Saturday, December 27, 2008

Banner Ad Review: I Think I'm Done Here

As you may know, I have sort of a thing for making fun of banner ads, and for pointing out stupidity. Don't get me wrong, now. A lot of my friends are Christian, and most of them are good people, but let's face it: there's not a lot of demographics dumber than the true fundamentalists, and as you'll soon see, there's not a lot of demographics that make dumber banner ads either.


What's with the broken infinity symbol? Why did they use the image of White Jesus twice, and cut the second one off halfway? Why did they replace the "o" in network with a cross, instead of the actually vaguely cross-shaped "t"? How do you think God feels about you using the image of the device used to torture and kill thousands of people including His son as the symbol of your religion? Why did this banner ad appear on the message board for my DnD group?

But of course, I couldn't stop with mocking the ad, mostly since I just used up all my material in that last paragraph. I had to check this "christian NETW+RK" out for myself. In addition to such thrilling topics of conversation as "Canada," "Christian tattoos," and "team jesus in me" there's a noted denial of proven facts, such as the December 25th date being borrowed from pagans. Ah, hell, just look at it yourself.

Of course, that just led me to the best part, and the point of this post: The Fundamental Top 500, a (very real) web ring for fundamentalist Christian sites that...well, that seems to use as its logo none other than the image of an angry man halfway through delivering a vicious beating, probably of an atheist or homosexual.


Agnostics, atheists, secularists, we're now officially done. There's no way we can top that.



Annotation From The Future:

Unsurprisingly, the christian NETW+RK no longer exists. The url "www.christian-network.net" is now the home page for the Slovakian branch of Tiffany's Jewelry. Because that makes sense.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Today's Challenge: This Banner Ad


So I saw this ad. My first though was "oh, it's another free MMORPG advertised with anime characters that aren't in the game." My second thought was "wait...GOLF?"

No, I don't know why they're advertising an online golf game using anime characters, much less what would seem to be a nubian and a teenage Oliver Twist. (Two demographics I've always associated with golf are the africans and 1830's street urchins, but to be fair, I'm schizophrenic.) I don't even know why they're advertising an online golf game at all. Honestly, I don't even know why they made an online golf game.

But that's not what's important right now. What's important is it's bullshit. While the game itself is free, you have to buy "campuscash," the online money of GamesCampus, the site that hosts the game, to do anything with it. Also, by all accounts (looking at all handful of screenshots) the game sucks.

What's also important is this particular blurb.


Just like we all wish cigarettes were...

Sunday, August 17, 2008

An InCONvenient...ly Lazy Pun

I wold like to pose a question to the webmaster of an InCONvenient Guilt Trip. How much money did the republicans pay you, and why was it not enough to hire someone who understood grammar and logic? What, was Nick Naylor busy?

I'm not going to bother going over every little thing on this site. I could point out fifty things wrong with it, just on the front page and all off the top of my head, but that wouldn't be fun for either of us. Which is why they made it easy on us and made the more asinine comments bolded for easy access. Like this one.

"IF WE DON'T SAY NO TO THE GLOBAL WARMING CRUSADERS IT IS THE SAME THING AS SAYING YES!"


Brilliant deduction, Mr. Hawking. Wait, I'm getting a news flash! Apparently, if we don't eat cheetos it is the same thing as not eating cheetos. And in a related story, if we're not intelligent it is the same thing as being you!

Another thing I just have to mention...

"To think that we caused [global warming[, or can significantly change it, is the same as saying the world is flat. Queen Isabella and her contemporaries did not have enough information and lived in constant fear of the assumed and unknown."


I know, right? Don't you just hate people like that, who believe in crazy things without thinking about them? Like that the universe was created in seven days and fossils are an elaborate hoax cooked up to trick people into thinking it's older, all for no reason. Or people who believe that the Earth is going to be destroyed by a mythological horned monster that the book they believe in doesn't even mention, and that an old man in the clouds is then going to horrifically torture 99% of humanity for all eternity, because he loves us. People who believe that are so stupid! A person like that could never get elected in this day and age. Oh, wait...

Also, Queen Isabella, the one who financed Columbus's expedition, did NOT believe the Earth was flat. The reason she was unsure about financing Columbus is because he was an imbecile who thought he could sail halfway around the world in just under a week.

Look, it is a proven fact that the climate changes, I'll grant you that. After all, 65 million years ago, the Earth was covered in tropical rainforests and ruled by giant monsters, and today the Earth is colder. (Though still ruled by giant monsters.) That much is true. But don't try to tell us that we can pump gallons upon gallons of toxins, catalysts, and CO2 into the air and nothing will happen.

The problem is the amount that the climate is changing is tiny. Contrary to what some people would have you believe, it will not become a problem in our lifetimes. Global warming is not going to bring about a Day After Tomorrow climate change and destroy the Earth. It's just not. It is, however, going to make our planet unlivable within the next few hundred years, so in essence our children or possibly our grandchildren have no futures. Of course, you might say that by that time, they'll be able to just leave the planet anyway, presumably in spaceships powered by the pipe dreams of selfish Americans, since most people still refuse to accept alternative fuel research.* Except dreams probably qualify as an alternative fuel, so scratch that.

Come on, people. I know it's "gay" to want to help the environment and your fellow man. I know it's "nerdy" to think about the long-term, and try to come up with real solutions. That is why I'm issuing this challenge: to all nerdy homosexuals, it's up to you to save the planet! Let's get together and think up a way to do it. Alternately, let's build spaceships and go to Tau Ceti 5, and leave the "real Americans" on the Earth to die.

*I found the perfect article to link to to illustrate this point. Unfortunately, Rush Limbaugh's site demanded a password from me, presumably because he realizes how much of a jackass he is and doesn't want anyone else to see.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Yotsuba Out of Context


Steve immediately knew where to build the new plant. With this information he'd finally be Vice President of Nike corporation.

Yotsuba discovers the "Pretty Neighbor" doujinshi.

Out of context, yes, but this is nonetheless pretty much exactly what it looks like.

