Thursday, December 29, 2011

Resident Troll: The Plot of Ever Shoujo Manga Ever

Spoiler alert: I'm about to tell you the plot of every shoujo manga ever created ever.Just kidding. But not really.

For those of you who don't know (also meaning, most of you), shoujo manga is basically girls manga. That's just about the literal translation. Don't confuse it with shoujo-ai, which is something most straight boys would want everything to do with.

This is how they go, my friends.



So there's a girl. And she's not supermegafoxyawesomehot. Sorry. She's usually the awkward one, never been kissed, never been in love. Usually she's fifteen, because that's when high school starts in Japan. Then there's this guy, and oh my god, girl, he is fine. All the girls want him, but for some reason, he wants Miss Never Been Kissed. Usually this boy is introduced and there's some sort of sparkling about him. Maybe he saves the heroin from getting raped (like in Mars), or stands up for her when the entire class gangs up on her. (Seriously.) And because everyone and their mother admires this boy, Never Been Kissed suddenly gets a good amount of respect.

At this point, of course, there's always the option where the story gets all rape-y and the pretty boy goes GIRL I STOOD UP FOR YOU NOW, SO I OWN YOU. And stuff. When it comes to things out of Japan, it's usually either as G rated as a Disney Princess movie, or as fucked up as a website with a domain ending in .xx. Yeah, that's right New York Comic Con. I saw all the hentai booths, with the over eighteen drapes.

So yeah. Blahblahblah. There's a bout of unrequited love. A lot of 'does he like me!?!?!?!!!!', the girl realizing her feelings and admiring the pretty boy. And then the confession. Now, the confession does not equal the kiss, okay compadre? That's a whole nother story. Usually shit's just gone down, Never Been Kissed thinks that the pretty boy hates her. Then it's all NO I LUV U.

Yeah. The story might end here. Depends on how long it is. I once read a manga where it took fourty fucking chapters for the confession to come out. That means ten different volumes. You'd have to spend at least a hundred dollars before you got to it. (The manga is Kimi no Todoke, by the way. I forget the English translation.) Anyways. Then pretty boy and Never Been Kisses are officially a couple. Woot.

Generally, the following happens:
  1. Pretty boy has a hoard of admirers who abuse Never Been Kissed. They might steal her shoes (because in Japan, you need special shoes to walk around in school. I don't really know why.) or they might hire someone to rough her up. Exhibit A.
  2. Pretty boy has an intimidating ex girlfriend who is super perfect!!!!! This brings out Never Been Kissed's every one insecurity. 
  3. Another boy enters the picture, and the Prince gets all jealous. 
Blah. Blah. Blah. Honestly, they're all the same. Somehow, people keep coming back. There are the occasional exceptions, the only one coming to mind is Kaori Yuki's Godchild, which is more blood and less romance. I don't know why I read these things. Maybe because I hope something will change it all.

Do not mistake, though. Some shoujo manga is really good, with depth and tear-jerking moments, but most of it is fluff and angst, in timed intervals.

Coming up eventually: a review on The Walking Dead: Compendium One. It's fucking huge, though, so that may just take a while.

    Tuesday, December 20, 2011

    Slightly Redder Red: Video Game Deaths

    So, uh,

    fuck Aeris Gainsborough.


    Come at me, weaboos, come on, really, I dare you.

    Seriously, why do gamers always immediately hop on the FFVII bandwagon when it comes to video game deaths? I won't deny that FFVII is a really great game, I honestly just did not feel that stab to the heart that so many others felt seeing her die.

    Hey now, that doesn't mean I'm not a sensitive person. I've seen The Lion King over 200 times (albeit more than 180 of those were before age 5) and cried every time Mufasa dies (I've just started to harden up during that scene, but don't be surprised seeing me shed a tear or two watching that scene). That's some serious sensitive guy cred. I just don't find Aeris's death that moving of a moment. Yes, it was Sephiroth's blow to Cloud, and yes, you could never get Aeris back after she was killed, but why does that make it so much worse?

    The main reason I'm writing this is because IGN placed Aeris's death as their #1 moment in video gaming history. I find this trying; why a party member in front of the main character? They had Crono's death (Chrono Trigger for those reading this who are incredibly daft) listed as #37. I was way more attached to Crono with my brief time spent on Chrono Trigger than to Aeris in my time with FFVII. Is Aeris so much worse because she's a love interest? Does the thought that Cloud and Aeris will never be together due to Sephiroth's blow make it so much worse? If it does, then put down the controller and go read a Nicholas Sparks novel. Turn in your man card. I'll buy you a copy My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic Season 1 on Blu-ray.

    Know who's death was much worse on me?


    Nathan Hale, of the Resistance: Fall of Man franchise.

    This man had been through hell and back. He destroyed the Angels, saved Britain from a total occupation by the Chimera, destroyed the flagship of the Chimeran fleet in America, and killed Daedalus, the twisted product of Dr. Malikov's quest to stop the Chimera. And what happened to him? His immunity to the Chimera virus consumed him. He was quickly turning into what Daedalus had become, and after delivering his final lines of insanity, is SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER shot in the head by Joe Capelli, his only surviving SRPA squad mate.

    This fucking shocked me. The entire game was leading up to killing Daedalus, the monster who was responsible for the battle strategies to take the United States and who killed half your squad, and he won. Daedalus won. He really fucking did in the end.

    Joe Capelli is a character. Joe hates Hale, and is the only member of your squad that openly abuses him for being half Chimera. Hale's descent into becoming one of the enemy is truly heart wrenching to look at, his face becoming gaunt and pale, his eyes shining a brighter and brighter shade of gold. But Joe is who makes you feel like a monster. His abusive nature is what drives Hale to succeed against the Chimera, to prove to SRPA and his squadmates that he was just as human and sane as they are, but all that is cut short. Daedalus had to swoop in and fuck everything for Hale. He was left with Joe, who survives bitterly. Your final mission into Mexico to kill Daedalus and take an eye for an eye is emotionally straining for Hale and Joe, as their camaraderie is solidified in their victory. The hostility behind them, they fly from the falling flagship in a stolen Chimeran fighter and crash into the shores of the Yucatan Peninsula.

    Joe gets out of the fighter, and watches Hale standing on the shores looking out at the flagship.

    The next minute was as gut wrenching to watch as Rocky.

    I will often cite Resistance 2 as my favorite shooter of all time, and this is the moment that makes it.

    But that's not the only terrible video game death I can cite, oh no sir. Other deaths more moving than Aeris Gainsborough's include:

    1) Anyone from Heavy Rain

    2) John Marston (Red Dead Redemption)

    3) Galuf Doe (Final Fantasy 5)

    Those stick out. And HOLY SHIT? THERE"S A BETTER DEATH IN A FINAL FANTASY THAN AERIS'S?

    Yes. Galuf was your mentor, your guide, and the one man you put your faith in to help you. And he gets stolen away from you. Yes, he too is never usable again in your party, and he too will never speak to his granddaughter or Bartz again (save the endgame). So why is his death more important than Aeris's?

    Aeris Gainsborough was a cliche. The moment I laid eyes on her I KNEW in my heart that she was going to fucking bite it. She's the cliched member of the party placed there literally just to cause moments, the one placed there just as a love interest, and the one placed there just to die. Cliches aren't fun in a video game, and I have always hated Aeris, then and now, for being who she is. I could go on for hours about this, but I won't, because I have shit to do, and I don't feel like raving about weaboo trash anymore.

    tl;dr - Aeris Gainsborough's death is a moment completely inflated out of proportion.

    PS: Let the record show I never liked FFVI, and anyone who bitches me out for not including a FFVI death can suck it.

    Friday, December 16, 2011

    Slightly Redder Red: Weekend Update 5

    1) I DID have a second article to put out, it's sitting in the drafts section, but I published two posts besides my Weekend Update this week and it would be weird to do more than two. The procrastination comic was brought on by not doing a paper on A Separate Peace, which is, if you haven't read it, the Top Gun of american literature. Like, really. There are so many unintentionally homosexual scenes it kills me. We actually brought it up in class, and my teacher told us the author had been pressed about this before, and apparently  he actually had no idea the book would ever be considered gay in any way. Literally shocked at the notion. How?

