Category Archives: Other Random Geekery

Odd Thoughts: The James Rolfe Ghostbusters ‘Controversy’

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Some may be aware of the recent kerfluffle involving James Rolfe aka The Angry Video Game Nerd posting a video that quickly rose to infamy across the net where he spoke out about how he refused to watch the new Ghostbusters film.  The reaction to the video has been mixed and draw heat from many different sides.  I’ve seen people calling James ‘sexist’ for not backing the new all-female cast, I’ve seen others stand by him and pledging their support to help him weather the onslaughts of “Feminists and SJWs”, and I’ve mostly seen people chiming in with a just a simple “Is this really what all the huff is about?”  And that’s the interesting thought to me. Why is this such a big deal?  A guy can just have opinions right?  Of course.  But how one voices their opinion can sometimes be an opinion in itself.

Let me first say that I am in no way condemning anyone with this post.  This issue was already a massive clash of a growing cultural divide in nerd culture that predates the announcement of this film’s production.  This video was much like that one offhand comment made on a day time talk show that sends the just starting to calm down guests right back in the heat.  James doesn’t want to see one of his favorite movies rebooted.  That’s fine. We’ve all been there with something.  Especially geeks and nerds.  I know I pretty much stopped seeing the Transformers movies after the first one.  I know a lot of people who didn’t want to touch the newest Ninja Turtles or even the 2003 TMNT movie for pretty much the same reasons.  The issue comes from the fact that this movie already had a ton of heat associated with it due to the number of voices decrying it because the cast is female becoming mingled with the voice of people who just aren’t interested, and nothing ever stays simple when gender politics enters the picture.  Likewise, I don’t think the gender flip is a bad thing.  I’d like to see it done more often – especially with reboots.  Explore another side to things.  After all, what good is a reboot if you don’t try to do SOMETHING different with it?  It might not work, but that’s true with anything.  I don’t know if anyone would have wanted to see a shot for shot remake of the Original Ghostbusters either.  But the gender issues being brought to the fore front by this remake are a discussion worth having.  A lot of ugliness has been brought to bare in the wake of this movie’s announcement and trailers.  And everyone who has a personal stake one way or the other in the fight are pretty much coming to this movie with all or nothing mindsets.  We win or we die.

So perhaps it was a wider view of the landscape that James lacked when making his video.  After all, all the video says is that he is going to do a “non review” because he refuses to see it.  And why couldn’t they do a ‘good reboot’ like the Star Trek movies (a subjective comparison if I ever saw one) along with the feelings of how he wasn’t wow’ed by the trailer and all the cgi looks dumb.  So what’s wrong with that? Why am I even writing this?  I can only speak to my problem with the video, one that I have spent several days thinking about what bothered me about it, and say that I honestly think it’s the way he said it.  If it had been made as an offhand comment on Twitter in reply to people wondering if he was going to review it, I don’t think this would have been a big deal.  But this was a 6 minute video: lighting, camera, editing, visual effects, the whole thing – not just to say but to ANNOUNCE that you are REFUSING to see and review a new movie, on your YouTube channel that is mostly video games and classic horror movies.  Oh sure, there’s a few vlogs, but I don’t think that’s what your channel is known for.  Just like I don’t need to produce a 5 minute video to tell people that I don’t much care for the new menu numbers are McDonald’s when everything else on my channel is a Let’s Play.

Also, ‘refuse’ is a strong word. Refuse usually implies a command or a request that you are not willing to do.  If you were working for a paper, and they were sending you to see the movie, then you might refuse.  But no one is telling James to go see it.  In fact, everything else he describes is just that he doesn’t want to.  A personal preference.  But the use of the word Refuse in combination with producing an entire video about said refusal, makes it come off like you are taking a stand, protesting, or just straight choosing to be a martyr for the cause of not seeing this film.  Which is a bit over dramatic, and I can’t say that is what James intended with this.  He probably just wanted to voice his opinion, but the problem there is when you are a public figure – and we cannot deny the importance of the AVGN character or James Rolfe’s contribution to the internet media we have today – that how you say something can doom you.  Especially since this wasn’t a VLOG off the cuff thing but a produced & edited video.  There was time and thought put into this.  So it’s not like you don’t have the opportunity to think about the intent.

