Category Archives: Rambling

PAX Easter Weekend

PAX East 2012 on Easter Weekend? Gabe and Tycho Mike and Jerry, I see what you did there.

This year, thousands of geeks will have to explain to their families why they won’t be at Easter dinner this year. Instead, we’ll be adrift in a sea of craft foam, body odor, and unadulterated enthusiasm. And I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else in the world.

Still, I feel like Penny Arcade is missing out on a huge opportunity to incorporate some of Easter’s more traditional customs into the upcoming PAX East convention. Here’s just a few ways they could combine the two events.

PAX Easter Bunnies
PAX East has no shortage of people willing to dress up as imaginary characters. I’m certain that a few of them could be convinced to dress up as bunnies, in the spirit of the holidays.

But what kind of bunny? Playboy Bunny? Babs Bunny? Full furry? Doesn’t matter. All will have more than their fair share of admirers at this event.

PAX Easter Egg Hunt
What do Easter and Video Games have in common? Lack of innovation! And also, Easter Eggs!

This could easily be an enormous event, with riddles distributed via Twitter, deciphered to reveal the exact Google Map coodinates of QR codes strategically hidden all around the convention center, which can then be scanned to unlock secrets in an viral alternate reality game, which can be used to level up and eliminate your competition in an augmented reality game, until only one gamer is left standing and granted the ultimate reward for his cunning and guile.

Or they can just stash some leftover swag in random spots around the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center and let whoever finds it keep it.


The Passion of Christ
And of course I mean Christoforo, who probably views himself as some sort of deity anyway.

On Good Friday he’ll be paraded through the main convention floor and be whipped and beaten with anything that isn’t nailed down or in near-mint condition. (NRFB! NRFB!)

At the end, he’ll be nailed to an enormous D-Pad and left to die.

Of course, he’ll rise from the grave on Sunday, but I don’t see that being a problem. The last day of the convention is usually pretty dead anyway.

See what I did there, Mike and Jerry?

Happy Easter!

Why Mario Will Never Score With The Princess

Mario has saved lands, liberated worlds, and rescued galaxies, but there is still one stage that he will never escape: The Friend Zone.

I know that no relationship is perfect, but Mario and Peach are the most dysfunctional couple in video history. And that includes Batman and The Joker in Arkham City.

Princess Toadstool gets abducted every other Thursday, and yet the Mushroom Kingdom refuses to beef up security. And why would they when the Princess has her own personal bodyguard wrapped around her pinky finger?

Not only will Mario journey across eight worlds and a special zone to save her, but she even has him picking up all the money he can carry before he gets to her. Her knight in shining overalls has defeated dinosaurs, dragons, ghosts, and aggressive agriculture to save his beloved. And what’s his reward for all of this effort? A kiss on the cheek.

The same kiss on the cheek his brother gets if he makes it to the final castle first.

It’s easy to see why Peach doesn’t share Mario’s romantic interest. Mario is short, chubby, and old enough to own a plumbing/construction/pizza company back in Brooklyn. Meanwhile, Peach is young, blonde, and doesn’t even look old enough to vote.

Of course, there might be another reason Peach doesn’t reciprocate Mario’s feelings. Perhaps someone else has snared the fair Princess’s heart. But who could it be?

Who else could it be, besides the only other person she spends the majority of her time with? He’s powerful. He’s dangerous. He’s royalty. And let’s be adults, we all know those Koopalings didn’t come from nowhere. Wendy even has her mother’s eyes.

Yet, Mario still can’t seem to take a hint.
“Hey, Peach. Want to go play tennis/golf/go karts?”
“Sure. Who else is going? Is Bowser coming?”

Sorry, Mario, but your Princess is in another castle.


3 Details The Amazing Spider-Man Trailer Nailed (That the Raimi Trilogy Failed)

This trailer makes me want to want to see this movie. If you haven’t seen the latest trailer for The Amazing Spider-Man movie, here it is:

I was leery at first about Sony’s decision to reboot the Spider-Man film franchise barely a decade after it began. It felt rushed and greedy, but after Disney killed off the Spectacular Spider-Man animated series, I was eager to see a new take on one of my favorite characters. Still, my expectations were set pretty low. I mean, what more could they do that the first three films hadn’t done already?

