Saturday, March 31, 2012


So, my day yesterday was brimming with the awesomeness of continuing a two day long Scrubs Marathon that was developing into a full blown coma ... of awesome. 

Then I was hit up by Michelle Blanchard, lead singer of Life Down Here asking if I was going to make it to her show. Being oh-so wonderfully suave I sputtered, checked the dates, realized I had been invited for some time ago and lost track of the dates, and told her I'd totally be there. Then I went on a mission to make it to her show or bust. Fortunately, not only did I find a friend who was totally down to go, he had a great time, saying "Just by listening, you'd never guess they aren't already a major band." 

Which is good, because she isn't the kind of girl you want to piss off.
So the show was, in a word, amazing, as always. It's not too often (but not too rarely) they make it out to Vegas, so getting to catch them made for a great time. They were high energy, they have damn good songs (several of which were brand new), And the guitarist, Jeff Dennis wasn't sick this time (he played a hellova show even when he was), and Michelle has a great rapport with the crowd.

And awesome purple hair ... just throwing that out there. 
Not much more I can say before I devolve into generic groupie fawning and salivation, so here's the stitch, Life Down Here is a Los Angeles based "audibly pop-punk with a hardcore edge" band who's released one album, "The Beginning" which you can order from their website (the Digipak CD + Hoodie + Baseball Tee),  iTunes, or listen to on Spotify. 

After the release of their album, the band released the music video for their kick-ass song, All That You Are. 

Who doesn't love punching glass?

Life Down Here is definitely a band worth keeping an eye out for. And believe you me, when they head this direction again, you'll hear about it from me much sooner than a day late.

Viva la Life Down Here!

Friday, March 30, 2012


Freud would have a field day with this ....
Well folks, from the days of Tribute to the Pick of Destiny, I am here to tell you that Jack Black and Kyle Gass are back, the D is back, it is the Return of the D. Okay, maybe writing this as the first stages of sleep deprivation begin to set in was a bad idea. Or maybe ... it's an AWESOME idea.

That said, Tenacious D's 3rd album is being released  May 15th and is reportedly "The greatest album ever recorded by anyone," according to the band's promotional video, "To Be The Best" released by the band and made by the band. Also, if the video is to be trusted, marijuana has been legalized. To any of my Spicoli fans out there, I would recommend fact checking that claim before celebrating with your doobie snacks. Snoochie boochies

The album's namesake single, Rize of the Fenix, can be heard here, on the band's official Soundcloud.

Thursday, March 29, 2012


Ten cool points to anyone who still remembers the theme song.
 Any nerd worth his salt, and quite a few who aren't, know what the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are. They're mutants. It's in the name. It's hard to miss. 

Evidence suggests that Michael Bay could miss the ground if he threw himself at it.

Smug bastard.
Rumors of a Michael Bay Ninja Turtles filled many a Transformer/Turtle fan with fear. How many more pieces of our childhoods was this man going to bastardize and mutilate? Well, we all waited with bated breath. Maybe he could maintain a level of respect for the source material, maybe he would have the gorram decency to -- nope, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, regular turtles in the New York sewers mutated by the mysterious ooze and raised to be ninja by a mutated rat ... are aliens.


If ever there was a doubt in my mind that Michael Bay was one of the few people who could stick his foot in his mouth and his head up his ass at the same time, it has been laid comfortably to rest 6 feet under the last layer of ice under Lucifer's ass in hell. 

The good news is fan outcry has been loud and fast (much like the joss-whedon-less Buffy reboot and the Mass Effect 3 endings). You never know, maybe someone will take heed. I mean ... I doubt it, but I can dream right?

Even the name has been changed to Ninja Turtles. "They made the title simple."

"The characters you all remember are exactly the same, and yes they still act like teenagers." But they're not teenagers. Apparently they're aliens who have a maturity deficiency.

"Everything you remember, why you liked the characters, is in the movie." Like them being teenagers, and mutants. Oh wait.

"This script is being developed by two very smart writers." I hope he doesn't mean the jack-asses that worked on the Transformers films.

"HE'S NOT GOING TO LET YOU DOWN." You'll see me in church every Sunday before you'll see me trust Michael Bay on that one.

