July 16, 2013

Superman, wai- oh, fine, I guess you're busy

Man of Steel. Is a good movie. Take that, the Internet!

My dream movie of Deadliest Catch is interrupted by Superman, because apparently Kansas gets cable now. And Superman proves that there's still room for "petty asshole" in between "Super" and "Man", when he trashes a redneck's only means of transportation. Superman is for the contiguous United States, all right? Fuck off, Alaska.

Also, space flight left Superman with Flashback Syndrome, which is okay, because we still get Costner doing the "You are my son" line, which makes the whole movie worth it, if nothing else does it for you.

After Lois Lane, in a bold departure from other Superman movies, actually does stuff, the plot arrives and pisses off America. There are some trust issues and stuff, because Superman gets captured by Border Patrol, but Zod. And punching! And the slow realization that, if everyone you fight has superpowers, being a farmer for thirty years isn't much of a tactical advantage. Especially when the bad guys reenact Hurricane Katrina on Metropolis. Seriously, one scene you see thousands of people running for their lives, the next there are like six people left, and two of them have saving throws vs. death thanks to plot.

Speaking of dnd, there's a concept called "Massive Damage" that says, if you do 50+ points of damage in one hit, your enemy drops dead. And the writers play, it seems. Clark and Zod never really hurt one another in the fight, despite all the collateral damage, until Clark's able to straight-up murder Zod. Compare to the earlier fight between Zod and Jor-El, which is short, brutal, and looks like a regular ol' fight. "Invincibility" turns out to be less-than-convenient for the rest of the world.

Finally, heartbreakingly, Superman pops his murder cherry (and Zod's neck) and I run the hell out of the theater as the plague of children applauds the tormented scream of a man pushed to the brink of madness.

And then the mood is ruined when Superman trades some quips with the douchebag from Matrix Revolutions.

June 24, 2013

You can finish

"Fuck it, I'm Busy"
Yeezus, Kanye West.

Ever read the Autobiography of Malcolm X? Remember when he starts in about the Nation of Islam religion? If not, in brief it's:

Africans ruled the earth (fair enough)
A scientist/devil guy named Mr. Yacub created an evil race of white people.
Evil white people overran the earth.
You can guess where it goes from there.

Yeezus is a lot like that. A lot like that. It has nothing to do with religion (well...), and it's a different kind of crazy, but you're not hearing anything on that album less bizarre than what you read above.

June 19, 2013

Hindsight is kinda dumb

True Lies, brought to you by the good folks who made Mass Effect. Though they probably wish otherwise.

Corrupt corporations and their CEOs are everywhere, especially in the future. Imagine if you took Dick Cheney, literally anyone else with a degree of business sense, and gave them a lemonade stand,

Chaos. If Resident Evil taught us anything, it's that profitability is determined by how stupidly evil you are.

The same is true for the planet Feros, which doesn't really exist, don't worry, in Mass Effect. You'd think making shitloads of money would be enough; similarly, you'd think that being attacked by evil robots with murder on the mind would be bad enough. But it never is. Either thing.

Shepard and crew landed on Feros with high hopes, because I forgot to actually play the main game of saving the galaxy and spent like thirty levels dicking around the boonies. But here we are! Ready to rip and roar well past the point in which it will make a difference.

Fighting the Geth isn't much of a problem, though everyone keeps telling me how creepy the colonists are (personally, I think surviving weeks of constant battle while your space savior jaunts around the stars calls for a little slack there). For some reason their ship latches onto a building, but doesn't bother with safety features; prying the landing gear off the side (yes, not the roof or the goddam ground) is easier than taking a fat toddler's fingers off a fudge bar.

Shepard never has a nice day, however, so those asshole colonists attack my ship. Meanwhile I find out some random surviving scientists (nice one, murder machines) are up to no-good, so I shoot them. I could have let them live, but the leader was a real asshole, and the parts where I shoot people in the head in cutscenes are awesome.

Scientist lady gives me knockout gas to help with the colonists, which somehow makes my grenades not kill. Which is great! I save about four out of fifty. I only had three grenades, woman. To be clear, I chose the "Akuze" background for my Shepard, which means that she survived a horrendous experience while the rest of her squad was killed. I know this was tough on her, psychologically. I'm going to have to play her as a lot more crazy from now on. And guilty. I know we couldn't save them, but those dead colonists deserved better.

Finally I find a giant plant-vagina that spits a clone of an Asari (lady alien) at me. It's a real asshole, so I have to kill it. After, Asari-1 is freed. She tells me a bunch of stuff that makes me realize the writers might not have thought through their plot. And I shoot her in the head, because... wow, no one, not even my Asari teammate, normally compassionate, tries to stop me.

The colony is fucked. Scientist lady thanks me for trying, I pick up my shit, and we leave. I wonder, as I reenter my scratched-up ship (fucking colonists, I have premiums to worry about) if I could have done more. Load screen tip:

Try knocking the colonists out with Anit-Thorian gas, or by getting close and hitting them with the butt of your gun. 

June 11, 2013

The sort of stuff I imagine Space Jesus deals with

A very special "Fuck it, I'm busy" featuring Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline.

Nerd reference!
Nerd refer-

Some of you may think this is a joke, but the above does accurately and fairly summarize the book.
But if you want more...

