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.