There is little peace
In the land of Broken Hearts
Within or Without
The bag is packed and I’m hopping across the 49th for a quick jaunt down the coast. Looking forward to seeing ‘patriotic’ signage like this Homeland Security special to the right. Probably won’t be that lucky, though…the only Conservative thing in California is a much maligned Austrian, after all.
And speaking of lame segues – this LA trip reminds me of a game that the crew was playing the other night, which was a slight modification of 6 Degrees of Separation (but not just focused on Footloose wunderkind Kevin Bacon LOL). We were slinging actors names back and forth, trying to link them through other performers within six films. Lotsa fun…and Jeff thought he had me when he launched in with, “Okay hotshot – let’s see you connect Johnny Depp…and Henry Fonda!!!”
I took a sip of tea. Cracked the knuckles ceremoniously. Surveyed the table. And then…
Johnny Depp with Al Pacino in DONNIE BRASCO.
Al Pacino and Sean Penn in CARLITO’S WAY.
Sean Penn and Jennifer Lopez in U-TURN.
J-Lo and Jane Fonda in MONSTER-IN-LAW.
Jane and Henry Fonda in ON GOLDEN POND.
Let me hear it from the rooftops, chitlins…
Been receiving lots of requests lately for game-related news and thoughts, so I guess you can say that I’m buckling and giving the people ‘what they want’. That said, let’s start with what’s most important, and then close with a side order of continued speculation
First, yet another personal revelation, blasphemous though it may seem. I have NEVER played through a videogame twice. Well, that’s not entirely true – I did take several swipes at a limited roster of Intellivision classics in my tween years – but otherwise, I just don’t have the time or the patience (or, quite frankly, the bankroll) to indulge my interactive entertainment jones to this degree. Yet I’ve most certainly re-read books (Rings, Narnia, and graphic novel goodness come to mind). And I’ve watched Big Trouble in Little China and Twin Peaks: FWWM upwards of 30 times by now. But I’ve never given a ‘linear’, narrative-based game a second go. For whatever reason, once the experience was essentially, uhhh, experienced…I had had my fill. And yes…even with Ocarina of Time, kids. It’s true.
But one title has made me a tourist no more. In fact, I’ve become somewhat of a permanent Resident (*groan*). Capcom, finally stepping up and swinging a mighty big stick in game publisher wars, has shown conclusively with Resident Evil 4 that tight gameplay, beautiful graphics, intense sound design, and brilliant level layout CAN co-exist…in freakin’ harmony no less. My first time through several months back was a cautious one – I’d wait ’til nightfall, unplug the phone, crank the surround, and hit the greenery-assisted headspace for a truly singular experience. Not once did I get to bed before dawn. Not once did a day go by where I didn’t obsess over the previous night’s discoveries. And not once was my faith in this simulated world (even with some painful narration and script hackery) ever shaken to the point of detachment. And what happened after I beat the last boss and had my jetski denouement? After I celebrated my thumb-twiddling mastery? After I gobbled up the unlocked extras and reflected on the hours well-spent? The unheard of. I fired it up one more time…with infinite rocket launcher in hand.
So that’s why I’m so concerned about the upcoming console generation. People just aren’t talking about what’s IMPORTANT. Engaging play. Compelling characters. Original stories. Instead, they’re unzipping and whipping out phantom benchmarks on the table. DON’T be fooled, kidlets. The PS3? It’s a monster, sure…but will any team have a programmatic handle on the cell architecture in time for the 6 month launch window? From what I’ve heard, extremely doubtful. The 360? Believe it or not, my code-monkey contacts are crying foul, as the system’s memory structure and graphics pipeline are proving to be incredibly UNDERwhelming…as in ‘maybe TWICE the power of X-Box, at best’. And Revolution? I’m the first to admit severe disappointment at their E3 bait and switch. And yeah, the lack of HD support sucks balls. But after a heated discussion with a coder pal on what truly makes games ‘great’, we couldn’t help but agree that the shining age of gaming gleamed most brightly during the SNES years:
Man,that nostalgia wave keeps on crashing against these weary shores. Maybe Nintendo IS onto something with the downloadable library scheme. Maybe we can’t move forward in this bold new medium…without remembering – and honoring – where we came from.
Many thanks, Guppy
bringing cosplay saints to life
what a cool notion!
The pressure remains
to crack the ‘official stance’
and get to the truth
Broken Saints Soundtracks
are finally on ITunes.
Sweet songs are waiting!!!
(and, just so you know, we’re going to have a tiny Comic-Con exclusive run of signed soundtrack sets for the jaunt down to San Diego. Hope to see you there in saintly style – lots of surprises in store!!!)
We hope that you have
A happy Summer Solstice
as the great wheels turn
…to win a SIGNED COPY of the BS DVD??? As mentioned in the last newsletter, US/CAN West Coast rag The Nerve is running a contest to win one of 4 special sets, scribbled on by Drew, Ian, Tobes, and moi. It’s a truly easy breezy type dilly, as explained in their own words below:
“Despite being featured in the Nerve, the team that brought us Broken Saints have managed to win every award a Canadian production can win and get praise from every publication on the face of the earth. To celebrate, we’re giving away four Broken Saints box sets. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to enter.
Winners will be selected from entries based on creativity and cup size. Odds of winning are approximately 1:2 . If you don’t win, you can pick up a copy of the Broken Saints box set at your nearest Future Shop. Word.”
They’re only accepting emailed entries ’til the end of the month, so be typety and get clickety!
Twenty years. That’s how long I’ve been a Batman fan. Twenty checkered years. I say ‘checkered’ because there were certainly moments of pain, embarrassment, disassociation, and wavering spandex loyalties. Phone voting to decide the fate of Jason Todd in A Death in the Family? The bad-ass ‘upgrade’ for a broken-backed Batman in Knightfall? A phalanx of midgets in emperor penguin suits? Joel ‘neon nipples and codpieces, please…they make me hard’ Shumacher? Inject the lye directly into my corneas please…stat!
And that’s why I’m so happy with the latest ‘turn at Bat’. Is it perfect? Not in the slightest, as the widespread critiques certainly carry some merit: the fights are shot too tightly, the suit is often overlit and demystified, Ken Watanabe has criminally short screen time, and I kept waiting for Dawson and Pacey to show up and fight over the pluckish DA. But overall? Christopher Nolan (with a little help from David Goyer) didn’t fuck it up. The production obviously draws a lot from Miller’s YEAR ONE, and a wee bit from DARK KNIGHT RETURNS (I personally like to think that there’s the smallest of nods to the forgotten BATMAN: CULT graphic novel…at least with the new tumbler design). Overall, the acting was solid for mainstream fare, the limited visual effects were subtle and cleverly implemented (the Scarecrow scenes rocked with hallucinogenic-driven fear) and the sound design was HOT to the point of earplug purchase.
In short? Comic book flicks ain’t dead yet (even though it doesn’t take a psychic to predict how much THIS will suck and blow). The game versions are getting better, too. Okay. Feel free to picture me basking in a saintly ray of hope…
A diner near Banff
Has some unique clientele