Gamer Cinema: Street Fighter

Hope everybody had a great Christmas, I got lots of good gaming stuff-Into the Nexus, Puppeteer, Swapforce, Mario 3D World and a nice used Vita. I'll hopefully address them all in a post on Thursday or Friday when I've gotten some ample time in with them all. In the meantime, a bunch of movies are leaving Netflix after the new year. This is nothing new, movies and shows go away and come back all the time. Supposedly one of the titles is Street Fighter, so I'd figured it might be my last chance to watch this for awhile for free.

Now there have been several attempts over the years to make Street Fighter into a movie, this one is noteworthy for being the first and also unfortunately being the final performance of the late great Raul Julia beause it's pretty awful. I'll grant you that Street Fighter is not the easiest thing to adapt well but the basic structure is easy. The heroes (presumably Ryu, Ken, Chun Li and Guile) enter a shady fighting tournament run by M. Bison in the mysterious city of Shadaloo in order to take him down all with their own motives for doing so. See, not that hard. Hell it's essentially the plot of Mortal Kombat, probably still the best video game movie ever made (yeah that's not saying much).

Instead what we get is a ton of nonsense about Bison being an evil warlord who takes hostages and All American hero Guile (played by Jean Claude Van Damme because why not) coming after him. Instead of a British agent, Chun Li is a reporter. Her crew is E. Honda & Balrog (what?), Dhalsim is a scientist (huh?), Zangief is one of Bison's cronies as is Dee Jay. Ryu & Ken are con men who look nothing like their video game counterparts(sure why not). As you can see this movie was doomed from the start by changing a lot of things that didn't need to be changed and making the plot a hell of a lot more complex than it needed to be. To be fair, a couple things make sense-Sagat as a crime boss and Cammy as Guile's second in command for instance, but it's rare. Also, Guile may be the worst Commander ever. He routinely doles out important information (i.e. yelling out on camera to his buddy Charlie that they are coming to rescue him, so know Bison knows he has Charlie and specifically picks him out to experiment on) and when he finally goes after Bison he leaves the base completely unguarded. A joke is made of it but I'm pretty sure he'd be court martialed for that. Of course the acting is awful, with Raul Julia the only one really making a go of it.

But much like Double Dragon, the real disappointment is in the awful action. There actually is not a ton of fighting in the movie, more gunplay than anything else but the actual hand-to-and combat scenes are barely fights with awful choreography. I haven't watched any other Street Fighter adaptations yet, but I'm hoping this is the worst because it was pretty painful to sit through.

 That's all for today like I said I should hopefully have something up Thursday or Friday talking about the games I've played over the last week or so. Until then, happy new year.


Gamer Cinema: Elf Bowling: The Movie

Did you know Santa was a pirate who by pure circumstance (or DESTINY) ended up at the North Pole with elves who just love making toys for kids, then decided to become their leader because it meant his lazy ass would only have to work one day a year? Oh yeah, and there's bowling because it's ELF BOWLING. It all goes well for centuries until his scheming brother Dingle aims to take over and make billions in the process (by giving away toys to kids?).

 And you know what, I'm usually a sucker for even dumb crappy Christmas movies, but this flimsy excuse to milk a few desperate bucks out of kids might be the worst Christmas movie I've ever sat through. Like worse the the He-Man and She-Ra Christmas special. It's not just that even for a lazy dumb kids movie the plot is convoluted and makes no sense (i.e. even though Dingle is known for lying and has been caught cheating and stealing multiple times, Santa and the elves take pretty much everything he says at face value repeatedly throughout the movie). It's the awful "jokes" (i.e. every time the elves celebrate, they do it with armpit farts), the absolutely terrible songs and the downright terrifyingly bad animation that looks like CGI from budget PS one titles that just make this pretty damn unbearable. Avoid at all costs.

It's Santa kids! RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!

That's it for today. I'll probably have at least one post next week (probably Saturday) but not until after Christmas as between work and home stuff I'll be pretty busy, so everyone have a good holiday!


14 games I'm looking forward to in 2014....

