Thursday, December 27, 2007

UFC 79- Echo calls it

As UFC 79 draws near, I find myself geeking out more and more frequently as I think about how awesome it will be to see my first set of bouts liiiiiive from Mandalay Bay. Tooling around the interwebs, I noticed lots of MMA bloggers throwing their predictions into the octagon as to which combatants will come out victorious. Given my obvious fandom of the sport, I decided it would only be appropriate to do likewise.

From what I gather, most folks base their predictions off personal favoritism, fighting prowess, experience, recent turns of event, dedication to training and the like. I don’t put much stock in that silly jibba-jabba. As such, I have decided to base my forecasts on pure and simple mathematics. You can’t go wrong with science, I say, and you can’t get much more scientific than this.

After much research and consideration, I have finally settled on a fail-proof formula to determine the outcome of these fights: (W/(V-dF~I))+dWi~Lo. Put more simply, you need simply divide the weight of a combatant by the number of vowels in his full name minus the difference in the inches and feet of his height. To that you add the difference of his win/loss ratio and, viola, you have a numerical value by which to compare your combatant of choice to all other fighters.

Weights used for this exercise are taken from, a 0 in height (such as 6’0”) counts as zero, not ten, and “Y” does not count as a vowel because I’m prejudiced. The results of my study follow and, as you’ll see, are infallible. I urge you to bank all your bettin’ money on these predictions. Science simply cannot lie. Without further ado, I give you the results:

Doug Evans vs Mark Bocek
With Evans netting a total of five and Bocek hot on his trail at three, it looks as though this one will be a narrow win. Whether it be a quick swing in Evans’ favor or a split decision is unsure, but there you have it—Evans ftw.

Tony DeSouza vs Roan Carneiro
This one is a little more decisive. DeSouza stays in the positives with seven, but Carneiro’s solid 90 leads me to believe Tony is going to be knocked on his ass with very little effort. This one goes to Carneiro unanimously.

Dean Lister vs Joran Radeu
I’m a fan of Lister. He’s a standup guy. But even that can’t save him from the trouncing he’s destined to receive. Mathematically, Lister’s negative 181 is trumped by Radeu’s positive 106.5. I wouldn’t have believed it yesterday, but after stacking up the facts, it looks as though Lister is going to lose this one in a big way.

Manny Gamburyan vs Nate Mohr
This bout is shaping up to be another trouncing. Gamburyan’s positive 40.75 should easily win out over Mohr’s negative 151. Get ready for a bloodbath.

James Irvin vs Luis Cane
In a surprise turn of events, these two combatants both came out as perfect 8s. This can mean one of two things. A) The fight is so close judges have no other option save to call out the extremely rare “draw” or B) Nosfarlovski makes a surprise appearance under cover of a momentary power outage and drains the lifeblood of both competitors, leaving them incapable of finishing the fight or even living, for that matter.

Eddie Sanchez vs Soa Palelei
Both fighters equal out into the positives for this match-up, but Sanchez’s 234 easily bests Palelei’s 73.25. It’ll be a battle, but one wherein Palelei must ultimately fall.

Melvin Guillard vs Rich Clementi
In similar fashion to the previous fight, Guillard and Clementi will both put up a good fight in this bout. Unfortunately for Clementi, his 25 falls juuuust shy of Guillard’s 187. There’ll be no question in this one; it goes to Guillard by (most likely) decapitation.

Lyoto Machida vs Rameau Sokoudjou
Obviously, the night is really starting to get entertaining at this point. Following two decidedly (by math!) decent fights will be an even more epic battle when Machida and Sokoudjou step into the cage. By a difference of 11 to 71.33, however, Sokoudjou will stand victorious this go-round after systematically laying the smackdown on Machida’s unsuspecting face.

Chuck Liddell vs Wanderlei Silva
I think it’s safe to assume most folks are expecting to see two grand battles coming out of the final two fights of the night. Such will not be the case, however. With a difference of negative 190 to positive 24, the Axe Murderer won’t chip away at the Ice Man so much as cut him to frickin’ pieces in record time. This one goes to Silva by a sound margin.

Georges St. Pierre vs Matt Hughes
You all know my personal thoughts concerning this fight and science is here to prove me correct. And how! By a whopping difference of negative 132 to a positive 182, St. Pierre is fated to thoroughly destroy Hughes in their third meeting in the octagon by ripping the man’s arms off and soundly beating him about the head with his own bloody limbs while simultaneously spouting off lines of something (most likely witty and a bit rude) in French. The judges will look confused for a moment, but there’s not really a question as to who the victor is when such events unfold. The guy with no arms is the clear loser.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Sweeney Todd; one sharp flick

GET IT?! It was either that or "Sweeney Todd; A cut above the rest." Or maybe "Sweeney Todd; A movie to gush over." Either way, you're still groaning at the bad pun and I'm still laughing for having made you read it. Me: 1. You: Zero.

On to the business at hand. First of all, Sweeney Todd did not turn out to be the festive bundle of holiday cheer I was expecting to experience on Christmas day. Odd. Also, this is a poor choice of film if you're going to eat rare prime rib immediately following and be present for the juicy carving process. Almost missed out on a fantastic Christmas dinner thanks to Burton's foray into necksplosions and, well, more necksplosions.

If you aren't into musicals, this flick is not for you. I'm talking even if you are a huge Tim Burton fan or Johnny Depp groupie. There is very little spoken word throughout. If you enjoy people breaking into song more frequently than in any Disney movie ever made, this could be your cup-o-tea.Otherwise, stay away. Still with me? Good. Let's continue.

If memory serves me correctly, Sweeney Todd the Broadway musical was equal parts comedy and terror. Unfortunately, Burton chose to focus on the darker aspects of the work rather than break for a few more laughs throughout. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty black-humor titters to be had, but I wouldn't have minded a few more excuse to escape the over-the-top blood and grit of the piece.

For the most part, Sweeney Todd stays true to the source material while still displaying every Burton trademark imaginable. From the pale, sunken-eyed cast to the sweeping camera work and twisted view of London, the man behind the adaptation leaves his footprint at every turn. I like Burton, so this is a good thing.

As for the actors themselves, Johnny Depp as the ravenous Sweeney Todd and Helena Boham Carter as the love-struck baker are simply perfect. The chemistry is spot-on and their singing is good enough to get the job done. Carter, for one, surprised me with her voice on many occasions. It would be a great disservice if I did not also mention how great Sacha Baron Cohen and Alan Rickman were. These two enjoyed their roles and it shows.

If you're in the mood for a darkly beautiful, often disturbing, seldom boring movie-going experience, I'm going to recommend this one for a look-see. The music wasn't as memorable as I would have liked, but everything else will dig in deep and splash a coat of crimson across your thoughts long after the credits roll.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Snakeball, Burnout and fanboys, oh my!