I'm going to go re-watch the 1990 film & 80s cartoon and eat pizza. Cowabunga Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle fans. Cowabunga.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


Old-school cRPG fans rejoice
It’s been a busy set of days, folks, what with school, work, life, the universe, everything ...

... and possibly a weekend in Vegas.
Pretty awesome, if you ask me, but I’m totally back, and I’m not the only one. The Godfather of Post-Apocalyptic RPGS is back! That man is Brian Fargo, a man who blazoned the trail for so many of my oh-so beloved 90s RPGs, and he’s hard at work on Wasteland 2

But before I get into that, I have a short anecdote that directly preceded the writing of this article, just to get you in the same mood that I’m in. 

           I met a kid (I consider anyone younger than 25 a kid) at the Community College I attend who began gabbing about video games, & Skyrim in particular. I listened tolerantly, and offered basically the same response I reserve for evangelical Christians, which is that I am a Godless heathen who smokes crack and worships the Dark Lord. 
           Actually, what I said was, "I miss 90s RPGs. Now those were fun." 
          But considering his response I might as well have gone with the first one. At the very least it would have been more amusing. "BS, man! You don't know what fun is! I'm getting my [_____] to 100 by making and selling knives in Skyrim. That's fun." 
           <blink-blink> "What about the story?" 
           "F*** the story!" 

And in that moment I could feel the Twilight Zone of modern gaming sucking me in with its brown dust, cover based combat, and basically all those other things that I found myself rooting about when Zero Punctuation pointed them out. And I didn’t like it. 

So back in the good ol’ days, all the way back in 1988, Interplay released Wasteland, the spiritual predecessor to the Fallout franchise, the Adventure Game of the Year and was inducted to several “Hall of Fame” lists. 

Hell, this game predates me by a few.
According to Brian Fargo, Wasteland, “It was one of the first games to have a real sandbox world with cause-and-effect on both a micro and macro level. It also had moral dilemmas, ones where you were making choices, tough moral choices that had consequences that rippled through the entire gameplay.” 

Brian Fargo, after much mishap working to pitch the sequel to no avail, and has now turned to fan funding through Kickstartercrowdfunding. He has reassembled much of the old team from the original Wasteland for work on this sequel, including bestselling author Michael A. Stackpole, and one of the co-creators of the first game, Jason Anderson, one of the co-creators of Fallout, who is working on plot and character, and Mark Morgan, composer for the original Fallout doing the soundtrack for Wasteland 2. 

In the first twenty-four hours of the fan-funding going live they reached $600,000, and as of this article, they’re up around 1.5 million dollars. Check it out here.

It’s an amazing thing to see the support of fans for seeing the kinds of games they loved and that they grew up with being brought back. Maybe with fan-funding and digital distribution, we can see a return to the form of game that I love, so that I don’t have to tolerate the generic Xbox 360 musclehead that roams the halls of Community College.

Thursday, March 22, 2012


Timeline of a Timelord.
'Ello, e'rybody!

Welcome back, friends, family, strangers, whedonites, aaaaand-- my beloved Whovians. That's right folks, we're going international! 

Welcome to the longest-running science fiction television show in the world, ignoring the fact that the science in the show is the equivalent of soft serve ice-cream, but we're not here to reverse the polarity or jelly-babies! We are here to talk about the farewell of Amy and Rory, the Eleventh Doctor's faithful companions. 

Can you guess which character is more important of the basis of simple framing?
In the show's mythology, the Doctor has always had a companion, if only so that he'd have someone to explain the technobabble to, or for someone to scream and get kidnapped by the baddies. Well, since the transition of the show from Russel T. Davies' character-driven, emotionally-traumatizing stories, to the whirlwind of chaotic intricate plotlines that Steven Moffat brings to the table, we have been dished up a full on serving fish fingers and custard, the oh-so sexy Scottish lass, Karen Gillan and the easily relatable everyman, Rory, played by Arthur Darvill

... Not to mention the absolute zaniness brought to the table with Matt Smith's youthful exuberance and possible senility. 

