Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Before the year ends...

The holidays are just about over, leaving the rest of the year to stress out about different things other than gift buying, driving to relatives, and the repercussions of eating sliced potatoes covered in cheese sauce. This year is ending on some good notes, some fantastic comics were read, some amazing films were watched, and some truly enthralling video games were played. There were many things that came out that were the opposite side of the coin, but in truth I'm going to be optimistic.

It's kind of shitty then that Jack Thompson, despite being disbarred, continues his attempts to rain shit all over his (read as "God's") enemies, which have taken the form of Take 2 Interactive. T2 is the company behind Grand Theft Auto, and even though I'm not a fan of the game, I don't really think they need to be judged as unleashing hell on earth through their products. Jack Thompson's recent delusional letters can be read on Gaming Politics here.

There is a wall of text up continuing the debate of video gaming being considered art. It's a bit long to diminish hopes of a quick read through, but there are some good points made about it. The theme that John Lanchester gets across though, is that in the next 20 years or so, video gaming will be indeed considered as much an art form as films, television, and music, and this will be proportionately affected by how much gaming becomes accepted by the general population. Prepare to be critted for 50,000hp by the lots of words on the page here.

Have a safe and happy new year!

Monday, December 22, 2008

I'm not the only one in on the joke...

I know for certain that I'm not the only one that feels Uwe Boll is bad news bears. So Black20 launching a trailer for Uwe Boll's new movie and having it stylized with dialog the only way that Uwe Boll can, is pretty genius. I needn't say more, check out the trailer for Contra: The Movie here.

Also of video game adapatation news is Paul WS Anderson's version of Castlevania is stalled until further notice. This is great news since I can only imagine what he would do with the story. Even though he relinquished script-writing and directing to a guy named Sylvian White, he is apparently still attached in some way. I personally hated what he did with all of the Resident Evil movies (making them either intentionally or unintentionally campy) and Alien Vs. Predator could have been so much better, I honestly though the heroine and the Predator were going to have a romantic make out scene at the end of AvP. Write up on IGN here.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The X-Box and PS2-era platformers are some of my favorite gaming experiences to memory. The list includes games like Jak & Daxter, Psychonauts, Ratchet and Clank, and one that sits on the top of the list, Sly Cooper. Sly Cooper, a game similar to Splinter Cell where the main focus is to not be seen while still employing the cell shaded raccoon wall-running goodness. Every level was broken up into one world where the sub-levels would all have that theme to explore. Add in collecting tons of items and great voice acting and you have a top notch game. So when I heard that Sucker Punch Studios was finally taking the same step toward a more mature title (a la Insomniac Games with Resistance) I was intrigued.

There's some gameplay footage up on VG247 for Sucker Punch's current title, inFAMOUS, and I was watching it I couldn't help but see some of the style of Sly Cooper present. The developers sound genuinely confident during the interview which is always a good sign, they obviously should, but it also doesn't seem like they're full of it either. It looks like a sandbox version of Force Unleashed with a bigger focus on wall and structure climbing. The video is worth checking out, and can be found here.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Jammed up, jam sandwich, jamwich...

So it's a relatively slow news day, so I'm going to put it out there that Electrical Eyebeams is going to start something new a few weeks into 2009. In addition to promoting the blog a bit more, myself MikeEyebeams and my good friend and funny man John "Savage" McClintock will be doing a weekly podcast (pre-recorded) that will be posted every Friday. Based on the feedback we get, we'll keep doing it as long as we can. We're planning on starting with a 45 minute show at the moment, during which we will recap some of the stories that I have posted during the week, and possibly some other stories that McClintock brings up. We're hoping to spend no more than five to seven minutes per news topic, and will find a way to break up the mix of just us talking for 45 minutes straight with flashy audio clips.

With this story, I will leave you with an interesting "Top Ten of 2008" list I found, and the internet napalm that the list spawned. Looking through the comments that follow the list is a general mix of intelligent debate to "u r teh stoopid! u din't evn play this gam i bet!" which is a prime example of why I was so nervous about enabling public comments on this blog for so long. It's really odd how the ability to type well can be such a strong signifier of someone's intelligence in a place devoid of real human interaction no? The "10 Most Overrated Games of 2008" can be found here. I can't help but agree with pretty much all of it.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

All I need now is some gold fronts...

As someone with fond memories of gathering 'round the television to watch the Batman cartoon of the 90's, hearing that Mark Hamill and Kevin Conroy (the voices of the Joker and Batman from the cartoon respectively) are going to be voicing the same characters they played in the show in the upcoming Arkham Asylum gets me psyched to play the game. The DVD's of the original series are available now, and are worth the purchase if you are at all a fan of the comic book series. The stories portrayed in the show were usually some heavy shit for a 10 or 11 year old to behold. The villains in particular were often far from fantasy, and their stories were often pretty complex (my favorite villain is still Clayface). Knowing that Mark Hamill takes his vocal portrayal of the Joker very seriously spells out that this game is not screwing around. VG247 leaked the news here.

Although it's absent from developer Free Radical's homepage, apparently when the staff showed up this morning, the doors were locked. Does anything suck more than that? Free Radical has developed some great games, like TimeSplitters (which I'll always remember had a cameo in Shaun of the Dead) and Second Sight, which if you like Force Unleashed you would most likely enjoy. It's just a rumor that Free Radical is in this kind of trouble, after all when I used to be a supervisor at a video game retailer I forgot my key once, maybe that's what happened? Check it on Kotaku here.

Oh you PR firms and your marketing genius. I found out today that a bit of news prior to Dead Space's release that I ate up was that the game was being banned in Germany, China, and Japan. It turns out that when GamePolitics called shenanigans on the story that it all came tumbling down. Dead Space is freely available in all of the above countries and that it was never banned in the first place. Reading through the GameInformer interview with Glen Schofield, the producer of the game, you can quickly realize though that some of reasons as to why the game would be banned in Japan are complete bullshit. Check out this quote here:
Schofield: I was very surprised with Japan. In finding out exactly the reasons why, it kind of makes sense. There is a cultural difference dealing with the dead. They just had something that we could not overcome and we didn't want to compromise the game. Hell, [Takashi] Miike is the king of horror over there, and if you watch any of his films they are frickin' insane. So, for us to get banned, I was a bit surprised.
Yeah, exactly, no way. A country that launched the Resident Evil series has a problem with the dead? You've probably never seen Versus either. GamePolitics article is here.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Bet you didn't see this coming...

There are plenty of gems out there that are often overlooked or on the verge of being forgotten years after its release. This is why gog.com is doing something great. With gog.com, you can download a classic game for a pretty affordable price, some of which are damn near impossible to find now. They just put up the first two Oddworld games for download, a series that was very imaginative particularly with the Stranger series, and is worth the $9.99 price tag.

Mirror's Edge didn't sell well, it's not a mystery. Between that and Dead Space amounting to less than half of EA's top selling game this year (being Madden, also not a mystery), it's no wonder that they're trying to drive the last bit of holiday sales by releasing some DLC. Although this DLC might make the game more fun and worth owning with the introduction of time trial levels. With the option to download top times and race the "ghost" through the level, it has the potential to play the game in a different way. Check out the news post on vg247 here.

Odd that I reference Uwe Boll yesterday and today I find out that there is a movie adaptation of Clock Tower being made being written and directed by people whose credits inclue The Hills Have Eyes 2 and Prom Night, two horror movies of iffy quality, makes me nervous of what will be done with the movie adapatation. The storyline of a girl being chased through a clocktower by a muderous lunatic with a giant pair of scissors is also kind of an unusual story that will definitely be adapted in a weird way.

The issue that many people have with these video game adaptations of survival horror games is that the sense of the game being grounded in some way in reality found in the games is usually absent from the movies. I do think that Silent Hill's movie adaptation nailed it presenting a gritty and realistic looking world absent of the insane, absent from the game shit that Paul WS Anderson usually creates in his films. I don't know how Clock Tower will play out on the big screen, but the movie posters certainly look cool. You can always tell a good movie by how cool the poster looks right? Kotaku has the posters up here.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Fear 2 prevails, Uwe Boll is still awful, and LoadingReadyRun sings about charity...