    2) Know how Old Republic comes out in like, a few days? Guess what?


    THIS SHIT RIGHT HERE

    Magicka Sabers are totally lore friendly. But I don't understand why the maker of the mod couldn't just ADD the Jedi Robes to the game instead of retexturing Blade's Armor. He added the sabers... but I won't complain. Author of this mod is a fucking bro, and I enjoy wielding my Sith Warblade and Jedi Peacemaker with a great enthusiasm. Plus, I can wear Daedric Armor and look like Vader sorta. It's evil.

    3) Acquiring Deus Ex: HR in the near future, so we'll see how that goes. Expecting good things.

    4) I want to either reread the entire His Dark Materials trilogy or Ender's Game. Probably will go with Ender's. I need sci-fi literature to read. Yes, I consider HDM both fantasy and sci-fi, like Star Wars.

    5) Working on more shitty models. Almost finished Ornstein, and I got sidetracked and started making little soldiers and made a little battlefield for them to fight in. On the subject of Battlefield 3 (even though I state in my bio bullshit whatever that I will not talk about Battlefield 3), my father intends on getting really good at it, and is playing Modern Warfare with my brother and I to train. Not that Modern Warfare is going to train him for tanks and planes and shit, but hey, shooting will be covered. And the original Modern Warfare. No COD game will ever top Modern Warfare.

    ...... DARN! That's the end.

    Thursday, December 15, 2011

    Slightly Redder Red: Procrastination


    Because fuck Separate Peace, it's the fucking Top Gun of american literature. And this gay earth. I want to stop being awake but I know I have to be awake. HFISUHAGFSFGASYUHASYU

    Wednesday, December 14, 2011

    Shatterblog!: The Old Republic

    Obviously, I already wrote a lot on The Old Republic. However, as the early access to the full game has begun, I will be covering it more completely over the next several weeks. I'm definitely stealing IGN's "Review Log" idea. I'll post entries about crafting, combat, story, etc, as well as my experiences around once a week.Honestly, I'm tired of seeing like 15 Slightly Redder Red posts. That was a joke. At least SOMEONE here is writing. Yeah, I'm taking shots at all my compatriots. Problem? Anyway, if there's anything you'd like covered in detail, make sure to drop a comment. Prove to me that you exist. I'm pretty sure only ghosts are reading this. All that aside, let me know, and expect regular updates.

    Tuesday, December 13, 2011

    Slightly Redder Red: Marvel Universe VERSUS The Punisher/Wolverine

    Ho. Lee. Fuck.

    Those are the words which left my mouth reading this series.

    Imagine if 28 Days Later happened in the Marvel Universe.

    That's basically what this is.

    Johnathan Maberry and Goran Parlov have crafted this intense masterpiece that almost eludes to be described by words. Brutal, heart rending, and true to its source material, this is one of the greatest works I've ever read. It rivals novels in story structure, and rivals the visuals of today's most striking films. Just this intense ride that never lets you go.


    Versus Wolverine came after, but it serves as a prequel to Versus Punisher, so read that first if you feel the need. If I were to pick a stronger one of the two, VW would take the win. It has much more strength and shots to the heart than VP does, and strikes so much fear into the heart when read. Moments like the battle on the Brooklyn Bridge or Wolverine dealing the most painful blows he has ever had to deal keep one emotionally attached to the work in more ways than one, always holding you in it's death grip of a seat and never letting the pace slow down.

    28 Days Later is a great movie, anyone will say, but it would be even better if the infected were super-powered. You just known instinctively that the whole world is fucked the moment you rest your eyes on Spiderman eating the Rhino in front of a packed Madison Square Garden. The first of the infected totally surprised me, the fact they picked Spiderman to be the harbinger of the end of the world threw me off guard. The sarcastic and fun loving hero was now the looming, ever present darkness, and he does a damn good job at it, even with minimal screen time.

    Wolverine is the star of the show though, and he also does a damn fine job in his role. Logan's primal and personal conflicts are tested by this virus, and on multiple occasions he's forced to put some of his closest friends out of their misery. But that never slows  him down, not even losing one of his hands to Hulk can slow down Wolverine. He's the ultimate in perseverance, and his goal of helping his fellow man never leaves his sight. The supporting cast does great at providing more to the story, the most notable being Deadpool. Deadpool is primarily treated as a cliche in modern Marvel comics, but I truly felt attached to Deadpool. Logan trusts him after what they go through, and winning the trust of the world's greatest assassin is an accomplishment on its own.

    I legitimately shed tears multiple times during the course of reading this work. Maberry's moments of total desperation and despair are outlined by Parlov's excellent artwork. The friends battling friends, the futility of the combat against The Hulk's army, and Cap's exit are all tender moments.


    Let it be known I did not bawl my eyes out like at the end of The Amber Spyglass (did I really just say that on the internet?).

    The pitting of infected versus human has been stylized for decades in American art, but it never has found a proper foothold in the superhero genre IMHO (Blackest Night doesn't count, I believe Versus is the better of the twin situations. DC and Marvel are always fucking copying each other... at least Marvel's was non-canon, and the non-canon material put out by the two competing companies are always the best). This is it.

    If Versus Wolverine is the true chronicle of the world's downfall, then Versus Punisher is its death rattle. The story takes off where VW ended, or rather eleven hundred days after the events of VW. The Punisher remained in New York while Mr. Fantastic, T'Challa, and Wolverine went to the Arctic Circle, for the sole purpose of removing the infected people and supers from the world. The effects of the wars are present; survivors corralled up by infected supers, destroyed landscapes (once again beautifully drawn by Parlov), and The Punisher. Who else would be so perfect for the role of the last uninfected Super living in New York?

    His mission is anything but perfect, however. The sole reason is not to protect the weak of New York, but to hunt and kill Spiderman, the first infected. It's a mission of honor, in that destroying the source of all the madness brought into the world will make it easier on the rest of the world. Spiderman also rules one of the largest tribes of supers, so there's also the motive to scatter them via a destroyed leadership. But ultimatums and ignorance cause everything to blow up pretty quickly, which is beautiful.

    The Punisher has always been a complex character to me in how simple he is. His strict black and white moral code are his constant downfall, and remain to be so even in post-apocalypse. There is no shade of gray for him, you're either good or evil, and the latter simply does not deserve a place on this Earth. But, as Donnie Darko put it: "You can't just lump things into two categories, things aren't that simple." That's what makes everyone hate Punisher in the end, and deep down, he hates himself for it.

    So..... just read this. Buy it at a comic store, in a bookstore, on the Nook store, [pirate it], just get your hands on this thing.

    OH: Chazz, I don't count Blackest Night because those weren't zombies, they were cosmic anomalies brought on by the alien Black Lantern rings. Zombies =\= cosmic anomalies.

    Saturday, December 10, 2011

    Slightly Redder Red: Weekend Update 4

    It's cookie weekend. So much dough. And cookies.

    1) Was out all week of sports with a bad ankle. Sucks, hurts to walk, figures the first time in 6 years I get up to exercise regularly I'm not able to do that anymore. Whyyyyy.

    2) Resistance 3 is sooooo much better than people are putting it out to be. A lot of people are citing Game Informer's average review, calling them "professionals" (I personally have always hated the writers of Game Informer) and that their opinion is probably the most accurate, but what the fuck do THEY know? They're the ones who keep giving the annual Call of Duty near perfect reviews (then again, so is the rest of the industry). I feel sorry for Insomniac in that they spent their budget making an amazing game then paying off reviewers to give it a good score (or begging their fans on Twitter).

    3) To the passing remark I made about the whole "CoD Director Asking Fans to Give it a Perfect Score on Metacritic" incident (and I have explained my stand on that before): the video game that set world records for being the fastest selling entertainment product of all time has no need for grovelling for purchases. If, let's say, a small indie company was Twittering to their fans saying "Hey, guys, it'd be super cool if you recommended our game to your friends, and maybe shoot it a good review!" They might need the extra sales by word of mouth because they put all their budget into the game, not into market campaigns lasting months on end. If Infinity Ward does it? They already spent millions of dollars on marketing, and they've already got over fifty thousand perfect review scores from every game reviewer and their mom. I honestly get really mad thinking about that. I'm so hipster.