One has to wonder if they give him a script at all, or just let him loose on set ....
So here's where I personally stand. I never liked Amy. She was fun and had plenty of redeeming qualities ... but she had little of the resonance I had with Rose, Donna, or even Sarah Jane Smith. Several things irked me about her. She kissed the Doctor on the eve of her wedding, and it was okay because ... the Doctor had a time machine? Call me old fashioned and stodgy ... hell, call me a crotchety old man (all my friends do, the li'l bastards), but that annoyed me, if only because Rory was a nice guy. 

I totally believe that he knows what he's doing.
Amy also annoys me with her rather constant habit of trying to undercut whatever wackiness the Doctor is doing. It's not too different than what Rose or Donna might have done ... but it lacked any of the vulnerability that they brought to the table, a certain reliance on the Doctor that they expressed, which, in a way, made it acceptable. Amy snubs the doctor while refusing to admit, (most of the time) that she was and still is the girl who waited

And lastly, if Rose could settle on a Meta-Crisis Tenth Doctor to live with, you'd think Amy could put up with the Eleventh Doctor's Ganger for the period of a single bad day. I mean, the Meta-Crisis genocided an entire culture and got a kiss, the Ganger had a different pair of shoes and got the boot. Amy's a harsh critic. Harsher than I am ....

"I can't even tell you what I'm thinking right now." ~ Captain Jack Harkness 
To get to the point, Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill announced that they are returning to the show during the seventh season, and, according to head writer Steven Moffat, their "story is going to come to a heartbreaking end." He also revealed that they are bringing back the Weeping Angels and said that, "Not everyone gets out alive and I mean it this time." 

It is certainly an ominous revelation. I fear what may occur should Moffat ride to the glorious emotional apotheosis enjoyed by much of the Davies era and most Joss Whedon shows. It could prove to be "an interestin' day," as Jayne Cobb might say. 

So, with the Doctor whirling about on his own, it's only natural to expect a new companion. We now know this companion will be Jenna-Louise Coleman.

Woah, her shirt totally forms a parabola.
According to Moffat, "It's not often the Doctor meets someone who can talk even faster than he does, but it's about to happen. Jenna is going to lead him on his merriest dance yet .... Even by the Doctor's standards, this isn't your usual boy meets girl." Jeeze, and after the convolution that accompanied unraveling the Amy-Rory-River-Doctor family tree that is quite the tall order.

I get the feeling that she's excited.

Jenna had this to say, "I'm beyond excited, I can't wait to get cracking; working alongside Matt I know is going to be enormous fun and a huge adventure." Speaking of a huge adventure ....

The Three Doctors, 21st Century Edition, anyone?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


What's not to love?
Premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival, the film God Bless America, is scheduled for theatrical release April 6, 2012, and looks absolutely fantastic. Starring Joel Murray as the terminally ill Frank who decides to spend his remaining days on a mass killing spree and Tara Lynn Barr as Roxy as a young teenager who joins him on his quest, God Bless America takes every last person who deserves a bullet between the eyes ... and puts a bullet through their eyes. 


From rude and obnoxious celebrities to the Westburo Baptist Church protesters to people who talk in the theater (the ones who go to a special level of hell along with child molesters), no one is safe from Frank and Roxy's mass killing spree.

If this concept alone doesn't make you even slightly giggle, you either have infinitely more patience than it's worth, or you're one of the bastards who deserves the same fate as Frank and Roxy's other victims. Ponder on that a while, my friends. And while you do that, I'm going to look forward to the release of God Bless America, April 6th.

Monday, March 19, 2012


Warning ... here there be Whedonites ....
Many winters past ... it was the 2007-2008 Writer's Strike ... a dark time ... a cold time, where reruns were the only salvation we, the Nerd people, could find, and many a decent show was put on the chopping block for reasons beyond their control. (thank the Gods Supernatural made it through). But one man stood up! One nerd said, "No!" He said, "I cannot in good faith abandon my people!" He said, "We shall make a Musical Tragicomedy Miniseries (in three acts) starring Doogie Howser (Neil Patrick Harris), Captain Tightpants (Nathan Fillion), and that really hot ginger from The Guild (Felecia Day)!" That nerd was Joss Whedon.