I imagine that might be what upset some people about this, why others don’t think it’s a big deal, and why others are throwing their unwavering support behind it.  Because through it’s language, design, and intent it can be all of those things and probably none of them as well.  Am I saying James shouldn’t have made the video?  No.  He has an opinion and his channel is his to say what he wishes on it.  But given his choices when making and releasing the video, there was going to be a volatile reaction.  Given his years doing ‘The Nerd’ I’m sure James is not stranger to all kinds of volatile reactions.  I also don’t think any kind of volatile reaction (barring threats of bodily harm and any illegal act) should be silenced either.  I just wanted to examine exactly why this whole thing even happened, really.  Goodness knows James’ ad revenue with YouTube probably just peaked for the year.

Oh and as for MY thoughts on the new Ghostbusters? Looks interesting.  Reminds more of the cartoon than the movies. Not a bad thing. Will probably check it out and maybe do a write up if I have something worthwhile to say.

Final Thought: Just… don’t go into the YouTube comments on these things.  That should be common knowledge for any Netizen, but I felt in this case it beared repeating.  Seriously. Don’t.

Whoever Wins, George Loses

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So…  Episode VII.  Wow, who ever thought we’d see this day.  I haven’t seen it yet, and I probably won’t until the crowds die down some because I’m old curmudgeon at 32 years and I don’t want to sit in a crowded theater with a bunch of damn kids. (Also, thank you damn kids for continuing to read my ramblings)  But I for one can’t wait to see General Thrawn, Mara Jade, Jacen and Jaina all on the big screen.  I’m sure I won’t be disappointed.

However, a thought did occur to me while trying to avoid spoilers in my online perusing: There is no scenario with this new movie in which George Lucas actually looks better to the fan base.  Like at all.  No matter what the reaction to this movie will be – short term, or long term (because in the short term people LOVED the prequels, and in the long term…  well just google ‘Star Wars Prequels’ and see). And that kind of makes me sad.

To elaborate on my point,  if the new films are a resounding success (to the fandom, not financially – they are pretty much a guaranteed win financially) then it will be heralded as solid, stone cold proof that George Lucas was an awful and terrible director who ruined his own franchise and it could only be redeemed once firmly removed from his hands.  On the other hand, if the movie turns out to be despised and used as a curse the same way “Mass Effect 3’s Ending” is across the internet, then George Lucas will be considered a traitor for abandoning the fans and selling out to Disney whose grubby mousey hands ruined this beloved franchise.

Whoever wins, George Lucas loses and that makes me sad.

Why? Because I think George is one of the more inventive world-builders we’ve seen in the last few decades.  That was the true gold of the Prequel films in my opinion and one of the reasons I love them so: they built the galaxy beyond a few space stations, two factions, and planets that are wholly a single biome.  While the Original Trilogy was a classic tale of good versus evil, it didn’t leave you with much of an impression about what society was like.  We saw a few worlds on the fringes that were barely inhabited if at all.  Is that the way things worked?  Was the Death Star the seat of government? Then why was it just built?  Where does the Emperor live?  What the heck was the senate that got dissolved in one line of dialogue?  We got glimpses of a much bigger galaxy but saw nothing of it in the scrappy dogfights between a totalitarian government and the terrorists that fought against it.  The prequels however gave you that. All of that.  It explained how we got to the point of this battle of good & evil, how good intentions sent to the galaxy to hell when guided by someone who wasn’t interested in helping, and it built up the mythos in a way that the original films never even touched.  I LOVED the prequels because George Lucas went from a classic hero myth of good v. bad and turned it into something that felt like a living galaxy.

So if nothing else, this post is for you, Mr. George Lucas.  Thank you for the galaxy far far away that I’ve spent 32 years enjoying the heck out of (No, seriously, one of the ways I learned to read as a kid was Jabba’s subtitles).  And here’s to Disney’s New Trilogy and may it find success and a place in the hearts of fans new and old alike.

May the Force Be With You, and The Force Shall Set You Free.