"The fifth angel sounded his trumpet, and I saw a star that had fallen from the sky to the earth. The star was given the key to the shaft of the Abyss. When he opened the Abyss, smoke rose from it like the smoke from a gigantic furnace. The sun and sky were darkened by the smoke from the Abyss. And out of the smoke locusts came down upon the earth and were given power like that of scorpions of the earth."

-Revelation 9:1-3

Koiwai-san was going to shoot up his workplace, but then he remembered he worked from home.
Ena never got over losing her friend, Yotsuba.

*scream*

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The New Guilty Gear is Coming

Two Reasons the New Guilty Gear Overture is Going to Rock

2. It's in 3-D.
Don't get me wrong, I do like old school gameplay and graphics never bothered me that much. I still play the Playstation game SaGa Frontier often and love the shit out of it, and I still like the SNES game Super Mario World. But ever since Super Mario 64 and Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time there's a part of me that secretly hopes all my favorite 2-D classics will get the 3-D upgrade, and I love it when they do: Castlevania, Metroid, Megaman Legends. I'm probably the only guy on Earth who loves Megaman X7 non-ironically, even despite its many glaring flaws.

1. It's about Sol Badguy and Ky Kiske.
For those of you not up on your Guilty Gear history, Sol Badguy was a member of the Order (read: Paladins) back during the days of the Holy War against the gears and is actually a prototype gear (a human infused with magic, made for fighting). He's also one of the most badass characters in the series. He's friendly enemies with a pretty blonde guy named Ky Kiske, an order member whose most notable characteristics are having a special attack named after a Metallica song, having a green-faced robotic clone of himself, and as of this game being the king of his own country for some reason. Together they gave us some of the most memorable battles in the series and now they've got their own game.

Three Reasons the New Guilty Gear Overture is Going to Blow

3. It's in 3-D.
Guilty Gear is a 2-D game. Guilty Gear has always been a 2-D game. Guilty Gear is made of two basic building blocks: the first is rock and roll/heavy metal references and the second is awesome weird, and believe it or not the unique sprites are a part of that weird. Granted, there's more to it than that.

2. It's about Sol Badguy and Ky Kiske.
Sol Badguy and Ky Kiske are two of the most badass characters in the series. They're also two of the most bland. Sol Badguy is pretty cool, and his gear abilities (which supposedly this game will finally show us the true extent of) are awesome, but at the end of the day he's just a guy with a sword that shoots fire. Ky Kiske is so blah that his own robotic clone is almost infinitely more awesome than he is, but to be fair Robo-Ky is more awesome than all of the characters. Point is, there's more exciting characters, and characters with storylines I'd love to see finally get extended. But as of current information, none of the other existing Guilty Gear characters will even be getting so much as a cameo in this game.

1. Guilty Gear Isuka
The previous two points are reason for pause, but not necesarilly deal-breakers. I could overlook them if not for this game: Isuka. This was Aksys' attempt at taking the series in a new direction. Unfortunately, that apparently meant stripping out the story and the Instant Kill powers that made the game unique and tossing in a bunch of nonsense gimmicks that ended up being more annoying than interesting or cool; by the end of it all, Isuka generally ended up as the worst mockery of a once great series this side of Mortal Kombat Armageddon. We got a few cool things out of Isuka, yes: Robo-Ky and A.B.A. for instance, but overall Isuka serves as a warning of why Aksys should not deviate from the formula. Guilty Gear Overture would be a radical change from the norm of Guilty Gear games and could work. Unfortunately, Isuka already taught us that Aksys can not do change from the norm.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

No Title This Time

I'm too angry to come up with a witty title this time. Why? Because apparently in this country, at this time brutally murdering children is considered controversial.

For those too lazy to read the story, there was a 15 year old middle school student who was gay and liked to go to school in makeup and jewelry. Whenever bullies teased him he'd tease back by hitting on them. Well, one day one of the hate-filled little bastards got tired of the fact that his punching bag wasn't feeling enough self-loathing AND SHOT HIM TWICE IN THE HEAD.

AND THIS IS CONTROVERSIAL.

To anyone who may not know what to think about this, here's what you think: Children murdering other children is wrong. I really don't think I'm breaking any new ground here. Is it really that radical and unfounded to say that?

The controversy here is over wether or not it was a hate crime. In other words, the question is "Did this kid kill his classmate because the other kid was gay or because he just thought it would be fun?" Here's a better question: Does the previous question have any right answer? Is there any answer you could possibly give to that question that would make it okay for a 14 year old to shoot a 15 year old to death? The answer to that question is no.

For that matter, and I never thought I'd say this, what happened to the days when if you wanted to hurt someone in school you'd just punch them? I had a kid who always used to hit on me too. I told him to stop several times and he never would. So I hit him in the stomach. You know what? He stopped after that. It wasn't that long ago all you needed to be a man was your own two fists. Now we have middle schoolers shooting each other and the worst part is that it's so bad now that people find that NORMAL.

It's things like this that make me embarassed to call myself an American. It is a very sad day when a child murders another child and it becomes a political issue.

You know why? Because this kid was strong. Look, I don't care how you feel about transvestitism, you have to agree this kid had a strong will. He knew who he was and he was going to be the person he believed he was, and he didn't let anyone tell him he shouldn't. That is how he should be remembered. He should NOT be remembered as a martyr for the political agenda of some douchebag who never even knew him.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Television Review: The Most Awesome PSA Ever



Watch it. The whole thing. I'll wait. Seen it? Now weren't the 50's great?

The message of this video is so laughable that you'd probably never imagine this PSA was made if you hadn't seen it. Hell, the damn thing starts off by saying that hitchhiking is awesome. It's a "good way to get from one place to another." Of course, we know today that hitchhiking is in fact the most dangerous method of transportation, second only to riding inside the mouth of a great white shark that has had Hitler's brain transplanted into it.

But to be fair, this was made in the 50's, back before video games and rap music introduced the world to violence and invented crime. Back when this was made hitchhiking was safe, right? It turns out no. You see, there is a secret evil lurking amongst this otherwise perfect transport system.

THE HOMOSEXUAL.

