Saturday, July 24, 2010

DC Universe Online Video Game, Exclusive Who Do You Trust Trailer HD | Game Trailers & Videos |

DC Universe Online Video Game, Exclusive Who Do You Trust Trailer HD | Game Trailers & Videos |

Ok, without a doubt this trailer is amazing.

However, putting on my game design wonk headset, I am still extremely skeptical about this game as a, you know, game.

Let's take stock shall we? Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman, along with Lex Luthor, need to save the world.

Uhhuh, and what do the characters players can actually play do while all this is going on? Fetch bear pelts to craft into backpacks and sell them in the JLA lobby? Sounds intoxicating.

One hopeful bit is if you are actually playing in the dark future, where Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman are dead, and new heroes need to rise up to take their place.

I am skeptical DC as a license holder would want that though.

This is a problem with licensed properties in general. They have DMPC syndrome. It's in DC's interest that their characters are awesome, because that's the universe they make money off of. This is counter to what would make a good game.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Movie review: The Age of Stupid

This is a global warming cautionary tale, a film I caught on Hulu.

The idea behind the movie is that survivors of out of control global climate change look back on our time, ostensibly when something could have been done about it.

It stars Pete Postlethwaite, who turns in his usual excellent performance.

Unfortunately, I can't recommend the movie, for reasons I'll discuss below.

The movie starts off really well, with shots of various parts of the world that have suffered climate change, before finally honing in on an arctic station, run by "the Archivist" (played by Postlethwaite) where we are told all the art treasures of all the world's nations have been preserved.

I liked this introduction quite a bit. Unfortunately, it's a brief interlude before the movie launches into its main vehicle for delivering its message (notice I didn't say telling a story).

The Archivist is looking back on the past, by accessing clips of old documentaries. Real documentaries about the world we currently live in.

Got that? The movie shows us pieces of other documentaries. The documentaries chosen are fine, but I'd much rather have watched any one of the documentaries whole, than the snippets of four documentaries interlaced together.

Second, the movie is really, really vague about the world of the future. We never get to see much of that world, only at the beginning, and a very strange montage of overlapping news voices at the end, that contain such ominous snippets as "after being destroyed for the 3rd time, New Orleans won't be rebuilt again" and such.

Again, I'd really have preferred a more coherent narrative.

I realize this is a very low-budget movie, but even the voice over at the end could have been clearer. It goes so quickly and overlaps so much, that you can't really pick out more than a few phrases here and there.

In short, I'd rather the movie try to say something to me, anything, beyond "Global Warming is real and it will be very, very bad".

That's a fine message, but it's not something I need to watch a 90 minute or so movie to be told.

Perhaps I want the movie to be something it was never intended to be. I wanted an actual narrative about something.

Basically, what little narrative there is seems to be an excuse to recycle some other documentaries and allow the writer/director to speak to the audience directly a few times.

In short, the movie left me unfulfilled in pretty much every way. It provided the merest tease of a narrative, which I liked and wanted more of.

And it showed me pieces of several interesting-looking documentaries, which I liked and wanted to see more of.

Monday, July 19, 2010

And in case it wasn't clear...

My earlier post wasn't aimed so much at Humphries' particular comment (though it was really stupid) as the sentiment behind it.

See, it's ok to not be into what the kids are into. In fact, it's usually good to not be into what the kids are into.

If you're my age (I'm 41) and you're at a Britney Spears concert, that's a little weird.

But when you look at what the kids are into and decide its RUINING WESTERN CIVILIZATION well then my friend, you have drunk of the stupid and you have drunk deep.

This is where Seduction of the Innocent (which railed against comics), BADD (aka Bothered About Dungeons and Dragons), Jack Thompson's crusade against rap, Jack Thompson's crusade against video games and various other moral panics come in.

Some of these are just stupid, some have actually damaged the livelihood of hardworking men and women and some are so strident that they've become Spinal Tap-esque mockumentaries of their own self-righteousness.

And oh yeah, the Puritans were convinced Shakespeare's plays were going to send us all to hell and Hesiod thought women were the root of all evil.

Stupid is apparently a renewable resource.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present the stupidest man alive

"People who use text speak are doing to the modern world what Genghis Khan did to Asia."

John Humphries

Remember, ballpark figures are that Genghis Khan killed 120 million people.

And oh yeah people who have actually um, you know, studied texting? They say that it promotes literacy.

Let's try and think about why.

Could it be that, although they agree about practically nothing else, educators universally acknowledge that the best way to improve reading and writing is to read and write?

Why yes, I think that might be exactly why.

And of course, such pontificating by Humphries doesn't even make sense. He accepts OK, VIP and MVP but the moment you type C U L8TR into a cell phone he gets the vapors.

Apparently language should never evolve what John learned in grammar school.

Oh yeah and the books, TV shows and movies he loved when he was a teenager are way cooler and deeper than anything those stupid kids are into today. Star Wars was fucking deep. Avatar? Puh-leaze.

Oops, apparently I've already been corrupted.

I breathlessly await John Humphries upcoming book, Seduction of the Innocent, Part II.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The funniest line ever written (via TV Tropes)

TV Tropes is of course awesome and any nerd will happily waste time reading its various entries detailing the various weirdness that seems to occur and recur in disparate TV shows.

However, this is the funniest by far:

The Law of Conservation of Ninjutsu

In any martial arts fight, there is only a finite amount of ninjutsu available to each side in a given encounter. As a result, one Ninja is a deadly threat, but an army of them are cannon fodder.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Avatar is coming back (Legend of Korra)

A new series is coming, set 100 years after the events depicted in the Last Airbender, centering on a new Avatar from the water tribe.

Avater: Legend of Korra

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Thinking about the last airbender

So, as you may or may not know, I am a huge fan of the cartoon series Avatar: The Last Airbender.

It's funny, dramatic, great action, great voice acting where kids actually voice the kids (this may shock some of you but most kids in cartoons are voiced by 40 year old women).

Also, for all the great action, drama and characters, it might be the best thing for kids I've seen in a long time.

Now as you ALSO may know, I am a huge fan of the early work (see that line I just drew?) of M. Night Shamylan. I think 6th Sense and Unbreakable are amazing films. But lately, really everything he's done NOT named 6th Sense or Unbreakable? Not a fan.

Still- between my interest in the cartoon and interest in the writer/director, I wound up seeing the Last Airbender movie.

The verdict? It's ok. And honestly, that means this is a thumbs down review.

If someone gives you $150 million dollars and you can't make a more compelling work than a cartoon, you have failed.

Another disappointment below. This is potentially a spoiler for the cartoon. You have been warned.


Probably the part of this movie I was looking forward to the most, there's a point in the cartoon where the Avatar meets this creepy demon that can steal faces. I was *really* looking forward to seeing the 6th Sense guy give everyone under 20 in the theater nightmares with this scene. It's creepy in the damn cartoon.

It's not in the movie. At all. That was a huge disappointment. Of course, this is a kid's movie I guess. Maybe they left the scene out for creative reasons, or maybe time. Still kind of a let down.

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