5-Minute Marvel Stories (Kindle eBook)

This collection of children's bedtime stories was on sale for a couple bucks one day, so I picked it up figuring it'd be a worthwhile way to amuse myself for an hour before bed one night. Well, it is obviously a kid's book, what with the simple writing and stories where Spider-Man's villian du jour parallels a bully at school or Iron Man learns hard work pays off. You might be wondering why I'm even bothering to writing a quickie for it, and that's because there's two moments too face-palmingly stupid for me to not comment on. One is how the Avengers were apparently formed before Captain America was thawed out. The other is in the Hulk story is when Abomination lifts a boulder and the book wants us to be impressed by him lifting "two tons", nevermind that's "only" the weight of a car. Better than "one-hundred pounds" I guess.


Neutron the Atomic Superman vs. the Death Robots w/ RiffTrax Audio (DVD)

...vs. Bad Fridge Magnet Poetry.

This might have been the dullest of the RiffTrax I've watched so far. In terms of corny luchador films, it's not even on par with Samson vs. the Vampire Women from Mystery Science Theater 3000 Vol. 24. Maybe I went in expecting too much with a name like that. But I could have sworn there was one gem of a joke in here, but I can't for the life of me remember what it was. Maybe I should have written it down when it happened.


Green Lantern (PG)

Embarrassing confession time: I did not hate this movie! Can't say I particularly liked it either, but it has its moments like Jordan's friends smartass quip when Jordan shows him the Green Lantern ring. But at the same time, Peter Sarsgaard's character comes out of fucking nowhere so his jealousy over Jordan and the girl is rather confusing, and the final battle with Parallax was beyond anticlimactic and left me wondering why they didn't just do that in the first place rather than imprisoning him in green rock.

By the way, I watched this with my dad, who knows nothing about the Green Lantern and actually had this film confused with the Green Hornet. Anyway, when Sinestro puts on the yellow ring after the main movie ends it didn't surprise me since I knew he was a villain in the main canon, but it disgusted my dad to see the "good leader" do that. So, maybe that scene was a bit slapdash?


Mass Effect (360, M)

*gasp* Yes, I finally played through this!

Since I'm probably the only person who hadn't already played the game who wants to, I guess it's time for some anecdotes. First off, I chose to be a Vanguard because the whole "guns + psychic powers" thing sounded like fun, only to later discover the consensus on the Internet is that it's the worst class for a beginner. So, I spent about half the game struggling with the cover-based shooting, eventually getting a handle on it when my skill with the Shotgun got high enough I could hit things long-rage and OHKO them upfront. Although I still have no idea what the Warp ability does.

But Bioware, would it have killed you to make checkpoints a little more frequent? I know you let me save pretty much whenever I want, but sometimes I'd get too caught up in the game, forget to manually save, and then lose twenty minutes of progress to a fight. And the shops are worthless until you unlock the Rich achivement and open up the Spectre equipment - if I could afford a piece of equipment, I already had something vastly superior.

The story is well-written for what it is, and while the backstory is a lot of telling instead of showing at least there's a lot going on in the present world. But it also tends to play out like Halo if the Covenant had let the humans join rather than waging war on them, with Protheans instead of Forerunners, the Turians in place of the Elites, and the Reapers playing the Flood. Hopefully the series deviates from that in later installments.

The conversation wheel is also a bit fucked up. I wound up getting Ashley and Liara fighting over Shepard when I only intended to romance Liara, because the game thinks just talking to somebody means you're into them. This isn't helped by the ambiguity of the conversation wheel, so when Ashley asks something like "What about your blue friend? Do you care about her more than me?" will selecting "It's not like that" make Shepard say "I'm not into Liara" or "Look, I don't want to get into your pants, but you're still important to me."? And there were multiple times where I'd choose the topmost answer, get killed in the ensuing fight, pick the middle one in the rematch, and the conversation would play out exactly the same. Nice effort, Bioware.

And I'm going to admit this right now: I liked driving around in the Mako. Maybe that's just because it reminded me of Blaster Master.


Supersonic Man w/ RiffTrax Audio

Now this is more like it. This time we get a shitty Superman knockoff with and banana guns for the RiffTrax team to tear into. And at least this time I can remember to highlight the newpaper clip in the beginning, or Supersonic flying with the champagne.

Y'know, I'm finding RiffTrax are some of the hardest quickies for me to write. I can't exactly write about the stories because, well, they're shit. And even when the approach competent, what we're here for are the jokes. So, I guess I can say "I laughed real good at this!"


Shovel Knight (PC)

A love letter to the NES that mostly channels Mega Man 2, though there is some Mario 3, Zelda 2, and Ducktales in the mix. No Blaster Master that I could tell, though. But hey, there's still plenty of impressive bosses, catchy tunes, and cute humor to enjoy.

That is, until I finished the game and saw a certain team of cretinous hacks thanked in the credits, and now all my thoughts of this game are tainted with one question: "WHY?" Sleaziness aside, in between their utter contempt for the Super Nintendo and ignorance of the NES library that leads them to believe Phantasy Star II and its one measly murder-suicide was the most risque video game of 1989 (because Sweet Home doesn't exist to them) and Phantasy Star IV was the first RPG with combo magic (and neither does Magic of Scheherazade), I have no reason to believe that they give a fuck about the NES, so what reason is there for Yacht Club Games to send them a Special Thanks? I really hope they were just high-fiving everyone else in the retro revival scene for better or worse (the Special Thanks listing is quite long, and includes just about everything from Capcom to the guy who made VVVVVV), and that there isn't some connection between the two I don't think I'd like to know about.


Monument Valley (Kindle App)

I got this when it was the Amazon Free App of the Day, and it was a decent way to spend... half an hour. It's basically Fez meets Journey, a puzzle game based around perspective tricks with artsy-fartsy visuals.

Now, the biggest complaint I've seen people make is that four dollars is a lot for a game that only lasts half an hour. Again, I got this for free so I can't say much about the gameplay/price value, but just focusing on the game itself there could have been more to it. And since Fez itself cost $2.49 during the lastest Steam Holiday Sale, I can see why people would get upset about paying $4 for this.


Interesting Times (Terry Pratchett)

And the award for longest time for me to read a Discworld goes to...

It didn't take me so long to finish this book because it was bad. It's just that life kept throwing shit at me while I was trying to read it, then it sat around about eighty pages in for a year because I couldn't decide if I should continue from there or start over. But I had to do something because c'mon, this is the Discworld with the Lemmings reference in it!

I finally started over, and good thinking too because I'd totally forgotten about the computer they built at Unseen University. This might be a fault with my own mindset, but I thought there was too much bumbling around before getting to Rincewind kicking ass by playing Lemmings. Nice set pieces with Cohen the Barbarian and his mates, though.

Oh, and just to nitpick, the book takes place in an alternate reality China where stereotypes are reality, but then there's ninjas and samurais and shoguns, which are Japanese.


Gravity (PG-13)

For all the heartstring pulling that makes up this movie, all I could think of was how absurd the premise was: the Russians set off a missile in space that causes a wave of shrapnel that wipes out every satellite and space station surrounding the earth, including the bloody ISS? And we're focusing on Sandra Bullock instead of the communications apocalypse that's happening down on earth? Call me cynical if you like, call it cold if you want, but I prefer to call it rational.