That's right. The Homosexual. Just like sith, there are only ever two gays in existance: The Homosexual and The Bicurious. Previous The Homosexuals have included Elton John, Ru Paul, and Richard Simmons. The current The Homosexual? Who knows? It could be anyone! Even....YOU?

It is the hidden nature of The Homosexual that lends added terror to this beast. How do you know when the person you're talking to may be The Homosexual? Well, according to the PSA you can tell because The Homosexual is friendly, just like our good gay friend Ralph from this video.

Okay, so we've identified our The Homosexual, now what will he do to us? In the video we see Ralph pick up a young man named Jimmy, they become friends, they go to Ralph's house, and then Ralph drives away...ALONE.

Wait, what? What did he do to the kid? We're never told*, so I guess they're leaving it up to us to imagine a horrible fate for poor young Jimmy. Maybe Ralph raped him and left him naked in the woods to die from exposure. Maybe he killed him and skinned him to make a suit. Or, even more terrifying, maybe he gave him a ride and dropped him off at his house and nothing weird happened at all, except that now Jimmy has been infected and will become...The Homosexual! (Yes, gays are a lot like vampires too.)

Bonus Points: The fact that the worst thing they can say about gays is that they're nicer than straight people is pretty funny, but they get bonus points mostly for the Boys Beware sign at the beginning of the PSA. Because everyone knows The Homosexual can never be female.




Annotation from The Future:

I eventually discovered the missing last half of the PSA and what happens to Jimmy is both lamer and more hilariously psychotic than anything I could have guessed. As it turns out, Ralph molested Jimmy. That's not the hilarious part. No, the psycho part is after that happens, then the police proceed to arrest Jimmy...for being molested. They eventually drop the charges (which were what, exactly, officers?) and release him into his parents' custody where he is presumably beaten to death for getting too close to...The Homosexual.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Top 5 List: Top 5 Worst Video Game Cities To Live In

Cities in video games are already typically terrible places to live, and for obvious reasons. If they weren't full of enemies to fight, then the game wouldn't be very fun, would it? But some are even worse than others and since making lists is easier than writing real reviews, here's another Top 5.

5. San Andreas, Grand Theft Auto
Yes, it's the gritty city from GTA. I think this one's fairly self-explanatory; San Andreas gets on the list not just because of the fact that your main character is a criminal, or there's rampant gang wars, but because most eveyr game will eventually end up with the player saying screw it and just deciding to see how much shit he can blow up before the police take him out. But San Andreas only gets number 5, because the police will eventually take your ass out, so there's still some semblance of law and order. That's more than you can say for some of our others.

4. Post-Apocalyptic London, Hellgate: London
Hellgate: London is a Diablo remake/homage set in near-future London after a demonic invasion has reduced most of the city to ruins. Humanity hides out in subway stations and other subterranean areas and fights against the demons.

I'll admit it. If it weren't for the constant threat of death, lack of resources and luxury, and maddening horror around you, I'd almost be willing to live there. It would be a little fun almost, with everyone left living together in relatively small places underground, not able to venture out it would likely foster a closeness and a real sense of community. Like a sleepover that never ends. Either that or it would drive everyone completely, criminally mad. Unfortunately, it's the latter. Almost 90% of the people you'll meet are certifiably insane and the other 10% are certifiable douchebags.

Also there's that constant threat of death, lack of resources and luxury, and maddening horror all around you thing I mentioned earlier.

3. Anywhere, Ratchet & Clank series
Between RnC's slapstick humor, intrigue, and explosions it's easy to miss the subtle Orwellian horror behind it all. No matter what planet you go to it's all just as bad. The galaxies on display are horrible places ruled by massive corporations where deadly monsters roam wild in the streets, highly deadly weapons of mass destruction are for sale to anyone who wants them, and villains murder and destroy at random.

Your hero is no better. In the first game your mission to find Captain Quark takes you to a planet overrun by slime monsters where the police are desperately trying to save the city, and to progress you must destroy both sides. In the second game Angela causes a store to be overrun with monsters, resulting in at least one death but once you discover she's a chick all is forgiven. Even when the plot isn't making you be evil there's still the robotic citizenry of these planets scattered around, who the game never penalizes (and in fact often rewards) you for killing.

2. Paragon City, City of Heroes
From the superhero MMORPG City of Heroes, Paragon City is an advanced city home to hundreds of superheroes, be they NPCs or player created. Supergroups abound and dozens of heroes patrol the streets at all times. So you'd think Paragon City would be mostly free of crime, right? Well, you'd be wrong.

A simple walk around the block will lead you past three purse snatchings, five muggings, two drug deals, a few crazy cultists murdering people, and maybe a few random ambushes, all in broad daylight and right out there on the street corner. Oh sure, there's a police department, but the cops, even on the rare occasion they decide to go out on patrol, have been known to walk right past crimes taking place. There's also Longbow, a corporate militia comprised of humans and low-ranking heroes whose job is to police the city, but they're also total mercenaries and are even less effective than the police.

But why Paragon City and not the City of Villains equivalent, the Rogue Isles? Simply put, because the Rogue Isles are a third world shithole populated exclusively by outcasts and prison escapees that even Paragon City didn't want, and is harrassed constantly by the hundreds of supervillains that call it home. That doesn't make the Rogue Isles BETTER, but it does make the fact that they're a terrible place to live a lot more expected. Paragon City is a first world highly advanced culture with the best policing you can find (the cops and Longbow suck, but it's still a city of heroes) and yet has a crime right bad enough to make Washington DC look like a glittering utopia. No, screw that. Paragon City's crime rate is higher than Washington DC, Detroit, and New York City if they were somehow mashed together into one and then shipped to the Sudan.

1. Your City, SimCity series
The SimCity series of games allows you to take the role of mayor, city planner, supreme leader, and god of your own society, ruling over it completely as you strive to build the ultimate utopia. At least if you're a liar. We all know why we play SimCity, and it's not for the joy of dealing with their effed up super-strict rules that will likely drive you bankrupt before your population even hits 500.

