Sunday, August 31, 2008

Awgh, Aww, Aw Yeah: Awgust 2008

Hey guys, how was your summer? Mine was pretty good, as I did a lot of things. One of those things was NOT keeping up with my blog update schedule! Ha ha!

But I'm back, because I do still really like the idea of having a regularly maintained blog where I write about all the things I enjoy (and some things I don't but still apply to my nerdy, sexy interests), so here I go again! And dang it, I'm gonna keep picking this internet horse back up until I'm satisfied I've gotten things right! Or, you know, till my laziness consumes me more than my interest in this does. Anyways!

I'm going to kick this bitch off with a little experiment that I might turn into a monthly thing if I enjoy it enough. It is called Awgh, Aww, Aw Yeah. Basically the post will consist of something this month that annoyed me or that I thought was awful (Awgh), something that was adorable and/or really sad (Aww), and finally, something that was really freakin awesome and most likely my obsession of the month (Aw Yeah!). That way I get to write a-plenty and you, the reader, get a nice varied serving of emotions on a single e-plate! So let's get this started and see how this goes.

Awgh: Tim Buckley's Drama Comix, I mean Ctrl+Alt+Del

I know I'm way later than the rest of the internet when it comes to complaining about this, but the obnoxiousness has been back in full force lately so I'm going to do it anyways. Now, I don't hate this comic as much as the average person on the internet who enjoys hating things, but it's definitely not one of my favorites. It's actually pretty good stuff on occasion, but more often that not it just seems to be lacking a few things. Like, you know, effort. And especially recently, humor.

Up until a few months ago, it was a pretty basic gaming comic about gamers who say witty things about video games and also occasionally play them. You had Ethan the crazy eccentric witty gamer, Lucas the realistic down-to earth witty gamer, Lilah the female witty gamer, and Zeke the wacky robot who makes robot jokes but also mostly acts like a human witty gamer. When they weren't saying witty things about video games, or doing witty things involving video games, they'd have mostly light-hearted story arcs that focused on their own lives. In one of these arcs, Ethan starts dating Lilah, and he eventually gets engaged to her, and then he impregnates her. And at that point it was kind of weird, but okay this can still be a good comic, he can have a son or something and the series wouldn't neccessarily turn into "Parenthood Phunnies".

Well uh, Lilah has a miscarriage. The author writes an accompanying journal post about how his ex-girlfriend had a miscarriage and he wanted to use his webcomic as an outlet to vent see how the situation would affect his own characters. Well I dunno about the characters, but the whole thing has affected me terribly. Especially when the robot started getting involved. Why did the goofy robot character have to play a part in the EXTREMELY SERIOUS miscarriage storyline!? It was so awkward and terrible.

And even after that, I tried to find optimism in the situation. "Well, maybe the drama's out of his system now and future strips won't be so bad." Turns out uh no that doesn't happen. Not only has the miscarriage created a "terrible rift" between Ethan and Lilah's "precious love", now there's a new storyline where OH NO LILAH'S RICH EX-BOYFRIEND IS COMING BACK INTO THE PICTURE, and OH MY GOSH LUCAS' GIRLFRIEND IS A-SLEEPIN AROUND! GASP! Not only have these plot "twists" been a pain in the ass to read, but they've also been, for the most part, boringly predictable. It's gotten to the point where I feel like I'm still reading comedy, it's just unintentional comedy now. It's turned into one of the many decent comics turned mediocre that I can't stop reading. I try, but I've become addicted, and now I'm doomed to eventually read a comic where at least one of the title characters falls to their knees under the weight of their own despair, every three panels.

Anyways time to talk about things that are cute.

Aww: There she is!!

I'm probably late to talking about this too, since it's apparently been around since 2004, even though I just discovered it. In any case, my "Aww" for the month is this little series of Korean flash animations called There she is!!. You can tell right off the bat that it is an exciting series, because there are two exclamation points right there in the title! I'd highly recommend watching all four installments, because they're adorable. Well actually the fourth one not so much, but I'll get to that in a second.