And I'll be damned ... he did it.  

And now that his plate is really full, what with unleashing the mega-super-awesome-needs-to-get-here-naow Avengers, the dervish production of Much Ado About Nothing ... the poster to which leaves me completely befuddled, and promoting the release of the horror-comedy The Cabin in the Woods, Joss Whedon has released word of the upcoming production of the next installment to Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog this summer. 

Queue excited, "Eeeeeee!"

"We are hard on it. It's been a really tough year – couple of years  partially, I'm happy to say, because of work," Whedon reported, also stating, "We do have a number of songs written. We have a whole outline."

Also titular Dr. Horrible actor Neil Patrick Harris has been like, "'How long?' We're all just sorting of waiting, but the waiting will stop."

All I know is, in the words of Barney Stinson, "It's gonna be legenwait for it ... DARY!"

Saturday, March 17, 2012


"Shadowy Figure- Raise Dead: Infinity Engine.
For years, I clung to the memory of it. Then the memory of the memory.
And then... it returned. Better than it was before.
Pore over the tapestries and works of art hanging from our walls if you wish, Child of Bhaal... perhaps you will find a clue. But patience, ah... patience would reveal it all.
As the silver moon waxes and wanes, so too does life.
Take heart fellow adventurers, for you have curried the favor of Boo, the only miniature giant space hamster in the Realm!"

This short little poem was found, hidden in the source code of, and heralded the announcement of the Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition. Exactly what that is ... beats me. Reports from Beamdog state that they are including new original content, and that "It's being lovingly crafted in the spirit of the original with the help of some of the original developers," according to a Beamdog rep. It is to be released at some point this summer.

... So far so good, but I'm retaining a healthy dose of skepticism.
Now for anyone unfamiliar with the game, Baldur's Gate was a High Fantasy RPG set in the D&D Universe  released in 1998. That's right, I said D&D (code red nerd alert!). It used the Infinity Engine, which was later used on Planescape Torment and Icewind Dale, and, along with the game Diablo, is credited with revitalizing the computer role playing game genre. It is also the spiritual predecessor to the massively popular Dragon Age series. 

It was also awesome. Just throwing that out there.

Between it and its sequels, I cannot honestly think of a game that captured the party dynamics better, and I mean that from a narrative standpoint. There was nary a character I didn't want in my party, for each of them offered a unique and engaging, if not downright hilarious view of the world. Baldur's Gate got the party right. 

Okay, so these character portraits are from BGII, sue me.
As a longtime fan of the series, I have high hopes that the work that Beamdog is doing will not disappoint, but I am bracing myself for Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition to flop ... hard. Cross your fingers fellow adventurers.


Warner Bro. taking a stab at the abandoned King adaptation.
Chatter around the Star Bucks (don't worry, I know a Barista there who is secretly a nerd too) says that Warner Bros. is "very close"--sure it is--to making a deal to bring Stephen King's post-apocalyptic fantasy western to the big and little screen simultaneously, and, reportedly, director Ron Howard is still attached to the project, which is cool, cause gingers are cool. 

Last summer Universal studios dropped the Dark Tower project, much to my chagrin.

And they had cast Javier Bardem as Roland for Cthulhu's sake!
Despite being dropped by Universal though, producer Brian Grazer said that 'he and his partners' were determined to find the Dark Tower film trilogy a home elsewhere. Not long after, word trickled through the grapevine that the Television portion of the series, which had been set for NBC, would instead air on HBO ... which just sounds cooler in so many ways.

So now they have purchased Akiva Goldsman's script, applying the finishing polish, and aiming for the first quarter of 2013. 