According to this trailer, these three very important pieces of the Spider-Mythos.
Continue reading

Mega Man Fan Film Review

There is a Mega Man fan film. And it’s not horrible.

MegaMan (which should be two words, just to nitpick) is a non-profit fan film written and directed by Eddie Lebron, based on the first eponymous game featuring the super fighting robot, Mega Man. Staying fairly faithful to the American localized plot of the game, the movie also mixes in some drama of Rock/Mega Man wondering about his purpose, his estranged brother Blues/Protoman, and Mega Man and Roll being the surrogate children that Dr. Light never had.

It’s hard to tell if the robotic acting from Jun Naito and Jeanie Tse as Mega Man and Roll is intentional, but it works. Dave Maulbeck’s Wily is textbook mad scientist, cartoonish and over the top, and I love it. Edward X. Young as Dr. Light is a fountain of exposition and it gets tiresome, but this might be an intentional nod to the games where that’s his role. Still, he gets in some genuine moments with the robots that are enjoyabale. The special effects are nearly on par with the finest SciFi Channel Original Movie, which is a compliment for a low budget fan film. I was impressed by the design of the three all CGI Robot Masters, but I’ll admit that my expectations were low. The robotic armor for Mega, Proto, and the other Robot Masters would be distracting in a big budget film, but they’re forgivable in a fan production like this.

This movie is watchable, which is more than I can say for most studio produced video game adaptations. My biggest problem with it was the name (seriously, Mega Man. Two words. It’s like making a Spider-Man and calling him “Spiderman.”) and the fight scenes.

But I’m impressed by the amount of effort that went into this. Again, for an independent fan film, Eddie Lebron did a great job. Check it out at and see for yourself at Blue Core Studios.

I can’t wait to see how his next work, based on one of my favorite intellectual properties, turns out. Apparently, Lebron has a thing for blue protagonists taking on mad roboticists.


Lives and Continues

What happened to lives and continues in video games? Nowadays, you die, who cares? Just pick it up from the last long hallway you walked through. How many times? Until you’re tired of playing. The checkpoint and unlimited continue system of modern games has spoiled this generation of gamers. They’ll never know the heart ache of staring the final boss in the face, defient and determined to win, with only one life and no continues, only to be bitch-slapped back to stage one. They’ll also never know the triumph of sneaking in that last attack and stealing victory just as the end is nigh.

These so-called hardcore gamers. How many people would’ve beat Halos of Warfare 3 on OMFGendary if your continues were limited.
And don’t get me started on regenerating health.
Do you know what we used to call these gameplay elements back in the day? Cheat codes. You needed a Game Genie and an 8 digit code to have that kind of peace of mind.

The worst part of it is that that fear is perminantly instilled in me. Even as a play these modern games, I cling to each “life” like it’s my last. Which leads to me cowering atop a gargoyle in Arkham City, while two-bit thugs mock me. All because I’m afraid that one lucky bullet from just one of those crooks will have me starting from scratch in Arkham Asylum.

Oh, it’s cruel? It’s unfair? You know what else is cruel and unfair? Life! It takes you out of the game? You know what takes me out of the game? Being immortal. Having zero consequences for my mistakes. I could be the worst player in the world, and admittedly I might be, but I’ll never see menu screen again until I’m forced to reset the game for the next Xbox Live update.

If you’re going to add checkpoints, why exclude them from the one genre that would benefit most from them: fighting games. What I wouldn’t give to see the “Checkpoint Reached” dialog pop up when I’ve gotten the final boss down to that last sliver of health. Just before he unleashes that SuperUltraMegaCombo with Cheese that rapes 80% of my life bar.