Well, last year I did 13 games to look forward to, and I intend to up it every year as long as I can, but I doubt I'll be able to keep it up forever. This year is also a little more challenging because it's the transitional year between generations. Releases for the 360 & PS3 are starting to dry up and solid release dates for next-gen titles are sparse because it's new technology and that can take awhile to work the kinks out. A lot of things people are very excited for probably aren't even close to done and may not hit until well into 2015 or later. That being said, there's plenty to get excited about next year so here's what I can't wait to get my hands on:

14: Kingdom Hearts 2.5 remix: Normally a re-release wouldn't make this list, but this will be a great warm-up to the upcoming Kingdom Hearts III (which almost definitely won't make 2014) and I'll actually be pretty pumped to play Birth By Sleep in HD on a big screen as I enjoyed the PSP version but never got around to finishing it.

13.  Sunset Overdrive: Ok so Fuze was a bust, but that's mainly because it was lacking that personality you normally see in Insomniac titles. Sunset Overdrive looks to have that personality in spades and even though it's early, knowing Insomniac's penchant for great action and creative fun weapons makes this one of the next-gen titles I'm really looking forward to.

12.  Evil Within: Survival Horror has pretty much died off this last generation. Most games in this aside from a few notable indie efforts have just not been scary and also not very good. Shinji Mikami is looking to have the genre make a huge return with Evil Within and it looks pretty damn promising, and next gen usually allows for scares you couldn't do before, so while horror games usually don't even register on my radar, I'm very interested in this one.

11. Child of Light:  Holy hell does this look gorgeous. And it's inspired by the Jrpg style, but from the team that brought us the very awesome Far Cry 3? How could you not be excited about this game?

10. Tales of Xillia 2: Simply put, I love the Tales series and they rarely do straight up sequels, so I'm extremely interested to see the universe of Xillia after the events of the first game, especially how the characters are faring, which I'm sure they will touch on even if it's featuring a mostly new cast.

9. FFXIII: Lightning Returns: I liked FFXIII. It wasn't the greatest game ever, but it had a solid story and an awesome battle system. FFXIII-2 really cut what didn't work and tightened up what did, and Lightning Returns looks to be a great further refinement and really deliver on the promise of a proper FF game on current consoles.

8. Smash Bros. : Uh, it's Smash Bros, do I really need to say much else? Granted the Wii U entry was a tad underwhelming, but this one looks packed to with content and fun new characters. This may also be what finally really moves the needle on the flagging Wii U as many have said when Smash Bros finally hits is when they will get one.

7. Titanfall: Admittedly my initial reaction to Titanfall was meh, it's Call of Duty with mechs, big deal. But then you see elements like the parkour  and jet packs and how the mechs move and the fact that the mechs aren't everything and how insanely good it looks. Assuming I pick up an Xbox one in the next 6 or so months (and I'm hoping to) and Titanfall really has the legs it's promising this would probably be the first game I get and I expect it will rekindle my interest in shooters which has been nearly dead for years now.

6. The Order 1886: Alternate history with an ancient order protecting humanity from all kinds of monstrosities?  Sounds great. Add in somewhat future tech in an ancient time period along with awesome-looking action and you've got a pretty obvious winner here.

5. Destiny:  A new IP from Bungee that looks nothing like Halo? Hell yes. Plus this already seems to have emergent gameplay down to a T with constant events and changes happening. It could also basically be a prettier Borderlands, but I really don't see a problem there.

4. Transistor: Admittedly, as much as I want to be excited about the whole indie scene, most of those games don't really peak my interest either because I'm looking for a deeper, longer experience or seem to rely on a single gimmick that isn't worth the price of admission. Bastion was one of the few that what limited time I've had with it was completely awesome (I own it but it's one of many I've never gotten around to finishing) and I really can't wait to play the next game from SuperGiant.

3. South Park: The Stick of Truth: FOR THE LOVE OF GOD PLEASE LET THIS FINALLY COME OUT! I'm a casual South Park fan, but this just looks so goddamn fun and hilarious and it's been delayed for frakking ever. If it gets pushed back again I'm not sure I can take it anymore...