You may have noticed a sudden lack of posts this week. It’s not because I don’t love you anymore. This is a problem we’re going to have to work through and I’m willing to put in the effort if you are. It’s not me. It’s you.

The holidays are upon us and, with work and my impending venture into the world of professional blood-spray catching at UFC 79, times be busy. As such, updates are going to be light for the next week or so. I know this comes as a great blow to the hordes of faithful readers (eight of you if my daily counter is correct), but them’s the breaks.

By the time the New Year gets rolling, we’ll be back in the full swing of things with previews, reviews and rants on all that random stuff I just know you’re itching to read about. Here’s a brief rundown of some random things I would have liked to post about this week. Enjoy my half-assed attempt at making amends!

Fanboys- Videogame fanboys are my current gripe, but the problem stems into all types of blatant fanboyism. Whether it be someone’s favorite fighter, a groupie who loves a band’s music just a little bit too much or any number of the ever-growing masses of videogame system loyalists, I pretty much hate you all equally. Believe it or not, you are the primary factor destroying the things you love. Ignorance is bliss and a closed mind never has to think, and you guys prove it.

Holidays can suck- From dealing with family to the “need” to make sure you bought gifts for everyone who bought gifts for you, these festive seasons are just getting out of hand. When you have to call three people to ask for gift ideas for someone, you’re just going through the motions, not celebrating the holiday. A gift should be personal and spontaneous, not forced.

Snakeball- If you have a PS3, you should be playing Snakeball. It’s one of the deepest, best developed and most entertaining games I’ve ever seen for a measly ten dollars. Download the demo off PSN and give it a shot. You’ll love it.

Burnout: Paradise- If the demo speaks for the full version, Xbox 360 and PS3 owners are in for a real treat with Burnout: Paradise. There’s a massive set of suburban and country roads, tons of cars to drive and countless objectives to keep you busy when you’re not just tooling around the city and blowing shit up. The near-seamless online and menu integration is fantastic and the feel of previous Burnout iterations has been kept intact. I usually dislike EA and all they stand for, but this is a classic example of arcade racing done right. Burnout has grown up and I couldn’t be more pleased.

Well, there you have it. I hope that will at least tide you over until the next update. It should be coming your way Monday. Thanks for the support and have a happy holiday!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

I could kick the crap out of an entire class of kindergarteners

I beseech you all to click on that picture above. I stumbled upon this thanks to a bit done on my favorite morning radio program and, thank goodness, one of those age-old questions has finally been answered.

Basically, it's a little quiz that determines, under a given set of guidelines, how many five-your-old young-uns you could take at a single time. I would like to think my number would be higher, but I guess the quiz takes into account these particular kids are infected with the rage virus from 28 Days Later.

Just so you know, my number may be at 31 partially because, in the need to defend myself from rabid n00bz, my moral compass would go right out the window to pwn their asses. Expect to see me working the double windmill punch like one of those little drums from The Karate Kid II while utilizing my height advantage to throw many a knee to many a face.

I'm interested to hear what the readers score, so feel free to post and let me know.

Approximately 31 five-year-olds were injured in the creation of this post.

Monday, December 17, 2007

I Am Slightly-Better-Than-A-Poop-Sandwhich

It takes a decent amount of “bad” for a film to disappoint me. So, color me surprised at the fact I Am Legend did just that. Not necessarily a horrible movie, what I Am Legend boils down to is a prime example of wasted potential.

While Will Smith does an admirable job of playing a half-crazy survivor of an apocalyptic viral outbreak and scenes with his K9 co-star are touching enough, that’s about all the good the film has to offer. It’s a shame, since Smith really did put forth a valiant effort.

There are essentially three points that bother the crap out of me with I Am Legend; all of which I will gladly discuss for you at this very moment.

The first strike comes in the form of the utterly crappy CG used for the vampire-esque antagonists. Racking up the largest production bill of any movie out this year, I’m convinced the folks working on the computer animated and laughable baddies were paid through the film’s coffee fund. These creatures are downright ugly to look at, and I don’t mean ugly in the good, scary movie sort of way. Live actors would have served this film’s purpose a hundred times better and, rather than give me something to fear, these The Mummy Returns rejects did nothing but take away from the already less-than-stellar tension created throughout.

Speaking of tension, that’s my second gripe with Legend. Why, in a project perfect for moody, atmospheric chills and drawn-out scare scenes, would a director resort to shock tactics at every turn? I’m not even talking about gory shock here, either. I’m talking about the ever popular violin shot coupled with a quick attack from off camera. This would be acceptable if used a few times, but literally every single “scare” follows this formula exactly. Even when Smith is huddled in a dark corridor with creatures drawing ever closer, director Francis Lawrence manages to kill the mood with yet another cheap shot rather than even attempt building anything resembling a mood.

Finally, and without any spoilers, I’ll say that I Am Legend’s ending was a major letdown. Not so much the concept as the delivery. Actually, I take that back. The concept is just as fubar as the delivery. While going decently light on all the messages you would expect out of this type of film, Lawrence chooses to not only shove a bunch of crap down your throat all at once, but also a bunch of crap that makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. It was lazy. Plain and simple.

As far as holiday movie watching goes, I say pass on I Am Legend. It may be worth a rent for checking out Smith’s depth, but otherwise, save your cash for extra presents or something. Heck. Buy yourself a delicious treat and throw it directly into the trash. Your experience will be almost identical.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Dark Knight returns

Oh, man, The Dark Knight can't come out soon enough. For those who missed Batman Begins, it was easily one of the best Batman films ever made, not to mention one of the best comic book movies to ever grace the silver screen.

Director Christopher Nolan got things right by keeping the movie decently grounded in reality and staying true to the caped crusader's dark and gritty source material. Batman isn't about neon rave fights and ridiculous antagonists like The Frigid Govonator. Batman's about blood, pulp and deep, psychological characters.

With that said, take a gander at what Heath Ledger has to offer as the grinning gangster himself, The Joker. I'll be the first to admit I doubted many would be better suited to the role than Jack Nicholson, but man, Ledger looks even better than crazy Jack and appears to have the lunatic flair to back it up.

In an era where decent comic book adaptations are hard to find, especially in a pre-established series like Batman, I tip my nerd cap to Nolan and his entire crew for having the chutzpah to give this project the respect it deserves.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Uncharted: Drake's Fortune - Review

Really, my early impressions of Uncharted say it best. In the hours of gameplay that followed, my enjoyment only grew.

Now that I've finally wrapped things up, let's gut this fish and have a look-see at all its innards to determine if Drake's Fortune is worth the sixty smackers.