    4) I made a model of the Gaping Dragon boss from Dark Souls. Here's pics!



      It's kinda meh, did it in about 20 minutes. Kept falling over.

    5) I really enjoy these weekend update posts....

    6) I do have 2 articles waiting in the wings which I'll put out next week, just to avoid not putting anything out. My erratic schedule as of late has made it hard to post things as often as I used to. Also will probably start making more shitty models just because they're something I really enjoy doing.

    Thanks for listenin', chiiiiiiildren. Hahahaha, I love Three-Dog. Nazir is cool too.

    Friday, December 9, 2011

    Shatterblog!: Castle Season One Review

    So I realize I'm way behind the times, but I just watched the first season of Castle over the last few days. It's an important plot point in this review that Nathan Fillion is my favorite actor, Firefly is my favorite show, and Halo (which he voices in) is my favorite game franchise. So I'm a bit biased.
    The basic premise of the show is nothing astonishingly creative. A crime write Richard Castle (Fillion) has writers block, end up involved in a polica case, and decides to start following Detective Becket (Katic) around on cases to get material for a new series. The cases are pretty interesting, and each episode can stand alone as a single case. I constantly try to guess who the killer is, and it often goes in directions I don't suspect in the least. A lot of crime shows these days are losing this fresh feeling. Castle maintained it beautifully, at least for the first season. The real draw of the show has to be the characters. Castle is the best (no bias at all there). He's definitely a douchebag a lot of the time, but he's funny. A lot of his jokes are actually really clever, which is different from most douchebags' heavy use of lame one-liners. His relationship with Beckett, who is a fan, but finds him annoying, is the source of a lot of laughs. His relationship with his mother, who lives with him, is even more fun at times. I think the relationship he has with his daughter could be a bit more fleshed out, but it's realistic, and there are some pretty touching moments. The show does a good job of balancing story (usually the case) progression along with character interaction and development. I won't include spoilers, but at one point Castle does a Chris Walken impression. It was hysterical. I highly recommend it to anyone. No bias whatsoever.

    Saturday, December 3, 2011

    Slightly Redder Red: Weekend Update 3

    So, my week has been extremely busy, and I had no time to make any other posts besides this one.

    1) I started track this week, and for someone who has literally never exercised vigorously for six days a week, running a little more than 3 miles a day is taking serious tolls on my legs... they literally feel like jelly sometimes.

    2) The only enjoyment I've had all week was spending my free time playing Assassin's Creed: Revelations, and I beat the main story in about nine hours. Much shorter than Brotherhood or AC2, but it was still a really satisfying experience. I was severely pissed off about IGN's 8.5 score. Eight point five? Seriously? The story was wrapped up nicely for Ezio, he knew his purpose, and he played his necessary part in keeping the balance of the world intact, and I'm super excited to play as Desmond in AC3. Although I heard that it's gonna take place mostly in Egypt. WHYYYYY, I wanted to be an assassini around New York City or something cool, not Egypt. Cop-out in my opinion, but I'm sure I'll enjoy the fuck out of it nonetheless.

    3) Last weekend I had a super awesome happy fun time having a really long marathon playing the Old Republic beta, and I feel awesome about planning on picking up this gem. Twelve hours of experience denotes a perfect score from me. Also, I love the dodge roll you do when you take fall damage so much I found myself purposely taking fall damage just so I could see the roll.

    4) I got a new keyboard and mouse for my sixteenth, which are working beautifully, and I'm not allowed to complain about them anymore.

    5) Starting KOTOR again, and this time I'm not going to be a huge whiny bitch about not healing outside of combat. But seriously, why NOT include that in the game? Dragon Age has it. Is it an idea that literally occurred to them years after making the game, like Bethesda and quick travel via your map?

    6) I'm getting back into Civilization, and can't decide whether I want to start devoting time to four or five. Hmff. Decisions. Five might win me over on account of Russian Death Robots (why are the death robots always either Russian or Cybertronian?).

    So yeah, happy days to all, and I'll start posting regularly again when I regain 90% control over my legs.

    Thursday, December 1, 2011

    Resident Troll: The Beginning of Beware the Internet

    So, I'm homeschooled. This means I have a ridiculous amount of time on my hands, and instead of doing something productive like getting a job or volunteering somewhere, I mess around with my dog, play old video games, and browse the internet. Of course, the internet is an extremely scary place, so one has to be cautious. As anyone who knows me can tell you, I lack the common sense that most people expect from five year olds. No real common sense + the internet = Gabby being put into very awkward and strange situations.

    The internet is a scary place due to it's anonymity, and the whole free-speech thing we've got going on in this lovely country. With people hiding behind a computer screen, they can let out their most insane wishes. I realized this last night when I came across a person (who will now be referred to as OS) who wanted to write against a Zelda. Clicking on their journal, I skimmed through the general information about OS, but everything kind of read similarly to a high school handbooks (I hope that you take pride in your work, and whatnot). One of the first red flags was that, and the fact that the person was using candara font. (After a general period of website making, I feel that everyone should know to only use web-safe fonts, and not what looks pretty on your word document.) This person also used many idioms that I did not know. It all generally became TL;DR, so I skipped the other pages of information and went to OS's contact post. That was stupid. Red Flag. OS asked for you to leave you email, which is unusual because the website I found him/her on sent notifications via email when someone commented on your post/replied to your comment. For a moment I tried to figure out which email to use (my personal, or one of my secondary ones just in case this person was a psycho). I of course, picked the not-so-smart decision.

    I gave my personal one because I always check it. An hour or two later I got an email from a General Valter. (Google tells me this is a Fire Emblem character.)

    ...

    That was strange. Whatever. I opened it.

    Here's the email.
    This is OS from IL (I'm assuming the IL part was a typo, because the website I found him/her on is abbreviated as IJ), and I'm happy you're willing to play as Zelda. I read your reply, and I was wondering:
    1. Do any of the plotlines and such listed in my Journal interest you (they can be converted to the Zelda universe if need be)?
     Looks like I need to go back and read those...
    2. Would you be willing to RP as her opposite an OC (I promise he's no Mary Sue)?
    Original characters? Not what I had in mind, nor was I assuming he would be a Mary Sue, because I trust you, dear friend, but we'll see...
    3. Do you have any likes, dislikes and dealbreakers kink-wise that I should know about?
    Oh.

    Oh.

    Oh.

    At that line I decided I was not going to pursue this particular venture. Against my better judgement, I returned to the General's journal. Curious...

    Oh. You have an entire smut list? I didn't even know people made those. Curious...

    I clicked on the link. Adult content warning. Of course I'm of age. I waited for the page to load and hoped nothing obscene popped up on it. Oh, good. Only words. And a little logo in the right hand corner telling me that I was on a furry wesbite. Well, that's nice and not strange at all. But damn. That smut list was long. Not only was it long, but it was divided into categories. (Faves, Yes, No, and two other columns I can't remember.) Among the favorites were anal, worship, and how nice, dating before the characters were to get down and dirty.

    What's the lesson here? Read everything. Or else you'll end up dealing with smutty furries.

    Also: I'm working on finishing Skyward Sword. When that happens, I'll definitely put a review up. There will probably be another anime review up before that, though. And then I'm getting rid of my Wii.

    Monday, November 28, 2011

    The SteamWorks: Breaking Dawn Part One Review (Rated PG-13)

    Hey Gang,

    So I had a pretty nice holiday weekend overall, and I really hope you did as well. I went Black Friday shopping at the local mall, and it honestly wasn't that bad (however I did hear about that $2 Walmart Riot down South ... nasty...). I went to my Great Grandmother's 94th Birthday Party (yeah ... she's old), and at 11:00 P.M. my mom and my sister took me against my will to see Breaking Dawn Part One. So I thought it might be a good topic to add to my  small but growing review collection. So here ... we ... go:

    ****WARNING! FOR THOSE OF YOU THAT WOULD LIKE TO SEE THE MOVIE, THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS!!!!****

    From minute one (when Jacob takes off his shirt for the first time), I was already bitter about the movie. It seemed like they were baiting women to come see this movie with trim teens taking their clothes off ( women of all ages, mind you ... an average 50 year old woman cannot resist Jacob's abs, as we've all learned from these movies). Now before I move on from here, I'd like to point out that I've read the books, and when it was "cool" to like Twilight (that lasted for about two years). Heck, I even had my own Cullen wrist band like the ones the characters had. I'm getting off point, but I will address some of that later in the post...

