Friday, February 27, 2015

Review: Kirby's Return To Dreamland

If there's one thing I think Sony and Microsoft forgot about in the last (and probably current) console generation, it's that people still like to get together with friends, hang out together, and play games.  Nintendo, however, did not forget this, and regularly put out games for people looking to have fun with their friends and loved ones while planted in front of a television waggling sticks around.

To this, I say "kudos" to Nintendo.

One of the games I think I've had the most fun in this "wild and crazy co-op" world is Kirby's Return To Dreamland.

One hint: don't let someone who dies often play the 1st player.  That character tends to control everybody's fate.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Marvel Disk Wars The Avengers - Episode 5: The Mighty Thor Descends!

Something I think I've come to realize as time goes on is that while many "executive" decisions might be made for completely cynical reasons, the people who actually have to work on the projects aren't always simply trying to cut so many corners that they wind up with a perfect circle.  Sure, Hollywood might simply be attempting to cash in on a brief craze or something silly that's "in" with a particular crowd, but that doesn't mean that everybody who works on the project is just phoning it in waiting for a paycheck to show up.

That's right, someone likely cared about trying to make this "good."
So when you have a cartoon designed to push toys, it might be surprising that there are people who actually want to put out a good product.  The voice actors, animators, designers, editors, they're all looking at each thing they do as more than just "a way to make a paycheck."

For one thing, they know it'll be the most recent thing on their resume if someone looks them up on imdb.  But also, if you know people might watch it, why wouldn't you try your best to make sure they enjoy it?

Unless you're Uwe Boll, but that's a different topic.

So where were we in the show?  Oh, right, Spider-Man and Akira (and, thus, Iron Man) were being attacked by Diamondback while Hawkeye tried to recruit Hikaru into helping.

Let's not dilly-dally and get down to the action!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Review: Dead Island: Riptide

I recently did my review of the first Dead Island game where I pretty much described it as "fun, but completely broken."

I was yet to try the sequel, Dead Island: Riptide, because I didn't really know a whole lot about what was new to it.  It had the same cast of characters, you could import your previous character, but it did promise some new locations, new enemies, and new challenges.

Hopefully there were no missions involving "recovering necklaces" or "finding someone's husband so they could say they were having more fun in their "end of the world orgy" and wanted us to break his wife's heart by saying he died."

So a few of my friends grabbed some baseball bats and shovels and headed out for another island filled with zombies to kill.

But there was one thing going through my (and, I believe, my friends as well) mind: was this really a sequel, or just an expansion?

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Top Eleven: Comic Book Characters That Should Have Their Own Movies

It's a great time to be a comic book nerd right now.  There's (some) decent books still being published by the Big Two companies, there are lots of independent fare that are having more opportunities than ever before to publish their work, and the movies featuring the big name (and some of the more obscure) characters are bringing in big money for Hollywood.

But...I'm kinda tired of the same characters over and over again.  Recently it was announced that Spider-Man would be showing up in the mainstream Marvel universe, possibly as a part of the next Captain America movie.  Coming soon is a movie with Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and other big name DC characters.

I'll admit, it'll be neat to see Spider-Man swinging through the same skyline that Iron Man flies through, but my excitement level is still rather "meh" if only because I just saw him in another movie not too long ago.  Now it might be another new actor playing him, and...well, there's so many other great comic book characters out there, why can't we take a stab on having the same level of success as the Guardians of the Galaxy had?

Granted, there's an Ant-Man movie coming out soon, and I'm really looking forward to it, but still.  There's so many characters and stories!

Let's break down the top eleven characters I wish I could see get their own movie or TV series.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Marvel Disk Wars The Avengers - Episode 4: Hawkeye The Supporter

I think one of the things that always fascinates me about Japanese music and theme songs is the randomly inserted English that gets put in.  I realize that Japan is a lot more polite about teaching their students a foreign language (read: ours), Japanese still isn't really taught in a lot of schools around the United States.