Censorship makes me fairly nervous. The idea of some unseen organization, a "They" or "Them" deciding what is OK for me to see is kind of a screwy idea. It is difficult to decide whether or not the general public really needs to have a "They" shielding them from the violence and depravity to be found in movies, music, gaming, etc. I'd like to believe that people are responsible and mature enough to know whether or not they want to see/hear something that might offend them. Personally, the movie Hostel, albeit one of the most popular horror movies of the last decade, I still won't see because I don't want to see a two hour long snuff film. I have made the decision to not see this movie, THEY don't need to step in and say, "No Michael, you are forboughten from seeing that film!" with a giant judgmental pointed finger. Every time I hear a video game is being "banned" anywhere I worry that it's a slight suppression of our own rights as responsible adults to watch, read, or listen to whatever the hell we want. So when I heard that F.E.A.R. 2 was unbanned in Australia, I felt it was a silent victory against the THEY. Story on IGN here.

For those people not familiar with Uwe Boll, he's a video game fan that has gotten to make movies. Between Uwe Boll and director Paul WS Anderson, they have made some of the worst big screen adaptations of some really great (and really bad) video games. Although speaking out against Uwe Boll will usually end up with you getting your ass kicked in a movie like Heckler by the big German himself, I still don't have a problem saying he could have done a lot better with any of his films. Turning an interesting Lovecraft-ian tale like Alone in the Dark into an action movie featuring Tara Reid in a starring role as a scientist (none of the characters in his films are usually present in the games) was kind of a slap in the face for people that play games for the story. So the opportunity to attend the Uwe Boll film festival and spend two days watching his movies in his presence is something I'm not not to keen on. Kotaku has a press release that spells out the same sentiments here.

If there's ever a time people seem to be charitable, it's during the holiday season. Although next year I'd like to start fucking with the conventions of charity and doing stuff in June, I try to pick a charity that I believe is doing something good and matters to me. Child's Play is a great charity that was founded by gamers for this time of year, and I will be donating my yearly jars of change to it (usually adding up to about $80). The people at LoadingReadyRun had an ingenious fund raiser tied to Child's Play that they've done the last two years that has raised collectively over $75,000. Their response to spending several days playing Desert Bus Infinity is done through a clever parody of "Video Killed the Radio Star" here.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Is Saves The Day still even relevant?

Some cool tidbits, also an announcement will be made for after the new year as I plan on bringing this blog to the next level. I'm also working on getting another writer on board to help contribute to the music end of things a bit more than I am capable.

Double Fine, the genius developer behind Psychonauts, a fantastic platformer from a few years ago has had Brutal Legend in the works for quite awhile now. It even has Jack Black voicing the main character, which still may be cool, he's still relevant right? Regardless, it looks like it will be a melding of Norse mythology and heavy metal so I'm into it. Originally, the title was going to be distributed by Activision/Blizzard, but was dropped when they decided to cut some weight. The news is out today that Brutal Legend is going to be distributed by EA, so that is probably good in some way, even though it's not EA's own IP I'll keep my fingers crossed that this game sees the light of day. Link to Double Fine's site is here.

Bethesda has released the G.E.C.K. (standing for Garden of Eden Creation Kit, an object in the game that plays an important role in the story) for the PC version of Fallout 3 which I'm sure will get a lot of people psyched to begin making their own quests and new areas to explore. Granted I don't know how limited or unlimited the functionality of the world editor will be, but usually people find fantastic ways to use the tools they're presented. Official statement is on Bethesda's site here.

The New York Comic Con will feature the usual cavalcade of amazing artists and writers, but one would be remiss for the chance of the recently announced guests of honor, Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik (better known as Penny Arcade's Gabe and Tycho). What those two have done for the gaming world is amazing, and it started and has continued since with a witty thrice weekly strip about the industry. Newsarama has a great write up here.

That is all, oh I'm also changing the commenting rules so don't be a prick.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

News can be good news...

There's a lot of interesting articles up all over the place today. The first bit of news that caught my immediate interest is an in depth look at the upcoming downloadable content for the X-Box 360 and PC iterations of Fallout 3. IGN has an interview posted about the content and how it will likely change the way the game is played to a certain degree since you'll be able to control strike teams, a new perk, and participate in a canonical battle (the content patch is called Operation Anchorage) in the Fallout universe. The interview is on IGN here.

Some additional screens of Heavy Rain (not to be confused with the 1998 Christian Slater action movie Hard Rain) have been posted on CVG. The attention to detail that Quantic Dreams is putting into this game looks astounding. I particularly like the house pictured below, it looks like one of those nifty container houses being built everywhere but the United States. All of the additional screens and a gameplay video can be found through the link here.


Some more downloadable content soon to drop on the 360 for Fable 2 will be the winter-themed Knothole Island. Eurogamer is responsible for the first post regarding this, but a wonderful gallery of images can be found here. Hopefully it will be longer than the Halls of the Dead patch.

I recently found an interesting comic at the local shop that I neglected to pick up but probably will return for today. There's a full write up with pages on CBR here.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

People who played Pong still play games? Shenanigans!

Oddly enough, Steven Spielberg is a gamer. I was aware of his participation in EA's Boom Blox, but I do remember wherever I read it saying that he was a gamer. In the same way that no one can ever be called an expert of anything, at least not without it being taken at anything but face value, this article also called Steven Spielberg an avid fan of gaming. To say I didn't believe the statement would be an outwright lie, a huge understatement. I still don't believe he plays games, he talks about in a recent interview with Yahoo Games, about how he is currently enjoying Call of Duty 4, a game where I felt the story was able to drive the single player campaign better than any other CoD game to date. Something Spielberg is known for, however, is storytelling; that is something I will believe. Regardless of his credibility when speaking as a gaming pundit, he certainly brings an interesting perspective in the interview about gaming and reading it is certainly worthwhile. Article is here.

Activision has leaks, EA is still screwed, and what does $4 really mean for comics?

When I first saw screens of Prototype and read the basic premise of the story I knew that somewhere down the road I would like to try it. Despite me also hearing that when Activsion/Blizzard/Universal/Whatever dropped a ton of titles (Ghostbusters, Brutal Legend, etc.) with this one being among them; the recent gameplay videos and screenshots being leaked are being faulted to Activision. Now the site where these were leaked just has a countdown which means past rumors aren't true. The game has probably been fine for awhile, but if I haven't seen it it's new for me. Prototype is from my understanding a sandbox game similar to GTA and/or Crackdown where you are the subject of some kind of experiment and are unleashed on the populace to battle the military, the organization that performed the tests on you, and other "subjects" that are probably more evil than you. The gameplay vids are on Joystiq here.

EA laying off about 6% of their total workforce (which was in the neighborhood of 540 people mind you to get a scope of what "6%" really means), but EA is standing behind its newly developed IP's of Dead Space and Mirror's Edge. EA CEO John Riccitiello said that even though EA isn't meeting its sales hopes for the holidays, the two new IP's are safe for sequels, and they want to try and take feedback and make them better than the first iterations. It's weird how when a company isn't doing well they want to make a better product? Who in America should begin working off that business model? Eh, who knows? Here's the 1up story.

An interesting editorial was put up on Comic Book Resources regarding the current price point of comics currently. Aside from Fell, most comics are $3.99, and if I had more time and general experience in the industry, I'm sure I could come up with an intelligent editorial too. Regardless of my inability to do anything, here is the article.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Bai-oh-ha-za-do fai-bo?

Having enjoyed Resident Evil 4 so much that I replayed it possibly seven or eight times, I was psyched to hear that a demo would be dropping on X-Box Live soon. Although it looks to be a graphical upgrade of Resident Evil 4 with a lot of the same gameplay mechanics, having a partner that kicks ass on her own will be nice instead of having to constantly protect someone.