Odditorial: On the Perceived Permanence of Lore

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If there’s one thing we nerds enjoy, it’s canon.  Is this canonical? Is that?  Is my OTP canonical?  How does X fit into the canon?  One need not look any further than the reaction to the announcement that the Star Wars Expanded Universe being retired into the Legends label to see how much a concise and clearly stated canon can matter to people.  So there gets to be this mindset among fans of just about anything that whatever is stated to be canon is something akin to a holy text that must be viewed as complete and immutable from whatever state a fan finds it in.  And that last bit is important because what eventually sets the bar as ‘betraying’, ‘contradicting’ or ‘ignoring’ canon depends a great deal on exactly what state the canon was in when and how you first were exposed to it.

After all, while the Green Lantern Corps was introduced in 1959, the concept of the Emotional Spectrum and the other Lantern Corps like the Red Lanterns, or the Sinestro Corps, didn’t come into being until 2006, despite it beings established that these things were in existence all along but the Green Lanterns may not have been aware of them.  If you were a fan before Geoff Johns’ new interpretation of the Green Lantern universe, you might find this idea a bit on the heretical side.  After all, how could the Guardians not know/expose this info?  How come it took decades of issues before it was revealed that Parralax was a big space bug that was sealed away and they knew about it but kinda didn’t want to bring it up?  On the same hand, if you came after that or say first got interested in Green Lantern due to the Green Lantern Animated Series – then the Emotional Spectrum and the other Lanterns are just part of the universe to you. Easy peasy.

Already we can see that time and method can dictate the view of what is considered to be canon and what isn’t.  Will new Star Wars fans a decade from now when the JJ Abrams Trilogy comes to a close even think that the Legends novels were anything more than interesting What-If stories?  That the Yuuzhan Vong are nothing more than glorified fanfiction characters?  Perhaps.  But aside from fan-interpretation and viewpoints of canon, what about when canon is changed by the ones who created it?

If you want a good example of fans getting upset at a ‘violation’ of canon by the ones who write the story themselves, look no further than our good friends at Blizzard Entertainment.   Almost every expansion is met with cries of ‘That’s not what this character would do’, ‘Blizzard doesn’t care about their own canon’ or ‘This violates their own lore’, etc.  I’ve played World of Warcraft since 2006 off and on, and I’ve seen these complaints so many times I’ve lost count.  But it always comes back to this idea that what WAS should be preserved in a little box, and left to the point where it is never changed or influenced.  Heck, I remember people complaining about the difference in characterization between Warcraft III and Vanilla WoW, almost like there was some sort of inexplicable 5 year jump mentioned in first few seconds of the opening cut scene.  These characters change, the situation changes, and the world moves forward.  The Forsaken were pretty much born out of Sylvanas’ quest for revenge against the Lich King.  You can’t very well expect them to stay the same after their sworn mortal enemy is dead.

There’s also the issue of the fact that since WE are aware of all the details of the story and lore, we often will forget that the characters don’t.  A character may not know the truth of all the details, or even heard the news if its something that happened on the completely other side of the planet and thus will act according to what they know and not what WE know.  The concept of ‘metagaming’ can extend to fiction too, ya know.  So while things sometimes look like a violation of canon, it can honestly sometimes just be a matter of ‘the characters wouldn’t know that’.  Back to World of Warcraft for example, it’s stated in some places that the Eredar corrupted the Titan Sargeras into turning evil, it’s later revealed upon meeting the Draenei – an exiled faction of the Eredar – that it was actually the reverse. Sargeras had corrupted the Eredar.  Is this a retcon? Yes, but does it break canon? No.  No one who originally told the tales of Sargeras & the Eredar would have been in the position to know the facts of the tale.  They are legends and fables, passed down for generations.  Now when they meet the Draenei?  Well, heck, Velen was THERE.  He knows.  Now he’s explaining it.  Now you have the myth, and the fact.  That’s developing canon, not violating it.

Wanting a canon to stay rigid, to have nothing new enter or depart the scene and for characters to stay the same as when we first fell in love with them just is flat out bad for storytelling.  Is BioWare futzing with their own lore with TOR?  Yes.  Yes they are.  The story is moving forward, a new enemy is appearing from beyond the borders of the galaxy and using a vastly different technique of force wielding to pursue a mission of galactic conquest.  Honestly, from a personal standpoint, it’s not nearly as conflicting as say KOTOR to KOTOR2 when in the space of 5 years the entire Jedi Order was completely wiped out leaving only a few stragglers like the Exile around.  No wonder they decided to set SWTOR 295 years later. Yeesh.