    So the beginning (the beginning being after the wedding) was basically a porno. 'Nuff said. It was a bunch of different romantic scences from the honeymoon and them having sex every two seconds (meanwhile, both of them are still being as creepy and awkward as ever). It's not until Bella throws up and finds out she's pregnant that things get a bit more interesting. This is when it becomes a REAL movie.

    From this point on, the movie improved by at least ten fold. The plot got a bit more interesting, emotions were constantly flowing, and it left the viewers wanting more. Of course, there were some scences that were key points in the movie that were completely screwed up (for instance, when Jacob leaves his pack to protect Bella... it just wasn't done well at all. I felt like I was watching the freaking Lion King). But it seriously started to become better at this point, we weren't focused on how many abs Jacob had, we weren't focused on how beautiful Edward's face was, but we were actually focused on PLOT (Gasp!). In fact, if memory serves, I don't believe anyone appeared shirtless for the rest of the film (if they did, it wasn't for long at all).

    The end of the movie is when it changed it's progression yet again (this seems to be my favortie part in the film because it made me want to vomit so much; Saw fans, this will be the highlight of the movie for you). It's not accurarte to say that the movie necessarily turns bad here, but it certainly gets extremely disgusting. In fact, I'd like to warn you: If you're squeamish and don't like seeing surgeries, blood, insides, corpses, or anything of the sort, you might want to think twice about seeing this movie, or at least sticking around until the end.

    The whole thing's kicked off by Bella dropping her Styrofoam cup of blood (ok, so you might need some backstory to understand that, but I'll let you figure that out on your own if you're reading this review without having AT LEAST read the book). She bends over to pick it up, and she breaks her hip. Now, not only is this true to the books, but it makes sense; she's carrying this huge baby who constantly abuses her body and made her basically anerexic. But what makes me angry is, the vampires don't freak out over the blood. They haven't had blood in DAYS. They should be freaking thirsty. She also looks a bit awkward in this particular shot, which, on top of Bella's regular awkward, breaks the Awkward-Meter.

    Immeadiately, they start operating on Bella to get the baby out. Now, in the book, they explain why the baby needs to be removed. But in the movie it's like they just decided the baby needed to go. Of course, the most experienced of the Cullen Clan in the medical field cannot be there at the moment, so they're forced to star on another episode of Home Surgery. Rosalie starts hacking Bella's stomach open like it's a freaking snow-cone, when suddenly, she decides the blade looks tasty. She attempts to lick it, but Alice decides no blood for Rosalie.

    So ... someone ... please explain to me why Rosalie doesn't freak out over the cup of spilt blood that was in the other room less than five minutes ago? She was perfectly fine then. Why, all of the sudden, does she get the rumblies for blood?

    ...

    So now we're left with Edward and Jacob (and obviously Bella) in the operating room, and instead of using the knife that Rosalie was using, Edward decides it would be more efficiant to chomp down with his freaking Vampire teeth....

    ....

    Am I the only one that finds that ... I don't know ... DISTURBING?!

    So he continues to chow down into Bella's uterus (you can actually see her intestines spilling out of her body at this point), when suddenly Edward pulls out the crying baby. He romantically says how it's Renesme (or however the strange name is spelled), and that it's not in fact a boy like they thought for the past few months (that's another thing I was angry about; they didn't really show how Bella imagined bearing a baby Edward, which got me a bit pissed, quite frankly,because it was a highlight of what exactly kept her going). Bella snuggles her baby for a bit, like every good mom does, when suddenly she just dies. Poof. Gone.

    And WHAT is Edward doing?

    He's just starring ... at her dead body. Just staring for about a minute...

    So finally when he realizes that Bella's dead, he takes this giant-ass needle out of a cabinet and STABS her heart with it. Note I did not say he injects her with its contents. HE FREAKING STABS HER! All the while, Jacob's telling Edward how he's freaking dumb and how his life is going to suck now because he killed his wife (turns out that tends to make people sad ... who knew?). Edward continues to resuscitate Bella's dead body in hopes of spreading the Vampire Venom while her dead body flops on the hospital cot like a fish out of water...

    I'd also like to point out that I had to walk out of the movie theater for a minute in the midst of all this because I was completely disgusted and felt the need to vomit on all the people below me...

    After a battle with the hunky werewolves, the gorgeous vampires suddenly decide to leave Bella's mutating body on a bed in the middle of this randomly empty room. The movie ends with Edward waiting by the bed, and Bella's newly red eyes shooting open.

    In all honesty ... the movie is a great improvement to the series of movies that were its predessecor. We saw less gun shows and more story telling, which was a great change coming from a guy's perspective of Twilight.

    I'd also like to discuss why it has become "uncool" to enjoy Twilight and why I honestly think all the reasons are completely ridiculous, the main one being that it's "gay". So you're telling me that it's gay to enjoy a troubled romance, however it's not gay to watch two men duke it out in spandex tights rolling around on the floor in wrestling? Could someone provide me with that explanation? Just because some middle-aged moms come out solely for that, it doesn't mean everyone's there for that (I think Chazz from Shatterblog! might have talked about that in his Invader Zim post). Some people are simply there to enjoy the story.

    I mean, think about it; how cool would it be to be a Twilight vampire? Ok, so maybe sparkling isn't so cool; but I'd take a ripped body, super speed, and super powers over a being a normal person any day. And I get to drink people's blood. How much more awesome could there be? Every day life is so boring. Wouldn't it be great to just escape from it? No? I must be gay or dumb then...

    The only explanation I can see to someone's argument to not like Twilight is not liking a Romance Novel. In case anyone hasn't told you yet, Twilight is a Romance. Although it tries to mix in some action here and there, it simply is, at its core, a romance between a vampire and a human. Saying the book is poorly written isn't an excuse because, in all honesty, they aren't. Sure, they may not be the best books, and sure, they may be written on an elementary or high-school level, but it's purpose is to reach people of that age. This book is intended for teens, not people looking for some highly philosophical meaning (Doesn't this sound familiar). Just because it isn't the best writing doesn't mean the story is bad, and in the case that you don't like the writing, contact Meyer's editor please.

    And don't even try to tell me that Twilight is too mainstream. If you're one of those "hipsters" that enjoys disliking everything that's popular, do yourself a favor and get over yourself (By the way, for the hipsters out there, liking Twilight is hipster now). So don't even bother talking if that's why you dislike the story, because that's not even a real reason.

    Although I'm not the biggest fan of Twilight anymore, there's still a tiny part of me that enjoys the movies and the books. It helped me a lot when transitioning from my childhood to my teen years, and it will hold a special place it in my heart.

    Final thoughts: While Breaking Dawn, Part One wasn't necessarily the best movie I've ever seen, it certainly wasn't the worst. The filmmakers realized that it's not all about hunky werewolves and sexy vampires; rather, its about the story that this poor human Bella Swan tends to get wrapped into. It's taken a pretty big step from its counter-parts, all its gore aside. I give it a 8/10.

    Peter, The SteamWorks

    Shatterblog!: Star Wars The Old Republic Impressions


    I got invited to play the SWTOR beta over the weekend, and I figured I'd write up some impressions of that. Before I get into the details, I'll say that I primarily played Saturday to Sunday. I played a female Twi'lek Jedi Consular, advanced class Sage, specialized in the healing arts of the force. I grouped up from the start with my brother and his friend, a tanking specced female Miralukan Shadow Consular, and a DPS specced male human Jedi Knight Guardian, respectively. The fact that I had a group obviously affected my experience. We completed the home planet, Tython, all of Curuscant, and progressed to Nar Shadaa. Our levels were 21 for myself and my brother, 23 for his friend. I also played 5 levels of Bounty Hunter, and 10 of Sith Warrior and Sith Inquisitor. I'll touch on those, but not much. I also did a bit of combat as a Smuggler, but not much. I basically got a taste of the cover system and moved on with my life.
    