Not only will I be downloading the demo, this will be a guaranteed purchase, gameplay videos are becoming the best way to promote a game. They can act as tutorials and also you will typically know straight-away if you're going to like the game. Check out the two videos up at Lens of Truth here.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Thank you very much YouTube for being so lax...

I can't deny that one of my favorite all time shows is Britain's Never Mind the Buzzcocks. I happened on this show while looking up clips of comedian Jim Jeffries on YouTube and found a clip of him acting as one of the "contestants" on this music based quiz show and soon found more of the recent seasons on YouTube. Its current host, Simon Amstel's quick wit and charm totally won me over and I have religiously sought out the show. Yesterday, I randomly tried to find the newest seasons (#22) on YouTube, what I found was a Jacob's Ladder like series of clips that eventually lead to what I wanted to find. Check out the first ten episodes of this season starting with this one.

Something that has also piqued my interest is Michael Avon Oeming is doing a one-shot to be released by Top Cow in the very near future with writer Phil Hester. As with the other Oeming stuff I have read, it looks to involve swords, Norse-like mythology, and a hero that develops from a not hero over the course of the story, even though he's working with a different writer than The Mice Templar. Newsarama has a fantastic preview of Darkness: Lodbrok's Hand here.

For those not familiar with the "This Book Will Change Your Life" series (apparently the UK's version is called This Diary Will Change Your Life) the latest iteration had a great piece of marketing up in London thanks to student David Lines. The book promotes ways to make your own life a little more exciting and break up the day to day boring-ness. Fantastic picture below, and link to article on Juxtapoz here.


Thursday, December 4, 2008

Red beans are fucking awesome...

This looks like it's going to be epic.

Check out a preview of Shrapnel on CBR.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Art is being applied to video games?

An interesting point that had been brewing in my head for awhile, without the means to articulate it effectively, was essentially video games are starting to develop into an art form. One of the biggest obstacles that video games as a whole needed to overcome, however, are the ridiculous things that video games have come to embody in the past two decades.




First I'll mention Mirror's Edge, having only played the very short demo, I can't speak to the overall quality of the game. But someone got downright analytical about it, and what I thought was an interesting and fairly well executed idea, let alone how gorgeous and fluid it looked, turns out to be a great representation of an art form akin with martial arts. Some of the stuff went over my head so I read it twice.


Next is Quantic Dream's Heavy Rain, which was featured in an interview with it's creator on 1up.com yesterday, interview is here. David Cage more or less sums up what I think I've been trying to say is the biggest hindrance in video games being accepted as an art form:
We tend to believe in our industry that we need to tell simplistic or spectacular stories, where the hero saves the world, destroys evil, or has supernatural powers. This is because the videogame, as a medium, has been too immature to tell complex and subtle stories.
So as I wait for Indigo Prophecy to drop on XBox Live Arcade so I can finally try a game my friend upon its release said was worth picking up and now eat my words what like three or four years later? Sounds like the same thing that happened with Beyond Good & Evil, which is still the only game that makes me feel like I was ever at one point ahead of the curve.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Noir is a cool word...

First bit of news is that Eli Stone, Pushing Daisies, and Dirty Sexy Money have all been canceled. I've never actually watched a full episode of any of these, although Pushing Daisies was from the same guys that created Wonderfalls, which is now one of my favorite shows. I'll have to check out Pushing Daisies three years from now as I'll probably think it's brilliant. Link here.

I picked up a copy of Valve's Left 4 Dead last night, however, the new X-Box Experience kept me interested and loading movies into my Instant Netflix queue to watch this weekend. It's getting pretty good reviews all around (with the occasional "I don't see what the big deal is" review) though, and I must have played the two demo levels 10 times over and still had fun, despite repeatedly hearing "Oh shit!". Games that can provide that kind of longevity are definitely what I'm after, as god knows when I'll be able to buy another game, or if anything good will be coming out for the next five to six months.

Apparently President-Elect Barack Obama's appointed a gamer as co-chair of the FCC transition team, Kevin Werbach (who besides being a gamer is assistant professor of Legal Studies and Business Ethics at Wharton). His profile on wowarmory.com is viewable here. I doubt that Werbach being a gamer had anything to him being appointed to his position, but I like the idea that someone who obviously enjoys their time spent playing games will be part of the decision making process for games to come.

Spider-man will be receiving a reskin for the pulp-era in the upcoming Marvel release of Spider Man Noir. Despite a few angry fan boys, I am more likely to read this than the current iteration of Spider-Man since it seems a bit more grounded in reality, more than likely due to its new setting, and Spider-Man's bad ass looking costume. A preview can be found here.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Possible future scapegoat, Joss Whedon's new to be cancelled show, and Audrey Kawasaki's curated show...

I have to find a better way to review games, because I would love to unleash how much I loved Fallout 3. Although, until I am in a position I can do it on a consistent basis and with games that I might not necessarily enjoy, I really can't start that process.

The EA Mirror's Edge Demo is currently available for download for its respective consoles and I picked it up last night. The game looked beautiful, and the controls felt surprisingly tight, and the concept of "Runner Vision" worked really well with jumping from BUILDING to BUILDING. Definitely a game I would pay to play, but I can't imagine a game like that lasting longer than eight to ten hours for the single player experience. The demo level presses the player to makes you move fast, so fast that the non-tutorial level of the demo took only about 10-15 minutes to complete. I highly doubt that this will inspire youths to attempt to jump from building to building, but the opportunity to blame the game for something obviously dumb like that will be there. It is apparently also going to ship on time.

I'm disappointed that Joss Whedon's new show will be debuting in February on the Fox Network on Friday. Most if not all shows that play on Friday nights, especially on Fox, usually last a month before they get canned. It has happened to some quality shows (Firefly, Freaky Links), and apparently The Sarah Conner Chronicles will be sharing the night with Whedon's Dollhouse. Yes, X-Files did play on Fridays but that was a rare case with mass appeal. Poor Joss Whedon, him and Judd Apatow should start a club of fantastic shows that get cancelled even though they are usually loved by fans/critics alike. The source is here.

Another fabulous artist that illustrates people in a unique way is Audrey Kawasaki. A strong Japanese influence is present in her work, from her style of painting iconic Japanese birds and the Inari (fox), to including Hiragana/Kanji in her work. She was a featured artist in Juxtapoz a few months back and I fell in love with her work right away. She is apparently currating a show at the Thinkspace Gallery called "Drawing Room". There's a blog that can cover it better than I will but it's definitely worth checking out.

Tune in next time, and thanks for listening chillllllllldren! (fallout3 reference!)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Oh that's who does these...

I love tour posters for bands, and am looking forward to stocking my future apartment with copious amounts of artwork from people like Kurt Halsey to Penny Arcade's Gabriel, but I also want to pick up as many tour posters as I can. That brings me to Jason Munn at The Small Stakes. I have seen one of these screen printed beauties up close and they are worth every penny, one of the Stars' "Key" posters. Most of the posters cost around $25, and from someone who works as an Art Consultant, that is not a bad price for a screen printed/giclee limited edition print AT ALL.

Friday, October 31, 2008

This is Halloween, this is Halloween...

Obviously, HAPPY HALLOWEEN! I hope everyone has a safe and super fun Halloween holiday today/tonight! Eat candy until you can't move or can capably run up a wall!

Lots of stuff today, so a quick run through will probably be best. I'll start with this awesome info-graphic for the correlation between hard times and the number of zombie movies produced during that time. As you can see, the Iraq War has led to probably the biggest spike in zombie movies ever!

EA Games cannot escape from the Wall Street bloodbath, regardless that the company is making what seems to me to be an astronomical amount of money, they're laying off roughly 500 poor souls from the top down. When a company has 9,000 people, a drop in share values is bound to put the hurt on everyone. It's tough to believe that company that releases Madden and all the other games has to make a move like this, but then again, they have been buying up every other company under the sun like a corporate blob.