Gameplay: This is where Uncharted excels most. Though the maps are pretty linear, the action is constant and intense. Each scenario was meticulously planned and offers a wide variety of choices for how you will handle a given situation. Will you run and gun, hang and bang, duck and cover or resort to good ole fashioned fisticuffs? It's up to you. In short, the gunfights are exciting and the platforming is pretty fantastic. Expect to experience a little vertigo with some of your more daring jumps.

Story: This bit is straightforward, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Most of the script is fantastic, the characters are charming, unique and believable and the storyline is basically the best parts of every adventure film ever made rolled into one. There's a bit of a surprise in the latter half of the game many seem to find off putting but, as for me, I accepted what was being dolled out just fine.

Weapons: In a game where half your time is spent laying the smackdown on some pirate scum, it's important to have the right tools to get the job done. There are about three pistols, a couple automatic rifles, a shotgun, a sniper rifle and a grenade launcher up for grabs, not to mention the requisite grenades, and Uncharted does a good job of making sure you get used to using each of them. Other than nearly useless mounted turrets, that's your arsonal. Choosing what weapon combination to keep on-hand is important when heading into the game's many environments and gets a bit tricky when your options become limited by enemy drops.

Sound: The sound is another shining point for Uncharted. Not only are the effects and voice-overs some of the best around, but the score, created by Greg Edmonson (known for his work on the greatest TV show ever, Firefly) is really good to boot. The music accents each environment well while not drawing too much attention to itself. I would have liked a little more emphasis on some big numbers, but that could be my bias towards Edmonson's music coming through rather than a desire for something that might have enhanced the game.

Overall: I say you can't go wrong with Uncharted: Drake's Fortune. If you're the sort of person who replays games they enjoy, buy it right now. There are plenty of medals to unlock, hidden treasures to find and extra content to dive into. LOADS of extra content, actually. Aside from that, you can also unlock game-altering features like character skins, level flip, camera filters and even play with everyone moving really slow or really fast. If this type of thing doesn't float your boat, at least rent it. There's plenty to offer for the platformer and shooter alike.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Lost "In Rainbows." A Radiohead review.

For those who didn't know, Radiohead tried something truly unusual with their latest offering "In Rainbows." Rather than release their newest ten tracks in 15-dolla CD format, the oddball gang offered the whole package for download for whatever price the buyer felt like paying. It could have been $0, it could have been $50, it could have been $Texas, it was up to every individual to decide. Crazy, right?

I'd like to know how much they made off this deal, but the figures haven't been revealed yet. Instead, what I can tell you is how awesome In Rainbows truly is. I paid roughly 12 U.S. dollars and it was well worth every penny. It's been a while since Radiohead had anything new to offer and, unlike the Smashing Pumpkins' recent letdown, this blast from the past had plenty of substance to offer in 2007.

In Rainbows is amazingly sweet (I'm talking emotionally here, not slang) and instantly haunting. As always, the lyrics are intriguing and the instrumental work is imaginative. There's nothing too "new" here as far as the Radiohead sound goes, but what is available are some of the most thoughtful tracks the group has ever put into a single project.

If you missed out on the download deal, you can always pick up the ridiculous collector's edition for 80 bucks. It features two records, a CD and a bunch of other goodies for just under a C-note. Otherwise, according to Reuters, the CD is set for a physical release come early 2008. Assuming it will cost the same as a standard album, trust me, it'll be money well spent.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Losing it. A "Control" review.

As a pop culture fiend, one of my favorite hobbies is turning folks onto new things they may otherwise never hear about. With "Control," I get a two for one deal.

In the 70's, a band by the name of Joy Division came about that seemed destined for great things. Their music was dark, brooding, melodic and often uplifting in a reverse-therapy sort of way. A little punk, a lot of rock, and a hell of a lot of emotion came together to create a unique sound that demanded people stop what they were doing and pay attention. This was greatly thanks to lead vocalist Ian Curtis.

Nowadays, music that ends up on TV or the radio primarily comes from what I like to call popcorn bands. Cheap, gimmicky collections of decently trained musicians who, though sometimes fun for a listen and the occasional toe tap, lack anything resembling substance. The hooks are generic and the lyrics are written by anyone but the person singing them.

Joy Division stands above these masses in how much of the musicians gets poured into each song. Curtis, for one, emptied his heart and soul into every line he ever wrote or belted out.

I'm going to assume most who read this have never heard of the band Joy Division or the movie Control, chronicling the life of lead singer Ian Curtis. I recommend you do some homework. Download a few tunes and see if Curtis speaks to you. If you find yourself picking up what he's putting down, I recommend you find a theater specializing in independent film and clap your peepers on Control.

Control is a thoughtful flick with stellar performances all around. It also proves to be a fantastic directoral debut from Anton Corbijn. It's clear Corbijn has an intense love for Joy Division's music as well as Ian's story and thus provides an equally compelling film.

As Curtis states in Control, Joy Division's music is not always meant to be beautiful. As such, Control casts an unflinching eye set to an appropriate black and white film to create a movie that is both beautiful and sometimes hard to watch.

Check out the band. Check out the movie. Be moved.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Big John McCarthy retires

I got some troubling news from The Jeff earlier this week that was later confirmed by MMA On Tap. Turns out one of my favorite figures in sporting history, period, will be calling it quits. The man known to mixed martial arts fans as "Big" John McCarthy officially announced his plans to retire from officiating after his final appearance at tonight's Ultimate Fighter conclusion.

I strongly urge anyone even remotely interested in the sport to tune in for the Huerta/Guida fight late tonight to watch one of the classiest dudes in the world of MMA, or otherwise, do his thing one final time. I just pray Huerta doesn't break Guida's arm too early so we can all get a chance to enjoy John's final match.

Here's a list of fun facts I've managed to compile regarding this living legend:
1) In the history of sports, from the gladiators of ancient Rome to present, no official, save Big John, has been universally loved by fans and athletes alike. People cheer louder for this man when he enters the octagon than for most fighters.

2) Big John has single-handedly beaten every MMA fighter in the history of the sport just so they all know who's in charge. He won one of these fights while simultaneously delivering a baby in a crowded subway.

3) Chuck Norris has a poster of Big John on his bedroom wall AND a McCarthy McFanclub t-shirt.

4) Big John has never been wrong about anything. As such, most scientists and deeply religious individuals avoid speaking with the man out of fear of what he might reveal.

5) If you enter Phil's Diner in Cincinnati and order a "McCarthy" sub, you can expect whole wheat bread, mayo, ham, bacon, sharp cheddar cheese, lettuce, cucumbers and a generous portion of "awesome."

6) The McCarthy clan descended from the T-Rex.

7) When Big John retired from the L.A. Police Department, crime escalated 115 percent worldwide.

8) McCarthy has only ever had to stop a fight with brute force six times throughout his entire career. His favorite technique involves a hand full of hair and a knee to the chops, shortly followed by a call for medical attention.