One does not simply...hold on, that's not right.
I think I've made my opinion of Stephen King abundantly clear in previous articles, but I love the idea of this project, for several reasons. I loved the Gunslinger. It wasn't until books later that my feet began to drag behind me like an anchor. With the duality of airing the 'backbone of the series' as the film trilogy, and a concurrent television series filling in the gaps, I can skip over the endless pages that an editor failed to notice the aimlessness of, by simply failing to watch the show, unless of course the show surprises me and I love it. And I'm always open to being surprised. Case in point, Matt Smith


What other current generation game makes your primary weapon a flashlight?
"In Alan Wake, players assume the role of Alan Wake, a best-selling suspense author suffering from writer’s block. Wake escapes to the small town of Bright Falls, only to experience the mysterious disappearance of his wife. Players will unravel the riveting plot through multilayered character interactions, unique problem-solving and intense combat against the darkest of enemies. In this nightmarish world, where the boundaries between reality and fiction become increasingly blurred and ambiguous, Wake must use a variety of weapons to survive, including his most powerful ally against the darkness – light itself." 

Find the lady of the light still ravin' in the night
That's how you reshape destiny
The above quote was what these guys had to say, at the very least, but I am hard pressed to disagree! Now, with the ... mucking about of pleasantries thankfully out of the way, I can say (as I have said before) that I absolutely love this game. But, for anyone who's been paying attention (there may be a quiz at the end of the semester so I hope everyone has been taking notes), they already knew that. They knew that because I tend to rave on about this game as often as I rave about Fallout ... or Baldur's Gate II, or Planescape Torment. I have a thing for late 90s rpgs; I'm a writer so sue me. And because I am a writer this game instantly caught my attention.

Happiness is a 90s RPG ....
So, now that everyone is on the same page, here comes the juicy bit. Alan Wake is being released on the PC. Now I'm sure that the console crowd is just quivering with antici ... 

But I'm not really talking to them, now am I? No, I suppose not. Unless I am, which makes this slightly awkward. What also makes this awkward is the lack of sleep that went into the writing of this article. And the Doctor Who marathon that preceded said lack of sleep.

Badass in tweed.
Alright, so beyond the blathering from the big wigs, the PC version of Alan Wake will include two pieces of downloadable content (The Signal and the Writer) which kills me because those particular pieces of downloadable content have been downloadable for long enough to warrant pre-packaging withe PC release, but who am I to argue with making money? Apparently the PC version will be in higher resolution which means bum-diddly to a guy like me, (see favorite 90s RPGs above).

Oh, nearly forgot! It'll be released on April 3rd. Or begin shipping on April 3rd, which I could be wrong, but I think is the same thing.

Oh, nearly forgot again!

... pation.

Thursday, March 15, 2012


So much for the uncanny valley.

Multiple views later, I still can't think of any other way to describe what I just watched. I think my stupefied silence speaks volumes. 


Without much else to say, here are the facts. At GDC 2012, Quantic Dream's (developers of Heavy Rain) David Cage showcased the absolutely brilliant Kara demo which can be run of a PlayStation 3. The demo shows an android being constructed and tested, at the end of which, it becomes apparent that the android, named Kara, has gained sentience. The video features absolutely stunning motion and facial graphics technology rendered in real time. The titular character, Kara was portrayed (via motion capture) by actress Valorie Curry (Veronica Mars, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2). She wore 90 motion capture markers on her face and 90 on her body, which created the most sophisticated video gaming motion capture I sure as hell have ever seen.

Valorie Curry delivered her performance of Kara in one take.
“There will come a point where artificial intelligences are smarter than us, it’s inevitable,” Cage said in an interview with Wired. “This clip is about the moment that happens.”

Unfortunately I have to admit that the demo is just that. There is no guarantee that Kara will ever be a full blown game, or that we'll see more of the self-aware android ever again. But when it comes to something I like, I'll never say never. ('cept Jurassic Park 4, I stopped holding my breath for that one half a decade ago).

Monday, March 12, 2012


"69, dudes!"
Strange things may once again be afoot at the Circle K. Keanu Reeves and Alex Winters claim that a Bill & Ted 3 script has been finalized. However, there is no guarantee that the historical duo will return to the silver screen 25 years after their original cult classic performance.

Keanu Reeves' best movie? No competition, Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure.

Alex Winter's only successful movie? ... same answer.
The last report of what the all new story might be, according to Reeves back in April was, "Part of it was that Bill and Ted were supposed to have written the song that saved the world, and it hasn't happened. So they've now become kind of possessed by trying to do that. Then there's an element of time and they have to go back." 

