Thursday, March 26, 2009

MIX TAPE: The Trilogy, A Snowy Day Story

I awoke to find several inches of snow flurrying around the backyard, and not moments after I get out of bed, Parker texts me that Front Range is closing at 11:30, the exact time of my math class. After dancing, my mom texts me that CSU is also closed, which means I have the day off. I made a fire in the wood burning stove and have been taking in the sweet smoky smell that's filled the house, had some tea, watched the blizzard, and then sat down to do some real work.

My good friend Mecha is back in town (permanently now, for school, which is totally fucking rad) and while we were in the car, he asked if I could make him a CD of my favorite songs because the music I listen to is so awesome. I told him I would make him three.

Thus, MIX TAPE: The Trilogy, A play in 3 Acts was born. 47 ball explodingly good songs on 3 CDs, including Episode I, The Freshness (big openers and iressistable hits), Volume II, Life is a Series of Down Notes (where we dim the lights a bit), and Chapter III, Return of the Jedi (the triumphant return of happiness). Each CD has a little boooklet/peice of paper that dictates what the tracks are.

I never made a mix tape before, at least for another person, and this was way more fun than it should have been (I think owing a lot to the fact that this whole excercise pretty much was just ego stroking and justification for my recent feindishness in music), but none the less it has seriously inspired me. People should do shit like this more often. If I could mass produce these easier I would give them to all my friends and make them all the time. Also if I had this much fun then graphic design should be a cake walk.

(Special thanks to Ethan, who if you look at the set list up there, is responsible for like 70% of what's on there. I think I'll write that on the back of the case now actually)

Friday, March 13, 2009


When the Wii came out, I camped out for some 18 hours outside of Circuit City in freezing weather in order to obtain one on launch day, with Twilight Princess. It was worth it for a time, certainly, the Wii was a sound investment. Miis and Wii sports were greatly appreciated around these parts. After coming to terms with the fact that Twilight Princess wasn't anywhere near as good as Wind Waker however, and until Super Mario Galaxy, it collected dust (unless I wanted to play Gamecube games). Galaxy was great, and so was Brawl but the later can barely be called a Wii game, and the former came out like a year and a half ago. To the point, when I heard about Madworld I was very excited. When I was camping out on launch day I thought mainly of the Wii's potential for extreme gratification in violence. Snapping peoples necks and such by pantomiming the fucked up acts in the real world.

Madworld is the fulfillment of these prophecies.

Firstly, Madworld joins a growing number of games that are basically perfect, graphically. It wanted to look like Sin City with a dose of Japan and it does, pretty flawlessly. I'm tempted to call it the best looking game on the Wii because it set its bar and achieved it almost to perfection. I was worried that in the black and white world it may be really hard to see what the fuck is going on but it is surprisingly coherent, more so than a lot of games I can think of that use color, actually. It's also just stylized enough that the intense violence is still awesome and visceral but still comic enough that you don't feel like a terrible person.

The story is that you, as Jack (voiced by Steven "Spike Speigel" Blum) are on a gameshow that takes place in an entire city. If you kill someone in more and more extraordinary/violent ways, you get more points. That's about it. Also: You have a chainsaw arm.

God of War has some great violent cutscenes and quick time events (essentially in game cutscenes that prompt timed button presses) that really get you into the ultraviolence, but when you play Madworld there is some other force at work. For example, when you use the daggers (there are multiple weapons, each with their own combos and finishers), one of the finishing moves is straddling a man on the ground, and stabbing his chest over and over and over and over and over and over in rapid succession, and in order to do this you pantomime the act with the Wiimote and nunchuck. The first time I did this I actually started screaming/laughing uncontrollably and had to pause. It's kind of hard to believe. There are a ton of finishers in this game, all unbelievably violent (you can remove a man's spine with a chainsaw and hit him with it)

Madworld's stages are pretty much a series of sandboxes that you get to do whatever you want in, and in traditional Sega arcade style, all of them are replayable at any time. It's not terribly long (I'm at about 2.5 hours through and I think I'm like half way) but the sheer variety in killing different people with different things throughout the different stages makes for a very replayable game. I don't think I can ever get tired of how awesome the finishers are for some of the bosses either. You basically accrue points until you unlock the minigame (which can be anything from tossing people onto train tracks to hitting them onto a giant dart board), unlock weapons, and then finally the boss of the stage.

Here's some fucked up shit I've done to people in this game:
1. Thrown a man in a flamming oil barrel, impaled him with not 1, not 2, but 3 sign posts, then slammed him repeatedly onto a meat hook on the wall.
2. Ground a man to paste on a passing subway
3. Shoved fireworks down someone's throat and watched him explode, killing 2 of his friends.
4. Stabbed a wok through a ninja's eye, then tossed him into a deep fryer.

This list could go on for much longer.

The controls are a little unresponsive, and as ridiculously gratifying as the quick time events are, when they don't work it can be really frustrating. This has been rare however. The bike levels are also kind of shallow but over all, if you have a Wii, this is a sound, sound purchase. I have like 4 Wii games now, and I am getting comfortable with the idea that this was the title I was camping out for.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Jon Will Give You Cancer and Can Turn Into a Car

Ok so I wasn't going to make a blog post until MadWorld was out and I could review it proper but Goddamnit, I can't stop watching this video and I have to share it with the world. It's a flash animation of what Watchmen would be like if it were a Saturday morning cartoon in the 80's, and it is so well done that everytime I watch it it gets better.

I saw Watchemn in costume at the IMAX in Denver and it kicked ass. I was actually really impressed but I do certainly have my grievances, but they are mostly minor ones. I saw it again with my dad, and the intro and the part with Dr. Manhattan on Mars only got better. I love those scenes, well done Snyder. Well done everybody. I think the biggest thing I can knock against the movie was Niteowl, and while the actor was dead fucking on and I love him for it, Niteowl is my favorite character and they fucked a couple things up. The first being his suit. I know the old one is pretty dated you guys but Niteowl isn't supposed to look that cool, he is supposed to look competent and adorable in his old age. He doesn't even really have a paunch in the movie! That is the best part. Also the part at the end where he smacks Veidt around is just stupid, and probably the biggest thing I didn't like.

Niteowl is my favorite character, hands down, and I love him so much I actually thing I'm going to make a little statue of him out of Sculpey. Which I will post here of course. Dunno when that'll be. Also I am doing stone carving in my 3D design class and I've grown quite attached to my rock, so expect full details and pictures in a couple weeks.

In other news, Mike Doughty has a blog and that makes me happy.

Stay posted for the Madworld review and also other things.