9) According to official police records, the only crime Big John has ever been guilty of is "loving too much."

10) For those living in fear of missing Big John too much, he'll now be offering commentary through the Fight Network as an analyst. New TVs will soon be making their way to the market capable of handling the sheer awesomeness of his voice.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Nickle and dimed

Remember the good ole' days when you would buy a game and everything you could ever need to enjoy the title (assuming it was enjoyable to begin with) was right there on the disc? Nowadays, not so much. Despite the epic development times and high cost of admission, more and more games are coming out incomplete these days. It wouldn't be as big a deal if we weren't being asked to pay even more as the months go by to complete the game in stages. Thanks internet. You really screwed us on this one.

A game comes out and costs you sixty clams but, what's this, it's only single player and the campaign lasts a mere six hours. Not to worry, extra side quests will be made available for ten bucks a pop and the pleasure of an online mode will only set you back an additional half C-note. And we buy this stuff?! Yes. Because we needzez it or we won't get the full experience and be cool like that Mike kid down the street. Also, when these $10 map packs come out for multiplayer, guess which maps everyone will now be playing. It's either pay the extra cash or play by your onesies. The genius of it all angers me to no end.

Then there's those little add-ons that cost something like 99 cents. Everyone argues, "but it's only 99 cents, joo can sparz it ya cheap bastard." That's not the point! Why am I paying ANY amount for an extra paintjob to be slapped over an existing skeleton? The 99 cents start to add up after a while. Shouldn't these little additions that add literally nothing to the playing experience be more of a thank you note from the publisher for purchasing their expensive game in the first place?

I guess I should count my lucky stars. About a year ago the rumor was a Madden game would be coming out with current teams, current rosters, home and away jerseys, and a small collection of stadiums to play in for full price. "Premium content," such as historical rosters and jerseys, extra modes and other teams' stadiums would come via download for a fee. What the hell is premium about things that, until this new generation, were standard in every other title? Sadly, with the current success of microtransactions, I see this setup as being a very likely fixture for future games.

And let's take a look at these games made specifically for download, shall we. I'll use my recently reviewed PAIN as an example. Sure, it's only ten dollars and a good way to get some laughs and watch the physics fly, but what are we really paying for? The answer is a way to get you both coming and going. You pay the initial ten bucks for the game featuring one map, a few single and multiplayer modes and some other little features. Then we get two skins less than 24 hours after the game's initial release for new characters costing a dollar each. If they were ready when the game was, as is made obvious by the instant availability, why weren't they in the title to begin with?

Later expansions will most likely include one map and maybe a character or two. I would expect, for a game costing $10, for such an expansion to cost about three bucks at most. Mark my words, we'll be paying at least double that. Had the game included a total of four or five maps, an extra mode or two and a few playable characters, it would have been perfect for the $10 price point. By the time this game is done, we'll have probably paid 30 smackers for something that, had we known the full cost of participation in the beginning, we would have most likely deemed too steep a price for what was being offered.

These microtransactions are great for games like Guitar Hero where an already extensive play list gets extra tracks, not because developers were lazy/greedy with the initial title, but because they want to keep cranking out legitimate content post-release. However, the "small" price tags for features that should have been included originally are unacceptable. I would say the only way we can fight this is with our wallets, but it wouldn't be fair to call anyone to arms when I know I myself will be buying into these diabolical tactics. I simply REFUSE to miss out on my Warhawk dropship.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Kids and their damn country music

It's been a while since I've picked up a CD, so I thought, given the fact nothing of interest has caught my attention over the airwaves, I'd run down to my local Target and see what the "new release" rack had to offer. I do this on a regular basis, actually, but I thought I'd begin this rant by painting you a picture with my elegant words. I hope they were poetic enough to do the trick.

Anyway, after laughing at the latest offerings from Garth Brooks, Godsmack (celebrating ten years? Way to cash in on four mediocre CDs, boys) and the like, I decided it was high time I complain about something that's been ticking me off longer than Godsmack's apparently epic career. Given the recent videogame review debacle, the topic of authenticity weighs heavy on my mind as of late. This is something lacking in music in general.

Let's begin with the boy bands. Now that the N'Sync and BSB craze has died down, what I find most entertaining are these prefab groups coming out nowadays using the exact same tactics, only now they target a completely different audience. The genius of this is the fact those emo/goth kids who pretended to vomit every time "Bye Bye Bye" came on are now the ones locked away in their dark rooms with Fallout Boy posters on the walls, quietly weeping because, gosh darn it, these guys are so real and truly get what they, such a unique and troubled teen, are going through.

I'm not knocking the goth/emo lifestyles here but...Okay, yes I am. But again, that's for another post.

Now on to rap and country and we'll call it quits for the night. You've got rugged model rejects from New York belting out fake southern drawls about life on the range and drinking sweet tea with Peggy Sue to crappy soft rock hooks (a little fiddle in the background makes it authentic, it turns out) and no-talent gangsta' wannabes talking about smackin' hoes and shootin' some bitches when they have no idea what it's like to grow up on the streets, much less what it's like to have a gun pulled on them. The only crime they've ever been guilty of is writing lyrics that don't make sense to even themselves and then conning folks into believing that, when combined with the latest boom-chickie-boom-boom beat they ripped from some other artist, it passes as legitimate music. "Let's get retarded in here" says it best.

I could go on for hours about the silly hairstyles that destroy depth perception, the gold freaking grills and the Corona "cowboy" hats, but there's no way anyone would want to listen to me for that long. What about you guys? Any music trends pissing you off?

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

I Am Legend- Preview

First of all, Will Smith, I don’t like the arrogant tone your new movie’s title takes. Who are you to claim “legendary” status? I don’t like it. Not one bit.

All that aside, I am looking forward to seeing Mr. Smith take on some vampires. He’s already fought aliens and robots, so why not go for the trifecta? I’m a little nervous the bar has been set a bit too high now since the next film will have to feature the Fresh Prince doing battle with Ninja-zombie-pirate-monkeys to get my attention. And by “the Fresh Prince,” I mean I expect Smith to reclaim his original role for this next endeavor. Can you imagine the awesomeness?

When it comes to books being made into movies, my preferences are hard to pin down. Some I’d rather see stay faithful to the source material. Others I like to stray from the known path into new territory where the screenwriter is given the opportunity to re-envasion the story. In the case of I Am Legend, I’m all for this new twist on the classic vampire tale.

Smith has an undeniable charm, so I don’t doubt he’ll be able to carry the film by his onesies. I do, however, fear the film being used as a vehicle for shoving political, ethical and environmental messages down my throat. “Don’t screw with genetics.” “We’re not God.” “Biological warfare is bad.” Yadda-yadda-yadda. I get it.