If you want to know the basic gist of the series before watching it, basically it is about a bunny (named "Doki") who falls in love with a cat (named "Nabi"), in a world where love between the two species is forbidden. The episodes generally involve the antics of the bunny going "Aw I love you let's be in love!", and the cat going "Aw man I don't wanna be in love with a bunny it's socially unacceptable get away from me!", and then the cat eventually going "Aw man I am in love, crap". Apparently it was made as a social commentary on intermarriage between Japan, North Korea, and South Korea, but most importantly it is a cartoon abut a cat and a bunny being cute together while catchy Korean music plays in the background.

The series is supposed to have a total of five episodes, of which only four have been made so far. I hope the fifth one gets made soon, because the fourth one ends on a really, really depressing cliffhanger that completely changes the tone established in the previous three shorts. It's up to the fifth one to redeem that by being TEN TIMES AS ADORABLE, so that BETTER HAPPEN.

Aw Yeah: Castle Crashers

Castle Crashers is a little project, well, more like a huge, year-long project, made by The Behemoth, the team responsible for Alien Hominid. It's a side-scrolling beat-em-up game that basically takes every other side-scrolling beat-em-up ever made, then takes the best elements out of all those games and puts it into a single package. You've got your mounts from Golden Axe, your RPG elements from Gauntlet, your elevator stage from TMNT, and when it comes time to kiss the princess, you have to beat up your fellow players to win the chance to do it, just like in Double Dragon! Also there is a shitload of unlockable characters, weapons, and adorable animal powerups, which all give the game a pretty immense replay value after you've beaten the game once.

Really, I could have given an "Aw Yeah" to Xbox Live Arcade this month in general, since it's been just plain great lately. I mean, in August alone we got the following besides Castle Crashers:

-Braid, this nice, artsy little game with an apparently amazing ending that I haven't seen yet cause I still need to beat it.
-Bionic Commando: Rearmed, a remake of the original NES game, which modernizes the game fantastically. What I've played of the game is great.
-The demo for Star Wars: Force Unleashed, which turned the game from a "must rent" to a "probably buy" for me. You just feel like a total epic badass while playing.

And yet, although Force Unleashed earns a close second, Castle Crashers without a doubt is the most fun I've had all month. The cartoony art style is brilliantly done, and the gameplay is fairly simple but also pretty engaging and addictive. The coup de grace, though, is the game's silly sense of humor. Some of it is over the top, sure, like the fact that there is an entire level dedicated to pooping forest animals, but the juvenile humor is crafted in such away that it definitely works in the title's favor. Every time I play through the game again, I find a new goofy little thing that makes me giggle. Sure it has online issues and other glitches and bugs, but those'll be fixed soon with a patch, and even with those flaws it's already one of my favorite games out of the ones I've played on the 360, hands down.

So yeah, that was my month. I laughed, and I cried! And uh, got angry I guess.

Bye! Read more!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Nintendo's Nonofferings: The Wii Hard Drive

Everyone who knows me in person (a qualifier which currently also applies to everyone who follows this blog) knows that I'm a pretty big fan of Nintendo and its console/handheld offerings, both present and past. Not that I'm a complete fanatic of the company, though. I currently own a 360 on top of my Wii and DS, and I kind of want a PS3. But Nintendo always has this additional charm that wins me over just a little more. Microsoft and Sony are the kind of corporate giant that sometimes invoke in me a desire for awesome, sloppy makeouts... but only Nintendo makes me want to stay afterwards for cuddles. Smoochy cuddles!

But even I know that Nintendo isn't perfect, and neither are their systems. I'm talking about the Wii in this instance, and one of the console's more glaring flaws that has been plaguing me a lot lately: its lack of storage space.

The title of this blog post is actually technically incorrect, as the Wii actually uses a flash drive for memory. Flash drives are apparently faster, smaller, more power-friendly, and more durable than a regular hard drive. And that's all great. Unfortunately, Nintendo also decided it was a good idea that the drive only held 512 megabytes of memory. And since some of the downloadble content offered on the system's Wii Shop Channel service can be upwards of 50 megabytes in size, that space can tend to fill up really, really quickly.