Considering, though, that George Carlin, who masterfully played the duo's mentor and guide, Rufus, passed away in 2008, it does raise some questions of what direction this sequel might take.

"These two great gentlemen are dedicated to a proposition which was true in my time, just as it's true today; be excellent to each other, and ... PARTY ON, DUDES!" ~ Abraham Lincoln
All things considered, I think it would be highly entertaining to see Mid-life crisis Bill & Ted for another round of most excellent adventures.

Friday, March 9, 2012


Or, the Return of the King? 


Whatever Stephen King might have once had, I have my sincerest doubts he can replicate it this late in the game. The most apt response I've heard at this point was, "What's the title? "Tale of the Franchise Milking Talisman"?

Will I read it ... probably, once I muscle my way through the slosh of the rest of the series, and there is a lot of it. I don't know for whom I'm writing this. Fans of Stephen King have already tuned me out and pre-ordered the damn thing, and anyone who wasn't swept up in his dervish of (in my opinion false) popularity never ... ever ... is going to make it through the first 7 books of the series to even begin to care about yet another one.

Look, the Gunslinger is one of my favorite books of all time, mostly cause it didn't read like Stephen King. It was concise, tight, and knew where the hell it was going. When there was talk of adapting all seven Dark Tower novels into a single film trilogy, my first thought was one of relief, cause about half of the 2 & 3rd books (the only ones I made it through when I hit the roadblock that was the Wizard and Glass) could be edited down tremendously ... and I mean good lord, does that man know how to talk.

And they had cast Javier Bardem as Roland!
And y'see, I have no issue with a verbose author (although I find King droll), it's the meandering of the plot. My all time favorite author, Donaldson, may write a large book, every moment of it will be geared toward the ending from the moment he starts typing. Stephen King nearly threw away the Stand, which most people would argue is his greatest work, because he didn't have a clue what he was doing.

I think what Stephen King really needs is a better editor who is willing to take the knife to the better portion of an entire manuscript, instead of allowing him free reign. Look how well that turned out when George Lucas had no limitations.

See what I mean?
Authors can be the worst judges of their own work at the end of the day, cause if it's published ... well, the author is no longer the audience, it's out of their hands, as it should be, left to the damnation of self-inflating critics.


Alright, so for anyone still here, "The Dark Tower: The Wind Through the Keyhole" will be released April 24, 2012, and while it is the 8th book, it is set chronologically between books 4 and 5, which makes me wonder if and when I ever finish book four, which book I should go ahead and read next, book 5 or 8? 

Thus far, reception has been good, but seriously, who the hell is going to argue with their King? I mean, the one review I read called the 8th volume (they're calling them volumes now? Oy vey...) necessary. 

I humbly disagree nameless reviewer man (it was actually Kevin Quigley posted by FEARnet). The series was proclaimed 'concluded' with the 7th volume, meaning anything published after the conclusion is inherently unnecessary.


First googled image for Mass Effect 3
Who else is psyched for the release of 'Mass Effect 3'? Glad you could be here. I've been with Bioware since 'Baldur's Gate' back in the 90s & 'Knights of the Old Republic' in the early 2000s, and they haven't disappointed me yet when it comes to their RPGs. Ever populated with fantastically colorful character (MINSC & BOO for anyone who knows what I'm talking about), intricate storylines, tons of sidequests, many exotic locals, and a generally fun experience (if you can escape the labeling associated with the FPS player's frothing, gibbering daily life and enjoy a game with an alien relic from a bygone time of books and the theatre, something called 'plot')

Modern-gaming alien concepts 101: PLOT
Call me bitter and cynical (cause I am), being a dusty old tome myself, a bibliophile worshiping at the alter of Tolkien, Asimov, and the other literary greats, but I make no concessions in this. Video game writing, generally, is bile. 

Now that I've cleared that up by drawing a line in the sand as definitive as the  San Andreas Fault line, we can move on to Mass Effect 3, the much anticipated climax to the Mass Effect trilogy and conclusion to the story of Commander Shepherd and his mission to save the galaxy from the threat of the Reapers.