    This isn't like my screenshot. I found it on the interwebs.
    Alright, so into the details. First, to all the people who say it is WoW with a Star Wars skin, shut up. You're dumb, a troll, or both. It plays very differently. Some of the classes are similar, my healing Consular played quite a bit like a Priest, with a lesser heal, a bigger heal on a longer cast, and a force shield to absorb some damage. However, it is a very different game. One major innovation is the lack of an auto attack. Your right click activates an ability that costs no resources (Rage, Force, Ammo, Heat etc) and triggers the global cooldown. You constantly have to decide whether to build up a bit more energy with that attack, or go for the big damage by triggering a skill. It's a lot more interactive, and a lot more fun. I never just auto attacked an enemy while I stared blankly, waiting for something interesting. It's engaging and fun. Next, the energy system. Each class has its own energy type. Warriors have Rage, which is built up in combat by certain strikes, and rather than a bar like WoW, you get bricks of rage. A skill will use 2 bricks, rather than 20 Rage. It's not a big change, but I like it. The Bounty Hunter had my favorite energy type, Heat. Your goal is to be at 0 Heat. Abilities cause your weapons to heat up, filling the bar. It drains slowly on its own, or can be vented some with the basic attack. You also get a cooldown to dump all your heat once every two minutes, and I don't necessarily feel that to be balanced. As a Consular, I was constantly out of Force (my brother tanked without a shield for a while. It was tough) and had no quick way to replenish it for a while, until I got an ability to exchange 15% HP for 8% Force. Force works like Mana, but it regens in combat, and from what I've seen is not affected by gear. I had 100 force from level 1-10, chose the Sage spec, and got bumped up to 500. Gear changes didn't seem to affect that. One complaint I had is that the manual basic attack is your primary mode of damage without the expenditure of energy. When a Jedi Knight runs out of Rage, he swings til he gets more. When my Consular ran out of Force, and I was 50 feet away to cast, there is no ranged basic attack, only skills. It was frustrating, and maybe it changes at higher levels. This is based on my experience only. The crafting system is odd. You get 3 skills, a crafting, a gathering, and a mission based. I'll only talk about what I experienced. I chose Artifice, the manufacture of saber modifications such as hilts, mods, and color crystals. First disappointment- color crytals have stats. You may have to use a color you don't necessarily like for better stats. The stats are small though, and I could craft a +4 endurance crystal in a few colors, so it isn't a big deal. I gathered using Archaeology. The way gathering works is as follows: you will find some resources in the world, and these are gathered through a right click and a short wait. Standard. You can also pay a few credits to have your companion go on a gathering mission. This is your primary mode of gathering materials and skill-ups. It adds up cost wise. I went from 7k to flat broke in less than 75/400 of my crafting. I wasn't selling any of my crafted materials, I made them, and then reverse engineered them. This gives you about half the materials back. You also have a chance to learn a better version of the recipe. If you reverse engineer a green rarity color crystal, you have a chance to get a blue rarity recipe of it, which is obviously slightly better. I didn't do any of the mission profession. I chose treasure hunting, but didn't do it at all. I was able to make some pretty cool stuff, even though it drained my pockets pretty hard. I enjoyed it. I still have flashbacks to the day I decided to level from 1-400 mining as fast as possible on my Paladin. Just thinking about that makes me shudder. Making my companion do all the work was spectacular. This might be a little bit of a spoiler, but at the end of your starter planet, around level 10, you get a lightsaber if you are a Jedi or Sith. This was one of the greatest feelings in any game. Sure, getting your first talent point at 10 in WoW feels nice, but for the Consular quest chain, you forge your own lightsaber in a truly incredible cutscene. I've never felt more like I EARNED my weapon. As an MMO fan and a Star Wars nerd, it was a big moment. The next big moment comes when you finish Coruscant or Dromund Kaas, the capitals of the Republic or Empire.You are granted a space ship of your very own. It's MASSIVE. You get a personal servant droid, who is annoying. Think C-3PO, but with more ass kissing. There's a map of the galaxy, used to choose where to fly, access to your bank, your companions hang around to chat, and you can accept missions for space combat. I only did one space combat mission. I sucked at it, but it's entertaining. You fly on a track, moving around to dodge but not really navigating. I wish you could have full control, but whatever. It's challenging, and a fun diversion, but not the main selling point. We did 2 Flashpoints, with 3 people and a companion rather than a full group. Certain bosses were really tough to heal through, but it was fun learning what to do and what not to do, when to move and when to stand still. I did zero PvP, so I have nothing to say on the subject. The Smuggler (and Imperial Agent I guess?) has a great system going. The cover is pretty cool. I feel like it could go on to be good or bad, but the bit I played was like Mass Effect. But Star Wars. But my Smuggler looked like (and was named) Mal Reynolds. So it was amazing. But then I switched to Consular. In terms of class enjoyment, I'll say that not playing a class with a lightsaber makes me feel a lot less awesome. Yeah, I do damage and stuff. But any idiot can hide behind a wall and take pot shots and toss grenades at elites. It takes a special idiot to go leaping into a group of elites, saber blazing to life, slamming into the ground with a huge explosion of force or lightning. Being a Sith Warrior Marauder (2 Sabers! Fuck yeah) made me feel the most like a badass. Inquisitor/Consular are the most accurate Jedi experience. You have some saber stuff going on. You can do some lightning, or throw some objects. The mix is cool, but I love melee. I love smashing people with my saber. Two sabers looks the coolest ever of all time, but I took a ton of damage. I found myself unable to solo elites of my level on my Sith Marauder, but earlier in the game I could. I'm convinced it's because it's balanced, and you have to pick the Tank spec to wear heavy armor and not get crushed like a bug. I made my best effort not to spoil the story for myself, but I will say that what I gleaned is WAY above any other MMO. I loved WoW. I loved the lore. I read the books. The story was good. SWTOR is just better. The Fast Travel is another thing I'd like to touch on. It's like a Hearthstone, but you can teleport to any place on the planet where you clicked a Bind Point. I love it. The whole game looks brilliant, at least on my somewhat pimp gaming rig. Pete from SteamWorks couldn't run it, so low end system users beware. Anyway, SWTOR is in all ways better than WoW.  I'd recommend it highly. This isn't a full review, and don't expect one, so I won't attempt to rate it. Just believe that it is incredibly good. Now I'll include a huge brick of screenshots I actually took. Before you ask, all the names are generated by SWTOR, and theoretically are accurate to the race I chose. Malreynolds I chose. If you get the reference, you win the internet.
    My Jedi Consular Sage Twi'lek, Hal'siaqqua
    Casting a Heal
    Using Fast Travel
    AoE Animation
    My bangin' Sith Pureblood Warrior Marauder, Vancolt
    Vancolt AoE
    Qursarril the Zabrak Sith Inquisitor Assassin
    Qursarril AoE
    Largely unloved Bounty Hunter, Zan'Tades 
    Significantly more loved Smuggler, Malreynolds

    Friday, November 25, 2011

    Slightly Redder Red: Weekend Update 2

    Just wanna start with a happy Thanksgiving and a Happy Turkey Genocide Day! Which is more important?

    1) Not to knock Ubisoft Montreal and their humor that makes you say "WHY WOULD THEY EVER WANT TO MAKE ME LAUGH IN THIS GAME," but 4 hours into Assassin's Creed: Revelations and not only has Ezio called someone a gentleman and a scholar, but he has referred to himself as the most interesting man in the world. And he really looks a lot like the most interesting man in the world. Come onnnn, man (at least it's better than Mario Auditore's infamous entrance into the franchise).

    2) Skyrim is getting majorly put aside for now. I need to stop playing it. I finally am committing to stop playing it by playing Assassin's Creed and starting up either Knights of the Old Republic or my cross-game Mass Effect playthrough.

    3) I dislike the fact the day I got invited to the Old Republic beta, my dad is dragging me to Long Island to see some people I apparently have to meet, where I'll probably be bored out of my mind. #whitepeopleproblems

    4) I found my PC copy of Halo after it's been lost for months! Time to get on top of that!