More realistically, SimCity lets you act out your destructive impulses as you rain down disasters on your fair city. Or, even more realistically, SimCity is the ultimate horrifying spectacle of human evil as every game quickly degenerates into random bulldozing because even the disasters just aren't devestating enough for you. The temptation to wreak havoc makes SimCity a lot like Grand Theft Auto with one major difference. After you bulldoze the orphanage, call down space aliens on the hospital, and take control of an army tank to blow up a residential district when you finally get down destroying you're still the unchallenged supreme leader of your city. You are above the law, and not just in the celebrity sense of you can get drunk and hit someone and get off scott free with just an apology, you're above the law in the sense that you can carry out an extended genocide against your own people and when you're done you're not only still in power but they love the shit out of you.

To all the people who downloaded maps off the internet just so they could ravage them with disasters, to all the people who played the disaster scenarios in the original over and over and quit every time once the fires went out, and to everyone who placed military base zones in SimCity 4 right from the start just because they wanted to drive the tank and blow up their city with it, I say this: thank you for making Your City the most terrible place to live in any video game ever.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Dissecting the Hays Code

Not sure how many people know about this. Most people probably know bits of it, like the fact that there was a rule that forbid them from showing Jeannie's belly button on I Dream of Jeannie, but once upon a time there was a code governing all films and television that would be made.

Is it any wonder the majority of movies back then sucked? A few mentions...

To paraphrase, evil must be wrong, good must be right.
As they explain in their reasonings, later, this rule does not mean that the bad guy can't be a sympathetic character, just that the thing they're doing has to be shown as bad and destructive. In other words, if a character in your movie rips off his friend and makes millions of dollars, even if he later gets arrested and thrown in prison forever, that will not be allowed to appear in the movie. That's simply unrealistic.

As they go on to say later, there are some sins which are obviously bad and repel people such as murder and rape, but there are others that can be attractive such as "daring theft," "sex sins," etc. Is it wrong to say things as they are? I say it is not.

"Law, natural or human, shall not be ridiculed, nor shall sympathy be created for its violation."
Later on they explain that no movie can ever suggest that a criminal or rebel is right in challenging the state, nor to suggest that the system as a whole is corrupt. You heard it here first folks: Imperial England and Nazi Germany should have won, according to the people who wrote the Hays Code!

Look, I get what you're saying, people who wrote this. That people should be patriotic, and a movie that forces them to think of their nation as bad is hurting their patriotism. But sometimes a country IS bad and people need to think for themselves and figure it out. America was not founded by people who believed questioning their place in society was a sin. It was founded by people who realized corruption when they saw it and did something about it. Think about this, too: how would the second world war have panned out if Albert Einstein, rather than fleeing to the United States, had instead remained in Germany and blindly allowed Hitler to do as he pleased with him?

Note: I'm going to mention the nazis a lot. At least wait until the end before you call Godwin on me.

"Hence the important objective must be to avoid the hardening of the audience, especially of those who are young and impressionable, to the thought and fact of crime. People can become accustomed even to murder, cruelty, brutality, and repellent crimes, if these are too frequently repeated."
Now you know where Thompson got it.

"Revenge in modern times shall not be justified. In lands and ages of less developed civilization and moral principles, revenge may sometimes be presented. This would be the case especially in places where no law exists to cover the crime because of which revenge is committed."
Goodbye, Batman! Goodbye, Hamlet! Goodbye, Poe!

"The treatment should not throw sympathy against marriage as an institution."
Again, imagine all the timelass dramas and romances that would have never happened if people actually followed a rule like this.

They go on later to talk about impure love. Actually, they're not talking about homosexuality here (remember, this is before people acknowledged its existence) but rather rape and seduction. These things must never be presented comically nor sympathetically. Okay, yeah, no rape. But seduction? Goodbye....90% of films and television shows presented after the 50s.

"The effect of nudity or semi-nudity upon the normal man or woman, and much more upon the young and upon immature persons, has been honestly recognized by all lawmakers and moralists. Hence the fact that the nude or semi-nude body may be beautiful does not make its use in the films moral. For, in addition to its beauty, the effect of the nude or semi-nude body on the normal individual must be taken into consideration."
Nonsense. Patent ludicrosity. How can the expression of beauty be immoral? Is a rose immoral? Is a sunset immoral? No. So how is the human body's presentation immoral?

I can see where's they're going when they talk about improper use, such as putting nudity in just to give your movie a little "kick." But to suggest that nudity and semi-nudity can never be used for plot and can never be shown?

"The reason why ministers of religion may not be comic characters or villains is simply because the attitude taken toward them may easily become the attitude taken toward religion in general. Religion is lowered in the minds of the audience because of the lowering of the audience's respect for a minister."
This I can't make fun of. This one was just plain prophetic. Seriously, who do YOU blame for the wave of religious cynicism in America today? It's not the Priest touching the boys that's the problem, it's the liberal media telling you that the Priest touched boys. ...I think?

To its credit, they don't just say Christians here. They extend this to all faiths, so according to the Hays Code it is equally wrong wether you slander a Catholic Priest, a Jewish Rabbi, or...whatever you call a muslim holy man. Stupid maybe, but discriminatory the Hays Code is not. (Except later when they talk about White Slavery being wrong to show, but say nothing about blacks.)

"The just rights, history, and feelings of any nation are entitled to most careful consideration and respectful treatment."
Yes and no. For example, what about a World War II movie where the nazis are involved. Is it right to say in that movie that all Germans are evil because of a few bad apples at the top, or that German heritage is something to be ashamed of? No, that is wrong. But is it right to insist that the nazis themselves were bad? Most definitely yes.

***


Is it any wonder the majority of old movies were lame and stilted, dancing around real issues to present mindless pseudo-entertainment? But for that matter, is it not the fault of this code that the modern media loves so much to defy these rules for no other peurpose than to defy them, so much like a kid so long denied a candy that when he finally gains access to it he gorges himself?

Look, I'm not going to say there's not a lot of bad messages out there or that a person like Jack Thompson doesn't ALMOST have a point. As the people who wrote the Hays Code says, this media reaches a lot of people and is accessible and understandable by all, so if you're a parent or guardian to a youngster it is important you monitor what your children watch so that you can protect them.