So long as I Am Legend stays true to its creepy, tense roots without getting too preachy, I’m game. Otherwise, I have no qualms with verbally heckling this flick throughout its entire runtime. I invite you all to join me. I’ll be the guy at the back of the theater doing his best impersonation of Mr. Prince’s ridiculous laugh. Heeeeh. Heeeeeeh. Heeeeeeeh.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Gerstmann sacked. I'm pissed.

For those of you who don't follow the world of videogame news quite as closely as others, four days ago a Gamespot editorial director by the name of Jeff Gerstmann was canned for, according to recent statements made by Gamespot and parent company CNET, undisclosed reasons. You can check out Joystiq for their in-depth reporting on the subject and the events which have followed, but rather than regurgitate everything that has already been said, I'll just give you my take on the whole crapfest instead.

To sum up the incident, shortly following Gerstmann's firing, rumors galore exploded onto the interwebs saying these "undisclosed reasons" were, in fact, the result of Gerstmann giving a negative review to the game Kane and Lynch: Deadmen. Basically, the dude gave his opinion on a game he didn't hold in too high a regard. That game, Kane and Lynch, is published by Eidos; a company who threatened to pull their ad dollars due to the negative review. Shortly after, Gerstmann, an employee of Gamespot for more than ten years, found himself without a job.

There's a lot of he said/she said going on and a whole hell of a lot of folks refusing to comment "due to legal reasons." I call shenanigans.

Do I have any proof of what happened one way or the other? No. Do I follow Gerstmann's work and view him with a great deal of respect? Not even a little bit. I don't even know the guy. Truth be told, I didn't know two things about him until this whole incident occurred. Does that matter? Not one bit.

Why? Because the situation is a simple one. It doesn't matter who the journalist is or who the publisher of his work was. When a specialized provider of journalistic and editorial content receives advertising dollars from companies creating a product that very publisher is supposed to objectively review, the whole system is fubar. Gamespot and CNET can claim advertising dollars have never effected their editorials all they want and I will call bullshit every step of the way. No matter what your moral code or promise for ethical practices, you know exactly where your bread is buttered and the consumers should know that, sometimes, that relationship gets in the way. Does this mean all reviews are bought and sold so openly? I pray such is not the case. But it happens, and probably more than any of us would like to admit.

Is there a fix to this? Of course not. In the case of Gamespot, they sell advertising space to tech and videogame companies because, guess what, that's who their target audience is. It makes sense, and thousands of dollars to boot. One can't survive without the other. It's a dangerous relationship to be in, but an unavoidable one.

As such, we the people must put our absolute faith in the dream that there is an understanding between the two entities that one thing (advertising dollars) should never be effected by another (reviews). In this case, that line was crossed. Again, I have no proof whatsoever, but I feel inclined to believe these stories wholeheartedly. Why? Because it makes perfect sense.

What's the result of all this? Hopefully gamers come away realizing they can't put so much of their faith in reviews. The system is broken. Plain and simple. Also, hopefully more journalists out there will take note of this whole mess and follow Gerstmann's lead, providing unbiased content no matter what the cost and standing behind their own work 100 percent. As for companies like Eidos, Gamespot and CNET, a can of worms has been opened and I'm loving watching these bastards squirm. You know what you did, we know what you did, and there is literally no way to come out of this one unscathed.

When you forfeit ethics for dollars, you're playing with some seriously dangerous fire. I can only pray this costs all parties involved (save Gerstmann, of course) a significant amount since, as this incident shows, makin dat cheddah is the only thing they seem to care about. If you thought those advertising dollars were a significant figure, just wait until the monetary ramifications of spitting in the face of every one of your trusting consumers comes to fruition.

As for this humble blogger, I have 60 bucks not going towards your game and literally hours of my time that will not be going towards your services and thus, your advertisers. Who else is with me?
image borrowed from Gerstmann's myspace page

Thursday, November 29, 2007

That's gonna leave a mark- A half-schlitzed PAIN review

Whilst in the midst of my usual daily perusal of PS3 Fanboy and the Playstation boards, I was quickly reminded of the fact that today was Thursday. As such, the weekly PSN updates were up and, wouldn't ya know it, Pain made its November launch deadline.

I've been watching this game since I first heard about it through E3 coverage and thought, what the heck, it's ten dollars. I've noticed a lot of folks refuse to buy downloadable games until they get the chance to read some reviews. Given how slowly these types of reviews come out, I thought I'd offer my own opinion and, well, you can take it or leave it. Though I suggest you take it.

First of all, I've gotta say I'm extremely impressed with how much work has gone into Pain. The world is ridiculously detailed and the physics are crazy-good. Also, the humor is a bit sophomoric, but in a game where your objective is to load a dude into a giant slingshot and fire him at inanimate objects in an effort to inflict as much, get this, pain as humanly possible, the cheap laughs are pitch perfect.

The Pain crew could have let things rest at that point and had a decent little title on their hands but, instead, opted to go several steps further. Rather than just shoot the character through the air, there are several pose, grab, and chain options to keep in mind while directing his flight. Also, you can re-watch each launch with a decent array of options allowing pause, slowdown and even a free-roam camera.

On top of this you have several single player modes, multiplayer modes and the clear promise of future content. There are also a bunch of medals and trophies to unlock through creative gameplay so, for those collectors out there, be prepared to spend a decent number of hours on this title.

For ten dollars, you really can't go wrong with Pain if you're looking for a fun diversion or a fantastic party game. It's guaranteed to keep you and your pals busy for quite some time.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

New organizational paradigm

Like many media junkies, I have quite the collection of videogames, CDs and movies. Every now and then I’ll round up a few titles I no longer want and make a trip to Bookman’s for a little extra cash but, for the most part, I don’t buy anything I don’t expect to enjoy multiple times over the years.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to keep me from buying metric crap-tons of games, movies and music. Spanning hundreds of titles, every bookshelf in my home became over-crammed with cases. I am here today, dear readers, to spread the good word of the new and improved organizational paradigm.

Like many of you, I dreaded the thought of throwing out the cases to my prized collection. I thought to myself, “Captain,” (I call myself Captain in my head) “What if I REALLY want to take a gander at the box art to (insert random name here) sometime?”

Finally, it occurred to me that I’ve NEVER gone back to look at the cases. When I want to play or watch something, I find the case, open it and pop in the disc. End of story. I’m willing to bet you’re the same way.

It took a lot of convincing, but I finally just invested in a few 200 CD holders for my collection. After about two hours of alphabetizing and sliding the discs into place, the paradigm was complete. I hauled a few garbage bags full of cases to the trash shortly after and have not looked back since. There’s room on my bookshelves for actual bound volumes now and my life suddenly feels a thousand times less cluttered. It’s an illusion, of course, since I still have all of those discs, but now they’re in a tidy little package that takes up less than a cubic foot of space.