    5) What I can't find is all my World of Warcraft discs. I got started up on private servers in preparation for SWTOR, but I have to use the free trial version of WoW from the Blizzard website. Not that I would like 40 gigs of WoW disc data on my computer if I'm only playing until SWTOR drops, but I would still like to know where my discs are for future posterity and culture conservation in the impending zombie apocalypse.

    6) I've been watching a lot of Twilight Zone recently, and I regret nothing. My name is Tiny Tina, and I'm going to kill you. Yeahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

    Thanks for listening, chilllllldren!

    Tuesday, November 22, 2011

    Slightly Redder Red: Old Republic Lawsuit

    So when I opened up my email and found that I was invited to the SWTOR beta, the first thing my brother said to me was "you should take pictures for your blog!"

    Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooo fucking way, man.

    Instead, have a picture of Kirk.

    No, not the enemy from Dark Souls, the captain.

    Monday, November 21, 2011

    Shatterblog! Stupid "Trends" (Moar Rant!) (Rated R?)

    This one is a little shorter. So, I'm angry again. I hate when things are "hip" or "hipster". Namely, Invader Zim. I fucking love Invader Zim. I love J.V.'s more disturbing work too. I have a GIR hoodie, but I never wear it because Hot Topic sells Invader Zim shit (I don't mind Hot Topic, I like their shirts) and therefore every time some whiny 10 year old decides he's goth now, he gets a fucking GIR hoodie. Instead of lumping him in with the real fans (cause we don't want him, he's a douchebag) all the real fans get lumped in with THOSE people. Jesus. Why can't people just be honest in their appearance? Why would people pretend to like something they don't to get attention? Fuckin' kids these days.

    Saturday, November 19, 2011

    Slightly Redder Red: Weekend Update 1

    Because WHY NOT do a weekend update thing? With lists! Yay!

    1) I've had Skyrim for 8 days, and Steam has tracked my time in-game as 68 hours. I need to get outside or something. Or not. I'm thankful they're releasing an update for the game after Thanksgiving, I've already run into more than a few bugs. The College of Winterhold quest is bugged with a dead Arch-Mage, and for some reason my Steam overlay and screenshots aren't working. Oh well, hoping this will be fixed.

    2) That Rainn Wilson movie Super is just over the top and crazy. Of course, Wlison is basically playing Dwight, but a really violent and criminally insane Dwight who hits people with pipe wrenches. And of course there's Nathan Fillion's Christ Crusader to give some hilarious TV segments, and Ellen Paige as Bolty to keep things delightfully weird. But really, two thumbs up, specially when Wilson sends the line jumpers at the movies to the ICU.

    3) I need to start playing Dark Souls instead of Skyrim, keep thing fresh. Oh well, I'll do it eventually. But on Skyrim, for anyone who's found the underground land of Blackreach, how fucking dope is that??????


    4) I have a good report card! Yay!

    5) Minecraft has a really hard endgame, and I really have no idea how I'm supposed to get there. I now have actual motivation to do things other than stare at pigs all day until I starve to death. Also, might pick up and do a review of the pocket edition, although I've heard it's mediocre and not worth picking up anyway. Oh well, more time to just keep playing Skyrim.

    6) DC Universe would be so much more fun if I had people to play with. Chazz and Peter are far from max level, and MMOs are only fun socially. And everyone else who plays the game is a fucking idiot, really. Although there are a lot of fun conversations in Metropolis about how Marvel is superior to DC, but us Dark Horse junkies just sit back and troll the line.

    Thanks for listenin', chiiiiiiiiildren!

    Thursday, November 17, 2011

    Slightly Redder Red: Skyrim Thieves Guild

    Let me start by saying what a fucking improvement.

    The Thieves Guild in Oblivion was literally 3 hours of fetch quests, finally culminating into the big heist in the White Gold Tower where the Grey Fox passes his mantle onto you in a heartwarming conclusion. The Thieves Guild in Skyim is about 4 hours of anything but that.

    The quest chain starts off rather unassumingly, when a character named Brynjolf asks you to try to frame a local Dark Elf on stealing a ring from an Argonian's jewelry shop. I thought this was just going to be another mundane quest for a local, like sabotaging the light house in Solitude for that one Argonian, so imagine my surprise when I realized this was what was left of the Thieves Guild.

    The Thieves Guild was never much. In Oblivion it was run out of people posted around Cyrodil, and in Morrowind it was run out of some bars around the provinces. I was in heaven when I realized the Thieves Guild finally had some sort of a guild hall, and I was totally prepared to make it my own. After beating it, I learned that eventually I can restore it to the former glory it once had, eventually acquiring a blacksmith or an alchemist (I'll make sure to report back when I get all those things). Way to keep the game going long after the story is over, Bethesda.

    The entire structure of the Thieves Guild quests are completely different from the last ones. Instead of sneaking into houses to steal some guy's journal or change the tax ledger in a guard tower, the missions are long and arduous stealth sections that seem to have come out of Splinter Cell. The mission where you sneak around the East Empire Trading Company's warehouse is by far the coolest stealth sequence I have ever done, and it's in an RPG. That's a job well done.

    I've been having a major problem with Skyrim in that there just hasn't been much epic loot from quest chains to keep me saying "wow!", and fuckkkkkk did that change with the end of the Thieves Guild. The Nightingale Armor is one of the coolest pieces of armor designed by Bethesda, totally playing on a look for an agent of shadow.

    In closing, Skyrim once again fails to disappoint me when it comes to improvements over its predecessors. GOTYAY. 

    Wednesday, November 16, 2011

    Shatterblog!: On The So Called "Justice" System (Rated R)

    I'll start by saying that this is a rant, and that I have a bit of a thing regarding laws and justice. Think about that word. Justice. The ultimate force of good in the universe. There is no possible negative connotation. Justice is undoubtedly good at its core. The good prosper. The evil suffer. Right?
    Our justice system has a lot of problems. Not America's as much as humanity's. I'll be mostly talking about America though.
    I'll be painting a lot of picture's here. Bear with me for a few scenarios.
    You're young, you're in love, and nothing can stop you. After a whirlwind romance, you get married. Life's good. You have 2 kids, a house in Suburbia, you and your spouse both have steady jobs. After a few months, things go sour. Your significant other isn't who you thought they were. They drink. They do drugs. Then, heavily under the influence, they beat you. The next day, they apologize. Life goes back to normal for as week or two. They beat you again. And again. They threaten your kids. You're scared. You try to leave, but they drag you back, threaten to kill you, kill your family, your kids.You believe them. Scared, alone, you don't know where to turn. Desperate, you snap. You kill them, you take your kids, you run. Now, you're arrested. You go to jail for murder. Your children grow up without either parent. Is this justice? People are put in jail for the safety of others. So they don't kill someone else. For the good of society. Will this battered human being, seeking only escape, kill again? Yes, there are laws that you can get a reduced sentence, get out of jail time, if you suffered abuse. As someone who is interested in crime documentaries, books, etc, I can say that the jury doesn't always see it that way. Next scenario.
    Your marriage isn't great, but you cope. You love your spouse, but they seem to be pulling away from you. They spend a lot of your money, putting a real strain on you. You let it go, writing heartfelt journal entries about how much you just want things to work. You aren't ready for divorce. You know with just a little love and effort, you can preserve your marriage. You keep trying, but things get very bad very fast. You want so much to keep the marriage together, but the stress, the pain, the depression, they're building up. You sleep in separate rooms. You can barely have a civil conversation. Life is only getting worse. One night, there's an accident. It could be anything. A gas leak. A drug overdose. A robbery gone wrong. Your spouse is killed. Because you were in a different room, the gas didn't poison you, the panicked robber didn't shoot you. You survive, heartbroken. Sure, your marriage had problems. But you still loved them. You tried. You called 9-1-1. You performed whatever CPR you could. Now the police get involved. They don't believe your story. They think you used car exhaust to poison them. You overdosed them with prescription medication. You hired a hitman. They point to your obviously unhappy state of mind. How much better your life would seem to be with your spouse gone. The jury sees it their way. Again, your kids are alone. What did this accomplish? What justice was served by this? One parent dead to a tragic accident, and justice seeks to put the other away for life? Yes, murder is wrong. But is jail time or the death penalty the right answer? How much weight do people really put behind the phrase "reasonable doubt"? There are definite flaws that need to be dealt with. Justice should be good. If someone is in the court, crying as a loved one is sentenced to life without the possibility of parole, it's probable something is very, VERY fucking wrong. Yes, serial murderers' mommies love them too. But children shouldn't be left parentless like that. Justice isn't eye-for-an-eye anymore. It's for the greater good. Not personal gain. Not to get another win as a bigshot lawyer. Not for fucking payback. To better the town, the country, the world. Guess what? The world isn't black and white. Shit happens. Hundreds of genuinely good people die every week for no fucking reason. It sucks, but it is. Blame doesn't always have to be assigned. Cops arrest people just to get the public off their backs. The public clamors for a murder suspect because according to television, every death happens for a reason, and it's probably a murder. When shit happens, people want to make sense of it. It hurts to lose a loved one. It helps a lot if you can put the one responsible behind bars. But your petty fucking vengeance is not worth degrading justice. Someone isn't always responsible. Someone doesn't always need to be behind bars. People need to realize that justice is ultimate. So much more important than anything else. Petty fucking people are destroying what should be the most important and true and GOOD thing in the universe.