There's an editorial on 1up.com, and I hope it's not the last of its kind. David Braben basically describes how used games are defrauding game developer's large and small of sales (since companies like Gamestop obviously earn the profits from their used game sales). I want to get into this some more because over time I've realized this as well, that Gamestop is a giant corporate entity who DOES NOT NEED YOUR BUSINESS.

There's a new book coming out from Dark Horse called "The Cleaners" and it looks exciting, it reminds me of a manga I read while living in Japan (until they stopped putting furigana on the pages and I couldn't get through a page without resorting to my encyclopedia all the time). The manga which roughly translated to "Corpse Delivery Service" was part CSI, part Raines, and part Dexter and it ruled pretty hard. The Cleaners, however, looks like it will be great, more can be read on the CBR report here.

Watch a scary movie for me.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Pre-reviews of Fallout 3 are dicey at best, the new Glassjaw album will get groovey, and New York City grafiti artists strike with style!

Two posts within about four days of each other, I know it's crazy. I also will update a review of Fable 2 at some point this week when my mind has had long enough to quantify exactly what the hell I did in that game. Speaking of reviews, Wired's Earnest Cavalli wrote a not so great review of Fallout 3's hands on back in July, although it is hard to figure out exactly how he felt since he is cool enough to not define himself with a number or letter ranking system. It is the first really negative report on the game I've seen.

Instead, Cavalli critiques the game after playing for only thirty minutes, which I don't think is a fair amount of time to try and review anything. Would you watch a half hour of a movie and say that it sucks? How about read a quarter of a book and then rain crap all over it? Probably not, but you're certainly inviting yourself to be in turn critiqued by others if that's the way you work, and I don't feel the "seen enough" statement is ever really a fair way to judge things.

Does that mean Fallout 3, is actually an awful game devoid of anything that made fanboys love the old one? I'm getting my super high-fiving edition Thursday/Friday. Cavalli could afterall be telling the truth, or he could just be on that end of the spectrum, where so many reviewers are scared to speak their mind, he just doesn't care. Which is better than the XOM review I read, giving Fallout 3 a 10/10.

Mr. Brainwash hit up various spots around New York City recently, his style is reminscent of Andy Warhol (which is obvious) but I'm not sure if it's out of respect or the other way around. There's also some Banksy-esque social commentary that is prevalent in Mr. Brainwash's work as well. His website is here, and you are greeted by a kind elderly person on the splash page.

Also Glassjaw is releasing a new record soon! That sounds greeaaaattttt! Worship and Tribute rocked pretty hard, and I'm looking forward to hearing what is being described as a groovey, Massive Attack influenced Glassjaw album as being described by one of Daryl Palumbo's (GJ's singer) close friends.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Almost Halloween and a few more things that prove I don't keep my ear to the ground...



Not to say I'm out of touch, I subscribe to lots of magazines and read lots of blogs (I am being facetious, however). Sometimes though I think it takes a bit for this information to process, percolate in my brain before it clicks. Other times I miss stuff that exists in the first place.

Along the lines with what I was talking about last week with Joe Kelly's upcoming release of "House of They", there is another all ages release coming from Image called "The New Brighton Archeological Society" by Mark Andrew Smith and Matt Weldon. It looks like a fun adventure story, and has a certain charm to it. The samples I've seen don't include any dialogue which to me always seems more ambitious when trying to tell a story. The story focuses on four youths as they try to find/rescue their missing parents. In the process they search for magical artifacts and find their way as young adventurers. It will definitely be worth picking up, part of me was excited by the creators saying they wanted to try and call back on classic comics and artists, such as "Calvin and Hobbes" creator Bill Waterson and Normal Rockwell. Full interview is on CBR.

An example of me not knowing something exists, I'd like to demonstrate that by linking the "Inspired by Neil" Flickr group. A collection of artwork and photography inspired by the collective works of Neil Gaiman. There's everything from drawings of The Sandman to imaginative drawings of the button-eyed parents from "Coraline". The Flickr group exists here.

Speaking of Flickr, an artist I saw on Juxtapoz has a wonderful page representing their current exhibition named Booka B. The work reminds me of one of my favorite qualities in art being one person's interpretation in illustrating another person. I enjoy seeing more than a photo realistic version of someone, a slightly skewed version. Seeing art like this definitely makes me wish I kept up with drawing and that perhaps I should get back into it again by taking a drawing class. Regardless, these are some very imaginative portraits, and I do not know whether or not these were drawn free-hand or while observing a photo or whatever, but I love them. If you happen to find yourself in St. Paul, Minnesota at Nicademus Art & Framing, you can view some fantastic art in person.

There are also some classy looking shoes/and a parka designed by Aaron Rose, who has helped curate the Beautiful Losers touring art exhibit (which featured Barry McGee!). Although I'm not 100% sure if it's the same Aaron Rose (I'm like 95% sure), his shoes are only being sold in six shops, but are apparently inspired by the Mod aesthetic of the 60's. The shoe is a desert boot look a like, the gum sole has a tear drop pattern and since it's produced by a skateboard/snowboard company, it's probably comfortable as anything could be.

I hope that the programming you happen to catch on every channel is a scary movie, AMC usually starts running non-stop horror movies from now until Halloween. And of course Sci-Fi Channel has had the "31 Days of Halloween" programming, although I'm not too sure if they've been doing anything particularly different than the norm.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Free marketing for everything I talk about...

Four day weeks are great, entirely thanks to Columbus Day. Do I realize that Columbus was an awful bastard that more or less began the eradication of native peoples in the Americas? Of course, how can you not? But am I thankful that for some reason we get a day in Massachusetts because of that raping, pillaging, disease carrying pariah of an explorer? I think most people are, I know I am.

A trailer recently popped up on GameVideos for Bioshock 2. It's definitely not recorded in any kind of fancy FRAPs way, but it gets the job done. There's nothing really all that exciting about the trailer/teaser/whatever, but considering that Bioshock was one of my favorite games in the last couple of years, it'll still be interesting to see how the story continues. The endings you got pretty much wrapped up the story, but I'm thinking that they'll maybe expand on the "evil" ending for this sequel, but it does have the subtitle, "Sea of Dreams", how mysterious. No known release date as of yet.

There's an awesome R2D2 backpack for sale at fredflare.com. It's $65, and anyone who wants to declare how much they have no interest in ever talking with a member of the opposite sex again or just wants to look really cool at the next convention, this is definitely for you. Do I still want one, yeah a small part of me does, so I'm going to strangle that small part with a pillow in its sleep tonight.

One of my new favorite comics series, "Proof" by Alex Grecian (Writer) and Riley Rossmo (Artist) has reached it's first year in publication and doesn't seem to be stopping any time soon. The idea of Cryptids hunting other Cryptids to help protect or defened against them has been popping up a lot lately, such with the Perhapanauts and Sci-Fi's Canadian based Sanctuary television show, but Proof I think is still doing it best so far. The main character, a sophisticated, polite bigfoot who has always been that way and wasn't made sophisticated or polite through any kind of magical laser ray named John "Proof" Prufrock partners up with a former FBI agent named Ginger Brown to protect humanity and some of the strangest endangered creatures around. The full article can be read here.

Until next week, keep it clean, take it deep.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Banksy does no wrong, Wayne Coyne's house is amazing, and Joe Kelly's work eludes me again...

So it is another friday, so that means it is time for an update on things that have caught my eye(beams) from this week. This week will be a few interesting updates in art, music (relatively speaking), and some comics!

Banksy has opened an official "store", if one could really call it that. Banky's "Village Pet Store & Charcoal Grill", re pleat with food products behaving like real animals thanks to animatronics is bound to amaze anyone who happens to walk past the rather unassuming front. The store itself can only hold about 20 people at one time, and there's no advanced knowledge about how long it will be open for, but for the time it will be there, it is certainly worth checking out one of the world's most popular artists.