Screenshot from the debut trailer of Shepherd in combat.
Thus far, 2 days post release (originally this blog was supposed to go up on the 5th, just in time to beat the release so I didn't have to cover my ass for not being able to afford to actually play the damn game), the game has received glowing reviews and we all know how accurate game critics opinions are.

But all in all it seems solid. Friends have told me that they're holding off playing #3 until they've successfully completed Mass Effect 2 for the simple reason that over 1000 variables will be drawn from gameplay experiences from the first two games in order to maintain continuity between games. Poor bastard ... lucky mother f--

ANYWHO! All of this is ultimately immaterial. The one friend who has actually touched Mass Effect 3 called it a travesty, and pretending to be nice to game that my excitement for deflated like an unpinched balloon is painful. I am really conflicted about my opinion of this game, to say the least.

Clint Mansell's Soundtrack is good ....

The control system has been bastardized to cater to the baboons of the console crowd, forsaking PC players. The Reapers, so wonderfully hyped up in earlier games are for the most part a letdown. The story, just too big.

The Reapers attack London.
Okay, from that point, there's still a lot I'm excited for. I enjoy the attention to continuity, if it doesn't interfere with them telling a good story. I'm willing to forgive a lot of little details when the over-arcing broad strokes wow me, but when the larger story arcs (Oblivion and Skyrim come to mind) and are only supported by a multitude of finer points, no matter how fine, it's still a really shitty mansion built on a foundation of the worlds greatest toothpicks.

I'm also intrigued by the canonization of the affectionately named Femshep, (voiced by the Bioware go-to girl Jennifer Hale), and the 'official look' for the character, which I think is a necessary addition to a roleplaying game with multiple endings and customization characters.

And Femshep is a ginger.
That is, of course, not taking into account the extreme lengths the game developers have gone to to ensure continuing continuity between games, and that only reason anyone would ever possibly need a canon story is to ensure that continuity between games remains the same across the board, I feel like there is something inherently wrong here, but perhaps I'm just nitpicking at this point.

Femshep trailer

So, Mass Effect 3 is out. It looks shiny. Sure it's awesome. Stopped caring. So ...

"Bingle bongle dingle dangle, yickedy doo, yickedy dah. Ping pong, lippy-tappy-too-tah." ~ David Tennant

Sunday, March 4, 2012


I hate to admit that this is the first I've seen of Paranorman and it caught me by surprise. The latest in a line of stop-motion animated children's horror films, (Nightmare Before Christmas, Corpse Bride, & Coraline) it's always welcome and refreshing to see a return to form. Paranorman seems no different, pitting young and misunderstood ghost-whisperer Norman against the centuries old evil of a witch who will raise the dead and lay siege to the town of Blithe Hollow. 

At the current time I can find little in the way of production information on the upcoming movie, but I feel like the trailer speaks well enough on its own, with a cast of old chestnuts (nerdy friend and valley-girl older sister) and a quaint, family friendly sense of humor reminiscent of other examples of the genre. Hopefully Paranorman will be a film for all ages and I look forward to seeing more as the release date of August 17th approaches. 


Album art for the Eve 6's Speak In Code.
When I mention Eve 6, I almost universally get confused looks. When I mention the song 'Inside Out', they instantly know who I am talking about. I never would have considered myself a musical connoisseur back in the day, but I am always surprised by this. Eve 6 had a lot of awesome songs people! And this is coming from a guy who didn't listen to anything past 1989 (except Dream Theater) until around 2007 and has been playing catch up ever since.

After disbanding in 2004, the 3 original band members of the California Rock band have reunited for a brand new album this year. The band is known for their hit singles "Inside Out" and "Here's to the Night". The new album Speak In Code, is scheduled for release April 26, 2012.

The band is most well known for their single 'Inside Out'.

Singer/bassist Max Collins had this to say on the new album, "Overall I'm really proud of it, and I think we're doing right by our fans, who've waited a long time for us to make another record. I think we're giving them something they'll enjoy. Once we got in the studio there was a lot of energy. There aren't any filler moments; each song has its purpose. This is the strongest collection of songs we've ever had on one record."

Eve 6 gives an exclusive insight into their story so far.