Now I’m not saying there aren’t ways you can mess up canon.  Even Blizzard has admitted to messing up with mixing up established facts and they have employees devoted to entire task of keeping this stuff straight.  But there’s a difference between ‘This never before explained thing has appeared and is attacking’ or ‘This ancient prophecy we just uncovered is coming true!’ and things like ‘Superman was never from Krypton, he’s from Snorglack-VII and always has been. Ignore what we said earlier.’  (And heck there are even acceptable ways to do that with continuity reboots, and elaborate explanations, that might reek of B.S. aren’t technically violating canon.)  There are times when you just screw up and forget that you’ve already established some detail, and there are times you introduce retcons that will devastatingly run in contrast to how a character is viewed (Did you Batman ALWAYS hated rock music because his Dad told him it was bad the night they died?) but there is also just the idea that you are expanding the story and the universe.

As fans we sometimes have the tendency to get a bit zealous with our devotion to what we know.  We like the permanence of the whole thing.  It feels good.  But that’s not necessarily what’s best for the story.  For a story to grow, canon must be altered and expanded.  Maybe there were 9 planets, but due to later revelations there are now 8 (or like 25).  Canon must always be somewhat flexible in order for things to move forward.  And I think we as fans need to be flexible with it.

Thanks for reading.

A Farewell to WoW Insider

So, apparently WoW Insider is no longer a thing. Shut down by AOL along with Massively and several other gaming blog sites.  While this blog has long since stopped being exclusively a World of Warcraft blog, WoW Insider was still a daily visit for me to keep up on the going on’s and the various fun in the form of articles like The Queue or the Tin Foil Hat editions that reveled in speculation about the game’s lore.  It was also where this blog’s predecessor OddCraft got its first big break, being shared along with other bloggers in a series of posts about the various other blogs in the community.  Now it never got me a boost to internet stardom, but it was pretty much the largest exposure I had ever gotten as a blogger at that point.  I’ll never forget that kindness.  To this day I still occasionally got hits from WoW Insider for the WoW Ironman Challenge.  So the legacy lived on far longer than my old blog did.

So this post is for all of the great people who worked at WoW Insider.  It was a great ride.  Thanks for years of enjoyable reading.

EDIT: Apparently, I spoke a bit too soon! Lots of the great folks who staffed WoW Insider have launched a new website called Blizzard Watch.  It’s supported by Patreon too, so if you wanna show your love there’s a way. I wish them all the best in this new site!

Welcome to the Machine

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Continuing in my grand “Seriously, I don’t give two damns about Garrosh and seriously SoO feels way to grindy even on LFR” vacation from MMOs, I decided to finally boot up my copy of RPG Maker VX Ace.  I bought it on a steam sale over a year ago for like 60% off or something, and never really got around to using.  In fact my girlfriend was using it most of the time making seriously awesome stuff that would just make my jaw drop.  So I decided, Hey I like to run D&D campaigns, I’ve spent more time in Final Fantasy games than I have homework over the course of my life, why not give this thing a try?

Like being zapped by the MCP and taking my first few steps out onto the Grid, my life was forever changed.

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RPG Maker is like handing a kid the world’s biggest LEGO construction kit and just saying have at.  It has a ton of power, lots to learn, and great deal of freedom.  It comes with everything you need to start making your own role playing game and even comes with built in pre-sets that allow to start tinkering as soon as you open the box.   I started with just using the basic tutorials that are on the website, which sadly appear to be incomplete.  You get to the last lesson and it just stops, teasing you with a “In our next lesson” bit that dangles a juicy fruit of useful information just beyond reach.  Luckily the web is vast and infinite and full of other non-official tutorials that offer thorough explanations of both the basics as well as the more advanced features of the game.