And, in case you’re wondering, all of the sleeves and booklets are now safely tucked into a single, small cardboard box in the closet, just in case I ever get the crazy desire to ogle the classic still created for Bubba Ho-tep.

Take the plunge, my friends. I know it’s frightening, but you’ll feel better for it. And, just so I don’t get yelled at later, I’ll encourage you to recycle those cases whenever possible. Give a hoot and all that jazz.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Uncharted resistance

This post is a two-for-one deal. Resistance: Fall of Man has been out for the PS3 a full year, so I doubt anything I have to say will do much to sway anyone’s buying decision. The short of it is this; buy it. Also, I’m only a third of the way through Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, but I couldn’t wait until review time to do a post on this (so far) stellar game. So, I’m just going to give you a few thoughts on both titles and call it a day.

I only picked up my PS3 about five months ago and finally got around to playing Resistance recently. As far as first-person shooters go, this one’s fantastic. The maps are decently creative, the graphics are tops and the action is extremely fierce. Unlike many FPS titles, the enemies not only vary in look, but also in the tactics they use, the tactics you should use to beat them, weapon choice, speed, etc. In other words, you don’t spend ten hours killing the same guys over and over.

Also a nice change from the norm was the weapon selection. Along with a few staples like the automatic rifle and rocket launcher, the Chimeran weaponry is very unique. Even weapons that seem like run-of-the-mill fare offer an odd twist. The guns are fun to shoot, plain and simple.

It takes a lot to impress me in an FPS and Resistance: Fall of Man has done just that. It does nothing to reinvent the wheel, but it’s one of the smoothest, most entertaining regular ole’ wheels to date. And that’s not even including the multiplayer.

Got it? Good. On to Uncharted. According to the game clock I’m about 33 percent through this title and, man, has it been a fun 3.5 hours. I’m a completion whore, so I’m going to guess this one at a little over ten hours total to seek out all the little extras and screw around with a few of the puzzles. As such, as good as this game is, I can’t necessarily recommend you run out and buy it just yet. Sure, there are 60 additional treasures to find and 1000 points worth of random “badges” to acquire, not to mention four difficulty levels, but at 60 bucks a pop, I have a hard time telling anyone to buy just about anything these days when a double rental for ten dolla could give you the full experience.

With stunning visuals, exciting firefights and vertigo inducing platforming filling every second of those ten or so hours, its easily some of the most fun I’ve had in a video game all year. If you can spare the money to pick up a game right now, I say go for this one. If you’re pinching your pennies on the fence, be sure to try it before you buy it. The mix of genres might not be everyone’s cup-o-tea. As for me, it’s been money well spent.

Monday, November 26, 2007

GSP gunning for the good ole' boy

Hold the phone, folks. It looks like Winter Road Trip 2007 just got a hell of a lot better. Recently, as in one post ago, I reported the UFC's announcement that Matt Serra, scheduled to battle Matt Hughes at UFC 79, had sustained an injury during practice rendering him incapable of competing on Dec. 29.

Well, Nosfarlovski will not be stepping into the octagon, as I had hoped, but I can't really complain about this latest turn of events. Far from it, in fact. Though the battle of the Matts won't be happening, I'm ecstatic to inform you Rush himself, Mr. Georges St. Pierre, contacted Dana White over the weekend to throw his hat in the ring to take on Hughes in Serra's stead.

That's right, boys and girls. The French Canadian will be getting a third crack at the hillbilly and The Jeff and I will be right there to catch all the action. I don't think The Jeff could have asked for a better birthday present. What's that?...The match will be for the interim welterweight championship? I guess it CAN get better.

Granted, GSP will be fighting at a disadvantage given the fact he'll only have four weeks to prepare for the bout, but my money is still riding on Rush to take the win. Hughes has been training to fight, and now has four weeks to gear his methods towards GSP, but heart has to count for something. If St. Pierre was hungry enough to call in the request himself, I'm willing to bet that appetite will have only grown come time for the match. Also, Hughes has been on his way out the door for a while now while the Franadian is in the midst of his prime. It's time for the dude to dominate. I think I'm more excited about UFC 79 now than I was originally.

I don't know how hard GSP can kick, but I'll be bringing my ball glove just in case Hughe's head clears the fence. Aye-oh!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Serra vs Hughes postponed

In an unfortunate turn of events, Ultimate Fighting Championship President Dana White recently announced current welterweight champion Matt Serra will no longer be defending his title against Matt Hughes at UFC 79 next month.

Serra apparently suffered a herniated disc in his lower back during a standard training exercise earlier this week. Set to fight in just a few weeks, it's looking like Serra will now be out of the mix for quite a few months. This in unfortunate for fans of the sport, especially The Jeff and I. We’re heading to Vegas for Winter Road Trip 2007 to watch our first live UFC event and, wouldn’t you know it, the biggest fight of the evening has been nixed. To make matters a little worse, it’s looking like they’ll be adding another under card to the evening’s event and bumping one of the previous “not-so-must-see” fights onto the list of main bouts.

I think I’m going to begin a petition to get Arlovski on the card instead. The man can be ready at the drop of a hat to fight anyone White sees fit to throw his way. He’s way past due for a fight and, damnitalltohell, he deserves to be back in the octagon makin’ dat cheddah. Plus, it’s a well known fact The Pitbull is sustained through the blood of his fallen enemies. For health reasons alone, the man needs to see a fight. For further rantings, my “Arlovski is amazing, White is a douche” post will be coming your way some time in the future. Until then, happy holidays and I’ll catch you back here on Monday.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Game called on account of poultry

Here's a heads-up that the blog will go un-updated for a day or so. I hope to have some fresh content on Friday and be back in the full swing of things come Monday.

Like most Americans, I'm all about the mass genocide of feathered creatures and eating copious quantities of their baked flesh until I slip into a tryptophanian coma on Thanksgiving. For those vegetarians out there, I'm sorry you had to hear that. The truth hurts. Keep up the good fight and all that jazz.

Maybe even cut loose this holiday season. You know, slice off a couple extra slabs of Tofurkey and slather on a nice helping of Togravy.
Mmmmmmm-hmmmmmmm. Them's some good eatins.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

It slices. It dices.

I have a hard time believing I'm the only person excited to see Sweeney Todd, the new musical by Tim Burton based on the dark and disturbingly awesome Broadway play. By "the only person," I of course mean "the only person who doesn't shop at Hot Topic like it's a religion"...Which it's not. Religion is bad. That Totally unique goth-gal working the counter at Hot Topic told me so.