There's a fantastic article on the New York Times website about the home of singer/songwriter/director Wayne Coyne's Oklahoma City compound. I would love to see this house on Cribs, a show popularized by the superfluous spending of disgusting-rich level rap artists and athletes, where Coyne has spent money on upping the aesthetic of his house(s). He owns a lot of land, which features a main house, two guest houses, and a house for storage. I always dream of a house I want to one day own, thinking of Philip Johnson's Glass House (although not all glass). I love when people do something different than the norm with the places they choose to live. Coyne is certainly seems to be doing that with his bit of real estate.

So, everywhere I went in attempt to find Four Eyes, Joe Kelly's newest venture, ended up with it being sold out. Now I know not picking something up the day it releases usually ends this way, but I went the very next day in certain locales and found all the copies had already been sold out. Joe Kelly seems to have a common theme through much of his creator-owned series, a theme that can be seen in many Hiyao Miyazaki films, as well as the Harry Potter series, a coming of age story of a protagonist against all odds. With Kelly's comics like IKillGiants, Four Eyes, and upcoming graphic novel release of Douglas Fredericks and the House of They, and being part of the creative team behind the animated series Ben 10, Kelly is developing some of the most creative concepts for stories that I have seen in awhile. If only I could a hold of some of his damn work! There's a great preview of House of They on CBR.

Friday, September 26, 2008

In North Korea, games play you...

Not really, games don't actually play you in North Korea, but complaining about them isn't the best idea either. A photographer submitted some photos to UK:RESISTANCE of a Korean Arcade. There look to be some classics there, albeit, not there for the same nostalgic reason that you could find these at FunSpot in Laconia, NH, but because it is possibly the best this arcade could come up with.

According to the photographer, a lot of the buttons don't work on most of the machines, the screens are usually screwed up, and the boxes in general look terribly dirty. The craziest comment is that a game of Out-Run 2 costs $4! That's obscenely overpriced for an arcade gaming experience, especially sine typical arcade sessions on one credit last less than five minutes! He/she took some fantastic photos though, so it's worth checking out. It's more or less the "Third World" of video gaming.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Friday Blurb(s)!

Congratulations on making it through another week relatively unscathed! I've decided to change things up here at Electrical Eyebeams! a bit until I find the format that works the best, although I do think I'm getting there. So starting on Monday, I'll be starting with editorials about Comics, Film, Art, or Video Games (trying to keep things pertinent to what is going on at the time in each respective medium). Fridays, however, are going to be the days where I just mention a few things that caught my interest throughout the week, here is the test for it today.

Bethesada has launched a Flash based website to promote the upcoming release of Fallout 3 that plays like you're watching an old TV, but this clever marketing campaign shows that Bethesada really really really does not want this game to fail. They've gotten the guys at Penny Arcade on board to produce a weekly strip about a person's escape from one of Fallout's famous "Vaults". When a game with a production team and lead time (getting on to be four years now!), there is quite a lot at stake for this game to come out of the gate and be completely terrible.

The comedic stylings of the people at the Minus World have redone some now famous/popular games as if they were to be released on the Atari 2600. A system I had the chance to play a handful of times when I was about six. The images are high-fivingly awesome though, my favorite being the redesigned cover for one of my favorite games of the last year, Bioshock.

Last bit of news for the week covers a comic I had not yet heard of, but as a work of fiction (or conspiracy theory if you're into that) about "the Church"has been coming out long enough for there to be published volumes of it, so I'll be picking this up as soon as possible. The art that I have gotten to check out looks awesome; Juan Ferreyra really grabs that style that is slightly reminiscent of The Venture Brothers and applies it to Arvid Nelson's story of a monk involved in some kind of a Holy Grail conspiracy. I have not seen this in any of the local shops (the publisher has changed hands from Image to Dark Horse not too long ago), but I've never been looking for it either. Regardless, when a volume is found, a review will be done on how well the story and art pull together. Arvid has been writing and producing comics since college though, I guess that is an important note since everyone seems to be concerned with "experience" these days.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

"Dead Space" on German, Japanese, and Chinese Shelves

If anyone has seen the trailer, gameplay footage, or read the comic for the upcoming EA release of Dead Space knows that calling it gory might be the understatement of the year. One of their gameplay video blogs that is on the official site for the game is even titled, "Strategic Dismemberment" where it shows you that in order to defeat the mutated aliens you go up against you have to literally shoot their arms and legs off till they cannot move.

I have been excited about the prospect of the game since I heard the concept for the game, also that it remains grounded in the real, in the only way that a game that takes place in space shooting mutated dead corpses can, by having the protagonist be a normal guy (an engineer to be exact). This "every-man" aspect when applied in the Survival Horror genre always amps up the fear factor, as seen in the Silent Hill series.

But it seems that Germany, China, and Japan are either going to give it the dreaded version of the American "A-O", standing for Adults-Only where most retailers don't even carry it, or just not allow it to be sold at all. I can understand China, which heavily regulates the media it allows its citizens to view is at the top of the list, but I was more surprised by Japan's move to grant it the "Z" rating, which games like Grand Theft Auto and Assasin's Creed have received. Japanese developer Capcom even experienced a flap from Germany when releasing Dead Rising, but that didn't lead to the outright ban of the game.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out, I can only hope that the hardwork that all involved at EA will pay off as I do have high expectations from what I have seen of the game.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Review: Kick Ass #1-3

Sometimes I'm not too far behind the 8-ball. So writing a review of the first three issues of Kick Ass now is not incredibly dated as the series launched not even six months ago. Mark Millar really surprised me as I wasn't a giant fan of "Wanted". Not that I'm saying "Wanted" was even in any way poorly written, but to me it simply "exists". So again, when I say that he surprised me, it's because the story felt a lot more grounded, by having no real super heroes to speak of in the story so far, which is something I can right away get behind as a major part of the story.

Kick ass follows a seemingly introverted high schooler as he dons a costume to fight crime in his city much like the superheroes of comics that he idealizes. The crime he seeks to put a stop to, however, fights back very hard. And so follows the plot so far of Dave Lizewski, who gets hospitalized after his first crime-fighting escapade. After rehabilitation, both physical and mental, he is compelled to put on his scuba outfit and play the good Samaritan again, this time his actions get him on YouTube and he is propelled to national stardom almost overnight.

If the art looks vaguely familiar, it's because Romita Jr. has done some of the major Marvel heroes, such as runs in Iron Man and Hulk. The hyper violent story is illustrated with no holds barred as blood practically leaks out of some of the pages when Dave gets into a few of his scuffles. I gasped at the panel seeing the hero get stabbed in the chest and the copious amount of blood that followed. Romita Jr.'s approach in a panel like this shows what can only be exaggerated bloodshed, but in turn showing the real horror behind the violence that the main character was oblivious to as he is in the real world, and not in one of his comics.

So not only is this a book to watch, but it's apparently hard enough to find as it is. I snagged the last one available at my new spot today. That's not to say that there are not more on the way, but I am excited to see what happens to Dave Lizewski next, and I'm sure after devouring this small volume you will be as well.

Bottom Line: Buy!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Oh Jonah, don't drive away...

There comes a time when one can only be excited at the things to come instead of things that are already available. The usual internet surfing has shown that to be true of course, that there are a few things to be excited about.

There's a new Guy Ritchie movie in the works that looks like it will be a return to his old Black-Comedy/Action/Crime movies of the past with "Rocknrolla". Here's the trailer for it:

Gerard Butler with Tom Wilkinson supporting looks like it will be good fun, although this being Ritchie's first movie that doesn't somehow involve Jason Statham in some way is kind of disappointing even though Statham's track record as of late has been sketchy at best. Rocknrolla will be hopping into theaters October 3rd.


