Friday, January 30, 2009
From the website:
Thursday, January 29, 2009
This, the "Street Fighter IV FightStick Tournament Edition," is seriously hardcore. Priced at $169.99, the buttons and joystick are made out of the same high-quality materials as the actual arcade cabinet's, and it has some other bells and whistles. This is definitely out of my price range, but I can still stare and yearn and crave.
This beaut (no idea how to spell that, but I like to talk like a southern used car salesman sometimes), the "Street Fighter IV FightStick," will run you about $69.99. It's made of less expensive materials than its fancy cousin, and it's not as sturdy, but word is it'll do the job. And it looks rad.
Fortunately, there is a less expensive option for those of us lesser (and poorer) nerds: the "Street Fighter IV Fightpad," a $39.99 controller with a specially-designed digital pad, and the classic Street Fighter 6-button layout on the face of the controller. I'll probably end up getting one of these (either with Ryu or Akuma as the featured character), as I really hate playing Street Fighter with the PS3 controller...plus I'm a fan of the arts!
In the end, remember: Whatever special controller you or I are suckered into buying because we're feeling momentarily excited about a stupid videogame, the real power...is in all of us.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
From Yahoo News...
Rourke ready to rumble in Houston
HOUSTON – Listen up wrestlin' fans: actor Wrestlemania 25 in Reliant Stadium on April 5.says he's ready to rumble with WWE superstar at
Rourke portrays professional wrestler Randy the Ram in the acclaimed movie "."
He's signed to wrestle Jericho, for real.
He made a surprise announcement Sunday night on the red carpet before the Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles.
He said he was pleased by the acceptance of the movie by all the WWE wrestlers — except Jericho.
Then Rourke said he was going to toss Jericho "around the ring like tossed salad."
Meanwhile, Jericho, appearing on WWE television, said, Rourke was out of line and that he was offended by Rourke's comments. He said Rourke made "a mistake."
Monday, January 26, 2009
*Except for the brown and tan.
Friday, January 23, 2009
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Monday, January 12, 2009
Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes
It's nice to hear some melody, harmonies, and engaging singing again, isn't it? This album is the definition of timelessness, as it blends folk with Beach Boys harmonies and sounds like a lost gem. This is a startlingly good debut, and lead singer/songwriter Robin Pecknold is definitely a great talent. I don't know how many times I've listed to "White Winter Hymnal."
The Fireman - Electric Arguments
I'm a little biased here because I love Paul McCartney's entire body of work; I've always felt that his highs and lows are equally fascinating, because his curiosity for music theory and his virtuoso playing are always interesting. Anyway, forget the lows. Ever since 1997's excellent Flaming Pie, McCartney has been on a creative tear, with 2005's Chaos and Creation in the Backyard featuring some of the best songs of his career. And while his new Fireman album (made with producer Youth) isn't quite a masterpiece, it's a return to the McCartney who could make some weird, loud shit. (Remember, it was Paul who put the otherworldly tape loops on "Tomorrow Never Knows.") Whether on the incredible rocker "Nothing Too Much Just Out of Sight" or the folksy, Ram-esque "Two Magpies," this record is more interesting and daring than most of today's bands are capable.
Raphael Saadiq - The Way I See It
This was the biggest surprise of the year. Raphael Saadiq, formerly of Tony! Toni! Toné!, has turned out what I think is a real classic R&B album; not in the garbage 1990s R&B sense, but real R&B, meaning The Temptations, Smokey Robinson, and The Drifters. Sure, it's retro in the vein of Amy Winehouse, but lyrically, musically, and production-wise, it's a knockout. Each song on this album would be a Top 10 hit in a fairer world. Listen to it and remember why you love Motown.
From character design to story, this is, somehow, Pixar's best film to date, and gets my vote for best children's film of all-time. Absolutely magical from start to finish, mixing a heartwarming love story with a startlingly strong anti-corporate message, this is a movie that will last forever.
The Dark Knight
So much has been said about The Dark Knight that I almost feel guilty about showering even more praise on it, but that would be a disservice to it. Never mind lumping it in the "comic book movie" category; this is top-rate, artful film-making, dressed up with superheroes. Yeah, the whole bombs-on-the-boats thing at the end is a little weak compared to what came before, and Christopher Nolan's disjointed style can be confusing, but don't let that spoil everything this film accomplished. Heath Ledger turns in a performance that we'll talk about for the rest of our lives; the film asks some tough moral questions and doesn't give us easy answers; and it's tragic, something most blockbusters don't even try.
I've always been a fan of Ben Stiller -- including The Cable Guy, which I'm convinced will someday be hailed as the work of brilliance it is! -- and Tropic Thunder is possibly the best work of his career. It simultaneously lampoons and salutes the more inane aspects of Hollywood and acting, and the whole cast is hilarious throughout. Of course, Robert Downey Jr. deserves an Oscar nod.
Grant Morrison's run on Batman was a little hit-or-miss for me, but I thought Batman: RIP redeemed the entire run. Spooky, weird, and endlessly captivating, Morrison reminds us why we love this guy so much, and why we'll miss him.