Just in case my above assumption is inaccurate, I better say something to convince some of you fine folks to hit the theaters this holiday season and give this movie a go. Otherwise, I'll be lost in a sea of chainy pants, hairstyles that completely obliterate depth perception and tears. Lots and lots of sad emo-boy tears.

First, as I mentioned, the film is directed by Tim Burton, probably the single best person for the job. I expect his vision of Fleet Street to be just as twisted and shrouded in shadow as ever. Add to that a little Burton flare when it comes to direction, and the story should just sing off the screen. (Sing...Musical...Get it!)

What's even better than the chosen director? The cast. You've got Johnny Depp singing his heart out on-screen for the first time ever and, really, the dude's been batting 1000 for quite some time. I have a hard time believing he would join this somewhat risky project if he did not have complete faith in it.

At his side will be the somewhat predictable Helena Boham Carter, though this is not a bad thing. She's great as the static haired, heavy-eyed, crazy woman, so I can't really think of anyone better for the role. She too has been doing fantastic over the past few years.

Add to these two a supporting cast including Alan Rickman, one of my personal favorites, and a flamboyant Sacha Baron Cohen and you have the makings of what could be a uniquely fantastic film. By unique, I mean unique to films in general. As Burton films go, this looks to be more or less exactly what you'd expect out of the guy. Being a fan of his projects, this does not upset me one bit.

Monday, November 19, 2007

A guaranteed epic in the palm of your hands

I actually meant to write this a little while back. A few weeks ago I got my God of War: Chains of Olympus demo in the mail for the PSP. I had almost forgotten about the thing thanks to...well, I'm not actually sure why it took so long. I will say this, though; the wait was worth it.

For those unfamiliar with the GoW series, for shame. If you have a PS2 or PS3, you have no excuse not to play the first two installments of this (so far) phenomenal series. I guess if you have an aversion to relentless bloodletting and the occasional boobie, then yeah, you have an excuse. The rest of you, get at them boobies.

Seriously though, aside from being one of the most visceral action games on the market, the platforming and puzzle elements are phenomenal. Throw in some top-notch controls and a truly engaging storyline and you have the makings of one of the best series ever created for any there.

Anyway, for those living under a rock, the bald and beautifully violent Kratos will be experiencing his next romp on the small screen and I'm here to herald its awesomeness. I've played through the demo about a dozen times now and, even though it only lasts about fifteen minutes, I can't get enough. Mainly, I'm blown away by how every single aspect that made the original games fantastic has been carefully (and I'm sure painstakingly) brought over to the PS3's little brother.

For those unlucky enough not to get their hands on the demo, I hate to inform you that you're really missing out. Actually, no I don't. Neener-neener-neener. At least you'll find some solace in knowing
the full game hits shelves early next year, just in time to serve as the Bloody Mary cure for your November gaming binge hangover.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Polar bears attack God

I received an e-mail a while back leading me to this post about a movie called The Golden Compass. Warning: there's quite a spoiler included within the linked post. By "quite a spoiler," I mean they give away the ending. Fun!

For those of you who don't like links or, like me, don't want the movie ruined, the article basically says The Golden Compass features strong atheistic views and all God-fearing adults should keep their kids from watching it. This is VERY reminiscent of when The Chronicles of Narnia came out a couple years ago and all those atheist groups were protesting its religious undertones. (ends sarcasm)

Okay, so I can't argue with the statement religious parents should at least know about the fact this movie, though less so than the books, throws mud in the face of organized religion, God and polar bear rights activists everywhere. I don't, however, feel shielding their eyes from the religion-death-rays the film is sure to project is all that necessary. Millions of youths the world over have read the books and, it's my understanding, not one of them has yet tried to put a hit out on God. I'm willing to put money on the film's messages being so low-key they fly far over the heads of any impressionable youth. Kids will see a movie full of magic and poorly treated arctic quadrupeds while those adults able to decipher the hidden messages with their trusty decoder rings might leave with a little something to think about.

Also, isn't it kind of important to know both sides of any argument? I'd encourage any parent to maybe try talking to their children about their beliefs rather than force anything on them. Give them a little more credit and, for the love of Pete, don't deny them a film that is sure to be even better than the greatest movie about religion ever made based on blind fear alone. Maybe even go see it yourself first, then decide.

I'd love to hear your guys' thoughts on this. Feel free to leave a comment and I'd be more than happy to reply.

Layin' the smack down

This weekend a buddy and I attended a Rage in the Cage event outside of Phoenix, Arizona. For those who don't know, RITC is like an amateur league for mixed martial artists working their way up in the ranks. This is where the youngsters are given the chance to pit their skills against other fighters hungry for some recognition.

It was a decent event featuring 12 bouts (maybe two or three of them solid fights). I write this, not so much to wax intellectual about one of my favorite sports, but to pass the mike on to someone much more informed about the sport than myself. I love watching MMA and, more specifically, many of the fighters under contract with the Ultimate Fighting Championship. I will not, however, bore you with my lackluster attempt at commentary.

One of the athletes we watched, Eli Harris, is featured in an article my buddy wrote just days before the event. Harris fell victim to three, count-em, three cheap shots in a single match that ultimately ended in the evening's only draw. Bummer.

Anyway, for those unfamiliar with the sport or curious to hear a story about some small-town grapplers striving to balance their sport of choice with the "real world," I recommend you check out the story. It's guaranteed winter fun for the whole family.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Rockin' solo; Serj Tankian "Elect the Dead" review

What do you get when you take a frontman like System of a Down's Serj Tankian and, rather than slap him on some side project, set him free to create whatever music he damn-well feels like on his own? Surprisingly, you get something that sounds a hell of a lot like System of a Down, only with six times the piano and about three-quarters the rock.

I'm not saying Tankian's first solo album "Elect the Dead" doesn't "rock," because it does. At times, very hard. However, while still being as politically charged and over the top as ever, the man with the psychoperatic voice is surprisingly subdued from time to time. I will say this, I absolutely loved the heavy focus on piano. It works very well with his voice.

What we have here are 12 songs (with an additional four unused or acoustic tracks if you pick up the special edition) that range from thoughtful and melodic serenades to all out, head banging mosh stompers. I was worried about Tankian going out on his own, but "Elect the Dead" quickly put those fears to rest. With the exception of "Saving Us," not a single song has gotten old on the album yet. There's nothing better than popping in a CD knowing you'll never have to reach down and push the skip forward button.

While each track bears a bit of repetition, they are all unique enough to be easily recognizable for their individual moods, sounds and messages. Unlike most music these days, Elect the Dead's lyrics are genuinely worth listening to and require a bit of thought to decipher. The man has a lot to say and, quite often, the meaning is left for the listener to figure out on their own.