Next is a new comic book series that will drop beginning on September 23rd from Image Comics called "Four Eyez". The story will follow a young boy and his four-eyed dragon as they progress through the seedy underbelly of modern day underground dragon-fighting. Of course there are mobsters and a revenge plotline involved, but I'm pretty excited for what seems like a real breath of fresh air thanks to "Supergirl" stint writer Joe Kelly. I'll be in New York the weekend that this comes out checking out some pretty fantastic comic shops in Manhattan so the hunt for this will certainly be on. I haven't had much luck getting a few books lately regardless of the publisher so I'm hoping I can find them there. Here is a link to Image's page, and just looking through what they're releasing soon always seems different and ambitious and I totally respect that.


There's also a short but sweet interview with Kristian Donaldson, who is partnering with Brian Wood for a few issues of DMZ. It'll be interesting to see how his style plays out in the gritty modern Civil War of DMZ, but I've always enjoyed the random issues with different artists in the series so this will be no different as long as Wood is at the helm. The interview can be found here.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Something just moved outside...

Bethesada has decided to release a series of five, four-minute video clips of the soon to be released Fallout 3 on YouTube. Not only did watching these videos blow me away at how great an update of the franchise Bethesada has done, but it made me very excited to play it. Bethesada is the developer behind Oblivion, a franchise known for its engrossing gameplay where you can do such fun things as get arrested, buy property, talk to literally everyone, and develop a profession.

The link to Bethesada's YouTube page is here. The short playthrough shows the very early parts of the game and showcases a possible quest-line that allows you to commit a very evil act just for the entertainment of an old crazy rich guy.

Just from my small fanboy tendencies I already have it reserved with Gamestop, but there are rumors going around that if you reserve it on Amazon you can get a PipBoy alarm clock. Depending on your Fanboy-ish-ness it might be worth it. I only wish I could've been at PAX and grabbed the "Vault-Tec Survival Guide" which I probably would've hung up on my wall or something else borderline crazy.

I haven't talked about movies in awhile, but I also haven't seen any that have really blown me away or that have been worth talking about. This weekend I watched Doomsday (from the director of The Descent which ruled) and The Motel (a movie based on a book about growing up as an Asian-American), both of which were disappointing albeit Doomsday was entertaining in a campy kind of way. I really haven't seen something though since Children of Men that has really hit me hard. I can always tell it's a good movie when I have nothing to say, good or bad, when I leave the theater, hopefully that changes soon.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Noodle mouse?

Sometimes I can’t help but be impressed at what’s being done in the “Indie-circuit” of gaming. Now I know there isn’t really a fair way to describe what could be considered “Indie”, but I’m trying to think of it in the same terms as how films are cast into that category.

That being the games are developed and released using a budget and person power much less than that of the tens of millions of dollar heavy hitters people are seeing released today. Many of these big league games have teams of over a hundred working for four or more years to complete. Thanks to the internet and general word of mouth, much in the way that anything from fine art, films, and comics can catch on due to shameless self promotion, video games are now enjoying that same success.

X-Box Live Arcade has released a few games in the summer months that have totally blown me away. Two of which I have never mentioned, one of which, “On the Rain Slick Precipice of Darkness” was produced by Independent Vancouver based developer Hothead Games showed me a polish that I had was surprised to see. But the recent releases of “Braid” and “Castle Crashers” are truly something else. Both are completely different genres of gaming (a puzzle-platformer and a brawler respectively) but both show an incredible amount of dedication to making the game they really wanted to make.

First there’s Braid, a game that has challenged me in a way that no game I’ve played in a long while has managed to do (although I don’t own a DS and would like to have tried Mysterious Village). Jonathan Blow spent almost $200,000 of his own money to develop an absolutely beautiful and mind-bending platformer that is so well done you feel like you are playing a re-release of a game from the 1st or 2nd generation of gaming. Matt Helmann, the artist behind the characters and backgrounds created something that is truly aesthetic. The music thankfully due to the nature of this game is far from annoying as you often have to rewind time since you missed an opportunity you didn’t even realize existed, and may have to be subjected to same five to six second clip of music repeatedly as you work your way through. The story is interesting enough to propel you to solve each level’s puzzles, with cryptic storybooks in the beginning of each world as well as the puzzle pieces you collect in each level coming together to reveal why exactly the protagonist Tim is stuck in a weird world trying to rescue a princess.

Next there’s The Behemoth’s Castle Crashers. I remember playing Alien Hominid on my old laptop when I probably should’ve been doing something else, and vaguely remember the follow up game on Newgrounds that was a brawler but with the same punishing difficulty level in Alien Hominid. The art direction from The Behemoth always cracks me up in the same dark-humored way where something so “cartoony” can hack off the head of its equally “cartoony” looking enemy, but thanks to the art style it is hardly the same as aiming a sniper rifle at the forehead of an enemy and watching its head explode into giblets seen in games like GTA or Call of Duty (both of which are fantastic games in their own right). Anyone who grew up with gaming from the 8-bit era can tell that the people behind Castle Crashers did as well, and it shows in this clever nod to the brawlers of the past. Although more Golden Axe than Final Fight, I tackled the demo to the best of my abilities and enjoyed every second of it. The chance to customize your avatar’s abilities to what you want allows you to add your personal touch and the mini-games seem like they can maintain an enjoyable experience longer than a playthrough of FPS Timeshift’s single player campaign.

What’s the difference between games like Braid and Castle Crashers when compared to games with massive budgets and huge development teams? Both of which are available on Live Arcade for 1,200 points ($15)! This amount of money, relatively speaking, is almost nothing for the amount of enjoyment and time you can spend with each of these titles. At a quarter of the cost of newly released console games, these seem like a smart buy, and when you break it down you’re supporting independent developers to keep putting out games that have a unique flair to them that you might not see elsewhere but from something that has passed through the hands of the few as opposed to the hands of the many.


Bottom line: Download Braid and Castle Crashers!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

These people aren't even real...

Holy fucking shit Batman!

So much awesomeness to talk about my head could explode, and I'm not even sure how to get it in as one monstrous wall of text.

Well let's start it out like this then, I have reserved the super special editions of the upcoming releases of Fallout 3 and Fable 2, both of which are supposed be coming out at the same time. Fallout 3 special edition will come with according to GameStop.com:
  • Fallout 3: From the creators of the award-winning Oblivion comes one of the most realized game worlds ever created. Create any kind of character you want and explore the open wastes of post-apocalyptic Washington, D.C. Every minute is a fight for survival as you encounter Super Mutants, Ghouls, Raiders, and other dangers of the Wasteland. Prepare for the future.
  • Vault Boy Bobblehead: Enjoy your very own Vault Boy with this collector’s item direct from Vault-Tec.
  • The Art of Fallout 3: This hardcover book features nearly 100 pages of never-before seen concept art and commentary from Bethesda Game Studios artists.
  • The Making of Fallout 3: Get an exclusive, inside look at Bethesda Game Studios and the team behind the game with this special DVD.
  • Vault-Tec Lunch Box: The entire package comes in a fully customized metal lunchbox.
Are you serious?! The game comes in a fucking lunchbox?! I would buy a Fallout 3 lunch box just because of my fan boy tendencies for this game, let alone that I get a bobble-head and the game inside the lunch box. Oh well, yes I'm sure the game will be great too.

Fable 2 has released "Pub Games", games which allow you to earn money through some means of voodoo before the game comes out. So a person could effectively enter the world of Albion with over 500 gold, or as I am hearing about many people who seek to unlock interesting features via a flat gain in gold (not a NET gain mind you, just a gain) are entering the world about 15k in debt. From what I heard entering the game in debt means people come after you looking for the money. My goal is to be up about 10,000 gold when the game comes out so I have starter money to pick up a few basic things. I remember basic weapons and the like though costing about four times that amount though in the original Fable, so time will tell.

I'm also excited to hear about the constant companion you're given in Fable, that being a dog that basically follows you everywhere, in towns, in the great outdoors, will fight and protect you, and will unconditionally love you. Which brings me to a weirder and far more interesting point, the dog's AI was built around an Asimov-ian Three Laws: Unconditionally love the player, never annoy the player, and self preservation. It'll be cool to see how this plays out in the game, but from the vids of watched with that crazy Brit Peter Molyneux, it looks like I won't even be able to look at Wrath of the Lich King.