2. Infamous Second Son: I wasn't that excited about Second Son, but not long after it's reveal I played through the first 2 games and absolutely loved how well they did the open world superhero thing. This one looks to really up the ante with tons of new powers and the first two had great stories and characters so hopefully this continues that.

1. Dragon Age: Inqusition: Some may have soured on Bioware, but aside from the ending, I thought Mass Effect 3 was amazingly epic, and Dragon Age II was a lot of fun with great characters (aside from whiny ass Anders), so I'm very ready for some more Bioware epicness and everything about the new Dragon Age seems to point to it be a combination of what worked best in the first two games along with some new stuff like open world exploration to possibly make it Bioware's best effort to date.

Ok that's the list, if there are some noteworthy admissions you are thinking of, there's plenty of other games I'm interested in trying out (like Watch Dogs) but not necessarily hugely amped up for and like I said, release dates aren't solid on almost any of these games to begin with, so these were ones I was fairly confident would be out this year. That's it for today, expect a gamer cinema tomorrow or Saturday.


Gamer Cinema: In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale

I'm not horribly familiar with the Dungeon Siege series, but I'm sure this film follows the usual magical Uwe Boll formula of butchering it in every possible way. Jason Statham is a farmer. NAMED FARMER. Just let that sink in. Anyways, evil generic things apparently controlled by evil wizard Ray Liotta attack his village, kill his son and capture his wife, so Farmer the farmer must join up with King Burt Reynolds and his army to go rescue her.

Anything seem out of place there? I'm all for unusual casting but Burt Reynolds and Ray Liotta don't belong anywhere near a fantasy epic, neither does Matthew Lillard as the king's scheming nephew. Of course, if that was the worst thing about this movie, it might actually be ok. But everything about this movie is awful. How about that Farmer's trademark weapon is a goddamn wooden boomerang? Like the bad dubbing that is noticeably off even though this is not a foreign film. Or the war scene where there are a platoon of ninjas BECAUSE REASONS. Or how about where they claim confusion that Ray Liotta is so powerful, because apparently his power is based on loyalty to a king, and then he explains that he's so powerful because he named himself king of the monsters he controls? How about when Lillard has clearly betrayed and tried to kill Burt Reynolds, and he doesn't do anything about, leaving him to cause more trouble on the battlefield?

Even the editing is awful, with confusing cuts, terrible fight scenes and oddly off dubbing (in a film that is all in English, mind you, with actors who all speak English). I'm pretty sure this has been Uwe Boll's biggest budget to date and it just makes the usual problems in Boll's films all that more apparent. I really can't recommend this on any level other than pure morbid curiosity.

That's all for today, I'll probably have a post up on something by Wednesday.


Ten people who should be considered to host the VGX awards next year...

So, VGX happened this past weekend. It was mostly a lot of nothing. Very little in the way of mindblowing new trailers (aside from No Man's Sky, that potentially looks amazing) and no real surprises. And hosting is a thankless job that almost never goes over well, but bad hosting was epitomized in Joel McHale, who in addition to his usual snark just really seemed to not care and not want to be there. But I also think the blame's not entirely on McHale, as he seems like a poor fit. Assuming VGX continues to exist, their are plenty of celebs who would enjoy hosting such a show being gamers themselves and not completely piss off the people who would actually turn in to watch the show, here's 10 I think would do at least a watchable job:

10. Morgan Webb: Seriously, what the hell happened to Morgan Webb? Ok, X-Play was cancelled, but she's essentially considered a gaming goddess, it shouldn't be that hard for her to find work. And on top of that, she's got loads of experience hosting from her various shows so she'd be a natural fit. Though arguably, she's the least known "celebrity" on this list so if Spike was looking for any more casual viewers she may not be a draw.

9. Felicia Day: The ridiculously adorable Felicia Day is someone who clearly has a lot of visibility going with her various gigs like The Guild & Supernatural, she has a lot of cred with the gaming community. My only reservation would be that to my knowledge she has very little if any hosting experience, but hey you gotta start somewhere.