And what is Nintendo doing about this? So far, nothing. The majority of Wii owners won't have to deal with this problem, as 90% of Wii games available in stores right now use less than 1MB of the system's space for save data. The games that use more than that generally use 30MB at most. Sure, that'll add up eventually, but it'll be nothing to worry about for most of the Wii's lifespan. The only way a consumer could already have filled up the Wii's FD in its 1.5 years of life so far is if they downloaded a lot of Virtual Console games. That has to be a minuscule amount of the Wii's userbase, right?

Well guess what, Nintendo.





This has been my objective and professional look at Nintendo's storage space.

Tune in next time when I try to update more than twice a month, and probably end up failing again!
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Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Ace Attorney? Prosecution Pro!

Okay guys who put this semen in my pants? Whoops it was me!

So anyways, as I've mentioned before, I love the Gyatuken Saiban series (known as Ace Attorney in the States) a pretty good deal. The latest game in the storyline came out in February I think, and I bought it and subsequently beat it. I was initially dissapointed and frustrated with the game, but the second case was awesome, and the final case made up for EVERYTHING. It went from the worst installment of Ace Attorney in my eyes to one of the best, in the span of that single case. Holy crap can this team weave a frickin amazing story. Dudes seriously!

And right after I beat the game, there was an announcement that there would be an announcement(um wait a minute) sometime in April, and it would involve the Ace Attorney series somehow. Well it was revealed via Famitsu last night, and it's a spinoff that's been way overdue: a game that gives us the characters and writing we love, but actually significantly changes the gameplay, which is good because it was getting a bit stale after four games of more or less the same thing.

The focus of this new game is hinted at in the title being "Gyatuken Kenji" (Turnabout Prosecutor) instead of "Gyatuken Saiban" (Turnabout Courtroom). People on the internet have been calling the game "Perfect Prosecutor", but this name is fan-made and not official by any means. Anyways, the first thing the Japanese title gives away is obviously that the main character is a prosecutor instead of a defense attorney this time, and turns out that it's no other than champion badass of the franchise, Miles Edgeworth! Yaaaay!

The other new revelation from the game's new title is the absence of the word "Courtroom". You are probably wondering, "Why is that? Actually wait why am I wondering this. They probably just wanted to draw attention to the fact that you're a prosecutor this time, the fact that it replaces the word Courtroom is irrelevant. You're stupid, stop talking", and it's awfully mean of you to come to that conclusion. I think you're a jerk, reader. Especially cause it IS relevant! From what we know so far, Edgeworth doesn't do the whole trials thing at all in this game, and instead all the emphasis is in investigating crime scenes and interrogating the eccentric cast members of the game. And because Capcom probably realized that hey, making an Ace Attorney spinoff out of just the boring parts is probably a bad idea, the usual interface of the franchise is mixed with a brand new approach.

That's right, you actually move the character around on the screen instead of navigating by clicking on pictures! You actually get to see your character interact with objects and stuff instead of listen to him narrate what he's doing with static images. And while this seems like a step backwards in some ways, the interrogation sequences still have the glorious animated character portraits. There's a lot of familiar gameplay elements, but it looks like the game will still feel completely different from the main series. I have yet to determine whether the approach taken here is a good thing, but it's hard to be upset. I mean, look! Gumshoe is your sidekick! Best game ever!

Oh, Gumshoe! Life hates you, and that makes you adorable.

Moving on, I was initially going to let loose with various speculation about where this game's going to go, both in terms of storyline and the franchise's future, but that was before I saw the first screenshots, which weren't what I was expecting at all, and make it pretty clear that it's too soon to say exactly what's going to happen. Even so, I think I'm going to conclude by hazarding a guess as to where this goes in the game's timeline.

See, the events of the Phoenix Wright trilogy are so tightly packed that I severely doubt that Turnabout Prosecutor takes place between any of those three games like some people are suggesting. Especially since at the end of both the first and second games, Edgeworth is taking a freaking plane out of the country. And although it'd be pretty sweet if this was a direct prequel to the first Phoenix Wright game, it makes the most sense for the game to take place in between Phoenix Wright 3 and Apollo Justice, more specifically right after the events in which Phoenix loses his badge. This would be awesome because it'd answer the "What happened to Edgeworth and Gumshoe?" question that I asked myself after playing AA4, and I'm sure I'm not the only one that asked that question.

Even though it's pretty obvious that they eloped.