If you're a downloader, I recommend Empty Walls, The Unthinking Majority, Sky is Over and Lie, Lie, Lie. If you like those, go get the full album. System fans who don't consider the occasional softer ditty "selling out" will definitely want to pick this one up. It's a wonderful first effort.
image courtesy of Warner Bros.

MAKE Blu-ray necessary

I'm getting a little frustrated with this whole next-gen format war. It used to be I only had to worry about missing games on systems I didn't own. Now I get to tack on missing the high-def experience of movies coming from companies that have signed exclusive deals with either Blu-ray or HD-DVD. I call shenanigans.

My real gripe is this: If a single game is going to cost me sixty bucks from the get-go and most likely fill only eight to ten hours of my life, why not include some extra content to make that half a C-note feel less like a kick to the gut? If Blu-ray truly is necessary for the future, you have to MAKE it necessary. I refuse to believe it would cost any developer much more money or man hours to include some behind-the-scenes videos and what have you on all those gigs of space.

And while you're at it, why not make use of the full PS3 experience with exclusive wallpapers, songs from the soundtrack or themes downloadable straight from the disc? Rather than jack in and out of my current games mindset when I boot up the disc, I'm now making that title a part of my entire gaming life. When I turn on my PS3, I'm constantly reminded of how awesome that game is and how much I want to jump back in and play it thanks to the additional visual and auditory goodies thrown in. When you provide a little extra content outside of the game itself, you're no longer asking gamers to play your game, you're asking them to experience it.

As an added bonus, all that disc space starts looking like a really, really good idea when you're able to cram so much content into a single package. As an added tip to developers out there, enough with these special editions. Include it all for a fair price and gamers will feel less like they're being scammed when they slapped down an additional 20 bucks for a couple added videos and a keychain. If you want to add the content, add it and, if you really think $60 is not enough, adjust the price accordingly. There's no need to have three versions of any one game.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The rising cost of gaming makes me a sad panda

Remember when you were a kid and you had to rely on your birthday/Christmas to get a game for your shiny new system? I do. I played through Metal Gear Solid fifteen times before I finally turned the old PSX off on that title; not just because it was a great game, but because that's how long it took me to finally save up enough allowance to get Legend of Dragoon.

Though I'm older and make my own money now, my gaming experience is still being limited by the cost of admission. At $250, the Wii could be considered an impulse buy in the current generation. As for the other two gaming giants, spending at least $300-$400 on a core system, adding in the cost of an extra controller, cables and a couple games, and you're dancing merrily near the fine line of spending a grand in a single shopping day. Not to mention the ginormous TV and sound system necessary to fully enjoy these systems; but that's a topic for another day.

Why do I write this post? Mainly to complain about how awesome November is. Yes, you heard me, I'm complaining about the number of quality titles hitting our shores this holiday season. We've got Mario Galaxy, Orange Box, Halo 3, Assassin's Creed, Uncharted, Call of Duty 4 and more on the console front with titles like Phantom Hourglass, Silent Hill and Castlevania drawing our hard-earned cash on the portable side of the spectrum.
There is, quite simply, far too many quality titles coming out during the holiday window when funds are already drawn tight due to Thanksgiving trips and Christmas shopping. I'm allowing myself one console title this November; Uncharted: Drakes Fortune. The demo was a blast and pretty unique, so it gets my 60 bucks this month. Not that I don't want all those other titles, just that I can't afford them.

My point is this: why do developers gun so heavily for the holiday window? Their reasoning is that this is the time when most people do their shopping for Christmas. But that logic is flawed. With so many great titles coming out, nobody who earns their own honest living is going to be able to afford more than a few titles over the next couple months. With so much competition piled on, there's nothing to guarantee YOUR title will be the one finding its way into little Jimmy's stocking.

With the infamous summer drought coming up, why not release then? By May, gamers will be starving for something to keep their consoles busy and, with less AAA titles to duke it out with, even a remotely entertaining game stands to rake in the profits.
In short, I think I know what will fill the vast majority of my Christmas list this year. If nothing else, maybe I can buy this November's games next June, July and August to help pass the time until the next holiday cram-fest.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Eyegasm, or, why I can't wait to play Valkyrie of the Battlefield

Have you guys seen this game yet? Good lord my eyes are dancing with happiness. If you've got a PS3 with a Japanese account, you can download this sexy trailer straight from there in glorious high definition. (I highly recommend that option.) Otherwise, clap your peepers on the trailer linked above. From what I gather, Valkyrie of the Battlefield features a story set during World War II where, apparently, epic battles were ridiculously gorgeous and rendered as moving canvas paintings. According to PS3fanboy, it's a tactical RPG with, get this, active attacks. Rather than just point, click and watch an enemy drop, you actually have to aim your weapon and fire. Finally, a TRPG that might manage to hook first-person-shooter fans as well as your run of the mill Final Fanboys. Woohoo! This game can't get to the U.S. soon enough.
image courtesy of

No Country for Old Men- Review

How often do you see a movie that makes you sit in your seat while the credits roll, not in hopes of catching a hidden clip at the very end, but rather to digest in sheer awe what you just watched?

When it comes to No Country for Old Men, the Coen brother's have done exactly that. I recently had a discussion with a friend of mine (we'll call him "The Jeff" from here on out) wherein The Jeff inquired as to what grade I would be giving this movie. He hung the further existence of our friendship on my going with an A+ and, after further consideration and physical threats, I decided to cave.

My definition of A+ is usually synonymous with "perfection." As The Jeff pointed out, that's a rather unfair bar to set for anything. Bioshock, for instance, can be defined as a perfect game without genuinely being a "perfect" game. I couldn't really argue with that. After careful consideration, I could not come up with a single thing to fault No Country for. The acting (Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin) is superb, the dialogue is honed to a razor's edge and the direction is damn-near flawless. With dark humor and gut-wrenching tension spread throughout this tight and lovingly crafted thriller of a film, I can't help but declare its perfection.
I give it an A+
image courtesy of Paramount Vantage

Curtains up...

Well, here we go. I won't speak about my personal life too often, so enjoy this while it lasts. At the moment I'm a sports and schools reporter for a weekly newspaper. I also have a gig creating a movie section for a monthly tabloid. I do photos for both publications as well as webcasts. Good times are being had.

staticEchoes spawned from a desire to expand my horizons. My interests are quite varied and, as such, I have more I'd like to voice concerning issues that don't necessarily fall into the categories listed above. In my spare time I'm consumed by movies, music, videogames, comics, literature and more. I'm something of a pop culture fiend. I'm talking about experiencing that culture while not giving two craps about the personal lives of the people creating it. By that I mean you'll find reviews, previews, rants and ravings, but nothing about who's dating whom or what new substance is going up the flavor of the week's nose. Again, I could care less. It's the product these folks create that interests me.

I like to read other people's thoughts, so consider this my chance to return the favor. I hope you will enjoy...