8. Nathan Fillion: Arguably the most well-known celeb on this list with the hit show Castle, he's also a nerd icon thanks to Firefly and Dr. Horrible and has various nerdy video game roles to his credit as well, so he's an easy choice. Though much like Felicia Day, to my knowledge he doesn't have much if any hosting experience and I'm not sure he'd be good at interviewing people. Might be at least interesting to see though.

7.  Ice T: Ice T is just an incredibly cool guy and he is a pretty major gamer, also having roles in several video games over the years, he's a very natural choice and would actually bring over some casual interest as well due to his crossover appeal.

6.  Olvia Munn: A gaming celeb and icon long before her now fairly steady acting career, Munn pretty much has all the qualities you'd want in a host, she's not too famous to overshadow the show, has plenty of current visibility thanks to recent stuff like New Girl and the Newsroom, has hosting experience and pretty solid comedic chops. Seems like a no-brainer unless she's not interested in doing gamer-related stuff anymore.

5. Vin Diesel: Ok, I'm not a huge fan of Vin Diesel the actor, but this guy made arguably the best video game movie to date-Escape From Butcher Bay and is a huge gaming and D&D geek. So he'd be a good choice to also draw in non-gamers who wouldn't think a guy like Diesel would be a gamer.

4.  Wil Wheaton: Nerd icon, actor, gamer, former game show host. Seems like an easy choice. Also, I like the idea that Wheaton would probably do his damnedest to make sure the awards show wouldn't be a complete joke as evidenced by his walking out on Arena after he was tired of the producers treating everyone like shit.

3. Jimmy Fallon:  Admittedly, I was not a fan on Fallon's SNL days, but he's really grown into his role as host of Late Night and that's in no small part due to his embrace of nerd culture, consistently showcasing videogames and videogame developers on his show along with nerdy stuff like singing Mario Kart Love Song with Selena Gomez. Clearly the guy is a natural host and would be able to handle the awards with a little respect and loving mockery instead of the pure snark we got from someone like Joel McHale.

2. A.J. Lee: You want someone who is just a huge fan of gaming and would be psyched as hell to host a gaming awards show that also happens to be a celebrity? Look no further. She dressed up as Kitana and did the character justice on a Halloween-themed episode of Raw, and is more than willing to croon about her gaming hobby on Twitter as she was just recently talking about how she's ready to get lost in Skyrim. I just really think she'd be a perfect host with her love of the industry, great personality, looks and crossover appeal, there's really only one person I think might do better.

1. Conan O'Brien: Here's the thing about awards shows: They are filled with awkward moments. Either someone doesn't know what to say, a bit falls flat, something goes wrong and you have to stall for time, etc. No one handles random awkwardness better than the Clueless Gamer, Conan O'Brien. Obviously his many years of hosting a talk show come in handy, and he's a good choice to speak to those people who might be watching who aren't gaming experts, and when something does go wrong or fall flat, there's few people who could improvise and save it like O'Brien. He's pretty much a master of making something out of nothing and would be the perfect host for virtually anything, but especially something like the VGX which needs a host that'll really inject life into it.

Ok, that's the list, feel free to suggest somebody I left out (or explain why someone on this list is a terrible idea). Expect a Gamer Cinema by the end of the week.


Gamer Cinema: Sonic X: The Complete Series

There have been several cartoons based around Sonic The Hedgehog over the last couple decades (most of which are on Netflix or Hulu) and I do plan to review for this blog at some point), and actually a new one on the way next fall on the cartoon network. But Sonic X to my knowledge is the first one that follows the game series pretty closely in terms of the characters. The plot isn't based on any of the games though. Essentially Dr. Eggman, Sonic and most of his friends get transported to an alternate Earth because reasons (seriously, even the opening theme of the show says "stuck in a new location without any explanation"). Initially he is treated as a fugitive and Eggman is seen as trustworthy, which actually could've been a pretty promising premise but I guess because the core target audience is little kids they couldn't do that for too long so within a couple episodes he's everybody's hero again and working to stop Eggman with the occasional help of the government and maybe eventually find all 7 chaos emeralds and return home (honestly, they seem like an afterthought half the time even though theoretically that should be their whole motivation). That's for the first two seasons, the third and final season has Sonic & friends planet hopping and fighting weird robots called the Metarex bent on ruling the universe (I guess the writers felt him making Eggmam look like an idiot evey week got old after two seasons)