Yeah, that's right.

Gumshoe eats Edgeworth's ramen noodles every night.
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Thursday, April 3, 2008

Wario's Fart Attack, aka Why Brawl is Amazing

So I'm a pretty big fan of the Smash Bros series. Early last month the latest game in the series, Super Smash Bros Brawl, finally came out in the States after two years (and two delays), and I bought the game mere hours after it was released to the general public. And then I played it, which is generally what people do when they buy video games, and it was AWESOME. As in almost as good as all the hype, which I thought would have been impossible. Over the span of a month, I have unlocked every character, every stage, all the music, and am (I think?) a mere dozen Challenges away from beating every one in the game. Now you know what I've been doing instead of making blog posts!

So like I've mentioned, the game is wonderful. I can't keep away from it, and I think I know why. I mean, there's actually a lot of reasons. The character roster isn't perfect but it's close, the single player mode is awesome and filled with nostalgic/hilarious/badass cutscenes, the amount of unlockable content and Nintendo fanservice verges on ridiculous, and Sonic manages to be in a fun game for the first time in almost a decade. (Well, that's harsh. I should have said a fun console game for the first time in almost a decade.) And yet, I think what gives me the most joy in this game is the ability to kill people with my butt.

Wario is one of my favorite characters in the entirety of Nintendo's big pile of franchises, and I both wanted and expected him to be in the next installment of Smash Bros even before Brawl was announced. What I didn't expect was for him to be introduced as the comic relief character, representing his spinoff series, WarioWare. I guess this came as a surprise for me since I wanted him as a Smash character before WarioWare even existed, so I always figured that when he was introduced to the Nintendo fighting legacy, it would be as a representative of the Mario franchise, and wearing his yellow duds. And of course he wasn't (though his original outfit is an alternate costume), but at least it was a pleasant surprise, because I freaking love the WarioWare series! It's amongst the most fun I've had playing video games.

Like the WarioWare series itself, Wario's character and moves were introduced as very goofy and in stark contrast to the kind-of-ridiculous-but-always-takes-itself-seriously fighting style of most of the other combatants in the Smash roster. Seriously, Captain Falcon jumping around flamboyantly and shouting out names for all his attacks looks like freaking Hamlet when put next to Wario eating his motorcycle. And everything he does is pretty much that silly, from his normal attacks to his running animation, but somehow Sakurai and Game Arts come up with an attack over the top enough to make all that seem...

Wait, wait, wait. I'm totally overhyping with those last few sentences. Let's try this again.

The dude farts, okay.

Everyone does it, and it's nothing to be ashamed of.

Wario in particular just has a unusually strong need to do it in public, on top of people, and once every two minutes.

Anyways, I already loved Wario, but this attack in particular, oficially dubbed the "Wario Waft", is probably the main reason I'm making him one of my "mains". One reason I love it so much is since it changes in strength and appearance the longer you go without using it, it's an attack that has a pretty wide variety of use. For example, if you use it without letting it charge at all, it actually works pretty well as a fourth taunt.

However, if you wait until it's fully charged, and then use it while you're right next to your opponent, the result is devastating, and probably one of the strongest attacks in the game. I was actually reading a couple of character strategy guides the other day, and was surprised to find out that a fully charged Wario Waft by itself will do nearly 40% damage %, with pretty crazy knockback. (To compare, Jigglypuff's Sleep move only does about 23% damage.) The guide goes on to say that if you use the fully charged attack during the effects of Wario's Final Smash, where he runs around in pink pajamas calling himself Wario-Man, the damage and knockback doubles. For those of you unsure what I mean, it's basically equal to hitting you with a Home-Run Bat, except Home-Run Bats don't usually come out of my butt. Unless you get me drunk enough, wink!

And despite those ridiculous stats, the attack's actually pretty balanced. You have to wait a full two minutes before you can use it at its full capacity (though the process can be sped up slightly by using his Bite attack to eat a lot of items), and then you only have one shot at being right next to your opponent when you use it, and if you mess it up you have to wait another two minutes, by which point the match will probably already be over. Not to mention that for the one-hit KO, you have to be lucky enough to catch and use a Smash Ball on top of the other requirements, meaning that it will almost never happen against an opponent of equal skill. As a result, it's really satisfying to pull off. I would say that doing it successfully causes the opponent great frustration and embarrassment, but what actually happens is that I stomp around giggling like a retard while the other player sits there wondering how I can possibly be older than him.