He also said, "In some of the songs frustration is a theme. I was sort of looking at difficult personal relationships with a humorous spin in some places, and with more earnestness in others. The title [Speak in Code] is a lyric from 'Curtain,' and there was something kind of evocative about it. In that song, I'm referring to being newly sober and just feeling like an open nerve, feeling freaked out, having people and life being sort of overwhelming. It's almost like people are speaking a language you don't understand."

The first released single from the new album, 'Lost and Found'.

Well, here's hoping the album will be as good as all those years ago. It is strange, seeing as the popularity of that style of what I would call late 90s, early 2000s rock died out half a decade ago, to listen to their released singles 'Lost and Found' and 'Victoria' fills me was a resounding amount of childhood nostalgia. Cheers.

Saturday, March 3, 2012


Box Art for the upcoming game
Having lived under a rock for the better portion of two decades, I came into Silent Hill sometime just before the 2009 release of Shattered Memories. However, I remember the first time my friend dusted off his PS2 for another go and introduced me to James Sunderland and the small vacation town of Silent Hill. After that I was hooked; the games, Akira Yamaoka's soundtrack, the movie, and even a local abandoned building that my friends explored weekly because it reminded us of the infamous town, I enjoyed them all (well, not Origins and the 2006 movie was ... eh).

I certainly hope I am not the only one avidly awaiting the quickly approaching release of Silent Hill: Downpour (March 13, 2012), the much awaited (in my book) 8th installment to the vastly successful survival horror franchise, developed by Vatra Games, a little known Czech Rebublic game developer, under Konami. 

TGS trailer released for Silent Hill: Downpour featuring Korn's thematic song, simply entitled 'Silent Hill'.

The game is a return to 7th generation gaming, and looks polished, while keeping an aesthetically old feel to the movement and graphics, hearkening back to it's 2001 predecessor and hallmark game Silent Hill 2. which set the bar for survival horror as a genre and for psychological horror in general with its dark and twisted plot about the dark and twisted town.

Hallmark game Silent Hill 2's James Sunderland's first confrontation with his punisher, Pyramid Head.
An early deviation from the series in this new installment is the absence of long time Silent Hill composer Akira Yamaoka, which was a blow to the heart, I'll tell you what. The soundtrack of the previous games was half the fun and atmosphere, and their replacement by 'nu metal' band Korn makes me reserved, to say the least. Were I not excited about everything else I've seen, I'd probably have lost hope. 

Iconic pieces 'Theme of Laura' and 'Promise' as written by series' original composer Akira Yamaoka.

Downpour has returned combat to the series, which was absent from the previous game, Shattered Memories, (a remake of the first game that was not a part of the main continuity of the series), although, hearkening back to Silent Hill 4: The Room, Downpour will feature weapon degradation, and the inability for protagonist Murphy Pendleton to carry more than a single melee weapon at one time. In any other game, this would be bad design; in Silent Hill, it's just part of the pants-shitting experience.

Speaking of Murphy, this time around, Silent Hill has decided to mind-fuck an escaped prisoner of unknown conviction (since this is Silent Hill, gonna go out on a limb and assume it's not tax fraud, yuk yuk). The psychologically driven monsters this time around have taken two notable forms for me are the Void and the Judge, the latter being a Pyramid Head (the iconic big bad of the series) like brute with a sledgehammer and the Void a darkened cloud from which Murphy can only flee. It's good to see symbolism dripping from the monsters in a style reminiscent to ye' ol' Silent Hill games.

Overlooking Silent Hill
Also, the town has gotten something of a makeover as well. The action has been moved to the southeastern region of Silent Hill, which has never been seen before, ad there will be a focus on the natural world as much as the industrialized hell which Silent Hill fans have grown to known and love over the years. This game, in addition to the staple fog world will feature a randomized weather system during with torrential downpour will summon more monsters for Murphy to face. I enjoy this deviation from the standard fog/ash/hell motif, if only for trying something new, and a well grounded theme built on water is always fun, seeing as it can be taken in so many possible directions.

Also, for any long time Silent Hill fans, a joke ending has been ensured by the developers, of what exactly, we have to wait for release date MARCH 13, 2012.