Yep, another Grant Morrison book, but this one was never, ever hit-or-miss. All-Star Superman, now finished after 12 amazing issues, is the best Superman story of all-time, and don't let anyone tell you different. Morrison takes everything about Superman, mixes it up a little, and gives it back to us in new, exciting ways. Everything about it -- especially the climax, featuring a super-powered Lex Luthor and a Superman who never gives up -- will make you feel like a kid again, as you find yourself in awe of the best superhero there is once again.
I don't remember this coming out in single issues, but I spotted the trade in a Borders one day, and it was just calling for me to use my gift card on it. And I'm glad I did. This collection of stories about con-artists, losers, and relationships will break your heart. It actually gets better once Brian Wood drops the superheroics from the mix, but overall, this is some of the best sequential storytelling I've come across in a long time.
Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots
The reason I bought a PS3, and it was worth it. The graphics are stunning and the story is a fitting end to the saga of Solid Snake, who is still badass in his old age. There is some typically weird Japanese stuff, such as Snake gripping the privates of a statue while evading capture, but altogether, this is a great Metal Gear game. It makes some great advances -- a stellar first-person view, the ability fire weapons while lying on your back, etc. -- and is just the right length. Things get bigger and bigger, and the story more and more interesting, until it all ends with an awesome fistfight. Apparently there's a Metal Gear Solid 5 on the way, but how can it ever match this, without Solid Snake and/or creator Hideo Kojima?
Grand Theft Auto 4
I'll come right out and say it: I did not finish this game. But I played enough of it to realize that this was something special. From the fully realized recreation of New York (Brooklyn in the hizzie) to the smart, funny script, this lived up to the hype. Oh, and it's insanely fun.
Mario Kart Wii
Mario Kart Wii received some negative reviews, and I really don't get it. Nintendo added motorcycles (!), online (!), Mii support (!) and more classic tracks (!) from past Mario Kart games. Really, what's not to like? It controls perfectly with the Wiimote and nunchuk (forget the pack-in steering wheel), and the courses are just as imaginative as ever. I love this game, and still play it.
Friday, January 9, 2009
Thursday, January 8, 2009
The story for Rhodes after that album's release is actually kind of sad: contracted to deliver one album every 6 months, which he couldn't do since he made the records all by himself, Rhodes was sued by his label. After two more records that were rushed and not up to snuff, Rhodes quit the biz to become an engineer and producer. From the interviews I've read with him, he seems a little crazy, but he did give us one fantastic album.
Don't believe me? Some nice YouTuber compiled four songs from Emitt Rhodes in this one nifty video:
And here's a rare single of Emitt's, the killer "Birthday Lady":
So one of the most original and severely underrecognized The World/Inferno Friendship Society is getting some buzz from some fanzine called The New York Times with the re-release of their musical/multimedia punk rock odyssey “Addicted to Bad Ideas: Peter Lorre’s 20th Century.” Inspired by the life of actor, icon, and Looney Tunes fodder Peter Lorre, Inferno combines both original films and live music to create a sensory onslaught for angst-ridden youth and the comfortably old. Inferno has been bending musical genres for well over a decade without missing a single opportunity to incite slamdancing and slamromancing, mosh pits, jitterbugging, wine-induced stagedives and malt liquor charlestons across the globe.
Check out this decent writeup in The New York Times.
Inferno plays tomorrow Janurary 9 at Webster Hall. Don't forget your spats. Don't forget your flask.
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
EGM took great strides to change with the times and stay above grade-school fare like the awful GamePro. Their reviews were always -- always -- spot on, written in equal amounts tech-geek speak and normal-folk language. In addition, EGM added several great features the last few years, including profiles of different jobs in the game industry, interviews with soundtrack composers, game designers, and more. I will honestly miss getting this magazine in the mail each month.
Anyways! There was a contest a couple of years back where fans had to put a radio clip of their choice to video. This is my favorite:
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
My Journey Through "The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess", or How I Came to Appreciate Casual Games
And by playing through the game -- which I bought on launch day way back in November, 2006, and barely tried, afraid of how long it would take to finish -- I came to appreciate casual games in a whole new way. Now, don't get me wrong. Twilight Princess is an incredible gaming experience; the controls are excellent, the puzzles and bosses are inventive, and the game is altogether dazzling. But it just goes on and on and on. Think you're at the end? Not so! Turns out you need to put some old mirror back together. Now it's over, right? Nope! It's time to travel all over Hyrule looking for missing letters from some ancient book. Sure, this is nothing new -- N64's Ocarina of Time and GameCube's brilliant Wind Waker were both massive games as well -- and most modern titles such as God of War and Grand Theft Auto are equally epic and time consuming. But it's easy to see why Nintendo has chosen their current route of creating shorter games, such as Wii Sports and Wii Fit. The obvious and well-documented fact is that these games are cheaper to make and have been able to appeal to nongamers (like my mom, dad, sister, brother-in-law, Aunt Joan, Aunt Maria, etc.), thus bringing in a whole new demographic to the industry. But they also appeal to older hardcore gamers like me, by offering a new experience that doesn't suck your life force away. I still play Wii Sports when friends are over, and I use Wii Fit to track my (sad) progress at the actual gym. And I can still get the fun of playing a solid game and have time to do other things.
So, in short: The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess is dope. You're insane if you own a Wii and haven't bought it. But, for me, I think I'm down to one supermegaepic videogame per year from now on. Maybe I am actually just getting too old for this shit.*
*Though Killzone 2 is looking pretty awesome...so who knows.