But the next time you start to think that a person like Thompson is right and we need a code in place, think about this: if these codes were in place throughout history, the entirety of Shakespeare and Poe would have been banned. Elvis? The Beatles? Never would have happened. We live now in a world of highs and lows. Yes, there's bad movies both morally and artistically, but there are also movies that are bad morally and good artistically as well as ones that are good morally and bad artistically, but I've never seen a movie that was good both morally and artistically. Wether it's Christian video games, old cartoons that are usually only enjoyable ironically (or at best are good in spite of the good morals, not because of them), it's just impossible. Stories are about conflict, which you can't have when everyone is moral and lovey dovey. I'm not saying you have to go to the extremes like Itchy and Scratchy (another example of bad morally and bad artistically, but that was the point so it's okay) but if these people had their way we'd live in a world full of mediocre shlock, providing mindless entertainment that would soothe your spirit but would never stimulate your mind, and no one would like that. Freedom of expression, all expression, is necesarry for art. As has been said: either everything is okay to write about or nothing is.

Remember, also: Nazi Germany enforced a similar code. They banned all music except German folk songs, they banned the Bible and many other works of literature and film. Now's where you call it, Godwin fans.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Special Review: MSN's Wedding Advice Sucks

Ever since MSN became my homepage (I think it happened when I installed a toolbar or something and I don't care enough to change it.) I've enjoyed reading their columnist Miles Stiverson's occasional wedding advice columns. It's not because I intend to get married, I don't. It's more because I enjoy the insane Bridezilla ravings that are attached to them. It seems for every good piece of advice (like their advice in Worst Wedding Advice Ever where they suggest that it's horribly offensive to tell a bride-to-be to save her money and buy a house because she'll just get divorced anyway) there's two more suggestions that suck. Here's some highlights.

How dare you ask me about transportation and lodging after I invite you to my wedding?!
From the 10 Biggest Mistakes Wedding Guests make, Miles rants about the audacity of those who dare to ask how exactly you intend to get them acoss country for your big event, going so far as to say they're "treating you like their personal concierge." Sure, he does go on to say the best way to deal with it is to just give them the damned information, but asking someone to do something for you then calling them out when they requests details as to how they can do what you want kind of makes you a dick.

I demand free stuff! NOW!!!
It's in a lot of them, but most notably Couples Speak Out: Worst Wedding Gifts Ever. Some of their examples are awesomely bad: an empty gift card, a regifted tray with the original card still included, a framed invitation to the gifter's wedding which had occured several months prior, and a book entitled "Why Men Love Bitches" for instance. But when you're bitching because someone gave you a George Foreman grill or a ceramic statue maybe it's time to stop being such a cunt. Some of us aren't Mr. Moneybags and maybe you should just be happy you're getting anything at all.

The first thing you should do is cut guests!
Are you kidding me? Come on, people. This is quite possibly the worst advice EVER. But it's not just Stiverson, or even just MSN. I've heard this advice in lots of places as a wonderful way to cut costs and generally fix anything that could ever be wrong. In the real world this destroys friendships, costs people jobs, and breaks up marriages before they even begin. I hate to sound like the very people I'm mocking, but you have to realize that when you say "Sorry, we're uninviting you because we don't have room at the reception" what they hear is "and we decided that having you there was less important than having Aunt Tina, Aunt Tina's Drunken Boyfriend number 3, and her five screaming bastard younguns, none of whom we've spoken to in three years for good reason." There's no way to uninvite a wedding guest that WON'T just translate to "I hate you and everything you stand for" in their mind, so don't do it. If you don't have the foresight to only invite who you need I guess you'll just have to swallow your medicine with a grain of salt. Either that or accept the fact that you are an unforgivable douche who is going to die alone and will totally deserve it.

Runners Up
Hating on wedding guests who request you make arrangements for food that will suit their diet.

"Adult-only" weddings, and venomous bile spewed at those who dare to commit that unspeakable atrocity known as "having children and not wanting to leave them with a babysitter for a week."

From Wedding Guests: Guests Behaving Badly: "We placed wedding cameras on every table. After we got back from the honeymoon we were looking through the pictures when we came across one of our male guests exposing himself. We were so mortified!" If there is any divine justice this mortification would have been accompanied by the fine lady fainting. Her husband would have lost his tophat and monocle as he exclaimed "My word!" I also sincerely hope the man who took the picture wrote on the back "This is what you're missing."

Spite at an aunt who got the bride's 14 year old brother shitfaced and he, among other things, told all his family members how he really felt about them. If anything this aunt deserves a medal for creating the most awesome wedding story ever.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Video Game Review: A Few Mini-Reviews for the PSP

Warriors of the Lost Kingdom
A mediocre dungeon crawler for the PSP. It doesn't really bring anything new to the table and has limited classes. An interesting change is you don't use money in the game. The shop operates by a trade system - in order to buy certain items you have to trade other items. While interesting on paper this provides an extraordinary amount of annoyance as you'll have to go through complciated trade chains to get what you really want rather than just being able to fork over cash. Also worth noting is that the female Dark Seeker character's default armor is actually called bondage gear in the game. And you thought Bloodrayne was bad...but at least WLK admits they're pervs.

KR Rating from The Future: [2] BAD

Star Wars Battlefront 2: Renegade Squadron
You undoubtedly remember this game. Pretty much every TV channel played commercials for it twice in every commercial break, signs were plastered around every electronics store, they even released a special white Vader PSP to commemmorate its release. When it was finally released it cost half again the usual price of a console game, much less a PSP game. It also managed to be a profound disappointment on every level. Don't get me wrong, I could never fault a game for not living up to the hype, but this isn't even as good as a regular game. If you've played the other Star wars Battlefront games before you'll find nothing new here, and if you're anything like me you'll get so good at this game as to totally trounce it within the first hour or so, and I'm not even usually that good at video games. Of course, there's the character customization angle, which was the main selling point of the ad campaign (customize your units, better your squad), but honestly they didn't even fucking try. The extent of customization is exactly nine options for each faction and the extent of the "bettering your squad" is that there is no bettering. You have all of the weapons accesible from the start and have 100 "points" to spend on equipping them, and this number will never change. There's no room to grow, no unlockables, nothing at all to keep the novelty of this game from wearing off within the first few hours.