Sometimes the lyrics make sense, such as in the theme song for Marvel Disk Wars ("Time to smash!"), other times, it just comes off as awkward.  I know that for a while, English was simply "popular" in Japan because of how it sounded, with no real attention paid to the meaning of the words.

This lead to some rather disturbing usage, including, I believe, one that writer Dave Barry witnessed in Japan where a school-age girl was wearing a shirt for a band that seemed to be advocating sexual acts with poultry.

I wonder if that's how Toad The Wet Sprocket got their start.

Anyway, on with the show!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Top Eleven: Japanese RPGs

Lately I've been playing a lot of Eternal Sonata (review to come once I can find someone to help me discuss the absolutely insane outfits these characters wear), and I managed to get two other people I know interested in playing it.  The question then came up, "What are you favorite Japanese RPG (jrpg) games?"

Now, I could've done this as an Ask Erik, but then I was afraid it'd get lost in the shuffle.  Titling it a "top eleven" makes more sense, in my eyes, because it is, at its core, a list.

I'm also amazed I haven't done this list before, because I've played a lot of these games over the years.

Now, one has to ask "what makes a role-playing style video game a "Japanese RPG?""  Well, there are a few qualifiers.

The first of which is "at least one person needs to have an absolutely ludicrous costume and/or weapon.
The more characters that look like they gathered everything they own from the blown up ruins of Party City, the better."

Monday, February 9, 2015

Review: Dead Island

There are certain phrases I don't think I could ever use to describe the video game Dead Island.

Such phrases include "long stretches of nothing," "too full of itself," and "not broken."

Yeah, that last one would be a major red flag on any other game I play, but strangely enough, in a game about an island completely filled with zombies, having it occasionally shudder to a halt, glitch out completely, and cast your character into what appears to be a demonic-spawned hell where all you can do is die over and over again...doesn't feel too far off.

But let's get into the actual game.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Bite-Sized Reviews: Austin Peanut Butter & PBJ Cracker Sandwiches"

I'm a pretty big peanut butter fan.  I also really like jelly and jam.  If I could figure out a way to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich where the layer of the two in the middle was the same width as either layer of bread, I'd be extremely happy.

I also have extremely fond memories of peanut butter cracker sandwiches from when I was a kid.  They were ultimately superior to the "cracker and cheese" sandwiches that were the regular option, but even when I was young I think I was suspicious of cheese that didn't require refrigeration and "crackers" that looked like they were cut from traffic cones.

Nothing screams "delicious" like something teenagers drive over repeatedly during their driving test.
So at the cafeteria where I work, I decided I wanted a late-day snack, and I saw Austin brand Peanut Butter cracker sandwiches and thought I'd have a fun little trip down Nostalgic Lane.  Then I spotted the PB&J cracker sandwiches next to them.

Boom, I thought.  Instant blog post.  I'm reviewing a snack food.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Erik's Favorite Things: Scott Bradlee And Postmodern Jukebox

I first discovered Scott Bradlee back when this little video appeared on YouTube:

People who know me know that I love music that's twisted, altered, or straight up remixed.  Hearing how others interpret music and add their own creative spin to an industry that, let's face it, can sound pretty stale and repetitive when you listen to the "pop" genre gives songs that might be forgotten in a few months a new life and something to make them unique.

It makes them "pop" in other words.

I lost track of Scott Bradlee for several years until recently, when I discovered Postmodern Jukebox and went "hey, that "just woke up hair" at the piano looks familiar."

Monday, February 2, 2015

Review: The Great Race

If anybody asks me to name my ten favorite film comedies, if this movie isn't listed somewhere in there, I need to be slapped and reminded of it.  This classic is, by far, one of the most entertaining good times you can have in film, and it saddens me that it doesn't get remembered more fondly or put on more "best of" lists.

However, I'm rather happy Hollywood is yet to remake it, considering how easy it would be these days to simply turn it into a ridiculously stupid comedy, possibly starring a Wayans brother.