but if they find an issue, it might take months to figure out exactly what part of the code isn't working correctly.  That's why occasionally you find something like this:

Friday, January 16, 2015

Sarku Japan at the Maine Mall

I originally was going to post something about my fear regarding the next Captain America movie being too "bloated" with a huge cast, but instead, I think I'm going to take advantage of this forum to do a PSA.

Don't eat any food served by Sarku at the Maine Mall.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Marvel Disk Wars The Avengers - Episode One: The Mightiest Heroes!

If I told you that toilet-centered video games were going to be the second most bizarre thing I'd be describing that came out of Japan this week, you might find it hard to believe.

That is, unless you know just how twisted and demented things out of Japan really are.

This, though, isn't quite as mind-boggling in the sense of "what makes this socially acceptable."  Rather, it's simply leaving me wondering "why was there a need for this?"

While there is a Disk Wars game out there, it's made by Fantasy Flight Games, has nothing to do with the Avengers, and isn't from Japan.  I know a video game based on the animated series came out in Japan (which, I'll admit, I want purely for research reasons), but I can't really figure out what the original "core" idea was besides "The Avengers are popular, Pokemon is still popular, let's have people summon superheroes with weird gadgets."

But my place is not to criticize the reason why things exist, it's to- actually, okay, it is my place to comment on why things exist, because this is my blog.  But still, let's focus on the show itself and see if we can't figure out just why it felt the need to be.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Red Vs. Blue

It's kind of amazing how something made for fun, with some dedication, focus, and with the luck of coming out at just the right time can become a major sensation.

Red Vs. Blue by Rooster Teeth Productions, is such a project.  Created through a series of lucky breaks and some twisted senses of humor, the movie series made using the ever-successful Halo games have twelve seasons tucked under their belt, with a thirteenth being promised at some point in the future.

So what works?  What makes it such a cultural phenomenon that it's able to hold its own convention annually, produce multiple productions, and maintain a worldwide fan base?

Well, I can only speak for myself, but I think it's because when I watch the characters of Red vs. Blue, I see myself.  I also see what I want to be.

Which, if you think about it too hard, is kinda scary.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Toilet Humor

Japan has the best stuff.

Well, okay, maybe not, but there are some things that come from Japan that just leave you wondering why nobody else in the world invented it first.

For instance, there's the Umbrella Tube.

There's the square watermelon.

Oh, and there's Sega's Toylets, video games you play, well, let's just say it has a lot in common with the Nintendo Wii in so many juvenile ways.

Monday, January 12, 2015

The Lion King Video Game (Not The Fun Ones)

Does anybody else remember when The Lion King was released for the Sega Genesis and the Super Nintendo systems?  Remember the vividness of the graphics and how amazed we were at what they could do with 16-bit graphics?

Remember how they had a stage devoted to the wildebeest chase that was one of the few times a "the enemy is coming towards you" stage wasn't completely frustrating and managed to capture the intensity of the scene in the film?

No really, those were some seriously amazing graphics once.  No, really, they we- STOP LAUGHING.

(Ungrateful kids).

Anyway, I didn't own either one of those games.

I owned the version for the Game Boy.  I still do, actually.

Friday, January 9, 2015

The Problem With Harley Quinn

Someone I know recently asked me if I was excited for the Suicide Squad movie.  I gave a bit of a half-shrug and said that while I thought it was great that there was going to be a Suicide Squad movie, DC's recent history with movies that weren't Christopher Nolan doing Batman had me wary.

I love the Suicide Squad characters, though.  Deadshot's one of my favorite DC characters.  Amanda Waller is one of the best characters DC has (or had, before she suddenly felt the need to become Yet Another Sexy Woman, but that's another rant for another day).  Rick Flag, Captain Boomerang, Plastique, King Shark, Killer Frost, even that time Grant Morrison joined the team as "The Writer" and died because he developed writer's block at an inappropriate time...I love it all.

But there's a problem.  Harley Quinn is involved, and the more I see of her in comics, cartoons, and other media, the more I fear that what made the character distinctive and unique is getting washed away in order to try to turn her into a "Generic Manic Pixie Girl."

If you don't know what that is, go watch anything with Zooey Deschanel in it.  Look at the character she plays.

Go ahead.  I'll still be here.  I'll wait.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Marvel Disk Wars The Avengers - Prelude

Japan is weird.

I know, I've said this (or something like it) before.  At least once.

I've watched a lot of anime, so I knew going in that this was probably going to be rather different from your standard American cartoon.  After all, can anybody think of an American cartoon that features five children carrying around powerful talismans that allow them to summon forth a powerful being an-

Well played.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Review: Brewster's Millions

John Candy.  Richard Pryor.  Jerry Orbach.  Rick Moranis.  A story about one man attempting to spend thirty million dollars with nothing to show for it afterwards.

By all rights, this should be a great movie filled with hilarity.  The "rags to riches" story line has been done before (and done since), and this movie even came out shortly after Eddie Murphy and Dan Akroyd did a slightly similar story about the hazards of wealth in Trading Places.

So why doesn't this film really work?

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Erik Gets Pretentious: Ten More Words People Need To Stop Misusing

Certain things drive me nuts.

Many of those things involve people misusing words.

I'm ready to throw whatever I'm holding at someone who uses the phrase "I feel nauseous."  The correct phrase is "nauseated."  You feel nauseated.  Unless you're actively making other people feel sick.

You monster.

"So, like, we feel nauseated?"  "No, in your cases, stick to the old way."
So let's look at more words people really need to stop misusing and confusing.  Yes, there will probably be more than ten words, but that's because you need to know what you're confusing a word with.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Iron Helix

In my time playing video games, there have been a lot of games I've played that were...forgettable.  They weren't bad games.  Bad games are actually pretty memorable.  I've played the Nintendo Entertainment System Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game, and it was awful.  I played King of Kings: The Early Years and I'd easily rank it as one of the worst games I'd ever seen.

I've also played BubsyAero The Acrobat, and the first few Bloody Roar games, and even though the last one was a tournament fighter where people would turn into giant animals partway through the fight (spoiler alert: whoever turned into the beast form first usually won), if the game actually somehow came to life and murdered someone, I wouldn't rely on my being able to pick it out of a line-up.

"Sorry, Detective, but that could be any game where a cat girl punches another girl transformed into a giant bunny."
Now, there are some pretty mediocre games I've played out there that I remember fondly.  Usually, though, they have a gimmick or plot twist or something unique in game play that stands out for me.  For instance, I have fond memories of both Oni and Bloodrayne, but they weren't exactly "the best games of the year."  Or even close.

Then there's Iron Helix, a game that probably very few people remember, but one I've held on to for years past my ability to play it on any PC I've owned, simply because I loved playing it so much.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Bottom Eleven: The Worst Of 2014

Everybody sit back, grab a drink, and be thankful that it will take you less time to read this than it will take me to write it.

I'm going over the bottom eleven of 2014.  These are the posts that I wrote that either just left me angry, frustrated, or wanting to stop in the middle and seriously reconsider what I was doing with my free time.

These aren't in any particular order, but I'm sure you could arrange them into something resembling a "venom scale" if you tried.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Top Eleven: Things I Blogged About In 2014

Another year of writing, complaining, and commending down, hopefully many more to go.

Each year I've done this blog (read: last year) I've done a year end "wrap-up" where I scour through my archives and attempt to locate the eleven articles that mean the most to me.  Maybe they're connected to an important memory, maybe they were extremely emotional to write, or maybe I just had fun writing them.

And yes, there will also be a "bottom eleven" coming as well.

But for now, let's look back at the articles I'm the most proud of from the past year.