While the advertisements for the software will boast that no programming is required, some basic knowledge of programming is incredibly useful.  Knowing how concepts like loops, if…then…else’s, and variables will prove vital in working your way through making your story come alive.  Luckily they’re not the hardest programming ideas to grasp.  But yea, the more experience you have with programming the more you’ll be able to do.  You can also add scripts to your game to add additional functionality using the Ruby based RGSS3 engine.  For instance, I’ve added a World of Warcraft like Reputation system as well as a crafting system with the scripts in the game.

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Still the sheer amount of power you wield to tell any kind of story you wish complete with cutscenes, characters, classes, monsters, etc from the get go is an amazing feeling.  Once I finished the tutorial I began work on a slightly more sandbox-y style game, where you would find clues and tips about where to go next but no clear goal or marked areas.  For instance, someone in town mentions that the statue in the park had the gem stolen from it.  That’s it.  Where is the gem? Dunno.  Maybe you’ll find it.  Maybe you’ll find more clues.  Maybe an unrelated clue will actually lead you to the same thieves that stole the gem.  It’s awesome and fun to just lay clues down.  Especially since this allows me to do a sandbox style adventure when I don’t know if I could ever accomplish one in my Dungeons & Dragons campaigns.

However, even more than a D&D game using RPG Maker requires a lot of planning ahead of time if you don’t plan on using the built in pre-sets for everything.  Just testing a formula for how much damage a character can take or dish out was a long process of trial and error.  Then planning things like stat growth, abilities, experience rates (which are somewhat limited by the software itself.  Like you can’t set it to take more than 90 XP to get from level 1 to 2. Though you might be able to change this with a script.  Probably can.  There hasn’t been much I’ve found that you CAN’T change with a script.)  So before I’ve gotten too far in the game I’m already buried neck deep in spreadsheets.  But hey kids, let this be a lesson. Learn Excel.  It can be used for fun someday!

The sheer joy is in the creation though.  You’re making something.  Something new and yours.  It’s the kind of feeling that ignites your passion when you built the Three-Headed Dragon Super Space Ship With TWENTY Lasers So It Can Totally Blow Up Mark’s Ship Yes It Can Mark Shut Up Mark III with building blocks when you were a kid.  I have no idea if anything I make will ever turn out to be decent, or even great.  Nor does it matter if I can or can’t monetize it.  For now, I’m having fun with it all.  However, I might upload a copy of the first city as a ‘demo’ or something.  I’d love to hear what people out there in the Interwebs might think of it and get some feedback. Who knows?

Post Apocalypse, One Year Later ~ Looking Back

Oh geeze, what a crazy past two months.  I moved, I went to Disney World (those who follow me on Twitter got treated a series of photos of Vry & his girlfriend wearing various hats), and then the insane holiday whose name is so feared it begins with the dread letter “X” (except not really. But X-mas is almost X-men, so that makes it the better spelling. WOLVERINE SAYS SO.)  And of course the one year anniversary of the end of the world.  Kind of crazy to think that the world was completely destroyed by the planet Nibiru and a simultaneous massive solar flare only a year ago. How time flies in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, even when you don’t push the ‘T’ key. (That’s for you Fallout 3 fans)

As for gaming this year, I haven’t explored a ton of new ground I’m sad to say.  Mostly exploring my two major MMOs (SWTOR and WoW), and then dabbling in a few indie titles and oldies like Game Dev Tycoon and Rollercoaster Tycoon 3.  I suppose I did get my feet wet with some newer titles.  Finally starting to explore more in Skyrim by going around from town to town and completing them instead of doing the main storyline. I finally got to play Bioshock Infinite late this year and absolutely loved it.  That ending.  Oh geeze. I might have to do another post at some point just gushing my love for that ending.  Probably when Burial At Sea – Episode 2 comes out and I’ll just yak about the whole thing.

Of course the other big game that I tackled this year – and still working at it – would be Final Fantasy XIII.  The always controversial title that I went from downright loathing to absolutely being absorbed into the mythology of.  I really need to write more about it.  I keep scolding myself for not keeping up with that.  But I recently got a copy of Final Fantasy XIII-2 and Lightning Returns on pre-order now.  So I imagine you will be seeing more from that.

Finally in gaming news, my girlfriend and I have recently begun our own personal retrospective on the console games of the Zelda franchise.  Starting with the original NES title and currently progressing through Ocarina of Time, I haven’t decided if I’ll share my thoughts on going back through these wonderful games. But hey, if people ask I definitely will.

