Monday, November 30, 2015

Let's Talk: "Slave Leia"

I'm not a woman.  With that in mind, you can probably just skip this entire article and go back and read my rant about my least favorite Christmas Carol.  Everything I'm about to say is purely from my perspective, and if anybody would like to discuss it with me, I'm more than happy to sit down with them, listen to what they have to say, and compare their perspective to my own to see if there's a middle ground or if I need to press my case or if I'm completely wrong and need to just shut UP already.

We good?  Good.

Let's talk about Princess Leia's slave bikini.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Review: Saints Row 2

People might remember that I've already reviewed the last game in the Saints Row series, which might make it kind of weird that I'm going back and reviewing the second game in the series.  Well, I was going to go back and replay the first one, but to be honest, I don't really remember liking it that much.  It wasn't until I played the second one that the series really "clicked" with me.

Copying the infinitely more profitable (and, in my eyes, lesser of the two series) Grand Theft Auto, the Saints Row series took what made the GTA games fun, figured out what dragged the entertainment down, and promptly threw out everything that didn't work and just let you, the player, go nuts.

If GTA is the Martin Scorsese of sandbox crime games (just not to that level of quality), then Saints Row 2 is the Quentin Tarantino version.  Saints Row 4 was the Michael Bay version (except infinitely better).

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Galerians (or: The Video Game I Gave Up On The Fastest)

I like to think I give anything I try a fair chance to impress me.  In fact, I've gone above and beyond in at least one instance.  However, there is a game that I never really got into despite it ticking off many check boxes on my list of things I like:

Weird psychic powers.
Science fiction-y sterile hallways.
Survivor Horror
Heavy Japanese influence

And yet, I never got more than two rooms into the game play.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Erik's Favorite Things: The Death Gate Cycle

Every nerd has their favorite fantasy-based book series.  For some, it's a classic like Tolkein's run of Hobbit-based books.  Maybe they were really into the Christian analogies of Narnia.  It could be something newer, like Harry Potter, or Percy Jackson, or, if they're like me, they got their start on David Eddings' Belgariad series, or perhaps Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman's Dragonlance series.  There are so many series out there now, staring magical detectives, heroic knights, orphans with mysterious destinies, and twisted schemers that it can be hard for someone to pick just the right series to latch on to and claim as their "favorite."

I didn't have that problem, because my father was (and still is) a big-time reader, and introduced me to so many series that I had my pick of among some of the best.  He got me into David Eddings, Terry Brooks, Raymond E. Feist, Dan Simmons, and so many other authors, but I think (hope) he'd agree with me that the ones I loved the most to the point that I bought the pretty terrible video game tie-in would be The Death Gate Cycle, the seven book series by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman that, for some unexplainable reason, isn't bigger than their Dragonlance stuff.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Podblast! You Must Remember This

It's been a while since I've talked about any of the multitude of podcasts I have sitting on my mp3 player to help me whittle away the hours at my day job.  I try to be discerning and make sure the things I listen to are both interesting and intelligent (a rule I put in place after my abysmal experience with The Walking Eye).

Enter Karina Longworth's You Must Remember This, a podcast that embraces my love of classic Hollywood as well as putting together connections I never knew existed between the major stars who shaped an industry.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015


When I try to think back to the things I loved watching the most when I was young, I tend to think back to what my family had on VHS.  Y'see, way back in the 80s, large plastic tapes were the only way to watch something more than once unless you got lucky and the show you liked would air reruns.  This almost never happened when it came to things like most kids cartoons or TV specials.

Here's a real confession, up until I was almost ten, I had no idea how television worked.  I didn't know about "seasons" of a show.  I just knew that sometimes a show I liked was on, and sometimes it wasn't.  Sometimes there would be new episodes, and other times they just aired the same ones again.  Eventually I started to put together that maybe they just wanted to air each set of stories more than once in case somebody missed one, then they could resume airing new ones so everybody would be caught up.  I was so naive.

Which is why, when I was young, I would get so upset when a show I liked was taken off the air.  For example, I distinctively remember being a fan of the Battletoads cartoon, but one day it was just gone, replaced with, if I remember correctly, was the Country Bear Jamboree cartoon.  I tried watching it for five minutes and then left in disgust.

What does this have to do with anything?

Well, one tape I remember us either owning or renting all the time was Rikki-Tikki-Tavi.


Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Mario's Picross

I'm not sure how I haven't yet talked about my love of the Picross series of games from Nintendo.  The concept is surprisingly simple, yet amazingly difficult to master.  There's a simple grid, anywhere from 5x5 to 15x15, and there are numbers indicating how many squares in each row or column need to be filled in.  A "15" would indicate the whole row is filled in, while a "0" means nothing gets filled in.  However, a "3 4" indicates there's a group of three and a group of four that need filling, but when you have fifteen squares to choose from, it can be difficult to figure out which ones are right and which ones aren't.

The later games in the series increased the size of the puzzles and even took them into the third dimension (because adding a z-axis to everything makes it harder), but having just wrapped up a recent play through of the original game, I figured I'd talk about it.

Holy Cow, You Guys, You Gotta See This Art

So I held off on posting this, because I wanted to right by the artist I'm about to spotlight.  My normal means of sharing artwork I really like (with one or two slight exceptions) is to share the work and then link the living daylights out of the person who created the art in the hopes that people will go and view the rest of his art themselves and perhaps share it with even more people.

I've been told by various online sources that this doesn't technically make me a jerk on the Internet, since I am being sure to share where it's from and not claiming any of it as my own.

But I could do better.

In this instance, it didn't really feel right to just grab a few images and say "hey, guys, go look here and see more!"  I wanted to do right by this artist, so I sent him an email and asked him if he minded my sharing his artwork and encouraging people to visit his site.

Normally, when I try things like this, I get no response.  Which is fair enough, we've established before that I tend to be late to the party for many things, but in this case I got lucky.  Within a few hours I got a response where the artist gave me his blessing with the following two caveats:

"Use the images unedited."  Not a problem, anything I could possibly do to them would diminish the entire reason I'm sharing these to begin with.

"Only use my earlier series."  More than fair.

So with this entire sentence acting as the first (but not the last) link to his site, I hereby encourage all of you to go visit the site of Jirka Vinse, aka Jirka Väätäinen aka (?) Jonatan Väätäinen.

Oh, and prepare to have your mind blown.