KR Rating from The Future: [1] HORRIBLE

Rogue Galaxy
Rogue Galaxy is a game that, I can't believe I'm actually saying this, got horribly ripping off everything around it right. You play as a blonde, handsome young man who was raised by someone other than his parents on a desert planet* before his home is attacked by enemies and he escapes the clutches of a tyrannical galaxy-spanning empire to go on an adventure with a crew of spacemen and discover his hidden destiny. If that sounds familiar to you it's because I just finished talking about a video game based on the movie it's stolen from. (You even get a robot that talks just like C3P0.)

But it can't be all that bad can it? Oh, you naïve fool. Gameplay is not slightly but EXACTLY like Final Fantasy 12 (which is forgivable because Final Fantasy 12 is just Chrono Trigger in 3D anyway and has no right to call out anyone else for being uncreative) and I'm fairly certain at least one of the PCs is Yuna.

But none of that changes the fact that Rogue galaxy is a fun and lovable game and is definitely worth a look. Just don't expect anything ground-breaking.

*For that matter, video game designers, Hollywood, and everyone else: Earth can not be the only planet in the universe with varying ecosystems. The idea of a "jungle planet," "desert planet," et cetera is not only highly unrealistic but also stupid and lazy.

KR Rating from The Future: [4] GOOD

PS. If your first reaction to the last review was "But Rogue Galaxy isn't for PSP"...good for you.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Video Game Review: Hey, It's More Greatest Hits!

This time it's a repost of the Guilty Gear Isuka review from the old website. Enjoy!

Yes, it's another Guilty Gear game, the sequel to Guilty Gear XX, in fact. To those who were participating in the argument over wether it'd be called Guilty Gear XXX or Guilty Gear #Reload Slash, you're all wrong. No, the newest GG game's useless tag is Isuka, a japanese bird which Sammy says represents their taking the series into a whole new direction. By which they mean, "all new ways to say 'f**k you, American.'"

What the Hell happened, Sammy? Guilty Gear X2 was so good and this game is...so...so...BAD. I mean, don't get me wrong. I like the new characters, and I really like how Robo-Ky isn't just Ky with a green face anymore. But that's about where the good parts end.

The most obvious change? The new GG Boost mode. This is a side-scrolling Final Fight style beat em up pitting you against hordes of junk. Seriously, the fighters you face here are called junk (well, at least when you translate it to english, which Sammy didn't bother to do...AGAIN), which I have to admit is almost clever. Of course, all this really means is all new ways for the AI to be completely cheap, like moving a half a step up to dodge all your attacks, standing over traps where you can't reach them, or just running away from you until the timer reaches zero. Oh, and continues? Yeah right.

The next difference is in Arcade mode. Whereas in X2, you moved through a series of fights until you finally won in here you can't really win the fights. Instead, you simply go until your "survival level" goes up a certain number, then the game yells out "Here comes daredevil!" and you go into another fight. (I think they wanted to make the whole game feel as much like a peyote dream as possible. Mission accomplished.) At the end of it all you fight Leopaldon, a giant yeti thing that pretty much kills you instantly and can only be hurt by aerial attacks. Yeah. F**k you too, Sammy.

Guilty Gear Isuka is a combination of nonsensical and lame single player modes, uber-cheap AI, and god-moded bosses all coming together to mock a series that I once saw as the greatest fighting game series right after Mortal Kombat...and possibly Soul Calibur. Anyway, the question is, what more could you want? A story mode? Keep dreaming, bitch.

Presentation: 4/5
The anime style sprites are really nice and provide a unique style that compliments the uniqueness of the story and characters nicely. Backgrounds are also top notch and the music and sound effects are decent.

Gameplay: 3/5
Making a pale imitation of a once great game is a trespass that I can almost forgive. But taking out Instant Kill? I'll see you in Hell, Sammy.

Multiplayer: 5/5
Guilty Gear Isuka allows for up to four people to play simultaneously, but only if you own a multitap. Still, this is good, since the uber-cheapness of the AI and lameness of the single player modes means playing against your friends in multiplayer is the best part of this game. Fortunately, it is not only the best part but it's also totally awesome and is the one saving grace that makes this game worth buying. Unless you're like me and all your friends think this game is stupid and nerdy. Sigh...

KR Rating from The Future: [3] MEDIOCRE

Friday, February 8, 2008

Top 5 List: The Top 5 Superpowers, and Why They'd Suck to Have

So who out there wants to be a superhero? If you said yes you're either a little boy or a creepy old man. In either case I will accept further inquiries in the form of naked photos.

As I wait for my inbox to fill up I thought I'd pass the time by shitting all over your hopes. Here's the five best superpowers you can hope for and why they would actually suck.

5. Super Strength
Now who hasn't wanted to have super strength? Wether you're a little kid getting shoved off the swingset by a bully or a grown man and some beefcake muscle man is walking off with your lady, your plight is the same: you lose because they're stronger than you. Wouldn't it be nice to walk up to them, say a catchy one-liner, and knock them through a wall?

Turns out, no, it wouldn't. Have you ever noticed how super strength is the go to power for superheroes? They all have it, even Aquaman is stronger than a body builder. There's a reason for that. It turns out the normal human's body is incredibly frail. A strong enough punch in the right place from even a normal human can rupture internal organs, break bones, and generally leave you fucked up or dead. No one's going to cheer when that amazing story of schoolyard justice ends with an eight year old's internal organs sprayed across the sandbox.

Just to drive the point home, have you ever held a fabergé egg, or something else tiny and incredibly fragile? You know how you have to be super careful all the time not to break it and you end up just giving it back because the pressure is too much? Well, now that you're super strong every single thing in the world is like that. Your friends, your car, your thousand dollar computer. You will never be able to have anything nice ever again. Why do you think the Hulk was so pissed all the time?