In some good news for the future of this blog, I received for the holidays a BlackMagicDesign Intensity Pro HD/SD capture card.  This little piece of shiny tech will let me capture video from any of my consoles instead of just stuff on my computer.  Combine this with a new copy of some editing software, and a 1 terabyte hard drive and hopefully I’ll be able to start producing Let’s Play videos that I keep talking about soon.  I actually have the stuff.  Now I just need to do it.

Overall, I must admit that I’ve been stearing towards single player games more lately than my MMOs.  Neither SWTOR or WoW seems to be keeping my attention for any long period of time at the moment.  I have no desire to start from scratch in another MMO, and my Steam Library is now boiling over 100 titles at the moment.  Perhaps it’s time to explore the rest of my library for a bit instead of sinking time into MMOs out of habit.  I want to finish leveling up some professions, but honestly I can do that later.  So you’ll probably being seeing less MMO posts and more “Adventures of Vry in Skyrim” or some other weirdness for a while.  If you come here looking only for weird anecdotes or rants about only specifically MMO content…  I’d say sorry but let’s be honest you’ve been disappointed for a loooong while.

And now for a quick run down of non-video gaming stuff I’ve done this year:

– D&D Next Playtest: Enjoyed it. Ran a Halloween adventure. Might post it. Still need to get used to the whole saves thing.
– Doctor Who 50th Anniversary: I’m a fairly recent convert to the show, but the special was nice. Only seemed to focus on the new show – bad. John Hurt got some awesome lines – good! Answered some questions and gave the show somewhere to go – Good! Pretty much undermined a ton of my favorite characterization bits – bad.
– Comic Books! Pretty much stopped reading them.  Pretty much entirely Scott Lobdell’s fault.
– Cartoons: CARTOON NETWORK. STOP CANCELING SHIT I LOVE. DAMNIT.
– Anime: I just watch stuff on Netflix.  But that’s been pretty fun! That’s about it.  Really.

So here’s to 2014.  One year away from Third Impact.  Let’s make a fun one!

A Nerdy Nursery Rhyme

Mary had a little lamb,

It’s fleece was white as snow.

Everywhere that Mary went,

The Lamb was sure to go.

Little did the little lamb know,

This obligation would be its tomb.

Because Mary had a special mission,

And no one returns from Z’ha’dum…

Odd Aside: Vry vs Internet Acronyms

Today’s Internet Acronym:  GPOY

Vry’s Guesses as to What the Hell It Means:

Good Post On You

God’s Pity On You

Garage Pictures of Yours

Great Perception, Old Yeller

Grand Party of Yaks

Google Pities Original Yaps

Gargantuan Purple Old Yeti

General Presence Omits Yiddish

Good Porridge Originates Yen

Good Pippin, Orcs Yucky

… And The Actual Answer:  Gratuitous Picture of You

Seriously?  *looks over tumblr*  ….REALLY?  Geeze I must be getting old.

5 Endings I Hate More Than ME3

For the record, I don’t have a single issue with the Mass Effect 3 ending.  I really liked it.  Maybe it was because I was really to please.  Maybe it was because I was expected something truly god awful based on what people were saying on Twitter. Or maybe it’s because I’ve seen much MUCH worse.  Here’s a handful of endings that pissed me off in ways that Mass Effect 3 never could.

Battlestar Galactica: If there is way one to quickly push my buttons it’s a cheap cop-out ending.  It was all a dream? Bite me.  But one that gets going even more so?  God did it.  And that’s what we get at the end of the new BSG re-imagining.  No real explanation.  Just ‘God did it and that’s why it all works.’  You have got to be kidding me.  No.  You don’t just get to wave that wand around because you have some pseudo-religious themes in your show.  You have to EARN ‘God did it’.  There has to be reasons.  There has to be motives.  God doesn’t get a free pass because it’s God.  It doesn’t work that way.  

So unless you can actual give me an explanation as to why ‘God’ decides to wipe out the Cylons, sends them to a mysterious planet that they dub new ‘Earth’, destroy all their technology and jump start humanity.  Cause as it stands there is NO REASON for them to do most of that other than to cram in a stupid message that technology is bad and God is good and they are somehow mutually exclusive.