That's it for gaming, Thursday will be updates on comics and a possible movie review or two.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Build it up stone by stone and watch it fall...

The internet is an unusual tool for speaking one's opinion. There really is no way to verify that the person speaking is an expert or is just good at sounding like an expert (ie. Moe Rocca). I think that on the whole, most "bloggers" are entirely full of shit and themselves, and knowing that if they write uneccessarily harsh words about a random celebrity, movie, book, piece of art, etc. then it's a pathway to success. This being a reason why I think Kitsune Noir rocks so hard, since Bobby, who runs it, is very constructive and positive about art and design and not just raining crap all over people whom he'll never meet.

Regardless, I wanted to talk about a picture today that I saw on fffffound today based on expertise. Now I went to college for and studied to some intensity, Graphic Design, and a few of my professors always proposed an interesting debate about the field I would most likely go into in reference to this:

At what point does your moral obligation as a person start to interfere with your design? If Exxon came to me tomorrow and said, "We're going to offer you $30,000 for a new logo, as well as $3,000 for every year we continue to use it," what would I say? The chance to make $30,000 in one shot is very tempting, but knowing that oil companies are one of many factors bringing back the class system in America, could I in good conscience do this design? What if McDonald's had asked me to assist in their new marketing campaign to promote their latest sandwich? Could I in good conscience develop anything knowing their food is terribly unhealthy?

It might be a minor moral debate, but a debate to make nonetheless. Many trained Graphic Designers know what it takes to make something visually appealing, and how to convey a powerful message using only a few lines of text, but whether or not to use this skill to make yourself financially stable/successful at the cost of making people eat a whopper has to be a moral debate sooner than later, at least it is for me.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Any day now, all my problems have turned around...

I always seem to forget how great graffiti is but then I am reminded of how powerful a tool of self expression and protest it has the potential for. Stencil graffiti was recently popularized by GB's Banksy, and many artists are taking the cue and doing similar artwork all around the world. Now although Banksy wasn't the first artist to do stencil based graffiti, he certainly won't be the last well known one. Many artists are already building off the groundwork Banksy and artists before him have laid. Banksy is a clever bastard though, and seemed to have a great way of screwing with people, my favorite being his faked "This has been approved for graffiti by the Police" seal he put on a random wall where this was obviously not legal. Suffice it to say, graffiti on said wall ensued and was later removed. The Stencil Revolution however, is a new spot where artists post their stencil work, whether it be legal or not.

A college student posted his sped up presentation on Video Gaming and Sex recently on YouTube, and made a lot of the points which make sense. The basis for his argument being that given that now where video gaming can reach new potential in storytelling given the technological achievements being made.

However, until video games have sex as part of the story in the same way that a book or film would, it will be picked on and scape goated for whatever since video games are for some odd reason still perceived as being a children's toy. As an artform video gaming is still in its infancy, so time will tell how things turn out and how serious game makers decide to take it. I think Mass Effect was the first step in the right direction even though it was lambasted in the news for portraying, "the most realistic sex scene" ever and there was potential that a (gasp!) lesbian relationship could occur in the game. People be crazy sometimes.


Friday, May 23, 2008

BRAND NEW!


This is the rough sketch for part of the new design for the blog. I'll have to retouch it but I like how it came out for the most part.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

There's no harm being...

So I'm under the impression that when a comic book is able to hit issue #50 and maintain it's commericial and critical success, it's a pretty big deal. Robert Kirkman, the writer behind Battle Pope and The Astounding Wolfman, has hit it big with "The Walking Dead". Anyone who reads comics books has at least heard of it, and most of those people assuredly read it too. This comic is one of the few that has been able to bridge the gap between comic fans and people who don't read them at all. Whether it be the somewhat grounded reality, the prevalent Lord of the Flies-ish theme, or just the zombies, people really like this series. Kirkman was so kind as to do an interview with Newsarama the comic book resource where he makes ambiguous remarks about the future about all the characters and story. It's nice to see he's a fairly normal guy though, despite his story line featuring baby-cide.

The moment that used to drive me crazy when I was a Supervisor at Gamestop is finally about to hit, that is when the big console systems drop in price value after E3, before the holiday shopping season starts in September. Mostly because I already had all three and seeing the price drop dramatically in a seemingly small amount of time used to upset me. Some big-time financial analyst is predicting that unless the console prices continue to drop at least $50 a year, then the financial growth in console video gaming will be DEAD by 2011 unless a new console is introduced. We'll start with the initial $50 drop though, it might make me want to pick up a PS3.

Not like it needed any kind of press, but the Penny Arcade Game is getting released today. Stuff like this seems like it could unravel the universe though, when video gamings two biggest critics make something of their own. Other reviewers are either going to hate the game because their jealous of the duo behind Penny Arcade, or because it is actually a bad game. I'm hoping to check it out, however, and just from the trailer it looks like it's worth having just for the satirical and comical writing the two are more than capable of producing. It is available for download, here!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

There's never time at all...

So as part of my design projects, I plan on redesigning the blog to be a little bit more my own. Blogspot makes it pretty easy to customize for your own unique-ness and I drew up a sketch of what I plan on changing. Nothing major, mainly my own graphics and color scheme. It probably won't happen overnight as I'm going to test everything out, but then again it's not like anyone actually reads this anyway.

Searching through the blogs of others, particularly the ones brave enough to post where they get their information from shows an interesting web of information. I can't help but wonder where it all starts, however, particularly the blogs about everything under the sun. To post as much as those authors do shows a large devotion of time by them which I simply cannot keep up with, but I still enjoy having this creative outlet.

One such link I found through kitsune noir was this great design blog called the dieline showcasing sweet package design. Package design was always something a Professor I had at University emphasized as being one of the most unique forms of Graphic Design since it entails a number of other art forms in one piece. The size, shape, color choice, everything you see on packages was (hopefully) a deliberate decision made by a designer such as the package below for Gulf Pacific Rice.


It's a very interesting field of Graphic Design, albeit probably the most ambitious, but just looking at this package for instance is pretty inspiring. The whole attitude of, "I see what you did there," keeps knocking around inside my head, I'm just hoping something takes hold and gets me off my ass to do some design work. I mean making packaging for rice, soap, vodka, etc. may not sound interesting, but the designer's problem that they have to solve is to make people want to look at something that could be deemed boring.

The new Coldplay song is pretty damn catchy eh?

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Do you know how long it takes...?

My recent subscriptions to various magazines have been interesting. One of the more interesting points that was made somewhere among them by a rather reputable designer was to indiscriminately rip off a designer you like, at least in their style. Doing so will apparently help you develop your own style, that someday other young designers will rip off. I'm not trying to say that I'll ever be that good, but it's worth trying as I have been having a hell of a time trying to figure out how to solve my design projects.



It's an interesting approach to take into design, being a problem solver. Let's say that each problem is effectively a design project, and you have to solve it somehow by developing a design. I don't know if my head is currently capable of further developing this point, but I'm going to go ahead and assume most people get the general idea.



I picked up an older album by a band I was told I would love if I was a fan of bands like Coldplay and Snow Patrol called Slow Motion Reign. I have not listened to the entire album as much as I have been listening to the track "Shining Days", which has some fantastic vocal melodies, primarily something I look for in bands that have singing. Things are going to start getting real lonely around my apartment as I am the only tenant staying until the end of this month. Having an entire house to myself for a few weeks will be a bit on the creepy side.


Friday, May 2, 2008

The doctor said they'd never get her all sewn up...

So I haven't started shaking yet, or breaking into the first floor of homes to steal a VCR to obtain a fix of World of Warcraft. I decided two years without an actual break of a month or more of doing any activity like that is a bit much. Make no mistakes, that game totally owned my life, if not my life then pretty much every Tuesday and Wednesday night, as well as all day Saturday and Sunday.