4. Super Speed
Never enough hours in the day? Do you have only five minutes to drive all the thirty miles to work and if you're late you WILL be fired? Fear no more! Just run there with your super speed! Get authentic italian pasta from an authentic italian restaurant in authentic Italy and still get back home to the States to sleep in your own comfy bed.

Yeah, except you couldn't actually, you know, DO any of that stuff. Have you ever opened the window on the highway at 70 miles per hour? Did the wind sting your eyes? Imagine now that you're going twice that. Ouch. To get the 30 miles to the office in five minutes you'd have to be going at least 360 miles per hour. That's half the speed of sound. The wind friction alone would rip the skin off your body.

Okay, but that's assuming normal human physiology, right? If you have super speed maybe you also evolved super wind resistance ignoring. Let's talk about collisions then. You bump your head at average walking speed of about six miles per hour and it hurts like Hell. At even 30 miles per hour that once gentle bump takes off the top half of your skull and most of your brain too. At super speed every object around you becomes deadly and if you couldn't see that open cabinet door coming at you at a snail's pace, how are you going to see it coming at the speed of a bullet?

3. Flight
Who hasn't been stuck in a crowd or in traffic and wished they could just take off and soar over everyone else? Who hasn't longed for the freedom of zipping through the sky like a bird? Flight is a dream of many.

It would also be highly limited. You'd have to stick close to the ground for one thing, or the changes in air pressure would likely kill you. Assuming a flight speed equal to your land speed, it also wouldn't be terribly liberating either. And if you have flight and super speed you face the same dilemmas as super speed, namely collisions and wind resistance. Starting to not look so amazing, isn't it?

2. Invisibility
Everyone wants invisibility. You could turn invisible and watch chicks undress or, less creepily, you could help your buddy cheat at card games. You could sneak into bank vaults, shoplift without fear of retribution, or you could be more altruistic and sneak up on criminals and dispatch them without them knowing about it. Invisibility is powerful.

It's also not very useful. As movies like Hollow Man and Predator 2 pointed out, there are many ways around invisibility. There's still non-visible spectrums like ultra-violet and methods such as infrared (body heat) and sonar. Or, if you don't have that technology handy, you can go low tech and just dump a bucket of paint on the guy. Once you start your crime spree it won't take long for the police to find a way of seeing you and take you down.

But what about stopping criminals? What if there was a hostage situation and you could sneak in and knock the baddies out while they couldn't see you? Sounds good until you realize that hostage-taking criminals are likely already on edge and will not hesitate to start shooting at every sound -or worse, at hostages- when something they can't see starts knocking them in the head.

1. Stopping Time
Oh my God. This is the ultimate super power. Stopping time. It trumps every other power. You're super strong? So what. I can stop time and cut your head off. You're super fast and can run from New York to Boston in a minute? I can stop time, walk liesurely to Boston, and then start time back and it hasn't even been a heartbeat. You can turn invisible and go inside a hot chick's shower? I can stop time, strip her nude, fuck her, put her clothes back on, and start time back and the only thing to tell her anything even happened is a sudden feeling of being incredibly unclean. It even serves every day uses: get an extra hour of sleep, play vide games without having to worry about your parents stopping you to make you do chores. When you can stop time YOU WIN.

Stopping time is also the worst possible ability to have, because of all the horrible science problems it brings up. For example: what effect would this have on temperature? For those that flunked chemistry, temperature is caused by the movement of molecules against one another. When time stops movement stops, and the universe freezes. You stop time and suddenly you and everyone else dies as temperatures plunge to absolute zero. Conversely, what if you don't stop time, you just make yourself infinitely fast? Well, much like lowering the motion of things around you would freeze them, raising your own speed would cause you to burn hotter than a neutron star and vaporize, likely taking the rest of the planet with you when your mini-supernova ignites the atmosphere.

Temperature issues aside, what about the other problems infinite velocity causes? If you thought super speed caused problems with collisions, imagine how further compounded they are when you're moving faster than the speed of light. If you take a step your leg hits the ground at infinity miles per hour and explodes. You try to open a door and you destroy half your house and yourself with it. Simply moving your arm slowly would cause so much wind resistance it would tear the flesh from your bones. You'd have to remain perfectly motionless or die a gruesome death.

Even if your could somehow get past those problems, what about aging? You would age normally while time was frozen, but the rest of the world would stand still. Even if we assume a very limited usage of your powers of only one hour per day you'll still end up aging an extra 15 days for every eyar that passes normally. A more realistic yet still limited schedule of, say, six horus per day will add one day of aging for every four that pass normally. Assuming your powers appeared at age 15 and you kept up that schedule for the rest of your life you'd reach 72 (the average male lifespan in the United States) after about 49 years, cutting your lifespan by 8 whole years. And that's assuming you limit your use of your powers. With unlimited freedom and no objective way to even tell how long you've been using your powers, how long would you use them? Twelve hours a day? More? Would you use them days at a time? Months? Years? Sure, it would seem to you that you've led a full life, when you die from old age after only 15 years have passed, but think of everything you'll miss out on when you're gone. Stopping time has stopped looking so good, hasn't it?

Monday, January 21, 2008

Review Site Review: Gamespot

Gamespot are sellouts.

Sorry, but it's true.

How do I know this? Alien Syndrome. Alien Syndrome creators Sega sponsored Gamespot for a while. Ads for it were everywhere. The website even used an Alien Syndrome background theme for like a month. And then it came out and it was shitty. Even Gamespot admitted this by giving it a 5.0. But it's all for show.

Let's be real here. Most of their reviews are written like they intentionally found the one member of their staff least likely to enjoy the game and ordered him to review it. But not Alien Syndrome's.

There was another game that got a 5.0 called Warriors Orochi. Gamespot's reviewer spends the first few sentences of their WO review saying that anyone who likes the game's creators, Koei, is an apologist idiot who's deluding themselves and doesn't know what a good game is. They then spend the rest of the review trying to describe the game's good features in a patronizing way and harping on the few bad features over and over.

The Alien Syndrome reviewer spends most of his time dancing around the game's bad points and talking about how it could have been better. The worst thing he actually says is that some of the aliens look similar to other aliens.