    Tuesday, November 15, 2011

    The SteamWorks: Hype; Life or Death?

    Hey Gang,

    So do you remember my review on Zafaria? If not, you can check it out here.

    So one of my friends was later dicussing my review with me, and asked why I was asking for hype. So, I'd like to discuss with you my opinion of hype, and what I think about it:

    
    Hype ... it gets to the best of us...
    So what exactly is "hype"? Dictionary.com defines 'hype" as the following: To create intrest in by flamboyant or dramatic methods; promote or publicize showily. So, in summary, it means to build tension. It makes people WANT to see what you're selling, showing, etc.

    Because of the "OH MY GOSH I WANNA GET IN THERE AND MESS THINGS UP" (that's what she said) effect it tends to have on gamers (and any fans in general), many generally don't like it ... especially when  the featured product turns out to be worse than it was hyped up to be. However, when used correctly, hype can be a great tool to companies releasing a popular product. The excitement generated by the huge fans of the game, movie, etc. yield popularity among the public. This excites more people, and eventually the creators of this hugely popular product have millions if not sometimes billions of people that are curious about the product and wish to experience it.

    So HOW exactly does a company effectively use hype? In other words, how does one combine the release of small strips of content with time to create the perfect hype recipe?

    This is a very controversial subject, and there are MANY different "formulas" for the perfect use of hype, each appealing to a huge varitey of people. I personally believe in a some-what long term period of hype lead by small tastes of new content that's released at LEAST once a month.

    My "Goldy Locks" zone for hype length is somewhere between four and seven months. I like time to theorycraft, but at the same time, I don't want to be dying of anxiety. For me, the small teasers released by a company (such as a pictures or small tidbits of information) are enough to feed my excitement for around a half year.

    But again, everyone's taste is different. Some people think that's way too long and don't want to know about an expansion because they will either die from excitement or consider it over-hyping a product. Others think this period is extremely too short, and like more time to theorycraft on what exactly will happen. Many people like to marinate themselves in this excitement, as it feeds their hunger for the product.

    Hope this clears some things up and enlightens you,

    Peter, The SteamWorks

    The SteamWorks: SWOTR Opens Beta To All Registered Players Before 11/11/11!

    Hey Gang,


    So anyone who signed up for the Closed Star Wars: The Old Republic Beta BEFORE 11/11/11 recieved an email last Friday which included the following:

    "Greetings __________,

    Your account has been selected to participate in an upcoming Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ Beta Weekend Test. If you have previously tested or are currently participating in an ongoing test, you will be invited again. Additional details for this upcoming test will be announced soon.

    As part of this test, we will be partnering with games industry sites to distribute additional beta codes as necessary. This will help ensure we meet our population goals, so we can effectively stress test our servers in preparation for launch. Please do not acquire and redeem one of these codes as it could jeopardize your ability to participate in this test.

    As a reminder, should you choose to participate, everything associated with this test (game information, process, forums communication, etc.) is confidential and may not be discussed outside of the Game Testing forum. Additionally, your participation in the Game Testing Program is subject to the
    Game Testing Agreement.

    May the Force be with you,
    The Star Wars: The Old Republic Team"


    Again, ONLY those of us who have registered for Beta Testing BEFORE 11/11/11 (That's November 11th, 2011) should have recived this email. For players who were not registered for Beta before 11/11/11, BioWare has generously gifted Beta codes to sites such as IGN, Massively, and other gaming news sites. IF you have recived this email, BioWare is asking that you DO NOT apply for or recieve these extra Beta codes, for it could screw up your chances of participating in the Beta weekend.

    Now, I don't know about all of you readers, but I'm super pumped for the Beta weekend. However, this will probably result very badly for myself, as I only have my crappy laptop and cannot run AAA games, especially when they are highly populated (AAA games, for those of you that don't know, are amazingly good games which usually include serious graphics and dynamic gameplay and often cast a high budget).

    Hope everyone has fun playing,

    Peter, The SteamWorks 

    Shatterblog!: Fillerbunny Series Review

    Yes, that is an aborted fetus...
    As promised, here is a review of all the Fillerbunny comics. Guess what he does! Anyway, Fillerbunny fills unneeded space in comics with horrible things. He is created by science to bring you joy through his suffering. He regularly converses with some unseens force that does terrible things to him. If you have a REALLY sick sense of humor, youll probably love it. Fillerbunny undergoes various tortures, and every time he grows to love anything, it is immediately shot in the face. He dances, he cries, he bleeds, he gets his leg replaced with a zombie bee. There isn't really plot, just a series of barely connected horrible travesties spanning 3 books. There are randomly interjected "autobiographical" bits, where J.V. draws himself drawing these comics and arguing with the chief. It's all good fun. It is definitely offensive, between Aborto (pictured) and Rape-bo, a rapacious hobo. Language isn't really bad, but there are a ton of jokes that could be considered in bad taste. Violence is rampant, as well as horrible suffering and misery. It's funny only to people with a unique and probably horrible sense of humor.The art kinda sucks, but it's intentional, so right on. I definitely suggest you read it. 8/10

    Monday, November 14, 2011

    Slightly Redder Red: The Thing: The Northman Nightmare

    I really like John Carpenter's The Thing, and I feel like The Thing can have a really great expanded universe beyond the movie. It's a monster that can be feared by people of any time, from the 1980s to the 1680s, and can strike fear into the hearts of moviegoers of all ages (or comic readers, in this case).

    A comic adaption of The Thing, actually featured as a companion to the recent film prequel to the 1982 classic, got released by Dark Horse a little while ago. The comic is set in 1121 AD, around the times when Vikings settled in Newfoundland, and a lore surrounding a monster like the alien Thing beautifully slips into the time period. I had originally gone into this expecting to write another bad comic review like Star Wars: Legacy, considering that franchises of the 1980s have had a terrible tradition of going back in time (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles being one glaring beacon of time travel failure), but leave it to Dark Horse Comics to deliver some excellent expanded universe.

    The comic is great from first panel to last. The vikings are beautifully illustrated, and so is the bleak and snowy landscape of Newfoundland. The bleak and snowy landscape, albeit pretty, can be harsh, and right off the bat we have vikings dying, and vikings getting killed is always cool no matter what medium. The Thing itself is also wonderfully imagined by the illustrator, and looks amazing when it finally reveals itself as the monster it is. The suspense leading up to those final moments of the comic are really well done, and the violence is tastefully brutal.

    Since this is one comic, unlike the beginning of a series like Legacy was, I won't go into the plot since it's kind of dependent on people not spoiling it. But it's free, so you should totally pick it up and read it, you won't be disappointed. It's a great addition to the Dark Horse library. 