I'm wondering what it's going to be like going the entire day tomorrow without playing. World of Warcraft being up a short flight of stairs after all. I just hope I don't end up like Leonardo Dicaprio in the Basketball Diaries.

I blame the recent decision to stop playing WoW entirely on coming across an article in one of two recent magazine purchases. STEP: Inside Design and PRINT are primarily at fault. The article in question spoke about the best of the youngest designers out there, and how one was only 25 years old and is doing stuff that is not just lightyears ahead of me, but make me look like I never even graduated with a degree in the field of graphic design.


I have a few design projects of my own in the pipelines for now and will begin posting them when they are done. My goal is to have them in some way available to the general public.


I've been rocking two new albums on rotation lately, but as always with me, they're not necessarily "new" in the truest sense of the word. One being Ulrich Schnauss' "Goodbye", a melodic mix of electronic and Bloc Party's "Silent Alarm" which I'm sure everyone recognizes the name on some level. "Goodbye" has been treating my ears well though, the title track especially coming in at nearly seven minutes is my favorite track on the whole album. It's definitely something different for me, as is this whole rash of music I've been listening to. I also managed to acquire tickets to see Silver Mt. Zion at the Middle East in a few weeks which I'm psyched about. The last instrumental band I saw was Red Sparrowes when they opened for Breather Resist more than likely over two years ago. The vibe is very zombified when said instrumental band is tight, and who doesn't like turning into a zombie sometimes?



Friday, April 25, 2008

And they're going to come to life tonight...

Never ever undervalue the feeling that comes with Fridays, if you have the knowledge that won't be working for two straight days you feel damn near invincible. The feeling that weekend is right around the corner isn't even enough to bring me down despite waking up in the middle of the night with a painful Charlie Horse in my leg.



Other than springing up out of bed and hobbling around my room while the muscle stopped freaking out, I stumbled over a pile of clothes which is a reminder that I need to get my shit together and do those two weeks worth of laundry. A room my size with that much dirty laundry makes it looks like I have a moat around my bed. Instead of aligators or something like that though attackers are fended off by the smell of man ass.



So doing my usual rounds this morning led me to a trailer for a movie that isn't coming out till October 17th but there's still a trailer online. Lewis Black made remarks about marketing shit that we don't need to know about, I mean five months away is a bit too much of a notice, and I could continue to hate on this movie if I wasn't excited about the premise already. The trailer gives you the basic gist of it, but the amount of viral campaigning that could be done with movies of this ilk (like "Cloverfield" for example) is pretty much endless. The only recognizable face from the trailer was Jennifer Carpenter who has been doing pretty well on Showtime's "Dexter", but seeing her in another Horror flick would be cool in my book. The wheels in my head obviously started turning when I caught a glimpse of a crazed looking zombie type creature so needless to say I'll have to save the date for five months, they may never actually tell us again after all.



At least it's Friday, and I'm a short seven hours away from the weekend. I keep reiterating the point, but have you ever noticed how pictures can cheer you up? Here's one that I want to find a print of and get it framed for my house. A large group of students from the UK broke the record for largest Mento's-Diet Coke explosion. Looks like a good time was had.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

A toaster falling out of a six story window and hitting you in the head is a tragedy...

An interesting state to be in is busy. Time tends to move fast, sometimes too fast to the point that gets away from you like sand from your grasp. It's now been nearly a year since I've been working somewhere that can effectively be deemed "a grind". Yes some peoples jobs are tougher or more weighed down by stress, but this is my experience for my tween years and like all the predictions or forewarnings I received, this part of it sucks.

The amount of distratctions I keep as blinders for the mundane nine to five are getting up there, thankfully creating these hobbies/distractions is not something I mind in the least. The most recent one is X-Box 360 Live. Now Call of Duty 4 is the only game I have that I can play against other people, who are no strangers to throwing out ethnic slurs in a somewhat anonymous fashion. I've been rising through the ranks, since CoD4 is what you could deem an RPG FPS where you level up based on completing certain challenges and by earning points in the usual multiplayer fare. I've been having a good time with it, however, being able to maintain a 1:1 kill to death ratio is all I can ever hope to do. At this point, I'm no stranger to getting owned by a 14 year old or younger with an angsty head shot.

I got to watch the film version of the Stephen King novella The Mist. From what I saw, and the premise that the story is based on, it's easy to see how it could've easily influenced video games like Half Life or even Doom. The military totally drops the ball when they screw up the "Arrowhead Project", opening an interdimensional rift in Maine causing a bunch of nasties to spill onto Earth's surface and kill pretty much everything. The creatures range from a swarm of tentacles to creepy spider like creatures that shoot acid webbing and lay eggs inside of people. It was entertaining to say the least, and I enjoyed seeing Thomas Jane (who I'm pretty sure is Aaron Eckhart 's clone or distant relation) beat the shit out of a Pterodactyl with a broom handle. This film's nods to Lovecraft got me interested in another medium that nods to the same thing, Mike Mignola's series of comics, whether it be Hellboy or the B.P.R.D. books.

As I'm pretty sure Baron's in Bridgewater is M.I.A., all of my comic shopping needs are now being met by going directly to the publisher, or random internet vendors of questionable intent that sell through Amazon. One person's perspective on "Like New" after all might be way different than mine, but what can you do. Eventually I'll figure out something where people are cool enough to give me these things for review, a friend of mine was able to get the Tartan Extreme film library under this pretense, hopefully I'll be as fortunate.

Monday, April 14, 2008

I'm still going slow...

Last night was a prime example as to how much useless knowledge I actually have in my head. Knowing who played the main character in both versions of "Get Carter" (Michael Caine and Sylvestor Stallone for the record), and also the dimensions of the Great Wall of China are both facts that I don't forsee contributing to me having a fuller life in any way, but they certainly helped win stuff I can't actually use in my daily life. All it really reaffirms that I would do really well in pubs doing the "Quiz".
Trivia masterness aside, I was able to catch Rogue Wave live on Friday night at the Paradise Rock Club in Boston. They put on a great show, albeit mostly consisting of songs from their new album which of course makes sense. It was a 2:1 ratio of new songs to old songs, I was a really big fan of "Publish My Love" which I got to enjoy them rocking out especially on. I left before their encore just because the club was super stuffy, and I was eager to get back home and crash, but definitely a band worth catching live. I'd be careful about hanging out with people with black "X's" on their hands at places where booze is served as bouncers and security alike will be watching you like a hawk, and will create uncomfortable and awkward situations for you at some point.

Saturday I got to catch up on my movie watching and comic book reading. Getting to read the newest issue of "Dead Space" was one of such catching up endeavors, you can definitely tell that things are going in a pretty crazy direction as people are falling under the sway of the mysterious obelisk, and people are seeing ghosts at random. Religious cults and zealots have a way of bringing up the level of crazy a bit, but to get to the level of insane that the game will have some shit is going to have to get real weird in the next couple of issues. Good thing they still have another four issues to get there.

"City of the Lost Children" finally came in via NetFlix, a movie I had been wanting to see for quite some time. Not necessarily as if I had been building it up in my head, but sometimes you just need to watch something with visuals that try to be different. The last movie I had seen as a point of reference to the type of aesthetic I'm talking about would be the Neil Gaiman film "MirrorMask". The premise of the movie is pretty out there, the antagonist of the film cannot dream so he kidnaps children to try and steal their dreams. In the process of snatching kids, he snatches the character One's (played by Ron Perlman) little brother which leads him on an adventure to go get him back. Complete with talking brains, bionic cyclopses, and a trained flea that injects brain washing toxins into the heads of its victims, it's not really hard to say this movie was strange. It's worth watching, however, just to see these strange visuals. The story was interesting enough, but in terms of fantasy and science fiction films I'm not sure what audience it was aimed at. The first five minutes of the movie having multiple Santa Clauses is enough to give anyone nightmares afterall.