You want a comparison? Warriors Orochi has 77 characters with distinct personalities and stories. Alien Syndrome has a chick who the developers desperately want you to think is like Samus Aran. Orochi Warriors has you fight hordes of enemies with admittedly poor AI using combo attacks that are unique for every character, despite there being SEVENTY SEVEN of them. Alien Syndrome has five or six of the exact same alien slowly slug towards you which you then shoot for over five minutes before they die and then they respawn about ten or twelve times. This happens in every one of the thousands of rooms in the game and you have to kill them all or you will be lacking experience for the boss fights.

Look. I know Warriors Orochi is a mediocre game at best. But Warriors Orochi has interesting characters and is easy to get into and can provide mindless fun. Alien Syndrome is so mind-numbingly tedious I took it back to the store and asked for my money back after the first level. That's how bad it was.

Look at Gamespot's Top 10 games on the front page. All of them are from within the last year. Really? You really think only recent games deserve to be in the top 10? Half of them AREN'T EVEN OUT YET. How is that possible, Gamespot? How can you say a game is one of the top 10 best ever when you haven't played it and moreover CAN'T play it because it ISN'T EVEN OUT?

Look, Gamespot reviewers. I know companies pay your company to give their games good reviews. I know you have to be nice to those companies' games or you'll lose you're job. But you know what? YOU'RE STILL SELLOUTS.




Annotation from The Future:

One of the things you might not know about me from reading this blog is that I'm actually not a bitter person. I don't hate the world and I don't think all people are stupid. Really, that's why places like Gamespot irritate me so much: because most people are not actually that stupid, but the media, the government, and the corporations all think we're as dumb as bricks.

That said, as I mentioned in the annotation of my review for Unlimited SaGa I love that I can totally rail on something in a blind fury, and then I almost always end up completely vindicated. In this case, it was when Gamespot fired one of their employees, ostensibly for giving Kane And Lynch a bad review. (Happy ending: that reviewer and some of his friends went on to found Giant Bomb.)

Or to put it another way: before I edited this review for content, pretty much every other word was an F-bomb. And you know what? Gamespot deserves every fucking one of them.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Top 5 List: The Top 5 Lamest Game Heroes

So we've taken our look at the top 5 most badass, but who's at the bottom of the barrel, you ask? Let's find out! Sedalb, if you're out there, I'm only dropping your name just because I so desperately want you to find this blog and read what I said about you so you'll give me more precious gems of your unmatchable inanity.

Here we go!

5. Boogerman, Boogerman
Earthworm Jim and Boogerman are pretty much equal as being heroes that are hilarious if you're a preteen boy who would like shit jokes if you weren't too young to know what shit is. So snot is inserted in the place of shit and you make an entire game based on bad puns and excessive amounts of slimy green stuff. In a way, he's the last generation's Conker. You know, back when you didn't need to secretly insert images of anal sex into your games to be edgy. (Boogerman gets the spot instead of EWJ, because Earthworm Jim was actually funny.)

4. Lloyd, Tales of Symphonia
In the words of agony booth forumgoer Campion, "whiny, abrasive, self-righteous, and stupid." Unlike the rest of the cast, all of whom gain likability when they get ported to the PSP's Tales of the World Radiant Mythologies, Lloyd is STILL FUCKING ANNOYING. But at least you don't have to talk to his stupid ass as much. And you get to beat the crap out of him. While we're here, though, I'd like to mention Genis Sage as a runner up, just because his name would seem to be a combination of "genius" and...well, I think you can see where I'm going with this. Namco, he'll get his share of yaoi appearances. You don't need to drop hints.

3. Geo Stelar, Mega Man Starforce
I can forgive that he's a third rate Lan Hikari (who, by the way, is awesome). Which is why the creators of the game had to go the extra mile. Geo Stelar's character seems to argue with itself over wether he's just annoying or cliche. He's an angst-filled totally-not-a-teen, lazy ass bastard who's home schooled in about the same way Eric Cartman was home schooled in the spelling bee episode, only with a much less cool phonics monkey. I want to punch his pre-teen face.

2. Nowe, Drakengard 2
He's a boy raised by a dragon who tries to evoke an X-Men hated by the people he helps vibe, but he's really just a whiny little bitch. The first time he rides the dragon he invokes the spirit of that other annoying bastard from the Never-Ending Story when he shouts "YEAAAH!" for no reason. I'm surprised the big lizard didn't do a barrel roll and dump him right there. Worth noting, for the second half of the game he wears a shield over his butt, presumably to protect himself from jumping humpers. In terms of sheer Mary Sue he manages to score 5 Outrageous Okonas out of 5.

1. Player Character Avatar, Monster Hunter Series
I DESPISE the player character in Monster Hunter, which is weird since it's one of those games where you make your own character. But really, Monster Hunter is one of the most ANNOYING games of all time, thanks in large part to the main character.

Most of the animations make me want to cringe. Whenever you select the character to continue the game he does a stupid little animation that's supposed to be badass but just comes off as stupid and corny. The "gangsta" animation where he takes a step back and assumes a "cool tough guy" pose is especially cringe-worthy. The "banging a fork and knife on the table like a 1960s cartoon character" animation when you order food in the Felyne Kitchen in the sequel is nearly as bad.

Most annoying though are the needless time-waster animations out in the field. Why does my guy need to flex his muscles for five seconds every time he drinks a potion? Why does he have to flash his sword around for three seconds after using a whetstone to sharpen it? All this does is waste valuable time in the missions, which are always timed, not to mention hold you up in a fight where mere seconds can and often do mean the difference between life and death.

Then there's...the run. Normally your run animation is a perfectly normal slightly faster walk that consumes stamina at a slow rate. However, for God knows what reason when there's a large enemy on the screen your run changes to...well, I'm afraid I can't come up with something to call it without swearing profusely so I'll just explain it. Basically, it's exactly the same as your normal run except it looks twenty times stupider, is actually SLOWER, and drains stamina at quadruple the normal rate.

Lord knows I wouldn't mock homosexuals, but when you take time out of fighting a giant monster to make stupid poses like this...well, I think that makes you kind of a faggot.