Whatever, okay? My name is Daniel Thoreson, and I think it is TOTALLY AWESOME when video game characters use farting as a proper game mechanic, especially when that character is Wario, and double especially when it happens in one of my favorite games ever.

So there you go, five paragraphs about farts. Tune in next time, when it takes me less than a month to update!
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Saturday, February 23, 2008

My Wikipedia History: Letter A

Ah, Wikipedia. If you know me at all, then you also know that I hang out there all the freaking time. Whenever I'm bored on the internet, or curious about something, I'm usually there, eating Wikipedia's cyberchips and sleeping on its websofa. I've been doing this for years.The two of us go way back.

I've been doing this for so long, and neglecting to clear my search history on this computer the entire time, that every letter I start a Wikipedia search with, anywhere from 3 to 73 words that I've searched for on previous occasions (no exaggeration, I just checked) automatically pop up, depending on the letter. The only exception to this rule is, understandably, the letter "Q". In any case, I figure that it'd be both kind of fun and a decent introduction to my interests and tastes if I did an article detailing all the search words that pop up when I type in a single letter, and my motives/experiences/etc behind searching for them. If it's successful, that's awesome because then I can exploit this idea up to 24 more times!

Here's how it'll work: I'm going to list and provide a Wikipedia link to every single word I've searched in a given letter, and give details on my personal stock and/or what I've learned from the more interesting ones in that list. I'm also going to do them in order, so if I was doing the letter "C" you might see a couple blurbs on Captain Crunch and Captain Falcon, then links to Carrots, Chalk, and Chewbacca, then a blurb on Cherry Pie, and so on and so forth. For letters with a shitload of search words, I'll probably stop after ten blurbs or so, then continue where I left off in a future post.

Now that that's out of the way, it seems only fitting to start with the letter "A"!

APE, Inc
APE, Inc (yes, the comma is included in the company's official name) is a video game developer that's responsible for one of several titles I'm totally in love with: Earthbound for the Super Nintendo, which is part of a franchise called Mother in Japan. This won't be the last time you hear me talk about Earthbound, because it's an amazing little game. If you're unfamiliar with the concept, it's pretty much a Dragon Quest game if it was set in modern times, had sci-fi elements instead of fantasy ones, and included an amazing sense of humor throughout the entire quest.

But alas, this is about the developer and not the game. They made two Mother games and, apparently, a video game based on Monopoly that only came out in Japan (what), before they dissolved the company and formed a new one called Creatures, Inc. I guess the apes in the company decided they needed more variety and started hanging out with tigers and owlbears and shit so they had to change the name. Jeez, thanks a lot for getting new friends, apes!

Creatures, Inc eventually made another Mother game that never came out here, but they're also responsible for helping make main entries in the Pokemon series, another one of my obsessions. For some reason, Game Freak gets all the credit for making the games, but Creatures, Inc. owns one third of the rights to the franchise so they're definitely involved. Maybe Aipom and Chimchar are actually those freaking apes that changed the company's name! Jerks.


Accepted is a movie about a guy played by Justin Long who gets rejected from so many colleges that he pretends that he got accepted by a college that doesn't actually exist, so that he could please his parents. The hoax, of course, gets "hilariously" out of hand as hundreds of fellow college rejects find Justin Long's fake website that looks like it's for a real college and go to the abandoned building he made look like a real college building, so that they can enroll. I was initially really interested in this film because, as a college dropout, I have to admit that the concept of doing things the way you wanted to for college, while skipping the boring mandatory classes that don't benefit your major at all, was really appealing to me. I know that it's completely unrealistic, and that's exactly why I thought it'd make such a fun fictional story. Also, Justin Long! He's charming!

Of course, the movie ended up being a typical teenage "boobs and drugs everywhere, aren't we cutting edge" comedy, and it actually did have its moments, but I was left disappointed.