Wesley Crusher narrates the fictional, sensationalized autobiography set in a dystopian future that honestly sounds a lot better than the one we got. Wil Wheaton rules the earth with a sweaty fist, while humanity eats virtual McDonald's.

The hate-child of every internet service provider you've ever had the displeasure of dealing with starts murdering kids, because the kids are trying to achieve the equivalent of being struck by lightning, while nailing the devil in a blue dress on a jet ski, jumping over a shark, and pulling out to discover the condom has a winning lottery ticket in it. SPOILER: the novel is based on the eighties culture, so the kids win, because Ronald Reagan made unhappy endings illegal.

Also, the hero gets the girl, but she's chubby, so it's not a full-on Revenge of the Nerds or Animal House win.

P.S. I only "summarize" things I like. I put this off for a while because, while I had the basic idea in mind, I didn't like the book at first. And while mocking shitty things is bad, I view FiIB as a sort of recommendation from me to you.
And if the above hasn't convinced you to read the book, I can tell you that the end fight is between every mecha Japan has ever thought up, MechaGodzilla, and Voltron. The author left out the Green Ranger's bitchin' dinosaur, but I forgive him.

May 29, 2013

Mine was better than yours!

Another installment in the heartpounding: Fuck it, I'm busy.

Netflix has set out to stream my childhood to me for a small monthly fee, and it's awesome. Along with Batman Beyond (the best Batproduct outside of Batman: The animated series), Justice League is available, and after watching the first three episodes ("Secret Origins") I can say it's still awesome, and considerably more weird than I remember.

With that said, here's the summary:

Batman investigates goings-on at SETI, and is beaten up by Martin Lawrence. Superman shows up and gets stomped because he's in the same frame with Batman, and no one looks cooler than the Batman. Superman forgets he was a liability in the fight and offers help again if Batman ever needs it.

The plot of War of the Worlds happens, complete with Tripods, and that draws the League together. The Martian Manhunter gets Batman killed then magics him back alive, while Superman and Hawkgirl get captured. Then everyone else gets captured, and Superman forgets he has laser vision. A Metroid appears and tentacle rapes the Manhunter, but Batman magics the aliens with science. Superman remembers he has laser vision and frees everyone, and they murder the Metroid. Because kids are dumb, and the do not kill rule only applies to people people.

Batman embezzles billions to build the Watchtower, and then decides he doesn't want it. The rest of the heroes convert to Jehovah's Witnesses and pledge to convert any aliens in the neighborhood.

The end! (...?)

May 28, 2013

Lies within lies

I've told you lies, and I'll get to that; in the meantime, however, I want to tell you lies about lies, which I haven't coined the proper terminology for. Double lies maybe? Actually, let's go with True Lies.  It makes about as much sense as anything, and I liked that movie.

I like RPGs. I prefer western RPGs, such as Skyrim, Mass Effect, Fallout, and Baldur's Gate, but I've played a few JRPGs as well. Final Fantasy X is my favorite in that area, and it has a lot going for it, but the problem is every player has the same experience. You're always Tidus, traveling with Yuna, and Auron is your badass bodyguard. Western RPGs present opportunities for things like this, or even this. To be fair, that second one is to a 4X game (empire strategy) but the way it's narrated reminds me of the opportunities in western RPGs.

And because I like it, I want you to like it. So I'll write out some "game diaries" from the games listed above. This isn't straight fiction; instead, it's nonfiction stories from my point of view about fictional stories from the protagonist's viewpoint. Does that make sense? No? Good. Here's the first installment of True Lies, starring the original Mass Effect.

Anything that can go wrong will go wrong. Those are words you learn to live by in any game with cutscenes, or budget limitations, and Mass Effect had both. Not so you'd notice right away; but when a game dev team sets out to create an entire universe, a few planets and plots are going to get shaved down.

Which is why, as I rambled around in my minivan on some random planet, the oppressive, Venus-like atmosphere inviting me to step outside and play "crush the tin can", I knew something was wrong the instant I looked at my map. There was a spot of interest, you see. Normally, these are labelled "anomalies" or "debris" and they give you something. This one read: distress beacon.

I headed straight for it. Commander Shepard, while kind of a bitch, is a goddam hero, and she doesn't shirk her duty. Unfortunately, anti-vehicle mines were placed near the beacon. While really, painfully obviously a trap, Commander Shepard also doesn't fuck around. She grabbed her squad, exited the vehicle, and approached the last fifty meters on foot.

At which point several dozen Geth de-cloaked and fired every rocket in the universe right at my military-grade ass. I'd been playing for a while, and while my shields could take a lot of hits, I was still reduced to that pathetic sliver of health that blinks in Morse code to say: have fun reloading, asshole. I ran for it. Tali and Liara's corpses cheered me on as I yelled at the television: "Get in the van, get in the van, get in the goddam van!"

I made it, and apparently the van has a tractor beam and a defibrillator (beat that, Ford) because my squad was alive. Driving in ways that would make my bipolar driving instructor proud, I killed the Geth, turned off the beacon, and got the hell off that planet. I didn't have nukes, or I would have made sure no one would ever return.

 Epilogue: this sort of thing happens every few hours in the game.

Double epilogue: I promised a podcast this past Sunday, and didn't do it. This Sunday the podcast will resume, and I'll put up more of these and Fuck it, I'm busy's in the meantime.