Probably the best thing about Sonic X, even with a ton of original characters introduced throughout it's 78 episode run, is that it manages to cram nearly every Sonic game character that's ever been up to that point in his history. Seriously, aside from the core cast you see Big the Cat, Shadow, E-102 Gamma, hell even the guys from the Chaotix game make several appearances. And the characters are fairly true to form. Amy is a crazy stalker who may or may not be Sonic's girlfriend, Tails is a mechanical genius, Rouge is disturbingly sexual for a little kid's show, Knuckles is a short-tempered loner, etc.

And of course therein lies the biggest problem of Sonic X. Sonic's various furry friends are mostly really annoying. Especially Cream. Her mere voice makes me cringe every time she talks (and I had to endure 78 episodes of that). You might want to say it's aimed at little kids but I think that's not giving kids enough credit. On top that, Sonic's new human best friend Chris is just an annoying brat as well.

There are some interesting and straight out weird episodes (a highlight being a very absurd tournament between most of the characters for a chaos emerald that has very little actual fighting), but mostly it's very inane stuff. It probably would've benefited greatly from shorter season runs, because I really didn't marathon this show, I've been watching it off and on since September and it still felt like it took forever to get through. The final season is a little more focused but still has LOTS of pointless filler such as Amy trying a love spell on Sonic (and again it's still ambiguous if they are dating or not even after that).  Essentially this might be the series that at least in spirit sticks closest to the video games in terms of the characters and themes but it's still a mediocre kids show at best so unless you are a completely hardcore Sonic fan (and if so at this point you probably need therapy) you're better off just skipping it.

That's all for today. Admittedly game releases and news in general has slowed quite a bit, possibly for the rest of the year, but I probably will try and post something else this week.


The muti-generation generation?

Might need a few extra HDMI ports...

So the next gen is here! Clearly we should dump our ancient 360s and PS3s, right? Well not so fast. I don't know about you, over the last 8 years, I've built up a pretty decent digital library on both my 360 & PS3. Not to mention that at least through the next year, there are a ton of last-gen titles that seem worth holding onto your systems for awhile longer (South Park, Dark Souls II, Lightning Returns, Tales of Xillia 2, etc.). I feel like Sony & MS' reasoning behind no backwards compatibility (almost nobody used it) was very flawed as the PS3 and 360 were very different beasts than the PS2 and Xbox One. Nintendo clearly saw this, as it's pretty effortless to transfer you digital purchases from a Wii to a Wii U and it's backwards compatible with Wii software (also the Wii has essentially been dead since the end of 2012).  It certainly doesn't help that neither next-gen console has a ton of compelling software and really won't for months. My PS4 library is basically Injustice, Lego Marvel Heroes and Resogun because I have no interest in sports or car games, which seem to be getting the best reviews and it's going to be a long few months til Infamous hits.

So you have two systems with plenty of life left in them, and while I'm sure some were anxious to dump their previous consoles, but I really think you'll be seeing a lot of people hanging on to their older systems awhile longer. Hell, with the bundle deals this past week and last year (and probably next year as well) you are having a lot of people getting those systems for the first time so it's a whole new load of people that will keep those consoles going along with them seeing healthy software support through at least 2015. I probably will hold on to mine until my current ones crap out at least, then I'll probably have to evaluate whether it's worth the money to replace them. But I really see myself playing all 5 (when I get an Xbox One) home consoles plenty over the next few years at least, and I doubt I'm the only one.

That's it for today, but expect a gamer cinema tomorrow or Wednesday at the latest.