Ace Attorney series


The Ace Attorney series is pretty awesome. Way more awesome than you'd expect for a video game franchise about lawyers. It's just really well written! And the dialogue is clever and funny! And the characters are amazing! And oh man I love it so much, and that's why I looked it up.

Man. So far three out of four articles I've looked up have been related somehow to one of my favorite video games. That probably tells you quite a bit about me! And possibly depresses you a little.

Across the Universe
Advance Wars

Adventure Time

Oh Adventure Time, you wonderful, wonderful cartoon. Why can't some people appreciate the amazingness deep within your hilarious frames?

Adventure Time is basically this incredibly hilarious, incredibly surreal short toon about this kid and his pet dog (voiced by Bender from Futurama) that like to go on adventures. It sounds like a five year old came up with the idea, and the episode also feels like it's written by a five year old sometimes. It's the best thing ever!

Funny story, this cartoon was supposed to air on Nickelodeon, along with a bunch of other animated shorts, about a year ago, but the feature keeps getting delayed over and over again. It's currently set to air in June. When the shorts do start airing, the three shorts that are best received will be turned into full fledged cartoons to be shown on Nickelodeon.

Adventure Time WILL be one of them. Or I will make ANGRY FACES at a BABY.

Afterschool Boy (by the way, if there is no article about it on Wikipedia, then I won't leave a link)
Alien Syndrome

America's Next Top Model

Hello, Tyra Banks! How are your breasts? Actually, you don't have to answer that, I can already tell that they're fantastic!

EDIT: Actually, I just looked again and they... well, they're okay. They're not great. You have a beautiful body, but it's definitely not thanks to the breasts. I'm sorry, picture of Tyra Banks wearing underwear.

Okay, so I've watched a few episodes of this show. What I'll usually do is watch the photoshoot footage, leave the room when the contestants start crying for ten minutes, then come back at the end when Tyra Banks starts acting crazy. Because seriously, Tyra Banks is FUCKING. CRAZY. And as a result the show is actually pretty entertaining and not as gay as I initially thought. That said, I don't see myself ever watching this show on a regular basis.

Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney
Hey, two Ace Attorney articles in one post!

This is the most recent title in the series, and it just came out in the states. I haven't played it yet, but it'll be a happy day when I do! At least I hope so. The Psyche Locks feature is gone and you no longer get to play as Phoenix, the protagonist in the first three games, but hey! Sharper graphics and music, and the same awesome writing team. It'll still be great, even if it's not as great as its predecessors.

Art Spiegelman
Atomic Skull

Avatar: The Last Airbender

Avatar is one of many cartoon series that I've been meaning to watch but haven't had the opportunity to yet. Especially since DVD sets for the show are still 60 fricking dollars at the cheapest. It's too bad, too, cause I keep hearing great things about it. I have seen one episode, though, and it's actually pretty good stuff. I initally expected it to be American animators trying to be Japanese and failing, but it actually comes off as a pretty unique show. Maybe one day I'll get to watch the whole thing.

Did you know that the main character has hair in Season 3, though? Bald characters aren't allowed to grow hair! It's fucking illegal!

And that's the letter "A"! I hope you enjoyed reading all that. Tune in next time, when I decide to write an article that doesn't take so freaking long to put together!

(But if you do like these kinds of posts, let me know and I might make more My Wikipedia History articles in the near/eventual future. I likes feedback!)
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Monday, February 11, 2008

An Awesome Beginning

Heyo! My name is Daniel Thoreson. When I'm on the internet, I usually go by "Thores", and I think I'm going to call myself by that name on this blog as well. Because it is a good internet name and I like it.

Now, since this is a big fancy blog, with toolbars and everything, I'm going to do what every internet guy does and give you an explanation as to why I created this, and what purpose I plan for it to serve.


I sure am lucky I know Batman in real life!

So that's basically the deal. I want a place where I can talk about all the awesome things I love. Video games, comic books, movies, whatever I'm currently enjoying or looking forward to. And maybe if I'm lucky, I won't be the only one who reads this and I'll be able to share that love with other people. I'm terrible at articulating myself in introductory form, so hopefully you'll get the gist of what you can expect from here as time goes on.

Also, I'm never going to draw pictures for this site again.

Enjoy the awesome things to come!

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