Super Mario Bros. The Movie

Super Mario Bros. The Movie, or SMB:TM as I affectionately refer to it, is one of the first movies I ever saw in theaters as a child, so I will always see the movie through these rose tinted nostalgia goggles. As I’ve gotten older and more discerning when it comes to films, my opinion of it hasn’t changed and I continue to watch it at least once a year. It will always be one of my favorite movies. It’s almost unreal how much I enjoy watching SMB:TM.

With that being said, I pride myself on my ability to put personal inclination aside and be completely neutral and non-bias when watching and reviewing anything.

So without further ado, let me tell you about the greatest motherplumbing movie in the universe.
Continue reading

My Reaction To The New Black Spider-Man

After the death of Peter Parker in Marvel Comic’s Ultimate line, a new hero has taken up the mantle of Spider-man to continue his wall crawling crusade on crime. Two weeks ago, Marvel leaked the identity of Parker’s web slinging successor: Miles Morales, a half-black/half-hispanic teen with similar spider powers and alliterative name. And the web’s reaction to this new biracial Spider-man has been mixed. No pun intended.


Meanwhile, supporters of the new Spider-man are glad to see a kid that represents the diversity of the city he protects. Other supporters are proud to see a kid that represents THEM become the new Spider-man.

My reaction to my favorite superhero having a new secret identity that I can identify with?
Continue reading

Sonic’s 20th Anniversary

“Blue Streak! Speeds By! SONIC THE HEDGEHOG!
Too Fast! For the Naked Eye! SONIC THE HEDGEHOG!”

I love Sonic the Hedgehog. Seriously, don’t even get me started. The speed. The attitude. The music. The story, where applicable. All of it.

Following the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise has been a wild roller coaster ride with its share of highs and lows. The true blue hero hit the ground running at top speed in 1991, but he lost a lot of momentum as he tripped and stumbled through his transition to 3D. With the “success” of COLORS, he seems to be gaining back some steam and hopefully Sonic Generations, the project being released to celebrate their 20th Anniversary, provides him with another much needed boost.

As I brace for the arrival Sonic Generations, I remember all of my favorite moments with the hyperactive hedgehog. I could ramble about those, but a list that extensive could crash the server. So instead, I think I’ll ramble about a few of the times where the Sonic franchise failed to deliver as expected.

Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1

“Sonic is finally back!” It was impossible to find a review for Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1 that didn’t include those words in some shape or form. It wasn’t until I played it that I realized that everyone was being sarcastic. Play Sonic 3 & Knuckles and Sonic 4 back to back for five minutes each and it should be apparent that something vital is missing.

I thought that it would a smart move for Sega to go back-to-basics, but they probably should’ve reviewed their basic physics first. A Hedgehog in motion stays in motion, unless acted upon by an outside force. How viscous is the atmosphere on Mobius that Sonic loses all momentum the second he goes airborne? And what’s the coefficient of friction on that grass that it takes Sonic a half an hour to get up to top speed? And what was the blood alcohol level of the reviewers who enjoyed this game?

Perhaps I’m being too harsh. Immediately after turning off Sonic 4 I played Sonic 3 and Knuckles to recover, so in a roundabout way the game did deliver the nostalgic thrill it promised.

Sonic X

This anime debuted in Japan shortly after Sonic Adventure 2 just finished kicking ass on the Dreamcast. For those that forgot, SA2 was a game that featured Dr. Robotnik blowing a piece of the moon off as a warning shot to Earth. Also featured was Dr. Robotnik’s grandfather’s execution, where he sentenced the entire planet to death (by meteor!) as revenge for the military killing his granddaughter, Maria. So naturally when I heard that there would be a Sonic anime that included the cast from the Sonic Adventure games, I assumed it would have the same somewhat serious tone as the games. Finally, a worthy successor to Sonic SatAM. Right? Not quite.