Ranma 1/2: What’s worse than a bad ending?  Well, how about a non-ending?  Ranma 1/2 wrapped up after hundreds of pages of manga with a complete and utter non-event.  The two closest things we have to main characters in a cast of dozens seem to be about to be married – something that was a LOOOONG time coming, and then POW! The whole wedding gets ruined by the baker’s dozen of other potential suitors and the massive series ends with a still shot of the two NOT married teens running off to school like they always do.  No real conclusion.  The end message is: put the last few volumes on a loop and read until the end of time. Thanks.  Fabulous.

Teen Titans: Things. F-ing. Change.  The biggest middle finger to the fans I can possible think off.  Let’s bring back a very important character that was thought gone for good a few seasons back, make it super ambigous about whether its a look alike/clone/etc by giving them amnesia and a bunch of other weird hints, and then don’t resolve it giving one of the main cast a nice heaping helping of woobie angst in the process. Oh, and by the way: SERIES FINALE.  This episode never existed as far as I’m concerned.

Neon Genesis EvangelionOkay, so you spend 24 episodes of a 26 episode series building up some horrific apocalyptic ‘Third Impact’ event that will wipe out everything.  So how do you start episode 25?  Oh, with a text screen that proudly announces that the apocalypse already happened and the following two episodes take place AFTER that.

Beyond the fact that the last two episodes are entirely philosophical debates that take place within the main character’s head, there is never any explanation as to how or what the apocalypse was.  You actually get the feeling at the end of Episode 24 that they just stopped the last risk that could have triggered it!

Luckily, we get a movie that explains what happened.  Or maybe it’s a ‘what if’ alternate universe thing.  No one is really sure if they are supposed to be in the same continuity.  I always assumed they did.  But the movie is just as whack-a-doo as the show or more so in some cases.  And as a giant middle finger to the audience they made an even MORE non-sensical ending.  Complete with utterly irrelevant imagery, vague dialogue and little to no context crammed in for the last minute.

Chrono CrossSo you’ve spent dozens of hours hacking your way through a plot more dense than Akira meets the Kingdom Hearts franchsie, and defeated the final boss.  Finally we have a chance for some clarity as that last piece slides into place and puts all of this in some kind of conte-  Who is that?  Why is there some random live action girl wandering around live action Tokyo? Why does she have the magic pendant?

The ending of Chrono Cross requires more work in trying to decipher what it is supposed to be than the entirety of the rest of the game.  And in a game that involves alternate universes, time travel, body swapping, conspiracies within conspiracies within conspiracies…  that is saying A LOT.  To be honest, I have no clue how anyone figured out what’s going on here without some kind of supplemental material.  Which considering Square Enix’s fondness for companion books may have been the case.  Anyway, it confused the heck out of me in an already confusing game.

CGI & Star Wars: A Response

From Tumblr:
“As a fan of the original trilogy, I don’t mind organic special effects at all, i.e. props like the Death Star and Qui-Gonn’s communicator. I DO mind the excessive CGI, which might not necessarily be lazy, but God there’s so much. I don’t even think there’s a single shot in any of the prequels without CGI in it.” 

Hmmm…  you’ve touched on an interesting point.

There’s is an overwhelming amount of dislike for CGI nowadays and I quite honestly don’t get it.  I’m not saying there isn’t bad or lazy CGI out there, but it seems like it’s very existence is enough to discredit a film for many.  Which doesn’t make sense to me.  Yes, the Star Wars prequels used a lot of CGI.  But the CGI never made things confusing or hard to follow – for me at least.

Compare that to the use of CGI in a film like Transformers, where the robots are just giant masses of grey whirring parts and gizmos.  If two robots are smashing into each other – with the exception of Bumblebee and maybe Optimus – can you really point out where one begins and the the other ends?  It’s just a big messy lump of CGI bits that doesn’t seem to help the goal of showing a cool fight scene.

Star Wars has a ton of CGI. But it’s CGI used well in my opinion.  It’s used to create fantastical locales and creatures, and it never leaves you confused as to what is going on or make all the characters look bland or similar.  Except for the clones.  Cause they’re clones.

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