    Sunday, November 13, 2011

    Shatterblog!: Johnny the Homicidal Maniac Review

    Look at me, jumping on the image bandwagon...
    I was sitting here thinking about what to write, and decided I'd try my hand at a comic review. My next thought was that I ought to review the greatest comic I have ever been privy to.
    Which is of course the masterpiece JtHM. It's written by Jhonen Vasquez, whom you may know as the man behind Invader Zim. Johnny the Homicidal Maniac was earlier, and there are a lot of similarities in art. Happy Noodle Boy has all of GIR's random hilarity with more profanity. Win! The art is dark and beautiful, much better than Invader Zim, despite the similarities. J.V. often does borders around images with creepy faces or awesome quoteables (That's a word. Fact.) They're a really nice little bonus. The main story is pretty solid, although it is most certainly not for kids. It's really violent, with a lot of graphic scenes (heads off, eyes rolling around, blood spatter, dismemberment, etc.) and the language can be a little spotty, such as a Pillbury Doughboy with the word FUCK inscribed across his chest. Johnny (Nny) is a pretty whiny emo kid, but I found his insanity to make him genuinely likable. His constant depression can get slightly grating, so if that gets to you you may want to give it a pass. There's a lot of filler content, at least in the Director's Cut, which is spectacular. Nny, the main character, draws a comic, Happy Noodle Boy (mentioned above) which is extremely funny and different. A few other characters show up in filler stuff, and if you enjoy any of that, you might also enjoy Squee's Wonderful Big Giant Book of Unspeakable Horrors, which is almost all filler comics. Those familiar with any of J.V.'s work know he can be extremely funny, which JtHM often isn't. Overall I really love the comic, and would highly recommend it to appropriate audiences. 10/10.

    UPDATE: I have copies of J.V.'s other work (Squee!, I Feel Sick, Jellyfist, Bad Art Collection, Filler Bunny) Expect reviews soon

    The SteamWorks: Trolls Gonna Troll... (PG-13)


    Hey Gang,


    There are a TON of people that "profile" a game based off its ESRB rating. It really makes me angry sometimes, being a gamer who plays a lot of rated 'E' or 'E+10' games. So let me say this:


    For the trolls out there who think 'E' games are extremely "homosexual" and dumb, but haven't even given many of them a chance (games like Wizard101, Free Realms (ok, so I'm not a big fan of this game, but it counts), and the LEGO games are all great examples), you need to shut your god-damned mouths. Sure, these games are aimed towards children; that is fact and there's no denying that. But at the same time, they're an E (10+) game. For those of you who don't know what 'E' means in the ESRB rating system, let me define it for you:



      EVERYONE 10+
    Titles rated E10+ (Everyone 10 and older) have content that may be suitable for ages 10 and older. Titles in this category may contain more cartoon, fantasy or mild violence, mild language and/or minimal suggestive themes.



    That's directly from the ESRB Rating System Page, by the way...


    As you can see, it has content for people of the age of 10 and older. So some of you might be saying, "Well, rated 'M' games are exclusively for players 17 and older, since children below that age cannot purchase the game. So you're not going to find any children playing the game anyway."



    MATURE
    Titles rated M (Mature) have content that may be suitable for persons ages 17 and older. Titles in this category may contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.



    Again, directly pulled off the ESRB Rating System Page...


    As you can see, it has content that "may be suitable" for an audience of age 17 or up. This means, with the permission of an adult, a child may buy this game and play the hell out of it. So rated 'M' games still contain a content of children. The rating that "Mature Trolls" (Ha, that's kind of a paradox, isn't it?) really want is this:



    ADULTS ONLY
    Titles rated AO (Adults Only) have content that should only be played by persons 18 years and older. Titles in this category may include prolonged scenes of intense violence and/or graphic sexual content and nudity.



    Sounds like an interactive porn to me (ok, so there are some legit AO games out there, don't shoot me; just pointing something out... ever hear of the Rape Game that was only released in Japan?). And do you know what the funny part is? A parent could still purchase this game and give it to their child if they so desired. So there really is no escaping children when it comes to gaming. You have to make the best of what you have and suck it up. It's your choice if you don't want to play a certain game, and don't make fun of the people who actually enjoy it.

    Peter, The SteamWorks

    P.S: A word on the (possibly upcoming contest)...


    The Project: Better Dolphin Team is still debating on whether or not we want to hold the contest I was discussing in one of my earlier posts. There should be more word on this soon. If there is a contest, it probably won't be too challenging, so ... yeah ... thanks!

    The SteamWorks: Was Zafaria What We've Been Waiting For?


    Hey Gang,


    In case you didn't know, I'm a BIG fan of Wizard101. Sure, I get some flack for loving a game that's aimed at children, but the game also appeals to adults, and I really enjoy it. I even have my own blog for it here.


    KingsIsle recently launched a new world in the Test Realm called Zafaria. Now, if you'd like to hear all the new features and see some of the new regions, you can go to this post on The Pyromancer's Digest. Instead, here I will discuss the mechanics of Zafaria, and if it lived up to the expectations of the players and more-so my own.


    The world itself was REALLY cool. I really enjoyed the whole African idea. The players have been asking for a world like this for a long time, and it just shows that KingsIsle listens to its player and, more importantly, does something about it. I thought it was impressive on how they also expanded the idea of a jungle; we also saw a Savannah, and "Stone Town", and even Tree of Life type area, where all the races of Zafaria mix. I enjoyed all the races as well, however I really want to see more giraffes other than the librarian. What's their back story? How do they tie into Zafaria? What do they have to contribute to my experience? Do all the answers to these questions lead to the reason why they weren't employed much?


    The graphics here were very impressive and improved as well. Some might complain about the game because the graphics aren't necessarily "high-end". However, this is done so the game is more accessible to players who don't have great computers. In fact, if the game was graphic-heavy, I probably wouldn't be able to play because it wouldn't be able to run on my laptop (I can barely run DC Universe, so that should give you a good idea about how much my laptop can handle...). However, KingsIsle pushed the envelop with the graphics of this world without bursting it open. What I mean by that is: the graphics improved greatly from what we've seen in the past, however they didn't break the "accessible to all" philosophy. However, the only complaint I had were the trees in the Drum Jungle; they "recycled" the look of the tree bark from Celestia. That was a bit lazy, and I think they should have taken the time to make a new skin for it.


    The story was really interesting as well. We were plunged into a world of political dispute, and, like every video game in history, the people were too lazy to fix their own problem. So, of course, we step in with our fancy and powerful magics to save the day and reunite the people of Zafaria. As always, KingsIsle cleverly employs references to real-life songs, places, and people that appeal to all ages; I even laughed a few times. I also enjoyed hearing more about Morganthe and seeing her multiple times throughout the world. Overall, I really had no problem with the story; it was knitted beautifully into an amazing shroud of storyline that resulted in many players theory crafting for months.


    However, if I had one major complaint, it'd be the preparation for the new expansion. The distance between Celestia's release and it's announcement was more than six months. Sure, it killed us players because we were dying to get in and see it for ourselves. However, it was that much more rewarding to finally get in and explore. It was a lot more exciting for us players, and I think we appreciated Celestia a lot more because of that. The combination of waiting with a few spoiler pictures here and there yielded a perfect recipe for player-hype. The amount of time wasn't TOO much nor TOO short; it was exactly right.


    This was the biggest mistake KingsIsle made with Zafaria. I don't think the players appreciated this world as much because we only got a month of hype (in fact, I think it might have even been less than that ... it might have only been about three weeks). A few teaser pictures and even a video were thrown at us, and we had no time to do some serious theory crafting (by the way, I wasn't a fan of the video; again, I think KingsIsle should have waited until the players themselves had uncovered the spells).  The world needs time to marinate in the spicy juices that are the players' imaginations, and Zafaria pretty much skipped that step, resorting in a half-dry piece of steak (or in my case, a half-dry pile of potatoes).


    If I had ANY advice to give, it'd be to release word of the expansion about a half-year before its release, and drag it along with some teaser pictures here and there (but not too much at one time; maybe every three or four weeks). This article was the perfect announcement, and it was released at the perfect time. I was bursting with excitement when I saw this two years ago. THIS is what gets players excited. The key is to tease your players. Give them a sample, but not the whole thing. If KingsIsle employs this, their player-base will be bursting with excitement.


    Overall, I give it an 8.5 out of 10. Good job KingsIsle!


    Peter, The SteamWorks