Instead of the maturity and gravitas of the Adventure games, they focused instead of the ever expanding cast of ridiculously cute critters. They transported Sonic and Pals to the real world, where they met their equally saccharine supporting cast of humans. The anime itself loosely followed the plot of the newest games at times, but with lighter and softer shenanigans and a much wackier and more comically incompetent Dr. Robotnik, complete with idiot robot sidekicks. Not nearly on the same level as the Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog Robotnik, but still…

Obviously aimed at a young audience, I couldn’t help but wonder if there was a way to split the difference and appeal to fans who grew up with the games and younger generations alike. I also wondered if Sega and Sonic Team owed Disney and Square Enix any money for using Sora from Kingdom Hearts in their anime.

Sonic Ice Cream Pops

Where do I even start? First of all, I read that the flavor was supposed to be blue raspberry and cherry, but I only ever tasted blue food coloring. His nose was blue, not black. His spines were always mutilated and deformed. The gumball eyes were never in the right place. Never. The flavor of the gumball eyes was the only thing they nailed, because nothing runs out faster.

Sonic’s Restaurant

Seriously, what is with this place!? I eat there every time I go down south, but I’ve yet to see a sign of the eponymous hedgehog. Not so much as a single blue quill. It’s like they don’t even know he exists!

They do have some delicious golden rings (called onion rings on the menu, oddly enough) and chili dogs, so at least that’s something. And service is fast, but nowhere near the speed of sound. The roller skates on the waitresses are a nice touch, but I’d rather see them replaced with some the trademark red and white Soap shoes.

I’ll admit that seeing Jaleel White working there was a pleasant surprise, but that might’ve just been an unfortunate coincidence.

Luckily, all of those slip-ups are now behind us and the Sonic franchise, much like the hedgehog himself, never looks back. But it does look like Sonic Team is FINALLY starting to learn from its mistakes. This gameplay trailer for Sonic Generations looks amazing.

They’ve combined some of my favorite elements from the recent Sonic games: the boost meter and trick system, grinding, beautiful level design, and, most importantly, speed. Glorious speed. I would still love to see some more innovation from the franchise, but every time they try to make a huge step it’s always in the wrong direction, so I’ll take what I can get.

Maybe what Sega and Team Sonic needs is some new blood to design their next game. I just so happen to have a ton of brilliant ideas, whenever you’re ready to develop a revolutionary Sonic game, give me a call guys. I’m waiting.

Happy 11th Birthday Sega Dreamcast

Happy 11th Birthday to the Sega Dreamcast!

I have so many great memories of this system. From a rampaging Orca destroying the wooden docks just behind Sonic the Hedgehog as he races to safety at top speed, to Ryo Hazuki beating the tar out of 70 Mad Angels goons in a warehouse to rescue Nozomi, this system and the titles that came out for it were filled with amazing gaming moments.

Remember scrambling for Power Stones so you could transform into a Super Saiyan Expy and launch an enormous golden energy ball at your opponents, level-grinding online with your friends so you can afford new weapons for your Newman Ranger, weaving wildly through traffic so you could get that annoying customer out of the backseat of your Crazy Taxi, or Mareg sacrificing himself so that the rest of your party could escape the Moon of Valmar?

Remember your Bleem! boot disk?

Yeah, me neither.

Dreamcast is without a doubt my favorite system. It’s controller was the first to introduce the dual-trigger setup. The browser and online capabilities were impressive, considering it was the first to offer them. I loved getting Holiday themed DLC for Sonic Adventure. And the VMU was an amazing idea, one that I’m still waiting for other systems to implement.

The relationship between the PS3 and PSP is coming close to it. The PokéWalker from SoulSilver and HeartGold has the right idea, but considering that the DS is also portable system, it left me wondering if it was really necessary.

But I digress. The Dreamcast was phenomenal, especially considering the train wreck of a system it had to follow. I was disappointed when Sega decided to stop making systems. The hardware was solid, the software was beautiful.

A Dreamcast 2 (or even a Dreamcast Slim) and a decent marketing campaign (seriously, did you ever see a commercial for Skies of Arcadia?) would’ve made Sega a major competitor in the console market again.

And despite being 11 years old, apparently people are still developing games for it. Suddenly, I really feel like dusting mine off and playing it this weekend. I’ve still got my VMU, but I might need to borrow a controller from Kassim.